Welcome to the Jungle
Challenge: Cave Slayers
Rating: A healthy European 15 for now
5 Thing Minimum: A Full
Moon; Food (gross as it was); Shelter; Wool Blanket; A Minor Injury; Girl/Girl
Thanks: Everyone at Oralfxatns for the support/intimidation. Special thanks to
the super-speedy and infinitely helpful betaing.
indle Download (click here for instructions)
"Buffy," Satsu kept her arms spread wide at waist height, speaking slowly and calmly and
trying to appear as non-threatening as possible, "just wait a minute, okay?"
Buffy cocked her head, regarding the other Slayer silently. She paused briefly,
the balls of her feet, and everyone in the hall knew she was ready to bolt.
the gun to shoulder height, trying to line up a straight shot, while Kennedy
circle around and block the door. Catching sight of this movement, Buffy growled
launched herself forward. Satsu sprang to meet her, but found her outstretched
yanked painfully backwards as the Slayer lunged past her and out the door. A
tranquiliser dart thudded harmlessly into the thousand year old oak, Xander's shot missing
Satsu hissed a muffled "shit" as she cradled her arm to her chest, a sentiment
readily agreed with. From the other side of the room, Kennedy regarded him
"What now, boss?".
He sighed and lowered the gun. "Assemble search teams. We need to get out there
she has a chance to put some distance between us. Divide the girls into teams of
spread out over the grounds. Here's hoping she won't want to stray too far from
territory. Cover the gardens and the forest around the castle first - report
back to me as
soon as you spot anything."
Kennedy nodded and headed to the command centre, leaving Xander to tend to
"How bad is it?"
"My arm or the fact that Buffy's lost it?"
"Buffy's lost what?" a puzzled Willow asked from the doorway of the castle. "Is
important? Cause she went running past me like her pants were on fire. She
say hi, and I know I've only been gone a couple of days but that's still time
enough to miss
me, right? It's not like I... hey, what happened to your arm?"
"Hey Will," Xander mustered a small smile for his friend. "Of course, we have
missed you and your unique rambling style, but we've got a problem."
"So nothing new there." Willow steeled herself and walked over to the other two."Okay,
what've I missed?"
Faith dumped her jacket in the hall and headed for the fridge. It had been a
evening of slaying - not a damn vampire in sight - so she'd called it a night,
and now all
she wanted now was to crack open a cold one and kick back infront of whatever
could find on tv. Except the fridge was devoid of foamy beer goodness, and she
there'd been at least a couple of cans there before she left this evening.
"Yo G!" she called as she made her way into the living room. "You got any of
that JD lying
around? Seems I'm all outta-"
She stopped when she saw Giles sitting on the couch, draining the last of a can
Budweiser. "Giles? You're drinking beer? American beer?" She frowned. "You hit
"Ah, Faith. You're home earlier than I expected." He wiped the back of his hand
mouth, stifling a belch in the most British way possible.
"Patrol was a no-go. Place is completely dead, and not in a 'fun for Slayers
way." She threw herself down in the chair across from him and gestured to the
cans. "So what's with the guzzling my stash?"
"I found myself rather in need of a drink." He raised his eyes to meet hers. "I
phonecall from Willow not long after you left."
Faith froze. Sure a call from HQ could mean any number of things, but very few
were good. Fewer still could drive Giles into the arms of the 'King of Beers'.
herself for having to clear her throat before she could speak.
He nodded before catching the look on her face and hastening to correct himself.
perfectly fine, in a manner of speaking. She hasn't been harmed - at least not
Faith relaxed only slightly, "Any time you wanna cut to the chase here is fine
with me, G.
What's going on?"
Despite the incredibly sour taste in his mouth, Giles found himself wishing
more beer. "It would seem that Buffy has become somewhat... devolved, and-"
Faith cut him off with a raised hand. "In American, man."
"She has reverted to an almost primitive state."
Faith still looked blank. "In dumb American?"
"She's acting like a cavewoman."
"Like, 'Me Tarzan, You Jane' kinda cavewoman?"
"That's..." Faith's brow furrowed for a moment, then a grin crept across her
fuckin' hilarious!" The grin became an outright smirk, with a chuckle to follow. "Please tell
me Golden Girl's swinging from trees and shit?"
"She may be doing any number of things. She escaped from the castle twenty-four
ago and no-one has been able to find her since."
"Oh man," Faith wiped a tear away and attempted to bring herself under control."Priceless.
But why'd they call you? Don't the Super Friends got all that fancy uber-slayer
technology and whatnot?"
"They do, however none of it seems to be able to track her. According to Willow
locator spells can't pick up her trace. It would seem whatever has affected her
the very essence of who she is, making it nearly impossible to find her through
means. They've had no better luck with any of the military technology they've
That's why," Giles shifted his gaze to an innocuous enough stain on the
somewhere over Faith's shoulder, "that's why they've asked that you travel to
Faith's laughter immediately died on her lips.
"How many of those have you had, G? Cause you're starting to talk kind of
"Willow believes she has a way to track Buffy. She was vague on the details but
clear that your presence would be required to-"
"No way in hell." The Slayer's tone was low and dangerous. She rose from the
stalked to the window where she began to pace in a tight arc. Giles kept his
as she continued to rant. "You expect me to stroll into a castle full of people
who hate my
guts just so's I can track down a woman who hates my guts and will probably beat
death soon as I do find her? The fuck?"
There was silence for a moment before Giles tentatively spoke. "I'm fully aware
relations are somewhat... strained, between us all at the moment." He ignored.
of indignance at the understatement. "That's why I truly believe that Willow
have come to us for help if she saw any other way of rectifying the situation."
Faith stopped pacing and looked at him almost pleadingly. "Giles..." her voice
but she managed to control the shake in it, "I can't."
He finally met her gaze, and the understanding in his eyes was evident. "You
can. I don't
think it will be easy for you, and I can't guarantee our reception will be
friendly, but you've
proved time and again that you're capable of great deeds... even in the face of
whom you'll receive no thanks for what you do. In these last six months you've
dozen girls who would have abused the power and the responsibility that comes
being a Slayer. None of those girls asked for your help, and many of them still
for it, but that hasn't stopped you - why?"
Faith folded her arms, hating that he was right. There were more than a couple
Slayerettes out there who'd still happily take a swing at her for interfering
with their lives,
even if it was to try and steer them off the path of self-destruction that Faith
all to familiar with. They might hate her for doing it, but she persevered, and
continue to do so, as long as she thought she was doing right by them in the
And that was just the point, wasn't it?
"Because it's the right thing to do." She growled out a frustrated sigh, running
through her hair. "And now because you're the King of the Watcher guilt trip I
going to Scotland."
"I've booked us two tickets for a flight in the morning. And I most certainly
did not 'guilt
trip' you, I merely reminded you of your better qualities and noble nature."
"Don't push it, G."
He responded with a wry smile. "Perhaps I'm just coming to know you too well."
"The fuck you are. If you knew me all that well," Giles had to duck as a cushion
came at his
head, just short of full Slayer force, "you wouldn't have drank my damn beer."
In the cemetary of a small Scottish town, the blonde figure crouched on all
fours over the
freshly turned earth. She could sense... something. She couldn't name it, but
couldn't name anything now, and names were no longer important. What lay under
ground was familiar to her, and made her blood run hot. She nosed the soil,
source of the scent, growling low in the back of her throat. She could hear
taste death on the air. Suddenly the earth shifted as a hand clawed its way out
grave. The Slayer sprang backwards, taking cover behind a neighbouring
The vampire emerged in full game face, shaking dirt from his clothes.
Newly-turned as he
was, he could feel a presence close by, and every new sense he possessed, every
superhuman strength and power told him to run for his life, or what remained of
it. He got
no further than the next grave before she was on him like an animal - teeth and
fury. The two rolled over the damp grass and came to a stop with her on top. He
throw a wild punch in the direction of her face, but she clamped down on his arm
teeth and bit in until she felt bone crunch. The sound satisfied her, urged her
on, and she
brought two hands to the terrified vampire's head, twisting until a clean snap
spine, and a final flick of her wrists took his head off. She roared her
triumph, but it was
short-lived as her prey crumbled to dust underneath her. Confused, she raked her
through the grey silt she knelt in. She was the hunter with no prize, and she
unfulfilled. With a final cry, of victory and of warning, she leapt to her feet
and loped off,
pure instinct driving her onwards towards her prey.
The Slayer moved through the night unquestioning - no sense of duty or
her now, she had no desire to fight the forces of darkness for the sake of a
She wished only to hunt that which she knew to be her enemy... and to kill them.
Faith stole a sidelong glance at Giles as they followed Willow up what must have
been the seventh staircase they had ascended. The
Watcher was trying, inefficiently, to hide his nervousness - if it weren't for
the fact that he would have been left blind as a bat, those
glasses would have been thoroughly polished by now. Instead he was fidgeting
restlessly as they trudged up the steep set of steps. Faith
caught his eye and tried her best at a reassuring smile. It came out sickly and
wan, but he appreciated the effort.
They had been met just outside the castle with a curt "thanks for coming" from
the redheaded witch, and now she was leading them to
the boardroom where Xander waited with the senior Slayers.
No one had said a
word since they got inside and the silence was starting to
make Faith itch. What felt like hours later, they came to a halt outside a door
that looked just like all the others in the impossibly long
corridor. Willow placed her hand on the doorknob and paused, turning to face
"I'm sorry things aren't more welcomey." She spoke to Giles but flicked a look
at Faith. "Things are kind of crazy right now and everyone's
worried about Buffy, but we really are glad you guys came. I wouldn't have asked
but..." she trailed off and shrugged.
"Got no choice but to call in the second string, huh? 'S cool, what we're here
for, right?" Faith aimed for nonchalant but it came out bitter.
"We're-" Giles interjected before the atmosphere became any more unbearable,"we're happy to help Willow, in any way we can."
"Thanks," she said quietly, and opened the door.
Xander was standing on the far side of the table, arms crossed, leaning against
the wall. Kennedy and Satsu sat at the table, watching
intently as the other three made their way into the room.
"Guys," Willow greeted them and moved to stand at the top of the table. Giles
and Faith took the two seats furthest from the others, and
Xander took his place just to Willow's left. After a few seconds of weighted
silence Faith cleared her throat.
"Alright, 'fore we get down to it let's just get this out of the way." She had
everyone's attention, but still no-one spoke. "I got a couple
dozen places I'd rather be right now, and I'm bettin' you wish I was, but the
sitch calls for it so here we are. You don't gotta like it, I sure
as fuck don't, so whatever we gotta do, let's just get it done and I'll get
gone. I know last time me and Buffy ran into each other-"
"You mean when you tried to kill her?" Satsu cut in, eyes flashing. "Again?"
Faith took notice of the Asian girl for the first time. Arm in a cast or not,
she looked like she'd happily leap across the table and strangle
her if the opportunity arose. Faith returned her glare unflinching.
don't seem to recall you being there. Matter of fact, I'm
pretty sure I don't know you at all, and I'm damn sure you don't know me so how
'bout you shut the fuck up and we keep it that way,
"Faith," Kennedy turned to her with a warning. Satsu was halfway out of her
chair when Xander's hand on her shoulder stopped her. "We
don't have time for this." His voice was gruff as he pinned Faith down with his
good eye. "Faith, try to lay off the pissing contests til
you've been here more than five minutes, alright? And Satsu, could you please
not alienate the only person we know who has a shot at
getting Buffy back?"
Satsu said nothing, but sat back into her chair and settled for glowering at the
older Slayer. Faith, however, wasn't done.
"Nah see, this is what I'm talking about. Some of you," she narrowed her eyes in
Satsu's direction, clearly indicating the girl was not one of
that 'some', "got a right to throw whatever shit you want my way. I know what
I've done and I've earned that from you. All's I'm saying is
you asked me to help, and I'll do whatever I can to get your girl back, but it's
gonna be a lot easier to do that if we can put the rest of this
"Agreed," Willow asserted. "We need to stay focused here. We need to find out
exactly what caused this, and then we need to find Buffy.
Everything else can wait."
"What exactly do we know so far?" Giles asked, as much to change the subject as
to gain an understanding of the situation.
"We know that Buffy has devolved to a primal state. From what I've been able to
tell there's been, to quote Xander, a 'disturbance in the
force'. The energy that governs all the Slayers has been disrupted somehow,
still a little fuzzy on the details of that somehow, but we're
hoping that's the first part of where Faith can help us."
"Got a whole castle full of Slayers here, Red - why me?"
"We've tried with the others, their connection to Buffy is too weak. They're one
step further removed from the source of her power than
you are, we hope by using your energy in the spell I'll be able to get a better
idea of what exactly caused this."
"It's not perhaps an unfortunate recurrence of that incident with the beer?"
Giles queried. "If someone got a hold of the formula from the
Sunnydale campus bar..."
"Nah, that CaveBuffy was all 'tiny people live in my tv and I'm amusingly
confused by the modern world", Xander spoke up. "This
CaveBuffy's more like... well, remember the freaky dreams with the First
Slayer?" Giles nodded. "Buffy's like her, only a bazillion times
"Me and Satsu's arm attesting to that," Kennedy agreed.
Giles frowned as he turned to Willow. "Then perhaps... well, you say that it
somehow involves the power of the Slayer essence. It wouldn't
by any chance be some sort of unforeseen reaction to calling the potentials into
full slayerhood? A side-effect we hadn't considered, or-?"
"Why does everyone assume that as soon as the wacky starts happening it's one of
my spells gone wrong?" Willow demanded. "I've done
hundreds of spells that have totally helped everyone out, but what do you guys
remember? 'Oh, that time she made me blind' or, or 'she
set a troll loose in the Magic Box' or-"
"Willow!" Giles hurried to interrupt her righteous flow. "I do apologise, I
meant no offense." She humphed, but calmed down a little. "So
how is it that Faith can help?"
"We'll do the same spell I tried with the other Slayers, hopefully with Faith's
energy in the mix I can get to the source of Buffy's
transformation. Once we know the exact cause I can find a way to counter it."
"Alright then," Faith stood and clapped her hands together. "Let's go make some
"Here boy!" a thick Scottish accent rang out across the field. "Pilot! C'mon boy
I don't have time for this."
The man blew onto his hands in an attempt to ward off the worst of the October
chill. A full moon shone overhead as he walked along
beside the thicket that, minutes ago, his dog had charged into. He let out a
sharp whistle and heard an answering bark from deeper inside
"Come *on* you mangy bastard, let's be getting home."
From twenty feet away he heard a rustling of leaves and snapping of branches and
he sighed in relief. "About time you little bollocks,
you'd have me running after you all night - let's go home fella." He started to
walk towards the noise when suddenly it stopped, and he
heard his dog growling deep and low. "Pilot?" he slowed, feeling a chill creep
up the back of his neck.
"Pi-" he froze completely when he heard an answering growl emanating from the
darkness. It was the ugliest sound he'd ever heard -
hate-filled and menacing. It was quickly followed by a furious spate of barking,
and then Pilot emerged up ahead.
The dog had barely cleared the thicket when a bulky form sprang from the cover
of the trees and, swinging one clawed hand ahead of it,
caught the dog easily in its grasp. Hideous orange eyes turned in the man's
direction as he stood, unable to move for the fear that
paralyzed him. It took the sickening sound of his beloved animal being impaled
on an impossibly long, impossibly sharp claw, to move
him to action. He screamed and ran as the demon began to feast.
The forest echoed with louder growls as the rest of the pack came to join him.
"Well?" Xander asked hopefully as Willow and Faith emerged from the empty
training room they had used for the spell.
"It worked, uh, really well actually. Totally have all the info I need now to
start working on a cure," Willow said, a little too brightly, and a
little too falsely. Faith just looked vaguely amused.
"So?" the young man asked. "Don't keep us in suspense here, Will?"
"It, uh... it... itmighthavebeenbecauseofthespellthatidid," she confessed in a
rush. "But there was no way I could have known - no way any
of us could have known really. I mean, it wasn't in any of the books... not that
a whole lot of books have a chapter on activating a whole
bevy load of Slayers anyway and hey - when was the last time any of you saved
the world with magic?"
"Baby, it's okay," Kennedy wrapped an arm around the older woman. "You didn't do
the spell, we'd all be mushy Turok'Han fodder by now
anyway. It's not your fault. Right guys?" She glared at the others who hurried
"Absolutely. As you say Willow, we couldn't have known what would happen. The
spell was unprecedented and, well, quite brilliant really.
As long as we can indeed find a way to restore Buffy to her usual self, I'd say
you could still call it an unmitigated success."
"Thanks Giles," Willow squeezed Kennedy's hand. "Sorry guys."
"We're good here, buddy," Xander reassured her. "One question though: why now? I
mean, we did that spell a year ago - that's one hell of
a knock-on effect."
"The answers I got were more Wikipedia than Websters, you know what it's like
trying to talk to energy spirits on the astral plane." Giles
smiled understandingly while everyone else looked blankly at them. "It's uh...
kinda gooey," she explained. "Anyway, what I got was that
in doing the spell we essentially overloaded the circuits."
"There are circuits? The Slayers are run by computer?"
"It's an analogy, Xander."
"I knew that. Continue oh analogous one."
"When we activated the Slayers the energy didn't just surge into them, it also
surged back to the source, making the original force that
imbued the Slayers more powerful."
"Fascinating," Giles said eagerly, "that would appear to completely contravene
the Law of Conservation. One would assume that the
energy created would have been-"
"Whoa, whoa," Faith stepped forward, "hate to derail the fun philosophy train
but Buffy's still running around all Wilma out there. You
wanna give us the Cliff Notes version, Red?"
"Right, of course," Willow looked abashed, but for a minute there it had been
nice to have Giles taking part again. Just like old times."Basically, the source of the Slayer's power became stronger after the spell,
and now it's taken Buffy over - she's working off of the very
essence of what it is to be the Slayer, completely primal."
"Again, why now?" Xander said. "I mean if this source got all mega-powerful a
year ago why not jump Buffy's psyche-bones before now? "
Willow frowned. "They weren't clear on that point, so I'm not exactly sure.
Although, it would make sense that if Buffy experienced a
moment of psychological weakness or somehow let her spiritual guard down, this
force would have had an easier time gaining control of
"Okay," Xander mused, "so what's happened to Buffy recently that hasn't happened
in a ye..." His eye landed on Satsu. "Oh."
"What do you mean?" Willow followed his gaze and blushed deeply when she saw
Satsu shift uncomfortably. "Oh."
"Somebody wanna clue me in here?" Faith looked between the two highly
embarrassed Scoobys who made no move to answer her.
Kennedy sighed. "Buffy and Satsu banged each other."
Giles let out a strangled cough as Faith's eyes widened, then narrowed in on the
Asian Slayer. "You?" she pointed to Satsu. "And *Buffy*?"
her tone was incredulous.
"What of it?" Satsu growled out. She was already uncomfortable enough with the
whole situation, not to mention the fact that sleeping
with her had now apparently caused Buffy to devolve into some sort of subhuman
superhuman. Last thing she needed was this dark,
leather-clad woman with whom Buffy had way more history than Satsu was
comfortable with, calling her out on the fact.
There was silence for a few deathly moments, then Faith snorted. Try as she
might she couldn't stop herself and within seconds was
laughing uncontrollably. Satsu bristled, but Faith held up a hand to ward her
"Hey, don't mean no offense. This is priceless though.
Man," she wiped away a stray tear, "this day just keeps getting better and
"And what exactly," Satsu asked in a dangerous tone, "is so damn funny?"
"Oh..." Faith eventually got herself under control, but she couldn't keep the
smile off her face. "Sorry kid, don't get me wrong on this, I
gotta lot of respect for anyone who could manage to pull the stick outta that
girl's ass. But christ, B just can't catch a break with any of
her first times, huh? Her boy goes all soulless and evil, she turns into a
cavewoman. Huh, maybe I'm starting to get why she was always
so damn uptight."
"As much as I would love to continue this appallingly uncomfortable
conversation," Giles was in serious danger of cracking a lens, "I
believe we can agree that we have established what caused Buffy's moment of,
erm, distraction, so to speak. Can we please now forget
we ever heard this and move along to finding a way to rectify the situation."
"I'm with the repressed British guy." Xander nodded.
"Alright," Faith regained her calm and turned to Willow, "okay, I'm good. So
what's next? You said you figured a way for me to track her,
"Em, yeah." The witch shook her head, trying to clear the sudden mental fuzzies. "We do, now you're probably not going to like it, so bear
An hour later everything was prepared and Willow joined the others on the front
lawn of the castle. Faith stood, arms crossed, watching
"Red you sure about this?"
"Sure as I can be. I'm sorry I can't give you more than that but we're working
with the bare minimum here. Given more time I could maybe
"But we don't have time with Buffy running around alone out there." Xander
"That part I get, it's just," Faith blew out a breath. "Well... fuck it: Me and
Buffy in the same room on a good day ain't exactly a barrel o'
fun. You sure you'll be able to step in when we start going all prehistoric
cave-rage on each other?"
"We've got it covered," Kennedy gestured to the tranquiliser guns that she and
the team of ten Slayers were carrying. "You can totally
trust me to shoot your ass down."
"Not the ass," Faith quirked an eyebrow Kennedy's way, "I'm rockin' my good
"Okay," Willow held up the bracelet tracking device and Faith extended her hand
for her to clip it on to the Slayer's wrist. She turned to
the team of Slayers standing by. "One last time: I inject Faith, we do the
spell, she follows Buffy and we follow her. As soon as you have a
shot at Buffy, take it. Time is of the essence here people." Everyone nodded
"On that note," Giles glanced worriedly at Faith, "what exactly is this
'relaxant' that you'll be injecting her with, Willow?"
"Nothing to worry about Giles, it's a pretty simple compound to lower her mental
barriers enough for the spell and the source to take
hold. Just a mild mixture of lysergic acid, diethylamine, phosphoryl chloride-"
"Good god, woman."
"Yeah Will, not phosphoryl chloride!" Xander mocked. "Why the wiggins, Giles?"
"You're injecting her with LSD?"
"*Mild* LSD." Willow said soothingly.
"Getting a little nostalgic there, Ripper?" Faith grinned at him. "Relax, man. I
got a habit of getting high to save the world, just ask
"Yes, well," Giles huffed. "Just please be careful, won't you?"
"As always," Faith assured him. "Now let's get this bitch rollin'.'"
Willow stepped forward and inserted the needle into Faith's neck as gently as
possible. She depressed the plunger and watched as the
Slayer's jaw tightened. Stepping back, she began to chant the spell, calling on
the power that charged all the Slayers to focus on the one.
Tendrils of pure light swirled in the air in front of the witch as she tied
Faith's essence to the one controlling Buffy. The light shifted
colour as Faith's eyes darkened, her fists clenching. With a final intonation
Willow stood back and clapped her hands sharply. The light
dispersed leaving Faith standing and the others holding their breath in a terse
group as they waited for her to make a move.
Clean. Everything was too clean. The grass underfoot was shorn and tamed, where
she longed for it to be wild. To her left, a monstrosity
stood, reeking to her of stone and humanity, sparked with magic which curled her
lip in fear and distrust. The woman in front of her
stank of magic, of otherness. Behind the woman were others like her, she felt
their connection, but stronger than that she felt a pull to
the west. From the direction of the trees, she felt the call of battle, she felt
the pull of violence . She sensed her tribe.
The grass, the castle, the people - all meant nothing to her now. Turning on her
heel, Faith leapt forward and sprinted for the trees. The
cadre of Slayers took off behind her, trying desperately to keep pace, while
Willow, Xander and Giles followed up the rear.
"Well I guess that worked?" Xander panted as they covered the rapidly increasing
ground between them and the Slayer.
"I guess we're going to find out," Willow forced out before all three fell
silent and tried to conserve their breath.
In the distance, Faith plunged into the forest, a feral snarl escaping from her
lips as she raced towards Buffy.
"Good Lord," Giles exclaimed as they entered the clearing. Kennedy and the
standing just inside the ring of trees, having been brought up short by the
scene in front
There wasn't a blade of grass that wasn't covered in blood or bits of demon.
Giles tried to
guess how many lay dead before him, but considering how they had literally been
pieces it was hard to form a reasonable estimate. At least ten of the beasts
though, and currently they were circling the two Slayers who stood back to back
centre of the clearing.
Buffy looked more feral than even the snarling demons. Her hair was tangled,
on her head by the sweat that beaded her face. What scared Willow though, even
than the sight of her best friend with smears of blood tracked down her face and
some her own and some the thicker orange of the wounded demons - was the look on
Buffy's face as she leapt for the throat of another beast. There wasn't a trace
of fear in her
eyes, nothing resembling her usual controlled style of fighting. Willow had seen
loose while Slaying, she'd seen the slightly terrifying look of pleasure on the
face while reveling in her own bloodlust, but Buffy was making that look tame in
Her jeans, by accident or design, were now torn off above the knee, and at some
had discarded her shirt leaving her now in just a blood- and sweat-stained tank
she hadn't been surrounded by snarling, salivating demons, it might have been
just how much she resembled a Survivor contestant. As it was though, her joyous
she impaled a demon on a hastily snapped off tree branch left Willow feeling
cold, and for
the first time, truly afraid of the power that her friend wielded.
"Do we take the shot?" Kennedy asked, tranq gun wavering between the two Slayers
the demons who were stalking them.
"No!" Xander cut across her quickly. "Everybody, hold your fire." It was too
risky - take the
Slayers down now and they'd be defenceless against the demons.
Kennedy dragged her eyes away from the... she could only think of it as a
look to Xander and Willow. "Do we help?"
All of the other Slayers were tensed, finding it hard to stay still and not rush
into the midst
of the battle. They had been well trained though - by the woman currently
the zeal of a berserker - and they awaited their orders, no-one breaking ranks.
"I don't think you're going to get the chance," Willow replied as yet another
this time under Faith's hands as she viciously smashed its head into the ground.
Slayer had come late to the fight but seemed intent on making up for it. She
amongst the claws and fangs without hesitation, using the bulk and weight of the
lumbering demons against them. As the creature she had just despatched twitched
death throes, the other animals fell back, making way for the largest, darkest
beasts to step forward, advancing on Buffy with its fangs bared.
The Slayer turned to meet it, her hands curling into fists as she waited for the
make a move. The pack leader rocked back on its haunches, muscles tensed in
to spring. Buffy still waited, unmoving, even when it launched itself forward,
snapping for her throat.
Faith met it in mid-air, tackling it from behind. The two tumbled over, Faith
manoeuvering so that they landed with the demon underneath her and her elbow in
stomach. The beast howled, a noise cut short by Buffy's hands closing on its
other demons slunk backwards, watching to see their leader's fate. Buffy kept it
down as Faith grabbed a flailing arm, snapping its wrist just above one wickedly
claw. Grabbing that claw in both hands Faith drove it downwards into the soft
below the demons chest. The demon gave an unearthly shriek as the claw pierced
heart, sending the other demons scurrying for the trees when they saw their
Within seconds the two Slayers were on their feet to pursue the remaining three
Seeing that this could be their only opportunity, Xander gave the order.
Five of the Slayers dropped to their knees, guns pointing at Faith, the other
behind them, sights trained on Buffy.
Ten darts were fired simultaneously, and if Giles hadn't been there to see it
for himself he
would have had a hard time believing what happened next.
Faith leapt straight upwards, grabbing an overhanging branch and pulling herself
leafy canopy overhead. Using her momentum to jump to the next tree, she was soon
of sight as she ran across the linked branches of the forest, ignoring both the
support they gave her and the long drop to the ground beneath her.
Buffy was too far from the trees to use them for cover. Instead she jumped and
soon as the shots were fired. Sweeping both hands impossibly fast across her
came away holding four darts. It took the stunned Slayers a moment to notice the
one - clamped safely between her teeth. She dropped the tranquilisers, bared her
her attackers, then took off in the direction Faith had gone, hot on the trail
"Only got one eye here so I'm happy to be corrected, but did they just go
us?" Xander asked. "No way they should be able to move that fast, right?"
"Yes," Giles said. "It appears you would be correct, Willow, when you say that
the source of
the Slayers' strength has been made even more powerful. That display was most
"Uh, guys?" Kennedy raised her hand. "We're still down a couple of
"We've got Faith's signature." Willow passed the handheld tracking device to
doubt we'll be able to catch up with them but we should be able to follow them
"Then let's go." Xander and the Slayers moved out ahead, leaving Willow and
following just behind. They fell into step, hanging back from the main group
"I meant what I said earlier," Willow glanced quickly at him before turning her
eyes back to
the path ahead. "It really is good to have you back, even if it is for a short,
"I will always help in any way I can, Willow, you can rest assured on that. No
circumstances between Buffy and myself, you can always call on me."
"I know," she smiled a little. "But that's a two way street mister - you have my
He returned her grin and nodded. "I'll admit I've been lax in keeping in
contact. I'll work
"Good, 'cause, well, whatever's between you and Buffy is down to you guys to
Willow's expression tightened a little. "But when you left... well, you didn't
just leave her
Giles stopped, placing a hand on Willow's shoulder to turn her to face him.
"I do know," he stressed his point with a light squeeze of his hand. "And I miss
you - all of
you, terribly. Given the current situation between Buffy and myself though, I
don't think my
presence in Scotland would do much to benefit any of us."
She nodded. "I know, and you're probably right. It's just that, even if Buffy
she needs her Watcher, I still need my Giles."
Giles' stiff upper lip quirked slightly. Sometimes he was still amazed by how
how very deeply, a group of people he once thought of as 'irritating children'
him to his very core. He resumed walking, wrapping his arm around Willow's
"And you'll always have me, I promise you that."
Side by side they quickened their pace to catch up with the rest of the group.
Buffy and Faith caught up with their prey twenty minutes later. The three demons
made it back to their lair - a vast warren of caves running from the edge of the
back into the depths of the mountain range. Although the beasts were more
the territory they had been racing through, the Slayers had followed their scent
Now they were deep in the cave system, just around the corner from the demons.
breathing echoed throughout the high-ceilinged den, the demons' bodies having
pushed to the limits by the fight with
the Slayers and their subsequent race
Faith went to step forward but Buffy extended her arm to stop the other girl.
gestured to the far side of the opening into the chamber, and Faith nodded.
with the shadows, almost becoming a shadow herself, Faith glided across the
until she and Buffy framed the entrance. The depths of the cave were pitch
black, but Faith
could see well enough to catch the glint in Buffy's eyes as she nodded her
The Slayers moved - they dragged down a demon each while the third tried to
safety. The two weakened beasts were despatched easily, and the remaining one,
and terrified, panicked. It leapt at Buffy, clawed hands swinging. She easily
grasp and swung herself around onto its back, arm locked tight around its
dove for its legs, tackling it to the ground.
They hit the stone floor hard, further winding the already struggling demon.
on its neck tightened while Faith straddled its chest, pinning its clawed arms
ground. It took two minutes for the last of the demon's breath to leave its
body. All the
while, Buffy grinned down into its struggling face, eyes gleaming with the power
When they were sure it was dead, Buffy rolled out from under the corpse,
her cramped muscles. Faith still knelt by its head, and reached out a hand to
dried blood on its scaly face.
With a growl, Buffy sprang forward, pushing her away from her prize. Faith fell
her ass, hands spread to stop her fall. A surge of anger shot through her when
blonde's hands made contact but she made no move to retaliate. Buffy was The
the kill was hers.
Buffy crouched over the dead demon and ran her hands almost lovingly down its
Faith watched carefully as she pulled back a fist and plunged it into the
With a loud snapping sound she drew her hand out, clutching the still warm heart
in her fist. Raising it reverently to her lips she inhaled deeply, taking in the
then sunk her teeth into the muscle. She squeezed her fist, sending blood
her throat. Buffy licked her lips once then turned to Faith, offering her the
prize they had
Gratefully, Faith extended her hand and took the heart, mirroring Buffy's
actions. As she
threw her head back, Buffy moved closer to the other girl, gently scenting the
This dark woman was one of hers, Buffy knew her scent and - more than that - the
power around her spoke of a Slayer. Intrigued she began to circle the other girl
keeping her face close to the heat of Faith's skin.
Faith tensed as Buffy moved out of sight behind her. She could feel the back of
prickling in response, feel the sweat breaking out on the palms of her hands as
teetered between fight and flight. What overpowered all of this though was the
sense of connectedness and familiarity, and in the end that was what won out for
Faith relaxed her muscles, consciously trying to convey the fact that she was no
She bowed her head, exposing the vulnerable arch of vertebrae to Buffy's gaze.
The blonde Slayer combed her fingers lightly through Faith's hair, bringing her
rest on her shoulder. Buffy felt the shiver that ran through Faith's body,
sensed the pulse
of heat and want that her touch caused. She dropped to her knees beside the
bringing their faces level. Faith watched her with darkened eyes, not quite
gaze but keeping her focus on the relatively safe area around the blonde's lips.
Swinging her hips around, Buffy straddled the other girl, grabbing a handful of
pulling Faith's head back. She lowered her mouth to the exposed skin of Faith's
bit in lightly, just enough to start a small amount of blood beading. Faith
made no move to pull away. Encouraged, Buffy drew her head back, forcing Faith
her in the eye. Grinding hard against her, Buffy pulled Faith in, crushing her
lips in a kiss
that left teeth and tongue hurting. Faith finally responded and ran her hands up
Buffy's shirt, scraping her nails down the muscles of her back, and causing the
arch more firmly into her, groaning her appreciation.
The skirmishes with the demons had brought about two distinct and not entirely
desires for the Slayers. With hungry taken care of, there was only one more need
fulfilled. With a low growl, Buffy pushed Faith down, flat on her back, and the
girl submitted. After all Buffy was The Slayer - and Faith was hers.
Buffy came to with a jolt. As soon as she opened her eyes, she realised three
quick succession - none of them were good.
Firstly, she was chained to the wall in the dungeon of the castle. Secondly, she
completely naked apart from the thin woolen blanket someone had wrapped her in.
Faith was chained to the wall beside her, and the blanket that was trying
valiantly to cover
her nakedness was slipping from her body as the dark Slayer thrashed in her
For one glorious but all too brief moment, Buffy was thoroughly confused.
Then she remembered.
Five Hours Earlier:
Xander led the Slayers into the mouth of the cave system. Faith's signal had
moving three quarters of an hour ago and everyone was now on edge, listening out
faintest sound of either Slayers or demons.
Kennedy and the others had reloaded the tranq guns, and all of them were walking
one finger on the trigger.
They continued on in silence for twenty minutes or so, until Satsu held up a
hand from the
front of the column of Slayers. Her arm was now almost completely healed, and
she was as
eager as any of them to find Buffy before... well, after the exhibition back
there in the
clearing, a plethora of worst outcomes were running through her head. She had
in Buffy's abilities as a Slayer, but Satsu had also seen the look on Buffy's
face when she
got back from England, after Faith had tried to drown her. If the two of them turned on
each other - *really* turned on each other, with no holds barred, no conscience
them when to stop - Satsu wasn't sure who'd come out on top, and she had no
"You hear that?" she whispered to Kennedy who had stopped beside her. The other
nodded, tilting her head towards the passage to their left, deeper into the
caves. The faint
sounds of a struggle echoed down the tunnel.
Willow, without the benefit of Slayer hearing, moved to the front of the group
and shot a
questioning look at her girlfriend. Kennedy pointed down the tunnel in reply,
moved out silently, weapons at the ready. As they approached the entrance to a
cave, Kennedy and Satsu led Willow and the others slowly around the corner.
Satsu successfully managed to stifle an angry cry at the sight that awaited
them. For a
moment, Willow thought she was reacting to the three dead demons in the centre
room, until she looked beyond them and saw the Slayers.
Buffy had Faith pinned to the wall, one hand holding the younger woman's two
heads, and at first Willow thought they were mid-fight. Then she noticed they
naked, and Buffy was grinding against Faith in a distinctly non-violent way. The
grunts and groans emanating from the two women mixed with the sound of Faith's
scraping against the rough stone wall dispelled any potential non-'walking in on
friend having primal cave sex with her part-time nemesis' explanation and Willow
hurriedly dragged her eyes away from the pair.
As the rest of the group filled the entrance to the cave, Giles couldn't quite
startled "Bloody hell" that escaped him, and broke the trance that everyone else
have found themselves in.
Faith's eyes shot open at the sound and she growled at the intruders. Pushing a
and confused Buffy aside, Faith sprang forward, putting herself directly in
front of the
blonde as she charged at the group.
With a satisfied grimace, Satsu fired two darts in quick succession, hitting
Faith in the
thigh and shoulder. She managed another few steps before the drugs took effect
crumpled to the ground. Buffy reacted with an outraged cry and made it to the
before Kennedy's darts found their mark. Buffy fell to one knee beside Faith as
started to blur. Reaching out one hand, she grasped Faith's arm before
From the entrance to the cave, Xander was trying desperately to look at anything
the two naked bodies in the middle of the room. He hastily pulled a couple of
from the supply pack on his back and handed them to two of the younger Slayers,
moved to cover Buffy and Faith.
"Now I'm as big a proponent of girl on girl porn as anyone here but uh..." he
helplessly, tilting his head in Buffy's direction, "Anyone else hankering for
the days of her
brooding over vampires and us *not* seeing her mid-... y'know, every couple of
"Technically last time was post-'y'know'," Willow replied as she gently checked
Slayers' vitals. "And personally, well - Faith's a lot prettier than Spike."
"Thanks Will, any fear of embarrassing myself in public with bulging pants has
entirely taken care of by that mental image."
"If by any chance we could return to the castle post-haste, where we can restore
Faith to their usual selves, and immediately start repressing all memories of
just seen, I would be most grateful." Giles was staring fixedly at the gleaming
was polishing, both for the comfort of having something to do with his hands,
blessed relief of not being able to see a damn thing.
"Agreed." Satsu tried not to let her eyes linger on Buffy's body - particularly
not on the
bites and scratches that she knew weren't caused by demons. "Let's get her
Four of the Slayers hoisted the other two on their shoulders and they all began
and mostly silent trek back to the castle.
"Whuzza?" Faith sat bolt upright, causing the blanket to slip
completely from her torso.
A second later than she should have, Buffy dragged her eyes away and stared at
of the ceiling overhead. She heard Faith rattle the chains that bound them both,
testing their strength, and then silence as the same memories came rushing back
"Aw, fuck me."
Buffy risked a quick glance to her left. Faith was staring at the floor while
suspiciously like a blush made its way up her neck.
"Not the most appropriate choice of words, Faith."
There were a few prolonged seconds of heated silence.
"Long shot here," Faith cleared her throat, still not able to look at Buffy,"but by any
chance could you maybe have some sort of memory loss? Amnesia? Anything like
Buffy pulled the blanket tighter around herself. "Nope," she shook her head,"it's all there
in instant replay, surround sound and glorious technicolour."
The two lapsed into another awkward silence. Buffy tried desperately to think
anything other than what happened in the caves - she dredged up Giles and her
dead puppies, every Owen Wilson movie she'd ever seen - but on the fifth replay
clamping her thighs around Faith's head as she came hard under the other
she gave up on trying to get the full-body flashbacks under control and settled
to distract herself.
"So what happened?" she asked Faith.
"Come agai-? Shit, I mean... say what?"
"This. Me. The whole 'Predator on speed' vibe, do we know what caused it?"
"Oh, right. Yeah, Willow's got it figured that her spell to activate all the
super-sized whatever it is that makes us Slayers all slayery. So when you and
"Her." Faith ignored the warning in Buffy's tone. If there was one thing that
this already chock-full-of-uncomfortable situation even worse, it was bringing
up Satsu."When you two got down and dirty, the 'Original Slayer' or whatever took you
you go all PCP Flintstones."
"I - okay."
"Giles explains it with more words, I just picked up the gist," Faith said,
mostly to fill the
returning silence. Conversation was uncomfortable, but silence was filled with
and images that Faith was trying real hard not to be thinking and imagining.
"So what's your excuse?" Buffy nodded to her.
"For getting in touch with my inner cavewoman?" Faith shrugged. "Willow said it
only way to track you down. Did some spell that worked off the whole Slayer
"So you volunteered for this?"
"Wouldn't say 'volunteered' when you got Giles pullin' the pep talk on ya.
Doesn't leave a
girl with much choice."
"Well, lack of gung-ho not withstanding... thanks."
Faith shrugged uncomfortably. "S'no big."
The conversation was teetering again on that precipice of mortification. Buffy
regain some balance, and hopefully some dignity.
"So Willow says we were, what, 'taken over' by this Slayer power, right?"
"So then," Buffy shifted a little, trying to get comfortable without losing her
grip on the
thin blanket, "we wouldn't really be responsible, as such, for... anything. It's
not like we
were in control. I guess what I'm saying is - what happened, well that wasn't
"Too fuckin' right that wasn't me." Faith was quick to jump in.
"Yeah," Buffy surprised herself with a faint but definite pang of disappointment
scorn in the other woman's tone. "Right, 'cause you're not-"
"-a bottom? Hell no. You think me in my right mind would be lettin' you play top
Buffy smiled in spite of herself and looked over at the other Slayer. Faith was
her - a full on, force ten, dimples and all, shit-eating grin - and just like
that the tension
"Funny, didn't hear you complaining."
"Wasn't particularly able to talk."
"Well if you insist on having your mouth there."
"I meant the 'having no language' not able to talk. Ya perv. And from where I
or... kneeling - I wasn't the one doing the insisting."
Whatever Buffy was about to say was cut off as Xander opened the door to the
very slowly. His head peeked around the corner, one hand covering his good eye.
"Is it safe?"
Buffy waited for Faith to pull her blanket up a little higher before answering."As it's gonna
He carefully spread his fingers to check for himself. Seeing the two Slayers
were as decent
as he could be, he sighed in relief and entered the room. He was carrying two
clothes which he laid down beside them. Taking a key from his pocket he gently
the cuffs from their wrists.
"Thanks X-Man." Faith rubbed at the chafed skin on her wrists, only now starting
the rest of the aches and pains all over her body - some more pleasant aches
"No problem. I'll leave you guys to..." he gestured at the piles of clothing,"uh, yeah. We're
up in the main boardroom when you're ready to join us."
"We'll be right there," Buffy assured him.
Xander nodded, turned and left the room, completely unable to look either woman
The two Slayers shared a brief smile, then reached for the spare clothes,
dressing in a
silence that was comfortable now, before making their way upstairs.
The tension evident in the boardroom when the two Slayers entered was quickly
by everyone's relief at seeing Buffy back to her normal self again.
"Welcome back, Buff," Willow greeted her with a hug. When she pulled back she
held on to
Buffy's shoulders and peered at her intently.
"Checking for signs of caviness?"
"I'm pretty sure my spell managed to counteract all the symptoms," Willow
friend, apparently satisfied with what she saw. "But I'm sure Giles will happily
'unforeseen consequences' speech if you want."
Buffy looked across the table to her former Watcher. "Hi Giles."
"Buffy," he nodded to her. "It's good to see you've recovered."
"So we're good?" Xander addressed Willow. "No more cave slayer or freaky primal
Willow shook her head. "All clear."
"Well then," Giles stood from the table and motioned to Faith. "As long as
else we can do, we should gather our belongings and try to catch the afternoon
"You could-" Buffy stopped herself, fighting down the rush of conflicting
wanted to tell him to stay, and at the same time she wanted to yell at him to
get the hell
out. In the end she settled for a lame "We could get you a private jet, if
that'd be easier."
"Thank you, but we already have a return flight booked. Besides, I've discovered
a fondness for those airline peanuts and I'd hate to deprive the poor girl."
"This from the guy who asked for a second beef wellington when we flew outta
Faith smiled at him. "The hell *is* a beef wellington anyways?"
"Beef and pâté baked in pastry."
A number of surprised looks were turned Xander's way.
"What?" he shrugged. "I'm acclimatising."
Giles placed a hand on Faith's shoulder and turned to Willow. "We'll find you
As the two of them left the room, Satsu was approaching down the corridor
passed Faith with a barely concealed glare, at which the older Slayer merely
eyes. There was a time when she would have called the other girl out on it,
started a fight
just for the sake of getting under someone's skin. Now though she just didn't
energy - the last couple of days were starting to catch up with her and she
for the first time, thinking of going back to Cleveland as going home.
But then she found herself thinking of Buffy.
Satsu knocked briefly on the open door and Xander gestured her into the room.
She stood ramrod straight, hands clasped behind her back. "Kennedy's asking for
the training rooms," she said to Willow.
"Thanks, Satsu. I'll head down now. Xander?" she gestured for him to leave with
"Don't you have that thing now?" she shot a meaningful glance his way and he
knowingly. "Right. The thing. That is elsewhere. I'm on it."
As he passed Buffy he squeezed her arm gently. "Good to have you back, boss."
Then he and Willow exited the room, leaving Buffy and Satsu alone. The Asian
maintained her 'attention' stance, determined not to be the first to speak.
Buffy sighed and
moved to sit on the edge of the table beside the other girl.
"I'm sorry about your arm," she began by way of an apology. "Does it still
"Not as much as seeing you with her."
Satsu surprised herself with her own honesty. She hadn't meant to be quite so
after everything that she'd heard about Faith and everything that had happened
with Buffy, it had been too much for her.
Buffy nodded, crossing her arms over her stomach. "I'm sorry you saw that."
"But not sorry it happened?" Satsu's eyes were searching Buffy's face for the
of what she was hoping to see. It wasn't there.
The blonde Slayer shook her head. "Not entirely. But then this isn't about
Faith, is it?"
Satsu's shoulders slumped, the fight going out of her. She turned and perched on
table beside Buffy.
"No. This is about me."
Buffy reached over, covering Satsu's hand with her own. "I'm sorry if-"
"Don't," the younger girl interrupted. "Please don't apologise."
"Don't get me wrong," Buffy caught her gaze. "I'm not sorry that it happened -
not at all. It
was beautiful and I don't regret a single moment. But I am sorry if I hurt you."
Satsu nodded, trying desperately not to cry. She knew what she needed to do, and
now she needed to be able to say this.
"I'm in love with you. And I need to *not* be. That can't happen with you right
in front of
Buffy frowned. "What are you saying?"
"That I need distance." She squeezed Buffy's hand. "I need to leave."
"I hope you don't think you have to," Buffy said after a moment's pause. "But if
Satsu wiped a hand across her eyes. "It is. If uh, if that position's still open
in the Tokyo
team I was thinking I'd apply."
"It's yours - if you're sure you want it."
Buffy stood and pulled Satsu into a tight embrace, kissing the other girl softly
cheek. "Thank you."
Satsu managed to smile through the tears that were now falling freely.
"I guess I'd better go pack."
Buffy watched her leave the room and allowed herself a moment to regain her
Taking a deep breath, she steeled herself to go and find Faith.
She was putting the last of the few clothes she'd taken with her into a duffel
there was a soft knock at the door. She didn't answer, didn't need to as Buffy
room quietly. She stopped in the middle of the floor, hands deep in her pockets.
Faith zipped up the bag and turned to face her. "Hey."
"Wow, I really know how to inspire a packing frenzy."
"Giles has his tweeds in a twist, wants to catch the next flight out so we can
redeye it to
Buffy just nodded, searching for the words she wasn't sure she had.
"You could..." she took a breath, exhaled slowly. "Do you have to leave so soon?
I mean, I
know Slayer Central isn't exactly your scene but... I feel like we have a chance
start putting some stuff behind us, you know? When we were fighting together, on
same side, that felt right. And it's nice to know our base instincts don't
solely consist of
beating the crap out of each other. If you wanted to, you could stay?"
Buffy meant it as an invitation, but it came out sounding like the plea that it
was. Faith had
to look away from the open vulnerability in the other girl's eyes. Here it was -
fantasy that, even more than the slow screw on a moonlit beach somewhere or the
hard fuck up against a cemetery headstone, had gotten her through night after
prison, the one thing she had wanted more than anything: Buffy goddamn Summers
offering up forgiveness and a second chance.
Buffy's face crumpled, and Faith could literally see her walls coming up. She
"B, I don't regret a thing that happened - 'cept maybe for that whole 'eating a
heart' thing 'cause seriously? Wicked gross. But everything with you and me -
on the same team again, the kicking demon ass... the ridiculously hot sex? No
The smirk and raised eyebrow earned a smile from the blonde Slayer.
"You're not so bad yourself, F."
"Seriously, I'm not looking to run away from anything here. And yeah, some day
me are gonna sit down and hash this out, but I'm not ready for that. Not yet.
I've spent five
years trying to figure out how to be in control. I'm still trying to figure that
out. And I just
can't do that if I'm here."
"You can't do that if you're with me."
"You drive me nuts, B, always have." Faith grinned at her briefly before her
sobered. "I'll know I'm getting somewhere when I can trust myself around you.
not gonna want to pound on you or jump your bones depending on what day of the
it is. I just... I need time, to figure this out for myself, to- fuck, I dunno."
"Be cookie dough."
"Say what?" Faith's brow furrowed.
"Nothing," Buffy shook her head ruefully. "It's just... I get it." She managed a
She took the few steps that separated her from Faith, bringing her hand to rest
other girl's cheek.
"Just know that when you're ready - if you're ready - you'll always have a place
home to here."
"In a great big castle at that." Faith raised an eyebrow at her, half-teasing.
and, taking that smile as an invitation - not needing an invitation - Faith took
step to close the gap between them, bringing her lips to the other Slayer's.
Buffy who, in her young life had experienced more than her fair share of
and bittersweet romance found herself thinking that she'd never kissed anyone
this. It was an end and a beginning all in one, and if she could freeze one
moment in time
this would be it - before anything had begun or ended, and everything just
*was*. Just her
and Faith, and lips and tongues and heat.
When they broke the kiss, Faith's eyes were glistening with unshed tears, and
she couldn't speak.
"See ya round, B."
Faith took the last few steps to the door, not looking back, just pulling it
When the latch clicked into place, Buffy was alone.
And for the first time in over a year, she was just fine with that.