I'm positively bouncing. I'm all showered and waiting for B to finish her make up so we can hit the town.
Our little road trip is beginning to drive her nuts. Oh, who am I kidding? It's not beginning to drive her nuts, it is driving her nuts. My singing, the bed sharing, and my company in a small space is going to have her in touch with her inner psycho in only moments.
Not that I want her crazy, well, not my brand of crazy, but hers, I remember how good it was moments before we all went to hell. The connection we had for those hours, slaying and dancing and more slaying. She really cut lose and gave in to what she is.
Then I accidentally staked a human and there was this great divide between us that I made bigger and bigger with every choice I made. Now I'm not gonna get all smushy on you, but I love that girl. And I want it back the way it was when it was good. And I want her to love me.
That's what this trip is about for me. And if I get to kill a nasty in the meantime, all the better.
B comes out of the bathroom, dressed to kill – literally. One of those slinky halter tops and tight trousers, and I notice a tattoo on her back, A couple of Japanese symbols, I wonder what it means, probably Angel.
She ain't seeing mine… Unless she asks real nice. Even then, it's kinda embarrassing. I got smashed on my last birthday, and staggered to a tattoo artist, where I told the guy that I loved B, and I wanted something that said that tattooed on me.
Unfortunately, I was so smashed I wasn't making too much sense, and the guy thought I was saying I loved bees… you get the picture.
… Still, it's a rather cute Bee.
"Are we ready?"I ask, slipping on a jacket, it's to hot for it, but the clothes B and I are wearing and really designed for concealing stakes.
"Ready."I agree, grabbing my jacket. I'm determined to enjoy myself tonight, no matter what Faith gets up to. I'm also determined not to go along with any of her hair brained schemes.
"Let's move then,"she grabs the key and holds the door open for me. "I've made up my mind, B. Tonight you're sinking at least five tequila shots."
"Yeah, then I can puke and pass out on the vamps instead of staking them. Could be the new way to kill 'em. Staking's getting so old."I replied.
"Ok, so you're not a tequila girl, how about JD?"She loops an arm over my shoulder as we walk through the lobby. Knowing Faith, she's done that to raise eyebrows, eyebrows that were already raised when two girls booked into a single room with a double bed.
"Jack Daniels."She rolls her eyes at me, that's like the eighty-seventh time this trip.
"Not to rain on your parade –"Damn it! She just rolled her eyes again! "But this isn't a holiday, it's work."I say.
"Jeez, B. When you gonna learn? Just 'cos we're working, doesn't mean we can't have a little fun."
A little fun is what got us into trouble last time. I managed not to say it. Faith's funny about it, we can't mention it, she tenses up and it takes weeks to break the walls down again. And I know she's sorry and she's done her penance for it, but I just worry about going off the rails again… and taking me with her.
"One drink."I concede.
One drink, hah, I think. B's been knocking 'em back like a trooper. She can't keep up with me, but I'd be worried if she could.
We're at this cheesy whacked-out eighties club. Or at least, I think it's an eighties club, they keep playing Blondie and Wham, but occasionally they play tunes that have been released in the last five years. Oh, god. I hope I'm not in a nineties revival bar, it's too soon.
I look for a flyer, now I've had that thought it's gonna bug me all night. All of a sudden I hear a burst of Cher's Believe.
"God, I hope Cathy's not the DJ. She's the nicest nasty I've met."B mutters into my ear. I don't get it at first, then I remember her telling me about her psychotic roommate from her first few days at Sunnydale University.
I glance at the DJ, and note that, while not Cathy, he's about a million years old, which explains the bizarre music and he's got a crusty ex-hippy look to him.
"Not unless Cathy's a forty year old male with really crappy taste in clothes."I reply. I finally catch the glance of the bartender, I give him a big smile and puff my chest up. Guess what? I'm served next.
"Four shots of tequila."I yell and fling some money at him.
A couple of minutes, and two shots each later, we're feeling a bit wobbly, and B's looking kinda green. She's determined not to throw up though.
"C'mon girlfriend, let's dance."I grab her hand before she can make an excuse and drag her to the centre of the dance floor. It's crowded, and we have to dance kinda close… or at least, that's my excuse.
Ooh I wanna touch the sky
I wanna fly so high
Ooh I wanna hold you
I wanna love you tonight
Ooh I wanna touch the sky
I wanna fly so high
Ooh I wanna satisfy
I wanna make you cry
This could be my song that we're dancing to. My song to her. I want to take her away and love her. I can't help but pull her close to me as we dance, and I'm shocked when she doesn't resist.
I know what I need
And I know that I need it right now
Gonna take you on a journey
To a far away place now
We're the hottest girls in here, and everyone here wants a piece of us. B dances up my leg with a dazed expression in her face.
We're gonna fly like a bird in the sky
Just you and I
I wanna love you now
I wanna take you high
I wanna give you everything you desire
I'm completely thrown by what's happening. I didn't expect this, and then I remember she's drunk. She's had far too much tequila and I could be anyone. I pull away from her stalk to the bar.
Much as I want her, I want her to want me. Maybe I could have her tonight, but what's the point if she blanks me tomorrow? See, a one night stand is all fine and well, but when you want more, and they don't it's a kick in the groin. No, a knife, a red hot knife.
And I love her. I'd rather not have her for the rest of my life, than have her for one night and wonder where our friendship went.
Oh God, she's coming over to ask what the hell that was all about. And I'm gonna say…
"Jeez, B. Now what? Some hottie was checking me out and I didn't want him to think I was taken. What's your problem?"
I flinch at her hard words, not exactly sure why though. I know I've had way too much tequila and I'm having a hard time standing up. "But you were dancing with me."I finally say, feeling convinced that this must be the winning argument. I'm always right when Faith's around. I've been slaying longer than her, so I'm more… I know stuff. Damn I feel… well, hot, fluffy and my head is doing the lambada.
"Yeah, and in two seconds, I'll be dancing with him."She makes eyes at someone over my head, I consider looking, but can't remember how to turn my head. She begins to walk away.
The dance floor suddenly lurches to the right, everyone but me must have seen this coming because I'm the only one who falls.
"Jesus, B."Her arms are around me, and she's dragging me outside. I don't want to go outside damn it! I want to stay here and dance with… who was I dancing with? Faith. I want to dance with Faith. But she doesn't want to dance with me.
"Get off!"I shout, fighting her away. Why isn't she letting go? I should have… oh god!
"Nice going, B. You nearly puked all over my boots."She says.
I realise we're outside and an extremely fat man is shouting at someone. Me. He's definitely shouting at me. Faith is shouting back. He's not fat. He's got a muscle. Muscles. Aren't they those things you eat at the seaside? We are at the seaside. I giggle.
Damn it. Why can't I get control? Everything's happening in shutterclicks. Click. In the club. Click. I fall. Click. Faith. Click. Bouncer. Click. We're somewhere else entirely.
"Where are we?"I ask.
"Oh, not hurling abuse now?"She asks. "We're halfway home. You've had way too much to drink."
"Let me go."I shrug off her arms.
"You'll fall."She warns.
"Bollocks."I say, Spike'd be real proud of me for using his word.
She lets go and all of a sudden my ass hits the asphalt.
"Bollocks."I say again. I really miss Spike. He's my Spike-shaped friend. Except he's not Spike shaped, he's Spike the Vampire shaped. Again I giggle. Did I just say Spike was my friend? He'd be so impressed with me.
"Yeah, Spike would be sorry to miss this."She agrees.
Bollocks, did I say that out loud?
"Yeah, you did."She confirms.
I try not to think or speak, and she laughs at me. "Let's get you home."
"Leave me alone."I tell her and try to stand up. And succeed. Yipee! I giggle again. She reaches out her hands to steady me. "I don't need you or your hands."I tell her in my most stern voice. I wish I had a resolve face like Willow.
"Fine."She raises her hands and backs away. "I'll just stay here in case you need me."
Why won't she just go away? I'd be fine by myself. "I just told you I didn't. Never did. Was doing fine 'fore you got to Sunnydale."
"I'm gonna ignore that 'cos your toasted."She say.
"More fool you."I say spitefully. "None of us need you. Go away."
"Yeah, us. Scooby Gang are mine, not yours. Giles is my watcher. Dawn is my sister. You're nobody and you've got no-one."
"Do you really mean that, B?"She won't look at me.
"Yeah. Go 'way."I tell her. She leaves and I sit back down on the kerb.
I'm finally alone.
Guess what? Turns out I don't like it much.
She's drunk. I repeat this mentally as I walk along The Boardwalk. If I was feeling myself I'd love this place, rides, shops, and loads of freaky looking people making me feel right at home. But, believe it or not, I'm crying.
I don't cry. The last time I cried was when Angel made that trip to the prison and told me B had died saving the world.
I'd known that, even before I got the call saying Angel was coming for a visit. I felt her leave, and I felt her come back.
The last time I cried before that? That night in the cells after I made my confession. I wasn't crying for me, I was crying for her and all the pain I'd caused her.
Before that? After I killed that man. Again, no tears for him, yeah, I'm a heartless bitch. I was crying for the wedge between me and B. The position I'd put her in, and the fact I'd tried to blame her.
I only cry for her. Or because of her.
I'm not taking much notice of where I'm going, and I bump into someone, and knock her to the ground.
I offer my hand to her and she gets up and meets my eyes. She looks how I feel.
She's beautiful, not in B's league - who is? - but striking nonetheless. She's got wild curly brown hair, brown eyes marred only by a lost empty look in them, and it's that quality which draws me to her, making me ask her name.
"Star,"she tells me.
"I'm Faith. Sorry for knocking you down. I wasn't watching where I was going."
"Oh it's ok. I wasn't either."She looks at me again, then looks concerned. "Did I do that?"
"Your eye, did I do that when I bumped into you?"
I touch my eye gingerly. There's gonna be a real shiner on there for a couple of hours until my Slayer powers kick in. I remember B getting physical when I was hauling her out of the club, I guess she must have got a lucky hit.
"No, don't worry. I got caught in a skirmish in a club. It's fine. Five by five."
She looks unconvinced, and reaches a hand up to my face and presses her cool fingertips to my brow. And for a few minutes, I forget about B.
I'm completely lost. I don't know where I am. I don't have a clue where my hotel is. And I don't have a single idea where Faith might be. Although that might be a good thing. If I see her I might just make this situation worse. I don't know where all those hateful things came from earlier. I didn't mean them.
Also, I'm still drunk.
"Hey."A pair of blue eyes meet mine. The eyes are attached to a very cute face, framed with curly blonde hair.
"Hey."I reply, wondering if he knows where my hotel is.
"Are you lost?"He asks.
"No, I'm not lost."I reply indignantly. "Somebody just moved my hotel."
"Ah, the phantom hotel movers. I've heard of such things."He smiles at me, and I can't help but return it. "I'm Marko."
"Buffy."I tell him.
"Well, Buffy."He flashes that charming smile again. "Since you're at a lose end until someone returns your hotel, would you like to go get a drink?"
I'm sorely tempted, I have to say, but… "I really have to find -"
"Your hotel."He finishes for me.
"No."I was gonna say Faith.
"So you can come for a drink?"
"Yes. No. I mean -"I haven't felt this flustered since I thought Angel had read my diary. "I'd love to."I say. I was sure I was gonna add a 'but' there, though.
I should really find Faith. Then again, she is a Slayer, it's not like she can't handle herself. And she did tell me I needed to find the fun a little. She also said I need to get laid. I meet Marko's eyes, and blush at that thought.
"Have you ever been on a motorbike?"He asks as we walk.
"No."Bet Faith has, though. I don't think there's anything that girl hasn't done. God damn it! What is this new found obsession with Faith? She's a pain in the ass. She walks into my life, turns it upside down, sleeps with my boyfriend in an attempt to take him to the dark side, tries to kill me, tries to kill Angel, switches bodies with me. Bloody hell! Again, Spike'd be proud of my use of his words. Faith rubs me up the wrong way, and for once I'm gonna take her advice.
I'm gonna find the fun. What could possibly go wrong? I'm the Slayer. "I've always wanted to go on a motorbike."I tell him flirtily. "Do you drive fast?"
"I've been known to."He flashes me his impish grin again, and shrugs out of his jacket. "You'd better put this on, or you'll get cold."
I take the jacket and wonder where mine went. Oh, the club, I checked my jacket into the cloakroom. Faith kept the ticket. So, I don't have a stake on me, but that's ok. I don't think I'm gonna meet any vampires tonight.
Marko's jacket is pretty. It's kinda weird, you could stare at it for days and still not really see all the detail, but you'd probably have a headache. There's velvet, and beading and patterns and tassels. It's nice to touch.
I realise Marko is staring at me, I'm stroking his jacket instead of putting it on. "It's nice."I tell him lamely.
"I think so."He agrees. "Are you going to wear it, or just look at it? Like I said, it's awfully cold on the back of a bike if you're going fast."
I slip into the jacket and follow him to his bike, where I climbed on behind him. I'm kinda wobbly, damn the tequila. Never again.
"You might wanna hold on."He suggests. "I go kinda fast."
I put my arms around his waist and wonder how Faith's doing.
I walk with Star along the Boardwalk. She's quiet, but I like that. Anything she has to say is worth waiting for. She doesn't like talking about herself, but I'm cool with that, I'm not in over-share mode either.
"You wanna get something to eat?"I suggest. I realise I'm starving, and I need to soak up all that tequila or I'm gonna wake up with a doozy of a hangover tomorrow.
"Ok. There's a place further along the Boardwalk. It's not great, but it's cheap."
"Sounds like my kind of place."I laugh, she gives me a faint smile.
So we walk to this greasy spoon all night café, called The Boardwalk All Niter, and for some reason the spelling of night bugs me, dear gods, I'm turning into B.
She looks hungry, but only picks at her food, and I wonder if she's got some kind of eating disorder. Me? I'm as ravenous as if I'd spent the night slaying, so I'm eating like there's no tomorrow. Slaying makes me hungry and horny. Right now I'm both and I've not even slayed yet.
She talks a little, but when you don't seem able to talk about any aspect of your life, it's kinda hard to talk at all. Finally I'm forced to use the 'do you come here often?' line, I phrase it a bit better than that, but not much.
She's not phased at all by me using a line on her. "Yeah, I'm here most nights. They - I mean, we all… I'm here a lot. It's pretty much all I'm allowed to do."
"Allowed?"I ask, and wonder if chicky here is married.
"My pack - my friends,"she corrects herself quickly, "we do what the majority wants to do."
Pack? An interesting word to use. "Cool. You got the whole swinging democracy thing going, but what do you want to do?"I ask.
She flinches at the question, but not from the slight leer I'd put on the question. I think she was shocked at the idea of being allowed to do what she wants. "Leave."She says softly. At first I think it's directed at me, then I realise, she wants out of the gang.
I reach across the table and take her hand. "What's stopping you?"I ask.
Suddenly, there's a commotion outside, the noise of a group of motorcycles circling the building.
She jumps away from my touch as if scalded by acid. "I have to go,"she whispers. She looks terrified. "Don't follow me, if they find out…"She runs out of the shop.
I pause a few seconds, just long enough to dump some cash on the table before following her out. The motorbikes have gone, Star is gone, and the Boardwalk is strangely quiet.
I take the scenic route home, looking for vamps to dust and demons to pummel.
Riding behind Marko was fun. I felt so alive and free. I wished Faith could see me now. She wanted me to find the fun, well, it found me.
We met up with the rest of Marko's gang, there's three other guys, Dwayne, David and Paul and a kid, he must be Dwayne's brother, 'cos he rides behind him. David appears to be their leader.
We then paused to collect another girl. I think she's David's girlfriend, I heard him call her Star. And then we headed back to this amazing sunken cave. David said it was once a grand hotel, one that would put Angel's to shame, unfortunately it was built on a fault. A huge shaker hit the town and it dropped inside the cliffs. Now they all live here. David, Dwayne, Paul, Marko, Star, even Laddie, that's the kid's name.
I'm having a rethink about him. I think he might be Star's little brother, because after we got off the bikes, he ran to her and clung to her legs. She gave me this rotten glare, she must like being the only girl in this gang. Well move over sister, for tonight at least, I'm here too. Damn, I'm turning into Faith.
Paul lights a joint and begins passing it around, when it gets to me, I pass it on without taking any.
Paul feels obligated to comment on it. "What? Smokes great."
"I don't want to."I tell him. Somehow, I've come a million miles away from my Scooby gang. If Faith were here, she'd know how to deal with this, but she isn't. And somehow I'm ashamed that I've never smoked weed before. Then I remember overhearing a conversation in the girls' room at school. Some girl smoked and drank and made a real mess of herself. "I've had a bit to drink tonight."I tell him. "I don't mix, it does bad things to me."
"Ah, fair enough then."Paul approves of my responsible attitude, and Marko's fingers twine around mine.
"How come Star's not partaking?"I ask, nodding to the other side of the cave where Star stands, arm around Laddie. It appears she's trying to be as far away from us as is humanly possible.
"Star's not a party girl."Paul tells me.
"Star,"David says. "Has not been eating properly, and it makes her very unsociable."A small laugh runs through the group, I don't get it, but I smile too.
David hands me a wine bottle covered in metal and jewels. Fancy. "Drink?"
"I've had tequila."I warn him.
"Just a couple of sips, or I'll be offended. This stuff is vintage, you'll love it."He assures me.
And I figure why not? The boys are watching me with interest, Marko especially. And who am I to disappoint? I'm finding the fun. I lift the bottle to my mouth and chug a huge mouthful. I wipe my mouth inelegantly, and the lads cheer.
Star looks positively horrified. I take another swig, who wants to be a stick in the mud like her? God, no wonder Faith gets so pissed off at me if I'm as boring as her.
I don't usually like red wine, I'm more of a sweet white kinda gal, but this stuff is gorgeous. David's right, it's rich and smooth and I could drink the bottle. I take another swig, then reluctantly offer the bottle to the rest of the group. "Anyone want?"
"No, you drink it."David answers for all of them. "You seem to be enjoying it. We'll stick to this."He holds the joint up and I see Paul is hard at work rolling another.
Dwayne puts some music on, and I realise that I'm on the way to getting rip-roaringly drunk for the second time in one night. Faith'd be proud.
David and Dwayne argue about which CD to listen to first, Dwayne's argument is that they're his batteries powering the stereo, he should get first pick. David's argument is far more simple. He is leader.
Paul is engrossed in his one-man joint assembly line.
Marko takes this opportunity to kiss me. I break away only for more wine. Then more kissing.
Damn I'm bored. I've been in the cemetery for almost half an hour and not even a hint of a vamp. I wonder how B's doing. Maybe I should go look for her, then again, maybe I should just let her sober up first.
Ooh, looky. A vampire. Thank god, I was just about to steal Angel's trick and start brooding. He walks over to me, in human face, but my skin's itching like it always does when a nasty is near.
He comes up to me, and says, "You lost?"
I play dumb. "Yeah, I'm new to this town, and all alone. I don't know where I am, and no-one's gonna look for me, 'cos I'm not here with anyone."Jeez, I think I laid it on too thick, but no, he's falling for it. Wanker.
He edges closer, then vamps out. He's shocked when I don't scream and run like hell. It's best to be on the offence, so a wallop him one with my fist, and while he's still processing what just happened, I come in with a roundhouse kick.
I'm just reaching for my stake when something cold and hard connects solidly with my skull. A rock? This bastard's got friends. I'm falling on the floor before I can get my balance.
Vamp boy towers over me, despite the pain I manage to bring my leg up sharply and get him a good one in the groin. He groans, and joins me on the floor.
I'm halfway to my feet when I'm grabbed by two guys, one to each arm. They haul me up and lean me against a crypt.
"Quick, Alan, let's stake her!"A gruff voice shouts.
Stake me? That just takes the piss, for vamps to use my own stake on me. Besides… ain't gonna happen. I use a trick I learnt of B, putting my weight on my captors, I bring my legs up quickly, my knees connecting with their faces. It's more of a shocker than an actual bruise inducer, but they're shocked enough to let me go. I knock the closest one into the wall and he's out cold.
Now for the other one, I grab my stake - for a second I wonder about this, weren't they gonna stake me? But I still have my stake - grab him by the throat and pin him against the crypt.
"Ok, vampire."Says the guy. "I'll die like a man, but I ask that you don't turn me or my brother."
"Vampire?"I ask, relaxing my hold on his neck. "I'm not a vamp."
"You aren't?"He looks baffled.
"No! What the hell made you think I was?"
"You were with that girl earlier, and you had a black eye, now it's gone. You've been hanging around the cemetery for half an hour and then you jumped that guy."
"Yeah, 'cos he was a vampire!"Man, this is too much. I may just hit him anyway. "I'm one of the good guys. I'm a Slayer."If he knows about vamps, he's gotta know about the Slayer. I wait for that look of enlightenment.
It doesn't come. Instead I get, "You're a what?"
I release him completely and take a seat on a nearby gravestone. "Let's take it from the top, your version first please."
So much wine, it's amazing. I never knew being drunk could enhance my Slayer powers so much, but everything's intensified. I'm disoriented, but I know my boys will take care of me. I don't know how I know it, but I do.
Kissing Marko, so much. It's so sweet. And it's been so long. He takes me out of the cave after I finish the wine, where we sit on the cliff and just look at the sea, moon and stars. He kisses me again, and pushes me down so I'm lying horizontal. I wonder briefly at the wisdom in this, but decide I don't care.
I'm intoxicated as much by him as I am by the wine. So I go along with it. He's unlike anyone I've been with before, and at that perfect moment, he kisses my neck. I feel a slight tug as he gives me a hickey. I murmur his name.
All too soon we join the others. We're going for another bike ride, and I wonder if this night will ever end. Part of me hopes it doesn't. That same part of me is worried what tomorrow will bring.
Again, the ride on the bike makes me feel as if I'm flying.
… I am flying.
"Jesus B."I rush towards my room, where B is passed out in the doorway. She looks awful. I touch her face, she doesn't react, her face is cool and clammy, but she's alive, which allayed my greatest concern.
God, that first glimpse of her, lying there, pale and unmoving. I though I'd lost her again.
I unlocked our door and pick her up, carry her to the bed, where I put her down gently. She looks awful.
"B. You ok?"I ask. She's so pale… and cold. What the fuck happened to her?
I take this as a good sign. "B, what happened to you last night?"I demand.
I figure I'm not gonna get much out of her like this, she's zonked. To be honest, I'm not feeling too chipper myself, it's been a long and bizarre night, and the sun's almost up. I pull the shades down, get changed and hop into bed beside B. She's snoring slightly, it's not the stuff of fantasies, but in this life, you take what you can get.
But I can't sleep. Too much weird stuff happened last night. Star, now there's an odd chick. More than odd if the comments from the stakers from the cemetery are anything to go by. Edgar and Alan Frog.
I get up again, leaving sleeping beauty hogging the covers. I sit on the window sill and open the window. Naturally we're stuck in a non smoking room. I didn't always smoke, it's a habit I picked up in prison. There was this girl who got picked on a lot, and every time I saved her sorry ass from queen bitch, she would give me a pack of cigarettes as a thank you.
She'd get upset if I didn't smoke at least one in front of her, like I was rejecting her thanks. My first thought was, so what? But, then I realised my hard bitch attitude was what got me started on this slippery slope, so I smoked.
Imagine, I got peer pressured by the weakest girl in there. Kinda funny, don't you think? But what the hell, I'm a Slayer, I've got a very short shelf-life, smoking is hardly gonna ruin my plan to live to ninety, is it?
I open the window and light up. Ok, I might have gone soft, but I'm still not a rule abiding girl.
My thoughts turn from prison back to last night, or technically this morning. Edgar and Alan are vampire slayers of the most unprofessional kind. But they're the only ones in this town making an effort. Like Sunnydale, the good folks of Santa Carla have a see no evil, hear no evil mentality when it comes to… well, evil.
There's plenty of undead walking around here at night, and also like Sunnydale, there's plenty of ghouls and monsters in political places.
They assumed I was a vampire, when they saw me with Star. I don't know why, but they feel very strongly that she's a vamp. I didn't get any warning bells from being around her, but they've seen her hanging around a gang of bikers that seem to cause a lot of trouble.
Any time they get into a fight their enemies mysteriously vanish. Occasionally their bodies turn up, with mysterious neck wounds on them. Freaky, huh?
They also noted that when they saw me on the Boardwalk I had a black eye, and later in the cemetery it was gone. I gotta give 'em points for observation. My super powers were also somewhat unexplainable for two guys who'd never heard of the Slayer.
And by the time I told them about the 'one girl chosen in all the world', except I was part of a pair, they thought I was running bullshit central. In the end they took my pulse, just to make sure I was alive.
I think they'll be a useful connection to have, for information I mean. The final showdown is mine and B's territory. The Frog brothers are kinda clueless, but their hearts are in the right place, and more importantly, they're beating.
I wince in disgust when I realise I've chained three cigarettes. I brush my teeth then climb back into bed next to B. As I gently budge her over to her side of the bed her head rolls to the side, and her hair falls away from her neck. There's two small puncture wounds on her neck about an inch apart.
No wonder she's so pale. Some vamp bit my girl. If we were back in Sunnydale I'd load up with stakes, petrol and matches and torch the nearest vamp nest, and the next and the next, until the whole town was ablaze.
But we're in Santa Carla, and I've only met one vamp so far, and he could barely outwit the Frogs, let alone bite the oldest known Slayer.
I make myself think instead of pounding out of bed and beating the shit out of the first shifty looking person I see. This vamp's gotta be tough. B's got bit before, but that was Angel, and she offered herself to him to save his life. Angelus never got close, Spike didn't either.
Dracula bit her. But no other vamps have done it in an attempt to kill her and she was under his thrall. Drac's dead, but something else as powerful as him must have taken a chunk out of B.
I'm gonna have to wake her up. I shake her. "B. Wake up, it's Faith. Wake up, you're ok, you're safe with me."I tell her, wondering why I'm saying all this. She's been in the room for almost an hour, even unconscious, she must know she's safe.
"B!"I shout. "Wake up!"
"What?"She asks dozily.
"B, what happened to your neck?"
"Mmm. Marko gave me a hickey,"she says dreamily.
She got lucky last night? - I'm gonna kill the son of a bitch that… - Focus, Faith. "No, B. The bite. Which vamp bit you? I'm gonna kill him."
"Didn't see no vamps."She's half asleep, her eyes are closed and she's barely paying attention to me.
Maybe she doesn't remember. Could that happen?
"Too bright, Fai. Pull the curtains."She says.
Fai, I like that. She gave me a nickname… or maybe she's too tired to say my whole name.
"B, if you wake up I'll show you my new tattoo."I wince, what a dumb thing to say. Like she cares about seeing my tattoo, and even if she did, I'd have to explain why I've got a bee tattooed on my ass. Well, hip anyway.
I'm kinda relieved when she doesn't wake up.
It's dark when my eyes open. "Is it still night?"I ask.
I don't get any response, Faith's snoring away, god she's noisy. Why on earth did I sign up for this rotten trip? Sharing a bed with a girl who hogs the covers and snores like a stuck pig. I swear the walls are trembling.
I poke her viciously in the ribs. "Shut up."
"Frogs in the cemetery."She mumbles.
Don't tell me she's picked up Willow's frog fear. I poke her again.
"Love you B."She mutters.
I'm sure she's being ironic or something. I get up and head for the shower, I feel like I slept in pond scum last night. And ick! My morning - evening - breath is making me feel queasy. I don't look in the mirror before I get in the shower, why upset myself?
By the time I climb out of the shower I'm beginning to feel a bit more human. Not much, but a bit. I think I still might be drunk 'cos I'm kinda confused. Why is it still dark? How did I get home? Did I get so drunk that Faith had to carry me home, and then I dreamt about…
Marko. There's a thought that puts a smile on my face. I reach for my toothpaste and start scrubbing away the scum attached to my teeth. I check my reflection in the mirror.
That can't be right. I'm kinda see-through. I wipe away the condensation made by my exceptionally hot shower. Um…
Right. I spit out my toothpaste and give my mouth a good rinse. I down a few handfuls of water, and when I check my reflection again…
… Oh fuck.
Why am I transparent? I wipe the mirror with a towel as it begins to cloud up again. I'm still see-through. I can see me reflected, but I can also see the shower cubicle behind me. Look, there's my pink spangly razor. And Faith's men's razor, that's so typical of her…
Hang on, I was panicking then. I'm not going to abandon panic for another rant against Faith. Then again, panic or rant… which sounds more appealing?
Focus, damn it! Why would I be transparent? Think. Vampires don't have a reflection at all, no soul or something like that. What else doesn't reflect?
I need Giles and his books. Except Giles is the last person I want to tell about this. I'm getting the sinking sensation that this might be my fault. I don't remember how I got back to the hotel.
I remember Marko. I met him while looking for my hotel, then we went back to that cave and got drunk. I scrunch my face up trying to recall what happened next.
Ooh! Oops. I had a one night stand with Marko. Then what?
Things get decidedly hazy after that. I suppose it's possible I decided it would be a fabulous idea to patrol while drunk and some kind of demon… did what? Why the fuck don't I have a proper reflection?
"B, you in there?"There's pounding on the door, and my sister Slayer sounds rather distraught. Oh shit. She's gonna knock me unconscious for all the nasty things I said last night.
"I'm here!"I shout. "Where else did you expect me to be?"
The pounding goes away. Right, I'm gonna go out there act normal.
Note to self: stay away from windows and mirrors and other shiney-reflecty things.
She walks out of the bathroom and gives me this sickly grin.
Jesus, B. Don't do that to me, I think. When I woke up and she wasn't here, panic. Absolute panic. Damn I getting soft, it's pathetic.
"So what's the commotion about?"She asks, her voice sounds a little off to me.
"Nothing."I squeak. Squeak? Who am I, Tara? I'm Faith, nothing phases me. "Why should there be a commotion, when I come home and find you passed out in the doorway, deathly pale with two tiny holes in your neck?"
She flinches. That's more like it.
"You got bit, B. Hence the paleness."
"I…"She reaches a hand up to her neck and winces when her fingers find the wound.
"So who bit you?"I ask, impatient to get some vengeance going.
Her face scrunches up as she thinks, her fingers are still moving over the bite. I'm trying not to stare at her, but its hard. She's so beautiful, even pale and hungover.
"C'mon B. Think. It's not every day you get bit, then again, it is a regular occurrence for you."Shut up, Faith, you're not helping, I mentally chastise myself.
She glares at me. Again, if looks could kill… "I don't remember getting bit, are you sure it's not just a hickey?"
"B, how long you been in the slaying business?"I ask, and without waiting for a reply, continue. "Seven or so years, surely you can tell the difference between a hickey and a bite."
Again, she wings a really hairy eyeball in my direction. "Yes, Faith. I can tell the difference, how about you, rookie?"
I hide a smile, that's the B I like. "There's a mirror in the bathroom."
She shoots me the finger and I hide another grin. She slams the bathroom door and locks it.
"Fuck off."She snaps through the door.
She told me to fuck off? I'm definitely having an effect on her.
Oh god. Oh god. Oh bloody fucking hell! I'm semi-transparent, I'm pale as hell, and I've got two little-little holes in my neck. All the same, why? How?
I appear to be a vampire. No, no, I'll change that, I could be a vampire. I don't remember drinking blood last night, though. How could I be a vamp if I didn't?
Where's Spike when I need him? He'd know about this, then again, as if I'd want him knowing what's going on now. He'd gloat for at least six months.
I check out my reflection again. Yep, it's still Buffy in new transparent format, soon to be updated to invisible reflection Buffy, pointy teeth Buffy, evil Buffy.
I don't have a love bite, all I have is two small punctures in my neck.
Think, B, think. I tell myself, the use of Faith's nickname for me is kinda calming.
Whatever is wrong with me happened last night. Now, I know Faith didn't do this to me. Don't ask how I know that she didn't, given her track record it's not improbable that Faith handed me over to a vampire or demon last night for kicks, but I don't think she did.
Which only leaves the rest of Santa Carla on my list of suspects. Let's start with the gang from last night, The Lost Boys.
Marko wouldn't have… my thoughts come to a shuddering halt.
Marko very well might have… whatever it was.
He gave me a hickey - or so I thought - last night, instead of an ugly pinky-purple bruise I've got two holes in my neck.
Oh hell. I've slept with a vampire.
She struts out of the bathroom with that look on her face. She was wearing the same look when she came to my place baying for blood to save her moody, broody honey a couple of years ago.
"You ok, B?"I ask, the glare I get in response makes me take a step back. Literally. I'm pathetic.
"So, what's the plan? Load up with wicked-sharp stakes and kick some undead ass?"
She shakes her head. "I'll take care of it."
"We're the chosen two, girlfriend. I'll be right there with you."
"No."Winces at the thought. "I'll do it."
I bit my lip, and curb my childish impulses, it was the wince when I said I'd be right there with her. "Fine. I'll go find some other vamps to dust."I grab my jacket and head towards the door.
"Fai, wait!"She grabs my arm. "I just need to do this by myself, ok?"
"Fine, whatever. As always, B, you know best."I say, but my thermostat was considerably cooled down by her calling me Fai again. "Give me a shout if you need me."I shake off her arm and leave.
I decide to check in with the Frog brothers before getting stake happy, they probably know where most of the vamp activity is in this town…
… ok, you got me. I'll be honest. I'm going to the Boardwalk to see if Star's around. But you could call it work, the Frogs think she's a vamp, I'm just gonna check her out.
Read into that what you want.
As I walk my brain is churning out curses at Marko and all of his damn gang. No wonder Star looked so horrified when I drank that wine.
Yeah, a couple of minutes after Faith left I remembered about that. Star looked beyond horrified, she looked terrified. I get the feeling that she might be the best person to ask about all this. She lives with them, and she's scared of them.
I've gotta find her.
How hard can it be to find a raven tressed lass in a gypsy skirt?
I find Star, she's hovering near where we first met. She has a frantic look on her face, and I'm warmed by the way her face brightens when she sees me.
She walks swiftly over to me, takes my hand without a word and drags me into an alley where we are hidden by the shadows. I suddenly think I'm maybe gonna get lucky.
"I need your help."She whispers, looking over her shoulder as if someone might be listening.
I reach out and touch her arm and realise she's shaking. "How -"
She cuts off my question. "They've initiated a new girl in my gang."
I frown. "I don't get it."
"They don't usually initiate new members, they just…"she trails off looking slightly sick.
"Star."I stroke her arm, trying to remember how to be gentle, this is B's territory, being nice and saving the day. "You've gotta tell me the whole story or I can't help."
"You'll think I'm crazy."She's still shaking.
I pull her into my arms and stroke her hair. "Star, the things I've seen would make the average person fall down dead of shock. Trust me, I won't think you're crazy."
She stays in my arms awhile longer, and just as I'm about to give up on her, she pulls away slightly and looks me in the eyes. "Do you believe in vampires?"She asks solemnly.
I snort. This chick's asking if I believe in vamps? This is the funniest thing I've heard for quite awhile.
Her eyes fill with tears and she begins to make her exit.
Dumb, Faith. Very dumb. "Star."I grab her arm. "Wait."
She shakes my arm off. "Leave me alone."
I grab her arm again and pull her deeper into the alley. "Star, I do believe in vampires."
"Very funny."She embarrassedly wipes away her tears. "It's just a joke to you, it's my life."
"Star,"I reach up and wipe her tears away for her. "I'm sorry I laughed, it's just, your question caught me off guard."
She sniffs. "I bet it's not everyday you have conversations in alleys about vampires."
"Sometimes it's demons."I say.
She gives me that look, like she's just about to bail.
"Star, you ever hear of the Slayer?"
"Yeah, some thrashy metal band, Paul likes them, I don't. So what?"
"No, not Slayer, The Slayer."No spark. "The Vampire Slayer."
Like last night with the Frog brothers, there's no spark of recognition. Here we go again.
Where is she? I've been up and down this Boardwalk about ninety times, I've seen the boys, but no Star. I made sure they didn't see me though. It wasn't too difficult, they were busy making trouble on the carousel with the guys they call the "Surf-Nazis”.
I'm shaking with a combination of anger and fear. They're vampires, I know that now. Just not Sunnydale-type vampires. They're definitely more sophisticated with their recruitment plan.
The reason I know? I can hear the heartbeats of the people surrounding me. I can feel the rush of blood in the bodies around me.
It's overwhelming, and the urge to take a drink is…
I'm beginning to feel really terrible, I'm sweating horribly. I lean against the nearest wall and a vicious pain clamps around my stomach. I bite down hard on my lip to stifle the scream of pain. Hard enough to draw blood. I taste my own blood hungrily.
I don't want to be a vampire. Tears course down my cheeks and I sink to the floor. I close my eyes and pray it's over soon.
"Jesus, B. All I seem to do lately is scoop your sorry ass off the asphalt."
Faith, I'd know that cocky voice anywhere. Through my tears she's just about the most beautiful person I've ever seen.
She sinks down next to me and puts her arm around me. "Do you need a hospital?"She asks.
I shake my head, no.
"It'll be over soon."A new voice adds.
As she says it, the pain ends as suddenly as it began.
"You two know each other?"Faith looks horrified.
I'm locked in the bathroom. Star and B are in the hotel room waiting for me. I can't go out there yet. My face is puffy and my eyes are bloodshot.
My B's a vampire. Or a half vampire. I didn't even know such a thing existed. If I don't save her, I'm gonna have to stake her.
And it's that thought that makes the tears come.
I don't know what happens to Slayers when they become vampires, it's never happened before, but I should imagine it would be pretty nasty. To be as powerful as we are, give us more power, rip away our soul and make us immortal…
I always thought if B got vamped, I'd gladly follow, she's the only thing that keeps me going, even when she's not around. But she wouldn't want that. She wouldn't want two Slayers-turned-Vamps stalking the earth.
If I don't save her, I have to kill her.
Damn these tears.
I wipe my face, clean myself up, take a deep breath and rejoin the others.
"You ok?"B smiles weakly at me.
"Five by five, B."I grab my cigarettes and light up.
"Can I have one of those?"B asks. I raise my eyebrows at her. "I'm stressed."
I hand her the pack. She lights up, inhales and coughs. That's my B. I finally give her a genuine smile.
"All vamps smoke anyway."I wince and hide my face with my hair. She runs an index finger down my arm.
B hands the pack to Star, who looks at it for awhile and then decides she's got nothing to lose by smoking too. "You're not a full vampire yet."Star tells her. "Not until you make your first kill. You're like Laddie and me."
"Laddie's your brother?"B questions.
"No, they brought Laddie into the group to get me to stay. I've been a half vampire for about two months, and I'm almost ready to cave. You were going to be my first."She flashes a look of shame at me. "But I couldn't. That's why I ran. I tried to get away from them once before, but then they killed Laddie's entire family, and now I'm all he has."
"Bastards."I hiss. "I guess this is what we were sent here to destroy."
"Faith,"B takes my hand and looks me in the eyes. "If we can't reverse this, I need you to -"
"I know B."I cut her off before she says the words that will have the tears flowing.
"Me too. I don't want to be one of them, but I don't know how much longer I can resist."Star takes my other hand.
I won't cry. "No problem."I say sarcastically. "I'll quite happily kill my new friend and my…"everything. That's what B is, my everything.
"I should go."Star breaks the mood. "They're gonna be mad as hell that I'm missing."She gives B a long look. "They're going to be even more pissed at you. They were expecting you to come back."
"Screw 'em."B mutters.
"If you don't come back, they'll cause problems. A hotel is a public place, no invite needed."She says pointedly.
"It's ok."I say. "I'll figure out a plan before tomorrow night."
Star hugs me and whispers a quiet thank you in my ear, then flies out of the open window.
B and I stare at each other.
"Well,"she says finally. "There's something I didn't know about."
"Yeah, flying's a new one on me too."
Poor Faith. I never knew. I didn't realise there was anything more to what she felt for me than a challenge. She's locked in the bathroom again, trying to cry quietly, I can hear her though, Slayer and vampire powers mingled. She's crying for me.
I knock on the door. "Fai?"I realise I don't have anything to follow that.
"Can I… I mean… Are you ok?"
"Five by fricking five."
"Faith, let me in."
"I'm fine, B."
I cheat and use slayer powers to break the lock.
She wipes her face quickly and stands up, trying to put on her usual cocky Faith-face. "Great, B. There goes half our wages on replacing that rotten lock!"
I open my arms to her, and she gladly accepts the comfort. I rock her gently, stroking her back. "I'm sorry."I whisper. "I'm sorry about all of this. I didn't know."
"Why, B?"She asks, her voice muffled by my hair. "Why go against all of your sensibilities and get involved?"
"I didn't know."
"Didn't your spider sense tingle? You've been doing this so long, why turn into me now?"She's not goading me, for once.
"I don't know. I was finding the fun."I roll my eyes, but it's lost on her as her head is still on my shoulder. "I was drinking the 'wine' David gave me, and saw Star standing there looking horrified by me having a good time, and I just thought, 'god, is that what I'm like? No wonder Faith gets so pissed off at me'."
"So it's my fault."She's not starting a fight, she's accepting responsibility.
"I didn't say that!"
"But you took my advice, I'd blame me, if I was you."
I draw back from her so I can look her in the eyes. "I've been blaming you far too long. You gave me some advice, it's not your fault I took it to the extreme."I wipe her tears away.
She give me a weak smile. "Jesus, B. When are you gonna learn? Never listen to a word I say."
"Is that more advice?"I tease.
She grins at me, far more feeling in it this time. "God, I need a cigarette."
The smoke makes my head swimmy, and Faith tells me that's the last cigarette I'm ever going to smoke.
Despite my new found vampirism and the fact it's night, I'm zonked. I lay down on the bed while Faith makes a few calls, one to the Watcher's Council to let them know we've found a new breed of vampire, and one to some guys she calls the Frogs.
At first I can hear her voice, but as I fall deeper into sleep, it becomes Spike's voice.
I'm standing in the magic shop, supporting Angel who's injured. Spike's ranting in his usual way. "You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight and you'll shag and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children, it's blood, blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
I look round, and it's no longer Angel I'm holding up. It's Faith, Faith with that knife in her gut.
"He's right, B."
"Love makes you do the wacky."Willow agrees.
B's sleeping like a baby. I feel kinda funky about crying so openly in front of her, but I'm ignoring the feeling and throwing myself into the Slayer groove.
I've called England, they were stunned about the new breed of vampire, but other than that, not much help. They wanted to speak to B, her being the older Slayer, and also the one that hasn't killed a few humans. I said she was resting.
Well, since the Brit Brigade was such a washout, I called Edgar and Alan. It really sucked. They were highly sceptical of my slaying abilities, if I didn't know about half vampires, what kind of a Slayer was I? I'm ashamed to say they make a fair point.
They're on their way over now. They wanted me to go over to them, but I didn't want to leave B alone, she's spark out, even if she does wake up, she's too zonked to get to the Boardwalk and back. Besides, I don't want those Lost Boys seeing her.
I hope she wakes up soon though, I need her brain power. I need all the information she has about them too.
"B."I sit down on the bed and brush some stray hair out of her eyes. "B, wake up, precious."Precious? I'm pitiful.
Her eyes flutter, and her hand reaches up to stroke mine.
"Mmm. Love makes you do the wacky."She mutters.
Her eyes open fully this time. "Hey."She gives me a lazy smile.
"I wasn't talking in my sleep was I?"She blushes attractively, and I wonder what type of dream she was having.
"You didn't even snore."I tell her. There's no harm in stretching the truth to make her feel better.
"I bet I have bed hair."
"To be honest, not your best hair."I grin and she playfully swats my arm. I can't remember ever feeling so relaxed with B.
I think she's feeling the same, because she opens her mouth. "Faith?"
She opens her mouth, but nothing comes out. Shuts mouth. Opens it. "I just… You're… I mean… Thanks."
"No probs, B."I squeeze her hand. "We're gonna fix this. Now, get up. There's some people coming over to help."
"The Watchers Council?"She asks horrified.
"No, just a couple of people who know what's going on in this town."
"Okay."She gets up and heads to the bathroom. Stops. Turns towards me and does something odd. She blows me a kiss.
Two kids in army garb, that's Faith's connections. God help us.
Jeez, B, shut up. I mentally tell myself. I'm finding that having Faith's voice telling me off works better than my own. I don't know why I'm being such a bitch, I got turned into a half vampire last night, Faith didn't. I'm on no moral high ground this time round.
And it was me on my ridiculously high horse that sent Faith crazy last time. If I'd have just made a bit more of an effort instead of being glad she had fallen from grace and thinking that at least my friends would like me best again things would have gone a lot different.
I look at her, she's getting very emphatic whilst talking to two kids so stoic they make Oz look like a talk show host on speed. She's waving her arms around and flipping her hair out of her eyes agitatedly. For the first time I notice how beautiful Faith is.
I've always known she was attractive, but this time I'm really taking it in.
"Right, B?"She turns to me, and gives me this reassuring smile that has a totally weird effect on me. My only thought is 'I want to kiss you'.
"Right?"She asks again.
"Sure."I reply. I haven't got a clue what she just said, but right now, this girl is the only thing standing between me and immortal evil. She's gonna save my sorry ass, as she has put it so eloquently in the past, so anything she says it perfect.
Faith gets to take the lead this time.
"So, where's their hideout?"I think it's Edgar who asks, the older looking one with lighter hair than his brother.
"They've got a place in the cliffs somewhere."I tell him.
"I'm sorry, I was really drunk and they were driving so fast. It was all I could do to hang on."
Faith strokes my arm.
Edgar and Alan: not so affable. "Think, your life depends on it. If we can't kill the head vampire Alan and I will stake you without thinking twice about it… in fact, you're a half vampire, why shouldn't we kill you right now?"
I open my mouth to respond, but Faith gets there first. "Because you have to go through me to get to her. I bested you in the cemetery, I could do it again easily."She's using that low throaty tone that conveys intimidation and danger. It has other effects on me, but probably not on the Frog brothers.
"So, now we've got the testosterone leak out of our system, can we discuss this like adults?"Without waiting for a response she continues. "Good. B, think, were there any landmarks that would narrow it down."
"Ooh! I'm so mentally challenged!"I hit my head for emphasis. "Their hideout used to be a big fancy hotel, there was a big quake that knocked it inside the cliffs. You can see the lighthouse from outside their cave."
The Frogs exchange a look. "We know the place."Alan speaks for the first time since he got here.
"Ok, so we hit it tomorrow morning while they're asleep, kill 'em, and B, Star and Laddie are back to normal."Faith surmises.
I raise my eyebrows at this over-simplification of events, but am impressed at her ability to take charge when need be.
"It's gonna be ok, B."She tells me.
"I trust you.”
"So you're sure that David's the head vampire?"I ask, I don't know why, I've asked her like nine times in the past few minutes.
"As far as I can tell. They all follow his lead."Each time I've asked, she's found a different way to word it.
"Ok."I want to say more, but can't think of anything to say. "Ok. Ok."
"So, it's ok?"
I catch her eyes and manage to grin. Until I take a good look at her. She looks awful, her face is deathly pale there's a light sheen of sweat across her face and every so often she shudders. "You ok, B?"
She smiles at me, a totally beautiful smile I've never seen before, something in it seems lost and at the same time young and innocent. I realise that it's the same expression Star was wearing when I met her. "I'm five by five, Fai."She tells me.
"Ok, let's address this, you've shortened my name, you've just said 'five by five' and I'm being sensible at the moment - have we traded places?"
She laughs and looks a little better. She gets up and struts around the room cockily, puffing away on an unlit cigarette. "I dunno, girlfriend, but I'm feeling wicked-cool and five by five!"
B laughs and I join her. Then she starts shaking.
"Cold."I'm up like a shot to hold her and offer warmth.
"Not cold."She mutters through clenched teeth, backing away from me.
I realise she hasn't opened her mouth the whole time. "You vamping on me?"I ask.
She looks at me, tears in her eyes. Shakes her head, no. Then nods.
She nods again.
I offer her my neck. "Only if you're in control. Are you in control?"
"I won't do that, Faith."
"Why not? You're weak."
"I won't feed."
"B, you're gonna need all the strength you can get for tomorrow. You're meant to sleep through the day but you're gonna be awake."
"I can't, Fai."
"You can."I urge. "Star says they make her drink from the bottle to keep her strength up until…"I trail off, not wanting our conversation to go there. "They hold her down and force blood down her throat."
"I can't do it."
"You can, B."I say softly. "You're the best slayer that ever was, you can control the urge, got it? And if you can't, I can. Now feed!"
Slowly she approaches. I can feel her anguish just by meeting her eyes. This goes against every single Buffy Summers principle in existence, but she needs it. I'm not having her die during the fight because she was too proud to drink, and became too tired and weak to fight.
She's trembling in my arms now. "S'ok, B."I whisper. "Just take it easy."
Her teeth pierce the skin of my neck and I wince. B draws away, but my hand pulls her mouth back to my throat.
Damn it! My knees are shaking, but it's not from fear. What she's doing to me right now is just about the most intimate thing I can imagine, it's far more intimate that sex. And I'm sharing it with B.
I realise I've been holding my breath and let it out in a ragged gasp.
My fingers aren't quite steady as they find their way to her back, stroking her from the top of her neck right down to the bottom of her spine, and I find that I'm not the only one who's shaking. One hand finds her face and caresses it as she drinks from me.
I could die right now and not care. I mean that literally. I'm hers now, even if she never kisses me I'll always belong to her in a way that no-one else in the world does, not even Angel.
She begins to drink deeper and I realise the bloodlust is taking over. I gently ease her away, for a second she fights it, then gets a hold of herself. Her teeth leave my neck and she lets out a deep breath.
I don't know how to take that wow, but I can't help agree.
There's a strangeness in the air as we get ready for bed. I could write it off as being just an exceptionally weird day, but it's more than that.
It's what happened when I drank Faith's blood. Not the drinking part, the effect she had on me. Her hands on my back and face.
I've not stopped staring at her since. She comes out of the bathroom wearing only a tiny vest and a pair of panties. I have to stop staring at her now, it's rude.
"Ciggie before bedtime."She says and climbs up onto the windowsill. She lights up and stares out of the window. "Why is it the most beautiful towns always have the biggest amount of nasties?"She muses.
I don't answer, I'm staring at a tattoo I've never seen before. There's a bee on her hip. "New tat?"I ask, wondering why a bee.
She turns to me, notices I'm pointing at her tattoo and blushes. "Yeah. Last birthday, Angel gave me a hundred bucks and told me to buy something I really wanted. I spent half of it on tequila and the other half on the tattoo. I just wish I'd got drunk after."
"It's a bee."I say, then I get it, or think I do. Bee. B. Buffy. Or maybe it's I hope I get it.
"Yeah. See you've got a tattoo, when did that happen?"
"Also birthday, not long after I came back. Wanted to do something non-Buffy like. I was also smashed."
"What's it mean?"
Now here's a funny story. I went to a tattoo artist while drunk, Spike came along, and he's been sworn to secrecy about this. I remember asking to have the Japanese symbol for Angel tattooed on my shoulder. What I actually got what the symbol for Faith. Both Spike and the tattoo guy distinctly remember me asking for Faith. The word Angel never passed anyone's lips.
I asked Spike the next day why he didn't correct me, he said he was quite happy that I wasn't going to have 'a sodding symbol of that bleeding nancy boy' permanently engraved on my body.
"B? What's it mean?"
Lie or truth?
Faith quirks an eyebrow at me.
"It means Faith."I tell her.
For the first time in the history of mankind, Faith is dumbstruck. Finally, "Like religion or destiny or whatever?"
"Or whatever."I agree. I'm neither lying or telling the truth.
Again, the weirdness. Faith climbs into bed next to me, the wound in her neck calls to me. It's open and uncovered, no point in band-aids, Slayer healing will take care of it in a couple of hours.
It calls to me, I lean over, and drop a kiss on her neck.
She looks at me, with that quizzical Faith look that I'm beginning to love.
"Forgot to do that earlier."I explain.
She grins from ear to ear. "Night, B."
I think she's still asleep. Her eyes are closed, but she's not snoring like a pig, so who knows.
There's a hell of a lot whizzing round my head right now. I climb out of bed and light a cigarette, climbing up on the windowsill.
The sun will be up in a few minutes, I think I've had about three hours sleep since we arrived in Santa Carla, I tell you, the minute we've finished with this gig, I'm taking a vacation, and screw what the Watchers Council think of that. Maybe B will come too.
B. The source of my late night and early morning thoughts. I look at her and wonder what she'll be like when the vampire leaves her. Right now I'm having the best and worst week of my life simultaneously. B's a half vamp, Star - my possible holiday romance - is one too. B and I are getting on amazingly.
More than amazingly. She blew me a kiss, she kissed my neck better and we're acting like we've been friends all our lives. And while this is the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me, I'm terrified that it's all come from the vampyness in her. Why would she want to be my friend, or anything else unless something brought her down a peg or two. Something like bloodlust, for instance.
I take a deep drag on my cigarette, and wave to some kid on the street. A song floats up from his stereo, and I find it oddly fitting.
I have no confidence
And I can't see why I should
But I could do most anything for you
And you know I would
I try too hard then I give up way too easily
I'm the runner-up inside of you
And you're the winner inside of me
Lose your way
And I will follow
And here tomorrow
Let my freedom, I know
I'll never let you go
I still wish on the evening star
And I s'pose I always will
Every child loses something
A whole life can't fulfil
And when you cry
I feel the sky
Bust open in my veins
If lovin' you makes a slave of me
Then I'll spend my whole life in chains
Lose your way
And I will follow
And here tomorrow
Let my freedom, I know
I'll never let you go
Walk the line
I'll walk inside you
Change your mind
Let your love decide you
It's the reason I know
I'll never let me go
Never let me go... oh no no no no baby
Never let me go... oh no, ain't that right now baby
Lose your way
And I will follow
And here tomorrow
Let my freedom, I know
I'll never let you go
Walk the line
I'll walk inside you
Change your mind
Let your love decide you
It's the reason I know
I'll never let me go
I open my eyes and the first thing I see is Faith. She's sitting on the windowsill in her 'smoking seat', the early morning light filtering in around her makes her look like an angel. I don't know if it's the beauty of Faith or the light that make my eyes water.
"Morning, sunshine."She grins, flips her cigarette out the window and wanders over to me. "How are you feeling?"
"Awful, could you pull the shade down?"
"Sure."Faith hands me a pair of sunglasses off the nightstand. "I'm gonna go downstairs, see if I can get us some coffee and food, you get ready, ok?"
"Ok."She drops a kiss on my forehead.
I remember the last time she did that, it was right after she'd tried to drag Angel over to the dark side. What a difference time can make. She did that then to remind me what I could have had, a way to humiliate me, I guess. She knew I was kinda… ok, a bit of a homophobe and that was a mini payback.
Again, time makes all the difference. I've finally processed all my thoughts about that time in my life, every act of hatred towards Faith was because I didn't want to admit how much I admired her, how much I wanted to be her, and the final revelation came just before I fell asleep: I've finally realised how much I wanted her. Then and now.
I just hope I come out of this as a human so I can tell her.