End of the world? No fuckin' problem. Giles on the warpath? No big deal. In the end it's gonna me and Buffy. Everyone else either falls in line or falls by the wayside. I keep quiet as I lift Denna out of the water and towel her off. "Faith?"
I pause what I'm doing but keep goin' after about a second. I think I know what she's gonna say and I don't want to hear it. I can't hear it.
"I love you."
That. Wasn't what I expected. But up to this point nothin' has gone as expected so why should this be any different? I blink at Denna a few times in mild confusion. She offers me a shy half smile and raises up on her toes to kiss my nose. I sneeze at it and narrow my eyes at her.
What the fuck am I supposed ta say to that? I love you too? Do I? Well. Yeah. I guess. I mean I care about what happens ta her. I want her to be okay an' safe. I guess that's a kinda love. But I just can't say it. I want to. But I can't. So I do the next best thing. I snap my fingers for Gus. He slides out of the shadows makin' me wonder how the fuck he manages ta be that quiet.
"Anything happens to her Gus…anything…" I let my gaze rest on him for a long time. "I will hunt you to the end. And then I'll kill ya." He nods and offers Denna his arm like a perfect fuckin' gentleman. Good. A familiar weight settles against my back an' Buffy wraps her arms around my waist.
"Getting a little protective are we?" I just grunt. "Good dog." Yeah.
"He's here My Lady."
I knew he'd be prompt but I didn't really think Giles would be here so soon after sending the Slayers away. He must have been waiting nearby. That sounds like him. He's setting up his command center close to the action but not close enough to get sucked in to the madness. I nod my head and flick my wrist to send Gus away. I've never had a personal servant before but a girl could get to like this treatment.
"Hey B." I open my eyes and glance over at Faith, leaning against the doorframe. Her arms are crossed over her chest in mild defiance. I know what she's pissy about. "I'm not doin' it." I sigh and sit up a little in my chair.
"But Lover, you look so good…" Good enough to eat. I can feel the ridges of my demon face rise up on my forehead as I take her in from head to toe. I doubt she has a problem with the leather pants. Or even the chainmail bra. No I think her beef is with the fact that she's wearing a dog collar. And a leash. Hey it's not like it's any collar and leash. They're diamond studded. I doubt Faith has ever seen a diamond up close let alone ones the size of dimes like the ones adorning her new accessories. I'm almost tempted to wear it myself.
I crook a finger at her, beckoning her closer. When Faith is in reach I pull the leash toward me, letting the cool metal links and sharp gems slide through my fingers. I give it a hard tug to pull her down to me and I'm beyond happy pants when Faith straddles my lap. "Yah, you think so?" I think a lot of things, and right now one of them has to do with anything but her.
"Oh yeah." I give the leash another tug to admire the shine of light off it. And to get Faith's face closer to mine for a deep kiss. "I like having you on a short leash." The second it's out of my mouth I know I'm going to get attitude. But. Why lie?
"Dunno if I like bein' at your mercy, B." Mercy? Oh that's a laugh. She's at my mercy? Doesn't she know? If she leaves me I'm done for. I'm the one at her mercy. But I think I'll keep that little bit of info to myself. I'd hate for Faith to think she has the upper hand with me.
"Tsk tsk, you're not a stray anymore Faith. You belong to someone." She belongs to me. I kiss her again, purposely nicking her lip so I can steal a drop of her fire hot blood. I like that she reacts to the spill of blood with a low growl and a sexy hip grind against me. I whine in the back of my throat when Gus interrupts us. I really hope that it doesn't happen again. I might have to rip his arms out of the sockets and beat him with them.
"My apologies, The Watcher is…"
"A fuckin' pain in the ass." My thoughts exactly. Faith gets off my lap and holds out her hands to me. It's something that I know for a fact she'd never do for anyone else. She's not the type to be overly solicitous of her lovers. Not that I'm complaining about the attention. I like it just fine, thanks. Faith has a way of making me feel special with her attention, rather than suffocated like I did with Riley. "C'mon baby we got business ta deal with."
I let her pull me up to her body and writhe just a bit against her. What? She's warm. And sexy. And she smells good…
"Am I going to have to separate you two?" Faith gives Xander a glare when he pads in my new parlor barefoot. "I can't turn around for five seconds without you two sucking some serious face." He's acting annoyed but I can tell by the smirk on his face that he's just playing. Faith swipes out at him but he easily ducks it and tucks his hands in to the pockets of his pants. "Giles brought a few reinforcements."
Faith doesn't look surprised or even bothered but I am. I don't' know why. It would be standard protocol for him to have at least one Slayer with him. "Who did he bring?" Xander glances away for a second and shrugs.
"Satsu and Kennedy." This time Faith does react and I think I know why. I give her leash another little tug to get her attention and gesture to Xander. She doesn't have to stay, she could just hang out with him and let me deal with Giles on my own. Not that I think she'll freak out and chew Satsu's face off but it's possible she'll bite her if she gets too mouthy. And well…Kennedy is all mouth. But I don't mind if Faith wants to bite her. I never did like the little bitch.
Faith's dark eyes lock with mine but the offer to let her skip dies on my lips. I know if I offer her that she'll be upset. She'll think it's because I want to be with Satsu in some way. "I need you there Lover. All of you." Not just her jealous rage. Though I might just poke a stick at that sore spot later. Just to see what kind of reaction I get. "Gonna behave for me?"
"What do I get outta it?" Oh she's playing now. I like that a lot.
"I guess that depends on what you want…" My brows come up slightly in a suggestion she can't miss. She can have me in so many ways. She can break me in all of them. And I'll still run back begging for more.
Faith's grunt is too much for me to not react to. I smile with a flash of fang and snap my fingers for Gus. When he lifts his head up Faith gives him a jerk of her chin. "Nevermind him. I'll go get 'em." He looks to me once for confirmation but I dismiss him with another flick of my fingers. Wow. That is so never going to get old. "C'mon Xander."
As they walk out of the room together I have to wonder about Xander. Is he going to stand his ground with us when he's actually confronted with Giles? Or will he break and fall to what he knows? Faith trusts him, and while I trust her, more than I probably should, I'm not sure if I can extend that trust to him. Not entirely. It's not as if he hasn't proven himself either. I just…I worry.
And that's something I thought I'd never do again. It's not the soul. It's fear I think. I'm afraid of him turning his back on us now that we've let him close. I'm afraid he's going to make Faith regret letting him live. And most importantly I'm afraid of him getting to close to Denna. Not that I think he'd try to steal her away from me but I'm afraid of his idealism and the fact that he really can't stand vampires feeding on humans. Before I can think too deeply on that I hear the steady heavy steps of a man too tired to continue much longer.
It's the slight drag from a sore hip that gives him away. He's old. And I'll always be young. No matter what he meant to me before, the man in front of me now will never understand. And when he looks at me, really looks at me, I know he knows it too. "Buffy…my God…"
He really didn't expect me. I thought maybe he'd put two and two together and figure it all out by now but I guess maybe it was more than he could handle thinking about. His jaw drops and for a second and a half I think he's going to teeter over but he regains his composure quickly and glares down at me.
"Hi Giles." Okay I've had better opener lines than that but I just wasn't prepared for the amount of hate on his face. Faith pushes past him and settles on the arm of my chair. A sharp chitter warns me before a soft warm weight settles on my shoulder. It's Xander in his little furry form. Hrm. I let my attention drift back to my former Watcher and offer up a half smile. "You don't look so good. Maybe you should sit down." It's not really a suggestion and the way that Gus purposely puts his hand on Giles' shoulder lets the old man know that.
"I should have known. I should have realized…" Yes. He really should have. I shake my head slightly when Faith tenses up next to me. "I should never have sent you to finish this. You selfish, stupid, child!" He's not talking to me. He's talking to Faith. But hello, sitting right here!
"You have a problem with the situation Giles, you bring it up to me. Faith didn't turn me in to a vampire remember?" I let myself get turned. I led an entire squad of Slayer's to their death and I let them decide if they wanted to wake up at the end of the night. No one forced them to follow me in to this life. "You should be thanking Faith. She's the one that took care of your little Slayervamp problem."
"There wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for her!" Wrong. So wrong. Faith is a lot of things and she's guilty of twice over what she'll admit to, but this wasn't her deal. I think this is a case of Giles lashing out at anyone else but me. "Her fault!" We all watch, stunned as he lunges over the coffee table between us to grab for Faith. Giles has his hands around her neck before I can snap myself in to action but I guess I shouldn't have worried. My Watcher lets out a scream and a string of what I'm pretty sure are curses as he swings his hands violently back and forth trying to get Xanderferret off of him.
Xander drops to the floor with a sick thud and Faith is quick to scoop him up and cradle him against her chest. Lucky weasel. The commotion is enough to bring me to myself and I push myself in to Giles' personal space. Inky red blood drips from his hand and I slide my tongue along my lower lip. I'm not really hungry but a good fight always makes me a little needy for something.
Giles could be my snack. He backs up a step and I close on him. Matching his movements. Stalking him. "B." Just one little letter. That's all it takes. I laugh deep in my chest and back off. "The man came ta talk, lets hear him out." Before we frighten him to death. I get it. I'm not happy about it but I get it. Faith is reigning me in. Fine. I'll behave. This time.
"She has a point. So. What do you want?" He holds his hand tightly, trying to stem the flow of blood. I can't help but stare a little. Maybe I want to wrong foot him. Maybe I know how much it kills him to see me so excited about the sight of a little blood. I want him to know I'm not his Buffy anymore. There's a long time where he's trying to get a lid on his emotions while pretending to wrap his hand in his hanky. I'm giving him the time to adjust because he's only human. He's had years to deal with me dying but he's never really had to deal with me being the undead.
"I came here in the hopes of getting information. Instead I find…you."
"What'd you expect Giles? For me to just lie down and die again?" Not this time.
His face pales and I nod. "No of course not but…Buffy…you're a vampire. You are what you have been given a sacred birthright to destroy." His eyes flick to Faith and any pain that he might be feeling over me vanishes in hate. Xander's fur goes out in a poof and he chitters and hisses furiously at Giles. It's kind of cute actually. If Giles looks close enough he'll see that the weasel is giving him a little ferret finger. Who knew that Faith would inspire such courage and loyalty in people and small animals? "I would have expected this from her."
Her. Boy that's insulting. "Enough Giles. What. Do. You. Want." Maybe if I say it slower he'll get to the point quicker.
"I did not come here for you! I came to speak with The Lady."
"Well you're speaking to her. So what the hell do you want?"
"I want to know who sired you damnit!" Huh. You know. In all of this back and forth about souls and lovers and friends and servants I never really questioned who would sire me. I mean I remember the fight, I remember the moments of pain and fear sliding away…I just don't remember who took those horribly human feelings from me. I'd buy them a cookie if I could.
"Why?" I suppose I know why but I kind of need to hear it from him. "What difference does it make? I'm still a vampire and the people that arranged it are dead."
His back stiffens at that and Faith sighs. I don't think I was supposed to say that part so happily. "You think just any vampire could take a Slayer and turn her? Do you think it's that easy to sway the Chosen?" Oh. Poor sad little Giles. Something in the way my face is set makes him take a step back and sink heavily in to the plush chair across from us. "I see."
It was hard to take from Faith. It's nearly impossible to handle from Giles. The disappointment makes him look older and more shriveled than when he walked in here. "The sire isn't an issue Giles. You and I both know that. So why are you really here?"
Everyone in this room knows that it's too late to change things now. Too late for me to be who I was. Too late for anyone to care that I was dead long before the blood drained out of my body. The fire in my heart was put out a long time ago and I've just been going through the motions. Until. I turn my head to look at Faith and feel something tug in my chest. Until she saved me, I was nothing.
My hand curls around her thigh, more to comfort myself than to comfort her I guess. "I suppose I'm here to do what it seems no one else could." So it's going to be like that. I tear my eyes away from Faith and stare at Giles for a long second. A commotion starts up at the end of the hall and I know that in a minute or two his backup will come barreling through that door to break up my little tea party.
"I'm sorry to hear that Giles." He nods once and stands, his back to me in a physical gesture of a fuck you too. I don't like admitting that it actually hurts me. "I won't stand here and take it you know." His head bows slightly and I swear I hear a sniff.
"No. That was never you." No. It never was. And if I'm anything, I am Buffy. Cold and dead but still Buffy. I watch him leave with a heavy heart. He's going to fight until he's dead, and it's very likely I'll be the one to kill him.
"It doesn't have to be this way Faith." Xander cheeps and scuttles from Faith to me so he can cling lightly to my ear as he perches on my shoulder.
"Yeah B. It really does. For him…it's gotta be just like this." Or he'll never rest again.