Note: Big thanks to Chelle for beta'ing this chapter.
This was a nice dream, Buffy thought. Someone was holding her in his arms, peppering light kisses n her hair while tracing little patterns on her back. It tickled a little. Buffy giggled and pushed a little at the tickling hand before trying to burrow herself deeper into the sheets. Though the mattress she was lying on seemed harder than she remembered.
She decided to ignore that and try to go back to sleep. She didn’t want this comfy dream to end.
Then the mattress started rumbling.
“You awake, love?”
Buffy opened her eyes. And realized her lovely dream wasn’t actually a dream. She was snuggled up against Spike, who had one hand on her back and the other stroking her hair. Her own hands were resting comfortably on his chest. The bedcovers were twisted and tangled every which way, the bouquet of flowers lay wilted on the floor, and somehow some roses from the bouquet were mixed up with the sheets. Oh, and neither of them was wearing, well, anything.
Last night’s activities came crashing back to her. Last night’s very, very pleasurable activities… What had she been thinking? Oh yeah, seize the moment. Seize the Spike (ooh, that had been fun). Buffy’s eyes glazed over, her mind in a happy place. Then moral voice kicked in. Stop it, Buffy! Seizing the moment is bad! Look what happened the last two times you seized the moment… Hey, wait a second. It’s the morning after and the guy’s still here!
And apparently interested in seizing the moment some more, Buffy thought as Spike’s hands started to wander. Buffy pushed them away as she tried to figure out if she had been Good Decision-Maker Buffy or Bad Decision-Maker Buffy. The pros were telling her to be happy she had a lover; the cons were saying that she shouldn’t have rushed things…
Spike felt her withdrawal and stopped his ministrations, a slight frown crossing his face. “What is it?”
Buffy shifted and faced him, pulling up a sheet to cover herself. “It’s nothing.”
Spike waited, watching her intently.
“It’s just…” Buffy trailed off, as she sought to explain.
“Don’t say this isn’t what you wanted. I’d like to point out, love, that you were the one who kissed me first.”
“I know, Spike. I was there, too, remember? I’m just not sure if this was a good idea. I mean, we’ve just started dating, and now this and I don’t think we should have - ”
Spike gave her a miffed look.
“Except for that,” Buffy reassured. “That was good.” Then she panicked, past experiences coming up to haunt her. “It was good, right?”
Sensing an opening, he leaned forward, saying, “It was wonderful,” before trying to kiss her.
Buffy scooted away and Spike fell face-first into the covers. “Spike! You’re missing the point!”
Lifting himself up, he muttered, “I don’t think you’ve gotten to it yet.”
“The point is that no matter how fun or, or wonderful all of this,” Buffy made vague waving gestures to encompass them and the bed, “was, we shouldn’t have.”
“You started it,” Spike pointed out, sounding more than a little petulant.
“Well the thing is, I shouldn’t have. I should have known better.” Buffy got up and started pacing, entering full rant mode. “I mean, what if Willow had come in? It’s not like I have a single, you know. And according to the dorm rules, I’m not even supposed to have a guy in my room after two. And the RA’s already leery at me after the whole demon-roomie incident. And – Would you look at me while I’m talking?!”
Spike had been looking at her, just not in the right direction. He’d opted to enjoy the view of a naked pacing Buffy. Deciding that mentioning that would be a bad idea, instead he said, “First of all, even if Red had, she’s got the sense to turn around and go straight to her fellow witch’s place, and leave us be. Second, you and I both know that those dorm rules are never enforced. And third – what demon-roomie?”
“Long story.” Buffy retreated to her closet and began to hastily yank on various layers. “But do you see what I’m saying?”
“Yes, I do.” Spike swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up, pulling his discarded pants on before facing her. “I see you’re the one missing the point here. What did you say last night? Seize the moment? Love, when you go off and carpe diem like that, you’re not supposed to obsess about it afterwards! That’s the beauty about being impulsive, that you don’t obsess about the consequences. That all you focus on is the now. On what you feel and what you want. And last night,” he strutted a little, “you wanted me. So deal with that and stop retreating.”
Buffy glared at him. “Last night, I was rationalizing stupid hormoney thoughts brought on by annoying vampires who gave me flowers!”
“That's one I haven't heard before, 'Beware vampires bearing gifts'. C'mon, just admit that you want me. Because I know I want you. Last night, and that time in the motel room, shows just how good it can be if you give in to it."
“Haven’t you been listening? It doesn’t matter if we’re compatible or whatever, what matters is that I’ve just had sex with a guy who I know practically nothing about!”
“That’s not true,” he protested.
“Spike, all I know about you is this: your name is William Montgomery, your ex-girlfriend was Drusilla, you’ve killed two Slayers, and that you think the world is worth saving because of Happy Meals with legs. I know nothing personal about you – what shows you like, how old you are, where you were born, or anything at all, really.”
“You have to know more than that. We’ve known each other for three years.”
“And the first time we met you told me you were going to kill me!”
“So? It’s not like I can at the moment.”
Buffy stomped her foot. “You can be so dense at times!”
“Then explain it to me,” he snapped back.
“I wanted to take my time and see if we had anything besides passion tying us together. I wanted a real relationship before we went and actually did anything. But then you showed up with the flowers and were so sweet and handsome and I knew nothing in my dreams could top the real deal and,” she noticed Spike’s chest puffing out, “stop looking so satisfied or I’ll – ”
“You’ll what?” He leaned in and placed his mouth just a hair’s breadth away from her ear. “You’ll stake me?” Buffy closed her eyes, as his lips just barely tickled her skin. “Or maybe you’ll let me stake you?”
Her eyes shot open as she moved away. “Yes to the first, no to the second. Do you ever think about anything else?”
“No. And I have no problem admitting to it, Slayer.” Buffy noticed that it was the first time he’d called her Slayer since their conversation the night before. After she had started with the kiss, it had been nothing but Buffy (and goddess and sweetheart and love). Until now. “I’m a creature of passion. What I want, I try to get, and I enjoy doing it. You, on the other hand, can’t make up your mind. I hope you tell me when you do.”
Spike reached out and pulled her up against him, hard.
“Just remember – a creature of passion has,” he punctuated each word with a thrust against her, “A lot. More. Fun.”
Spike let her slide down to the ground, noting with satisfaction her raised heartbeat and flushed cheeks. He then picked up his duster and shirt before turning to leave. “And another thing – I was born in London, was twenty-six when I was turned, have been a vampire for about 120 years and my favorite show is Passions. I like real football, as compared to the pathetic American version, and my favorite colors are black and red. The last two you should have figured out. Hope you enjoy the flowers, luv.”
Buffy stood there a moment, confused. What was he trying to say? What had just happened? She distractedly picked up the wilted bouquet and smoothed the ribbon holding it together. Stroking the still soft petals, she tried to figure out the answer to the question he had asked.
What did she want?
Looking at the clock, Buffy realized the question would have to be pondered while trying to take notes in Modern European History.
Buffy still hadn’t figured out the answers by the time she walked out of the dark lecture hall into the bright sunlight, making her way back to her dorm. Lost in the mystery that was her relationship with Spike, she didn’t hear Riley come up to her until he was practically shouting in her ear.
“Hey, Buffy, how’re you doing? You’re not still mad at me about the whole Lowell thing, are you?" he asked, anxiously. "It was just that I was so thrown by it all.”
Buffy spent a moment wishing Riley would whisk himself away, preferably somewhere faraway, like Antarctica. But Joyce had succeeded in instilling a modicum of manners in her daughter (no matter how many times she had despaired otherwise) and so Buffy said, “Riley, I’m not mad at you about that. We were totally mojo’d up that night, and I really shouldn’t have lied to you about Spike. Something was gonna happen. What you said, was, yeah, upsetting and pissed me off, but I get where you were coming from. So it’s all forgiven, okay?” She continued walking.
Riley kept pace beside her. “That’s, that’s good. I didn’t want us to end on that note, you know? It just felt wrong. Especially since we’re both on the same side, when you get down to it.”
Buffy nodded and kept moving, trying to figure out some graceful way to get rid of him. This was way, way too awkward. Hopefully Riley would take the hint and leave.
But this was Riley. He didn’t and kept following her. “I wanted to talk to you about that. It doesn’t make much sense not to talk to each other, since we’re really the only liaisons for our organizations. We better talk, if only so we don’t try to take on the same HST. No point in being taken out by friendly fire, huh?”
“That’s true. I know I don’t want to take out a camouflage-painted commando just because he gets in the way.” Buffy noticed Riley’s slightly wounded expression and reined her inner bitch in a little. No reason to hurt the poor guy’s feelings. “Or vice-versa.”
Riley smiled, pleased with her concession. His current orders were to reopen communication between him and the Slayer, then determine the best course of action according to her response. Seeking more data, he asked, in a polite, conversation making voice, “Out of curiosity, how are you and Spike doing?”
Buffy rolled her eyes. What a swell question for Riley to choose to ask. “I don’t know. It’s… complicated. We have our ups and downs.” She added wryly, “I guess we’re like most couples. If you take out the mortal enemy aspect.”
Riley perked up, heartened by this discovery. They were having problems? That would make his assignment so much easier. Maybe Buffy would even realize what a mistake she’s made and help him recapture Hostile 17! But that plan would have to wait for later. He would report to Walsh with what he had learned.
“This is my stop, Buffy. Hope to talk to you soon!”
“We’ll see. ‘Bye.” Buffy watched him finally leave, relieved. She was impressed with how well Riley was handling himself, all things considered. But that didn’t mean she wanted to talk to him.
From her vantage point behind a tree, Faith watched Buffy talk with some cute-looking football type. Not a bad one there, Buff, she thought, you could do worse. I’d do him. Of course, I’ve been lying on my back for the past eight months, and not in that fun kind of way.
Faith reached down and felt the faint scar where the knife had gone in. Since she had woken up from the coma, she’d found out all the ways B had ruined her life. The one person who ever gave a damn about her was gone, eight months of her life were missing, and B was chatting it up with some college boy like nothing had happened.
She gripped the strange device Richard had left her. She didn’t know what it did, but he had wanted her to have it. And if it did something to Buffy, Faith would be happy to go for it.
Buffy was now alone now, just walking along. Faith could tell B was lost in her own world, not paying attention like a Slayer ought to. Even on a sunny day like this. Now’s the time to teach B a lesson in how a Slayer should act. She waited until Buffy passed the tree before she made her move.
“Hey B, long time, no see.”
Buffy jerked backwards, shocked by the face which greeted her. When had Faith gotten out of her coma? “What are you doing here?” she demanded.
“You didn’t hear the news? You didn’t kill me as good as you thought. I’m all woke up, as good as new.” Faith threw out her arms and stretched. “Man, it feels good. Only one thing is gonna make this better.”
“Let me guess. You killing me?” Buffy shifted into full fight mode, dropping her books and stepping away, automatically balancing her weight in preparation.
“Actually, I was going for the complete ruination of your life, but killing you works for me too.”
“I did not ruin your life. You did that on your own. All I did was try to clean up the mess you made.”
“So it’s my fault you stabbed me? My fault I’ve been in a coma for eight months? My fault you killed the only person who ever gave a damn about me? Wow, B, that’s bad. Even for you. But I forgot. Miss Perfect Slayer can never do anything wrong, can she? She’s always right, always the hero,” Faith mocked, circling Buffy.
Buffy held her ground. “Can we skip the insulting banter and just fight already? You’re boring me.”
“Too bad. You know, I was planning on killing all your friends first before I got to you, but then I found this.” Faith brandished her new toy. “I don’t know what it does, but I’m hoping for the melting of your flesh off your bones. What do you think?”
“I think you should shut up and prepare to get your ass kicked.”
“I was hoping you’d say that.”
The two Slayers circled each other for a few moments, neither making a move. Then Faith finally rushed in and aimed a kick at Buffy’s midsection. Buffy evaded the blow and tried for a punch of her own. They fought, sometimes striking, other times blocking. At first, Buffy had the upper hand. She was fitter and in condition, since she'd been up and about while Faith lay dormant. Buffy was able to get a few good blows in. But Faith was running on rage, her drug of choice. After she took a good hit to the face, Faith sent Buffy reeling backward with a one-two combination of her own. As Buffy tried to recover, Faith tackled her and sent the both of them falling to the ground. Seizing her opportunity, Faith clasped Buffy’s hand and gripped tight, hoping whatever magic was held in the device would finish this once and for all. As a white-hot light enveloped them, Buffy managed to slam her fist against the back of Faith’s head, knocking the other girl unconscious.
As the world faded to black, Faith thought, Damn, and I thought it would work…
Faith opened her eyes.
And realized several very important things. She was still outside lying on the path at U Sunnydale. The sun hadn’t changed position, so she hadn’t been out long. And most importantly – there was a body lying next to her, a black eye already forming. And the face surrounding that black eye was Faith’s own.
With slightly trembling hands, Faith reached back and pulled her hair forward. It was blonde, and a little crinkly. She sat up slowly, running her hands along her body. The chest was smaller and covered in a tank Faith never would have chosen, and the legs encased in a pair of blue jeans were the wrong length.
Faith smiled like the cat that had eaten the canary. Her inheritance was better than she had thought it could be. No skins melting from bones for Buffy’s body. No, this was even better. She now had Buffy’s body.
She stood up and debated what to do about the unconscious Faith-shape lying there. Chances were B had taken up residence inside that old skull of hers. Should she snap the neck now or wait? Faith thought a moment, then smiled. She had an even better idea. Get B’s beloved Scoobies help her track down and catch that horrible, nasty old Faith and put her away, where she belonged.
Faith gathered up the scattered books, smoothed her brand-new hair before leaving to go see her Watcher like a good Slayer should, and tell him about that awful meeting with the rogue Slayer.