Note: Thanks to Chelle for the beta-job ^_^.
Faith stood on the patio outside a half remembered house and hoped that Giles hadn’t moved in the past eight months. Setting her shoulders and putting on her very best ‘I’m Buffy’ face, she pushed the door open and headed in.
“Giles! You won’t what believe what just happened!” Faith marched into his living room, where she found the Watcher and Buffy’s little friend, Willow. “Faith is out of her coma! We have to stop her!”
Instead of the shock and amazement she had expected, Faith’s pronouncement was met with only a sigh on Giles’ part, as he turned to admonish Willow. “I thought you told her last night.”
Willow turned a very, very bright red to match her hair before muttering, “I, uh, forgot.”
At that, Giles made an annoyed clucking sound before turning back to Faith. “If Willow had told you like she was supposed to, you would have known that Faith has been awake since yesterday. I hope she didn’t give you too much trouble?”
“Of course not. I’m the good guy. I always win.”
“Yes, well, that’s reassuring. Can you tell me the specifics of your encounter? How did Faith act? Where did she find you?”
Faith sat down, sprawling out in a chair, legs akimbo. “Not much to tell. I was walking along, minding my own business like a good little Slayer when Faith came along, I kicked her ass, she turned tail and ran.”
“And Faith? How would you describe her?”
Faith shrugged, but inwardly smiled. This was the perfect moment to start setting up dear old B for the fall. “I think she’s lost it, Giles. She’s a 100% guaranteed psycho.”
“When hasn’t she been a psycho,” Willow remarked. “I mean, check out what happened the last time. Teaming up with Mr.I-Wanna-Be-An-Evil-Demon and all? I’m just glad you’re okay, Buffy.”
Faith’s fists clenched involuntarily as she fantasized about driving a knife into the little witch’s gut. Instead of acting out her fantasy, she faced Willow and said, “I’m glad too. Faith is a very bad person. We should track her down, make sure she pays for her crimes. She shouldn’t be allowed to be free.”
That sounded appropriately self-righteous, Faith thought, as Giles and Willow nodded their heads in agreement. Feeling that her work there was done, she got up to leave. Spending the rest of the day with these losers when she’d just rejoined the big, wide world was not in her plan. There were so many other fun things to do. Maybe she’d start with Buffy’s little beefcake boy. He looked doable. And dumb enough not to notice if anything didn’t match up with Her Perfectness.
“Well, now that I’ve done my Slayerly duty, I’m off to patrol.”
Giles looked up at her oddly. “It’s the middle of the day, Buffy.”
“All the better to make the vamps go poof.”
“If you meet up with Faith again, she isn’t going to go ‘poof’.”
Faith pretended to think a moment, then shrugged. “Nah, I think it’d be more of a crunch.”
Giles pursed his lips at his Slayer’s flippant attitude. “Be that as it may, I’d rather you not go looking for her alone. If she’s as unstable as you’ve indicated, she will be exceedingly dangerous and – ”
“I can handle myself,” Faith snapped before bolting.
The two watched her go. Turning to his companion, Giles asked, “Did she seem out of sorts to you at all?”
Willow shrugged. “Not particularly. I think I’ll go try to talk to her.”
“I hope you don’t forget, this time?”
She reddened. “No, I won’t.” As she left, she muttered, “Buffy, you had so better spill all the juicy parts.”
Willow caught up with Buffy halfway down the street. Her friend seemed to be making as if the not-so-proverbial hounds of Hades were at her heels. Finally at her side, Willow asked, “Did everything go okay last night? And you can be honest, we’re away from Watchery hearing.”
“Last night?” Buffy frowned a moment, as if surprised by the question. “Sure. Went fine.” She kept walking.
“You are so not going to hold out on me like that,” Willow teased gently. “I want details. ‘Cause I ran into you two last night, and you guys were big with smoochies. C’mon. How far did you go?”
“Oh! Smoochies, last night. Well, we, uh – that’s not any of your business.”
Willow rolled her eyes. “We’re roomies. I saw the both of you making like bunnies on Viagra. I discreetly left for Tara’s and now want the scoop. So give.”
Buffy gave her a little smirk. “Bunnies on Viagra, huh? Surprised you didn’t stay for the whole show; bet you could have learned a trick or two.”
“Not exactly my kind of tricks anymore, you know,” she pointed out. “So – ”
“Tara’s. Tricks.” Buffy cocked her head, examining her.
Willow fidgeted. What was up with mood-swing Buffy?
Examination done, Buffy burst out laughing. “Never thought you would have had it in you, Will. You playing for the other team now?” She leaned forward, pursing her lips, “Wanna play with me?”
Willow pulled back from her suddenly very freaky friend. “Buffy? What’s up with you?”
“Nothing is ‘up’ with me. I’m the Slayer. I’m always five by five. Maybe I’m just not interested in some lame girl talk, okay? Maybe that’s why I’m not playing spill the beans. So why don’t you go home and suck face with your little girltoy.” With that, Buffy marched off, leaving Willow behind with a trembling lower lip and the strong feeling that something was horribly wrong.
As Faith strode away, she smirked. That might not have been in keeping with B’s squeaky clean image, but the barbs were too easy to dig into the little witch’s flesh. Payback was sweet. Now to go see what other fun things she could do. With any luck, she might find Mr. Bunny on Viagra for a round two. Beefcake boy, anyone?
As Buffy slowly regained consciousness, that was all she could think. Ow. Her head was throbbing. It reminded her of her cheerleading days, when the marching band would be blasting in their semi tuneful glory straight into her ear. That constant cacophony pounding on her skull.
Buffy forced herself to ignore the obnoxious drumming as she opened her eyes. Where was she? Sitting on the campus path where she’d met Faith. Some time had passed since then, judging by how low the sun had sunk. Why was she here? Going out on a limb, Buffy would guess something to do with that device Faith had been holding. What had it done? Buffy had no idea. It obviously hadn’t killed her – if she were dead, wouldn’t she notice? And all body parts felt attached. In fact, barring the drumline and various aches and pains, Buffy would say she was fine.
Now that she’d established the basics of the situation, Buffy decided she could risk standing. Carefully, since the world still had that annoying tendency to spin at the moment, she pulled herself to her feet. And looked down.
And realized something was wrong.
Buffy did not consider herself flat-chested by any means. She had a figure to be proud of and she knew it, based on the admiring looks she got. But these – Buffy reached up to cup them – definitely weren’t hers. Too big. And the shirt covering them was the wrong one, too. And the hair that fell down, obscuring her vision, was darker than even her roots ever were. In fact…..
It was Faith’s. Everything was. The hair, the chest, the skanky shirt. It all belonged to the Queen Slut Bomb herself. Buffy bit her lip. So if she was in Faith’s body, that meant –
Faith was in hers. And doing god only knows what with it.
Okay, she had to get her body back. Stat. Giles, here I come, and you had so better know it’s me.
I want you, let’s get married. Now I hate you, let’s get divorced. Now I like you, let’s go on a date. Let’s have sex. Nope! Too fast. Let’s slow down.
Spike took a generous swig of his beer. Could she ever make up her mind? Talk about mixed signals. In all the time he’d known her, Spike had never seen the Slayer be remotely consistent in what she wanted.
Except for punching him. She always seemed game for that.
Spike looked up, saw the bartender standing there, a sympathetic expression on his face. He downed the rest of the drink and gestured for another, saying, “Yeah, I guess you could say that.”
The bartender handed him a fresh bottle. “Makes you wonder what we see in them, huh? None of ‘em are really worth it.”
“Though some come close,” the bartender relented. He nodded towards the dance floor. “Like that chick over there. Guy might put up with a lot for the kind of good time she could give.”
Spike turned around to see who the bartender was pointing at. It was Buffy. Let’s Slow Down Buffy. The same girl who’s had second thoughts the morning after was dancing like she wanted a morning after with every guy in the place. A crowd of men and boys surrounded her, trying to get in on the action she promised with every movement of her body. Spike’s lips tightened as he watched Buffy, his wife, dammit, lean forward to rub herself suggestively against one particularly drunk looking frat boy, only to allow another one to press himself against her back. The crowd around her hooted and made catcalls at the sight.
His fists clenched, barely able to restrain the desire to rip the wankers to pieces and claim what was his. But obviously, judging from how she was acting, she wasn’t his. He stood up, grabbed his beer, and made his way to a dark corner, planning on getting as drunk as possible. Guess their little chat this morning has made up her mind. To seize the day with anything with a dick. Why settle for one when she could have them all?
Out of the corner of her eye, Faith saw the punk rocker wannabe storm away. He intrigued her. The only testosterone carrier in the whole joint who wasn’t panting like a dog over her. A pity. Blondie over there looked like a Grade A Hottie, even if he was a vamp. Faith’s lips curved up in a wanton smile. No way was she gonna back down from a challenge like that. Pulling away from her pathetic, drooling admirers, Faith sashayed over to Hottie.
“You’d make a girl feel lonesome, sitting here all by yourself,” she purred.
Spike glared at Buffy. What was she thinking, coming over here after she’d dry humped every guy in the place? “Slayer, get lost.”
Slight change of plans. He knew who she was. Or at least, who she was pretending to be. Faith put on her best Buffy smile and leaned over. “C’mon, don’t you wanna play? Bet we could have a real good time.”
Spike felt the warning twinges of his chip as he fought for control. She’s running hot now, all right, but hot for anything male. Growling, he asked, “You know what I hate about you sometimes, Slayer?”
She smiled cheerfully and said, “I'm a stuck-up tight-ass with no sense of fun?”
He smirked. “I wouldn’t say that. You and I both know you can be reaall fun.”
Faith thrust her chest forward to display what goods Buffy had been blessed with as she said, “That I could do anything I want, and instead I choose to pout and whine and feel the burden of Slayerness?” She shrugged, “I mean, I could be rich. I could be famous. I could have anything. Anyone.”
Spike stared at this girl oddly. Something was wrong here. He could feel it, buzzing at the edge of his senses.
Faith dismissed his confusion as that of a vamp wondering why the Slayer was coming on to him. In a sultry, seductive voice, she continued. “Even you. I could ride you at a gallop until your legs buckled and your eyes rolled up. I've got muscles you've never even dreamed of. I could squeeze you until you pop like warm champagne and you'd beg me to hurt you just a little bit more. And you know why I don’t?”
He watched her with interest, as it slowly dawned on him.
She forged onward, mistaking his interest for the sexual kind. A perverse desire in her told her to tease him just a little bit more. Her glossy lips slowly forming the answer to her own question. “Because it’s wrong.”
And then it clicked in Spike’s head, as he stared into the girl’s eyes. This wasn’t his Buffy. Not only was she completely oblivious to the fact that he and the Slayer were married and had spent the last night together (which was quite the tip-off), her eyes were wrong. Buffy’s eyes were full of passion and light.
This one had passion all right. But it was the dark, dangerous burn that reminded him of Drusilla, an inferno that destroyed everything in its path. His Slayer’s passion was tempered by experience, a steady flame in the hearth, full of warmth that reached out to encompass those she cared for.
Faith leaned back, smiling at having riled up the vamp. One moment, she was savoring her victory, the next –
“Let go of me before I stake you!”
Spike only tightened his grip, just barely inflicting pain. “Who are you and what have you done with her?” he snarled.
“What are you talking about?” she snapped. This shouldn’t be happening! How could a lousy vampire recognize the truth? “I’m going to break you into pieces, you bastard!”
He stood up, pulling her with him. “Tell me! What have you done to Buffy?” Spike shook her, desperate for answers. He was relieved that it hadn’t been his girl playing the whore earlier, but now that he had realized something had happened to Buffy, he was terrified. “Tell me or I’ll – ”
Spike never had a chance to finish the sentence. In his anger, he was shaking her so much the chip fired.
“Aarghhh!” Spike let go, overcome with the sudden, incredible pain.
Faith was no fool. She had no idea why the vamp was screaming in pain, but she took the opening and made a break for it, running out the door.
After the agony had receded, Spike realized she was gone. He flipped a mental coin over tracking her or finding Giles and telling him what was happening. The Watcher won. Hopefully, he could get some answers. As he left, cold worry churned in his gut. Was Buffy still in there, only possessed by some sort of demon or witch? Or was she gone altogether?
Faith ran down the street. What the hell? She can pull off the act for Buffy’s father-figure (admittedly brief it had been), Buffy’s best friend (who had just assumed she was in a bitchy mood), but not for some vampire? She had to get out of here. Maybe she could fake her death, blame it on B. That could be very satis –
Crash. Faith stumbled.
“Buffy, are you all right?” a concerned voice asked. Faith looked to see Beefcake Boy himself, the one she thought was B’s boyfriend.
Faith straightened and slipped her smile on. “Oh, I’m fine.” Leaning in slightly, she asked, “And how are you? I didn’t hit you too hard, did I? Because that,” she added flirtatiously, “would be awful.”
Riley blinked. Then blinked again. Buffy hadn’t acted like this with him in months. “I’m, uh, I’m fine too.”
“Good.” Faith smiled sweetly, holding that innocent expression for a beat, then another. Beefcake Boy responded with a goofy grin. He was interested. Without being obvious, she assessed him. Nothing like the hot hunk she’d just lost out on (she was still pissed about that – that was the first vamp she’d ever seen worth doing), but he looked like he could get the job done. She slid into his personal space slightly. Nothing overt, but enough to get the guy thinking.
Riley was confused. Was Buffy coming on to him? “Buffy?”
“That’s me.” Faith let her hand trail up and down his arm slightly, her eyes growing a little suggestive.
“Are, are you,” he blushed slightly, “are you flirting with me?” Then he stopped talking, clearly shocked with himself for asking such a thing.
“Do you want me to be?” she asked with a smile. She almost had him…..
“You know I’ve always liked you,” he said honestly. “Even after I found out about you and Spike.”
He grunted. “You know, that bleached asshole of a vampire who insists he’s married to you?”
Oh. That Spike. Faith’s eyes widened. Buffy was married? To a vampire? And not just any vamp. The one from the Bronze (which explained a lot). Huh. Live and learn. Things sure have changed. Will’s a lesbian, B’s married to a vamp that ain’t Angel….. what was next, Xander’s shacking up with some demon chick? Whatever. Adjustment of plans, here.
“I have no idea where you got that idea. There’s no way some vampire could compare to you,” she purred. True. Spike was so far above this guy in the hotness scale, there really was no comparison.
“But you said – ”
“I said what? That this Spike had my undying love? That we were together forever? If I did, I don’t know what I was thinking.”
Riley preened a little. “Really?”
“Really. Something was obviously messing with my mind if I thought, I, a Slayer, should be with my mortal enemy, a vampire. That’s just….. wrong.” Faith’s lips forming the last word slowly, giving it the same caress she had earlier.
“I knew you were better than that,” Riley told her, overjoyed to hear Buffy say all the things he wanted her to, thinking all the things he wanted her to.
“So now that we’ve cleared up my past stupidity, you want to go someplace quite and, maybe, talk a little?” The way Faith said, ‘talk’, implied anything but talking. Riley nodded, entranced by this seductive blonde beauty who seemed focused on him and only him, all his dreams coming true.
“You and Spike are through?” he asked, hopefully.
“Totally,” Faith promised. “In fact, maybe you and I can stake him together. Sort of a joint project. But first,” she whispered into his ear, “let’s get reacquainted.”