Self-Inflicted Wounds

Written: July 6, 2009

Rating: R for self-harm.

Timeline: Season Three

Pairing: Very very slight Buffy/Faith

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or make money from writing about them.

Summary: We all have scars. Some people make their own.


Buffy cuts herself because she knows she's not the flawless angel that everyone thinks she is. She can't deal with the fact that everyone expects her to be perfect and doesn't acknowledge for a moment that underneath the slayer lies a simple girl who only wants to be normal, screw-ups and all.

Get good grades, Buffy. Run fifty laps without breaking a sweat, Buffy. Be the prettiest girl at the dance, Buffy. Save the world again, Buffy.

Some days the pressure to be perfect for them is more than she can bear. She slips into the bathroom at night and uses her Lady Bic to slice into that perfect tanned flesh. Drags it across the skin of her upper thighs and watches the blood drip until her perfect slayer healing begins to heal the shallow cuts before her very eyes.

The scars only remain for a few days each time but in those days, Buffy breathes a little easier. While she gets good grades and runs fifty laps without sweating and is the prettiest girl at the dance and saves the world again and again . . . she knows that deep down she's not the perfect girl they imagine her to be. She's flawed, marred, damaged.

It feels good to be normal, even if only for a short while; even if the evidence is hidden under her clothes for only her to see.

Faith cuts herself to feel. Years back she had to shut off her emotions and learn to be impassive just to get by. A basic survival mechanism for a kid who took to the streets instead of dealing with the never ending shit storm that was her home life.

The problem was, though, that when she finally wanted the feelings back - the emotions that tickled her stomach and made her smile and made her heart beat a little bit faster without the help of a good slay or lay - she couldn't figure out how to turn them back on.

How do you get blood from a stone?

So she sat on the back of a dirty bus from Boston to Los Angeles and then to Sunnydale, using the dagger her Watcher had once given her as a gift to slice the skin on her arms. She gets closer and closer but never quite close enough to her wrists every time. As much as she knows death might be easier, she thinks that maybe the pain the careful slicing brings could eventually bring back other feelings.

It's not until she's in Sunnydale that she starts to think that maybe the cutting is working. The first time she sees Buffy outside the Bronze after dusting that fashion-impaired vamp, she feels the tingling in her stomach that brings a smile to her face. Damn, it sure had been a while.

She invites Buffy out to slay and though the girl is hesitant - her friends are wary and concerned for her safety - she joins Faith anyhow. They find a group of newbie vamps inside a crypt in Restfield and fight back to back until it's only them and several piles of dust.

Faith is exhilarated and it has nothing to do with slaying. She doesn't know anything about Buffy besides the fact that she's a slayer but something about the girl is making her feel all kinds of things she thought long dead.

Buffy turns and holds her hand to her face where several punches had landed moments before. She waits for Faith to panic like her friends would, like her Watcher would; pretty little Buffy and her bashed-in perfect face!

The full-out belly laughing she gets in return is understandably unexpected but not unwelcome.

"Dude, you totally got owned, B!" Faith laughs, clutching her stomach with one arm and pointing at Buffy's split lip with the other.

"For what it's worth, the vamps I killed were both angrier and bigger."

Faith grabs her hand and drags her out of the cemetery, still laughing as they head across the street to a twenty-four hour convenience store. The brunette runs inside and comes out two minutes later with a disposable camera and a stolen six-pack of beer.

"Come on, girlfriend. Most girls can't take a beating to the face like that every day. Gotta celebrate, commemorate the occasion."

They run until they're a safe distance form the store, hand-in-hand until they find a park bench to rest on. Faith rips the camera from its plastic wrap and snaps several pics of Buffy's marred face, laughing when Buffy starts to pose for her.

Buffy can't help but smile despite the pain in her jaw and split lip. There's no fussing over her injuries. Instead there's celebrating about the fact that she's not perfect; that she let a vamp smash her face in and that she lived to tell the tale.

With the last two pictures left on the film, Faith turns the camera around and wraps her arm over Buffy's shoulder, posing for a self-portrait. Her sleeve lifts up and reveals a series of jagged scars in various stages of healing, similar to the ones Buffy has on her thighs. Buffy's lip splits even more as she smiles for the camera, letting the blood drip slowly down her chin.

It might be a bit gruesome but hey, she's never felt more normal in her life. A bit of physical violence and petit larceny can do that to a girl.

Though they only just met each other, they know it's the last time they'll ever suffer from self-inflicted wounds.

The End.

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