New Beginnings, Old Enemies

Chapter Four

Before she could turn. Before she could slip away in the hope that Buffy hadn’t recognized her or felt her presence, Faith became rooted to the spot. Her eyes locked with Buffy’s. Her heart thumped and pounded back into life as the world faded, leaving nothing but Buffy ahead of her. Buffy slowly walking towards her, slicing through the crowd as they parted for her, heads down and bodies moving, like so many zombies on a night out from the graveyard.

Buffy couldn’t believe her eyes. She wanted to rub them. She wanted to blink and do a double take, but she was busy trying to look composed. Trying not to let Faith know she was shocked, surprised, a little scared. . .a little excited.

The last time she had seen Faith, Buffy had felt so much better about herself. So much more self righteous, but now she felt unsure. She felt different. Changed. She still knew she was right and Faith was wrong. She still knew she was better and had the upper hand, but there was something inside her that had slipped.

She didn’t know what it was, and right now, with Faith’s dark eyes piercing her own. . .she couldn’t think straight enough to even begin to work it out.

As the music died in their ears, both slayers became focused on only each other. Their movements were subtle, small, barely movements at all, but they were beginning to circle each other. They were sizing each other up as if by habit, or nature. Like they were fated to be stuck in the same loop, repeating the same actions with each other. . .because it’s all they knew. It was the only way they could relate.

Faith didn’t know if she should run, if she should break the ice, or if she should fight. Throughout her time ensconced with Giles, she had thought about Buffy, she had dreamt about Buffy. She had even slipped back into old fantasies when her guard was down, but she hadn’t envisioned how their next meeting would go. She hadn’t dwelled on this moment. There was no rough-idea in her head about what would happen. It would be down to Buffy, as always. . .to take the lead.

As they moved closer, the patrons of the nightclub shifting clear of them as if they could sense the tension, the slayers looked each other over. It wasn’t sexual, it was instinctual. They were judging strength, checking for weak spots, looking for subtle signs of possible attack.

Faith really didn’t want to attack. She didn’t want to fall back into those old habits, not now. She was through with that with Buffy. She was through with fighting her. Faith had accepted that she was wrong, and that her apologies meant nothing. She could see that much in the depths of Buffy’s eyes. Into her soul that screamed its hate at Faith, without disguise.

“What are you doing here?” Buffy said under her breath, so quiet yet so loud it resonated through Faith.

She heard every word, every syllable that was dripping with disgust. Despite the roar of the sounds around them. . .there was no way she could have missed those words. That voice.

Faith didn’t have a reply, she just stared, right into Buffy as Buffy crept closer.

The heat of the packed room dissipated as a cold chill shot through Buffy. She felt it in every muscle, in every bone and sinew. In her heart and veins. The stark look she was receiving from Faith, as the question left her lips once again, told her nothing.

All she knew was that Faith was there, invading her territory yet again. Causing her mind to race in its attempt to deal with her presence, to deal with the reasons of the tension, the fear and the excitement. She had never understood why Faith had the power to cause so many conflicting emotions and feelings within her. The confusion had been there from day one, and right now. . .it was almost unbearable.

Buffy couldn’t take it, she had to make a move. She had to discover why Faith was there. How Faith was there. She had to know what came next.

Pushing her shoulders back, remembering how broken and defeated Faith was back at Angel’s, Buffy stepped forward and took the younger girl by the elbow. She exacted just enough force to lead Faith away from the dance floor and to the fire doors to the right.

Faith followed blindly, in no moral position to be difficult or uncooperative. Whatever it was that Buffy was leading her to. . .she couldn’t deny it. She couldn’t deny Buffy her hate or need to punish her. Faith knew, deep within herself, that she deserved the punishment. That Buffy was, and always would be, justified in the way she treated her.

As Buffy pushed open the fire doors, pulling Faith along with her, she ran through every possible outcome and consequence to come. Buffy was nothing if not forward thinking. She may not have appeared that way on the outside, but inside, she was forever thinking about how her actions would look. What her actions would say about her as a person. As a slayer.

Practically throwing Faith up against the wall of the alley they now found themselves in, Buffy asked again, “what are you doing here?”

Her words were loud and clear now, only the muffled sound of music in the background tainting the atmosphere that enveloped them both.

Faith looked down at the floor, her eyes glancing over to Buffy’s boots. They were black, they were hard, and they were clearly made for kicking ass. Faith had never seen Buffy wear anything so. . .Faith-like before.

“Faith,” Buffy practically spat the word, “why are you here? What do you want?”

Flicking her eyes back up to Buffy’s, Faith took a deep but slow breath. She had expected the pain that came from Buffy’s harshness. She had felt it in abundance when Buffy had made her feelings clear back in LA. It still stung, though. It still hit her right in the centre of her chest.

She tried to speak, but words failed her. There was no snappy, smart ass Faith left in her. There was no fight. No will to fight the girl before her.

Sighing, Faith ran a hand through her hair, finding it increasingly difficult to look the other girl in the eye. “We should go find Giles, he’ll explain,” Faith muttered.

“Giles? He knows you’re here? You’ve spoken to him?” Buffy’s eyes went wide and her heart leapt into her mouth. “Faith, I swear. . .if you’ve done anything to Giles, I’ll kill you.”

The words “I’ll kill you” caused Faith to stop avoiding eye contact, for a split second her dark brown pools of regret and pain became locked on Buffy. She knew Buffy meant it. She felt it in the cold hard stare. She felt it in the deep scar at her side.

“I know,” Faith whispered into the dark alley.

Both girls stopped all exchanges. All thoughts went back to that night. The night they fought to the death.

She didn’t regret it. Buffy knew her actions were the right ones. She only ever did the right thing. It hadn’t been a choice she could shy away from. Faith was wrong, and Faith had to be stopped. Buffy was a slayer, and stopping evil was her duty. Faith wasn’t going to make her feel like a victim ever again.

A minute passed as they stood in silence, the night air cooling their taught bodies as Buffy invaded all kinds of personal space. She had somehow moved closer to Faith, so they were almost touching as the taller of the two stood with her back to the dirty wall.

One step, and they would be pressed together. Faith could feel the heat radiating from Buffy. She could feel where Buffy’s skin was covered and where it lay open to the elements. She could feel the soft breaths of the other girl blowing over her cleavage as she breathed through her nose.

She could smell Buffy. With every intake of air, Faith’s senses hit overload as the scent of her supposed enemy filled her lungs.

She couldn’t help it, but it got her in places she knew it was wrong. It got her mind, it got her insides squirming, it got her yearning. Faith’s body wanted to be closer to Buffy’s. It needed the feel of her. It needed the scent of Buffy on her. She couldn’t describe the need. She didn’t understand the need, it just was. It always had been.

Buffy lowered her head, not in shame of what she had done. Never in shame. She lowered it to regain control of the situation. Faith couldn’t look her in the eye, but Buffy couldn’t stop looking into Faith’s. She wasn’t sure what she was looking for. Pain, remorse. . .fear. Maybe all that and more.

She didn’t need to look far, as it was all there on the surface, yet still her green eyes bore into Faith. Still she ensured Faith knew who had the upper hand as she forced her up against the wall with no escape.

She wasn’t touching Faith, but it felt like she was. It felt like their bodies were closer. It felt like every breath Faith took came straight from her own lungs. Like Faith was stealing her oxygen. Like she was feeding on her. Taking her in, again, the way she had done before. Swallowing Buffy up in her presence, in her aura. In her heat and wildness. In her frightening depths.

Buffy shook her head, loosening herself from whatever grip Faith always seemed to hold on her. It wasn’t something she could put a name to, a tag to. It wasn’t something she knew how to understand or deal with. Maybe it was their slayer blood, bound together through divine right. Maybe. . .but she didn’t know. It scared her, and that made her angry.

“You have two seconds to tell me what the fuck is going on, Faith,” Buffy demanded as she pushed her face closer to Faith’s, knowing it would intimidate her.

Faith tried to back further into the wall, not in fear, as she no longer feared death from the hands of Buffy. . .she had been there and knew if it came again, she would take it. She would take it from Buffy, because Buffy was her better.

She was trying to back away for more reasons than she wanted to divulge. Faith wanted to get away from Buffy’s eyes, from her smell, from her lips so close to her own. Even though the circumstances were messed up, Faith couldn’t help but want Buffy in every way that was screeching at her “no, no, no”.

“I’m here. . .” Faith began, unsure of why she really was there. To heal, yes, but she truly didn’t understand why Giles had taken her in. Why he was protecting her from Buffy. From this onslaught of mixed emotions. “I’m here ‘cause Giles took me in. He’s. . .helping me.”

Buffy narrowed her eyes, trying to process the information. “Helping you what? Learn to be human?” It was a cheap shot. A shot at the fact Faith had crossed over to the other side. To the demon side of their secret world.

It stung Faith, but she didn’t crumble. She took it. She had only been one step away from being a demon, from being a vampire. From being the exact opposite of Buffy and all that stood for being a slayer.

“You should ask Giles about the why,” Faith said, “I’m just doing what I’m told.”

Buffy laughed. It wasn’t a giggle, it wasn’t light, and it wasn’t meant to lift the mood. There was nothing but mockery and contempt in her tone. “Doing what you’re told? That’s a new one, Faith,” she said. “So if I tell you to get the hell out of my town, will you? Because we don’t have room for a faulty slayer here.”

Faith licked her dry lips and looked away from Buffy, holding her tongue. She didn’t want to be hurt by Buffy, no matter how much she deserved it. She wanted to ask the other girl to stop and back off. She wanted to tell her how sorry she was. She wanted to atone. But Faith knew Buffy would have none of it. She had told her that much at Angel’s.

She didn’t want to just stand and take a verbal beating, however, that cut deeper than any knife.

“B, we’re getting nowhere stood out here in this stinking alley, if we get back to Giles. . .” Faith realised why she was there in the first place. “Wait, where is Giles? He said he was gonna be with you.”

“I killed the demon, so he should be on his way back home,” Buffy informed her, then shook her head, getting back to the point. “Stop trying to distract me, I want to know what the hell you’re doing back here. Why aren’t you in jail with all the other psycho dykes?”

Faith was about to tell Buffy once again that she should talk to Giles, but the last comment caught her attention. Why had Buffy called her a dyke?

Faith creased her brow, and tried to think of any reason for Buffy to call her that. She couldn’t think of one. She had always presented herself as a man-eater, a slut who couldn’t get enough stick.

She’d had thoughts about Buffy. She had come to terms with the way Buffy made her feel, but she had never crossed a line and indicated to Buffy that she was into her, or gay. Or at least, she didn’t think she had. It was all such a blur. Every event, every feeling and desire, all smushed together in the fog and whirlwind of their short time together.

Faith didn’t know what to say. She was trapped, by Buffy being so close to her, and by her own fears and uncertainty. “There wasn’t any evidence,” is all Faith could come up with in her defence.

“So, the dead body didn’t give it away to the cops then, huh? The fact you killed him, dumped him like garbage, then went nutso,” Buffy sneered, pushing the limits, wondering herself why she had called Faith a dyke out of the blue.

Faith couldn’t take anymore. Her own self-hatred was enough, she didn’t need to hear it from Buffy. Not now. Not when she was so close to being on the right tracks for a change.

She stepped forward, away from the wall and right into Buffy’s space, not attempting to intimidate so much as just cause the shorter girl to back away a little.

Buffy didn’t back away, instead she saw the movement as a threat. As an indication that she had pushed Faith far enough to trigger her to lash out. To slip into the Faith that Buffy had grown used to.

Using both her hands to shove Faith back into the wall, Buffy grabbed onto the lapels of her jacket, keeping them tight in her grasp as she pressed her body into Faith, pinning her to the hard brick behind her.

“You move when I tell you to move,” Buffy snarled.

Her chest was firmly pressed into Faith’s, their exposed stomachs hot against each other as their shirts rode up in the confined space. Buffy could feel Faith’s warm breath tickling her lips where their faces lingered inches apart.

She didn’t think she’d ever been so close to Faith. She didn’t want to be so close to Faith. It made her crazy. It made her head crazy, and she couldn’t think straight.

Buffy tried to catch her breath, her heart pounding in her own ears. She wanted to throw Faith to the side, she wanted to move away, but she couldn’t. As if they were being bound together by some external force, Buffy stayed pushed right against the other girl.

She took a second to just look over Faith’s face. Her eyes darting as she took in every curve, every freckle, every little thing that made Faith the attractive girl she was. She was struck by the other girl’s delicate skin, her soft lips, her beauty under the mask of makeup.

It made her sick to her stomach. She hated Faith. She hated what Faith had done to her. What she had done to both her boyfriends. She hated the way Faith made her feel inside.

“I hate you, Faith,” Buffy said with an ice-cold tone.

It hurt Faith more than she could explain to herself. It hurt enough for a little of her old self to sneak out. “You coulda fooled me, B. With you all pressed up against me, getting hot n needy, I thought you were planning to fuck me against the wall.”

Before she could react or move, Faith felt the back of her head slam into the brick behind her, a sharp pain blinding her temporarily as her forehead split, right where Buffy had butted her.

Blood trickled between them and Buffy pulled away sharply, letting go of Faith’s jacket as she shoved her away in disgust. They stood facing each other, both poised, ready, hearts thudding and muscles twitching.

Swiping Faith’s blood from her brow, Buffy felt a little more of herself slip away. She had killed Faith, or tried to, once before. It had burned her soul. It had scarred her, no matter how much she denied it to herself. Now, faced with Faith before her, her blood once again on her hands, she had to decide what was right.

What made her the better person. The better slayer.

What made her right.



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