You Pull The Strings

Chapter Six

As soon as Willow was out of sight, Faith started to shake. Adrenaline was crashing through her body and her veins. She had been holding back with every last bit of control she had, as the black rush of anger had wanted to lash out at Willow for threatening her bond with her fellow slayer.

Faith stood with her eyes fixed to the spot Willow had turned the corner and disappeared. She didn’t feel like she could move. Like as if she dared twitch any muscle she would erupt into a mass of rage. Faith felt an overwhelming burn of power inside her, boiling her from the inside out. She felt trapped in her own body, wanting to fight her way out of it and run.

The troubled girl took a quivering deep breath and fought for control of her limbs and mind. She tried to dodge the instinct to damage something. To hurt something, or kill something. She looked down at her scuffed boots and forced herself to move away.

Faith turned and wandered away in a daze of violent images running rampant through her muddled mind. She stumbled her way towards the hotel feeling sick to the stomach with every step. She balled her hands into tight, painful fists, not caring what she must have looked like to passers by because she didn’t even notice them being there, let alone them staring at her.

She was well aware in the haze of her sudden madness, that she had done totally the wrong thing. She had just made the biggest mistake of her life; falling back on old instincts to threaten violence, to shirk responsibility for her actions, and not think about possible consequences.

Faith could see them now as she closed the door to her room behind her. Consequences thundering towards her. Growling their disgust at her, and laughing because they knew. They knew she had fucked up once again.

Faith sat down heavily on the end of her bed, staring at the worn and dirty carpet, seeing patterns in the threadbare patches. Seeing her fate flashing before her eyes.

She pulled the elaborate dagger out of its sheath and glowered at it, noticing how it gleamed in the harsh light of the overhead bulb. It was mocking her in all its finery for sinking so low, and for using the power she knew she held inside her to frighten somebody who really didn’t deserve it. Somebody she was supposed to class as a friend.

Her hands were shaking as she grabbed the sharp blade. All she could see were the images of Willow’s fear. Her ashen face trembling and gentle eyes wide with shock and surprise.

Faith gripped the knife, watching as it cut deep into her palm. The blood dripped freely over the stark silver of the blade and onto the floor. She winced as she sliced deeper, her strengthening grip holding the blade tightly, the glimmering red of her blood transfixing Faith as it trickled down her wrist. She didn’t feel any pain. At least not in her palm. It was in her heart. And it felt like it was pumping pure agony around her body. She could see and feel all the bad things she had ever done, all the hurt and anger raw and painful as she cut deeper still.

Faith knew Buffy would come. She could feel it in her veins, just as much as the pain. Buffy wasn’t going to go easy on her for fucking up. For messing up her already pretty shitty life.

She dropped the knife onto the blood soaked carpet and wiped her palm down her thigh, darkening the black denim. She stood. Her face pale and legs shaky, Faith grabbed the duffel bag that was placed near her bed. Without thinking about what she was doing or where she was going, forgetting her promise to Buffy to never leave her, Faith began to pack her meagre belongings into the old bag. She moved quickly to the bathroom to collect her scant selection of products from within. Then Faith froze. . .as she heard the door to the motel room crash open.

“Faith!” Buffy called, sounding extremely angry.

Faith took a deep breath and emerged from the bathroom. She stood by the doorframe, not having a clue what Buffy would do to her.

Buffy glanced towards Faith’s bag. “I see you’re planning to run from responsibility again. But this time. . .there’s no mean, ugly vampire after you. Just little old me,” Buffy quipped, slamming the door shut as she moved further into the room. “Now tell me. . .what the fuck is going on, Faith?”

* * *

Clearly seething, Buffy looked down at the knife and the small pool of blood on the floor, and then back up at Faith. She had a wild look in her darting green eyes, like she was preparing to slay. They were dark and menacing. There was no compassion there until she noticed the blood slowly dripping from Faith’s wounded hand.

Faith saw the quick flicker of concern, but Buffy seemed to mentally shake herself out of it, and she moved forward with her harsh expression back. Buffy looked ready to attack, her muscles twitching and her jaw clenched.

“B. . .I dunno what came over me,” Faith began, unsure how pointless it was going to be to plead forgiveness.

“You don’t know what came over you?” Buffy repeated; every word coming out slow and sinister. “You just threatened my best friend with a fucking knife. You terrified her.” Buffy clenched her fists, her chest rising and falling in deep controlled breaths.

Faith sighed. She didn’t know what to say. There was no excuse for what she had done to Willow so she doubted very much that she could convince Buffy that it had happened in a moment of madness. She hadn’t even thought about what Buffy now knew of the reasons why she had done what she had to Willow.

“She told me everything, Faith. Everything,” Buffy said slowly, moving closer to Faith. Stalking towards her. She spoke in a low and ominous tone, looking directly into the taller girl’s eyes.

Faith knew exactly what Buffy was getting at. Buffy now knew what had happened between them when she’d lost her memory. Faith crumbled a little more inside.

“How dare you threaten my friend,” Buffy spat out, swinging her arm and backhanding Faith hard in the jaw.

She had moved too quickly for Faith to react, although she doubted she would have ducked anyway. The room span as Faith fell to the floor. She touched her jaw then rose from her position on the dirty carpet, standing in a loose defensive stance. Buffy glared into Faith’s now hard eyes, daring her to hit back.

“That was for Willow.” Buffy pounced forward and struck Faith again in the face, sending her crashing into the wall behind her. “And that was for taking advantage of me. Ya see, when I said Willow told me everything. I meant everything about how you used me when I’d lost my memory,” Buffy confirmed, sounding angry but also clearly hurt too.

Faith tried to pull herself up to a standing position, but she was temporarily winded, and now her nose was bleeding along with her palm. She could feel her pulse bounding, the blood rushing through her as her own anger once again rose within her. Faith wanted to hit out but held back, using all her scant restraint not to make matters worse for herself.

“B, I’m sorry.” Faith struggled to her feet and leant against the now damaged wall, wiping her bloodied nose on her sleeve.

“You’re sorry? Faith, I trusted you and you screwed me over. How could you do that to me?” Buffy grabbed Faith by the shoulders and pressed her further into the wall.

Faith couldn’t react because all she could feel was guilt. It was washing over her in torrents, drenching her with its thick taint of shame and remorse. She could feel her already shattered heart screaming its pain. Buffy looked disgusted at her, and she felt it, she felt disgusting.

“Buffy, I didn’t mean to. . .” Faith began, attempting to explain how she hadn’t meant to allow things to get out of hand, and that she should have been strong enough to resist, but Buffy interrupted.

“I was wondering what the hell was going on with my dreams, and the crazy flashbacks. But don’t worry, Willow filled me in. She told me how you seduced me into going home with you,” Buffy said, looking directly into Faith’s eyes. “How you then seduced me into your bed.” Buffy pushed at Faith again. “Was it fun violating me when I didn’t know any better, Faith? When I couldn’t. . .when I didn’t know how to tell you to stop.” Buffy had tears streaming down her face now, her grip on the younger slayer tight and painful.

“Whoa, wait a minute, twinkie,” Faith interrupted. “What the fuck has Willow been filling your head with?” Willow had obviously filled in the blanks of what little she knew.

Willow wasn’t aware that it was Buffy who had asked to go home with Faith, and that it was Buffy that had done the seducing, but she had unfairly implied that Faith had basically raped Buffy.

“I trusted you, Faith. I fucking trusted you.” Buffy’s anger regained its hold and she slammed Faith into the wall again, punching her in the jaw as she held her, splitting Faith’s lip.

Faith’s head whipped to the side; her dark hair damp with sweat, clung to her neck and face. She turned her eyes slowly back to Buffy and licked at the blood trickling from her swollen lower lip.

“Oh yeah, that’s right,” Faith said harshly, her blood beginning to boil, “you fucking believe everything that jealous bitch told you, because I bet it’s a whole lot easier than admitting the truth.” Faith was getting pissed off; her restraint breaking at the thought that Buffy could believe that she would hurt her in such a way.

Faith wasn’t about to feel guilty for something she hadn’t done. She felt bad that she had been weak enough to allow Buffy to take control and sleep with her. But she hadn’t violated Buffy. In fact she hadn’t even touched her; certainly not as intimately as Buffy had touched Faith.

“The truth? You don’t seem to know what that means, Faith.” Buffy moved to strike the brunette again, but this time Faith wasn’t just going to stand and take it.

She caught Buffy’s arm and used the other girl’s momentum to spin her around and throw her into the wall she had been held against. Buffy bounced off the brickwork with her face and she tried to turn around to retaliate, but Faith wasn’t about to let her.

Faith sprung on Buffy, holding her face first against the wall. They were both breathing hard as Faith pressed her larger frame into Buffy’s. Buffy tried to struggle free but Faith was under the control of her slayer-strength now and her mind was a black fog, willing her to hit out at something. She pushed her weight into Buffy and held her arms, trembling with barely constrained rage.

There was screaming in her head and she realised it was her dark nature telling her to let rip. To give back what she had just taken from Buffy. She could feel her body give in to her bloodlust and anger, clouding any other feeling she had for Buffy as she roughly pushed her against the wall.

Faith wasn’t about to be accused of doing something so vile to Buffy. And she wasn’t about to let Buffy get away with thinking she had it in her to do that to her, no matter who she was and what she meant to Faith. Faith was too proud for that. Too stubborn. And now too lost in the power snaking its way into her limbs.



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