Written: June 19, 2010

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: Buffybot/Faith

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, nor do I make any money from writing about them.

Summary: Faith finds herself with a new friend at her side when she comes back to Sunnydale after Buffy's death.

Notes: Takes place somewhere between the end of season 5 and season 6, but AU, obviously. Written for the Buffybot Round of the Femslash Minis Ficathon.

The night air is cool and crisp and Faith breathes it in nice and deep as she walks slowly through Restfield Cemetery. Fallen leaves crunch beneath her feet and she almost smiles at her complete lack of stealth. It doesn't matter to her though; she's not trying to avoid being found. In fact, she's hoping a few vamps will stumble upon her and liven up the night a bit.

There's no cliched stench of death or decay despite the burial grounds just beneath her feet. You really want to smell death and decay? Try living in a prison for a few years. There might not be any corpses but for all intents and purposes, prisons are pretty much full of people that are dead in one way or another.

Luckily for Faith, she hadn't been locked up quite long enough to lose hope and become just another walking corpse serving twenty-five to life. Her unexpected revival came on the heels of Buffy's death. Her new-found freedom is completely bittersweet: isn't it odd how death always seems to bring forth new life?

And that's what everyone keeps telling her this is. A new lease on life, a new beginning, a second shot at a first impression. Whatever though, Faith thinks. The only reason they need her here is because Buffy is dead and they don't want to get eaten by monsters. It's all fine and good; Faith plays the part and does what she's expected. For her though, it's all for shit. The only reason she had ever wanted redemption in the first place was because of Buffy, and now that Buffy is gone, well . . . it all just seems empty. Unimportant.

It doesn't seem to matter what she thinks or how she feels though. She's been given an apartment, a small monthly stipend for costs of living, and her freedom. As far as the Scoobies seem to be concerned, she's already been given more than she deserves and thus they don't waste much time on her. As long as she's slaying and not having evil-relapse, she doesn't see them. It's just as well though; she can't really look any of them in the eye anyhow, and as much as Giles tries to be friendly with her, she knows that he'll always put Buffy above her.

She shakes her head and pauses next to a row of headstones beneath a maple tree, digging into her jacket pocket for her pack of smokes. Unfortunately for her, she hears the snap of a twig nearby too late and doesn't even have time to take a defensive stance before she's tackled to the ground with her attacker taking a leisurely seat atop her.

It was a rookie mistake - getting distracted by her thoughts when she should have been on alert - and she deserves whatever she's about to get. Giles is right: Buffy is above her.

Only literally this time.

"Ha! I've pinned you yet again!"

"Guess ya did, B-bot," Faith replies, unable to keep the small smile from her face.

Finding out that Buffy had died was bad. Learning that Spike had made some kind of living breathing sex-doll version of Buffy was even worse. Finding out that the Scoobies had re-programmed her to help patrol and - presumably - keep an eye on Faith was almost enough for Faith to tell them all to fuck off and get eaten by monsters.

But then she'd met the Bot out on patrol one night. She'd been given a heads up by Giles but it still hadn't kept her from lashing out. She'd punched and kicked and yelled and screamed, and when it was over and the Bot was standing before her, smiling and offering her a hand up, she'd cried.

And now three months later, the Buffybot is the only one who seems to give a damn about her.

"I see that Red's really been working on that programming, huh. You've got some mad ninja skills."

"Yes, Willow has been improving my stealth, speed, and accuracy," Buffybot says, then flashes something that Faith can only call a mischievous grin. Damn, that must've been something she'd picked up from Faith. "Maybe we should get her to work on your stealth and speed too."

Faith laughs and, instead of trying to get up, decides to make herself more comfortable instead. She interlaces her fingers and puts them under her head, lifting it up just a tiny bit from the damp ground.

"I dunno, B-bot. I think her girl might kick my ass if Red tries to stick anything in my port."

"Don't worry, I'm a slayer. It's my job to protect the innocent. I won't let anyone kick your ass."

"I don't think anyone could, what with you keepin' it pinned to the ground and all," Faith says, looking down between them to where Buffybot is still pressed against her. It's a position she's found them in all too often lately, but really - she isn't complaining.

Still, she's feeling anything but innocent right now.

"Would you like to concede victory so that I can let you up?"

Faith thinks about it for a second before shrugging. "Nah. I'm not exactly crying out in discomfort here."

"I have some remaining bondage applications in my storage bank. I can access them if you'd like to cry out in discomfort."

Her grin is firmly back in place and Faith can't help but chuckle. It's official: she's finally found someone who can match her flirt for flirt, innuendo for innuendo.

Too bad it's a robot.

"Yunno what? I'm gonna say no to the bondage fun," Faith says with a slight shake of her head, sitting up so that she's nearly chest to chest with Buffybot. "So yeah, I concede. You win, B-bot."

"You can call me Buffy if you like," Buffybot offers.

Faith smiles almost sadly and shakes her head as she pulls a dried leaf from Buffybot's hair. "No, I really can't."

"May I still collect my reward for winning?"

Faith chuckles softly, the sadness leaving her face once again.

"You earned it, fair and square."

Buffybot smiles excitedly and closes the distance between them, bringing their lips together in what starts out as a soft kiss. It quickly grows though, Buffybot taking the reins and deepening it as her hands find Faith's shoulders.

Faith found it odd at first that the Bot would want to kiss her. The real Buffy certainly never had and Buffybot hadn't been programmed to want to do so either. She did though, and once Faith got past the general weirdness, she seemed to want it almost as much as Buffybot did. She could never bring herself to ask for it though; could never even bring herself to think about it except for when they were together. It seemed wrong, like she was desecrating the memory of Buffy or something.

But with the real Buffy gone, this is as close as she's ever going to get to the real thing. And honestly, as much as it isn't, it feels like the real thing to her.

When Buffybot's hands start to slip from her shoulders and down the front of her chest, Faith finally comes to her senses and pulls back, taking Buffybot's hands in hers. Buffybot opens her eyes and smiles and Faith can't help but laugh; there's cotton candy pink lipstick smeared all around Buffybot's mouth. She can only imagine how ridiculous she has to look herself.

"C'mere," Faith says, using her thumb to wipe the rogue lipstick from Buffy's skin.

No. Buffybot's.

She has to stop thinking like that.

Buffybot's eyes flutter shut at the soft touch and her lips part, her breath escaping in a few shaky pants. Faith wants to feel those lips against hers again; wants to see how real everything else feels, and yes, she means everything else.

But she can't. It's a slippery slope that will only lead to pain, and she'd sworn to herself again and again that she'd left all of that behind in her previous life.

"Walk you home?" Faith asks suddenly and Buffybot's eyes open, a too-bright smile appearing on her face.

"Or I could walk you home. Shall I remind you how I was able to pin you yet again?"

Faith laughs and, unable to help herself, leans forward and gives Buffybot a quick peck on the lips before helping her to her feet. She follows immediately after and adjusts herself, cringing at the way the dampness has sunk into the backside of her clothing.

"Yeah, guess I could use my own bodyguard, huh. Then again, you're the only one that's ever been able to top me, B-bot."

Buffybot smiles proudly and happily links her hand through the arm Faith offers her. They walk quietly through the cemetery, Buffybot making random observations now and again. Faith is able to ignore most of them until something piques her curiosity.

"There's fire ahead. Should I extinguish it?"

"Huh?" Faith asks, following Buffybot's gaze.

Sure enough, the Bot is right. Off in the distance down a gently sloping hill are several easily spottable flames dancing in the slight breeze. Holding those flames are several familiar figures, namely Xander, Anya, Tara and Willow. Faith immediately recognizes the grave that they're gathered around. She's visited it many times herself.

"There are too many flames," Buffybot continues, "and Smokey the Bear says that only I can prevent forest fires."

"Yeah, well this ain't exactly a forest, and we weren't exactly invited to the little graveside memorial," Faith says almost bitterly.

She starts walking again, tugging Buffybot with her. All she wants to do is get home, maybe grab another kiss if she's lucky, and get into bed so she can start this same shitty day again tomorrow.

In her haste to make a quick exit, she misses the urn on the ground and the snake coming out of Willow's mouth.

And as much as Faith feels she's doomed to repeat the same day over and over again, tomorrow is sure to bring all kinds of surprises her way.

The End (. . . for now)

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