"Help me understand why
You've given in to all these
Reckless dark desires"
-- A Perfect Circle, "The Outsider"
Faith was running through the alley with Buffy, dusting vamps as they went. She had so much adrenaline running through her that it was messing with her senses. Maybe that's why she didn't hear the heartbeat of the guy that jumped out in front of her. Maybe that's why she didn't hear Buffy scream, "Faith, no!"
She reared back, stake in hand, and brought it down into the guy's chest. When she noticed the absence of dust, her senses slowly came back to her. She looked down to her hand to see it covered in blood.
She timidly looked up to find a pair of surprised and pain-filled eyes glaring at her. 'No. NO. NO!!' she thought to herself. Her eyes remained fixed on the guy as he panted for breath and eventually stopped, blood trickling out the corner of his mouth. His lifeless body slid down the dumpster and rested on the ground.
"Faith! What have you done?" she heard from a quiet voice behind her.
She turned to face Buffy. "I-I didn't know. I didn't mean to . . . I didn't know."
Faith just glared at her.
"Faith, you don't get it. You killed a man."
"No, you don't get it, B. I don't care."
Faith couldn't believe that those words had actually come out of her mouth. She did care? She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream. She wanted to throw something. But she just stood there, looking defiantly at Buffy.
"Fine, Faith. If you don't want me to help you, you can rot."
Buffy turned her back and walked towards the door. As she opened it to walk out, she stole a backwards glance at Faith. Faith had a frown on her face. She was looking down at her feet and her hands were anxiously grabbing at one another.
"Faith," Buffy tried to get her attention. She didn't want Faith to rot. She wanted to help her, to be able to tell her that everything would be okay.
Contrary to popular belief, she actually liked Faith. She always felt a special bond with the girl and wanted nothing more at this moment than to help her.
Without looking up, Faith muttered the words, "Just get out. Go back to your boyfriend. Go back to your friends. Go back to your family."
"You don't have to go through this alone," Buffy stated, trying to show her concern.
"I AM alone," Faith said through clenched teeth, venom lacing her words. She lifted her eyes and looked at Buffy.
Buffy couldn't help but notice the hurt and total vulnerability present in Faith's expression and the tears that were threatening to fall from her now bloodshot eyes. Buffy's own eyes welled with tears as she saw the tears spill down Faith's cheeks.
Without a second thought, Buffy moved towards Faith and put her hands on Faith's arms.
"No, Faith. You are NOT alone. Don't push me away, I'm right here." She pulled Faith into a hug, wrapping one arm around her back and cradled the back of her head in her other hand.
Faith was tense at first but eventually relaxed into the hug. She began sobbing uncontrollably. Buffy slowly rocked her, whispering into her ear.
"Sshhh, sshhh. It's okay Faith. I won't let anyone hurt you. I'll go through this with you. You don't have to be alone. Sshhh."
Without giving it too much thought, she pressed her lips to Faith's forehead and gave her a small, comforting kiss.
Buffy kind of liked this vulnerable side of Faith. It made her feel unreasonably closer to her.
But almost predictably, the moment of vulnerability only lasted a moment. Faith quickly tensed up and pushed Buffy back away from her.
Faith yelled, "No! Just get the hell out of here, B!"
Buffy just stared at her, a confused and hurt look upon her face.
Faith's harsh voice softened when she saw the look that Buffy gave her.
"I'm poison, Buffy. I'm poison. Just . . . leave."
Buffy just stared at Faith. She was searching her over, looking for something, anything that told her to stay. But Faith had put her walls back up, and Buffy found no reason to stay.
"I'm sorry, Faith," she uttered. With that, she turned and left the hotel room, leaving Faith standing there.
What Faith didn't count on, however, was that Buffy would give up on her so easily. She thought that Buffy would see through it all; that she would've know that Faith would reject her help and would fight even harder knowing that. But no; after two minutes, she gave up. Faith didn't know much about friendship, but she thought it extended beyond two minutes.
She slowly stopped sobbing and got up from her knee, knowing then that there was only one thing left to do. She grabbed her jacket and was out the door in less than five seconds.
"Well, Faith, I have to say that I'm a little bit surprised. I didn't think that the darkness would hit you like this until after I got to you," he joked.
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Oh, you know. The misbehaving, the killing. I didn't think you would start until after you came to me."
Getting a little bit restless, Faith simply repeated her question, but with a little more anger this time.
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"I knew you would come to me Faith. Hell, I couldn't have planned it better if I'd tried. I sent my deputy out to find you during that ambush. I know that you put your whole self into a fight and that you just wouldn't be able to tell him from a vampire."
"Wait, are you saying that you set me up to kill that guy?"
"You're pretty quick there, Faithy. Of course I did! I knew that your little goody two-shoes slayer friend would turn her back on you and that you would come to me. I knew that you would be left alone, and trust me, I know how much you hate being alone."
Damn. He really knew how to get to her. It was almost as if he could read her better than she could read herself.
"Yeah, well, I didn't come here to be your pal, I came here to turn myself in. So, if you don't wanna take my confession, then I'll just get outta your hair . . ."
She started towards the door when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"No, I do want you, Faith. I have great plans for you, my dark little Slayer."
He had a large smile on his face. If it hadn't seemed so endearing, Faith might've been creeped out. But she decided to let her guard down a little.
"Oh yeah? What kind of plans?" She asked, her interest piqued a little.
"Aren't you tired, Faith? Tired of always being number two? Tired of working just as hard as Buffy, if not harder, and always letting her take the credit? Tired of never getting the praise that you deserve? I'll tell ya, it's a heck of a shame seeing your kind of power go to waste."
"I'm tired of not being wanted."
Faith had a very solemn look on her face.
"Like I said. I want you Faith. I can make you special. You won't have to vie for my attention. Here, it will only be you. And I, unlike many others, greatly appreciate your work. So what do you say? You scratch my back, I scratch yours?"
Faith thought about it for a minute. Should she betray Buffy? And Giles? And the Scoobies? They obviously weren't benefiting from her presence. After all, she did kill a guy. They would probably want to lock her up or send her away, and there was no way that she would let them send her to Council headquarters for an evaluation. She knew that they would want to kill her to bring forth a newer, more pliant slayer.
She mentally came to the decision that it would be better for her and everyone else involved if she just stayed away from them. At least this way, she could make sure that they didn't get hurt by her hands, or those of the Mayor. It wasn't so much a betrayal as a precaution on her part not to hurt Buffy and the Scoobies.
"So, is this a paying gig?" Faith asked.
"You bet. Anything you want, just name it. What can I offer you besides a nice salary, young lady?"
"I need a place to stay where no one knows where to find me. Some weapons and clothes too. Most importantly though, ya gotta to promise me that you won't hurt Buffy or her friends and family or the deal is off."
The Mayor held out his hand to Faith, offering her a handshake to seal the deal. She extended out her arm and took his hand into a handshake.
Upon contact with his hand, her eyes turned black as oil and her body went rigid. She threw her head back and let out a painful scream.
The Mayor uttered a few words in Latin and then spoke to the rigid form in front of him.
"Oh, don't worry, I won't hurt your friends," he said with a grin on his face. "You will."
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