It's just a routine patrol. It's always just a routine patrol these days. The young slayers make the initial sweep through the nine cemeteries in Cleveland, then Buffy and Faith follow up, taking out any other remaining baddies.
Most nights, it's just an easy stroll for them. They make small talk about movies and music, share funny stories about Andrew and his attempts at being straight, and when they're really bored they'll play a game of tag. They know how to create entertaining distractions in the otherwise boring nights.
Maybe that's why they neglect to see the Polgara demon charge at them from behind a crypt until it's too late. It knocks them both over to the ground, his venom-coated talon slashing at Faith's mid-section and narrowly avoiding Buffy's neck.
When Buffy regains her senses, the demon is gone and Faith is unconscious, blood covering her and the ground nearby. She reacts on instinct, scooping her up in her arms and carrying her all they way back to their house.
There's a flurry of activity in the house when they arrive, everyone shouting and trying to figure out what their best course of action is. Willow wants to do a mending spell but it won't stop the venom spreading through Faith's body. Giles suggests contacting the coven because, as far as he knows, there's no cure for Polgara venom. He says they need magic, but as Buffy stares down at the shivering slayer on her bed, she knows that it's not magic or medicine they need.
They need a miracle.
Everyone is too wrapped up in their arguing to see Buffy close the door to her room, leaving her alone with an unconscious and quickly dying Faith. She walks over to the bed and kneels down, taking Faith's hand in hers as the tears slowly fall down her cheeks.
“Please don't go,” she whispers, her tears running over her lips like a waterfall. She gasps quietly as Faith's eyes flutter open, their eyes instantly finding one another's.
“I don't wanna die, B,” Faith says, her voice so hoarse Buffy can barely make out the words.
Buffy sobs then, resting her head on Faith's arm. They've come so far, made so much progress, for things to just come crashing down like this. She can't stand the thought of being alone again and she forgets herself for a brief moment, pressing her lips against Faith's.
It wasn't the way she'd imagined kissing Faith would be. She can taste her own tears on Faith's cold and trembling lips, and by the time she's pulled back, Faith is unconscious again. She doesn't know what to do, what they can do to save her, so she climbs into bed and holds her, the tears continuing to fall until she passes out from sheer exhaustion.
She doesn't leave the room for a single moment, staying in the bed with Faith even when the others try to coax her out for her own good. She stays at Faith's side, wiping the sweat from her brow with a cool washcloth and applying chapstick to her dry lips.
Three days later she wakes up from her slumber to feel an arm wrapped around her back and a thumb brushing soft circles on her skin. She quickly looks up to find two dark eyes staring down at her. Suffice it to say she's more than shocked. Faith shouldn't be awake – heck, she shouldn't even be alive – but the smallest of smiles on her lips lets Buffy know that she's defied the odds and smacked fate right across the face.
Faith was never one to play by the rules, and for the first time in her life, Buffy is happy about that.
She rests her head back down on Faith's shoulder and closes her eyes, letting her tears run silently down her face. Soft lips pressing against her forehead let her know that everything will be all right and Buffy can feel it in her heart that it's the truth.
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