Prompt #81: Aggravation

The Night Before

Angel has decided to take on the Senior Partners of Wolfram and Hart, and Buffy has a sneaking suspicion that they’re not going to be a couple of pushovers drinking non-fat latte’s in their Armani business suits. No, these guys are the big dogs, the worst of the worst, and she just knows that this will be one of the most difficult battles they’ve been involved in. If they survive, if the world survives, it will be a miracle.

Fortunately for her, she’s witnessed enough miracles in her time as a slayer to know they do occasionally happen.

While hesitant to help at first – they were supposed to be enjoying a second lease on life – Buffy and Faith know that they need to be there. Still, it doesn’t stop either one of them from frowning as they listen in on the meeting that Angel is having with his team about the big night.

Buffy briefly ponders calling in the troops, asking Giles to send backup in the form of a couple dozen slayers and a badass witch, but she knows that it’s safer for them if they stay as far away as possible from the danger at hand. She steals a sidelong glance at Faith, preparing to ask her on the subject, but stops when she sees Faith shaking her head angrily.

“I could kill him for trying to take all of this on himself,” Faith says, her voice a harsh whisper to avoid interrupting the meeting. “This wasn’t no last minute decision. He’s been planning this. Shoulda had us in the fuckin’ loop the whole time.”

“What good would that have done?” Buffy asks, laying a comforting hand on Faith’s tense bicep. “No amount of training or planning can help prepare for a battle like this. You pretty much just throw yourself into the jaws of death and hope you don’t get swallowed.”

“Yeah, well . . . if we make it through to tomorrow, I’m gonna kick his ass so hard he’ll be shitting footprints for a month.”

Buffy quickly puts her hand over her mouth to stifle her laughter but she fails and everyone in the room quiets down to look over at her. Angel has the nerve to glare but then Faith gives him a glare right back that’s ten times as fierce and Angel yields like a scolded puppy.

Her aggravation taking over, Faith leans over and gives Buffy a quick peck on the cheek before standing up and storming out of the room. They watch her go, completely silent until they’re sure she’s out of listening range.

“She’s just upset,” Angel says, trying to break the sudden awkwardness.

“And she has every right to be.” Buffy stands up and walks closer to where everyone is seated. She ignores their gazes, staring down Angel instead. “You should have told us. You should have called us ages ago.”

“Well, you’re here now, aren’t you?” Angel says, sounding just as frustrated as Faith.

Buffy narrows her eyes at him, a look that makes him sink a little bit deeper in his seat.

“Yes, we are. We’ll fight your battle with you, Angel, but once it’s over, we’re gone. It’ll be up to you to clean up the mess left behind, including the once you’ve made of your friendship with Faith.”

“Buffy,” Angel begins tiredly but Buffy cuts him off.

“Don’t. Trust me when I say that whatever anger you see from me in the fight tonight will be nothing compared to what you’ll see if you leave Faith as a loose end after all of this.”

She turns on her heel and goes out the door Faith left open, eager to find her before she gets too far. They’ve only got so much time left before the battle starts and she’ll be damned if she’s going to spend it without Faith at her side.

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