The day had been exhausting so far, making Buffy feel as though any sleep she'd gotten the previous night had been worthless.
Even though her first class wasn't until 10, making it easy for her to sleep in, she woke up early and checked in with her mother at the gallery. Buffy knew after everything that happened her mother was worried and she wanted to assure her everything was all right. She also wanted to let her knew she would make a better effort to visit until she moved back home for the summer.
She dropped Xander's car off after that then went to class. Those had hoped to be a distraction from what she would need to be doing the rest of the day but sadly, they failed to do that. All Buffy could think about was everything that had nothing to do with the class she was in. The problems with Adam, Faith and even Riley clouded her mind and before she knew it the class was over and she couldn't remember one word that had been said.
Buffy knew she had to focus which meant something had to give. That was why when Riley met her after class she told him she had to break up with him.
He didn't take it well at all though it went better than Buffy had thought, part of that being because she stood her ground and refused to listen to whatever argument he tried. Riley didn't understand why they were through and she didn't know how to put it into words. When she couldn't he blamed what was happening on Faith.
What hurt was that she couldn't tell him he was wrong. Sure, it wasn't the main problem with their relationship but Buffy would be lying if she said it didn't hurt that he'd shared something so intimate with Faith. She couldn't get over that they'd had sex. She wanted to tell him he should have known it wasn't really her but she knew that was unfair. The body switch had almost everyone fooled but that didn't make it hurt any less.
They argued about it for what felt like hours until Riley finally gave in, realizing he wouldn't change Buffy's mind. She knew he was trying so hard to keep them together but she didn't see a future with him. She had to admit it was hard for her to see a future with anyone and even though that was hard to think about, she didn't want to string Riley along. There was nothing left for them.
Now Buffy wasn't even sure she would get any help from him with Adam and The Initiative. Riley had been their inside man, making sure they knew what was going on, what the plans were for the government organization. Buffy knew she would need to accept the fact that she would need to be on her own in killing Adam now if Riley wanted nothing more to do with her and the rest of the gang. Since Faith was there now it would be a definite possibility since he blamed her.
She thought about that on her way to Giles'. Faith would be in Sunnydale indefinitely and that meant she had to decide how she would be helping them. Buffy knew in the end Giles would make that decision but she knew he would likely ask for her input.
That was something she just didn't have an answer for, at least not right now. Everything was still so fresh and it was enough that she would need to help get Faith on the right path again. To think about anything further into the future only have Buffy a headache.
When she reached the condo, she knocked once, waited a moment and then opened the door to find Giles getting up from his chair. There were multiple open books on the coffee table and she could tell a couple had nothing to do with slaying. They were psychology books.
"Giles, if you wanted to borrow my textbook all you had to do was ask."
Giles looked down to the books she had her eye on and then back at her. "Yes, well, it seems none of the Council's more extreme measures are to my liking. I've been looking for alternatives all afternoon."
"They all end in death for the good of the line, don't they?" Buffy asked, a hint of sadness in her voice.
Both of them sat down, Giles in a chair and Buffy on the couch. She brought her books with her and set her bag down beside her. If there was an off chance she could study while Faith was doing something else she would do it. The trip to LA had put her more behind than she was already.
"Where is Faith anyway?"
"Upstairs," Giles said simply. "She looked so exhausted last night and hasn't left the room since I left her. I thought it would do her some good to get plenty of rest before we begin."
"Giles, sleeping until four in the afternoon is a little excessive." Buffy stood. "She can manage now with all the sleep she's had."
Buffy stood up and walked up the stairs before Giles could say anything else. The door to the guestroom was closed and she opened it without knocking, her mouth open to tell Faith she needed to go downstairs. Once she looked inside though she stopped short.
Faith was only sitting on the side of the bed, her back to the door and her eyes staring out the window. She still had on her clothes from the night before and the bed was still made which made Buffy think she hadn't even attempted to sleep all night. Her bag was at her feet, unopened.
When Faith turned her head to look at her Buffy thought she might have been crying at some point during the night. "Yeah?"
Part of her wanted to be harsh but for some reason Buffy couldn't, not when Faith looked as she did. "Come downstairs. Giles wants to go over your schedule."
Faith only nodded and stood, wiping her face with her hand before following Buffy out of the room and walking down the stairs where Giles was waiting for them. Both of them sat on the couch again but this time Buffy didn't make it a point to stay as far away from Faith as possible. It didn't bother her at the moment to be in the same room as her but for only one reason: the other slayer was not a threat.
"Faith, were you able to get some rest?"
"Yeah," Faith said quietly and Buffy could tell it was obviously a lie. It made her wonder if Giles could, too. Faith had never been a good liar.
Giles only looked at her for a moment but didn't call her on the lie. He only continued. "Since you are a slayer one way the Council used as a rehabilitation method was training. You will start training beginning tomorrow morning. That is the only part of the Council's method I will follow."
"'Cause if that didn't work they'd just kill me, right?" Faith asked, looking at Giles with tired eyes.
Buffy and Giles shared a look and he knew she would not be interrupting him. This was his conversation with Faith and she was only observing. "What they did or didn't do is none of your concern now," he continued, avoiding the question. "Buffy and I are not a part of the Council and they are well aware that you are not either."
There was a moment of silence and Buffy thought this was the part when Faith would ask more questions about Giles' plan. She didn't though. She only continued to listen.
"I also think it's important for you to learn more about being a slayer which is why you'll start to read some of the slayer journals and other books about the slayer line. That way you will be able to learn about how past slayers handled adversity in a correct manner."
Buffy raised an eyebrow at that. Her watcher had never had her read up on any other slayers but then again, she figured she might have tried to get out of it in the past. It was no secret that she didn't like the researchy parts of slaying. She would probably have looked at such an assignment as a punishment.
Faith looked a little nervous at that comment but still didn't say anything else. She only nodded again, only occasionally looking at Giles and rarely meeting his eyes.
"Buffy will help you with training when we are not dealing with our current threat." He paused and looked at Buffy. "Willow and Tara are coming over soon with the discs from The Initiative. She thinks she found something."
The mention of the two witches made Faith get a panicked expression on her face. "They're coming here? Giles, I . . ."
"It's okay, Faith," Giles said quickly, cutting off whatever she was going to say. "You do not have to be here for our meetings about Adam." He picked up a book and held it out to her. "You can start by reading this upstairs."
Faith nodded. "Think I'll take a shower, too. Uh . . . I don't really have a lot of clothes."
"Buffy, could you help with that?"
There wasn't a way to get out of the question and Buffy knew it. "Sure but I'll probably have to buy some."
"We'll figure it out."
Without saying anything else Faith took the book and walked back upstairs. Buffy watched her for a second then looked at Giles. "I know there's more than just that."
"Yes, well, as you see she doesn't want to confront even the smallest of problems," Giles said calmly. "She needs to confront everything she's done and I want you to help her."
"I don't know about that, Giles." Buffy had hoped that her involvement would only go as far as helping her train.
"Buffy, I realize this will be difficult but it needs to be done and you are the best one to get Faith through this. She's more likely to open up to you before anyone else."
Buffy knew that was true so she didn't even attempt to argue it. She was just going to have to get through everything Giles had her do.
She shook the thoughts out of her head as Willow and Tara opened the door and walked in, Willow already talking excitedly at what she'd found on the discs. Faith's issues would have to wait until later.
Since it had been boring during patrol lately Buffy decided to do a shortened one then go back to Giles to report back and maybe check in on Faith. She had to admit even though she showed no sign of being any threat to anyone she was still slightly paranoid about leaving her watcher alone with her. All she had to do was think of what the other slayer had done to Wesley and her concerns about Giles' safety were automatically heightened.
During the afternoon and evening Willow had filled Buffy and Giles in on a secret room in The Initiative where they figured Adam would be using once he overtook the military forces there. They got Xander in on the intel and decided they needed a little more recon before trying to overtake the facility. It needed to be fast though.
Spike had been lurking around all of them lately and had been trying to separate each of them from the group. At first, they believed what he was saying but after they talked it out it became apparent that the vampire had been trying to distract them on purpose. It wasn't a far stretch to think that he was working with Adam in some way and that could only mean whatever was planned would be happening very soon.
Once she was back at Giles' she discussed patrol with him and then went about studied for her finals while Giles looked over more research material. Buffy wasn't sure if it was for their upcoming conflict with Adam or if it was for Faith and she didn't ask. Part of her was just too tired to care.
"Buffy, you should go back to the dorms," Giles said after awhile as he walked out of the kitchen with some tea. He made no move to sit back down but instead began to walk toward the stairs. "Everything was fine last night and you need to study. I'm aware finals are coming up and we have the Adam situation to worry about."
"That's why I brought my books with me," Buffy responded. "To study."
"I don't feel Faith is causing enough risk for you to watch over her," he said. "She hasn't left the room since she went upstairs with that book earlier. I don't think she knows what to do with herself at the moment."
He was right. The best way for Buffy to describe Faith right now was that it looked like a light had gone out in her eyes. It wasn't like her to want to run from others like she did when Willow was supposed to arrive at the condo. Buffy always thought she would never run from anything like that. She also didn't think she had slept at all since arriving which only made her wonder what exactly Faith was doing up there.
"Well, I'm going to turn in. You can stay if you like and study but I feel I'm perfectly safe."
Buffy narrowed her eyes a little but only mumbled a quick good night before turning back to her book. She had to admit she was a little tired. Between her classes, patrol, Adam and now Faith the stress was beginning to mount and she hoped two of them would go away soon. Her mind always went back and forth on which two.
After about fifteen minutes she closed her book and placed it in her bag. Her eyes slowly moved up the stairs and she knew her curiosity was getting the better of her. Buffy was sure Faith just had to be up to something in that room . . . if she was even there.
Oddly enough, that thought had never crossed her mind before but it wasn't leaving now. It made Buffy stand and slowly walk up the steps, listening for anything out of the ordinary. At first, she thought the only thing she could hear was the sound of Giles quietly snoring but then there was something else. She was absolutely sure of it and it was definitely coming from Faith's room.
The door was closed but as she neared it the sound became louder, at least for her. She was sure Giles wouldn't have been able to hear it or he would have probably mentioned it earlier. He had been very observant in how Faith was acting and had already begun to mention a couple things to her.
She could hear crying. Buffy was positive that's what she could hear on the other side of the door and it shocked her. It was a little surprising how much it shocked her, too. Sure, she always thought Faith was too tough to cry but at one point she had to have thought she was at least capable of it.
Buffy stood at the door for a minute, not sure what to do. Even though it was Faith and most of her wanted to beat her senseless every time she looked at her, she didn't think she could just walk away. Not until she knew what was wrong.
The door opened without a sound and Buffy peered into the room. The light from the window showed Faith, lying in bed and curled up on her side. She had her clothes on and was uncovered even though it looked as though she was shivering. It was certainly not the image Buffy expected.
What she felt as she took in the scene was also unexpected but not out of the ordinary if she really wanted to think about it. Her heart broke for Faith because she was doing one of two things. She was either crying in her sleep or she was trying her best to make sure Giles didn't hear her. Either way it was clear Faith didn't want anyone to know how tormented she felt.
Without even thinking about it, or knowing how Faith would react, Buffy carefully closed to door and walked toward the bed. She had no idea what she was doing but seeing Faith in so much emotional pain hurt. She couldn't understand why given how much the other girl had put her through over the last year and a half. It would be so easy to hate her, to want her to hurt, but that wasn't happening. It didn't even feel like an option.
She slowly loved to lie on the other side of the bed then moved close to Faith and gently put an arm around her. There didn't seem to be anything else she could do. Saying that everything would be okay was a lie and because she knew that it wouldn't. Whatever Faith was feeling would likely stick with her for a long time. She would need to learn how to deal with it.
Faith continued to mumble and quietly sob and Buffy wondered if the other girl was actually sleeping since she didn't make any move right away to acknowledge that she was even there. She was still on her side and facing away from her. It wasn't until a few minutes had passed when Faith's body seemed to jerk then stiffen. She tried to move away from Buffy but couldn't much because she was already at the edge of the bed.
Buffy tightened her hold slightly and decided she should probably say something even though she didn't want to. She couldn't explain why she was there because she couldn't even do that to herself. "It's just me, Faith. You need to calm down."
At that comment Faith relaxed, making Buffy think maybe she had issues with being this close to someone. It made her think it might be another thing they would have to deal with in the coming weeks. So many questions filled her head and she bit her tongue to make sure she didn't ask them that very moment. As much as she wanted to ask Faith about how she was acting she knew she needed sleep since it was easy to see she hadn't gotten any in the last couple days.
It took at least a half hour but then Faith's breathing began to level off some and it felt to Buffy like she had stopped crying. She thought maybe she was even beginning to fall asleep, something she wanted to go back to the dorms and do as well. It had been a long night and she did have a class in the morning.
When she thought it was safe she slowly began to pull away from Faith, thinking the other girl was now asleep. That wasn't the case, however, as when she began to pull her arm away she felt Faith grip it tightly.
"Don't go," she whispered so softly Buffy barely heard her. "Please."
Several thoughts went through Buffy's mind and she wasn't sure which one to say. She could easily say no, that she had to get back to the dorms, but knew she could function on little sleep. Another reason she had was that she was uncomfortable being this close to the other slayer for any extended period of time, like she was at the moment. The wounds Faith had given her ran too deep and had yet to heal. Sure, she could get her to calm down but she didn't want to stay.
On the other hand, a part of her did want to help Faith. The other girl was finally asking for it, even if it was over a year too late. Giles had told her it was his responsibility to do what he could and Buffy knew he wanted her to do the same. It was something that kept repeating in her mind.
Buffy opened her mouth to respond but decided not to, only moved her arm back around Faith instead. She felt Faith slowly relax again and tried her best to do the same. It seemed off that she was even in the position, comforting her enemy this way, but if it helped Faith get some sleep she figured it was something she would have to get through. Maybe it would help her and Giles get Faith back on the right path.
She stayed the entire night.
It seemed almost unbelievable to her. There just wasn't a way that she had managed to stay so close to Faith the entire night but it happened.
Buffy's intention was to only stay lying next to Faith until she was sure she was relaxed and sleeping soundly. After that she was supposed to leave and go back to her dorm room where her bed was waiting for her. Then she would be able to get a few hours of much needed sleep so she would at least have some hope of staying awake in her class.
Falling asleep next to Faith was definitely not part of that plan.
She wasn't even that comfortable, or at least she didn't want to think she was, but she fell asleep right after Faith did. Buffy didn't wake up until light had begun to enter the room and then she quickly sat up and moved away from the other slayer.
The thought that there was a slim chance she could get her things downstairs and sneak out of the condo without Giles knowing she was in Faith's room all night was gone the moment she started down the stairs. He was walking out of the kitchen as she reached the bottom of the stairs.
"Ah, Buffy," he started, "I think you're taking the job of watching Faith a little too seriously."
"I guess I fell asleep up there." Buffy tried not to sound nervous but her words came out that way anyway. "We need to do something about her."
Giles sat down. "What do you mean?"
"Did you hear anything last night when you passed her room?" Buffy asked as she picked up her bag.
"No," he answered as he shook his head.
"I walked up there to make sure she was even in the room, you know," she started. "She was crying, Giles. I think she was trying to keep it quiet but when I walked in there she was just lying on the bed crying."
"Well, I suppose if she's beginning to think about what she's done both before and after her coma that might cause some distress."
"It needs to stop. It's creepy."
Giles sighed. "I believe this will be part of the process. Faith needs to work through all her mistakes so she can move forward."
"I'm not sure I like this process," Buffy stated as she remained standing. She wanted to get back to her room so she could attempt to have a normal day. As normal as it got for her anyway.
"Why don't we deal with Adam and then work on Faith? It seems he is the immediate threat and between Willow and I we've found a way to defeat him. Maybe we can make sure The Initiative is out of our lives, too."
Buffy smiled. It wasn't the most positive news but any chance to take away at least one of her problems was good news. "I'll be back this afternoon."
They said their goodbyes and Buffy left, walking quickly. She wanted to get back to campus, back to some sense of normalcy. Having little sleepovers at Giles was definitely not normal. Sharing a bed with Faith wasn't either.
The memory of Faith crying put her on edge. She saw some of that distress when she went to LA but at the time she thought it was all for show. It looked like it was just a ploy to get Angel on her side and therefore not on hers but now she wasn't sure. Faith couldn't have known she would be checking on her last night. The crying couldn't have been faked. It didn't just look real. It felt real.
She thought about the time, the short amount of time that she and Faith were friends. It seemed like years and years ago and there was a part of her that wanted that friendship back. That part was small, however, and most of her just wanted her gone.
By the time she had reached the campus, Buffy was exhausted again but taking a nap was out of the question. There was studying to be done and she felt the strong need for a shower.
Buffy thought she'd get the inquisition from Willow as she walked into the room but found it empty instead. Her best friend had been spending a lot of time with Tara and that apparently included nights. Because she had been spending some nights with Riley she had neglected to notice Willow's absence from the room but now she did. It was something that would take some getting used to. She hadn't realized how much she relied on having her best friend around.
Setting her bag down by her desk, Buffy walked over to her bed and sat down. Before she knew it her head was resting against her pillow.
Maybe a nap wasn't such a bad idea.
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Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen || Chapter Fourteen || Chapter Fifteen || Chapter Sixteen
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