The days moved by so slow it was painful. Buffy had that feeling every day and a part of her thought Faith had to feel the same as well. They were both going through the same experiences, with Faith feeling more emotions each day, so she had to think they felt the same.
After Faith's apartment Giles gave them two days where they didn't have to relive the past, at least not their past. He noticed how mentally and emotionally exhausted they were after the trip to Faith's old apartment so he had told Buffy they would only be working with Faith at his place.
The first day the only activity Buffy let herself be involved in was walking Faith to Giles' and then picking her up at the end of the day. Even though she knew the other slayer wouldn't run or try and skip out on the set schedule, accompanying her there to and from gave her some peace of mind. It felt like she was still doing her duty, her part in what Giles had planned.
While Faith was busy with Giles, Buffy decided to have some best friend time with Willow instead. They spent the day wandering through Sunnydale's many shops, trying on clothes and chatting about anything and everything. She was able to forget about the past for a few hours and enjoy her summer break from college. There wasn't any thinking about the past or revisiting places she'd just as soon forget. All she did was have some fun and spend a little money.
By the end of the day though all she could think about was what had happened with Faith while she had been trying to forget and as they walked back to her house Buffy knew she couldn't miss out again. She wanted to know what they were talking about during the day, what they were studying, and it wasn't just because she didn't want them talking about her when she wasn't there. Part of her wanted to know about what Faith was studying, too.
That was why the next day she sat on the couch and read. She didn't read what Giles was having Faith go through because that would have meant reading over Faith's shoulder but she listened as they discussed slayer journals and some of the bigger events that went on during each slayer's lifetime.
What surprised Buffy was how interested Faith seemed to be in learning about what Giles was showing her. She asked questions when he began to talk in greater detail about what some of the slayers went through, especially when it came to things that weren't necessarily in the journals. Faith also preferred reading them to everything else, even though Buffy noticed it was probably slower than Giles would've liked. A couple times he asked her if she was done with a section yet and all she responded with was a glare.
Buffy took that to mean he he'd said that more than a couple times. Faith hadn't really shown any other negative emotions like that so it must have bothered her.
At the end of the second day off Buffy realized she had learned more about being a slayer in one day than in her entire time as one. Giles had never taught her anything about past slayers or what they went through and how they died. She chose to believe that was because he was focused with training her so she would remain alive and not because he didn't think she had the ability to learn it.
Then it was back to the tour of Faith's misdeeds, as Buffy chose to call it. They went to Angel's mansion, where the other girl had killed the professor and any other place Giles thought they needed to see. The pair even visited the ruins of the high school as the last place.
Now that the two of them had gone to everywhere that Giles thought Faith should see Buffy wasn't sure what the next step was. She knew her watcher was observing Faith's reactions and her demeanor every day, making they weren't pushing her too far too fast. Even Buffy had to admit that if they pushed too much there might be no going back. They didn't want Faith to break.
If it had been up to her Buffy would have probably gone slower on all the places they were making Faith confront. Giles didn't have to hear Faith on the nights Buffy wanted to simply sleep in her own bed and not worry about watching over the other slayer. It was always quiet, probably so her mother wouldn't hear, but Faith either talked to herself or cried most of the night.
She rarely just slept.
Last night had been no different but neither of them mentioned it right away but that was because by the time Buffy came down the stairs Faith was already there with her mother.
"It's been so busy lately," she heard Joyce say as she walked down the stairs, "but I guess that's a good thing."
Buffy saw Faith nod as she listened while she sat at the table but didn't respond. Her mother continued talking as she made breakfast and Buffy walked with the best smile on her face she could manage.
Joyce looked up and smiled. "Good morning, honey. Sleep okay?"
Buffy looked over at Faith as she leaned against the counter but the other girl looked away. She took that as confirmation that she hadn't had a good night's sleep. "Yeah."
"Well, I'm making a big breakfast because I have a favor to ask."
"What?" Buffy asked, raising an eyebrow.
"We're getting a bigger than normal shipment in at the gallery today and I don't have anyone that can help." She smiled. "At least, no one other than two super-strong girls that I feed, clothe and shelter."
"Mom, Giles has us on a schedule . . ."
"Maybe it's time you took a day, or at least a morning, off," Joyce said before Buffy could finish. "Don't think I don't see the looks on both your faces when you come home each night. I intend to talk to Mr. Giles after breakfast about taking a little break from all the studying and training."
By the look on her face Buffy could tell nothing she could say would change her mind. "Fine."
She sat down next to Faith as her mother set down plates in front of them. Both of them looked at her as she happily walked out of the room to call Giles before cautiously looking at each other.
"You didn't sleep."
Faith shook her head. "Hurts to sleep."
"Can't be all sunshine and rainbows staying awake for days on end," Buffy responded as she picked at her food. "Hasn't visiting all those places helped at all?"
"I feel more sorry," Faith mumbled. "Didn't even think that was possible."
"That's a good step. Maybe if you relaxed a little and realized nothing will happen to you while you're here you'll feel better about sleeping."
Faith only shrugged in response and bit into a piece of bacon.
Buffy observed her for a minute. She looked so tired but she knew that wasn't just about sleep. Maybe her mother was right about both of them needing a day away from Giles' strict schedule. "You can stay with me tonight if you can't sleep."
They ate in silence for a few minutes while they tried to listen to the argument currently going on in the other room. Buffy could tell her mother was trying to be quiet so they couldn't hear what she was calling their watcher but she probably forgot about slayer hearing. By her tone Buffy knew it was only a matter of time before the conversation was over and they were on their way to the gallery. Joyce was using her best no-nonsense voice.
"She doesn't like Giles much, does she?"
Buffy shook her head. "She likes him more than I'd like her to."
They shared a look and Faith made a face. "Gross."
"Pretty much sums it up."
"Well, it looks like you'll be coming to the gallery with me this morning," Joyce said as she walked back into the kitchen, smile still on her face.
"Just for the morning?" Buffy asked.
She nodded. "It should only take the morning and then I can feed you a decent lunch before dropping the two of you off at Mr. Giles'."
Buffy looked over at Faith and knew that she probably could use the morning off. "Sure, Mom. Let's go."
One thing Buffy didn't realize until they spent the morning at the gallery was just how good of an influence her mother was on Faith.
She didn't know if it was because she was away from all of the complications they had with slaying or that she didn't treat Faith like a criminal, but Joyce Summers made the other slayer comfortable and asked her questions. None of them were very serious or deep, just simple with zero complications.
And all of them got Faith to talk.
By the end of the morning Buffy couldn't help but notice that Faith was noticeably more relaxed than in the last few days. She knew her mother noticed, too, especially since as they picked up lunch on the way to Giles' she offered Faith a part-time job at the gallery.
"Nothing big," she said as she stopped the car in front of the condo. "Just helping with shipments and running some errands for the office." She paused and smiled. "Once Mr. Giles thinks you're ready, of course."
Faith smiled and quickly looked at Buffy before looking back at her. "Maybe, Mrs. S."
"Okay, I'll see both of you tonight."
Both slayers got out without another word and walked up to the front door. Buffy saw that Faith's lightened mood was almost instantly gone as they neared the door. That wasn't the sign she was looking for to show Faith was turning a corner.
"Hey," she said as she hesitantly touched Faith's arm, "all the fieldtrips are over. I think it's research here on out."
"Just research. No training or slaying or anything," Faith mumbled.
"That'll come later."
Faith only nodded as they walked in to see Giles already had the books lain out for them. They were sitting on other books which caused Buffy to get a little nervous. Buffy looked at them and then at Giles who motioned for them to sit.
"I want to get through most of the books here," he explained. "I feel all of them will be beneficial to Faith and for you as well, Buffy."
"You want to get through all these today?"
He shook his head. "All of the books here deal with some difficult slayer situations. Watchers normally read them as part of watcher's training." He looked to Faith. "It is important for you to understand what's in them."
She nodded but didn't say anything.
"After we have completed what's here then I think we can begin some training."
Buffy looked at Faith then at that remark and noticed the smallest smile appear on her face. That small look almost made her smile as well and it took her a minute to realize that it was the sign she was looking for. Faith had never smiled when she was working with Giles. She always looked like she was in pain and even though that pained look was still there it looked like it faded just that smallest amount.
That look also gave her hope that what they had been doing wasn't pointless. Maybe the next few days would show proof that having Faith confront all those places was actually a good thing. It hadn't felt that way when Buffy was with her but maybe, just maybe all the pain would make Faith better.
When she looked at Faith as she picked up the book in front of her and flipped to the page Giles wanted her to start at she couldn't help but let a smile show. What they were doing was working.
The night had been a disaster and Buffy didn't like it at all.
She really thought that now that Faith was finally starting to get back into proper training it would only be a matter of time before she wouldn't have to patrol alone anymore. Yesterday she had even argued the point with Giles when he said patrolling was probably not in the near future. Buffy wanted Faith to start getting out there.
It had been over a week since training started. Faith was a slayer and as far as Buffy was concerned as long as both she and Giles were with there wasn't a reason why she wasn't out on patrol.
That's not how Giles saw it though and he used Buffy's own actions to prove his point. He pointed out how she still always made sure Faith was sleeping before leaving for her own room and that a few times she still stayed with her because the nightmares hadn't stopped. Buffy knew he had a point but that didn't mean she liked it all that much.
The whole situation left Buffy patrolling by herself and the night had been miserable. Not only had she had to fight off a trio of vampires at a cemetery at the edge of town that was furthest from her house but as soon as she staked the last one it started to rain. Halfway to the house it turned from rain into an all out downpour so by the time Buffy had finally gotten home she was completely soaked and cold.
There were a couple lights on when she reached the front door so she wasn't surprised when Faith walked out of the living room a few seconds after Buffy closed the door.
"Thought it never rained in Sunnydale."
"Only when I don't want it to," Buffy said, shivering now that she was out of the rain and in wet clothes. "My mom already went to sleep?"
Faith nodded. "Awhile ago. I'm not too big on sleep."
"Well, all I want right now is to warm up." She shivered as if on cue. "We'll talk in the morning."
Faith didn't respond and Buffy didn't wait around for her to say or do anything else. She knew Faith got nervous about sleeping every night, even though she was sure there were at least a couple nights where the other slayer slept through the night. Buffy knew the fact that since she, Giles and her mother were in Faith's corner was helpful to her. That fact should push her in the right direction but it seemed like Faith's memory was her own worst enemy.
None of that really concerned Buffy right now though. She was too cold and miserable.
She walked to her room quickly and shut the door, stripping out of her wet clothes as fast as she could. Buffy opted to put on loose-fitting, light sweats and after a quick trip to the bathroom, lied down and wrapped herself in her blankets.
Buffy shivered under them and hoped she wouldn't get sick from being out in the rain for so long. Her focus needed to remain on getting Faith back to her slaying ways. That way maybe she would be able to concentrate more on college and being a little more normal. Something like that had always been a dream but if Faith was finally on the straight and narrow it was something that might actually happen.
She closed her eyes and shivered away under the blankets, hoping to fall asleep quickly. It couldn't have been too long before she heard the bedroom door open and close quietly. Buffy figured it was her mother checking in to make sure she was okay but then she felt the covers move and arms wrap around her.
"You're freezing, B," Faith whispered as she moved Buffy more into her arms. "I wanted to make sure you were okay but I could see you shivering from the doorway."
"So you're what? Sharing body heat?"
"Yeah, and you need it." Faith paused and Buffy thought she was waiting for her to protest. "Let me do this for ya, B. You've been helping me sleep. This is the least I can do."
Buffy thought for a minute before relaxing in Faith's arms. She had to admit it felt nice to be held and it had been awhile since she'd allowed herself to be. What she didn't expect was that she didn't hate that Faith had her arms around her. It was insanely awkward and she could feel how nervous Faith was as she held her but she didn't hate it. Buffy wondered if Faith didn't hate it as much as she did.
"B, can I ask you a question?"
"How much does it piss you off that your mom wanted me to stay here? I know you said you were okay with it but everyone was there when you said it. Kind of figured you wouldn't say what you really wanted while your mom was there."
Buffy couldn't help but smile a little at the comment. She knew she wasn't thrilled with the prospect of Faith staying in the spare room but it was turning out how her mother had hoped: she was spending more time at home because if they weren't doing something slayer-related they were at the house. It was easy to see her mother liked having her there more and it looked to be the same with Faith, especially since she offered her a job.
"Didn't really piss me off," she answered slowly. "I didn't like that she wouldn't tell me why though. Couldn't have been that bad at Giles'."
Faith chuckled quietly. "It wasn't. Your mom just offered once we started talking."
"What about?" Buffy asked, feeling the urge to know even though she couldn't understand why.
"Different stuff," was all Faith answered with. "She just started asking me questions and I answered them. Didn't tell her I didn't like it at Giles' or anything either. Me being here was all her idea."
"I know," Buffy said. "What did you tell my mom?"
Faith laughed. "It just kills you that you don't know, doesn't it?"
"Maybe a little." Buffy let out a slow breath, feeling her body finally begin to warm up. "It's not like I have to know or anything."
"Uh-huh." Faith didn't say anything else for a minute and Buffy thought for a moment that she wasn't going to say anything else but then she continued. "She said if I was serious about turning my life around I needed to be honest with everyone, including myself, and started asking me questions. About where I grew up and my mother, slaying, how I feel about being here, that kind of thing."
"You told my mom all that?" Buffy asked as she turned to look at Faith.
Faith nodded slowly. "She's the first person to ask all that and I told her I'd answer whatever she wanted. Your mom can be a little scary, B."
Buffy didn't know what to say. Her mother knew more about Faith than any of them did and she didn't know how to feel about that. She really doubted Giles would ask any questions outside of slaying and she knew she had always figured Faith wouldn't answer anything that was too personal. Now she felt bad about not taking the time to ask those questions.
"If I would've asked you some of those questions when we met would you have answered them?"
"Probably," Faith whispered. "Not sure I would've been very truthful about some of it but I would've answered them."
"You mean like wrestling the alligator?"
Faith laughed. "I swear that one's true. I meant more about the kid stuff. I would've tried to blow those ones off."
Neither of them said anything for a minute and Buffy wasn't sure that this was a good time to get into all that. She was trying her best to not catch a cold and Faith, though trying to be helpful, seemed very nervous given their current position. It didn't seem like it was the right time to get Faith to open up to her and she was becoming increasingly tired. They both needed to be more alert to have a more serious conversation.
"I'd like to know some of that, too," she said tiredly. "I don't even know your last name."
"It's Lehane," Faith answered.
Their eyes met then and Buffy was taken aback by the amount of hurt and sadness in Faith's. It was as if what she had done in the past was continuing to be in the front of her mind. Everything was gone after a moment but there was no mistaking that it was still there.
"You know if Giles thinks you're not having nightmares and you're more . . . stable he'll let you go on patrol with me."
Faith nodded. "I'm trying."
There wasn't anything else to say and Buffy knew it. All she could do was close her eyes and hope that Faith would be patrolling soon.
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