"Five times? How do you miss five times?"
Buffy laughed. "I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes. She staked five times and missed every single time."
Faith laughed as well. "I might have missed once or twice when I was first starting out but never at the same time."
"Me either. I didn't help her. She needed to finish him off by herself so she'd eventually get it."
"And the next one?"
"She missed twice," Buffy said, a smirk on her face.
Faith shook her head and laughed as they walked through the area Buffy thought had some vamp activity. It was still light out but Faith suggested that they get to know the area so if they were ever cornered they might know of a way out. She also thought they could find a place to eat in the area and just relax for a while. Since her nervousness about the situation was going away she realized she wanted to talk to Buffy more.
"You've got a tough job, B. Don't think I'd be very patient with any of those girls."
"I bet you would," Buffy said but didn't continue on that thought. "So why did you want me to come here?"
"Thought we could start over but I don't know if I'll ever be ready to work with everyone in Cleveland," Faith said, knowing Buffy wanted her to do just that. "This is kind of a way to start something without just talking on the phone."
Buffy nodded. "I like it. It gives me a reason to take a day off, too."
Faith felt the urge to change the subject away from Cleveland so she thought of something else. "So what's up with Kennedy anyway?"
"I don't know and Willow won't say. I have a feeling that it has something to do with Will taking me up on my offer to stay in Cleveland. Maybe Kennedy thinks that she chose me over her."
"I guess I can see where she would think that," Faith said. "But your offer makes more sense than what they were doing. Traveling slayers are one thing but Red's wicked powerful. You'd probably want her to be in one location."
"I don't think Kennedy cares about that."
Faith nodded and thought about what she wanted to ask next. She knew she wanted to ask a few more personal questions but she wondered if they were at that point yet. All of their previous conversations were attached to slaying in some way.
Buffy beat her to it though. "So what was with your sidekick?"
"What do you mean?" Faith asked then chuckled when she looked at the expression on Buffy's face. "He's a demon, B. He tagged along 'cause he thought it was fun to hang out with a slayer. The only reason I let him was 'cause he was good backup. There was definitely no working out the H&H's with him."
"So it's really been all work for you?"
"Pretty much," Faith answered, "aside from going to the beach." She paused. "What about you?"
"I tried dating here and there," Buffy answered easily and Faith was thrilled she didn't brush off the question. It showed her willingness to try at this new friendship. "I think the longest was two months. He found out about the slaying and thought I was crazy. The rest . . ." she ended with a shrug.
"Haven't tried my thing yet, huh?"
"Get some, get gone?" Buffy raised an eyebrow. "I'll try it when you start again but I'm thinking that's not something you're interested in anymore. You seem to be all business nowadays."
Faith knew Buffy was right. When she first started slaying it was all about staking vampires and having fun. Taking care of the hungries and hornies was part of that but it wasn't now. She had been primarily focused on doing good for others. She'd only been to a club once in Memphis and that was only to track a couple of vampires.
"I guess you're right. A lot can change in a couple years."
As they walked by a bar/restaurant Buffy took hold of her arm. "Let's stop in here."
Faith only nodded as they walked inside, getting seated off on their own since it was still a little early for the first happy hour customers to wander through. Once they sat down, Buffy ordered them a couple beers which only caused Faith to raise her eyebrow. "Drinking before patrolling?"
"We have time," Buffy said and waited for their drinks to come before saying anything else. "I wanted to ask you about prison but didn't want to while we were walking."
The walls threatened to get thrown up but Faith took a breath and kept them down. She knew those questions would come eventually and Buffy had answered everything she'd asked so far. "What's the question?"
"I only get one?" Buffy joked before simply looking at Faith. "Why?"
"Why go back?" Faith asked and saw Buffy nod. "I needed to. If I had taken the easy way out I'd always have a voice in the back of my head telling me that I didn't deserve it. That I needed to be there for a reason. That's why I didn't want Angel to work on my prison sentence."
"But you're doing so many good things outside. Think of the people you've saved so far." Buffy leaned forward slightly. "I know you can work on yourself in prison but out here you can do that and help others."
"Well, I'm out now." Faith smiled and liked that Buffy returned it.
It had been a good night.
There had been a handful of vamps for each of them but Faith could tell Buffy wasn't sure if they were the vamps she had been hearing about. Instead, after a couple hours she suggested they visit their old haunts and they headed toward the nearest cemetery.
The entire time Faith tried her best to make it seem like she wasn't nervous but once patrol started her nervousness was threatening to rise. She knew she was taking longer than she probably would in answering any of the questions Buffy asked when she asked her more about what she'd experienced so far but wanted her answers to be thought out first.
Buffy hopped up to sit on a gravestone and looked around. "This brings back some memories, doesn't it?"
Faith sat up on a different one across from her. "Don't you patrol cemeteries in Cleveland?"
"Some," Buffy answered. "That's not what I mean though. We did have some good times in cemeteries before everything . . . you know."
"Yeah." Faith wasn't sure if she should bring up anything about that part of their past and couldn't read the other slayer at all but she figured asking wasn't going to hurt anything. At least, not to the point where they would come to blows. "Is that a safe topic?"
There was a pause where Buffy seemed to think about the question before she looked at Faith. "I think it is. It's been a few years and we've both grown. I'd like to think so anyway."
Faith nodded. "Those nights where we teamed up were kinda fun."
"They were." Buffy smirked at her. "They were even better when we actually had a plan instead of running into a group of vamps without knowing what was gonna happen."
"Hey, we didn't die any of those times, did we?" Faith asked, chuckling as she did. "I was just confident we didn't need a plan."
"I guess your logic is not entirely faulty."
They looked at each other then and laughed. Faith couldn't quite believe they were laughing in a graveyard and patrolling as a team. It was like it should have been all those years ago before they'd made so many mistakes. She twirled a stake in her hands and looked around, not seeing anything unusual.
"Maybe vamps don't hang out in cemeteries in Houston like they do in other places."
Buffy shrugged. "Guess I'm not sure. The only places I've actually patrolled in cemeteries are Sunnydale and Cleveland. I didn't really patrol when I was anywhere else. It was more of a stop something from attacking me kind of situation."
"So then you really tried to give everything up?"
"Yep," Buffy answered, nodding. "It was so nice not to have to deal with patrolling and wondering whether that night would be the night a vamp or demon would actually win. Being able to just have a normal life was . . . refreshing, I guess."
"Well, you didn't patrol while you were in prison. We both took breaks in a way."
Faith raised an eyebrow at the comment but it felt like Buffy was simply pointing out a fact and not throwing any accusation out. In all the talks they had over the last few weeks she'd never thrown her prison time in her face and she doubted the other slayer would start now.
"I guess you're right."
"Unless, there were vamps and demons at the prison," Buffy commented then seemed to realize what she'd just said. "There wasn't any though, right?"
"Not that I ever saw." Faith laughed quietly as she grinned at the look on Buffy's face. She looked like she was worried Faith would've been attacked by vampires and demons while locked up. "Worried that I would've been taken out in the joint?"
She narrowed her eyes at her. "I'm sure you could've handled yourself."
There was some noise suddenly off to Faith's right and both of them turned toward it. Faith could tell there was some activity happening and jumped off the gravestone, landing on her feet quietly. She noticed Buffy did the same and nodded for her to follow.
They moved silently, Buffy in the lead with Faith close behind her. After a minute of walking Buffy stopped and pointed to plot about twenty feet ahead of them where the ground had begun to move, something that was all too familiar to both of them. They walked up to the area and stopped, patiently waiting for the new vampire to rise.
"You know what's weird?"
Faith looked at Buffy, raising an eyebrow. "What's that?"
"So this person was turned but the vampire who turned," she looked at the stone in order to see the name, "him isn't around to makes sure he gets out. That happens a lot. It's weird."
"It's lucky for us," Faith pointed out.
"But maybe not so lucky tonight."
Both of them turned to see a vampire walking toward them. He was dressed in a tailored suit and looked as though he'd just stepped out of some sort of party. Between that and the cocky smirk on his face Faith was more than ready to stake him.
"I was having a lovely time, enjoying a waitress at a delightful charity ball, when I realized my new friend was scheduled to rise," he said as he stopped a few feet in front of them. "I just love welcoming a fresh new vampire into the world. It's nice to see I can even claim to bringing a first meal."
"You really think that's gonna happen?" Faith looked from the vampire to the grave then to Buffy. "He thinks he can take out both of us."
Buffy smirked and shook her head in an almost dramatic fashion. "I am insulted."
Faith looked back at the vampire. "She doesn't like to be insulted."
"I do not."
"What you are, ladies," the vamp said as he took another step closer, "is a couple of little girls that think it's fun to play amongst dead things. I think I should teach both of you why that's a very bad thing."
Both of them laughed and Faith eyed Buffy quickly. "You wanna take this one?"
"No, I think you got this." Buffy took a step back. "I'll keep an eye on the new riser."
Faith only grinned as a response and turned her complete attention back to the vampire. Before he could speak again she closed the distance they had between them and punched him hard, connecting with his jaw. He staggered back, almost stumbling on the uneven ground before regaining his balance.
He touched the cut on his lip and spit some blood onto the ground. "That wasn't very ladylike."
"I think you'll find there's a lot about me that's not very ladylike," Faith said as she heard Buffy snicker in the background.
The vampire came at her after the comment and though he fought like he had some experience, Faith was confident that he wouldn't be any match for her. It took a minute to get the upper hand but after a couple more hits to the face followed by a sweep of his legs Faith had him on the ground. She didn't wait for a witty response out of him, staking him before he had a chance to move.
She wiped off any remaining dust and turned to look at Buffy, raising an eyebrow as she did. The once covered grave was now empty and Buffy looked like she had just hopped back up on a gravestone. She smiled at Faith, causing her to laugh.
"How the hell were you able to do that without me hearing?"
Buffy laughed. "You were occupied and I figured adding a second vamp to the mix wasn't the smartest idea." She glanced over to the grave. "So I pulled him out once his hand broke through, staked him and then watched you finish off the mister talks-too-much."
Faith walked up to Buffy and pulled her to her feet. "Getting impatient while waiting for a vamp to rise? This really is like old times."
"Should we keep going?"
She looked around and knew the cemetery they were in was on the large size. It was still early as far as what Faith would consider to be a normal patrol. "Yeah, I bet there's something else to stake in a place this big."
Buffy nodded her agreement and they continued walking.
"This would be weird to say in any other situation but I had fun walking through a cemetery with you tonight."
Faith chuckled and let out a breath, liking how calm she was in Buffy's presence now. She liked how it had only taken a day for it to happen, too. "I did, too."
The Explorer pulled to a stop in front of the hotel and Buffy turned to look at her. "Where are you staying, Faith?"
With all the nerves and the anxiety that went along with meeting Buffy early in the day Faith realized she hadn't found a place to stay for the night. It was very late now and she figured it was too late to get a room. At least, not one that wasn't bug infested or dirty in ways Faith didn't want to think about.
"Uh, I got a place a ways from here," she lied, not wanting to tell Buffy she'd probably simply sleep in the truck.
Buffy raised an eyebrow. "I thought we'd gotten past all the lying, Faith. Only truth now, remember?"
She sighed. "Okay, I didn't have a chance to check in anywhere today. I'll probably just sleep in here. I've had much worse, believe me."
"I do," Buffy said quietly. "Grab your stuff. I'm pretty sure that suite is big enough for two."
Faith thought about arguing with her but stopped herself. The couch in her room was probably more comfortable than half of the beds she'd slept in, prison included. She also didn't want to end their day on a sour note by turning her down so she only nodded and parked the truck. After grabbing what she needed for the night she followed Buffy up to the room.
Once they were inside, Faith dropped her bag gently on the couch and sat down next to it. She watched as Buffy sat in a chair next to the hotel phone and picked it up, grabbing a folder in the other hand which Faith knew was the room service menu.
"Hi, this is room 509," she said and grinned at Faith. "Can I get a large pepperoni pizza, one order of wings and . . ." she looked at Faith for a second, "let's throw an order of fries on that, too. Yes, thank you."
When she hung up, Faith laughed. "Little hungry, B?"
"Hey, tomorrow it's back to reality," she said as she leaned back in the chair. "We had a fairly active night and I figured we deserved some overpriced food and maybe raid the mini bar a little."
Faith grinned and looked around again. She remembered all the times she spent nights in her cell with nothing but a book for company. That person she was, the one who tried to keep to herself and tried not to think what was happening in the outside world, would have never imagined she would be where she was at that moment.
"Where did you go just now?"
Faith blinked and noticed Buffy observing her curiously. "Just thinking. Have to get used to having someone around, ya know? It doesn't happen much."
Buffy looked down for a minute and Faith wondered if things would get awkward again. It seemed like every time they talked, when one of them questioned the other, there was always a chance the new friendship between them would collapse. Faith didn't want that though and she had to think Buffy didn't either.
"Two years is a long time," Buffy commented, still not looking at Faith. "It's a long time to be by yourself." She looked at her then and Faith noticed the small amount of confusion in her eyes. "Did you really not make any friends there?"
A laugh escaped her lips before she could stop it. "B, it's not a place where it's a good thing to be popular." She took a breath. "I mean, having friends means people know your name. That means the wrong people'll know your name, too. I couldn't risk getting into fights or hurting someone. Once my sentence got reduced all I did was keep my head down and tried to be just another inmate."
She nodded before getting up and grabbing a couple drinks from the fridge. Faith looked over the beer she was handed before opening it and taking a drink. Buffy did the same as she sat down next to her, pulling a leg under her as she turned to her.
"When did you decide to get your GED?"
Faith thought about the question a moment before answering. "A month or two after they reduced my sentence. I figured I should do something that was positive, you know? I'd had one of those prison jobs but other than that all I did was read or workout, keep up my strength. I knew they taught the classes so I figured I'd just go for it. I thought it prove if I was dumb or not."
"You're not dumb, Faith."
"And now I have the GED to prove it," Faith said, a grin on her face.
Buffy laughed as they heard a knock on the door. "And our food arrives."
Faith watched as Buffy got up and got their food from the attendant at the door. She looked happy and it took some time to realize that hanging out with her is what had made her happy for the day. It blew her mind a little.
"Okay," Buffy said once she had closed the door, "let's eat and try to find a movie that doesn't suck."
Faith woke up to the sound of the shower. She tried to roll over but nearly fell onto the floor as she had been sleeping on the couch in the suite.
She rested her head back on a pillow and closed her eyes, remembering the night. She and Buffy had ate all the food she'd ordered and nearly emptied the mini bar as they watched TV and ordered a movie that did in fact suck. They laughed at the stupidity of the characters in the movie and eventually Faith fell asleep on the couch, all the day's activities finally catching up to her.
It had been the first genuinely good day since she'd gotten out of prison and if she was honest with herself, it was the first good day for a long time before that. A small part of her wished that Buffy could stay longer but the rest of her knew that an extended stay would be asking for trouble. She still wasn't completely comfortable around her and she had to feel Buffy felt the same. They would need more time before hanging out and working together for a few days at a time would be possible.
The shower stopped and Faith got up, quickly looking in a mirror and running her hand through her hair. She noticed she still looked tired but if she remembered correctly they hadn't actually said good night to each other until two in the morning and until was just barely eight now.
The bathroom door opened and Buffy walked out dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, drying off her hair with a towel. "Good morning."
Buffy smiled. "I know it's early but I have to get back to Cleveland. When I left I said I'd call in early this morning to get transported back."
Faith nodded. "Makes sense."
She watched as Buffy zipped up the bag she brought with her as she talked. "The room will be automatically checked out at eleven so feel free to stick around." She turned to her and smiled. "Maybe order a little room service."
"Giles is gonna kill you when he sees that bill."
"He'll live." She picked up her cell phone and pressed a number. "Hey, Willow. Yeah, ready to go. Give me a minute."
Buffy walked up to Faith and hugged her, something that surprised Faith. It took a couple seconds but she returned it, carefully putting her arms around her. The hug was almost comforting and Faith had to admit she liked that.
They let go a few seconds later and Buffy smiled. "This was fun. We should meet up again. It's nice to get away from Cleveland every once and awhile."
Faith felt a smile appear on her face. "Yeah, it was fun."
Buffy took a couple steps back and put her phone back to her ear. "Okay, Will. Hit it." Her eyes met Faith's. "We'll talk later, okay?"
Faith nodded and in a couple seconds Buffy was no longer in the room. She walked over and sat on the couch again, looking around the suite. Yesterday had been a good day, a good break from what was normal for her now.
She wondered when it would happen again.
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