Faith jolted awake in the middle of the night, sweating and shaking. She sat up in bed out of instinct, knocking away the arm that had been draped over her. The move startled Buffy and she woke up in an instant, noticing Faith sitting up and breathing heavily.
"Baby, what's wrong?" She sat up as well and put a hand gently on Faith's back.
Faith turned to look at her and tried to slow her breathing, not wanting to freak Buffy out in any way. "Nothing, babe, just a nightmare. You can go back to sleep."
Buffy put an arm around her. "No, I'll stay up with you until you go back to sleep," she said, putting her head on her shoulder. "Wanna talk about it?"
"Not really," Faith breathed out. "You don't need to know about my twisted nightmares."
"Yes, I do," Buffy countered. "You can tell me anything. I should be the one listening for a change. It's the least I can do."
Faith sighed. "Everything I've done just comes back when I sleep."
"Am I in your nightmares?" Buffy asked, not really wanting to know the answer. Deep down, she already knew it and didn't know if she wanted to hear it.
Faith nodded slowly, unsure of how to approach the topic. "Yeah . . . but not all the time."
She nodded again, looking uncomfortable. "It's nothing, B, really. Let's just go back to sleep." She moved to lie back down but Buffy stopped her.
"Faith, stop," she said gently, keeping a strong arm around her. She kissed her cheek in an effort to calm her. "Am I hurting you?"
"We're hurting each other," Faith answered, looking down. "It's that fight all over again but with different outcomes. The only thing that's the same is one of us is always dead when I wake up."
"What happened tonight?"
"I killed you," Faith said quietly. She turned her head to face her, looking into her eyes that shined due to the street light coming from the window. "I'll never hurt you, B. You know that, right?"
"Of course I do," Buffy answered, pulling Faith a little closer. "I won't hurt you either."
Buffy leaned in and slowly kissed Faith. She had never seen her fellow slayer so fragile before, maybe even a little scared. Until now, Faith had been the strong one of the two of them and Buffy had been leaning on her fully for support. She never thought about everything Faith was dealing with and what she felt she needed to do to redeem herself.
She suddenly felt bad that she hadn't considered the inner demons Faith was fighting every day. The other woman had done so many bad things before she went to prison and Buffy knew she wanted to set things right now that she was out. The task of doing that though had to be daunting since most sights in Sunnydale had to remind her of her past misdeeds. She didn't know how she was doing it.
"Come on," Buffy said soothingly. "Let's go back to sleep. You don't have to think about all that, not right now."
"I have to make it right, B," Faith said, putting her forehead against the other woman's.
"You're starting to and you will in time," Buffy said carefully. "Come on, lie down with me."
Faith relented hesitantly, slowly resting back down on the bed. Buffy did the same, turning on her side to face Faith. She ran her fingers through her hair then rested her hand against her cheek, caressing it softly.
"I know you're good now and everyone else will, too," she said, kissing her forehead.
"Yeah," Faith said quietly, moving a little closer to her.
Buffy didn't know what else to say so instead she just pulled Faith to her, wrapping her arms around her. She placed a kiss on her shoulder and smiled as she felt Faith snuggle against her, relaxing as she did. Buffy did the same and for the first time Faith fell asleep in her arms, not the other way around.
Over the next two weeks, the Chosen Two didn't see much of each other. They threw themselves into their separate lives, mostly to try to ignore the fact they weren't seeing each other that much. The only thing they did together was to meet up for patrol but they had to leave each other shortly after that, both knowing if they stayed together too long they'd never leave.
When Buffy left Faith's apartment to go back to work the morning after they slept together, Faith repeated her thought that Buffy should try to reconnect with her friends and sister. Buffy had grudgingly agreed, knowing it had to be done but not wanting to give up seeing Faith either. She hoped it was only temporary and soon she could be with Faith along with having everyone else in her life.
Both slayers worked nearly every day to keep themselves busy. Buffy didn't work much more than she needed to so she could spend time at home but Faith had different priorities. She wanted to make a good impression so she volunteered to work overtime at her job. By the end of the next week, her life almost totally consisted of work and slaying. She didn't like it but it kept her mind off of Buffy so she could deal, at least for the time being.
Buffy slowly made progress with everyone else in her life. When she wasn't at work or slaying, she spent all her time with them, doing anything and everything. They didn't mention Faith and neither did she right away. By the end of the second week, however, she wanted to see Faith for longer than just patrol so badly she had to bring it up.
"Hey, Will," she greeted her best friend as she walked into the living room after her double shift at the Doublemeat Palace.
"Hey," Willow responded brightly. "Good day?"
"No," Buffy sighed but smiled anyway. "It doesn't matter though."
Willow nodded, liking when she saw her best friend in a good mood. "So what's on the agenda for tonight?"
"Dinner then a quick patrol," Buffy answered, sitting down on the couch next to her. She took a deep breath and prepared for a potential argument for what she was going to say next. "I was thinking . . . Faith should come over tomorrow night."
Willow scowled at the mention of Faith. "I don't think that's a very good idea."
"Will, you said you would try. Avoiding her is not trying and I want her in my life." She paused, taking a breath. "I haven't gone off to hang out with her because we both thought I was needed here but I don't want to lead two lives. I don't want to have one life with family and friends and then one with Faith, who's become like family to me. I want everyone to get along or at least tolerate each other."
"I don't think that's possible," Willow said but looked at Buffy's pleading face and caved. "But I guess we could try."
Buffy smiled. "Great. I can tell her tonight when we patrol." Her smile widened into a grin. "We can have dinner, maybe watch a movie."
"You'll have to talk to Dawn," Willow said, giving Buffy a stern look. "One thing: if Faith says or does one wrong thing though, I will find a way to hurt her."
Buffy tried to let the comment go but couldn't, not entirely. "She won't. She doesn't do that anymore."
"I'll believe that when I see it."
Faith waited outside a cemetery later that night for Buffy to show. They'd met there every night to go on patrol but Buffy was a little late and Faith was starting to get a little nervous when she saw her coming toward her.
"Hey, B," she said with a grin as Buffy walked up to her. "Is something going on?"
"No, just talking with Dawn," she answered. "Ran a little late."
Faith pulled her into a strong embrace and gave her a soft kiss. "You're here now so I have no complaints." She kept an arm around her as they began to walk into the cemetery. "They giving you a hard time?"
"A little but more so because of something I asked them to do," she answered and turned to face her. "Do you have plans tomorrow night?"
Faith smirked. "You know I don't have a life, B." She tightened her hold in Buffy slightly and kissed the top of her head. "What do you have in mind?"
"I was thinking you could come over tomorrow night and have dinner with everyone," Buffy said hesitantly, trying to gage Faith's reaction.
"I don't know about that," Faith said uneasily, not knowing how much of a good idea that was. "I don't want to throw down or anything . . . might ruin the night."
"That won't happen," Buffy commented. "I talked to Willow and Dawn and Tara won't say anything. I'm sure I can get Xander to be on his best behavior and we can just ignore Anya. She says whatever she wants whenever she wants and no one can stop that. As long as no one brings up the past, we'll be fine."
Faith looked at Buffy for a moment then sighed. "Okay, but I have a bad feeling about this."
"I want everything to work, Faith," Buffy said, looking at her hopefully. "They said they would try and you should, too."
"Of course I will," Faith said, smiling. "Anything you want . . . you know that."
Buffy grinned widely and hugged her, putting her head on her shoulder. "Great! Everything's all set then." She pulled back just enough kiss her.
Faith accepted the kiss but had her doubts. She didn't know if the gang was ready to be civil to her but didn't voice her concerns because Buffy seemed so happy. She didn't want to ruin the mood. Instead, she pulled away from Buffy after a minute, moving them further into the cemetery so they could start the patrol.
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 (original) || Chapter Fifteen (alternate)