Chapter Fifteen - New Alternate Ending
Buffy stayed in a chair beside Faith's bed all night and most of the next day, refusing to leave it. Even when every one of her friends tried to make her get up and eat or get some sleep, she ignored every request. It was almost as if she never even heard them.
The only time she left her girlfriend's side was when Faith had been rushed into surgery when she was first brought in. It was only then that she let a nurse check and treat her minor injuries. Buffy was much more concerned with the more serious injuries Faith had and the amount of blood she'd lost on the way to the hospital.
The end of the fight with the vamp leader haunted her, her mind replaying it over and over. Faith had managed to finish off all the remaining vamps in the group and was running to help her. Neither one of them saw the knife before it was too late and was plunged into Faith's side. Every time she thought about it, Buffy wished over and over that it had been her. She didn't feel the other woman deserved this, not after all she'd done for her.
Faith hadn't even started to show any sign of improvement since she's lost consciousness at the cemetery. That worried Buffy more than anything. Not only had she lost a lot of blood but the brutal kick to the head she'd received after she'd been stabbed probably didn't help matters either. The only bright side, if it could be called that, was that since it was Sunnydale no one questioned her on why she and Faith were in a cemetery so late at night. It wasn't something Buffy wanted to talk about.
"Buffy?" Willow asked hesitantly, walking into the room and stopping beside her. "Don't you think you should eat something? You've been sitting here for hours."
"No," Buffy said quickly, her eyes not leaving Faith. "I'm not leaving until she wakes up." She paused. "I owe her that much."
"You don't owe her anything," Willow said carefully, not wanting to anger her best friend but not being able to hide her feelings. "She didn't care about your life. Look at what she's done to it: you don't talk to your friends and you barely see your sister."
"That's not her fault and she's in this bed 'cause of me," Buffy said sadly. "She loves me."
"No, she doesn't," Willow countered. "She likes having you. She'll break your heart, Buffy."
"She won't," Buffy said, her eyes watery. "The only way she can do that is if . . . she doesn't make it." Buffy could barely get the sentence out before starting to cry.
Willow softened instantly and pulled a chair up to the bed beside Buffy's. "I'm really trying to see her good side, Buff. She hasn't shown one."
"Then you're not looking." Buffy still didn't look at her friend, her eyes unable to leave Faith's motionless body. "I wish you'd stop being jealous of the fact she helped me with you couldn't."
"That's what you think this is?"
"Always what it sounds like," Buffy said matter-of-factly.
Willow didn't respond, finding some truth in Buffy's words. She looked at Faith seriously for a couple minutes, slowly realizing how weak the reformed slayer looked. Even though she didn't want to admit it, she was grateful for all Faith had done for Buffy, including helping with the last fight. It showed her Faith would likely do anything for Buffy.
"Mind if I sit with you for awhile?" Willow asked quietly. "You shouldn't sit here by yourself."
"You don't have to for me. I have Faith," Buffy said, taking Faith's hand in hers. "But . . . I'm sure Faith would like it if you stayed."
Willow only nodded and leaned back in her chair. The pair silently sat together and waited for Faith to show any sign of life.
Four days later, there was little change in Faith's condition. Her doctor said she was getting better, little by little, but he wouldn't say when or if Faith would wake up at all. She still looked so weak and pale and no one dared give Buffy any hope.
Buffy was starting to look just as weak and pale as her ailing girlfriend. She had barely left her side, only being convinced to go home twice, mostly just to shower, and even then she was right back by her side a short couple hours later. She couldn't stand to leave her alone and definitely didn't want her to wake up to an empty room.
The rest of the gang were starting to come around when it came to Faith but mostly because they could see how much their friend loved her. They knew now they had to support her decision with Faith or lose her and they didn't want to lose her again.
Buffy walked into the hospital room in the early morning, trying to keep a smile on her face. The nurse on the overnight shift had told her if she didn't go home to eat, shower and get a couple hours sleep she might start to enforce the actual visiting hours. She'd gone right home without any protest after that, not wanting to be restricted on when she could be with Faith.
"Hey, baby," Buffy greeted her, trying to sound happy. She was far from it but kept telling herself she wanted Faith to see a smile on her face when she woke up.
She walked up to the bed quickly and leaned down, kissing her girlfriend's forehead first then her lips. She sat down in her chair and sighed, taking her hand.
"You've gotta wake up for me, baby," Buffy said quietly. "The staff here is getting sick of me."
"No, we're not," someone said behind her. Buffy turned to see Faith's doctor walking into the room.
"Is she getting better, Dr. Daniels?"
He smiled. "Yes, she is. We just ran some tests and all the swelling is gone. You said someone kicked her head, right?"
Buffy knew he was trying to get more information out of her, he was the only doctor who was, but she knew he wouldn't believe the truth so she'd always tried to be as vague as possible. "Yeah, right after he stabbed her."
"Well, she's very lucky that didn't do more damage," he said, raising an eyebrow but not asking any more questions about the fight. "There isn't any reason she shouldn't wake up very soon."
Buffy grinned, ecstatic at finally receiving good news. "I can't tell you how great that news is. Beyond great, really."
"You can tell me that when she wakes up," he said before walking out of the room.
Buffy turned back to her girlfriend. "Hear that, Faith? You're getting better. Now you just have to wake up for me."
Buffy kissed her hand before resting it back down on the bed but not letting it go. She couldn't stand not to touch Faith. She wanted so badly to curl up next to her and hold her close but Faith had an IV in her arm and she didn't want to risk pulling it out.
She sat there and waited. After awhile, she started to get a little tired. She hadn't slept at all when she went home, just showered and ate something and it was starting to catch up with her. Buffy slowly put her head down on the bed and closed her eyes.
About an hour and a half later, Buffy felt something move on the bed. She slowly lifted her head up to see Faith shifting around. Her eyes weren't open but she was already scowling.
Buffy was suddenly very awake. "Faith? Baby?"
Faith only groaned out quietly, still not opening her eyes. She squeezed Buffy's hand as she continued to slowly shift around.
"B?" she whispered roughly, not being able to find her voice.
"I'm here, Faith," Buffy said brightly, leaning in closer.
Faith opened her eyes almost cautiously, adjusting to the brightness of the room. She held Buffy's hand tighter as she looked around, realizing where she was. The other woman smiled brightly, happier than she'd been in days, but tears started to run down her cheeks anyway.
Faith's eyes focused right to her girlfriend crying and she tried to smile. "Don't cry, B. I'm right here."
Buffy leaned down and lightly kissed her, gently placing a hand on the top of her head. Faith responded as best she could, putting a hand on Buffy's arm. They broke apart after only a couple seconds and Buffy moved to sit on the bed, trying to be as close to Faith as possible without messing with any hospital equipment or wires.
"How are you feeling?" she asked, knowing she'd get a sarcastic answer.
"Liar," Buffy said, frowning as she looked over Faith's appearance. She was pale and looked weak but not anything she couldn't quickly recover from now that she regained consciousness. Buffy kissed her nose lightly and sat back down in her chair. "You scared me."
Faith gave her a serious look and squeezed her hand. "Sorry, but if this is what I have to do to help you then . . ."
"Maybe you shouldn't have," Buffy said sadly. "I don't know what I'd do without you."
Faith tried to sit up and argue with her but groaned in pain when she tried. Buffy immediately jumped up and her hands on her arm and shoulder, guiding her to lie back down.
"Do not move." Buffy looked at her seriously. "You were stabbed and then that asshole vamp tried to kick your head in. You will not move until the doctor tells you its okay."
Faith scoffed. "I'll be fine." She gave Buffy a serious look. "You should never doubt me."
"What do you mean?"
"No one deserves to lose you again," she answered. "When I saw you fightin' that vamp, that you weren't finishing him off easily, all I could think was what would happen if you were gone. I couldn't take that, B, and I knew I wasn't the only one."
"I guess a thank you is in order then," Buffy said, smiling. She leaned in and kissed her again, liking that Faith was actually responding to her kisses now.
"Mmm," Faith said then sighed as Buffy broke away. "Bring on the thank you's."
"Later, baby," Buffy said, reaching out and caressing Faith's cheek lightly. "First, I'm gonna find your doctor and tell him you're awake."
Over the next couple days, Faith tried her hardest to be the best patient she could possibly be. She wanted so badly to be out of the hospital that she was ready to escape but Buffy made sure she stayed where she was. She followed it up with promises of what she'd do once she was released and that made Faith stay in bed.
Her doctor told her she was slowly getting better but her stab wound became infected after she'd woken up so she needed to stay in the hospital for longer than expected. Faith dreaded the stay but Buffy was there all the time to keep her company.
One thing she was happy about was she still had a job so she could continue on her reformed path. Her boss visited her the second day she was awake and told her she would have a job when she got out. If she wasn't so thankful about it, she would have asked if Buffy could have a job, too.
Faith had wondered about Buffy's job at the Doublemeat Palace as soon as the nurse joked with her that Buffy never left her side since she'd arrived. She knew there was no chance she'd gotten that many days off but Buffy had blown off her inquiries about it. Willow was the one who finally told her Buffy had just stopped going.
She was slowly starting to get along with Buffy's friends. At first, she thought they were just grateful to her for helping out their friend and didn't much care about her condition, and that's how they acted, but soon they visited more than once and talked to her even when Buffy wasn't around. Faith thought that had to mean they were doing more than simply tolerating her.
The one person Faith never thought would be nice her was Dawn, especially given some of the things they'd said to each other. The teenager's actions showed different and surprised not only her but everyone else, too. Dawn not only played nice with her sister's girlfriend but she fussed over her almost as much as Buffy. Buffy said it was just Dawn's way of thanking her for Faith hoped it was something more. She hoped it was the start of her and Dawn getting along.
"Hey, baby, where did your mind go?"
Faith looked from the window to Buffy and smiled. "Just thinking, B."
"Yeah?" Buffy asked, slowing climbing onto the bed. Faith's last IV was taken out just a couple hours before and she was just aching to lie next to her. "Anything deep and meaningful?"
"Nah." Faith shook her head with a smile. "You know me. No deep thinking here." She tapped the side of her head with a finger for emphasis.
"Don't say that," Buffy said, hesitantly resting next to Faith. "You know as well as I do how smart you are."
Faith only shrugged in response and pulled Buffy closer to her. When Buffy was still hesitant in her actions, Faith pulled a little harder. "You can get a little closer, you know. I'm not gonna break."
"You're still hurt," Buffy responded. "We have to be careful."
"I know you won't hurt me," Faith said. Buffy seemed to take her word for it though, resting her head lightly on her shoulder and gently put an arm across her stomach.
The pair stayed silent for a moment, just enjoying the fact they could finally be in the same bed together. Buffy kissed Faith's shoulder lightly and grinned up at her girlfriend.
"So you're not gonna tell me what you were thinking about?"
Faith laughed. "I think I have the right to keep some secrets from you." She looked at Buffy and laughed again at the look on her face. "It's nothing bad, I promise."
"Okay," Buffy said, grinning, and rested her head back down on her shoulder. The pair continued to relax in silence for another half hour before they were interrupted.
"God, her IVs come out and you're all over each other again," Dawn remarked sarcastically as she walked into the room. She threw herself into the chair by the bed dramatically and tossed her backpack on the floor.
"Hi to you, too," Buffy said, lifting her head off Faith's shoulder to look at her sister. "What's the latest crisis?"
Dawn scowled at her. "Faith, aren't you supposed to make sure Buffy is pleasant?"
"I think she is," Faith said. "Don't worry. Once I'm out of this bed, I'm sure I can keep her plenty occupied."
"I didn't need to hear that," Dawn said, looking away as the Chosen Two shared a kiss. Once they were done, she turned back to them. "How are you feeling?"
"Better," Faith answered. "As soon as this damn hole in my side heals a little better, I'll be out of here."
One week after she had woken up, Faith was finally starting to feel like herself again. She had convinced Buffy to go home for the night and everyone else was to make sure she stayed there. The group had been patrolling together in hers and Buffy's absence and Faith hoped they continued to do that until she could start patrolling again. As she thought about it, she began to fall asleep when someone walked into the room.
"Did you think I wouldn't visit?"
Faith opened her eyes and smiled at the vampire. "Never a doubt in my mind."
Angel walked over to the bed and sat down in a chair. "How are you feeling?"
"Better than when I first got here," she said with a smirk.
He smiled. "Good." He paused. "Why did you want to see me?"
Faith sighed. "I have a small problem." She paused to see if Angel would say anything but when he didn't, she continued. "It's this thing with Buffy."
Angel sighed. "Did you two break up?"
"No," Faith started, shaking her head, "it's better than ever. The problem is something else."
"I have this nice, two bedroom apartment that's big enough for me and B but she has the house and no job."
"Okay," Angel said, looking her over curiously. "I think I see the problem. What do you have in mind?"
"Can you get me out of my lease?"
"Probably," Angel said carefully. "Why?"
"I wanna be there for B. I'd want her to move in with me but I don't think she'll leave that house. Memories of her mom and all, I think."
"You're thinking of moving in with Buffy?" Angel asked.
"B won't leave me alone when I'm injured," Faith said, grinning. "While I'm more than okay with that, I don't want her to have to split her time between her house and my apartment. It'll be easier if I'm at her place."
"Have you two talked about this?"
"It's kind of implied," Faith said. "She keeps saying how she's gonna take care of me once we get home. She means her house, Angel."
"All right," he said. I'll talk to your landlord about your lease if you talk to Buffy about all this."
"You're getting out today."
Faith opened her eyes to see Buffy smiling at her happily. She returned it with a tired smile. "I am? You bustin' me out?"
Buffy's smile turned into a grin as she sat down in the chair next to the bed. "No. I was just talking to your doctor. He said as long as you don't do much until you're all healed, you can go home."
Faith smiled at her and thought about what she and Angel had talked about. She knew now was the time to have the conversation Angel suggested she and Buffy have. "And where is home?"
"What do you mean, Faith?" Buffy asked, confused at the question.
"You've been saying you'll take care of me once we get home. What exactly do you mean by that?"
"Uh . . . I guess I was thinking you could get all healed at my house," Buffy answered shyly. She finally realized what she'd been implying. "I guess I should've asked you about it."
Faith reached out and took her hand, wanting to stop whatever was going through her girlfriend's mind. "Hey, don't think I don't want to. I just wanna make sure I know exactly what you're saying."
"I thought it would be easier if you were at the house. That way someone will always be around to help if you need it."
"Someone?" Faith asked playfully.
"Okay, me," Buffy said almost sweetly, trying not to blush at the look Faith was giving her.
Faith grinned and pulled Buffy to her, giving her a tender kiss. It only lasted a matter of moments before they broke away and smiled at each other.
"What about after I'm better?" Faith asked, slowly hinting at what she really wanted to ask but not yet had the nerve. She wanted so badly to just ask if Buffy wanted them to live together.
Buffy looked at her for a moment, trying to figure out exactly what she was asking. She wondered if Faith was hinting at what she thought she was. "I guess I never really thought about after. I can't even plan ahead enough to find a job."
Faith sighed, wondering when one of them would get the nerve. "I talked to Angel last night about some stuff."
"He was here?"
She nodded. "I was talking to him about my apartment . . . about trying to get out of my lease."
"Faith . . ."
"Thing is, B, I wanted you to move in with me but I know you want to stay in the house and then there's Dawn . . ." Faith said then paused, wanting to word what she wanted to say just right. "I figured if I could get out of the lease I could move in and help out with the house. I mean, stuff's always breakin' in that place. I think we broke half the shit in there last time we fought."
Buffy laughed in spite of herself at the memory and started to grin. "You want to move in?"
"Do you want me to?" Faith asked hesitantly.
Buffy sat on the bed and placed a hand gently against Faith's cheek. "Of course I do," she answered quietly. She pulled her legs up on the bed and moved to lie down next to her. "I can't believe you're the one who asked."
Faith laughed and rested her head on Buffy's shoulder. "We gotta take care of each other, right? That's what you do for the people you love."
"Did I say that? I meant for the people you need to tolerate."
Buffy swatted her shoulder. "You think you're so funny." She turned her head to kiss her cheek then moved her lips back to her ear. "I love you."
"I love you, too, Buffy," Faith said and turned her head to meet her girlfriend's eyes.
They looked into each other's eyes for a moment, easily seeing just how much they meant to each other. Slowly, they moved closer until their lips brushed together. After only a few seconds, the kiss deepened and the pair lost track of everything but each other and that's how they both thought it should be.
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)