"Yeah!" Faith yelled, jumping for joy as a vampire turned to dust in front of her. She twirled her stake in her hand and looked around for more action.
She'd only been through two cemeteries over the last two hours and only dusted four vamps but Faith couldn't have been happier with it. She was getting back into the swing of things and as soon as she staked that first vamp, it felt like she never left.
Faith had always been happiest when she slayed. The act of it always made her forget about everything else and all the shit in her life just faded away. It also felt great to be doing something that helped others and she finally understood what that was all about now. She wanted to try to see slaying not as just power like she did before, but also as doing good.
As she continued to walk through the cemetery, Faith couldn't help but wish Buffy was there with her. She always liked their time together, whether she showed it or not, and the realization that it would probably never happen again hurt. She wished she could change that.
She heard footsteps suddenly and tuned all her senses toward the movement. She walked silently toward the sound and tried to estimate what she was up against. Whoever it was didn't sound very big and they were doing a good job trying to not cause attention to their presence. Faith felt confident she could handle whoever it was and raced the rest of the way to the movement, running straight into Buffy.
"Shit, B!" Faith yelped, caught by surprise by her fellow slayer. "You scared me."
Buffy looked at her in shock, not expecting to see Faith. She looked her up and down before saying anything. "Funny, coming from you."
"What does that mean?"
"It means I can't imagine you being scared. Scaring people, yes, being scared, no," Buffy said, looking away from Faith. She was staring at her intently and it was too much for her.
Faith just shook her head, not wanting to respond. Anything she said would only get her into trouble with Buffy and she didn't want that. "So . . . you had much action tonight? I bagged four so far."
"Nothing yet," Buffy responded. "I just got here."
"Huh," Faith mumbled, looking out at the various headstones. "Here I thought I was late."
"No," Buffy stated simply and walked away from Faith, seeming to scan the area. Really, she just wanted to get away from Faith. The way the younger woman continued to look at her made her uncomfortable. It felt like she could see right through her.
"Hey," Faith called to her, walking behind her. "Mind if we patrol together? It's been awhile."
Buffy turned back to her, disbelief on her face. "You're serious? What makes you think I'd ever want to be around you again?"
Buffy's cutting remarks hurt Faith more than she thought possible. She knew it was going to be hard being back but at the moment she didn't know if she could do this. It felt too hard.
Back when they'd just been teenagers and fellow slayers, Faith had fallen for Buffy. Hard. So hard it nearly ruined her and she hurt several others on her way down, Buffy included. She couldn't be sure whether it was love or even just an insane crush but it was starting to come back. Faith didn't want it to come back for fear the result would be the same.
The one thing that Faith was so sure of back then was that Buffy had felt the same. She just knew if everything hadn't gone to hell on them they could have had something. Faith didn't know what that could have been but had a feeling it could have saved her. She thought maybe if she had Buffy back then she wouldn't have done some of the bad things she had.
Faith realized she hadn't responded to Buffy and shook the thoughts out of her head. "I'm just here to help, remember? Don't want to step on any toes."
Buffy sighed. "Fine, just stay out of my way."
Faith nodded and the pair walked through the cemetery in silence. Buffy was trying her best to concentrate on her surroundings and not on Faith but was failing miserably and the other girl noticed. She smirked at her and couldn't resist commenting.
"You checking me out, B?"
"Whatever, Faith," Buffy scoffed. "I'm making sure you're not gonna attack. Not that you could take me anyway."
"I could," Faith commented. "I always held back."
Buffy narrowed her eyes, feeling the unspoken challenge in Faith's words. "Care to settle this?"
Faith grinned, enjoying the familiar banter. It was like old times, better times. "I love to, B," she said, looking past Buffy, "but we've got company."
Faith pushed Buffy out of the way as a vampire attempting to strike her from behind. She landed on the ground with a hard thud as Faith slugged the vamp in the face. He attempted to gain the upper hand but she kicked him in the stomach to keep him off balance and staked him easily.
Buffy got up and tried to brush herself off but was pushed down again by another, larger vampire. She looked up and saw there were three more of them, one striking Faith in the back.
"Faith! We have more company!" she yelled, using one of her legs to kick one of the vamps, tripping him.
"Think I noticed, B!" Faith yelled back, spinning quickly and pushing away the vamp attacking her roughly.
As soon as the vampire was an arm's length away, Faith stepped forward and kicked him in the knee. His leg bent at an awkward angle and he cried out in pain.
"Bitch!" he screamed, leaping to grab at Faith.
"Got that right." Faith dodged him easily and as soon as he hit the ground, she jumped on him. In just a second, he was dust.
Buffy was having a much bigger problem with the two remaining vampires. She was holding her own but one had managed to land a punch or two to her face and she was definitely feeling it. Her head was pounding and she was having a problem concentrating. Still, both vampires weren't the best fighters and she could still land blows.
Faith ran over to help, throwing one vamp back and punching him in the stomach. He was thrown by her unexpected presence and she was able to land a kick to the chest and a hit to the face before he knew what was happening.
With the second vampire out of her fight, Buffy was able to concentrate better. She threw her vamp into a headstone and punched him hard in the nose, causing him to scream in pain. Buffy gave him a wicked smile and reached for her stake.
The Chosen Two grabbed their stakes and dusted the two vamps in sync. They both took some deep breaths from their respective fights and turned to face each other. Faith noticed a gash on Buffy's head and walked over to her.
"B, you okay?" she asked, getting closer to inspect the deep cut. "You're hurt."
Buffy brought her hand to her head and felt the blood. "Guess so."
Without thinking, Faith closed the distance between them and reached out, inspecting the wound. She touched Buffy's forehead and she winced at the action. "Sorry," she said quietly. "Should get that cleaned."
"I'll be fine," Buffy responded, taking a step back from the other girl. "I can take care of it after patrol." She took a step forward and started to stumble but Faith reached out and steadied her.
"Okay, no more patrol tonight," Faith said, making sure Buffy was leaning on her as she started to walk toward the entrance. "Let's make sure you're okay."
Buffy tried to argue but stopped with the realization of how much her head hurt and let Faith take her out of the cemetery.
"Isn't this your old motel room?" Buffy asked, squinting as she took in the surroundings while Faith walked them to her door.
"Uh, same motel, different room," Faith answered uneasily, the question bringing up too many old memories for her tastes. "It's temporary . . . just until I get enough money for an apartment or room or something."
"Mmm," Buffy mumbled. She leaned on Faith as she opened the door and moved them both inside. She sat on the bed and Faith walked into the bathroom.
A minute later the younger woman reentered the room with a washcloth and a small bandage. "I don't have any alcohol or anything to clean it so this will have to do."
Buffy smirked then grimaced as the cool, wet cloth touched her head wound. "No alcohol? You're kidding."
"I didn't mean that kind but yeah, I've decided to try life sober for awhile," Faith said simply, concentrating on what she was doing. She didn't want to get into anything about her life right now so she chose to answer as quickly as possible. A couple minutes later, the cut was cleaned and she had covered it with a small bandage.
"Thanks," Buffy mumbled, moving back to lie down on the bed. "I didn't realize a hit to the head could take that much out of you."
"You probably didn't realize it while you were fighting," Faith said. "You should rest for a minute before going home."
"Hmm." Buffy's eyes were already half closed. She quickly drifted off, Faith watching her closely.
She hoped she was making the right choice in letting her sleep but figured the slayer healing would kick in and she would be fine in just a few hours. Faith sat down and gently brushed the hair out of her face. Buffy looked so exhausted and Faith knew it wasn't just from the fight. She wondered what was going on with her.
Faith got up and took off Buffy's shoes then lifted her up enough to get her under the covers. She went to the bathroom and changed into a T-shirt and shorts before lying down on the other side of the bed.
To say she was putting herself in an awkward situation was an understatement. Faith couldn't help herself though. Buffy looked so hurt even when she was asleep and Faith's redemption had softened her, more than she ever liked to admit. She got under the covers and without a second thought pulled Buffy to her.
Buffy relaxed against her and it shocked the hell out of Faith. It made her hold onto Buffy tighter, instantly loving the feel of Buffy against her. It was the most intense feeling she'd ever had and so much better than she ever imagined. She began to relax herself even though in the back of her mind she knew this would blow up on her tomorrow. She refused to think about that now. Instead, she only held onto Buffy and drifted off to sleep.
As the sun started to rise and lighten up the small motel room, Buffy slowly began to wake up. She was only vaguely aware of her surroundings and felt strong arms holding her in place. She shifted a little, getting more comfortable, and settled more into the person behind her.
Buffy slowly became more awake and realized where she was, not to mention who she was with. Looking at the parts of the room she could see, there was only one place she could be. Her eyes next moved to the arms embracing her. She knew right away they were Faith's. She could identify the lightly tanned arms anywhere and when she turned her head she could see her tattoo.
She wondered why Faith was holding her or even why she'd let her stay the night. She couldn't imagine the old Faith even doing such a thing. Buffy thought for a moment that the person beside her may not be the Faith she remembered, that maybe prison had changed her.
Buffy was also trying to figure out why she felt so comfortable being here with Faith. She almost felt safe and the thought freaked her out, not only because she was finally feeling something so strong but also didn't want to believe she could think of Faith that way. She didn't want to think of Faith as safe. Her thoughts were interrupted, however, when Faith started to move.
Faith woke up and the first thing she felt out of instinct was irritation that someone had stayed the night with her. That wasn't something that ever happened. It only took a second more though for her to remember the night before and who was with her. Buffy's slim body was next to her and she was holding her close. She could tell by her breathing that she also might even be awake.
Faith moved her arms slightly and lifted her head up so she could see Buffy's face. She was looking out toward the window, her head on the pillow.
"B?" Faith whispered, just in case Buffy was still out of it. "You awake?"
"Yeah," she replied and turned her eyes to her. Faith's dark brown eyes were staring intently at her and Buffy was further freaked out that she looked almost happy.
Faith moved away from Buffy, seeing her confusion, and sat up. "You were pretty out of it last night. Does your head feel better?"
Buffy's fingers touched her forehead lightly, feeling out the wound through the bandage. "Yeah, doesn't hurt." She looked at Faith and was suddenly frightened by what she saw in her eyes. Faith looked like she cared and about her no less. She got out of the bed quickly and looked down at the other woman. "Why were you holding me?"
Faith shrugged. "You looked like you needed it, ya know," she said casually, trying not to make it a big deal. It was a big deal to her but she didn't want Buffy to know that.
Buffy scowled at her, cursing herself for letting her guard down, even if it was when she was asleep. "What makes you think I need any help from you?"
"Hey, I don't know what you need," Faith said almost defensively, getting up and standing on the other side of the bed. "What the fuck is wrong with you anyway?"
"Me? You're the psycho," Buffy almost yelled. She got her shoes and quickly put them on, wanting to leave as quickly as possible.
Faith didn't know what was going on. Buffy had been so relaxed in her arms and for a minute after they woke up, they were even civil to each other. It was like the older slayer suddenly remembered she had to be a bitch to her.
"You can be such a bitch sometimes, B," she said, sneering. "I'm only trying to help."
"Stop helping," Buffy stated sternly. "I don't need your help."
"You needed it last night," Faith reminded her.
"Screw you," Buffy said and turned to leave. She knew Faith was right but refused to acknowledge it. "Stay out of my way."
Faith just looked at her as she walked out the door. She couldn't believe how quickly the situation had turned on her. It was just her luck.
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)