The day had ended up so good Faith wanted to do something to celebrate. After her mini argument with Buffy, she thought the day would be a total wash. Instead, it turned out to be more than okay.
She got a job and one that paid well, too. The woman she met with at the shipping company liked her and even said she wouldn't be the only ex-con the company had hired. That fact put Faith at ease. She liked she was somewhere she'd get a second chance and that she wouldn't be treated differently because she'd made a few mistakes.
Her new boss also gave her tips on where the best apartments in the city were given her price range and said she could use her as a reference. Faith figured she only would need to live in the motel for a month before she got enough money together to rent a small apartment. The thought alone put her in a good mood.
As she walked into her room, Faith's thoughts went right to Buffy. Her fellow slayer's demeanor worried her. Buffy usually showed such emotion in everything she did. It was her biggest strength as far as Faith was concerned. Faith had always wished she could care as much as Buffy did.
Now, however, Buffy didn't show that emotion. In fact, she didn't show any emotion, at least nothing with any depth. Of the time Faith was with Buffy, she even thought she might just be faking it. None of her emotions, even the hatred she attempted to throw her way, seemed real.
Faith tried to shake all thoughts dealing with Buffy out of her head but couldn't. Now that she was back in Sunnydale, Buffy was starting to take over her life again, bit by bit. She just hoped she could handle her feelings better this time around.
She didn't know what to do and suddenly remembered she hadn't called Angel since she'd been out. She grabbed the phone and quickly dialed collect to the hotel the vampire was set up in. It was her luck too that Angel answered the phone.
"Angel Investigations, we help . . ."
"Angel, no need for that. It's Faith," she said into the phone hesitantly.
"Faith!" he exclaimed almost urgently. "Where are you? I thought you'd come here once you got out but you never showed. I was wondering where you'd gone." He paused. "I don't even need to ask, do I?"
"Probably not," Faith said, grinning. She thought it was odd Angel always knew what she'd do. "You know I had to come here."
"I don't think it's good for you, Faith," he responded. "She doesn't want you there."
Faith furrowed her brow. "She tell you that?"
"No, but it's not exactly a stretch that I'd think that, is it?" Angel asked. "It's just not good for you right now. You should get used to being out first."
"Listen, I've already talked to B," she said easily. "You're right, she doesn't like me being here but she's not exactly running me out of town either."
"Still, come here and stay for a while," Angel began to argue. "We can put you on the payroll and you can start over. If you don't like it after a couple months you can go there."
"Sorry, Angel, but I got a job today and I belong on the hellmouth. Pretty soon I'll even be able to afford an apartment."
He sighed. "At least let me help you with that. You're staying at that motel right now, aren't you?"
"All I could afford. Thanks for the money by the way. That was you, wasn't it?"
"Yes," Angel said. "Listen, staying there will only bring back the past and you shouldn't think about that right now."
"Maybe I need it," Faith countered. "Maybe I need to think about how I was before."
"Yeah, you do, but you don't need to there." He paused again. "I'll try and find you a decent apartment and call you back with the details. Maybe something already furnished."
"Angel, you don't need to do that," she said, not liking the fact she wasn't getting a place to stay for herself. "I got it covered."
"You can think of it as a loan if you want," Angel stated strongly. "I'll wire you a little something extra so you can get a few more clothes. I doubt you had much when you left."
Faith sighed, knowing he was right. Being independent was good but not having to worry as much about buying food and clothes were just as good. "Okay, but it's a loan." She didn't say anything for a second. "Thanks."
"Not a problem," he said. "Just come here if it's too much."
"I can handle it," Faith said with as much confidence as she could. "I'll call you later."
"All right. Bye."
Faith hung up the phone and was wondering whether or not to be happy about this new development. She was thrilled she'd be out of the motel sooner than she thought but did not like that it felt like a handout. She made a mental note she'd have to pay Angel back as soon as she had the money.
She had thought for a moment about telling Angel what was going on with Buffy. Since he used to be so close to her, maybe he could help. She didn't want to worry him about something that could just very well be nothing though. If Buffy became less like her old self, she figured she'd give him a call.
She relaxed on her bed and tried to clear her head when she heard a knock on the door. Faith furrowed her brow in confusion at the noise. She couldn't think of anyone who would be looking for her save the manager and he had no reason to. Her bill was paid and she hadn't caused any trouble. Faith quickly walked to the door and opened it to find Buffy standing on the other side.
"B, what are you doing here?" she asked, concern showing on her face. She figured Buffy would only come to her in case of an apocalyptic emergency and even then it was doubtful. "Something wrong?"
"Can I come in?" Buffy asked quietly, not really looking at Faith.
"Yeah." Faith stepped aside in order for Buffy to enter the room.
Buffy walked in and looked around the room for a moment before cautiously sitting on the bed. Faith sat in a chair opposite her and leaned forward, curious as to why Buffy was there. From the look on her face, she didn't think it was good.
"So . . . what's going on?" she asked, searching Buffy's face for an answer.
Buffy looked up at her with a blank look on her face. She didn't quite know why she was there. "Have you ever just needed to get away from wherever you are? You know, just needed to be elsewhere?"
"All the time," Faith said with a small smirk. "Why is my motel room elsewhere?"
She sighed. "I couldn't think of anywhere else to go."
"I don't know whether or not to be insulted," Faith chuckled lightly. She paused, thinking. "B, aren't you supposed to be all about hating me right now?"
"Yes," Buffy responded, looking down again. "You have no idea how much I want to."
Faith stopped breathing for a few seconds, taking in the hurt the comment caused. Looking into Buffy's green eyes though, she couldn't tell if she even meant it to be hurtful. "What do you mean?"
"Ever since I was brought back, I haven't been able to feel . . . anything."
"What do you mean you haven't been able to feel?" Faith asked, still leaning toward Buffy, her elbows resting on her thighs.
"Emotions," Buffy explained, looking down. "I can't get angry, happy, nothing. It's like I want to but I just can't. And then when I feel something, it's just too much. I can't handle it."
"Have you told Willow and the rest of them?"
"No," Buffy said. "I don't want them to think they brought me back wrong." Buffy was trying to hold back the tears, not wanting to think of that possibility.
Faith thought for a few seconds, knowing what she had to say but not wanting to do it. "Maybe you did come back wrong."
Buffy scowled at her and got up to leave. She couldn't believe Faith of all people would say that to her even though that option is what she thought, too. She didn't want Faith to know that though. She didn't want anyone to know that.
Realizing she probably just said the wrong thing, Faith got up as well and grabbed her arm, stopping her from leaving. "Hey, don't go. I didn't mean it like, as a bad thing or whatever. I was just kinda putting it out there."
"Don't," Buffy said sharply, still scowling. She looked at the younger slayer for a moment, examining her face before sitting back down.
"All right," Faith said uneasily and sat back down as well. "What do you think is wrong with you?"
Buffy just sat there for a couple minutes, thinking. She looked at the other woman's face, trying to read what she was thinking but couldn't and sighed. "I don't know," she said finally. "Can we not talk about it or anything really?"
"Okay. Why are you here then?" Faith asked, leaning back in her chair. "'Cause you're confusing the hell outta me."
"I figured you wouldn't ask me a lot of questions," Buffy said. She looked around uncomfortably, wondering what has possessed her to go to the Faith's room in the first place.
"I always asked you questions," Faith commented. "You just never answered them."
Buffy thought back to when Faith first arrived in Sunnydale and realized she was right: she always ignored or avoided her questions. She was so lost in her own world back then and she didn't want to deal with Faith and her questions about her life. Buffy thought for a moment about what would have happened if she had acted different then. Maybe she could have changed what had happened between her and her fellow slayer.
"I guess not," she agreed.
Faith sighed and rubbed the back of her neck. "So you just want to hang out here?"
Buffy just nodded, not wanting to explain her reasoning. In truth, she felt comfortable around Faith now and hadn't felt that with anyone since she came back. It was a nice feeling and she didn't want to lose it even if that meant being around someone who was supposed to be her enemy.
"Well, I was just gonna watch some TV before patrol," Faith said simply, getting up and moving to the other side of the bed. She reclined, head resting on the wall. "That all right with you?"
Buffy didn't say anything, just nodded and mirrored Faith's position as the younger woman turned on the TV.
For the next three hours, Faith stayed unbelievably still. It was something she never did well but under the circumstances, she needed to do just that.
After about forty-five minutes, Buffy started to fall asleep. Faith was a little happy about that because every time she saw Buffy, she always seemed to be tired, like she didn't sleep at night. The other woman also looked more at peace when she slept even though that wasn't much more.
Just a few minutes after that, however, Buffy had turned and rested against Faith. Her arm made its way around her stomach and her head rested on her shoulder. She even snuggled against her a little, a small smile starting to appear on her face.
Faith didn't quite know what to make of the situation. There was no way she was going to have Buffy move. She looked too peaceful sleeping against her. Instead, Faith let her sleep where she was as she continued to watch whatever was on TV.
As the next hour went by, she became too distracted by Buffy's presence and her mind began to wonder. If someone had told her a month ago she would by lounging on a bed with Buffy curled up next to her, she probably would have knocked them out for trying to screw with her head. Of course, now that situation was a reality and she still couldn't quite believe it.
She looked over at Buffy and knew that if it had been anyone else, she didn't know if she could tolerate it, having not ever been known to be the sensitive type. Faith hated all the sensitivity her prison shrink told her she needed but Buffy was the one person she felt comfortable doing this with. Even if that meant all her old feelings were coming back.
Over the last eighteen months, Faith thought for sure all her feelings for Buffy had finally gone and she could deal with seeing her again without them returning. Instead, she merely underestimated the strength of her feelings because they were back and as strong as ever.
When she first felt this way about Buffy, she didn't know what exactly it was. All she knew is she wanted to be near her all the time, that she wanted to kiss her and be close to her. Now she knew she was completely in love with Buffy at the time. Faith realized that's why everything having to do with Buffy hurt so much back then, even more than the knife to the stomach she took at Buffy's hand. Emotionally she had been ruined with the realization Buffy would never be hers.
Now the only thing new was Faith could handle everything just a little better. As Buffy slept against her, she knew she was still hopelessly in love with her but realized she would be okay if they were even just friends. The one prospect she didn't want was for Buffy to hate her like before. She knew she couldn't continue to take that.
Just as Faith didn't think she could stay still any longer, Buffy started to move around on the bed. She shifted slightly, her arm tightening her hold on Faith's stomach. Faith looked down at her, hoping she didn't react badly to this.
Buffy's eyes slowly opened and she looked around the room. Her head was positioned so the first thing she saw when she woke up was Faith's breasts. She blushed lightly, knowing her current position was all her doing. The one thing that had her puzzled was why Faith didn't move her.
She slowly moved her head off Faith's shoulder, shifting herself so she was sitting up, and turned to face her. The other slayer turned her attention from the TV to her and looked at her intently.
"Sorry," Buffy mumbled. "Must have fallen asleep."
Faith gave her a smirk. "That's okay. Didn't have the heart to wake ya." She could tell Buffy was a little embarrassed about it so tried not to make a big deal out of it. "Have a nice nap?"
Buffy looked at her with a puzzled expression. "Who are you?"
Now it was Faith's turn to be puzzled, not to mention confused. "What do you mean, B?"
Buffy turned her whole body now so she completely faced the younger woman. "Why are you being so nice? I figured you'd escape from prison, come back here and we'd have to fight to the death or something."
"You know I didn't escape, right?"
"Yeah," Buffy said, still refusing to look at Faith for very long. "I did a little checking."
"You called Angel?" Faith asked, not thinking of any other possibility.
"No, I actually called the prison," Buffy said, smirking a little.
Faith grinned widely, hoping she was starting to get Buffy to talk more. "You could have just called Angel. He knows where I am. I called him earlier today."
"He would have given me a lecture," she sighed. "I get enough of those right now."
Faith sat up as well and turned to face Buffy, hoping she would finally start telling her what was going on. She thought she might be able to help fix it then or at least help. "Who lectures you?"
"Every one of the gang," Buffy said. She wasn't sure why she was telling Faith anything about her current life but talking made her feel better especially with someone who had nothing to do with her resurrection. "I found out I'm broke and need to find a job fast."
Faith nodded. "I'd give you money but you know, look where I am." She chuckled as a slight grin appeared on Buffy's face. "Did get a job today though."
"So did I." She sighed again. "I'm now employed at the Doublemeat Palace."
Faith couldn't help herself. She started laughing. "Sorry, B, but that's priceless."
Buffy scowled for a moment then just shook her head. "Yeah, it's just hysterical." She paused. "What about you?"
"Huh?" Faith just looked at her for a second before realizing what she meant. "Manual labor for a shipping company."
Buffy nodded then furrowed her brow. "You didn't answer my question."
"Why are you being so nice to me?"
Faith thought about the question before answering, keeping her eyes locked on Buffy's. "I don't want to hurt anyone anymore, especially not you, B. I'm here to try and make things right. Not that you or anyone else would ever believe me."
Buffy looked down, not wanting to look at Faith's dark brown eyes. By looking at them, she would be able to tell she was sincere and she wasn't ready for that. "I don't know what to believe."
"I'm not asking for a chance or anything," Faith said, trying to ease the tension she was starting to feel coming from Buffy. "I'm just here to help when I'm needed. You know, ready to lend a hand the next time an apocalypse comes around."
Buffy laughed in spite of herself. "I guess I can deal with that." She looked out the window. "We better start to patrol."
"Sure, B," Faith said, a smile on her face. "Whatever you want."
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)