Disclaimer: These characters are not mine and I make no money off this.
Summary: When Faith wakes up from her coma things are not what they seem or what she remembers.
Every day was the same.
Faith knew she was in a coma. She wasn't as stupid as everyone always seemed to think she was or at times, what she thought she was herself. The last thing she knew was real was when Buffy stabbed her and she jumped from the ledge to avoid being fed to Angel. As soon as her head hit the bed of the truck it was lights out for her.
She saw Buffy's image flash through her mind, breaking up the streams of nothingness.
It wasn't as though she could keep time in her mind or anything but Faith could swear she saw or dreamt, or whatever she was doing, about Buffy at least once a day. She wasn't sure if it was due to the fact she was the last thing she saw before everything went black or because they were on opposite sides now but the other slayer was always on her mind.
If she had a shrink she was sure they would ask how that made her feel. All she knew was that when she saw her it broke up the darkness.
Sometimes the scenes that included Buffy were cryptic. The first time anything appeared during her coma was when she found herself with Buffy at the apartment the Mayor had given her and they talked. The problem was they didn't talk about anything that Faith thought they would.
She knew they needed to talk about what happened, even if that was the last thing she wanted to do. Faith was working for the man who wanted to take over the world and kill Buffy and all her friends and Buffy actually tried to kill her. That felt like it should be something that needed to be talked out. It felt like the two of them needed to say something to each other to make it okay again, if that was even possible.
Everything was in riddles though and Faith wondered if it was really Buffy that first time. It seemed to be the kind of weird stuff that slayer dreams were made of and even though Faith didn't quite understand it, it felt like she could go into Buffy's mind. What scared her a little was that she felt Buffy could probably go into her mind, too, and she didn't know if that was a slayer thing or they shared a bond outside of that. Thinking about it only confused her.
That was something she thought about often even though it did. Faith wasn't completely sure she was in control of what her mind showed her or if the images she saw were completely random. Maybe Buffy could control what she saw but sometimes that theory didn't fit, not when she saw things from Boston anyway. She'd take any of what Sunnydale had of offer over what she saw from her memories of her childhood there any day. Those were especially torturous.
Most of the time though it was all black and Faith was just left alone. It left her a lot of time to think, which prior to the coma she tried not to do all that much. Thinking made her feel as though she was less than nothing. It made her feel like she deserved to be in the coma she was trapped in and she knew there were more than a few people who would agree with that assumption.
Lately though, there were more images than normal. She would see flashes of the Mayor, of people she'd come across in Sunnydale, of the two people she'd killed. Soon they started to string together to show more scenes from her past. Some she didn't recognize and wondered if it was her mind playing tricks on her, putting together things at random.
The random ones were the most frustrating to her. All of them felt like she should know why she was seeing what she was or who she was looking at. In the end, none of it would make sense though.
Right now she was in a graveyard. The surroundings looked familiar but she couldn't quite place them since there were more than a few graveyards in Sunnydale. Faith could hear a fight in the distance and she slowly walked toward the sounds. She'd done this once or twice before, walking toward the sound of a fight but nothing ever showed. It had become frustrating but there wasn't much she could do about it. It wasn't as though she could wake up.
This time was different. This time she could actually see people fighting. It didn't take her long to realize who she was seeing either.
The slayer didn't hear her say her name. Faith's voice was too quiet and she was too far away. Besides the fact that she had her hands full with the two vampires she was fighting.
Faith knew all she could do was watch. Even in the dreams, or whatever they were, she could feel how weak she was. Of course, there was the realization that it wasn't real and that even if she was hurt it couldn't be any worse than what she was going through now. That didn't seem to matter in the end. She couldn't move her feet forward any further.
She had to think this was a punishment for everything she'd done prior to being stabbed. There was never anything she could do to stop what she saw and when she saw any of the scenes from her past all she could do was watch what happened. She couldn't do what she wanted: she couldn't slay or stop anything. That alone was a punishment.
For the next few minutes she watched Buffy fight the two vampires and though it looked like a tough fight, Faith knew how it would end. Buffy didn't lose fights like the one Faith was watching. It was something she had both admired and hated about the other slayer.
Buffy always won in the end no matter what.
Just as Faith suspected soon both vampires were dust and Buffy wiped off her clothes. She looked around and Faith figured she would venture deeper into the cemetery, away from her. There wasn't even a thought that she could see her. Mostly, Faith figured everything would fade to black and she would be left with the familiar darkness once again.
Instead, Buffy turned to her. There wasn't any doubt she could see Faith standing there and Faith suddenly felt very exposed. It was as though Buffy could see right through her, that she could see every part of her, every weakness. Then she looked at her hand and for the first time in a long time, Faith began to feel a little scared.
The knife was in her hand. The knife that had found its way into her side during their last fight. Faith wasn't even sure how the knife had gotten there. She definitely didn't see it while watching Buffy fight the two vampires.
Buffy had a look of determination on her face, the knife gripped firmly in her hand. Faith thought she might say something to say but she didn't. She only walked slowly, steadily toward her and Faith could swear she saw the other slayer grip the knife tighter the closer she became. It made it seem like she was walking with more of a purpose.
Faith couldn't seem to move even though she knew nothing good could happen once Buffy reached her. The look on the other slayer's face wasn't exactly friendly, though Faith honestly couldn't remember the last time she'd had a friendly look on her face when she saw her. She really missed the times they weren't enemies.
Once Buffy got within ten feet of her Faith's feet were finally able to move and she started to run as fast as she could. She didn't need to look back to realize Buffy had started to run after her. It was something she could simply feel.
She dodged through the cemetery, jumping over gravestones when she didn't have time to simply run around them. The entire time Buffy was hot on her heels and Faith swore she could feel her side ache as she ran. It was almost as if her body was anticipating the knife, that it even knew where it was and that it was certainly going to hurt her soon.
This wasn't like any of the other dreams she had. It wasn't like how any of the other scenes played out either. For the first time Faith was actually scared that something bad could happen to her. It felt like whatever happened, however it played out once Buffy caught her, it would be real. Her heart was racing and even though she didn't think it was possible since she was in a coma, she could swear she was sweating.
Faith wondered if people in comas had heart attacks.
No matter how fast she ran it seemed that Buffy was gaining on her. Hell, Buffy was always faster and stronger than she was, or that's what Faith always thought everyone assumed. It seemed like not that far of a stretch that her mind would make that assumption as well.
Suddenly she was tackled and she landed on the ground with a hard thud, Buffy landing on top of her. Faith cried out as she fell but before she could try to get up or even defend herself she was being hauled to her feet.
Buffy stood across from her and the glare on her face made Faith want to run. She'd never seen that amount of hate on anyone's face before, not even on Buffy's during their last fight. The only problem was that she couldn't seem to move again.
"Look, B, I'm sor- . . ."
Before she could get the full sentence out of her mouth Buffy reached out with her arm and the knife slid into her side in the same place in had before.
Faith opened her eyes and looked around. She was in a hospital room and it took her a couple minutes to realize she was actually awake. Her body felt as weak as she'd ever felt before, as a slayer anyway, and the light in the room hurt her eyes. When she turned her head to the window she could tell it was night even though the shades were drawn.
There was a beeping sound and when she turned her head toward it she noticed she was hooked up to an IV and monitor. All of it was a little confusing, her mind racing through all the possibilities at what would happen if she stayed put, and her first instinct was that she needed to get out of the room. Simply being in it was making her uncomfortable.
She quickly pulled the IV out of her arm and tossed in on the floor. Faith could already feel her body start to turn itself on in a way and she sat up and eased her legs over the side of the bed. Her muscles protested slightly at the action but she ignored it and moved to stand. She wasn't going to wait for someone to catch her.
Her legs held as she stood and she looked around the room. She was only wearing a hospital gown and if she wanted to get out of the hospital without causing any suspicion she would need some clothes. Unfortunately, the room was bare save for the hospital equipment and a chair that was positioned by her bed.
There were also flowers by the bed and they almost made Faith stop to look at who sent them. She didn't think anyone would have cared to send them and in the end, she didn't think it mattered. All they were was a distraction at the moment.
Knowing that she wasn't going to find anything in the room, Faith slowly walked toward the door and opened it. She was a little unsteady on her feet but she felt stronger with each step and she hoped that meant she would be able to get out of the hospital unnoticed. Even though she didn't have any plans after that, getting out was the goal she focused on.
The hall was quiet, too, and Faith took a left out of the room, away from the nurse's station to the right. She figured she could find clothes in another room, maybe from someone who was only in the place for a day or two. Then she could get out and figure out how long she'd been out and what to do next.
She made it only a few feet before she heard an all too familiar voice. "Faith?"
Faith slowly turned and saw Buffy standing by the nurse's station. She had a mixture of concern and shock on her face as she looked Faith over. Once again Faith couldn't seem to move and she had a feeling that maybe this was yet another dream. The only problem was there wasn't a knife in her hand and as she quickly walked up to her there were tears in her eyes.
Buffy stopped in front of her before wrapping her arms around her and hugging her tightly. "I was so worried. I wasn't sure when you were going to wake up."
Then she did something that made Faith stop breathing. She kissed her quickly before hugging her again.
There wasn't anything Faith could think of to say in response to that. Her eyes went wide and she had to tell herself to act normal. She didn't have any idea what was going on and she didn't want to cause attention to that if it was going to cause a problem for her.
"Why are you out of your room?"
"Uh . . ."
Buffy let her go enough to look into her eyes and smile as she placed a hand against her cheek. "I know you don't like hospitals but you've been unconscious for three days. We need to make sure you're okay."
Faith wanted to run but she was still weak and she wanted to know what the hell was going on. Which was why she only nodded and let Buffy lead her back to her room.
Buffy didn't like how Faith looked.
The other slayer was pale and she looked confused, which Buffy couldn't understand. The fight she'd been hurt in was a tough one, Buffy had a couple of broken ribs from it, but it wasn't so bad that she would look as dazed as she did. She hoped there wasn't any permanent damage they'd have to worry about.
"You shouldn't have taken your IV out, Faith," the nurse said in a very motherly manner. "It's there for a reason."
"Didn't think I needed it," Faith mumbled. She was getting a little wigged out by the presence of Buffy and especially by the look on her face. It was much too caring for someone who'd tried to feed her to a vampire.
"Well, you do," the nurse said. "The doctor will be in to check on you in a few minutes. I'm sure she'll want to do some tests."
She left the room and that meant the two slayers were alone together. Faith turned her attention toward the window, not knowing what to say and now knowing what was going on. Buffy had said she was only out for three days but it didn't feel like three days. If that was true the ascension had to have happened and no matter how that worked out, there wasn't any way Buffy would be sitting by her bed. There would definitely be no kissing.
"How do you feel?"
Faith turned back to her and tried to think of a safe answer. "Everything's kind of hazy."
Buffy smiled, still feeling relief that Faith was awake. It had been a long three days and she'd been at the hospital most of the time. "Your head hit that gravestone so hard I thought your head had split open. I had this fear of brains being all over the ground."
"I take it that didn't happen," Faith said, letting a small smile show. "I don't really remember much."
"We were tracking down the last of the demons that escaped from the fight with the Initiative," Buffy explained, trying to gage how Faith reacted as she did. She felt some distance from her and she didn't like it. Faith always returned her kisses and that hadn't happened in the hall. "A couple of them got the jump on us. You went head first into a gravestone and I broke a couple ribs trying to make sure they didn't kill either of us."
Faith tried her best to hide the fact she had no idea what the Initiative was. "Oh."
"Faith, are you really feeling okay?" Buffy stood up and got close up to her. She reached out and placed a hand on the side of Faith's head, trying to read what Faith was thinking. She knew the look she had on her face well: she was trying to figure something out. "When the doctor comes in here you better be honest. I don't want to get you back to our apartment just to have you pass out or something."
It was surprisingly easy to keep her breathing steady but her mind was going a mile a minute. She'd have to be a complete idiot to miss the "our" in Buffy's comment.
She really wanted to know what was going on.
When the doctor had come in all she did was ask Faith a few questions and then told her they would do some tests in the morning to see if the fogginess Faith admitted to would go away. It was the safest answer to give without saying that she had no idea what was going on.
The one good thing for Faith was that the doctor insisted that Buffy leave for the night since visitor hours were over. She tried to argue with the doctor and nurse but they held firm so she left. Not until she gave Faith another kiss that left her more confused than ever.
The doctor told her to relax and get some rest but the last thing she wanted to do was sleep. She wanted to get out of the hospital and figure out what was going on. From what she could tell she had been in a coma a lot longer than three days because Buffy mentioned something about being in college and that she had finals in a few weeks. That meant she had been out for months, not days.
She kept all that information to herself though. Faith didn't want to raise suspicion and it would be easier to figure out what happened without having Buffy think she was crazy. The way Buffy had looked at her when she left there wasn't any doubt she would react badly to whatever Faith had to say about what she really remembered.
The room was dark and Faith just stared up at the ceiling. The nurse had pulled up the shades to the window so she looked out every once and awhile. The view wasn't the greatest though since all she could see was the parking lot. She figured the hospital would give the rooms with the good views to the people who were conscious.
Thinking about what was going on made her head hurt and part of her wondered if she was still in a coma. Maybe this was just her mind playing a very elaborate trick on her. The only problem was nothing she'd experienced had felt this real.
The door to her room opened and Faith expected it to be the nurse. Her slayer hearing picked up part of the conversation Buffy had with the nurse just outside the room. The other slayer had told the nurse of her dislike of hospitals and that someone should keep an eye on the room. That sounded like something Buffy would say but it sounded much more caring than Faith expected from her.
Buffy confused her in general at the moment. She'd kissed her, called her "baby" and held her hand as the nurse and doctor talked to them about the kind of tests they'd run in the morning. That wasn't exactly normal behavior.
The person at the door wasn't the nurse and Faith scowled at the intrusion. She didn't need any other confusing encounters today. "Hey, unless you're the nurse get out."
"I think you want to hear what I have to say."
He got closer and once the light from the window hit him she knew he was a demon. The ridges on his face gave him away but Faith just wasn't in the mood. "Got a lot on my mind so get out before I test how good my slayer strength is."
"I have a message from the Mayor."
That got Faith's attention. "The boss? Is he alive?"
There was a video tape in his hand and he gestured to it. "You need to watch this."
Without trying to convince her any further he walked to the TV and placed the tape in the connected VCR. When he turned on the TV the Mayor appeared on the screen, standing in front of his desk in his office.
"Faith, if you're watching this you've beat the odds the doctors gave me and you're awake. I always knew my little firecracker would prove everyone wrong." He chuckled. "Sadly, watching this means I'm probably dead." He paused. "Then again it could have been successful and we could be watching this together, laughing at the absurdity of me thinking that slayer and her friends could win."
He paused to laugh again and Faith frowned at the fact he was dead. "Now I bet you're wondering what's going on now that you're awake. I'm sure you've noticed by now that things aren't the same as how you left them."
"Got that right," Faith muttered.
"I decided to give Buffy and her friends a little payback for what they did to you along with giving you what you've always wanted, even if it wasn't what I would necessarily want for you. She's not good enough for my Faith." Faith raised her eyebrow at the comment but didn't say anything. "I had a spell created that would go into effect if you ever woke up.
"I gave you all the money you could ask for and your apartment is how you left it prior to that fight, which now didn't even happen. You have Buffy's friends and Buffy . . . well, Buffy loves you."
"Why does he think I want that?" Faith asked aloud.
"You're probably wondering why I would think that. I've been around you enough, Faith, and I can tell what you want. That and I went into your mind a little. So enjoy yourself and do whatever you want. Make people pay for how they've treated you. I had this created for you."
The screen went dark and the demon took the tape out of the VCR. "I'm the only one besides you that the spell didn't change. I was supposed to guard this until I saw the changes around town then I was supposed to find you. Figured you'd still be here."
"Why do they think I've only been out for three days?" Faith asked. "How long has it really been?"
"Ten months," he answered. "You want this tape?"
Faith shook her head. "Get rid of it."
He nodded. "What are you gonna do?"
Faith thought about it for a moment. She wasn't sure what to do. Given what Buffy had said earlier, the apartment was both of theirs now. She hadn't seen anyone else but she guessed the spell affected everyone. It would make sense.
Now she needed to figure out what she would do with this information and this new world created for her.
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