by Hayley

Chapter Nine

Buffy wasn't sure how she made it back to her house but eventually she managed to walk through the front door.

As soon as she had reached the outside of Faith's apartment building she had broken down completely and cried for longer than she cared to admit. The only saving grace was that there wasn't anyone around to witness her complete breakdown. That and that Faith didn't go after her. Buffy knew there had been a chance of that happening.

She was completely unprepared for what Faith said as she left. There wasn't any way that she would have thought those words would have come out of her mouth, especially the way she said it since Faith didn't have the memories she did. Buffy was so sure that Faith had been playing along during the spell, that there were no feelings on her end. To hear her say those words that part of her longed to hear caused something in her to break.

Faith couldn't love her. Only the Faith in the spell did.

It took some time for her to stop sobbing to the point where she was able to walk and see what was in front of her but soon she wiped her eyes and walked home. She noticed some people looking at her as they passed so she knew she must have looked awful but she was past the point of caring. All she wanted was to go back home and sleep the rest of the day away.

"Buffy, where have you been?"

She looked at the concerned look on her mother's face and felt the tears start to fall again even though she thought she couldn't cry anymore. "I wanted to go for a walk."

Joyce saw the tears and immediately embraced her daughter. "Are the headaches too much again?"

Buffy moved out of her embrace and looked at her, wondering if she should even admit where she had gone. "I ended up at Faith's apartment."

The response wasn't one she expected and Joyce knew there was obviously a story behind it so she led her to couch and sat with her. "Why did you go there?"

"I don't know."

She waited for a minute to see if Buffy would say anything else but when she didn't she simply looked at her. It was obvious that she had had an encounter with Faith. She knew that by her daughter's tear stained cheeks. "Honey, I know that's not true."

Buffy sighed and knew she should be honest. It might actually make her feel a little better to confess to her mother. She wouldn't be as biased as her friends would when the topic of Faith came up. "I didn't mean to go there. I just wanted to take a walk but before I knew it I was standing in front of the building."

"Why didn't you continuing walking?"

"The first thing I thought that it was strange that Faith's car wasn't in the lot." Buffy let out a sarcastic chuckle. "I guess that was part of the spell."

"So you went inside?" Joyce asked, trying to coax more of the story out. "Why did you do that? Did you want to see if Faith was there?"

"At first I figured if the car wasn't there then she might not be," Buffy answered. "I still had the key to the apartment so I thought I could look around." She paused to look into her mother's concerned eyes. "I wanted to remember."

"Why?" The question wasn't accusatory in any way and Buffy appreciated that.

"I was so happy during the spell, Mom," Buffy explained quietly. "I just wanted to feel it again. We were so happy there."

"So you went to the apartment and Faith was there."

Buffy nodded. "I didn't expect her to look as . . . sad as she did."

Joyce was surprised that Buffy didn't think Faith would be sad. She remembered how Faith would look at Buffy when she first showed up in Sunnydale and she always knew that the other slayer wanted to be near her daughter. At first she thought it was that she wanted to be friends with Buffy but after everything with the spell she knew it wasn't a reach that Faith would have romantic feelings for Buffy.

"So Faith was there and she was sad," was all she said, not wanting to do anything to stop her daughter from continuing her story.

"Yeah," Buffy mumbled out. "She asked if I was okay." She paused and shook her head. "How can she really think that I'd be okay after all that? After everything I've been through?"

Joyce nodded. "Did she say what she's been doing since the spell was lifted?"

"I didn't really give her the chance," Buffy answered. "I know she's been talking to Giles but I don't know about what. I'm willing to bet she's been patrolling every night though. Especially since everyone knows I can barely leave the house let alone stake vampires."

It took a few moments for Joyce to figure out what to say. As much as she was concerned for her daughter, there was a part of her that was concerned for Faith as well. No one seemed to be looking after her after everything that happened and she was relieved to hear that she was at least speaking with Giles. "How is Faith?"

Buffy looked at her with tears in her eyes, not expecting the question. "I don't really know, Mom. She was concerned for me." She paused. "She told me she loved me."

"Oh, honey."

"Why would she say something like that?" Buffy asked as tears started to fall again. "Why does she want to hurt me like that?"

As her arms went around her daughter again, Joyce tried to think of the right thing to say. The problem as she saw it was that the right thing to say wasn't going to be something Buffy wanted to hear. "Buffy, I know this isn't what you want to hear but I think Faith was telling the truth when she said that."

Buffy pulled away from her mother, a scowl on her face. "How do you know that?"

"A mother knows these things," Joyce said with a smile on her face, "and even when Faith came to Sunnydale I noticed that she looked at you differently than she did with everyone else."

"So you think she loves me?"

"I think that Faith has probably had a hard life and maybe she doesn't really know how to love someone," Joyce said calmly. "I think during that spell she couldn't handle having someone love her like you did even though she might have felt the same."

Buffy didn't know how to respond to what her mother said. The only thing she wanted to think was that somehow everything she was going through was Faith's fault. It was much easier to blame her than think she had also been hurt by the spell. Thinking that meant she wouldn't have someone in front of her to blame.

When Buffy didn't say anything in response after a couple minutes Joyce sighed and stood. "Why don't you go upstairs and get some rest? It would be nice if you actually ate a full meal tonight."

There was nothing left to say so Buffy just nodded before she stood and made her way to her bedroom. Once she was there she closed the door and moved to lie on her bed. She closed her eyes as her head hit her pillow and tried desperately not to think about what her mother said.

She didn't want her to be right.

Faith looked in the mirror and hated what she saw.

She had promised Giles that she would cut back on the alcohol and she intended to keep that promise but the visit from Buffy earlier in the day was making it difficult. All she wanted to do was drown her sorrows in the nearest bottle so she could forget how Buffy looked.

One thing that she knew she should do was visit Giles and work out an area to patrol tonight but she wasn't in the mood to talk to him. After seeing Buffy, she didn't want to be around anyone.

Looking around the apartment, she thought about what Buffy had said when she was there. Faith tried her best to try to remember the same events Buffy did and swore under her breath when she couldn't. She felt cheated that she couldn't have the loving memories even if they were driving Buffy a little insane.

Faith wanted to remember the first date and the nervousness that she figured she would have. She wanted to remember talking to Buffy's mom about wanting to take her to prom and wanted the picture that was in the apartment during the spell. She wanted to remember the first time they had sex and how it felt to be so intimate with the other slayer when there was only love involved.

Most importantly, she wanted to remember how they fell in love and what it felt like to take that journey. She'd never known that before.

As she sat down on her bed and looked at her hands she wondered if she even deserved to have that kind of happiness. In her life outside of the spell she had never known anything close to it and she was sure no one had ever loved her even close to the way Buffy had during the spell. No one had ever thought she was worthy to be loved like that.

"So fucking stupid," Faith muttered as she put her head in her hands.

There wasn't much else for her except to go out and start her patrol. She grabbed a couple stakes and her favorite knife, sticking all of them inside of her jacket before walking out of the apartment.

Faith wanted to think it had been an active night so far but it wasn't active enough for her. She still had down time to think about everything that had happened and that only made her more depressed.

She leaned against a crypt for a moment and closed her eyes. "Get it together, Lehane," she muttered angrily.

There were sounds off to her left and they seemed to be coming closer to where she was so Faith pushed herself off against the wall and moved to investigate further. After seeing Buffy she knew there wasn't any chance of seeing her out on patrol so she figured all she would find tonight would be things that she could take her anger and self-loathing out on.

That suited her just fine.

After a minute of listening Faith could hear two distinct voices and from the footsteps she knew there wasn't anyone else. Being out in the cemetery on her own without anyone to talk to made it much easier to hear what was going on around her. It was definitely helping her tracking skills though it did make the nights as lonely as they had been when she and Buffy were on the outs in the beginning and she had no choice but to walk through Sunnydale's many cemeteries on her own.

"I'm just saying you should have tried harder," a male voice said as the pair neared Faith, who hit herself behind a large gravestone. "She would've been a tasty meal."

"I don't care how tasty she would've been," the other one said, also a male. "She was in that group all night. There were too many complications with your plan and forgive me for wanting an easy meal for once."

"The chase is what makes it all the more fun and I know you like to play with your food." He paused. "She would've been fun to play with."

"I'm not in the mood for fun. I'm just hungry."

Faith decided it was time to reveal herself and get the fight started. She moved out from her hiding spot and smiled at the two vampires, noticing that they were oblivious to her presence. It felt like the fight would be easy even though the pair were larger than she expected.

They were so engrossed with their conversation that they still didn't notice her as they neared where she stood and Faith wondered how they ever caught anything when they didn't notice a human standing so close. She cleared her throat so they would look her way. "Hey, I was wondering . . . how stupid do you have to be to be so obsessed with catching a meal but not notice a human standing so close by?"

The larger of the two smiled. "How stupid does a human have to be to offer herself up as a tasty meal?"

"Uh, I didn't hear me offer anything," Faith answered as she pulled a stake from inside her jacket. "But I guess I can offer you an ass kicking. How does that sound?"

"Huh, a slayer," the other vamp commented. "I hear their blood is a delicacy."

"Care to attempt to find out? I bet you'll never know."

"Thought you'd never ask, slayer. We're going to enjoy this."

Faith only smiled and waited for the pair to lunge for her. She knew they were severely underestimating her skills as a slayer and she was more than happy to give them a demonstration of what one could do. When they rushed her she quickly punched the smaller of the two and ducked to avoid getting hit by the other.

After a minute Faith realized that the pair were better fighters than she had anticipated but was confident that they wouldn't be a match for her. They were fighting together though and that was something Faith knew was the challenging part. Most vamps didn't know how to do that and it was almost always their downfall.

As she fought though, Faith couldn't keep her mind off of Buffy. She thought about how the other slayer would handle the situation she was in and if she would have done something differently. The other thought in her head was how it felt to fight with her instead of against her. It was something she missed more than she would like to admit.

Because of the thoughts of Buffy her mind was not completely focused and she was quickly reminded of that as one of the vamps was able to land a punch to her jaw. Faith immediately tasted blood and she quickly spit some out, inwardly cursing at herself to concentrate. There would be time to think about everything else after she staked the pair.

"You look a little distracted, slayer," the larger vamp said mockingly. "It makes me think I won't be going to bed hungry tonight."

Faith kicked the smaller vampire in the knee, causing him to howl in pain and effectively taking him temporarily out of the fight. "Lucky shots happen but I always win."

"We'll see about that."

They continued to fight and Faith managed to injure the vamp further but still didn't see an opportunity to stake him yet. He also got in a couple more hits so she knew she would need to go to the apartment after she staked the pair. She could feel pain in her side and her eye was starting to swell.

A few minutes went by and Faith finally found an opening, staking the smaller of the two and smiling as he turned to dust. She let down her guard for a split second as she did though and the other vamp rushed at her, tackling her to the ground.

"You'll pay for that," he said as he tried to pin her to the ground.

"Maybe one day but not by you," Faith responded through clenched teeth as she struggled for an opening.

Her stake was in her hand and the vamp was attempting to grab it but in doing so lost his upper hand and Faith was able to flip them. For a moment she thought about taking a minute to take her anger out on him prior to staking him. She could feel her muscles screaming at her that she needed to release some of the pain she felt and to take it out on the vamp under her.

The sensible side, not to mention the injured side, of her won out though and she quickly staked him, falling to the ground as he turned to dust. Faith rolled onto her back and closed her eyes, feeling just how injured she was. She definitely felt the need to stop patrol for the night.


Faith let out a breath and thought for a moment on how to respond as she opened her eyes and started to get up as she saw Xander and Anya walking over to her. "That's me."

Xander didn't quite know what to say. He hadn't encountered Faith since the spell and hadn't expected to see her out on patrol. "Are you okay?"

"You know, just feeling the effects of a fight," she said trying to wave off her injuries as she stood and brushed herself off. "What are you to doing out there?"

"Xander was concerned that since Buffy's crazy now no one was patrolling," Anya said before Xander could answer. "We're supposed to be on a date right now but instead we're in a cemetery." She turned to her boyfriend. "See, Faith is patrolling even though you said she wouldn't. We can go."

Faith didn't like what Anya said and even though she wanted to make some amends for everything that happened she couldn't let the comment go. "Why wouldn't I be out here?"

Xander suddenly felt the uneasiness he normally felt when he dealt with Faith after she fought against them. "I expected that you'd leave Sunnydale. You know, run."

"Well, you'd be wrong," Faith said as she wiped away blood on her lip, realizing that she was cut there as well. "I'm a slayer. This is what I'm made to do so if you expect me to leave you'll be disappointed."

She shook her head and walked past them before either of them could respond to what she said. Faith didn't want to hear any of it. Nothing could be said to make the situation better and she didn't want to make it worse by saying something harsh. The only person she decided she would listen to of the Scooby Gang would be Buffy. In her mind she was the only one who deserved it.

Xander watched her go, not knowing what to do. He turned to his girlfriend and shrugged. "I guess we don't have to patrol."

"Good, then we can go back to your place and have sex."

"Yeah," Xander said but his mind was still thinking about how Faith wasn't acting like he thought she would. He had expected her to go back to how she was when she was working for the Mayor. He expected her to still be evil.

He wondered if he was wrong.

Giles couldn't imagine who would be knocking at his door at such a late hour but he knew whenever something like that happened it was never good. No one showed up so late at night to simply chat about unimportant things.

"Faith!" he exclaimed as he opened the door. "What happened?"

"Nothing," she said as she walked in, hearing Giles shut the door behind her. "Could probably use a little first aid though."

"Yes, of course." Giles walked out of the room in order to retrieve the first aid kit.

Faith sat down on the couch and winced at the pain in her side. She lifted up her shirt to see a bruise forming and groaned that she would probably need more than a day's rest in order for her slayer healing to do its job.

"Where are you injured?" Giles asked when he returned to the living room, placing his first aid kit on the coffee table.

She showed him her side. "Caught a boot to the ribs and a couple punches. Got a thick head though so no damage there."

Giles took a damp cloth and wiped the dried blood off of her face. "How many did you run into?"

"Pair of 'em."

The watcher didn't like the sound of that. He knew Faith was a tremendous fighter and a pair of vampires should have never gotten the upper hand, even simply to draw blood. "How did they manage this?"

Faith huffed and looked away. "They got lucky."

"That doesn't happen with you, Faith."

It took a minute but once Giles gently touched her side Faith grimaced and admitted what happened. "I got distracted."

"What could have possibly distracted you?"

"Buffy," Faith mumbled.

Giles' eyebrows shot up. "Buffy was patrolling?"

Faith shook her head. "No, Giles, but she's in my head. I can't stop thinking about what happened and it . . . distracted me."

The look on Faith's face made Giles frown and he wasn't sure how to respond. He needed to have Faith patrolling and she couldn't be distracted. "Faith, you must patrol with a clear head. That's why I suggested you not drink prior to patrolling."

"Easier said than done, Giles," Faith said before sucking in a quick breath as Giles treated her wounds.

He looked at her for a moment but couldn't think of anything to say. After a minute he realized that the best thing was to say nothing. Faith needed to make her way through whatever she was going through on her own.

After a few minutes Giles began to put the supplies away and Faith looked at him. "I love her, you know. Buffy . . . I love her."

The words came in a whisper but they might as well have been shouted. Giles, however, wasn't surprised to hear them. "I know."

They looked at each other for a moment before Giles took the supplies and walked out of the room. Faith stood and made sure she was gone before he returned.

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