Chapter Thirteen

I’m standing in the middle of a field.

It’s kinda on the top of a hill, so the trees surrounding it are just a bit lower on the horizon. The grass is kinda deep, with butter-yellow flowers scattered throughout it. I look down at my feet and see a small butterfly fluttering by, unaffected by my presence.

I spin around slowly once or twice, looking to see if there is anyone or anything recognizable around me, but it’s just the grass, the trees, the sun and the breeze.

I don’t have to wait to hear the giggling sound of munchkins to tell me that I’m not in ‘Kansas’ anymore.

Besides, I seem to be lacking the ever-fashionable ruby-slippers.

As if I’d ever fuckin wear them anyways. I’ll stick to my black shit-kicker boots, thank you very much.

It’s a pretty typical dream, I guess. Grassy meadow, open spaces, birds chirping, a sweet smell in the air from all of the flowers. I know it’s a dream, cos when I look up into the bright sun, I don’t have to shield my eyes and I can’t seem to feel the warmth of it on my face.

That’s generally the downfall of nice dreams: they always lack that one crucial element that you know you’re supposed to feel, but you just don’t. It’s how you know that it’s actually a dream, and that you’re likely to wake up to something not as nice.

But, see, this is just about where my dreams take on a different turn. Cos just when I think it’s not real, that I’m in a dream and everything I’m feeling is just some kind of an image or illusion in my mind . . . the tingles start.

From the bottom of my toes to the top of my scalp. A warm, gentle hum reverberating through my body.

I start to spin again, excited, scanning my eyes over the horizon and against the backdrop.

This is the part that I always see her. Buffy. Walking toward me in the distance with a smile on her face, her white sundress moving lightly against the breeze as she lifts her arm up and waves at me.

I always just stand there and smile back at her, my legs unable to move under the influence of her beautiful gaze.

Sometimes it feels like she’s moving in slow-motion; that I’ll be standing there waiting for her forever in the middle of the field. Sometimes, she runs to me as fast as her bare-feet will carry her, jumping up and wrapping her arms and legs around my body when she finally reaches me, sending us both tumbling backwards until we’re laying in the grass.

Yeah, that’s always the best outcome. Trust me; I have this dream a lot.

But, the dream is different today.

The sunshine feels even more artificial than usual. That little butterfly must’ve chosen another meadow today. And most importantly, there are no tingles. She’s not here in my dream.

I start spinning around frantically, trying to find her figure somewhere along the horizon. I can almost feel myself starting to panic, which is weird in itself cos I'm normally cool as a fuckin cucumber. I can feel my breathing become more crazy and erratic, drawing in short breaths and exhaling them quickly. It’s weird . . . the sounds of the birds are gone and all I can hear is my own breathing; my heartbeat thumping fast in my chest, pumping my blood hard and fast through my body. It's echoing in my ears.

As I spin more and more out of control, I finally lose my balance and start to topple over onto my back. Just as I'm about to hit the ground, I wake up from the dream with a gasp, quickly rising up into a sitting position.

"What, what's wrong?" I hear Cordy mumble as she sits up and looks at me, concerned.

I draw in a few deep breaths as I close my eyes and shake my head a bit, trying to get rid of this feeling I'm having. Nightmares always seem to fuck me up for a few minutes.

After a few moments pass, I realize that Cordy is still staring at me, her hand rubbing my lower back a bit.

"'s nothing, C. Just got spooked is all." I mumble, quickly laying back against the pillow and turning onto my side so that she can't see my face.

Having her stare at me like that is fucking trippy. It's like she can see what I'm thinking and feeling without me even having to say it. Some kinda secret super-power, I think. Vision-Girl.

She stays sitting up for a minute, just staring down at me. Being under her constant penetrative gaze is starting to get to me. Like I'm kinda itchy all over. I can't take it anymore.

"Cor, you're fucking trippin me out here." I say as I turn and give her an annoyed glare. "I appreciate the hospitality and all, but seriously . . . I never signed up to be part of a Faith Show."

She doesn't reply; she just lies down gently on her back, staring up at the ceiling. I know what she must be thinking: she's probably gonna sic the ghost on me. Fuck, that's what I'd do if I had a demon at my beck-and-call.

But I feel pretty shitty for snapping at her. This whole ‘hospitality’ thing is new to me, and I know I shouldn’t take advantage. I'm not gonna be able to sleep unless I say something.

"I'm sorry....about the not-so-pleasantness. It's just . . . well . . . not to bash your reputation as a good hostess, but I fucking hate this. LA, I mean. I hate how things went down. I hate how bad things got. I hate how I had to leave the one place I ever called home. For the gazillionth time in my life, things are getting turned upside-down again, and I don't think I'm ready to deal at the mo'. B turned me into a fuckin pussy."

After a few minutes of silence, she finally responds, turning on her side to face me with a little grin on her face. Man . . . that grin . . .

"Yeah, she kinda did, didn't she?" She jokes.

And it's just what I needed to make me forget the sitch for a minute and just kinda chuckle and relax. I turn on my side to face her, propping myself up on one elbow.

"Yunno . . . you're a pretty cool chick, Queen C. It's a shame I didn't know you for longer before you jumped ship in Sunnydale. Maybe if I woulda fucked you a few times, I woulda forgot all about B." I say the words . . . but even I don't believe them. I think I just did it to kinda see if the old Faith would be there to pop out . . . but I think it's gonna take a little more than that.

"Ha . . . you wish, Slayer. It's common knowledge that Cordelia Chase's door only swings one way . . . and that's in the general direction of the men-folk."

I shrug.

"Hey, you can't knock it ‘til you try it, Cor. Sometimes having the best of both worlds can be a good thing." I joke, trying to keep light-hearted. I really don't need another meltdown right now.

I keep chuckling to myself, amused, until I notice that she's tilted her head a bit and is staring at me with an inquisitive look on her face.

"Show me." She says seriously.

Excuse me?

"Excuse me?" I say.

"Is your hearing broken too? I said 'show me'." And she leans forward a bit towards me.

I'm really feeling fuckin thrown by this.

Cordelia wants me to kiss her? See, this is the kinda thing I should be thrilled about. Laying in a bed with a hot girl and getting asked for some physical stuff. This is the part fo the test that I can always get an ‘A’ on. Well, that, and the oral.

On the other hand . . . it doesn't feel right. It feels so beyond fucking wrong. And it reeks of some kinda twisted motive. She’s setting me up. Right? Right.

But . . . fuck it. I'm Faith. This kinda shit is what I do.

After hesitating for just a moment or two, I slide forward a bit so that we're pretty close. She's staring into my eyes; not the moon-eyed kinda gaze that says ‘I wanna fuck you’, but the kinda gaze that says ‘I know what’s going on in your head. Now you just have to be able to see it’.

I’m not completely Buffy-whipped though; I still know how to work it, so I decide that I’m gonna do this right. Before Cordy can change her mind, my lips are on hers and my tongue is gently slipping into her mouth. I kiss her nice and deep, flicking my tongue across the roof of her mouth as I pull back to suck on her upper lip a bit. She groans into my mouth a little, and I know that this is a fuckin HOT kiss, but . . . I don’t feel a thing. There’s nothing.

I give her lower lip a few kisses and soft nibbles before pulling back and flopping back onto my pillow and covering my face with my hands, groaning into them. This is so fucking frustrating for me. You have no idea.

Cordy sits dazed for a minute, composing herself as she moves to sit back against the headboard.

“That was . . . different,” she says, staring at the wall a bit.

“Yeah, different,” I groan out.

“And it was nice and hot and everything, but . . . no spark. How about you?” She hedges.

“Nothing,” I groan again, pushing my palms into my tired eyes.

I hear the scoff before I feel her pillow hit my arm.

“Nothing! You’re crazy! That was HOT, Faith! I’d put it right up there in my top 5 kisses. Top 3.”

I move my hands away from my face long enough to look at her and raise my eyebrow. She scoffs again.

“Okay, okay . . . top 2. But seriously . . . nothing?” She asks.

I shake my head, running my fingers through my hair as I move my eyes back up to stare at the ceiling. Cue frustrated sigh . . . now.

“Oh god, I thought you were just being overly dramatic about this whole fiasco. She really gave you some kind of mental handicap, didn’t she?” Oh boy. I’ve kicked Drama-Queen Cordy into gear with my little pseudo-rejection. I cover my head with the pillow she tossed at me as she continues.” I mean . . . come on! I’m far more desirable than 99.9% of the population, and when you kiss me, you feel ‘nothing’? That’s messed up, Faith.”

The way she mimicked my voice when she said ‘nothing’ was pretty fucking funny. Anyone else woulda got a kick in the ass for that one, but I’ll let her slide on it this time. I chuckle a bit into the pillow, and she musta heard it cos it’s suddenly off my face and on her lap again.

“I’m serious, Faith, she broke you!” She says dramatically.

I don’t need to hear it anymore. I’m far aware of that fact. I groan before flopping onto my stomach and burying my face in my pillow.

She laughs. “The funny thing about pillows is that you can actually hear through them if the other person TALKS VERY LOUDLY.” She just about screamed that last part.

But me? I’m stubborn. We all know this. I show my objection to her talking by kicking my leg a few times.

After a few minutes of silence, I’m thinking that I won and that maybe she’ll shut up and go to bed. That’s when I feel the pillow being yanked from under me and my face hitting the mattress.

I groan and kick my legs more.

“Why are you bothering me about this right now?” I whine, uncharacteristically.

“Because, this is my apartment and I say so. You’re the one who’s waking me up with your bad dreams in the middle of the night. We either talk about this now and get it out, or I harass you about it all day long tomorrow. The choice is yours, slayer.”

I can hear the defiance in her voice. She’s gonna win this. Fuck, I think I’ve finally found someone who is more stubborn than I am.

Thinking that I’d much rather spend 10 minutes on this than a whole day, I flip over on the bed and lay on my back, stealing my pillow back and putting it under my head.

“Fine. You wanna talk? Let’s talk. Did Buffy break me? Kinda, yeah. My heart hurts, and my head hurts when I think about it. Everything is fuzzy. I don’t know how I feel about everything, but I know that I couldn’t stay in that position anymore cos it was killing me. If Buffy called me right now and told me that she loved me and that things would change, I would probably believe her and run my pathetic and well-built ass back to her. But I’m trying to keep my resolve here, cos it hurts to not be strong about it. And that’s all. Can I sleep now?”

I can almost hear her analyzing everything that I just blurted out. I wanna cover my head with my pillow, but I know that she’ll just tear it off, so I keep my eyes up toward the ceiling.

After a few minutes, she starts speaking quietly.

“When Xander cheated on me with Willow, my heart broke too. I never expected to fall for someone like him, and if you would’ve told me that I was gonna, I probably would have sued you or something. But, he won my heart. Then . . . then he threw it back at me. I tried to be strong. I got through the rest of the year with a fake smile on, and then I got out of there as soon as I could. But the difference between you and me is, I ran because I was weak; you ran because you were strong.”

“I don’t feel strong.” I mumble.

She scoffs.

“Then toughen the fuck up. Take charge of your life.” She sounds pissed off now. She turns and faces me, staring intently into my eyes which have drifted over to her. “What do you want?”

What do I want? There are a million things. Most importantly? Well, that’s easy.

“I want Buffy.” I say quietly.

“Then fucking FIGHT for her. Stop pussy-footing around.”

I groan, slamming my hands down on the bed in frustration. She doesn’t even blink an eye.

“It’s not that fucking easy, C. I can’t play cat-and-mouse with her for the rest of my life. If she wants me, and I mean really wants me, she needs to tell me. I need to see the truth in her eyes, and feel that she’s ready to end the fucking games. If she can give me that? Then I’ll run back to her faster than my legs can carry me.”

Cue silence. Cue reflection.

It only takes a few moments for Cordy to process all of that.

“Okay then, we have a goal. We smack Buffy upside the head and make her see what she’s missing out on.”

I chuckle. “Yeah, I kinda thought that my running away might have that effect on her.”

“Ooh, good. Way to put the plan into action. Okay, so part one is done. Now . . . we just . . . wait on her.” She says the last part optimistically, but . . . I’m not feeling so positive. I can tell that she’s a bit unsure too by the way her voice trailed off into the silence.

I roll onto my side and get comfortable, kicking the blankets off cos it’s hot as hell in here.

“Thanks for the chat, C.”

I can almost hear the little smile that creeps up on her lips.

“It’s my pleasure, Faith.” She says, and lays back down against her pillow. Then I hear her snicker. “Very much my pleasure.” She mumbles under her breath, making sure to say it just loud enough for me to hear.

She knows that it will make me smile.

And it does.


I wake up in the morning before Cordelia does. It’s a bit earlier than normal for me, but there’s no use in trying to sleep anymore. I sniff a few times to clear my sinuses. I can barely smell the shampoo in my hair anymore. The shampoo Buffy uses. I miss it. So, I decide to take another shower before Cordy wakes up.

The first thing I smell when I step out of the bathroom, freshly showered and dressed, is fresh coffee brewing. I walk into the kitchen, expecting to see Cordy sitting at the counter, but I see the coffee pot floating across the room instead and pouring into a floating cup.

What the fu . . . ah, right. The ghost.

I’d be a bit weirded out by it if it wasn’t so damn convenient to have him around. Unfazed, I walk to the chair at the counter and am about to sit when I hear it being tugged back a little.

Well, whattaya know? Ghostly has manners.

“Umm…..thanks.” I say as I sit down on the chair and take a sip of the coffee.

I hear a noise from the hallway and I turn to see Cordy standing there staring at me.

“Were you just talking to my ghost?”, she asks with one eyebrow raised.

I take a nice long glance around the apartment and a long sip of my coffee before nodding to her. “I guess I am, yeah.”

“Did he make you coffee?!” She says incredulously.

“Kinda looks that way.” I say with a shrug, still sipping at my coffee.

Cordy stomps bare-footed into the kitchen, looking around the place as if she’s trying to find something.

“Phantom Dennis! You know her one day and are making coffee for her? I have a hard enough time trying to get you to wash the windows, and I’ve been living here with you for months now. That’s just unfair.” She wears what she thinks is a menacing look on her face as she pours her own cup of coffee.

What can I say? I’m just likable like that. Plus, the guy probably appreciated the fact that I walked completely naked from the bedroom to the bathroom.

“Anyhow . . . I take it that you’ll be staying here for awhile?” She asks as she plops down on the chair opposite of me, looking slightly irritated.

“Umm, I dunno. Am I?” I ask. I have no idea. Didn’t really have a plan when I came here.

“Well, I just figure that since you unpacked your clothes and hung them in the closet, you’d be staying for awhile.”

I blink a few times. I did what? I left my clothes all messy in my bag when I left to go into the shower. I . . . ah. I get it. Right. I hold up my hands.

“Don’t look at me, Cor. I didn’t do it. But I think your ghost may have the teeniest bit of a crush on me.”

Her eyes move around the room again, eyebrows furrowed and lips tight.

“You’re walking a thin line, mister.” She grumbles into the mostly empty room. Off in the other room, I hear a door closing on it’s own. It seems that the ghost is embarrassed now. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go all poltergeist on us.

“Give the guy a break, Cor. I’m hard to resist.” I say with a slight smirk.

She just makes a little scoff noise and gets up from the chair, walking towards the hallway with her coffee cup in her hand.

“As if, Faith. Observe the resistance as I walk away and into the bathroom.” She closes the bathroom door behind her and I hear the shower turn on.

I chuckle aloud into the room. Man, this chick really cracks me up. She’s one of the few people that can actually out-wit me. And trust me . . . if she was up against the Faith from two summers ago, there would be no resisting. I’d have her on the kitchen table with her legs spread wide and my face buried in her pussy before she even knew what hit her. Let’s see her try to resist that.

Fuck . . . that’s a pretty hot image, actually. She’s got these super-long toned legs that just seem to go up and up forever. I’d love to have them wrapped around my back as I slip my tongue into her . . . holy hell, I gotta stop thinking stuff like that. I’m likely to lose my cool and just cave.

I don’t want anyone but B, but . . . hot damn, Cordy’s a nice distraction.

Speaking of distractions, I kinda need one now to get my mind off of all the nice and naughty thoughts I’m having. I hop over the back of her sofa and prop myself up on some pillows before grabbing the remote and flicking on the TV.

Infomercial. Crap. Football Game. Crap. 7th Heaven. CRAP. The Simpsons. Score! I settle back against the cushions and chuckle a few times as Homer goes through the normal process of making an ass outta himself. I don’t think I’ve ever missed an episode of this show. Me and B used to watch it together, too. I remember the night I moved into the apartment, everything was still packed up in boxes, but I made sure to have the bed and the TV all settled so I could watch the new episode that was on. I’m a dedicated fan, yeah. But can you blame me? That shit is funny.

Buffy liked the episode where Homer smokes weed, cos . . . wait a minute. I’m not meant to be thinking about her.

I shake my head to clear the thoughts from it and decide to flip the channel. There’s gotta be something on that can distract me. Ooh, maybe Cordy gets porn on her TV. I start flipping through all of the channels quickly, watching like a hawk for any flashes of T&A. I was beginning to get discouraged and annoyed when I heard the front door buzz.

I keep still on the couch. I don’t even think about bothering myself to get up until I hear Cordy yell from the shower.

“Faith . . . it’s probably the paperboy! Can you pay him with the money in the bowl on the table?”

Oh great. Now I’m her fucking personal assistant.

I hop off the couch and make my way into the kitchen, grabbing a few dollar bills from the bowl and making my way to the door as the buzzer rings for a second time.

“Keep your pants on, junior.” I mumble as I unlock the multiple locks on the door.

Yunno, if I was really smart, I’d take this $9 and go get some breakfast at McDonalds. But the thing about trying to be a responsible adult? Disappointing people who are nice to you kinda stops you from doing careless stuff.

I swing the door open half-way and don’t even look up, my eyes concentrating on re-counting the money in my hands before I hand it over.

“I’ve got nine bucks, junior. Take it or leave it.” I say flatly. What? Paperboys aren’t allowed to bargain?

“We’re not here for your money.” I hear a deep voice say.

My eyes flick upwards at hearing the familiar voice, only to find myself face to face with Xander and Anya. I swallow hard, waiting to get over the shock of seeing them so I can take a breath.

What the fuck are they doing here? After all of Cordy’s hard work, I allow myself to slip back into closed-off mode.

“Okay. You don’t want my money. Then what do you want?” I ask with disinterest.

“First,” Anya interrupts, “that’s Cordelia’s money, as evident from the strong perfume on it. Second . . . we’d like to take you home. Please don’t put up a fight. We might look weak and powerless, but we fight dirty. I bite.”

“And she pulls hair.” Xander adds with a slight wince. Looks like he’s learned that the hard way.

After standing and staring at them for a few minutes, I finally shake my head and toss the $9 at Xander’s chest.

“That should be enough money for gas back to SunnyD. Thanks for coming. Enjoy your trip back.”

And with that, I close the door and walk back to the couch, trying to act as unaffected as I can. Being responsible doesn’t necessarily mean I have to be compliant, and I’ll kick and scream and scratch and punch to hold my ground.

Yeah, maybe I’m not as adult as I’d like to think.

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