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It’s almost dawn, and Robin’s left, gone to the kitchen for something to eat. Faith sits on the edge of Buffy’s bed, running her fingers lightly over the blankets. She wants to smell them, drink in Buffy’s scent. There’s not much of it left. The room smells more like Robin now than Buffy.

“Penny for your thoughts,” says the Mayor, smiling down at her.

“Go away,” Faith says.

“Rude much, Faith?” Buffy stands before her now, skinnier than she’s ever been.

Buffy is skinnier, Faith thinks. The real Buffy, anyway. But hardened somehow, too.


“Do I have to knock some sense into your naughty head?”

“Go ahead, try.” Faith laughs. “You can’t touch me, not now.”

“When have I ever wanted to?” jeers the First, throwing back its golden hair. “Never. You’ve always made me sick to my stomach. You think sleeping with Robin Wood is going to make you feel any better—any less empty, unwanted?” The First narrowed its eyes.

“You’re not B,” says Faith calmly, and stands.

“No,” replies the First. “You’ve gotten rid of her, haven’t you? She’ll never come back now. She hates you even more than before. Things are different, Faith. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Things have changed while you’ve been—away. I’ve changed.” It steps closer and raises its chin, looking Faith square in the eye. “But you know something that’s still the same? I’m still better than you. Always will be.”

Faith steps through the First, and it vanishes. “Yeah,” she says to the empty room, “you are.”