Faith’s heart is beating out of her chest and bile’s rising in her throat as she runs, vision blurred by the tears streaking down her face. Images keep flashing before her eyes—her Watcher, head turned all the way around, blood dripping from innumerable wounds, eyes scratched out; the vamps, a gang of them, closing in and grinning with demonic faces; and him, huge and ancient and powerful, laughing like the world’s about to end.
She needs to get away, far away, as far from Boston as she possibly can. She needs to think, she needs to run, she can’t think while she’s running but she can’t stop either. If Faith stops running, she knows she’ll never be able to move again.
The Slayer doesn’t hear any noise behind her, no signs of pursuit, and she ducks into an alleyway. The red brick walls are deep in shadow, and she pushes herself against them when she hears a clattering sound from the corner. A rat runs out, discarded can rolling after it. Faith lets out a breath she didn’t know she was holding.
Her Watcher had told her of a town, far away in California. Another Slayer lived there, the other Slayer. Faith has never been one for teamwork, but all her strength and speed hasn’t been enough against Kakistos. The other girl had survived a master vampire. Maybe Faith should go to her. But what was the town’s name?
Sunnydale, Faith remembers. I have to go to Sunnydale.
The other girl, Buffy, doesn’t know it, but the first time Faith sees her isn’t when she staked that vamp outside the Bronze. The first night Faith got into town, fresh off the Greyhound, she’d had a twitching in her bones, the kind of electric energy that only dissipated after a fight. It had been too long.
Walking up to the Sunnydale cemetery, Faith had felt a tingling shoot up her spine, different from the warning feeling she always got when there was a vamp. It’s then that she catches a flash of blonde hair. The other Slayer?
Faith steps behind a tree as she watches the girl, even smaller than herself, easily hold her own against a six-foot vampire. She practically bounces back from every hit, and counters with punches and kicks of her own that leave the demon stumbling. It isn’t long at all before she’s sunk her wooden weapon deep into his chest.
“I guess you’ve made a mis-stake,” she quips as the vamp turns to dust. Faith rolls her eyes. This is the Slayer she’s heard so much about? She has half a mind to leave the town when the other girl cocks her head, puzzled, and turns to look in her direction. Faith makes sure no part of her is sticking out to see. She doesn’t know why, but she doesn’t want to meet Buffy yet. The playing field feels too uneven.
Gradually, the tingling feeling starts to fade, and when Faith dares to chance a look she see the other Slayer is leaving. Running a hand through her hair, she wonders Did she feel it too?
It’s pathetically easy to lure the vamp outside the Bronze, and Faith pretends she doesn’t see Buffy watching her. The other girl will probably follow her, but this is Faith’s kill. She’ll show her exactly what she’s got.
Faith’s in the middle of losing herself in the fight, right hook, high kick, when she feels that now-familiar sensation shoot up her spine again.
“It’s okay, I got it,” she says to the shocked looking blonde. “You’re Buffy, right?” The vampire roars, and she headbutts him. “I’m Faith.”
The rest of the fight doesn’t take long, and after the demon is dust Faith turns to give Buffy back her stake, buzzed on the fresh kill. “Thanks, B. Couldn’t have done it without you.”
As she’s walking away, Faith grins. It’s exactly the kind of entrance she’d wanted to make.
“—when all of a sudden the cops pull up, and they arrested us both,” Faith finishes her story. All Buffy’s friends seem engrossed in her adventures, but Buffy herself looks bored. Faith can’t figure out why it bothers her so much.
“I could eat a horse,” she throws out. “Isn’t it crazy how slaying just always makes you hungry and horny?”
Buffy looks like she’s been caught doing something she shouldn’t. “Well, sometimes I crave a nonfat yogurt afterwards,” she shrugs.
Little miss repressed is so tightly wound, Faith thinks. I’d love to see her cut loose. The brunette is pulled out of her musings when one of the girls, Willow or Oak Tree or something, asks “But why were you called here?”
“Well I wasn’t. My Watcher went off to some retreat thing in England, and so I skipped out.” The lie falls easily from her lips, they always have. “Figured this was my chance to meet the infamous Buff and compare notes. So, B, did you really use a rocket launcher that one time?”
Buffy starts to answer, and Faith’s glad the conversation’s turned somewhere else. Even when the boy with the big ears asks her more questions, they’re about stories safe to tell. She can so handle this. And if Buffy looks put-out by all the attention going to her, well, that’s her problem. It’s not like Faith cares what she thinks.
Leaving Buffy’s house after dinner with her mother, Faith’s stomach is full for the first time in a long time and it’s put her in a good mood. Buffy, on the other hand, seems a little tense.
“Hey, B,” Faith says, trying to cheer her up but not really sure why. “You mom was really nice. A real lady and stuff. Nothing like my ma.”
“Thanks,” Buffy replies, flat. “Glad you liked her.”
“You’re lucky to have her.” Faith reaches out and touches Buffy’s wrist, and something honest must have bled through to her face because Buffy seems to soften, just a little.
“Yeah, I am.”
They walk in silence for a bit before the blonde adds “But enough with the talking. We should find some vampires to slay.”
“Fine by me.”
They’re not seeming to have any luck as they hunt through the streets of Sunnydale, and Faith feels her frustration growing again. When Buffy pulls her down a road they’ve already checked, she can’t help herself.
“Didn’t we do this street already?”
“Funny thing about vamps. They’ll hit a street even after you’ve been there. It’s like they have no manners.”
“You’ve been doing this the longest,” Faith returns, a little insulted.
Faith can’t resist the barb. “Maybe a little too long.”
“Excuse me? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You got a problem?” Buffy asks.
Oh, I’ve got several, Faith thinks. Starting with your righteous ass. “I’m five by five here B,” she says instead. “Living entirely large, actually wondering about your problem.”
“Well, I may not sleep in the nude and wrestle alligators—”
“—maybe it’s time you started because something in your bottle needs uncorking,” the brunette interrupts, privately entertained by the mental picture. “What is it, the Angel thing?”
Buffy stops. “What do you know about Angel?”
“Just what your friends told me. Big love, big loss, you oughta deal and move on, but you’re not.”
Buffy steps forward, and Faith’s itching for a fight, trying to keep her hands from twitching as Buffy fiercely says “I got an idea. How about from now on we don’t hear from you on Angel or anything else in my life. Which, by the way, is my life.”
“What are you getting so strung up for B?” The air’s almost crackling between them. The tingling Faith always feels around Buffy is becoming a rush.
“What are your lips still moving, F?”
“Did I just hear a threat?” Faith asks, ready for it. Hell, she’s wishing for it.
“Would you like to?” And oh, Buffy’s wanting this as much as she is.
“Wow. You think you can take me?” Faith really hopes she tries.
“Yeah,” Buffy answers, but then something else catches her attention. “I just hope they can’t.”
Vamps. A whole gang of them. Faith throws herself into the fight, reveling in the violence of it, the tension in her breaking. It’s just her and her fists and her feet, and this is a language she knows, has known since she was little. This makes sense, and it feels good.
She’s got the vamp on the ground, and she’s hitting him and hitting him, and blood roaring in her ears. Buffy’s saying something, but she doesn’t know what, doesn’t care what, she’s hitting him and hitting him and she can’t stop. She keeps seeing her mutilated Watcher, seeing the monster, and if she hits him enough it will go away. It has to go away.
“You can’t touch me!” she screams as strong arms pull her away and stake the vamp. Faith’s only half paying attention to the argument she and Buffy have after, and as she slinks away she’s trying hard to keep from shaking.
Buffy found her, then Kakistos found her, and now Faith’s running again, side by side with a Slayer that seems as terrified as she is. She can’t open her mouth, because there’s a scream building in her throat and she can’t do this, she can’t do this. They crash through a window and roll to their feet.
“We’re okay,” Buffy says, and Faith wishes she could believe her. “What happened? Faith, what happened?”
Maybe it’s the use of her name that gets her. “I, I was there, when he killed my Watcher. And I saw what he did to her, what he was gonna do to me. I tried to stop him, but I, I couldn’t. And I ran.”
“Faith. First rule of slaying. Don’t die. You did the right thing, okay, you didn’t die. Now you do the math. One of him, two of us.”
Faith can’t look at her. Buffy believes in her, thinks they can stop him. Faith knows better. “No…”
“Yes.” As Buffy says it, Faith sees the bodies, and dread uncurls within her.
“No. This is his place.”
The next few minutes are a blur. She and Buffy are fighting, and Faith is facing Kakistos, almost paralyzed. “Don’t die,” Buffy tells her, but she’s useless, and Kakistos punches her to the ground before she can even get a hit in. He’s hitting her, over and over, just like her mother, and Faith almost thinks it’s funny. She’s going to die.
Buffy saves her. Faith watches as she takes Kakistos on, holding her own. By the time the demon knocks her back, Faith’s back in the fight.
“I guess you need a bigger stake, Slayer,” Kakistos laughs, and Faith picks up a fallen bar of wood and charges. It goes clean through him, and the vampire crumbles to dust. Both girls gasp for breath.
“You hungry?” Buffy asks.
The place they find is a little 24 hour diner, and though the waitress raises a questioning eyebrow at the two teenage girls being out so late, she finds them a table without a fuss. Faith’s humming with energy, ravenously hungry and unable to stop herself from looking too much at Buffy, just a little. The other Slayer is pretty in a Barbie doll sort of way, and she’d have the strength and the stamina to keep up with Faith. The brunette laughs to herself. Like Saint Buffy would ever go there.
“What’s so funny?”
“Oh, nothing,” Faith lies. “Just feeling relieved Kakistos is gone. It was, uh, kind of heavy, worrying he was coming after me and all. But everything’s all squared away now, five by five, you know?”
Buffy smiles at her, all perfect white teeth. “Evil vanquishing is definitely a good feeling. Makes me all tingly.”
Faith can’t help but give her a look, and Buffy blushes. “Hungry and horny, just like I said,” she drawls.
“Well I sure could go for some food,” Buffy replies quickly, picking up the menu and hiding her face, which is steadily growing more crimson. Faith picks hers up too, grinning at having unnerved the great Buff.
“Uh, I don’t have any money,” she says a couple minutes later. “I left my wallet at home.” She hopes the blonde doesn’t see through the lie.
“I got it,” Buffy says. “You can pay me back next time.”
“Good to know there’ll be a second date,” Faith jokes, and Buffy laughs. Eventually, Faith settles on a burger, fries, and a chocolate shake, while Buffy orders a chicken club sandwich and a soda. While they’re waiting for their food, Faith notices Buffy looking at her inquisitively.
“I was just wondering what it was like,” Buffy answers. “Back home for you. You must’ve left some people back in Boston.”
Faith thinks of her mother, who she hasn’t seen in years and who is probably as drunk as she ever was. She thinks of the guys she’s slept with, all grabbing hands and desperation to get in her pants—even if they were a guarantee of a roof over her head for the night. She thinks of a few of the girls, who were better but just as temporary. She thinks of her dead Watcher, and closes her eyes.
“There’s no one really,” Faith answers, looking away. “You know, I was busy with the slaying, didn’t make time to know anyone.”
Buffy reaches across the table and grabs her hand, looking at her with kind eyes. Faith feels exposed and unprotected, and she swallows, clenching her jaw. “You could stay in Sunnydale for a while. There’s a Hellmouth here, so I know we could use you.”
“I’ll think about it,” Faith says, not wanting to commit to the beautiful, innocent girl holding her hand. “Could be fun, I guess. You and me, taking on all the creatures of the underworld and all that shit.”
The waitress brings their food then, and Faith welcomes the distraction. Her stomach is growling, and at least she can give into one of her baser urges.
Somehow, patrolling with Buffy becomes a habit, rather than the one-off event Faith assumed it would be after dinner at the Summers household. Faith has always loved the hunt, but with the other Slayer by her side, the charge she gets from it is intoxicating. She’s getting used to the thrumming in her veins whenever Buffy is near, and she knows the other girl feels it too. Faith can see it in her eyes when she’s fresh off a slay, wild and breathtaking before the cheerful valleygirl act slides back on. Faith knows they’re something else. They’re Slayers. Feral. Animal. Free. She doesn’t get why Buffy won’t just admit it. They’d have more fun that way.
There’s a cadre of vamps, about four of them, mean looking suckers. They’re heading towards a mausoleum, dragging a couple unconscious teenagers with them.
“Let’s get ’em.” Faith grins. “They don’t have a chance against you and me, B.”
“Wait. We should have a—” Buffy starts, but Faith’s already running and she knows the blonde will catch up. Why come up with some stupid strategy when a fist to the face will do just as well?
The vampires are just starting to turn around when Faith’s on the first one, grabbing his head from behind and twisting hard until his neck snaps and he crumbles to dust beneath her fingers. She’s never felt more alive.
“Hi, boys,” she says as the other three start to run at her, but Buffy’s there by her side, sending one stumbling back with a high kick. Faith turns and slams her fist into the jaw of another, relishing the crack of bone she can feel beneath her knuckles. She grabs his hair and pulls his face down to her knee. He screams. It feels good.
Faith’s distracted enough that the last vampire manages to grab her shoulder and pull her around enough to land a hard punch to her face. She rolls her head back from the impact, and tastes the iron of blood in her mouth.
“Oh, you’ll pay for that,” she promises, but Buffy’s staked him from behind after taking care of her original target.
“I think he just did,” the blonde banters. “Behind you!”
Faith whirls around as the bloody-faced demon whose nose she’d broken chargers towards her, and sticks her arm out so that he runs right into her stake. Moron.
The brunette turns back to Buffy, breathing deep, pupils blown. The current running between them is pulling her closer and closer.
“Faith,” Buffy says quietly, raising a hand to her cheek. Her eyes are intense. “You’re bleeding.”
“I’ll be fine,” she replies, spitting a little blood on the ground. She can feel the heat rushing to her face, and she has to stop this. “We should, uh, we should take care of these kids. That’s what you do, right, help people.”
“Oh, right,” Buffy says, shaking her head a little. “The newly not-vamp chow people.”
Faith nods, and bends down to check the guy’s pulse. It’s steady and strong—a contrast to her heart, going 100 miles a minute. The Slayer refuses to consider what that means.
Faith cannot believe she asked Buffy to Homecoming. Of all the stupid, impulsive things she could have done—at least she’d covered it quickly by bringing up the guys they could both get at the dance. It’s never hard to find a warm body.
Still, Buffy had said yes. Faith knows she shouldn’t get her hopes up, B seems straight as an arrow, but. Surely she has to feel what’s between them. Even if it is some mystical Slayer thing, it’s real. And it’s powerful. It’s a pull that feels like death and life all rolled into one.
She has to find a dress. It’s stupid, but Faith wants to look nice. She’s got no cash for it, but it’s not like that’s a problem. She’s been picking pockets since she was twelve. Settling into a seat at the coffee shop, Faith waits for a good mark, letting herself slip into wanting thoughts about the night to come.
So the dance is a bust. Faith swallows her disappointment and moves on. It isn’t Buffy’s fault some psycho decided that hunting Slayers would make good TV.
“Hey, Earth to Faith,” Buffy says, waving a hand in front of her face. “We need to be on red alert for this guy, he’s got the amulet of Ham and Cheese Giles wouldn’t quit going on about.”
“Hamanchu,” Faith replies automatically. “And sorry, B. Won’t happen again.”
Buffy nods, and they both peer into the window of the abandoned warehouse. The demon, Pentekoch, is blue, seven feet tall, and had a line of spikes running down his spine. He’s got a strange-looking symbol painted on his chest in what Faith strongly suspects is blood, and a circle of vamps is chanting around him. The amulet is glowing, green and luminous. Buffy nervously adjusts her grip on her axe.
“I’ll get the big guy, and you get the vamps,” the other Slayer murmurs to her. “You ready?”
Faith looks at her. “Yeah. I’m ready. Let’s just do this.”
“On three. One…two…three!”
As she finishes her count, both Slayers come crashing through the window. Pentekoch looks up in surprise.
“Get them!” he bellows. “Before they stop the ritual!”
The vampires are rushing at them. Faith counts seven. There’s no time for thinking though, and she throws herself into the fight, kicking and punching and biting when one of them is stupid enough to try to grab her face. He pulls his hand back, howling, and Faith stakes him before moving on to the next demon. Buffy is a blur beside her, one move flowing into the next, and she’s already staked two She’s incredible.
Faith knocks two vampires’ heads together, and smoothly stakes another one who thought he was sneaking up behind her. Four down. She can take three.
“Go!” she shouts. “I can take the rest! Get the big blue guy!” Buffy’s off and running even before she finishes.
The two vamps she’s probably concussed are back up and coming at her, and Faith lets the demon who’s behind her grab her so she can rock back and kick them both. It’s a solid hit to the chest twice over and she can hear their ribs crack. The Slayer headbutts the vampire holding her and he lets go, yelping. She swings around and stakes him while his hands are still clutching his nose, and then turns to face the last two vampires. They’re backing away, scared, and she’s going to relish this kill until—
“Fai—” Buffy starts to yell, but is cut off by Pentekoch’s hand around her throat. Her arm is bleeding from a long cut, and her axe is by the demon’s feet. Faith is up and running towards him before she even has time to think. Buffy!
Pentekoch is laughing, and he’s raising his other hand to hit her when Faith dives under his feet, grabbing the axe and rolling between his legs. She bounces up and swings the axe as hard as she can into his back. Pentekoch screams.
“Take that, you bastard!” Faith shouts, pulling the axe out, and he turns around. Buffy is still clawing at his hand around her throat, and Faith goes for his, dodging his incoming hand and slicing his trachea clean open. He lets go of Buffy and staggers back, sinking to his knees. He’s as good as dead, Faith knows.
The blood is roaring in her ears and Faith feels like electricity is running though her veins. She’s higher than she’s even been off this kill. Buffy is looking at her, beautiful and breathless and alive, and the pull towards her is too much. Faith strides forward, grabs her face, and kisses her.
Buffy is soft and warm and everything Faith’s dreamed about as she lets one hand tangle in her hair and the other wrap around her waist. Buffy’s arms are moving, but she’s kissing Faith back, one hand wrapping around the back of her neck and the other grabbing her shoulders. The blonde is kissing her like it’s the end of the world, pressing flat against her. It’s only when they both finally need to breathe that they break apart.
“Faith…” Buffy begins, but Faith shushes her.
“We can talk about this later. Right now we’ve got an amulet to take back to Giles.”
Buffy sighs and nods, stepping back. Faith already misses the heat of her body. “Okay. We’ll do that. Get the hamster shoe thing to Giles.”
“Great,” Faith agrees, and walks over to grab it from Pentekoch’s corpse. She should thank him, really, for how well this night turned out. But he’s dead and a demon besides, so she won’t.
Faith has no intention of talking to Buffy about the kiss, but the other Slayer forces the issue. Buffy corners Faith in the library, behind a shelf of books. Giles and the rest of the ‘Scooby Gang’ have already left, and the only reason Faith was still her was because she was short on her motel rent for the night and thinking about camping out. That plan seems to be out of the running now.
“Faith,” Buffy says to her. “I know you’ve been avoiding me. Here you are, hiding in the stacks, behind all avoid-y.”
“I was looking for a book,” Faith lies. “For, um, English class.”
Buffy snorts. “Do you really expect me to believe you’ve started caring about school?”
Faith sighs, and looks at the tiny blonde standing across from her. “Look, B, about what happened, it doesn’t have to mean anything. We were just super charged off the fight, it—”
“Stop that.” Buffy glares at her. “You think I don’t know what this is about? I feel it too, Faith. The pull, or energy, I don’t know what it is, but I feel it. And I know you do, just like me.”
“So I’m attracted to you, Slayer to Slayer. But you’re not into chicks and I don’t want to—”
Faith’s argument is cut off as Buffy kisses her, pushing her against the bookshelf. It hurts her back but she doesn’t care, she’s lost in the feel of Buffy as the other girl slips her tongue in her mouth. It’s only once she starts to feel the need for air that Buffy pulls back, eyes blazing.
“I don’t know what I am, or what this is. But I want it. And you do too.”
“Okay,” Faith agrees, because how can she say anything else? “So we’re doing this, whatever this is.” She waves her hand casually.
“Yeah.” Buffy pauses, and Faith thinks she looks guilty. “But, can we keep this between us? For now. I, I’m not ready for my friends to know.”
A part of Faith, the part of her that’s mean and always coiled like a snake, wants to come back with a barb, something about closets and secrets and sex. Instead, she grins at Buffy, and promises “It’ll be our little secret.”
“I can’t believe you missed it, it was crazy!” Buffy says, bouncing a little on Faith’s bed. “All the grownups were acting like us!”
“Must’ve been a sight to see. Bet teenage Giles still had a stick up his ass though.”
Buffy looks troubled. “He really, really didn’t. It was disturbing. He and my mom—they were kissing.” The blonde furrows her brow and sticks her tongue out. “Ick.”
“Mrs. Summers, getting some action!” Faith laughs, and Buffy scowls at her before jumping up and tackling her to the bed. “Hey!”
“You take that back!” Buffy says, trying to pin her. Faith grins and twists her hips, flipping the other Slayer over.
“Or what? You’ll pout at me? I’m so scared.” Buffy does just that, and Faith leans down and pecks her on the lips. “Got you beat, Summers.”
“No, you don’t,” Buffy answers, and Faith barely has time to be confused before she finds herself on her back, wrists held over her head.
“Didn’t know you liked it like this, B,” she says, and Buffy’s eyes darken. “Can’t say I mind.”
It’s all Faith can do not to groan as Buffy kisses her hard, shifting her grip on her wrists to one hand while the other runs up her side. Faith nips at her lower lip. Buffy sucks in a quick breath of air through her nose, and the brunette moves to her neck, kissing and biting.
“God, Faith,” Buffy gasps, and Faith’s suddenly free hands are moving. One pushes up Buffy’s shirt to palm her breast, the other grabs her ass. Buffy’s holding herself up, but her arms are shaking. Faith’s just starting to wonder how far she can take this when they hear a knock at the door. Buffy jumps off her as if scalded, pulling her shirt down.
“Buffy?” Xander’s voice calls, and Faith feels a flash of resentment. “Faith? Giles sent us, he says he’s found something. It’s bad, as usual.”
“We’ll be right there,” Buffy shouts back, and flashes Faith and apologetic grin. “Duty calls.”
“The Chosen Two, who stand against the forces of darkness and cockblocking,” Faith deadpans.
Buffy flushes and pulls her along. “Come on,” she says. “We’ve got to go.” Faith follows her out the door. They’ll have another night.
Gwendolyn Post had seemed so right, so just; she was so kind and she listened to Faith. She made her feel special. Gwendolyn wasn’t her old Watcher, but she’d been close, and it had been comfortable. So when she had told Faith that Angel was evil and needed to be stopped, it was only logical to believe her (and if some of it was motivated by jealousy, Faith would never, ever admit it).
She’d fought Buffy, crashing through a window and trading blows, and it’s only when Gwendolyn turns to her wearing the glove that Faith gets it. She’s been played. Gwendolyn is right. She is an idiot.
She can’t believe it, but Buffy falls right back into step with her like they hadn’t just been fighting. Like it’s natural. She’d even saved Faith when Gwendolyn had tried to fry her.
“Can you draw her fire?” she asks, and Faith replies in the affirmative. She just hopes she’s fast enough to make up for her mistake. The Slayer runs as fast as she can, lighting striking so close to her that she can feel the hair at the back of her neck standing straight up. The statue she’d dived behind for cover catches on fire, and the scent of fire and ash is thick in Faith’s nose.
Gwendolyn is transfixed by her glove, drunk on its power, and she doesn’t even notice as Buffy gets up behind her, grabbing a large shard of glass. Faith watches in shock as Buffy hurls it and slices Gwendolyn’s arm clean off. Lighting strikes down from the sky, running through Gwendolyn Post as she combusts from the inside out.
Faith, Buffy, and the rest of the gang slowly get up and converge on the charred spot on the floor where Gwendolyn had been standing as she burned. Faith can’t look at any of them.
Buffy had come to try to fix things with her, but she had been feeling so ashamed and stupid she’d thrown her words of trust back in her face. Still, as Buffy was walking out the door, Faith had almost, almost told the Slayer what she meant to her. She’d come close. Dangerously close.
Faith knows better than to let anyone in. It’s a dog eat dog world, every woman for herself. Faith knows this, so she can’t for the life of her figure out why she’s found herself walking to Buffy’s house. She stares up at her bedroom window. Fuck it.
It doesn’t take her any time at all to scale the house and slip soundlessly into Buffy’s room. The blonde looks so peaceful when she sleeps, and Faith feels her breath catch in her throat. She shouldn’t be here. She’s turning to leave when Buffy sits up.
“Uh, hey, B. Sorry I snuck into your room like a creep. I just wanted, um, I wanted…” Faith trails off. The truth is she doesn’t know what she wants. Buffy regards her sleepily.
“Well, if we’re going to talk you should come closer,” the other girl says, patting the bed. Faith sits awkwardly. The silence stretches on.
“I’m sorry about earlier,” Faith says suddenly. “About everything with Gwendolyn Post. And after. It was stupid. I was stupid.”
“You’re not stupid, Faith.” Buffy cups her face in her hand. “She fooled all of us.”
Faith leans into her touch. “I shouldn’t have trusted her. You really can’t trust anybody. But I shouldn’t have been so rude to you, earlier.” Faith wants to tell Buffy she cares, but she doesn’t know the words. Judging from the light in Buffy’s eyes, the other girl gets it anyway.
“It’s okay.” Buffy leans in and kisses her gently. “We’re okay.”
Faith doesn’t believe that, not even for a minute, with Angel back and the weight of their secret and the danger of their world. She lets herself be pulled into the bed, into Buffy’s embrace. She doesn’t believe it, but she can let herself have this one night.
Christmas has come and gone, Buffy is back with Angel, and even though Buffy hasn't told her Faith knows something’s changed. She can practically smell him on her skin when she kisses her neck. Her grip tightens in Buffy’s hair, and Faith bites down.
“Faith,” Buffy moans, and the brunette knows she likes it. Good, Faith thinks savagely. Let me have her all the ways Angel can’t. They’re fresh off the hunt and energy is humming through her veins, and this time she won’t stop it. Buffy won’t either. They both want this, even if the desire feels like it’s burning Faith alive.
Faith spies a gravestone, flat and a little wide at the top. That will work. She kisses Buffy again, deepening it as she starts to back the other girl up until she’s against the gravestone. Her hands rove everywhere, up and down Buffy’s sides, palming a breast, grabbing at her ass. Through it all, Faith never stops kissing her.
When she pulls back, Buffy’s eyes are dark and her cheeks are flushed. Faith slides her hands down to Buffy’s thighs, and then lifts her onto the gravestone. Buffy makes a little ‘oh’ of surprise, and Faith moves in against her, replacing her shock with her tongue. Buffy’s hands pull at her and clench on her back.
Faith pushes up Buffy’s shirt and bra and kneads one breast roughly, rolling the nipple between her fingers. Buffy gasps, and Faith moves her head from the blonde’s lips to her chest, taking the other nipple in her mouth and sucking.
“Oh, Faith,” Buffy moans, and the Slayer resists the urge to bite down. How dare she say her name like that, like there’s no one else. Faith moves back to kiss her before she can speak again, hand moving down to unbutton Buffy’s jeans.
There’s a moment, a small one, just before she puts her hand in her underwear, where Faith pulls back to look at Buffy. She looks disheveled and ravished, and all Faith wants is to take, but she’s not the boys she’s been with and she’ll make sure she’s wanted. Buffy opens her eyes, and nods. That’s all Faith needs.
She crashes back into kissing her, handing sliding underneath to find Buffy positively dripping for her. Faith can’t contain her own moan, and Buffy deepens the kiss. Faith finds Buffy’s clit and rubs it with a finger, enjoying the way the other Slayer’s hips jerk into her hand. Buffy pulls back and plants kisses on her neck, whispering “Faith, please.”
Faith slides her fingers home, and Buffy’s gasp might be the most beautiful thing she’s ever heard. She curls them up and the sound that tears from Buffy’s throat is positively wanton. Faith wants to hear it again and again.
She sets a punishing pace, fast and hard, and Buffy is moaning and clutching at her shoulders. Faith never figured her for liking it that rough but she’s not complaining, alternating kissing Buffy’s lips and her neck, kissing her everywhere she possibly can, because for right now Buffy is hers. She’s having her in the way she’s always wanted, and the charge she’s always felt between them is building so much Faith feels the blood singing in her veins. She curls her fingers up and presses her palm to her clit, and Buffy comes undone, Faith’s mouth swallowing her scream.
After, Faith licks her fingers clean while Buffy readjusts her clothes. Buffy had offered to reciprocate, but Faith told her it could wait for somewhere more private. Truth is, that doesn’t matter, it was never what this was about. And Faith thinks Buffy knows it.
“We should probably head home,” Buffy says with an unsure smile.
“We probably should,” Faith agrees. “See you tomorrow, B.”
Faith meant to just walk away. But, just like always, she couldn’t help herself with Buffy. She can’t just leave her like that. “Goodnight, Buffy,” she breathes, kissing her goodbye. Later she’ll tell herself she never meant it.
It keeps happening. Faith thinks she and Buffy are just drawn to each other, like some black hole she can’t escape. She goes for a roll in the hay with Xander, just to stick it to her a little, but it’s not the same and part of her hopes Buffy doesn’t find out.
When she’d promised Buffy they would keep it a secret, Faith never thought it would bother her. She was used to living in the shadows, and it’s not like she wanted someone to come home to. But sometimes when she’s with Buffy, it feels like she could want something more. It’s fun and it’s fast and Buffy is so good—until Faith remembers Angel and the secrets and the lies. Not quite the hero, are you B? she thinks darkly.
But all the resentment in the world doesn’t change the fact that Faith keeps going back to Buffy. All she can do, she figures, is enjoy the ride while she can.
It’s easy, to draw a little heart on the window and lure Buffy out of class, dangling what they have right under her friends’ noses. Easier still to hit the Bronze, dancing with Buffy even if she had to pretend she didn’t care about the guys crowding around them. It’d been easy to break into the weapons store after seeing Balthazar, and even easy to escape from those cops after they got caught. It had been easy to fight those vamps in that alley.
Faith stares down at the bloody hole she’d put in the man’s chest. Suddenly, it feels like nothing will be easy ever again.
When the body turns up, it doesn’t take Faith long to figure out that Buffy needs to take the fall for it. Whatever they might have, it’s not worth sacrificing herself for. Nothing is.
It isn’t like Buffy’s the saint they all think she is, she thinks angrily. Sleeping with “bad girl” Faith, lying to her friends and boyfriend. Faith doesn’t know why she’s kept going back. What does this little group have to offer her? Not protection, not money. Not much of anything.
Buffy has everything, and Faith has nothing, and the thought of it is almost enough to make her put a fist through the wall. The Slayer lets the anger boil within her, making its way from her heart to her head to her clenched hands. She’s played by their rules long enough. She’s sick of it. She’ll never be enough for Buffy, so why try? None of them need her. But there’s someone who might, if she can get a certain dark-skinned vampire out of the way…
It hadn’t been difficult to sneak into the mayor’s office and surprise him outside his door. He looks just like any other middle-aged politician, not like some shady evil mayor. To his credit, he doesn’t look scared of her. Faith can respect that.
“You sent your boy to kill me,” she says.
“That’s right, I did,” the mayor admits. Faith’s glad he’s not trying to bullshit her. Patience has never been her strong suit.
“I thought he might be, what with you standing her and all.”
Faith steps closer. Time to seal the deal. “I guess that means you have a job opening.” Wilkins steps aside to let her in.
“Well, this is a pleasant surprise,” he says, spreading his hands wide. “Can I get you something? Some water? A breath mint? I’d offer you some brandy, but you’re underage, and I don’t stand for that kind of vice.”
Faith rolls her eyes. “I’m fine, thanks.” She crosses her arms. “So what kind of job is this?”
“I need a right hand man,” Wilkins says. “Or woman, in your case. Someone to make sure things go smoothly. A little muscle on occasion. I do try to keep it more civilized than that.”
“I can do muscle. And I’m a quick learner with other stuff.”
Wilkins hums in acknowledgement. “So what brings you to my side? Not happy with your little friends?”
“They’re not my friends,” Faith spits out. “And I guess I just got tired of all their sanctimonious bullshit.”
“Language!” Wilkins admonishes. “You’ve got to have a clean mouth if you’re going to work for me. But just so we’re clear, if push comes to shove, you’re willing to do what it takes? You might have to hurt them.”
For just a second, Faith feels a twinge of regret, thinking of Buffy’s big hopeful eyes and her warmth. Then she sees Buffy kissing Angel, blocking her out, and something clenches in her stomach.
“It won’t be a problem. In fact, I think I’ll enjoy it.”
The next time they’re on patrol, it ends up with Faith kissing Buffy, because some things are inevitable. It’s more hot and intense than it’s ever been, and Faith grins wickedly against her mouth. Buffy, distracted and panting and wanting, will never see the knife coming, straight for her heart. Faith pushes her against a tree, thinking of the day this all ends even as the heat pools in her belly. Betrayal never tasted so sweet.
Kissing Angel was dangerous and thrilling, but the best thing about it was taking what was Buffy’s. She can almost still taste her on his lips. The look on the other Slayer’s face when she’d realized Faith’s treachery had been everything Faith had hoped for. Let her have her heartbreak, let her struggle with who Faith has become without her. She deserves it, and more.
More is what the chains are for, and Faith sees Buffy beginning to stir. Good. She was starting to get bored. She lets Angel taunt her a little before starting in herself.
“Bondage looks good on you, B. The outfit’s all wrong, but hey.”
“You don’t know what you’re doing,” Buffy grits out.
“Really? Weird. Because something about this just feels so right.” Faith starts to walk closer. “Maybe it’s just one of those unhappy childhood things. See, when I was a kid I used to beg my mom for a dog. Didn’t matter what kind, I just wanted, you know, something to love.” She grabs Angel’s shirt. Buffy can see what she’s lost. Faith isn’t sure if it’s herself or Angel or both. She kisses Angel deeply. “A dog’s all I wanted. Well, that and toys.” Now she unveils the torture implements she’d brought. “But Mom was so busy, you know, enjoying the drinking and passing out parts of life that I never really got what I wanted. Until now.”
“Faith listen to me very closely,” Buffy says, voice rough. “Angel’s a killer. When he’s done with me he’ll turn on you.”
“She’s right, I probably will,” Angel chimes in. Faith doesn’t much care.
“Yeah? Huh. Guess we’ll just have to keep you around a while then.” She walks to Buffy, close enough to kiss her. “Before we get started, I just want you to know—if you’re a screamer, feel free.”
“Why Faith?” Buffy asks, looking as though she might cry. “What’s in it for you?”
“What isn’t?” she answers. “You know, I come to Sunnydale, I’m a Slayer, I do my job kicking ass better than anyone. But what do I hear about everywhere I go? Buffy. So I slay, I behave, I do the good little girl routine, and who does everyone thank? Buffy.”
“That’s not my fault.”
“Everyone always asks, why can’t you be more like Buffy? But did anyone ask if you could be more like me?”
“I know I didn’t,” Angel says, and Faith looks at him. This isn’t about Angel.
“You get the Watcher, you get the mom, you get the little Scooby Gang, and what do I get? Jack squat.” She grabs her. “This was supposed to be my town!”
“Faith listen to me!” Buffy calls to her as she walks away.
“Why? So you can impart some special Buffy wisdom, that it? Do you think you’re better than me? Do you? Say it! You think you’re better than me.”
“I am,” Buffy says, and Faith could slap her. She turns to look back at the blonde, who continues “Always have been.”
“Maybe you didn’t notice,” Faith replies, angrier than she can say. Even then, even before, Buffy thought she was better. Faith should have known. “Angel’s with me.”
“And how’d you get him, Faith?” Buffy asks. “Magic. You cast some sort of spell. Because in the real world, Angel would never touch you and we both know it.”
Faith punches her, and thinks about saying “Well, you touched me!” But that sounds like she wants her, so she says nothing instead.
“You had to tie me up to beat me,” Buffy tells her. “There’s a word for people like you, Faith. Loser.”
Faith stabs her knife right next to Buffy’s head. Gets in her space, just like she used to. She could kiss her now, if she wanted. “Uh-huh,” she says. “You’re just trying to make me mad so I’ll kill you. I’m too smart for that. Stick around.”
“For what? Your boss’s lame Ascension? Like I couldn’t stop it.”
“You can’t.” Faith spreads her arms wide.
“Keep dreaming. No one can stop the Ascension, the mayor’s got it wired, B. He built this town for demons to feed on and come graduation day, he’s getting paid. I’ll be sitting at his right hand—assuming he has hands after the transformation, I’m not too clear on that part. And all your little lame-ass friends are gonna be kibbles and bits. Think about that when your boyfriend’s cutting into you.”
“I never knew you had so much rage in you,” Buffy answers, and she has the nerve to sound sad. Liar.
“What can I say? I’m the world’s best actor.”
“Second best,” Angel says, and Faith’s stomach drops. He can’t have… She looks back at him.
“Graduation day,” Buffy says. “You think we missed anything?”
“I think we know everything she knows,” Angel replies smiling.
“May I say something?” Buffy steps away from the wall, holding up her unchained hands. “Psych.”
“You played me. You played me!” Faith shouts, enraged. The Scoobies run in through the door, and Faith hurls Angel away from her. She and Buffy are fighting before she can blink. It’s different from what happened with Gwendolyn Post. This time, they’re both out for blood. Faith’s hitting Buffy with everything she’s got, and the other Slayer falls by the table with the torture implements. Faith’s going in for the kill when Buffy whips around, knife at her neck, matching Faith. They’re at a standstill.
“What’re you gonna do, B?” Faith asks, glancing down at the knife and back up again. “Kill me? You become me. You’re not ready for that.” She pulls Buffy to her and kisses her forehead. It’s everything she can’t put into words, the love and the hate and the wanting. Faith always, always wants. “Yet.”
Faith runs, sprinting out into the cool night air. It’s over, and it’s only just beginning.
Faith walks into the mayor’s office, making sure to appear casual even though her adrenalin is still through the roof. “Hey, boss,” she says. “Stuff kind of went sideways. Buffy and her friends know I’m working for you.” She braces herself for his reaction. The Slayer knows she’s blown her cover and thrown away any chance of spying on them.
“Well, that’s too bad,” Wilkins says, as friendly as ever. “Have a seat, Faith. I’m sure you’ve had a little bit of a rough night.”
Faith feels the tension in her shoulders lessen a little. “Yeah,” she agrees. “I thought I had ’em, you know? But Angel played me. He never lost his soul at all.”
“I’ll have to speak to that sorcerer.” Wilkins furrows his brow. “Let him know how unhappy I am. I don’t abide broken promises.”
“They know you’re ascending on graduation day,” Faith gets out quickly, before her nerve fails her. “I didn’t mean to tell them. They tricked me.”
Wilkins’s eyes flash. “That’s very unfortunate. But you’re my girl, I know you’d never betray me on purpose. Isn’t that right?”
“Yeah. I just wanted to stick it to them. But they stuck it to me first.”
Wilkins sits down at his desk and steeples his fingers. “It’s not like them knowing does much harm. They can’t stop me.” He laughs. “I’d like to see them try.”
“Me too,” Faith agrees. She’s itching for the chance to take on Buffy again. Next time, she won’t be the one who runs.
“That’s my Faith,” Wilkins says approvingly. “Always a go-getter. But look at you, you look beat. You should go home and get some rest. It’s gonna be a big day tomorrow. All we’ve got now are big days. The Ascension is coming right up.”
“No problem, boss,” Faith replies. “Come morning, I’ll be five by five again.”
“Good,” Wilkins says, and the brunette heads back out into the darkness of night.
Capturing Willow had been a big win, and Faith’s glad for the chance to do some damage to that sanctimonious little witch. Or at least, she was before the damn redhead has escaped. Restlessly pacing the halls, ear straining for any hint of movement, Faith hears the sound of pages turning. Well, well, well…
“Check out the bookworm,” she ways, walking in. Willow gasps her name, startled. Faith crouches down by her. “Anybody with brains, anybody who knew what was gonna happen to her, would be trying to claw her way out of this place. But you, you just can’t stop Nancy Drew-ing, can ya?” She snaps the book Willow was holding shut and holds it close. “Guess now you know too much, and that just kinda naturally just leads to killing.”
Willow jumps up. “Faith, wait. I wanna talk to you.”
“Oh yeah, give me the speech again, please,” she replies. “Faith, we’re still your friends, we can help you. It’s not too late.”
“It’s way too late,” the witch answers, and she actually dares to look smug. Faith feels her temper starting to flare, face falling. “You know, it didn’t have to be this way. But you’ve made your choice. I know that you had a tough life, I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well boohoo! Poor you. You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends like Buffy! Now you have no one. You were a Slayer, and now you’re nothing. You’re just a big selfish worthless waste.”
Faith punches her. Willow doesn’t know shit about Buffy, the lies and the secrets and the betrayal. All she can ever see is Saint Summers, just like everybody else.
“You hurt me, I hurt you. I’m just a little more efficient.”
Willow rises back up to her feet. “Oh, and here I just thought you didn’t have a comeback.”
“You’re begging for some deep pain,” Faith threatens, hands on Willow’s chest. She can almost feel the girl’s heart hammering. Willow breathes deeply.
“I’m not afraid of you,” she says, all bravado. Faith wonders how long that will last as she pulls out her knife.
“Let’s see what we can do about that.”
“Girls,” Wilkins calls, standing in the doorframe. “I hope I don’t have to separate you two. Faith, you can play with your new toy later, something’s come up.” The brunette doesn’t stop tracing her blade on Willow’s face, deceptively gentle.
“Faith. You know I don’t like repeating myself.”
“I got someone,” she tells Willow, stepping away. “I got him.”
Wilkins sits at his desk. “I just received a heck of an interesting phone call.” Faith grins. Things are about to get good.
She hadn’t gotten to fight Buffy, but oh Faith had enjoyed seeing the mayor completely dismantle Buffy and Angel’s relationship. He’d picked apart every single reason they could never work, and while Buffy looked like she was stubbornly refusing to hear Wilkins, the rogue Slayer had watched the unwanted realization play on Angel’s face. Now B will be all alone, Faith thinks. She used to have me and she used to have Angel, and now she doesn’t have anyone at all. The thought makes her smile wide, all teeth and spite.
Nice as that feels, it doesn’t get rid of the tension and excess energy Faith’s feeling. She’d expected a fight, and the Slayer in her is roaring for one. Wilkins doesn’t need anyone killed or maimed, she’d already checked. Faith paces her room, restless. She can’t even go out and stake vamps because she’s on their side now.
The brunette exhales between clenched teeth, frustrated. She wants to hit something, but she doesn’t think Wilkins would be happy if she put a hole in the wall. Seeing Buffy still gets her going like nothing else. Faith wants to kiss her while she kills her, have her gasp into her mouth as she slides the blade up and up and up.
She can’t fight and she doesn’t want to eat. That leaves only one way to work this off. Faith gets on her bed and pops the button on her jeans, sliding her hand in. She’s already wet. Fighting and fucking aren’t that different, after all. She closes her eyes and runs a finger over her clit, hips bucking into the touch. It doesn’t take long at all until she’s sweaty and moaning on her bed, heading quickly towards release.
Faith tells herself the blonde she sees as she comes has nothing to do with Buffy at all. She almost believes it.
Wilkins asked her to kill Angel, and Faith thinks that coming over to his side was entirely worth it just for that. She’s wanted to hurt the vampire ever since the first time she saw him (ever since the first time she’d smelled him on Buffy). He took something from her. Now she’s going to take his life from him, slow and painful with a poison arrow. It seems only fair.
Buffy’s with him, and that only makes it better. Faith’s ready to shoot him, but she’s enjoying listening to their melodrama in the meantime. B is starting to get really worked up, and Faith knows it’s time to strike. She lets her arrow loose, and it goes straight through his chest—missing his heart, of course. That would be too kind. The Slayer only wishes she could be there to see how this all plays out.
It doesn’t take long for Buffy to find her, really. Faith knew she was in the room from the moment she walked in. She would recognize that buzz she gets when she’s near anywhere. She waits until Buffy turns her music off to turn around. She won’t give her the satisfaction.
“Thought I’d stop by,” the blonde says, and something feels different. Faith can’t quite put her finger on what.
She rolls off the bed. “Is he dead yet?”
“He’s not gonna die,” Buffy replies, resolute. “It’s a good try though. Your plan?”
“Uh-huh,” Faith acknowledges. “Mayor got me the poison. Said it was wicked painful.”
The other Slayer looks at her, stone-faced. “There’s a cure.”
“Damn. What is it?”
“Your blood,” Buffy answers, and Faith feels her stomach drop. They’re not playing anymore. Only one of them will walk out of this. A tiny, traitorous voice in the back of her head wonders if it will be her.
“As justice goes, it’s not unpoetic,” Buffy continues. “Don’t you think?”
“Come to get me? You gonna feed me to Angel?” Faith walks closer, just a little. “You know you’re not gonna take me alive.”
“Not a problem.”
“Look at you. All dressed up in big sister’s clothes.” Buffy’s the one closing in now.
“You told me I was just like you.” They’re circling each other now. “But I was holding it in.”
“Ready to cut loose?” Faith asks, and she’s so close she could kiss her. The air between them is charged, more than it’s ever been. It’s lighting up the blood in Faith’s veins.
“Okay then,” Faith answers, and can’t resist the taunt. Let Buffy remember what they were. Maybe it will slow her down. “Give us a kiss.”
Buffy’s the one who hits first, punching Faith right in the jaw. She’s back with her own blow to the face before the pain even registers. The two Slayers look at each other for a brief moment. Equals. Light and dark.
Buffy strikes out again, and the blows between them are so fast and furious that they all flow into each other, block becoming blow becoming lunge. They’re each raining down hit after hit, and the air is almost crackling with the electric energy between them. Faith is moving faster than she ever had; her body is singing with the violence. This is what she was made for. They both were.
Buffy kicks her onto her chair, and Faith kicks the end table right back to her, forcing the blonde back and buying herself a couple seconds. She tackles Buffy, who throws her back, and Faith kicks out, the impact traveling up her leg as Buffy slams into the wall.
It’s almost like a dance, and they’re tearing across the room, kicking and punching each other. Faith flips her but Buffy rolls away before she can pile drive her elbow into her chest. Sweat is beading on her brow, but Faith finally sees her opening and grabs Buffy in a chokehold.
“Not getting tired, are you? I’m just starting to feel it.”
Buffy slams her back into the wall, spinning out of her hold and tossing Faith over the railing. It doesn’t take long before they’re crashing through the window, the brisk night air doing nothing to dissipate the charge between them. As she’s getting up, Buffy snaps a handcuff around Faith’s wrist. They’re linked together, but then again they always were.
“Stick around,” the blonde says, and Faith punches her, the force of the blow knocking Buffy back and pulling her along with it. Buffy swings her around, slamming her into the wall, but two can play that game and Faith tosses her around right back. The fight’s unlike anything Faith has been in before, every attack throwing her off balance, every defense pulling along her opponent. It’s a brutal give and take, and she needs to break the handcuff. Now.
Buffy has her on the ground, arm popped almost out of its socket as she grabs onto Faith. “What’s the matter?” the other Slayer spits out. “All that killing and you’re afraid to die?”
Faith hits her, flips her, and finally, finally breaks her way out of the cuff. She grabs a heavy metal pole. Buffy pulls out a knife Her knife, the one she’d lost during the hostage exchange. “That’s mine.”
“You’re about to get it back.”
Faith swings the pole at her, roaring, and they’re fighting in close, so close. Faith feels half-drunk on the power swirling between them. She throws Buffy onto the power generator, pulling her up as they both look over the side of the balcony to the street below.
“Man, I’m gonna miss this,” Faith says, and she isn’t lying.
Buffy throws her arm aside, and it’s only as she sinks the knife in that Faith realizes the terrible mistake she’s made. Buffy loves passionately, fiercely enough to kill. She might have been able to love Faith, once. But now she’s killed her instead.
Faith looks down to the blade sticking out of her abdomen. “You did it,” she manages to get out. Buffy is frozen, but it’s far too late for that to matter. Faith punches her with everything she’s got, knocking her back down to the ground. She looks at her stomach again, blood already staining her shirt crimson. “You killed me.” She climbs to the edge of the balcony, sees a truck coming. She may be dead, but at least Angel will be too. “Still won’t help your boy though.” Buffy looks at her, afraid and in shock. “Shoulda been there, B. Quite a ride.”
Faith lets herself fall back, night air whistling around her until she lands hard on the wooden slats of the truck bed. The energy she always feels around Buffy vanishes slowly as she’s driven away, and all Faith can think of as everything fades away is loves enough to kill, she loves enough to kill; not for me, it was never for me.
Everything is darkness, and Faith dreams. It’s always of Buffy.