She knew precisely when it ended -- she could mark the second. Not with Faith kissing Angelus, but Faith kissing Angel. I'm the world's best actor. -- Second best. That exchange rang in her head for days afterward. The world's best -- what if he'd been acting, pretending, lying, to her, too, all along? She'd never know -- and then she would find herself kissing a monster, too, just as naively as Faith had. (She had kissed a monster, in the skating rink, she knew it.) Angelus wasn't the role -- Angel was. She'd stood there and been unable to tell the two of them apart. You still my girl? -- his odd, old-fashioned, hesitant phrasing. She was. Always. And she always would be. But he wasn't hers -- he had never been hers. He had left her alone in the light.
It had scared him, how much it wasn't acting -- how good it felt to cast off the sorrow and guilt as if they were rags, enjoy the time with Faith, kick out the jams as Spike would have put it. Spike had always bragged about taking down two Slayers (although if Dru could manage it, Angel privately thought it was less a matter of being a badass warrior and more about vulnerable women, girls really, not ready for the monsters who could prey on them). But this was different -- Faith had hunted him, and for a long moment in their first kiss he thought she'd taken him down, trick or no trick. He and Buffy had always had to be so careful, holding back; Faith was like a fever, a flash flood, a forest fire.
For days afterward she kept remembering the moment when their masks had dropped and they'd betrayed her, Buffy snapping Psych! in that la-did-dah Valley Girl voice. She knew they were laughing at her, later, at how easy she'd been to fool, how stupid she was, how smart they were. She'd never had a chance with either of them, she knew that now. She'd be standing there, in her swank new digs, and suddenly it was like she was right back there in between them -- she'd punched a wall so hard it looked like a wrecking ball had tried to punch through the plaster, and her hand had been sore a whole day. There were two thieves by the side of Our Lord, Sister Mary Martha had always snapped when she found kids stealing pencils or paper, extra art supplies, anything they could get their hands on. If I go to Hell I'll drag them down with me, she thought, nursing her swollen knuckles. We'll all go down together.