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Not So Empty

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“It’s only gonna get harder...protect them.” Buffy turned to look around to her, and Faith was stunned to see tears welling up in her big green eyes. “But lead them,” she whispered.

Then she turned and walked dejectedly down the path.

Faith watched after her, dying to yell for her to come back. To invite her to do what, exactly? Sleep on the stoop of her own home, that her sister, her friends, and the girls she’d sworn to protect had just thrown her out of?

The brunette Slayer closed her eyes and exhaled, her eyes following the blonde Slayer disappear down the deserted street.

She didn’t want this. She just wanted to be close to Buffy again...and possibly stop the apocalypse.

Spike was reasonably pissed off when he returned with the little blonde whiner and discovered that Buffy had been evicted.  “You sad, sad, ungrateful traitors. Who do you think you are?!” he asked the room scoffingly.

“We're her friends,” squeaked Willow. “We just want-”

“Oh, that's ballsy of you. You're her friends, and you betray her like this?”

Faith silently agreed with him.

“You don't understand-”

“You know, I think I do.” Spike rounded on Giles. “Rupert. You used to be the big man, didn't you? The teacher all full of wisdom. Now she's surpassed you, and you can't handle it.” Spike looked around at the others. “She has saved your lives again and again. She's died for you. And this is how you thank-”

“Hey,” Faith finally piped up. “Why don't you take it down a notch or two? The time for speech-giving is over, bat boy.

The vampire crossed his arms menacingly. “Oh, is that right?”

“Yeah, that's right. Save your lack of breath.”

Spike shrugged. “All right.” Suddenly stars flew across Faith’s eyes as he punched her square in the face.

Alright, that did it. No more Miss Nice Slayer.

“You're pretty sweet on her, aren't you?” Faith sneered, roundhouse kicking Spike in the face. “I think it's cute.” Spike punched her again; she punched him back. “The way she's got you whipped .” Faith kicked Spike into the dining room

“Enough!” Giles shouted, but Faith could barely hear him over the sound of her own blood pounding her ears. She jumped on Spike as he lay on the floor and punched him in the face, again and again and again. She could smell Buffy on his filthy body, could just picture every time he’d touched her, kissed her, fucked just made her want to hit harder.

Spike snickered between blows. “Finally got what you wanted, didn't you?” he asked, as if sharing a secret between the two of them. Because he knew . Somehow the creep knew about her feelings.

Faith grit her teeth and punched one more time, knocking the vampire with his stupid platinum blonde hair out.

“Is he dead?” Faith heard one of the potentials ask.

“No, he’s just a bit...knackered out,” said Giles, adjusting his glasses.

Faith got up, rubbing her knuckles. She brushed past Giles, grabbing her jacket by the front door.

“Where are you going?” said Robin Wood.

”Out,” Faith snapped at him.

“But what about them?!” Wood said, gesturing to the girls.

“You can handle ‘em till I get back,” Faith said, opening the door.

“Faith, you have a responsibility-” Giles began, grabbing her shoulder.

Faith glared at him. “So did you.” She shrugged him off and jogged down the steps.

She had to go get Buffy back.

Faith found Buffy in a house down the street. She was lying in a queen-sized bed, still in her street clothes. Buffy looked up at her, eyes widening. “What are you doing here?”

“Came to find you, B. Obviously. Where’s the owner of this place, anyway?” Faith asked, leaning in the doorway.

Buffy’s eyes shifted nervously. “It was empty when I found it.”

That was a damn lie if Faith ever heard one.

Buffy looked up at her. “Don’t change the subject. I told you to protect the girls.”

“They have Giles, Robin, Captain Peroxide, and each other. Who’s gonna protect you?”

“I can protect myself. I don’t need you here,” Buffy growled.

“Maybe not. Doesn’t mean I’m leavin’ you alone.”

“Let me make myself clear: I don’t want you here,” Buffy clarified.

Ouch. Okay, that one hurt a little. Faith shrugged nonchalantly and plopped down in a chair by the bed. “Tough stuff, Buff.”

Buffy huffed in frustration and rolled over. She was cute even when she pouted.

Faith leaned forward. “Ya know...I didn’t want this. Them throwing you out.” Her voice softened. “I really did want you to stay. For what it’s worth.”

Buffy didn’t move.

“I mean it, Buffy. My days of being a backstabbing asshole are over. Now I just wanna go back to being a regular asshole.”

Buffy emitted a noise that might have been a snort of laughter.

Faith half-smiled at her fellow Slayer’s back. She stared down at her right thumbnail. “An’ I don’t care whatcha say. I’m stayin’ right here with ya till morning. Then I gotta go back and be Responsible Slayer. But for tonight, I’m stickin’ with you. Whether you like it or not.”

There was silence. Then Buffy peeked at her over her shoulder. “Then you might as well sleep on the bed,” she said quietly.

Faith slowly smiled. She got up, shrugged off her jacket, then crawled onto the open side of the bed, laying on her side facing Buffy’s back. She wished for the world she could curl up to the other girl, hold her in her arms, comb her fingers through her golden hair. Faith wasn’t even a cuddler by nature—what the hell had Buffy done to her.

Instead, Faith just reached behind her and switched off the lamp.  “Not so empty now,” she whispered in the darkness.