There's a fantasy Faith has, lying in the bath. Kicking her little pink toes, she runs bony Buffy-fingers through bubbles, then squidges conditioner into her hair and imagines having herself a real Herbal Essences moment. In her mind she lies there, stretched flat on Buffy's bed, gizmo whirring through the dark (because you just know B's got toys stashed somewhere; the Angel sitch alone would've had her out the back exit of the mall), and she gets herself going: nails on nipples, heels grinding the sheets, the works.
She imagines Buffy taking her new chassis out for a test drive – maybe in a jail cell somewhere; all those scars no one sees gripping and chilling her attention so she can't get past a bra cup – and she imagines coming so hard at that thought, getting so bone-shatteringly jerked that this body, Buffy's body, becomes hers. All of it – shiny thighs, shiny butt, shiny cunt – hers. Faith's. No one else's, not anymore.
Because, hey, what body could forget you after you've ripped it off that good?
The bathwater's on the edge of turning cold now, but Faith tops it up and lets the fantasy roll on, can almost hear the unearthly Buffy-slayer scream she'll send shaking through the house, bitch-slapping Joyce from sleep. (Not her) Mom will scream, Buffy, Buffy, burst through the door, slam on the light and she'll be horrified, fucking disgusted to see her daughter getting down, because, yeah, Faith'll be going for it again (B's body is so damn ready), one hand between her legs and the other clawing scratches at her goshdarn-fucking-perfect stomach.
Joyce'll leave, of course she will, probably never mention it again. She's gotta be so good at blocking out all the nasty things her golden Barbie princess does. But she'll think about it every time Buffy grabs a milk and goes to bed, every time she freaks out and screams 'cause there's a spider in the sink, and Faith'll be certain, once B's superfriends inevitably kick her out of here, that someone remembers where she was.
No, Faith thinks, clenching fists against the tub – why inevitably? Giles and Joyce and Willow and Xander, everyone, they always accept whatever Buffy does. She can probably get away with murder (again) so long as she cries about it afterwards. It's only the show they want, the promise that they've broken her, the –
With that thought, Faith plunges her head back under the water, exhaling bubbles through her nose and rubbing the conditioner out of her hair. She comes up, combs fingers through sudsy curlicues and looks at Buffy's body again. Boobs, ribs, navel: check, check, check. Why is she wasting time? They're hers for the taking if she can shift this goddamn funk.
They're hers now, she thinks, no turning on required, even if a little's kinda fun. This tiny girly Buffy-scar, this elbow, this waist, this hip bone, this leg, its partner: she's got the whole matched dinner set and she didn't even play the quiz.
Now Faith laughs, and gets ready for the show.
When Riley sticks it to her, Faith imagines herself watching. The out-of-body sexperience isn't new, but this isn't the standard visual – all she can see is Riley's back, imprinted on her eyelids, broad as a boat sailing over her with Buffy's mermaid hair just peeking out from under the hull.
Things are happening – good things, maybe – but her whole body's zagging zigs instead of coming off the way she expects and in her blood-drained brain she's getting more and more confused. She's so aware of this body now, the one she's in, but it all feels wrong; she can imagine perfectly the layers they're creating, sheet on Riley's back, his stomach pressed on hers, his condomed dick like sandwich meat, her butt pushed to the mattress. It's like soil layers on the TV, with shit and sandstone slicing over oil, crude as she is, dark and dirty. Maybe she feels like oil now, loose and slick and flammable –
This isn't the way her fantasy played, not even close. She wanted the darker side of Marine Boy's brain, the Hallmark card he thought was triple X, and she wanted to bring him up and saluting so she could play the hard-assed Sunday girl, turn his balls thundercloud blue. Then she'd have batted her eyes, acted shocked and touched her breast, accidentally traced fingers over snatch. She'd have had him crying for mercy (maybe in an outfit) and then, when he'd wheedled and begged and screamed the name she's trying now, she'd have sucked him off with so much fucking skill that he'd have never wanted B again.
Because, in the end, there's nothing to send a guy running like a chick who knows where she's at, right?
Her luck's worse than her cred, though, so none of that happened. She's just here, rolling on a clean and cotton-fresh bedsheet as Buffy's body tightens up. Not that she imagines the ice queen orgasms easily, but, unh, what's that? Hoo, maybe –
Buffy's body shorts a circuit, completely unexpectedly; Faith feels betrayed. Sure, she's riding high, but it's clear now this body isn't, could never be hers. She doesn't work like this, doesn't get taken to the shakes like some dumb little virgin. What the fuck is this? She feels like she can't talk, like the pleasure in her's talking louder, fritzing energy shimmying up her spine.
Trying to get over it, she forces the body to open its eyes, but all she sees is Riley, staring down at her like she's his god almighty. It's like he's taken the look Buffy's friends give her and multiplied it by a hundred.
Then he says the words, and all she can think is that that look should not exist – it can't exist – because she's not his god. She's not anything. Can't he see inside and tell she isn't anything?
Cutting and running back to Revello, Faith humps up the tree and curls into Buffy's room. Clothes fill a bag like they always do, but everything's so clean and uncreased and new-feeling that she isn't surprised when her fingers start shaking.
She sits on the bed, laughing as it sinks beneath her. B's run away before – they told her once, and the duffle bag don't lie, not when it's, yep, got a couple hundred dollars rolled up in its most hidden pocket (spoilt bitch) – but all the same, the girl in the mirror (why have you always gotta have a mirror?) looks nothing like the Buffy Faith knows.
There's a glint in her eyes, Faith thinks as she looks closer, standing up and tracing fingers over glass, a promise that their colour was once fuck-me brown instead of hazel. Her hair's fuller (you got wicked skills with product to thank for that) and her nose isn't so up-turned against people who never had it that easy. She looks nothing like Buffy, nothing at all, and she sure as hell doesn't act the same – yet here are all her friends, her BFF buying her a drink and her college steady gassing up rubber jammed inside her, still praying at her icon like she's Mary, Mother of God.
And she got off on it. This girl in the mirror, with her cocksucking Harlot mouth (never did get your lipstick), muscles honed to stab and kill, commando against the seam of soiled leather pants – she got off on it. Came rolling in like she always wanted to be treated like the proverbial fuckable glass. How sick is that?
Furiously Faith recalls her earlier fantasy, imagines stepping back and falling on the bedclothes, rutting out of leather and lining. Honestly, if Buffy's body goes like it did before then she won't need much; she'll make it with fingers, slick and slamming in time to B's dirty-bitch grunts and groans. Yeah, she could hold off before the end, hold pleasure to ransom like the wanted criminal she is and take control of this sack of meat by force – make her take it rough and disrespectful.
For a moment – a long moment, made out of a dozen seconds – she thinks about doing it, frigging to the mirror and leaving a stain on the sheet as her calling card. Part of her wants to do it so badly it's like a fever whispering hot shivers between her legs. Sure enough, it's the part that likes getting dirty and decided B was hot a year ago – but you've gotta ask, even if you're Faith, is that the only reason? Xander's been wanting his dick up Buffy for years, all because she's his widdle comic book hero, and Faith, well, she reads comics too. Thought she'd never get in one. This would be her chance.
Then again, maybe she deserves this, the chance to get herself off – the chance to get Buffy's body off, without Muscle coming in and stealing the glory with his dull-as-shit cock-slide. Maybe she deserves to be looked at in this skin and be recognised as Faith, even in the glass, even only by herself. Maybe she deserves someone to watch her in the afterfuck who knows who the hell she is.
As time trips on, however, Faith wonders who she's kidding. No one wants to know who she is. Even she doesn't want to know.
It's time she stopped trying to remember.
And with that, the mirror shows, Buffy packs her stuff and gets the hell out.