DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all the slayerettes belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Once More With Feeling.

Anger and Faith
By zennie


The fine edge of anger burned within her, feeding, nuturing, distilling all her emotions into one sharp, red-hot point, a point she leveled with the precision she reserved for staking a vampire at just one person: Buffy. She had tried the good girl routine for a while, trying to find peace and redemption and all that crap, but instead she found a dirty, dingy hole with barred windows that seemed likely to make her lose what remained of her sanity. Prison hadn't been the place to redeem her soul; it had been the place to lose her humanity. And so she left, took a stroll past three guards (one dislocated shoulder, two broken wrists, and cracked ribs) and through two electric fences and decided it was time to take the grand tour: cemeteries of the United States, she called it. But she couldn't leave the big C-A without a send-off from her pals, she decided, so she gunned her stolen Harley north while she replayed every slight and condescending remark in her head, adding fuel to an already-intense fire.

Sunny-D was pretty much the same as it always was, except she didn't remember so much singing. She caught sight of her girl, but the ensuing caterwaul drove her off; the blonde, as it turned out, was not much of a singer. And when she herself caught the singing bug and began a love-is-pain rock classic in the tradition of a Joan Jett or Christie Hyde, she self-medicated with a bottle of tequila until the urge had passed. She finally caught up with the blonde again, in the alley behind the Bronze, the faint singing from inside suddenly louder and then cut off as the door opened and snapped shut behind the peroxide-poisoned vampire as he hurried after the blonde slayer. When they finally parted, the dark-haired slayer followed the light-haired one along the rooftops until she could finally leap down upon her, the speed of her descent crushing the smaller, slighter girl beneath her, their legs and arms intertwined chaotically.

"So what's the deal, B?" she asked as she rolled off and into a guard position, clipping the blonde hard across the mouth for good measure. Buffy, stunned, was slow to rise, barely pushing herself onto all fours before Faith's kick sent her flying over a tombstone to smash into a crypt. "You moved on to a new vamp? Figure the magic of a good roll with the Buff-ster will turn all the monsters into do-good boy scouts like Angel?" It felt good, to finally take her anger out on the person who deserved it the most, the person she had spent all these bitter months envisioning bloodied, bruised, broken.

Buffy ran the back of her hand across her face, smearing blood from her lip across the pale skin. She recovered enough to get to her feet and into her own guard position and retort, "What, Faith, you jealous?" Faith took a moment to grin before springing over the tombstone to attack, and that pause gave Buffy enough time to react, so that the slight blonde slayer caught the darker one by her arm and hair and swung her, face-first, into the wall. As Faith's head bounced off the smooth marble, Buffy planted her forearm across the back of Faith's neck, trapping her there. "Did you want to be the next evil thing I fuck?" the blonde snarled into her ear.

Faith's elbow connecting with Buffy's head made a satisfying snap and the blow staggered the blonde back, easing the pressure on her neck. "You offering?" she quipped with mock light-heartedness and an inviting lift of her eyebrow.

Buffy's sniff of condensation and fist breaking through the marble wall beside Faith's head seemed to answer her question as the fight began in earnest. Just like the last time they tried to kill each other, no punches were pulled, except this time there were no knives or long falls to end the fight, so the keen edges of their anger drove them onward and the various monuments ranged around the cemetery suffered more than the bodies of the two girls. A chipped statue here, a broken angel there, and once, they crashed through the wall of a tomb and ended up briefly sharing a bed with dust and bones.

They were circling yet again, both searching the other for a weakness, when Faith found that the eyes staring back at her were dark with hate and anger, losing their bright luster in a dull, animal-like hurt, and she felt like had fallen through the looking glass to see an eerie photo-negative of herself. Her mind wandered, for a split-second, as she contemplated what might have happened to the other slayer to dull that golden light that always seemed to surround her like a halo. In that instant, Buffy tackled her to the ground, all her characteristic finesse gone as she swung her fists wildly, missing the younger slayer completely more often than not. Faith was unsure what to do with this disjoined attack, so she countered the inept blows while she took the time to study the blonde slayer at her leisure.

It was then that she realized her ultimate disappointment; Buffy was already broken, she realized, far beyond anything she, Faith, might do, and in that moment, Faith felt the first stirrings of real fear deep in her gut. Throwing the smaller girl off with a shoulder toss, Faith scrambled to get to her feet just as Buffy tackled her again. This time, Buffy pinned Faith face-first into the turf, one hand tangled in raven locks as Faith's nostrils filled with the damp smell of fresh-laid sod. She clawed at the mud and grass, feeling fingernails turn back and splinter as she tried to get a purchase and pull herself away from the blonde. Back in a nightmare she had had often when she was in her coma, Faith almost missed the pressure lifting from the back of her neck and the sound of Buffy's shoes scrambling on the slick grass.

"B?" she asked, dragging herself a few feet away before turning to find the other slayer braced against a tombstone and staring at her hands, dirty, bruised, and bloodied. "B?" Faith said again, a little louder, as Buffy made no response. She forced her legs to move, propelling her closer to the catatonic slayer, until she was close enough to reach out and carefully brush the sweaty, matted blonde hair back so she could see the blue, lifeless eyes. Buffy's head came up as her eyes tracked Faith's hand, until she was staring back at Faith, seeming to see her for the first time.

"Faith." Her name was barely more than a whisper on the blonde girl's lips.

She hadn't known what to do with the blonde slayer, so she ended up pulling her up off the sod and leading her through dark alleys to the dingy hotel on the outskirts of town where she, Faith, had spent so much of her time her first trip to Sunnyhell. Faith ran water in the shower, the heat fogging the mirror, as she stripped the blonde slayer, carefully pulling fabric away from clotted blood and newly-formed scabs. Buffy neither helped nor hindered the dark slayer, and she only seemed to register her location when Faith placed her under the hot spray.

Silently, as everything had been since Buffy had spoken her name, Faith joined the blonde in the shower, rubbing soap over the other girl's back to build up lather and carefully untangling the muddy blonde hair. Faith marveled at the wide expanse of soft skin under her fingers, gently massaging the knotted and kinked muscles like bands of steel holding that frail-seeming body together. Buffy leaned into her hands and groaned a little as Faith eased one of the tighter muscles at the base of Buffy's neck, and Faith felt the first stirrings of desire. She touched the blonde slayer with impunity, her hands roaming down the small rounded bumps of the spine and around her hips.

With a sudden, swift movement, the blonde whipped around and pushed Faith back against the none-too-clean tiles, holding the taller girl there for a long moment before lowering the arm she had pressed across Faith's windpipe. With a soapy washcloth, she slowly began to clean the black smears of dirt from the taller girl's face, rubbing gently over the cuts and bruises she herself had caused. Faith kept her eyes locked with Buffy's as Buffy's hands moved down her body, scrubbing the marks of their fight away.

Faith misunderstood the first time Buffy moved in for a kiss, jerking her head back and away to crack against the tiles, leaving the other girl waiting for the long moment it took her to realize what the tilted chin and closed eyelids signified. She didn't really believe the invitation, thinking it was part of the other girl's stupor or possible insanity, so she chanced only a bare brush of her lips against Buffy's as she braced for a blow. The anticipated retribution never came; instead, the smaller, shorter girl pulled her closer, one hand tangled in dark hair as their legs and mouths intertwined. She tasted coffee, and then the bitter iron of blood, belatedly realizing that Buffy had bitten her lip as the kiss deepened.

No surprise to either of them, they fought, for dominance, for control, for surrender; later, they would be gentle but this first time was almost a continuation of their earlier battle. Faith felt new bruises where Buffy pushed her back against the tiles so hard they cracked, and the shower rod struck the blonde when it tumbled down, unable or unwilling to bear her weight.

They stumbled to the bed, relentless in pursuit of their passion, ignoring the crash of the mirror and odd canting of the bed as wood splintered beneath them. Faith held Buffy down and dug her fingers into the deceptively soft flesh as she pressed her body between the blonde's legs; Buffy arched her back and nearly flung the younger girl off the precariously shifting bed. Soon the restraint was no longer necessary as the sensations caused by her fingers pinned Buffy just as effectively.

And as she fucked her, hard and fast, Faith watched the play of emotion in Buffy's eyes, from passion and desire to relief to some emotion Faith was afraid to name. And then, when she slowed, her fingers gentle and caressing, she saw the unnatural brightness in Buffy's eyes only moments before the tears started. Faith simply held her under the cheap scratchy sheets, feeling her own eyes burn at the obvious yet unexplained pain in the older girl.

Faith woke to a faint red glow in the eastern sky and an empty bed. She wasn't surprised, except for dull ache that settled into her stomach. She considered leaving, blowing through town on her stolen Harley, leaving a trail of exhaust and scattered pedestrians in her wake, but the relief in those blue eyes when she answered the door made her glad that she hadn't.

The End

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