DISCLAIMER: The Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV show is not my copyright, this story is strictly not-for-profit and should not be bought or sold. However, this story was written by me, and while you may certainly store a copy on your PC to read or to keep in your personal fanfic library, I do ask that you not post this story online anywhere or modify it without my permission. Lastly, if legally you are not able to read this story for whatever reason(s), then by those laws, you are required not to do so. Now, without further ado...
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Basically, this is a re-telling of the TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It starts with mostly the same set of circumstances as does the show, though Buffy's back story in L.A. is different (as will be explained later on). However, make no mistake, this story is a LOT different than the TV show.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Buffy: A New Journey
By Jessica Knight


Episode 2: Future Girl


"Faith... what are you?..." Buffy began to say.

"You know her?" Amy asked in confusion after a moment.

"Yeah, I met her in L.A." Buffy turned to Amy with something of a look of bewilderment on her face.

"Uh, what was-" Faith started, her thoughts getting hazy for some reason and she tried shaking her head to get it to start thinking right again.

"Wait. There's no time for this," Buffy assessed, remembering the abducted girl. "I'm glad you're here," she said looking now at Faith "I could use the help."

"Why? What's going on?" Faith said, now more lucid as she looked around.

"Come on, I'll explain as we go," she got up, helping Amy to her feet and turning to go. "I've gotta go Amy, I-"

"I'm coming with you"

"No! It's too dan-" Buffy started.

"I don't care," Amy said fiercely. "It's dangerous if I walk home by myself too, I'm going with you and you're not going to convince me not to!"

Surprised, Buffy looked at her for a moment. Amy's eyes were almost scary in their intensity and Buffy knew, even having known Amy for only a day, that she wasn't going to be able to convince her to go back. "Okay, but stay close to me - and be careful," Buffy looked at her with intense eyes of her own. "Please," she asked.

Amy nodded her agreement, leaning down to pick up a stake Buffy had discarded in the fight.

"Let's go," Buffy said resignedly, her mind still worrying over Amy and blaming herself for getting her involved.

The three started off, following Buffy's lead.

After a few paces, Buffy made a quick detour to break off a piece of tree branch, tearing off a length of cloth from her shirt as she went and wrapping it around the end of the piece of wood. She handed it and a lighter to Amy. "They catch fire easier than we do and it burns them to dust when they do," she said. "If it comes to it, light that. It'll be more effective than the stake probably," she looked meaningfully at Amy.

"Okay," Amy nodded her reply bravely, feeling a little bit more scared now than she had before as the danger of what was happening sank in more fully. Courage is just facing your fears, Amy repeated to herself as they walked, trying to make herself more courageous. Damn, I wish... I don't know what I wish, but hell if I'm gonna die before I have sex even once! Amy thought with determination, deciding then and there that Any fang faced creep who got in her way was in for some trouble.

"She'll be fine," Faith assured Buffy as they went.

"Damn right she will," Buffy said darkly, her mind set on killing anything that thought different. Some part of her knew she should have said no to Amy regardless, have found a way to convince Amy to listen to her, but for some reason she had done the opposite instead, and now she was stuck. Her eyes are much too pretty, was her conclusion, and I'm such an idiot, she groaned to herself internally

"Right," Faith agreed with a crooked smile. "So what's the deal with the vamps then?"

"Some vamp guy lured a girl out of the club, he was carrying her off," Buffy explained as she concentrated on searching around to try to catch on to the vamp's trail so she could follow them. "They must have come from somewhere in this direction, that's where the first guy was headed and where his friends came from..." she concluded distractedly, saying the last bit more to herself than to Faith.

"Wouldn't he have-?" Faith began to ask.

"Yeah. Normally, he would've tried to bite her close by the first good chance he had, so would the others. This was a group, they were after her for some reason other than just to feed on," Buffy said as she went along looking for likely places a vamp would go.

Amy was just following along, still trying to wrap her head around all of this. She wasn't having the best of luck so far, but trying to guess at what all was going on was a good way to keep from thinking about other things too much she found. One thing Amy knew for sure though: no way was she going to let her girlfriend face this alone (whatever 'this' turned out to be), and no way in Hell was Buffy going to die and leave her alone again.

"This is the day you two first met, isn't it?" Faith asked, comprehension dawning at last.

"Yeah, how'd you-?" Buffy started to ask.

"We're looking for a mausoleum," Faith interrupted. "I'm not sure which one, but there's a surprise inside."

"How do you know all this?" Amy asked.

Faith just looked at her with a wicked smile and said, "'cause you told me about it."

"I told you?" Amy asked in question.

"There!" Buffy's sharp eyes caught sight of some movement across the yard.

"Is this the right place?" Buffy asked Faith a few moments later when they got to the mausoleum.

"Search me," Faith shrugged. "I never saw the place, I just know what Aims here told me. One way to find out though," she smiled dangerously.

"When did-?" Buffy looked over, but Faith was already moving to enter the crypt. "Never mind," she shook her head with a little of a wry smile. This is Faith, remember? Buffy chastised herself.

Heading in after the other Slayer, Buffy made sure to keep her senses tuned for any possible danger to Amy, who was following closely behind her.

"There's nothing here," Amy said softly, looking around.

"There should be a secret passage somewhere around here," Faith said, already having started to look.

"How do you know these things?" Amy asked again. "Or was this something I told you too?" she said, not really trusting this other girl yet, and not really believing the excuse that she had been the one to tell her anything. Why does Buffy even believe her? Amy wondered, suddenly dreading the answer to that.

"Here," Buffy called over to Faith, having found a release to a hidden door.

"Good job B," Faith smiled as she went over to where Buffy and Amy were.

The doorway opened to a set of stares that headed down into the town's sewer and utilities system. As they got to the bottom of the stares, Buffy sensed movement and heard a slight rustling clothing kinda sound. She held out her arm to stop the others from going any further and shushed them with her finger.

"Stay with Amy," Buffy said softly and quickly as she crouched low and dashed into the room with supernatural speed. Amy heard a quick scuffle along with some colorful expletives and exclamations from two male voices and then the already familiar sound of a vampire dying.

"Where'd they take her?!" they heard Buffy demand, as Amy and Faith entered the room to find Buffy holding down a vamp, his face pressed forcefully into the concrete floor.

"Hrfmh," the vamp struggled to keep his mouth off the concrete. "Go to hell!" he sneered, continuing to struggle wildly. Buffy broke one of his arms.

"Where?" she asked again. He remained silent and the other arm snapped causing him to let out a bestial roar and giving him enough of a burst of strength to buck the Slayer off his back and get free. He made a useless dash to get away but got all of six inches before Faith landed a kick to his face.

Buffy was on him again in seconds, slamming him roughly to the ground, kneeing him in the groin and pressing a thumb to one of his eyes. "Tell me!" she demanded, pressing her thumb in more firmly to show she would cave in his eye if he didn't give her the info. He didn't and she carried out her threat.

"AHHHAHH GOD!!" the vamp screamed in pain.

"God won't help you, TELL ME!!" Buffy shouted again, growing more and more desperate to find the girl she'd failed to save before and get Amy the hell out of this place.

Faith just watched the whole thing soberly and with a definite sense of respect for her fellow Slayer. Someone, please remind me never to get on her bad side, she thought to herself with a lucid sort of humor. Amy on the other hand, her mind told her to look away but her eyes just wouldn't listen. She was freaking out in her head on several levels and strangely enough, she found herself holding on to Faith's arm as tightly as she could.

"I can't believe what you did back there," Amy said quietly, walking a pace behind Buffy as they made their way further into the tunnels, following the directions the vamp had finally given up. Faith was carting along the now gagged vamp and bring up the rear.

"I know," Buffy replied just as quietly, her thoughts in turmoil at the moment. "They aren't- vampires aren't.. they only kill. No souls, just demons... I.. it was necessary; I had to know where to go fast. That girl could be... seconds matter sometimes," Buffy said with a sort of grim sadness that made Amy's heart break a little for the girl she thought she was falling in love with.

"I know, it's... you did the right thing," Amy said, looking away a little.

"Shh," Buffy said in hushed tones, her senses picking up activity ahead of them.

"Smell's like candles and dead things," Faith appraised with hushed distaste. "Must be the place."

"Keep her safe," Buffy looked at Faith who nodded in understanding.

"We have some uninvited visitors," a freakish looking bald vampire said, raising his head from drinking the blood of a girl his followers had brought him. "Luke, greet them properly will you? I'm busy," he commanded.

"Yes Master," Luke, a big and rather threateningly imposing vampire, turned to see a flash of motion coming at him. He readied himself to face it, but whatever it was fainted to the left then broke right and was past him in an instant.

The Master had just started to sink his teeth in again when he felt the sudden hard impact of a fist connecting with his face. The next thing he knew he was flat on his back wiping blood not his own from his face. Looking up, he saw a boot just a split second away from impacting his face. In his long life, the Master had leaned that one thing held true beyond all others: you act or you die. So without even thinking, the ancient vampire rolled to the side, evading the blow and getting to his feet in one quick motion, baring his teeth and surging forward with all his speed and force. Buffy saw him coming and twisted around, trying to grab his arm to toss him into a wall, but the momentum and movement of her enemy shifted and she wound up knocked to the ground along with the vampire she was fighting, her advisory landing on his side and impacting her like a battering ram, knocking the wind out of her for a moment. He recovered first and pined her throat to the ground with a strong hand, staring her in the eyes.

Buffy couldn't help but look, and she felt like she was being attacked by his stare alone. Like he was trying to dig inside her mind and make her still, and she fought it and stared back at him. It was hard, and she could see the disbelief in the vampire's eyes begin to show that she was actually resisting him. He didn't have time to dwell much though, because Buffy wasted no time in slamming her right fist into his jaw with every ounce of power she could muster at the angle she was in. It was enough to stagger him and get him to release his choke hold on her neck. That was all she needed though, as a half second later Buffy's right elbow slammed into his head, and from there she used her legs to forcefully push him off her. She jumped to her feet and sent a sweeping kick to his head, he grabbed it and twisted her around slamming her to the ground, but she got her hands braced on the ground and did a sort of crouched flip, managing to slash his jaw with the heel of her boot as she did.

The two got to their feet and faced off again, both looking for an opening to attack. "Who are you?" the Master asked, narrowing his eyes at getting no response or reaction. Normally he would try to use some clever taunting to make his adversary drop her guard, but in this case he could tell that his opponent wouldn't listen, wouldn't care. He was in a fight for his life, pure and simple. If he gave her the chance, he would end up very dead, and he got the distinct feeling from having stared her in the eyes that his opponent wouldn't so much as give her victory over him a second thought. To her, he was less than nothing. For some reason, that fact alone was disconcerting to him. That she seemed to think of him as inferior made him unreasonably enraged and he lashed out, charging at his enemy with a wild demonic fury in his eyes. Buffy on the other hand jumped to the side, pivoting in turn and grabbing a candle in her hand and as she did. The Master was a split second behind her, but she moved along with his attack and jammed the candle in his face, letting him fall past her and taking the opportunity to burry her stake into his back, piercing his heart.

The vampire cried out in outrage as he turned to dust in front of her. Strangely though, his skeleton remained. Not dwelling on it though, Buffy kicked the bones aside and got to her feet, her mind still humming on edge with the after-effects of her pitched battle. Her job now was to get them all out of here safely.

From Amy's perspective, the scene had been quite a bit different.

Hearing Buffy's quick command to Faith to keep her safe and catching the sound of Faith staking the vamp she had been holding, Amy had watched in amazement as her girlfriend seemed to almost fly across the cavern, hardly making any noise, to attack the vamp who had the girl they were trying to save. Her sense of renewed amazement didn't last long though, as the big vampire named Luke returned his attention to her and Faith, seemingly figuring that the other vamp could take care of himself. Amy had to tell herself that he was wrong about that, or at least that's what she hoped, but then again, she had her own troubles.

Luke and three other vamps closed in on her and Faith. Three others, among them a blonde girl who looked amused at the whole thing, stayed back holding a groggy boy hostage, a boy Amy recognized.

"Jessie!" Amy called out, but he didn't hear her and the four vamps were now attacking Faith who had placed herself in between her and them. Amy quickly scrambled to light the makeshift torch Buffy had given her, and just in time too, as one of the vamps got past Faith, charged right at her and knocked her down. He was right on time to be set on fire, Amy managing to roll away from him as he combusted.

As she got to her feet, Amy heard the tell tale sound of another of the vamps biting the dust at the end of Faith's stake. She looked and saw Faith get knocked to the ground by Luke, her stake lost in the process.

"Get her. I'll handle this one," Luke commanded his last accomplice in regards to Amy herself as, with a twisted look of enjoyment on his face, he closed in on Faith. Amy, for her part, held out her torch to try to keep the vamp who was now closing in on her at bay. The fire on her torch was spreading closer and closer to her hand though, but the next moment she heard Luke yell out in pain as Faith jabbed him in the back of his leg with a switchblade she'd produced. That, luckily, distracted the vamp who had been trying to get at her long enough for Amy to throw caution to the wind and jump at him with the torch, shoving it right in his face and chest, causing the vamp to wail out in terror as it burned him away to nothing.

She didn't have much of a chance to appreciate the victory though 'cause she couldn't help but quickly catch on to the fact that her jacket sleeve was on fire and it was starting to burn her arm through the fabric. She gave a yelp and dropped to the ground, trying to smother and throw dirt on it.

Once she looked up, she saw another vamp had joined Luke in facing off with a ragged looking Faith, who was favoring one arm, the other looking to be hurt. Luke sprung at Faith, Faith tried to counter, but the big vampire got in too close too fast and knocked her to the ground again with his fist.

"Master!" they all heard the blonde vampire girl call out in disbelief from behind them.

"Darla?" Luke turned in question only to see that his master had been killed and a determined and very dangerous looking blonde Slayer was headed his way. Darla and the one who had been holding Jessie already in retreat, the last other vampire whom he had been squaring off against Faith with following behind them as soon as he'd realized what had happened.

Luke was genuinely at a loss for a moment. His pride demanding that he stay and finish the fight with Faith, while his mind told him that if the Master had fallen to this other girl, and she hardly seemed to have a scratch on her, that he would fair no better. Especially out numbered as he now was. His mind easily won out and he took off. "Another time," he called behind him as he made his retreat, vowing to gain his vengeance another day in his own time.

"Are you two all right?" Buffy asked, now feeling a little panicky as she rushed over to Faith and Amy, looking her girlfriend up and down to see if there was any damage. God, what the hell was I even thinking letting her tag along with me! I need to have my head examined, Buffy reproached herself.

"I got burned a little," Amy admitted a bit sheepishly "Faith's hurt worse though." Amy and Buffy both looked over at Faith.

"Thank you," Buffy said very sincerely to Faith in regard to her having kept Amy safe.

"Hey, no big deal, I wa.." Faith trailed off as she wobbled a bit on her legs, feeling dizzy and light headed all of the sudden.

"Faith!" Amy and Buffy were at her side in an instant, supporting her so she wouldn't topple over.

"We need to get you out of here," Amy appraised "a hospital maybe?" she looked to Buffy for guidance.

"No. No hospitals. I'm fine, just a little light headed is all... jet lag or something. I just need.. need to rest a while," Faith assured them, trying to get her mind to focus.

Buffy suddenly remembered the other girl, the one they'd come to save. She looked over to see if she was all right, feeling guilty again for not checking sooner.

The girl was passed out on the ground and there was a boy lying on the ground not too far from her trying to get to his feet. "Hey, looks like the vamps had another captive down here," Buffy commented about this.

Faith pushed Amy and Buffy away. "I'm okay, we should help the others," she said as she headed over to them.

"Oh, right, Jessie!" Amy rushed over to the boy to see how he was, just now noticing the bite marks on his neck. Buffy dashing over to the unconscious girl's side to see what her condition was, hoping with all her heart that she was still alive. Thankfully when she felt for a pulse, she found one, week though it was.

"We need to get her to a hospital. Fast," Buffy said worriedly about the girl.

"Hey, who's that?" Amy asked, looking past Buffy and seeing a guy chained to the wall looking at them silently.

Buffy and Faith turned to look where Amy had indicated. "Well whatdaya know. Angel," Faith said with a weak smirk.

"You know him?" Buffy asked skeptically, able to tell he was a vampire easily, even though his face was human.

"Oh yeah, he's a good guy," Faith said, feeling weary and unfocused. She headed over to the chained vamp, but only got a few steps before she collapsed to the ground unconscious.

Buffy was at her fellow Slayer's side in a flash, Amy occupied helping Jessie to his feet. Buffy's mind was in turmoil; what was she going to do now? She knew she needed to get the girl who had been bitten to the hospital right away, she had severe blood loss and had no doubt gotten some pretty rough treatment besides, but she also knew there was no way she could leave Amy and the boy, Jessie, to fend for themselves without Faith alert and conscious to keep them safe.

Absent any better option, she made the only choice she could, she would guide them all out herself. It would take longer and be riskier for the girl, but it was the only option she could think of.

"Let me loose, I can help you," she heard the chained vampire offer with concern.

Buffy turned to look at him. Faith had said she knew him and that he was a good guy, but how could a vampire be anything but evil? She couldn't risk it. Faith had been groggy and out of it when she'd said that, so she probably couldn't tell he was a vampire. She must have known him when he was human, Buffy thought sadly, now thinking she would have to tell Faith that her friend was, in fact, dead.

"You're a vampire," she stated the fact to him.

"I know, I... I know it's hard to believe, but I'm not... like other vampires. I'm- I have a soul," he looked up at her with honest eyes that made Buffy question if it was possible. "Look, I promise, I won't hurt anyone."

"No," Buffy said, looking at Angel. "Sorry. I can't risk you'd turn on us. I'll- I'll be back later to get you free, once I know it's safe," she assured him.

"I understand," he said, his eyes strangely enough conveying, what? Is it guilt? Buffy wondered. He's either a very good actor or Faith wasn't so out of it after all, she thought. Still, it's too much of a risk, she concluded, turning her attention to Amy and Jessie.

"Can he walk?" Buffy asked Amy.

"Jessie?" Amy asked the boy compassionately.

"Yeah, yeah. I'm-I'm okay," the boy wobbled on his feet a little then stood up straighter. "I can help."

"Good. Can you two carry Faith? I can handle the girl on my own," she asked.

"Of course," Amy offered looking at Jessie.

"Yeah, I think so," the boy agreed. "Amy?"

"Yeah Jessie?" she replied as they went over to join Buffy by Faith's body.

"Any chance you could explain what's going on here?" he asked, the situation not exactly making all so much sense to him.

"Maybe," she said. "How'd you end up down here anyway?" With Buffy's help, they draped one of Faith's arms over each of their shoulders and started towards the exit. Looking on as Buffy lifted up the other uncurious girl with about as much effort as one of them might expend picking up an empty laundry basket.

"Wow," Jessie watched this with wonder. "You're strong."

"Noticed that, did ya?" Buffy said with a smile as she walked along with them.

"My new girlfriend's a super hero," Amy put in, with an amused lilt in her voice that also carried a little pride as well.

"A.. you're girlfriend?!" Jessie looked at Amy in surprise.

"That's what she said, isn't it," Buffy shot back. "Why? Got a problem with that?"

"Who me? No. No problems," Jessie was quick to disavow, more out of fear of the freakishly strong blonde girl than anything else.

It took longer than Buffy would have liked, but they finally made it back to the Bronze, their entrance causing something of a stir.

Buffy's house wasn't far away, but she didn't think she should let Amy and Jessie try to make the trip alone. They were both tired enough from their ordeal and from having to carry Faith. Not to mention the possibility of vamp attack, which seemed to be a real possibility in this town for some reason. And who knows? Those vamps they'd faced could be out there waiting to surprise them and get their revenge. Thankfully, Faith had been slipping in and out of consciousness and now she seemed to be at least mildly lucid, if not able to think clearly or move too well.

She knew enough to recognize that her fellow Slayer was mostly just extremely dead on her feet tired, so she didn't think she needed to worry over Faith too much. So, making her decision, she instructed Amy to wait there at the Bronze with Faith for her while she ran the other girl on to the hospital.

Amy agreed and watched on at the door as Buffy took off for the hospital, running faster than she thought she'd be capable of without carrying anything, let alone another person.

"Jessie, man. What happened to you?" Amy head a familiar voice ask.

"Amy?" another voice asked. And turning, Amy recognized her friends, Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris. Amy hadn't been close with them recently, but she used to hang out with them a lot, she'd known them sense they were kids in fact. Though she'd only really hooked up with them the first year of junior high. It was these three who she'd gone to the Jewel concert with actually.

"Xander, you would not believe-" Jessie started.

"Willow! Hi!" Amy cut in.

"There was this girl, very hot, and she was totally coming on to me," Jessie continued.

Leaving Jessie and Xander to continue their talk, Amy took Willow aside and the two sat down over by Faith who had fallen asleep and was resting, her head on her folded arms on the table and dozing peacefully.

"Who's this?" Willow asked.

"Her name's Faith, I don't know her last name yet," Amy informed.

The friends continued talking, and Willow soon found herself disbelieving her ears on more than one occasion, namely around the 'new girlfriend', 'vampires are real', and 'big flash of blue light that Faith arrived in' parts. Jessie, for his part, was proudly showing off his bite marks to Xander as battle scars and proof that female vampires thought he was a hottie.

Buffy got the girl to the hospital, and got her checked in. The reactions of the medical staff far more jaded and unconcerned than she would have guessed they would be. They simply asked her to fill out a few forms and that was about it. They didn't even ask what had happened or wonder why it looked like a vampire had bitten their new patient. On the report, she just put that the girl, whom she now knew was named Stephanie Cole, had been attacked in the park and Buffy had driven off the attacker in time to save her. After she had finished filling out the forms, to her considerable relief, she was told that Stephanie wasn't in much danger of dying tonight.


Finding Amy and a still sleeping Faith back at the Bronze, Buffy was treated to an introduction to Willow and Xander, Amy's old friends. Who, for their part, were regarding Buffy with a mixture of awe and awkward nervousness, not quite sure if they completely believed the tales Jessie and Amy had been telling. Sensing this, Buffy put on her most charming and friendly face and made nice with them, trying to reassure them that she wasn't quite as big a freak as she thought they must be thinking she was at the moment. They were, after all, Amy's friends; and, though she wasn't exactly thrilled that three more people knew her secret, she still wanted to make a good impression for Amy's sake at least.

"So, Amy tells me you're a super hero?" Willow asked awkwardly as Buffy sat down at their table. "That-that sounds like it's, I mean that's really. It's, um-"

"Willow, it's okay," Buffy said, a little amused, deciding then and there she liked the quirky red headed girl.

"Yeah, so um, you wanna go out with me?" Xander asked suddenly. "Ask anyone, I'm a great catch," he smiled a funny smile which only lasted a few seconds.

"OW!" Xander yelped, holding his now aching arm and skooching away from Amy who was glaring dangerously at him. "Jeeze, Amy, whadja do that for? That hurt!" he asked in meek indignation.

"She's mine, stay away," Amy said menacingly, razing her fist as if to punch him again.

Xander looked blankly back and forth between Amy and a very amused Buffy who was definitely making with the love-sick eyes in Amy's direction. He also noticed Jessie and Willow who were enjoying his situation far too much.

"Guess no one mentioned to Xander that Amy had a girlfriend now," Willow said, still laughing. She had been shocked at Amy's admission at first, but had quickly gotten over the surprise and accepted it.

"Man, you're lucky it was Amy," Jessie joked, slapping his friend on the back. "If you'd seen.. man! You'd be hamburger by now if She'd punched you," he said, referring to Buffy, as he continued to laugh at Xander's crash and burn.

"Shut up!" Xander said indignantly to Jessie. "It's your fault! You should have warned me!" he punched Jessie in the arm and started to laugh at him now, which got him another punch back from Jessie. By this time, Buffy, Willow, and even Amy who seemed to have gotten over being miffed at Xander, were all laughing at the guys' antics. Willow getting up in time to stop an actual fight from breaking out, not that she thought one would, but it had happened before.

Faith, her mind hazily detecting all the laughing and commotion, began to stir a little from her nap. "Hey, whas goin' on," she looked up.

"Faith, you're awake!" Buffy noticed with relief.

"Yeah, um, wha um," she looked around a little and her eyes began to grow heavy again. "m'tired, l'mmie sleep," she mumbled sleepily.

"I think we better get her to a bed," Amy observed.

"I think you're right," Buffy agreed.

Amy and Buffy said their goodbyes to Jessie, Willow, and Xander, making plans to hang out at lunch the next day. Then Buffy picked up Faith, cradling her easily in her arms like the girl weighed, like, oh about three and a half pounds, then carrying her off with Amy walking along with her. Xander and Willow, for their parts, just looked after them in, the reality if it all sinking in more. The Amy having a girlfriend, the Amy's girlfriend being this super strong superhero or something. It was a lot to take in, and Xander's arm was still sore where Amy'd punched him.

"Buffy?! What happened to- Is that Faith?" Joyce asked at seeing her daughter at the front door with Faith in her arms.

"Yeah, and she's hurt and, like, one hundred percent dead off her feet. Can we get her into the guest room maybe?" Buffy asked a little abashedly at springing this all on her mom like she was.

"Right, of course dear," Joyce moved out of the way.

"Hi Ms. Summers," Amy said cheerfully as she followed Buffy in.

"Oh, hello Amy," Joyce greeted her cordially as she stared after her daughter walking into the house carrying the sleeping Faith.

"Buffy, that's amazing. How can you carry her so easily like that?" Joyce asked. "And how did you get her back here on your own? You should have called me."

"Oh, um," Buffy looked around, mentally kicking herself for not thinking of this.

"I helped her carry her back from the Bronze," Amy put in. "Buffy just carried her up the steps, she's, um, she's really strong," Amy looked flustered as her mind involuntarily flashed back to scenes in Buffy's bedroom earlier that afternoon.

"Right. I could use some help getting her up the stares though," Buffy put in, now pretending to be having trouble keeping Faith steady.

"Oh, of course!" Joyce rushed over to her daughter's aide. "Amy, can you help us?" Joyce asked.

"Oh. Sure!" Amy said, snapping out of her thoughts and rushing over to be of help.

The three of them carried Faith up to the guest room, Buffy trying her best to put on a convincing act for her mother's sake. I've gotta be more careful, she chastised herself. Together they laid Faith in the bed and set about getting her out of her jacket, boots, and jeans. Then tucking her under the covers, where upon Faith curled up against the pillows with a hum of contentment at the welcome feel of the soft bed as she continued to sleep.

Outside the room, Joyce asked again, "What happened? She, she doesn't look drunk or anything. How'd she get here from L.A.? What happened to her? What happened to you?" she asked in reference to the couple's very ruffled and ragged appearance.

"Oh, um, well," Buffy reached for something to say.

Thankfully, Amy stepped in again to save her. "It was so awful!" she said. "But Buffy was totally brave. She's, like, a hero or something!" Amy started, leaning against Buffy adoringly. "We saw this girl getting attacked in the park by this guy. So Buffy chases him down, totally kicks his ass, but he's got a few friends, right? And, well, we got roughed up some, but Buffy still beat them. Faith too, she just showed up and, and ambushed one of them. But she fainted and-"

"I got the other girl to the doctor," Buffy jumped in. "She's in pretty bad shape, lots of blood loss, but the doctor said she'd be okay after a while," she finished.

"Then we brought Faith back here," Amy finished.

Joyce had just listened as they told the tale, her face showing first shock, then a blank look, then when they finished, "Oh my GOD!" she exclaimed. "Thank goodness you two are all right! You shouldn't go chasing after trouble like that Buffy. I know you think you can handle yourself, but what if they had been armed?! You could have died!"

"Mom, its okay," Buffy tried.

"Don't you 'Mom, its okay' me. We are going to have a serious talk about this young lady. I thought we'd agreed you weren't going to get in anymore fights after what happened in.." she looked down and took a breath. "But right now, you two girls need to get yourself cleaned up. Then I can drive Amy home."

"Mom... alright, that sounds like a good idea," Buffy agreed resignedly.

"Right!" Amy said. "Lets go get cleaned up then," she tugged on Buffy's arm.

"Heh-hem, Amy?" Joyce said.

"Yes Ms. Summers?"

"You can use my bathroom," Joyce said in an indulgent reproach.

"Oh right.." Amy said, now looking very embarrassed as she looked over to Buffy.

"Mom, we weren't!" Buffy said, now very flustered and blushing a little.

"Sure you weren't," Joyce placated with a bit too much amusement in her voice for Buffy's liking. She really hadn't been planning to shower with Amy, but thought that Amy might have thought they were, and that her Mother had overheard Amy's implied offer had Buffy's mind going around in circles.

"Sure we were," Amy said cheekily, smiling at all this unrepentantly and taking a kind of weird excitement from the whole thing. She was glad Buffy's mom knew about and was fine with her daughter's orientation though, even if it did cost her a shot at maybe getting into a shower with her new girlfriend.

"Amy!" Buffy said in indignation.

"Well we were," she said logically, with a mischievous smile.

"Girls!" Joyce said, now having covered her ears, trying unsuccessfully to pretend they were just talking about the weather.

"Oh," Amy said looking embarrassed now "sorry Ms. Summers," she looked down a bit.

"Yeah, sorry mom," Buffy added.

"It's all right. Just go along and, and get cleaned up," Joyce said with a little exasperation.

Teenagers!, she thought to herself as the two girls headed off in opposite directions. Thank God at least I don't have to worry about her getting pregnant, she considered, counting her blessings where she could.

Twenty five minutes or so later, Buffy was just finishing up her shower. She reached out for a towel and started to dry herself. As she got out of the shower stall though, she couldn't help but notice that she wasn't exactly alone.

"Amy?!" Buffy exclaimed, so startled she almost lost her footing. "How'd you? I didn't hear you!" Buffy looked around a little. People usually weren't able to sneak up on her like that, though admittedly, it was the first time someone'd attempted it while she had been in the shower...

Amy had been sitting on the bathroom counter, very much enjoying the view for the past couple minutes while she waited for Buffy to finish.

"Sorry," Amy said hopping down from the counter. "I um, are you mad at me?" she looked up at Buffy.

Buffy got a really nice smile on her face as she looked at Amy. She was wearing one of Buffy's white shirts and some cut-off gene-shorts, and she looked really, REALLY good. Buffy just shook her head 'no' and let the towel she had drop to the floor as she walked over to Amy.

"Definitely not," Buffy said, backing her girlfriend gently up against the bathroom counter and giving her a soft kiss as she cupped her cheek with one hand and wrapped her other arm around Amy's waist. "So.." Buffy pulled back with a little of a shy smile "did you like what you saw?"

Amy just gave a nervous laugh and tucked her hair behind one ear as she looked Buffy shyly in the eyes and moved in to within a breath of Buffy's lips. "Let's just say, if your mom wasn't here, I'd be trying everything I could to get you to take me to bed with you," she said with definite lust in her voice.

"You would?" Buffy asked in a quiet, slightly teasing way as she continued to run her hands softly over Amy's body, her senses trained on memorizing every little facet of her girlfriend she could.

"Would what?" Amy questioned breathlessly, licking her lips, her mind drawing a complete blank on everything as her eyes looked searingly at Buffy's lips and she moved in to kiss them.

The kiss got more and more intense as both girls' hands traveled languidly over their partner's body. It was safe to say that being mindful of Joyce Summer's presence in the house was not exactly a consideration at the moment. Which was a shame, because neither of them noticed the knock on the door, or Joyce's voice calling to check on her daughter through the door. They did however take notice when the door opened.

"Buffy?" Joyce asked in question, wondering why her daughter hadn't answered, then finding out.

"Mom!" Buffy exclaimed in surprise as scurried behind Amy. "Mom, don't we knock!?" she questioned a bit indignantly.

"Um, Hi Ms. Summers," Amy said lamely, still feeling very flushed and short of breath from the kiss as she nervously brushed her hair behind her ear on one side.

"Knock, right, I did that," Joyce said blankly, shaking herself out of her momentary out of body experience. She dizzily turned around and left the room, wondering why scenes from an old movie she'd watched with her cousins one summer kept playing through her head.

Outside in the hall, she ran both her hands through her hair in a gesture meant to calm her as she leaned back against the hallway wall and looked up unseeing. Then let herself slide down so she was sitting against the wall. I can do this, Joyce said to herself by way of a pep talk. Trying to reconcile the image that was now burned into her head with that of the little girl she had spent hours with teaching how to color with crayons and reading books to. They grow up Way too fast, she said to herself. Shaking her head, she got up and headed down the hall. I wonder if there's any of that champagne left? She questioned idly, mentally curing when she realized she couldn't drink it anyway because she still had to drive Amy home.

After the couple got dressed and stole a few moments more alone in Buffy's room to talk and kiss a little, Joyce came to tell them, refusing to actually enter the room this time, that she was ready to drive Amy home.

They said their goodbyes, and once Amy and her mother had left, Buffy stocked back and fourth in her room a little, now confronted with a little of a dilemma: Angel. What was she going to do about that? She'd told the vampire she would be back to let him free later when it was safe for her to do so, but how was she going to play this? She couldn't exactly rely on the vampire's word on anything. Vampires were evil after all, and therefore almost completely untrustworthy. How could she decide whether she should stake him or let him go?

She could just let him go and see if he attacked her or not; if he did, she could definitely slay him with a clear conscious. But if he didn't attack, then she still wouldn't know if he was just trying to trick her or if there was actually something to the whole story he gave about him having a soul. She knew from talking with her now deceased watcher in L.A. that vampires didn't have souls, at least not ones equivalent to a human's at any rate. Once a vampire killed you, a demon took the body and the human soul was gone. So how could Angel have a soul? He couldn't, that's how. But what if somehow he did? If he did, it would be like she had murdered someone if she killed him.

This is getting me nowhere fast, Buffy concluded. There's only one way I can know for sure. Making her decision, she walked the short distance over to the guest room, hoping she'd be able to wake Faith long enough to ask her about the situation she was in.

Entering the room quietly, she went over and sat on the edge of the bed, looking at Faith's sleeping form. She looks so sweet and peaceful when she's asleep like this, she thought wistfully to herself as her mind harkened back unbidden to another time when she'd seen Faith asleep like this before. Shaking her head to clear it, Buffy chastised herself for letting her thoughts get away from her like that. She and Faith had unresolved issues, it was true, but this wasn't the time to dwell on them, she had a job to do and she needed to ask Faith about that.

"Faith," she shook the sleeping Slayer's shoulder a little, trying to rouse her. "Faith, I need you to wake up for a minute, okay?"

"Mmhm," Faith moaned, rousing from her sleep slightly. "Le'me 'lone, m'sleepin," she murmured drowsily.

"I wish I could, but I need to ask you about Angel," Buffy persisted.

"Mm, wha? Angels, what about'm?" Faith mumbled, confused, trying to sit up a little.

"Angel. The guy in chains in the cave?" Buffy clarified.

"Cave? Chains?" Faith wondered blurrily. "You com'in on to me B?" she teasingly questioned, still not fully awake.

"Faith, No!" Buffy blushed a little. "Angel! He was a guy in chains in the cave we were at today?"

"You aren't into guys," Faith said in confusion as she rolled back down to the bed and snuggled into the pillow.

Shaking her head in consternation, Buffy shook Faith's shoulder again. "No, c'mon, remember, you said he was a good guy? But, um, you knew he was a vampire right?" Buffy asked.

"Vampire?" Faith asked.

"Angel, that's what you called him," Buffy clarified.

"Oh, right, right, yeah. I know who that is," she said still sleepily.

"He said he had a soul, is that true?" Buffy asked.

"Mm, yeah, yeah... it's this whole big thing, like a soap opera or something," Faith explained hazily.

"But, how can he have? He's a vampire," Buffy questioned.

"Oh, it's this thing with gypsies or somthin'. They cursed him'n now he's all weepy and soul having an'," she yawned "he does have good hair though," she finished incongruously. "Wonder how he gets it to stick up like that all the time?"

"So, he's a human in a vampire's body? ...that's weird," Buffy concluded.

"Yeah, guess so.. c'n I sleep more now? m'really tired," Faith explained, hoping Buffy would have mercy on her and let her sleep.

"Yeah. Yeah of course. Thanks Faith," Buffy patted her gently on her shoulder and got up to leave. "Sleep well," she called back quietly at the door as she paused to look again at the sleeping Slayer before she turned to leave for the cemetery, stopping in her room to pick up her usual supplies.

With her speed, it took her only a few minutes to get back to the cemetery. She moved quickly through the tunnels, following her memory and hoping that she could get back in time so he mother wouldn't find her gone.

Arriving at the cave again, she looked around alertly, trying to sense if there was anyone else there. Not sensing any danger, not sensing anyone in fact, she went over to where Angel had been, and, as she had thought, found him gone. What could have happened to him? Buffy wondered, as all of the sudden she felt something at the back of her mind that made her tense up a little, and she knew there was a vampire nearby.

"Who's there?" She called out, drawing a stake and scanning the room again. "Angel, if that's you, you don't have to worry. I know what you said is true. I'm not here to kill you," she called out.

No one answered and soon the feeling was gone.

Was that him? she wondered. Did he not believe me? She thought on that. It could have been Angel. It could have been someone else and Angel had managed to escape, having left before she'd gotten there. No, she thought to herself, realizing that the likely scenario wasn't as benign. Someone must have gotten to him before I did. They came back for him and now he's probably chained up somewhere, maybe being tortured. He could even be dead, she thought to herself guiltily. I should have trusted Faith, she admonished herself.. I should have.. No, no, I couldn't know that. I made the only choice I could with the information I had, she assured herself. The logic still not doing much to ease the sense of responsibility she felt for letting it happen though.

As it turned out, Buffy was able to make it home in time to beat her mother's return, but only barely. She hadn't even gotten to her room when she heard the sound of her mother's car pulling into the driveway.

She went back down to the first floor to greet her, remembering to ditch her shoes, coat, and weapons first of course.

Opening the door for her, Buffy was surprised when her mother hugged her. "I'm so glad you're all right," Joyce said to her daughter before she released her from the hug. "I just realized I hadn't said that as I was driving back," she explained. "Listen, Buffy. I know I might have come off, well, a little harsh before. I'm glad you're the type of person who would stand up for someone else when they're in trouble, really I am. I'm proud of you for saving that girl," Joyce said, having rehearsed that in her head a few times on the drive back home.

"Mom.. thanks," Buffy said, a smile brightening face as she returned her mom's gesture and gave her a quick hug.

"But Buffy-"

"Oh, how did I know that was coming," Buffy interrupted with nothing but amusement in her voice.

"It's just, I wish you'd think things through a little more, be more careful. I know you can handle yourself pretty well in a fight, but isn't martial arts also about learning restraint and, and I don't know. It's- you're my daughter, and I worry about you. It terrifies me to think of you lying dead in a ditch somewhere because someone shot you, or yes, you could actually meet someone out there who's tougher than you are Buffy. I know you pretty much ruled the karate or whatever you call it classes growing up, but there's always someone better, or bigger, or who gets lucky. And like today, you can be out numbered too; what if Faith hadn't come along when she had?"

"Then I would have dealt with it," Buffy defended a little impatiently. She could understand her mom's point, really she could, but it just frustrated her having to defend herself like this and not being able to explain why she did what she did... not that she thought doing so would make her mother feel much better about things, but there was a certain selfish part of her that wanted the validation of being able to be honest. That part of her wanted her mom to be able to understand her life, maybe that way she would think better of her, or at least be more accepting of it.

"Maybe this time, but what if you couldn't?" Joyce pressed, wanting her daughter to understand this.

Sighing, Buffy looked down a moment then looked back up into her mother's eyes. "Then you're right. Then I could have died, and I could have gotten Amy hurt or even killed," Buffy said in complete honestly, the words stinging a little as she said them. It was true, she wasn't even nearly invincible. Things could have gone differently; she didn't know what she had been leading Amy and Faith into tonight. She wasn't even sure why she'd let Amy go with her and Faith at all. It wasn't a new thought to her.

"Buffy..." Joyce said, not knowing what to say. The look in her daughter's eyes wasn't one that was fool-hearty or arrogant. Buffy knew what the risks were, and maybe she'd always known.

"Mom, I know you're right. I know it's dangerous to.." she let out a breath. "Look, I really want to lie and say I won't do it again. I want... but if I saw someone else it trouble like that and knew I might be able to help them, I'd do the same thing again, every time," she kept her gaze fixed on her mother's eyes. "If there was a police officer or someone else close by who could help.. I would never take a risk like that if there was another way," she reached out and took her mother's hand. "I promise."

It was a promise Joyce couldn't help but believe her daughter meant. She didn't like it, she never would, but she had to respect that her daughter had been honest and, even more, she had to respect what she had been honest about.

So she nodded her head, "I understand," Joyce said. "I don't like it, I hate it in fact, but I understand, and I'm so proud you're my daughter," Joyce said as she gave Buffy another hug, tempted to not let go, but of course she knew that was a spurious impulse. So, saying her goodnights, she left to go up to her room. She needed a nice long shower she'd decided, or maybe even a bath.

Having said her goodnights as well, Buffy went into the kitchen to grab some late-night snacks before bed, and she found she couldn't keep the smile from her face as she replayed her mother's last words to her again and again in her mind. I'm so proud you're my daughter. At one point in her recent life, she would have greatly doubted she would ever hear anything like that from either of her parents again. She was sure she'd never hear it from her father, but right now she really couldn't care less what he thought.

Sitting at home, curled up on the living room couch, grateful that her mother had been asleep by the time she had gotten home, Amy thought over her day. If she had any sense at all, she realized, she should probably be thinking about breaking things off with her new love interest and staying as far away from her as possible as a matter of simple self preservation. But hell, she thought, if I had any sense, I would have ran the other way when Buffy gave me the chance, she readily recognized with a smile. Ah, sense is WAY over rated anyway. It certainly hasn't ever done me much good 'til now, that's for sure. Actually... in a weird kinda way, all this makes the most sense to me out of anything, she realized with a sudden clarity.

She got up and paced around the darkened house, idly wondering about her life. One thing she knew for absolute sure, she had NEVER in her life felt anywhere near as happy and fulfilled as she did when she was with Buffy Summers. It was like, things were suddenly a lot more real and alive. Having a girlfriend rocks!, she thought to herself. Today had seemed to last forever, but it had only been a day. She had had days that passed as if they were nothing, many days in fact, and she had been just as happy to see them go. But today, today she wished would have lasted twice as long at least. Especially at the parts where she and Buffy had some time alone, those were the parts she was playing over and over again in her memory. Stretching her mind to remember each touch, each soft word, each feeling... it was like magic.

Humming a little to herself now, she jumped back on the sofa in playful sort and curled up in its soft pillows, closing her eyes and letting her mind drift to the future. Maybe after they turned eighteen, they could get a place together? It was an amazing and seductive thought that drew her in like a moth to a flame. She wanted it, she realized. She wanted to have Buffy, so much more than she thought it was possible to want anything. She just knew she could make her happy, and she knew for certain that she would be happy forever if she was with Buffy, if she could just find a way to make it happen. Damn, I'm getting really intense here, she chastised herself. You meet a girl you like, and the first thing you do when you get home is start planning on moving in with her? How pathetic is that? She thought dejectedly. Of course, it's only pathetic if she doesn't want that too... I.. I just have to work at it, that's all, she told herself, a wave of insecurity suddenly hitting her really hard. And what about things like vampires, and jobs, and money, and.. her mother? Of the four, her mother was definitely the worst, much worse than vampires... if her mom was a vampire, then she could just get Buffy to stake her. The thought had a certain guilty pleasure in the imagining of it. Hey, I wonder if Buffy was serious about pouching her if I asked her too? I bet she'd leave me the hell alone if she did... of course if Buffy Did punch her, she might kill her... she realized this with a shiver, feeling guilty for thinking about this stuff. The woman was still her mother after all, even if she was a lousy one. Shaking her head of the disturbing thoughts, she just lay there, her eyes now open as she stared at the ceiling with unseeing eyes.

Her mind was cast adrift, and as such, it inevitably wondered back to infinitely more pleasant areas. This time, namely, how it felt to have Buffy back her up against the bathroom counter and kiss her while naked. She felt a flush of heat and electricity travel through her just thinking about it. Wouldn't it be great to have our own bathroom to do that in where no one could walk in on us? She imagined dreamily. Buffy's mom was definitely nice though, her thoughts veered again as she realized that wishing to have their own place made her feel a little guilty for wanting to be away from the woman. Ms. Summers knew about Buffy and her, and, well, maybe she wasn't exactly completely okay with it, but she accepted them, and she'd accepted her being her daughter's girlfriend openly. I'm Sure my mom would lock me in a basement or, or I don't even know what if I told her about Buffy, she predicted, reaffirming once again her previous decision to keep it from her mother if at all possible. In fact, maybe it would be a good idea if I just kept my mom away from Buffy entirely, she concluded logically, unconvinced of her ability to hide her attraction to the other girl.

Sitting up, she turned and looked out the windows behind the couch and found herself feeling wistful all of the sudden. I wonder what she's doing now? she thought idly of her absent girlfriend. Probably in bed already... still... she hopped off the couch and went to retrieve the cordless phone from the stand across the room. No harm in calling to see, she concluded mischievously, a happy smile of anticipation coming to her face.

After sitting at the counter for a bit, enjoying her snacks and milk, Buffy heard the phone ring.

Figuring her mom must be tired and getting ready for bed about now, she rushed over to answer it. "Summers house, this is Buffy," she greeted.

"Hi there," Amy greeted.

"Amy, hi!" Buffy said, her mood suddenly brightening even more.

"So um, what I called to ask is, what are you wearing?" Amy asked lustily, but it obviously was more of a tease than anything.

Silence fell for a moment as the heat rose in Buffy's cheeks, and then a wicked idea came to her mind as an amused and slightly lascivious smile came across her face. "Well... I wish I was wearing you, in All the right places... but as it is, I've just got on some jeans and a tank top. How about you?" she teased back.

"Just a t-shirt and some shorts," Amy said back, thoroughly enjoying their playful exchange. "But yeah, I'd definitely rather be wearing you too," a sigh "your mom came in much, Much too soon for my tastes," she groaned.

"It wasn't the best timing, was it?" Buffy agreed with an amused grin. "But it could have been a lot worse."

"It could?" Amy asked.

"Well, I never got to see you naked, now did I? As it was, at least I had you to hide behind," she stated logically.

"Mm, I was very happy to be your hiding spot," Amy remembered a little guiltily how wonderful it felt when Buffy had wrapped her arms around her, held her closely from behind, and rested her chin on her shoulder after Ms. Summers had left.

"Hhm," Buffy hummed to herself in satisfaction. "I bet I could've made you a lot more happy form back there if I had the time and privacy to thank you properly for your chivalry in offering yourself to me as a shield to protect my virtue."

Amy moaned in definite arousal. "Buffy, don't do this to me over the phone, its cruel," she groaned.

"You started it," Buffy shot back.

"Did not"

"Oh Buffy, I was just wondering.. what are you wearing after midnight?" Buffy mimicked exaggeratedly. "You started it alright, not that I mind at all of course," Buffy concluded happily.

"Okay, so maybe I did," Amy admitted sheepishly.

"You definitely did. I'm just an innocent victim of your lusty charms,"

"Uh, 'lusty charms'?" Amy questioned.

Buffy groaned. "I did not just say that. You were hearing things."

"Uh-huh," Amy agreed, greatly doubting it.

"If I said you were magically delicious, would you break up with me?" Buffy asked.

"Not a chance," Amy said without missing a beat.

"Then it must be love," Buffy smiled goofily.

"Either that, or I'm just trying to get you in bed with me."

"Can't I have both?" Buffy pouted.

"Well, sense I was already pathetically daydreaming about how we'd find a place to live together when we're eighteen a bit ago, and we haven't even been together a whole day yet, I'd say I'm already pretty far gone on the love part. And I'm definitely trying to get you in bed with me... I just came on way too strong didn't I?" Amy realizing belatedly.

"Mm, not really," Buffy smiled indulgently. "There's nothing wrong with daydreaming after all..." Buffy paused to think. "I really like you Amy, a lot. I think I'm in love with you in fact.. I know we haven't known each other very long, but I want to... know you for a long time I mean," Buffy finished, getting a pleasantly warm feeling inside at saying this. "I mean, that's what you do isn't it? When you start going out with someone, you hope it goes well and that you can build a future with the person you're with.. Even though it might not go that way in the end, if you don't want it too, what would be the point?"

"Wow," Amy sighed after a moment of silence "you are so very awesome."

"Thank you," Buffy smiled delightedly. "Um, so why am I so awesome exactly?" she prodded, wanting to hear what Amy would say.

"I don't know, you just.. it's like you're better than other people are, way better. And I don't mean the Slayer thing, which is very cool in and of itself, but not really the point, you know? ..Um, it's- you're really brave. Not the facing death part, but the facing life. You're not afraid of life. Most people are I think... but you, you're smart and honest and you try your best. I mean, I fell in love with you in half a day, that's awesome!" Amy exuded, all this pretty much coming out before she had a chance to think about what she was saying very much.

Buffy closed her eyes for a moment as a few tears fell. No one, no one she'd ever met had thought so much of her before. "Amy.." Buffy was going to say, but found it hard to say the words.

"I know, I-" Amy started, feeling very self-conscious at the moment.

"No, it's- you're really brave too, ya know? More than me. I mean I.. ahh, you're really someone... I um... you're definitely someone I'd want to have an apartment with... though I'm not sure why you'd want to, what with all the vampires and stuff," she finished somewhat self-deprecatingly.

"It has been quite a day, hasn't it?" Amy said with a smile.

"That it has," Buffy agreed.

"But... you know you're worth it, right?" Amy said in a soft yet sincere voice.

"Huh?" Buffy asked, confused.

"You're worth it, more than worth it," she smiled to herself, her eyes tearing a little. "So any vampires who try to come between you and me, they better be ready for a fight," she said daringly, as if she would like to see the vamp that would try it.

Buffy was silent on the other end of the line.


"Hmmm?" she asked dreamily. "Oh, right um, but Amy... I... mmm... I really wanna kiss you," she lost her train of thought and it made Amy feel completely great. "..but Amy, you, you know, it's... its really dangerous. I, I don't want you to get hurt because of me..." she finished soberly in a quiet voice, almost as if she was pleading for something.

"Buffy..." Amy started to say, her heart immediately reaching out to her girlfriend.

"Promise me. Promise you'll be careful and not follow me like today, okay?" she pleaded "Please?"

Amy was quiet for a moment, thinking what Buffy just said, and for some reason she found herself angry.

"Amy?" Buffy asked, getting no answer.

She didn't know what to say, so Amy just sat there. She was angry... no, not angry. Jealous.

"Amy.. Amy what's wrong?" Buffy was starting to panic a little, and it was frustrating that she couldn't see Amy, it made things harder...

"I'm okay... and I promise I'll be careful," she said, purposely not saying that she promised not to follow Buffy again. "..Buffy... I just.."

"What is it?" Buffy asked. "Amy, tell me, please..." Buffy pleaded.

"Okay.." Amy agreed, closing her eyes for a moment before quietly asking "did you and Faith used to go out?"

Buffy had not seen that coming. "Ah.. um, well.. why do you-... um, not exactly?" she equivocated.

"What's that mean: 'not exactly?' What's exactly?" Amy pressed.

"Exactly? Um," Buffy sighed a little, feeling nervous "I think the term is 'one night stand'?" she admitted sheepishly.

"One night... really?" Amy questioned, kinda surprised. "I wouldn't have thought you would-"

"I didn't!" Buffy cut in. "Look, I've only slept with three people, I'm not a-"

"Player? Yeah, I figured that," Amy said, now kinda amused at the whole thing. "So what happened with Faith?"

"Well, I was feeling.. I mean, okay, so we were friends, we slept together, I woke up, she wasn't there, and the next time I saw her was today," Buffy admitted in a breath.




"Um-" Buffy started.

"Are you?... do you still want to be-"

"No!" Buffy was quick to disavow.

"But if you hadn't met me, maybe you would get back together?" Amy questioned apprehensively. It had been obvious to her that there was something there between Faith and her girlfriend, and she wanted to know what it was.

Buffy sighed. "I don't know, maybe... there's some unresolved issues there, no doubts, and she's, well, she's Faith," she admitted. "But I did meet you, and there's no way I'm gonna- look, I'd choose you, okay? Between Faith and you, I'd choose you in a heartbeat," she vowed.

Amy smiled, "Well, okay then. Just so we're clear."

"So, um, we're okay?" Buffy asked, now feeling better.

"Yeah.... we're okay," Amy said with a little of a smile in her voice. "I guess I was just... doesn't matter. So, any plans this weekend?" Amy asked, changing the subject, glad the tension was over.

"Well I was... it does matter though," Buffy said sincerely, having caught the inflection in Amy's voice. "You don't have to tell me but.." she looked down at her hands kinda shyly.

It was unexpected, what Buffy said, but then Buffy usually was unexpected Amy had to admit. This time it confused her though, and she sat up and stared out her window again, thinking. The two just sat in silence for a few moments.

"Amy... I-I'm sorry, you.. you really don't have to tell me," Buffy pledged wholeheartedly.

"I'm not gonna promise not to follow you," Amy said quietly.

"Wha... you.." Buffy was caught off guard and didn't have a clue what to say. "It's... Amy you can't be serious," Buffy protested in disbelief.

"Why can't I?" Amy asked, her voice now raised a little. "I did okay down there, I-" she started to defend herself.

"Only because Faith was there!" Buffy denied, now feeling her heart start to constrict in her chest. "I was so stupid to have put you in danger like that. You could have been-"

"That's not!.." but the words died on Amy's lips as she realized what she was saying. She sunk back onto the couch and brought her knees up to her chin and tired to get her words to work right in her head.

"This is because of Faith isn't it?" Buffy asked, realizing what this might be about.

"...maybe... I don't know..." Amy admitted quietly.

"Is that.. is that why you came with us today?" Buffy questioned softly.

"Huh? No, oh no," Amy shook her head. "How can you ask that? I.. I just, I was scared, okay?... you're.. ...I wanted to protect you," Amy finally admitted quietly.

"...You wanted to protect me," Buffy repeated, slightly in wonder, not having expected that answer but her heart filling with warmth from hearing it just the same.

"I'm... So I'm not going to promise that.. I don't know what I should do, or, but I'm not going to promise that when I might not keep the promise," Amy said ardently. "Look, maybe.. maybe I just need some time to think about things and all," she admitted.

"Of course," Buffy said in understanding.

"I'm a little jealous though I think," Amy admitted a little abashedly, a small smile coming to her face as she said it.

"Well, a little jealousy makes a girl feel desired, you know? It's not a bad thing," Buffy smiled.

"Actually, I think it's mostly just that Faith is in a bed a few steps from yours," Amy quipped with a devious smile.

"Well, when you put it like that.." Buffy bowed to her girlfriend's logic.

"When I put it like that?" Amy questioned, very curious to hear Buffy finish the statement.

"When you put it like that, I really wanna kiss you. And you are much too far away right now for me to do that," Buffy replied.

"That's why I wanted the apartment," Amy replied logically.

"It would definitely have its advantages," Buffy readily conceded.

"That's all I'm saying," Amy answered with a mischievous smile.

"So, you wanna meet up in front of school in the morning? I've gotta pick up that book at the library, but we could probably steal some time alone and make out before classes?" Buffy ventured.

"Mm, you come up with such good ideas," Amy agreed. "What are your morning classes anyway?" realizing she'd never found out.

"History first period, then art, then science. What about you?" Buffy asked.

"Math, 2 periods, and photography."

"You like photography?" Buffy asked with interest.

"I'm starting to," Amy smiled. "I hadn't before, but the class has been fun and the teacher's great. The way she talks about it, she's been to all these places all over the world, and she makes it seem like you can find moments like that anywhere..." she trailed off.

"You've got a crush on her, don't you?" Buffy accused with mock-suspicion.

"Well, um," Amy considered "maybe I had just a little one," she admitted bashfully.

"Ah-Ha! I knew it!" Buffy exclaimed all too happily, her suspicion confirmed.

"It wasn't my fault!" Amy defended. "She.. God! If you saw her, and that voice, I think even some of the straight girls have a crush on her, probably all the guys."

Buffy laughed, "Well at least now I have someone to be jealous of too."

"Buffy," Amy said in exasperation.

"Yes?" Buffy replied innocently.

"You're gonna give me a hard time about this aren't you?" she asked plaintively.

"Who me? I would never!"'

"Uh-huh," Amy doubted.

"I just want to see her, that's all," Buffy said cattily.

"Buffyy," Amy whined.

"Well, I gotta see who I'm up against," Buffy came back logically.

"You're not up against my photography teacher," Amy said, now even more exasperated, but strangely happy to be talking about this side of herself openly for once. It was a first for her. Before this, she'd never told anyone, had not even admitted all of it to herself completely. But now here she was, talking with her very own girlfriend about some small, insignificant crush she had on a certain very attractive female photography teacher and bantering about it. My life certainly has gotten a lot better, Amy thought with a smile ...Now if only there weren't any stupid vampires and I could convince Buffy's mom to adopt me and stay in her daughter's room, things would be perfect, she mused happily.

"You know, I'm not sure if I like photography so much," Buffy considered.

"You are so cute," Amy said adoringly, giggling a little at her girlfriend's antics.

"Cuter than the photography teacher?"

"Definitely," Amy affirmed with certainty.

"Why thank you," Buffy smiled happily.

"So what about the weekend?" Amy asked. "You never said; any plans?"

"Well, we were going to do some studying right?" Buffy asked.

"Oh, right!" Amy smiled. "Almost forgot about that. Anything else though?"

"That depends," Buffy replied.

"On what?" Amy smiled inquisitively into the phone.

"On you of course," Buffy replied logically. "As my girlfriend, you are a crucial part of my weekend planning thought process you know."

"Is that so?" Amy replied.

"Yup," Buffy confirmed.

"Well, I've got enough money, we could get a very nice hotel room?" Amy questioned teasingly.

"Amy!" Buffy exclaimed in embarrassment.

"That's my name," Amy confirmed with a mischievous smile.

"You are trying to corrupt me, I just know it," Buffy complained good-naturedly.

"No, I'm trying to get you in bed with me. I thought we covered that already?"

Buffy laughed and then sighed, "yeah, I guess we did, didn't we?"

The End

Up next, Episode 3: "T.G.I.F."

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