DISCLAIMER: See Part 1
Two roads, one path
By Christopher Andrews
"Hi Giles, it's me Yes, yes I'm all right No she's, she's here with me. No she's not going to hurt me No she's not going to hurt anyone else. Yes I'm sure I'm sorry I didn't call but it took me all night to convince her not to skip town "
She's lying to protect me again. I don't know whether to call her on it or just let it go.
"Yes she's here with me no I'm not worried. Look we're just having breakfast and then we get hungry Giles, it does happen from time to time. We'll stop by as soon as we finish."
She looks at me and smiles.
"Everything is gonna be okay Giles, I know it is."
She's putting a lot into what's between us, bad idea. I have a tendency to screw up everything that even comes close to any kinda happiness.
She hangs up the phone and goes back to her breakfast. She looks up at me with a smile and sees the look on my face.
"You lied to him."
She looks down at her muffin for a second.
"I thought you and your gang told each other everything. You're all about truth, justice and honour."
"Then what's with the lying?"
"They're they're not ready yet."
"Not ready for what?"
She finally looks up at me.
"For us "
Does she mean what I think she means?
"What's happening between us, they're still trying to deal with you being back in our lives, I don't think they could deal with it if I told them about our dating."
"Is that what we're doing?"
"What do you mean?"
"You and me we're dating?"
"Well what would you call it?"
"I dunno but you know, the word dating it sorta implies that we've you know, gone out on dates. We sorta skipped that part and went straight to being lust bunnies."
She blushes and looks away, composing herself.
"Well maybe we should."
"Date you're right, I think we've skipped a few steps. So maybe we should go back and do the steps we never did."
"So what you want us to like, go out like on an actual date and stuff?"
"Well I yeah, why not?"
"So you're gonna what, pick me up so we can go out to a nice restaurant and then go see 'Le Banquet D'Amelia'?"
She punches me in the arm.
"Angel and I barely made it through that movie without jumping each other; I don't think we could sit through it. Besides which, it's not in theatres anymore."
"So what did you want to do?"
"Well we're slayers why don't we go slaying?"
"You're taking me to a graveyard on our first date? Boy, you sure know how to treat a lady don't you B?"
"Hey give me a break. I'm new at this, how bout The Bronze?"
Hmm, good food, good drink, and good pulse pounding music I could have B begging for it by the end of the night.
"Sure sounds good. When did you wanna do it?"
There's a moment of silence where we both ponder the subtext of what I just said.
"To The Bronze I meant, when do you wanna go to The Bronze? God B, get your mind out of the gutter would ya?"
It's not like I wasn't thinking the same thing, it's just fun to give B a hard time.
"Well unless you had other plans I was kinda thinking we'd go out tonight."
"Well right now all of my long and short term plans involved you, me and this comfy bed of yours."
She laughs and I can't help but laugh with her.
"I think I can squeeze you in."
"Okay then we'll go see Giles later, and then we'll make a quick sweep before we head to The Bronze for our first official date."
She smiles at me.
She looks so happy.
"Sounds like a plan."
She smiles at me again.
She's really happy. I hope I don't do something to screw it up.
Paranoia rears its ugly head
We're together, that's all that matters.
We walk down the street to Giles' place, hand in hand.
What happened last night isn't important, what's important is that we ended up together. I'm not trying to act like last night didn't happen, it did. What she did hurt me in more ways than one. But when she told me she wanted us to be together, everything she said and did became unimportant. All that matters is we ended up together at the end of the night. That's what matters.
She pulls me hand to her lips and kisses my knuckles. I squeeze her hand a little as she does.
You know Faith never really struck me as the kind of person who holds hands, but here we are. She's probably just doing it cause she knows it's what I'd like. Faith does know me really well, more than anyone else anyway. Oh god, what if everything she said this morning was because she knew it's what I wanted to hear? I mean she said it herself last night; she's not the kind of person who falls in love. Why would she say that and then decide the next day that she wants to give us a try? It doesn't make any sense.
What if that's the point? There's no telling what might have gone through her head since she got her memory back. This might just be part of some elaborate plot to screw with my head. She does know how to push my buttons. For all I know this could all be part of the vampire cult's plan. Maybe the mayor introduced her to them while he was still around and they put this all in motion. But then, they couldn't have predicted my putting her in a coma that would've screwed up their whole plan.
I look over at her and I feel horrible.
What the hell am I doing? I'm being paranoid is what I'm doing. What I feel for Faith is real, I know it is. I remember what it was like when Xander cast that spell on the women of Sunnydale; it was empty, like being in a dream. What I feel for Faith is so much more real, and it's more powerful than anything a spell could do. I just hope to hell that she feels the same way. I have to believe she feels at least something. She felt something when she had amnesia, she said so, and even with her memory back, feelings like this just don't disappear. She's just confused, like she said. The important thing is that we ended up together, that's she's willing to give us a chance.
She stops suddenly in the middle of the street.
"So, are you ready?"
Ready ready for what?
"For what ?"
"To go to the meeting..."
She points to the stairs leading up to Giles' place.
I didn't realize we were here.
"Yeah, let's go."
I start to go up the stairs but she grips my hand and stops me.
Before I can react she pulls me to her and kisses me. I take her in my arms and kiss her back as her tongue slips into my mouth. Her hand grabs the back of my neck, pushing our bodies together even harder.
God damn I don't know how I even doubted how she felt; the way she kisses me says it all. It's deep and passionate and filled with desire.
We finally break our kiss and look into each other's eyes.
"Sorry about the surprise, I had to get my Buffy fix before we went in there."
"I've had worse surprises."
"Plus now I got something to think about while you and the Scoobies talk about whatever."
I put my hand against her cheek and she nuzzles it a bit.
"Are you okay with this? Are you okay with us not telling the gang about us?"
"Yeah, yeah sure oops, I got a little lipstick on ya there B."
She uses her thumb to wipe off the smudged make up off my face.
"There, good as new."
I feel her hand slide between my legs and it makes me stand on my tip-toes.
"Look B, I'm okay with our not telling your friends about us. As long as you know that we're gonna have to tell them eventually."
"I know and we "
My hips gyrate as her fingers move between my legs.
We gotta stop this before someone sees us.
I slap her hand away and smile.
"Stop it Faith, someone might see us."
"That was kinda the point B."
"We will tell them eventually as soon as they start to accept you in their lives again, we'll tell them."
I put my hands on her cheeks and plant a quick kiss on her lips.
"Thank you, this means a lot to me."
"Then it must be the right thing."
We smile at each other for a few moments before I break the silence.
"So, are you ready to go in?"
"Sure, let's go."
We start up the stairs.
We walk through the door and everyone looks up for a second before going back to what they were doing.
Well this is going well. Looks like I'm gonna have to be the tension breaker again.
"Hey guys look at what I found."
I smack Faith between the shoulder blades like I was a football jock congratulating her on a great play.
No one reacts.
She looks back at me and sorta happily glares at me.
I suppose it's better than the evil 'I want you dead' looks she used to give me.
She punches me in the shoulder.
"Why don't you let me handle this B?"
Something tells me this might not be a good idea but I don't get a chance to protest.
She starts walking to the middle of the room.
Faith isn't really known for her sensitivity, and right now that's what we need.
"Okay, here we go. I know I messed up royally, not just my life but your lives too. I've done a lot of things, some of which I'm not proud of. Mainly you know, killing a bunch of innocent people who really didn't deserve what I did to them. Not to mention everything I did to you guys, B especially. But there's nothing I can do to change what I did, to any of you, so that's why I'm not gonna apologize for anything."
I'm surprised no one's bothered to interrupt. The only one who looks even sorta mad is Anya, which is weird, the rest of them are just sorta uncomfortably silent. Maybe I should be the one to interrupt.
I walk over next to Faith to stop her.
"Faith maybe you shouldn't "
She stops me.
"It's okay B, this has to be said."
She puts her arm around my shoulders and I'm suddenly wondering what it is that she thinks needs to be said.
"Me and B here, we talked about this. Well we talked about this when I was amnesia girl but we still talked about it, but that's not the point. The point is, I'm not evil and I never was. I just made some bad decisions. But like I said, I'm not gonna apologize cause I was doing the right thing for me at the time and as far as I'm concerned you guys were trying to do the right thing when you tried to help me, but I wasn't ready. I'm ready now though."
I'm not sure whether to be proud of her or be afraid of what she'll say next.
She takes her arm off my shoulders but her hand slides down my back, out of sight of the gang.
"I'm ready to be all the slayer I can be, to help you Scoobies fight the good fight and all that."
Her hand grabs my ass and I manage to stop from jumping before anybody notices.
"I'm not saying I'm gonna become some prissy little good girl like Buffy here but I'm ready to help, as long as you'll let me."
Pride I'm definitely feeling proud of her right now. She's facing her problems because of how I helped her. She never would've done it if we hadn't talked I guess some good did come from her amnesia.
I look over at her for a second.
Not to mention a few other things.
Everyone still looks uncomfortable after everything she's said.
"I know it won't be fun, for any of us. I'm gonna have to earn back your trust and stuff, but I figure as long as I don't try and maim or kill any of you then we'll be five by five."
"That's easier said than done."
"You got a problem babe?"
"Yeah you're gonna get us all killed."
"Oh come on Xander, after everything that Willow was just "
Was Willow talking before we came in? I don't remember hearing anything. Is that why they've been so quiet?
"Hey, if she's got something to say "
Faith goes over to the bar and grabs a stool before bringing it back and taking a seat.
"Let her say it."
I'm sorta frozen the way I am. I'm not sure what to do.
"You're trying to kill us."
"Are you mentally deficient or something? I just got done saying I'm not here to kill anyone."
"Not intentionally anyway..."
Okay time to get involved.
"You stupid bit "
"Faith don't it's okay."
I turn to face Anya.
"Anya, Faith isn't here to hurt anyone."
"But Willow said she was here to kill us all."
"I DID NOT! Buffy I didn't say that."
There's something they aren't telling us.
I grab a stool for myself.
"There's something you're not saying and I think it's time someone other than Anya tried to say it."
"I'm for that, let's hear it."
Anya starts to protest then stops, sitting back in her seat and crosses her arms over her chest.
"Okay now what's going on?"
Giles is the first to speak up.
"Buffy, Willow has done some research on the obsession spell and "
Something is definitely wrong.
"I'm afraid the news isn't good."
"What? What did you find out Willow?"
"Well I from what I've found out this is no ordinary spell. It's not just supposed to go off when the trigger is pulled. It's more than that."
This is starting to freak me out.
"What else does it do?"
"It works through the subconscious."
Through her subconscious?
"We're not sure, but from what we can tell it's supposed to give instructions. It tells her to do and say and think things she might not normally think."
What? So so all this time we've spent together we she didn't mean any of the the
"Oh I get it you didn't bother interrupting cause you don't think I meant a word I said. Nice to know we're working on that whole trust thing."
What if the spell made her feel things for me?
"I don't care what some books says about some stupid spell, I'm in charge of my own life and I make my own decisions."
I look over at her and she's looking back with a look of fear on her face. Her expression quickly changes to anger before turning back to the gang. Giles breaks in again.
"Faith we don't doubt the sincerity of your words. Our difficulty is in the fact that you can not control what this spell might make you do. You could hurt someone, and given that you're living with Buffy we simply feel that "
"You're worried that I'll kill Buffy in her sleep or something."
The only thought I can process is
"Hey it's okay, it's not like I expected them to trust me right away."
"As I was saying a second ago, it's not about trust Faith it's about what the spell is doing to you."
What if the spell is more powerful than that? What if the spell is telling her how to feel too? Then everything she said about about how she
"Look just because Buffy's the trigger doesn't mean I'm gonna kill her."
Everyone looks at us before she finishes her sentence.
Oh god, did she just say that?
"Buffy's the trigger?"
She definitely did say it. What do I do?
"Buffy did you know about this?"
I can't think. What do I say?
"N-No I didn't."
"When did you figure this out Faith?"
"Buffy told me."
How could she say that?
"They were bound to find out sooner or later B. Better they find out from us then read it in one of these damn books."
"How long have you know?"
I look at Giles.
"Does it matter?"
"Course it matters Buff. We need to know how long you've been lying to us."
"Xander. Look Buffy it's not important how long you've known but well, if you had told us earlier I could've had a counter spell ready by now and you know HELPED Faith."
"Right cause we all know helping me and not about protecting Buffy at all."
"There's no telling what she could've done to you. Why didn't you tell us that you suspected?"
"Because I was afraid."
"Afraid? Afraid of what?"
"Of what? Of this of you guys jumping to conclusions about why she's really here, or about how she's going to kill me in my sleep or something. But I guess it didn't stop you from making stupid accusations against her."
"Buffy whether she wants to or not she's going to try and kill you."
Faith decides to speak her mind again.
"Uh, hello. SHE is still in the room here, and if you Scoobies are gonna make a big deal out of all this then maybe I should just move out and stay in my own place."
Move out? Move away from me? Duh, that's the whole point of the moving out idea. I don't want her to move out. I want her to stay with me so we can spend time together and most of all so we can be together.
Giles chimes in with his usual too British to sound happy tone.
"Under the circumstances I think that would be the ideal solution."
No, BAD solution very, very BAD solution.
"No w-what if what if she skips town?"
Good that was a good point.
"I'm not gonna skip town, I didn't last night even though I could've. Besides, if this spell does what they say it does and it's making me want you "
She stops mid-sentence and I panic. She looks me in the eyes and I know she's having the same thoughts I was a second ago.
Finish the sentence, dear god finish the sentence.
" around then I doubt it would let me leave town even if I wanted to."
She's thinking this spell isn't just telling her what to do and say but it's also telling her how to feel about me. Oh god, what is gonna happen? What am I gonna do? What is SHE gonna do? Oh god.
"That seems like a logical conclusion."
What? Do something before everything falls apart. I have to think up a way to get her to stay with me.
"What about the cult boys?"
Good point, go, run with it.
"What if she gets attacked when she's alone? She could get killed."
"Hey I can handle myself."
"What about when we were attacked in the graveyard? We barely got out of that alive, if Spike hadn't been there "
We all have the same thought.
"Shut up Spike."
We go back to our conversation.
"You're forgetting something B. I had no memory when we got attacked; all I had to go on was what you taught me. But with my memory back and everything you taught me, I'm a better slayer than I've ever been. Plus after last night, you and I both know I'm stronger than I've ever been."
Willow breaks in.
"What happened last night?"
I feel my ribs and they're still a little sore.
"Oh well, when B was trying to stop me from leaving town, things got a little physical."
She makes sure to look me in the eyes when she says physical with extra sarcasm on the word.
"Anyway, we got into a fight like most of our arguments end up coming to anyway, and I won. I was stronger, faster, and more powerful. But that isn't the point; the point is if those bastards come at me I'll kill them dead. Even though I don't think they will."
What is she talking about?
"What do you mean? They've done so much to you already."
"Exactly, they've spent so much time doing what they've done to me. I don't see them killing me any time soon."
I've got nothing.
"She's right Buffy."
There's nothing I can do or say to stop her from moving out.
"Okay, okay but if one of us ends up dead I'm gonna have to say I told you so."
I feel like I wanna cry but I hold it back.
"Cool, so B and I will go patrolling to see if we can dust a few cult boys before I pack and stay at a motel."
She's moving out. She's moving out and there's nothing I can do about it.
"Okay? Okay so me and B will go do what we do best, and you egg heads can stay here and dig up dirt on the big evil lurking in this hellish town. Sounds good?"
No one says anything. Faith gets off her stool and comes over to me. She puts her arm around me and I get up as she tries to get me to leave. I can't think straight and I just do what Faith wants.
"Wait, Faith we still have things to "
"We can do it tomorrow, it's not like any of us are going anywhere."
I don't want to leave but my lack of thoughts aren't reaching my legs to make them stop.
"It's not like it's the end of the world."
We leave Giles'.
The rest of the world may not be ending but I feel like mine is crumbling down around me.
Crumbling down around me
We haven't said anything since we left Giles' place a few minutes ago. I'm not sure either of us know what to say. How the hell do you start a conversation like this? I'm not sure I even have the words to talk about this. She's moving out, she's moving out and I know at least part of why she's moving out is because of what the guys said about the spell on her. She doesn't think what's between us is real anymore. But I know it is, I know in my heart it's real. But Faith isn't sure anymore, I could see it when she looked at me. I have to convince her not to move out don't I?
Faith stops in the middle of the sidewalk and looks up and down the street.
"Nothing, I just wanted to make sure no one was following us."
"So I could do this "
She grabs me by the belt and pulls me to her, kissing me as our bodies melt together.
God she's such an incredible kisser, I can't help but kiss back.
I feel her tongue slip into my mouth and it makes me weak in the knees. For a moment I forget everything that
What am I doing? What is she doing? What's going on? I should I should
Her hand brushes against my suddenly erect nipple and I lean into her a little bit.
I have to, to stop this.
I push her away despite my racing heartbeat.
"What are you doing?"
"Um, kissing you?"
"Y-yeah but but why?"
"Cause I figured we'd enjoy ourselves before our date."
Our date? Okay now I'm confused.
"We're still going aren't we?"
What is she talking about?
"Faith! What what about what you said back there, at Giles'?"
"What about it?"
"Faith you you told them you were moving out."
"You were at the same meeting I was, weren't you B? I'm trying to do the right thing, for everyone."
The right thing for everyone? Hearing Faith say she's doing the right thing is kinda a shock.
"Your friends don't trust me staying with you B, so I'm moving out. Isn't that what we good guys are supposed to do? The right thing and all that. This is what you wanted."
"What I wanted?"
"You wanted me to make peace with your friends and you know, make them trust me again."
"But I don't want to move out."
I don't know how to answer that.
"I mean what about all that talk this morning about going back and doing all those things that we didn't do?"
"What about it?"
"Well correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure people who get in involved don't live together first."
"Well I... no I, they don't but "
"Then all the more reason that I should move out. So we can, you know do things right and all that s-stuff."
She keeps stuttering when she tries to talk about us. This isn't really about her doing the right thing. This about me and her.
"Faith is this really about what my friends think?"
"Oh what? Are you gonna shrink me now B?"
"No, what I'm gonna do is tell you what I think you're thinking and then you'll tell me how wrong I am even though you know I'm right and then we're gonna fight about it."
"Well then, why don't we just skip it?"
She starts to walk away but I grab her arm and stop her.
"Faith this isn't about the right thing, this is about us. This is about how you're not sure that we have is real anymore. But it is, I know it is."
I reach out and touch her cheek. She closes her eyes and nuzzles her face into my touch.
"I can feel it when we touch."
I move closer to her, putting my hand on her other cheek and drawing our lips near.
"I can taste it on your lips when we kiss."
She inhales quickly through her nose as I kiss her. It takes her a second but she kisses me back and I feel it.
I love her, and I know by the way she kisses me back that she loves me too, whether she admits it or not.
I close my eyes and savour the feeling of Faith's lips against mine. She breaks our kiss and pushes away. I'm still living in the moment.
I open my eyes to see Faith backing away.
"Don't you see? We're meant to be together. I know you felt it."
"Yes I did."
"But it was fake."
"It was the spell telling me I'm attracted to you, and that I wanted you."
"Faith, I-I know what it's like to be under a love spell and it's not like this."
I get closer to her.
"A love spell is shallow and empty, what we have is deep and passionate, which is real."
"Okay you you've gotta stop with this we stuff. Maybe what you feel is real but as far as I'm concerned anything I might be feeling is all part of some screwed up evil plan to drive me insane."
I-I don't know what to say.
I don't know why I'm angry with her but I need to yell.
"If that's the way you really feel about it then just GO! Go ahead and move out and leave me if you want. Just give up on us before we even start."
"Okay I will. As soon as Red fixes me I'm outta here."
"If that's what you really want."
"I'm gonna blow this pop stand and everyone in it."
"Sounds like a good idea to me."
She turns around and starts to walk away.
I turn around and start to walk the other way.
If she's gonna give up and leave me then I'm not gonna stop her.
I turn around to stop her and freeze.
No, I'm not gonna be pathetic and go running after her, begging her to stay.
I turn and leave.
If we're truly meant to be then we'll be together again. If she really does care about me like I know she does then she'll come back to me.
I suddenly find myself in a graveyard.
Good, I could use a good slay.
Sometimes you gotta take the risk
"So what do we do?"
I look up at the people in the room.
I should be paying more attention but no one's saying anything, and I can't stop thinking about when Buffy and Faith were here. They may have put on a brave front, right up until Faith nearly pushed Buffy out the door, but inside they were scared. I could almost feel it resonating off them. They're worried about what countering the spell will do to them. I don't think either of them realize that they're worried about the same thing. I dunno how this is gonna hurt them but I get the impression this is gonna get worse before it gets better.
"I don't know I mean, it sounds like she means it but how much of what she says is real and how much is fake?"
"Well I bet we'll find out after I counter the spell on Faith."
I guess Willow's my one saving grace. Besides Buffy, Willow's the one person who's trying to really help Faith. She's still angry with Faith but she's willing to put that aside to help Faith. That's something at least.
"How long do you suspect it'll take for you to counter the spell Willow?"
"Well now that I um that we um now that we know what Faith's trigger is it's just a matter of incorporating the trigger into the spell. I should have a way to break the spell by tomorrow."
"All right, with that out of the way perhaps we can concentrate on WHY they did this instead of what Faith will do next."
We look at Xander.
He's still a little iffy about the whole having Faith around thing.
"I mean Faith isn't really the most trust worthy person in the world. Even if Willow can break the spell, are we sure we can trust Faith? For all we know when the spell wears off she could decide that everything she said a few minutes ago was a lie and goes back to her homicidal ways?"
"I suppose that's a risk we shall have to take."
I should say something.
"It's a risk that could get us all killed."
I should do something to calm them down.
"In a worst case scenario perhaps but "
"Even in a best case scenario do you think we can trust Faith?"
Everyone looks at me.
Okay I expected this just just try and explain yourself without stuttering.
"You do what exactly?"
"I I um I believe h-her I mean I I believe w-we can t-trust her."
"Honey, what do you mean?"
Willow takes my hand in hers and I look up at her. She smiles at me but behind it I can see concern in her eyes.
Okay try with a few less stutters this time.
"F-Faith, I think we can trust h-her."
"How does she know that?"
Willow pulls my hand to her chest.
"Tara, are you sure?"
I look her in the eyes.
The concern in her eyes fades slightly.
"Okay, then we can trust Faith not to go psycho on us."
"What? Um, I gotta say I don't think Tara's word is enough to go on."
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with Xander. With all due respect to you Tara, you've had the least amount of contact with her. I can not see how you could know that we can trust Faith."
"I um I know things."
"Perhaps you could elaborate on what it is you know."
"W-Well I um I-I "
Willow steps in to save me from myself.
"Tara's sorta clairvoyant."
It's hard for me to talk to people in general, and it's even harder about myself.
"She looks pretty solid to me."
"Clair-VOIANT Xander, Willow do you mean to tell us that Tara is able to see the future?"
"No it's it's different than that. See Tara can read auras, and doing that gives her an instinct about what people are feeling and thinking. It's sorta like a mix of clairvoyance and telepathy. Does that make any sense?"
"Well if it's true then I suppose it would be something to build on. Never the less I think caution is preferable."
"Yeah, lots of caution."
"Right then, Willow you and Tara work on the counter spell and Xander and I will continue to try and find something on this prophecy. With any luck it might even tell us why this has been done to Faith."
"Yeah that would make our lives easier."
I hope this'll make things better.
Where is she? I had her a second ago. Damn college parties, when will humans learn that getting together, getting drunk and passing out is not real fun.
I shove some drunk moron out of the way to get a better look at the crowd.
There she is my next victim. She hasn't left the party yet, but then again why would she? She lives here at Stevenson; she can go home any time she wants all she needs to do is go up a few floors. Not that she's gonna get the chance.
I feel my belt line to make sure it's still there as I get closer to her.
I can still smell the dried blood on it.
I come up to her and put on my best shy boy face.
"Um, excuse me "
She turns around, her blonde hair nearly hitting me in the face as she spins.
"Um, hi "
I scratch the back of my head like I'm trying to work up the courage to say what I have to say next.
"Um, I'm not really good at this kinda thing so um "
I stick out my hand.
"I'm John, J-John Markette."
She takes my hand and shakes it.
All right you gotta play this cute.
"Okay now, I hadn't really planned beyond this point so um what's your major?"
She laughs at me.
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