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Meant To Be
One: The New World

By Hellmouthguy




"It's me," Buffy said into the phone. She plopped down on the couch in the living room, kicked off her shoes, and put her feet up on the coffee table. The house felt different, without her mother there. It was strange, coming home late without her mother rushing downstairs in her nightgown to greet her, trying to pretend Buffy had just woken her up when it was obvious she'd been up all night worrying, and asking where Buffy had been and if she was okay, and if she wanted her to make some cocoa.

Buffy looked around. The house felt too big.

"Yup, got the Key," Buffy said. "We're okay, bumps and bruises. But there were these new vamps I've never seen before, and even worse, there were like more than a hundred of them. No, Willow put up an energy shield and we were able to get the hell outta dodge. And if it wasn't for Willow you would have been making tea for the next girl, because Faith and I would have been dead. Anyway, I'm tired, I'm just gonna sack out tonight, but I'll bring your car back tomorrow and you can look at the Key and we can hit research mode. Giles, these vamps...they're different. They worry me."

"Well...they look kinda like wolves...yeah. They have like, red eyes and pointy ears and these long noses like snouts...no, they're not werewolves, stop getting all excited. They're definitely vamps. They smell like vamps, and besides, Faith and I managed to stake some of them and stakes work just fine. But they're a lot tougher than regular vamps, faster and stronger. If they're planning on hanging around I need to know everything there is to know about them and I need to know it yesterday. Oh, and they all had these tattoos on their right hand. Looked like a snake like, in a circle? And it was eating its own tail...Will said it was...wait, I know this...an ooga-booga? Maybe an ooga-booga?"

"Oh, yeah, right, that's it, an ouroboros. Nope, sorry, there's nothing else. They look like wolves, they're strong and fast, ooga-booga tattoos, that's about it. Oh, and they're not snappy dressers. Their clothes are all like, ripped up and dirty and smelly? I think maybe K-Mart has a special outlet store where these guys are from. Can you believe one of them was actually wearing overalls with--"

"Faith? No. She's not with me."

Buffy lay in her bed, staring up at the ceiling, and trying to sleep. It wasn't going well.

There were little glow-in-the-dark stars covering the ceiling; Buffy had gone through an amateur scientist geek girl phase when she was eight and the little glow-in-the-dark stars always brought those days back to her. Her Dad had bought her a little telescope, and a chemistry set, and some books on dinosaurs, and the little glow-in-the-dark stars, and she and her Dad had spent an afternoon putting the stars up, in their house in L.A., getting the constellations just right...a long time ago. Before the Slayer...before he left.

When she and her Mom moved to Sunnydale, just after the divorce, Buffy had taken the glow-in-the-dark stars with her, and put them up in her new room, painstakingly getting all the constellations just right...

The stars were stupid, little-girly things. Every time Buffy looked at them she decided they needed to be taken down, and she wondered why she had never gotten around to it before. She thought about taking them down now.

She decided it could wait until tomorrow. She was tired.

She looked at the alarm clock. It was a little past one in the morning. She looked at the window. Moonlight was shining in.

Angelus had come in through that window once, when he was stalking her; he came into her house at night, and Willow's, before Willow found a way to magically revoke his invitations. He came into their houses, and sat by their beds, and drew pictures of them as they slept…

Angelus sat by Buffy's bed one clear, cold night much like this one, and watched her sleep, and drew her picture. Buffy knew he was there.

Buffy was the Slayer: a vampire couldn't enter her room without her knowing. Instantly, his scent had awakened her. But she kept her eyes closed, she didn't stir...and he drew her picture. She listened to herself breathe, and she heard the scratch of the pencil on the paper, and the wind rustling the curtains...

She had just lain there, breathing in his scent. It was a vampire's scent... and, even before he had lost his soul, it always had the same effect on her. At first, for a second, it would raise her hackles. Her first instinct was always to kill him. The Slayer in her wanted to kill him, every time she saw him. Then that instinct would go away, and the Slayer would reluctantly retreat back to her lair, grumbling and snarling...and Buffy would emerge, and know Angel for who and what he was. The man she loved. And then he became Angelus...

She had wondered why she was doing it, that night, even as she did it: why she was just lying there for Angelus, like some helpless, wounded prey...why she was leaving herself vulnerable to him, giving him a chance to kill her.

But when it was finally over...when Angelus was gone, banished to a hell dimension, and Buffy was alone, with the photos in the shoebox...then she knew.

Before Angelus left her, he caressed her cheek. His hands were cold.

But then, his hands had always been cold...whether he was Angelus or Angel, he was a vampire, and his hands were always cold.

Buffy looked up at the glow-in-the-dark stars. She decided she definitely needed to take them down. She would definitely take them down tomorrow.

She couldn't sleep. She looked at the glow-in-the-dark stars.

A few hours later, she got up, showered, and dressed.

She put on sexy lingerie. She knew she was being ridiculous.

She went out, got in Giles' car, and drove to Faith's motel.

Buffy sat in the parking lot, looking at Faith's door. 2-B.

"What am I doing?" Buffy said.

The night was cold, and there were a lot of stars. The car was cold; the heater never had been reliable. The windshield was frosting up. Buffy drew a heart on it, with an arrow through it...or was it a stake?

She wrote Buffy and inside the heart...then she wiped the heart away.

The moon, a thin yellow crescent, hung low in the sky. Buffy looked at it. It looked like a cat's eye.

"What am I doing?" Buffy said, again.

If the moon knew, it wasn't telling.

Buffy got out of the car, and knocked on Faith's door. There was no answer. She knocked again, loud. There was still no answer.

She tried the window. It was closed. It was too cold for even Faith to sleep with the window open. Buffy peeked in. A couple of the slats on the cheap blinds had broken off and through the gap they left she could see the room was empty. Faith wasn't lying in the unmade bed. She wasn't sitting in either of the rickety chairs. The bathroom light was off. For some reason there were about eighty cans of Coke and Sprite in a giant, carefully constructed pyramid in the corner, but Buffy wasn't particularly fazed by that. Faith was just goofy; she always said and did goofy things Buffy didn't understand. It was as if Faith existed at right angles to the world. Buffy had already made her peace with it.

Buffy stomped back to the car, flung the door open, got in and slammed the door behind her as hard as she dared. The car was this little French thing and a Slayer could dent it by looking at it the wrong way. And it had saved their lives tonight. She felt slightly less malice toward it than usual.

She couldn't say the same for Faith.

Life would have been so much easier without her...

"Pain in my ass even when she's not here," Buffy grumbled, and decided to go home. She started the car up, got it in gear, and shut the car off.

"Fuck," Buffy said, and reclined the seat back, and waited in the cold.

"Hey," someone said.

Buffy opened her eyes. The sun was in them. She squinted, and saw Faith sitting next to her in her long leather coat.

Faith put her hand on her shoulder.

"You okay?" Faith said.

"What's that smell?" Buffy said.

"Egg mcmuffins," Faith said, and held up a big McDonald's bag. "What are you doing out here in the car? Is everything okay?"

"Yeah," Buffy said. "I just...wanted to talk to you. You weren't home."

"Uh-huh," Faith said, and looked at her. Faith hadn't taken her hand off her shoulder.

Buffy shrugged out from under it.

"How long have you been here?" Faith said.

"Just got here a few minutes ago," Buffy said. "Guess I'm just tired."

"Uh-huh," Faith said. She took her coat off, and draped it over Buffy.

"What are you doing?" Buffy said.

"It's cold. You're shivering," Faith said. She felt Buffy's forehead. "Well you're not sick at least," she said. She wrapped Evan's coat tightly around Buffy, like a blanket.

"How'd you get in?" Buffy said, not looking back at her.

"Door was unlocked. Tell me you don't have the Key with you. Tell me you didn't bring it out with you and then fall asleep in some unlocked car."

"I told you, I was only here a few minutes," Buffy said. "And the Key's at my place. I gotta go." She started up the car, and started to take Evan's coat off.

"Thought you wanted to talk," Faith said.

"Forget it," Buffy said.

"Buffy," Faith said, and touched Buffy's arm. "You wanna maybe...hang out a little? I got a whole mess of these mcmuffins...you hungry? We could...have breakfast together...y'know, if you want. If you don't mind hanging out with me."

"I never minded hanging out with you, Faith," Buffy said, finally looking at her. "Why do you always do that? Why do you think it's some kind of fucking chore for us all to be around you? So of course you blow us all off. Christ."

"Sorry," Faith said. "I'm just...I don't know."

"How many did you buy?" Buffy said.

"What? Mcmuffins? Eleven," Faith said.


"The Mickey D's has a special going on, they're only ninety-nine cents."

"Why eleven? Why not ten, or a dozen? Why eleven?"

"Why not? Got Coke and Sprite in the room too."

"You just like doing goofy stuff to annoy me, don't you?"

"A little," Faith said, and smiled.

Buffy didn't smile. But she didn't frown as much as she had been either.

"I saw the big Coke pyramid through the window," Buffy said. "Are you gonna bury a tiny little Egyptian inside there?"

"Damn, B, you're on to me. I killed a two-inch tall Egyptian guy and I'm hidin' the body. Just don't tell the cops."

"Knew it."

"It's cold out here, Buffy. Come on, why don't you come inside with me."

Buffy sat, looking straight ahead, straight into the sun.

"Please?" Faith said.

Buffy nodded, and shut the motor off.

"What time is it, anyway?" Buffy said, standing in the middle of Faith's room and yawning, as Faith walked in with a bucket of ice. Buffy still had Faith's coat wrapped around her. The coat smelled like Faith, but there was another scent on it too, that Buffy didn't recognize. But she knew it was a man's scent.

"Got me. Still real early though, the sun just came up maybe an hour ago," Faith said, and dumped the ice out in the bathroom sink. She came back into the room, carefully pulled two cans of Coke and two cans of Sprite from the pyramid, and put them in the ice to chill. "Don't have a clock, remember?"

"Or a maid," Buffy said, looking at the bed.

"Sheets are just gonna get all messy again anyway," Faith said. "I like not having to make the bed. Becca used to get on my ass about keeping my room clean. It's nice, just kickin' back with the messiness." She looked around the room. "Okay, actually, it's pretty lame. But, y'know, if it doesn't involve just a little bit of ass-kickin'? I'm a lazy kitty."

Faith took Buffy's hands and started rubbing them between her own.

"What weirdness are you doing to me now?" Buffy said.

"You're still cold, honey," Faith said. She blew on Buffy's hands, and rubbed them until they were warm again. "Okay, that's better."

"Thanks...for the coat," Buffy said, and took Evan's coat off. "I'm warm enough now. Where's this go?" She looked around the room.

"I don't know, chair, floor, wherever," Faith said.

Buffy shook her head, found the closet, and hung up Evan's coat. Then she started making Faith's bed.

"What are you doing?" Faith said.

"Addressing a joint session of Congress," Buffy said.

"You'd make a hell of a maid, B. We could maybe get you one of those sexy French maid outfits."

"You wish."

Buffy finished making the bed. Faith stood beside her, pulled a quarter from her pocket, and threw it at the bed. The quarter rolled around a little, and lay flat on the blanket.

"Didn't bounce," Faith said. "Think you better make it again."

"I'm gonna bounce you in a minute," Buffy said, and smiled.

"There it is," Faith said, and grinned back at her. "Been lookin' all over for that smile."

Buffy and Faith sat on the bed, and ate egg mcmuffins and drank Sprites.

"These things are greasy and evil," Buffy said. "But damn if they're not tasty. There's a party in my mouth."

Faith raised her eyebrow at her.

"Um, I want that remark stricken from the record," Buffy said.

"Stuff that's bad for you tastes good," Faith said. "It's like a rule. You hear how Will's doin'? She okay?"

"Haven't talked to her since I dropped her off last night, but she should be fine. Will's tough. She's a tough undanceable British music-liking girl."

"Then how come you don't want her backin' you up?"

"I never said I don't want her."

"Don't have to say it, it's all over your face. Xan Man sees it too. And I'm thinkin' he's not real happy about you feeling that way either."

"I just...worry. It's my job...okay, our job to do this stuff, not theirs. I'm supposed to protect my friends, not get them in deeper."

"Yeah? And what if we want to protect you too?" Faith said, and squeezed Buffy's hand.

"Giles wants to see us today," Buffy said. "He's planning on getting researchy and British about those vamps and the Key. Even though we have the Key we still have like a hundred of those new wolf vamp guys to worry about. I don't think we're out of the woods on this yet."

"Some big damn woods. I got no idea how we're supposed to go at those guys. There's just too many. Unless we can figure a way to pick 'em off a few at a time I don't know what the hell we can do."

"Giles will figure something out. He always does. He'll need to read a lot of old books made out of human skin and frown and bitch about computers and Americans and drink a certain amount of tea first. Plus he'll wipe his glasses at us a lot. But he'll come up with something we can use eventually."

"Yeah, the G-Man's pretty cool."

"You still have that goofy crush on him?"

"Wasn't a crush. Just thought, y'know, he's cute."

"Maybe I'll tell him. Just to see how British he gets about it. I wonder if like, his head would explode."

"You better not tell him."

"I'm so gonna tell him. I'm gonna be all, 'Hey Giles, Faith wants to get busy with you. She wants to be your strumpet. She wants to do totally improper things with you and completely be tarty.' He'll be all like, wiping his glasses..."
"You so better not tell him."

"I'm totally telling him. I'm gonna tell him you wanna be his Spice Girl."

"You tell him and it's on like Donkey Kong."

"What does that mean and why does everyone keep saying it?" Buffy said.

"No idea," Faith said.

"Giles is pretty cool," Buffy said. "I just never let him know that though."

"I bet you think he's cute too," Faith said. "You're acting all innocent about it but..."

"Okay, gross," Buffy said, and giggled. "I can't think of Giles that way. He's like...he's Giles. He's all...I can't think of him that way."

"Kinda like a Dad."

"I guess...yeah. It's...weird and embarrassing but...I mean, ever since my Dad took off...I just...like having Giles around. I guess...he is kinda like a Dad to me. He's there. The thing about a Dad is...they're supposed to be there. They're supposed to hang in. They're not supposed to quit."

"Yeah," Faith said, and wondered who her father was. She had never even met him.

"Tell Giles I said any of this and it's on like Donkey Kong," Buffy said.

"It's cool, B. I get it. I had the same kinda thing with Becca. We were real close, Becca and me, y'know? She was like my Mom. She was the best Mom any girl could ever ask for."

"What was she like?"

"She was a little over forty, British, tall and blonde and pretty, with pretty blue eyes. She kinda always reminded me of Princess Di for some reason. She had kind of a...it was how she carried herself, I think. Strong, but like, not looking down on people. She found me and took me in when I was a potential, and I was with her almost a year after that. I was living on the street when she found me...I, uh, took off from my Mom's place when I was fifteen."

Buffy rubbed Faith's shoulder. Faith smiled.

"Becca saved my life, that first day," Faith said. "Saved me from four vamps."

"Wow. She took on four vamps?"
"Hell yeah, B. Becca was hardcore. Fifth degree aikido black belt, remember? She took me in, trained me--weights, running, aikido, boxing, street fighting, weapons. Every day, serious workouts. But we hung out too. We were in this cool townhouse in the rich part of Boston, and it was just me and her in this big old house. So we hung out. And I could talk to her about stuff. She was funny, and smart as hell, and she sure didn't take any crap either. She said jump and I'd be like, 'Hey, sure Becca, and how high would you like me to jump today?'"

"You're like Giles' fantasy of the perfect Slayer," Buffy said, and laughed. "Giles would kill to have you. Kill to have you."

"Nah, you're his girl, B, not me. So like, you don't train at all?"

"I do, sometimes, but...I guess I just like making his life difficult. So just how British was Rebecca anyway? Was she Giles-level British? Was she British with a side-order of British and don't skimp on the British?"

"Yeah, but she had a different vibe than the G-Man. G-Man's all...know what it is? It's like the difference between Moms and Dads I think. Giles treats you the way a Dad treats his daughter. Becca treated me like, the way a Mom treats her daughter, y'know? Like, Giles lets you slide on stuff sometimes, but..."

"Yeah, I get that. Moms are stricter with girls than Dads are. Moms don't take crap from girls. My Mom sure doesn't anyway. If I was a guy Giles would probably be all kickin' my ass. He'd be all, 'Get back here and drop and give me twenty young man. And where's your tweed suit? Get that damn tweed suit on.'"

"Yeah, right? And Becca definitely didn't take shit from me. But I never dealt her much shit either. I liked her. We talked a lot...about history and stuff... about life, really. About whatever I wanted. She told me stories about Slayers and stuff...even told me about you."

"Wait, she knew about me?"

"Sure. When I was a potential she told me all about Slayers. I never really thought I'd end up being one, but...so yeah, she told me about you."

"What'd she say?"

"She said you were a resourceful fighter."

"Resourceful. That's it?"

"And you saved the world. She compared you to George Washington rallying the troops during the American Revolution once."

"Hey, really?" Buffy said, looking pleased with herself. "Cool. Maybe I can go ride around on a horse and be all, four score and seven years ago, when I kicked ass on all these vampires..."

"Washington didn't say that," Faith said. "It was Lincoln. Gettysburg Address. And hey, Becca calling you resourceful? Trust me B, that's high praise. Becca calls you resourceful, take it to the bank, baby. She never blew smoke. She gave a compliment, you knew you earned it. So yeah, anyway, like, we'd hang out. I liked her, I liked being around her. She took me places, movies and museums and ball games and stuff. She taught me about history and art and philosophy, got me into reading books, even gave me piano lessons. And she used to love going to ball games. We'd go to Celts games? And she'd be like, 'Yes! Capital slam dunk, Mr. Bias! In your face, Michael Jordan!'" Faith did a very good impression of Rebecca's English accent as she said that. They both laughed, and took another egg mcmuffin each. There were three left now.

"I always suspected you were secretly British," Buffy said. "I knew there had to be some reason you're all weirdly into Giles. I bet you like crumpets. I bet if McDonald's had like, ninety-nine cent crumpets you'd buy eleven of them."

"Scones," Faith said. "I dig scones."

"What's a scone? Giles mentions them sometimes. He says you can't find good ones in California."

"Biscuity kinda thing with a filling. Sunday mornings Becca and I drove out to a bakery she knew that was run by this old Scottish guy. I never understood a word he said but he could cook his butt off. We'd get scones and brownies and donuts and stuff. We did just a real quick workout on Sundays and then we'd rent movies after and eat pastry and just kinda pig out all day in front of the VCR."

Rebecca sounds like a really great lady."

"Yeah. Becca always...she always knew just what to say, just what to do, in every situation, y'know?" Faith said. "She was one of those people...one of those people who's just calm and in charge all the time, and you follow them, because you want to. You just always know everything's gonna be okay when you're with them."

"I'm sorry I won't get to meet her."

"Yeah. She was real special."

"And then one day you became the Slayer. I bet she was just like, the proudest Mom in the world."

"Actually...that was a weird night. I came home, y'know, once I found out I was all super-strong..."

"How'd that happen? How'd you find out?"

"Tossed some asshole over the bar at this club I was at."

"That works."

"Yeah so, I come home, it's like past midnight, Becca's asleep, and I run into her room and wake her up screaming about how I'm the Slayer. You know, she's chillin', catchin' some winks and suddenly this crazy girl is all in her face jumping up and down like, I'm the Slayer! I'm the Slayer! I bet she was probably all thinking, 'Damn, girl, can't you see I'm relaxin' here? What is it with you crazy American chicks?'"

"Yeah," Buffy said, and laughed. "I get that vibe from Giles about every thirty seconds."

"But y'know, Becca's all cool and British about it, upper lip all stiff, and we go up to the gym and bang, I'm benching like eight-hundred pounds. So Becca's like, damn, yup, okay, guess you're the Slayer. Becca poured us some champagne after that, and we drank a little, had a toast. Anyway, fast-forward a couple hours, I'm in bed, I'm asleep, and suddenly I hear a scream. I run upstairs...and I see Becca crying."


"She was worried about me. Turns out she didn't want me to be the Slayer...because Slayers don't live so long. She told me she just...wanted me to grow up and be happy. She didn't want me to have to deal with all the stuff you and me gotta deal with. She was crying because she didn't want me to ever die."

"Rebecca was frigging awesome," Buffy said.

Faith nodded. Buffy could see Faith had tears in her eyes now. She took Faith's hand.

"Yeah," Faith said, and smiled, and wiped her tears away. "I really lucked out, running into her. From what Becca told me about the Watchers, they're not all on the ball, y'know?"

"Giles says that too. He says there are a lot of berks in the Watchers."

"What's a berk?"

"British word for dumbass. Of course they can't just say 'dumbass'. That would be too easy. They have to British everything up."

"Shit. How many crazy-ass expressions do British people have anyway? Becca always said crazy stuff like that too. Becca's all like 'Bob's your uncle'. I'm like, 'He is? Who's this Bob guy?'"

"Yeah," Buffy said, laughing. "Giles said that to me once. I made him promise never to say it again. I think British people keep making up new crazy stuff to say just to annoy Americans. I wonder if Rebecca would have liked me. You think she would have liked me?"

"I think it would have been fun to watch you trying to get out of training. She'd be like, okay, time for aikido and you'd be like..."

"Sorry, heading out to the Bronze, don't wait up!" Buffy said, and giggled. "Bob's my uncle!"

"Yeah," Faith said, and laughed. "Like, immovable object? Meet irresistible force."

"Which one am I?"

"Immovable object. But I'm thinkin' Becca would have moved you. I mean like, you give her too much shit? And then bang, here comes the tone."

"The tone?"

"When she wanted to make sure I knew it was her way or the highway? Her voice got this tone. She never had to use it on me much, but whenever she did I was just all standing at attention, baby," Faith said, and smiled. "Would've been fun to watch, you and her."

"I can be pretty immovable, you know," Buffy said. "I can be Stonehenge immovable when I wanna be."

"Yeah, I've been pickin' up on that."

"She really taught you how to play piano? Seriously?"

"Well, I'm not too good, but yeah. I let her give me piano lessons."

"I would never in a billion years let Giles give me piano lessons."

"Becca just...I mean she wouldn't nag or anything, y'know? It's just...she always gave me the feeling like she knew I could do so much stuff...stuff I never thought I could do. But she always just knew I could do it, like there was never a doubt in her mind. She always told me I was smart when I thought I was dumb. The only time she ever got pissed at me was this one time I said I was dumb."

"You're not dumb, baby," Buffy said.

"And like, books and museums, art and philosophy and stuff," Faith said. "Even piano lessons...it's like she just knew I could be a lot more than I was. She told me once I could do anything I wanted to do. She just..."

Faith's face crumpled up; tears started running down her cheeks.

"Hey, hey..." Buffy said, and hugged her. "Faith? It's okay."

"Would she have..." Faith said, and sniffled, and tried to wipe her tears away. 'Would she have liked...liked you? Yeah...yeah. She would've...she would've liked you. She would've liked you a lot better than me. You wouldn't have let her die. You wouldn't have..." Faith started crying. "You wouldn't have."

"It wasn't your fault," Buffy said. "You know that. It wasn't. It wasn't."

Faith's shoulders started heaving. Buffy brought her closer. "You wouldn't have let her die, Buffy," Faith said. "You wouldn't have screwed up like I did! You wouldn't have let her die!"

"Faith...it wasn't your fault, baby," Buffy said, and stroked her hair. "There were...how many vamps did Kakistos have with him?"

"Him and Trick got there with eighteen," Faith said. "I wasn't there. I was, was a little angry with Becca 'cuz...there was this vamp the night before that Becca took me out to dust? A girl vamp, had, had a boyfriend who was a vamp too. Dusted the guy and, and then the girl came out and we fought and...she was... she was so sad when I killed her boyfriend. I didn't know vamps could be sad, y'know?" Faith said, and sniffled some more, and tried to wipe her tears away. "I didn't know vamps could like, love someone. I dusted the vamp...her name was Emily. I felt kinda bad about it and...Becca wanted me to come with her to the restaurant the next day but I didn't, I wouldn't go...I went out with Evan instead and Becca and her boyfriend were up against Kakistos and Trick and eighteen vamps by themselves. By the time I got there thirteen vamps were left, and everyone in the restaurant was dead and Becca...Becca was..."

Faith started to tremble. She breathed in quick little gasps, and she made a little wailing sound every time she exhaled.

"It's okay, baby..." Buffy said, and brought Faith's head to her bosom.

"I showed up, 'cuz I felt bad, I didn't like feeling angry with Becca but I wasn't in time," Faith said. "I wasn't there and he...I wasn't there, y'know? I wasn't there when they started and...Becca was naked on the floor...she was naked on the floor. Kakistos had her naked on the floor and he..."

And then Buffy knew. She finally knew what really happened that night... what happened to Rebecca.

Buffy felt a tear run down her cheek.

Faith's wailing got louder. Her nose began to run, and she was shaking all over now, like little earthquakes were going off inside her.

"Kakistos...he was too strong," Faith said. "I managed to, to, take out his guys but...but when I tried to stake him, he just shrugged it off, and...he kicked me out the window and...I ran back up but...Becca was..."

Faith was curled up into a little ball now, and she clutched at Buffy, held onto her with all the strength she had, strength enough to break bones. Buffy held her to her bosom, and rocked her. Tears ran down Faith's cheeks, and made Buffy's shirt damp. Faith's nose ran down over her lips and off her chin, and stuck to Buffy's hair. Buffy caressed her cheek.

"Kakistos, he, he had her naked and he, um...he...he..." Faith said...

Buffy was crying now, too.

"He raped her," Faith said, her voice breaking. "He raped her and he killed her."

Faith screamed.

Faith took in big, rasping lungfuls of air now, and screamed every time she exhaled...she screamed as Buffy held her to her bosom and rocked her.

"I'm sorry, baby," Buffy said, as she cried. "I'm so sorry, baby..."

"I loved her, Buffy," Faith said. "I loved her and she's dead because I wasn't good enough! She's dead because I wasn't good enough and it's all my fault!"

"No, baby. No," Buffy said, and held her tighter. "It's not your fault."

"It's my fault, my fault, she's gone and it's my fault..." Faith said, shaking her head back and forth as she repeated it.

"No, baby," Buffy said.

"I loved her, Buffy."

"I know, baby. I know you loved her."

"I'm always cold now. I'm always, I'm always out in the cold...it came in Buffy, it came in, it came in, and it won't leave! I'm alone in the cold, all the time...I'm all alone..."

"You're not alone. I'm right here for you, baby," Buffy said. "I'll always be right here."

"I'm cold," Faith whispered, as she wailed, and cried, and trembled...as she desperately clutched at Buffy, afraid to let go...afraid of the cold. Afraid she would always be cold.

"I'm gonna keep you warm, baby," Buffy said.

And Buffy held Faith tight as she cried, and kept her warm...




"Six bucks for a large?" Faith mumbled.

Buffy opened her eyes. She was lying in bed. But it wasn't her bed. She was confused for a moment. The bed, the whole room, smelled like Faith.

Then she remembered. She was in Faith's motel room. She looked around. The sun was shining in; she wondered what time it was. She looked to her right, and saw the goofy giant pyramid of Coke and Sprite cans. She looked up, and saw the appalling orange and black painting on the wall. She looked to her left, and saw the photo of Gwendolyn on the nightstand.

She looked down, and saw Faith curled up asleep in a little ball against her, curled up in her arms with her head resting against her bosom.

Buffy ran her fingers through Faith's hair.

"Bring my own damn food in," Faith mumbled, into Buffy's blouse.

"What?" Buffy said.

Faith didn't answer. She was snoring very softly.

"You're asleep, aren't you?" Buffy said.

"Peanut M&M's," Faith mumbled.

Buffy smiled. Faith was just goofy; she always said and did goofy things Buffy didn't understand. It was as if Faith existed at right angles to the world.

Buffy had already made her peace with it.

She went back to sleep.

When Buffy woke up again, Faith was looking into her eyes.

"You got egg mcmuffin breath," Faith said.

"Like you don't?" Buffy said. "What time is it?"

"Remember about how I don't have a clock? But judging from the sun out there it's still early."

Buffy yawned. "Still tired," she said.

"Yeah, me too," Faith said, and yawned. "Need more sackin' out time. How come when one person yawns it makes you wanna yawn?"

"I don't know about everyone else in the world but I think you're doing it 'cuz you wanna be just like me 'cuz I'm great," Buffy said.

"Gotta be it," Faith said. "I need to get outta these clothes. Hard to sleep wearing this stuff." She sat up, and took off her clothes, stripping down to her underwear and socks. She got back into bed, back under the covers. But she kept her distance from Buffy; she didn't curl up against her. "This weird for you? Want me to throw on a nightgown?"

"It's okay. Seen it anyway."

"You flirting with me, girlfriend? Gonna maybe try to kiss me?"

"You wish."

"You wanna kiss me," Faith said. "You so wanna kiss me. You'd pay a million bucks to kiss me. You'd kick Brad Pitt's ass to the curb to kiss me."

"Shut up," Buffy said, and giggled.

"B...thanks for...thanks for being here," Faith said.

"You're my friend, Faith. It's what friends do," Buffy said.

They lay together on the bed, on their backs, separate from each other.

"Can you get to sleep like that?" Buffy said.

"Nope," Faith said.

"Do you want me to be Buffy the pillow?" Buffy said.

"Yeah," Faith said.

"C'mere, baby," Buffy said.

Buffy took Faith's hand, and brought her head to her bosom. She put her arms around her, and stroked her hair, and Faith snuggled up against her.

"Could you...maybe, uh...take your top off?" Faith said. "It's just...the pillows are better without a pillowcase."

"Sure," Buffy said, and smiled, and sat up and took off her blouse. "Might as well take the rest off too, easier to sleep without all this stuff on. Just don't get any ideas, pervo."

"No guarantees," Faith said.

Buffy took off her skirt and kicked off her shoes, and sat up in the bed, in her bra and panties, and looked down at Faith. Buffy thought she should feel awkward about being with Faith like this, after everything that had happened recently...but she didn't. She felt just right.

"Sexy," Faith said. Faith's eyes were on Buffy, from the top of Buffy's head all the way down to her toes, as Buffy looked back at her...

Faith wanted to kiss her. She made herself think about Evan. But he seemed so far away now...like he didn't exist anymore.

"Can you undo my bra in back?" Buffy said.

Faith unhooked Buffy's bra. It was black and frilly and semi-transparent, with little lace roses; it was a sexy, slinky little trifle. Buffy looked good in it.

Buffy slid the bra off, and Faith suddenly jumped off the bed, and knelt down in front of her.

Faith was kneeling between Buffy's legs, kneeling at her feet.

You look good there, Faith remembered Buffy saying to Trick.

Faith hadn't meant to jump off the bed. She knew the Slayer had done it...that the Slayer wanted to get out. She was like a lion in a cage and she was pacing back and forth and growling behind the bars inside Faith's head now. Faith tried to keep her locked in. She tried to think about Evan.

Faith looked up at Buffy. Buffy looked down at her.

Do I look good here? Faith wanted to say.

Buffy's scent was sweet. Faith made herself think about Evan's scent instead. She liked Evan's scent...she just didn't like it as much as Buffy's.

"Um," Buffy said. "Remember the rules? Remember rule number two?"

"Curious about the lingerie," Faith said. "Wanted a closer look." Buffy's panties were the same frilly, black, semi-transparent stuff as the bra. Faith could see the shadowy hint of Buffy's pubic hair. "How come you wore this stuff?"

Buffy had bought the lingerie the month before...to wear for Faith. She had never gotten a chance to.

"I don't know...first thing I pulled out of the drawer, I guess," Buffy said.

"Looks real pretty," Faith said.

"Thanks," Buffy said.

Faith knew she should be getting back on the bed. She didn't move.

Buffy was a little nervous...Faith could smell it.

Buffy sat on the edge of the bed, with her legs spread slightly apart.

Buffy opened her legs a little more.

Faith knew it was up to her, now. She knew Buffy was leaving it up to her.

Faith wanted to...

"Who's Evan?" Buffy said.

Saved by the bell, Faith thought. She climbed back onto the bed. They got back under the covers, and Buffy brought Faith's head back to her breasts, and put her arms around her. Faith snuggled up against her.

"How's that, baby?" Buffy said.

"Perfect, lover," Faith said.

"So you gonna tell me about this Evan guy?"

"My guy in Boston. He was the only guy who...the only guy who ever really talked to me. The only one who treated me like I wasn't just two holes. He DJ'ed at this dance club I liked. He made me laugh, and he was nice to me. Plus he was a complete fox too."

"Always an admirable trait in a guy."

"Yeah. He was about 6'1", longish dark hair, kinda neat, good dresser. Real like, pretty face? Big brown eyes. Good lean body."


"To die for."

"Another admirable trait."

"God I could just...mmmm, I could just squeeze that thing all damn day."

They laughed.

"Did you guys ever...y'know...I mean...how far did you go?" Buffy said.

"We were just friends for a long time," Faith said. "I liked it that way. Been burned a lot by guys, y'know? And then the day we both knew we wanted to take it to the next level also just happened to be the day Kakistos decided to send his guys to be all chasin' us around and shooting at us. So, we didn't get to do anything...never even went on a date. But we told each other we love each other. We kissed. Then...I left."

"Sorry. That's really rough."

"Yeah. K was onto me, I knew Ev would be dead if I stayed with him. But K's guys didn't get a good look at Ev, so I figured he'd be safe as long as I took off. So I came out here to warn you and lead K away from Boston."

"You gonna go back to Evan?"


"But Kakistos and Trick are dead. Why not go see Evan? I mean...if you love him...if you...don't want to stay with...stay in Sunnydale."

"I wanna see him, but...we're Slayers, B. It's too dangerous. Like, what you said about Will? That's how I am about Ev. I can't...I can't let him be a part of this. I can't ever risk him being hurt."

"Does he know about you? About how you're a Slayer?"

"Yeah, I told him when I took off. Figured he had a right to know."

"He believe you?"

"Yeah. He knows I wouldn't lie to him."

"You're the one who told me I worry too much about Will and Xander."

"They're different, they know the score. And hey, in case you weren't paying attention? Will's stronger than the both of us put together. She ever went bad, you really think there's jack shit we could do against energy shields and lightning bolts? And Xan Man, okay, he's basically a civilian but he's logged a lot of hours, he doesn't freak out about all this stuff. You ever taught him how to fight he'd be better off, but still. But Evan...I just couldn't ever risk it."

"Yeah, I get where you're coming from. So like, are you in the market for a new guy or what?"

"No. I don't want any other guys."

"But you said you weren't seeing him again."

"I know."

"So what, you're gonna become a nun?"

"I don't know. I don't know...what I'm gonna do. I'll just...take it as it comes I guess. Figure it out as I go."

"Can I help? Will you let me be your friend and help?"

"Yeah. I'd like that. Will and Xander too."

"You're warm, Faith," Buffy said, and caressed her cheek. "You're not cold, baby. You're warm."

"When I'm with you," Faith said.

They fell asleep again.

The phone rang. Faith woke up.

She was lying curled up against Buffy's breasts. Buffy was asleep. Faith felt Buffy's heart beating, strong and steady beneath her.

She grabbed the phone from the nightstand before it could ring again.

"Hello?" Faith said, softly. She wondered what time it was. She looked at the window. The sun was low.

"Hey, Will...yeah, I'm good. How you doin'? Still feelin' all...?"

"Nah, you're fun when you're high. Bet you'd be a real trip if you ever smoked some weed. Okay, you're shitting me. No way. No way! Damn. You're just full of surprises, girl. No, actually...I never did. Go figure, huh?"

"Don't need to worry," Faith said, and looked down at Buffy, and touched her cheek. She watched Buffy's breasts moving, as she breathed. Her breasts were a little smaller than Faith's, but they were nicely shaped, and they were the perfect size, Faith knew, for cupping in her hands. Buffy's nipples and areolas were small too, and very light pink in color. Her torso was short; Buffy's height came from her long legs instead. Her stomach was flat as a board and her skin was soft and very pale, the color of cream. She had a mole near her belly button, and there was a fine layer of tiny, almost imperceptible blonde hairs dotting her lower abdomen. Faith couldn't see them right now, but she knew they were there; she'd had plenty of close-up views before. Buffy's nipples were erect now, for some reason; they were long when they were erect, like erasers. Buffy turned over on her side in her sleep, toward Faith. Faith put her arm around her, and brought Buffy's head down to rest on her breasts, and pulled the blanket over her. "She's here with me. Yeah, she's fine, she's just, uh, taking a nap right now. She was real beat when she got here. Yeah, car's here too, you can tell G-Man to chill. You guys tell him about the big-ass dents in the fender yet?"

"Yeah," Faith said, and laughed softly. "Might be a good idea to let Buffy break the news. She's his favorite. But hey, the thing still drives. Not like it was winning any style awards anyway."

"Okay, yeah, we'll meet you at G-Man's place. The Bronze? Sure, sounds like a party. Yup. See ya."

Buffy threw her arms around Faith, and cuddled up tighter against her. Faith held her, and just looked at her...just watched her sleep.

Fifteen minutes later, Faith woke her up.

"Hey, beautiful," Faith said, and kissed her cheek. "Rise and shine."

"Mmmm...whuzzz...wha...?" Buffy said, and rolled over.

"Time to wake up, honey," Faith whispered in her ear.

Buffy shook her head.

"C'mon honey, be a good girl for me," Faith said.

Buffy opened her eyes, and rolled over again, and looked up at Faith.

"I dreamt...someone called me beautiful," Buffy said.

"Uh...cool dream," Faith said, only just realizing what she had said. "Was he hot?"

"Mmm...not sure?" Buffy said, and leaned her head against Faith's breasts again. "Think so. Mmm. Pillows. I like pillows too, y'know. Take this thing off," she murmured, and clumsily unhooked Faith's bra. "Want pillows."

"But we gotta wake up, honey."


"Okay, a little longer," Faith said, and took her bra off.

Buffy kissed each of Faith's nipples, and rested her head on her breasts, and went back to sleep.

"Okay, honey, now we really gotta wake up," Buffy heard Faith saying.

Buffy opened her eyes.

"You have bigger pillows than me," Buffy said, looking down at Faith's breasts under her cheek.

"Just a little bigger," Faith said. "Yours are just as nice."

"So why we gotta wake up?'

"Will called, G-Man wants us at his place. Y'know, like planning and research and stuff. And Will and Xander want us to go to the Bronze afterwards."

"We can do all that later," Buffy said, and pulled Faith toward her and snuggled up against her breasts again like a lazy cat. She ran her feet up and down Faith's ankles under the covers.

"It is later, honey," Faith said. "We're runnin' late."

Buffy rolled over and looked at the window. The sun was very low; it would be setting soon. "When did that happen?" she said.

"We've been sackin' out a long time. Will called awhile ago. We're supposed to be at G-Man's place around now."

"They tell him about the car?"

"Leavin' that to you."


"Hey. Uh...so what did you want to talk to me about anyway?"

"What?" Buffy said, and kissed Faith's nipples.

"What are you doing?" Faith said, and smiled. You bein' some kinda pervo?"

"Doesn't count," Buffy said. "Boob kissing doesn't count."

"It doesn't?" Faith said. "Sure feels like it counts."

"Only sucking on them counts. If there's no tongue action I'm not being a pervo. And I'm like only a quarter awake so for all I know I'm dreaming all this. Leave me alone."

"Uh-huh," Faith said, and kissed her.

"What was that for?" Buffy said.

"What was what for?"

"Hello? You just kissed me."

"Me? No I didn't. You dreamed it."

"Sure, pervo," Buffy said, giggling, and sat up, and stretched, and yawned.

"Hey," Faith said, and took her hand, and brought her back down to her. "Wait up. So what did you want to talk about? Y'know, when I found you in the car? You said you wanted to talk to me."

Buffy stopped smiling.

"Yeah...I just...forget it," Buffy said.

"C'mon B, you can tell me," Faith said. "What's up?"

"I just..." Buffy said, and rolled over on the bed, and looked away from her. "I was gonna ask you to stay with me again. To come move into my place. My Mom still wants you to, and...but you're just gonna say no and I don't want to fight so how about we just drop it, okay?"

"How long were you waiting in the car before I found you?"

"What? Why?"

"Just curious."

"Ten minutes maybe."

Faith turned Buffy over, so she could look at her.

"You're a lousy liar, B," Faith said.

"Fine. You want to embarrass me? Is that what this is about? I was there since 4:30 in the morning, okay?" Buffy said, and sat up. "I sat in the cold for like three hours waiting for you. Okay? Are you fucking happy now?"

"Hey," Faith said, and pulled her back down toward her again. But Buffy wouldn't look at her.

"How come you won't look at me, honey?" Faith said.

Buffy shook her head, and looked away.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to embarrass you. You're just...important to me, Buffy, that's all," Faith said. "I really...care about you a lot, y'know? I guess...I don't know, maybe I just wanted to know that...you care about me. If you...care about me like how I care about you? Does that make any--"

"You think I don't care?" Buffy shouted, and sat back up, and looked right at her. "How can you even say that?! How can you say I don't, I don't care about you when...when you're in this place and..."

Buffy's lips started trembling, and there were tears in her eyes.

"And...and all I do is worry?!" Buffy shouted. "How can you say I don't care when all I do is worry about you?! You're in this stupid shitty place and I think about you all the time and, and I don't know if..."

Buffy started to cry. Faith pulled her back down toward her again, and wiped the tears from her eyes.

"I'm afraid of what might happen to you and, and I don't know if you even have enough money to stay here! Or for food! And, and..." Buffy said...

Faith kissed her.

And, before Buffy could say anything else, Faith kissed her again...

She moved on top of Buffy, and kissed her a third time, and caressed her hair...and then she kissed Buffy's tears, kissed each one as it came, until they were gone.

"What are you doing now?" Buffy said, and sniffled, and managed a smile. "What weirdness are you doing to me now?"

"Got more kisses than you got tears," Faith said.

"There was tongue action."

"I'll stay with you. Okay?"

"You will? You mean it? You'll stay?"

"Yeah. Look, I don't know how we're gonna work it and there might be some rough patches or whatever but...yeah. I'll stay with you. When do you want me to move in?"



"There's a lot of leftover meat loaf. I just...needed someone to eat all the meat loaf, that's all. This was all just a big meat loaf thing."

"I'll eat the meat loaf."

Faith lay on top of her, and caressed her hair, and they looked in each other's eyes. Their breasts were touching. They felt their hearts beating together.

"I was just...I was worried about you," Buffy said. "I know we had that big fight last time I asked but...I've been worried. I don't want you here. I just want to know you've got food and...you're someplace warm and...you're not all alone. I don't want you to be alone. I'll just feel better if you're with me."

"Yeah. I get that now," Faith said. "It's just...I guess...I got a lot of pride, y'know? And it's hard getting past it sometimes. My pride kept me alive, back when I was on the street. And back on the street it always seemed like, no one does for you without you doin' for them. And...I don't like pity. I don't like feeling like people are pitying me. There's a difference between caring about someone and pitying them, B. One I want from you. The other I don't."

"I care about you," Buffy said.

"Yeah," Faith said, and hugged her. "You keep me warm."

"I'm sorry, Faith," Buffy said. "About before. The fight in the mall, when I called you a thief. I didn't mean that."

"I know. Ancient history. I was never angry at you about that anyway, that was all my fault."

"Do you still want to...patrol separately from me? I don't...I don't think that's a good idea. I think we should stay together."

Faith sat up.

"Buffy...I'm sorry about that too," Faith said. "I didn't want to shut you out. It's just...with you leaving...I guess I was trying to make it easier on myself."

"Leaving?" Buffy said. "What are you talking about?"

"How you're goin' away to school out of state and...y'know...I guess... how I'll be taking over as the Slayer here. It's okay, Buffy. I get it...you got a big future ahead of you. You get good grades, you're graduating soon, college is coming up...I understand, y'know? I'll be okay with it."

"Oh, my God," Buffy said, and sat up, and looked at her. "That's what it was. That's why...that's why you acted like..."

Buffy caressed her cheek.

"You thought I was leaving," Buffy said. "You saw those stupid fucking college brochures, didn't you?"

Faith nodded.

"Oh, God...!" Buffy said, and took Faith in her arms, and hugged her. "Oh God, I almost lost you over...over a misunderstanding! Thanks, Mom." Buffy started to giggle. "Faith, you total goofball! Why didn't you tell me? Why couldn't you just talk to me?!"

"What...what do you mean?" Faith said.

"I'm not leaving!" Buffy shouted, laughing now, and kissing Faith over and over, covering her whole face with kisses. "I was never leaving! I'm not going to school out of state, I'm staying right here after graduation!"

"You're...staying...?" Faith said.

"Baby, I only filled those applications out for all those schools to get my Mom off my back. I never intended to go to any of those places. I decided awhile back that I'm going to UC Sunnydale. I'm staying here, with you."

"But...your Mom...I heard her saying that...you could go away to school, and maybe I could stay in Sunnydale and like, be the Slayer here."

"Heard that, huh? And I bet you heard me sounding like I was agreeing with her too, right? That time you were over for dinner and my Mom and I were talking about it."

Faith nodded again.

Buffy put her hands on Faith's shoulders, and looked her in the eyes, and smiled. "Oh God, baby...look," Buffy said. "My Mom, she worries about me, okay? She wants me to be career girl. She's my Mom, y'know? So I like, humor her sometimes because it's easier than having her nagging me about stuff forever. I always knew she and I would have to have the talk about how she thinks I should be going to like, Columbia or whatever and how UC Sunnydale isn't a good enough school, but I kinda wanted to put that talk off for as long as possible, so I just went along with what she was saying and filled out the applications for those schools but I already knew I'm going to be staying here."

"Maybe you shouldn't," Faith said. "I mean...I'd love it if you were here with me but Joyce is right. You're smart, Buffy, you've got your whole future ahead. You should go to one of those schools, you belong in one of those schools. If you stayed here for me, I'd feel like...I was holding you back."

"Decision's already made, baby," Buffy said, and kissed her. "I'm staying. But don't feel bad, it isn't just for you. I would've stayed in Sunnydale even if you weren't here."

"Because of the Hellmouth?" Faith said.

"I'm the Slayer. I need to be here. And yeah, maybe I could've worked it out so I like, went to school out of state and came back for vacations or for emergencies, but y'know, ivy league schools? They're hard. There's a lot of work. I mean, I'll probably end up being waitlisted at all those schools anyway, I don't think my grades are really good enough to get in, and I know for a fact Harvard and Yale would never happen, those are pipedreams. But going to any one of those schools, the workload would just be too much, with having to be the Slayer at the same time. Being the Slayer has to come first. And if I'm saving the world I refuse to have too much homework."

They laughed.

"UC Sunnydale's a great school," Buffy said. "It's nationally recognized for a few different things, it's got a good rep. And it allows you to design your own curriculum, and the workload's a little lighter. It's the perfect school for me. And most of all, it's here...where I need to be. Where I want to be."

Buffy kissed her.

"I'm not leaving, baby," Buffy said. "I'm gonna be right here, doing the Slayer thing. I'm not gonna take off and leave you to handle everything alone. We'll handle it together, okay? From now on, anything life throws at us? We'll handle it together."

A tear rolled down Faith's cheek.

"You're not...gonna leave me?" Faith said.

"Nope," Buffy said, and smiled, and kissed her again. "I'm gonna hang around to annoy you forever."

"Okay," Faith said, and giggled, and hugged her.

They kissed.

The kissing became passionate...

Faith pulled away.

"There's one more thing, Buffy," Faith said. "We gotta play a game. It's a game I just now came up with, and it's called Confessions. The way it goes is, I confess some secret stuff to you, then you confess some secret stuff to me. The stuff I gotta confess...it's gonna piss you off. But it's gotta be done. If we're gonna go forward this stuff can't be between us. Are you ready?"


"The day I noticed those college brochures, it was when we were playing that other game I came up with...the one where I do stuff to prove I can be good?"

"Currently my favorite game. Though I really want a turn at being the bad girl next time."

"Don't like, try to get me all off track by seducing me, pervo. This is serious stuff. You're about to be pissed at me."


"So anyway I was downstairs making you a sandwich and I come back up and I hear you talking on the phone about someone giving you roses. So I hang out in the hall and listen. Getting pissed yet?"

Buffy looked down at the bed.

"At me, not you," Buffy said. "I know where this is going."

"Not all of it," Faith said. "Let me finish, honey. So I hear you talking about how there's something you gotta go pick up and how you liked the roses and how he braided them in your hair. The thing is? Those brochures...they threw me. They got me thinking you had been planning on leaving all along and that I was like maybe...I don't know, like a fling to you, maybe. So I listened to your conversation, even though it wasn't right to do that. And when I came into the room you said you'd been talking to your bartender and I knew you were lying, that guy's not braiding flowers in your hair."

"It was...my guy. I was talking to my guy."

"Yeah, I figured that...after I followed you."

"You followed me?"

"Pissed at me yet? I followed you and I was on a roof watching when you kissed him and got in his black convertible."

"I wouldn't say I'm pissed at you. Maybe a little annoyed. I'm the one who lied to your face...who gave you a reason not to trust me. You followed me because I lied to you."

"Yeah. And the thing is...first the brochures, then the guy...it felt like it was all falling into place...I was sure I was just like, maybe your thing on the side or whatever before you went off to school. But then you get back a few hours later and you're all sad...I'd been planning on like, giving you the cold shoulder but...I couldn't leave you like that. I couldn't leave you like, feeling sad."

Buffy took her hand, and kissed it.

"So I hung in," Faith said. "But then..."

"The shoplifting thing," Buffy said.

"That was uncomfortable, but it didn't make me pissed at you. You thought I was pissed at you about that, but I wasn't. I was pissed at me about that. No, the next thing that happened was, that's when I overheard Joyce talking about you taking off out of state for school and how I could maybe stay here and be the Slayer. And it was too much...I felt like, it would be too hard, seeing you. So I sorta tried to stay away. That was why I was all about patrolling separately and stuff. That was why I refused to stay at your place when you offered that first time...I just thought it would be too hard, seeing you every day. But...I just can't stay away from you, honey."

Faith hugged her.

"I can't," Faith whispered.

"I can't either," Buffy whispered.

Faith broke the embrace.

"But I need to know it's me and you," Faith said. "It can't be me and you and your guy. I won't share you with him."

"It's me and you," Buffy said. "My guy..."

"What's his name?" Faith said.

"It's...Angel," Buffy said.

"Pretty name."

"Yeah. He and I...we're not together, Faith, we haven't been for awhile. The kiss was just...look, I don't want to lie to you again. I love him and I always will. He was my first love and he's still important to me but he's out of the picture like, romantically. We only had sex once, and that was like, almost a year ago. We've kissed and stuff since then, but...we both know it's over. The thing with the roses...he took me out on a date a month ago. I think he wanted to give me one last, perfect night...it was his way of saying goodbye to me. And yeah, we kissed after that, the night you saw us, but it was just almost like...a goodbye kiss. We both knew it was over. He had info on the Glove of Mini-golf, that's really why we went out that night. And I kissed him but...it's over now, and I haven't kissed him since that night. And I'm not going to. I only wanna kiss you, baby."

"Okay," Faith said.

They kissed.

"I'm sorry, baby," Buffy said, and started to cry. "I'm sorry I lied."

"Sshhh, it's okay, honey, it's okay," Faith said, and hugged her. "We're good now, okay, honey? We're good."

"Okay," Buffy said, and smiled, as Faith wiped her tears away.

"But now it's your turn, honey," Faith said, and held her. "You got a confession to make. And I know what it is, but you gotta say it."

Faith looked her in the eyes.

"I know you're scared of it, Buffy," Faith said. "But you need to say it. You need to say the words, get them out there. I'm not gonna have a problem with it, I've known for awhile. But I want you to be my strong girl now, and say it. Can you do that for me? Even more important, can you do it for you?"

Buffy leaned her head on Faith's shoulder.

"I'm gay," Buffy whispered.

"See, honey?" Faith said, and kissed her. "That wasn't so bad, right?"

Buffy nodded. There were tears in her eyes again, but she smiled.

"I've...always sort of known, I guess," Buffy said. "I mean...I always thought girls were pretty. But I liked guys too, so I wasn't really sure...I didn't really get sure until the Glove of Mini-golf night. I just felt it then, when I was with Angel. It felt sorta like, 'Okay, I can't pretend anymore.' But...I don't want to be gay." Buffy started to cry again, and shook her head. "I don't want to."

"Why not, honey?" Faith said, and kissed her. "Why don't you want to be what you are?"

"I just...wanna be normal," Buffy said, sniffling, as Faith kissed her tears away. "All I ever wanted was to be a normal girl. And I was for awhile. In high school? I was popular and on the cheerleading squad and stuff. I was happy then. And then one day I'm the stupid fucking Slayer and my life is blown to hell. But I dealt with it, did my best to fit my life in around it. And now...and now this."

"You don't wanna be the Slayer?" Faith said, and kissed her hand.

"No. I never did."

"I like being the Slayer. It's a cool gig. Savin' lives, dustin' vamps, plus y'know, when I'm real restless? Goin' on a hunt does me just right. Gives me that perfect feeling, y'know? That feeling in my stomach like the whole town, the whole world is my jungle and I'm the lion and all the vamps, they're the prey. And I know you get that feeling too Buffy, I've seen it in your eyes, I've smelled it on you, I've tasted it on you. I know you want it just like I do."

"When I'm on a hunt, sure...it's cool then. But...being the Slayer...it screws everything up. I mean, how can you have a relationship with someone when they're all threatened and freaked out by how strong you are? Or you have to worry about them because your enemies might come after them? Do you know how many times Xander and Willow have gotten kidnapped? Do you know how often I worry about them, just lay awake and worry?"

"Well Xander and Willow, they're in this because they love you, Buffy," Faith said, and kissed Buffy's hand again. "Yeah, maybe they get in trouble but they do their best, they try because they don't want you out there alone. They'd rather risk dying out there trying to have your back than dying a little at a time having to stay home and not be able to be there for you."

Buffy shrugged.

"Buffy, maybe you shouldn't think so much about how you think you got a raw deal, and start thinking about the good stuff," Faith said. "You got friends who care about you, who risk their asses for you. How many people can really say that? Plus you're pretty hot. You're a hot fabulous super-chick."

"Yeah," Buffy said, and laughed.

"As for the other thing...finding someone you can have a relationship with?" Faith said, and smiled. "That's a toughie. Let's see, first you'd need someone who you don't have to worry about having to protect all the time, so they'd need to be real strong..."

"And they'd have to be understanding about how I'm the Slayer and the weird hours I keep and like saving the world and stuff," Buffy said, and smiled.

"That's two," Faith said, counting off on her fingers. "Number three is, you're a hottie, so you need to be with another hottie."

"A total hottie," Buffy said, and giggled, and played with Faith's hair.

"Four, it's gotta be a girl," Faith said, and hugged her. "Right, honey?"

Buffy nodded.

"Do you...like girls?" Buffy said.

"Know for sure I like one girl at least," Faith said, and kissed her. "I'm thinkin' maybe I'm Slayersexual."

Buffy laughed.

"Slayersexual," Buffy said. "That's what you are. You're totally Slayersexual."

"Maybe I'm Buffysexual," Faith said.

"I want to be your girl, Faith," Buffy said. "I want to be your girl."

"Okay," Faith said. "But we got one more round of Confessions first."

"We do?"
"Yeah. First me, then you. I've been a dick to Will and Xander. They've been non-stop nice to me, Will spent a lot of time hangin' with me and stuff, and I thought the worst of them. Xander, I thought he was just interested in getting into my pants...

"I still can't believe you never noticed they were dating. I mean, hello? They're like, making moony eyes at each other like, all the time. They're the most adorable couple ever."

"Know what it is? When you called me out and kicked my ass a little at your place, when I didn't wanna move in? You said I was so wrapped up in myself I can't see straight. You had me pegged, Buffy. You were right. Without Becca around to kick my ass I've been falling into some bad habits. I've been feeling bad for myself. If she was here she'd have the tone, I know she would. So I expected the worst from everyone and it's all I saw. And then, Will...I thought she was hanging with me just because she felt bad for me. I mean, she's real smart, y'know? Scary smart. I couldn't figure what she saw in me."

"If you're about to call yourself dumb again I'm gonna kick your ass."

"Nah, I'm done with that. I'm standin' up again now. I want Becca to be proud of me again. I know she's disappointed in me right now and I gotta change that. So anyway, Will...I always thought it was her feeling bad for me but then, last night, when we were in the pizza place, it just hit me...she likes me. That's all it was. She just likes me and she wanted to hang."

"Yeah, baby," Buffy said, and smiled, and kissed her. "We all like you."

"Okay. Now it's your turn," Faith said.

"Um...not sure what you want me to confess. I used to have a crush on Corey Haim when I was seven."

"This is gonna be hard, honey. But I need to know."


Faith looked her in the eyes.

"How long have you been in love with Willow?" Faith said.

Buffy's eyes filled with tears again.

"Forever," she said.

She looked down at the bed.

"But I can't ever have her, that way," Buffy said.

"Yeah, Will's straight," Faith said. "She and Xander are good together."

"It's like you know everything," Buffy said, and smiled now. "Like you're Johnny Carson with that joke he does, reading the envelopes and wearing the turban. Am I that obvious?"

"Well you did kind of come right out and say it, when we were on our way to kill Kakistos," Faith said. "In the car, when you asked me if the vamps in the alley hurt Willow? And you cried when I told you, and you said you loved her. I know you probably thought I'd assume like, friend love, and maybe I would've, but you asked me why my scent had been on her the night before. You were jealous, honey. You were jealous of me maybe being with Willow."


"It's why we got off to such a bad start. In the cemetery. Not because of the two professor vamp guys. Because of Willow."


"And I see how you look at her, Buffy. It's in your eyes, honey. It's in your eyes that you love her."

Buffy nodded.

"But Faith...it's not like, you're my second choice, okay?" Buffy said. "I realized a long time ago I can't have Will and I'm okay with it. Especially since Will's with Xander now. Some things are just meant to be, and some aren't. Will is meant to be with Xander, not me. Do you think...she knows?"

"Well she hasn't said anything to me, but she's perceptive," Faith said. "She might know. But I figure even if she does, she's cool with it. She loves you, Buffy. Not like that but she still loves you. She's taken a lot of hits for you."

"It's funny," Buffy said. "Will and me...if like, Will was gay? Like, if Willow suddenly woke up gay one day and I could have her? I bet it wouldn't work. I mean...we get along almost too well, y'know? Friendship and love don't always mix right."

"Yeah," Faith said, and thought about Evan.

And, finally, let him go.

"There's gotta be tension, there's gotta be a spark," Buffy said. "And, you and me...?"

Buffy kissed her. She caressed Faith's tongue with hers.

"We spark, baby," Buffy whispered in her ear. "We spark."

"I need you, honey," Faith whispered, and touched Buffy's breasts. "I need you."

"Were you the one who called me beautiful before when we were in the bed, or did I dream it?" Buffy said.

"It was me," Faith said.

Buffy kissed Faith's knees.

"You're beautiful too," Buffy said. "You're the most beautiful girl in the world. You're my beautiful girl."

"I'm not beautiful," Faith said.

"Yeah, baby, you are," Buffy said, and trailed her lips behind Faith's ear, and along her neck, and inhaled her scent. "You smell like...you're mine. I don't know why...why I always feel like this around you...why I always feel so warm around you...but...every single thing about you is like you were made for me, how you feel, how you smell. It's like you belong to me."

"Maybe I do," Faith said.

"Do I...feel like that to you? Do I smell like that to you?"

"Yeah, honey. Just like that."

"It...scares me."

"Maybe...it's how we know we're alive."

They kissed.

"No more rules," Faith said.

"We're outlaws from now on, baby," Buffy said, and smiled, and laid Faith back on the bed.

Part 21

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