DISCLAIMER: Not mine, never were, not ever going to be.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Six Easy Steps
By The Last Good Name Left


Buffy is standing at the door. Faith sits on her bed, reading The Doll's House. She looks up, meets Buffy's eyes.

"Thought I'd stop by," says Buffy.

Faith tosses her comic down and shifts on the bed. "Is he dead yet?" she asks.

Buffy shakes her head. "He's not going to die," she replies. "It was a good try, though. Your plan?" Buffy doesn't sound impressed. She hovers near the door, looks everywhere but at Faith. Faith scowls.

"Nope." Faith says, stretches vulgarly. "The Mayor got me the poison. Said it was wicked painful."

Buffy moves into the room, fiddles with the stereo and cds. She does not quite look at Faith. "There's a cure."

"Damn," Faith says, as if she didn't know this information. "What it is?"

Buffy smiles bitterly. "Your blood. As justice goes, it's not unpoetic, don't you think?" Buffy is standing in the middle of the room now, facing Faith, stance wide and arms relaxed. She looks ready for a fight.

"Come to get me?" Faith asks, mocking Buffy. "You gonna feed me to Angel? You know you're not going to take me alive." Faith slides off the bed and moves toward Buffy. If Buffy wants a fight, Faith is more than happy to oblige.

"Not a problem." Buffy cracks her knuckles, shakes out her limbs.

"Well look at you, all dressed up in big sister's clothes." Faith drawls, steps even closer to Buffy. Buffy does not flinch away from Faith's closeness. Faith pushes further into Buffy's personal space. They haven't been this close since that night in the Bronze, since that night with Angel, they have never been this close.

"You told me I was just like you, that I was holding it in." Buffy's eyes speak of other times, other conversations, other possibilities, but her body speaks of violence and rage.

Faith knows she was right.

"Ready to cut loose?" Faith taunts.

Buffy shrugs, smiles indolently. "Try me."

Faith grins back. "Okay, then," she says. "Give us a kiss."

Buffy does. It is exactly the kiss Faith is expecting, and her jaw aches from it.

She retaliates in kind. As they become more comfortable with the consequences of the fight, their blows become more violent. Faith punches Buffy in the chin, Buffy kicks Faith in the stomach. Faith's wild grin grows. Whatever the result, she and Buffy are the same, and now Buffy knows it.

Faith can't help prodding Buffy, finding her emotional weaknesses as well as her physical ones.

"Not getting tired, are you? I'm just starting to feel it." Faith punctuates her words with combinations of blows that send Buffy reeling back, so far back they escape the confines of the room. Faith grins, shakes off the effects of the fall. There is glass from the broken window they have just come through all around them. Buffy looks dazed as well. Faith grins. Buffy snaps a pair of handcuffs around her wrist, binds Faith to Buffy. Faith stares at the cuffs in confusion. Buffy's next words penetrate her haze.

"Stick around," Buffy says, and punches Faith again. This time, Faith does not smile; this time, it hurts.

Buffy says, "What's the matter? All that killing, are you afraid to die?" Each word is punctuated by a blow. Faith reels back and cannot escape.

Faith can't answer; she does not know the answer. Faith has no words for Buffy, only actions, twisting and spinning and grabbing at Buffy. Something glints in the dim light from the street.

"That's mine," Faith accuses, then freezes, winces. She sounds like Buffy stole her coloring book.

"You're about to get it back," Buffy says, and they move again, faster, more violent. Blood rushes to their bruises, out of scraps and cuts on their faces. Their blows are less focused, more violent. Faith knows her length of pipe is no match for the knife, knows there is only one way this will play out. She is determined that Buffy will not feed her to Angel. Maybe she is afraid to die, but she thinks that Buffy is more afraid to kill her.

The moment arrives: one or the other will not survive this. Maybe neither of them will.

"Man, I'm going to miss this," Faith says. She already knows the outcome, smiles at Buffy, waits.

Buffy does not answer. Faith realizes that she never knew Buffy, not really. The knife slides into Faith's side, as slow as the continents, as quick as a smile. Faith feels every inch, deep and deeper into her side. Buffy's gaze is as intimate as a lover, and her knife reaches places in Faith that have never been touched before.

"You did it. You killed me," Faith whispers.

Faith cannot believe that she was wrong about Buffy, about their relationship. The blood oozes out of the gash in Faith's side and trickles down her skin. Faith forces a laugh, and tries one last gamble. "Still won't help your boy, though." She staggers to the edge of the rooftop.

Buffy watches Faith move, her jaw clenched and her eyes betraying feelings she does not admit she has.

"Should have been there, B," Faith says, leans back. "Quite a ride." As she falls, she can see the entire universe above her, future and past. She wonders what death is like.

Buffy is standing at the door. Faith is reading The Doll's House. She looks up, meets Buffy's eyes.

"Thought I'd stop by," Buffy says.

Faith likes comics; they are safe and secure, and the good guys always win, except when they don't. In the Sandman, the good guys never win, even when they do. Thus far, she can't figure out which is worse.

Buffy doesn't read for pleasure, doesn't think about superheroes or comic book good and evil, doesn't do a lot of things.

"Is he dead yet?" Faith asks, not looking up. She does not really want to hear the answer.

Buffy wants to tell her anyway.

"He's not going to die," Buffy says, and comes further into the room. Faith can feel her intent gaze. "It was a good try, though," says Buffy. She sounds grudgingly approving, as if Faith's attempt to kill Angel somehow provided Buffy with proof of Faith's competence. Buffy plays with the cds laying on the end of the bed. Faith struggles not to flinch. Buffy is too close, her perfume too overpowering.

Buffy leans closer. "Your plan?" Buffy asks.

Faith can't meet Buffy's eyes as she shakes her head. The pages of her comic are rustling, her hands shaking. Buffy watches Faith's hands; Faith drops the comic on the bed, stares at it. "Mayor got me the poison," Faith says. "Said he wanted Angel out of the final battle."

Buffy nods. "Yeah, we figured." She opens one of the cd cases, takes out the liner notes. "I didn't know you liked this stuff."

Faith shrugs.

"Did he tell you there's a cure?" Buffy asks conversationally, as if she is talking about the weather.

Faith stares, shakes her head again. This time, she meets Buffy's eyes, and there is hope on Faith's face.

"What is it?" she asks.

Buffy frowns. "Your blood."

Faith swallows. It occurs to her that perhaps this is part of the Mayor's plan as well. Get rid of Angel, get rid of Faith. Perhaps both at the same time. Buffy has gone back to the cds. It doesn't seem to have occurred to Buffy that she could get rid of Faith this way, or maybe she simply doesn't care.

"It's not unpoetic," Buffy says.

Faith looks up sharply. She scoots to the edge of the bed, stands up, faces Buffy. Buffy doesn't move. She continues to sit on Faith's bed, flipping though Faith's cds.

"I can't let you take me alive," Faith says.

Buffy nods, face blank. "I know."

"That means..." Faith cannot finish her sentence.

Buffy nods again. She looks up, holds Faith's gaze. "You told me I was just like you." Buffy smiles so she will not cry.

Faith cannot move.

"You were right," Buffy says, and lunges for Faith. Buffy wraps her arms around Faith's waist, bowls her over. They roll across the floor, tumbling over each other. When their momentum has bled away, they are in the middle of the loft, Buffy sitting on top of Faith, staring at her. Faith cannot move. She reaches for her only weapon.

"Give us a kiss," Faith says, and smiles.

Buffy closes her eyes, and punches Faith. Faith's head takes the blow, whips to the side. Buffy punches her again.

Faith lets Buffy get in a few good hits, then squirms free, stands. Suddenly the fight is more equal, but they are both holding back. Blows that should land miss. Blows that should incapacitate barely bruise. Faith slips around her loft, always moving away from Buffy. Buffy follows. Faith leads Buffy to the windows, then outside. On the adjoining rooftop, there is more space, but space is one thing they have never needed.

Faith taunts, "Not getting tired, are you? C'mon, hit me."

Buffy's eyes glint. She pulls out a knife. Faith's eyes grow large.

"That's mine," Faith whispers. Buffy does not reply. The fight means more now, is more violent. Faith realizes that Buffy does not want to take her alive. Now they mean it when they hit each other; now bones crack, skin splits, blood spurts in gleaming arcs across the rooftop. Faith has the advantage. Buffy has only a single hand free; her other hand clutches the knife. The reach the edge of the roof, Buffy pushing Faith on. Faith can run no further. Buffy meets Faith's eyes. The world stops for a moment.

The light glints again, the knife moves. Buffy stares in horror at Faith, at the blood, at her hand.

"You did it," Faith breathes, the words faint.

Buffy opens and closes her mouth several times. No words come out. She lets go of the knife, leaves it embedded in Faith's side.

"What happens now?" Faith whispers. She feels her consciousness fade around the edges, struggles to stay awake, clenches her jaw to manage the pain.

Buffy is next to her, panicking. Buffy tugs off her shirt, wads it up, presses it to Faith's side. Faith smiles wanly at Buffy's nearly naked chest. Buffy ignores Faith's leer, and tears pour down Buffy's face. Faith blinks very slowly, and the edges of reality push in further.

"I'm gonna—" Faith begins.

"No," Buffy says, angry and fearful and tired. "No, you're not going to. You're going to be fine, Faith, do you hear me? You'll be fine." Buffy pushes Faith's side so hard Faith can feel a separate bruise beginning to form. Faith stares up at the stars.

"I told you you weren't gonna take me alive," Faith pants. Her eyes close.

Buffy smiles through her tears. "No," she says, wiping Faith's face. "No. After everything, you are not going to die. We'll find another way."

Faith moves slightly, groans. "We?"

Buffy smiles grimly, clutches Faith closer.

Faith shakes her head. "It's all you."

Buffy's smile fades. So does Faith's.

Buffy is standing at the door. Faith is reading The Doll's House, looks up, meets Buffy's eyes.

"Thought I'd stop by," Buffy says.

Faith looks back to her comic. "Why? You gonna kill me?" She turns the page, even though she isn't done reading the last one. "Cleaning up the loose ends now?"

"Faith, the Mayor is–" Buffy begins.

Faith interrupts her. "I know what the Mayor is doing," she says. "Do you?"

"He's going to turn himself into a demon," Buffy says, moves forward to sit on the bed next to Faith.

Faith flips a few more pages, looks at the art. She doesn't bother to read the words. Buffy stares over Faith's shoulder at the pages flipping past.

"You know," Faith says conversationally, "he wanted me to poison Angel."


Buffy sounds more surprised than upset. Faith hates Angel, but even she can't hurt Buffy like that.

"He had this stuff," Faith says, "said it works on vampires. Said it was wicked painful." A muscle pulses in Faith's jaw at the betrayed look in Buffy's eyes. "I didn't do it," she says defensively.

Buffy turns away, shifts but does not get up. "You expect me to believe anything you say? You turned on us, Faith."

"I didn't turn first," Faith says to Buffy's back.

Buffy spins around. "What does that mean?"

Faith concentrates on her comic. "You turned away first."

"You killed a man," Buffy says.

Faith looks up, stares at the bulge in Buffy's waist. "And now you're going to kill a woman."

Buffy winces, opens her mouth to protest, closes it again.

Faith tosses down the comic, leans back against the pillows. "You're just like me. You ready to take that final step?"

Buffy does not move.

"Become a killer, too?" Faith continues.

Buffy looks away from Faith.

"You know you want to," Faith says. She is not upset at this; Buffy is the hero, and heroes have to make impossible choices.

Even though Faith is watching Buffy, when Buffy moves, Faith is still surprised. Buffy lunges across the bed, tosses Faith to the floor.

"Shut up," Buffy says, hauls Faith up, pushes her towards the window. Faith flips over the bars, unwillingly, lands awkwardly. Faith fights defensively; Buffy refuses to pull her blows, no matter how many time Faith lets the hits glance off her body.

They crash through the window, Faith fleeing from Buffy.

"I love this," Faith says, ducking blows. "You letting out all your passion."

"Shut up," Buffy repeats. Her blows repeat too, always the same combination. Faith knows it's coming, cannot stop it. Buffy repeats the same sentence every time she repeats the combination of blows.

"Shut," cut, "your," cut, "mouth," jab. Faith's nose bursts with blood and pain. Her vision is fogged, blood dripping down her face.

"Or you'll shut it for me?" she pants.

Buffy stares at her. "Yes."

Faith attempts a smile. "Go ahead. Try me."

Buffy snaps handcuffs on Faith's wrist, punches her nose again. Faith cannot feel anything beyond the pain in her face until she feels the knife against her side.

"That's mine," she whispers.

Buffy's smile paralyzes Faith. "You're about to get it back."

Faith relaxes into the knife. Buffy flinches in surprise. "Be careful, B," Faith says. "Wouldn't want you to—"

Buffy jabs the knife into Faith.

"—have too much fun." Faith smiles. "You did it."

"Oh god, Faith," Buffy whispers, backs away.

"Why'd you do that?" Faith asks, curious. She looks down, pulls the knife out. She examines at it, covered in her blood. The blood drips on to the roof, on to Faith's fingers, the blood fills her vision until there is nothing else.

"Faith, you're bleeding," Buffy says.

Faith looks up, confused. She can feel the blood pumping out of her side, pulsing with every beat of her heart. She smiles again. "You stabbed me."

"You were," Buffy begins, stares at Faith's side, does not finish.

"I was what?" Faith asks, looks up at Buffy. Buffy is covered in blood as well. Faith shrugs. "Sticks and stones, B."

"Faith," Buffy whispers.

"Yeah, I know," Faith says. "Demon. Good and Evil. White hats. You did it." Faith looks at her knife again, at her life.

Buffy says nothing.

"You killed me," Faith says.

"It's not that deep," Buffy pleads, reaches for Faith's side.

"Deep enough," says Faith. Faith drops the knife. It falls down five stories, clatters in the alley below. "It hurts, B," Faith says, meeting Buffy's eyes.

Buffy flinches back, whispers, "Yeah, it does."

Buffy is standing at the door. Faith is reading The Doll's House, looks up, meets Buffy's eyes.

"Thought I'd stop by," Buffy says.

"What do you want," Faith says. She is tired, wants nothing more than for Buffy to take what she has come for and leave.

Buffy climbs on to the bed, crawls up to kneel over Faith. "We know."

Faith shrinks back from Buffy, presses herself further into the blankets. Faith's throat convulses, words flee. "Know what?" she rasps.

Buffy rests back on her heels, looks down at Faith. "About the Mayor's plan," she says, and flips through Faith's comic. Buffy does not look at Faith. "It's happening at Graduation. He's going to turn himself into a demon."

Faith stares at Buffy, her mind whirling.

"You could still..." Buffy begins, reaches down and slides her fingers across Faith's stomach, pushes up Faith's shirt.

"Still what?" Faith asks, squirms under Buffy, struggles to get away. Buffy doesn't let her.

"You can still be good person, Faith," Buffy says.

Faith squeezes her eyes shut, her face tense. "I am a good person," she whispers.

"Faith," Buffy says.

"I don't need you. I don't need any of you," Faith says, and flips Buffy. Faith is now on top. Faith leans down over Buffy, grazes her lips across Buffy's neck.

Buffy surges up against Faith's lips, but Faith pulls back. "We all need someone," Buffy says breathlessly.

Faith smirks at Buffy's desire. "I've got people."

"A demon wannabe?" Buffy says, her eyes flashing with hate. "His henchmen? You're a slayer."

Faith rolls off of Buffy, sits next to her. "There's some poetry in that, don't you think? Slayer working for a demon?" Faith picks at the duvet, doesn't look at Buffy.

Buffy rolls over, rests her hand on Faith's thigh. "Faith, if you're not with us, you're against us. And people are going to die." Buffy runs her fingers up and down Faith's leg, along the inseam, each pass creeping closer and closer to where Faith wants her most.

"People always die," Faith says.

Buffy withdraws her hand, rolls on to her back, covers her eyes with her arms. "People being you," she says.

"You going to take me?" Faith asks, raises an eyebrow, looks down at Buffy. Faith is smiling.

Buffy is not. She moves her arms to her sides, twitches at the covers. Her eyes gleam, and she blinks rapidly. "If I have to."

"You think you can?" Faith smirks, slides off the bed, shakes out her muscles.

Buffy does not follow. "I'm just like you, Faith, but I made different choices."

Faith shakes her head. "Not a choice, B."

"I don't want to do this," Buffy says, slowly climbs off the bed, stands near Faith.

Faith smiles, says the one thing she knows is unforgivable. "Give us a kiss."

Buffy hesitates, then moves. She tackles Faith, but Faith slips out of her grasp. Faith kicks at Buffy, but only a few land.

"It doesn't have to be like this," Buffy pants as she throws punches to where Faith used to be.

"Yeah, it does," says Faith, dancing away and back again.

"You're not evil," Buffy says, even as she slams her knee into Faith's head. Buffy can't help but caress her knee against the side of Faith's hear.

Faith pulls away, shakes out the fuzziness, asks, "How do you know?"

"I know," says Buffy, staring at Faith, body tense and ready for an attack. Faith does not move. "I know that you don't want to do this," Buffy says. "Not really."

Faith moves, and Buffy does not see her. Faith tosses Buffy through a window, jumps out after her. "What do you know about what I want?" Faith demands, standing over Buffy, fists clenched.

"Tell me," Buffy says, laying on her back, brushing off glass. Buffy stares past Faith at the night sky. "Convince me they're wrong about you."

Faith says nothing, and her jaw aches with the effort of keeping silent.

"Faith," Buffy pleads.

"No, B," Faith says. "You're getting yours."

Buffy's lip trembles, her hand shakes, she pulls out a knife.

"No, you're getting yours," Buffy whispers.

Faith drops to her knees, attacks Buffy before Buffy can move, twists her arm, tries to reclaim her knife.

"I can't let you do this, Faith," Buffy says, and kicks out at Faith's knee.

Buffy's kick connects. Faith knee gives way, she falls. Buffy struggles to her feet, but Faith kicks out at Buffy's feet. Buffy falls, too.

Faith says, "I know." They lay next to each other, watching the stars.

Faith takes Buffy's hand and guides the knife to her side. Buffy tries to pull away, but Faith moves too quickly, kneels on her stomach, holds her hand and the knife. The knife pierces Faith's shirt, her skin; the jeweled handle glints in the streetlight. It sinks into Faith's flesh, and the blood cascades over both of them.

Buffy lets out a chocked sob. "You did it," Buffy says, "I didn't do it, you did it."

Faith can feel the blood ooze down her side, and she falls back on to the rooftop, slumps next to Buffy.


"Why?" Buffy scrambles to her knees, drops the knife, leans over Faith. "Why did you do that? Faith, you could be really hurt."

Faith smiles faintly. "Hope so."

"What?" Buffy says, vaguely, waving her hands over Faith's stomach.

"I can't be there," Faith says, her voice faint. "Mayor can't count on me."

"Faith," Buffy pleads, touches the wound.

Faith smiles. "You killed me."

"No!" Buffy shouts; Faith passes out, smiling.

Buffy is standing at the door. Faith is reading The Doll's House, looks up, meets Buffy's eyes.

"Thought I'd stop by," Buffy says.

"Maybe you shouldn't," Faith replies.

Buffy nods, plays with the cds laying near the door, swaps what's playing for something else, something harder, something that reminds them both of alleys and blood.

Faith watches her, comic abandoned.

Buffy stands in the middle of the room, says, "Let's get this over with."

Faith nods. "What's the plan," she asks.

Buffy glances around the room. "Mayor gives commencement speech, Mayor gets Slayer plus weapons for his trouble. No big."

"He's going to be hard to bring down," Faith says.

Buffy shrugs. "Like I said, no big."

"And this," Faith asks, gestures to the room, to Buffy, to herself.

"This is loose ends."

Faith stands, ambles to Buffy, stops outside of arms length. "You're always such a good girl, cleaning up after yourself," she says, smirking.

Buffy flinches.

They stare at each other in silence. Several times, Buffy leans toward Faith, and Faith does not retreat. Buffy doesn't move.

Eventually, Faith says, "If you're going to do it, you should do it now. You know you're not going to take me alive, and you've already got your work cut out for yourself tomorrow."

Buffy says, "You told me I was just like you."

Faith agrees.

Buffy says, "When it was you, did it hurt this much?"

Faith says nothing, rushes Buffy, hits her face, her chest, her face again. Buffy tries to block the blows, but Faith is faster, angrier, more brutal.

Faith directs Buffy to the windows, grabs her and they crash through. They land on the rooftop, continue fighting. It feels choreographed, every blow a dance, every bruise a kiss.

Buffy gives up shielding herself, pulls out a pair of handcuffs. She slaps them on Faith's wrist, on her own wrist. Faith stops, shocked. Buffy pulls Faith around, wraps her arms around Faith, her breasts pressed to Faith's back.

"It didn't hurt, did it?" Buffy asks.

Faith twists out of Buffy's grasp, and they trade blows, one for another; they each wait for the other to take her turn.

Faith's cracked ribs throb, and her handcuffed wrist is rubbed raw. She can't stop imagining the two of them, naked in her huge bed wearing the handcuffs. Then Buffy hits her again. Faith sees the glint of her knife. She knows she has to stop this, or it won't stop.

She clings to Buffy, holding her close, pretending to engage Buffy, but watching, waiting, for that moment when the knife glints just so, and slides in between her ribs.

It comes, sooner than she expected. Just in time, she twists away. The knife glides along her side, and she feels the blood rise up through the skin, ooze out onto her shirt. Buffy pulls back to try again, and Faith grabs her wrist and twists her arm, wrestling their bodies around until she can slam Buffy's hand against the wall.

The knife clatters to the street, five stories below. Buffy and Faith stand motionless, pressed against the retaining wall, panting, wrists still chained together.

"Fuck, B," Faith says. "Next time you want to stick me, just ask."

Buffy punches her one more time.

Faith's head snaps back, hits the wall. Buffy freezes, stares at Faith's dazed face, stares over the wall at the knife on the street below.

"Oh God, I was going to," Buffy says.

"You didn't do it," says Faith. She reaches back to probe her bleeding head.

Buffy stares at the blood seeping out of Faith's torn shirt. "Giles isn't going to be happy."

"Maybe," Faith says, pulls up her shirt, pokes at the wound.

"What?" Buffy asks.

"Ask Giles," Faith says. She looks back at her apartment, says, "You have to go."

"Faith, wait," Buffy says.

Faith uses a length of pipe and the crest of the wall to break the handcuffs. "No, you have to go now," she says. "The guys are coming, the Mayor's guys."

Buffy stares at her. "How do you know?"

"The Batcave called. Go."

"Where?" Buffy asks, staring at Faith's apartment. They can both hear people climbing the stairs.

"There," Faith says, points over the edge of the wall.

"Faith, I can't jump that. I wouldn't survive."

"Sure you can," Faith says, kneels and offers her hands for a lift. "It's not that far."

Buffy stares at Faith, incredulous.

"Buffy, go." Faith pleads.

"Come with me," Buffy says, tries to grab Faith's hand.

"No, I have to stay here, tell them what happened," Faith says.


"B, it's all going to be okay," Faith says. "I'll see you in a few days."

"Faith," Buffy repeats.


Buffy leaps.

Buffy is standing at the door. Faith is reading The Doll's House, looks up, meets Buffy's eyes.

"Thought I'd stop by," Buffy says.

Faith tosses her comic down, scoots to the edge of the bed. "Anything I can help you with?"

"A few questions, I guess," Buffy says, sits next to Faith.



"Why what?" Faith asks.

"I thought," Buffy begins. "I thought you," she tries again.

Faith doesn't reply.

"We were," Buffy says, lips trembling, tears falling.

Faith shifts on the bed. "B, I—"

"I could have loved you," Buffy interrupts.

Faith does not answer, cannot look at Buffy. Faith pokes at the covers, feels Buffy's stare on her back.

"Why?" Buffy asks again.

"I had to," says Faith.

"Why? Because of Finch? That was just—" Buffy stops, wipes her face. "We could have made it through that."

Faith shakes her head. "You don't understand."

"Then tell me," Buffy demands, puts her hand on Faith's arm.

"I found Finch's datebook, when I went back for the body."


"It had information, some of the stuff he was going to tell us," Faith says.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I told my Watcher," Faith says, pulls away, stands. Faith paces the room, not looking at Buffy.


"Yeah," Faith says.

"You were freaking out," says Buffy.

"We had just killed a man," says Faith.

Buffy stares at Faith. "You told Giles."

Faith stops pacing, looks at Buffy, nods. "Yeah, and I thought maybe I could find out some more information."

"What do you mean, find out more?" Buffy stands too, faces Faith, forces Faith to stop pacing.

Faith shrugs, does not meet Buffy's eyes. "You know, James Bond, super spy double agent."

"You're not evil?"

Faith shakes her head.

"Giles knew?"

Faith nods.

"You're not evil?" Buffy repeats. Faith smiles weakly, shakes her head again.

Buffy leaps at Faith, wraps her arms around her. "I'm going to kill him."

Faith catches Buffy, spins her around.

"He told me," Buffy says, "he told me that you weren't worth saving, weren't worth helping. He knew, and he told me that we couldn't help you."

Faith draws back a little. "B, it was the plan. We had to make a clean break. We had to make the Mayor think that I didn't have any ties to you guys."

Buffy whacks Faith on the arm. "What about Wesley?"

Faith snorts. "Wes doesn't know shit. He played into it perfectly, with the Council and all. Giles, he got game."

Buffy stares.

"It was his idea."

"Giles?" Buffy sounds disbelieving.

"Yeah," Faith says, draws Buffy over the bed. They sit, still wrapped around each other. "I told him. I told him the truth, that it was me and everything, and he just got this look, and then he told me that he figured you would show up soon, and he would act like I had lied."

"He said you couldn't lie," Buffy says.

Faith shrugs again. "I didn't."

"You're not evil?" Buffy repeats.

"No," Faith says, slowly and calmly.

"I'm still going to kill him."

Buffy grabs Faith by the neck, and pulls Faith toward her.

"Kiss me," Faith murmurs.

Buffy does. It is exactly the kiss Faith is expecting, and her jaw aches from it.

Faith gives as good as she gets, and she is getting very good. After long moments of continuous assault, Buffy pulls back.

"You didn't do it," Buffy murmurs, amazed. She caresses Faith's cheek.

"I couldn't," Faith whispers against Buffy's skin.

"Why didn't Giles tell me?" Buffy demands. "Or tell Wesley? Tell anyone?"

Faith pulls back. "You guys had to believe I had switched sides."

Buffy lets her go. "Can we?"

Faith looks away. "If you don't want to, I understand."

Buffy doesn't answer, doesn't touch Faith.

"Your friends. Willow," Faith says.

"I don't care about them," Buffy objects. "You—" she says, "You're the other half of me."

Faith smirks. Buffy whacks her arm, kisses her again.

"Seriously," Buffy says some time later. "There's only supposed to be one. If there are two, then we must be the same, two parts of one person."

Faith wraps her arms more tightly around Buffy. "That what it feels like?"

"Right now, yes," Buffy says, voice muffled by Faith's neck.

They sit quietly for a while, then Faith speaks. "I'm sorry."

"You had to," Buffy says.

"Yeah. But I'm still sorry."

"What do we do now?" Buffy asks.

"Wes has a plan," Faith says.

Buffy stares once more. "Wesley?"

"I know," Faith says, grinning. "But I got some good info."

"You have a lot of good everything," Buffy says, and pulls Faith down for more kisses.

The sounds of a truck rumbling by pulls them out of their aroused haze. There are people climbing the stairs. "Guess my cover is blown now," Faith says. "We have to take the back way out."

"Back way?" Buffy asks.

"Over the side of the roof," Faith says, and points.

Buffy stares at the windows, incredulous.

"You're kidding."

"You and me, baby."

They climb through the windows, walk across the roof. Buffy leans over the edge. It's a long drop.

"Ready to cut loose?" Faith asks.

"No," Buffy says, grabs Faith's hand, clutches it to her chest. Faith smiles.

They jump.

The End

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