DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its characters are the property of Joss Whedon, WB and UPN. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: Set between "Who Are You?" & "Five by Five" (Angel). Spoilers for Seasons 3 & 4 of Buffy.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Under My Skin
By Babydykecate


The bar hums, the table gleams, and the glasses are still cold and slick with condensation. Faith's fingers drum across the glass table, her body itching, protesting its separation from the dance floor. Even her body's telling her it's stupid to be here. She should be miles from here, dancing, self-destructing, or slaying. That's her, that's all she's got, all she's good at.

Instead she's here, hiding away in the noise and the beer, her eyes caught on the blonde. It wasn't so long ago that she was under Buffy's skin, taking that holier-than-thou slayer body for a test drive. Problem was, she'd still managed to lose the game. She'd ended up in some stupid church, saving people that probably weren't worth saving, just because she suddenly had "feelings". She decided that they must have come with the body, and she blames being here now on the lingering after-effects.

Faith is snapped out of her thoughts by Buffy's laughing. The sound echoes like rain on tin, and every muscle in her body is screaming that she should flee. She knows it's too late to escape long before Buffy's gaze catches her. Buffy's eyes go wide, and Faith would take pleasure in the shock if she weren't the animal with its leg in the trap. Buffy is standing over her in a flash, her rage hot next to Faith's skin.

"Hi, B," Faith says lamely.

"What the hell are you doing here, Faith?" Buffy growls.

"I came here for a drink, like most people," Faith replies, gesturing to the empty glasses. When the silence drags for a moment, Faith adds, "Or, you know, a lot of drinks."

"You should leave, Faith. Before I make you," Buffy threatens.

The only fight Faith wants is a fight to the death, and she's too drunk for a proper one.

"Whatever you want, B. Never mattered much what I wanted anyway," Faith replies as she struggles to stand up. She only manages as far as the alley before Buffy's fingers grab her wrist. Faith wrenches it free, feeling more and more like a physical fight is going to be necessary.

"You took my body and slept with my boyfriend, on top of everything else you've already done to me. You don't get to stay in my town, sipping cocktails, after that," Buffy says with a glare.

"Did you ever think that maybe it wasn't about you, B? I mean sure, yeah, the revenge thing was about you, and we got this history and all... But it's not just about you," Faith spits out.

"What else-" Buffy starts, but Faith cuts in.

"It's about my skin crawling so bad that I'd rather be dead... or you. It's about waking up in a cold sweat. It's about being pissed that you sucked at killing me, and hating myself for the part of me that's glad you failed!" Faith shouts, before stumbling into the night.

The lie stings Faith's skin despite the night's chill. It was always about her.

The End

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