DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel the syndicated series and all other characters who have appeared in both shows are the sole property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy & UPN. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices. All song lyrics are used without permission and for my own amusement. There is no intention to profit from them in this work or to defraud the composers and publishers.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: All works remain the © copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent.
Thanks for all their help must go to three wonderfully talented women who I am honoured to consider friends: Michele, whose magical work "Complement" turns all who read it into abject Fuffy 'shippers and inspired me to write. Carola, who writes so many things so well, gave me great advice and then was kind enough to tell me this wasn't all bad and insisted I write some more. And finally Amanda who was the first to read this and say she liked it, and whose wonderful "Back to the Beginning" made me so mad I had to write to her and tell her so. It's funny how friendships start.
SPOILERS: Series 3 and 4, (What do you mean you haven't seen them yet?)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Would She Make of Me
By Kevin


Prove It All Night

Everybody's got a hunger, a hunger they can't resist,/There's so much that you want, you deserve much more than this/,But if dreams came true, oh, wouldn't that be nice, But this ain't no dream we're living out through the night/Oh Girl, you want it, you take it, you pay the price.

To prove it all night, prove it all night, prove it all night girl and call their bluff,
we'll prove it all night, prove it all night and girl,
l'lI prove it all night for your love.

Baby, tie your hair back in a long white bow,/Meet me in the fields behind the dynamo,
You'll hear their voices tell you not to go,/They made their choices and they'll never know,
What it means to steal, to cheat, to lie,/What it's like to live and die.

To prove it all night…

Bruce Springsteen

Chapter 10

As Faith lay on the Summer's sofa that Sunday morning, her left hand held comfortingly in that of the other Slayer she was surprised to hear a sigh of relief come from Buffy as Xander Harris closed the door behind him. She'd thought she was the only one who'd been suffering from Xander's enforced and grudging politeness and barely concealed loathing. He'd made little effort to hide the fact that only Buffy's presence and "instructions" were all that were keeping him from saying what he really thought.

Buffy's first words caused Willow's head to pop up and her face to harden defensively. "Thank God he's gone. He was trying at nice so hard he was making my teeth itch, And anyway," she said as she suddenly looked sharply at Willow, "I'm kinda wondering who actually asked him to be here. I was gonna give him a little more time and let the whole idea kinda grow on him a bit before letting him loose him on Fai'."

Willow had the grace to look guilty, but surprisingly it was Faith who spoke up first in Xander's defence. "Nah, you're being a bit tough on the Zeppo, B. I guess I had coming cos I'd hate me too if I'd been my first and I'd tried to strangle me. I mean just think of all the wicked complexes I must'a given him," she sniggered maliciously. Then her infamous smirk appeared as Willow's face grew thunderous and Joyce gasped, "I bet he never lets a girl get on top ag..hmmmpph". Her comment was rudely halted by Buffy reaching up from her seat on the floor and placing her free hand firmly over Faith's mouth.

Buffy's voice was also firm as she admonished the other girl and kept her hand where it was, though a blush came to her cheeks as she felt a soft, wet, invisible tongue start licking her palm and between her fingers in a counter-productive effort to get her to move. "Faith! Behave! Xander," she emphasised the name, "may have more teeth than brain cells but, Ow!" Buffy quickly moved her hand away as Faith got tired of licking and started nipping.

Faith's face and voice were full of mock contrition, "Aw B did I hurt your poor little hand? Here let me kiss it better," and, oblivious to the open mouthed audience, she grabbed the hand concerned, pulled it back to her lips and softly and lingeringly kissed its palm before letting it go. "All better now?"

Buffy nodded dumbly, her cheeks flame red. She had been all too aware of the audience, of Willow and Oz's open hostility and shock, her mother's worry and disbelief and Giles' ill-concealed distaste as Faith gave her what could only be described as a lover's caress. Only Tara's expression was non-judgmental as she smiled gently at the two Slayers.

Faith though carried on as though nothing had happened. "Anyhow you were the one dissin' poor Ze…Xander, not me. I was bein', like, simpatico, yanno?"

At this Willow stood up and her tone was curt. "OK that's it, I'm leaving. Oz can you give me and Tara a ride back to the campus?"

Oz nodded.

"OK. Faith, I'll see you tomorrow, for all the good it will do, to start your studying. Buffy can I talk to you outside for a second?"

Buffy squeezed Faith's hand and stood, "Yep. Lead on."

Willow stopped as Faith suddenly spoke up," Um Red?"

Willow replied without turning around her voice and face carefully neutral, "yes Faith?"

Faith's voice came out sounding almost shy, "Um for what it's worth and I know to you it probably ain't much, but, well, thanks. I know you don't want to do this. Shit, I don't want to do this," then she looked at Buffy and smiled softly, "but you know our girl here is kinda hard to say no to. And Red?"

Willow turned around this time but her tone and expression didn't change, "what is it Faith?"

"Well its' just, there's stuff I kinda wish hadn't happened yanno? I just wanted ya t' know that," Faith answered hesitantly.

Willow just looked at her, obviously considering her reply. Finally she spoke in a flat tone, "Yeah Faith, there's stuff I wish hadn't happened too. But it did. Oh and FYI, my name is Willow." Then she turned away and headed for the door.

Tara also stood and walking over to Faith, briefly touched her shoulder. "I'll see you soon too Faith, it was nice to meet you," and with that unexpected piece of kindness left after the others.

As Faith looked up to watch Buffy, Oz, Tara and Willow walk slowly out the door, she caught Joyce's eye and expression and faked a teasing grin back at her until the relief showed on the older woman's face. Having reassured Buffy's mother she turned to Giles and raised an eyebrow.

"What is it G-man", she taunted, "never seen someone kiss as booboo better before? Don't they do that in jolly old England? Or is it all cold showers and spanking to toughen you up?"

"No it is not" Giles retorted hotly, "and I'd suggest that kissing a "booboo" better was the last thing on your mind Faith. Your sneering at poor Xander and what you put him through was thoroughly despicable, and what with that, that revolting exhibition just now, is it any wonder we, I, won't ever trust you again with regard to Buffy?"

Giles removed his glasses and wiped them absently on his tie. "In fact" he continued angrily, "the sooner you are gone and away from Buffy and Sunnydale the better it will be for all of us. You are a disgrace to the Slayer line and I don't know what vicious little game you're playing here but just know I haven't bought this, this charade of yours and I'm watching you, so if you harm Buffy or Joyce…."

"Rupert," interrupted Joyce warningly, but she in turn was interrupted by Faith.

"No Joyce, let the Watcher, sorry ex-Watcher," she corrected maliciously, "get it off his tweedy little chest. I'm just guessin' he feels lots better now. And yanno G-man, I don't give a flying fuck, sorry Mrs S, about what you and the others think about me. The only two people I do care about are five by five with me being here and that's all that matters. For your information I won't ever hurt Buffy or Joyce again, I couldn't and I'll kill anyone else who does. "

Faith stopped at Giles' openly scornful gaze and then continued quietly, "and whatever is between B and me is between B and me. B said it yesterday, we're the Slayers and we make the rules now, so you just keep doing what a Watcher does best, you watch, just don't interfere where you don't know jackshit about what's really happening. Oh," she said then with mock surprise, "I forgot that is what the Council does best isn't it? Of course If you wanna help that's cool too cos you could help if you wanted. Otherwise just stay out of our way."

In reply Giles stood up and addressed Joyce, "I'm at the other end of the telephone if you need anything Joyce and I can be here as soon as you want me." Then he turned back to Faith, his expression stern and unforgiving, "as for you Faith, some advice. If you really don't want to hurt Buffy, I'd suggest the best way to do that is to leave here now and never come back." With that parting shot, he turned on his heel and left leaving Faith pale and angry on the sofa and Joyce moving to comfort her.

Buffy's conversation with Willow out on the driveway was being equally stressful and on Willow's side started off full of frustration, a sense of betrayal and a fear for her friend she couldn't express without anger. "Buffy, just what the h,hell is going on? Last time I saw you with Faith you wanted to kill her. She's the Big Bad and now you're holding hands with her? And the looks she was giving you like you were a plate of ice-cream and she could just eat you up with a spoon? How long has that been going on? And her kissing your hand like you were…," suddenly Willows eyes went even wider and her voice dropped almost to a whisper, "Oh my God, you and her, you haven't, I mean you and her, like have you kissed, are you…? Is that what you were doing all that time at the hospital? Oh Gods you have haven't you, you and her together, and you won't date anyone, and, and your bed Thursday morning after she woke up, and oh Gods Buffy what has she – what have you done?"

Buffy's denial was immediate and loud. "Willow! God girlfriend, what are you smoking? I mean get a grip, this is Faith and me and, and..." she just shook her head unable to carry on.

Willow looked at her dubiously but her tone was much more reasonable." So you two, you and Faith, Goddess it makes me shiver just saying it, you aren't sorta together?"

Buffy forced a laugh. "Yeah like No and Way are together. I like guys Willow, remember? Faith does too. She was just practicing her chain yankage, making sure her mojo is still working."

"Yeah," muttered an unconvinced Willow, "well you can tell her it worked really well and I s'pose it's better than her normal stuff like death threats and torture. But Buffy what are we supposed think? You're sitting there holding hands, smiling at each other. And, and not dating, like even I've dated more than you in the last six months. That's another thing why haven't you dated if you and her aren't um thingy, and all that fake regret…"

At that Tara interrupted, 'Um W,W,Willow? It wasn't fake. I felt it, I mean she meant w,w,what she said."

Willows expression softened for a second and then her resolve face came back. "OK she's got regrets, so there might be hope for her somewhere. I just wish it wasn't here. She killed people Tara and, and it just doesn't matter if she regrets it. I've promised Buffy I'll help and if it gets her out of our hair any faster it's all of the good. Anyway Buffy hasn't answered all my questions yet. So Buffy if, if you and her aren't like yanno, then why haven't you dated anyone since Angel left? What about that nice TA Riley? He's kinda cute and um tall and um smart, nice, normal, even."

Giles saved an increasing irate Buffy from having to answer by stomping out the door and marching straight up to her, his face angry and his tone matching. "Buffy I appreciate you're trying to forgive and help her but, but that display in there was deeply inappropriate. I don't know what is going on between you and her, or what game she is playing with you but it must stop. You must know you can't get too close to her, she's totally unstable, she's beyond help or forgiveness and you must also know that as soon as she's fully recovered she'll either just leave with the contents of your wallet or cause bloody havoc or more likely both. I have told your mother I am only a phone call away if she needs help, and frankly I shudder to think what that help may have to be."

Buffy felt the ebbing anger coming off Faith from inside and it sparked her own but her voice was surprisingly mild as she replied, "first off Giles her name is Faith, I'm sure you know it. Second off I seem to remember someone I used to think was very wise telling me once that to forgive is an act of compassion. That it's done because people need it not because they deserve it. Fai' needs our help and forgiveness Giles. She won't ask for it so I'm gonna make sure she gets it anyway."

Giles' voice and expression softened as he remembered saying those words. "That's all very well Buffy but I remember someone else saying that some things can't be forgiven."

Buffy's voice also lost its slight edge, "I was wrong Giles. I found that out that same night."

Giles' anger appeared to drain away. "Yes, well, all I'm saying is, be careful. I know I'm no longer officially your Watcher, I have just been pointedly reminded of that in fact, but I still worry about you and I do not want to see you hurt by your own kindness. In any event I am going home to sort out a few things, if you need help with the rehabilitation I will of course be happy to assist."

With that he turned and walked to his old Citroen and drove away.

A subdued Buffy turned back to Willow and held up her hand. "Wills, we've had this conversation before. I'm not dating cos, well, I haven't met any one I wouldn't put in danger. I just can't date a civilian, you know that. Remember Owen, a tall, smart, nice, normal violence junkie, who wanted me to start a fight in a biker bar for kicks? I am so not going there again and anyway no one's asked me for a date." She mock pouted, 'I'm young, not gross and I've got my own hair and teeth I think I can wait for someone to chase me."

Willow just sighed. "OK. I just hope ya know what you're doing. Geez I seem to be saying that a lot lately." She then turned to the patiently waiting Oz. "Can you drop Tara and me back at Stephenson Hall baby? I've got some stuff to tidy up before Monday cos I've been asked to help the Y2K team with a bunch of other freshmen."

Oz nodded. "No problemo. Me and my trusty van are totally at your command," he said grandly.

Buffy watched her friends get into the van and then went back into the house. As she saw Faith lying on the sofa she couldn't help smiling. Faith, feeling her presence looked up and smiled back and held out her hand. Buffy immediately came across the room and took it in hers. Then she resumed her place on the floor, with her shoulder against the base of the sofa and her unconscious smile becoming more contented by the second.

Five minutes later Joyce came into room to remind the Slayers to eat and, stopping at the door, she watched her two girls sitting and looking at each other. She couldn't help smiling at the cute picture, resolutely trying to convince herself that they looked at each other like sisters and not at all like what her instincts were screaming at her.

Giles was also perturbed at the affection he noticed developing between the two Slayers but unlike Joyce he was sure it was purely platonic.

Still musing on the afternoon and the strange behaviour of someone he still considered "his" slayer he drove home.

After parking his car and walking to his door his frown of concentration changed to one of alarm as he found his front door unlocked. He quietly opened it and stepped in, moving down the hallway to his living room. As he reached his target, the lamp on his desk was turned on and Giles received another nasty surprise.

There were three men in leather jackets all taking their ease in his home. To his horror he recognized them all, the man with a cup of tea on the desk in front of him and the other two who were sitting on his bar stools drinking his brandy from his favourite Waterford snifters. The man at the desk casually leaned back in Giles' chair lit a cigarette and then waved insolently.

"Hello, Rupert. Long time, no see," he drawled, in an Oxbridge accent.

Giles controlled himself with an effort and responded in kind, "hello Willoughby, lovely to see you old boy. Now get out of my home."

The man identified as Willoughby shook his head sadly. "Now, now Rupert is that anyway to treat such old friends? And before even hearing our offer too, how rude."

Then he leant forward and rested his elbows on the desk. His tone was all business. "Pleasantries aside, how would you like your job and your Slayer back?"

After a late lunch, Buffy spent time guiding Faith up and down the stairs to get her legs moving and through some more gentle stretching. By the early evening Faith had started to tire noticeably and was summarily sent to bed after eating a large pasta meal. Watching the dark Slayer inhale her meal and Buffy uncharacteristically emptying a piled plate, Joyce gave a rueful sigh for her blown food budget.

Around eight, after replying to Faith's protests with a laugh, Buffy had carried her up to her newly decorated room, helped her change and tucked her into bed before moving to turn out the light. Feeling Faith's pout Buffy turned back to the bed and raised an eyebrow enquiringly.

Faith's look was all mischief. "So don't I get a kiss goodnight then?"

Buffy came back to the bed and then hesitated, remembering what Willow and Giles had said. Faith feeling the hesitation started to withdraw, her face closing off and the little blonde ached inside as she felt Faith's walls start to come back up.

It took Buffy less than a heartbeat to make her decision. She bent down and gently kissed Faith's lips and was rewarded immediately as Faith's arms came around her and held tight.

Faiths voice trembled a little as she spoke," I know it was hard for you with Red and the others today. I, I appreciate it, OK?"

Buffy smiled ruefully back, "I know. Now tell me what got you all hot and bothery with Giles hmmm?"

Faith's grip relaxed a little and her voice hardened, "you can guess can't you? The usual 'you are a disgrace to the Slayer line yadda, yadda' shit. I gave him the standard 'big don't care' and told him to go enjoy some sex and travel and it sorta went downhill from there." Faith's expression got a little worried, "He didn't give you any shit did he? Over what I told him or what I said about X…Harris? Cos if he did I'll.."

She was interrupted by Buffy's finger on her mouth. " Shhh. It's cool. Giles and I had a wee heart-to-hearty and we're good. He's gonna help with your training too." Then Buffy pulled back a little to get a better view of Faith's face. "There is something though. I've never been able to figure out why you did what you did to Xander. It just seems so, I dunno, not evil, just dumb."

Faith flushed and dropped her eyes, looking horribly embarrassed. "It's one of the things I wished hadn't happened like it did yanno? I'd finished cruisin' the graveyards and was wicked horny and he was there. Ya gotta remember I was totally pissed with ya by now B. I, I screwed him to to oh fuck it I screwed him to, to piss you off. I knew he wouldn't be able to keep his mouth shut afterward."

Buffy merely nodded. "I get all that, even why Xander, eeeewwww by the way, but why try to kill him after?"

Faith flushed again and her voice was hesitant. "It's just, I know this is gonna sound totally whack, but it was the shit eating look on his face when I'd done. It was just s'posed to be 'get some, get gone', my itches get scratched and you get POed. No harm, no foul."

She stopped at the expression on the blondes face and then continued ruefully "Yeah, yeah I know, it's just there was this look and he, for a second he looked like every guy who'd ever fucked me over, and, and I just wanted to make them all stop. And well Angel came along and introduced his bat to my skull so the only real harm done was to me, typical really," she finished sadly.

Buffy looked down at the now worried girl still loosely holding her, and added her own ending "and then Wesley the weasel came along and fucked it up properly and it all went to hell. I know Angel got to you that day didn't he?"

Faith just nodded.

Buffy nodded back, "well if I ever see Wesley again I'll let him know just what a mistake he made and it's gonna involve a certain amount of bruising to bits of his body. Anyways," she continued with a smile "I gotta go and kill things and you need your beauty sleep."

She bent down further and kissed Faith on the nose, "So goodnight you."

Faith held on to her for a second, "I wish I was comin' with." she complained wistfully.

Buffy gently disengaged herself from the other Slayers grasp, "well soon, if you're a good girl and eat all your vegetables and get lots of exercise. Actually it's got kinda wiggysome out there. There's not a lot of beasties lining up to be slayed and the ones that do all seem scared of something not me that's called 2-16 and on top of all this there's some Commando wannabes running around in very nifty black uniforms. Your ex-boss didn't have a super nasty secret weapon called 2-16 did he? Does the number ring any little bells for you?" She asked hopefully.

Faith shook her head, "nope, I was his super nasty secret weapon" she said bitterly. Then her grin returned, "now if you'd said 3:16 then I coulda helped but I'm drawin' a blank here too."

Buffy smiled reassuringly at the younger girl, "well just remember both of us are nobody's weapons now. Not his and not the Council's. I won't let anybody use you…us again I promise. Now I gotta jet. See ya in the morning Fai," and with that she was gone.

Faith lay back and smiled softly, then whispered "yeah I will."

As it happened Faith was woken a lot earlier by Buffy than she expected. She was having the sexiest dream she'd ever experienced, starring a certain little blonde when she awoke panting and horny and then realised the feelings weren't going away. In fact they intensified without her doing a thing. Shutting her eyes she opened herself to the feelings of the other Slayer and realised just what Buffy was doing and why. Another jolt of lust hit her and she lay back to enjoy the ride with a satisfied smile as Buffy's talented fingers brought them both to orgasm.

A week later Faith was feeling a lot less satisfied. The first shock had been how tired and sore she felt after a first, gentle upper body workout with Buffy and Giles on the Monday afternoon as they took her through basic stretches and muscle resistance exercises. Even Giles' stern mask cracked when he saw the strained look on her face at the end of the session. As he left he handed Buffy a small jar, whispered something and then turned to Faith.

"Well Faith that was a start, although I had not realised how ah, below par you were. To be frank, yesterday I um well yes, well, see you both tomorrow then."

When he had left Faith turned to Buffy. "Ohhhh Jesus, everything hurts," she groaned. "I feel like I've been run over by a truck." Then she thought for a second and her expression turned to outrage. "He thought I was fuckin' faking didn't he? Ohhhh, shit. I wish I was", she groaned again.

Buffy eyes were full of sympathy. "I know it hurts but it's the only way and it'll hurt less tomorrow, I promise." Then she lifted up the jar Giles had given her. 'Giles told me to rub this in after you have a shower. It's the special homebrewed Council formula linament for achy breaky slayers."

Then she took the lid off it and wrinkled her nose. "Pheeeew, God that smells like Xanders locker at Sunnydale High, it must be good stuff then."

Faith thought so too twenty minutes later as small, strong hands glided their way across her back and shoulders. They paused briefly at the faint, thin scars before working the liquid heat into her aching muscles. As the ointment burned its way into her tired body Faith decided she could put up with any amount of aching just so long as those hands did their magic afterwards.

And it did get easier as the week went on, though Faith tried to not make it look too easy. A girl needed her pleasures after all. In the meantime the two Slayers got to spend almost all their time together as Buffy helped Faith recover. From slow stretching sessions in the backyard to gentle strolls around the neighbourhood to build up stamina, to the inevitable massage sessions that both seemed, to Joyce's worried eye, to enjoy far too much, the Slayers were together. Then at night Buffy was the last person Faith saw as she was tucked into bed and kissed goodnight on the lips before Buffy went on patrol.

The only times Faith asked her fellow Slayer to stay away were during her tutorials with Willow and Tara. This was something Faith wanted to do on her own. Anyway she didn't want to make a fool of herself in front of one of the two people whose opinion meant anything to her. The real kicker though came when Willow came around to start tutoring her for her make-up test and made it plain that while she would do all she could to help Faith learn, for Buffy's sake, she expected Faith to fail miserably and then leave.

It wasn't just the scornful comments when she bombed Willow's first pop quizzes that got to her either. Willows whole attitude was more off than even Faith expected but she didn't find out why for quite a while.

On Saturday morning, Buffy answered a knock on the door and was surprised to see Riley Finn, dressed in jeans and letter jacket, standing on the porch.

"Hi, um, Riley? What are you doing here?"

The TA looked at her a bit solemnly. "Um hi Buffy, can I come in? I have an invitation from the Professor that I ah need to tell you about, in private."

Buffy smiled hesitantly, "sure, come on in. She wants me to run another study group doesn't she?"

"Not quite," replied Riley as she shut the door behind him. "This relates more to your um, life outside class".

Buffy hastened to cover up her sudden worried frown as she led him into the living room where Faith was reading a history text in preparation for another torture session with Willow. She reassumed her smile, saying brightly "I can't figure why, it's pretty boring really; Oh I don't think you've met my cousin from New England? This is Faith. She's staying here to recuperate now after a nasty, um, accident. Faith this is Riley Finn, a Teaching Assistant at school."

Faith lazily looked over the TA, and then looked at Buffy, "Hi. Hey B have you read this shit? Christ, it's like valium. If it's all like this we might have to redo our deal, cos like you didn't tell me it might put me back in a coma outta boredom."

Buffy smiled indulgently, her sudden worry forgotten, "no Faith it is not all as boring as that," then she laughed, "though some of it is pretty bad. Chemistry fr'instance, Bleccch."

"Um Buffy", prompted Riley, trying to recapture the blonde slayer's attention, "Can we do this in private? This is about some stuff you might not want someone else to hear. It might sorta um "slay" them?"

Riley took a step back as two intense gazes bored into him.

Buffy tried to keep her voice light, "I've got no secrets from Faith, Riley, so what does Professor Walshe want?"

Riley shrugged but he was very careful with his words. "Have it your way. She wants to meet to discuss how we can help each other given we have a mutual interest in graveyards. Here or at school is OK with her and the time's up to you."

Buffy looked at Faith who also shrugged and then nodded, "Don't know what ya got to lose here B. Ya might as well see her, but do it here. You don't know who her friends are and your buddy here is carrying."

Buffy returned the nod and then turned back to Riley Finn, "OK, here, next Thursday night about nine. I'll make the coffee."

Two days later and near the end of Faith's study fest with Willow and Tara, Faith's curiosity overcame her. "Hey Red, know someone from College called Riley? Big beefstick of a guy, kinda whitebread?"

Willow looked up from the mock test she was grading a strange expression on her face, "Yeah, he's the TA, um Teaching Assistant in our Psych' class. Why? " She finished eagerly, "Did he come to see Buffy? Were they alone? Was Buffy impressed? "

Faith laughed, a small light bulb going off in her head, "whoa slow down Red, he came to arrange a meet, that's all. Your beefstick is a bit more that he looks. He knows about Slayers and so does some Professor he works for."

Faith stopped, satisfied at the surprise on the faces of her two tutors. "Yeah, bet you didn't know that did you? ", she continued softly." "And you've been helping him to get them together haven't you? From what I saw B isn't buyin' by the way. He just ain't her type."

"Well you're definitely not her type" snapped Willow, "we all know what you're like, get some, get gone girl, and we won't let you get away with it, so just stay away from her. Its not like you've got much chance anyway", Willow concluded nastily, "she's not real big on sleaze."

Faith suddenly realized why Willows attitude had been so strange from the start. She also realised her teasing a week before had hit her intended targets harder than she'd planned. Despite this, Willow's entire attitude stung. The little witch actually thought that boring hunk of meat was better for her B than she was.

Faith smirked, determined now to provoke her tutor, "She's probably just never tried it cos, ya know, she looks like she can use a good dirty roll in the sack."

Willow just gave her a filthy look as she got up and her voice was venomous as she hissed, "just stay away from her Faith."

Faith let the two witches show themselves out.

Afterwards she immediately went to her room and put on her Walkman, turning it up loud, so she didn't have to think. It took Joyce a lot of effort to drag her out again after coming home early. She finally did it by announcing she would treat them all to a pizza and a video when Buffy got back.

The doorbell rang as they sitting together in the kitchen waiting for Buffy, causing Joyce to start. "I'll get it she said a bit wearily as she rose to her feet and headed to the front of the house. "It's probably some salesman."

She opened to the door to find a short, dark, stocky man on her doorstep dressed in jeans and a denim jacket over a white T-shirt.

He smiled at her and said "Hi, are you Joyce Summers?"

"Ye…s," replied Joyce hesitantly. "What can I do for you?"

"You? Nothing. Mind if I come in?" the man replied, just before his fist connected with her jaw.

Faith, sitting in the kitchen, heard a thump as something hit the floor and all her Slayer senses suddenly started buzzing. Walking slowly out into the hall, she looked towards the front door and froze as she saw who was standing over Joyce.

The man looked up at the same time and smiled happily. "Hello Faithy, no kiss for your Daddy then?"

Faith just looked at him numbly as he brought something out of his pocket.

"No? Oh well. Plenty of time for that when you and me and your little friend all head back home. Martha's gonna love having you back and the two of you together, well that'll get me a nice bonus."

Then Faith fell to the floor, muscles locked in agony as the barbs of the police issue taser hit her squarely in the chest and discharged thousands of volts into her nervous system.

Two miles from home as she returned from a training session with Giles, Buffy suddenly doubled up, her whole body feeling like it was on fire. As the pain faded she started to run.

Buffy reached the door to her home and ran inside skidding to halt as she saw her mother sitting erect on the sofa, a large bruise starting to bloom on her cheek, her hands on her knees, and a man standing next to her holding a strange looking gun. Alongside her was a very woozy Faith, but it was the man who spoke first.

"Well you must be Buffy. Aren't you a pretty one?"

Buffy snarled back, "Bite me. Now get the hell out of our house."

The man just smiled. "Ooooh a feisty one, I know someone who's really gonna enjoy beating that out of you." Then his smile faded and he waved the gun. "Now be polite or your lovely mother here is gonna get forty thousand volts right in the eye from me taser and as me precious daughter here can tell ya that'll really hurt."

Buffy looked at him with impotent rage. She knew she could take him down easily enough but not while that taser was a threat to her mother's head. She settled for asking a question instead. "So who are you and what do you want then?", she grated out between clenched teeth.

"The strange man smiled again, nastily. "Well that's easy, I'm Frank Shalfoon, but you can call me Sir, and I want you and me daughter of course. Ya see Faithy ran away from a little business deal of mine a while ago and it got me in a lotta trouble. So to get out of the trouble I gotta bring her back to so I can keep my part of the deal. You, well though you're a bit old you're sort of the interest payment I gotta make and then I'm home clean".

He paused for a moment and then continued, "Faith here's gotta be taken back where she can be used as an example for any of the other's who want to run out on my clients and you, well once you're properly broken and marked we can put that nasty mouth and cute little ass of yours to work doing something useful."

Then he looked at Joyce's horrified face, "go on, admit it woman, you can't wait to get her out of your hair," then he carefully reached over and grabbed a bundle of envelopes from the table and waved them at Joyce before flipping through the pieces of mail.

"Bills, bills, bills. There's a lot of bills here. She's costing ya a fortune huh? And does she care? You'd think with all the crazies out there on the loose like little Faithy here she'd at least call and see how ya are. But no, I bet she's too into her own life to remember her dear old mom who pays for it all. In fact that's probably the only reason she's here now," he ranted, warming to his subject, "she probably wants more money so she can go party somewhere."

Shalfoon carried on, his voice rising in volume. "You're a parent, so don't tell me you don't see it, Joyce. I can call you Joyce? I feel I know you so well. But, see, you served your purpose. You squirted out the kid, raised her up, and now you might as well be dead! I mean, nobody cares! Nobody remembers, especially our loving daughters. Sooner or later you're gonna have to face it, they was over us a long time ago, Joyce," Shalfoon said in a self-pitying whine. "You try your best for them, give them a future, a profession with prospects and she's too busy climbing onto her new boytoy to give a single thought to the people that matter! I mean, here I am, her father for the love of Christ and she ruins me and me job with her selfish behaviour and then just forgets all about me and leaves me there in that stinking prison to die! Then, when I kindly give her a chance to put it right, all I get is abuse."

Faith climbed slowly to her feet and faced her father, "Did it ever occur to you you perverted old fuck, that the reason I forgot all about you is because I wanted to?"

Shalfoon's whine turned into a snarl. "Now acushla is that any way to speak to your dear daddy in front of others? You know I gotta punish you and your little friend for it before we all leave."

Buff could never explain it afterwards but as Shalfoon moved back a little from the sofa to apply the fully charged taser to the still shaky Faith, time slowed. It gave her time to see the subtle changes in stance and musculature as he prepared to trigger it, time to hear her Mothers expression of growing horror, her mouth slowing opening to shout 'Nooooo.."

It also gave Buffy enough time to see the red haze that had tinged her vision and to feel her body already in motion. Her relatively sluggish rational mind was totally subsumed by instinct and was powerless to stop her inevitable actions over the next couple of milliseconds as she took the opportunity Faith had given her.

She felt then heard her cry of rage rip from her throat as she crossed the ten feet separating her from her prey, spinning counter-clockwise in mid-air before her heel connected with Shalfoon's forearm folding it in a direction it was never meant to go. The Taser was ripped from his nerveless hand, flying well away from Faith.

Buffy had already landed and moved as Shalfoon's pain contorted face turned towards her, ruined tendons pulling his useless right hand into a claw. She stepped under and inside his reaching arm and side kicked, breaking his right femur with a sound like snapping wood. The impact drove him against the wall where he could not fall away from the blows that just kept coming. Kites and reverse punches powered to smash brick found only token resistance from gym-hardened muscle as they hammered into his torso.

Shalfoon began going sideways, falling along the wall toward his damaged leg but the Slayer saw this as a flanking attempt and counteracted it with a leg sweep that destroyed his left knee on impact. She continued her spin, lashing out with a backfist that smashed Shalfoon's lower jaw and most of his teeth.

Her mind finally caught up as kneeling over his shattered body, she cocked her arm for the final coup-de-grace. Time sped up as she heard the tail end of her mothers cry, the clatter of the Taser hitting the wall and felt Faith's hands rubbing softly on her shoulders, and her urgent whisper " I'm OK, stop baby, it's over, come down now."

Then Faith looked at the ruin that was her father and her response was pure Faith. "Well fuck me! Either you've got a lot better over the last 6 months or you weren't really tryin' before, B. You kinda took your time getting 'round to it but that is some impressive."

Buffy managed a weak smile up at the dark slayer before allowing Faith to help her to rise shakily to her feet to look down unbelievingly at the bloody thing on the floor.

Finally she turned to look at Faith and saw the look of compassion in her eyes and felt it coming off the other girl, as well as the normal slayer excitement at the violence and blood. Gathering herself a little she tried to talk, "I didn't mean to…, I mean he hurt you and Mom…I couldn't let…is he de…is that really your father?"

Careless of the mess, Faith bent down to feel her father's throat and then stood straight and took Buffy's blood splattered hands in her own. " Shhh, it's OK B. He's still alive, just a bit broken is all." Then she looked hard into Buffy's wide eyes, trying to get past the guilt. "I know what it's like B. I am a Slayer and I've done stuff like this, remember? He was the enemy and you took him out. You haven't killed him and, and he deserved worse, OK? And yeah that piece a' shit really is my father. His name really is Frank Shalfoon and according to what Imogen told me when she talked me into this gig, he's supposed t' be in the Leavenworth federal pen."

Buffy looked blindly at the body on the floor, "but I'm a Slayer I don't do …, nobody deserves…"

Faith put a finger over Buffy's lips to stop her. "He fuckin' did, B. You don't know what he was doin' time for, he bought and sold young girls, just kids, for a whorehouse in Boston and then did the getting rid when they were past their use-by date. It's what he wanted to do with us. It's why I ran the first time. He," Faith stopped for a second, and then decided to tell Buffy some of it. "He, he, tried to sell me when I turned thirteen."

Faith was warmed when Buffy's shock turned back to anger, anger for her, but she knew she couldn't let the older slayer loose yet. "It's OK B, he didn't get me, so is it really worth your time to kill him? You already made a mess of Joyce's floor rug and believe me it's a lot harder to get rid of a dead body than a live escaped con' who's menaced your family with a taser and a knife."

As Buffy calmed down, she looked quizzically at Faith, "what knife?"

"The one he always carried." She bent down to her unconscious father and roughly pulled his bloody shirt up and undid his belt to reveal a switchblade taped along the inside of the waistband of his pants. "He was always so fucking predictable. Hey Joyce, have you got a Kleenex?"

Joyce, still overcome by the concentrated violence she had just witnessed from her harmless looking daughter, forced herself to pay attention and dragged her eyes away from the human wreckage on her floor. "S, sorry Faith you said something?"

Faith's tone gentled, "Yeah Joyce, can you give me a Kleenex or a rag or something? I need to get this blade out but I don't wanna touch it with this blood here, then can you go ring 911? We need cops to arrest him and an ambulance cos this asshole's bleedin' out on the carpet."

Joyce put her hands up to her face, wincing as she touched the lump on her cheekbone and then rubbed them downwards hard, trying to regain some poise as she took several deep breaths. She quickly went over to Buffy, touched her face gently, and finally spoke to her daughter "Buffy are you hurt? Did he get you with that thing?"

Buffy took her mother's hand and tried to reassure her, "I'm fine Mom. Now go and get Faith's Kleenex, I'll ring 911." She saw her mother looking at her bloody hands, "then I'll wash up. I s'pose you'd better too now I've got you all bloody." She gave a laugh that just managed not to turn into a sob, "thank God vamps don't make this sort of mess. We'll need more than a dustbuster to clean this up."

Joyce nodded doubtfully. "You're sure you two are okay?"

Buffy considered the question for a second as she smiled warmly at a now fully recovered Faith. "Five by five Mom".

To Be Continued

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