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
As her eyes adapted to the dim lighting of the room Faith's attention was immediately drawn to the clear, hazel eyes and tremulous smile of the blonde girl standing in the backlit doorway. They were the same eyes and smile that had haunted and obsessed her since coming to this shithole of a town.
Then suddenly the lights came on and she was cut off from that strangely soft and uncertain expression by a flock of white coated hospital personnel who descended on her en masse. While they fussed around and over her, her gaze stayed locked on the now invisible doorway until a doctor asked her to focus on the small light he was shining in her eyes. Her fight/flight reflex took over and she tried desperately to move up the bed away from all the people blocking her vision, talking at her and invading her space.
Calm returned when she felt her left hand being gently held and stroked. It felt comforting. It felt like something that she knew she should remember, but she also knew that no one had ever been that gentle with her. The medics satisfied that she was awake and aware, stopped looming over her and moved away from the bed, all with the same indulgent smiles on their faces.
"Wha'" was all she could get out with a voice powerless and harsh with disuse before the calm she was feeling shattered as she saw just who was holding her hand. Her panic returned in full as she simultaneously screamed and tried to pull her hand away from the girl who had put her in here, all the while getting as far away from her as possible without falling off the bed. Faith's wide eyes stayed fixed on Buffy. She only stopped weakly trying to get away from the nurse who had moved to hold her as she struggled when she saw the expression in her tormentor's eyes. It wasn't hard or hateful as she had expected. It was a little tearful, sad, full of a deep regret and something else she couldn't identify at all.
The nurse quietly scolded Faith as she got her lying comfortably again. "Is that any way to greet someone who sat by your bed holding your hand for 4 months, not to mention saving you from Mafia hitmen. One of the security guards told me he found her surrounded by 4 unconscious goons just last week."
Faith just stared at Buffy in amazement as a male doctor tried to quieten the nurse. "Ms Spencer doesn't need to hear that now nurse. Let's just leave them together for a few minutes, now we are sure Ms Spencer is fully awake and calm. She needs peace and quiet more than anything else right now and I'm sure Ms Summers can help with that more than your scolding."
Faith croaked at the doctor, "water".
"Just a little" replied the medic. "I'll send some in but your stomach isn't used to having anything in it. I know your mouth is dry but if you drink more than a spoonful you'll lose it. Ms Summers, it looks like all your questions about post coma care were useful after all. I trust you'll remember to keep our patient calm and still and not let her have too much water when it arrives. I'd just like to say Ms Spencer that you couldn't have had a truer or more dedicated friend than Ms Summers. Her visiting here and care for you has been an inspiration to us all. I don't know what frightened you when you saw her but I'm sure the two of you will work it out. Ms Summers is the least frightening person I've ever met." He then ushered all the medical staff who had come in to see a miracle recovery out of the room and closed the door.
The two slayers looked at each other. One set of eyes containing regret, sadness and resolve, the other suspicion, confusion and fear. The only thing the expressions of both girls shared was pain.
Their stare was only broken when a nurse brought in a glass of water with a straw, which she held to Faith's lips. After a swallow she took it away and put on the nearby table. "Thanks" croaked Faith a little less harshly as the water soothed her parched throat. The nurse merely smiled at both girls and left the room.
Faith's suspicious, angry gaze locked onto Buffy as soon as the nurse had left. "So, B, you bin keeping watch for four months here like the doc said? So that dream about the Boss dying was true then. Shame. Still, pretty fuckin' boring for you huh? Afraid I'd wake up? Nah, you were here to put me back to sleep if I did." Her voice trailed off into an inaudible rasp as she started to cough.
Buffy moved quickly to put the straw to her lips again and like the nurse, let her have a swallow before taking it away. She then replied softly, "No Faith I wasn't here to put you back to sleep. If I'd wanted to do that I'd have just stuck a pillow over your face while you lay there." Buffy stopped at the shocked disbelief at her callousness on Faith's face. "Yeah Faith I've changed too. But I don't want to hurt you anymore. I want to help you, the way I should have done a year ago. I forgave you for the things you did the first time I saw you lying in that bed, and being here gave me a chance to think and keep you company."
Faith sneered, "So it's just guilt huh? Noble fucking Buffy stabbed poor, sad, deluded me and feels guilty. Well newsflash babe, I stabbed people too and I don't feel guilty. And B? I haven't forgiven you at all." Faith paused a second, "another thing what's all this crap about Mafia hitmen?"
Buffy carefully ignored Faith's first comments. "They weren't Mafia, there's been at least six tries by the Council to get at you and me. You're the active Slayer, Faith. If you die a new one gets called. We've both been declared rogue, so they want someone they can control and I wasn't about to let them have that." Buffy noticed Faith's eyes widen in something close to surprise at that and then droop again. Even lying down she was tiring rapidly.
Buffy's voice gained a slightly desperate edge. "Faith listen to me. I haven't got much time before you need to sleep. I want us to start again. I fucked up, you fucked up, who cares now? I don't know about you but I really, more than anything don't ever want to fuck up like that again. You'll be able to leave here soon, but it will take 6 weeks to get you fit enough to fight again. Normal humans would take 3 months so I figure 6 weeks is about right for a Slayer. Come home with me and let me help this time. My mom has a spare room at the house. Live there, go back to school, we can train together and then when you are fully fit again you can leave, throw down with me, whatever. I owe you that much, for not giving it to you when you first got here."
Faith's first thought was that this was a mindfuck. So was her second. "Fuck off B. I don't need your charity or your twisted little mind games. You'll get me back to your nice little house with your nice little mom and your nice little life, and as soon as I'm not your nice little fucking pet the cops or the Council will be there waiting for me. Or do ya want to do me y'self, huh B? Give y'self an excuse to finish the job that doesn't hurt that delicate li'l' conscience of yours? You think the psycho will do something bad and Buffy the fuckin hero will ride to the rescue and put poor little Faith out of her misery? Well it ain't gonna happen girlfriend. As soon as I can walk without passin' out I'm outta here on my own like I've always been. Then you'll see how payback really can be a bitch B."
Buffy's expression confused the hell out of Faith. It wasn't angry or hurt, it was more resigned and sad, "So much for sweet talk huh?"
Harshly Faith replied, "what'd you think, I'd wake up and we'd go for tea? That everything would be five by five? You tried to gut me, you tight-assed little bitch, and then feed me to fangboy. By the way, is he "
Buffy just bent her head down and lifted her hair off her neck so Faith could see the scar there.
"Aww ain't love grand," Faith sneered. "So where is he?"
"He's in LA. He left me, " replied the blond tersely. Buffy had heard the rasp in Faith's voice again, and tried for the last time. "What can I do to make you believe me Faith? This isn't a mind game. I want to help like I didn't do last time. I figure we are even for Angel, now I need to make up for before that, for what happened that night with Finch. What do you want from me, an apology? I'm big enough to say it even if you aren't. OK I'm.."
Faith loudly cut her off. "If you say sorry B, I swear, I'll beat you to fuckin' death."
"Okaaay. What else will convince you I'm serious, a blood oath or something? I'm willing if you are."
Faith was taken aback. Maybe this wasn't a mindfuck after all. Or maybe it was. But it was also a chance for her to stay close to Buffy, to make sure she didn't get fucked over before she could do anything about it. The thought that Buffy would be helping Faith get healthy enough to kill her appealed as well. In Faith's current view of the world there was only one way for this to end and if naïve little Buffy thought she could make up for all the rejection, well why not let her try. Yeah she'd take this blood oath, and keep her enemies close, it was good tactics after all. She knew Gwen Post would be proud of her remembering that piece of wisdom.
"OK B, I'll play. We'll do it your way for now. How do you want this to work?"
Faith was stunned when Buffy reached into her bag and took out a very familiar knife. "I've kept it with me since that night Faith. You can have it back if you want it, when the six weeks is up. But for now it's nice and sharp and we need some blood." Saying which and wincing, she cut a short shallow slice across her palm that started to bleed and then in a surprising gesture of trust, much to Faith's amazement, she handed her the knife hilt first. Faith's fingers convulsively gripped the hilt custom made for her by the Mayor. Then looking at Buffy she too made a shallow cut across her own palm and then held the hand out to Buffy.
Buffy clasped the offered hand and then, as their blood mingled and as if the oath and the impulse to say it came from outside them, both women spoke the same words they had shared in the Slayer dreams. "My Blood to yours, My Blood for yours, Blood calls to Blood, Blood binds us, Blood makes us one." The two Slayers wrenched their hands free as though they had been touching a live wire. A bone-deep burning all through their bodies and an odd feeling of completion had hit both as they clasped the other's hand and completed the involuntary oath. For the first time Faith felt a niggling fear grow that maybe it wasn't a mindfuck after all.
Buffy held a towel hard against her shaking hand to stop the bleeding and then did the same for Faith, maintaining her hold even when Faith struggled weakly to pull her hand free. Once the bleeding had stopped and she thanked God for slayer healing, she picked up the knife that Faith had dropped during the oath taking, cleaned it on some tissue paper and put it back in her pack. Then, her entire body still trembling with reaction, she broke the silence. "Wow that was way intense. What a head rush. It was you in the dream wasn't it? It must have been, you used the same words."
Faith could only nod dumbly. Then she found what was left of her voice. "Fuck, Fuck, Fuck. What did you do B? Did you plan that? Did Red? It felt like I'd been wired up to the mains. And what about the dreams, you bleeding an' all, was that for real?"
Buffy just looked deeply into Faith's eyes. "I swear by the oath we just took, I did not plan that. That was just too much. I couldn't have planned it. And yeah the dreams did happen. I did bleed for you. I have for real a couple of times too, fighting off the Council but they bled more though," she finished with a vicious grin that Faith returned automatically.
Faith collapsed back onto the bed. While the ECG monitor beeped out her racing heartbeat, she felt exhausted and confused. Nothing was going the way it should and all she wanted now was sleep.
Buffy saw the state her fellow slayer was in and pressed the call button. A nurse must have been just outside the door, because before the first buzz had died she had come into the room and started bustling around her patient replacing the water with Plasmalyte and the saline drip with the same electrolyte rich supplement. As Faith felt herself starting to drift off into a natural healing sleep, she heard Buffy say, "I'll be here tomorrow morning Faith when you wake up. If the doctors agree, we can go home together soon and start things off. See ya babe." Just when Faith thought things couldn't get any weirder, Buffy bent down and softly kissed her cheek in farewell. This was all too much for the dark slayer who just gave up and let sleep claim her.
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