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
"I gotta get me a broom," Spike muttered ruefully as he tried to kick what was left of Harmony Kendall out of his commandeered crypt and instead got her dust all over his boots. "Bloody typical, he griped, "even when she does something useful, the silly bitch has to go and cock it up. Why couldn't the stupid cow leave a nice tidy pile instead of spraying bloody ash everywhere? She was soddin' useless as a human, pathetic as a shag and a complete waste of time as a vampire, the least she could've done was not make such a mess when she got dusted." He cursed again and jumped further back into the crypt as he got too close to the early Saturday morning sunlight coming in through his open door. His complaints continued as he slammed the door shut and then splashed water on his burnt leg, "and what moron would have their fuckin' grave facing fuckin' East?"
"Oh well," he consoled himself, " at least my bloody head didn't explode when I stuck a stake in her so whatever those soldier boys did has worn off and the Big Bad is back and ohhh is he hungry. So watch out Slayer cos I'm dining out tonight, and you, fucking Buffy fucking Summers are gonna be the main course."
He continued muttering to himself as he turned on his old TV to watch Passions and then settled wearily down into his chair with a smug smile. The previous nights trawl of the university's halls of residence had been fruitful, if exhausting. He now knew where the Slayer lived and he knew he didn't need any invitation to get in there. "You'll be the entrée and dessert too and then I'll turn ya and we can play with all your little friends. Ohhh baby, we are gonna have so much fun"
For a man with a hangover, Buffy decided while packing, Xander was being entirely too cheerful. He had turned up at the halls of residence with Oz and a protesting Anya and with a suspicious lack of complaining both guys had quickly and efficiently helped her, Tara and Willow box and then move all of her stuff including furniture into Oz's van. Anya's contribution had been to encourage the others. Even more suspiciously they hadn't said a word about why she was moving. For one brief second Buffy thought Xander might just have started to grow up, then swiftly dismissed the thought after she noticed that his gaze never got above chest level whenever he looked at Tara.
By midday she was looking at the now empty space in the room and wondering how she'd ever managed to get everything into somewhere so small. She was also honest enough to cop to a little jealousy at how fast Willow had asked Tara to become her new roommate and how eagerly Tara had accepted the offer to move in the following week. It had taken a demon trying to suck her soul out to get Willow to room with her. All it had taken Tara was a shy smile. Her flash of envy had also been accompanied by feeling more than a bit pissed to find that Willow had told Tara who and what the Slayer was without asking her first.
On that bright, sunny day however Buffy decided she didn't really give a shit. For the one of the few times since she had been Called she felt as though everything was coming together. She was with her friends, nothing scary, scaly, slimy or vaguely smelly was trying to kill her and even College no longer sucked as much thanks to all the work she had done. But best of all Faith was coming home. Just the thought of the dark Slayer brought Buffy an involuntary smile and a flash of the frustration and hope mixed with what felt suspiciously like happiness that made up the younger woman's surface emotions. On impulse she concentrated a bit harder and her smile softened further as she felt the tangle that was Faith's feelings towards her. Buffy's eyes closed as she felt the remembered softness of Faith's mouth on hers and then opened in shock as she found herself hoping for the chance to kiss Faith like that again. "No, bad, bad, Buffy, that is so not going to happen, it was a joke, it had to be a joke "
"See Will I told ya she'd lost it," said Xander cheerily. "Talking to yourself is always the first sign."
Buffy blushed as she realized she'd said the last part aloud.
Xander continued blithely, "so what makes our saintly Buffy such a bad girl anyways?"
Buffy blushed again. "Um nothing. I was thinking about ah um ice cream. Yeah, nasty, fattening, evil ice cream."
Xander wasn't giving up that easily, "Ice cream? I'm an expert "
"And he's got the hat, uniform and brightly painted truck that plays cheerful, jingly music to prove it," interrupted Anya proudly.
Xander flushed at Buffy's upraised eyebrow and carefully neutral tone. "So you drive the ice cream truck now? Why weren't we told and is there a Scooby discount?"
Xander's tone was defensive, "well it's a job and I only give discounts to um, people who don't make me carry all the heavy boxes and answer my questions" he said pointedly: "So what flavour is this ice cream then?"
Willow interjected with a giggle. "Riley flavoured."
Buffy went red. "Now there's a whole world of Eeeeewwww. That's disgusting, Willow Rosenburg."
Willow look and tone were sincerely puzzled. "Why the eeewwww?"
Xander couldn't help grinning evilly as he helped his oldest friend out. "What does ordinary ice cream look like Will? And how do you find out what flavour it is?"
The little witch still looked puzzled, "well, its whitish and creamy and you put your mouth round it and lic eeeeeewwwwwww!!" and she blushed as red as her hair as all there, except Anya, laughed. "You guys!! That's so completely not what I meant, I mean that is gross, and disgusting and eeeeewwww and your minds are all low and guttery and, and I just meant ."
Buffy took pity on her. "We know what you meant", she said still laughing, "but your face that was soooo funny."
Anya spoke up again a bit impatiently. "Well I don't know .ooohhhh I understand. Why is that disgusting?" she asked innocently. " I quite enjoy licking .mmmpppphh" the last few words were muffled by Xanders hand over her mouth.
"And that's quite enough discussion on ice cream for today," snapped Xander with rare decisiveness. "OK changing the subject, where's Giles? I thought he'd be here helping or being pseudo- fathersome or something."
Buffy was still chuckling as she answered. "Oh he's with Mom getting the house ready. Mom had been using my room to store gallery junk and needed to clear it out and Giles is helping out cos Faith's room needed some work too."
"So he's padding the walls and installing the security monitors then," quipped Xander.
Buffy's smile faded completely and her eyes hardened. "Careful Xander your inner bitch is showing." she said coldly. Then she added maliciously, "is that something else you caught from Cordy?"
"Buffy!" protested Willow. "You know that Xander "
But the ex-demon pricked up her ears at the word "else" as Buffy had known she would. "Else? What does she mean else, Xander?" Anya demanded stridently. 'I was immortal and I am beautiful and I refuse to die ugly from some disgusting, disfiguring pox your penis caught from your slut of an ex-girlfriend."
Xander shot Buffy a look that could have killed an elephant and set about calming his girlfriend down, pointedly dropping the last heavy box of books at Buffy's feet to do so.
Hiding a wicked grin, the little blonde ostentatiously picked up the box with no visible effort, and balancing it easily on one shoulder walked down to the van, leaving Xander to Anya, and Willow, Oz and Tara to referee.
Buffy's mood stayed happy all through the move back to Revello Drive and the refurnishing of her bedroom. If anything it improved with her visit that evening to the hospital where she helped Faith regain more mobility through some basic stretching exercises and then watched as the other slayer proceeded to inhale the plain omelette and stewed prunes she was given for dinner.
Neither slayer mentioned the kiss they had shared that morning but when Buffy got up to go she made a point of quickly pecking Faith on lips in farewell just to show the brunette that if her plan had been to embarrass her it had failed. Faith's response was a slow smile and a heavy lidded glance that told Buffy she hadn't won anything either.
Cheating a little, Buffy reached towards the feelings in her head that were Faith's and to her shock felt the bite of fear underlying the surface confidence she could see. Reaching to brush Faith's wavy hair back from her forehead and then cradling her face in both hands, she forced the younger girl to look into her eyes. What ever Faith saw there must have reassured her as her hands came up to hold Buffy's and the fear finally faded away.
With her face now wearing a wicked grin the dark slayer kept looking into Buffy's eyes as she moved her mouth closer to the blonde's. As she saw the dare in the other girl's expression, she licked her lips and her grin became even more wicked just before she pressed a kiss on the tip of the other girl's nose.
Buffy's eyes, which had involuntarily started to close in anticipation instantly shot open again.
A loud subterranean rumbling coming from low in Faith's abdomen cut a squawk of laughing outrage short though and this time it was Faith's eyes which opened wide.
"Whoa. Hey B, I think my guts just woke up. Then a look of panic crossed her face. "Um B" she said tightly, "Its time for us both to go if ya know what I mean. So unless you wanna be really grossed out, I'll see ya tomorrow."
As understanding dawned, the blond Slayer quickly stood up. "Yeah, yeah, I'm gone." Leaning forward she kissed Faith's brow in farewell. "See ya Fai, I'll be here bright and early tomorrow so get some sleep. I'm bringing you home if it kills me." Then she smirked as a Faith's belly rumbled again, "have fun!" with that she was out the door just before the hurled pillow hit the wall behind her.
Sadly Buffy's mood was dealt its first blow only a few hours later as she patrolled the UCS campus grounds. On impulse she had decided to cut short her patrol after dusting only 3 vamps in 3 hours and panhandle a hot chocolate out of Willow.
The scream that rang out just as she reached her old corridor was frighteningly familiar. What was not so familiar were the sudden darkness as all the lights failed together and the figures in black that crashed through the windows, blocking her way to her old room. The resulting fight was short, sharp and brutal as Slayer reflexes took over and she kicked one of the intruders hard in the head before he had a chance to recover his footing and stiff armed the other two into the walls. Diving past the fallen trio she went through the open door to her old room, just in time to see William the Bloody diving, with a shattering of glass, through the closed window.
Buffy looked a the window in the suddenly restored light and then at her friend lying curled tightly on the bed, and, forgetting about black-clad intruders and power outages made the only possible decision.
Putting her arm around the trembling redhead, she pulled her up slightly and hugged her, then she pulled back to look at Willow's teary face. "Are you Ok? I mean did he ?
Willow shook her head vigorously. "No, no, no. She laughed shakily. "In f,fact he couldn't."
Buffy's face showed her confusion. "What do ya mean 'couldn't'? As in teeth fell out, an attack of conscience, what?"
Willow shook her head again and pulled slowly out of her friends hug, moving to sit cross-legged on the bed. 'No" she giggled. "His teeth didn't fall out. It's just so, I dunno, weird, even for here. He tried to bite me and, and then he screamed and held his head like he was hurt or something. Then he started swearing about some snotty bitch and soldier boys. Actually," she continued "I'm really kinda pissed. From what he said before he um yanno, he complained that it was me and not you here and then said I'd do. I mean, so not a good confidence builder here when even a vamp finds me second best."
Bufy looked even more confused. "So that was his scream I heard a second ago? I coulda sworn that was you, cos like," and she grinned suddenly, "I'd know your scream anywhere and hey don't worry, I'm sure you're really very tasty."
Willow grinned back,. "No Dufus, I'm not that offended and it was my scream. That was even weirder. He'd got all embarrassed and then he asked me to scream to see if it would get him in the mood. Yanno like a guy who can't..."
Buffy interrupted quickly. "Can I just say yuck here? That's way too much information. I so did not want to know that about Spike. Anyway," she continued curiously, "how would you know about that um stuff anyway? I'd always thought with Oz being what he is, he be um you know a bit of an animal."
Willow blushed. "Its was just, well when we first started dating, just after he'd changed back one morning and we sorta started um making out, and then well he just couldn't and he asked me to bark at him and sniff his and anyway the change took too much out of him or something and he didn't want to talk and got all male about it yanno?"
"Well you asked" said Willow defensively.
"I know" Buffy replied, "and you have no clue how much I regret it. Anyway it's not important right now. I can go after Spike anytime and if he can't bite people then that's all of the good. What is important is getting you home." She held up a hand to stall the protest she knew was coming. "Be reasonable Will, you can't sleep here with a broken window can you?"
Willow grumbled a bit, as Buffy knew she would, but, inevitably, after a short cellphone call, Willow shortly found herself walking down her corridor, half listening to Buffy's wondering about where some invaders had faded away to and then out to Joyce's SUV with a change of clothes and her toothbrush. Not much later she was tucked up under a quilt on the Summers' sofa and wishing her pushy blonde friend a sleepy goodnight.
In contrast Riley Finn's night seemed to be going for forever. After another lengthy visit to the infirmary to repair his badly bruised jaw he had faced a grilling from Maggie Walsh about Hostile 17's presence on campus, his late reaction and Buffy Summers' fighting prowess. The Professor was especially interested in the fact that Buffy had taken out three soldiers wearing night-scopes while in the pitch dark. This was a fact Riley was finding hard to explain, even to himself.
"I don't know how she saw us Professor. We could barely see her, even on the infrared. It's like she was tracking us by heartbeat or radar or something."
Maggie interrupted tersely. "Or possibly Agent she was just using instincts bred into her over millennia. Her natural prey is nocturnal, it's only logical she can fight well in the dark. As far as I can determine this only confirms that she could be an even bigger asset to us than we hoped. On a less important note Riley" she continued, "I take it Hostile 17 made his escape?"
Riley just nodded.
"Good. The telemetry we are getting from his implant is fascinating. And your team? Were there any witnesses apart from Ms Summers?"
The young soldier nodded again. "All the team got out once Buffy went into the room. Our HUDs showed the Hostile leaving and her staying with Willow Rosenberg, so I declared the mission complete and we got out. We were undetected and had no serious injuries Ma'am," he added when his boss raised an eyebrow.
"Glad to hear it Agent" replied Maggie looking critically at his badly bruised face.
Riley waited a few seconds for the Professor to continue then asked her a question. "So what now Professor? Hostile 17 is harmless enough for the moment and more valuable on the loose but we'll have to eliminate him eventually and have you thought more about Buffy, um Ms Summers joining us?"
The older woman looked up from the report she was scanning. "Oh, yes, yes I have. I'd like you to visit Ms Summers at home at some point this week to arrange a meeting between her and ourselves. She seems to have decided to return home to live, hostel life can't agree with her. In the meantime Hostile 17 can wait, this is more important."
Sensing, dismissal Riley Finn saluted and replied, "Yes Ma'am. Oh Professor, one more thing. I've been investigating that girl Buffy has been visiting in Sunnydale General. It seems she used to work for Mayor Wilkens as a "special assistant" and has just unexpectedly come out of a 4 month coma."
This caused his boss's eyebrow to rise "Really?" she inquired. "Hmm interesting, given the events around the portal. Stay on this Agent, while Ms Summers is our priority now this other girl might be of interest too, specially if, as you say, she worked for Wilkens and the Slayer has an interest in her." She looked back down at her report, "dismissed Agent Finn".
Finn saluted and marched out, headed first back to the infirmary and then to the gym. He was getting sick and tired of Buffy Summers smacking him around and he hoped extra training was going to give him an edge.
To Willow it seemed like she had only just gotten to sleep when she was woken early the next morning by her friend.
Entreated by Buffy to keep the house looking welcoming and to let Giles in while she and Joyce went to pick up Faith, Willow smiled wanly, got up, and while Buffy and Joyce drove away she rang Xander and Tara to tell them the good news and to arrange for Oz to give Tara a lift. When they got there Xander and Oz elected to wait outside in Oz's van. At Willow's quizzical look, Xander would only grin and admit to having something special planned. Tara however joined Willow and an also recently arrived Giles as the official welcoming committee in the house.
In the Summers SUV an hour or so later Buffy couldn't keep from smiling. As predicted the hospital hadn't wanted to release Faith but some subtle threats and a stubborn refusal to listen to Dr Cordwell's protests had gotten all the paperwork signed. A candy striper was then called away from the call she was making on a payphone to help Faith into the mandatory wheelchair for the slow trip to the car.
Buffy refused to even consider the feelings raised when she had helped Faith get dressed. Her touching Faith's bare skin had caused both girls' breaths to shorten and seeing Faith naked for the first time had sent her pulse racing, thin and tired-looking as the dark Slayer was. She looked over her shoulder into the backseat to see Faith dressed in her favourite black leather pants which hung on her a little, and a white cambric shirt with a blanket draped over her legs and bare feet and her smile widened. When the other slayer's gaze met hers she turned around awkwardly in her seat and reached over to hold one of Faith's hands. Warmed further by Faith's genuine smile, her voice was a bit husky when she asked, "happy Fai?"
Faith's smile grew to match the little Slayer's. "Yeah B. Ya know, I think I really am. It feels kinda weird. Nice, but weird."
They continued to hold hands all the way back to Revello Drive, with Joyce resolutely not looking anywhere except at the road.
As they pulled into the driveway of 1630 Buffy saw Giles, a stony-faced Willow and Tara waiting on the porch. She could also faintly hear music coming from out on the road. It was only when she got out of the SUV to help Faith into the house that the volume of the music increased and she realised it was coming from Oz's parked van sitting at the kerb. Her eyes went cold and the smile disappeared as she heard the lyrics. From the feelings she was getting from Faith and the closed off look to her face the other girl could hear them plainly too as David Byrne's cracked tones loudly ripped the early morning peace and Buffy's good mood apart.
"I'm aaa Psycho-killer/ Quesque c'est/ Fa,fa,fa,fa,fa,fa,fa,fa,fa,fa,fa/ Better run, run run, run, run, ruuunnn awaaaay " repeated over and over as Buffy hurriedly took Faith's hand and helped her to the front door of the house. Once there, satisfied by the shock on Willow's face that she had nothing to do with the musical tribute, she snapped some orders out. 'Hi Will, help Mom get Fai to the couch and make her comfortable." Squeezing the younger Slayers hand and kissing her on the cheek her face softened for an instant. "Welcome home Fai, now let them help you get inside, I'll be back in a second after I've dealt with DJ Shithead in the van."
Frightened by the suddenly cold look on her friend's face Willow tried to stop her but Buffy was down the steps and marching across to the van before the redhead could move. This left her forced to assist Joyce as ordered. Just before she went inside Tara grabbed her arm and shook her world with a few whispered words.
"Um Willow, I thought you said she was totally evil and yanno psychotic? I don't get that. She feels kinda like Buffy and I don't know, maybe, scared?"
The blonde Slayer was feeling decidedly evil and definitely psychotic as she approached Oz and Xander. So she smiled.
Xander, waiting with some trepidation, saw the smile and laughed. "What did I tell you Oz old buddy, " he crowed to his companion. "Turn up the volume, she's smiling. She thinks it's funny too."
Oz on the other hand was still looking a bit worried. "Ah Xander could you wind down the window for a second, ah before she gets here?"
With a puzzled look Xander complied. He was even more puzzled when Oz sniffed the air coming in through the window and turned as white as a sheet.
"Oh man" came out of Oz as a strangled moan. "Houston we have a problem. Xander we're dead."
"Nah" scoffed his friend, "she's just "
He was interrupted by his door being forcefully opened and the soft voice of a very angry Slayer.
"Turn that shit off."
Then it was Xander's turn to go white as he got his first close-up look at Buffy's face. What he had thought was a smile now looked much more like a snarl, with a lot of very sharp white teeth showing. Her eyes had gone almost black with rage and for the first time in the four years he had known her, Xander Harris realised why demons and vampires were so afraid of Buffy Summers.
Buffy's voice however was almost friendly in tone and it gave her friend some hope. "Congratulations Xander, you've graduated."
Xander's face registered his relief, but his rising spirits were brought crashing down by the Slayers next words.
"Yeah, be real proud. You've just graduated from harmless idiot to full blown retard."
Despite his sudden fear he tried to speak, "Now back off Buff, she's just a ."
This time it was two things that made him stop. The first was Buffy''s hand coming into the van to grab the front of his Hawaiian shirt , half lifting him out of his seat, the second was the whimpering from Oz who had backed away as far as the van would let him as soon as he had turned off the PA.
Buffy's voice was still incongruously calm and made all Oz's hair stand on end.
"Shut up Xander. Oz was any of this your idea?"
Oz swallowed nervously and replied "Um no. It was Xander's."
"Gee thanks buddy. Have a Bronze Star," whined Xander sarcastically.
His reward was a flex of the hand holding his shirt which made his head rock and his eyes water as Buffy's grip accidentally latched onto a couple of his sparse chest hairs. "Just what the fuck is your damage Xander?" hissed the small blonde fury holding him so painfully. "She's hours out of the hospital and trying to put things right, and you pull this crap? I didn't think even you could be such a stupid asshole. Now here is what's gonna happen if you don't want me to rip your leg off and beat you and Oz to death with it. You are both gonna come inside and say sorry to everybody for making such a bad joke."
A look shut Xander's open mouth.
"Then," she continued, "You can sit and play nice for a while so that Xander can crawl back to his hole with all his limbs still attached and you Oz can have a nice little chatlet with Willow. I'm sure she'll have lots of interesting things to say to you."
"But Buff that evil bitch is just conning you, can't you see that?" The mutinous glower on Xanders face faded to a pained grimace with another shake of the Slayers hand. Oz just gulped as Buffy released Xander and pointedly stood away from the van to let them meekly precede her back into the house.
The rest of the morning went more smoothly after this. The muttered apology had been accepted by Faith with a toss of her head and a grunted "whatever" and by Joyce with a shaky smile. Willow, her mind still on what Tara had said, absently and almost pleasantly agreed to Buffy's request to tutor Faith for her make-up test, much to Xander's confusion and private disgust. Then to Buffy's delight Tara had shyly and spontaneously said hello to Faith and, just as shyly, offered to help as well.
Xander however was still fuming when he left the house half an hour later. He couldn't believe Buffy and her mother had been so thoroughly and easily played. He had also shared a very speaking glance with Willow when they had both noticed that Buffy had spent the entire tense time they'd been there holding Faith's hand and stroking it. They had also noticed how Faith had seemed to like it if the possessive smiles she gave only the other Slayer were any indication. Then and there he decided that that he would get Faith away from Sunnydale and Buffy at any cost. He would not let that sociopath destroy his best friend's life.
Five days later while lying in his single prisoner cell in Leavenworth, Frank "Yes Man" Shalfoon was also wondering how to get Faith away from Sunnydale after realising just how Faith Spencer could actually save his life at no cost to himself at all. Earlier that morning he had read and reread a story in a pilfered tabloid paper about a teenage girl unexpectedly recovering from a coma and then looked at the accompanying grainy pictures of her leaving the hospital in the company of a pretty, young blonde woman and getting into an SUV. The story and the pictures had brought back a lot of memories.
After securing a phone call to Boston from a guard's cel phone with a small bribe, not even the aftertaste of the prison food could knock the smile off his face or the triumph out of his voice as he muttered to himself. "Daddy's coming acushla. I gotta whole new deal for ya and you'll not be runnin' away this time."
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