Thought It Was You
by Davids21
Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Joss owns the characters. I am merely taking them for a spin.
Spoilers: Season 6 ...sort of. Angel Season 3...kinda.
Notes/Thanks: I guess the main inspiration for this came from the wonderful and talented Michele who continues remind that I don’t suck as much I think I do and that sometime the best stories come from nothing. Piper, you just keep on posting my stuff and I love you for it. And Dacia for everything else. * * = contains thoughts.

+1=2=3+

CHAPTER 1

She had been out of jail for a few days now. Faith was free and the world was a very different place. Buffy had died and came back to life. That one still was bugging her. She just chalked it up to another one of those weird occurrences that happened in her line of work. A year. Faith laughed to herself. It was like she had been in another coma. Only she was awake for the majority of it. The young slayer had been on the bus for a few hours now. The ride from L.A. was a quiet one. The other passengers were like her. Either prisoners on their way home or people who were too cheap to get a rental car.

Faith sat toward the middle of the bus. She had put her bag in the seat beside her to avoid having to talk to anyone or share her spot with anyone. She looked out of the window across from her at the sun slowly falling behind the buildings that decorated the horizon. It was kinda of memorizing to her. It was the first sunset she had seen without bars blocking it. Faith smiled and stretched. Freedom. What a feeling.

*****

Buffy wondered aimlessly around the streets of Sunnydale. Since the vampire gang cleared out of town and the gang had gotten rid of the demon that had created by her resurrection, things quieted down. Which always seemed to be the case in this crazy little Hellmouth she lived on. Things would be insane at the beginning of the week but by Thursday things seemed to wrap up and nothing else would happen.

She walked by a store front with a big glass window that showed her reflection. Buffy stared at herself. She was dressed casual enough. A black buttoned down shirt with a brown leather jacket and pair of dark blue jeans. The girl in the reflection looked so sad. Like her one chance at happiness had taken away from her. Heaven. She was in Heaven. Not in a hell dimension filled with torment and suffering like her friends had assumed. Buffy saw a tear roll down her cheek.

How could anyone possibly understand that? How could she tell her friends that they had committed horrible wrong against her? Buffy dropped her chin down and looked away from her reflection. If she started thinking about it, she wouldn’t be able to move on. A bus pulled into the station across the street. The slayer looked back at reflection one more to help her put her hair into a ponytail. That was when she saw a familiar face step off of the bus.

*****

*Why the fuck did I come back here?* Faith thought to herself as she stepped off the bus.

She had been asking herself that question since she bought the ticket. Sure, it was the source of all evil and she was the slayer. But that was really lame reasoning in her mind but it was all she had to go on. Faith searched her coat pocket for some more of the gum she had bought at the last stop. She had decided to quit smoking while she was in prison. Not having cigarettes kept the other inmates from fucking with her too much.

Faith pulled the gum from its wrapper and shoved a piece in her mouth. Then, her senses picked on something. She couldn’t exactly figure out what it was she was sensing. Being in prison had dulled her senses slightly but the feeling was still there.

“B...” Faith whispered. She turned around and there was no one around save a few people waiting for the next bus. Not that she was looking for Buffy. In fact she was hoping to avoid the entire scooby gang. The slayer started walking in direction of the hotel that she had stayed in the last time she was in Sunnydale back when things were happier.

She still had some money left from her last time here. It wasn’t much but it was a start. She walked down the street for a little while when she heard a noise that can always be heard in Sunnydale. A scream. It had come from about two blocks away. And without hesitation, Faith took off in the direction of the cry.

*****

Buffy had been shadowing Faith since the bus station. She hadn’t seen or heard from Faith since that night in LA. Angel would sometimes mention something about the dark slayer but Buffy would just dismiss it. ‘Probably just working on her next scam,’ she would say. But as she followed the dark slayer the vibe that she was giving off seemed less like Faith.

At first, she thought about rushing the younger slayer. Making her confess to whatever wrong she was going to commit. Then, she was reminded of how that would be. Even though Faith had wronged everyone she held dear, who was she to judge Faith? To assume the worst thing possible. Just like when her friends assumed she went to hell.

Suddenly there was a scream from nearby. Buffy snapped into slayer mode and took her eyes off Faith and tried to locate where it came from. Then, she turned back around and saw that Faith had took off running.

*Probably saw me and bolted.* Buffy thought to herself. She figured she would go after Faith later and go help whoever was in trouble first.

*****

“Get out of here!” Faith yelled as she pushed the vampire away from the young woman it was attacking. The girl looked at the raven-haired slayer and whispered a thank you. Faith smiled. She had forgotten what a ‘thank you’ sounded like. The girl ran out of the alley leaving Faith alone with the vampire. It had been a few months since she had gotten any slaying in but thanks to her natural abilities, should be like riding a bike.

At least she thought.

The vampire was on Faith before she even knew it. He slammed her headfirst into the brick wall. Before she even had a chance to recover from that the vamp lifted her up and tossed her into a stack of wooden crates that were next to a dumpster. Faith laughed as the vampire pulled from the ground.

“What’s so funny?” He growled at her. He had Faith by the collar of her leather jacket and held her a few inches above the ground.

Faith could feel the blood running down her face. Her vison was blurring and instead of seeing one guy she saw three. “I never thought I would get dropped by a loser like you.” Suddenly, Faith jammed a piece of wood that she grabbed when she was on the ground into the vamp’s chest. He exploded into a pile of dust. She fell to the ground with a thud.

“And I won’t be.”

Faith touched her forehead and tried to wipe away the blood that was streaming down her face. This was going great so far. The first vampire she ran into kicked her ass. She tried to stand but her body wasn’t agreeing with her mind at the moment. The slayer rolled onto her stomach and tried to push herself onto her knees. She gritted her teeth and got onto knees. As she tried to convince herself to get up and walk out of the alley, that funny feeling she had earlier came back. Only this time, Faith knew who it was.

Her eyes focused slightly and then she saw Buffy standing in front of her. A crooked smile grew on her lips.

“Hey, B.” With that she fell flat on her face and passed out.

CHAPTER 2 - This is where we are....

As far as she could tell, she had been out for at least an hour or so. Her head felt like it weighed about 500 pounds and when she tried to open her eyes, she was rewarded with an amazingly sharp pain her temples. Ah, this was familiar territory for her. The class was Head trauma 101 and the professor for today is Faith the Vampire Slayer. Faith slowly felt around the bed for the remote that would make her bed move and sit her up. But the sheets on the bed didn't feel like the stiff ass sheets that they used in the hospitals. After spending eight months on them, she knew the difference. As her hand moved around her finger got caught in the sheets.

She knew where she was. The one place where the sheets had cigarette burns in them. Only one place where the wire for the springs pokes up through the mattress and scratch the hell out of your calves. The good ol' flea bag rat trap hotel which can be found just outside of Sunnydale, CA. Faith gently pushed herself onto her elbows which slightly eased the tension in her head and made opening her eyes less of a chore. Once they were open, she remembered why she hated spending any amount of time there. The dull brown walls, a weird picture of a lion on a bearskin rug, the bathroom with no door on the hinges, that strange musty smell that came from the carpet and the crummy black and white TV that only got one friggin' channel. Be it ever so shitty there was no place like this shit hole.

A smile started to appear but it was soon replaced with a grimace of pain. Apparently, smiling caused sharp stabbing pains in her temples. For a minute, Faith thought about standing up and walking around the room and checking to see if her bag was there but, that would require sitting up. And at this point standing would more than likely would cause one of two things. Throwing up or passing out again. Neither sounded really attractive so, staying put and letting her slayer powers do what they do seemed like the best plan for now. Faith closed her eyes and slunk back down to the pillow.

Back in Sunnydale for a few hours and already she was laid out by a vamp and left to die in an alley by...by...

Faith's eyes shot open and she sat up sharply, which made her feel even worse than she already felt but, it didn't matter. She finally remembered the last thing she saw in the alley before the lights dimmed. The only thing that continued to draw her back to this goddamned place over and over again.

"Buffy . . . "

As soon as she said the name of the blonde slayer, the handle of the front door jiggled as if someone was trying to work a key into the lock. Faith sat frozen as she watched the handle slowly turn and the door pushed its way across the carpet. Then, for the first time in almost two years, Faith saw Buffy Summers. And there was something different about her. There was always this energy about Buffy like, a glow that just flowed out of her and into anyone around her. Anyone who knew her, and after fighting with her and trading bodies with her; Faith knew her, could tell there was something wrong with her former partner.

Faith continued watching the blonde trying feel the changes in her but, she kinda tuned out when she saw the rather large brown bag that Buffy was carrying.

"I got you some food. I didn't know what you wanted...."

Her voice sounded so hollow and empty. Buffy finished setting the table and took a seat on the dresser in front of the bed. She looked around the room as if she wasn't trying to avoid eye contact with the brunette sitting across from her. Faith cleared her throat and for the first time in a long time spoke to her old partner.

"Hey."

Buffy focused on Faith. Hearing the dark slayer's voice snapped her out of the daze she was in.

"Hi."

The silence between them continued until after several minutes of staring at each other, Buffy stood and started walking towards the door. She paused for moment at the doorway.

"Faith."

Her voice still sounded so empty. "Yeah."

"Just stay out of sight for awhile."

Faith was going to open her mouth and protest but Buffy had saved her life and if that was the way that she wanted to play it then what choice did she have? "Sure thing, B."

"Ok. I'll come and check on you in a few days."

Then she walked out of the room. Leaving Faith alone and wondering just what had been going on to make Buffy like this.

And what could she do to snap her out of it.

CHAPTER 3 - Too much, too fast...

Spoilers: This takes place in and around ‘Flooded’ which was written by Douglas Petrie & Jane Espenson, which I borrow some dialogue from to move the story along.

Buffy listened closely for the sound. That noise she'd been hearing since she got up this morning. A drip. Buffy looked up at the pipes above her head. They all looked the same. Rusty, gray, kinda of icky. As she walked the sound got closer and closer and ....

"So we meet at last... Mr. Drippy."

She pulled out her wrench and stepped onto the stool under the pipe. Buffy slowly started turning Mr. Drippy. Not too fast, not too slow, not too much strength. Her attention was so focused on the leak that she never heard Dawn come down and take a seat on the bottom step.

"Want me to call the plumber?"

"No." Buffy answered, trying not to sound annoyed.

"You sure?"

"Yes."

"Got the number..."

Buffy looked over her shoulder and saw Dawn waving the phone back and forth.

"Dawn... I'm on it, okay."

Buffy sighed and continued to turn the pipe. Dealing with the real world wasn’t so tough. Sure she was torn out of the one place where she was at peace and now all her friends are treating like a fragile baby who’ll just fall apart under the slightest stress. She made one more final turn of the pipe and that was it.

Although Spike being the only person, who understood what was going on with her was weird enough. ButFaithbiengbackintownandhernottellinganyoneaboutitwasevenwierderandhernottellinganyonewasjustplaincrazy andwhatthehellisthat rumbling sound?

The rumbling was soon followed by a loud pop and water blasting in from every direction. The water covered everything, including Dawn, and Buffy just stood there, listening as the water started to fill the basement.

Buffy closed her eyes and sighed. “There. All better.”

*****

Dawn stood at the top of the basement stairs looking down at the really really flooded basement. “Man, how much water can they fit in one set of pipes?”

Tara finished setting the table and walked over and looked down into the basement. “If I understand it right? The entire city water supply.”

Buffy didn’t really hear what they were talking about after Tara spoke. Actually she had been standing by the sink trying to be as normal as everyone wanted her to be. She wasn’t really paying attention to anything. She tried to do something right and look what happened. A flooded basement. Why did she even try?

“Told you we should have called the plumber.” Dawn said in her new ‘I know everything’ voice.

“You were right. The plumber will make everything good.” Buffy tried not to sound as spaced out as she was feeling. She turned the faucet on and just stared at the water go down the drain.

Why was this so hard? She had been doing every day of her life for like 20 years. Why was this so different now? She died before. She had been brought back before. There was nothing different about this time. Other than the being put in the ground. And buried. And at rest. Her friends were safe and she was loved.

Suddenly, Willow was standing beside her turning off the faucet and giving her look of concern. Buffy smiled politely and moved to get herself something to eat. How could this day get any worse?

*****

The sun crept into the dingy hotel room and shone on through the curtains. A tiny ray poked in and beamed directly into the eyes of a very sleepy brunette slayer. She pulled a pillow over her face trying to trick herself into thinking that it was still nighttime. No such luck. Faith groaned loudly from under her current hiding place. Whatever time it was it had to be too damn early for her. On the plus side though her headache had been downgraded from searing to just mild discomfort.

Faith tossed the pillow off her face and sat a little just to get the sun out of her eyes. She let out a monster sized yawn and stretched. Day two of her return to Sunnydale and she had more than a few questions about what was going on in this crazy little town. And most of the questions are about her friend Buffy. Being dead must have really screwed her up. It really scared her. She could tell that slowly that the blonde was slipping away from . . . everything.

“Sorta like me . . . ”

Jail had been everything that Faith thought it was going to be. There were a few times, ok honestly more than a few times, when she was going to just let herself fall into the nothing. No redemption, no finding her place in the world, no anything.

And even though she had resolved some her issues there was still that nagging feeling. That same voice she had been hearing since she woke up from her coma. Funny thing was the voice she heard wasn’t even hers. It was the Mayor’s. Telling she had no place in the world. No friends, no family and no one to keep her from falling.

But then again she had Angel. He understood the darkness and knew that giving up wasn’t the answer. She knew that and had been pushing back the Mayor’s words. Replacing them with her own mantra.

“One day at a time.”

As she got out of bed and walked to the bathroom, Faith couldn’t help but smile to herself. If anyone had known where she had gotten that from her whole ‘bad girl’ vibe would have been ruined.

*****

Broke.

The fun just kept on coming. The plumber had said the house needs a full copper re-pipe. Her friends had ended up spending all the money that her mom had on paying for the medical treatments that didn’t save her mom’s life. The house was losing money every day.

Buffy continued going through her closet trying to find her most adult outfit. Her friends think that she was tortured in a hell dimension and her sister acts like she’s scared to spend anytime around her.

“There it is.”

She placed a red blazer, a white blouse and the most ‘mom’ looking skirt she had on the bed. No matter how many steps forward she could take, she always found herself in a worse mess than the original. Now here she was trying to pretend she was grown up going to the bank and asking for a loan that quite honestly she didn’t stand a chance of getting. Why bother even doing anything?

Buffy took off the bathrobe she was wearing and got ready to jump in the shower before went to the bank. As she stood by the shower testing the water, she caught a look of herself in the mirror. And she looked at herself in the mirror, she couldn’t help but think of Faith. She would have to go and check on her after leaving the bank.

*****

She knew what B had told her. Just stay here. Get better and then . . . actually there was no after that. But just sitting around waiting for Buffy to remember that she was here was going to drive her crazy.

*If you want to help her, you can’t do it from here.* Faith stood up and put on her jacket. She stared at the door. Once she went through it, there was no other choice but to go through with this plan of hers. Actually she wasn’t too sure what the plan was or why was helping Buffy was that important.

“And there was only one way to find out.”

She reached into her pocket grabbed a piece of gum, popped it into her mouth and walked out into Sunnydale.

*****

Buffy drilled another shot into the punching bag. She had been in the training room for a few hours. Willow had come in to keep her company and like she had been doing with everyone else, tuning her out. Her trip to the bank went just like she figured it would. No loan, a demon attack and she had to ruin her only grown up skirt. And for the first time in awhile, she was pissed off. Pissed that the guy at the bank wouldn’t give her a loan even after she saved his life. Pissed that the basement was now Lake . . . well she didn’t have a cool name for it. Pissed that she was attacked by yet another demon. Pissed that . . . Willow was saying dumb stuff like . . .

“Last semester I slept with Riley.”

Buffy stopped punching the bag and looked over at her sitting on the window ledge. “And you know I really doubt it.”

Willow smiled. “Caught me. Big fib. I just said that to cover up my sleazy affair with . . . Angel.”

“Will, what the hell are you doing?”

“Pissing you off?”

Buffy rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Yes. True. Why?”

Willow hopped off the ledge and began gesturing like she had just remembered that she was ticking of a slayer. “Cause you know, since you got back, you haven’t exactly been . . . big with the whole range of human emotions thing.”

“Willow, what do you mean?” Buffy just stared blankly as her best friend fidgeted under her gaze.

“Well, you haven’t really . . . no, I mean it’s just, um . . . You know this is really my problem. I’m all over the place and forget I even said anything cause, cause, cause you know . . . Banks, man.” Willow said as she nodded her head over and over again.

Buffy sighed to herself. Why was it so hard for everyone to understand what she had been through? Maybe if she said something about it. God, why can’t she even pass the blame right anymore?

*All this thinking is driving me crazy . . . * and with that she began beating the crap out of the punching bag.

*****

Faith stood across the street and looked at the Magic Box. Her plan of finding Buffy and talking to her had changed from looking for her into hanging around in front of the Magic Box. And after standing there for like forever, she had worked up the nerve to . . . pace around out front. They were all in there. Dawn, Blondie, that Anya chick and those she had hurt the most. Willow. Xander. And the one who needed her.

“B..”

She summoned up all the ‘bad girl’ attitude that she possessed and was stopped by a familiar voice.

“You know that isn’t the way to help her.”

Faith looked over her shoulder to acknowledge the former librarian standing behind her. “What makes you say that?”

Giles walked up and stood beside the dark slayer. “I know the only reason you would ever come back to Sunnydale is because of her.”

Faith’s eyebrow popped up slightly as she eyed his suitcases. “Guess I could say the same about you.”

Giles laughed a little. “I suppose so. Does she know you’re here?”

Faith nodded and nervously slid a piece of gum into her mouth. “You know there is something that I wanted to say to you . . . ”

"There’s no need to say anything Faith. I was well aware of everything that you have done since I last saw you. You have changed. Just you standing here proves to me how much you grown. And for me actions speak louder than any words you could ever say."

He placed his hand on her shoulder. “Although, the others, Willow and Xander especially won’t be as forgiving.”

“I knew that . . . ”

“Then you also know that confronting them right now isn’t the best thing for Buffy.”

Faith walked over to the nearby bench and sat down on the bench. Giles had forgiven her and that had meant a lot to her. When she started down the dark path, the first person she lied to was him. Actually the first person was Buffy but Giles was pretty close to the top of the list.

“What else can I do? I was never one of the world’s greatest planners.”

Giles sat down next to her. “Just try to take this on her terms. Let her come to you. You have to gain her trust.”

Faith stood up and looked into the window. There she was. Even from across the street, Faith could feel the sadness flowing from Buffy. And even though every instinct in her body said go to her. She would try this Giles’ way.

“There’s something really wrong with her, Giles. I don’t know what it is but I can just feel it.”

Giles reached into his pockets and handed Faith a couple bills. “I won’t tell anyone that I know you are back. Take this and go out for a while.”

She didn’t even bother counting the money. She just shoved it into her pockets. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Can I assume that you are staying in that same hotel as before?”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll stop by tomorrow and we can talk about when would be the best time to tell everyone about your return.”

Faith nodded once again. She took one more look at her former partner. *Don’t worry, B. I won’t let you down. Not this time.*

As the slayer walked down the street, with her slayer hearing, her ears heard Giles whisper “I’m proud of you, Faith.”

And she couldn’t help but let a little smile creep out.

*****

Buffy had been standing outside on the back porch while Giles and Willow had their ‘talk’ about the spell that Willow used. Giles thinks there is something wrong with her as well. With all these people worried about her, it was making it impossible for her to deal with them. They had researched the demon that had attacked the bank but they did come up with anything that Buffy didn’t already know.

Strong, evil, green, two horns, ugly blah blah blah blah. At some point, he would come for his final showdown with ‘the Slayer’ like most of the dumb ass demons in this town. It really was so predictable living here. Demons show up. She kicks their asses around the Hellmouth.

*Nothing new there.*

Suddenly, a cigarette butt landed on the porch. Buffy smashed it with her boot. “Hello, Spike.”

He stepped out of the shadows and walks over toward Buffy. “You hear all the noise?”

“Just enough to make me feel crappy.”

“You know watcher-boy does mean anything by it.”

“I guess. It just . . . everyone’s all . . . they all care. They all care so much it makes it harder.”

Spike quirked an eyebrow as he leaned against the porch. “Not too sure I followed ‘round that bend, love.”

“I don’t know. I just feel like, like I’m spending all this time trying to be okay, so no one will worry about me. It’s making me exhausted so sometimes I space out . . . and . . . ”

“And that makes ‘em worry even more.”

Buffy nods and Spike stepped up onto the porch with her.

“Want me to take ‘em out? Give me a hell of a headache, but I could thin the herd . . . ”

A smile crept out and Buffy sat down on the porch. Once again when she needed someone to understand, Spike was there. Which was still the weirdest thing.

“Why are you always around when I’m miserable?”

“Cause that’s when you’re alone. I’m not much for people these things.”

“Me neither.”

Spike sat down next to her. “That works out nicely then.”

*****

The M’Fashnik demon clomped his way down the street toward the slayer’s dwelling. This was it. His final blood match against the killer of demons. His power would be matched up against the fiercest opponent walking the earth. He could feel his rage raising as he got closer to the address that his former employers had given him.

After he was finished killing the slayer, he was going to go back and rip out their insides and wrap them around their faces. The demon laughed to himself. That was going to be fun. And in that second, someone had decided to be standing in his way. A girl.

“What are you doing?” he growled at the girl standing front of him.

“Yeah I just wanted to know. Where is a big green guy like you going on this fine evening?” The girl asked with a cocky grin on her face.

“I was going to kill the slayer but I could use a warm up kill.” He cracked his knuckles and stared menacingly at her.

“See, that’s funny cause last I checked I was the slayer.” She said as she cracked her neck just to show off.

“I have fought the slayer and you are not her.” What is her problem?

“Well, there’s only one way to find out, stud. Why don’t you come and get some?” The girl then flipped the monster off.

He roared loudly at the night sky. “You silly girl! If you seek death allow me to introduce you to it.”

Fashnik charged at her full speed and the cocky young girl smiled. “This should be quick.”

*****

Buffy walked down the street. She just had to get out of the house. Maybe get in a quick slay before bed. And maybe go and see Faith. Just to see if she was doing better. She still didn’t know what to do about her. If she should just tell everyone that Faith is back or just keep it to herself. After all she knew how everyone would react to the news. The same way she would have if she didn’t see Faith trying to save that girl.

Or attacking that demon, she had fought at the bank.

Up the street, Buffy saw the dark slayer flipping over the demon’s head and landing behind it. Normally she would rush over and give Faith a hand with the battle but something in her mind was telling her to just stay back. It had been such a long time since she had seen Faith fight. There was still a brutal elegance to her style. Her punches were filled with such force. The demon’s head snapped back from each shot he took.

Faith kicked him in the back of the leg and he fell to his knees. She followed it up with another punch to his face. Buffy slowly crept closer to the battle. Something was drawing her to the battle. No, that wasn’t it. Her eyes relaxed slightly and then she saw some kind of energy floating around the two of them. She continued walking toward them. Suddenly, there was a loud crack and the demon fell to the ground.

The energy she saw seemed to not be coming off the both of them. It was just coming off of Faith. Her sight focused once again and the glow she saw disappeared. Faith stood over his body. She was breathing heavily and was so focused on the body that she didn’t even see Buffy walk up.

Buffy gently touched her on the shoulder. “Faith . . . ”

Faith wiped her forehead with the sleeve of her leather jacket. She turned and looked at Buffy. For a second she thought about asking her if she was okay. But then she wouldn’t be doing this the right way. While at least she wouldn’t be doing this the ‘Giles’ way. Of course she was having a tough time focusing. This was her first slay in a long time and well she was trying to process all the emotions running through her. Terrible because she killed something, good because she killed something, worse because she was glad about killing something.

So instead of going into the speech that she had been practicing for the last hour, she just said what was on her mind. “I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about this . . . ”

“About . . . ” Buffy asked trying to understand what Faith was saying.

Faith casually pointed to the very dead demon on the ground.

“Oh.”

“I just thought I was ready to get back into the slay of things. I thought that maybe . . . I was ready. But . . . ” Faith just kept looking at her hands. And the feelings she thought were pushed down. That they would be easier to face now. She could feel the darkness all around her. And it was coming from her hands.

She closed her eyes and tried to calm herself. Then she felt a hand touch hers. She opened her eyes and that Buffy’s hand was in hers. Buffy didn’t smile or try and give one of those moving speeches that would make all of those doubts go away. She just gave her hand a gentle tug.

“Let’s get you home.”

And with that the slayers walked toward Faith’s hotel.

*****

The basement was your typical fanboy hangout. Action figures, video games, bigger than necessary T.V. and the piles of money sitting all over the place.

Warren sat at the table working on the gun. He couldn’t believe just how well his plan had worked. And just how amazingly loyal his two lackeys were.

“We got the money. We got the lair. And our loose end has been taken care of by the Slayer.” Warren said smugly and flipped the switch on his completed weapon. “Flamethrower’s up.”

In the corner of the lair was Andrew (you know Andrew. He had flying monkeys attack the school play). He was spying on Warren’s mom again. “Periscope’s working. Your mom’s weeding the tulips again.”

And the final member of the criminal masterminds, Jonathan, was busy putting the various action figures in the glass cases that they had collected. “Action figures - fully deployed.”

Andrew stopped looking through the periscope and took a seat in front the really big T.V. He grabbed a pile of money and started counting it. “I still can’t believe it. We did it! We can do anything. We..we can stay up all night if we wanna!”

Warren shot the flamethrower again and smiled as the fire burned up a dummy he was testing it on. “Whoa, whoa, don’t get all crazy on us, Andrew.”

“I’m only saying . . . ”

Jonathan took a seat in his chair with a bag of money and stared at it with a silly grin on his face. “But what are we gonna do about Buffy? You know sooner or later, the Slayer’s gotta come after us.”

“Bring her on.” Andrew smirked.

“We could hypnotize her.” Warren answered.

“Make her our willing sex bunny.”

“I’m putting that on the list.” Jonathan jumped from his seat and wrote it on the board of their ‘objectives’.

“Is this the life or what?”

They all looked at each other and let out the best super villain laugh they could manage.

*****

Buffy brought Faith a glass of water and sat down on the foot of the bed. “Feel any better?”

Faith smiled and took a sip of water. “Five by five.”

The slayers sat together in a sort of haze. One wasn’t too sure about what direction her in life was going in or if she was even supposed to be here. The other wanted to help but maybe she was trying to do too much, too fast. In the silence, the words she had been searching for all day long finally came to her.

“B..”

Buffy turned slightly so she was facing the dark slayer. “Yeah . . . ”

Faith swallowed hard. The butterflies in her stomach were flying around so fast that she thought she was going to throw up. *Just tell her what she needs to hear. Be honest.*

“I...I just wanted to say . . . if you need me . . . ”

But before she could finish the sentence, the phone rang. Faith mentally kicked herself for taking so long and remembered who was supposed to be calling her tonight.

“Are you going to answer that?” Buffy asked.

“Could you get for me? I gotta go pee.” Faith as she got out of bed and went into the bathroom.

Buffy shrugged her shoulders and picked up the phone. *Who would be calling Faith here? I mean, I am the only one who knows she . . . *

“Faith. Is that you?” The voice said.

She paused because it had been so very long since she had heard from him. “Angel . . . ”

*****

Faith splashed some water on her face. Even though she had told Buffy she was five by five, she really wasn’t. There were so many emotions swirling through her even now. The power she felt from killing the demon. Fear she felt from letting her darkness out from the place where she had buried it. The fact that even after all this time, it was so difficult for her to fight it. God, how could she be there for Buffy if she couldn’t keep herself together?

Before she could continue down the fun path of self analysis, Buffy knocked on the door. Faith opened it and then Buffy spoke.

“It was Angel.”

Faith nodded her head. “I know. I figured he would call looking for me sooner or later.”

“He wants to talk about . . . ”

She shook her head before the blonde could finish. “Just go.”

“I’ll be back soon. Try to get some sleep.” Then, Buffy was gone.

Faith ran over to the door and watched Buffy jog her way down the street. And then in a voice so low that only she could hear it she whispered “I’m here for you, B. No matter how long it takes.”

...to be continued...

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