You Pull The Strings
by Dylan
Rating: NC-17

Disclaimer: These cool people don’t live at my house, so I don’t own them. Unfortunately. Joss has all rights, along with some other important people, who just didn’t give us enough Faith.
Timeline: Late season three without the stupidness!

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PART ONE: You Did It

“You making this a habit, Slayer?” A soft English voice broke through the smoky atmosphere of the dingy bar.

“Ya know what? This time Spike, I really am not in the mood. So turn your fucking sorry dead ass right around, and walk away.” Faith didn’t bother lifting her eyes to meet the blonde vampire stood beside her at the bar.

She was far from wanting company right now. All she needed was the drink in front of her, and the knowledge that she had enough cash for a whole lot more. The company of the darkness was all she craved as she sat with her elbows sticking to the filthy counter, the stale alcohol soaking into her favourite denim jacket. Not that she cared. She was beyond caring about anything so trivial. Or anything that wasn’t Buffy.

“Looks to me like you probably shouldn’t be alone. Where’s the other Slayer? Your little pal? You’re usually inseparable.” Spike should have kept his mouth shut.

The dark girl span around to face him so quickly the bar almost shook. She grabbed him and flung him hard. He hit the far wall with a loud crack, leaving an imprint of his backside on it. She had practically growled as she did it, sounding more like a vampire than she would ever care to admit.

She rushed towards him, not finished with venting some of her anger on the unfortunate vamp. Picking him up by the collar as she bent over him menacingly, Faith gave him a warning.

“Don’t give me an excuse to fucking dust you dead boy, cos I’m close to it. Next time I tell you to do something…Do it.” She dropped the sorry looking blonde back onto the floor in amongst the filth and the discarded cigarette butts.

The brunette straightened her jacket and went to sit down again. Daring with the dangerous look in her eyes for somebody to say something to her, Faith slumped back onto her stool and downed her glass of strong liquor. Savouring the taste as it burned down her throat.

She wanted to be drunk. She wanted that dead feeling it gave you, when the world seemed to slink away and just leave you to it. Faith ordered another shot, throwing her money onto the bar. Enough to pay for many more glasses. The bartender nodded in understanding that he would keep her topped up until the cash ran out.

The menacing girl didn’t look like she could be messed with, her hair sleek and straight, seeming to be darker than usual. Her clothes and make up screaming bad ass, stay away. Leather pants and tight black tee shirt covered by a dark denim jacket, that looked like it had seen better days, but still managed to flatter her. She was hot, and she knew it. She was dangerous, and she loved it.

She was Faith the vampire Slayer…at least nobody could take that away from her.

“Spike…I told you to get lost.” She didn’t sound too convincing. The fight already dissipating as quickly as it had rushed through her.

“Look…I realise I’m kinda staring a vacuum bag in the face here, but…why are you sat in this stinking bar again, trying to obliterate yourself?” The bleached vampire hung back on the other side of the stool next to Faith. He certainly had some balls. Either that or he was just stupid.

Faith looked at him and laughed a deep throaty laugh that came right from the middle of her chest. Several patrons in the background looked frightened for their lives she sounded that crazy. Spike took another step backwards, a flicker of fear dancing in his sharp eyes.

“God, you’re more fucked up than I am. I mean, I just told ya I’m gonna kill you if you don’t get outta my face…but, here you are sticking your dead head into my business. Gotta hand it to ya blondie, that deserves a drink.” The young Slayer nodded again at the bartender, who instantly filled a glass for Spike and placed it on the bar.

The visibly worried vampire slowly sat on the stool next to the dark girl. He kept one eye firmly on her as she took another swig from her glass, chuckling softly to herself now and again. Faith couldn’t be bothered to argue. She couldn’t really be bothered to do anything but keep downing the drink until she maybe fell off her seat.

She had good reason to be feeling the way she was though. Her life was in a mess. More so than usual.

*****

It had been two weeks since Buffy had regained her memory, and subsequently forgotten what had happened between her and Faith. The change in their relationship. The declaration of love.

For two weeks Faith had practically been grieving her loss.

After the blonde Slayer had recovered from the spell, she had spent a few days alone with just her mom. Faith hadn’t seen her for four days, but it felt like so much longer. She patrolled alone as she tried to make sense of what had happened, and how she was meant to just carry on as if nothing had changed. As if her heart hadn’t felt like it had been ripped from her chest and stomped on.

She took the opportunity with no Buffy around, to plead with Willow not to tell the older Slayer about anything she had seen or suspected. It had been hard work, but she eventually convinced the redhead to keep her mouth shut.

The sultry brunette told the wanna be witch that what had happened between her and Buffy had just been a mistake. That it had been because of the Slayer connection, and that Buffy had just needed comforting.

That it wasn’t as bad as she maybe thought, and that it shouldn’t have happened, and was best if Buffy didn’t know about it to save her from being embarrassed or upset. Willow eventually agreed, although Faith could tell she wasn’t too happy about it. She just hoped Willow would hold true and not fuck things up.

The time apart from Buffy only served to make Faith feel worse than she thought she ever could. Especially as she knew her blonde counterpart was still seeing her ‘other’ friends, Willow and Xander. She felt pushed out again. After all she had put up with in the beginning, it was happening again. She was on the outside once more.

It had felt cold and lonely the first time, but now…It was even worse. Knowing what she could have with Buffy, if only she would open up to Faith. Knowing that they could be together. Happy. In love. It cut like a knife. A big, sharp, rusty knife, digging straight into her open wound of a heart.

Once Buffy had got over the initial shock of learning that she had lost her memory, and spending some extra time to make her mom feel better, things kinda started getting back to normal.

The day Faith saw Buffy again would be burned in her mind forever. It was so surreal. Recalling how intimate they had been, and how the small Slayer had wanted her, craved her even, drove her crazy. Faith just wanted to rush up and grab the shorter girl. She wanted to kiss her and touch her, in all the ways that Buffy had told her she had wanted her to. But that was when she had no memory. When she had no guilt or worries about what everybody else would think.

Faith had been able to see a small spark of the desire in Buffy’s eyes for her. Just like before the amnesia spell. It was there in the sparkling green, hidden. The dark Slayer was more sure of it now. She understood what it meant, and she understood that Buffy would continue to ignore how she felt. She would push it away. Like she had done, was doing, to Faith.

It hurt, like a motherfucker, but there was nothing Faith could do about it. Or at least, right now she couldn’t see a way forward, any chink of hope, as she was too busy grieving her loss. She felt more lost and alone than she had done before, and it was all just too real and painful.

Pretending to be fine was hard. Pretending that her heart didn’t leap out of her chest every time Buffy came near her was even harder. She could feel herself pulling back from her slaying partner, as Buffy also seemed to pull a little away from her.

Faith wasn’t sure why Buffy was acting the way she was, but it was noticeable. Certainly to her anyway.

Things were mixed up. She knew that much, and she hoped it would work out and stop hurting so much. Even if Buffy never admitted how she really felt, Faith didn’t want to loose her friendship. She had promised never to leave Buffy, and she meant it.

But in two weeks things had really begun to take their toll on Faith. She couldn’t handle it anymore. Watching Buffy carry on with her life, without her. Looking from the sidelines as the blonde girl flirted with various guys at the Bronze, feeling crushed and beaten by it. Talking with her…but never really saying anything.

It was hard to just get up in the morning knowing she had to face another day of acting like everything was five by five. She no longer flirted with Buffy, not seeing the point if she wasn’t going to open her eyes and see Faith. Really see her and notice how much she was loved and wanted by the brunette.

That’s why she was drinking. That’s why she spent most of her nights roaming the streets, so she didn’t have to go back to the motel where the memories of Buffy making love to her pierced her brain over and over, tormenting her for being stupid enough to believe it could ever be. She was drowning again in despair and could find no better way out than through the bottom of a glass.

If Buffy wasn’t ready now, then she probably never would be.

If she had no recollection at all of what they had recently shared. If she couldn’t ‘feel’ it, like she had told Faith she would be able to. Then it was never going to happen. There was no hope. No point in even attempting to convince herself that there ever would be.

“Come on Spiky, you're slacking.” Faith chugged back her glass of Jack D, slamming it back onto the counter for more.

She planned to stay there for the rest of the night. Fuck patrolling…she thought…what was the point.

Of anything.

PART TWO: Daylight

Loud banging…lots of it, woke Faith with a start. The dark haired girl cautiously opened one eye to make sure there wasn’t some demon or other going at her head with a hammer. There was nobody in her shit hole of a room but her. She sighed, thankful that she hadn’t brought some deadbeat home with her the night before.

Unfortunately she had done that at least three or four times in the last couple of weeks, well, three or four times that she could remember. Faith was doing her best not to get caught up in the way she had lived her life before the whole ‘incident’ with Buffy.

But it was hard, and a drunken hot girl with a tendency for overwhelming horniness was not an advert for guys to stay away. And she was weak, and longing for something to take the pain from her, to make it all just disappear. It never worked of course, only serving to make her feel worse.

Clutching at the messed up blankets strewn mostly on her, but also hanging on the floor, Faith fought back the urge to vomit as the banging continued. She gazed over at the door as it was almost knocked off its hinges, then swung her legs out of bed and sat up, swaying a little in her morning-after daze.

“Alright, I’m fucking coming.” Her voice rasped with the abuse from the cigarettes and alcohol she had been consuming.

Faith pushed a hand through her messy hair and stood up. The sheets fell to the floor behind her as the brunette stumbled almost blindly to the entrance, knocking off an empty bottle of beer from her dresser as she used it to steady herself. She unlocked the locks and slid the bolts along, the clanking causing the hammering from the other side to stop. With one hand up against the doorframe to hold herself up, Faith let the light and the air into her haven of depression.

“I’ve been knocking for…Faith! God, put some clothes on.” Buffy ushered the brunette away from the open doorway and back into the room, a slight flush rising to settle on her face.

Faith stood unsteadily in front of Buffy, one hand on her head to ensure it was still on her shoulders, and the other hanging limply at her side. She wasn’t wearing a thing, which was in no way unusual for her on a morning. She noticed Buffy’s blush, but she wasn’t rushing to cover herself as she had no clue why Buffy was there, or what time it was for that matter.

The blonde girl turned towards Faith after she closed the door behind her. “Faith you…” Buffy looked around the apartment. “God, this place is a mess.”

Faith stared at the blonde girl and had the urge to laugh. It wasn’t just her room that was a mess. She was a mess. The dark Slayer was busy suffering the worst hangover, after a four day binge drink session in which she had swung from bar to club and back again, barely stopping to wash or eat, or anything that involved the normal day to day running of life. She shook her head and followed Buffy’s eyes around the room.

There were empty bottles strewn everywhere, and her clothes were in various piles of disarray on the floor. Her ashtrays were full, her TV was on and filling the dark of the room with flickering white snow, and there was at least two used condoms stuck to the side of the overflowing bin. It all hit home, with a thud.

The sultry Slayer sat down heavily on the end of her messy bed, snickering at the state she was in because she couldn’t think of anything better to do.

“Here…at least put this on.” Buffy spoke softly to the other girl, who glanced up to look at an expression almost of sorrow that flashed across the blonde girl’s face.

Faith took the offered baggy tee shirt and gingerly pulled it on over her head. It smelt of cigarettes and stale alcohol, just like she did, and it did nothing to ease her stomach as it twisted in knots in a warning not to move too quickly, or at all.

“I…we’ve been trying to get hold of you for days, Faith. Where have you been?” There was genuine concern in the older Slayer’s voice.

It was mixed with something that sounded like annoyance though, so of course Faith picked up on that rather than the fact that Buffy seemed worried about her.

*****

“Sorry…am I fucking up the perfect little life of ‘Buffy the good’? Taking up your time to come and check if I’m still even alive?” Faith ran her hands through her hair to ease it out of the wavy morning look it had settled on.

She then tried to stand up, ignoring the hurt look on Buffy’s face that gave way to an angry one. Wavering with the alcohol still sticking to the insides of her veins, Faith made her way to the window.

“Hey, don’t take your hangover out on me. I’m not the one who’s been disappearing and not bothering with even training, let alone slaying.” Buffy watched Faith as she opened the curtains, squinting at the onslaught of the sun into her musty room.

“So that’s it…you think I’m slacking.” She was. “You think I’m not pulling my weight.” She wasn’t.

“Faith…it’s not that, it’s just…You make me so angry sometimes.”

But she didn’t sound angry and there was that hint of concern again that sounded more like pity now to the dark Slayer.

“Was there something you wanted, B? I mean, other than coming here to make me feel like shit. Which I already do, so there’s no need, really.” Faith pushed open a window to let in some much needed air to the stale atmosphere of the room.

“I didn’t…whatever. Look, I don’t know what’s wrong, Faith, unless you tell me. And clearly something is. I thought we were getting on ok. I thought we were friends.” Buffy stood by the door and watched as Faith sat down heavily again on the bed.

“Yeah, friends.” Faith looked away from Buffy, cringing at the amount of condoms she could see in the nearby bin. “I’m five by five, girlfriend, so you can go back to your perfect little life in suburbville.” She stood abruptly and the rush of alcohol, and the fact that she hadn’t eaten for three days, caused her to stumble forwards.

The smaller girl rushed towards her, and caught Faith before she fell to the floor, holding her up and placing her back down onto the crumpled bed.

“Please, Faith. Tell me what I’ve done. The last thing I remember…well, we were doing ok. We were…Faith, I don’t know what to do. Tell me.” She seemed close to tears, which only made Faith even angrier.

Not at Buffy, but at herself. She realised she was being unreasonable, because Buffy had no clue why she was acting the way she was. As far as the other Slayer was concerned, they had been getting on better than ever, and there was no reason for the change in their friendship.

“I can’t tell ya what to do, B. I can’t tell me what to do. You should just leave me to it, and let me fuck up, cos that’s what I do best.” Faith was aware she was sounding sorry for herself, but that’s the way she felt, and in her current state she was powerless to hide the fact.

“I hate seeing you like this, Faith. If I’ve done something wrong…Maybe it was when I’d lost my memory, cos that’s when all this seems to have started. Please, Faith, tell me.” Buffy knelt in front of Faith and placed a hand on her bare thigh. Moving it quickly as she gazed down and seemed to recall that the brunette wasn’t wearing anything but the tee shirt.

“B…it isn’t you. It isn’t something you did.” Faith forgot for a second that she was meant to ignore the fact that they had been so intimate at one point, and gently pushed Buffy’s golden locks out of the way of her face with her right hand, lingering a little with the silky hair spilling over her fingers. Then she remembered that Buffy would probably freak out, so removed her hand swiftly.

“Why have things changed, Faith? I wish I knew, because I’d fix it. I feel…I, I just want to get back to normal with you. I liked it when we slayed together, went dancing, or just hung out.” Buffy got up and sat on the bed next to Faith, her eyes wandered over to the bin close by and she sighed, seeming to deflate a little. “If you’re sick of me hanging around…” Buffy’s voice was weak and defeated.

“No…that’s not it.” She stated clearly, hating the way she was making the blonde girl feel. “I’m just…look, I’ll pull myself out of this.” She turned towards Buffy. “We can get back to how we were, if that’s what you want.”

She hated saying it, because she didn’t want to go back to how they’d been, with Buffy denying her feelings and keeping her at arms length, ignoring the fact that she wanted more from Faith than just her friendship. Faith could tell, in the cute Slayer’s voice and the way she looked at her, that Buffy did still want more, but was too scared to show her, or to give in to it.

But she was done with getting drunk and feeling sorry for herself. It wasn’t getting her anywhere, and was only pushing the girl she loved further away than ever. She certainly didn’t want that, and at least now she knew that Buffy did still kind of care for her, otherwise she wouldn’t have been there with her in her stinking room, trying to convince her not to go any further off the rails.

“I do want us to be friends, Faith. Close friends. I…don’t laugh, but…I’ve felt a little lost without you. I don’t know if that’s something to do with what Willow told me, about what I was like with you when I couldn’t remember anybody else but…”

“Wait…what’s Red been saying?” The hostility in Faith’s voice was clear.

She was worried that Willow had told Buffy more than she needed to know about their time together in her motel room. Faith didn’t want Buffy to learn about it, especially not from somebody else. Her blood was beginning to boil at the thought alone.

“She…she didn’t say much, Faith what’s wrong?” Buffy remained sitting on the bed as Faith got up and ran a hand through her hair.

She looked down at the blonde Slayer and caught her looking at her with a slight blush to her cheeks. Faith realised the action of raising her arm had caused the tee shirt to ride up and give Buffy more than an eyeful of her naked crotch. Doing her best to ignore the fact that Buffy was failing to look away, the dark Slayer turned her back.

“You’d better go, B. I’ll catch up with ya later, for patrol.” She watched as Buffy apprehensively made her way to the door. “I’ll meet you at yours.”

“I hope you do, Faith. Because I don’t wanna…I just.” The blonde girl sighed, apparently finding it hard to get out what she meant. “I hope I didn’t do anything to make you mad at me when I was under the spell. If I did, I hope you know you can tell me, and I’ll do my best to put it right.” She turned with a sad look on her face, and left the room.

Faith breathed out heavily. She wasn’t sure now what Buffy knew or what she didn’t. She looked around her room and determined that drinking herself into oblivion wasn’t helping her out any, wasn’t making her feel any less lonely, and decided not to fall back into it anymore.

She also decided it was time to have another chat with the redhead, and make sure nothing came out to change Buffy’s mind about them being close friends again. She wasn’t about to go back on her promise to Buffy because of a jealous streak in the Wiccan.

No matter what, Faith couldn’t go back to just being the back up Slayer that Buffy didn’t give two shits about, so the dark beauty rubbed her head to ease the pain, and set to work repairing her mess of a life.

PART THREE: Back Again

“Hey, girlfriend, wait up.” Faith called out, jogging slightly to catch up with her slaying partner.

“I’d given up on you coming.” Buffy turned at Faith’s shout. “At least you look better than you did earlier. I gotta say, the whole half dead look really didn’t work for you, Faith.”

The two Slayers fell in step, making their way to their first patrol point. They walked side by side into the glare of the setting sun. The heat dissipating with every slip of it into late evening.

Faith had done her best to get cleaned up and looking human again, and not like something she was built to kill. Something that enjoyed sludging around in the dirt at night to get out and feed.

“Come on, everything works for me, B. I’m hot stuff.” She ran her hands down the front of her body, clearly showing off her assets.

Buffy just smiled coyly at the younger girl, chuckling at the self-assessment. It was fairly obvious the blonde Slayer was in agreement. Not that she would voice her opinion, but Faith could tell Buffy approved of her attractiveness. She winked at the smaller girl and pulled her denim jacket around herself a little more, as the sun was swallowed up by the distant horizon.

It had taken Faith most of the day to sort herself out, from her room to her alcohol soaked clothing. She had cleaned up both physically and mentally. The brunette was sick of wallowing in self-pity. It was getting her nowhere and was actually serving to alienate Buffy even more from her than when she had first arrived in Sunnydale, and she didn’t want to go back to that.

Faith had also put a little more effort into her appearance for the night’s patrol, more so than she had been doing since the day Buffy regained her memory. She had taken the time to straighten her naturally wavy dark hair, knowing it made her look even more striking than usual, and she had ensured her makeup was perfect, and not laid on too thick.

It didn’t take much in the way of clothing to flatter her, as pretty much anything did. Faith stuck with her trademark black leather pants and boots, and squeezed herself into a tight red sleeveless top, remembering an offhand comment from Buffy about how much she suited red. She was hoping the small Slayer noticed.

She didn’t expect Buffy to actually say anything however, as the red comment had been about the closest careful, got my whole memory, Buffy had come to telling her she looked good.

“So, anything big and nasty expected out tonight?” Faith asked the petite Slayer as they entered the graveyard.

The blonde girl was wearing her usual pastel shades. Looking pretty, sweet and innocent next to Faith, who looked liked trouble. Although Faith sometimes joked with Buffy about the way she dressed all girlie, she actually quite liked it. The cuteness of the smaller girl made Faith want to just grab her and…well, have her wicked way.

“Nope. Nothing expected, but always planned for.” Buffy took a very ornate looking knife from her waistband, and handed it to Faith.

It was old, but very well looked after, that much Faith could tell. The handle was slightly curved to fit into the hand perfectly, and had an elaborate design carved into it. The blade glinted menacingly in the last remnants of the glow from the horizon. It was clearly sharp and cast in a way that the dark girl had never seen before.

“Whoa! This is fucking nice, B. Where’d you get it?” The brunette turned the blade over in her hands, testing the weight and feel of it.

“Giles. He brought it back from one of those Watcher vacation things. He said it’s really old, and from that place they wear those pointy hats.” Buffy waved her hand in a vague manner, suggesting she hadn’t been paying attention to Giles when he’d told her about the knife’s origins.

“Pointy hats? Like wizard school or something? Sorry, but I can’t see Henry Potter, slicing and dicing with this thing.” Faith demonstrated a fine slice and dice manoeuvre.

“It's Harry Potter…not that I know these things, but Willow never shuts up about him, it, whatever. Anyway…that’s not what I meant.” She watched Faith as the taller Slayer played with the weapon.

The chosen two strolled along in the still evening air, not looking like they had a care in the world between them. Chatting casually and not appearing to be charged and ready for anything, but they were, and they could both sense it. Or at least Faith could always sense it from Buffy. The power and passion just riding beneath the surface, almost close enough to touch.

She breathed deeply and closed her eyes momentarily, trying her best not to think about ‘touching’ and Buffy in the same sentence.

“You can have it if you want.” Buffy smiled sweetly at Faith.

“What?” Faith was still busy trying not to think about the touching.

“The knife. You can keep it.” Buffy kicked a stone ahead of her, glancing shyly at Faith as the brunette beamed.

“Are ya sure? I mean, Giles gave it to you. I don’t wanna…” Faith stopped walking and turned to face Buffy.

“I’m sure. See it as a thank you for taking care of me.” Buffy caught a sound off to her left. “Looks like we’re up.” A vampire turned the corner on what was to be the unluckiest night of his undead existence.

*****

Faith let Buffy head towards the vamp first, wondering a little at what exactly the blonde girl had meant about her taking care of her. She hadn’t said anything to Buffy about how she’d allowed her to stay with her whilst they’d worked to find a way to get her memory back. She realised Buffy knew she had stayed at the motel, but nothing more had been said. Certainly not by her anyway.

The two girls hadn’t really spoken much about it at all in fact. Faith for obvious reasons, and Buffy seemingly just as keen not to drag it up, for her own thus far unshared reasons. But she clearly knew something that Faith hadn’t told her, and it was the second time that day that Buffy had said something to make her wonder if maybe Willow had gone back on her word in some way.

“Hey, Faith. A little help here?” The small Slayer looked back at the brunette, pointing to the stake she had dropped in the struggle.

“Sorry, Slayer. Thought you had it covered.” Faith ran towards the tousling pair, picking up the stake on the way.

She lunged forwards towards the vampire as Buffy dodged a spinning kick from the athletic foe. Faith pushed the sharp wood into the vampire’s chest and grinned as he exploded into dust.

“Thanks.” Buffy took the stake back from Faith, and reordered her hair back into her ponytail.

“No problem, girlfriend. Always glad to help a damsel in distress.” The dark Slayer wiggled her eyebrows at Buffy and brushed the vampire off her, hating it when they stuck around, clinging to her clothes.

“Very funny, Faith. I was just making sure you were paying attention.”

“Always, B.” There was no way Faith couldn’t pay attention to Buffy.

The blonde Slayer had all of it, and she was aware that Buffy would no doubt pick up on that in the inflection in her voice, which had suddenly dropped into a sexy tone due to more than just the fact she had just slayed. Buffy said nothing, and they moved on.

The rest of their patrol went smooth enough. They encountered just two newbie vampires, and a disgruntled bum, who grumbled as the Slayers disturbed his night’s sleep. His smell quickly drove the chosen two away, and home for the remainder of the night.

As they strolled slowly towards Revello Drive, they bantered about the advantages and disadvantages of slaying in a skirt, the tragedy that was Sunnydale’s nightlife, other than the vamp action. and various other ‘safe’ subjects they could chat about without Faith getting all hot and horny. Or just more so than usual.

Faith was becoming more and more comfortable in the prospect of Buffy one day giving her the signal to make a move. She could feel the sexual tension, and even attraction, heading in her direction from the smaller Slayer.

It had always been there, but with everything that had happened, and all that Buffy had said to her with her loss of memory, Faith was much more aware of it. But, if she was reading things right, it was still far too soon to do anything about it. She knew she would have to sit on her hands, so to speak, and ensure that the blonde girl was ready.

“Your stop, Twinkie.” Faith stopped with Buffy, at the end of the path leading to the blonde girl’s home.

“You didn’t have to walk me home ya know, Faith?” Buffy searched out the brunette’s dark eyes in the dull light.

“I know, but I wanted to.” She dazzled Buffy with her winning smile.

She was sure she caught what could only be described as a contented look glint across Buffy’s tender green eyes. Faith wanted to say more, although she didn’t know what, because she recalled seeing a similar look when she had told Buffy she loved her. It was as if she could detect what was going on inside the other girl’s head, but not. It was still utterly confusing.

She wanted to reach out to the other girl right there but she was uncharacteristically afraid. Afraid of causing Buffy to freak on her, or to run, or to deny her feelings and her attraction to the dark girl. She couldn’t risk it just yet.

“Vikings.”

“What?” Faith furrowed her brow in puzzlement at Buffy’s apparently random outburst.

“The knife. It’s some kind of Viking antique thing or other.” Buffy blushed for some reason.

“Cool. You positive you want me to have it?” Faith dug her hands into her pockets, also feeling a little uncomfortable and embarrassed.

She realised they were probably both feeling a little uncomfortable because Buffy had never given the other Slayer something so important before, or significant, or anything really. So for those reasons it just felt like some kind of step forward for them. A big one in the right direction, as far as Faith was concerned.

“I want you to have it, Faith.” Buffy said softly, and reached out gingerly, touching the younger girl lightly on the arm.

As soon as she made contact with Faith, Buffy winced in pain. She closed her eyes and shrank back from the brunette, holding her head with her hand.

“Buffy, you ok?” Faith approached the other girl, but she pulled away.

“I…I’m ok. Just…I have to go.” Buffy practically ran towards her house leaving Faith baffled.

“B.” Faith called out after Buffy.

“I’m ok, Faith. I…I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

She had no clue what had just happened. When Faith had moved towards her, Buffy had flinched away and had almost appeared scared of her. She watched as the blonde girl disappeared into her house, glancing over her shoulder at the dark Slayer before closing the door.

“What the fuck was that about?” Faith stared at the closed door.

She wasn’t keen on just going home, but knew Buffy’s stubborn streak wouldn’t allow her to let Faith in.

She scratched her head and made her way back to her motel, avoiding any bar or club that did its best to pull her in its direction. If something was wrong with Buffy and she was needed, she didn’t think showing up drunk or smelling of sex would go down too well. She didn’t really want to go down that road again anyway.

So Faith made a hasty and puzzled retreat to her small motel room, and hoped nothing really was wrong with the girl she was in love with.

PART FOUR: Something Going On Around Here

Buffy sighed as Faith slowly slid her hand down her stomach, pinching on her hard nipple with the other, and trailing feather light kisses from the blonde girl’s neck to her collarbone, as water from the showerhead cascaded down the taller girl’s back.

The dark Slayer felt the compact muscles jump as her fingertips grazed down the toned stomach. She could sense the other girl’s arousal. She could hear it in the soft moans and rapid breathing. She could smell it above the sweet scent of the soap and shampoo, and she wanted to feel it on her fingers and taste it with her tongue.

As her palm cupped the soft breast, her mouth moved lower towards the other one, wanting the succulent, tight pink nipple between her lips. She reached the small slither of blonde pubic hair with her hand and watched as Buffy spread her legs further open for her. Faith’s middle finger eased its way into the top of the silky folds of…

“Awww! Fuck.” The alarm at the side of Faith’s bed screamed in her ear, until she knocked it flying through the air. It ended up imbedded at the other end of the room, in the wall.

She yawned and stretched her strong limbs out, brushing her rigid nipples against the rough bed sheet. The dark Slayer moaned. Her dreams of Buffy arousing her in her sleep. She was wet, her pussy hot and tingling to be touched.

She could smell how turned on she was in her naked state, and it wasn’t helping, as she had noticed when she had been with Buffy that they had a surprisingly similar smell. Probably a Slayer thing she mused.

The thought certainly wasn’t helping. She pushed a hand under the covers and down across her flat stomach, her hips already reacting to the contact. She slipped her fingers over her engorged clit and down into her folds, gathering the moisture there and spreading it over her pussy.

The horny brunette squeezed her supple breast with her left hand and pinched on her nipple, rolling it almost painfully between her finger and thumb. She swirled the fingers of her right hand over her sensitive clit, arching into the touch, imagining it was Buffy caressing her, taking her quickly to a much needed climax.

Her skilful fingertips flicked over herself in the sticky sweet fluid now flowing freely from her hot sex. She stroked her left hand down to her pussy hole, spread her legs wide and quickly pushed three fingers up inside herself, feeling her orgasm building at the thought of the blonde Slayer inside her, ramming her fingers in and out.

The sexy Slayer bucked her hips up, breathing Buffy’s name out into the silence of the motel room as she fucked herself hard and fast. Filling and stretching her tight passage, and spilling cum all over her bed sheets.

“Fuck…Buffy, ah! Fuck, yeah.” Faith came as she spooned her fingers up deep inside her dripping cunt, rubbing up onto her G spot, and pushing down hard on her clit.

Her hips fell back to the bed and she slipped her fingers from her convulsing sex, feeling her hot juice ooze out and down her butt as her trembling slowly stilled. She sucked in the stifling air of the small room and ran a sticky hand through her dark tresses.

“Fuck, now I need a shower.”

*****

Faith removed her hands from the pockets of her low slung black jeans, and entered the Sunnydale high library. She wondered why the hell nobody ever stopped her just wandering into the school, but she wasn’t complaining. The less confrontation the better, unless it was with something she was allowed to kill.

The dark girl looked around as she let the doors swing shut behind her. She assessed the area ahead for danger, a habit of a Slayer, and sauntered over to the table located on top of the hellmouth, in the middle of the almost empty room.

Xander sat alone at the desk, flicking through a comic book. She could hear Giles shuffling around in his office, but there was nobody else there. It wasn’t the end of the school day yet, so the others were probably in class, she guessed that maybe Xander had a study hour that he was wasting on the X men.

“Hey, Xan. What’s happening?” Faith swayed her way towards her captivated, and drooling audience.

“Err, nothing. Not a thing. Zip, nada, nothing going on here.” He looked caught in the proverbial headlights.

“Okaaay!” Faith raised a puzzled eyebrow.

She wanted to find out if Buffy had said anything in the morning meeting about her ‘funny’ turn. She realised she should have actually got out of bed earlier and attended the meeting, but she hated mornings. And to be frank, they kinda hated her.

She lent on the desk in front of Xander, giving him more than a great view of her cleavage. Her tight tee shirt scooped low in front, and bending over was practically showing her assets to the world, or at least the geek in front of her. His eyes went wide as he sat looking like he was about to explode.

“So…what’s with the panic school boy?” She grinned at him, watching as he practically tried to bury himself into his seat, his body tense and agitated.

“Panic?! No…no panic. Just me sat…here…and…Oh God!” He slouched down into his chair, a look of pain crossing his face.

“You’re too fucking easy, X.” She chuckled at his stricken state, knowing she now had him wrapped around her little finger.

The brunette sat down in the chair opposite him and lifted her heavy boots up onto the table. She wasn’t quite sure how to subtly ask if Buffy was all right that morning, because she just didn’t do subtle.

“You gonna give me something I want, Xander?” She licked her full red lips.

“Gonna what? You?…What?” He looked like he was about to have a heart attack.

“No need to break out in a sweat, X. I just wanted to know what went down this morning.” Faith removed her denim jacket and stretched out her arms, causing her tee shirt to lift and show her toned stomach off.

“Went down? I…” The poor guy was bright red and squirming around in his pants.

“Oh man!…You so need to lose it.” She meant his virginity of course.

He was wound so tight he was in danger of spinning off into another stratosphere and she couldn’t help but laugh. Although, in a way it kind of reminded her of how Buffy could sometimes get. She certainly didn’t want to unwind Xander, but she couldn’t stop thinking about doing it for the blonde Slayer.

“I was talking about the meeting, this morning. Was anything said? Did I miss anything?” She reached for the smokes in her jacket, then remembered where she was so sat back and left them where they were.

“Oh right…I knew that.” He smiled weakly. “Err, no you didn’t really miss much. Just something about Buffy having a dream or something, and a flashback that freaked her out. I was a little busy with the jelly donuts at that point.” He looked off into the distance, no doubt thinking of the breakfast of sticky donuts he had partaken in.

“Flashback? What did she say about it? When did she have it?” Faith was wondering if it was anything to do with her strange behaviour the night before.

She was a little worried now. If Buffy was having dreams and flashbacks about her time with no memory, then she would discover what had happened between them. Faith didn’t want the small Slayer to find out that way. She would at least like the opportunity to talk with her about it first, and let her know with less of a shock.

“Like I said, I wasn’t paying too much attention. She seemed distant though…like she hadn’t slept well.”

Faith looked over at the library doors, trying to work out if it would be best to get the hell out of there before the rest of the gang came in. She realised she shouldn’t be feeling quite so anxious, after all, it was Buffy that had instigated everything that had happened between them. Although, she also realised that was no excuse, and that she shouldn’t have taken advantage of the situation.

“You ok?” Xander enquired.

“Huh? Yeah…just err, did she say anything about the dream she had?” She leant forward, frowning.

“Is this a quiz for prize money, or just so I don’t get my head beaten in?” He seemed a little scared.

Faith eased back into her chair doing her best to calm herself down. Her heart was pounding at the prospect of everything going tits up. She sat pondering the reasons why she hadn’t just told Buffy what had happened, and avoided the anguish of being rumbled.

“Ah! Faith, I didn’t realise you’d come in.” Giles walked towards the desk with a mug in his hand.

“You know me, G man. Always up for some quality book time.” She smiled at the gentle librarian.

He had been ok with her since her arrival, trying to include her in the fight against evil, even when the Scoobies, including Buffy, had done their best to make her feel unwelcome. She was grateful for his support, and though she didn’t have what you could call, a healthy respect for authority, she looked up to the guy.

“It’s a shame you missed this mornings meeting, Faith. You may have been able to help us out.” He ordered some books around on the desk, preparing to replace them from wherever they had come from.

“Help? How?” She was sure now the panic would be heard in her voice, but neither of the other occupants of the library said anything or reacted in any way.

“Buffy was unsure if she’d had a Slayer dream or not. She didn’t seem comfortable telling us about it, so I was just contemplating whether or not you might have been able to get something more out of her.”

“Out of who?” Buffy asked, as she waltzed into the room, with Willow in tow.

Faith instantly froze. The small Slayer immediately captivated her. Her silky blonde hair tied up, with loose strands framing her face. She was wearing a short skirt and skimpy top, probably due to the heat of the day, and Faith couldn’t take her eyes off her.

“Err, I was…Just telling Faith about the…the meeting this morning.” Giles removed his glasses and vigorously swept his handkerchief over the lenses.

“Oh!” Buffy looked over at the brunette, but then quickly looked away again. “It’s ok Giles…I, I haven’t had anymore flashbacks or anything. I’m sure I was just worried about nothing.” The blonde girl placed her backpack down on the desk and sat down, doing her best to avoid eye contact with Faith.

“Right, well, keep me up to date, Buffy. If you do have any more incidents like the one you…didn’t quite describe this morning, do be sure to inform me about it.” He replaced his glasses and set about tidying away the pile of books he’d gathered.

“Will do, Giles. You know me, informo girl.” Buffy chirped.

“I’ll make sure she does, Giles. Because, a tired Buffy is a grumpy Buffy.” Willow smiled enthusiastically and avoided Faith’s eyes just the way the other Slayer seemed to be doing.

Faith just sat in silence, speculating about what was going on with Buffy, and her Wiccan friend. She could tell something had changed but she didn’t know what. Or at least wasn’t sure about it. She wasn’t fooling herself and thinking it had nothing to do with what had happened over the time she had spent alone with Buffy.

For one thing, she knew if Buffy was going to tell anybody about her dreams or worries, then it would be her best friend.

What she didn’t know, was if Willow had told the blonde girl something Faith had asked her not to. She looked over at Willow, ensuring she caught the redhead’s eye. Just as she thought, Willow looked away, appearing uneasy.

Faith decided she should have a little talk with Willow, as soon as she could.

PART FIVE: Silence Is Safety

Faith waited by the large house, hiding in the shadows of the early evening sun. She was edgy and super aware. The hairs on the back of her neck standing on end at every sound, or the distant chatter of happy people going about their business and their ‘happy’ lives.

A door opened and she heard faint muttering above the noise of a passing car. The door closed and soft, quick footsteps grew nearer, shuffling towards her. Faith wiped her palms down her denim jacket and tensed every muscle in her body, filling her lungs with the oncoming scent of the person she was waiting for. She could tell by her acute sense of smell, this was who she wanted to see.

“Red! Fancy meeting you here.” Faith practically jumped from behind the tree she had been crouching behind.

The giddy redhead nearly leaped out of her skin, dropping one of the study books she was carrying to the floor with a thud. Faith bent down in front of the wide-eyed girl, and picked the book up, handing it to Willow with a smirk on her face.

“Didn’t scare ya, did I?” She appeared calm even though her inner Slayer was on alert.

“N…no. What are you doing here? I mean, not that it's strange that you’d be near Buffy’s house, cos it isn’t…well, and…you’re probably here to pick Buffy up for patrol, or…or…” She trailed off as Faith cocked her head, raising her eyebrows.

The young brunette had been pacing up and down her motel room, trying to think about what she wanted to say to Willow. How she was going to go about asking what she wanted to know. She had also been wondering what she would say to Buffy if the flashbacks had been anything to do with her. She hated not knowing what was going on, it irritated her in the biggest way.

Add to that the fact that she was staring the possibility of fucking up her friendship with Buffy in the face, not to mention anything else she could have had with her.

“I’ll walk ya home, Red. Wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to ya.” Faith set off walking in the direction she knew Willow was headed.

“No!…no need, really. I’m ok, I have protection…I mean, as in spell, not the bad kind of protection. Which isn’t bad because…well, obviously it’s good, but…” Willow was getting jittery with Faith’s overpowering presence.

“Hey, Will, try to breathe now and then. You might get to like it.” She continued walking with a smug grin on her face. “Am I walking myself to your house, or are ya gonna tag along?”

Willow soon caught up, probably realising she didn’t really have a choice. She looked nervously at Faith, then over her shoulder towards Buffy’s house, before continuing on to her home with Faith.

“Why ya so strung out, Will? Oz not poppin your cork enough?” The dark Slayer strolled next to Willow, all confident and predatory.

She was determined to find out if the witch knew anything about Buffy’s dreams or the flashbacks, or if she had said anything to the blonde Slayer about them sleeping together. Willow didn’t live that far away so she realised she would have to work fast for the information.

Faith hadn’t talked to Willow much about what had happened, apart from to tell her that what had happened was nothing serious, or anything to stress about. She didn’t really want to be the one to tell Buffy’s best friend that she had more interest in Faith than just the buddy kind. It wasn’t her place, and she doubted that the redhead would believe her anyway.

All she had done was try to explain why it was best that Buffy didn’t know, to keep her from being mortified. Faith would have loved to have told Willow that they had declared their love for one another, and that they were crazy about each other, but she couldn’t because Buffy didn’t remember.

“So…you and B getting some study time in?” Faith ran a hand through her lush dark hair.

“Yep, that’s it. That’s what we were doing alright.” Willow giggled strangely at the end of her sentence, suggesting to Faith that that wasn’t all they had been doing.

“Cool. I guess you talked about those dreams and shit she’s been having too though right?” Faith waded straight in.

“Dreams?” The jittery redhead almost dropped her books again. “Err, I…”

“Look Red, you might as well tell me what the fuck’s going on. I mean, I’m gonna find out anyway.” Faith locked her menacing dark eyes on Willow as they walked.

“We…um, talked a little about it.” The witch quickened her pace, trying to get to her house before Faith could get anymore out of her.

“Is it anything to do with me? The dreams and stuff?” The brunette kept at a steady pace forcing Willow not to go too fast without looking like she was running away from her.

“No” Willow practically squealed. “I mean…it's just dreams, about…vampires. That’s it. Nasty dreams about vampires.”

Faith stopped and grabbed hold of Willow’s arm, firmly, causing the brainy girl to stop also, and face the brunette.

*****

“You’re a shitty liar, Red, and I’m getting pissed off here. If it has something to do with me I have a right to know.” She shook the redhead a little as she spoke.

Faith knew she was being a hypocrite, because if she had a right to know what Buffy was telling Willow, then Buffy had the right to know what had happened between her and Faith. She didn’t want to see reason right now though. Not when so much was at stake.

“You…you should talk to Buffy. She’s having flashbacks about, well, you. And I’m finding it really hard to lie to her about it all.” Willow was starting to panic a little now.

“You telling me you’ve told her something?” Faith subconsciously gripped harder on the other girl’s arm.

“N…no, I haven’t. Well, not about…that. But I don’t know if I can keep it from her anymore. She dreamt about you…in that way. Like a…sexual dream, and she’s freaking out. I…I think you should tell her, Faith.”

“What? Before you do? I told you. Will, there’s no way I’m gonna have you screw up my friendship with B.” The dark Slayer could feel herself getting angry.

The dark mist she knew all too well was beginning to descend over her at the prospect of losing the cute Slayer. She couldn’t lose her now, even if all she had was her friendship. She couldn’t lose the one and only person she had ever been in love with.

“How can you call her a friend when you did something like that? I mean, you took advantage of her, and then didn’t tell her.” Willow was being unusually stupid and actually antagonising the tempestuous Slayer.

“You don’t get it do you!” Faith pulled the redhead closer, wanting to tell her she was in love with Buffy, and that Buffy felt the same somewhere deep inside. She couldn’t though, because she didn’t want to expose her vulnerable heart.

Faith couldn’t think straight now. She couldn’t think above the scream of violence in her head. She had to stop Willow from telling Buffy things she should have told her herself. She needed to stop the older girl from poisoning the blonde Slayer’s mind against her.

The brunette reached around to the back of her waistband on instinct, pulled Willow into the shadows of some nearby trees, and slid her new ornate knife out of the leather sheath she had bought especially for it. She brought the sharp blade up between them and began to drown in the pleasure of fear crashing over her in waves from the girl held tightly in her grasp.

The overwhelming feeling of power and her own dread of losing Buffy took hold of her, warping her judgement and bringing out the recently buried delinquent inside of her. She bore her penetrating dark eyes into Willow, feeding from her anxiety. Crossing the line, the boundaries, and falling into the land of wrong ways to go about things.

“Pretty knife isn’t it, Red? It was a present from Buffy, and if you don’t wanna find out how sharp it is, I suggest you keep your fucking mouth shut about what happened between me and B.” She lifted the sparkling blade so it shone bright in the low sunshine.

The glare from the blade hit Willow right in the eyes and she began to tremble, her pupils wide and glistening with tears that threatened to fall. The redhead at least had the sense not to struggle, as it would only have made matters worse, and Faith angrier. She wasn’t about to go chasing after the witch without doing some damage to her.

“Y…you can’t threaten me, Faith.” Willow swallowed hard and tried to look defiant, but Faith just tightened her grip, causing the redhead to wince.

“No?” Faith grinned wickedly at Willow. “Funny that, cos that’s kinda what I just fucking did.” She flashed the knife in front of Willow’s face, keeping it dangerously close.

The Wiccan looked truly terrified now, with the blade of the intricately carved knife mere millimetres from her soft skin. She glanced down at it, then back up to the grinning Slayer.

“You tell Buffy anything, and you’ll regret it. I fucking promise. Now nod your head and say ok, Faithy.” The brunette narrowed her dark eyes at Willow, daring for her to defy.

“Ok.” Willow nodded, trying not to impale herself on the knife point at the same time.

“Ok what?” Faith pushed her face closer to Willow’s, and placed the flat side of the cold steel across her cheek.

“F…Faithy.”

The dark girl smiled viciously and eased her grip from the other girl’s arm, giving one last warning before she allowed the terrified witch to go.

“Remember, keep your mouth shut, and everything’ll be five by five between you and me.” She indicated them both with the point of her weapon, then tapped the end of Willow’s nose with it and winked.

She shoved the redhead in the direction of her house and stood watching as she half stumbled and half ran towards safety. Faith kept in the shadows, with her menacing dark eyes piercing the evening haze, as the blood lust rushed violently through her tense and powerful body.

PART SIX: Consequence Is A Killer

As soon as Willow was out of sight, the dark Slayer started to shake. Adrenaline was crashing through her body and her veins. She had been holding back with every last bit of control she had, as the black rush of anger had wanted to lash out at Willow for threatening her bond with her fellow Slayer.

Faith stood with her eyes fixed to the spot Willow had turned the corner and disappeared. She didn’t feel like she could move. Like as if she twitched any muscle she would erupt into a mass of rage. Faith felt an overwhelming burn of power inside her, boiling her from the inside out. She felt trapped in her own body, wanting to fight her way out of it and run.

The troubled Slayer took a quivering deep breath and fought for control of her limbs and mind. She tried to dodge the instinct to damage something. To hurt something, or kill something. She looked down at her scuffed boots and forced herself to move away.

Faith turned and wandered away in a daze of violent images running rampant through her muddled mind. She stumbled her way towards the hotel feeling sick to the stomach with every step. She balled her hands into tight, painful fists, not caring what she must have looked like to passers by, because she didn’t even notice them being there, let alone them staring at her.

She was well aware in the haze of her sudden madness, that she had done totally the wrong thing. She had just made the biggest mistake of her life, falling back on old instincts to threaten violence, to shirk responsibility for her actions, and not think about possible consequences.

Faith could see them now as she closed the door to her room behind her. Consequences, thundering towards her. Growling their disgust at her, and laughing because they knew. They knew she had fucked up once again.

The brunette sat down heavily on the end of her bed, staring at the worn and dirty carpet. Seeing patterns in the threadbare patches. Seeing her fate flashing before her eyes.

She pulled the elaborate dagger out of its sheath and glowered at it, noticing how it gleamed in the harsh light of the overhead bulb. It was mocking her in all its finery for sinking so low, and for using the power she knew she held inside her, to frighten somebody who really didn’t deserve it. Somebody she was supposed to class as a friend.

Her hands were shaking as she grabbed the sharp blade with her left. All she could see were the images of Willow’s fear. Her ashen face trembling, and gentle eyes wide with shock and surprise. Faith gripped the knife, watching as it cut deep into her palm.

The blood dripped freely over the stark silver of the blade and onto the floor. She winced, as she sliced deeper, her strengthening grip holding the blade tightly, the glimmering red of her blood transfixing Faith as it trickled down her wrist. She didn’t feel any pain. At least not in her palm. Her heart though, felt like it was pumping pure agony around her body. She could see and feel all the shit she had ever done, all the hurt and anger as she cut deeper still.

The dark Slayer knew Buffy would come. She could feel it in her veins, just as much as the pain. Buffy wasn’t going to go easy on her for fucking up, for messing up her already pretty shitty life. Faith dropped the knife onto the blood soaked carpet and wiped her palm down her thigh, darkening the black denim with her sticky fluid.

She stood. Her face pale and legs shaky, Faith grabbed the duffel bag that was placed near her bed. Without thinking about what she was doing or where she was going, forgetting her promise to Buffy to never leave her, Faith began to pack her meagre belongings into the old bag.

She moved quickly to the bathroom to collect her almost entire lack of products from within. Then the dark girl froze, as she heard the door to the motel room crash open.

“Faith!” Buffy, sounding extremely angry.

Faith took a deep breath and emerged from the bathroom, standing by the doorframe, not having a clue what Buffy would do to her.

The blonde Slayer glanced towards Faith’s bag. “I see you’re planning to run from responsibility again. But this time…there’s no mean, ugly vampire after you. Just little old me.” Buffy slammed the door shut as she moved further into the room. “Now tell me…what the fuck is going on, Faith?”

*****

The seething Slayer looked down at the knife and the small pool of blood on the floor, and then back up at Faith. She had a wild look in her darting green eyes, like she was preparing to slay. They were dark and menacing. There was no compassion there until she noticed the blood slowly dripping from her fellow Slayer’s wounded hand.

Faith saw the quick flicker of concern, but Buffy seemed to mentally shake herself out of it, and she moved forward, the harsh expression back. Buffy looked ready to attack, her muscles twitching and her jaw clenched.

“B…I, I dunno what came over me.” Faith didn’t know how pointless it was going to be to plead forgiveness.

“You don’t know what came over you?” Every word came out slow and sinister. “You just threatened my best friend with a fucking knife. She’s terrified.” The blonde girl clenched her fists, her chest rising and falling in deep controlled breaths.

Faith sighed. She didn’t know what to say. There was no excuse for what she had done to Willow so she doubted very much that she could convince Buffy that it had happened in a moment of madness. She hadn’t even thought about what the older girl now knew of the reasons why she had done what she had to the redhead.

“She told me everything, Faith. Everything.” Buffy was now close to Faith, stalking towards her. She spoke in a low and ominous tone, looking directly into the taller girl’s eyes.

Faith knew exactly what Buffy was getting at. The other girl now knew what had happened between them when she’d lost her memory. The brunette crumbled a little more inside.

“How dare you threaten my friend.” Buffy swung and backhanded Faith hard in the jaw.

She had moved too quickly for Faith to react, although she doubted she would have ducked anyway. The room span as Faith fell to the floor. She touched her jaw then rose from her position on the dirty carpet, standing in a loose defensive stance. Buffy glared into the brunette’s now hard eyes, daring her to hit back.

“That was for Willow.” The smaller Slayer pounced forward and struck Faith again in the face, sending her crashing into the wall behind her. “And that was for taking advantage of me. Ya see, when I said Willow told me everything. I meant everything about how you used me when I’d lost my memory.” Buffy sounded angry, but she also clearly sounded hurt too.

The dark Slayer tried to pull herself up to a standing position, but she was temporarily winded, and now her nose was bleeding along with her palm. She could feel her pulse bounding, the blood rushing through her as her own anger once again rose within her. Faith wanted to hit out, but held back, using all her scant restraint not to make matters worse for herself.

“B…I’m sorry.” Faith struggled to her feet and leant against the now damaged wall. Wiping her bloodied nose on her sleeve.

“You’re sorry? Faith, I trusted you and you screwed me over. How could you do that to me?” Buffy grabbed the taller girl by the shoulders and pressed her further into the wall.

Faith couldn’t seem to react, because all she could feel was guilt. It was washing over her in torrents, drenching her with its thick taint of shame and remorse. She could feel her already shattered heart screaming its pain. Buffy looked disgusted at her, and she felt it, she felt disgusting.

“Buffy, I didn’t mean to…” She was going to explain how she hadn’t meant to allow things to get out of hand, and that she should have been strong enough to resist, but Buffy interrupted.

“I was wondering what the fuck was going on with my dreams, and the flashbacks. But don’t worry, Willow filled me in. Told me how you seduced me into going home with you. Then seduced me into your bed to fuck me over.” Buffy pushed at Faith again. “Was it fun Faith? Violating me when I didn’t know any better. When I couldn’t, didn’t know how to tell you to stop.” Buffy had tears streaming down her face now, her grip on the younger Slayer tight and painful.

“Whoa! Wait a minute, Twinkie. What the fuck has Willow been filling your head with?” The witch had filled in the blanks of what little she knew it seemed.

Fair enough, Willow wasn’t aware that it was Buffy who had asked to go home with Faith, and that it was her that had done the seducing. But the redhead had basically implied that Faith had raped Buffy.

“I trusted you, Faith. I fucking trusted you.” Buffy’s anger regained its hold and she slammed Faith into the wall again, punching her in the jaw as she held her, splitting the younger girl’s lip.

Faith’s head whipped to the side, her dark hair damp with sweat, clung to her neck and face. She turned her eyes slowly back to Buffy and licked at the blood trickling from her swollen lower lip.

“Oh yeah! That’s right. You fucking believe everything that jealous bitch has told you, because I bet it’s a whole lot easier than admitting the truth.” Faith was getting pissed off. Her restraint breaking at the thought that Buffy could believe that she would hurt her in such a way.

Faith wasn’t about to feel guilty for something she hadn’t done. She felt bad that she had been weak enough to allow Buffy to take control and sleep with her. But she hadn’t violated the blonde Slayer. In fact she hadn’t even touched her, certainly not as intimately as Buffy had touched Faith.

“The truth? You don’t seem to know what that means, Faith.” She moved to strike the brunette again, but this time Faith wasn’t just going to stand and take it.

She caught Buffy’s arm and used the other girl’s momentum to spin her around and throw her into the wall she had been held against. Buffy bounced off the brickwork with her face, and she tried to turn around to retaliate, but Faith wasn’t about to let her.

The dark girl sprung on Buffy, holding her face first against the wall. They were both breathing hard as Faith pressed her larger frame into the blonde’s back. Buffy tried to struggle free but Faith was under the control of her Slayer strength now, and her mind was a black haze of how much she wanted to hit out at something. She pushed her weight into Buffy and held her arms, trembling with barely constrained rage.

There was screaming in her head and she realised it was her dark nature telling her to let rip. To give back what she had just taken from the smaller girl. She could feel her body give in to her bloodlust and anger, clouding any other feeling she had for the Slayer being roughly pushed against the wall.

Faith wasn’t about to be accused of doing something so vile to Buffy. And she wasn’t about to let Buffy get away with thinking she had it in her to do that to her, no matter who she was and what she meant to Faith. The dark girl was too proud for that. Too stubborn. And now, too lost in the power snaking its way into her limbs.

PART SEVEN: And Then We All Went To The Zoo

“You are really starting to piss me off, B.” Faith breathed harshly into the blonde girl’s ear. “You just don’t wanna hear the truth do ya?” The young Slayer pushed harder into Buffy.

The dark Slayer’s breasts were pressed up against Buffy’s back, and she could feel her nipples hardening with the line between violence and sex blurring as it usually did for her when she fought. Heat was spreading over Faith where she was in contact with Buffy, and she knew Buffy would be feeling the same.

She could smell Buffy’s adrenaline soaked sweat as she panted against Faith, and time seemed to slow to a stop as she inhaled the scent in. It assaulted her nostrils, and she was certain, within the mixture of their fragrances, there was a hint of something else that she could smell. Arousal. It clouded her brain, pondering if it was Buffy’s arousal or her own.

“You have no idea what happened, B.” Her voice was gruff and husky, and she knew that’s how it usually sounded when she was incredibly turned on.

“I might have if you’d have fucking told me, F.” Buffy suddenly took advantage of Faith’s distraction and pushed herself off the wall, taking the younger girl by surprise.

Faith stumbled back, giving Buffy the opportunity to turn around and face her, but she quickly regained her balance and flung her body back into the smaller girl. Pinning her to the wall once more.

The brunette’s face was inches away from Buffy’s, and she had her hands holding the other girl’s wrists above her head. Her body was pressed up against the shorter Slayer, with her thigh shoved between Buffy’s legs. They glared at each other, taking short, heavy breaths.

Faith looked down, right into Buffy’s glistening green eyes. The two Slayers were both shaking with barely restrained passionate fury, and mystical energy was almost sparking between them as they both pushed against each other, fighting for the upper hand. Faith wasn’t about to back down now, and the fact that she was sure that she could catch the tang of Buffy’s arousal as she bucked against her, did nothing to encourage the younger girl to let go. Faith grinned wickedly.

“What the fuck are you grinning at, psycho? And…Oh yeah! Get the hell off me.” Buffy struggled in Faith’s grasp.

She was only managing to rub herself against the troubled Slayer however. Grinding her hips into Faith’s thigh in an effort to move her, but Faith had the advantage. She could better push against Buffy and hold her wrists from her position leaning into the hard surface of the wall.

Faith could feel the power of the other girl’s thigh between her own and she wanted to moan at what it was doing to her. Buffy was pushing against her in such a way that it was causing a lot of friction right on her crotch. Right into her now swollen pussy.

She could tell she was getting wet, even in the haze of her anger and pain. Buffy was turning her on, and it didn’t help that Buffy’s breasts were heaving into her own, the little Slayer’s hard nipples dancing over hers. She wanted to rip the blonde girl’s top off, along with her own, to feel their sweat soaked flesh sliding together as they battled.

She realised it was pretty fucked up. But the combination of adrenaline, Slayer lust…and just, well, lust for the other girl was getting her all hot and horny. She tried to regain control of herself and tightened her grip on Buffy’s arms.

“I’m not gonna let go until you calm down, Buffy.”

The smaller Slayer wriggled violently again, but again just pushed them closer together. Faith could definitely smell that Buffy was wet now, just like she was. And they were practically writhing against each other.

“Calm down? After what you did?” Buffy bucked into Faith and the brunette groaned slightly at the contact. “Faith, what are you doing? Trying to rape me again?” The little blonde had a smug look on her face now.

Faith growled deep in the back of her throat. She would never do such a thing to Buffy, and she was well aware that the other girl knew that all too well deep inside, but she was deflecting, ignoring her attraction to Faith, again. The dark Slayer was pretty sure Buffy was just about willing to believe anything if it meant not accepting what she felt for her. The blonde just didn’t want to entertain any other explanation it seemed.

The subtle reactions she was now getting from Buffy, as she increased the pressure of her thigh into the older girl’s mound, spoke volumes however. Buffy wanted her all right. She could see it and feel it, and she could smell it. It was obviously pissing Buffy off even more though, so Faith thought she might as well call her on it. She was sick of playing games. As much as she loved Buffy, the little Slayer was infuriating.

Faith glanced down at the other girl’s neck, and the expanse of silky looking flesh that brought her attention down to her cleavage. She watched a bead of sweat trickle from Buffy’s throat, envying it as it slowly made its way down, and between her creamy soft breasts. Faith wanted to lean down and lick it from the tense girl’s skin. She wanted to kiss at every drop of salty essence oozing from Buffy. And she didn’t just mean her fresh, enticing perspiration.

“You getting a little hot there, girlfriend? A little wet?” She rubbed her body into Buffy, so not only was she causing the blonde girl to practically hump her leg, but they were also touching about everywhere else.

Faith had her lips close to Buffy’s ear now, and could feel the other girl’s own hot breath rushing out over her. She was tingling from the thrill of the struggle and the heat of both their arousal, and she knew, it wasn’t just her that felt it.

*****

“You fucking bitch. Let me go.”

Faith moved her face around to Buffy’s, their lips almost touching as their piercing eyes locked onto each other.

“You don’t want me to let go. You want me to fuck you, B. I can smell it.” Faith’s husky voice purred out as she rubbed her thigh into Buffy’s hot pussy. Sliding it up into her.

Buffy moaned reluctantly at the connection, but she wasn’t giving in. If anything it looked like it had made her angrier, and she pushed herself and Faith away from the wall with all her strength, ducking from the dark girl’s grasp and slamming her fist hard into her already bruised jaw.

She lashed out again, but Faith regained her composure and blocked the punch, she span and kicked Buffy in the ribs. The blonde Slayer faltered but managed to grab hold of the younger girl as their flailing arms locked in combat.

They stood staring each other down. Chests taking in rapid breaths, nostrils flared and eyes looking wild and hungry.

“Why did you do it, Faith? Why did you do that to me?” Buffy was sounding more upset now than angry, and she was again on the verge of tears.

“You think that it was all me. That I took advantage of you and had my way. Hell, why not? I mean, that’s what I do right? I use people. I fuck em and dump em, so why should you believe any different.” She didn’t want to beg Buffy to believe her.

Faith was too proud to bother with attempting to change Buffy’s mind on something she had obviously already decided on. She was too proud, and too upset at the thought that the blonde Slayer could think she was capable of doing what she had been accused of.

“Well, you have treated me to more than my fair share of ‘Faith did Sunnydale’ stories.” Buffy’s voice was hoarse and giving away her emotion.

“Yeah…I never said I was a fucking saint. But rape? That’s pretty much what you’re accusing me of and you’re just so ready to believe it. I mean…is it what your dreams have been telling you? Or just Willow?” Faith tried to shift position to get her arms out of the clinch she was in with Buffy, but to no avail.

“Faith…what am I supposed to think? You threatened my best friend, terrified her, and you said nothing to me about what happened when I was here with you. Who am I supposed to believe?” The older Slayer looked deep into Faith’s enigmatic eyes.

“Well, it sure isn’t gonna be me, is it Buffy?” Faith could tell that much from the sombre look in her counterpart’s gaze. “I mean, why the fuck would you believe somebody who’s in love with you.” Faith spat out, hardly realising what she had said, the anger inside her once again boiling over and taking control of her brain.

She whipped her hands away from the smaller girl, pushing her forcibly out of the way before the blonde had time to react and stop her. Faith jumped over the bed and ran as fast as she could out of the room, not looking behind to watch Buffy’s reaction to what she had just said. Feeling that all hope was lost, and that her fellow Slayer would never listen to her side of the story.

Buffy would never reach deep within herself to find the truth, because as always, she was just too damn scared of it.

PART EIGHT: Just To Feel Something Else

Faith kicked her booted foot against an old decrepit headstone, it crumbled, leaving behind a pile of pitiful rubble. The dark haired girl just laughed. It seemed poetic somehow. Everything she touched seemed to fall apart.

“Fuck…what the hell did I expect?” She wasn’t talking about the headstone.

She had ran out into the darkening evening, slipping into the shadows of the night as it stole the day away for the creatures she was born to battle against. She seemed to be doing more battling against herself though. She always had. Faith had a dark place she would go and hide in when things got too rough for her.

She had found that it protected her from the endless beatings her Father would dish out to her. If she shrugged her shoulders and pretended it didn’t hurt, she could almost believe it. If she took the advantage away and didn’t let the world fuck with her until she’d done it first, she could cope.

She had tried her best not to hide behind her bad girl defences with Buffy, and not to even look upon that dark place. She’d done a good job at keeping her emotions and pain inside. She had to, because once it came out of the little bottle she had all the hurt stuffed into, she did something stupid, and destructive. And she’d just proved that. She had been backed into a corner emotionally and came out fighting.

Faith pulled her smokes from her jacket pocket and lit one. She inhaled deeply and blew the smoke out in front of her, hazing the path ahead, watching it linger like a veil ready to fall, then dissipate into the night air.

She closed her eyes, steadying her breathing, and felt the Slayer inside take over. She could feel the growing itch of a tingle that told her something was approaching. She waited, feeling her muscles twitching, straining against the taut encasement of her skin as she held her breath.

She loved these seconds. It was like the world came together inside her. She knew she was pure right then and there. She knew she was chosen. Then it all faded with the first tremble of lust for the kill, and she felt anything but pure then.

“You got one of those for me, Slayer?” Spike emerged from the shadows just as Faith opened her menacing eyes.

She steadied her racing heart and relaxed, to some degree. She would never fully relax around any vampire. Good guy or not. Soul or not. It made her wonder just how Buffy could stand being with Angel when there was still a large part of her, an instinctive part of her, that was telling her to kill him.

“What the fuck is the point in you smoking for when you don’t fucking breath?” She offered her packet to him despite the question.

“Well, at least I can’t die of cancer. On the account of me already being dead and all.” His shoulders almost imperceptibly slumped at that.

Faith moved closer to the blonde vampire, taking back her smokes and shoving them back in her jacket pocket.

“Not having a good day, Spiky?” Faith grinned, realising that even if her life was a mess, she was at least still in the land of the living. If that’s what you could call it.

She was still a Slayer. A supernatural being that made her stand out from the crowd, even when the crowd had no idea of the power and confidence she held within. She was better than the crowd. She was never going to be just a part of it. In a lot of ways she loved it. In some, she hated it. Being different. She had always been different, and alone because of that.

“When is any day bloody good? Anyway, what you doing wandering around here looking pissed off for? You should be tucked up in bed with some hottie.” Spike puffed on his cigarette.

If looks could have killed, and if Spike hadn’t already been dead…well, the look the dark girl threw him would have ended him there and then. She was sure the comment was meant as a jibe, even though Spike had no idea about her situation. She felt comfortable just glaring at him, but then decided that it hadn’t made her feel any better, so she lunged and punched him right on his chiselled jaw line before he had time to react.

“Shut the fuck up.” She wiped the blood from his newly split lip from her knuckles onto her jeans, adding to their already bloodied state.

She looked at her hand as she remembered the wound there from her encounter with the knife. The bleeding had stopped but it was still a nasty, deep cut. She wanted to reopen it, and start the blood flowing again to make her forget that her heart was bleeding more than any wound ever could.

“There really was no need for that, psychopath.” Probably noticing Faith’s entire lack of paying attention to him, Spike rushed at her with his fist aimed directly for her face. It landed.

Faith’s head snapped back and she grinned at the blonde Vampire in front of her.

“You wanna do this?” Faith flexed her taut muscles and the two began circling each other.

*****

Faith didn’t have any intention of staking the Vampire, because she kinda liked him, as he seemed just as fucked up by love as she was. He was battling his inner demons and the cards that life had dealt him. So she saw him as a little bit of a kindred spirit, even if he was one of the walking dead she was destined to kill. Quite frankly though, Faith felt no better than him in respect to the fact he was a demon, she felt they were alike on that front.

The brunette was very much alive, but she felt dead inside right now. She felt like a demon for threatening Willow. She hated herself for reacting like she was no better than the dark power that ran through the veins of the average Vampire. Even though it seemed Willow had been filling Buffy’s head with shit about her, she knew it had been wrong to scare her the way she had.

“Bring it on, Slayer.” Spike encouraged her, his own smile giving away the fact it was going to be no more than a friendly brawl to let off steam.

Faith didn’t care how fucked up it was to just want to fight, and to lash out at something that could take it, that could take her rage. She needed to let out her aggression before it boiled her insides and sent her permanently over the edge. She knew Spike could hold his own, and he seemed like he had some things he wanted to get out himself, so she indulged her aggressive side and decided to lose herself and just forget.

The dark Slayer licked her lips, then rushed towards Spike. The air seemed to part for them, leaving them to their personal battles, in a void of almost serene blurring images of pain and rage. The sky above grew black, as the venom inside was unleashed, as the darkness inside was set free to the night.

They began a dance of fury and unrestrained turmoil, losing themselves in the heat and the passion of skilfully exchanged blows and blocks. Faith immersed herself in the feeling of her fists doing what they were destined to do, her Slayer tingles scratching deliciously up and down her back at every sweep of her arms and legs.

She absorbed every blow with a smirk, the rapidly growing bruises taking just that little bit of pain away from her heart. She held back with Spike, dropping her defences so she could enjoy the sting of his fists on her face. She wanted to replace the emotional pain with one that she could understand. A pain that she knew how to deal with.

As the fight progressed, sending the two jumping, kicking and tumbling about the gravestones, Faith felt more of herself die inside with every exchange, every landed crunch and slap of flesh against flesh. She realised, somewhere in the back of her mind, it wasn’t really Spike she was hitting out at. It was herself. She wanted to hurt the person she was. The person she so easily became.

It was a big reason why she hadn’t challenged Buffy too much about what had happened between them. She didn’t see the point in trying to defend herself against Buffy’s accusations, because deep inside she felt worthless anyway, so she hadn’t been able or willing to stand up for herself to any great extent.

And Faith had pride too, a shit load of it, so she wasn’t about to grovel for forgiveness and understanding for something she hadn’t done. She felt stupid and used. And on top of all that, now she felt like she had no hope in ever getting Buffy to see her without the bad ass, without all the defences and shit. No hope in her seeing her as anything other than the rough and ready slut that took without question or remorse.

More than anything, Faith hated being, or appearing weak. She had been weak by giving in to Buffy and ultimately being used. She had been weak to turn against Willow. She had been weak to just let the blonde Slayer stand there and accuse her of something she could never do to the girl she loved.

She had been weak to admit that she was in love with her.

“Come on, hit me harder. Fucking hit me…” Faith spat blood out at Spike as his fists failed to hurt her in the way she wanted. He was growing tired after the fury of the fight.

Spike slowed down his onslaught, probably realising that Faith was no longer hitting back or blocking his punches. She had stopped participating as anything but a punch bag. He held her by her collar as she hung limply, her arms hanging by her sides. Blood trickling from the various cuts on her face.

“Ok…this is getting sick now, Slayer. You’re not even bloody fighting back. I mean, where’s the fun in that?” He dropped the brunette on her ass.

She leaned back on her elbows, running her tongue around her mouth, collecting the blood to spit out. Faith looked up at the puzzled Vampire and chuckled at the wonder in his piercing eyes. Then tears began to fall. She couldn’t hold onto her heart and the ripped apart feeling that was scorching the inside of her chest. Half laughing and half crying, the brunette swiped at her face, mixing the blood and salt in a smear across her bruised features.

“What the fuck is wrong with me? This is fucked up. I’m fucked up.” She felt her body beginning to tremble with the weight of her sorrow. “Why can’t she love me? Why did I have to do it?” Faith was talking and thinking in circles. Unable to hold a clear thought down. Unable to distinguish the various emotions running riot through her. Mainly because she just didn’t understand most of them.

Spike looked down on her, pity settling on his face as he watched the usually strong girl break down in front of him. She couldn’t take that…pity. It just about stole all the pride she had left, all her dignity. Faith got to her feet so fast Spike didn’t have a chance.

Leaping forwards, practically screaming her rage, she leapt on the stunned Vampire, knocking him to the dusty ground of a disturbed grave. Fear replaced pity in Spike’s pale eyes as Faith snarled, black anger rushing through her, ripping out of her chest from the place her heart had once pulsed with something other than pain.

She could smell his fear. His fear that this was the end. She didn’t care. She had lost the ability to.

Raising her arm, Faith gave in to the dark and violent place inside her. Feeling the power and the merciless savage instinct take over her every function. Her eyes grew impossibly dark, Spike's features morphed into his Vampire mask in defiance, and she grinned.

“Oh bloody hell…” Spike closed his eyes as she struck.

PART NINE: The Ultimate Removal

“Fucking bitch…” Faith pounded her fist into Spike's contorted features. “Thinking I fucking raped her…She fucking used me.” She struck him again, hard and fast. “That’s all I’m worth though right? All I’m fucking worth.”

Straddling the downed Vampire’s waist, Faith slammed her fists furiously into his face splattering blood all over her from his broken nose and various cuts around his eyes. She was out of control and couldn’t see anything but the look of disgust on Buffy’s face. The betrayal that she could see in her green eyes. The hurt, the failing, the tears.

She couldn’t make sense of the emotions running through her. She was mixed up at the best of times, and now she just felt lost within herself. With every swing of her arm she barricaded herself behind her walls and defences, locking everything inside.

“Why?…Fucking why?” Faith slumped forward onto Spike, tears splashing down from her to mingle with the blood on his face.

She had one hand firmly implanted into his short hair as she used the other one to desperately prop herself up. She was spent. Physically and emotionally. She looked down at his expressionless mask and dipped her head down towards him, capturing his bruised lips with hers.

Her Slayer lust and the rage inside became a blurred haze of just wanting to take any action she could to dull the pain inside her. She wanted to feel it all slip away so she didn’t have to think anymore. The fight had left her, so now she was compelled to continue her grasping for oblivion in another direction. Another she knew just as well as she did the need to strike out.

Spike slipped out of game face and met Faith’s lips with his own just as hungrily, his own lust during the battle taking him beyond the point of conscious restraint too. They devoured each other as they disappeared into a frenzy of passion. Faith was giving in to the adrenaline rush, and how easy it would be to just be exactly what Buffy thought she was.

She had lost control to Buffy, and to herself when she had threatened Willow. She just wanted to throw her hands in the air and forget that she gave a damn about anything now.

Faith stood up abruptly, ripping her lips from the blue eyed Vampire. She took deep breaths to replace the feeling back into her body. After running a tidying hand through her hair, and wiping blood from her nose, she pulled him to his feet, and buried everything but the raw elements of herself deep inside.

“Come on, barbie. You wanna fuck me?” She grinned at the Vampire’s obvious confusion.

Faith narrowed her eyes waiting for his response, the dark fierceness in them slicing through the thick atmosphere between the two would be enemies. She didn’t want to have the time to stop and think. Thinking was just too damn painful.

The bleached Vampire wiped the blood from his face as he composed himself from the beating he had just received. He was lucky that throughout most of the fight, Faith had been holding back.

“Sure.” He didn’t ask questions or wait for explanations. “This way, pet.” He strode off towards his crypt.

The dark Slayer walked beside him, not saying a word. Neither of them seemed to feel the need to explain their actions, or discuss what was about to happen. Deep inside, Faith felt repulsed at the prospect of having sex with a Vampire, but it did more to drive her on than stop her. She wanted to kill the hurt little girl inside her. She wanted to destroy the part of herself that craved love, and longed for Buffy to give it to her.

Strolling nonchalantly into Spike’s crypt, Faith took in her surroundings, curling her nose at the faint hint of dampness in the air. The sheer stinging cold feeling of death was almost oppressive, and it made her skin crawl, but it made her want to embrace it and call it her own. To her it was real, reachable. Spike was reachable and at the minute he was what she needed.

The clammy stark nature of the small crypt was broken up here and there by ornate candlesticks. The lengths of wax glowing to trick the dark into shifting. A small draft caused the light to flicker and dance on the ceiling and walls. It could have been called romantic, but it wasn’t, as the dancing light was mocking, not moving.

She noticed Spike had sheets on his bed, despite the fact he would never feel the chill of the cold air again on his alabaster skin. To the side of the bed was a bottle of something she could almost call her salvation. She grabbed the bottle of Jack and proceeded to down half the contents.

Dead. She wanted to feel dead. Like the Vampire stood in front of her now, removing his shirt and exposing his wiry torso to the candle lit room. She watched as he unbuckled the belt to very familiar leather trousers. They were more alike than she cared to think. And whilst she watched him, she realised…she was worth no more than this.

Faith replaced the top to the bottle and threw it onto the crumpled sheets of the bed. She knew she would be needing more of the strong liqueur soon, as she didn’t want Buffy suddenly popping into her head and stealing this from her. Stopping her from taking out the anger, the hurt, and the entire lack of hope drowning her into its icy waters.

She prowled her way over to Spike, claiming the desire in his eyes. He looked stuck somewhere between cocky and sure, and being way out of his depth, despite his years at perfecting cruelty, and absolution from thinking it was wrong to take at others expense.

Scratching her black painted fingernails down his pale chest, Faith leaned in close to his ear.

“I want you to fuck me hard, blondie. Fuck me so I forget who the hell I am. Just don’t ask me why.” She pushed him down onto the bed and leapt on top of him, unzipping his trousers.

“I’ll do whatever you want, Slayer. No questions here.” He grinned as she reached into his pants, leaving him in no doubt that she knew exactly what she wanted.

*****

Faith stumbled out into the harsh light of the day, recoiling slightly at the audacity of the sun to dare to shine on her. She was hung over, she was bruised, and she was sore. Fucked raw sore. But it felt good, because she could deal with the feeling. She knew it, like an old friend.

Pulling her jacket close around herself, holding herself, she blindly made her way back to her Motel room, confident that nobody would be there waiting for her, giving a damn about her. Nobody gave a damn unless she was fucking up, and Buffy had already made it clear that they were through as friends. She wouldn’t be there no matter what.

The brunette grew bitter as she imagined Buffy sat at school, bitching to Willow about her. About how she’d fucked her over. About how she had been stupid to trust her. Faith shook her head, concentrating on the pain in there, and between her legs.

“Fuck it. If she can believe I’d do something like that, then I’m no better than a piece of shit to her.” She spoke to herself. Her subconscious agreeing with Buffy that she was just that.

She had to be after what she had allowed Spike to do to her. He had risen to the challenge she had set him, and then some. His Vampire stamina had seen to that. It made her feel sick on the one hand, but gave her a sense of achievement on the other. She had achieved her own self-destruction once again. Fitting snugly into the title of slut that Buffy no doubt thought suited her well.

Slut. User. Nobody.

If that’s what Buffy’s opinion was, who was she to disagree. Faith had lost the will to disagree, she didn’t have the heart for it. Buffy had taken it, and tossed it, even if she wasn’t aware that that’s exactly what she had done by throwing around such ridiculous accusations.

The door to her room was shut, but not locked. She pushed it open, sweeping her lifeless eyes around the small space. Nothing had been touched. Her bag still sat on top of the bed, half packed. Her sheets, ruffled and messy. The dent in the wall with her blood smeared nearby. The larger blood stain on the floor.

The dark Slayer stood looking at the stain, its deep red betraying the defences she had attempted to resurrect by using Spike. She ran her injured hand through her thick hair, examining the floor around the stain. The knife had gone. The knife she had pushed into the terrified face of Willow. Buffy had taken it back.

It spoke volumes, of how Buffy had not only taken back the gift of the knife, but how she no doubt had taken the gift of her friendship too. And any unrealised hope of the chosen two being more to each other than that.

Faith closed the door shut behind her, sealing out the light from the day. Taking a deep breath she made her way into the bathroom and turned on the shower. She closed her dark eyes, waiting for the water to run hot. She opened them quickly as images flashed before her.

Buffy’s tears as she questioned and accused Faith. The hurt behind the anger. The expression of betrayal. Disbelief. Shock. Hurt…It kept coming back to the hurt.

But Faith hadn’t done what Buffy had implied, then downright indicted her of. The brunette felt bad, more than, for what she had done to Willow. And she felt angry at herself for being weak with the small Slayer, and allowing her to get her way, but she wasn’t going to feel guilty for anything more. She hadn’t touched the blonde girl. As much as she had wanted to…and as close as it had come. She wasn’t the one who should feel guilty.

But still knowing that, all she could see was the hurt in Buffy’s usually cheerful green eyes. She felt like she truly had stolen something from the other Slayer, just thinking about that look on her face as she spat her hateful words at her.

Steam from the shower wrapped its way around Faith’s body, pulling her from her thoughts. She began to peel off her clothes, being careful not to aggravate her bruised ribs, and the various scrapes marring her lightly bronzed skin. The night and the morning had done its best to heal her, but she still managed to look pretty beaten up.

The dark beauty stepped under the cascade of hot water, sighing as it surged over her chest and trickled its way down her legs to the cracked off white surface of the bath. As the water flowed down the plug hole, she could see it was no longer pure. It was tainted by her blood. From her cuts, from the scrapes, and from the dried red relic of her violent night with Spike, from between her thighs.

She felt as impure as the water quickly vanishing with a gurgled cry. She felt weak as her hands came to rest on the tiles in front of her. She felt drained…of emotion. Of everything she held safely inside.

Watching the water as it slipped over her, Faith noticed the two deep red puncture wounds just above her right breast. She lifted her hand to the blight on her perfect skin and instantly felt the need to vomit hit the back of her throat. She collapsed under the hot spray, falling to her knees as the alcohol in her system rushed from her stomach, discolouring the water even more, stripping its purity completely.

As her wet hair hung down in rivulets over her face, Faith laughed stiltedly at the imagery, at the sheer arrogance of the thought to enter her head.

Nothing around her was pure, because she wasn’t pure. She was tainted, now more than ever. Now more than she could possibly stand to be.

PART TEN: A Story Has Been Told

Water trickled over the shaking wet body of the Slayer beneath its torrent. Attempting to wash her clean, to scour her body of the ravages of her own mission to hide behind what she thought she deserved. She had used Spike to give her a new pain and bolster her own lack of self-respect, but he had also used her.

He had gripped onto her broken heart with his cold dead fingers, and taken. He had taken all she had left to give. All her pride, all her dignity, and the tiny amount of self-respect she had left inside. The part that she was saving for Buffy. To show Buffy that she would love her and stay with her forever. It was gone now. All of it.

He had used her in ways she had never been used before. In painful and degrading ways. He had done his worst as a Vampire to her Slayer, as he had taken her blood. Draining just enough to make her feel it, but not threaten her life. And she had let him.

She had let him do it all, without question.

Swallowing down the further urge to vomit, Faith pulled herself up by the sides of the grimy bath. She wiped her face clean and swilled warm water around her mouth, spitting it out to rid the taste of stale alcohol.

Standing on unsteady legs, ignoring the screaming in her mind and in her veins telling her that this time she had lowered herself as far as she could go, the dark Slayer continued washing herself down. Scrubbing at the hands that had touched the creature that was meant to be her enemy. At the cuts on her skin, and the wound on her palm, causing fresh blood to seep out over her. She scrubbed…at her chest, over her heart, wanting to wash out the agonising mix of pain and love.

She couldn’t wash out the love though. It was still there, despite the harsh and hurtful words of the other Slayer. It was still deep inside her. She still loved Buffy, and that was the biggest pain of all.

Loving her so much, but knowing it would never be returned, even though it was there somewhere inside the blonde girl too. Faith was sure now that it would never be returned. No matter what. She felt further away from it now than she had ever done.

Finishing her shower, Faith made her way over to her bed and climbed under the disarray of tangled sheets. She clutched the pillow in her arms and buried her face within its musty smell. Her body twitched in its objection to cry, but it didn’t get its way. She did cry. More than she could ever remember doing in her young life. She sobbed her heart dry as sleep slowly led her into fitful dreams.

The majority of Faith’s day was spent sleeping off her violent night, tossing and turning in her naked abandon, replaying the recent events over in her head. Her mind compelling her to dream of the moment Buffy had told her she was in love with her, then forcing her to relive the moment she witnessed the hurt and betrayal in her fellow Slayer’s angry eyes.

She woke with a start, as her body jerked, not for the first time, at the memory of Buffy’s damning accusations. Her emotional weariness, and the blood loss from Spike’s over willingness to make her forget who she was, had taken its toll. She felt washed out and wrung dry.

The dark beauty untangled her limbs from the sheets, memories of Buffy being tangled and wrapped up with her, sweeping painfully across her mind. Pushing the thoughts away, she ran her hand through her wavy hair, moving it from her sullen eyes. She had to bite back the entire lack of enthusiasm to actually get out of bed and face the world again.

She was hungry though, ravenously so. The blood loss not sitting well with her Slayer healing abilities that had done its best to replace the lost liquid pulsing through her veins. Faith needed to eat…and drink, and forget about everything all over again.

The brunette dragged herself from the temporary haven of her bed, and grabbed a pair of jeans lying near by. They were not exactly clean, but at least they didn’t have the nasty bloodstains of a night she’d rather not be so blatantly reminded of, smeared all over them.

She stepped into the soft tight denim and slipped them up her slender legs. Then she tugged a small white tee shirt over her head, and made her way into the bathroom. She wasn’t exactly sure how she was functioning. Faith was acting more on instinct than anything else. Actual conscious thought that didn’t make her want to crawl into a corner and hide just wasn’t happening.

After cleaning herself up and donning her battered old leather jacket, the dark Slayer stepped out into the late evening hush. She took a deep breath and shifted her eyes up and down the almost deserted street. Straightening her back, doing her best not to look how she felt, Faith slowly descended the steps to the dusty concrete ahead of her and headed towards the nearest fast food place.

As she walked along the dreary street, putting on a show of confidence in her stride, Faith paid no attention to the handful of people making their way home, hurrying off to their safe warm houses, and their safe warm lives. Leaving the darkness of the Sunnydale night to creep through the alleyways and seep out into the territory of the living.

She ignored the encroaching gloom as she listened to the sound of her boots ringing out her tough girl persona on the hard surface of the sidewalk. Each thud was like a nail to Faith. A nail hammered firmly and resoundingly into the coffin in which she lay in her defence from the outside. Playing dead. The irony wasn’t lost on her…Slayer of the living dead.

The fact that the night before, she could very well have turned her destiny inside out and been killed and transformed by Spike, almost made her want to laugh at the cruelty of how fate had a very peculiar sense of humour.

She didn’t remember just when Spike had released her and stopped draining her of her blood, but then Faith couldn’t quite recall how she had allowed it to happen in the first place. She knew that not long after though, she had passed out from the effects of the alcohol on her system.

The thumping of the brunette’s boots kept rhythm with her thoughts as she looked up from the sidewalk to take note of where she was headed. Faith had walked well past her intended destination and was now approaching the gates to an empty and shadowy cemetery.

Maybe it was part of her calling. That she’d just end up where she was destined to be if she wasn’t paying attention to where her feet were going. Looking up at the ominous gates of the graveyard, Faith felt a familiar shiver run down her spine, like a trickle of a raindrop snaking its way down her back. Buffy was somewhere nearby.

The dark girl almost wanted to tremble with the mix of wanting to see the other Slayer, and wanting to back away and run. She looked from the entrance and back to the street several times, not knowing which way to go. She was well aware that if she could feel Buffy, then the other girl would feel her also.

She couldn’t just stand there though, and wait for Buffy to stumble across her, so she filled her lungs full of the warm night air, and strode into the inky blackness of the cemetery before her.

*****

Faith kept to the shadows, listening out for her fellow Slayer, narrowing her eyes to look deep into the dark to find her. She didn’t want to be spotted by Buffy. She didn’t want another showdown, or worse, and hoped that even though Buffy would sense her presence that the blonde wouldn’t actively seek her out.

The trees stood silent and still in the stagnant air, not daring to obstruct the perfect hearing of the dark girl as she walked deeper into the winding pathways of the small graveyard. She picked up the sound of talking ahead and slowly edged toward where it was coming from.

The brunette stayed low and hidden as she spotted the small Slayer up ahead. Covered by the dark shadows and the veil of leaves behind the tangle of undergrowth she was crouched behind, Faith was certain she wouldn’t be seen.

The other Slayer was sat on a large ornate tombstone as Willow paced excitedly in front of her, chattering incessantly in her usual way. Faith had more or less a side on view, although Buffy was more turned away from her than towards her. She was grateful of that, as she knew Buffy was particularly good at seeing in the dark.

Even given the risks though, Faith couldn’t tear herself away from Buffy. She had to see her, and be near, no matter what the consequences. No matter how much she wanted to will herself away.

She could feel the tug on her heart as she watched the other Slayer. She was just there, but yet so far out of reach. It was like a knife digging into Faith’s chest. The overwhelming feeling of wanting Buffy but not being able to have her or to act on her desire was ripping out her insides.

It was like driving a hot poker into her gut and twisting, wrapping her torn flesh around the scorching iron. It hurt in so many ways, Faith was unable to quantify it fully. She just knew it was a pain she had never felt before.

The need to reach out. The need to touch, and hold, and just be by Buffy’s side. It all cut her deep, as her broken heart reminded her she couldn’t have what she wanted.

Listening over the sound of her own steady breathing and pounding pulse, Faith swallowed back the desperate vacuum of need devouring her, and focused on what the redhead in front of Buffy was babbling about.

“See…isn’t this better? Just you and me, like old times. Well, not like old times because Xander isn’t here. But neither is Faith…which is a good thing right? I mean, she hurt you…she used you, so it’s better now it’s just us.” Willow looked expectantly at her friend, but Buffy didn’t respond beyond a very faint nod as she frowned into the night.

Faith tried her best not to get too angry about what Willow was saying. She didn’t want to give her position away, even though she could tell by Buffy’s stiff body language that she knew the brunette was there somewhere, lurking in the shadows of the cobweb strewn graveyard.

The blonde girl seemed too distracted though to react and find her. Faith thought it must be because she was feeling bad about being used and betrayed, as she believed she had been. And that she didn’t particularly feel the need to search Faith out and deal with it again. Whatever the reason behind Buffy’s lack of interest in her whereabouts, Faith was grateful.

“She really betrayed you, Buffy…so don’t feel sorry for her. I know you. You’ll be thinking it was your fault or something when it wasn’t. Faith made you go with her, I was there, and then…and, well, what she did to you was terrible and you’re better off without her friendship if she can do something like that. Take advantage of you. And…threaten to torture me, and kill me if I told you.” Willow waved her hands around in dramatic effect, then sat down next to Buffy, giving up on her damning speech as the blonde girl stared blankly ahead of her.

“But why…” Buffy spoke almost in a whisper into the night. “…why did I go with her? Why did you all allow it if I didn’t want to go? I…” She trailed off as Willow cut in.

“She was very persuasive and manipulated you, and told us she’d keep you safe. I just think you were confused. I tried to tell Giles it was a bad idea, but he trusted her. He was stupid to do that. We all were. I feel so bad that we left you with her so she could…God Buffy, I feel so bad about what she did to you.” Willow was really laying it on thick.

Faith couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing. The way Willow was poisoning Buffy against her almost went beyond jealousy and into a whole realm of something else entirely. The brunette was seething inside at the way Buffy had been told such utter bullshit. She could feel her blood boiling again. Her body coiled and ready to spring as she hid away from the duo.

She instantly regretted picking up her leather jacket as the heat in her veins caused her skin to feel like it was burning its way out of its confines. Angry beads of sweat made their slow and sticky way down Faith’s slender back as she tensed her muscles in order to keep still. The dark beauty shivered as a trickle of perspiration inched a path downward between her breasts.

She wanted to pull all her clothes off and feel the night air dry her skin and cool the burning inside her. She wanted to stand up and yell at Willow to shut the fuck up, and tell Buffy that it was all lies and that she loved her, and wanted her, and would do anything to prove it.

But she didn’t do anything but turn and sneak away as Buffy dropped her eyes to the floor at the conviction in Willow's voice, and in her words.

Faith felt beaten. She felt unable to do anything, to defend herself, or fight to stop feeling so lost without the blonde Slayer. She felt alone. She was alone. The only person she had now…was Spike, and that thought stuck in her brain like a rusty razor, slicing into her common sense.

She exited the gates of the cemetery and headed for the bar she knew the blonde Vampire would be sat in. She couldn’t be alone. As much as she hated admitting it to herself. She didn’t dare be alone.

...continued in part 11...

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