Finding the Sun
by Ophelia C.
Disclaimer: I own nothing… at all. All Buffy & Angel
characters belong to Joss & Co. The title is from a
one-act play by Edward Albee.
Spoilers: AU versions of Seasons 3-5, but not much. Major spoilers for "Fool for Love", "Shadow", "Listening to Fear". I lifted a lot of dialogue and scenes, with slight alterations.
Author's Notes: This idea came to me when I was watching the preview for 'The Family Man'. ||Denotes silent reading||
Thanks: I'd like to thank my BETA's: Anne and Nina. I'd also like to thank Sharmyn, for letting me use her poetry (slightly altered) and everything else she's done for me (which is too much to list here).
Dedication: To Kim. I know you'll probably never read this, but I miss you and I hope you feel better soon.
The waves crashed noisily on the shore, drowning out all other sounds. Faith stood silently on the sand, inhaling the salty air. With a smile, the brunette stepped forward into the water. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, and she was alone on the beach, just the way she liked it. Walking forward into the surf, she stopped a couple feet out, the tide going out at the waistband of her black Adidas pants and coming in at chest level, soaking her white wife-beater through to her swimsuit.
This was what she loved, and what she deeply missed when the days turned dark and cold. The sound of the waves, the smell of the sea, and the feel of the sun all made for her ideal setting. But something wasn't right. Something didn't fit.
The loud metallic banging ripped Faith from her relaxed state and sent her crashing back to reality. The warm sun was replaced by the cold hardness of her cell and the crashing waves morphed into the rough solidity of her provided mattress. Sitting up, she stared quietly, expressionless, at the bulky guard standing in front of her cell. Biting her tongue, she knew better than to antagonize the guards. Other inmates were fair game to the slayer, but the guards were off limits.
"D'Amato. Three o'clock." Unlocking the door, the guard watched Faith nod before standing up. Cuffing the brunette, he stepped aside, letting her out of the cell, and followed her to the end of the hall. After a short left, they came to a closed door, which the guard quickly opened, revealing a sparsely decorated office.
Hearing the door open, the man behind the desk looked up. "Ah, Faith. Right on time." The man was short and stocky, his blonde hair sticking out in all directions. Sitting forward in his chair, he gave his attention to the guard. "Thank you, Luke. We'll be fine here."
With a last look and a nod, the guard, Luke, un-cuffed Faith and walked out of the office, closing the door behind him.
With a gesture to the chair in front of the desk, the man leaned back and put his feet up. "Have a seat, please."
Face unreadable, Faith threw herself down into a nearby chair, keeping her gaze locked with the man.
The uncomfortable silence hung over the office like a thick fog. For about a minute, a staring match accompanied the silence. But Faith soon lost interest and allowed her eyes to wander around the room. There were three chairs in the room, two of which were occupied by the man behind the desk and the brunette, herself. There were no bookshelves or pictures, only an old gray filing cabinet in the back corner with a dying potted plant on top. On the desk, there were several stacks of paper, as well as a stapler and a few pens. A small name plaque announced that the desk belonged to a "Dr. James Green", who currently held an open folder in his hand.
"Nothing has changed since your last visit, Faith. At least, not as far as my office is concerned. So, why don't you tell me what's been going on lately?"
With a deep sigh, she slouched further in her chair. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Putting his feet down, Dr. Green sat forward, placing the folder on the desk. "I'm talking about your behavior this past week. The guards say you haven't been to the cafeteria in days. You also no longer go to the weight room, which you used to do at least twice a day. And you've closed yourself off from all other prisoners. Truthfully, isn't this the first time you've been out of your cell in two days?"
"Wow," the brunette spat out sarcastically. "I never knew the guards were so concerned about my well-being."
"They're not." His voice was crisp and even, his tone straightforward without a hint of mocking. "They're concerned about their well-being. The fact is your past precedes you. Your violent history is no secret, and your outbursts always seem to stem from when you are at your emotional low. Your case file shows that you have made great strides towards your reformation." He picked the folder up from his desk to accent his point. "According to this, you earned your GED in your first three months here, quickly following that up with a job in the prison library. The guards favor you because of your hold over the other inmates on your block, which has helped keep the violence down. Other than a few problems in the beginning, you've practically been a model prisoner."
Faith let out a bored sigh. "What's your point?"
"My point is your recent behavior. It almost seems as if you've lost interest in a reformed state. It seems as if you've lost interest in everything. This has the guards and other inmates on edge. So, tell me the truth, Faith. Have you given up on the 'new leaf' stage of your life?"
Her company back to her cell was apparently a newbie, at least to her block. Tall and lean, his muscles were visible under his uniform, but not in an excessive manner. Blonde-haired and blue-eyed, his lips formed a constant half-smile, giving his looks a boyish charm. When he spoke, his voice was soft and warm, inviting the listener to feel comforted, no matter what was being said. "I guess it's true what they've been saying about you."
Faith was silent.
Watching her intently for a long moment, he continued. "You've given up. You're this close to redemption, and you've given up. With good behavior and proof of rehabilitation, you could be out of here in a few months. I mean, they couldn't nail you for half the stuff you confessed to. But it's like you don't care. It's like you've completely forgotten what you were reaching for. Forgotten what you wanted more than anything."
The brunette spoke, her voice calm and strong; commanding, but quiet. "You don't know anything about me. So just save your breath."
Un-cuffing her, the guard opened her cell door, watching her enter. "Just remember, this was for your own good." With one final smile, he turned and walked away.
Faith watched him until he was out of sight. Scoffing, she climbed back into her bunk. Staring at the ceiling, she thought back to what the guard had told her. "Just remember, this was for your own good." His words rang in her head as she stared up at the ceiling, thinking back on her life. Finally, boredom overtook her and she succumbed to sleep.
When Faith woke hours later, the first thing she noticed was the darkness. Almost immediately following, though, she realized how comfortable she was. The bed was soft, as were the sheets, and the clothes she was wearing didn't feel like the usual scratchy prison garb. Allowing her eyes to adjust to the minimal light provided by a digital alarm clock, she soon found a light switch for a table lamp.
Turning it on, she used the new light to examine her surroundings. It was a small bedroom, simply decorated in shades of beige and off-white. Photos of Buffy and Faith sporadically covered the walls. Some showed them alone together while others showed them with the Scoobies, but all had one thing in common: everyone was smiling. The furniture was minimal, consisting only of a dresser, the bed, and the previously mentioned table, only occupied by the lamp, the clock, and a phone. In the far right corner, next to the open closet door, sat a stereo, surrounded by several CD cases. On the other side of the room, another open door revealed the bathroom. The only closed door was directly across from the bed, next to the dresser. Her instincts taking over, Faith jumped out of the bed and snuck to the door. Wearing a pair of oversized blue scrub pants and a white wife beater, she froze at the bedroom door, listening for any signs of company.
Inching the door open, she crept out into the dimly lit room, which seemed to serve as living room, dining room, and kitchen. There was a large television on the floor, next to a VCR and a stack of videos. Directly in front of that sat a blue futon, a large white beanbag, a small eight ball beanbag, and a black butterfly frame chair. On the other side of the room was a small table surrounded by four chairs. Behind that, the kitchen was furnished as would be expected, with a refrigerator, a microwave, an oven, and a stovetop.
Walking past all of this, Faith opened the front door to a still, quiet night. On guard for an attack, she barely caught herself from laying out the blonde in front of her. "You!"
"Me!" His shout was accompanied by a large grin, his blue eyes dancing with a look of insanity. Letting out a maniacal laugh, he stopped it short to look down at her, but she could tell it was still just beneath the surface.
"You fucking psycho! What the hell?" Her breathing was labored from suppressed adrenaline. Fists at her sides, she was still poised for attack. "You better be ready to shed some goddamn light, you hear me!"
"I told you. I told you this was for your own good. You'll see what I mean—"
Whatever he was about to say was cut off as Faith grabbed him by his collar. "I don't know if you've heard, but I have a trust issue. Especially with men. So says Green. So if you want to keep those baby blues of yours, get to the fucking point!"
"It's a glimpse," he said quickly, though the smile never left his lips, or his eyes. "Two years ago, Buffy Summers asked you to trust her. And you shut her out. Do you ever wonder what could've happened if you had said what you wanted to say?"
"I think about it every day." The fight had left her voice, but not her stance.
"Well stop thinking and live it. This is your chance. Make it count."
Stepping back, she sagged against the wall next to the door. "Why? Why did this happen?"
Tapping her on the nose with one longer finger, he winked at her. "Because. Which you need to figure out by yourself."
Staring him down, she quickly gained back her fire. "Don't screw with me. If I'm supposed to be 'active slayer', I'm gonna need to know what's up with the big bad."
"Then brush up on your reading. Your journals are in a shoebox under your bed. I will give you a little help, though. In about an hour and a half, Spike'll be leaving Buffy's. That'd be a great time to go check on her."
"What makes you so sure she'll want to see me?"
"Are you kidding? Read the damn journals." With that, he turned to leave, but was halted by the brunette's voice.
"So what do I call you?"
"K.B.? What's that stand for?"
He laughed and shook his head. "There's not enough money in the world."
She looked at him in disbelief. "You're kidding! I've gotta figure out what your name stands for, too?"
"No. It's just… personal." With that, he turned and walked away.
Opening the shoebox, the first book that caught her attention was a worn black journal with gold trim. Opening it, the cover was filled with the looping script of one Buffy Summers.
||Happy One Year Anniversary, Faith. I don't really know what to write here. I'm not good when I'm put on the spot. Makes me all blank-like. I looked all over for the perfect present, something that would show you how much I love you. But I couldn't find it. So I bought you something I knew you would like, and put this with it. This is something I've been writing in since the day I met you. It's just about you. You and me and how that makes me feel. I hope you like it. Love always, Buffy||
Faith sighed as she realized just what she had missed out on. This one message contained just what she had wanted since the day she met Buffy: love. By not saying what was on her mind that night, she had cheated herself, cheated them both, of a better relationship. Though anything was better than what they currently had. Sighing again, she opened the book to a random page of poetry, which she quickly skimmed over until something caught her eye. It was dated the day before Christmas, her first year in Sunnydale.
||"There are different kinds of love," you said and you motioned with your head that it was pointless. You said it with tears in your eyes and I thought, "I've never seen her cry before." You said, "And I just don't think you'll understand; I love you." Well, I love you. Well, I never thought I'd think it, but I think I might love you.||
Buffy looked away, refusing to meet Spike's eyes. "I don't want to talk about it."
Lowering his gun, his internal battle was visible on his face. She was weak now, his perfect chance to kill her, pain be damned. But he didn't want to. He wanted… "I-Is there something I can do?"
She didn't answer him as the realization finally hit. Her mother was going into the hospital tomorrow for extensive testing. The nothing wasn't nothing. Her mother could be dying.
Seeing the pain on her face, Spike sat down next to her, putting an awkwardly, comforting hand on her back. And she let him. Pulling back, he merely sat in silence with her, allowing her to speak when she was ready.
Faith was amazed. So many things were different, but so many had stayed the same. She had quickly skimmed over the first journal, which laid out her first year in Sunnydale. The first entry was dated the night of the Gwendolyn Post scandal. It went on in detail about how things had gone with Buffy. According to the journal, Faith had pretty much told Buffy that she would trust her when the blonde let her in. After a long, heated discussion, baggage was dropped and their friendship was strengthened.
Through a series of instances, she was quickly accepted as a full member of the Scooby gang. There was the mention of the brunette admitting her love for the blonde, as well as her being invited to spend Christmas with the three Summers. Only Buffy didn't stay out with Angel that day. Faith read the passage, which explained that Angel asked the blonde to stay, but she politely refused, instead returning to her mother, her sister, and Faith.
Their relationship quickly progressed from there into a loving romance. There was no mention in the journals about Faith sleeping with Xander. Instead of killing Allen Finch, she was able to pull back at the last minute, reflexes gained from hours of training with Buffy. He was instead killed by one of Trick's minions before he could divulge any secrets. Desperate for information, Faith went undercover as the Mayor's assistant, but was exposed by a group of vampires the week before graduation. No longer having to cover up the relationship she shared with the other slayer, she was able to make it to the prom just in time to see Buffy receive her award.
Two days before graduation, in revenge for her betrayal, the Mayor had Faith shot with dart gun. It was the "Slayer of Slayers", only recorded twice in history. It attacked the exact DNA that was embedded in slayers, destroying their healing first, before spreading to other systems. Due to its lack of use, its effects were relatively unknown, as they were different with every slayer. The only sure thing was that the slayer would be dead in less than 48 hours. The ingredients were extremely rare and hard to find, some of the plants believed to have been extinct. The same was true for the ingredients of the cure.
Delivered by Angel, the cure was administered in the final hour. Though she was too weak to fight at the Ascension, her involvement, as the bait, was the key to getting the Mayor entrapped in the high school. In the end, the Scoobies won, the Mayor lost, and Sunnydale was saved, once again.
Closing the book, Faith moved to get another journal when she noticed the time. It had been almost two hours since she spoke to K.B. Looking down at herself, she realized that she would need to change. Still a bit unsure about her position in this reality, she made her way over to the closet and began digging around for something to wear. In a hurry, she pulled out the first thing she found that matched: a pair of blue jeans and a white tank top.
After slipping into her Docs, she grabbed her leather jacket and walked out the door. Just as she was about to close it, she realized that she didn't have any keys. Hoping that no one would try the door, she closed it, unlocked, and left, trying to remember how to get to Buffy's from the college campus.
Dawn fiddled with the bracelet on her right arm, focusing on it intently. Next to her, her big sister sighed, leaning her head back against the wall. Looking over at her, she continued to play with her bracelet. "What is a CAT scan exactly?"
"I don't know. It's some… x-ray, I guess."
The younger Summers nodded as she looked back down at her bracelet. "Where do they get the CAT scan from? I mean, do they test it on cats or… or does the machine sort of look like a cat?"
Buffy let out another sigh, this one laced with annoyance. "Dawn, I'm really…" At Dawn's apprehensive look, she stopped herself. Instead of commenting any further, Buffy merely put her arm around her sister, bringing her head to her shoulder, and placed a reassuring kiss on top of Dawn's head. Hearing something to her right, she looked up to find Faith standing next to their chairs with three canned drinks.
Sticking two under her left arm, she opened one, which she handed to Dawn. Then she pulled out another can, opening that one, too. Handing it to Buffy, she spoke softly. "Thought you guys could use some refreshment."
With a small smile, Buffy mouthed her thanks, to which Faith nodded.
Opening her own drink, she slid down the wall to the floor, waiting with the Summers'.
After looking at her watch, Buffy stopped pacing and turned to the dark slayer, who was leaning against the wall. "I'm going to go in now. Will you watch Dawn?"
"You got it, B."
Nodding, the blonde turned and walked into a door marked "Examination Room".
After watching her for a moment, she turned and walked in the opposite direction.
Dawn was curled up on the couch, asleep, her head in Faith's lap. The brunette seemed uncomfortable, her arms resting on the back of the couch. She looked up at Buffy, who was across the room, watching them intently. Carefully, so as not to wake the teen, Faith eased her way off the couch, placing Dawn's head lightly down where she had been sitting. Taking a shaky breath, she walked over to the blonde and sat down next to her.
Seeking comfort, Buffy leaned over and put her head on Faith's shoulder.
In response, the brunette slowly put her arm around the blonde, unsure of what to do.
As she saw the doctor approaching, Buffy suddenly stood up and walked over to him, Faith quick on her heels.
"Everything went fine, they're moving her into recovery now," he informed her.
Nervously, she grabbed Faith's hand. "Do we have the results yet?"
With a blank look, the doctor gestured to a chair. "Let's, um, sit down over here for a minute."
"No!" Realizing her outburst, she quieted down, her emotions flooding her voice. "Excuse me, no, I… I don't mean to be rude. I just, I've been sitting for hours. I don't wanna sit. I just… tell me, please."
Nodding, the doctor began to explain while Buffy gripped Faith's hand tighter. "Your mother has… the term is low-grade glioma. It's a brain tumor. The clinical name is oligodendroglioma. It's in the left hemisphere of the cerebrum. In your mother's case, the tumor seems to have started there. In other words, it hasn't spread from another part of the body…"
"You gonna eat that?" Faith gestured to the ice cream float that Dawn was holding.
Tearing her gaze away from the carousel in front of her, Dawn looked over at the brunette. "I guess I'm not hungry."
Faith only nodded.
Turning back to the carousel, the younger girl took a deep breath. "I had my tenth birthday party here."
"Mm-hmm. We'd just moved to Sunnydale and Mom rented the carousel for an entire hour for just me and my friends. Except I hadn't made any friends yet, so it was just me and Mom and Buffy riding it by ourselves, over and over and over again for the whole hour, just so Mom felt like we'd gotten our money's worth." She took another deep breath as her voice began to break. "She's… she's not gonna get better, is she?"
Faith smiled and leaned over, pushing Dawn slightly. "'Course she will. Summers' chicks are tough."
This caused Dawn to smile. "I'm glad you're here."
"Really?" The brunette couldn't help the surprised look that crossed her face.
"Yeah." She nodded vigorously. "Buffy's glad too."
"Oh yeah?" She had the same surprised look.
"She sure cries a lot less with you than she did with Angel."
Faith smiled, a small, shy smile.
Dawn, not really noticing, continued. "Everything with him was all…" She grimaced, making clawing motions with her hands. "Eee. You know? It's like, every day was like the end of the world. She doesn't get all worked up like that over you."
Absorbing this information, Faith thought hard about it. Was it a good thing or a bad thing? She came to the conclusion that, after all the pain she had caused "Other Buffy", this Buffy deserved a calm relationship. This caused her to smile more.
"I'm really glad you're here."
After dropping Dawn off at school, Faith ran back to the apartment. She sighed as she found the door still unlocked. Racing to the bedroom, she pulled the box out from under the bed that contained the journals. Digging through them, she removed the most recent one, deciding to go back and fill in the holes later. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she skimmed through the pages, trying to learn as much as she could, as soon as possible.
The book cleared up a few of the areas of confusion. It outlined Buffy's mother's illness, some evil bitch named Glory, and how Dawn was really a key, which explained why Faith didn't remember her. According to one of the entries, Glory had kicked both of their asses without even breaking a sweat, which had the brunette worried a little. But she pushed the worry down, determined to beat down anything that stood between her and B, and their happiness.
Throwing the journal back in the box, she ran out the apartment, barely remembering to close the door behind her.
Giles looked at his customer with a slightly perplexed look. "'Aleister Crowley Sings'? Um, sadly, no, I-I don't carry that, but I do have some very nice whale sounds." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a slow-moving Faith enter the magic shop with an unsure expression. "Excuse me for a moment," he said, stepping away from the Crowley crony and towards the brunette.
Seeing Giles, she smiled slightly, doing the same when she saw Xander walk up to join them. "Where's B?"
The shop owner pointed to the door. "Um, she-she left a while ago."
Flustered, the younger of the chosen looked around. "What?" Starting to shake slightly, she took a deep breath. "Where?"
The response came from Xander, who bore a concerned look. "That creepy demon woman's conjuring some kind of monster."
Shaking her head, Faith choked out, "Alone?" Closing her eyes for a moment, she opened them to reveal dazed and unfocused brown orbs.
Seeing this, as well as a new customer, Giles stepped closer to the dark slayer. "Xander, would you take care of them please." Nodding his head to the customer, he reached his arm out slowly to place a reassuring hand on Faith's shoulder. Then, with a last glance to Xander, he led the violently shaking Faith to the training room in the back, closing the door behind them.
Teeth clenched, she leaned heavily on the ex-Watcher, tears forming in her eyes. "What the hell's happenin' to me?" As soon as the words left her mouth, Faith fell to the floor in a heap.
"She's in good hands, Buffy. There's really nothing else you can do. Bye." Hanging up the phone, he stepped out from behind the counter to return to the back room. Walking further in, he made his way to the bathroom in the far right corner. There, lying in a filled bathtub, was Faith, clad only in a pair of black boxers and a black tank top.
The tub water was an ugly brown, and filled with various floating herbs and leaves. Faith sat quietly, her eyes half open, as the vapors floated up from the water, filling the air. Her tremors had stopped and she was now resting comfortably.
Giles sat down on the stool that was next to the tub. "That was Buffy, on the phone. She's all right. She's safe, at the hospital, with her mother."
The brunette nodded so slightly it was almost imperceptible. "Did you tell her?" Her voice was weak and tired.
"Good. She doesn't need to worry about me."
Nodding, Giles gently placed his hand on her forehead. "So you've told me for over a year. Normally, I'm inclined to disagree with you. But, with everything she is dealing with right now, perhaps you are right." Holding up his hand, he silenced her, in case she tried to speak. "For the time being. But you will have to tell her eventually."
She shifted slightly in the water, whispering through slightly parted lips. "Giles…"
"Faith, I don't want to upset you right now. Not in your state. You know that is not my intention. But you have to understand the situation you're in. The attacks are getting worse and the treatments aren't helping nearly as much as they did in the beginning. We are running out of options. At a time like this, I think you need all the support you can get." Reaching behind him, Giles picked up a large towel and held it out for her. "You've been in there long enough. Dry off and get dressed, and I'll take you home."
"Nah. Don't worry about me. I'll walk."
Shaking his head, he opened his mouth to argue, only to be cut off by the brunette.
"No, Giles. Dawn's here. Buffy's not. Someone's gotta keep an eye on the kid. I can take care of myself. So you stay here, and I'll walk home." She gave him a pointed look, waiting for his agreement.
Offering her a sad smile and a nod, he stood and left the room, giving her privacy to change.
Twenty minutes later, Faith was lying down in the bedroom of her and Buffy's apartment. As soon as she had gotten home, she dug through the box of journals until she figured out what was wrong.
It only took her five minutes to learn that she was suffering from the magic the Mayor had used. In the end, the cure hadn't been a cure at all, only a suppressant. It temporarily put the poison on hold, placing the slayer's health in remission. This had never been discovered before, because the other slayers had died in battle shortly after the "cure" was administered.
No one knew about this though, besides Faith and Giles. That had been "other Faith's" request, that Giles not tell anyone, especially Buffy. It was a matter of pride, though she didn't admit it to the ex-Watcher. The last thing that "other Faith" wanted was to appear weak to the others. But she didn't want to worry her girlfriend either.
It wasn't about weakness anymore, though. Now, everything was about making her second chance work. Faith resolved to keep up the façade. She would fight through the attacks, making sure Buffy never found out. That way, Buffy wouldn't have to worry about anything but her mother and Faith wouldn't have to worry about anything but making things work. Right?
Still trying to convince herself, Faith succumbed to exhaustion and fell into a deep sleep.
"Okay. Let's do this." Joyce put her hand on Buffy's arm. "Stay close."
With a smile, the blonde put her hand over her mother's. "I will." Turning, she walked to the door, letting Dawn in. Pausing, she stood in the doorway, watching them embrace, before walking into the hallway. With a heavy sigh, she dropped down into the chair against the wall, putting her head in her hands. There was nothing she wanted to do more at the moment than to break down, to let all the pain out. But she couldn't. She had to be strong.
Hearing her mother call her name, she wiped her hands over her face before standing up. With a brave smile, she walked back into the room.
"That was pretty cool. Except the part where I was all terrified and… and now my knees are all dizzy." Willow took a deep breath, attempting to calm down, though a wild look was still in her eyes.
Not acknowledging the redhead, Giles bent down to pick his glasses up off the ground and began to clean them on his shirt.
Shrugging, Xander waited for Giles before the three continued walking. "Not so much a big success night for me. But I think I should get points just for showing up. Unlike some Faith D'Amato who shall remain unnamed."
The former librarian put his glasses back on. "Yes, things would have been easier if she'd been here. But she was feeling a bit under the weather."
"What? Our favorite bad-ass brunette is sick?" The young man stopped walking to look Giles in the eye.
"Um, yes. A little. I'm sure she's fine, though I will be checking on her after we're through."
Nodding, Xander continued walking, along with the other two. Quietly, they blended into the night.
Her hair dripping wet, Faith turned off the light in the bathroom as she stumbled into the bedroom. Pulling back the covers, she moved to sit down, but instead crashed to the bed with a choked scream. Gritting her teeth, she fought to control the pain coursing through her body, until finally it stopped, leaving as quickly as it had come.
Taking a deep breath, Faith began to push herself up when she realized that none of her limbs were cooperating. Trying even harder to move, it occurred to her why the pain had stopped when she realized she couldn't feel anything below her neck. Her breathing grew erratic as she tried to figure a way out of her current situation.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. "Faith," a British voice called. "I hope you don't mind, but I used my key. I wanted to check on you." The voice came closer and closer until finally Giles peaked his head through the open bedroom door. Seeing Faith's position, he quickly made his way closer. "Faith?"
"Giles… I can't move."
In a flash, he was by her side, taking her hand in his. "What happened?"
"I don't know. It—It just hit me."
Sighing, he softly stroked her face, in a loving father's caress. "These attacks are occurring more often. I'm afraid that there's nothing more I can do for you. I believe it's time we consult modern medicine. Maybe they can find some way to provide you with a little relief. At least, more than I can give."
As much as Faith wanted to argue with the idea of modern medicine, she kept her mouth shut, too exhausted to say anything.
"I'm taking you to the hospital."
"You know, Giles, I'm feeling moveable. Why don't we take advantage of that and leave? We've been here for three hours already. I want to go home."
Giles looked over at Faith, who was lying on the hospital bed with an exhausted glaze to her eye. "Faith, you know as well as I do that this relief is only temporary. The doctor suggested an MRI. I believe we should listen. Perhaps they will be able to find something treatable."
"I just… I don't like hospitals."
With a small smile, he nodded. "Yes, I know. It seems to be a common trait among slayers." Just then, Giles' cell phone began to ring.
"Aren't those things supposed to be turned off in hospitals?" Faith had a mischievous smile that didn't quite cover the pain in her eyes.
Giles merely looked at her as he listened to the person on the other end. "Yes, Willow. I'll be there as soon as possible." Hanging up, he looked at Faith with a guilty expression. "Apparently, something crashed in the woods. Willow needs our help. I'll… I'll think of something to tell them… about why you're not there."
Faith nodded without comment.
"I'm sorry. Perhaps I can make something up, to excuse myself."
"No, don't worry about that. Go. They need you."
Opening his mouth to argue, he closed it when she cut him off.
"You're going to be late."
Sadly, Giles looked down at his youngest charge as he stood to leave. "I'll be back as soon as possible. Just, please, cooperate with the doctors."
With a nod, Faith closed her eyes and tried to relax.
The group carefully made their way through the forest, Willow and Tara leading the way, leaving Xander, Anya, and a flashlight-equipped Giles to take up the rear.
"So, tell us again why Faith isn't joining us on this wonderful excursion?" Xander turned to look at the ex-Watcher behind him, though he kept walking.
"She was past the point of exhaustion, so I told her we would take care of things."
Nodding, the young man almost ran into the now-stopped wiccans.
Giles shined his flashlight along the trench until it landed on the large rock.
Willow scratched her head at the site. "Wow. We have meteorite."
Faith lay perfectly still on the cold metal table. Thankfully, she had been wearing boxers under her clothes, which took out some of the chill. Other than the shorts, though, she was completely naked under the oversized gown, causing her to want to adjust herself, in order to get comfortable. But she didn't move.
"Okay. Lie your hand flat." A thin redheaded nurse was standing next to Faith, a small plastic bag in her hand.
Nervous about the procedure, Faith did as requested without comment.
"This way, you can relax. You won't have to worry about us sticking you in the middle of everything." The woman explained things as she prepped the vein and inserted a small needle into the back of Faith's hand. Pulling a strip of tape from her shirt, the woman secured the excess tubing, covering the needle so it couldn't move. "This'll take about 25 to 30 minutes." Then, after pushing a series a buttons, she walked out of the room, leaving Faith alone.
As the table slid into the tunnel, Faith could hear nothing but silence, until a male voice took its place. "Now, Faith. I need you to lie perfectly still." Then there was silence, again. After a moment, though, this was broken by a loud clanging sound.
Faith didn't see the point to the tests. It seemed to her that since magic was making her sick, only magic could cure her. But Giles insisted, so Faith had agreed.
The thirty minutes went by faster than expected, and soon, they were sliding the table back out. The same nurse came back into the room, needle in hand. Walking over to Faith, she inserted the needle into the IV, quickly injecting its contents. With a smile, she was gone again and Faith was sent back into the tunnel.
A few hours later, Giles walked into Faith's hospital room to find her getting dressed.
"They didn't find anything. They want to do a spinal tap on me tomorrow. I said I had to go home first." She looked up at the ex-Watcher. "They released Joyce. I need to go help B."
Giles looked over at her, his face expressionless. "We've traced the disturbance back to a Queller demon. It is summoned to 'quell the madmen'. We've already found one of his victims. A psychiatric patient. He's dead."
Lacing her boots, she put her feet on the floor and stood up. "I'll look for him on my way to B's." Making her way to the door, she stopped at the door with her back to him. "Tap's at nine."
"I'll be here."
"…You know there are people who are nice, and they give you presents, even when you are bad." Joyce continued to talk to the Queller demon, unaware of what she was doing. In the next room, Dawn lay on her bed with a pillow over her head.
From downstairs, a cheerful Spanish song was blasting from the radio in the kitchen. Expressionless, Buffy turned the volume up more, blocking out her mother's cries from upstairs. With a sigh, she turned her attention back to the sink and the dishes she was washing.
Unbeknownst to Buffy, a shadowy figure quietly entered the dark kitchen from the hallway. Stopping at the entrance, it silently watched the slayer as she washed dish after dish, biting her lip. After a few dishes, though, she lost the battle and began to cry.
In an effort to compose herself, she ran the back of her hand over her nose before breaking down again, the sobs shaking her body.
In a flash, the shadowy figure was across the kitchen and behind Buffy slayer. Carefully, they turned her around and pulled her towards them.
With a loud sob, Buffy sank into the embrace. "Faith," she whispered.
"Shh…" Faith's voice was soft as she stroked Buffy's hair comfortingly. "Let it out, B. I'm here. I'm here for you. Just let it out."
Fighting to compose herself, she tried to pull away. But the fight wasn't completely in her, and she was too weak to fight Faith's slayer strength, or notice that it was weakened slightly. "I can't. I can't do this. I have to stay strong. For Mom. For Dawn. For…"
She was cut off as Faith interrupted her. "None of those people are in this kitchen right now. Just you and me. So you let it out. And I'll take over your job of being the strong one. Just for a little bit."
Sighing, Buffy let herself go and began to sob again.
Hearing Dawn's scream from upstairs, the slayers pulled apart and ran to the source. Buffy opened the door to Joyce's room with Faith right behind her. "What? What is it?" Buffy asked looking at her mother and sister.
"There's something out there. It's after Mom!"
Turning to her girlfriend, she motioned for her to pass. "Watch them." Looking back at her family, she continued. "You guys stay in here. Don't leave this room." As Buffy ran back into the hallway, Faith closed the door behind her before leaning against it with a sigh.
Outside, she could hear Buffy fighting with the demon as she resisted the urge to join the battle.
On the bed, Joyce and Dawn were hugging each other tightly. "It's okay, my baby. It's okay," Joyce whispered to her frightened daughter.
Hearing the struggle move to downstairs, Faith moved to open the door when she fell against it with a thud. Keeping her back to the others, she gritted her teeth to keep from screaming. Every inch of her body felt like it was on fire as the pain coursed through her. Tears formed in her eyes, which she angrily brushed away with one hand. As quickly as it had come, though, it was gone, replaced by a shaky, weak feeling. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes to the migraine, cursing slightly as her vision began to fade in and out.
Just then, Buffy burst into the bedroom, unknowingly nearly hitting Faith with the door. "It's gone. I killed it," she told her family. Feeling the light touch of her girlfriend's hand against her own, she grasped Faith's hand tightly, feeding off of her for strength, not knowing that Faith was doing the same.
Joyce's relieved voice broke their moment. "Oh god."
"It's gone? You promise?" The fear was evident in Dawn's voice.
"I promise," she said, pulling away from Faith to move to the bed. In response, Dawn and Joyce hugged Buffy, putting their head on her shoulders as she put her arms around them. "Everything's all right. "Everything's all right."
In the corner of the room, Faith put her arms around herself, as her eyes focused and unfocused.
"I'll need you to assume the fetal position," the doctor told Faith from his position behind her. As she did so, he, with the help of his nurse, pulled Faith backwards, positioning her where they needed.
At the same time, another nurse was in front of Faith, smiling reassuringly. "Faith, my name is Kristin. I'm going to be right here the whole time, okay?" She had a nice smile. Her hair was about the same color as Faith's and pulled back into a short ponytail.
"Okay Faith. You're going to feel something cold and wet. That'll be the iodine. Then, there'll be a stick and pressure from the anesthetic." The doctor's voice was smooth and reassuring.
Feeling the pressure he had mentioned, Faith's thoughts trailed off as she tried to focus on Kristin's voice. The young nurse was talking, asking Faith simple questions, which she tried to answer.
"Okay, now the stick. It'll last about five minutes."
She felt it. She felt it in every inch of her body, right down to her toes. And then she didn't. "Oh, fuck!" Tensing, she tried to breathe, but was overcome by fear. "I can't feel my leg. I can't fucking feel my goddamn leg. You went too deep!"
With help from Kristin, the doctor managed to calm the younger slayer down and complete the procedure. After which, he instructed her to lie flat on her back while he went to speak to Giles.
Five minutes later, Giles came into the room. "You can go home in a few hours, but you have to lie completely still until then."
"What did it show?" Her voice was echoed with underlying pain.
Sadly, he looked at her with his shoulders slumped. "Nothing. It didn't show anything. They're at a loss. They want to run more tests, after you've recuperated."
Shaking her head, she gave him a strong "No". He started to object, but she cut him off. "I just had a needle stuck in my spine. I've had an MRI and more than enough blood tests. I know it's not as much as some people go through, but it's more than enough for me. It's getting worse. I don't know how much longer I can hide it from Buffy, especially with the hospital and doctor visits. I mean, I should be with her right now. But I have to stay in bed. I'm not doing this anymore. I stay till they release me. No tests, no drugs. Then I handle it on my own. That's it." Sighing, she softened. "I'm dying, Giles. I can feel it. There's not an hour that goes by that I'm not in pain, or weak, or something. I can feel my body shutting down. Medical or magical, none of it can help. I'm done. Just let it be on my terms."
Nodding, Giles pulled a chair up to the bed and sat down. "Just let me be there for you."
Smiling, she let him take her hand. "Always."
Buffy and Dawn watched as their mother was wheeled off to surgery, Willow, Tara, Anya, Xander, and Giles standing behind them. As soon as Joyce was out of sight, Giles stepped forward to place a hand on Buffy's shoulder.
"Faith would have been here if she could have been."
Nodding, she looked at him. "I know. And I understand how those patrols can be. I'm just glad you told me." Turning her attention back down the hallway, she continued. "Besides, Faith will be fine. She always comes out on top. Just like mom."
The two slayers lay in bed together, the sheets sticking to the sweat-slicked bodies. They were lying on their sides, Faith spooned against Buffy's back. "I love you," Faith whispered to her girlfriend.
Smiling, Buffy snuggled in closer to Faith. "I love you, too." Sighing, she drifted off to sleep.
After about an hour of watching Buffy sleep, the younger slayer eased herself out of the bed and made her way to the bathroom. Closing the door behind her, she made it to the toilet just in time to empty her stomach.
When she was finished, she took a deep breath and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. It was the second time that day that she had thrown up blood.
Flushing the toilet, she quickly cleaned up and returned to bed.
Buffy sat back down on the bed after pulling on her shirt. Reaching over, she lightly brushed a hair off of her lover's forehead. "I'll see you later tonight?"
Smiling, Faith nodded slightly. "You just enjoy your day with your mom. I'll just catch up with you after patrol."
After giving Faith a quick kiss on the lips, Buffy walked out of the room and down the stairs.
As soon as she heard the front door close, Faith dashed to the bathroom, only to throw up more blood.
Faith dusted the last vampire, leaving a previously pinned Xander covered in ashes. Reaching out a hand, she helped him up. Overcome by dizziness, she closed her eyes and put her hand to her head.
Alarmed, Xander and Willow were by her side immediately, lending support to the swaying Slayer.
"I'm fine," Faith said, unconvincingly. Leaning against the nearest headstone, she struggled to steady herself. She had had a severe headache all day, accompanied by bouts of dizziness, black spots in front of her eyes, and vomiting.
But she hadn't told the others that. She hadn't told anyone. If she had, Giles wouldn't have let her patrol, leaving the night unprotected. And Buffy might have worried, which was the last thing she needed. Her mother was just recovering from surgery, which was the only thing Faith wanted her to worry about.
She didn't know how much longer she could last, however, as the headache was getting progressively worse. The adrenaline that had carried her through the fight was now gone, and she was a hair's breath away from passing out. Observing her surroundings, she was forced to look away from the street lamp, its light causing her head to throb even more.
"Faith?" The voice came from her right, though she was unable to identify the speaker. It sounded distorted and far away, but when she turned to look, Xander was right next to her.
"What'd ya say?"
Xander and Willow exchanged concerned looks. Faith was obviously confused, and her skin had turned a pale gray.
With her hand covering her eyes, she let out a choppy sigh. "Don't tell B," she begged quietly. "I just… need… to go… to Giles." Moving to step forward, she collapsed to the ground before Willow or Xander could catch her.
By the time Giles arrived at Sunnydale Memorial, Faith had already been examined and moved into a room. Opening the door to said room, he found Xander and Willow quietly sitting in the corner. He nodded his greeting to them, unwilling to break the silence. Moving to the side of the bed, he lightly placed his hand on her forehead, which felt warm to his touch.
Feeling his hand, Faith slowly opened her eyes, looking into Giles' worried face. "Did they get the number of that truck?" She croaked out with a smile. When his expression didn't change, she stopped smiling. "What?"
Sighing, he took her right hand in his. "I think you should tell Buffy." When she saw she was about to protest, he held up a finger, silencing her. "Hear me out. I know that you didn’t want to trouble her, what with her mother's condition and all, but that's over now. I think she should know. You cannot handle this by yourself, Faith. From here, it's only going to get worse. You're going to need her help when it does."
"Yes, she will." Everyone turned to the voice to find Buffy standing in the doorway, a hurt look on her face. "Can I talk to Faith alone please?"
Quietly, the others stood and walked out, Giles closing the door behind him.
After the others left, Buffy looked around the room, quietly taking it all in. There was the heart monitor, its wires disappearing under the top of Faith's hospital gown, and the breathing machine, which was hooked up through a tube in her nose. Along with this, there was also the IV drip running into Faith's left hand. As for Faith herself, she was lying quietly on the bed, her skin pale and drawn, her collarbone jutting out profusely.
"What are you doing here?"
Buffy sighed. "Something told me I needed to come."
The younger slayer nodded in understanding. She'd always felt the bond, more so here than in the other reality, but she still felt it.
Stepping forward, Buffy sat down on the edge of the bed, taking Faith's left hand in her own. She was quiet for a minute, softly stroking the other slayer's arm. "Are you okay?"
With a small smile, she nodded again. "Five by five, B."
"Seriously," Buffy said softly. "How are you?"
Closing her eyes, Faith dropped her cheery façade. "It hurts, B. So much. I ain't never felt pain like this before. It's like… everything hurts. And it's hot and cold. I'm tired, but I can't sleep. I need to puke, but I'm completely empty. I haven't been able to eat in days and my head is about to explode. I got cut the other night, on patrol. It still hasn't healed. And it was just a little cut. Everything's wrong. I… I don't know how much longer I can take this." Her last statement was accompanied by a choked sob as a single tear slid down her cheek.
"Why didn't I notice this before?"
Faith smiled reassuringly. "Cause I didn't want you to. You didn't need to worry about me. You needed to focus on your mom."
Buffy lightly stroked her girlfriend's face. "I'm so sorry. Is there anything I can do?"
"You could get me out of this hellhole." Faith looked at Buffy pleadingly. "I wanna go home, B."
With a small smile, Buffy leaned down and kissed Faith lightly on the forehead. "I'll see what I can do." Standing up, she turned to leave, but stopped at the door. "Get some rest. I'll let you know when I find something out." With that, she turned off the light, bathing the room in darkness, and left, softly closing the door behind her.
"How bad is it?" Buffy looked up at her Watcher, hoping for reassurance.
But there was none to give. "She's dying. Her body is shutting down, and her Slayer healing is gone. From what I can gather, her natural healing is almost gone as well. There is… nothing that anyone can do, except make her more comfortable." Giles looked down at his oldest charge with the beginning traces of tears in his eyes. "I'm so sorry, Buffy."
Sighing, Buffy looked away from him, fighting back the tears. Faith had been strong for her. Now she had to be strong for Faith. With determination in her stance, she turned on her heel, walking quickly to the nurse's station.
"What do I need to do to get Faith D'Amato released?"
Opening the door, Buffy helped Faith into their apartment, practically carrying her into their bedroom. Sitting her down on the bed, Buffy got Faith's pajamas out of the dresser drawer, quickly dressing her in them. Afterwards, she turned down the bed and tucked Faith in. "Do you want anything?"
"Just you," she whispered in response.
With a smile, Buffy put on her own pajamas before turning off the lights. Climbing into bed, she pulled Faith to her closely, offering up a silent request that things would go smoothly, whatever the outcome.
Faith slowly made her way to the door, her right leg protesting every step of the way. She had banged it against Giles' coffee table the day before, but instead of getting better, it had only gotten worse. Faith had been comfortably resting in front of the television when there was a knocking at the door. Opening said door, she found a grinning K.B. on the other side. Promptly, she shut the door, or tried to. The door, however, was momentarily blocked by one of K.B.'s size 16 feet.
"I need to talk to you," he told her, gently pushing the door open.
Throwing her hands up in the air, she made her way back to the giant beanbag she had previously been occupying, leaving K.B. to find his own seat.
Choosing to sit on the floor in front of her, he sadly looked her in the eye. "It's time for you to go back."
Normally, Faith would've flown off the handle at that, somebody telling her what to do, beating the shit out of whoever had challenged her. But she had since learned patience. And the fight was gone. She was now devoting all her energies to staying alive. She didn't have any to spare for ass kicking. So, with voice calm and quiet and demeanor non-threatening, she did something she almost never did. She begged.
"I can't leave," she told him. "All my life, I've been looking for the love I've found here. And now you want me to give that up? I can't do that. Please, don't make me do that."
"I'm sorry. You've learned what you needed to know. Now, it's time to leave." His voice wasn't forceful or condescending, just soft and apologetic.
"Learned what I needed? What did I learn? That I could've had this if I hadn't screwed up? That I could've been happy? Could've been loved? That I might have a chance if I better myself? I don't care."
"If you stay here, you will die."
She sighed, her body relaxing and her voice quieting again. "I know. But I would rather die loved than live hated, knowing I could've been loved. I want to stay here. I *need* to stay here. With Buffy. For as long as I have." She sat forward, staring him in the eye, visibly pleading. "Haven't you ever loved someone that much?"
Staring off, his eyes took on a haunted look. "It's how I got my name. It's why I do what I do." Sighing, he locked eyes with Faith again. "When I was still alive, K.B. was just my nickname. My real name was Zach. I got K.B. my freshman year of college, from my boys, when I started dating Kelli, the love of my life. 'Kelli's Bitch.' That's what they called me. I didn't care though. I was in love. And it was perfect. She became my best friend and I could never get enough of her. Then one night, we had a fight. I got mad and went off with my boys, leaving her by herself. After a while, though, I regretted it. So I jumped in my truck to go back." Taking a breath, he looked away from her, wiping away his tears that had started to fall.
"I never saw the other car. I was drunk. I screwed up."
Faith closed her eyes, feeling his pain, knowing what was coming next.
"She was coming to see me. To apologize. For my screw up." His voice was filled with pain, bringing a tear to Faith's eye. "I killed the only person I ever loved. And this is my punishment. I'll spend eternity fixing other people's mistakes, because I couldn't fix mine. I'm opening their eyes, so they can be happy."
Reaching down, Faith touched one of his large hands, causing him to look at her again. "I tried to kill everything that made the love of *my* life happy. And I did it on purpose. But here, I haven't fucked up. Here, I have a chance. *Here*, I can be happy. Please let me stay."
Nodding, he clasped her hands in both of his, completely hiding her hands. "I'll see what I can do." With a smile, he stood up and walked out of the apartment, closing the door behind him.
The next day was a Saturday, allowing Buffy to sleep later than usual, Faith comfortably wrapped in her arms. Gently shaking Faith awake, Buffy whispered her plans for the day in Faith's ear. "Let's have a picnic in the park." At Faith's smile, she got out of bed and quickly began to get ready.
An hour and a half later, Faith was dressed and on the futon while Buffy was looking for her car keys. "Okay," she said, pulling them from the bottom of her purse. "Let's go."
When they got to the park, Buffy set up the blanket before helping Faith out of the car. Faith insisted she could do it herself, but Buffy would hear none of it. None of Faith's injuries had healed in the last two weeks. Some had ever gotten worse. She had a severe limp, several cuts, and was almost completely covered in bruises. Lately, it seemed as if she would bruise at the slightest touch.
After making sure Faith was comfortable on the blanket, Buffy began to set up the picnic, pulling out their quickly-thrown-together lunch. There were chicken and turkey sandwiches, chips, a bowl of fruit, a small bowl of tomatoes, a sliced lemon for Faith, a thermos of iced tea for Buffy, and a fruit punch Powerade for Faith. Buffy had also packed a few Debbie cakes for dessert.
The day was beautiful. The sun was shining. It wasn’t too hot or too cold. They were surrounded by happy people, yet set apart to enjoy it by themselves. Even the ants had stayed away, leaving them with the perfect picnic. The slayers talked about everything and nothing, merely enjoying their time together. Faith even managed to stay awake the whole time.
After a few hours, though, Buffy noticed that Faith was having trouble focusing. With a smile, she rubbed Faith lightly on the back. "Let's go home, huh? We'll take a nice, warm bubble bath. Then, we can move the television into the bedroom and cuddle up in bed for the rest of the night. What do you say?"
Leaning into her girlfriend's touch, Faith nodded, a contented smile on her face.
"Okay," Buffy said quietly. After packing their picnic back up, she stood up, helping Faith back to the car. Putting the basket in the backseat, she slid into the driver's seat, making sure that both she and Faith were buckled in. Softly, she ran her fingers through the brunette's hair. "Are you okay?"
Nodding, Faith leaned back in her seat, closing her eyes at Buffy's touch. "I'm just really tired. That's all."
Leaning over, Buffy kissed the other slayer lightly on the lips before starting the car. "Well, just go to sleep, and we'll be home before you know it."
Nodding again, Faith closed her eyes, relaxing into her seat even further.
The trip back to their apartment took longer than Buffy expected, as she seemed to hit every red light in Sunnydale. After about twenty minutes, though, she pulled her car into its usual parking spot.
"Faith, we're home," she reported, opening her door as she unbuckled her seatbelt. Not receiving a response from her girlfriend, she leaned over. "Fa-aith. Wake up."
Shaking Faith slightly, her voice became more worried. "Faith?" Leaning over further, Buffy placed her ear to her girlfriend's chest to hear… nothing. Closing her eyes, she let out a choked sob.
"How many are my foes, Lord! How many rise against me! How many say of me, 'God will not save that one.' But you, Lord, are a shield around me; my glory, you keep my head high."
The priest's voice seemed to fade as he read from the Book of Psalms. The next thing Buffy knew, the funeral was over, and people were leaving. Not many had shown up to begin with. Other than the Scoobies, there had just been a few people from high school and college.
Willow, Xander, Tara, and Anya stood behind Buffy, along with Wesley and Cordelia, who had driven down for the funeral. Only Giles stood by Buffy's side. Even Joyce and Dawn had stepped back, allowing Buffy her grieving space.
Buffy stared down at the simple black casket, hoping that her girlfriend had finally found the painless peace she had been searching for. In her hand, the remaining slayer held a single rose, white and thornless. Bringing it up, she inhaled deeply, storing the smell in her brain. Then, placing a kiss on the rose, she laid it on the casket and walked away.
Faith woke with a snap, sitting bolt upright in her bed. Looking around, she realized that she was back in her prison cell. She wasn't sure whether she was relieved or disappointed. Before she had enough time to think about this, though, there was a cough from outside her cell. Looking up, she saw a familiar face looking back. Eyes darting to his uniform, Faith saw that his name badge read "Z. Pulliam."
Tall and lean, his muscles were visible under his uniform, but not in an excessive manner. Blonde-haired and blue-eyed, his lips formed a constant half-smile, giving his looks a boyish charm. When he spoke, his voice was soft and warm, inviting the listener to feel comforted, no matter what was being said. "You've got a visitor, D'Amato." With a wink, he unlocked her door, preparing to escort her to the visitor's station.
Walking next to the guard, her thoughts were racing through her head. Was he 'K.B.'? Had it all been a dream? Should she ask him about it, or would he think she was crazy? Looking up at him, she had just about worked up her nerve, ready to ask him… something.
"Here you go," he said, his smile lighting up his entire face, his eyes included. And then he was gone, before Faith could form a single thought.
Turning away from him, she sat down at the cubicle and picked up the phone. Expecting to see the usual vampiric Angel, it was an understatement to say she was surprised at the sight before her. There, on the other side of the glass, was the woman of her dreams.
Blonde hair framing a slender face, with hazel eyes standing out, Buffy Summers was one of the last people she expected to see. And Faith D'Amato made sure to voice that. "What are you doing here?" She asked with a quietness and vulnerability that only assured Buffy more.
"Something told me I needed to come."
...continued in No Exit...