post season 7 and everything happened...

thanks for reading and I hope you like :)

Adjustment

Part I

Rating: R

* * denotes thought

AN: trust me - I am the ultimate FX fan and this will be an FX fic,

but I wanted to make sure I had a good base to work with, so hold in

there :) and I like Wood but I also like to mess with all of my characters a little bit, so I won't bash anyone, but it'll be fun - even if you don't like the character's I'm dealing with :)

Disclaimer: nothing is minee but the story.

After Series Finale – My continuation :)

Adjustment - Part I

The sun hit the car as if all of it's solar energy were being

focused on that one mere object, the one mid-sized vehicle holding

newly deemed, fairly ordinary people. With the world full of

awakening Slayers, the contents of this vehicle wasn't *so* out of

the ordinary any more, yet the sun still seemed to concentrate on

it. Xander shrugged off his thoughts that were stemming from both

boredom and delirium due to the past week. After the collapse of the

hell-mouth and the vast transformation of all of their lives, the

last week had been full of decisions and weird feelings. Xander

smiled to himself as he realized, not for the first time, but it had

been a while since he even had time to think of such things, the

Scoobies and all of his `family' were so different. If they were

ordinary people without this single thing in common they would've

never been associated with each other. There were underlying

similarities between all of them, but on the surface the only thing

that really connected any of them was the eternal battle against evil

and now with that battle not being the primary focus of their lives,

everyone was faced with the realization that they didn't need to

remain together. Everyone was faced with weird feelings of

separation, doubt, denial, and insecurity even though none of them

had really changed anything yet, they were simply considering their

options. Even though there were many people involved in the group

that didn't exactly `get along', not to name names, but what struck

Xander as really cool was that when actually faced with the option to

leave each other and not have to deal with one another, everyone

stuck together.

Giles called into Angel after things settled down after the

big battle to make sure everything was alright on their front and

really to find out what they were to do next. What had happened was

something that had never even been thought of before and he was

befuddled as to what to do, how to continue. Speaking with Angel he

heard there was some organized vampire activity in the town of

Warkensaw, a fairly busy city towards the North of the United

States. Giles had also received a call from the council, for the

first time since being separated from the organization, and was

notified of the new leader and also many of the new policies. It was

branching out and becoming much less of a formal organization, and

with that their funds were not needed to such a mass extent. With

that, and the new presidents eagerness to thank Giles and `his

Slayer's' as he referred to them as, he would be wiring Giles a

fairly unlimited amount of funds as an expression of the Council's

gratitude. Giles had already found himself somewhat giddy at the

idea of the Council placing the successes of Buffy and Faith on his

behalf but he was utterly dumbfounded when they notified him of the

financial aid they would be supplying him with. He was also notified

of his new title as Chief Advisor of the Watcher's Council of North

America. For the majority of the drive he had been surrounded by his

own thoughts and plans, but his aura assured everyone of his

happiness.

Once Giles had announced the good news to everyone he made it

clear to everyone that parting ways was completely an option and

would not be looked down upon by anyone. After some planning, the

majority of the group headed off together towards the north with the

exception of the majority of the Potential-now Slayer's who met with

their new watchers and scattered across the country. Kennedy decided

she wanted to stick with the gang if they would let her and she was

happily allowed to come along. The group squeezed into two vehicles

and hit the road close to a week after their victory against the

First. In one vehicle was Buffy, Giles, Willow, and Kennedy, and in

the other was Xander, Faith, Robin, Dawn, and Andrew. The passenger

capacity wasn't bad but with everyone's clothes and food supplies and

the endless miles of driving, the vehicles felt cramped none the

less.

Xander drove comfortably in the black Suburban he had been

given to drive and he enjoyed the time he had to think things over

without having to have it speculated by everyone else. He also

didn't mind watching Faith who was sitting in the passenger seat. If

nothing else her expressions always amazed him and he really liked

just watching her. She was sitting with her feet pressed up against

the windshield while sitting deeply in the seat headphones blasting

so that he could hear the songs right along with her if no one else

was talking, which had been a problem thus far. She was staring out

the window with her hair lying comfortably on her shoulders, loose

and curly, and her sunglasses aiding her in appearing to not be deep

in thought even though Xander could tell she was. She was in a

comfortable pair of baggy black sweat pants with pockets down the

side of the leg and a white tank top. She had been pretty quiet for

Faith since they all started planning what was going to happen to the

point that Xander thought she might skip out on everyone but she

pleasantly surprised him. When questioned by Giles whether she would

be accompanying them she answered with, `you think you're getting'

rid of me that easy, G-man?' and a tired smile. Even though she had

been quiet and stayed out of a lot of the planning she had been

really helpful in packing and getting everything organized so they

could actually get out of the border of Sunnydale within this

decade. Xander assumed that Faith was trying to make it clear to

Buffy that she wanted nothing to do with being in charge as Buffy had

occasionally misunderstood Faith's involvement as competing for her

position.

The look on her face now was one that made Xander wonder. He

couldn't really read it, which wasn't completely out of the ordinary

when it came to Faith, but he hadn't ever seen her like this – it

wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it was just kind of weird. Like now,

she was staring out of the window watching the passing scenery like

she wanted to both soak every drop of it in but at the same time she

was trying to forget just as much. He wondered whether Faith

questioning Buffy about what she was going to do now that she wasn't

the chosen *one*, was actually bothering Faith as well. He also

wondered for the first time since Faith had returned to them what had

been her experience in prison… Xander quickly turned that thought off

in his head feeling guilt and anxiety overwhelm his body within

seconds. He knew she had placed herself there, but he still felt

guilt for allowing someone he cared for so much to be in that kind of

situation.

In the other car, a smaller one loaded with less supplies

than the Suburban was more of a cute picture than the other. The

suburban had Faith and Xander in the front deep in serious thought

without any exchange, Faith refusing to really look at anyone as she

concentrated on the outside world, and the three in the back were

also thinking. Dawn was sleeping contently in the corner behind

Xander, Andrew sat in the middle seat with his Gameboy in hand but it

was slumped down in his lap and he wasn't even looking at it. Robin

sat behind Faith with thoughts facing through his head but his eyes

more often monitored Xander than the road or the passing scenery. In

Giles car, he drove and Buffy sat in the passenger seat. She was

looking through the paperwork describing the houses they were going

to be occupying in such a short amount of time. Willow sat behind

her in the back in a relaxed and meditative sort of daze with Kennedy

curled into her lap sleeping on her with her legs stretched across

the rest of the back seat. Occasional conversation actually

transpired in this car, but for some reason everyone just didn't feel

like they should be talking…

"So are you sure that will be okay timing-wise with

everything… I just want whatever is easiest," Buffy assured Giles in

a soft tone as to not wake the others in the car. Giles nodded

confidently answering,

"Buffy, that's absolutely fine. You have a much more free

rein now… your obligation is geared more towards just being part of a

family now rather than running an army. Vacations, time off… all of

these things are allowed."

"Ooo, and sleeping in and hitting the snooze button, those

are allowed too, right!?" she asked adding some humor and her usual

enthusiasm to the scene. Giles smiled genuinely, he had never felt

this way. Everything in life was the way he wanted it, the way he

had dreamed about, and life was actually going to be easier in both

aspects – finance and career. Slaying and fighting demons wasn't

going to leave his life but it was going to be much more relaxed then

before.

"Yes, Buffy…" Giles answered with a father-like

understanding. Buffy expression suddenly fell and Giles noticed it

right away. "We're all going to have to go through an adjustment

period." She glanced over at him, always amazed at how he could read

her emotions like a page in one of his books. A soft smile spread

across her face and it really spread throughout her because for the

first time since they left Sunnydale, she began to be excited about

her new life – her normal life – and she got to experience it without

having to leave the people that mattered most to her, her family.

---

Xander's cell phone which he nonchalantly had placed

somewhere on the seat when they had set out on the drive began

ringing. He fumbled for it causing the truck to swerve slightly left

and right as he overcorrected the swerves still searching for the

obnoxiously yelling phone. Finally Faith's hand met his causing him

to jump slightly, simply from surprise, not expecting her to even

move from her post, considering she hadn't really since they had left

two days before. She handed him the phone which he answered,

thanking her with a nod.

"Hey," he answered seeing it was Giles phone.

"Hey," Buffy answered. "There's a rest stop coming up in

about a mile and we're going to pull over."

"Alrighty, we'll pull in behind you…"

"Cool… how are you guys holding up?" she asked letting her

mothering side creep out slightly.

"Fine, why do you ask?" he questioned curiously.

"Well, I felt kind of bad, you didn't exactly get stuck with

the giddy crowd in your car."

"We're doing fine, everyone's just resting."

"Same here… I'll see you in a few minutes."

"Okay, bye."

"Bye."

With that Xander flipped his phone closed and placed it back

on the seat. Now knowing that Faith was very aware of what was going

on in the car despite her appearing to be in heavy concentration on

the windshield he questioned,

"So how did you hear that phone?"

"They could hear it in the other car it was so loud," she

answered almost shortly.

"Yeah, but you've got those headphones blasting…"

"Slayer hearing," she answered now definitely in a short,

curt tone.

"With all that great slayer hearing you'd think you'd turn

down the music then," Xander muttered to himself. But with the topic

of discussion, Faith's hearing enabled her to hear ever word and she

delivered a swift jab into Xander's shoulder causing it to tingle and

go slightly numb after a few moments. "Ouch!" he whined.

"You man, you," Faith mocked. Her mean-ness was fading and

now it was just reaching Faith's usual sardonic attitude.

"That hurt," he complained. "My fingers are tingling."

"I didn't hit you that hard," she defended playfully. It was

returned by Xander with a grin. Robin leaned up from the back seat

and hugged the back of Faith's seat.

"How are you doing?" he asked.

"Five by five," she answered turning her head to glance at

him. The tension between Xander and Robin was like electricity

through the air for the first time. Neither of them had been in a

room together with Faith at the same time, not to mention a car.

Neither wanted to seem like they noticed or instigated it because

they both knew it was something Faith would love to laugh at both of

them for but the tension was something that was practically able to

be touched.

"So what's the plan?" Robin finally interjected.

"We're gonna stop at the rest stop that's coming up any

minute now… Buffy said we could do a car swap if anyone wanted to,"

Xander added nonchalantly. Robin's jaw tightened slightly but he

quickly controlled it as he saw a grin begin to form on Faith's face

even though she had returned to staring out of the window. Even

though Faith had been staring at the scenery since they had left she

had been fully aware of everyone else in the car and all of the

glances that were being thrown at her by both Xander and Robin. She

could even see Robin in the back through the mirror if she glanced at

it just right. Before sliding back into his seat he gave Faith's

shoulder a short, reassuring type squeeze that he felt was necessary

before sinking away again. She gave no real reaction except a quick

glance at her shoulder as if making sure it was her shoulder he had

touched.

They pulled off the highway and into the rest stop parking

next to their other car. Everyone exited their vehicles and

congregated in front of the Suburban. They all formed a sort of

askew circle, Giles standing proudly looking at everyone who had come

along despite their having an option, Buffy standing beside him with

Dawn now at her side leaning her head innocently on her big sisters

shoulder, Andrew standing staring off into space quietly (the one who

would be expected to be excitedly looking around and babbling), Faith

leaning against the bumper of the truck with her arms folded, Robin

stationing himself next to her, Kennedy and Willow standing side by

side next to him and finally Xander closing off the circle.

"So I'll grab everyone a bite to eat – what does everyone

want?" Giles inquired.

"I'll come with you Giles, I know what everyone eats," Xander

said contently smiling and then walking away with Giles. Everyone

began to scatter finding the bathrooms and snack machines for snacks

between the future stop. Faith stayed where she was and lit up a

cigarette.

"I'm going to run to the bathroom, do you want anything?"

Robin asked before leaving her side. The two hadn't been together

but he wasn't going to let Faith forget their little promise. He

could tell she didn't want to jump into anything right away with all

that had happened, but he just wanted to make her feel comfortable

around him and maybe even begin trusting him. He could tell Faith

had major trust issues and before he could really get close to her,

he knew that was the first hurdle he was going to have to face. But

he had definitely not forgotten that a sense of competition had to be

maintained in order to keep Faith interested.

"From the boy's bathroom?" she asked with a smile. He smiled

in return and then she lifted the carton of cigarettes from her

pocket only containing one stray cigarette which shifted back and

forth in the otherwise empty container. She shook it allowing him to

hear it was almost empty and view the brand and with a smile he left

towards the bathroom and then the small market towards the side of

the parking lot. Finishing the first cigarette and starting on the

last Buffy walked back over to Faith with a folder held casually

under her arm.

"Hey," Buffy said sliding next to Faith on the bumper and

gently hitting her side as a friendly greeting. Faith was surprised

by the friendly gesture, not expecting Buffy to really make the first

attempt to being outwardly friendly and she returned it with a smile

and,

"Hey, B. What's the what?" she asked gesturing towards the

folder with her cigarette. She exhaled away from Buffy trying to be

polite and it didn't go un-noticed.

"Oh," Buffy said with a smile lifting the folder from under

her arm. "It's information on the two houses we're moving into.

It's got the outline and paperwork and stuff, and it has some

pictures of the furniture too." She opened it up and showed Faith a

few of the pictures.

"So what's with the two houses, I never really got the run

down on that…"

"Well, there's this one," Buffy said showing a picture of a

slightly more modern, classically designed house with wooden interior

and expensive antique looking furnishing, "it's more of a house-house

and it's where Giles is going to set up all of the Council stuff,

it's got a huge hall where he can put in a library, and it's got a

few bedrooms, we figured it could be more of the working, business

kind of house where Giles stays, and I want Dawn to stay there mostly

so she can concentrate on studying… the towns closer to that one with

the schools and everything. I'm going to live there as well, just so

I can be with Dawn more. The other house…" she held pictures up of a

castle like interior house with stone floors and stairs in most of

the lower levels and a more cozy upstairs living quarters, "and this

is more of the training house. It's going to have all of the workout

and training equipment, there's some extra space in there so they can

be made into entertainment rooms, and stuff like that… really

anything you guys want… I figured for the most part everyone could

stay there, but if anyone needed a break the other house is

definitely open to it." Buffy paused waiting anxiously for some

reaction from Faith. It killed her but she found herself still

trying to get approval from her, even after all that had happened

between them.

"Wicked cool, B." Faith replied as everyone began to return

to the cars, including Giles and Xander with their bags of

provisions. Buffy gave a slight smile at getting at least some

reaction from Faith but she felt much better as Faith reach over and

tugged the folder out from under her arm and placed it under her

own. "I'm gonna look `em over in the car." Faith could tell she was

stressed about the whole move thing but Faith was used to it – pack

up and go, doesn't matter where, just go: that's what she was used to

and it didn't really bother her… or so she convinced herself. This

time especially, she had people she knew and cared about coming with

her – this had to be one of the easiest of them all; but why did it

actually feel so hard? Both of them were torn from their thought by

Xander,

"Gather around guys, I have to give out coffee since all of

you take it different."

----

They all collected their breakfast from Xander and Giles and

camped out either sitting on the sidewalk or leaning against the hood

of the cars.

"I don't think giving them caffeine before locking them back

in a car is a great idea," Faith said mildly protesting to Xander's

distribution of coffee to Dawn and Kennedy. Dawn grinned slightly

and her polar counterpart frowned viciously cocking her hip to the

side with her hands firmly placed. Buffy couldn't hold in her giggle

at the girls reaction to Faith's clear imitation of herself that they

had obviously missed reference to due to them being so used to

hearing it from her. Faith grinned more internally then anything

else then looked up at Buffy with a serious look and continued, "and

you especially, B, you definitely shouldn't have any…" Now a grin

crossed everyone's faces, especially Kennedy's. Faith laughed

slightly then returned to her own cup of coffee sipping at it

contently.

They left the rest stop once everyone was done eating and

both cars were full of enough snacks to get them to Chile – that is

if the car wasn't filled with the eaters it was. They would be lucky

if these snacks lasted them till their next stop. Everyone returned

to their same vehicles, something that didn't go completely unnoted

by Robin. Everyone seemed to have a new energy about them and the

atmosphere, although not completely reversed had changed.

---(about twelve hours later)---

The two cars continued driving towards their destinations –

Giles in front and Xander following safely behind. They were both in

the right lane of the two lane highway that was fairly empty at this

hour (about eleven at night) except for a few stray cars scattered

few and far between. Faith was sitting in the front seat without her

headphones and propped up against the door with her legs criss-

crossed on the seat facing Xander. He let out a loud yawn as he

acknowledged a car approaching fast on their left still about a mile

behind them. He decreased his speed to the limit incase it was a

police officer.

"I could drive," Faith offered seeing the grogginess in his

face – especially his eyes. She always liked looking at peoples

eyes – the window to the soul – she always thought. She really liked

his eyes because there was never anything cruel there; he wasn't

necessarily not angry, or mean, or strong, but there was never

anything cruel. She hated what Caleb had done to him – it took away

part of him that she really loved.

"It's okay…"

"You look really tired."

"I am really tired," he said grinning at her, "but I'll be

okay."

"You don't have to be okay… I can drive for you," she

argued.

"I've been present with you steering the curves before,

Faith, but I don't think everyone present could handle it…" he said

playfully glancing quickly towards the back seat. She couldn't help

but laugh especially at the snooty face he had followed his statement

with.

"You're wicked proud of yourself, aren't you?"

"I think I have a right to be," he answered playfully. She

appeared to be considering it and then answered,

"Alright, yeah, you can be proud of yourself…" He looked at

her contemplatively for a moment then he just grinned in her

direction. "That guy's going wicked fast," Faith noted at the

quickly approaching car in the left lane.

"Yeah, I know," Xander answered keeping his alert up. As the

car pulled up next to them Faith glanced nosily into the passenger

compartment. It was a couple, looked to be about twenty years old,

and both of them were smoking.

"Bet they're going to have fun tonight," Faith said in a mock-

jealous tone. Xander smiled and the car gained speed and began to

pass them. Quickly and out of no where a small herd of deer appeared

off the left side of the highway. They began to run across the

highway and Faith saw it just a split second before anyone

else. "Stop!" she yelled to Xander but obviously she had seen the

deer before the couple in the left lane who were forced to swerve

into the right lane to avoid hitting the deer. They hadn't even

completely passed the Suburban yet so Xander had to slam on the

brakes keep from hitting them immediately but then he had to swerve

right to avoid their car which continued to swerve towards them due

to the running herd.

"Fuck!" Xander yelled as he pulled the car right hard causing

them to drive off of the highway at seventy miles an hour. Dawn and

Andrew both screamed from the back seat, at about the same pitch,

too – and Robin immediately jumped forward and grabbed Faith trying

to hold her safely. She had already been thrown into the dashboard

which hit her arm that she held up to protect her face. Xander's

head was thrown forward and it slammed painfully into the steering

wheel but he regained himself and tried to get the vehicle under

control. He dodged trees and the big ditch on their right and

quickly got the car halted.

"Is everyone alright?" Robin asked quickly removing his

seatbelt and checking the status of everyone in the car. He looked

into the front and saw that both of them looked shaken up but they

weren't severely hurt from what he could see at a quick glance. His

question was answered by Faith with a painful sigh as she sat back up

on the seat. Xander nodded slightly and Robin returned his attention

to the backseat where Andrew was still in a panic and Dawn was now in

silent hysterics. Both had been asleep before the accident and were

woken by the heart shattering tightness of Xander's voice as he

swerved away from the car.

"I fucking hate deer!" Faith said as she moved her right arm

wearily to see if it were broken, which she didn't think it was but

it was definitely going to be a nice bruise. She quickly stroked her

cheek which she knew would have a matching bruise on it, but it was

better then what would have happened if she hadn't cushioned it with

her arm. She then looked over at Xander who was still sitting

silently in his seat but she could see the blood dripping from his

face now. She moved over to him in the car and kneeled beside him

raising her hands up to his face.

"I'm fine," he stated as she moved to touch his face which he

quickly jerked away from. It had been a while since she had touched

him in that way and with all of the emotions running in his head

right now and the building anger caused him to take it out on her.

"No you're not," she corrected moving towards his face

again. He jerked away from her touch again this time putting his

hand up between them also. She was taken aback by how much it hurt

her that he didn't want her to touch him. She couldn't understand

why she cared so much, but him jerking away from her touch flashed

pictures from her memory into her head that she wished she never had

to see again. She knew she shouldn't expect him to trust her, or

even like her, but it hit a nerve deep inside of her to know he would

be that blatant about it, especially after what had just happened.

She bit the side of her cheek to keep the words that pushed in her

throat from escaping and she moved back on the seat to add some space

between them. "You're face is bleeding," she stated dryly once she

was sure she could control her tone and not outwardly reveal how much

he had just hurt her.

"Thanks," he responded sardonically.

"Whatever," she huffed angrily opening the passenger door and

getting out slamming it loudly behind her. Xander stayed sitting in

the same spot not moving an inch in reaction with her exit. Robin

allowed a moments leeway knowing Xander had the first right to go

after Faith, and he honestly had expected him to but when he didn't

he gave Xander a quick glance of disapproval then exited the car

himself after Faith. Xander didn't turn towards the back but with

Robin's leave he inquired to the other two people in the car whether

they were alright.

-Giles' Car-

"Look at the deer," Kennedy said casually seeing them beside

the highway.

"Ooo, I love deer," Buffy said happily propping herself up

and turning towards the back of the car so she could see the herd of

them. Willow smiled to her lover and gave her a squeeze. "Shit!"

Buffy screamed suddenly as she saw the swerving of the headlights of

a car from the left lane into the right cutting Xander off and

causing him to swerve off of the highway at a very high

speed. "Giles stop!" Buffy yelled. Kennedy and Willow had spun

around to see what she was yelling about and saw the Suburban driving

off the highway and down a hill into the woods.

"They're off the road!" Kennedy yelled.

"Oh my," Giles said anxiously as he pulled into the shoulder

as quickly as he could.

---

"Faith?" Robin called as he looked around for her as he

exited the truck. He looked past the truck which was slightly

illuminated by the shining red brake lights so he saw he leaning

against a tree only a few feet away. "You okay?" he asked.

"I'm fine, alright!" she snapped. "Would you stop fucking

asking me that?" Robin stop for a momentary organization of self

since with her few sharp words he felt like she had scattered him

across this entire forest. Not exactly sure how to proceed he

hesitantly walked closer to her till he way standing a foot away. He

had never dealt with Faith when she was being outwardly angry – she

had always been inward thus far.

She had brooded and separated herself, but now he had to deal with

her exploding in his face. He rallied himself internally that he was

used to dealing with rash teenagers in school, *you're a god damn

principal, Wood!* a lot of them tried to do the bad ass thing, but

here he was faced with the queen of bad asses and he was running from

the challenge. *Come on Wood! What kind of a fucking man are you –

you like this girl you've gotta show her you'll take the challenge!

God, grow a pair, man…* He stood a little stronger in front of her

now feeling his momentarily lost confidence begin to fill his veins

once again.

She was leaning against a big tree with one foot propped up against

it and her arms crossed across her chest. She was biting at the

inside of her mouth, a habit that was both out of anger and anxiety

that she had picked up at a young age, and she was staring out

towards the highway they had been driving on only a few minutes

earlier. He finally stepped up closer to her causing her to move her

eyes onto him now. She could feel him standing there – he was a

strong guy with a lot of power and nerve, something that she really

liked, and hearing his breath because of his close proximity caused

her to remember the night they had spent together. She felt a quick

tingle run through her body for a brief second as it was reminded of

the way it felt when she had his hands running all over her body.

She felt his hand touch her cheek gently, but it still hurt from the

impact and she slightly receded from the touch, but not as Xander had

with hers. He gingerly stroked her cheek with his thumb warming her

slightly chilled face from the night time temperature.

She raised her gaze from his chest now into his eyes searching for

some kind of explanation or clue as to what was going on between

them. This whole follow up thing was not something she was learned

in, and she wasn't sure she liked it. Once her eyes met his, without

further hesitation, he stepped closer again so his body was up

against hers on the tree and he kissed her. It was a kiss very

similar to their first, one of slight submission and dominance on

both their parts, filled with both lust and caring. She breathed him

into her wanting to feel some form of comfort for the pain that had

welled itself inside of her chest. His tongue caressed hers softly

but confidently remembering all of the time he had spent kissing her

that night. Faith was impressed and laughed to herself thinking of

him taking notes on a piece of paper as he kissed her not wanting to

forget anything.

His lips left hers and without stepping back he looked into her face

trying to read her emotions. He silently cursed her in his head for

making it so damn hard to read, but he did his best. He held her

securely as much for her as himself – he was scared to lose her. He

hadn't known her for long but he already knew she was someone he

didn't want to have to live without. It didn't have to be a sexual

relationship between them, but he knew he wanted to at least have a

friendship – but being with Faith was not something he would turn

down in any way, shape, or form. She was an amazing person and she

had no ceased to amaze him yet and he was a person who almost prided

himself in not being easily impressed. After all, his female figure

that he looked up to as a child was his mother, also a slayer… strong

woman was something he admired and being up to those standards

narrowed the fields quite a bit for him.

"Xander!?" Willow yelled in a gasping voice as she and the

others ran down the hill towards the truck.

"Faith!?" Buffy called anxiously. "Are you guys okay?" They

reached the car and Xander got out assuring them that everyone was at

least okay. "Where's Faith and Robin?" she asked and Xander walked

with her towards where he thought Faith had gone when she left the

car and where he would have followed. As they walked past the truck

only a few feet Buffy caught sight of the two of them, "Oh…" she said

seeing Robin pressed up against Faith who was leaning on a tree

looking at each other. "Oh…" she repeated unsure of what to say.

She glanced up at Xander to see whether he was giggling yet, like she

expected him to be but she was VERY surprised by what she saw. He

stood there practically glaring at the two of them with the words

jealous practically stamped across his forehead. "You jealous?" she

asked with more of a statement then a question.

"No," he answered bitterly.

Faith had heard the gang approach so with a small grin at

Robin that if he blinked he would have missed it, she pushed against

him slightly signaling him to back up but making him want to stay

worse than before. She could feel him through his jeans making both

of them want to just be in a motel somewhere, but they weren't. She

smiled again, more seductively than before teasing him ruthlessly

knowing he was going to have to sit in the car for hours with this

hard on.

"Come on," she said casually as she got up from leaning on

the tree and began walking back over to the car. "Hey, B, you missed

quite the rollercoaster ride," she said lightheartedly approaching

Buffy and Xander.

"Are you guys okay?" Buffy asked.

"Five by five, B. Xander just thought the whole driving in a

straight line thing was getting boring so he decided to just mix it

up, you know make things a little more interesting for all of us."

Faith said managing to sound innocent to the untrained ear, but there

was a caustic undertone to it that at being mentioned Xander realized

he couldn't just stand there so he quickly turned away from them and

walked back to the passenger door of the vehicle.

"So you're sure you're okay?" Buffy asked for the last time.

"You know me," Faith answered trying to make it look as

though she didn't notice Xander leave. "So what's the what?" Faith

asked pulling out a cigarette and lighting it.

"I think Giles said we're about twenty miles from a town so

we're going to stop there for the night. I think everyone could use

a little rest and… a little time alone," Buffy added hearing Xander

close the car door. "Do you think we can just drive this thing out

of here?" Buffy asked looking at the truck and then at the slight

incline back up to the highway.

"With me driving you can," Faith answered walking up to the driver's

side and hoping in. She looked over at Xander who was sitting

stiffly in the seat. "Ewww, dude you got blood on the wheel," Faith

joked. Seeing his expression didn't change in the least she decided

she wasn't at fault, which she knew in the beginning, but now she

knew she wasn't going to bother trying to fix what he fucked and it

was his problem now. She had lived with three woman who hated her

guts in the big house and it didn't bother her one bit. She started

the engine up, scouted her path out back up onto the highway, and

hauled that truck out of there not afraid to make that engine sweat.

Once it was back onto the road everyone congregated around.

"I don't mind driving," Faith said getting comfortable in the drivers

seat. Xander had already exited the truck and added,

"I'll ride with Giles." Wood, Kennedy, and Buffy all got into the

truck with Faith and the rest of them got into the car with Giles.

"So where's this town?" Faith asked Giles.

"It's just off the next exit," he answered.

"Okay, I'll wait for you around the exit," she added and with a small

nod she drove off leaving them in the dust. She wasn't a bad or

reckless driver, Buffy decided sitting in the passenger seat, she

just liked to drive fast.

"So what's up with Xander?" Kennedy asked. All eyes were

inadvertently on Faith and she answered,

"I think," she began the words getting caught slightly in her

throat, "he's just a little shook up."

(to be continued – please leave feedback, I'm dying to know what you

think and it'll only make the next part come sooner and better.

Thanks for reading!)