Disclaimer: The characters are owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy, Inc. Ok, there is news, huh?

Author's Note: Not sure if this is going to work, probably has been done. But, I am going to take a stab at it. Another "What if" story. What if Buffy had met Faith the summer she ran away to L. A. ? What if they developed a relationship(not saying it will be romantic…yet) based upon neither knowing the other is a slayer?

Summer of Faith

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Buffy:

I've been back in L.A. about a month now. Of course, this wasn't exactly the part of  L.A. you're used it, is it, Buff?

Damn, I have to stop that. I have to remember I'm " Anne" now, not Buffy. Buffy is gone. She doesn't exist here, only Anne. Anne, Anne, Anne. I'm getting some really impatient looks when someone calls me " Anne" and I kinda stare at them blankly for a moment, until I realize it is me they are talking to. I gotta do better.

But, I guess Buffy isn't really gone, if  I want to admit it. Just hiding. Hiding from her life. Trying to forget she lived elsewhere, and so totally messed up she no longer can show her face back home.

I miss home. I miss it bad. I miss my friends. Hanging out with them, even if it is researching some new demon or something. I miss Giles… now there is something I never thought I would admit. But, he has become more than a watcher to me. More… like a dad. Surely more of a dad than my own dad is. God, I miss mom. I miss her … more than I can say. It is so stupid, but I want my mommy. I want someone to hold me, and comfort me and say " There, there Buffy, it will be ok. It will all be ok". That is what hurt so much. When she gave me that ultimatum, before I sent…oh…god...don't want to go there… before I  sent Angel to hell. " If you leave this house, don't bother coming back". But I did go back, long enough to pack some stuff, and leave. Leave and never go back. 'Cause I can never go back there again. I can't go home again. Not now, not ever.

I couldn't deal. Not with what I'd done. If not for me, none of it would've  happened. But, for one moment of passion, I nearly destroyed my friends, my family, and the world. I honestly didn't know about the clause in the curse. Not until it was way too late. But that's no excuse. That doesn't undo what I did, doesn't wash away my guilt. And that is all I have left, guilt. Guilt over sleeping with Angel, guilt over Angelus' acts against my friends, and the world. Guilt over the death of Jenny Calendar, and how that hurt Giles so badly. Guilt over unleashing Angelus, and having to send Angel to hell.

I am off the subject. I arrived in L.A. about a month ago, no place to live, little money, and no prospects. Gee, sounds like a really cheesy TV movie. I got lucky, though. I got a job in a little diner(umm...ok, that is being real charitable. A greasy spoon is a step up from this place). The pay sucks, the tips suck more , but it is enough to scrape by on. I am able to (barely) afford a small one room  dump they laughing call an "apartment". Well, better than what some of the kids I see on the streets are living in. At least those that aren't hooking. It's not much, but it and the roaches are all mine. Yeah. Better than I deserve probably.

Ok, Buffy…Damn it, ANNE…stop the boo-hooing. Enough with the self pity crap. It is not like you didn't do this to yourself. Sigh. I gotta stop this stuff. I have a job to do, and if I don't , I won't have a job to do. Not saying the boss is a prick… ok, he is a prick. But he signs my paycheck. So, put on the smile, Anne. Perk it up. Get out there. It's showtime. I adjust my name tag and skirt(wish it were longer, so maybe I would get a few less stares and pinches…the skirt, that is). The boss is all flustery and angry again. So, I already know it is going to be a good day… yeah. Ah well, just another day in Paradise.

Anyway, making my way through the usual collection of geeks, bums and losers(ok, ok, there are actually some half decent people that come I here, I'm just still trying to figure out why) that actually eat at this place, when I see her. She really, really looks like she is out of  place. I mean, I am not talking about like dress or anything. She isn't like wearing anything particularly special, or expensive. Just, she has this… vibe about her. It is like she … well...should be hanging off some rich guy's arm? No, that's not it. She doesn't look like the hanger type(especially with the leather pants and tight t-shirt number she is wearing…which kinda gives her this 'tough girl' look). No, it is more like someone should be taking care of her so she can just BE her…follow? Mmmm… probably not. Some of the vibe just says 'don't mess with me'. Ok, weird. Anyway, she has this kinda like hot thing going, she is really pretty, but in a kinda dangerous way. Geeze , Buff…ANNE…obsess much do we?

Ok, anyway, why should I really want to know much about her. One timer, probably. Most I want to know is like, what does she want to eat, and will she be a decent tipper. Though, in this place that's a like non-happening. Anyway I walk up and say " Hi, I'm Anne, what can I get you?" Now…whoa. I never like greet anyone that way. I usually just do the " What can I get you?" let 'em read my name from my tag, if they really want to know. But for some reason I wanted her to know my name.

And close up, she feels even more dangerous. She has this like…hot smoky look. You know, the crimson lips, the eyebrows. The whole look. It is like she is saying " Hi, I am sex, who are you?" and her look kinda like says " I can eat you right up for breakfast". And I even wonder why I am thinking this, or why I am feeling a flush creep up my neck?

Anyway, she replies " Hey, Anne. What's the haps." And she smiles. And it is weird, cause the whole thing like changes. It is no longer dangerous, but like…real friendly. Like she knows me. Like…she is saying " Hi, been there, done that, have the t- shirt" but in a nice way, like she understands. So , anyway, she says " What's good?" God, even her voice sounds like sex. Hey, stop that already.

" Here?" I reply. " What is good is eating somewhere else" wondering why the hell I just said that?

And she gives like this throaty chuckle(again, sex. whew) and says " Well,  Anne, I am kinda here already, so I might as well eat something. So, what's the special?"

" Trust me. You don't want to know" I reply. " Look, let me give you a tip, in case you ever want to come back here and eat again" Yeah.. that'll  happen. " Anything that has 'special' or 'surprise' by it means that either it didn't sell yesterday, and they are heating it up again, trying to get rid of it, or it has like… 'mystery meat' in it. And you don't want to know what mystery meat is"

At that, she is like full out laughing " Hey, I like you , Anne" So, why does that like feel important all of a sudden?

" Ok. The burgers are a pretty safe bet. The fries? Mmmmm…go for the Onion rings, trust me. Never ever eat the tuna. If you don't feel like a burger, the eggs are ok. The pie is made elsewhere, so it is safe, as are most of the pastries. Other than that, I wouldn't bother"

So, she gets this kinda smirk thing going and says " Ok, then, Burger it is…with …onion rings( looks at me, I nod). Coffee?( I shake my head) Coke?( nod) …right. That should do it"

" Ok, done. Be back soon with your order" I smile at her… and it isn't forced. She smiles back.

I turn to turn in the order, and for some reason I feel she is like checking me out. And why am I blushing?

~~&~~&~~&~~&~~

Faith:

So, I have been in L. A. for about two weeks or so. Been cruisin around, scrounging what money I can here and there. Been on the run from Kakistos, who just doesn't get the hint that I don't want to see him. Since he seems to have a blood vengeance thing going for me, and since he seems to enjoy killing( as, in my watcher, etc.) I am doing my best not to run into his cloveness. Guess he took it personal when I attacked him. Go figure.

Anyway, I am cruisin along, it is mid afternoon, which for me is like morning. Ya know, Party girl deluxe here. Free food, free booze, I am so there. Anyway, I am cruisin, and I pass this little diner. Well, If you are feeling real generous you call it a diner, otherwise, grease pit seems to be pretty accurate. Now, I have passed this diner quite a few times, since I'm living at a motel hell up the street. Never once thought of giving it a check out, but today somehow I get a feeling…I turn and go in. Now, I was right in my estimation. This place is definitely not listed in Zagat. So, I sit my butt down, wondering why I came in. Surely not the atmosphere, when I see this young blonde waitress. Now, there is something interesting. She can't be much older than me, and she really is a little cutie, if you like that blonde schoolgirl look(right Faith, and you don't?). I mean, she is like…well...I don't know… I don't know… has this innocent glow about her?  I mean pert and perky usually makes me head for the toilet, but it kinda works for her. She kinda has this…vibe? Yeah…vibe. She sticks out like a sore thumb here. I mean, not what you would expect. Ya know, Worn out…maybe a street kid… that kinda thing? Not this one. But even with that, I sense she has a secret going. Don't EVEN ask me why I would think that. Maybe the fact she is working here, instead of in school at this time of day. I can see why they hired her; probably half the …customers … come in just to like see her. She's that cute. Whoa, Faith, hormone alert, ok? From her looks, she is probably straight as a ruler. And anyway, probably dumb as a post to boot.

Anyway, she comes over, and the first words out of her mouth are " Hi, My name is Anne. What can I get you?" Ok, scintillating conversation is not a strong suit. But she is nice eye candy, nonetheless. So, I say " Hey, Anne. What's the haps?" And she gives me this like little half grin and ya know the head to the side look. Like she is trying to figure me out. So , I continue " What's good?" and then she does something that amazes me.

"Here?" and she gets this kinda smile on her face "What is good is eating somewhere else". Well, I chuckle at that. There is something upstairs, after all. So, I reply " Hey, I am kinda here already, so I might as well eat something"( did I see a bit of pink hit her cheeks…nawww… must be my imagination) " So, what's the special?" and again, she just kinda blows me away

" Trust me. You don't want to know" she has that grin again. " Look, let me give you a tip, in case you ever want to come back here and eat again" Come back, maybe. Eat? Well… not so sure. " Anything that has 'special' or 'surprise' by it means that either it didn't sell yesterday, and they are heating it up again, trying to get rid of it, or it has like… 'mystery meat' in it. And you don't want to know what mystery meat is"

And I just bust out laughing, cause she like puts it right there. I kinda like this girl. And I tell her right out " Hey, I like you, Anne." And again, I swear I see her cheeks pink up. Like, she kinda likes I like her. Interesting.

" Ok. The burgers are a pretty safe bet. The fries? Mmmmm…go for the Onion rings, trust me. Never ever eat the tuna. If you don't feel like a burger, the eggs are ok. The pie is made elsewhere, so it is safe, as are most of the pastries. Other than that, I wouldn't bother"

Yeah, I am really kinda getting to like her… again, there is something there. Something she is hiding, something mysterious. I like mysterious.

So, I give her a flirty little smirk , and say " Ok, then, Burger it is…onion rings(she nods)…coffee?(shakes her head...cute the way the pony tail tosses when she does that…down, Faith, down) Coke?( she nods) … right. That should do it"

" Ok, done. Be back soon with your order" and she gets this smile on her face. Not the polite type of smile, but the really like glad to know you smile… totally interesting.

And she is walking away, and I am checking her out(God, Faith, don't you ever think of anything but sex? Yes, but she isn't making it easy).

Definitely want to know this little blonde cheerleader type.

Definitely coming back here again.

TBC

Well, actually,  that is up to you. Should we continue this story, or just stop here? It is up to you. Let me know. Thanks again for reading.