When she talks, I hear the revolution

In her hips, there's revolutions

When she walks, the revolution's coming

In her kiss, I taste the revolution

Rebel Girl

Faith's POV:

I almost laughed when I saw the ticket. Oh come on, a hellmouth in a place called Sunnydale?

Obvious irony right there, people.

But yeah, I didn't. Laugh that is. What with my watcher recently being murdered and all that. I was pretty much in a hurry anyways. I really didn'twant to bump into that Kakistos piece of shit anytime soon. Sure, if you asked me at the time I woulda told you he's a punk-ass and I could fuck him up really bad.

But I tried.

Had a little smack-down with him. I gave him this sweet scar on his ugly mug. And he.. killed my watcher. Believe it or not, I was scared. And sixteen.

So fuck you if you think that's funny.

My watcher told me the day before that we were gonna move out to Sunnydale and check out the hellmouth sometime. So when I escaped from that relatively fucked up 'incident', I ran straight for the bus station and got a ticket to good ole Sunnydale. Of course I'd never been there. But it sounds right, doesn't it?

Good ole Sunnydale.

So there I was.

In Sunnydale.

I knew I shoulda looked straight for that almighty Buffy chick but I didn't. I mean, what the fuck was I sposed to tell her? Oh hey, I lost my watcher. Think I can hang out with yours?

Shit, I didn't have a clue what I was supposed to do.

So hey, I just did what I wanted to do.

Headed straight for the club, man.

Major bummer though. Some club. 'The Bronze'. The music was alright. But damn you shoulda seen the people there. Fuckin teenyboppers tryin to be cool and some old farts tryin to be young.

Usually not my scene.

But hey, it had a bar so it would do for the night. The stupid-ass behind it didn't need much convincing. A little wink, accidentally showed him some cleavage and BAM. Got him wrapped around my little finger. Never had a chance. Five shots of JD later and I'm working it on the dance floor. Shit, I can still see their faces.

"Who the hell is that?"

Either the pissed off 'who the hell?' or the horny 'who the hell?'. I didn't care. And then this complete retard of a vamp comes closer. Thinks he's got some moves.

Riiight.

Jeez, I sense this schmuck from a mile away, I'm thinking I'll let him off for the night and then he comes over. His bad. And oh...nononononoooo.

Really.

No.

I should just take him out of his misery already. God, this guy cannot dance. Shit, it was kinda funny though. Hehe, I wonder what woulda happened if I dusted him right then and there. B would've freaked.

Woops, but I'm getting ahead of myself. So where was I? Oh, right.

So I give him my best innocent high school girl look. He bought it. Idiot. Hello? Leather pants, jean jacket, black top with cleavage? Not an innocent high school girl. But then again I'm a damn good actress. So here I am.

He's leading me outside and thank god he isn't looking around or he'd see the look on my face. I'm cracking up. This was just fuckin hysterical. Yeah, we better go to the alley what with the rags you've got on, dead boy. Ok then, here we go. He slams me against a fence and he's about to bite me.

I don't think so, buddy.

WHACK.

Gotcha.

If I wasn't so jazzed up with the fight I'd fall down laughing. Jeez, the look on his face. Classic. I kick him around awhile but I'm getting wicked bored. I need me a stake of some sorts. I notice a bunch of kids staring.

Ooh, lookie at the blonde.

Nice.

The stake I mean. I grab the stake out of Buffy's hand and hit it home.

Crap.

Kind of a disappointing fight actually. Oh well, still got the bar. I give her my thanks and head back in.

...what?

Of course I knew it was B. I got pretty detailed descriptions. She's kinda cute. Good looking.

But right now, another shot or five of JD is looking better.

And ugh, I definitely need some food.

Buffy's POV:

God, I think I almost had a heart-attack or something when I saw her. And I wish I was talking about the fight but nope. I'm talking about her, dancing in the Bronze. Before I knew who or what she was. Sure, I passed off my gawking as pure bitchiness. I even agreed with Cordelia on that slut-comment. I was such a bitch then. But, damn, you should've seen her. All dressed up in leather, moving her body in time with the rhythm. She was drop-dead gorgeous. Sexy.

And hell no, these are not my thoughts. I'm a girl. She's a girl. I am not thinking this.

Denial. Gotta love it.

When we saw her beating up that vamp, something clicked. She did it with such enthusiasm and I was intrigued that she seemed to love every second of it. Needless to say, I was awed. And, just as needless to say, I would never admit I was awed.

Anyways, let's fast forward a little.

So the scoobies and me introduced ourselves as did she. Faith.

Goddamnit why does her name have to be sexy?!

The whole gang was hanging on her every word. Me and Cordy did the whole denial thing, but we were just as intrigued as say... Xander.

Okay, maybe not that intrigued but you know what I mean.

Even Giles had a thing for Faith.

And now, three weeks later, denial is getting pretty weary. She just has this whole vibe around her. When she enters a room, there's a click. Like something changed and for a nanosecond, everyone stops what they're doing because the change is undeniably there. Electricity crackles in the air surrounding her. She oozes sensuality and strength and mystery and all kinds of yummy stuff. She has this way of turning everything you say in a sexual innuendo. When she smiles, I get goose bumps. The good kind. And because those goose bumps are of the good kind, I classify them as the bad kind.

Because getting good goose bumps because Faith smiled is just not a good thing.

And oh, she's charmed everyone. The gang, my mom and Dawn, Giles... She's got everyone wrapped around her little finger. She knows she's charming when she wants to be but I don't think she realizes the magnitude of it all. Something I find charming, personally.

I've started to absolutely love patrol. When I'm with Faith everything just seems...better. I feel complete in a way.

And when she walks, it's all confidence. But I know something you don't know. She does have a soft, insecure side. But it's so hidden away and there are like a zillion titanium walls around it. I've seen it though. Like when the late Kakistos paid her a visit. But when we patrol with the scoobs, she gets protective. She'd never let anything get near any of the scoobs. And when I'm fighting some creature of evil, I know she keeps an eye on me.

Just to make sure I'm ok.

And when it's getting tough, she jumps in. I don't know if I should be annoyed or charmed. Willow got hurt once, and Faith got so pissed off. But right after she killed that vamp, she kneeled next to Will and she had this look. Like she thought she failed her or something.

Like she failed us.

When she realized it was just a scratch, that vulnerable look in her eyes got hidden again. She started joking around. Teasing Will for being such a baby. But it was too late. I saw it.

And once in a while I see it again.

So I'm thinking about all this while she's walking right next to me. I can feel her sneaking a peek every few seconds. She's probably worried. Well congrats, so am I.

God, there's something terribly wrong with me.

"Cheetos." ...wha?

"Wha..?" I turn to gape at her. Did she just say cheetos?

"I'm hungry. Cheetos seem like a good place to start."

She scrunches up her face like she's working out a serious math problem or something when really she's just strategically trying to work out what she'll eat after patrolling.

It's cute, really.

And disturbing.

"That's just weird, Faith." I say while rolling my eyes.

"No, what's weird is that you haven't gotten used to my random food babble by now. That and your whole broody thing you've got goin on right now."

She twirls her stake around while she says this.

Like she's figured me out. Like she knows exactly what's going on.

"I'm just tired is all." I lie. She looks up and smirks.

"Did I tire you out that much, B? I knew you couldn't handle me at training but..." There it is.

That's Faith alright. I roll my eyes yet again.

"As if, Faith. I just didn't sleep well last night. And before you ask; no. I was not thinking about you." Yes I was, but she doesn't need to know that.

She winks at me.

"Sure, B. Just keep on living in your magical world of denial. Where Bill didn't get a blowjob and elves skip around singing the 'I have normal ears'-song. I know you think I'm hot."

Oh god.

What?

No. She's bluffing. She's got to be bluffing. Does she know? Who told her? How does she know?

She's bluffing, Buffy. Pull yourself together and say something.

"Shut up, F."

Nice.

She just grins and hops on a tombstone effortlessly.

"You forget, B." She twirls around.

What?

I forget what?

What the hell is she talking about?

She sees the look of confusion and jumps back down. She seductively walks over to me and stops. She's so close I can feel her breath on my skin. I can smell her. A sweet mixture of smoke and perfume.

"I like to be the dominatrix. Not the other way around, babe."

She gives me a quick peck on the forehead and struts away.

Ugh! That bitch.

I can feel my heart racing and my palms are sweaty. And try as I might I'm incapable of finding a decent comeback.

I hate it when that happens. She drives me insane.

Faith's POV:

Three weeks in this town and I think B has made some progress in the 'removal of the stick up her ass'-department. She's cool, really, but the girl needs to loosen up.

Damn, all the fun we could have together once I wear down her act.

And actually, I'm not thinkin about sex or anything with her. Sure, I do the whole flirting thing. But that's all it is. All part of making her chill. I know it seems like it doesn't make sense. But look at the facts.

I wind her up, she freaks.

She gets used to it.

She practices some comebacks. Tries to take me on.

Of course she always loses, but she's gotten ballsier.

So has Red, as a matter of fact. Xander's a lost cause. All he does is drool. Oz is cool the way he is. He's got the monosyllabic thing goin for him. That and being a werewolf. Dawn's a whole different story. She's adorable. But she likes me too much. And I know it's just not healthy for her to pick up too many of my habits. So I back up. I love 'er though, the little brat. I tone it down when she's around. Queen C really doesn't need help with the balls. In fact, sometimes, it gets annoying. Needs some tips on the subtle way of things. But she's got balls. I still win though. I'm not big headed.

Just stating the facts.

Lately, B's been all broody. She's slacking on the verbal sparring. Maybe I'm pushing things. But it's just so much fun! I can see that she has to use all her self-control to stop herself from spluttering when I hit her with a good line. Tis one of my favorite pastimes really.

But I'll try to back up.

She's got something on her mind. It's been like this all week. At first she tried to hide it. It's glaringly obvious though. She can hardly even look me in the eye. Shit, I probably scared her. Whatever. I'll back up a little, but that's it. I ain't changing for her. This is me. If she doesn't like it, too bad.

I'd miss her though.

Oh well.

Anyway I gave her a rough time tonight.

What?

She's not the only one with things on her mind.

I let myself in my room at the motel and head for the closet. I know exactly what I'm looking for and where it is. I take it out of my bag. It's a picture.

Me and Mike.

Good times. See Mike was my best friend in Boston. I've known him since, what? Since forever? We used to sneak around pretending to be special agents at the playground. We had this major plan to build a tree house but we never got to it. It was fun just planning it out though. He helped me through some tough times. We were really different from each other but there was this one thing we did have in common.

Our fathers were worth shit.

His dad beat him up all the time. My dad... well... Not good. Whenever Mike had a rough time he'd come to me. And I'd do the same. It was a pact we made.

I make myself comfortable on the bed and I stare at the picture intently.

Prom night. God, I remember it so well.

Like it was just yesterday.

See when puberty started, it turned out Mikey was hot. He is. Short messy black hair, deep blue eyes. He's kinda tan, and tall and muscular.

Not in the Arnold way though, thank god. But yeah, we were best friends.

Can you see the Dawson's Creekiness coming up?

Me and him, we did a lot of things at school. Always the talk of the staff and student body. I was fifteen when I finally realized I needed him more than I thought. I wanted it to be more than friendship.

But it was too late. He was moving away. Right after the school year, he was moving to San Fran. It was fucked up, man. I knew he had feelings for me too. I saw it. We had this electricity thing going on. I was fifteen and he was sixteen. But we were much older than that really. You know, in our minds. We'd been through hell and back together. It may have been young but it was pure and true...well...

love.

No shitty high school crush.

But we never said anything. Never did anything. Not even that night. It would hurt too much.

But we knew.

I sigh and lay back. That night.

Buffy's POV:

It's Friday morning and I'm heading towards the library. Gotta report to Giles about last night's nearly non-existent vamp activity. Before I know what I'm doing I'm standing in the girls' restroom checking how I look.

Now why would I do a thing like that? I shake my head at myself in the mirror.

"It has nothing to do with her, shut up." I mumble to myself.

God, why do I suck?

I walk in the library and the whole gang's there. Xander is talking animatedly with a typically unenthusiastic Oz. Willow is sitting next to Faith, who has sprawled herself half on the table, her head resting on her arm. Apparently I'm not the only one who talks to myself because Giles is doing exactly the same. They all look up as I enter and I get several 'Heys' and a nod from Giles who then just keeps on ranting.

Faith, by the way, just lay there. I'm slightly peeved that she didn't look up or anything. I grab a chair next to Willow and she smiles at me, rolling her eyes at Faith. She finds Faith both intimidating and endearing. Right now, endearing would be the word.

"..so as you see, even though there might not have been plenty of dark activity yesterday night, it's always important to give a detailed report. Faith?"

Ah, he was talking to Faith.

"Faith, are you listening?" Giles looks up from his book and frowns at the unmoving and completely unresponsive form of Faith. She's probably sleeping.

Willow gently pokes her on the shoulder and she lets out a grunt. Lifting her head, she sighs.

"G-man, I didn't say there wasn't any dark activity last night, cuz believe me there was plenty. But I doubt it's the kind you wanna hear about. Unless you're a kinky perv. Are ya?"

Willow blushes at that and I turn around when I hear Xander chuckle. Oz also looks amused by the turn of events.

Giles is obviously taken aback as he vigorously cleans his glasses. Faith smirks at that and leans back on her chair.

"Buffy?" Giles is practically pleading with me to give him some kind report he can write in his diary.

"Six vamps. Two slayers. Six mysterious dust piles." I reply.

Although it's not exactly what he wanted, he nods and goes back to his office mumbling a not-so heartfelt thank you.

"And that's a good report? Jeez, I basically said the same thing." Faith grumbles slightly offended.

"Well...I wouldn't call 'it was wicked boring G-man, there were only a coupla vamps but we kicked their asses' quite the same, Faith." Willow teases. I smirk at that.

"Yeah, I don't think you'll get a cookie, Faith." I stick my tongue out playfully.

She grabs a pad and pencil and puts her black combat boot-clad feet on the table and starts doodling.

"Whatever." She grumbles and her morning grumpiness strikes me as incredibly cute.

Apparently, so does Willow cuz I can see she's having trouble not cooing over Faith and pinching her cheeks.

"Don't worry, miss grumpy pants, I'm sure you'll get a cookie someday." She nudges Faith who in return just glares at her pad, continuing her doodling.

"In fact," Xander grins. "you can have one now." He takes out a cookie from the pack he took out of his bag and hands it to Faith. She eagerly takes it and munches on it, yet still slightly scowling.

"Here ya go too, Buff." He pats my head as I accept the offered treat and nibble on it. We're all a buncha goofs sometimes. But I love it.

Will leans over to check out what Faith's drawing and I find myself curiously leaning forward when she starts giggling uncontrollably.

"You're insane, Faith." She whispers looking nervously over at Giles' office.

"Thanks, babe." Faith grins. Will gives her a beaming smile.

I know it doesn't mean anything. They're just friends and they're playing around. Will's confidence gets boosted when she talks to Faith and I'm glad, really I am. But does she have to call her 'babe'?

I think it's great though that everybody loves Faith. At first Will was scared she was too cool for us, but Faith isn't like that. There's more to Faith that meets the eye, and personally, I feel privileged to be able to see the real Faith once in a while. Even if they're just glimpses. Sure, she still runs and hides behind the big bad Faith image she has sometimes. Baby steps. She's worth the wait.

I get up and lean over Faith's shoulder to see what was so giggle worthy. Hehe... It's funny and cute. And if I didn't know Faith, I'd find it highly disturbing. She drew a little cartoon Giles summoning up demons with a little balloon saying "Pahaha, now I shall finally receive reports worthy of my holy watcher diaries!". And then below it another one of Giles cleaning his glasses while a demon sneaks up behind him. And at the very bottom an unfinished one of a headless Giles.

It all sounds very gory but it's cute really. I shove her playfully. She just smirks and draws a balloon with the words "Bugger meeeeeee..." next to headless Giles.

"You're such a dork." I say but can't hold in my giggles.

"Apparently, a grumpy dork, so you better watch what you say to me, B." She stretches in her chair and her arm brushes my side.

Shivers. Full body shivers. It's the first time she touched me today. Albeit, accidentally but who cares?

"Anyway, we've got to get with the going boys and girls. It's time for... yes indeedy, class!" Xander quips.

Everyone but Faith gets up.

"See ya later, Faith." Xander pats her on the back. Oz nods at her.

"Yeah, are you passing by for lunch? Maybe get some more cookies of Xander?" Will briefly touches her arm and smiles hopefully.

"Don't think so, Red, got some things to do. But I'll see ya."

My own hopeful smile I didn't even know was there drops, but Willow just nods and waves.

"Don't get into trouble!" Xander says before walking out the doors.

"Are you coming, Buff?" Willow asks as she links her arm around Oz' waist.

"Yeah, I'll be there in five, Will, go ahead." I've got some questions that need to be answered.

They both leave and I'm about to sit next to Faith when she gets up.

"I'm outta here, B. Bye." She walks past me and I catch her arm.

She comes to a halt and turns around, cocking an eyebrow at my hand that's currently gripping her arm. Hey, I didn't give my hand permission to do that!

"Uhh... there something you want, B?" I quickly let go and nod my head excitedly.

And what exactly is it I want again? She's looking at me questioningly with those big brown eyes.

I got nothing.

I shake my head and she smiles at me amused.

"Better stay away from the coffee in the morning. And unless you're sure I can't do anything for ya, I gotta motorvate." She winks at me.

Stay.

"Nah, go ahead, have fun."

What dark activities? What did you do last night? Who were you with? What are you going to do now? Where are you going? Stay.

Stay.

"Alright, bye." She makes her way out.

Stay with me.

"Bye, Faith."

Faith's POV:

I am not a morning person. Really, I'm not. Night time is my time and usually, I sleep through mornings. But instead I'm in Sunnyhell High, dragging myself to the library. Slayer life... Chock full of responsibilities.

Ya wouldn't peg me for a responsible girl, would ya?

Me neither. But there are several reasons why I lifted my sleepy ass of my bed and stumbled zombie-like round the streets to get to the school.

One, I enjoy teasing Giles with my completely useless run-through of last night's patrol.

Two, if I'd stayed in bed, I'd stay there all friggen day. And I'd hate myself for being lazy.

Three, and this one is painful for me to admit, I like hanging out with the scoobs.

They seem to like me. Seriously. And not in the way that they wanna get in my pants or nothing. Although Xander's debatable. They just like me.

They seem to appreciate my presence even when I'm not doing anything. Just the fact that I'm there, makes them grateful. It took me a while to figure all this out. And I'm definitely still wary about their motives and sincerity. But so far, they just seem to like me.

And I'm not about to ruin that.

By the time I'm at the school, the fresh cool morning air has woken me up. And I am not one happy bunny, hell no. I'm more like a rampaging fuckin rhino or somethin. I'm striding through the hallways (something incredibly wrong with security here by the way) and I'm sorry there aren't any kids walking around cuz I woulda had fun pushing them aside.

I shove the library doors open and grunt something resembling a "Hi" to Will, Oz and Cordy who're already there. They're familiar with my morning mood and choose wisely to simply wave or nod. I look around and Giles isn't here.

I mumble a few choice profanities and sit on a chair with my arms crossed. The scoobs find this amusing apparently cuz I hear Red giggling.

"God, it's such a lovely morning, isn't it Willow?" Cordy nearly shouts at Will who in turn giggles. Oz stands in for her since her giggle-fit has disabled her from 'teasing' me.

"Why yes, Cordelia, I wish it was always morning." Normally I'd find the monotone way he said that chuckle-worthy but they're tryin to take me on and that just ain't happenin.

"You know, I'm not responsible for my actions in the morning. So if I end up hurting or maiming someone, I could plead temporary insanity. Don't. Push. Me." Cordy and Oz smile at that but Will looks uncertain. I wink at her and she smiles all-out now too.

Hey, I'm still a bad-ass. Just don't have to be with these guys. At least I got 'em to drop it, right?

Cordy takes a chance and grabs a chair next to me. I'm reading a comic Xander left here.

"Hey, Faith, no leathers today?" She winks at me and leans an arm against the table.

I slowly and deliberately stretch my legs and let my eyes wander over them. I look up at her through my eyelashes.

"Guess not, C." She knows exactly what I'm doing and plays along. A hot feral little smile playing on her lips.

"Not that I'm complaining..." She lets her own eyes wander from my head to toe and back up. I can tell you my head and toes weren't what she was focusing on though.

Xander would cream himself if he was here. Speaking of which, I'm getting hot so I should back up a little. Just need to do one little thing though.

I look her straight in the eye and lick my lips. I stand up abruptly and I can't quite put my finger on how she's looking right now. Fear? Is that... is that hope? Desire? Nah, I chase away these thoughts and lean over. My mouth is right next to her ear.

"Think you can handle me, Cor? It's one thing to look but can you handle the touch?" I stand back up and wink at her.

Game Over. She's blushing furiously and looking at me with her mouth open.

I shoot her a dazzling winner smile and look up at Giles coming in.

"Yo, G-man, what took you so long?" I jump up on the counter. He smiles at everyone and tsks at me for sitting on the counter but I ignore it.

"I had some trouble with my car, Faith." He looks at me, waiting for me to start dissing his car like I always do but I decide to give the guy a break.

"Least you got here though, right?" He seems surprised and nods thoughtfully.

"Yes, quite. Well, shall we begin?" Giles walks in his office to get out his diary and I go sit next to Willow.

"Begin what?" Xander just came in and he sits next to Oz. I quirk my eyebrow at that. I thought Cordy was his girlfriend. He's oblivious to the death stare he's getting from her.

"Faith has to report on last night's patrol." Willow answers.

"Joy." He deadpans. Cordelia gets up and grabs her purse coolly.

"I have to go. Bye Faith. Oz, Willow, I'll see you guys later." Oooh, there's trouble a brewin'. I smile at Cordy and then quickly look at Xander to gage his reaction.

The guy's a moron. Oz and I share a little moment of understanding.

"Do it, wolfboy. It's for his own good." I say. Oz nods and slaps Xander on the back of his head.

"Oww! What?!" Xander can be so whiney.

Before anyone can explain to him the obvious, Giles is back.

"Alright, Faith, you may begin." He sits down and looks at me expectantly.

"It was wicked boring G-man. There were only a couple of vamps murkin' around and me and B kicked their sorry asses." I smile at him proudly.

"Er...yes, well. How many vampires were there exactly and where?" I roll my eyes.

"I dunno, G, does it matter?" Uh-oh. I shouldn't have said that.

"Actually, it does, Faith. Let me tell you about a certain encounter we had just a few years ago that seemed trivial but proved to be of high importance." He's gonna be busy for a while so I lay on the table, my arm under my head doubling for a cushion.

He's just going on and on and on. Oh, B's here. I can feel her, she's on school grounds. That makes me smile for some reason. I guess it's fun having her around.

The scoobs all greet her when she enters but I'm too busy ignoring Giles.

He finally ends his little rant but I ignore him when he says my name. I want my damn nap. But then I feel a gentle poke. Fine. I grunt and look up. Dark activity, huh?

Yeah, Giles, I picked up a girl at the Bronze last night. Hot little blonde number too. I think she was ashamed of wanting me at first but she couldn't get enough by the time we got to her apartment. I licked her good. I think her name was Casey or Stacey or something.

I can't really say that to him though. Wouldn't want him to go in cardiac arrest.

"G-man, I didn't say there wasn't any dark activity last night, cuz believe me there was plenty. But I doubt it's the kind you wanna hear about. Unless you're a kinky perv. Are ya?" Hehe, I'm still the queen.

B gives him a slightly better report but I'll be damned if I ever admit it. I put my feet up and start drawing a little Giles cartoon.

They tease me with food but Xander saves me and hands me a cookie. Good boy.

Willow's checking out my doodle and she's giggling like a crazy woman. Uh...It's not that funny but okay. Yeah, I know I'm insane Will.

B gets up and stands behind me. She smells good. Woohoo, she thinks I'm funny too.

Woah.

She nudged me. Full body shivers. What the hell was that?

Now she's calling me a dork but I don't care. At least I make her laugh. I have to get outta here, strange thoughts creepin in my head.

I stretch in my chair and touch her again accidentally. Did she just shiver? Must be my imagination. Whatever, I have to go.

Luckily the gang has to get to class so I don't have to come up with a lame excuse.

Buffy's staying? Oh. Well... I still have to go. Cuz... Stuff to do and what not. As I'm about to walk out she grabs my arm. Goddamnit, stop with the shivers already!

Somehow, I think I'm able to act cool and collected. But fuck there's something weird going on in my head. She decides she doesn't need anything anyway and lets go.

"Alright, bye." I walk away.

God I wish I could stay.

Buffy's POV:

Morning went by excruciatingly slow but I survived. I can't say the same for my mom though when she sees the big flaming F I got for chemistry. But I don't care so much.

We're sitting on the grass in front of the school and I'm regaling the gang with a little rant.

"So I says to her, I says to Faith, I says: 'Just cuz your colorful wardrobe of black doesn't easily reveal stainage doesn't mean I'm okay with demon blood splattering about."

Of course it involves Faith. When hasn't it for the past three weeks?

Xander chuckles at that but just when he's about to take a bite out of his burger, he changes his mind.

Maybe talking about demon goo isn't such a good idea when eating lunch.

I smile apologetically at him.

"Sorry, Xand. Maybe I should've picked another topic."

Cordelia packs up the salad she was poking at and nods.

"Ya think?" I roll my eyes at her. She can still be Queen C the bitch sometimes.

"I said I was sorry." I mumble.

"So then what happened?" Willow asks. Obviously trying to steer away from a possible Cordy ass kicking.

I think back at that certain conversation.

We just eliminated two big-ass slimy demons. And that's why I love dusting vamps. They go poof.

These demons on the other hand just went .. shplorch.

Exactly. Not very appetizing now is it?

My totally cute pink top was ruined. And I had every right to comment on the unfairness of the situation.

Of course, Faith, being her Faithy self was laughing her ass off.

"Damn, B, I thought you'd be ecstatic to be rid of that mug-ugly top."

Oh no. She did not just call this top mug-ugly.

"Take it back 'F'." I'm gritting my teeth together. I liked this top! It's cute and it has a heart on it.

It's perfect for slaying! A little wardrobe humor if you will.

She grins that infuriating grin. Have I told you about this certain grin before? I must've cuz she does it every few seconds.

"C'mon, you wanna get your ass kicked over a stupid top?" She sizes me up and I push back the wave of arousal that came over me.

"Like you can kick my ass." I snort rather ungracefully.

She just cocks her eyebrow at that, her grin transforming in a more challenging one.

Okay, okay, so she can, in fact, kick my ass once in a while. Doesn't matter though, I'll fight for the honor of my ruined top. It's dignity shall remain unscathed.

"Just cuz your colorful wardrobe of black doesn't easily reveal stainage doesn't mean I'm okay with demon blood splattering about, Faith." ...Okay, not quite the heroic challenge I was going for.

She looks down at her own clothes.

"Okay. So I was going for stealthy/mysterious tonight. I've got some red and blues too though and you know it. I look wicked hot in 'em." She's right. But she looks hot in anything.

"But I guess it doesn't matter, I look hot in anything." She grins yet again.

Woah. Is she a mind-reader now?

Anyway, I tell all this to Willow and she laughs.

And no, I did not tell her about my lusty Faith thoughts. You give me too much credit if you think I'm anywhere near ready to accept those, let alone tell people about them.

"Well hey, there's nothing wrong with stating facts, now is there?" My heart jumps when I hear her voice.

"Oh hey, Faith, you came!" Willow makes some space and she plops down between Wills and me.

Breathe, Buffy, breathe!

"How's my other favorite slayer doing?" Xander asks.

"Five by five." A blank look hits everyone but Faith.

Xander shrugs and hands her the box of cookies and she thankfully accepts, stuffing two in her mouth in less than three seconds.

"Yeah, Faith, the 'greedy pig' look really 'looks hot' on you." Cordelia quips.

"Mah know, ish amazing ainit?" Faith manages to get out together with some flying cookie crumbs. She winks at Cordy.

I guess she's not one for etiquette. Big surprise.

Cordelia winks back at her and I quirk an eyebrow. What was that about?

Faith finishes the cookies in record time.

"So... Anything interesting happen this morning?" She asks, smirking. She knows nothing really interesting happened. But I think it's sweet she asked anyway.

"I again, got some good old positive reinforcement regarding my academic prowess. Got a D instead of an F on chemistry!" Xander feigns enthusiasm.

Everyone just kinda starts talking about random stuff while Oz hands Faith his uneaten sandwich.

"See, B, this is what they call 'being a nice person'." She smirks and takes a big bite.

"What do you mean?" I ask though I know what she's getting at.

"Why don't you ever feed me?" She winks and I think I'm blushing.

Yeah I know what she was going to say but I guess I wasn't prepared for the effect her voice and wink have on me.

"Maybe if you'd ask nicely, I would." I give her a little wink of my own and smile when I see a hint of surprise in her eyes.

It's weird how she's changed the group dynamics. Just a month ago none of us really winked and look at us now. A bunch of winking idiots. Not to mention the rise in profanity.

"Shit, B, I never really thought of that. Maybe I'll try it out some time." She licks a little sauce from her lips and I find myself fascinated by that little action.

"I'm not promising anything but it'll be fun to see you grovel at my feet. Although I get plenty of groveling at training." I say.

Our bantering always makes me happy.

"Delusion." She snorts.

"Denial." I hit back.

"You guys have been taking notes, I see." Faith and I look up surprised and see Oz grinning.

Then we look at each other and burst out laughing. Yeah, I really am happy.

We applaud Oz on the fact that he formed a sentence and a few minutes later Faith gets up.

"Thanks for the grub, guys, but I gotta motor. Have fun being scholastic and what not." She gives a little wave and we say our goodbyes.

I can't help but watch her sauntering off. She really is hot.

I'm sitting in my room and I don't know what the hell to do. It's been approximately seven hours since I've seen Faith. It pisses me off that I can't stop thinking about her. It's like some kind of obsession. I don't like it one bit. I wish I'd get over her already.

... But then that would mean I'm under her.

I am so not under Faith. Nope. I'm simply... intrigued by her. That's it. Nothing more.

Yeah, good thinking B.

Oh god, I even have a Faith voice in my head. Why?? I need to get out of the house. Oh holy shit! What the h-... Oh. It's just the phone. Calm down, B. ..uffy. Buffy. Calm down Buffy.

I pick up the phone.

"Hello?"

I sigh when I hear Willow's voice.

"Hey Buffy, it's me. We're all going to the Bronze tonight. Wanna come?"

Faith. They're all going. Faith'll be there.

"Yeah, sure, I'll be there in half an hour."

"Ok, see ya then, Buff!"

"Bye, Will." I hang up and have this big goofy smile on my face.

Wait.

My smile fades. Do I want Faith to be there? Of course I do. Last time I saw Faith dancing... God. I don't want to want Faith to be there.

But I do.

When she's around I feel so alive. She keeps me on my toes. She challenges me in every way. She... Ok, I need to find an outfit for tonight. Even I'm getting sick of these little odes to Faith in my head. I do not have these feelings for her. I'll prove it.

I walk over to my closet and open it. Here goes. I rummage around it for a while until I realize Faith was right. Pastel all around. There has to be something in here. Something that'll make her eyes pop right out. I mean... Something that'll make all the guys' eyes pop out. Not Faith. Nope, not thinking about Faith at all.

I wonder what she'll be wearing.

Twenty minutes later and I'm grinning like an idiot. I look hot. I'm wearing white leather pants and a black top. One of those that you have to tie around your neck. My hair is up and all wild. While putting on my make-up I devise my game plan. It's simple really. Ignore Faith. Flirt with any cute male.

Good plan.

I head straight for our usual table when I enter the Bronze. I'm strutting. Really casual, but I'm nervously aware of everything around me. I hide my smile when I notice a lot of guys gawking at me. Yeah, I'm hot.

So hot my palms are sweating.

I arrive at the corner booth and smile at the gang.

"Hey guys." Xander can't keep his mouth closed and Cordy swats his arm.

"Ow! Hey Buff. Lookin' good." He looks innocently at Cordelia as if to ask what he's done wrong.

"Thanks Xander." I sit down. And then it hits me. Where the hell is Faith?

Then I realize Will is looking at me expectantly. She just asked me something and wants an answer.

"What? Sorry, I kinda spaced out there." She smiles.

"I said; What's the occasion?" She looks me up and down, pointing out my unBuffylike outfit.

"Oh I dunno. Thought I'd try and find the fun, like Faith said. Where is she anyway?" Very smooth, Buffy. All subtle-like.

Willow looks surprised.

"What do you mean where's Faith?" What? What does she mean what do I mean where's Faith? I look at each of the gang and then I realize. They didn't invite her. My body kinda slumps.

"You didn't invite her." I state.

Willow looks at me a little sheepishly.

"Well, you know Faith. She's always got some rave or party to go to or whatever. So I didn't really think it was a good idea to invite her since she's always busy. And you know how she says the Bronze is pretty lame compared to all the other places she goes to and besides, I don't really know her number and..." Will keeps talking but I'm not listening anymore.

I noticed something changed. Something changed in the Bronze. Like for a second, everybody stopped moving or talking. I saw heads turning towards something on the dance floor and I gasp.

She's here.

"Buffy?" Oz looks at me and motions towards Willow who's looking really guilty.

"Don't worry about it Will, it was just a question." I smile at her to prove my point. I'm about to make a smooth escape towards the floor when Cordelia interrupts.

"Oh, check it out. Faith's here anyway." The gang looks where she's pointing at and the gawking commences.

She... Faith. She just... Look at her.

She's dancing like there's no tomorrow and her body moves in perfect rhythm with the beat. I can sense her heat and energy from here.

Cordy coughs and everyone's pulled out of their thoughts.

"Looks like she's having fun. Wanna find the fun? It's right there." She points at Faith and then turns to Xander. "I'll be right back."

Oh no.

What is she going to do?

No.

She's not going... She is.

She's heading straight towards Faith.

She just ploughs her way through the crowd.

That bitch.

Faith hasn't noticed her yet. She's dancing with some guy who looks like he just won the lottery or something.

Loser.

Cordelia taps him on the shoulder and shoves him aside. Faith's dancing with her eyes closed and I think she's lost herself in the music because she just keeps on going. Her body moves wildly and yet gracefully. Her tight black leathers fit her perfectly. So does her red top. Cordelia follows her lead.

I can't believe she beat me to it.

Faith's oblivious to everything and everyone around her but Cordelia must've touched her at some point because she opens her eyes. She stops for a second but then starts up again, without missing a beat. She quirks an eyebrow at Cordy and then smirks.

I feel something boiling deep inside me. I turn to look at Xander and see that he's also bothered by the scene played out, but not in the same way as me. Will and Oz are making out on the couch.

I can feel the anger in my stomach. I'm not hurt though. That's crazy. I don't care about Faith or Cordy.

I get up and head over to the bar. I completely ignore them both. My heart's beating so fast. I make the mistake of sneaking a peek at Faith anyway. Big mistake.

Cordelia's turned her back to her and Faith's holding her hands in the air from behind. It looks like they're having fun. I tense up as I feel the anger and jealousy desperately trying to find a way out my body.

Hey, since when was there jealousy?

Faith's leading Cordelia. Sharing her energy, showing her how to lose herself completely in the music. She looks up at me and winks. I can't get myself to smile. It's too much. I simply turn my back at them and order a drink.

The song ends and I can feel Faith getting nearer. She puts her arm on my shoulder and I shiver from the contact. I can't believe she has this much effect on me. I just get angrier at the thought.

"Hey, B." Cordelia stands next to her and asks what Faith wants to drink.

"Um, I think you better let me handle this one, Cordy." She winks at her and turns to the bartender.

"Two doubles of JD, Lenny." She flashes him a smile. He grins at her and nods.

"Coming up, Faith." Faith turns to Cordy and smirks. Cordelia just shakes her head, smiling.

"So B, how's it going?" I lean against the bar and take a sip from my coke. I look around the floor and shrug, not looking her in the eye.

"Ah, I see, scoping for some hot guys, huh?" She nudges me playfully and pays the bartender for her drinks. Faith hands one to Cordelia. She takes a sip suspiciously then starts coughing uncontrollably.

"Oh shit, easy there, Cordy. You ok? Sorry 'bout that. I should've known." Faith looks at her worriedly. I snort. Cordelia looks up and I swear if she could, she probably would've killed me right then and there. Faith quickly drains her drinks. ...whatever JD is.

"B, wanna dance?" She raises her eyebrows suggestively. "Looks like you need to loosen up there, girlfriend."

I roll my eyes.

"No thanks, Faith. Maybe you should have another go with Cordy there." I can't help it. Some of the bitterness gets in my voice and Faith picked it up.

"Sorry, B. Won't take no for an answer." She grabs my hand and leads me to the floor.

I barely have the time to put down my coke but follow her anyway. I catch Cordy standing by the bar looking mighty pissed off and grin. But then I realize I'm on the spot. Faith looks at me, she seems amused.

"What?" I shout over the music.

"Chill." She says. That just pisses me off. I'm chilled. I'm cool. I'm..nervous as hell.

She looks me up and down. "I'll be right back, wait here."

She grins and disappears in the crowd. I can't believe it. Did she just stand me up? Oh god, people are looking at me. I try to seem cool and careless but I don't think it's working. Where did she go? I let out a sigh of relief when I see her coming back with an even bigger grin. This can't be good.

"They're gonna play our song, B." What is she talking about? We have a song?

"What do you mean?" She takes a step closer and looks at me, her eyes just screaming mischief.

"You'll see." She winks. And then the music starts.

A voice blasts from the boxes. "Who is this irresistible creature who has an insatiable love of the dead? Living dead girl."

My eyes open wide. Oh god. That's funny actually.

I'm about to smile at her but she's already dancing. She has her back turned to me and her hands in the air. She's screaming sex. She moves so sensually.

I feel so out of place.

She seems so free and careless. I could watch her forever. She twirls around and sees me standing there. Unmoving. She shakes her head in mock disapproval. My eyes are pleading with her to get me out of here. I feel like such a loser.

But then she smiles.

She doesn't grin, or smirk. She doesn't make fun of me. She just steps closer and takes hold of my hips. Her hands are scorching my skin.

And everything just fades away.

It's only me and her. Then she starts moving, leading me with her. I gulp and make a decision.

Right there.

I'm not giving in. I'll do as she tells me to. I couldn't go away if I wanted now. Every part of my body is screaming at me to stay near this girl. I lift my hands and listen to the music. I move in time with the beat. Before I know it, I'm moving with Faith. She smiles and comes even closer to me. I grab her hands and move them above our heads.

Her mouth is next to my ear and my breath quickens. I can hear her singing along with the song. My whole body reacts to her low, husky voice. She's making me so hot.

"Crawl on me, sink into me, die for me. Living dead girl." She pulls back a little and grins.

I grin right back and turn around so my back is against her. She moves her hands down to my hips and we move as one. All I can feel is her. And I lose myself. Completely. In the music and in Faith. I feel her breath against my neck. She whispers against my ear. So softly.

"What are you thinking about?"

I shiver slightly. I want her so bad.

She lets go of me and moves on her own. I miss her touch already. There are so many thoughts and feelings spinning around in my head, I feel dizzy.

I stumble from the dance floor and collapse next to Xander. He's staring at me. Actually, they all are.

"What?" I ask.

They all seem speechless.

"You and Faith. Dancing. Good show." Oz replies.

Oh. I smile at him.

"I think Xander enjoyed it plenty." I nudge Xander but he's in his own little world by now. The perv.

Oz laughs and Will just blushes. I notice Cordy can't keep her eyes from Faith. What's going on here?

And what the hell happened to my plan?

Faith's POV:

I head back towards the bar after the song. I'm all jazzed up. Goddamn, I feel good. I smirk. I guess B and Cordy don't feel all that bad either. Speaking of B, she looks wicked hot tonight. Not that Queen C doesn't but B has leathers on! There's so much energy in me right now I think I'm about ready to pop. I can feel all their eyes on me.

And it feels wicked good.

I hardly even glance at the Scoobies. I'm going solo tonight and not minding it one bit. OK, fine, so I kinda wanna go over there but in my twisted mind, that's a sign of weakness.

So I stay put.

I down my drink and order another one while lighting a cigarette. My hips move slightly with the music.

Then this guy comes over. He stands next to me and smiles.

"Hi." He looks me up and down and grins. Punk. I decide to play with him a little.

"What?" I pretend I can't hear him and yell over the music.

"I said Hi!" He moves closer to me.

"What?!" I fight down my own grin when I see him blush. Insecurity creepin' up on ya, little boy?

"I..." he starts but I look him up and down and cock an eyebrow. "...nothing."

He smiles uncomfortably and moves away. I chuckle and take another draw from my cigarette before flicking it away and crushing it with my boot. I realize this is all the fun I'm gonna get here tonight and decide to do a quick sweep of the nearest cemetery to work the edge off my hyper activity. I nod a goodbye to Lenny, grab my jacket

...and I'm out.

Buffy's POV:

She's completely ignoring our existence. She's just leaning against the bar, watching people dancing and completely ignoring us. I can't help feeling a little hurt. After that dance I thought... I don't know what I thought. But not this. Why isn't she coming over? I sigh.

"Well this is exciting. Really." Cordy says, sarcasm dripping off her.

"Hey, I dunno, I'm having fun." Xander responds. Cordy just gives him a look and he coughs.

"I wonder why." He looks down and blushes.

"What are you complaining about anyway, Cordy? This is what we always do." She sighs.

"Exactly. This is what we always do, you guys. And finally we meet someone who can really liven up the place and what do you do? You don't even invite her. Can I say stupid?" She grabs her coat and leaves. I watch her and notice she's following Faith! God damn it!

Willow sees the look on my face and looks like she's going to start crying any second now.

"No, Will, it's not your fault." I say. To tell you the truth, though, I'm kinda tired of all the reassuring I have to do lately.

She smiles weakly.

I want to go after Faith. I want to be around her. I want to watch her. I want to feel her presence.

But yet again, Cordelia has spoiled my plans. And even though I love the Scoobs to death, I'd much rather be with Faith right now than be stuck here. We're not exactly the life of the party. Faith had that covered.

All by herself.

I feel like such a loser.

Faith's POV:

I love the night. I love breathing in the cool and fresh air. I love being engulfed by the darkness. And I love just looking at the sky. Night time is my time. So I was feeling a hell of a lot better when I exited the Bronze and was greeted by my all-time favorite pal. I lit up another cigarette and started walking. I was planning on doing a quick patrol but the moment I stepped in the night, I felt relaxed. At ease. So I decided to just walk around, if I met a vamp; tough.

"Faith!" I stop in my tracks and smirk. Could that be Queen C calling after moi? Hell yeah.

"What's up, C?" I only turn halfway.

Nonchalance is the keyword here, people. Always gotta keep 'em guessing.

She reaches me and damn that girl's looking fine. She's all out of breathe and her eyes are filled with complete and unbridled desire. Don't hate me cuz I'm hot. Hate me for what I'm about to do.

See the girl's confused. Xander ain't paying her enough attention and for some reason she chose me to confide in. So she was feeling vulnerable and somehow I made her feel better 'bout herself. Now she thinks she has these 'feelings' for me. It's completely normal and I get it. And to be honest, I'm flattered.

But she doesn't really want this. I can't say I don't want it either cuz Cordy's a catch.

But it's just not gonna happen.

"Where are you going?"

"Shouldn't you be with the scoobs?"

She must've caught the edge in my voice when I said that.

"I don't want to be." You want to be with me, I think. No thanks.

"Could ya hurry up and tell me what that's got to do with me? Cuz I got some stuff to do." I look down the street like I'm in a hurry and really not interested in what she has to say.

I don't want to do this, but I have to. Sorry Cordy.

I don't look at her because I know what I'd see. First there'd be surprise. Then hurt. And finally anger.

God, I feel like shit. I know I shouldn't. I'm doing the right thing here. But it still stings. It's quiet for a few seconds. And then it's over. With that one sentence I ruined any chance with her.

And in about five seconds, she'll turn around and walk away.

Five.

She looks at me, willing me to say something to take away her anger.

Four.

I'm silent. I'm so sorry Cordy.

"Nothing. Nevermind, Faith. Bye." She still looks at me one last time, hoping I'll stop her from walking away.

Three.

"See ya, Cordy." I catch a glimpse of hurt in her eyes before it's quickly hidden.

Two.

She steels herself and walks away.

One.

Told ya so. I'm an expert here. And I realize how sad that sounds. But yeah, go ahead, you can hate me now.

That'd make two of us.

Buffy's POV:

I told the gang that I still have to patrol and left the Bronze.

If I had to sit through one more minute of Oz and Will making out and Xander doing Gilligan impressions I would've staked myself.

Maybe I should go look for Faith. I turn the corner and gasp. I really don't want to see this. It's Faith and Cordy. I'm about to turn around when Cordy walks away looking like she just had her heart broken. When she sees me though, she hides it.

Wouldn't want anyone to know that she has 'feelings'.

Part of me feels sorry for her, but another part is doing a happy dance. Did Faith turn her down? Wow. Not a lot of people would do that.

I look back to Faith but she's already walking away. Like she doesn't have a care in the world.

Now this kinda pisses me off. Sure, I'm not Cordy's number one fan, but she's still part of the gang. How can Faith not care??

I jog to catch up with her.

"Faith!" She turns around, sees me, sighs, and just keeps on walking.

Oh no, you're not going anywhere. I grab her shoulder and she stops.

"What, B?" The fact that she sounds irritated pisses me off even more.

"What did Cordelia say to you?" Uh-oh. That wasn't part of the plan.

"I mean... What did you say to Cordelia?" Shit. Way to go, Buffy.

She's confused now. Whul...good!

"None of your business, blondie." She starts walking off again.

"Did she want to go to bed with you, huh? Did she?"

What the hell am I saying?

Stop me.

Holy crap!

"Or did you want to go to bed with her and when she said no you bitched it up? Is that it?"

I'm yelling now.

Why am I yelling?

I can't help it though. Just the thought of Faith and Cordelia together makes my blood boil and I lose all control.

She turns around and if I just stopped to think for a second I would've seen that something was wrong. But of course, I didn't. I kept right on going.

"Yeah. That's exactly what happened, B. She turned me down and I got pissed off. Now get off my back, will ya?"

Huh? Does she mean that? God, I hate her.

"Fuck you, Faith." I stomp away and I don't think I've ever been this angry. And I barely know what I'm angry for. All I know is that it's her fault.

"Just gimme the time and place, honey!" she yells after me.

I take a few more steps and then turn around, ready to rain down all my anger on her but she's already gone. Disappeared.

Damn it. Now I just feel terrible. What was I thinking? Stupid stupid stupid. That's it, I'm gonna go over to her place right now and apologies. I just don't get her though.

I never really know what's going on in her mind. Sure, I try and find a clue in her eyes but I usually just end up gawking and making an idiot out of myself.

Hers have got to be the deepest and most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. And I'll tell ya, I've seen a lot of eyes in my day.

Seriously though, all I can make out is that she's been hurt. Hurt very bad. When she thinks I'm not looking I can see it. When she's deep in thought, I can see the changes in her. After that she either gets pissy or hyper.

I guess that's why she always needs something to do. To keep her mind off whatever it is that hurt her. I wish she'd trust me some time. I wish I could just hold her and make it better. That she'd come to me when she feels bad instead of pushing me away.

She's really good at that, you know. Pushing people away. I don't even notice she's pushed me away until it's done. She gets under my skin and I pretend to be pissed off or something and then it hits me.

It's what she wanted to do. She's got it all worked out. Her defense-mechanisms are well honed and automatic. I don't even want to think about what she went through to make her have to put them up.

I walk up to the motel and I'm about to head towards the stairs to her room when I see them. It was like a fucking blow to my gut. I had to steady myself against the wall. I couldn't even breathe.

Oh my god.

It's Faith.

Faith and some guy.

She's hugging him tightly and her head is buried in his shoulder. I can hear her sobbing. She's telling him she missed him. Where did my lungs go? In fact, where did my whole body go? I can't feel anything. Only an aching emptiness.

The guy is stroking her hair and whispering soothing words in her ear. This hurts so much. I know for a fact that I've never felt this bad in my life.

Who the fuck is he?

And why the fuck is Faith opening up to him?

Why is he the one holding her? It should be me.

It should be me.

Faith's POV:

It's all out the window.

My whole attitude, the mask I put on towards the world. It's gone. Somewhere in the back of my mind I hear a little voice going 'hey, hold on a second you can't do this to me!!!-' but it fades away.

Mike's here.

And all I can feel are his arms around me. I'll tell you what though, he musta been scared shitless when he saw me flying up the steps. Slayer speed and all that.

I totally just jumped on him, man. And that's when the Slayer strength kicked in. Yup. I jumped on him, he fell to the floor and I was just hugging him like there's no friggen tomorrow. I couldn't give a shit about my reputation.

Although I did get off of him after a while, didn't want him to die after all.

When we both got to our feet, I finally got a good look at him and the moment I saw his eyes I knew I was fucked. They see in you, yunno. And I knew right then that I couldn't hide anything from him. And for some reason, I broke down crying. I didn't even realize I was hurtin' until it all came out. It was wicked freaky. The rest of the night's a blur.

We talked for hours, I cried several times. He held me.

Oh and fuck you. I'm only human.

You have no idea what shit I've been through. And you have no idea what shit I still have to get through every single fucking day.

Mike's my friend, my soul(Hey ladies and gentlemen, James Brown!!). My home. And I'm not letting go.

Buffy's POV:

I feel sick.

I'm lying in bed and I have absolutely no plans of getting up. I'm dying, I'm sure I am. I cried myself to sleep last night and everything's killing me.

My eyes are killing me, my head is killing me, my throat is killing me, my whole damn body is murdering me right this moment. And if I'd get up and look in the mirror I'd probably kill myself.

How'd everything get so messed up?

"Buffyyyyyyyyy!"

Oh god, no, don't do this to me. Dawn bursts in my room and I hide my head under my pillow.

"Buffy, mom says you gotta get up! So...get up!"

I moan and she sighs.

"Jeez, Buffy, you really are a lightweight."

Huh? I sit up and look at her.

"What?"

She just giggles in this infuriating manner and goes

"Faith told me to call you a lightweight if you didn't wanna get up."

"What's Faith got to do with anything?" I snap.

She rolls her eyes at me.

"Duh, Buffy. Saturday morning, you always train with her on Saturday mornings." She looks at me like I'm an alien or something and walks away.

I hear her bounding down the stairs.

"She'll be right down, Faith. What's a lightweight anyway?"

I hear Faith's throaty chuckle and my mom asking her if she'd like something for breakfast.

"Nah, it's cool Mrs. S, but thanks anyway. I'll explain it to ya some day, shorty."

I smile. For like two seconds. Too bad I have a memory.

Faith dancing. Faith dancing with Cordy. Faith dancing with me. Faith touching me. Faith ignoring me. Faith going outside with Cordy. Cordy almost crying. Faith being a bitch. Me being a bitch. Faith with some guy.

Shit.

Faith's POV:

Jeez, B's taking her sweet time. She's probably still pissed 'bout yesterday. What was that about anyway? Whatever. Guess I'll just have to put on the good old Faith charm. Finally, I hear her coming down the stairs.

"Hey, honey, you really shouldn't keep Faith waiting." Mrs S tells her.

Uh-oh. I can see the small changes in B's face that basically tells me to run for cover.

"But then I wouldn't be able to hang with this little brat." I say.

I ruffle through the kid's hair. She sticks out her tongue at me and I grin right back.

"Ya know, cuz the big brat would be taking up all my time." I wink at Dawn.

Mrs S smiles and shakes her head while Dawn starts giggling madly.

I sneak a peak at B. Bingo.

Slight annoyance with me is better than outrage at the whole of Sunnydale. Yeah, I always was the self sacrificial type o' girl.

"C'mon B, hurry up, and eat somethin'. I'm dying for some action."

I wink at her to fill my daily innuendo requirements but instead of her usual eye-rolling she goes back into thundercloud mode.

What the hell?

It's like she remembered something. Like 'oh waitaminute, I'm sposed to be mad at Faith, lemme just fix up this little malfunction on my face. There we go. No more smile.'.

Damnit. What'd I do anyway?

The usual morning Summers banter is going on while I'm mulling over what I possibly could've done wrong last night.

Ohh... Probably mad cuz of what I did to Cordy. Or what she thinks I did to Cordy. I look up at her. She's eating some cereal and she doesn't seem herself. She must be really pissed.

She isn't usually this moody. I miss her smile. Normally she'd be hopping around, munching away at her breakfast all while chattering on and on about anything that pops in her cute little head. Weird.

Ok, now I'm scared. It usually takes like an hour before we actually head out to the library to train. You know, what with the babbling, foolin' around and getting ready. I never did get that last part. It's only training and the way she hovers around her closet and bathroom, you'd think it was prom night or something. Not today though. After eating, she went upstairs (note that this time she didn't drag me along) and she was ready in like ten minutes. Either I'm rubbing off on her or I really hit a nerve last night.

Not liking any of those possibilities.

We got to the library in almost complete silence. I was gonna tell her about Mike but figured now wasn't the right time. Mike's sleeping it off at the motel by the way. Dude had a rough trip getting here. He actually looked me up.

Who'd have thought?

Somebody actually thought I was worthy of looking up. Not an easy trick either. I'm good at hiding when I don't wanna be found. Which was the case. I figured the only people lookin' for me were all a buncha fuckers I owe money or... you know.. blood. Whichever. Never thought Mike'd come looking.

But ya know, B's really getting me on edge. Lemme just say I am not a fan of this personality change.

Maybe I should just kick her around a bit at training. Speaking of which...

Giles is going on and on about 'proper assessment of the situation prior aggressive action'.

"Just let us at it, G-man." I interrupt.

"Faith, it's absolutely vital for both of you to take caution before engaging in battle."

Typical Giles.

"I hear ya, but right now I'm just itching for a little rough 'n tumble, so save the preaching for afterwards, 'kay?" I look at B for support but she's spaced out.

Apparently, G noticed it too cuz he's looking at me, a question mark painted all over his face.

I shrug at him and he puts on his 'concerned dad'-face.

"Er... Yes, well, I suppose you could commence with training first. Perhaps a little warming up would be in order. Buffy?"

Wow. She must be really pissed off at that tree outside cuz by the looks of it, she's ready to cut it down.

"Yo, B, spazzy much?" I'm walking on thin ice here but hey, I never claimed to be caution-girl.

Her head snaps up and she blinks a couple of times.

"Buffy, are you alright?" Always the concerned father figure, Giles puts a hand on her shoulder.

"What? Yeah, Giles, I'm fine. Do we start now?" Right, B, no problem whatsoever, right?

I hop off the table. Giles looks doubtful but nods anyway.

"Finally. Let's do this, B." I grin and ignore her non-playful angry look.

Maybe I shouldn't have.

Buffy's POV:

Who does she think she is? Coming to my house being all cool and charming and playful. Seriously, what's up with that? After last night, how can she act like this? Like nothing happened. When she was all goofing around at the house this morning I wished she'd just shut up. And walking to the library, I wished she wasn't all silent. Creeped me out. But I forced myself to stay angry. It's all her fault anyway.

I stand up and stretch a little. Faith is so gonna get her ass kicked. An evil little smile tugs at my lips and I take a quick glance at Faith.

Oh dear lord. I gasp.

Okay then. Note to self, do not look at Faith unless prepared for pleasant full body shivers. Especially when she's stretching. That's it. No more of this 'she's so pretty' crap. Time to show her who's boss. That'd be me, by the way.

I jump a little on my toes and give her the heads up.

"Ready?" Right when she looks up to answer me, I kick her feet out from underneath her.

She quickly hops back up and looks at me weirdly.

"That's cheating, B. Can't win the fair way?" She grins at me and I hate her. I hate her so bad.

I run towards her and just before we collide I spin around to end up facing her back. I'm about to grab her in a choke hold but she musta anticipated this because she ducks and grabs my legs. I fall face first on the ground. That stings. Chin and ego.

"B! Chill." That's what she said to me at the Bronze.

I get up and throw a frenzy of punches at her. She's able to block or dodge most of them but the ones that connect, connect hard. When I almost have her pinned against the wall, I realize she's not hitting back. She's just been taking the blows.

"Fight back!" I scream at her.

"No." She replies calmly while blocking a punch that nearly connects with her jaw.

"Fight back!!" I can feel tears stinging in my eyes. What's wrong with me?

"No, B."

My arms grow heavy and I slow down almost to a halt. She catches my fists and looks me in the eyes. God, she's so worried. The tears fall when I see the look of pure concern in her bruised but beautiful face.

She holds me. She wraps her arms around me and just holds me. She feels soft but she's holding me up. If it wasn't for her, I'd be on the floor by now. My face is buried in her shoulder and I'm shaking. A sob escapes me once in a while but mostly my tears are silent.

Faith's POV:

Never a dull day in Sunnydale. No apocalypse? Ah, never fear, personal dramas shall be unraveled for your discomfort! Hu-fucking-ra.

Not that I mind that B's falling apart. Wait... that's not true. But I mean... I don't mind holding her and stuff, but I don't want her to cry. It was one thing for her to flip on me but crying is a whole different thing altogether.

Before I knew it, I was holding her. I thought of saying something soothing, but I had no clue. So I just held her.

She pulled away when Giles came back.

"Dear God, what's wrong? Buffy, are you hurt?" B pulled away and violently shook her head.

"No... I... no. It's nothing... I have to go."

And that was it. She ran out leaving me and Giles looking blankly at each other. I really wanted to run after her but figured it's not my place. I called Willow instead. Gave her the heads up.

I bailed on Giles and headed back to my place. Mike's on the bed when I come in and he smiles at me. Even though I'm really worried 'bout B, I can't help smiling back.

"Miss me already?" He gets up and stretches. He's still gotta be a little tired.

"Actually, I was just checkin' that you didn't finish all my food." I fall on the bed and notice the dude's been cleaning.

"What food? You mean that green stuff in the mini-fridge? I don't think so."

"I had green stuff in my fridge??" Cool. I thought it was empty.

He leans against the wall while I jump towards the fridge, I'm wicked hungry. Oh wow.

I turn around and I can't hold back my grin.

"You're such a dork, you know that? First you clean up my place and then you re-stock the fridge?" The fridge is jam packed with all my favs. Have I mentioned I love the guy? Of course not. I don't say stuff like that.

"Actually the re-stocking came first. Then the cleaning." He lights up a cig as I open a can of rootbeer.

"So what's the plan for today? I know we kill a buncha demon scum tonight but we've got approximately ten hours till then. Any good bars around here?" Oh yeah, he knows 'bout me being a slayer.

I shake my head.

"How 'bout just givin' me a grand tour?"

"That, my challenged friend, I can do." He pushes off the wall and grins.

"And we all know you can't do all that much."

Buffy's POV:

I made an idiot of myself. Now she thinks I'm a complete moron. An unstable drama queen. I suck.

When I ran from the library I didn't know what to do, or where to go. I ended up at Will's house. She opened the door and she didn't seem surprised at all to see my tear-stricken face. Apparently, Faith called her. Faith. It's always Faith.

Willow was really trying to comfort me, but she couldn't. In all fairness, though, I didn't tell her what was wrong.

"I know you miss Angel." What? Oh. Angel.

"I... what? Angel?"

"Yeah, Buff. Angel; the love of your life. You can't really deny it much longer, it's kinda obvious that it's killing you."

She places her hand on my shoulder and looks at me sympathetically.

"I..." ...completely forgot about Angel. Oh my god. How could I have completely forgotten about Angel?

"I don't know anything anymore..." I'm so confused I burst out crying again.

"Aww, Buffy... I'm so sorry..." Willow hugs me and gently strokes my hair.

We decided to stay in the rest of the day and just watch a lot of movies and eat ice-cream. I love it when we do that. I couldn't really concentrate on the movie though.

Angel. If you said his name a month ago I'd be feeling a million emotions. But now it's just... What about him? And that pisses me off. I loved him, didn't I? It all felt so... real. It was love, right? I don't know anymore.

Maybe it wasn't.

When I was a kid, I loved the Beauty and the Beast. Around puberty I gushed over Romeo&Juliet. Maybe... Maybe I just wanted love so badly. An exciting, forbidden love. Angel represented that. He was a vampire... He was dark and handsome. He made me feel special. Like I was the only one on the planet. But... is that love? I don't think so anymore. Did I get butterflies when I saw him? Sure. But did his smile make the world more beautiful in my eyes? Scratch that, did the simple fact of him being in the proximity make the world more beautiful in my eyes? Whether he smiled or not. Whether his hair was perfect or disheveled. Whether his face was dirty or smudged. Whether he looked at me or not. Well he always looked at me but...

Did he make me happy?

No. The thought of us made me happy. But that was it. A thought. A dream. It wasn't real. I made it out to be so much better than it was. I pretended that his eyes could see in me, when he never really had a clue what I was thinking or feeling. And when he did, he never really knew how to handle that. I'd pretend everything was perfect when he held me. But it wasn't. I noticed his cold arms enveloping me. I pretended the shiver came from how good it felt. But that wasn't true. It didn't feel quite right.

I may have loved him. But it wasn't the real thing. Not what it should be. Not... everything I know it could be.

I suck at this whole introspection thing.

It's almost dark by the end of the third movie and I need to go to Angel's. I need to say goodbye. He may be ... you know.. dead and everything but I haven't really said goodbye yet.

Faith's POV:

You enjoying the story so far? It all goes to shit from here. See, now I've made peace with the following events. But at the time I was messed up beyond belief.

Maybe I should tell you what happened, huh? Okay, just gimme a minute. I may have come to terms with all the shit that happened but that doesn't mean it's easy. So just hold up while I try not to break something.

Not that there's a lot to break in my room anymore. There's barely anything here to be broken.

The night I gave Mikey the grand tour of Sunnyhell, I didn't come home. I didn't come back to the motel for...

See I don't even remember how many days I was out on the streets. But when I eventually did come back, I caused some major damage in this place. It was a shithole before, but now it's even worse.

The bed doesn't even look like a bed anymore if it wasn't for the mattress. There's holes in the wall everywhere from where I kicked and punched it. I currently do not have a sink and if I wanna take a shower I get flooded. Not cuz the shower sucked like before, but cuz the bath tub is missing.

Well it's still there. And hey, if you like puzzles, maybe you could fix it up for me again. Yup. Shattered.

I still haven't told you what went down, huh? Fine.

Mike's dead. My friend, my heart, my fucking home... is dead.

Did ya see that one coming?

Hey, don't worry 'bout me though. I'm five by five. Like I said, I've made peace with it. I forgave him. Angel. He did it. He killed Mike. He just... Fuck this is definitely not easy.

He came back from hell and killed my... he killed Mike. You think I'm being overdramatic? You think it's ridiculous for me to be calling Mike my heart, my home?

Fuck.

You.

I have nothing now.

But it's no one's fault really. Except for mine.

Me and Mike were walking down the street, heading towards the nearest cemetery and he was quizzing me on Sunnyhell life. After giving short bio's on everyone I was offhandedly explaining to him how easy it is to get B riled up if you push the right buttons. Which is true. And I am definitely the button queen. I was ranting something about my humble servants drooling at my button pushing capabilities.

"So you should tell her, you know." He takes another drag from his cigarette and I note that he's looking kinda sad. What's the deal?

"No need, everyone recognizes my royalty. Even B the thick-witted." I smirk at my own lame joke.

Mike, however, just smiles wryly and shakes his head. Something's wrong with the dude cuz my Button Queen monologue was highly amusing.

"Sorry to break it to ya, babe, but you're the one with the thick wits." He's looking at the ground.

"Why, Michael, lest thou seeketh a fierce ass-whoopin', enlighten me. Pray tell." I deadpan.

He chuckles at that but the smile doesn't reach his eyes. He stops walking and sits down on a low wall. He's got me worried.

"What's up, Mike?" I sit next to him and gently nudge his shoulder.

He sighs. Why the hell is he so sad?

"Faith, you like this Buffy chick." Um. Okay.

After a few seconds of silence I realize I'm supposed to say something.

"Uh... Yeah, she's cool." What's he getting at?

"Hey, dumbass, you're in love with her!" He stands up angrily but then sighs and sits back down looking resigned.

After my initial worry about his actions, the words seep in and I am now utterly confused.

"And why d'you say that?" I decide to play it cool.

"She inevitably comes up every two or three sentences and... I hate to say this, buddy, but you get a love-sick look every time you talk about her." He takes out his cigs, lights one and hands it to me. I accept and take a deep drag, mulling over what he just said. He lights up another and stares off into space.

If it was anyone else saying this to me, I woulda either laughed at them or kicked 'em in the face. But this was Mike. The guy knows me. More than I know myself. And the more I think about it... The more it seems like he has a point.

"Willow; nice girl. Buffy's best friend. Great friendship. Xander; funny dude. Used to have a major crush on Buffy. Dawn; Buffy's sister. Cordelia; cheerleader. Buffy used to be a cheerleader. You always end up with her, Faith." He mumbled everything but the last part.

This is too much to deal with right here. I love Mike. I... want to kiss Mike. Don't I? I look at him and I realize I don't. I do love the guy. But he's my best friend. What we had before had grown into a comforting familiarity and I didn't feel the need to expand on what we had now. A small smile forms on my lips until I realize he's still sad. He glances up and in those two seconds our eyes met, I saw it. He still loved me like he loved me back in Boston. He was still in love with me. He sighed and looked back up at me.

"Busted." He whispers with a wry smile.

I return his with a pained smile of my own. The situation's pretty shitty. But we both knew we'd work through it. We always did, no matter what, we'd end up together. Whether as friends or more. But right now, I couldn't offer him more.

I kiss his forehead and hug him.

"I love you, Mike."

He wraps his arms around me tenderly and sighs again softly.

"I love you too, Faith."

We separate after a while and do our usual 'nothing happened, we're still cool'-routine.

We both cough, looking around nervously, pretending to be embarrassed. He smoothens his clothes while I smoothen my hair.

"Yo, we're still cool, dawg." I cough.

"Damn straight, woman." He coughs.

Then we smile at each other and we know we'll be fine. Nothing can tear us apart.

We walked on in silence for a few minutes and it hit me. Buffy. Images of her kept flying around in my head. Little things I noticed her doing, which I found adorable. The small electrical jolts I got whenever we touched. The feeling of completeness whenever it was just her and me for patrol. Her large array of smiles which she had for different people and occasions. It was all too much for me at the moment. Damn, forget Queen of the Buttons, I'm the fucking Empress of Denial. All those thoughts and feelings were all shoved way back in my head.