I'm really proud of this chapter. If you haven't been reading all along you can start with it.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Faith had the voices and pictures in her head of what had happened. Wes had warned her the spell may do this, but of course it was worth it. Too bad it wasn't worth everything that made her get the spell. But if she had to remember every time her eyes shut Faith could take it. It wasn't like she hadn't been through something like this before. Well, she had never been through this exactly. Love and caring made everything such a bitch.

It had started with telling Robin her secret because, let's face it he was the only real grown-up she knew. Bad idea. Right after that she became a stupid girl in a horror movie:

"You can't want it, Faith!"

She remembered seeing Robin in that face and thinking he was a vamp.

"Shit, Robin! Okay, I thought you may've had a bad reaction, but I gotta say I didn't see this one coming. When did you get turned?"

She backed up like that horror movie girl in the Sunnydale High Gym of all places. Why hadn't she thought something was wrong when he said to meet her there?

"I haven't been turned! I'm just giving you what you want, Faith. C'mon, admit it! You wanted that little limey shit the whole time we were together because he was a vampire."

"Robin, I wanted to with you because you were a good guy, and smarter than me and you were hot, much hotter when you were human. Then, you dumped me remember?"

"I'm still human. This isn't real. Do you think I'd let myself really become a vampire? I just know this face turns you on. I'm not like him, Faith. I control this. I wished for control of my darkness because I knew that's what you wanted."

"What? Wished for-"

She was so far from turned on. It hurt to remember how stupid she was.

"You were only with me because you thought I could make you good, but you don't really want to be good and neither do I. We want to be free, Faith. You know you want to be free of that half-breed kid and that dyke bitch, and the last thing you need is that poor excuse for a man and a demon inside you "

Faith was shocked at his name calling like some Victorian woman, but in her Target T-shirt with the Buddha on it.

"Dude, I know you're in a dark place, and you're probably ten times stronger than me right now. And you can say whatever you want about Spike, given the history, but Connor and Kennedy are my peeps and they haven't done anything to you, so —"

That was when she started to get that he was like a vampire, not himself. That was when she started to think she was fucked. Little did she know…

"I've been watching you, watching you with Spike, and I know the one thing he has that I didn't. The one thing you like to whisper to him so low you thought only he heard you, but I've been listening too."

"What? Robin, You've been listening to-"

More clueless Horror Movie girl bullshit. She couldn't believe what he was saying even though he was spelling it out. He had watched her fuck Spike. No worse, he watched her and Spike make love. Her most vulnerable and best moments.

"You tell him how he fucks you deep, so deep. You said no one ever fucked you as deep as him. I looked at the time you said that, when you enjoyed him the most over and over until it made me almost crack."

Faith finally got it then.

"I think you may want to review the 'almost cracked' part there, Robin. You dumped me and now you're quoting illegal sex tapes you made of me and my boyfriend and you've become a pseudo-vampire by choice. You said you wished for it? This isn't you!"

"No, Faith! I'm better than a pathetic vampire. This is me. All of my darkness. I'm as dark as you want. That's what I wished for, but I can control. I really can. I looked at what you liked most about Spike. It's not just the demon in him. It's how controls it, or he seems to. He also gives you permission to feel free. It makes sense given your abusive background that you'd want a man in control of his demon for once. Well, I can control mine better, and with me you won't just feel free, you'll be free. Now, let's blow this pop-stand, little lady! Come with me to Beverly Hills. We can live in Alistair's old house and mess with Hollywood whores and magik or we could sail around the world. Bernard has a boat."

"You think you just needed to get a pair of fangs and act like a total asshole and I'd leave town with you and forget about my friends, my foster sister, and my boyfriend who's out risking his life on a mission. Robin-"

He really did, or at least this part of him.

"Yeah, I did. But, I see it's going to take more brutal honesty. I wouldn't worry about your foster sister. And as far as Spike; Faith, Spike is weak. He left you to go save that uppity bitch Buffy. Also, Spike is dead because he went to go save that uppity little bitch Buffy."

"You don't know that! He's only been gone for six weeks and—"

That wasn't the point, moron! Focus, you stupid bitch.

"And either he's dead or he ran off with her and left you alone with no power—"

"I'm not alone, and I have power, Kennedy and Con-"

"Yeah, right. The dyke who got The Slayer power with the spell that goes in and out. She's more out, and this is an out she isn't so proud of, for once. I ran into her and she pissed me off and I was able to over-power her."

That was the moment she thought Kennedy was dead and that Robin, this version of him, killed her. That was the moment she wanted to kill him. Luckily, her mouth still moved with dumbfounded girl speak.

"What? Robin, if you-"

"Relax. I can control myself, remember? I'm not a killer. Well, not yet. I figure I have to off one person to know how it feels for you, but someone who matters. Not that little bitch. I just chained her in the basement here to teach her a lesson, and just because I can't stand her. She'll escape when her spell starts working again, or the half-breed will figure it out and she'll have to be rescued by a man, or whatever he really is. You know you have to keep that girl in her place, just like the half-breed, Faith. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have-Ow!"

That was when she punched the six foot tall ripped black demon guy in the face with her five foot three Irish/Albanian fist. She was tired of the names.

"Stop calling them that! Robin, what did you do to yourself? You are supposed to be a good guy!"

"But, I'm not, Faith, because it's not what you want. I was waiting for you to hit me. You never hit the old me. See, now we're rolling. Isn't this more fun with me? Aren't I better at it?"

"Robin, this isn't you. Who did this to you?"

Her idiot brain was starting to get it and that was when little sister showed up. She looked adorable in her Urban Outfitter hippy dress and boots. Connor even looked adorable in his Weezer T-shirt in jeans. What looked less adorable and mystical was the chain she had around Connor's neck with a leash. Literally. And Faith didn't get it right away.

"Reese! Connor! Thank god! Connor, don't hurt Robin. He's not himself, and he's not a vampire. Something's happened."

Faith saw the chain thing and was still worried about Robin, or Connor kicking Robin's ass.

"I know, Faith I—I'm sorry I-"

He stopped talking because Reese pulled the chain and she still didn't get it. Reese was her little foster sister after all. The only other person she told her secret to. So Stupid:

"Connor, what's wrong? Reese, why do you have Connor on a chain? I'm all for kinky sex but this is not the time or the pl—"

"Most men belong on chains, Faith. I know you realized that with Daddy. That's why you had Spike kill him."

"Reese, what are you talking about? I didn't have Spike kill—he wasn't our father. He was an asshole who hurt me, and that's why Spike killed him. It was wrong and Spike paid for what he did."

"Yeah, Robin told me all about that. How he had Spike captured after he killed dad, and put nano-tech in his brain, but he trusted the wrong people and they used it to hurt you. Men can't be trusted with anything."

"Yeah, well, I was still trying to be a just man. Now thanks to you, Reese, I'm more in touch with myself. What happened? The freak was getting suspicious, or did he just admit he really wants to fuck your sister. Not a good move telling a vengeance demon that, son."

Robin talked right to Reese. He said she was a vengeance demon, Connor was on a chain, and Faith was still an idiot.

"No, I was just getting sick of him. Young love fades."

"You know each other? What's going on? There's something fucking with you too. Reese, this isn't you. You love Connor."

Yes, Faith was a fucking idiot. If she had been smarter she would have stopped it all.

"I love you, Faith. But, you really should have stayed at Daddy's house and gone to college. You'd 've had to pay your dues but you'd be a lot smarter. I never loved Connor. I just had to get to know him."

"What? No! John hurt you too. Reese, I'm sorry. I—I didn't know I—"

Not the point, stupid bitch. But, how could you not know?

"Of course he did, Faith. You thought you were special, and why are you sorry? What would you do if you knew about it as a powerless Southie 16 year old? There was nothing you could have done, until you got some power, but you didn't do anything about it then either."

"Reese, if you're pissed at me, if all of this was for some kind of revenge, I get it. Just leave Connor out of it."

If only it had been all that simple.

"What? No? Faith, didn't you hear me? I love you. You're my sister. The closest thing I'll ever have to it."

It had all been true. Faith had a sister who loved her.

"She is not that smart when it comes to love. I was always trying to teach her, and now because of you I can do it right."

Robin was right about one thing…

"Robin, what are you—"

Faith was stupid. Connor had to get away from the choke chain and spoon feed her what was going on.

"Reese is a vengeance demon, Faith! She granted Robin's wish that he could get in touch with his demon for you. He thinks that will make you love him like Spike. I didn't know. I started-"

Reese pulled at Connor's chain and Connor choked. Why hadn't Faith been focusing on getting Connor off of that thing all along?

"Shut-up Connor! Bad dog!"

She recognized the cruelness in Reese's eyes.

"Yes, you obnoxious little hipster. Shut it."

That was Robin. Faith didn't recognize the cruelness in Robin's eyes. She still had no idea why Robin never liked him. Connor should be a kid in Robin's eyes.

"Don't you touch him!"

But, since Faith was getting a clue at that moment she didn't think about it. She realized she had to protect Connor. She realized she had a whole lot she should be protecting.

"C'mon, Faith. This doggie can take a lot more abuse and he stays loyal. You know that."

Reese and Robin were down on Connor and all Connor ever did was love Reese.

"I don't get why you're so protective of him, Faith. I never did."

"Maybe that's one of the reasons you and I never would have worked. I don't want to be with you Robin. Especially not if you're dark. I used to think you were too good for me and maybe you still are, but—"

Why had she said all that? Of course, it set him off. He stormed over to her in his pink-berry principal button down shirt with rolled up sleeves and bulging muscles that in any other circumstances would have been hot. He had that demon face, which was not.

"Oh, I get it. You like whiter meat better. Is that what it really is?"

That was when she realized how fucking insane he really was. She was so drop-out dumb it hadn't hit her until then. She thought he was just acting like a mean drunk until that moment. He put his hands on her for the first time. He only grabbed her arms.

"Get your hands off my sister! Shame on you, Robin. You grew up in Beverly Hills. You have your doctorate in education."

Reese had done something to Robin. Whatever it was she zapped him and he flew back on the gym floor unconscious. Faith ran to him fearing the worst.


"Don't worry. I put it on stun. He'll be fine. It's a little power I burrowed from a succubus friend. It makes me a little weaker but-Men, huh? I guess they're all the same underneath."

Reese. Faith finally got her ADD ass together and realized this was all going down because of Reese. Reese needed help and only Faith could help her.

"Sure, everyone is if you make them that way. Change him back, Reese and let Connor off the chain. You're a vengeance demon, huh? I know a little something about that. You have a choice, right? Unlike Robin and what you did to him."

"What? Robin asked for it, literally, and so did Connor, practically. He was going to dump me for being a vengeance demon after all the acceptance I gave him. Why are you sticking up for them, Faith? Do you think they really love you? I granted Robin his wish so you could have a little fun with him, and I needed the practice. D'Hoffrin says I have to do at least five a year to be the best. But, I saw how you much you were missing your other monster who you got to kill Dadd- John. Thanks for doing that, by the way. Better late then nev—"

Faith got another clue and realized Reese had let Connor's chain go and Connor was trying to inch up on Reese and tackle her. Faith didn't think that was the best idea. She stopped Connor by giving him a quick look. She had thought talking this out would be better.

"Reese, for the last time I didn't get Spike to kill John, even if it was partially my fault. Killing doesn't lead anywhere good, believe me I-"

"What do you mean? When John was killed I was finally free! When I looked into his death I found this world and you again. I finally have some power."

Reese grabbed Connor's chain again.

"Okay, it mostly leads to bad. Look at what you're doing to Connor, to Robin, to me."

Faith took Connor's chain from Reese and took out a pin she had in her denim short's pocket. It didn't have a lot of magik in it but, she thought it may work.

"I'm sorry, Faith. My power is limited to what these stupid guys wish. I tried to get Robin to wish for your power back after you gave it up for your stupid boyfriend who left you, but—"

"Reese, I don't care about not having Slayer strength. I gave it up to save Spike's life and I'd do it again, and it wasn't because he was my boyfriend, or my best friend, it was because—"

"Please, don't say you're best friend is your crappy boyfriend who left to save a blond in distress. Don't be that girl. You're better than that, Faith."

"No, I'm not, and I don't want to be Reese. I want to care about people who care about me, but not just me. It really helps if they don't betray my friends most of the time or call them slurs, or put them on mystical choke chains ever, and like me for who I am. Luckily, I'm also not too good for forgiveness. Right, Connor?"

She had been working on the lock on Connor's collar the whole time, like Spike had taught her. She had gotten Connor free and he could breathe and talk again! Two things her boy needed to do.

"She's forgiven me a lot. Some of it she doesn't even remember."

Connor was good at keeping it short, sweet and intriguing. Faith had been all kinds of proud of herself when she got the collar off of Connor. She thought about how they would all laugh about it, the time she got an S&M collar off of Connor with her lock-pic training. She thought about telling Spike and B and making all kinds of jokes that made everyone blush. Accept her, Spike and Kennedy. That was the first time she realized they'd have to go down and untie Kennedy. Faith was all kinds of that stupid girl, thinking it was all so simple.


That was Robin. He was awake and off the gym floor. Faith was so proud of herself again because she had talked with her eyes. She looked at both Connor and Robin and told them to stay put and not start hitting each other, and it had worked!

"I'll give Harris a call and see how all this works, but I think you can stop being a vengeance demon and take back what you've done to Robin. I think you even get to keep—"

"You—you want me to give up my power? You're going to call that stupid guy who hangs out with that high school loser, Dawn, and is probably fucking her to guide me?"

"Ugh! Reese, they aren't—Harris is a good guy. They aren't—How could you think-Well, I guess I get how you could think…"

That was Connor. He wasn't stupid, unlike Faith who was supposed to be older and smarter. Faith thought she was older and smarter

"Reese, the world isn't what you think. It's not all kill or be killed."

"You want me to give up my power and be weak, like you."

Here is when Faith should have stepped in.

"She's not weak. Reese, I don't know if you ever cared about me, but I know you care about Faith and she can help you. She's helped me. You do have a choice as a vengeance demon. You can stop. You can even take back what you've done. You're lucky."

Or here:

"I'm lucky! The pretty skinny boy with the fat penis, and the rich and powerful father, who loved him so much he erased his bad choices, along with his bad childhood, and gave him good ones, with dream parents and sisters, and the ability to speak three languages, and a scholarship to Brown. I had to sit and listen to you whine about how they don't know you. How your mother died for you. I was born to some whore who used me to get drugs. I was passed around from place to place. And then, lucky me, When I was 6 I landed in a home where I was told who to be during the day, little miss perfect, and what to do at night. That's what I had to do to get to college. You think you grew up in Hell, and I'm lucky?"

Faith shouldn't have spoken like she did. Like she had done. Faith should have done it different. How could she fuck this up?:

"Reese, I'm really sorry, but it's over now, and we can make it right. Get through it together. The last thing you want to do is take your anger out on the wrong people—"

"I—I can't believe you want me to give up my power for these men. These stupid men! When you know what they're like, what they've done! I can't believe you care about them more than me! You care so much about him, and he's –he's nothing. I had him wrapped around my finger in two weeks. He was going to leave me when he found out who I really was."

Faith never should have let Connor keep talking:

"All I said was we had to talk when I heard you were going to turn that other guy into a computer virus, but since you wrapped me on a mystical choke chain I'm not so wrapped arou-"

"You act so nice, but it's all your fault. Faith wants to take care of you with all your power, and she thinks I should have none! Vengeance is wasted on you. Everything is wasted on you. You and you're entire sex. You've made her weak, tore us apart."

Reese started attacking Connor with that borrowed power she got from a succubus. Faith had actually been listening and got that. Faith had no idea how dangerous this power was. All she knew was it looked like when that old Star Wars Emperor guy was zapping the life out of Darth Vador when he became good.

"Reese, stop!"

Was all Faith could think of saying.

"What if I don't? What can you do about it? Nothing, because you're weak! What if I kill him? Would I still be your sister? Would you still care about me if I wasn't your bitch like these boys?"

Reese had stopped zapping Connor for a moment, and Faith saw that look in her eye. Faith knew that look. Reese was gonna take it to the limit to see what Faith would do. This is when Faith went back to the only thing she ever really knew….

"Oh god! You really are my little sister, and sisters, they fight."

….fighting. She knew she was being stupid. She knew Reese had demon strength and she had nothing, but she ran at her anyway and tackled her long enough for Connor to get away. She hit Reese in the face and she remembered the betrayed look in her big round hazel eyes. Faith remembered feeling a serge of power after she hit Reese and not even thinking about what it meant. She remembered Reese getting that dead look in her eyes right after the hurt she showed and pounding Faith across the room. Faith remembered skidding on the damned gym floor.

Then, she remembered Reese grinning a huge grin, and going after Connor again. Faith didn't remember if anyone said anything else or fought Reese. She just remembered seeing Reese power up hard and Faith remembered jumping in front of the black shadows that were shooting out of Reese's hands.

"Faith, I'm really mad at you, but I don't want to hurt you, especially after what you told me. Lucky for you this only works on men. Get out of my way."

That was the last thing Reese said.

"No, and not to sound all parental, but, one day you'll thank me."

That was the last thing Faith said to Reese that the young girl would hear. Faith still doesn't remember what she did. She just remembered she felt like a Slayer again. The Slayer maybe and she felt good. Lately, Faith had been winning out over the visions and she didn't have to live out the rest of it. She didn't see Reese dead on the gym floor. She didn't see Reese's young face, her dark tangled hair and long nose, and think about how they could have been real sisters. She didn't have to hear how Robin was sorry or Connor convincing her she had no choice. She didn't think or talk about the end of it. Just like she didn't think or talk about Spike, B and Willow being dead. Faith didn't cry.

Faith did what had to be done. When you had something to hide you went to the real power:

"I know why you're here."

"Shit, Wes. Gotta say I'm impressed, and not just with your steely glare. I guess Big Brother knows all and I'm glad he's on the right side for a change."

"I can't give you what you want, Faith."

"I get it. Can't be Mr. Nice Guy when you're VP of Wolfram and Hart. I just thought I'd try. You being the real power underneath it all."

"It's not about power, Faith. It's about risk. I'm not going to risk the balance of this universe."

"C'mon, Wes. I've met strippers dating drummers more balanced than this universe. It seems to want me to be The Slayer for one thing. How-"

"You have no idea how bad it could be, Faith. Spike has a soul somewhere. You didn't have to watch him be destroyed. You got to be loved, you got to love. You had time. It's not as if you just have to swing between utter isolation and occasional comradery while you- I won't help you bring him back."

"You think I'm here to ask you to bring Spike back?"

"Aren't you?"

"No, that shit doesn't seem to end well. Who knows maybe he's even in some better place with B and who am I to…I'm here 'cause I'm scared shitless and have way more going on than people even realize. Sounds like you know a little something about that. Is Fred okay?"

"She's fine here and she always will be."

"Okay, I'm asking you to share. I know we aren't sharers unless we have to be; and I have to be. So, I'll get to the point…."

Faith groaned. She didn't want to remember the spell. The pain of it. Seeing all that parallel what could have been, what should have been, what could never be shit. It wasn't like they were visions that were happening in this world where she could save someone. Not to mention made her fucking head split. Not literally, but Wes said it would take it's toll.

There was always a price. Fred was so sweet it was painful. She had dug with the power of Wolfram & Hart behind her and found a necklace for Faith. It was a silver chain with a large amber heart stone heart. Supposedly, it belonged to Faith's great great grandmother and it was given to her by her great-great grandfather before he died in some Albanian war. They couldn't be sure but a family love object was supposed to help Faith with the pain of her secret. Whatever. Of course she wore it, but she could deal with the physical. There was that one rule of the spell too. She really wasn't into being told what she could or couldn't say but…what are you gonna do? Groan, Faith guessed.

"Shhh, Sweet Slayer."

Usually when someone said something like that it wasn't good. The "sweet" thing was ironic and she was going to get tortured. But, not with this voice.

"You're gonna be okay, baby," her dead boyfriend said.

"Okay, maybe these visions of parallel shit have an upside," she said.

The visions didn't usually feel so real. His hand was on her face. He was crouched by the bed she was in. All back-lit in a soft pink bedroom light in a cozy suburban room that looked kinda familiar. Spike had his growing out crew cut that he bleached. It finally got long enough to curl at the ends, or it his poor head had never been shaved in this vision. He was wearing the baby blue sweatshirt he liked to wear to watch Late Night with. The tip of his perfect long English nose dipping as he smiled sadly like he drank all the milk when he didn't even need to drink it because he was a vampire. He was supposed to live forever.

Of course, she did what any chick who saw a vision of her dead boyfriend of four months would do. She dove at his face and attempted to swallow it with her lips. She didn't even think about the rest of it at all. Her body just fell into place with his body like it always did. She felt his lips on hers all soft and wet and yielding. She felt his arms around her squeezing. Oh Christ! She was feeling things she knew she'd never feel again. She was dizzy with feeling. His body was like a live wire power wand that laid her down. No, she wanted to be up and kissing him and she would fight to the death for it!

"It's okay, love," he said and he was giving her those gentle kissed all over her face and her eyelids. Before him she never thought of her eyelids. And- damn

Her neck. Her neck. Fuck yes! She had resolved that she'd never feel this again and she'd be okay with it. She swore she was so okay with it that she spent nights remembering just how it felt.

How his lips sucked in her skin just a little and then a lot. Only now he was just doing it a little like when he just wanted her to just be aware that he could just have a little of her and wait to have a lot more. He just wanted to make her feel a little good because he'd always have time to make her feel a lot good.

It has always been her job to make everyone else feel good. To prove that she could. That she had the power. But when he did this it wasn't about power. Even when he pretended it was about power it was never about power with him. It was about—his mouth on his neck and his hand between her legs.

Actually, that was her. She had clamped her legs around his hand and pushed her throbbing clothed pussy into it and. Oh fuck yes! His gentle kisses shot all through her and she felt them.

"Oh, love. No, you aren't in any condi—" his voice purred into her and in made her release all her build-up with a groan and a full body tremble.

God! Yes! Now she would prove herself. Prove herself forever to his cock to his body. She would do things to him with her muscles most men couldn't even dream of.

"Oh God, Slayer! What you do to me! Every time. You surprise me. You floor me. You, no, no, no, no. I have to be a man with a saved soul here, Faith."

Faith hadn't even started doing anything to him. All she did was come and he acted like she created a miracle. He was an easy vision. His voice was doing things, like it used to. Like it always did. Going from lusty to worried, from Sid Vicious to Watcher in 3 seconds. Yeah. He could just keep doing all his old stuff while she pulled him closer again. She opened his pants and kissed him. She yelped when he broke away.

"Faith, stop, please," he said and pushed her back on the bed, "You sure have that Slayer strength back and I wish we could test it out but-"

"Is this a vision where you don't want to be with me? I haven't had one of those yet. I have ones where you kill me, or I kill you; we kill each other. Those are fun. Actually, I think I like them better than you holding me off after I get all hot in my pants. Come to think of it I haven't had a vision I could act in. I guess that not the definition of a vision. So, this is a dream. You're rejecting me in my dreams. Dude, c'mon."

"Slayer, you are so brain damaged, though I hope you're not really-God, I've missed you! This isn't a dream, love, or a vision."

Suddenly, her head felt really heavy, like a football team fell on it. She felt dizzy. The room dipped.

"Spike? No! You're dead. You died. I've accepted it. This is just something fucking with me. What are you really? What do you want? Whatever it is you can't fucking have it! Don't do this to me. Whatever you are, you'll be sorry."

She felt angry hot tears on her face.

"Faith, don't. You're gonna make me…" he was gonna cry until she sucked it up and he did too.

"Okay, it is you. Someone pretending to be you would never think you were such a pussy," she said and smiled so big her face hurt, "So, you rose from the dead again? Shit, dude, we have to start getting you a religion."

He laughed. Such a sweet sound.

"I never died," he said, "Willow just bolloxed up the teleportation spell and we didn't get back 'till now."

"But, I know B died. I became the Slayer again. I didn't think it was possible but—"

"I know. I know how much you've been through. Your sister, Wood, but hey you seemed to have saved the world and made friends. You texted me all of it remember?"

"You—you got those. I thought—You weren't supposed to be getting those."

Holy shit! She didn't even remember what she said in those texts, but she was sure she had said something stupid. She couldn't even spell.

"They were beautiful. Don't you remember; I texted you back, and then you saw me, and then those sodding worms got us?"

"I only saw you for a second. I didn't think you were real, and then you went down 'cause of that worm thing. I—I had to cut it out of you. I—I did it and then…"

She felt like she was going to puke.

"Yeah, you saved me, again. It's getting a bit emasculating," he said with a grin, "I thought the worm couldn't hurt me much, guess I was wrong. It bit you. The venom in that one seemed particularly strong. You're gonna be sick for a while from it. I just brought you here because it was closest."

"Venom got inside my body!" She bolted up in the bed.

She felt like she was going to puke more.

"Yeah, but you'll be okay. You're at full Slayer strength now, thanks to Buffy."

"It—it will be okay," she said and gripped her amber heart necklace.

"Oh god, B!" she gasped, accept it would never really be okay.

"Yeah, about that—" Spike began.

"Connor! He was fighting the worms too. Dawn was there. She wouldn't leave. She's so stubborn. Kennedy was in the-" she bolted up again.

He pushed her back and his hand lingered on the amber heart necklace for a second.

"They're all fine, love. You're right about Dawn though. Now she's worse than ever."

"Because of B. It must have been so bad. I'd give back the Slayer strength again if it'd save her."

That puke feeling was back, or maybe it never left.

"I'm sure you would, but—"

But, Faith would be okay. Spike was back safe and she would take care of him.

"But, I can't So, no wonder you don't wanna do me. Having to talk about all this death and sickness kills the mood for you, huh? I bet sometimes you wish you were still evil," she said and smiled and rubbed the top of his head.

"Not if it meant I couldn't have you. My mood isn't killed with Buffy's death. It's just bad timing. That and the fact that when she died this-"

"Speaking of bad timing," she said.

Okay, now she had to puke. She had to run away from him to not puke on him. Where was she going?

"The lu to the right and down the hall," Spike said.

Luckily, Faith had a boyfriend that knew what was up when she didn't, and there was plenty of vice with that versa. That was why it worked and they could get through anything. Four months thinking he was dead was nothing. Dead loved-ones nothing… In fact, there was a dead loved one right in front of Faith blocking her path to the bathroom in this place. This place she knew. It was B's house. And it was B, looking very lively for a dead Slayer. She was blonde as ever not quite platinum, but a perfect shade of ash. Her hair had gotten long, but not as long as Faith's. Faith was going to puke now.

"Hi, you're awake," Buffy was in her way, "I'm really sorry I hit you. All I saw was you cutting Spike open. I really didn't know it was you. The whole worm thing was—"

Faith wretched a half an inch from Buffy's suede tan boots as Faith's long wild hair fell in her face. Perfect.

"-so gross. That didn't just happen because I hit her, right? It's part of the worm thing, right?" B asked Spike.

The risen 3 times Slayer was talking to Spike like a guilty little girl.

"You have the worst timing, Slayer. I wanted to talk to Faith alone," Spike said to B.

"So, timing, yeah. Don't worry about it, dude," Faith turned to him after she got up from the puke.

She made sure she smiled. She hoped it didn't look too mean. Faith was gonna be the best big girl she could be about this. Spike and Faith had a good run, but now B was back and he clearly made his choice. He had disappeared with B in magik land for four fucking months. Now they could all be friends. Yeah right.

"Hi B, thought you were dead. No worries. I'll be right back to clean up that mess."

"I'll clean it," Spike said, ever Mr. Nice Guy.

"Hell no! I clean up my own messes now, thanks. I don't need any more time with you to explain where you've been all this time and who with. It's five by five. Maybe it woulda been better if we hooked up when you had no soul. I've had it with touchy feely guys asking me about my day before they can dump me all nice. They tend to have inner demons," she said and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

"Hell, Faith!" he grumbled.

Faith knew she was ruining the adult mature vibe he was trying to create while he was dumping her for B.

"No worries," she said with a sharp grin, "You didn't do anything wrong- nothing, and that's just what I want from you, nothing... We're cool. I'll make my smooth exit and get out of your guys's way right after I'm done cleaning the puke, and puking more."

Now that's dignity, Lehane! Dignity is on your knees puking in a toilet in your fellow Slayer's house who had your man first and now gets him back again. She heard sweet innocent B talking to Spike:

"I'm—I'm confused. She didn't—Did she just break up with you and say that it would have been better if you dated when you didn't have a soul? Please tell me I heard that wrong. Is this part of the worm thing side affect thing? Is she evil again? It isn't because I hit her. Is it?"

Faith wished she were evil again! She could punch people and leave town. She was still gonna do the leaving town thing but now it would be way more complicated than punching her way out. She heard Spike:

"Excuse me for a moment."

Spike talked to Buffy like some fanged version of Hugh Grant. If she wasn't already puking…

Then Faith heard him come into the bathroom with the echoes of her retching on the tile.

"Leave, I don't need the caring ex-routine. I just had that and it didn't end well."

Faith knew how to not mince her words in between retching.

"Who's a caring ex? Well, I guess Buffy. This is actually great timing. You can't run off all cagey thinking you know everything in that pig-head of yours."

Faith picked her head up out of the toilet and made herself stand-up and not shake.

"Spike, I'm begging you get the fuck out. You stand there thinking you're doing right by me making me open up to you—You made me think I was still you're-I'm not gonna say a word to B about our grope session, okay? This is the most humiliating day of my life and that's saying a hell of a lot. Just—just be with your girlfriend, okay. I'm fine. Five by five. The worst thing you could do is be all nice, feel sorry for poor little Faith. Ask your girlfriend how well that goes with me. The last thing a need is a nice guy."

"Good," he said with a sneering grin, "'Cause I'm not nice."

He grabbed her by the back of the neck. Shit! Maybe she didn't want him to be nice but that didn't mean…His lips were at hers. His tongue forced her mouth open. His mouth cupped hers and opened it wide while his tongue worked. His hands kneaded her ass up so hard her feet almost left the ground. He tasted like a salty sweet rush Holy shit!

"And I am with my girlfriend. If you don't stop under estimating how deep I go for you you'll force me to prove it until you can't take it. How's that? That what you need?"

Now she couldn't stop herself shaking. She felt really weak and shitty and awesome. She wanted to scream with happiness, but she might just faint with speechlessness like some dainty chick from Spike's first era.

"Hmm? Was that nice? Too nice? You want it nastier?"

Shit. Was he asking her something? A bunch of questions. Too many. Could he repeat the first question? She wished she had an answer sheet. His hands left her ass and he put his arms around her and held her trembling body. She breathed in hard and smelled his smell- cigs and blood and something like fall in Boston. It mixed with the puke and flowery clean smell of B's bathroom.

"Or do you need this? It's okay to need this. I need this. Bad. I need it to make me stronger so I can be big and bad again. You don't want to know how far I'd go for it," he said as he held her tight.

"I—I need you to know that was wicked gross," she said, "I just puked up my guts, you know? You shouldn't kiss—kiss me now. It's wrong. In B's house."

She didn't look at him. She just pressed into his blue T-shirt, his body as her eyes got to see the top of B's toilet with a picture of a little girl in an old fashioned bathtub over it. She shut her eyes.

"Love is a dirty mess, and we need it," he said with a laugh.

"I need you to take me home," she said.