Title: Moments and Dreams

Summary: An explanation of how and why Buffy was able to get up after being stabbed.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Buffyverse or any of the characters.

Rating: K+

Note/Warning: Alterations after Buffy is stabbed in chosen. Faith/Buffy pre-established femslash during season 3. Includes actual dialogue from Chosen.

"Keep the line together! Drive them to the edge! We can't let them do—

Buffy looked down to where a Turok-Han had thrust it's sword in to her back, piercing her abdomen, before she could really register the wound she fell to the ground, face-first.

As Faith fought for her life along with the other girls she noticed another casualty of their war, a small blonde casualty wearing identical clothes to what Buffy had been wearing. "Buffy!" Her voice was full of alarm as she rushed to her fallen sister's side, fearing the worst.

Buffy had not been killed though and leaning on her elbows she handed the scythe to Faith with what little strength she had. "Hold the line." As her hands touched the scythe Faith could feel it's power surging through her veins and along with it came the responsibility of carrying on the good fight and part of Faith knew that soon enough she would be avenging her sister's slayer's death. She took the scythe with one last look towards Buffy and headed back in to the battle, anger and grief fuelling her. Buffy stayed on the ground grunting in pain and after a few moments she lost conscious and as Faith looked back over and found her still breathing but with her eyes closed she was thankful that who or whatever controlled the hand of fate would be merciful enough to allow Buffy to be out cold when she died.

Bright light flooded Buffy's vision as she opened her eyes after they had, or so it seemed to her, closed for a moment. "How you doing B?"

"Five by." Buffy smiled as she pulled herself up to a sitting position and wasn't greeted by the world of pain that had coursed through her wound only minutes ago when she'd handed Faith the scythe. She paused as she looked around and they were in Faith's old apartment. "Did we win?" As Buffy looked up to face Faith she found it wasn't the Faith who had been through prison and had, had her soul hardened even more than it had been in her youth. It was the young Faith, the Faith who had been stabbed in the abdomen and fell from a building, slipping in to the sweet abyss.

"The battle isn't over yet B…well technically it hasn't really started. Depends on how you look at it."

"Were you hurt too?" Buffy asked as she walked over to the nearest mirror and looked at her reflection, finding herself to still be the same twenty two year old Buffy. "Are we dead? Is this heaven?"

"No it ain't heaven." Faith smirked, as she looked Buffy up and down with a feral gaze that Buffy had not seen in a long time. "Who knows though, it might be my heaven, always pictured it with more beer and less clothes." Buffy smiled at the comment. It had been a long time since she had seen the flirtatious and eager side of the young woman before her.

"I really don't think this is heaven though." Faith continued. "It's all a little fuzzy but I think I'm still in a coma…yeah, it's not time to wake up yet." Buffy was confused.

"You're already awake Faith. You're fighting the first, carrying on the line."

"Not yet." Faith's tone was light and dreamlike as she walked over to Buffy, her youthful face only inches from Buffy's older, experience worn visage. She slightly brushed the tips of her fingers over Buffy's cheek and smiled at the shiver that it brought from within the older Slayer. "I guess I still got it."

"No." Buffy frowned as tears started to form in her eyes. "You lost it…lose it… it's not there when you come back."

Faith's face went closer and her lips grazed the slayer's lightly, seeking permission before going any further. The feel of Faith's soft lips against her own was more than enough encouragement for Buffy to deepen the kiss. When she pulled away with her arms around Faith she was light-headed and dazed. "Still got it." Faith whispered huskily in her ear. "We're good together B, you can't deny it. And now in the future, I'm all in to the whole redemption program, maybe it could still work…maybe you did finish baking, you just never found the right person to eat you."

The double meaning of her words was not lost on the older slayer and she held a complacent grin at old memories as she rested her head on Faith's shoulder, she was starting to grow tired. "I thought you didn't know about the future?"

"Well cookie, I said I hadn't been there yet, didn't say I wasn't in the know about a few things."

She held Buffy's cheek in the palm of her hands and looked in to her tired eyes. " You're dead in side you know. Have been for a while…"

"Since I killed you." Buffy interrupted, she was not stupid, and she'd always understood why she could find no one who she could really love and stay attached to. She'd tried to kill the only person who could possibly understand her enough to stick by her and love her even with her cursed birthright.

"I'm alive and kicking." Faith smiled as she wiped the tears from Buffy's eyes. "Will be for a long time."

"You know when you'll die?" Buffy questioned. Faith nodded, then frowned as she held her head.

"It's so loud." She groaned.

"What is?" Buffy's grip tightened protectively.

"Everything." Faith muttered. "It's ok. Not long now. I'll wake up soon…I'll hurt you, I know that and I'm sorry, but in the end everything I do will lead me to that one moment."

Faith's ramblings confused the small slayer as she held her old lover in her arms. "What moment?" Faith shrugged and rubbed her eyes.

"That bit's foggy, everything else is so clear…"

"And loud."

Faith smiled and nodded. "I'm kind of a fruit loop at the moment B…It's been like this for months…people visit though, which is nice. Queen C was here tomorrow, don't remember why, guess it was destiny though."

Buffy could see Faith was really loosing it and managed to coax her over to the nearby couch to rest. "How do you know what happens in the future Faith? How come you never mentioned this before?" Faith laughed, it was hollow and deflated.

"I don't…won't remember any of this. I forget things…some days I know stuff others it's just all quiet and empty…I like those days." As Faith lay in her lap staring up at her with the goofy grin that was reserved for her sister slayer alone Buffy was reminded of how vulnerable Faith had looked when she'd sunk the knife in to her flesh. She'd only been a child. Underneath the attitude and the violence she still was.

"I'm sorry I hurt you." It was barely a whisper but Faith heard it and she smiled lovingly.

"I'm not." She gazed up at the ceiling at something that wasn't quite there and her dreamlike expression told Buffy that what ever Faith alone saw it made her happy.

"I hope you get your moment." Buffy choked back the tears as she saw her own blood staining Faith's already blood stained top as her wound began to itch. "I guess it's time to go."

Faith stared at her own bleeding injury with a transfixed gaze. "Hasn't done that in a while. Must almost be my time to wake up." She turned her attention to Buffy and smiled, ignoring the pain in her abdomen, and her chest from speaking the words she didn't want to say. "You have to go now."

"I want to stay with you." Buffy objected. "I've only just found you again."

"That's not the plan B." Faith's lips once again found their way to Buffy's, but as they touched the younger slayer started to scream.

Buffy's eyes shot open as she felt pain sear through her abdomen, she understood what Faith had felt when she'd received the same wound, maybe it was the universe's way of making them even. Faith. She was screaming. Buffy was lying on the cold dirt of the hellmouth amongst ashes and blood. It wasn't a dream anymore. Faith was screaming for real, she was in trouble.

Buffy looked up to see the First standing over her in Buffy's form with blood seeping from her stomach. "Oh no…Ow! Mommy, this mortal wound is all...itchy. You pulled a nice trick. You came pretty close to smacking me down. What more do you want?"

Buffy's eyes found Faith, battling for her life and still trying to save those around her. She'd paid the price and finally found redemption. She was no longer rogue. She was living her destiny, their destiny. She was a slayer again.

What more do you want? The question echoed through her mind and Buffy realised she'd known the answer to that a long time ago when she'd visited Faith in their dream world, or was it Faith that had visited from the past in her hour of need. Whether she'd known it in the past or learnt it in that very second was irrelevant. She knew how much more she wanted and she was determined to get it. Call it destiny or fate or anything else, in the end it would still work out the same.

"I want you." Buffy almost growled and felt like the very first slayer, feral and primitive, as she fought the pain as she sat up. "To get out of my face." She stood and it didn't go unnoticed. Rona threw the scythe to her and after catching it she used her anger and pain and Faith's screaming to swing it with all of her superhuman might, knocking three Turok-Han off the cliff with one blow.

Faith seeing Buffy was alive and still fighting, followed her example and drew on all of the pain and anger in her life, of which there had been an abundance and concentrated on helping the one good thing that had been there in her short life. Buffy. Kicking her attackers off of her she seemed to carry on the spark that Buffy had started and all around her slayers started to follow the example the older slayers had set. Don't die.

Standing side-by-side Buffy and Faith were the last two outside the bus staring at the crater that had once been there home. "How you holding up?" Buffy broke the silence that had settled among them.

"Five by Five, B." Faith smiled as she looked at the crater. "We did good huh?" Buffy nodded, a small smile gracing her own lips.

"I guess we made up for our mistakes. We all got our own little bit of redemption." Buffy sighed, thinking back on her own mistakes that had sometimes cost lives.

"Little-miss-holier-than-thou admitting making a mistake? You must have hit your head hard B." Faith teased as she stared out at where Sunnydale, and the wrongs of her past had been swallowed up in one fell swoop.

"I let you go." Once again it was a whispered confession, but Faith was a slayer, she'd have heard it even if Buffy had barely said it above a murmur. Faith had known for a long time of the smaller slayer's regret of letting her go, before even Buffy herself had realised. Or was it after? She hadn't been quite sure about time when she'd found out.

She reached out and took hold of Buffy's hand as they stood united on the edge of the crater. "I got my moment." Faith whispered in an equally soft tone as Buffy had, knowing that her companion would hear.

"I thought you weren't going to remember?" Buffy said, as she held tightly on to Faith's hand, afraid she'd lose her again.

"It's all still a liltle fuzzy, not so loud now though. There's always been one clear thing since I woke up, to make sure everything worked out right."

"The moment?" Buffy asked, her breath hitching as Faith's lips met hers for the first time in real life in a long time.

"You." A final whisper in their secret world before returning to the bus to mourn their dead and celebrate their victory.

With her head resting in Buffy's lap as she slept peacefully Faith looked, once again, like a small child that needed to be protected from the big bad world. Holding her tightly and settling down to rest herself she closed her eyes and waited for them to open again.

She smiled as she saw Faith, her present adult self, sitting on the couch waiting for her. "You're late. You should have been here tomorrow." Faith smiled as Buffy sat down beside her with a mock pout on her face.

"I thought I was early, I was due yesterday."

"Doesn't matter now. You're finally here."

"Where is here?" Buffy asked as Faith's arms wrapped lovingly around here.

"I don't know it's all…"

"Fuzzy and loud?" Buffy offered.

The goofy grin returned to Faith's face as she shook her head. "Quiet and empty, 'cept for you and me. " Buffy returned the grin with an equal one.

"Just how I like it."