Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox, UPN and WB Television Networks own the television show, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Dark Horse Comics and Joss Whedon own the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" comic. No copyright infringement is intended

"Step one: You finally meet somebody you dig, somebody you can groove with, somebody who doesn't seem like all the other phony losers out there. Step two: They share a little of themselves with you, you share everything with them. Step three: It all goes to crap. They hurt you. You hurt 'em back. Or maybe it's the other way around. Whatever. Someday, you might find a way to forgive each other. But it won't ever be like it used to 'cause that pain never really fades away. And in the end, no matter how many wicked good times you had together, you woulda been better off flying solo all along. Anyway, live and learn. Almost die and learn way more."

-Faith from Buffy Comic "No Future for You Part II"

A Brief Summary of Betrayal

Like most other times a crisis had been diverted, when Sunnydale California became just a big mysterious hole in the ground things changed but not so entirely as to have been drastically significant. Sure, Buffy Summers was the main slayer in charge of hundreds perhaps even thousands of other slayers spread across the world. Sure, Xander Harris had turned into some surprisingly competent and efficient commander in an army full of slayers. Sure, Willow Rosenberg had embraced her magical power to its full extent and could have rightfully been compared to a goddess. Sure, things had changed, but not so much to have rattled the foundation that existed before the hole in the ground was ever created.

Dawn Summers still was envious of her sister's calling and jealous of the attention it took away from her. Rupert Giles still provided the support and guidance Buffy and the others sometimes desperately sought out in their fits of low self-worth and rampant thoughts of self-doubt. They were all still family and the best of friends, relying on each other to survive through the crises they always ran to instead of from. And as it had always been before, Faith Lehane, Slayer Number Two, was on the outer fringes of the group that never quite knew how to respond to her even though she had been given a place into Buffy's new world order.

If asked, most of the new slayers wouldn't know the difference between Faith Lehane and Faith NoName. Rumors existed that there had been a slayer that came before the mass unleashing of slayer power into the world. Rumors were whispered about a dark slayer that had killed a few people while on an insane bloody rampage. Rumor said that the mysterious slayer was killed by Buffy Summers in a glorious battle on a rooftop overlooking the dark streets of Sunnydale.

When Buffy was seen walking along with a brunette at her side whose name no one could remember, no one seemed to be able to recall that the dark slayer looked a lot like Buffy's companion. Buffy, herself, had responded to the wild rumors of a dark slayer by saying it was a fictional story made up by a bunch of young girls who didn't understand the importance of their calling. Buffy made sure the girls knew that she would never turn her back on another slayer because that would be wrong. They were a sisterhood born with a task greater than most could ever imagine. They were the gatekeepers who guarded their world from the evil constantly trying to take it over.

Despite Buffy's valiant, if mind-numbingly self-righteous, effort to curb the spreading of the rumors, they still were whispered from slayer to slayer eventually reaching the ears that were really meant to hear it. It reached the subset of slayers who weren't willing to sign onto Buffy's game plan of being a selfless do-gooder for just the sake of saving the world. It reached the target audience of slayers who wouldn't use their powers in an effort to guard the world from evil but instead saw the benefits of using that power to welcome it, and some in that segment of girls would eventually learn that a dark slayer really did exist and they would learn that the slayer was named Faith.

They would eventually seek out this phantom kindred spirit and would look to Faith for guidance. They would ask Faith why Buffy was in charge instead of her. They would propose naively constructed scenarios of how to take down Buffy Summers and the rest of the slayers. They would propose placing a new world order in place where they were the powerful and everyone else would be their pawns. They argued that the world owed them and that it was about time they got paid.

Faith would reluctantly agree with them, and then offer weak alternatives on how they could better handle their anger. "There's no need to kill Buffy," she would say. "She's already died a few times but just doesn't seem to know how to stay dead."

Eventually, Faith would be brought on the kill Buffy bandwagon and would take charge of the new rogue slayers. They would recruit others of a like mind to build up a force that could take on Buffy and her vast support system. They would train hard and do their best to prove to Faith that they were worthy of her leadership. None of them ever quite expected the ending they would be given.

Slowly, day by slow passing day, Faith would take a small group of rogue slayers out for a lesson on demon killing as practice for what was to come with the other slayers. She would lead them to a nice secluded area and then Buffy would unexpectedly appear just coincidently hunting the same demon they were after.

"I heard rumors you were still alive," she'd say to a grinning Faith. "I was told you took up killing humans again."

Faith would give a half-hearted shrug and say, "You know me, B. I like it too much to stop."

The younger slayers would look nervously from one to the other, never quite sure what to expect from either one of their seniors. They were always uncertain how to act now that they were faced with the reality of their decisions. They knew Buffy wouldn't simply choose to walk away from them. She wouldn't turn, no wait, she couldn't turn her back on what they had done.

So, eventually Buffy and Faith would fight and somehow one of the younger slayers would end up dead and Buffy would end up with blood on her hands. "You'll pay for this, B," Faith would swear before she called for a strategic retreat. They would return to their hideout and the surviving slayers would tell their tale to the rest of them. Fear and a need for revenge would surge throughout the young group of slayers and Faith would calm them down vowing that their time would eventually come, and then as the loner they all expected her to be, she would disappear for a day or two.

They assumed she went off to kill a few things from her pent up frustration and anger, but if they bothered to follow her (and some had they just weren't very good trackers) they would have discovered that she wasn't out to kill anything at all. They would have seen her walking over to a small apartment complex. They would have seen her pull out a key and enter apartment number thirty-two, and if they tried being voyeuristic and looked through a window they would have seen Buffy Summers greet her with more than just a friendly embrace.

"I've missed you, Faith," they might hear Buffy whisper as she had her arms wrapped around Faith's waist, and her head resting on Faith's chest. "I wish we didn't have to do this."

"I know," Faith would grab onto Buffy's hands with her own and then would take a small step away from the older slayer, and would simply look down at Buffy's hands. "How many has it been?" She would timidly ask. "How many have you killed?"

"Too many," Buffy would respond as lightly as she was able, "but still not enough."

Faith would nod her acceptance of Buffy's brief answer, and then would wrap Buffy's arms back around her body. She then would wrap her arms around Buffy, pulling the shorter woman closer. They would stare at each other's eyes silently communicating about the dark nature of the responsibilities they had undertaken. Eventually, they would lean closer into each other and their lips would meet. They would devour each other in their lust and love holding onto this reprieve from the necessary task of acting as judge, jury, and executioners to the new slayers who could not be saved from the darkness inside of them.

They would give each other comfort for a day or two, and then Faith would return to the flip side of her double life. Another small group would be lead out on a mission, and they would return minus one rogue slayer. In the end, those capable of redemption would be given it, and Buffy would welcome them back into her sisterhood. Those too far gone to be talked into seeking redemption by the Original Dark Rogue Slayer, would be eliminated, and once the process was over it would be restarted with another group of new slayers, because it was the only way Buffy and Faith could control a power that had perhaps been given away too freely.

Top Secret Special Operations, that was the technical name for what the two original slayers did. The unofficial and perhaps more morose title for what they did was: Population Control. It always took them months to complete one of their special operations since it took time for the rumors to spread to the appropriate girls, and even more time for Faith to earn their complete trust.

When Buffy first approached Faith with her idea on how to control the rogue slayers, Faith had adamantly refused to be involved in any way. She refused to be Buffy's puppet and refused to let Buffy use her like she had always done before. "I thought things were supposed to be different this time 'round, B," she had argued, and that argument had been enough for Buffy.

She accepted Faith's refusal with no hard feelings attached and walked away to get her hands dirty on her own. It was messy and she wasn't always the best at telling apart the redemption capable from the redemption incapable, but she managed to get the job done when the job needed doing. Faith, in time, recognized the toll it took on Buffy and decided it was her duty to offer a lending hand.

Together, they accepted the mantle of power they held and eventually it bound them together like they had always been meant to be united. They each had almost died enough times to recognize that although Buffy Summers needed and loved her friends that they could never quite be what she ultimately needed in life. Faith was the only one that could fulfill her. Buffy knew that she and Faith were perhaps always meant to fly solo together, but it was too late for them to grab onto that fate now. So, they took the next best thing by leading a double life that only Giles was aware of.

"Are you certain this is a wise course of action," He had asked when Buffy and Faith had approached him with their semi-ludicrous plan of how to control the new slayers.

"It's necessary Giles," Buffy had replied in a voice that let Giles know he was dealing with one of the two most powerful slayers in the world.

"I'll arrange it." He immediately acquiesced, recognizing the necessity of their proposal but mourning the fact that Buffy was involved in it. He had wrongfully assumed Buffy incapable of such action, always assuming she wasn't the type to... "Let me know if you are in need of anything else."

So, when Buffy walked around as the hero to surpass all others with a brunette by her side no one paid much attention. Even when they saw Buffy and the mysterious brunette making out in the corner at some club with the music pulsing around them, they recognized that Buffy had good taste in lovers. And when Buffy was seen with blood on her hands and the brunette was wiping them clean, they assumed the blood belonged to a demon or a vampire, because Buffy said being a slayer meant being part of a sisterhood. It meant repelling the darkness. It meant doing the right thing. So, even when they heard Buffy's mysterious brunette lover whisper the phrase, "population control" into Buffy's ear, they imagined vampires and werewolves and demons. They couldn't quite imagine betrayal.

The End