I don't own BTVS.

Step Two:

Faith looked over her new girls as they gyrated across the dance floor like they owned, not just the club, not just the town, but the whole night itself. They were raw and wild, too hyped up to realize that they were already mistaking lust for love, love for hate, and hate for salvation. They thought they were finally at the top of the food chain and just kept on pushing themselves up higher and higher no longer caring about falling back down to the weaknesses they were running from.

Faith had just taken the six girls out slaying. They were already well trained, thanks to Buffy and her far reaching, never ending mission to train and arm her innocent young flock of freshly minted Slayers who were being offered a one way ticket to a calling that took more from the soul than it ever gave back. It was a tough sell, but somehow Buffy always managed to inspire and persuade making 'death as their gift' look a lot better than an early grave and a fancy tombstone.

So Faith never had to worry about teaching them how to stay alive. They knew how to do that already, some knew how to even before Buffy came into their lives offering them formal training, quality education and five square meals a day. It wasn't Faith's place to offer them the same self-righteous talent show that Buffy and her Scoobs put on—preaching about doing all the right things for the right reasons in a world that offered up a never ending parade of wrong.

This group of six wasn't about doing right. Handling them wasn't about saving the world or even making it a better place. It was a police action, secret ops, highly classified, hush hush, and even perhaps a little crude, de-evolved and barbaric. It certainly brought the whole Slayer origins back to basics, calling up the little savage inside that always wanted to be let loose.

These girls, some of which were lost and searching for a better way than Buffy's way, some of which heard the word bandwagon and decided to go on a hayride, and some of which had a little too much of the demon inside of them polluting their minds with nasty little thoughts that made them want to kill, maim, and torture without remorse. These girls were now Faith's girls. She was their acting judge and jury so that Buffy could come back around and act as their prosecution and executioner.

But, none of these six knew that. They couldn't even conceptualize it, because all they saw was Faith on the dance floor with them gyrating her body like she owned not just the club, not just the town, but the whole night itself. They saw their new leader doing things with them that Buffy never did, never would do, and that they mostly thought her incapable of. Faith had no need to prove that she was one of them, because they believed it already since she was outside of Buffy's world and rejected by the holier than thou preach-aholic Slayer.

And, when they left the club and stumbled back to the abandoned apartment complex they were now calling home, they leaned onto Faith and let her carry them back to safety. They told her stories about their corrupted childhoods, broken memories, and fractured souls. Each and every one of them had a story, and wanted to get a chance to voice it. All of them but Madeleine, Buffy's only true worry in the small group that had been set up and set aside for special action.

Madeleine helped Faith put to bed a few members of their newfound sisterhood and then followed the older slayer away from the snoring five. They walked up the fire escape to look over the town at the top of the roof, and let the cool night air run across their heated skin. Faith took out her pack of cigarettes, offered one over to Madeleine and then struck a match to light up the one true addiction, besides her obsession with Buffy Summers, that was a carryover from her adolescence.

They sat on the edge of the roof, looking down knowing that the fall wouldn't kill them but that it would still hurt like a bitch. Then, they looked at each other not quite sure who would end up pushing the other over the ledge first.

"So," Madeline drew out the word as she reached up and pulled her burning cigarette away from her mouth, "what now?"

Faith didn't bother to look over at the girl; she didn't need to see the young slayer's eyes to know that there was madness there. "I thought I already made it clear that I wasn't a babysitter." She flicked her cigarette away from her, throwing it out over the edge of the roof and watching it flutter down, down, down until it got picked up by the wind and carried off to pollute someone else's view.

"You're nothing like her," Madeline said with confidence. "You know that, right?"

"So, I've been told," Faith muttered.

"You could be, though," the young slayer suggested, flicking her own cigarette away. "You could be the leader Buffy can't be."

Finally, Faith turned her head so that she could look over at the girl she had long since singled out. She said nothing, just raised her brow as if she was interested in being told just how wonderful a world she could mold with her powers. This was a speech she had heard before, but she felt no need to interrupt. This was quality bonding time that she had learned was a necessity for her future success.

"Buffy doesn't understand us, like you do Faith," Madeline continued. "She's trying to make picture perfect assembly line Slayers out of every one of us, but we all haven't been made with the same parts."

Faith chuckled, but still said nothing.

"Buffy doesn't understand," Madeleine turned away from Faith's gaze as she stumbled over her last uttered word. "She doesn't get that we're part of the night for a reason," she whispered. "I'd always listen to her words, her preaching, hoping that she'd finally say something that made sense. I was hoping that she'd finally talk about the…demon…inside, but she never did. She never will, 'cause it doesn't exist inside of her."

"But it's inside of you," Faith knowingly stated after a brief moment of pause.

Madeleine brought her head up to look back into Faith's brown eyes. "It's inside of you, too," she accused. "I've seen it. I saw it when I first walked into that bar and saw you sipping on that bottomless glass of whiskey."

Faith casually leaned back, resting her weight on her hands, her body more relaxed than this particular topic of conversation warranted. "I don't know what you're talkin' 'bout."

Madeline tried to mimic Faith's pose, but couldn't manage to look as relaxed or as effortlessly casual as the woman she was bearing her soul to. "Yes you do."

"You need to do yourself a favor, Kid, and forgot all those stories you've heard about me." Faith's words were a warning, one of only a handful she would offer before she pushed forward with her mission to assess the necessity of elimination. "Most of 'em probably aren't true, and those that are probably were told to ya wrong."

The younger slayer gave up on trying to look casual in such an important conversation. She broke away from mimicking Faith and went back to leaning forward and staring over the edge of the roof. "Does your demon still scare you? It that why you hide away from Buffy and the rest of 'em?"

As far as unexpected questions went, it didn't catch Faith completely off guard. "Whoa, Pint Size, let's get something perfectly clear here. I ain't hidin' from nobody."

"Tell that to your never ending line of empty bottles." Finally, a hint of the Slayer strength that ran through Madeline's blood made an appearance. "But, I don't think you'll ever be able to drown that darkness." She put some of Buffy's training to use and reached out to capture Faith in her grasp, too slow to complete her goal, and too inexperienced to stop herself before she lost her balance and started falling over the edge.

With an unconcerned swipe of her hand, Faith caught the younger slayer from completing her journey to the hard cement below, knowing she probably should have let the girl fall, but not quite able to stop herself from saving the mouthy menace. She didn't pull the girl completely back to safety, though. She let her dangle in between the bounds of safety and fatality. "What was that you were saying about my demon?"

Both of Madeline's hands grasped onto Faith's. "Let me fall," she challenged. "Kill the demon inside of me, and continue to be alone."

She thought about letting the younger girl go, but redemption meant more to Faith than a quick and painful death. This girl knew all the right words, she just didn't understand any of their meanings. Faith had to give her a chance to prove that she could control the pieces inside of her that made her different than the others.

"You need to get some rest," Faith ordered as she pulled Madeleine back to safety, offering no explanations for her own actions or hesitations.

Madeleine straightened out her shirt, it being the only action she could take now that she knew that tonight she wasn't going to die, no matter how much she may have wanted that particular fate. "And what are you going to do?"

"I'm not thinking that's any of your business." Faith met the other girl's gaze head on. She wasn't going to back away from her now. She still needed to be in control.

The girl gave a knowing smile, blatantly assuming that Faith was going to go out and do something about that darkness she had been trying to draw to the surface. "I guess it's not." She turned away and then walked back down the fire escape. She didn't look back to see whether Faith was following her, she knew that the older slayer wouldn't be. Faith was a loner, and Madeline respected that, hell, even a part of her admired that bountiful independence.

When Madeline was tucked back inside with the rest of her new crew, Faith exited the building as quickly as she could. She ran away from the intensity that the young slayer brought out and cursed the necessity of the whole fucked up situation. She hated this part. Always hated it because it reminded her of just how much she hadn't changed. It reminded her of all the things that she was supposed to have put a moratorium on, but hadn't yet succeeded in completely burying.

She wanted to go out and kill something, but with six slayers in one small little town that didn't have a enough demons to even keep one slayer occupied, the likelihood of Faith finding a new kill was minimal. So instead of running towards something to kill, she ran towards someone to devour instead. She didn't even bother to knock on the dingy motel room door before she flung it open. She didn't give Buffy a chance to fully acknowledge her presence before she jumped onto the bed and roughly gripped her lover's wrists inside the firm grasp of her hands.

"Do you see me?" Faith whispered into Buffy's ear.

If this had been the first time this particular scene had played out, then perhaps Buffy would have been frightened and confused. If this had been the first time, then perhaps she would have fought back or would have tried to have a rational conversation with the woman that was forcefully holding her down. But, this wasn't the first time. It wasn't the second either. It had all happened before, most likely would happen again, and again because this was necessary. This was what nobody currently understood, except a young fifteen year old girl named Madeleine who felt like she had a demon living inside of her that she didn't particularly want to control.

All the others believed in the mission, believed in the sisterhood. They let righteousness guide them towards doing the right things for the right reasons, and embraced their power as a gift from the White Hats. They let Buffy's purity guide them towards salvation, and for most of them that was enough. Buffy was their Holy Grail. It was and always had been her destiny.

"What is it you want me to see, Faith?" Buffy asked, letting that righteous purity fade into the void of darkness Faith's presence offered.

Immediately, Faith saw the minute change run through Buffy's body, and she welcomed it. She wanted her partner, her equal with her now. She wouldn't settle for anything else. "The killer in me."

Buffy swallowed heavily and then licked her lips and softly whispered, "Is the killer in me."

Then, as if in an instantaneous, simultaneous, broken truce, they exploded towards each other and began to tear at each other's clothes ripping away anything that didn't rightfully belong. They weren't gentle, nor were they particularly loving. The bed had become a battlefield and they were warring with each other for dominance. They growled and scratched, and let the darkness take them over.

Everyone had always known Faith was capable of the violence, and knew they wouldn't be out of line to expect to see that darkness resurface every once in a while. They gave her a bit of a free pass when it came to expressing her darker instincts; Buffy had no such leeway.

But Buffy always wondered, that if underneath Giles there could be a Ripper, and if underneath Willow there could be a Witch willing to end the world, and if underneath Xander could be his dark jealousies that tainted his own purity, and if underneath sweet Dawn could be the power to unleash Hell on Earth, then why couldn't she have a little bit of her own darkness? Why couldn't she let her demon out to play? Because it was a fact, pure and simple, that she was part demon after all.

"Stay with me," Faith ordered as she began to see Buffy's eyes falling too deep into the basis of their Slayer origins. Her fingers stilled from inside of Buffy's core and she used their connection to draw Buffy back just a bit from the depths she wasn't completely used to exploring.

"I'm here," Buffy softly announced, her grip on Faith tightening, needing to hold onto the one person she had always understood she belonged to.

She no longer believed that her dying the first time was a mistake. Nor did she believe that Kendra's death was a horrible tragedy. Things had happened for a reason. Faith needed to become a Slayer, and needed to come to Sunnydale and side with Mayor Wilkins. It all had to happen because Buffy and Faith had to exist in the same moment in time, to become the same side of the same coin.

One slayer wasn't enough, could never be enough. It always had to be the Chosen Two, because only they could draw out the true source of the Slayer's power without tipping it over to be used as a tool for darkness. It was the universal balance that they had ignorantly fucked up when they unleashed the Slayer power to a mass of girls who were never really meant to be Slayers at all.

Now, both Faith and Buffy were convinced that it always should have been just them. No Willow. No Xander. No Giles. No Dawn. No Angel or Spike. They were meant to fight until they both died and then the universe would have had to come up with a new plan. But since it didn't happen that way, they were now stuck with cleaning up the messes they had inadvertently made, and they were stuck with only being able to be themselves in these stolen moments.

Both Faith and Buffy screamed as their bodies began to shake from the dark pleasures that had been released, and then collapsed into each other. Their joint darkness momentarily mollified. They each had the independent pointless wonderings of what would happen if this had been their beginning, but gave up on those pointless thoughts. Because, they understood that they had a duty to fulfill and a job to complete.

Buffy would always be the Holy Grail and Faith would always be her Temptress. It was the way things had settled after the fall. They'd never have a chance to make everything as it should have been; Fate would never be that kind to them. So all they could do was follow through with their steps.

Step one had been checked off, and since Faith had come to her under their demon's spell, Buffy knew she could put a check mark near step two as well. Madeleine had exposed everything to Faith, and instead of reciprocating, Faith had come running to Buffy where they could share everything with each other.

Maybe one day their steps wouldn't work, but they always kind of figured since the steps had managed to put on hold their fated bond, then they'd be more than enough to control a mini slayer that would grow up to be a threat to the precarious illusion that sustained and maintained Buffy's mantle of power. The new slayers could only be soldiers in the army, there could only ever be one supreme commander: it was Buffy's Destiny.