Disclaimer: Still don't own anything except the plot. Jim and Sammy are my creations as well.
Spike rolled over and tiredly reached out to pull the small Slayer closer to him. His hand hit nothing but the cool sheets that covered the bed. He raised himself to a half-sitting position, instantly awake. The Slayer was gone and the only evidence that she had been there at all was a folded piece of paper lying conspicuously on her pillow. He picked up the paper and unfolded it slowly. He already knew what it would tell him. The Slayer was gone, and God only knew if she'd ever be back.
I'm not really sure what to say. I'm sorry I only left a not instead of telling you in person that I'm leaving, but I knew that if I did that, you'd try to talk me out of it, or you'd try to go with me.
"Bloody right I would've," he growled.
I know it's the biggest understatement ever to say that we've had a rocky history, but through all of it, you're one of the few people I trust completely. That list seems to grow shorter every day, and it means more to me than I could ever say that you're still on it.
I love you. I know it's not in the way you wanted, but I do love you. You've been my closest confidant this past year, and even before you had a soul, you were someone that I could talk to about everything I couldn't tell anyone else. I don't think I ever said it, and even if I did, it wasn't often enough, but thank you.
I have a favor to ask you though. I need you to go back to the house. I know that's probably the last thing you want to do, but Faith's going to need your help with whatever she decides. That list I mentioned earlier- she's on it too.
There's some things I'm going to leave at the house for you and Faith. Cell phones with my number programmed into them and some money for the next month's bills. By the time you get this, I'll be gone. There's no way for you to give it back, so you can either use it or let it sit in my trunk collecting dust.
Try not to kill them all.
Faith was half-way down the stairs when she was met by Dawn.
"Hey, I was looking for you."
"You found me, pipsqueak. Let's get back in there. I've got some news for everyone."
"Ah, Faith, there you are," Giles said as Faith and Dawn stepped into the room. "We were just going over our strategy for going into the arsenal."
"Change of plans. We're not going." Faith's face was a blank mask as she let their questions wash over her. The most common being 'why not?'. "I ran into B upstairs," she said, completely ignoring their questions. Dawn made a move for the stairs, but Faith's hand shot out and stopped the girl. "She's not here anymore. She just stopped by to pick up some of her stuff."
"Does that mean she's not coming back?" Dawn's voice was barely above a whisper, but with those words, everyone in the room turned their complete attention to Faith. The scoobies were looking shocked, while several of the mini-slayers were looking were looking hopeful.
"No," Faith ground out, "she's not coming back. Why the hell would she want to after what you people did?"
"So, she's just going to abandon us to Caleb and the First?" Kennedy spat. "Some Slayer she is."
Faith turned a glare on her. "You really have a lot of nerve. Why the hell should she stick around to protect all the people that kicked her out of her own house?"
"Faith," Giles tried to appease the clearly pissed off Slayer, "no matter what… differences we may have with Buffy, the fact remains that she is the Slayer. It is her job - her duty - to-"
"Last night, you told B exactly what her being the Slayer meant to you all." Faith shook her head in disgust. "Blondie had a point. B's done so much for you over the years, and the first time something goes to hell, you all turn on her. Then you get all self-righteous and accuse her of abandoning you when she decides that she's had enough of you. You have no right to expect her to keep sacrificing everything to save your ungrateful asses."
Faith began to walk away, but half-way to the door, she stopped and turned back to them. "Just so you don't keep bashin' B for 'abandoning you', here's a bit of news for you." Faith turned the full weight of her glare on each of the scoobies in turn. "Last night, Buffy went back to the vineyard. Alone. She killed Caleb, but he was just the warm up. She found that weapon Caleb and the First didn't want her to get and used it to kill the First. So, apocalypse adverted - courtesy, once again, of Buffy Summers." She walked out the door, slamming it shut behind her.
Faith sat straddling the porch rail and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Agitatedly, she pulled one out and lit it. The scoobs and minis - okay, mostly the scoobs and Kennedy - were pissing her off. She needed to stay away from them until she calmed down enough to not grind her teeth to dust every time she so much as looked at them. She leaned back against the wooden beam and watched the smoke slowly dissipate.
She wasn't sure how much time had passed before Dawn stepped outside. Faith lit up another cigarette as the younger girl sat on the rail a few feet away. For a while, neither one said anything. The silence was awkward, but Faith paid it no attention.
Dawn was the first to break it. "One of the only times I saw Buffy break down was after mom died. For days she just focused on the funeral arrangements and anything else. She was barely hanging on, being the strong one so there'd be someone to take care of me, and I was so wrapped up in my won grief that I didn't see it. All I could see was the cold, unfeeling 'Buffy mask'." Dawn shook her head regretfully. "God, I tore into her. I accused her of not caring that mom had died. I said that she was treating it all like some mess she had to clean up.
"She hit me when I said that. Hell, I would've hit me for that. Then she broke down crying and told me that she had to stay busy. Stopping lets everything catch up and become real."
The silence hung between them again. Faith hadn't said a word to her since she'd come out here. Dawn glanced over at Faith nervously. The Slayer was full of barely restrained anger. It was obvious from the slow, deliberate movements and lack of eye contact. "We really screwed up," Dawn sighed.
It was said so simply that Dawn flinched. "I screwed up. Again. I didn't realize that's what she was doing, but this time it's worse. She's gone, and I can't fix it."
Faith shrugged. "That's up to B."
Buffy brought the motorcycle to a stop outside one of L.A.'s smaller demon bars. When she stepped inside, many of the bar's patrons rose to leave. "Relax. I'm not here on business." They sat back down, somewhat reluctantly.
"What can I get ya, Slayer?" Jim, the bartender/owner asked her as she hopped up onto one of the barstools.
"Just a beer. Don't care what kind, and I'm not the Slayer anymore. I was fired."
The middle-aged man set a beer down in front of her with a confused expression. "I thought the Watchers got themselves blown up?"
"They did. Wasn't fired by them," she took a long drink of her beer.
"The home team," he said matter-of-factly. He had never really liked her friends. They were far too judgmental and hypocritical in his opinion.
Buffy nodded. "Hey, is that offer of yours still good?"
"Which one?" He grinned. "I seem to remember making quite a few of them."
Buffy chuckled. "I'd consider it if you weren't too old for me."
He snorted. "Says the woman who dated a two hundred some year old vampire."
Buffy smirked. "I meant your offer to be my contact."
His expression turned serious. "Are you sure about this." Buffy nodded. Jim stared at her for a moment before going into the back room. "Sammy! I need you to cover the front for a while." A moment later, Jim returned with Sammy behind him.
"Hey, Buffy," the brunette greeted the ex-Slayer with a bright smile.
"I like the new hair," Buffy told the former redhead.
"Thanks," Sammy grinned as she swept her hair up into a loose bun.
Jim motioned for Buffy to follow him with a subtle jerk of his head. "I'll see you later." Buffy told the girl as she walked around the bar and followed Jim into the back. He led her to his office and closed the door behind them.
Faith watched as Spike stormed up the walkway. She wasn't the least bit surprised to see him. The sun had set just a few minutes before, leaving him able to get here quickly without becoming a vacuum's best friend.
"Did she say where she was going?"
Faith shook her head. "She did say that she was leaving SunnyD; she didn't say 'where' beyond that."
Spike scowled. "Which way did she go?"
Faith gestured down the street. With a smirk and an eye roll, she remarked dryly, "She went that a way."
"She couldn't have gotten too far." Faith's eyes lit up in anticipation as he went around the side of the house to retrieve his beloved bike.
The shout that she heard moments later didn't disappoint. "Bloody hell!" Faith grinned. "That bleedin' bint stole my bike!"
Authour's Note: That's the end of 'Flash Point'. The sequel, 'Electus Nex' should be up within the next month or so. Thanks to everyone who's reviewed this story. You all make these stories worth writing.