Title: Purple Rain (The Story Formerly Known As "That Night")
Summary: Set in BtVS Season 3. Can changing one pivotal event be the beginning of something entirely unexpected? Or will things still turn out the same?
Pairing: A slayer and a Witch (OR - two people much more similar than expected)
Rating: PG-13 to R
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in this story, nor do I own any rights to the television show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". They were created by Joss Whedon and belong to him, Mutant Enemy, Sandollar Television, Kuzui Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Television and the WB Network. Thank you all for these characters! Parts of the story line and dialogue taken from the episode "Doppelgängland". No copyright infringement intended!
Schedule: I'm planning to update this on a weekly basis. Unless I don't find the because of...what do you call this again...oh, right, "life"! ;)
Thanks to: My lovely betas Wil-Lehane- and K
Dedication: To the Buffyverse-characters and the people behind them (actors and writers)
A/N: Yay, over 10.000 reads! But reads doesn't say anything about the quality of a story, so I seriously hope I'm not boring you too much with all these seemingly pointless chapters... ? They're all in there for a reason, you know ;)
CHAPTER NINETEEN -- GET SMART
After their little interview, Caulfield sent Faith off to another room, but not before asking why she had been eyeing the sculptures on his desk every once in a while and what she saw in them, which brought a lovely shade of red to Faith's cheeks.
In the room down the hall, she was greeted by a man in his 30s, with brown hair and blue eyes, a faint Scottish accent. He introduced himself as Mel Bruce. Huh, almost like that comedy guy...just different. Different in a lot of things. More stuffy – on a scale of stuffiness probably somewhere between Wesley and Giles. Wesley being the top of the scale.
He handed her a booklet, a psychological test, about twenty-five pages thick, and motioned her to sit down at a small desk in the barren, small room. She did so and saw three pencils with identical length lying in front of her. You gotta be kidding me... Ignoring it, she opened her booklet and took the pencil nearest to her in her hand. When she looked up, she saw that Mel had settled in behind the other desk across the room. Inwardly he seemed to cringe at her choice of pencil. She gave him a warning look and he quickly averted his eyes, attending to some forms in front of him.
She herself turned her attention towards her "little" booklet and remembered what Mel had told her a couple of minutes ago. Questions with 'True' or 'False' option. No wrong answers possible. Can leave questions unanswered that I can't answer properly. 90 minutes time.Hallelujah...She flipped to the first page of questions and began her test.
1. I like mechanics magazines
2. I have a good appetite
-- True. Hey, I'm a slayer!
3. I wake up fresh & rested most mornings
Hmm, define 'morning'...Well, I guess it's safe to say -- True
4. I think I would like the work of a librarian
Why not? I like to read...even though others might think I've never read more than just blurbs or comic books...And I can keep things organized...if I want to. About to mark the 'True' box she faltered...oh, hey, is this one of those florist questions?? Hm, heck, I'll say -- True. One answer won't categorize me as crazy, right...?...Right...??
5. I am easily awakened by noise
-- False. I sleep like a rock.
6. I like to read newspaper articles on crime
-- True. Sorry, you gotta stay informed.
7. My hands and feet are usually warm enough
8. My daily life is full of things that keep me interested
9. I am about as able to work as I ever was
Uh… -- True
10. There seems to be a lump in my throat much of the time
11. A person should try to understand his dreams and be guided by or take warning from them
Hm, from a slayer's perspective... --True. Though I'm still trying to ignore that last one.
12. I enjoy detective or mystery stories
-- True. See above, re: I like to read
13. I work under a great deal of tension
Not really -- False
14. I have diarrhea once a month or more
-- False. And hello-o, none of your business...
15. Once in a while I think of things too bad to talk about
-- True. Don't ask...
16. I am sure I get a raw deal from life
Kinda -- True. It's getting better, though
17. My father was a good man
How the hell should I know!? Don't know him... She left this question unanswered
18. I am very seldom troubled by constipation
19. When I take a new, I like to be tipped off on whom should be gotten next to
Huh? -- True...? Something missing in that question? Maybe I should ask…no, really don't wanna
20. My sex life is satisfactory
-- True!! Oh, wait...when was the last time I had sex – not counting last week's lapses...?...Eight days ago...And I'm not even horny. What is Reddie doin' to me? But I guess we didn't have an opportunity to in the last few days, so...
21. At times I have very much wanted to leave home
I kinda did leave home so... -- True
22. At times I have fits of laughing & crying that I cannot control
Not really -- False
23. I am troubled by attacks of nausea and vomiting
24. No one seems to understand me
-- False. Red does, and Joyce, I think, Buffy even.
25. I would like to be a singer
Another one of those florist questions? Damn, Will should've never told me that. Well, I can't sing, anyway -- False
26. I feel that it is certainly best to keep my mouth shut when I'm in trouble
-- True. Doesn't necessarily mean that I keep my mouth shut, though...
27. Evil spirits possess me at times
-- False. But everything can happen, slayer-life is pretty eventful...
28. When someone does me a wrong I feel I should pay him back if I can, just for the principle of the thing.
Hate to admit it, but -- True
29. I am bothered by stomach acid several times a week
30. At times I feel like swearing
Feel like!? -- True. I'm giving in to it far too often...
31. I have nightmares every few nights
Prophetic dreams, sure -- True
32. I find it hard to keep my mind on a task or job
-- True. Sometimes
33. I have had very peculiar and strange experiences
Uh... -- True...
34. I have a cough most of the time
35. If people had not had it in for me I would have been much more successful
Oh, tough question...guess might be -- True
36. I seldom worry about my health
37. I have never been in trouble because of my sex behavior
Hm... -- False. If Red finds out about me and Xander...Should I tell her about it? Better she learns it from me than from someone else, right...? Oh, God, why didn't I think about this until now? I should talk to Xander too...
38. During one period when I was a youngster I engaged in petty thievery
-- True. Should answer these questions truthfully, right? And they can read it in my record, anyway.
39. At times I feel like smashing things
40. Most any time I would rather sit and daydream than to do anything else
41. I have had periods of days, weeks, or months when I couldn't take care of things because I couldn't "get going"
42. My family does not like the work I have chosen (or the work I intend to choose for my life work)
"Chosen", that's funny. It did choose me...What family? Drunken (dead) mom or absentee-dad? -- False
43. My sleep is fitful and disturbed
44. Much of the time my head seems to hurt all over
45. I do not always tell the truth
-- True... Little white lies don't hurt.
46. My judgment is better than it ever was
-- True. I'm getting better
47. Once a week or oftener I feel suddenly hot all over without apparent cause
48. When I am with people I am bothered by hearing very queer things
49. It would be better if almost all laws were thrown away
-- False...not all of them, anyway...
50. My soul sometimes leaves my body
Guess not... -- False
51. I am in just as good physical health as most of my friends
-- True. Better, even
52. I prefer to pass by school friends, or people I know but have not seen for a long time, unless they speak to me first
53. A minister can cure disease by praying and putting his hand on your head
Hell, no! -- False
54. I am liked by most people who know me
Wish I could say 'true'...well, 'most'...Except for Cordy and probably soon Oz...Wesley doesn't like me either, right? But that one's mutual -- True
55. I am almost never bothered by pains over the heart or in my chest
56. As a youngster I was suspended from school one or more times for cutting up
57. I am a good mixer
-- False. Could be better
58. Everything is turning out just like the prophets of the Bible said it would
I'm not much for the Good Book... -- False
59. I have often had to take orders from someone who did not know as much as I did
-- True. Wesley...snicker
60. I do not read every editorial in the newspaper everyday
61. I have not lived the right kind of life
Kinda -- True
62. Parts of my body often have feeling like burning, tingling, crawling, or like "going to sleep"
63. I have had no difficulty in starting or holding my bowel movement
-- True. Ugh, could we stop with this kind of questions, please?
64. I sometimes keep on at a thing until others lose their patience with me
Hehe -- True
65. I loved my father
I guess... -- False ...is the correct answer
66. I see things or animals or people around me that others do not see
-- False. Like what? White mice?
67. I wish I could be as happy as others seem to be
No, I AM happy enough at the moment -- False
68. I hardly ever feel pain in the back of the neck
Unless I get bitten by a vampire, maybe... -- False
69. I am very strongly attracted by members of my own sex
-- True. Especially little cute redheaded ones that can babble themselves silly.
70. I used to like drop-the-handkerchief
Uh… -- True. Used to
71. I think many people exaggerate their misfortunes in order to gain the sympathy and help of others
Very -- True
72. I am troubled by discomfort in the pit of my stomach every few days or oftener
73. I am an important person
-- False...I guess...
74. I have often wished I were a girl. (Or if you are a girl) I have never been sorry that I am a girl
75. I get angry sometimes
She stretched herself and yawned slightly. Looking over at the other desk, she saw that her "guard" had nodded off, chin in one hand, pen – in a poise that looked like as if he was about to write down something – in the other. She looked at the clock on the wall. 75 minutes to go and, she flipped through her booklet, counting, 381 questions to go. Oh, yay...
Seventy minutes and about a hundred neurons later, Faith made her way back to the Sunnydale High campus. She had to wake Mel Brooks...sorry, Bruce...up to hand in her test booklet. He had looked pretty flustered due to the fact that she had caught him snoozing off during office hours. Well, at least some fun to be had.
But the test really got her thinking, mainly about what she should do concerning what happened between her and Xander. Right now, she wished that it had never happened. Would be cool if I could go back to that day and do it over...uh, no, and not do it over. That thing, and everything that happened last week – except for the weekend(s). But since she couldn't do that, she decided on the next best course of action. Need to talk to Will about that, I wanna make this right. Can't build a relationship...she stopped and frowned at the word...on something like that standing between us...
She neared the schoolyard and saw two girls, a blonde and a redhead, sitting on a bench, their backs turned towards her. She came closer and the blonde faced her. Of course Buffy's slayer connection had picked up on Faith being nearby. Willow noticed Buffy's smile a little later and turned her face towards the brunette who walked up to the bench, lifted her legs over the backrest and, settling her feet down on the seating surface, sat her butt down on the rest.
"Hey, there. Already recognized my girls from two miles away," Faith greeted as she patted each girl's shoulder nearest to her.
"So, how was it?" Willow asked her and touched her hand briefly with her fingertips. Faith smiled down at the girl that she somehow considered her girlfriend. Still have to get used to that term...
Briefly she thought she saw something like misery shining in Willow's eyes, but within one blink it was gone. Faith knew she would try to find out if she had been right…as soon as the two of them were alone. But for now…more upbeat mood was in order.
"Pretty okay, actually. Your dad's nice." Off Willow's and especially Buffy's panicked look, she allayed, "Jokin'. No Rosenbergs involved, as far as I could tell...unless...," she grinned mischievously at Willow, "...someone here does color their hair."
Willow laughed nervously – because of Buffy's presence – and thought back to the...well, "conversation" she and Faith had a week ago about that subject. It's been a week ago already? More than a week...She could see in the brunette's eyes that her mind was in the same place as hers.
"Uh...," Buffy interrupted and they snapped out of it. But another thought worked itself into Faith's brain. Suddenly wonderin' if B's a natural blonde...oh, not 'wondering' in that way!...No, just...forget it...
"Right, anyway," Faith turned her attention towards Buffy, "just say what you're really thinking and try to be yourself," she recited the advice that Giles had given her earlier, "then you should be okay." She decided not to tell Buffy about the lovely test. Don't wanna spoil her fun.
Percy approached the threesome, a little bit of apprehension in his step. He first greeted Buffy, the safest of the three girls from his point of view, then Faith, his somewhat-lifesaver-but-only-due-to-the-sole-purpose-of-protecting...the third girl, whom he gave his full attention to. "Hi."
"Oh, hi, listen, I didn't...," Willow started. Truth be told, her mind had been so full of other things that she had forgotten to finish his paper.
"Okay." He didn't even seem to be interested in her excuse. "So, I did the outline for the paper on Roosevelt." He handed her one of the folders he was holding. "Turns out that there are two President Roosevelts. I didn't know exactly which one to do, so I did both." He handed her the second folder. "And I know they're kinda short, but I can flesh them out. Oh, and here's the bibliography." The third folder. "And I can retype that if you want. You just let me know what I did wrong and I'll get on that." He stood about nervously for a few seconds, before he left. On second thought, he returned and put an apple on the pile of folders in Willow's lap before he turned to leave for good.
Willow eyed the folders and the apple with a confused look, Buffy's eyes followed Percy with the same bewildered expression, Faith, up on her backrest, grinned amused.
"Okay..." Buffy started, "what'd I miss?"
"I'm as clueless as you are...," Willow supplied helpfully.
"Well, I know what happened," Faith said and two pairs of eyes with accompanying raised eyebrows turned towards her. "Your friend there had an encounter with Reddie's vampire double."
"Oh...," Willow and Buffy murmured, satisfied with Faith's answer.
"Oh!" the redhead said as she thought about it more. Encounter. Vampire Willow. "What did she do to him?"
"Nothing much," the brunette grinned. "She just choked him a little."
"Oh, God...," Willow put her head in her hands.
Faith put her hand on Willow's back, comforting. "Sorry. I was just being honest."
"Oh, no," Buffy mumbled, "speaking of choking..."
"Ah, Miss Rosenberg and her associates…," Snyder stood in front of them and acknowledged the threesome. "I see your tutoring of Mr. West is panning out as planned," he said, having observed their previous exchange.
"I-It is," Willow replied, her sudden lack of homework still surprising her.
"Keep up the good work," he said and it actually sounded like a compliment. He turned his attention towards Faith. "You – do you know what thing your feet are planted on is for?"
Faith got it and quickly jumped down, squeezed in between Willow and Buffy. "Sorry...sir...," she smiled at him politely.
Buffy looked at her slack-jawed. She suddenly wondered if the shrinks really had performed some sort of brain wash on her. Willow's face showed a similar concern.
"Compliant," he said impressed and walked away.
With Snyder's back turned towards them Faith went back to being her usual self, mumbled something not all too polite, but decided to remain seated in her current spot, anyway.
Buffy looked at her watch. "Oh, no," she grumbled to herself. "Looks like I gotta go. You two be okay without me?" she asked as she got up.
"Oh, absolutely, B," they replied in unison, before Willow, meekly, added an "uffy...," to her sentence.
"Uh-huh...," the blonde remarked slowly, sizing up Weird and Weirder who were still seated on the bench. But at least Willow seemed more cheerful now that during their latest class. Which was a good thing, though she didn't know what had changed suddenly. Okay, she hadn't known what had been up with the glum expression earlier on either. "Bye."
Faith just waived at her, while Willow squeaked out a little "bye" in return. Willow waited till Buffy was gone before she faced Faith fully.
Faith was staring at her as if she was something precious. And maybe she was. To her.
"You should stop that," Willow said with a little smile herself.
"Looking at me like…," Faith returned her smile and Willow chuckled, "well, that. There's a reason Buffy called you 'softie'. Softie!" she grinned.
Faith simply glowered her okay. Buffy had gotten to know her wrath last night and she really didn't mind Willow calling her this. Willow was allowed to call her anything. Even thought that exact word she just said reminded her, in a not too pleasant way, of the nightmare she had had a little over a week ago. Dream Willow had called her 'softie' as well. Coincidence… coincidence! Yeah…that's it. "Fine, I'll try…it's not that easy, you know," the sour expression slowly turned into a smirk.
The loveliest blush ever crept into Willow's cheeks, at least that was Faith's impression. "Okay…and when we're alone, you can look at me like that as much as you want."
Faith got what Willow was implying and nodded. Alone time – googly-eye time. But hopefully that one confession she wanted, needed to make to Willow, wouldn't ruin that.
Willow herself knew that she would feel much better about this overall situation after tonight, her conversation with Oz. She still had to inform Faith about that.
"So, how was it really?" the redhead went back to Faith's psych evaluation. She really longed to know.
Faith grunted. "Well, the shrink was pretty okay. But that test - looooong...456...?...questions about...everything and nothing...," she shook her head with an I'm-over-it grin on her lips.
"Oh, no, they did the MMPI." Willow had heard about that one from her parents. "Sorry. You know, there are much shorter tests out there."
"Thanks, hon, that's exactly what I didn't want to hear," she pouted and poked Willow in the side.
"Ouch, slayer...," Willow rubbed her offended side, "that hurt..."
"Oh, sorry," Faith put her hand over Willow's. A thought came into her mind. "Do you, uh...want me to kiss it better...you know, tonight, maybe...?" she asked with a twinkle in her eyes.
"I'd love you to," Willow said sincerely, "But I don't know if I'll be able to make it. Cuz, you know...," she looked down at Faith's hand still resting on her own, but now both of them were resting in between them, "I ran into Oz today."
Ah, that's why the gloom… "And?"
"Asked him if he could come by my house tonight."
"Oh. What'd he say?" Faith sat so she could face Willow more directly. "Do you think he knows something's up?" she asked in the gentlest voice she could muster.
"I'm not sure," Willow admitted. "It looked as if he might know something."
"D'you think he's seen us?" Won't really matter after tonight, but, still.
"Could be. I just hope he'll understand, you know," her eyes started to well up. "I-I don't want to hurt him..."
"I know, baby," Faith took Willow's hand in both of hers.
"But I need to do this, before he finds out, I mean, really finds out, another way."
"Yeah, I get that," Faith replied, thinking about the confession she herself had to make to Willow soon.
For a short moment, Willow let Faith play 'softie' again. "Look, I should get going. Got two more classes," Willow reluctantly pulled her hand out of Faith's grip. "So..."
"Hey, I'll call you tonight. After patrol. You can tell me how it went, okay?"
"Okay," Willow replied and, after looking around the yard, which was student-free, already, gave Faith a soft kiss before she hurried off.
Faith sat on the bench a little while longer, thinking about that dreaded talk with Willow and about how she could get Xander to talk to her in private.
It was 6 pm and Willow, nervously waiting for Oz to knock on her door, paced the living room of her house. Still she had no idea what she would say to him and how. But she knew that she needed to get this over with. It's bad enough as it is. I don't want him to find out about it three months later...and possibly from someone else...
When she heard the knock on the door, her heart almost stopped beating in her chest. Trying to compose herself, she walked to the front door; she opened it to find, not suprising, Oz standing on her porch, hands in his jacket, his expression unreadable.
"Hey," he said.
To be continued...
A/N #2 Those questions up there...are really taken from the, what was it, the MMPI, so I didn't make them up. Hope figuring out the formating wasn't all that complicated (it looks pretty weird, I know) :P See you next week, things are gonna be a little more interesting and the chapter is gonna be a little longer :)
A/N #3: As always, I love reviews, guys :)