One Night To Forget It All

They'd been walking in silence, ever since they'd followed him into the woods. They were far enough behind him for them to walk behind him unnoticed, but close enough to keep him in their sights.

"No eyes," Faith said eventually, sick of the silence between them, "but look at him go. He got sonar or something?"

"Or something, I guess." Buffy sighed, her arms remaining tight across her chest. "Pretty good when they attack."

"Do they just roam free around town?"

"Well, normally, they show up out of nowhere, and then either stab or get stabbed, and then they run off. Looks like this guy wants to be found."

"Lends weight to the whole 'It's a trap' theory."

Buffy stopped and spun round quickly, forcing the brunette to stop and watch her mood suddenly change from animosity to full out aggression towards her.

"I'm through waiting around for people to attack us." The blonde snapped at her.

"Hey," Faith raised her arms quickly and defensively, "I'm with you. Drop me in the hornet's nest. What the hell? You got a rough sitch here; trying to turn a bunch of little girls into an army-"

"They're potential slayers, just like we were." She corrected as she started following the hooded figure once more.

"Right." Faith sighed, walking to catch up with Buffy. "Maybe they'll do as good as us."

"They're getting better."

"I'll work with 'em. Some of 'em seem real eager. Fashion disasters, yeah, but they're ready to fight."

"Why did you come back?" Buffy asked her, having stopped once more.

"Willow said you needed me. Didn't give it a lot of thought. Do you - Am I getting you want me to be not here?"

"No," Buffy sighed, "that's not what I meant. I'm...glad that you're here. It's good." She told her, her voice dropped as if she was ashamed to admit it.

"I was nervous about seeing you again." Faith admitted, her voice just as quiet as Buffy's before. "After all those letters I wrote you, you not replying to any of 'em."

"What was there to say?"

"I don't know." Faith looked away.

"You think you could just write me a few letters and it all be fixed between us?" Buffy coughed so her voice was as husky as Faith's "'Hey B, I'm in jail. Sorry about all that went down before, what with the murder, me trying to kill you-'"

"I never tried to kill you." Faith interrupted but stopped when Buffy held up a hand.

"'-And your friends, stealing your body, your life. Foods rubbish too. Hope we're now five by five.'"

"I never tried to kill you." Faith repeated more quietly this time.

"No just my friends and a couple of my boyfriends."

"What did you actually expect? Me to be all hugs and kisses with them?"

"Riley!" Buffy raised her eyebrows up at Faith.

"Okay you have me there, but – I mean come on!"

"What am I meant to be coming on here!" Buffy snapped at her, before watching Faith bite her lip. "Fine," she sighed, "bad choice of words but what am I clearly meant to already know?"

"You telling me its been all this time and you still haven't figured it out?"

"What, Faith? What is this giant insight into you that I haven't worked out 'cause now would really be the best time for you to tell me!"

"Fine, be Little Miss Greater-Than-Thou, just let me know how that sarcasm works out for you." Faith raised her hands once more, however, this time it was in surrender rather than defence. With that she simply turned and walked back the way they'd come.

"FAITH!" she heard her name but she just kept walking back into the woods. Buffy was right, why had she come back? What did she really expect? Sure, she and Angel were good, but then again they pretty much always had been since he'd moved away.

Mind you, he was blind to everything. He never saw her seething jealously slowly dissipate visit after visit. After helping him out in L.A., seeing Willow again she'd seen it as a sign; that they were ready for her to come back. Like Angel had been some sort of test – a requirement to prove that she was ready to face Sunnydale and Buffy again. Furthermore, she thought Buffy was ready for her.

A hand grabbing her and swinging her round brought her back. Brought her back to her.

"We were just kids." Buffy said, barely above a whisper. "It didn't mean anything."

"Maybe not to you." Faith said, shrugging her off and going back into the woods.

"-This girl has died two times, and she's still standing. You're scared? That's smart. You got questions? You should. But you doubt her motives, you think Buffy's all about the kill, then you take the little bus to battle. I've seen her heart, and this time - not literally. And I'm telling you, right now, she cares more about your lives than you will ever know. You gotta trust her. She's earned it."

Faith had been leaning on the door post too busy listening to Xander to hear her come in the door behind her. She felt her though, when she placed her hand upon her shoulder, gentler this time. She turned round to face her.

"Hey." She said quietly.

"If you're going to avoid me, my house might not be the best place to do it." Buffy smiled at her.

"Hey Buffy!" Xander called across from the living room. "You find some sort of evil Central Control?"

"No, we lost him in the woods. But that's a start. We can get Willow to check abandoned buildings in that area. Maybe head out tomorrow." Buffy shrugged, removing her jacket and hanging it on the rail.

"You lost him?" Dawn frowned at her.

"Seems they don't want to be found as of yet." Buffy told her, walking into the living room towards the potentials. "But weapons are good." She nodded looking round. "Kennedy, maybe you could lead training downstairs."

"Yeah but I don't know how to train them for tentacles." Kennedy told her, looking around with the other girls unsure of themselves.

"Tentacles?" Buffy frowned.

"There was a thing." Xander explained quickly.

"I don't think the First has an army of squid. But if He, It…" Buffy shook her head, "does I will submit quite happily to the 'I told you so dance.'"

"Apocalypses come with dancing now?" Faith sighed, walking across the room to the kitchen digging around in her pockets for her cigarettes. "Knew I should have stayed in L.A."

"Why didn't you?" Buffy asked her quietly, joining her alone by the back door.

"Willow said you neede- Haven't we done this one already?" Faith frowned at her, walking to the steps to sit down.

"No this is something new. And when did you start smoking?"

"Prison. Nothing else to do. Besides, I needed a hobby."

"Couldn't have picked a less lethal one?" Buffy asked, taking the pack out of her hands and inspecting the Surgeon General's warning.

"Compared to vampire slaying, this one's quite tame." She said, taking the pack back, removing a cigarette and pocketing the rest. Buffy simply nodded, as she watched her light up. "How long we going to skirt this?"

"I can go an entire apocalypse. Apparently I have before."

"You were wrapped up in other stuff." Faith shrugged as she watched smoke leave her mouth in a straight line.

"You say that like I'm not now!" Buffy gave her a half smile.

"I've had a lot of time to think of the late, figured I'm grown enough to face you."

Buffy watched as Faith kept taking drags from the cigarette, listening as she in and then quickly exhaled the smoke in and out of her lungs.

"Was it love?" she asked after a while..

"Yeah." Faith sighed, "It scared me 'cause it developed so quickly, figured it was all part of the 'Slayer Connection' then I slowly realised that it was simply you… But then Angel was found. You stopped coming round my motel room. We stopped, you know…" she looked over at Buffy, who simply nodded, "I got jealous. Then all that shit happened with the Deputy Mayor and everything just went…" Faith moved her hands searching for the word.


"Yeah." Faith sighed, "That."

She moved her cigarette to her mouth, but was met by Buffy's not only stopping her but removing it from her hand. She watched as Buffy stubbed it out beside her and then threw it into the garden. She opened her mouth to protest, but was quickly silenced by Buffy's lips upon hers.

There may be more to come, watch this space.

R&R people, good and bad feedback - you know the drill.