Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Author notes: This is the sequel to Comalies. Like Comalies, takes place at the beginning of the fourth season, Buffy and gang are about a month or so into college, she is not dating Riley, Willow is with Oz, Xander and Anya are confused-sexing. I know this first chapter is very short and just rehashing the end of Comalies, but it is just the prologue :)
Thanks: to all who read Comalies, and most especially lilyme for all her help with ideas for this and for generally being awesome :)
They continued to travel without speaking, the three people in Giles's car; each was too distracted to notice the long period of silence. Giles was driving, his brow furrowed as he concentrated on keep his attention on the road, not allowing his worry or his weariness to distract into taking a wrong turn. Faith was sleeping, her body warm and limp against Buffy in the backseat, her head still leaned heavily on the older slayer's shoulder. And Buffy… Buffy was awake, but she could feel her thoughts winding down, could feel how her eyelids seemed to be gradually growing heavier.
There was less than an hour left until they would arrive back in Sunnydale, and Buffy knew that upon reaching their reluctant destination there would be no more time to do nothing, to simply rest in silence. Once more she would have to jump right into the swing of things… this time, not by way or slaying, or defeating another Big Bad, but by protecting a former Big Bad… or at least, a former Big Bad's former willing assistant.
A lot had been going on over the past two days; things had happened so quickly, with such intensity, that Buffy was still struggling to process them. It had all started with a phone call, a rather unpleasant awakening by Giles that had informed her that should Faith's coma not reverse itself on its own in four days' time, the Council would instruct the hospital caring for her to remove her feeding and hydration tubes, allowing her to die. From that point onward, the slayer and her former Watcher had been involved in a race against time as they did all they could to save Faith's life- and possibly her soul.
First there had been the hospital breakout, and Willow's subsequent technological and magical cover-up of the fact. Then the three hour car trip with the comatose Faith, where Giles and Buffy had met up with Dr. Catherine Dean and Dr. Miriam Kent. The doctors had then connected the slayers' minds with their advanced techno-psychological equipment, in essence sending Buffy into the midst of Faith's mind- and her memories.
Buffy knew she could never forget what she had seen inside Faith's mind, the horrible visions of the younger slayer's past. She had literally been inside her, felt her range of emotions along with her, and finally felt she could understand Faith and her actions of the past. Eventually Faith had
emerged from her coma, and now, almost helpless, weakened physically, but healing, she was coming back with them to Sunnydale, where her future remained very uncertain.
Faith's future wasn't the only thing that was uncertain, however… it seemed to Buffy that everything was up in air, and she had no idea when it would all come crashing down on her. The Council… they were supposed to have Faith killed tomorrow. What would they do when they found out that there was no record or recollection of her ever having been at the hospital? Where would they stay, how would they hide Faith until they could figure something more permanent out?
Where did she and Faith stand in regard to each other? Buffy knew now she loved Faith… she knew that Faith had once been attracted to her, once strongly desired her love and attention. But was this still true today? What did Faith feel about Buffy, about Buffy's newly realized concern and affections for her? Was she even aware of them? What did she want from Buffy, from Giles and the Scoobies? What did she feel about what Buffy had done for her, about their abrupt, only-briefly-explained departure with her back to Sunnydale?
Buffy didn't know, couldn't be sure. And considering how much time she had spent inside Faith's mind, she was having a hard time guessing, especially considering how much time Faith was spending sleeping.
She would never want to go back into Faith's mind, never want to see what pain she had witnessed and experienced inside it again… but as she sat in silence with the still-sleeping Faith slumped against her, Buffy found herself wishing that she could in some way get insight into the other slayer's thoughts.