So here's the start of a new story, less fighting, I'm thinking, and more drama. We'll see how it turns out. Buffy/Faith, eventually, so be warned.

Nobody's reviewed on my one-shot, 'Payback', so if you are a long lasting reviewer of mine, please go read and review it.

In case it wasn't noted, I really do like reviews. A lot. So review.

Oh and I suppose I should disclaimer this. BtVS isn't mine. Damnit. ;)

Enjoy and review.

"You know why you hated me?"

Willow turned around, eyes widening at the voice, and body tensing at the sight. Her throat released a sound that slightly resembled a squeak. She hardly trusted herself to say a word, and for some reason, she hardly trusted herself to move, either.

"Cause I had the one thing with Buffy that you didn't have." Cigarette smoke billowed out gracefully from the luscious lips that moved. The lips that turned up at the corners to reveal a smirk that Willow knew all too well.

"Connection." The lips said. The lips that were on the face that was on the body that was under the clothes and the hair and the make up and the posture that induced fear into all her enemies. Her enemies, who once were her friends.

So to speak.

"W-what are-are you doing here?" Willow cursed herself for the stutter. Time had passed long enough to rid herself of it, and yet here it was, making another appearance as fear and anger crept over her.

"You tell me, Red. You brought me here."

The office seemed painfully familiar. But even more familiar, was the figure scrambling on the floor, an ancient book spread open before her. Willow gasped, and flinched when she felt a strong hand on her shoulder.

"I guess it's time."

She stood in the doorway, pausing for a moment, and Willow saw a look. A strangely human look in the face she often recognized as a monster. Then it was gone, and the smirk was back, with a steely glint in the dark, unforgiving eyes. She tilted her head slightly before opening her mouth to speak. Willow wondered briefly, where the cigarette had gone.

"Check out the bookworm."

"Faith!" The girl before them looked oh so much like a deer in the headlights, and Willow knew that she was swallowing the lump of doom that had accumulated in her throat.

"Anyone with brains, anyone who knew what was going to happen to her, would try to claw her way out of this place. But you, you just can't stop Nancy Drew-ing, can you? Guess now you know too much and that kinda just naturally leads to killing."

Scrambling to her feet, Willow's younger self was holding back her shaking hands.

"Faith, wait. I want to talk to you."

Oh Goddess. Here it comes.

But this time, something told her to look more carefully. She stared deeply at the menacing face, and was startled to see that look come across again, ever so quickly, that she thought she may have imagined it.

"Oh yeah? Give me the speech again, please. Faith, we're still your friends. We can help you. It's not too late."

"No!" Willow wanted to stop it, she rushed to stop the words she knew were inevitable, but she heard them pouring from her own lips, remembering the bitterness, the hatred, the jealousy.

"It's way too late. You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life. I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you. You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends in your life like Buffy. Now you have no one. You were a Slayer and now you're nothing. You're just a big selfish, worthless waste."

Time seemed to freeze and when Willow turned to look at the other girl's face, she saw it. There it was again. Now she knew what it was. Deep, deep pain. Lodged inside those icy, dark eyes that none of them had managed to see before.

"No...Faith...I swear I didn't...I didn't know..." She wanted to hug her, apologize, even. It didn't make sense.

Because she hated her. She hated this girl, this evil entity that had tried to take her best friend away from her. Who had slept with her childhood crush and threw him out like a used toy. She hated her, right? She despised her seductive ways, her blunt mannerisms, her wild and feral attitude about life. It was dangerous, and she wanted nothing of it. More so than that, she wanted Buffy to have nothing to do with it. But here she was now, eyes tearing up at the deadened expression on the dark haired beauty's savage face.

Then as soon as it had stopped, time pressed on, allowing this girl named Faith to swing a punch at the frailer redhead. Willow gasped as the fist went through her and hit...her. Well, the other her. She winced, remembering the throbbing she experienced in her jaw afterwards. She glanced at her self with a sorry smile, then turned back.

"You hurt me, I hurt you. I'm just a little more efficient." The voice was husky with a desperation she didn't remember. Suddenly she realized that those eyes were looking at her. Not at the figure on the ground, but at her.

"Faith...I promise I didn't mean to say-"

"No, Red. You did. I guess this is just a good memory to look back on" Her eyes closed for a moment before opening again.

"For closure."


Willow had no time react to the spine-crushing hug that Faith was giving her, body shaking with tremors and head burrowed deep into her shoulder.

"I'm sorry, Willow. So, so, sorry..."

Slowly, she reached around the leather jacket, pushing aside any doubts in her mind and returned the embrace. They stood there for a moment before Faith pulled herself away, lips smiling and wiping something from her eyes (not tears, never tears) before stepping back. She lifted her hand in a gesture of goodbye. The world around them was fading into black and the only clear image before her eyes was Faith's ever grinning lips and her ever brooding eyes.

"Bye, Red."

Then the world went dark.

"I'm about ready to pop."

Xander's eyes nearly bulged when he heard the words. He swung around deftly and nearly choked on his spit. There he was. Standing there, looking as nervous as he remembered. And there she was. As wild as he remembered, and still beautiful and dark. Stumbling over, cautiously, he gazed into her eyes, remembering. Dark, enticing, mysterious, and oh so lustful. Her hands reached over and rubbed over his chest. Not his chest. His other's chest.

"Really?" His younger voice squeaked, as his eyes glanced at the sturdy hands on his chest.


"What the hell..." Xander murmured, head spinning.

"You up for it?" There was that sexy smile he'd dreamed of for days after the incident. And before the incident. The smile that brought about weak knees the same way the sun brought light.

He watched himself nod.

Idiot. Fucking idiot!

"Oh, I'm up."

Both Xanders tensed as one of her hands dropped, purposefully.

"I'm suddenly very up. It's just, um...I've never been up with people before." He grinned sheepishly, embarrassed to admit his virginity to this wild and feral girl, younger than him yet oh so experienced.

She grabbed him by the chin and kissed him full on the lips, a sample of the cake. Xander remembered that kiss. Oh did he remember. Intense, passionate. Every guy's dream come true. Except he remembered that he wasn't ready. Not at all. Still young, still innocent, he didn't know any better.

"Just relax... And take your pants off."

"Those two concepts are antithetical."

Xander almost groaned at the undeniably geeky little boy he was. Antithetical? As if Faith cared. But he cut himself some slack. He was a dork back then. Still is.

Off with the jacket, off with the shirt, and on to the bed.

He remembered well. She had pushed him onto the bed and jumped up excitedly, straddling him with a beautiful grin on her flawless face.

"Don't worry. I'll steer you around the curves." She pulled off her shirt. He gulped. Those breasts. They were a very good source of pleasure with or without clothing. He knew his younger self had felt the same way.

Some things never change.

"Did I mention that I'm having a very strange night?"

Xander watched, but not in the sense that overwhelmed boys when they watched people fuck in pornographic videos. No, he watched as a man would watch a couple making love. Suddenly, things he didn't notice then hit him now. Such as the softness of her movements, the slow yet confident way she handled his virgin body. He not only saw the gentle touch, he remembered it. The caution she took with him; there was nothing hard or fast in the way they had sex. His eyes teared up and for some reason couldn't shake the feeling that maybe this was the best way he could've lost his virginity. He always forced the idea that this night was a blur into his head, into others' heads. But it wasn't. It was soft, slow and beautiful.

She can love. She just didn't know how.

He remembered the cuddling, his fingers running lightly over her arm, and the innocent, and open gaze in which she smiled at him. There was an expression on her face that screamed for help. For something more than just this. As if she longed for something other than just a simple fuck all the time. But he also remembered dismissing it as manipulation when she'd thrown him out. And he watched it happen again. She pushed the half naked boy out of the door, holding a bundle of his clothes and her wrapped up in a bed sheet. Looking at her face now, he saw fear. Fear that she may have made herself completely vulnerable to someone. To another person.

"That was great. I gotta shower." She shut the door behind her, and leaned against the door, eyes closed. Then they opened.

"Guess you never knew how scared I was." She said softly, looking directly at him. The sorrow in her eyes broke his heart.

"Faith..." He started, stepping towards her, hand reaching out. She shook her head, waving a hand at him, seemingly dismissive. She moved to sit down at the edge of her bed, sighing deeply.

"It started off like any other guy. I thought it'd be easy. It wasn't." Pausing, she glanced up at him.

"I didn't pursue it. Thought I'd done enough. But I had to pretend, right? Pretend like it never happened. Like it didn't matter." She sighed again, brushing her hair away angrily.

"Faith...I...I should've seen it..." He stammered, unsure.

She smiled gracefully and got up, moving towards him. Her free hand rested on his shoulder, but he felt no warmth. He almost felt nothing at all. Maybe a slight wisp of air. Gossamer.

"Sorry, Xander. I really am." She tiptoed upwards and he felt her soft lips brush against his cheek. He thought the blur in his vision was from the tears. It may have been. Or maybe it wasn't. The lips then past his cheek and waited next to his ear before whispering.

"Bye, X-man."

Then there was no more light.

"Still wondering what you're doing here, or have you figured it out yet?"

Buffy resisted the urge to jump a mile high at the sudden sound in the silence. She stood with her arms crossed, as her counterpart slowly revolved her steps around her, like a predator playing with its prey.

"Slayer dream." She replied curtly.

It was all she could do from beating the hell out of the smirking girl, clad in leather, looking as beautiful as she always did. It irked Buffy. Most all the bad guys in her story were ugly, deformed creatures that fit their malicious and dirty characters. But not her. Never her. She managed to look like a goddess. One of darkness and evil, wielding herself as gracefully as Buffy could. Wild and rash, yes, but never sloppy. She made evil look enticing. Made it look as elegant as her make up and her finely tailored clothes.

"Halfway there, B. Dream? Yea. Slayer? Somewhat, considering we're both exactly that." She stopped circling and stood facing her, her face blank and void of any emotion, save the slight upwards jerk of her strained lips. As if she had something else behind her words.

"Don't play games with me, Faith." Buffy made her voice as cold and as harsh as she could. As unhappy as she was to see her, the room made her even less comfortable. This place; where it started and where it would eventually end. It made her feel twitchy inside.

"Ah, don't worry about it." The other girl glanced at the red lights on the bedside radio/clock before turning on the stereo and jumping on the bed with a comic book in hand. Looking back, she gave Buffy a quick wink and a soft smile.

"You'll be here soon."

Passing the stereo and nearing the bed, Buffy did her best to ignore the loud music and spoke angrily.

"What-" She stopped and turned. So did the dark haired wonder on the bed.

The room rested in silence.

Oh my god.

"Thought I'd stop by."


The surprise on Buffy's face stayed, while the shock in the other girl's face quickly transformed itself into a grin. A very shit-eating, I-don't-care-anymore grin.

"Is he dead yet?" The hope underlying the voice was unmistakable. Yet Buffy picked up on a hint of regret that she hadn't noticed before. She reached out to shake the other out of this recurring nightmare. But when she stretched her hand, her fingers went right through the body, as though she was a ghost. With a gasp, she pulled it back. What was this?

"He's not gonna die. It was a good try, though. Your plan?" By this time, they were both standing up, the seemingly friendly banter layered with scorn and built up feelings of hatred. Buffy stared at herself, dressed in leather, dressed the way she always feared to. Her body movements, her tone full of energy that was taken up a notch with the need to kill. There were three Slayers in the room, but only two had their powers pulsing at the top, ready to explode. One was made to be that way all the time, and the other was forced to be that way by the girl standing before her.

"Uh-huh. The Mayor got me the poison. Said it was wicked painful." The neat and straightened dark hair followed the movements of its owner, who was used to expressing herself with physical gestures.

"There's a cure."

"Damn." As convincing as it may have sounded then, now Buffy heard it again. Relief?

"What is it?"

"Your blood." The death in her voice was undeniable. It was there, and ready to fulfill what it claimed it would. Buffy remembered the feelings inside of her, so ready to kill this girl, her worst enemy. She watched as her younger self gave a grim, tight-lipped grin.

"As justice goes, it's not un-poetic, don't you think?"

"Don't..." Buffy whispered.

Don't bait her. Don't bait me. Please...

"Come to get me? You gonna feed me to Angel? You know you're not going to take me alive."

"Not a problem."

Her heart panicked. This couldn't be happening. Not again. She fought back the urge to scream, but she couldn't just stand there.

"Well, look at you. All dressed up in big sister's clothes." Dark eyes danced with excitement, but why? Even then, they both knew that Buffy could take her. Could break her, in the end, no matter how hard the struggle. So why did she look so excited? Happy, even?

Taking her steps cautiously, the young Buffy couldn't hide the contempt and mockery from her voice.

"You told me I was just like you. That I was holding it in."

They approached each other until they were face to face. Toe to toe. Eyes boring into each other, trying to figure out all the motives, the emotions, everything. Buffy remembered not caring. Just wanting to kill. To destroy the evil before her. Suddenly killing Faith had become about the job. Faith was evil, she was meant to die by Buffy's hands. It was destined. It was the legacy.

"Ready to cut loose?"

Now Buffy understood. She always thought those words meant to ask if she was ready to be like Faith, wild and dangerous and evil. No. Those words meant something else.

Are you ready to be free? Ready to just be, Buffy? Are you ready to accept who you are? Not a killer, not a murderer, but a Slayer? Are you ready to make mistakes that I've made, Buffy? Are you ready to make mistakes to grow into a better person than I have become? Are you ready to cut loose, B? Are you ready?

Are you ready to accept yourself, Buffy?

"Try me." Even now she could hear misunderstanding. And Faith did too.

I'm ready to kill you.

"Okay then. Give us a kiss." Mocking. Biting. Because she knew that Buffy didn't understand.

Guess you're not ready, then.

"Stop!" Buffy yelled, ignored, watching helplessly as she saw the punch land on Faith's jaw.

Then the whirl as Faith backhanded her. She remembered that backhand. Hurt like hell, but she never showed it. She wanted to close her eyes, but they were glued to the fight, as it progressed. Her blood boiled, enthralled by the grace of the movements and the skill that they'd both possessed at such a young age. She'd fought in cold methods. Calculated. Precise. But Faith fought like a demon, the glint in her eyes expressing her bloodlust.

"Not getting tired are you? I'm just starting to feel it."

The fight continued, and the strikes were quick and strong. Grabbing at each other, they fell through the large window, falling onto the terrace. Buffy followed them, landing with a grunt that wasn't needed. She could hardly feel the concrete below her. She watched as the young Buffy cuffed Faith's wrist to hers, hazel eyes gleaming with triumph.

"Stick around." She'd repeated Faith's words right back at her. Biting remarks and ironic quips. Something she always had a knack for.

Buffy was an onlooker of her own battle against the darkness that Faith represented. She was the shadow that loomed in her own mind, and it'd frightened her, though she'd never admit it.

There. There was that awkward position she caught Faith in before...

"What's the matter? All that killing, you afraid to die?"

Faith spun Buffy so she could get the leverage to use her legs and managed to snap the handcuff chain. They faced it off again, handcuffs on their wrists long forgotten, and Buffy's eyes widened as Faith picked up a long pole of a pipe and faced her opponent. Buffy's fists clenched as she watched herself pull out a knife. The knife. Faith's knife. She never did know the significance of that knife, but she remembered the rage that roared in Faith's voice when she spoke next through grit teeth.

"That's mine."

You have no idea what you're holding. That means something to me. That's mine. Mine.

"You're about to get it back." Cold. Calculated. Distant.

I'm ready to kill you, Faith. Be ready to die. Are you ready to die?

"Oh" Buffy held back a sob.

The Rogue Slayer dodged the knife attacks, and somehow managed to grapple with Buffy, holding her over a ledge with that excited grin on her face again.

"Man, I'm going to miss this." Excited. Happy. Child-like.

I'm gonna miss sparring, B. Gonna miss our connection. Are you?

"No!" Buffy screamed as time slowed itself, she watched in horror as the hands she knew were hers broke from the grip and time sped back up as the knife slid into Faith's stomach. So clean. She remembered it slipping through the flesh, the body as though it was made of butter. She'd plunged it in, expecting resistance, and yet met with none. It was almost too easy.

She ran towards them, reaching desperately, wanting to stop it, wanting so much to help. Buffy gazed up at her face, Faith's eyes full of pain, regret and relief, staring down at the offending blade that reflected her face back to her. As if this was what she wanted all along. Faith looked back up, through her, at the girl behind her.

"You did it." Weak. Smiling. Relieved.

Finally, B. You did it.

She flung the younger version of the petite blonde down to the ground, still clutching at the open wound in her abdomen.

"You killed me."

Hesitating out of pain, she grunted as she stepped up, closer and closer to the edge of the building.

"Still won't help your boy, though." As she said it, her eyes snapped suddenly to Buffy. The now Buffy, who could only stare back in horror.

"Don't cry, B. This is what you wanted, right?" Faith chuckled, shaking her head.

"Always got what you want, Little Miss Golden Girl."

Buffy reached over, grabbing her by the shoulders, now being able to touch her. To feel her, even if it was barely noticeable. She tried to pull her back from the ledge, but Faith resisted.

"Faith, please...Please let me help you..." She couldn't hold her tears, and her voice was desperate.

"You weren't ready, B. You weren't ready. This is how it goes, remember?" Faith grinned, pulling away, with a slight grimace at the blood seeping through her hands. Buffy could smell it. It was strong and accusing, and it dripped over their covered feet and stained. It took everything in her power not to vomit, not to break down and curl up into a ball.

"You're dying...oh god...please..."

"Don't beg. Not to me. Don't-" She was interrupted by her own coughing, blood dripping from the lips that so often were the cause of people's downfall. Those lips that were now painted crimson to match the color of her hands. Once the violent coughing ceased, the lips moved again. With purpose.

"I'm sorry, B. I just needed you to know. I'm so sorry." Faith reached and gripped Buffy's shoulders firmly, and Buffy's eyes blinked through tears to meet her gaze, trying to ignore the sound of drip drip dripping on the concrete below them.

With a final chuckle and twinkling of the eyes, Faith pulled Buffy's lips to hers. Softly. Gently. It was a caress, and it was the only heat Buffy could feel, Faith's blood the only thing she could taste. Then the hands were gone. Buffy's eyes shot open, and she could hardly move as Faith shuffled backwards, limping. The smile was back, and she could hear the murmur that she could also remember, and it made her want to scream.

"Shoulda been there, B. Quite a ride." With a wink, she waved a single bloody hand as a gesture of farewell.

Bye, B.

And so Faith fell as Buffy fell to her knees, crying.

And as she fell, the world around her fell into a darkness she had never known before.