Faith immediately crouched into a defense position, expecting some sort of retaliation from the girl. She tilted her head curiously when it didn't come. She watched as the blonde haired girl walked stiffly to the body lying on the floor. She kneeled down and put her hand against the cold flesh. She sniffed, the sound echoing in the quiet room. Xander looked on at Buffy, seeing the tears flowing down her cheeks, and felt the remains of his human side slowly being eaten away by the guilt of playing a part in the man's death. Both he and Faith waited anxiously for her to notice their presence, to see Mr. Giles' blood all over them, to see how she would react to it. Xander was a bit surprised that Buffy could stomach the site of the body so well. He knew that she'd nearly been in as many fights as Faith, that she had been in trouble just as much as she had. But the way that the scenario they were in didn't seem to affect her was interesting to him. She whispered something he couldn't hear, and touched her forehead against Giles chest.

He felt the hairs on his arms stand up when Buffy turned her head away from the remains of the librarian and finally noticed them. He'd never seen anyone so furious as she was at that moment. Not when he was arrested for vandalism last year and his mom had to pick him up from the police station. Not when he accidentally ran over his grandma's prized flower garden with the lawnmower and his dad found the array of torn petals streaked across the backyard. Not when he got a ticket for driving without a license. His parent's anger and those times paled in comparison to ice-cold hate filled eyes of the girl standing before him. Her fists balled as she moved slowly toward them, leaving a small trail of bloody footprints in her wake. She was a girl who clearly wanted revenge; she looked absolutely murderous.

"Monsters," she seethed through clenched teeth. "Disgusting, cold-blooded, hideous monsters."

Faith growled menacingly at her. Xander was afraid that she would just as easily turn Buffy into person puree and she'd done to so many people already. He wanted to explain to Buffy what had happened. That it was a force of nature, or something beyond it, which made them do it. That it was beyond their control. They couldn't help it; it was almost like a second nature. Of course he knew that it was really no excuse, and that she was as far beyond reason right now as they were beyond human.

Faith roared suddenly and leapt at Buffy. Xander was shocked when he watched the blond haired girl pivot and grab Faith's shirt, easily flipping her over her shoulders. Faith hit the ground with a thud but jumped back to her feet quickly. She growled and flashed her fangs at Buffy who merely waited patiently for Faith to attack again. Xander inched away from Buffy's form and she turned her head in his direction when his boot scraped against the linoleum. It was the split second distraction needed for Faith to pounce on Buffy again and slam her onto the floor. Her jaws snapped wildly at Buffy's face, wanting to rip it clean from her skull. Buffy struggled underneath her, hands pushing away at her chest, keeping the fangs barely out of reach. She lifted her foot into Faith's gut and with one swift blow, sent her sprawling across the floor.

Xander was shocked at display of sheer strength from Buffy. He'd never seen anyone be thrown that far by getting kicked in the stomach while lying on the floor. Faith shook it off and snapped to her feet again.

"You're strong," she said.

"I'm the slayer," Buffy replied.

"What the hell is that?"

"You'll see."

Buffy ran quickly to fill the gap between them and leapt in the air, thrusting out her legs and arching her foot straight for Faith's jaw. It was a move done so fast that Faith barely managed to turn her head, just slightly avoiding the blow to the jaw and getting it to the side of the head. She spun around with the force of the hit on the balms of her feet and swiped at Buffy's legs with her claws. The slayer screamed as she felt the cuts across her shins and hunched over to cover them with her arms. Faith threw an uppercut as soon as Buffy's face was level with her fist and she flipped over straight onto her back, her head knocking against the tile and her body falling still.

"I guess they don't make these, what did she say she was? Oh right, slayers like they used to," she said to Xander.

He couldn't think of any way to respond and nodded his head robotically. He hesitantly moved to his feet and walked over to where Faith was hovering over Buffy, who still lay motionless on the floor. He hoped he could talk her out of eating the girl, but doubted that he could be very persuasive. He kneeled down cautiously, not wanting to possibly wake Buffy up, or piss Faith off. He looked to his dark haired friend who's eyes never left her enemy. This was not the Faith he'd found salvation of his teenage angst with, although in the last week she'd proven that point into the ground. He didn't know what to think of her anymore. Not after all the death he'd seen her cause, all the bloodshed. He was by no means innocent himself, but at least he wished to retain his humanity. She was too far-gone to know what that even meant anymore.

"What are we going to do?" He asked.

"What do you mean?"

"With her," he said pointing at Buffy. "We can't leave her here."

"Sure we can," Faith replied. "No one will even recognize her when I'm done with her. I bet her spleen tastes like chicken."

"I can't let you kill her Faith," he said sternly.

"Why the fuck not? Did you see how strong she was Xander? She called herself a slayer. Say it with me 'slay-er.' Do you know what that means? It means she kills things. It means she was going to kill you and me. It means she will kill us if we let her live."

"You don't know that. Maybe she..."

"Maybe she what?" Faith shouted. "Maybe after a nice little rumble to blow off her grief she'd suddenly stop and we'd shake hands and go our separate ways? 'You killed someone I obviously cared very much for but oh well, these things happen.' You really think that would happen Xander huh? We killed her friend there. She wants us dead."

"You shouldn't have killed him," Xander whispered.

"I can't help it!" She screamed. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to resist? Every pore in my fucking body screams at me for blood. Every second of everyday I feel the urge itching on my skin. It won't go away. I can't make it go away."

Xander opened his mouth to reply but snapped it shut.

"I know you know what I mean," she said. "You feel it too don't you? That little calling from somewhere deep inside? You fight it as hard as you can, I see that, but you can't win. It'll overtake you. It'll drive you insane. Only the blood makes it stop Xander. Only the kill."

"No."

"Yes. Deny it all you want but the animal inside knows it's true. And soon it'll do your thinking for you."

"No!"

Buffy stirred underneath them, a low painful moan coming from her throat. Faith wrapped her claws around her throat just as she'd done with Giles. Her eyes remained locked with Xander's; Buffy's gasps for air filled the silent room.

"Kill her," Faith said softly. "Kill her and make the strain end. Be free Xander, just let it go and be free."

He looked down at Buffy's wide eyes and swallowed back the lump in his mouth. It would be so easy just to end her suffering. One simple bite or slash of the claws and he could end her pain. He gently pried Faith's hand from Buffy's throat. She gasped for air and Xander mouthed an "I'm sorry" to her. He snarled and flashed his newly grown fangs causing Buffy's already wide eyes to stretch just a bit wider. She struggled in vain beneath him and he slowly lowered his mouth to her neck. The rhythmic beat of her pulse enchanted him, and he felt the beast inside calling for him to take her.

His fangs nicked the delicate flesh of her neck briefly before his still battling conscious told him no. He could not end a life, not willingly, not consciously. His hands shook violently against his will and he knew he was losing the internal battle inside of him. He knew he had to make one last ditch effort to get Buffy out of here, and then he could finally make it rest. His arm snapped out quickly, knocking Faith back to floor. He jumped off of Buffy and quickly pulled her up.

"Get out of here!" He yelled. "Now!"

She didn't even glance at him as she ran for the doors, her pace fast of fueled. Faith groaned as she rolled onto her side and pushed herself up quickly. She growled viciously at him, her lips curled back in a snarl, her claws reaching toward him.

"You asshole," she said, her voice drained of any emotion. "Making me chase my supper."

"Faith," he began. Trying to explain that he was done. That he over trying to be who he used to be. That he would be like her because he could think of nothing else to do.

"No," she said taking a step toward him. "No more talking, no more whining, no more of any of it. I'm tired of your little moral charade. I'm so fucking tired of it. You can't fix this Xander. You can't ever fucking fix this."

She backhanded him harshly and sent him flailing to the floor. She howled as she ran out the door after Buffy and he lay still knowing that it was useless to chase after her. She would get what she wanted. He was sure of it. The pain of her strike barely registered after a moment, and his hand moved to where she'd hit him. He felt nothing. His nosed perked as the scent of Giles' body still floated like perfume around the room, and he fought uselessly to keep away from it. His hands shook as he moved to his hand and knees and crawled slowly toward it. All he was focused on was the smell and the rumble of his wild hunger in his stomach. It had taken every last ounce of strength he had to let Buffy go. And now it was gone. He couldn't fight the animal anymore. He had lost.

He heard the screams of Faith and Buffy's ensuing battle from beyond the doors of the library and tried his best to ignore them. He ignored the dead man's hollow stare as he crouched over the body. He just put his fangs to flesh and let the animal loose.

***

He wasn't sure how much time he'd spent feeding on the librarian's corpse. The screams of the fight had died away awhile ago. He could smell blood beyond the doors, fresher than what remained in the room. His stomach rumbled for it. He stood slowly, letting his nose guide him. He walked out of the library, sniffing deeply as he entered the hallway and headed left. He saw the trail of smashed lockers and knocked over garbage cans left in their wake and followed the mild destruction all the way to the science building at the other end of the school. The scent of blood became stronger as he moved closer and it was beginning to overtake his mind with desire. He rounded a corner and was not surprised at what he saw. Faith was sitting calmly on the floor, breathing heavily; her hands and face covered in Buffy's blood. She scowled up and Xander when she saw him approaching, licking one of her fingers thinking it would drive him away. He looked to Buffy sitting there propped up against the wall, her hands clutching at her stomach, her shirt and pants soaked with her own insides. Several cuts were lashed across her face and shoulders. Her blood was *everywhere.* Her eyes were wide but not unfocused, and he could see the faint rise and fall of her chest. Somehow she was still alive, but was clearly hanging on by a thread. She made little gasping noises inside her throat, an attempt at some sort of speech. But the blood bubbled from her lips and no words could come. He knew that she didn't want to die. He felt Faith's eyes on him as he knelt down next to her, his hand reaching out to stroke the red stained strands of once blonde hair.

"Xander?" Faith asked softly.

Buffy made more gasping noises, but more blood merely dribbled down her chin, and she could say nothing once again. He ran his hands through the puddle billowing around her and brought his crimson covered fingers to his mouth slowly, savoring the taste of her.

The aroma was so intoxicating he could barely hold himself together. What little amount he did lick off his fingers was doing very little to satisfy his growing hunger. He was done trying to fight it. The last part of his rational mind that would scream out that this was all horribly wrong was dead and gone. He felt all the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. He can hear her heart slowing, feel the weak pulse inside of her coming to a close. Faith was talking behind him but he didn't pay attention to the words. He looked to her with one last grain of struggle in his eyes and she lifted a gore-covered finger to his mouth to tempt it away. He closed his eyes and let the beast inside devour the rest of his humanity. He leaned closer to Buffy, flicking his tongue out against the soft skin of her neck, before snarling his teeth and ripping into the flesh. She gave one last gargled moan before he drank the rest of her away.

He let the body slump to the ground when the last bit of blood finally stopped flowing. He turned to Faith who was still talking. The only words he caught were "come with me Xander." He crawled to her, pressed his lips firmly against hers, a low growl emitting from his throat. They broke away from each other and their eyes locked. It was then that she knew he was hers, and she was his.

Together forever.

In name and blood.