Disclaimer: In the interest of honesty and transparency, I am not making any money off of anything you're about to read, nor do I own any of the characters within. So I'd appreciate not being sued by Joss Whedon or anyone associated with him who owns rights to the characters in his universe. Thanks.
Rating: I'm gonna go with R, since it's going to be getting a little more mature later.
Distribution: I'd appreciate a heads up if you're interested in putting the fic up somewhere for other people's enjoyment. :)
Feedback: = Appreciated
To Really Know Someone
The sound is hollow as it echoes through the cave.
But even as hollow as it is, it's enough to wake her from her sleep with the hazy pain that follows it.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.
Her eyes open to the near pitch black darkness of her surroundings and the shadows of the flickering lights don't do much to help her blurry vision despite her slayer senses when she tries to focus. Figures seem to form in the shadows and as they group together she starts to remember what lead her to where she is.
* * *
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Buffy stands in the doorway of the Scottish Castle's Medical Wing, leaning against the frame and completely uncertain of what to do.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
She stares into the large room at the only recent victim to be admitted to the place in the last thirty days.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
But the question on Buffy's mind isn't who the victim is, or who it was that dug the knife into the victim's stomach. It's a much more important question that needs answering.
Buffy turns her head to see Xander standing next to her suddenly.
"Maybe it's different here in Scotland, but I'm fairly certain that back in the U.S. of A where you were born, it was customary when visiting a hospital patient to actually go inside and visit with them."
Buffy goes back to staring into the room.
"But then maybe the Scots have some weird ritual involving haggis."
"I'm just not sure it's such a good idea for me to go in there."
"Because the haggis hasn't arrived yet?"
Buffy smiles at the ridiculous question.
"No... because every time Faith and I seem to get within arms length of each other, one of us ends up instigating violence."
Xander leans against the opposite side of the doorway's frame to face Buffy.
"And one of you tends to end up with violence related injuries. Yeah I sorta noticed that over the years. It certainly sucks, especially with the most recent developments in the Buffy/Faith relationship."
The slayer stares at her darker twin intently, ignoring Xander's insinuation.
"Who knows, maybe the whole lip service thing could explain your lack of friendly relations over those same years."
That makes Buffy move slightly in Xander's direction to face him.
"What do you mean?"
"The constant need for knives and feet that you guys have for each other, maybe you're finally hitting on the source of it all."
Buffy shrugs at Xander.
"Faith and I already sorta had that conversation back in Sunnydale. We're way too complicated for that kind of explanation. That would be simple and obvious."
"And yet you felt the need to declare your undying love in a tense moment with half a dozen witnesses."
"Undying love is easy to promise when the one listening is bleeding to death."
"Reality always tends to set in afterwards."
Xander readjusts his eye-patch in front of Buffy.
The blonde slayer turns back towards staring at Faith.
"You remember the conversation I had you and Will arrange between me, her and..."
She stops short of actually saying the third participant's name.
"What about it?"
"I put a lot of thought into that conversation before having it. And despite everything that's happened, circumstances between me and Faith are still pretty much the same. There's too much history between us, too much bad blood for us to have anything honest or long term even if that's what we both wanted. And it could take us the rest of our probably very short lives to work out all our issues to a point where we could."
"And that's assuming both of you could be honest enough to actually talk between each apocalypse."
"With our history, I'm guessing the odds are against us."
"Probably a safe bet."
Xander shifts his weight against the doorframe.
"Still, there's something to be said for undying love."
Buffy takes a deep breath while staring at Faith lying motionless in her recovery bed.
"I'm not in love with Faith, Xander."
"Really? Because I thought there was pretty compelling evidence to the contrary."
She brings her eye line back to Xander's, taking another long and deep breath.
"I would've said anything to keep Faith alive long enough for her to live through this."
"And the idea that you were in love with her is the first thing that came to mind? You thought she'd keep fighting to stay alive if she thought she had a chance with you?"
Xander pauses for a moment at what Buffy just said.
"But you're sure she doesn't?"
It's Buffy's turn to pause for a moment.
The continuous moments of pausing continues with Xander.
"So what happens if she wakes up and wants to make her extended stop-over in the most Scottish country on Earth into a permanent move so you can be together?"
All Buffy does is shrug at Xander.
"Assuming she even heard me during her near death experience?"
They both take a moment for quiet reflection.
"Do you think she'd go evil again if I had her sedated and transferred back to Cleveland?"
Xander smiles at Buffy, knowing she was only partly joking.
"Depends on if she heard you or not. And if she cares."
Buffy goes back to staring at Faith, about 10 feet inside the Med Wing's recovery room.
"Any guesses on which I'm in for?"
This time it's Xander who looks at Faith so they're both staring at her.
"Despite all our history, I can't say I ever really understood Faith or the kinds of decisions she tends to make. All I can say is we'll have to wait and see."
Buffy sighs heavily and reaches a hand up to run her fingers through her hair.
"So where does that leave things with you?"
Xander raises an eyebrow in confusion.
"I think maybe I missed a step there."
Buffy pushes herself upright and starts walking away from the door she'd been standing in for the past 30 minutes. Xander follows her.
"She tried to kill someone. I wouldn't let Faith get away with it, and I won't let Satsu get away with it. We have to find her."
They both walk down the hallway of the Scottish castle together.
"Which is where the downside of training a bunch of girls with superpowers everything you know about hunting, if any of them goes AWOL they tend to know exactly how not to get hunted."
"Then we'll just have to find a new way to track her down."
Buffy and Xander leave the Medical Wing.
End of Chapter 1