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

Chapter 5

The punching bag jerks backwards as her fist strikes the soft padding repeatedly with a combination of lefts and rights. She's worked up quite a sweat over the past twenty minutes of her work out, almost as if she were working out some personal issues on the leather bag. After six or seven different quick jabs to the punching bag, she spins on her heels and hits the bag with a back fist before spinning back to her regular position and hitting the bag with a couple more jabs.

Eventually, the slayer slows down the punches to the bag and then steps away from it. She takes a deep breath and stretches out the tense muscles in her shoulders and lower back.

"Seems like you're feeling better..."

Faith turns around to see Satsu standing just inside the doorway to the training room they're both suddenly in. For a while, Faith just stands there and watches the younger slayer. Satsu throws up her hands like she's surrendering.

"Don't worry, I've been knife free for going on three days now. I'm not about to jeopardize my recovery by going around stabbing people again, least of all you."

Faith watches her for another moment to make sure she's being honest.

"Good to know."

That makes Satsu move a little further into the training room and Faith goes back to looking at the punching bag. She relaxes her fingers a little from the impact of her knuckles on the bag.

"So are you actually feeling better or is this one of those 'push through the pain' slayer things that Buffy's always talking about?"

Faith cocks her head from side to side a couple of times to work out the tension in her neck.

"Nice thing about being a slayer, the more damage you take, the easier it is to recover from things the next time."

The place is silent for a moment.

"Guess I haven't learned that lesson yet."

"Well I'm not exactly one of the teachers but I'm glad I could help."

Faith reaches out and tries to hold the bag still from the swaying it's been doing since the last punch she threw at it.

"Listen, Faith..."

There's a pause from Satsu for a moment and that makes Faith turn to look at her again.

"I just... you know... wanted to say I'm sorry about the whole... you know... stabbing you thing. I..."

Faith holds up one of her wrap taped hands to stop Satsu.

"It's okay. I get it."

"You do?"

The older slayer shrugs.

"If anyone gets the whole impulse control issues, it's me. I'm the queen of bad decisions in the heat of the moment."

Satsu stares at her older companion.

"A real believer in impulse thinking..."

Faith half grins at her apparent newest friend.

"Something like that."

"Still, most people don't have stabbing impulses, and they don't act on them."

"You really are new to the whole slayer thing aren't you?"

Silence follows Faith's semi-rhetorical question.

"Look, Faith, about what happened..."

"It's cool. If I'd been in your shoes, I probably would've done the same. Though I'd like to think I've managed to put together a little bit of restraint over the years."

Neither of them says anything for a second.

"To be honest, I probably shouldn't have said what I said. Especially with the way you were freaked out and angry."

Satsu watches Faith for a second.

"Probably, but still... I'm sorry."

This time it's Faith who doesn't say anything right way.

"I appreciate it. I'm sorry too. But I'll tell ya what. Let's just call it all even and go from there."

Faith takes a couple steps towards Satsu and holds out her hand to shake. After a few seconds, Satsu does the same, shaking Faith's hand in friendship. The two slayers smile a little at each other before Satsu speaks up.

"I'm okay with that, as long as we can leave all the Buffy stuff behind us."

They eventually let go of each other's hands.

"Deal..."

"Hey, Faith...?"

Both slayers turn around at the sound of a third voice they're both really familiar with coming through the door.

"Hey B, how's it going?"

Buffy gets a confused look on her face at the sight before her.

"Uh... hey?"

Her confusion turns to fear at the thought of two people she knows rather intimately standing in a room together after all that's happened. She looks towards the wall of weapons hanging not far from the three of them, quickly moving between them and the two slayers.

"Everything okay...?"

Faith smiles a little at Buffy's tense position.

"Five by five Buff. The Sushi lady and I were just talking."

Satsu glances over at Faith.

"Sushi lady?"

The dark slayer grins at Satsu.

"I have a thing about nicknames. Don't take it personally."

Satsu raises an eyebrow at the older slayer.

"Okay..."

Buffy looks over at Satsu for confirmation.

"Satsu?"

"It's just like Faith said, we were talking."

"About what?"

The grin on Faith's face doesn't go away.

"About you, mostly..."

Buffy's fear turns back to confusion.

"Me?"

"Yeah I was just curious how good you were in bed and Satsu was filling me in on all the details."

"What?"

Both Faith and Satsu smile at each other from the sudden moment of panic that washes over Buffy's face. It's Satsu that speaks up first.

"She's kidding Buffy. I came in here to clear the air with Faith."

"Yeah B, we did the whole girl talk slayer bonding thing and now we're the best of bosom buddies, except without the sharing of bosoms... right Satsu?"

Satsu looks at Faith for a moment with a bit of the smile for earlier.

"Right..."

Buffy remains mostly silent and confused with her stance being very defensive between the weapons and the two brunette slayers standing not far from her, uncertain of what to do.

"You can stop guarding the weapons any time you'd like B. Everything's okay and it's gonna stay that way for the moment."

After a few more moments of uncertainty, Buffy relaxes her stance and sort of steps away from the weapons wall a bit.

"Oh... well, okay... that's, you know, good."

There's a slightly uncomfortable silence between the three slayers in the room for what seems to stretch out for a few minutes but is actually closer to one. Satsu decides she's the best one to break the silence.

"So, Faith... what are you gonna do now?"

Faith looks at the younger slayer with a curious look.

"Do?"

"Yeah, are you gonna stick around and enjoy all the excitement of Twilight or are you going back to Cleveland?"

"Uh, right..."

She turns her attention towards Buffy.

"I don't really know. I haven't really had any time to think it over. Guess that's one of the things that me and B are gonna have to talk about."

That becomes Buffy's queue to jump into the conversation.

"Yeah, uh, that's actually one of the reasons I came looking for you. We kinda need to have that talk."

Faith shifts her weight a little at the prospect of talking to Buffy alone.

"Right, yeah... uh, Satsu, do you mind?"

Satsu and Faith look at each other. It takes Satsu a second to figure out what it is that Faith is asking.

"Oh, uh, yeah, sure..."

She starts heading towards the door.

"I'll just, you know, go get an update from Xander on tactical."

Buffy smiles at Satsu as the young girl gets to the doorway.

"Thanks..."

Satsu sort've avoids smiling back at Buffy.

"No problem."

Then finally Buffy and Faith are standing alone in the training room as Satsu starts walking down the hallway. The two remaining slayers stand uncomfortably silent together for a while. Eventually, Buffy speaks up.

"So... seems like you're feeling better."

Faith stretches herself out a little in front of Buffy.

"Yeah, I'm thinking I'll be back up to a hundred percent by the end of the week."

"That's good. I'm, I'm glad."

"Me too. I really don't like having to sit around and do nothing when I don't have to."

"You never were good at staying in one place."

"The only question is, what am I gonna do with myself when I'm fully up and running again. It's not like the whole middle of nowhere castle gives me a lot of options."

"Well, if you want I could have the Wicca's whip you up something with a little more power then a punching bag."

"Hmm, that'd be good. I could really use something that would fight back. Something tells me that Twilight's gonna fight back."

"Yeah he kinda does. But..."

"But what?"

Buffy shifts her weight from foot to foot uncomfortably and takes a deep breath.

"Well, that kinda implies you're sticking around."

Faith pauses for a second.

"I guess it kinda does. Which I could do, you know, assuming I'm welcome. I mean, you invited me here on account of you needed help with Twilight. And so far I haven't gotten a chance to put my fists to him. But if you'd rather I skip out on the ultimate Scottsdale, then I can get Giles to book me out on the first flight back to Cleveland."

"Uh, no... I mean, you don't have to do that. Not if you don't want to. You're uh, you're welcome to stay for as long as you're willing to help. It'd be nice to have someone around who's actually got some serious battle experience under her belt."

"Then I'm yours for the asking."

Suddenly the room goes silent despite the two people standing in it who are more than capable of carrying on with the conversation.

"Which is probably not the best way to say what I was trying to say... cause you know, I'm hanging around for the fight, not for anything else."

"Right... which is good, because you know, that was the reason I wanted you to stay."

It's Faith's turn to give Buffy a bit of a confused look.

"Really?"

"Of course... why?"

"Cause, Sushi girl's exit wasn't the only thing I heard while bleeding to death. Your voice was kinda hard to ignore in all the shock and panic and near-death experiences."

Buffy runs a hand through her hair and shifts her weight uncomfortably at what Faith just said.

"Oh..."

She takes a deep breath without responding.

"A couple words kinda stuck out."

This time Buffy doesn't respond right away.

"Right, that..."

"I mean I get it. I'm beautiful, sexy, got the stamina of at least three racehorses... and with your recent attempt at enjoying the other fifty percent of the population it kinda makes sense that you'd wanna take a shot at the best of the best."

Buffy raises an eyebrow at Faith.

"Ego much?"

Faith shrugs back with a bit of a grin.

"It is what it is yo. But B, I ain't really into you in that way."

Buffy scratches her head at Faith's words.

"Uh, Faith..."

"Not that the thought of getting into your pants didn't occur to me once or twice, or twenty times in the two and half years I was locked up in prison with a whole mess of women who were too into each other for their own good but... it's like I said before, I don't really swing that way."

The blonde slayer rolls her eyes at Faith.

"Don't make me hit you Faith."

They look at each other for a moment.

"Well, at least it'd be a step down from being stabbed with a knife. I kinda wish Satsu had thought of that prior to the stabbing."

"Right, what exactly did you say to her that got her in that kind of mood?"

Again Faith shrugs.

"Mostly what I'm saying to you now. Seems she kinda got it into her head that I'd gone and ruined her shot with you on account of getting you to fall in love with me so that we could be together. She wasn't too happy to find out that I didn't even really wanna be with you. Guess it kinda put her in a stabbing mood."

"Faith, I'm not in love with you."

That comment makes Faith give Buffy a curious look.

"Come on B, you can't go denying things now. You said it, I heard it. I just wanna make sure that you know that it ain't gonna happen so you can get over me already."

"Yeah, I know I said it but... Faith..."

Buffy takes a moment to compose herself with a deep breath and faces Faith.

"You remember what you were saying about the whole shock and panic thing?"

"I only said it a couple seconds ago, so yeah."

"Well you weren't the only one having a shock and panic moment. You were just the only one having the near-death experience. I kinda panicked too in all the lack of excitement."

She pauses for a moment before continuing.

"I was freaked out and desperate for something to say that would make you keep fighting to live."

"And the first thing that popped into your head was you were in love with me?"

Buffy looks at Faith and shrugs.

"Pretty much..."

"But you're not?"

"Not really, no..."

They both get silent.

"All right, good... that'll make talking to you and spending time together a lot less awkward."

Buffy smiles.

"I would think so."

After a minute or two, Faith walks up to Buffy and puts her arms around the shorter girl's shoulders.

"Who knows, you and me might get to know each other and actually manage to become friends."

Buffy starts heading towards the door with Faith's arm still around her shoulder.

"You and me? Friends?"

Faith punches Buffy in the arm playfully.

"Hey, stranger things have happened."

"No they haven't."

They both laugh at Buffy's joke as they make it to the doorway of the training room out into the rest of the castle.

"So exactly what was it about prison that had you thinking of me naked?"

This time Buffy just smiles as Faith laughs again.

"Well..."

The End