Disclaimer: Not my girls. Unfortunately. All Joss's. And so is the direct quote at the end.

Author notes: Takes place just before the start of "Dirty Girls", just after the end of "Orpheus" on Angel. Thank you Jessica for the idea 

The car was quiet, had been almost entirely so since the two young women positioned themselves inside it not quite ten minutes ago. Some small talk, deliberately casual and meaningless, bred more from the older girl's feeling of politeness and nerves than any desire to do so, had died down already. For neither of these particular women felt comfortable with the thought of really talking to each other, something they hadn't done in years…really, something they had never done at all.

This was gonna be one long, totally awkward drive, was Faith's slightly resigned, slightly cynical, but also somewhat amused thought as she shifted herself slightly in the passenger seat across form Willow, pulling at the seatbelt across her chest with some discomfort. She never wore the things usually- didn't like feeling something so close up to her chest that she hadn't personally invited there- but after coma number two, she was thinking pushing her luck with the whole serious injury thing wasn't the smartest idea.

Besides, I still got facing off to B for that one… better not let Red's driving get its hits in on me before she does.

As she shifted herself in her seat she could feel her still-sore back and shoulder muscles strain slightly, and though she was nowhere near sleep, her mind active and alert, she stifled a yawn. She was mostly good now injury wise post battle, the Slayer healing having kicked in, but it would be another hour or so until she was 100%. Perfect timing to face off to B, of course. All the others, especially Lorne, who had reminded Faith of a big green cross-dressing nanny to her own amusement, had wanted her to rest up for a little while before going back, but hell if she'd do that. She'd slept enough in the whole dream walk thing in Angel's head- and besides, heading back to Sunnydale all groggy from a catnap was not the way to go.

Faith would never say so, of course, especially to Willow, the only other person around to say it to… but she was nervous, her stomach tight and tense in the way she had always hated, been relieved to rarely be forced to feel. Nervous about going to Sunnydale, of course, of trying to get herself in and help out B and the others when she didn't really even know what the deal was, and had more than a sneaking suspicion she wasn't wanted… nervous about what would happen, where she would end up when all the helping was over. On top of all that, to her own annoyance with herself, she was even nervous to be where she was right this second- alone in a car with Willow Rosenberg, of all people. Who would've thought back then there would ever come a time when she'd be nervous to be around WILLOW?!

Faith found herself moving again slightly, edgy, her slight anxiety at the situation coming out in the form of her fidgeting. It wasn't helping that Willow wasn't saying anything. Faith couldn't tell if this was simply a sneaky form of revenge and torture or if the redhead was feeling awkward and tongue-tied too. To the dark slayer, both seemed equally possible.

She'd never really been alone with Willow before…and the last time she had been,she'd threatened to kill her and slapped her around. The last time she saw her she'd taunted her girlfriend and been dressed up in B's bod anyway… so yeah, she guessed it was really no wonder why it was weirdly quiet between them right now. Awkward was totally the right word for it.

Honestly, this whole redemption thing had been easier in prison, Faith had to admit to herself as she ran a hand through her hair, rolling back her shoulders and shifting her eyes to stare out the window into the darkness. In prison she could just be sorry for all she had done, just know that by doing her time she was trying to offset all her wrongdoings, to submit herself to the laws she had broken. In prison she could tell herself she was making things right, and she wouldn't have to face up to the people she had betrayed, to try to work things out more actively. And in prison she didn't have to stress over how she should apologize.

She never had apologized to any of them, no one except Angel and Buffy…and Buffy's response,that any further apologies would result in her beating her to death, might very well still be a valid threat. Still, she was gonna have to find some way to do it…probably.

It was just now really beginning to hit her, that she was really going back to Sunnydale for the first time in three years… when Willow had asked her to come back and help them, she had been totally taken by surprise, and yet a part of her had almost already known. Some part of Faith, she was only now beginning to realize, had always known she'd go back some day.

She tried to switch off from that line of thought, telling herself that there was no point in thinking about something until it happened. It wasn't like she even knew any details, even the ones that were probably important, like exactly why it was so bad that Buffy would need her, Faith the Failed Slayer, to come back her up. Then again, maybe that wasn't important… if Buffy needed help, then Faith was gonna help her, and that was really all she needed to know.

She found her thoughts drifting back to Angel, to all that had happened over the past few days with him and his gang. Everything was so different now, all those new people… not Cordelia, obviously, or Wesley, but even Wes had seemed a different person. He wasn't at all like the pompous bumbling guy who had once been her Watcher… a few times he had even managed to strike a nerve with her, hitting where he knew it would hurt. His changing had thrown her at first- but she couldn't say it wasn't an improvement.

Then there was that big Gunn guy, that goofy Fred chick, Lorne, who had sang to her and held her hands the whole time she was in the coma even if he did look like something she ought to be slaying…and Connor. Angel's son… the thought of that, Angel having a son, was trippy enough without realizing he was a teenager and gunning after Angel too. The kid was intense, didn't take orders too good, but she could tell he had potential. Couldn't have anything else if you were Angel's kid.

And weirdest of all was probably that for once, she had been helping Angel, saving him, rather than the other way around. Well, it had been Willow who'd put his soul back, of course, and everyone else had helped…but still. Faith had in some way, in some part, saved Angel. And THAT was way different.

Some things weren't though… the guy was still too girly for his own good sometimes. Imagine him thinking she was actually gonna hug him goodbye…

She didn't' realize that she was smirking until Willow glanced over at her and finally addressed her. The redhead spoke lightly, her voice casual, but she was obviously curious as she asked, "Something funny?"

"Oh," Faith replied, a little startled, glancing toward her briefly and speaking in a tone suited to mirror Willow's. "Nah, just thinking…"

She let her words drift off as her eyes shifted to Willow somewhat warily, expecting her to make some snide comment about the way 'Faith' and 'thinking' didn't go together. But she didn't; instead Willow nodded slightly, looking for a second as if she would reply, then just looking back at the road quickly.

As the silence began to stretch between them again awkwardly, Faith shifted herself yet again. She wasn't usually one to need to make small talk, and she never would have thought she'd want to with Willow of all people. But right now, for whatever reason, the quiet was really getting to her, and she found herself speaking up without really having intended to.

"Kinda crazy how all this has been goin'…"

"Well…it's been a crazy year," Willow replied, her voice still light, but also careful as she glanced over at Faith.

Relieved that maybe it wasn't going to be a totally silent trip, Faith shrugged, going on somewhat dryly, but making sure to sound like she didn't' care one way or another if Willow bothered to continue answering her.

"Yeah, go from model prisoner to fleeing felon to Coma Take Two and Soul Stroll… and now, whatever we're doing back in Sunnyhell," Faith went on, shrugging and glancing over at Willow briefly.

She was half hoping for an explanation, but when Willow hesitated, not giving her one right away, she shrugged to herself mentally. Wasn't gonna beg for one… she'd find out soon enough she guessed. As long as they weren't gonna tie her up and feed her more Orpheus stuff and throw her back in prison, she was good. She could take whatever else they were planning on tossing her way.

Even though she wasn't sure 'they' were involved in this so much as Willow… did the others even know she was out of prison?

She intended to keep quiet if that was the way Willow wanted it to go, not push things with her… but again her mouth and mind overruled her, and she addressed her somewhat suddenly, her eyes skipping towards her.

"So guess everyone's around, all the old Scoobs… you and X-Man, Pipsqueak and Giles and all…"

"Well, yes…actually Giles was gone a while, but he's back now, we can use him… we can use all the help we can get. Which, which is why I'm bringing you here- like we talked about," Willow said, and though she was still perfectly civil and even in tone, there was still an odd quality about it that made Faith barely able to stifle a frown.

She hadn't expected this to be easy by any means, hadn't expected Willow to be even as nice towards her as she had been… so really she didn't know why she was bothered. Thing was though, she kinda was.

And hey- what did she mean, 'like we talked about?' They hadn't talked about shit, not enough for Faith to know what was going on anyway. Willow said Buffy needed help and asked her to come with her, and Faith had said yes… that had been the extent of their 'talk'. Not that she was complaining or regretting it or anything…but still. A heads up on what was so bad they'd even want HER to help out with it would've been nice in a way.

"Pipsqueak…you remember Dawn? Faith, you remember Dawn?" Willow asked suddenly, glancing at her with quickly dawning surprise, and Faith glanced back, nodding and shrugging with some confusion. What, she expected the second coma to have screwed with her memory? Ought to be pretty clear she had a harder head than that by now.

"Well, yeah… should I not have for some reason?"

"No…never mind," Willow muttered to herself, shaking her head, but she didn't' seem annoyed or angry to Faith so much as a little startled. Weird… whatever, she had other things to worry about.

"So…guess I'm gonna get a motel or something, huh?" Faith tried again casually after a few moments, but she had been wondering about that for a little while now.

She didn't have any money on her. Angel had tried to give her some, but she had been too stubborn and stupid to take it… and no way could she take any from anyone in Sunnydale.

"I mean, obviously not gonna stay in your dorm with you guys, not gonna stay with Xander and his girl because she'd kinda kill me. Something tells me Giles ain't gonna want me staying with him either, and I /know/ B ain't gonna want me in her house with her sister and her mom, so-"

"Faith," Willow interrupted, her voice slow, even more stunned than before, and she actually made eye contact with her quickly before turning her eyes back to the road. "Whoa…I didn't think how you wouldn't know all this…"

She exhaled slowly, her eyes flickering as her eyebrows drew together slightly, seeming to be gathering thought, controlling emotion. After a few moments where Faith watched her carefully, a little apprehensive at whatever she was about to hear that put that look on the redhead's face, she started to explain slowly.

"Faith… we don't live in a dorm anymore… we dropped out of college a long time ago. It was kinda necessary. We all live in Buffy's house now, sort of…even if we were still in college, we wouldn't be now, the whole town's evacuating with all that's been going on…"

She exhaled again, glancing over at Faith quickly; clearly that had been the easy part of what she had to say. When she began again her words were quiet, carrying a quality Faith couldn't interpret.

"If you meant Anya as Xander's girl, she's around but they're not together anymore. I guess, anyway… kind of hard to tell with them sometimes. And…Mrs. Summers…" her voice dropped even lower, and her hands around the steering wheel tightened.

"She's dead, Faith. For over a year now."

Faith felt herself stiffen slowly, her face first, then her torso and chest and arms, all the way down until her body was rigid in her seat, her expression frozen. She had trouble breathing for a few moments as the news sank in deeply, like a tight hand squeezing itself around her heart…

Ms. Summers, dead… Buffy's mother, dead… she had been nothing but nice to her. Nothing but warm and welcoming…and the last time Faith had been with her she had been holding her hostage, threatening her and her daughters, stealing her daughter's body…

And even so, Joyce Summers had not been angry with her. She had looked into Faith's eyes, the eyes she had thought to be her daughter's, and she had voiced concern and pity for her, even after all she had done…

Faith's hands formed fists at her sides, and she gritted her teeth, fiercely stamping down on the tears that wanted to come to her eyes as she addressed Willow roughly, trying not to think of how devastated Buffy must have been, how alone…


"She'd…she had a brain tumor," Willow said quietly, and if she was surprised by Faith's reaction, she tried not to show it. "They thought she was better after surgery, but then she had an aneurysm."

Faith exhaled again, trying not to picture this, to picture Buffy's face when she found out, when she saw her mother's body…for though Willow had not said so, somehow she knew that Buffy had. When she spoke again it was more to herself than to Willow…or really, more to Joyce, even to Buffy.

"I'm sorry…"

"Yeah…it was rough," Willow replied softly, and it seemed to be just hitting her that this was odd, having this conversation with Faith. She hesitated before going on slowly. "You do know that Buffy died too, right…she's back, of course, but she did die last year…"

Faith nodded wordlessly, and the cruel invisible little hand wrapped around her heart gave a vicious squeeze once more as she looked deliberately out the window. She hadn't needed Angel's visit to know… she had felt it, had alerted the prison guards when she woke up from the sleep screaming, actually crying from Buffy's physical and her own emotional pain…

But of course, she didn't say any of that. All she did was nod, her tone very controlled as she replied.

"Yeah…I knew."

The two young women fell into silence again, both thinking deeply- or perhaps trying to avoid doing so. Faith had thought before that everything was different… clearly she had known much less of this than she had conceived of. And of course there was more to come, so much she didn't know…

The truth was that she didn't know any of them anymore… not Willow, not Xander, not Dawn or Giles… and as much as she hated to admit it, not even Buffy. It had been years since she had… and yet she had expected that they would pretty much be the same. Probably- no, almost definitely- what they would expect with her too…

But she wasn't the same… she knew that now, even though she might sometimes fear otherwise. She was better, stronger, smarter than she had been… no Buffy, that was for sure, but neither was she the angry, scared little girl everyone had known at first glance would never amount to anything. She was starting to learn what it really was to be a Slayer… and maybe she still wasn't as good as Buffy- hell, she probably never would be- but she was gonna try, she was gonna get there…somehow.

She turned back toward Willow abruptly, not willing to let the conversation die down. Now that she was starting to realize this she wanted to know more, to prepare herself for what to expect when she just showed up, no doubt unwanted, wherever it was she was going to show up at…

"So… you said you guys live with her? All of you- X-Man and you and Giles and everyone?"

When Willow nodded, her eyes flitting towards her briefly, Faith frowned slightly, then smirked as she tried to picture that.

"Damn, must be crowded…"

Another thought struck her then, and her smile faded abruptly, her back stiffening as she kept her eyes carefully trained out the window as she asked Willow another question. It occurred to her that this in itself was odd, that SHE was asking questions while the notoriously babbling Willow seemed mainly okay with silence…but whatever, she wasn't gonna worry about that one either now.

"So…is B's guy there too, I guess…Riley?"

She was trying to keep her voice offhand, but the question was anything but. If the guy she'd slept with in Buffy's body was still around… damn, it was going to be way more uncomfortable than she'd thought even…

"What? Riley? Wha- ohhh," Willow said, her face quickly flashing comprehension, and she flushed slightly, also looking straight ahead at the road. "No, no, they broke up… Buffy's not she's not with anyone right now… I guess," she muttered to herself, in the same doubtful tone she had used in regard to Xander and Anya's relationship or lack thereof. Faith had to smirk at that- things must be crazy if even Red didn't know what was up…

"No, it's just us, plus the Potentials, of course-"

"Potentials?" Faith asked blankly, "Potential what?"

"Oh right, you wouldn't… the Potentials are potential Slayers," Willow explained, and her voice was loosening up a little now, seeming to like having something that wasn't a touchy, awkward thing for one or both of them to talk about. "You know, girls who aren't Slayers yet but who could be when-" she glanced at Faith quickly, suddenly skidding to a halt for a few moments as the unspoken 'when you die' passed between them.

"Anyway, they've been showing up at the house from all around the world since the Bringers started killing them. It's almost like they're drawn to Buffy instinctively somehow, or maybe the Hellmouth, even if they're not Slayers yet-"

"Bringers?" Faith interrupted, raising an eyebrow.

"Oh, they're hooded guys without tongues… we're still not sure exactly what they are. They've been killing a lot of the potentials with these jeweled knives… we think they're trying to kill off all of them, and you and Buffy too eventually. The entire Slayer line…" Willow finished, her voice serious, and Faith went very still once more, thinking.

There had been a knife like that in prison, the same day Wes had come to take her out… Deb had tried to kill her with it. Had that been a Bringer who gave it to her…had she been targeting her because she was a Slayer? She had known it was an outside job, but-

"There's maybe 20, 25 Potentials with us now," Willow was saying, not seeming to notice the change in Faith's expression. "I'm not sure exactly, there might have been more arriving since I left. They just seem to keep coming-"

"Whoa, 25?" Faith blurted, incredulous, at least for the moment distracted from her line of thoughts. "You serious? What, are they camping out in the front yard, sleeping in the bathtub? How do you feed them all?"

"It's kind of a stretch," Willow admitted, smiling slightly, and she glanced at her again as she added lightly, "We've got blankets and sleeping bags, but you're right, everyone's pretty much spread out all over the house. You'll probably have to floor it too, all the beds and couches are claimed-"

"What?" Faith asked in surprise, her eyebrows lifting slightly as she turned her body as well as her head now to look at Willow. "You mean, like, sleep on the floor at B's? You serious? Look Red- thanks and all- but like I said, I'll get a motel or something."

"No, Faith, you don't have to do that," Willow protested, and she actually, to Faith's greater shock, sounded sincere. "We have blankets, like I said, and come on, you've got to admit with the whole prison thing you must be used to sleeping on hard spaces with other women around."

"You've gotta be kidding, right?" the brunette interrupted her incredulously, eyes widening slightly as she realized that the other girl in fact wasn't. "I don't know what's changed your mind in the past day or two, but are you thinking, like, at all? I mean, I'm not gonna push things- I seriously don't' think B's gonna be too thrilled about me being around anyway without-"

Her eyes narrowed with sudden suspicion then, and the tone of her voice slowed as her earlier thought hit her again, more fully this time.

"Willow… did Buffy tell you I could stay with you guys?"

As she had predicted, Willow didn't meet her eyes, suddenly very focused on the road.

"Well not exactly…"

"Does she even know I'm coming?" Faith asked her pointedly, already knowing the answer and dreading hearing it confirmed aloud.

"Well…not exactly…"

"And you think she's gonna be all 'Oh yeah, sure, Faith, I've got 30 people living with me now, but I want YOU to come stay too?' Do you remember anything at all about the past five years, Red?" Faith asked in continuing incredulity, truly not understanding why Willow was behaving as she was, suggesting and seeming to not even be totally against her staying with them.

"Of course I do, Faith," Willow said evenly, her voice and face more composed now, "Believe me, none of us have forgotten anything."

"Then why would you ask something like that?" Faith asked, her tone colored with her confusion as she opened up her hand for emphasis. "Why would you think for half a second that B would let me stay in her house?"

"She'll let you, Faith," Willow answered, and there was a quiet certainty in her voice now, an almost steely edge that made the Slayer look over at her in surprise once more. "She'll let you, because she'll realize that it's what needs to be done. If we're all going to be working together- fighting together- then we all need to be in one place. With everything going on like it has been, we need to stick together, keep everyone safe."

"Oh," Faith muttered, as another comprehension came to her, one that finally made sense. She shifted in her seat restlessly again, and her voice held a slight edge to it as she replied. "You mean you guys want to keep an eye on me."

"What? No, no, that's not what I said… that's not it, Faith. We just need to-"

"Hey, I don't' blame you," Faith cut her off, shrugging. She willed herself to keep her posture loose, her voice cool, even as she wanted to sink back into the silence they'd had before. "I did some shitty things to you guys, I wouldn't trust me either…"

She exhaled faintly, dropping her eyes to the dashboard as her hands went to grip her knees, tightening on them slightly.

Alright, Faith… guess now's as good a time as any to get one over with…

"Look, Red… I just wanted to say… I'm sorry," she said almost jerkily, the awkwardness of her words showing all too clearly how hard this was for her. She ran a hand through her hair, not daring to look over towards Willow as she continued. "I know I screwed up… kinda went beyond screwing up, I was a nutcase, alright? Well… not even that, not at first anyway… I don't know. I was bad," she said slowly, and there was an odd quality to the last word, an almost strained pronunciation that made Willow's eyes go to her quickly, frowning with curiosity as she let her finish.

"Like I said, I screwed up, I know that… believe me, I know that. And I can't say or do much to make it any better except this…helping you with whatever you're wanting me to do…"

A quiet fell between them as Faith's words trailed off, and she wanted then more than ever to do something to dispel the tension crawling over her skin, twisting in her stomach. She wanted to scratch at herself in an attempt to calm her restless responding itchiness of flesh, to squirm or make some unnecessary noise, to turn on the radio or roll down the window…anything at all to distract herself.

Faith was starting to squirm, despite her best efforts not to, when Willow finally looked over at her. Her face was controlled, and yet there was an odd look in her eyes. She didn't' seem angry or sarcastic, didn't seem about to dismiss Faith or yell at her… Faith thought she looked reflective, and this too made her uncomfortable.

"Well…you're right, Faith, I won't argue with you about any of that," Willow said slowly. "You did all you said and more…but I can't really be Judge Girl on you anymore."

Certain she had to have misheard the last part- because clearly she must have- Faith turned her head quickly.

"What? I mean- Red, not complaining here if you mean- I just don't get why you're…"

Willow sighed as Faith trailed off in confusion, and she moved her head in such a way that her face was partly obscured, her hair covering it as she continued to look straight ahead. Had she not been driving, Faith suspected she would have lowered her eyes.

"I can't be Judge Girl, Faith… because I was Judgee Girl," Willow said finally, her voice careful, calm, but quiet. "I…you could say I was on the dark side for a while too… after Tara…" she paused for a while, and Faith was sitting up very straight now as she looked to her, unable to imagine what Willow seemed to be implying.

WILLOW, Willow ROSENBERG, on the 'dark side'? God, even the way she phrased it made her words seem extremely unlikely. She had to be exaggerating- Willow's idea of a walk on the dark side back in high school had been leaving one homework problem unfinished.

And Tara…wasn't that the girl she'd been with the last time Faith had seen her? Well, technically she'd been wearing a Buffy suit at the time… what did she mean, after Tara?

"Tara," Faith replied, glancing towards Willow quickly. "She was the girl you were with before or something, right?"

Willow's face slackened slightly, though Faith could not see it; she could only see her hands whitening around the steering wheel.

"Yes," she answered finally, her voice soft, and another few highly tense moments passed before she continued, either having gained enough control to do so, or else having decided to trust Faith enough to.

"She…she was killed. Before that… I was addicted to magic. It was around the time I brought Buffy back- I guess Angel told you about that… I got off of it a while, stopped using magic… but then Tara…"

Willow exhaled, and Faith couldn't look at her. She was stunned by what Willow was saying, that she would actually open up to her like this…but she was also beginning to be intensely uncomfortable. She didn't say anything, just waiting to see if Willow was going to continue.

"I…I kind of went crazy for a while," Willow began to explain, her voice level now, her words more sure of themselves. "I killed the man who did it… well, 'killed' is kinda a mild word for what I did to him. I tried to kill the others who were involved… actually…I tried to kill anyone who was in my path. And then…I tried to destroy the world."

Willow looked over at Faith now, shaking her hair back from her face, and there was a very slight smile, a sense of irony on her lips.

"Xander stopped me… can you believe that? Xander saved the world…"

"No," Faith replied slowly, shaking her head as she digested what Willow had just told her. She could hardly wrap her mind around it… that Willow Rosenberg had killed. Willow Rosenberg, a threat to the world's continued existence… things were WAY different now.

"Damn, Red… you're not kidding…"

"Guess Angel didn't tell you that one… of course, he might not know, I'm not sure," Willow mused. "But yeah… so…that's why I can't be Judge Girl anymore, Faith," she said more determinedly, shrugging slightly as she switched over into another lane. "Since I basically did the same… maybe our reasons, our methods were different… and I'm not saying everything's okay… or that everyone else is gonna think it's okay. But really it comes down to the same thing."

She glanced over at Faith, briefly meeting her eyes before looking back at the road, and Faith was surprised by the intensity she saw in them.

"We both killed people, Faith… we're even on that, I guess. But we're both also doing the whole trying-for-redemption thing too… so I guess we're even on that too."

Faith nodded almost absently, her mind still reeling slightly from what Willow was saying, and what it meant… basically, she was as good as saying that they were the same… words Faith would never have thought possible to hear from one of Buffy's friends, /especially/ Willow…

But before she could start to get too excited, to feel too much hope, her mind reminded her of reality… Buffy. Buffy would never look at it the same way. Willow was her friend… Willow had been part of the gang from day one. It didn't matter what she did, they would still love her and forgive her- all she had to do was say she was sorry. With Faith it had never been the same, and that wouldn't change now. She had never been one of them, not really… they had never loved her, never really accepted her. Whatever Willow might say, there was no way that Buffy Summers would regard her and Willow as the same… and Buffy Summers, whether or not she wanted to admit it, was the one person whose forgiveness Faith wanted the most.

She shook her head slightly, letting out a little chuckle, then shrugged with feigned nonchalance in reply.

"B's not gonna say that, Red, especially if you just shove me through the door at her unannounced. B's gonna be pissed."

"Yeah, well," Willow replied in a tone similar to Faith's, but with a slight edge to it that Faith realized in astonishment was not directed at her, but at Buffy… what the hell?! "She'll get over it."

Faith's eyebrows rose before she could stop herself; seeing her amazement, Willow exhaled again, meeting her eyes briefly but seriously.

"Listen, Faith… we need you right now," she said quietly, and there was nothing flippant or playful about her tone. "We need as many as we can get, but we especially need someone with your experience. We need another Slayer… we need you."

She paused, giving that a few moments to sink in before continuing. "So…it's time everyone moved on, at least for now, and cooperated with this… because if we don't… might as well drive the car off the side of the road now, because we're all going to die anyway."

Faith nodded slowly, thinking… she knew it didn't mean that everyone else would think the same, or adapt themselves to that kind of thinking any time soon. It was alright though… Willow was right, none of them could worry about any of that if things were as bad as she seemed to think. Besides, just knowing that at least one person in Sunnydale wasn't gonna stab her with her own stake was sort of a relief…

Just then the truck ahead of them opened its passenger door, and a young girl was shoved out onto the road, rolling right into the path of Willow's car. Willow gasped sharply, eyes widening, and slammed onto her brakes. Faith's hand shot out to catch herself against the dashboard, her heart rate quickening as her eyes strained in the darkness to make out further details of the girl's form. Meanwhile, whoever had tossed her out onto the road was taking off… even if it had occurred to either woman to check his license plate, he was going too fast for them to do so.

Willow hurriedly put the car into park, and jumping out, ran to the girl's motionless side, beginning to look her over anxiously. Faith could tell as she got out that whatever had happened to the girl, it wasn't good…and she wasn't responding to the questions Willow was asking of her.

"This girl's bleeding badly. We need to get her to the hospital!" Willow called as Faith approached her, her face tight with worry.

Of course they did… one thing to make it all a little easier would of course be followed by something like this… how had she expected otherwise?

Lifting an eyebrow sardonically, Faith muttered more to herself than to Willow in reply.

"Yep…looks like I'm back in Sunnydale."