Disclaimer : Everyone knows who own Buffy and co ! Let's say it, it's not me!

This story is the 12th episode in a series called 'Rocky path' that begins around one year after 'Chosen'

( I strongly recommend to read the 11 first episodes to understand that one)

You can check the series out on my website. (see the url in my profile)

Thanks to everyone who left feedback about the last episode.

The morning was bright and sunny. At last, it had stopped to snow for more than a few hours and even if it was still cold outside, Tara had decided the sun shining brightly above their heads announced a good day. She looked up at the sky again and smiled lightly. Not a cloud in sight. She looked down at the bag of doughnuts she held and tightened her grip a little around it as she caught sight of the hostel. She wondered if Faith would be up now and if she would feel better than she had the evening and night before. Faith might not be the talker type – just as Tara herself – but the blonde had learned to recognize when something was wrong with her. And since she had woken the brunette from the nightmares where Kira had trapped her into the day before, Faith was even more silent than she usually was. Tara hoped that some doughnuts would cheer the Slayer up.

When she pushed the door of the room they shared at the hostel, Tara felt relieved to see that Faith was not in bed anymore but that her clothes were still scattered on the floor. The blonde stopped by the bathroom's door and heard the sound of the shower. She went to the dresser where she put the bag of doughnuts down, then waited for Faith to exit the bathroom. Which happened shortly after Tara had returned.

Faith opened the door and appeared in the room, wrapped in two towels. She did not pay any attention to Tara and collected her clothes on the floor before disappearing again in the bathroom. She came back a few minutes later, all dressed, her hair still wet hanging freely on her shoulders.

"Hey," Tara greeted her when she understood Faith would not be the first to talk. "Good night?"

Faith looked up at her but did not answer and just shrugged.

"Whatever" she muttered finally as she rummaged into her bag, looking for something.

"I've brought these," Tara announced, waving the bag of doughnuts in Faith's direction. "Thought you could use some pastries to start this beautiful day"

She clearly intended her tone to be cheerful and happy but it did not impress Faith at all. The Slayer looked up again at the doughnuts but did not gesture toward them nor show any sign of interest.

"How have you paid them?" she asked briskly.

Tara was taken aback and her face crumpled at the Slayer's harsh question.

"With money?" she answered lamely with a crooked halting smile.

It did not amuse Faith at all.

"We're gonna run out of cash real soon if you keep buying useless things like that," said the Slayer in a severe tone, without looking at the blonde.

Tara's mouth opened wide in shock at the brunette accusation. Somewhere between Cleveland and here by Trillium Lake, she had forgotten how harsh Faith could be sometimes.

"I…I…" she said, unable to form a complete sentence.

Finding herself at a lack for words while Faith was still rummaging in the bag without looking at her, Tara finally shut her mouth and clenched her teeth. She sighed quietly, looked down at the bag of doughnuts and thought that she would be unable to eat every of them if Faith decided to ignore Tara's kind gesture. The blonde chose to drop the matter for the time being and to try another conversation's subject.

"So, are we heading to San Francisco?" she asked tentatively.

"Now?" Faith asked and her head jerked up. "I don't think so," she added almost at once. "Now that the super-evil bitch is gone with all her conjured monsters, I mostly feel like doing what we came for at first."

Tara raised a quizzical eyebrow at this.

"Which is?" she asked.

"Thought that was your thing," replied Faith blankly. "Having a few days of quietness in a quiet place."

"Yeah," Tara approved. "That can only do us good."

"Just a day or two though," resumed the Slayer. "Then we'll have to move and I'll have to find a job to get some money. We can't live with what Giles gave us for ever."

"I know," Tara answered and looked down. "I'm sorry, I..."

"Forget it," Faith interrupted icily. "I'll take care of that in time."

She closed the bag after retrieving a pair of socks she slipped on quickly along with her boots. Tara gazed at her lacing her shoes for a short moment, making up her mind about what she was about to tell Faith.

"Faith, what happened..." she started, her voice faltering slightly. "It wasn't my fault."

The Slayer looked up and stared silently at the blonde for a moment before coming back to her previous action – lacing her shoes.

"Never said it was." She muttered.

"Then, why have you been acting like it is?" Tara finally got the nerve to ask.

"And how I've been acting exactly?" demanded Faith angrily.

Once more, Faith's aggressiveness took Tara aback and the blonde fell silent, unable to find what to reply to Faith's rising anger. The brunette looked at the witch expectantly and seeing the blonde keeping quiet, she eventually turned away from her, grabbed her jacket and headed for the door.

"Where are you going?" asked Tara, as Faith was about to leave without another word for her.

"I'm going for a walk."

"When are you going to be back?" Tara demanded again, Faith crossing the doorway.

"I'll be back for lunch I guess. See you later."

And before Tara could say anything else, she was gone. The blonde remained staring at the closed door for a moment, still firmly clutching the bag of doughnuts. She finally plopped down on the bed and bit her lower lip with resignation.