Chapter 17

(last chapter guys…and I'm actually rather sad because I enjoyed writing this, as utterly depressing as it was.)

"No," Faith almost whispered, and then repeated louder, more sharply, almost a hiss. "No…NO."

"What's wrong, girlfriend?" Legs smirked, and the smug relish in her tone, the victorious glowing of her eyes, made Faith's stomach flip, fists forming as her jaw clinched tightly. "You're usually so much more cuddly than this…"

"You're usually not dead," Faith spat, and Legs laughed, the sound all the more terrible to Faith because it was still the same laugh of the Legs that had once been…only now with a sharp undertone of viciousness that had never been present before.

"Damn, you're quicker than I thought…"

She took a step towards her, and Faith quickly took several steps back, her features hardening even as her heart continued to pound wildly, her stomach sinking to her toes. Legs too…Legs too, dead…Legs too…

"Get the hell away from me," she said in a soft but dangerous tone, but Legs just laughed.

"You never wanted that before, babe…I could always tell how much you wanted me," Legs said in soft, seductive tones, her body shifting into blatantly seductive posture as she came closer to Faith slowly, even as her eyes gave away the vicious pleasure she got from what she was doing, the pain that she was causing. "You can have me now, Faith…you can have me forever, if you want. Don't you want me anymore?"

"How the hell did this happen," Faith ground out through a very tensed jaw, refusing to let her face flicker at all from anger in its expression, to let any weaker emotion show to Legs if she could help it. She would not give her that satisfaction, not anymore…not like this. "I thought you were better than this, I thought you were smarter…how the hell could you let this happen to yourself, Legs? How the hell did you even find me, what the fuck do you want from me after all this time?"

"Like I said, I've got connections, babe," Legs murmured, and her voice grew lower, insistent, as she looked Faith in the eyes. "And besides…me being turned? That's your fault, Faith…but you knew that, didn't you?"

"How the fuck do you figure?" Faith said with incredulity, her eyes sharply focused on the undead creature who had once been to her the one person she cared about in all the world…the creature that was no longer even a person.

She kept her hand near her belt, where her new supply of two sakes and a knife rested, even as inside she was still screaming, still reeling at the reality that she was now confronting, wanting only to turn and run from everything and deny it all as being part of her knowledge. Legs, Diana, Kakistos…no, no, fucking NO…

But she would not back down, she would not back away. Fear, shock, nerves, sadness, none of it could be shown, not now…not ever. So Faith raised her chin, her words flat, controlled, carrying an aggressive edge as she continued.

"You took off on ME, you fucking betrayed ME, I haven't seen you in eighteen damn months, Legs, and you get yourself turned into a monster and decide to stake me out, how the FUCK is that my fault?"

But Legs was still smiling, still seeming to take up more room, to come ever closer to Faith even though she did not actually move… she seemed near to Faith, so that it was actually hard for her to catch her breath, and she tried to suck it in without Legs noticing even as she clinched her fists to keep her hands from shaking. No…just…NO, god, NO. How much more could she take..

But the question, even when only thought rather than spoken aloud, was premature, for Legs's next softly spoken words horrified Faith on an entirely new level.

"Well, you weren't there, of course, babe…you didn't help me out, you didn't save me. Just like those guys in the alley, remember? Just like with that woman…what was her name again? Donna? Diane…Diana?"

At the sound of her Watcher's name, Faith froze for a millisecond, ice forming itself around her heart…as it seemed to shatter, breaking into large shards that cut into her insides, Faith lashed out. Seizing Legs with sudden harsh speed, her fingers digging into her roughly, she twisted her around and slammed her back into the door, holding her against it with one hand and with her body. With her other hand she flipped out one of her stakes, holding it with the point to Legs's heart as she pushed her face very close, all control and hiding of emotion gone now, replaced by jerky aggression, rage…and panic.

"What did you to do to her, Legs, what do you know! How do you know her name! How do you know what she is- what the hell did you do?" she screamed, spittle spraying into the other girl's face, and even though Legs continued to smile coolly, Faith saw her eyes flit briefly to regard the stake at her chest with some unease.

"Faith, babe, you know you wouldn't do anything to hurt me…you know you never could," she started, but Faith refuted that comment fast.

"Oh I fucking well could and will," she hissed, jabbing her just hard enough to hurt without piercing the skin, and Legs widened her eyes involuntarily.

"Wouldn't do that if I were you," she still managed to sound remarkably casual and amused, even with Faith' stake still pressed against her chest and her body, forcefully blocking her from moving. "Don't you wonder what happened to her, Faith…don't you want to know everything about why it is that you just weren't enough to save her?"

Again Faith stilled, her insides twisting sharply, and she swallowed, her eyes on Legs, trying to read into their glitteringly evasive depths…for she did want to know, she needed so badly to know. She needed an explanation, needed it to somehow make sense, have a reason, no matter how screwy and wrong of one it was.

She needed to know that it wasn't all her fault…but what if it was?

"What did you do," she said slowly, her hand tightening around the stake, maintaining the pressure against Legs's chest. "Tell me now and tell me the fucking truth or find yourself in pieces small enough to fit in a ring box."

"See…I knew you'd have to reconsider," Legs smiled, arching an eyebrow. "You always were reasonable when it came down to getting something you really wanted…except of course, when it came to me. You really never were very good with that, were you , girlfriend?"

Her teeth gritting at Legs's use of the word in a tone so mocking of the casual, affectionate way that the human Legs had used it, Faith ground the stake tip just a little harder against Legs's chest. "I will fucking kill you if you don't tell me what you did to Diana," she said in a voice so terribly calm, yet so entirely deadly in tone, that even Legs knew better than to test her. She wasn't looking quite so amused as she began to talk, still often uneasily eyeing the stake.

"Damn serious when I say all of this is your fault, Faith, that's no lie. The only reason I was ever here at all was because of you. I mean, I'd moved up towards this county a while ago, and I didn't know you were here or anything about how you lived or any of that. But I heard about the Slayer. Living on the street, you hear shit, you know? I found out soon enough around these parts that vampires were real. Not all that shocked, think I might have fought off a few before without knowing it, thought they were just like hugely weird perves or something. The guys you saved, vamps who knew about you, they talked. Once I heard you name mentioned, I wondered, figured that was a stupid idea. Wasn't until I got taken that I knew for sure what you were."

"How," Faith hissed, and Legs shrugged, rolling her eyes.

"Gang of vampires got me one day. The one was fighting me and I started yelling how I knew the Slayer and she'd kick their asses for me if she knew they touched me. I figured, what the hell, I'm gonna die anyway so if I can't fight them off, might as well try whatever might work, right? The thing is they actually did start listening. I started spouting off your name and what you looked like, all that shit, what great buds we were, really pathetic shit…hey, worked at the moment though," Legs smirked, wiggling her eyebrows. "They hauled me into their honcho leader guy's place, drilled me some more…turns out they had been working on some huge plan and thought I might be exactly the bait they wanted."

Faith struggled to digest this, to figure out where she and Diana fit in…it made no sense to her, none of this made sense.

"What did you do," she demanded, gripping Legs so harshly that she saw cuts appear in the girl's skin. Even so Legs grinned…to Faith's rage, she seemed to be enjoying it.

"Love it when you get rough, babe…if you'd have taken it up to this level before I never would have run off on you."

"WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER, WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO?" Faith screamed, and she jerkily staked her, deliberately only inches from Legs's heart, so that the girl involuntarily yelled with pain, flinching. "WHAT DID YOU DO?"

"Okay, damn…this is a turn on and all, but I do like to be able to reciprocate," Legs gasped, and when Faith yanked her stake back threateningly, eyes flashing, she hurried to continue.

"They said they'd let me go if I helped them out, and I figured, what the hell other chance did I have? They said they'd let me go…didn't mention they'd make me a bloodsucker first," Legs raised an eyebrow, still smirking slightly. "Guess I never read the fine print…doesn't matter, it's damn amazing. But I guess you'll find out soon enough, babe…"

Faith brought the stake down hard again, slamming it into Legs's right upper chest, and the other girl gasped, even as what looked to Faith like excitement lit up her features.

"Give a girl some time to get it out…haven't you got any appreciate for a vivid story? Anyway turns out they'd already done some detective work, figured out where you lived, but they were holding back, figuring out the best way to reel you in since you're the hot shot Slayer and all. So they sent me after you, and all I had to do was fool the woman. I was still human, so it wasn't hard. Came running down the street, screaming, crying, all that girly victim help me shit, all roughed up and dirty- no stretch on that front," Legs said with amusement, grinning, clearly relishing this recounting of her own success. "Came pounding on the door yelling they were after me, yelling about you, that I needed help and you would die after you'd tried so hard to save me. Oh, it was too damn easy, really. The woman came out of the house fast like you wouldn't believe, brought me inside all concerned with a million questions…I was still human, so she must have saw that and thought I was alright. Surprised YOU didn't see that I'm not, hot shot. Some Slayer, right? So then it was pretty easy to grab up one of those heavy statue things in the living room and knock her out with it, drag her out to the vamps and let them take off with her…figured they'd let me go like they said then, but they aren't exactly known for their promises."

Legs shrugged, as much as was possible under Faiths' harsh grip on her shoulders, her smile so condescending, so clearly enjoying the moment…

"What are you gonna do now, Faithy…kill me? Already been done, babe…too late to save me either. So…why don't you join me? I promise I'll make you VERY happy…"

Faith stared at her, no longer moving, no longer really seeing the girl before her or feeling her body under her grasp. Total understanding of what Legs had done was starting to dawn on her…it was not even the vampire Legs, who had done it. It wasn't the Legs who had no soul, no ties to her, but the human Legs. The Legs who had lived with her, cared for her, protected her…the Legs she had loved. The Legs who she had thought loved her.

That Legs, the Legs who had taught her to steal and played with her hair, the Legs who had read comics with her and instigated snowball fights, the Legs who had snuck into the YMCA and swam naked with her, the Legs who had slept with her head on Faiths' shoulder…the Legs who had gotten her tattoo with her. The Legs who had looked into Faith's eyes and told her that she was her heart.

That was the Legs that had helped lure Diana…that was the Legs who had destroyed forever everything that had finally brought Faith peace and happiness in her life. That was the Legs who had killed her Watcher, her guardian, her friend…her surrogate mother.

As this sunk into her mind, Faith felt no grief, no shock, no anger…only a slowly settling numbness that smoothed itself over her features gradually so she resembled a blank mask more than a feeling person. She felt empty, cold inside…a nothingness that was stark and bleak, and much less accepted than her rage. But she could not bring herself to care.

She knew what she had to do.

Misinterpreting her stillness as shock or sadness, Legs spoke softly, seductively, catching her eyes.

"There is nothing left for you, Faith…no one to care, nothing in all your life to give you meaning, or even more than a five minute fuck's worth of attention…is there. But I'll change that for you. You can have me now, just like you always wanted…you can have anything now, do anything, with no one to turn you down or hold you back. Forget everything that went before…go with what you need now."

Faith looked into the eyes of the girl who had once been her world, the girl who had now taken her world away from her…she looked slowly, with blank scrutiny in her face, and spoke with quiet firmness in her tone.

"I do…I will."

With a decisive strong motion she plunged her stake downward, this time directly into Legs's heart. She watched impassively as the girl's eyes bulged, shock showing itself in her features, before scattering into dust into the night sky. With no expression, no emotion, Faith stood there, and then turned slowly, shouldering her bag. There was nothing in her anymore that could bring herself to feel. Not then. Not yet.

As she began to walk slowly up the driveway, her thoughts turned to the other Slayer…the girl called Buffy. It was her first thought, the only place she could think of to go.

Sunnydale. She wondered if she could get there by the end of the week. She wondered what would be waiting there for her when she arrived. But she didn't' wonder much. It didn't' really matter.

Nothing did. Not anymore. She just didn't care.

Early 1998

Before the fireplace Diana Dormer lifted her hands from Faith's shoulders and flexed her fingers, her usual indication that her massage was complete. Faith exhaled slowly, enjoying the lingering feelings of warmth in her skin from the touch as she stretched.

"You did well today," Diana said mildly, and Faith sat up straight, turning her head quickly. Compliments were spaced far enough apart from Diana as to her performance that she was always very eager to hear. "In your academics as well as your training. You're coming along quite nicely, Faith."

"Yeah?" Faith said with some surprise, and Diana gave her a slight reproving look.

" 'Yes,' Faith, or 'ma'am' is the polite way to ask someone a question, as you well know."

"Sorry," Faith muttered, then said to placate her, "I am…yes?"

"Yes," Diana said, and her face relaxed into a smile as she faced Faith, speaking with quiet sincerity. "I hope you realize that I am quite proud of you, Faith."

Faith smiled with sudden shyness; as Diana smiled too, she patted her shoulder briefly and stood.

"Off to bed with you now. Good night, Faith."

"Good night." Faith stood slowly, but her heart was fluttering, her insides anxious with what she was thinking, with her strong urge of what she wanted to do…and she found herself turning, blurting out awkwardly, "Diana?"

"Yes?" Diana looked up, and Faith flushed, her eyes skipping past her as the words emerged for the first time since she had come to stay with her almost a year ago.

"I, uh…I love you."

As her face reddened, her heart pounding hard at this daring, Diana smiled; her features seemed softer and younger to Faith as she came near her, gently cupping her cheek.

"Oh, Faith…" she said softly, pulling her into a hug and almost whispering into her ear. "I love you too."

She held her close for several moments, her next words emphasized with a slight squeeze.

"No mother could be prouder."

As they drew away, Faith's throat choked slightly as Diana smiled at her again, giving her a little push towards the door. She too was smiling, feeling warm, satisfied.

She was so damn lucky.

The end