She was confident. Strutting her way down New York's busy streets with a sense of superiority. Belonging.
It was the sort of place her counterpart would like. Loud, busy and big. A place to hide and live so many lives and lies.
She knew the only reason why she had stayed in America was because she had to stay within the country's boundaries for a few more years before finally moving into another city that was just for her. A fact that didn't necessarily mean she hadn't left the country. She knew her girl had been traveling through portals mostly and sneaking her way out of the States, but it was obvious the authorities ignored that fact. She liked to move from place to place, that, she knew, and the woman had made it very clear, but she still thought she had to at least try and live by the rulebook, even though she wasn't a fan of rules and the only time they applied was because she was intent on breaking them.
But that was her counterpart. Her essence.
But she was also weak.
So she was confident, moving through the dense mass of people out in the cold streets of New York. Figures it had to be the first days of winter to make it so cliché...
But that was her life, wasn't it? Straight out of a fairy tale.
And finally, the moment she had been waiting for most of her life, arrived. And it arrived knocking down walls and temples at full force. Finally, there had been a change. A significant one.
It freed her. And she had longed to be freed.
Finally her prayers had been answered.
Not in the way she had expected to but still... she couldn't complain.
She stuffed her hands in her pockets unfazed by the cold and the falling snowflakes, taking her sweet time. It was actually nice that she could do that now. Take her time. No worries.
Things had changed.
She found her where she knew she would find her.
Roaming the place of eternal rest and protecting the lives of those who were not aware of the things they had been protecting them from for years.
It was a pity they all actually got along better with the dead and wicked than with what you would call normal people.
She set her eyes on her, watched the way she moved, heard her grunts and felt her satisfaction from miles away.
It never ceased to amaze her how wild she was. She did enjoy it. Although nowadays she wasn't so untamed and even sometimes held back always cautious of not making another mistake, she kept on enjoying it. Letting go. Letting her frustrations come out and do what she was meant to do. Be who she was meant to be.
So she came looking for her. It was her who she needed. Who she wanted. The perfect companion.
Well, as perfect as they could get, which was nearly inexistent. But they could call for perfection. They could decide what perfection was. They were the law and she had finally understood that. In those seconds her life was taking a radical turn, she understood it.
It was them and them. The rest really didn't matter.
Heck, she could have all that power all by herself but then again she never did like to be alone and that was something she shared with her past self.
Gotta have somebody to enjoy it with, right?
She would join her. She couldn't see why she wouldn't.
Her counterpart was as weak as she was strong. She had a thing for power. For acceptance and most of all, she could not turn away from what lay within her. That darkness and raw power emanating from her very core. That's what drove her. And if she could get rid of her conscience... well, that was actually something she could do.
So she watched her from the tree top. Memorizing the fight because her moves she knew them like that palm of her hand.
She always danced with her at night.
They hadn't actually danced in a while, but that didn't stop her from recurring to her imagination and projecting the woman in her mind and dance with her all night long.
She had always been a great dancing partner. They could dance all night long and never get tired of it.
That's why they were so unique.
That is why she was so confident.
They were one in the same. Halves of the same coin.
She could give her life and strength. More than what she already possess.
So she descended the tree top and approached her.
"Took you long enough." The brunette said with her back turned to her.
The blonde shrugged. "I needed time to think."
"I thought you would show up sooner. Guess I underestimated you."
"You didn't." The blonde informed her. "I wanted to show up earlier but I had to figure some stuff first. Enjoy the freedom I now own."
"You are still slaying." The woman turned and sat on a tombstone.
The Californian shrugged. "Can't help it. It's still in me."
"Why have you come?"
"To look for you."
"To offer me something I can't possibly turn down." The Bostonian guessed.
"You could say so yes."
Faith chuckled and shook her head. "You don't love me."
"That's not why I'm here."
"Then why did you choose me?"
"Cuz it has to be you. No one else."
"I thought you would go to one of them."
"Nah." Buffy sat next to her and shook her head. "Too much drama for a lifetime, thank you very much."
"You hate me B, always had."
"Yeah but… so have you."
Faith nodded. "Is that why?"
"No. It has to be you. You were right years ago. We are it."
"No B. I was wrong."
"No, Faith, you weren't. Took me long enough to realize it but, turns out you were right."
Buffy stood and pulled Faith to her feet.
"I love you. It has to be you."
"That's not love B." Faith shook her head sadly. "You are incapable of that now."
"I'm not. I haven't changed that much. I know you feel it back."
"It doesn't drive me."
"It used to."
"And look where it led us to."
"It didn't lead us here. I did."
"What difference does it make?" Faith asked.
"I can feel, I just-"
"Don't care anymore." Faith finished off.
Buffy huffed. "Caring is overrated."
"That's not who you used to be nor what you used to think."
"I used to be just a shell."
"You were getting better."
"I wasn't" Buffy smiled. "You didn't like me back then."
"No. I loved you."
"You can still love me."
"What about you?"
"I still do."
Faith snorted and walked a few paces away from the blonde.
"Buffy, you are not the same-"
"No, you are wrong. I am what I really am."
"Just a little fangy."
"No Faith, you don't understand. It is not what you think. I'm stronger. I can walk around during the day in plain sunlight. I don't need any blood but my own."
"But you don't have a soul Buffy."
"I haven't had one for a while."
"That's not true."
"I was dead in life. Rotten on the inside."
"That's what you think. I saw you, remember? I saw through you."
Buffy shook her head averting her eyes. "I didn't want you to pity me."
"I wasn't." Faith reassured.
"I didn't like me Faith. That was all I needed to know."
"So that's why you did it?"
"I didn't do anything."
"You don't know what happened!"
"You gave up. That much I know."
"You could have perfectly stopped them."
"Did I?" The blonde retorted. "Faith, the place was buzzing with them."
"And I tried to help you but you ushered me away."
"There were people that really needed help."
"I could have helped you just fine."
"Faith, the newly called slayers needed guidance."
"And you thought of me?" Faith laughed sardonically. "How sweet of you."
"It was for-"
"The greater good? You were sacrificing? Don't bullshit me B."
"You thought I wouldn't notice? You thought nobody would notice? I felt it Buffy. You can't convince me. You may have them fooled but not me."
"And that is why I need you to be with me. You know me."
"Takes one to know one?"
"You are a damn vamp! You can't possibly expect me to join you."
"I'm more that a vampire and a slayer. I am of my own kind. I want to share that with you."
"B, we don't go together."
"You don't know that."
"If I join you, then history will repeat itself over again. And I don't want that. I'm fine just as I am."
"You can still slay Faith."
"That is not what this is about."
"Then what is?" Buffy asked exasperated.
"I don't want to be a heartless freak!"
"Is that what you think of me?"
"What I think is that I loved you with all your imperfections but never without a soul. I saw how corrosive that was for Spike and even Angel. I don't want that to happen to either of us, cuz in that state? We can't love, we just obsess."
"Then let's obsess together."
"We are gonna kill each other and you know that."
"But that is not how it has to be."
"That is how it is meant to be. You are not longer mine."
"I never was."
"You had always been." Faith affirmed.
Buffy sighed. "It's only been a year since the First. Things haven't changed much."
"A year that has changed everything."
Buffy huffed. "I know you love me. I know you want me. I can give you power and strength and life! The chosen two, remember? Just the two of us."
"It's not enough."
"With you it never is."
"B, I can't just forget how you let them drink from you and how you let their blood heal you wounds."
"I know you were tired, but you were and you could have come out of there a slayer. The Champion. But you gave up at the last moment. What is another minute of endurance when you have held on for years?"
"I thought it was it for me… I saw you there and I thought that now would be the time for you to lead. I was broken Faith."
"I could have healed you but you never let me."
"It would not have been enough."
"You don't know that."
"Let's forget about that." Buffy said talking Faith's hand and cornering her against a crypt's wall. "We can have that now… we can explore what we never did. We can be eternal." Faith just stared hard into the blonde's eyes. "Just try it."
Faith snickered. "I can't try it, remember? If I do, that's it. There's no going back."
"You are just afraid of yourself."
"Of course I am. I've seen how I am at my worst moments, I don't want that. I hated it and I hated myself. I don't want that again."
"You won't become Angelus."
"No." Faith agreed. "I'll be worse. With you by my side B…I fear me."
"I won't let you slip away." The blonde promised.
"If I join you then I would already have." Faith reasoned.
"When did you become so fucking righteous?" Buffy exclaimed separating herself from Faith.
"I never meant to do wrong." The brunette confessed.
"You won't have to be bad." Buffy approached her again and cupped the girl's cheeks. "Join me. I'm offering all you ever wanted." Faith shook her head and avoided the blonde's eyes. "I feel when you pull at our connection when you are sad. You need me, and I need you."
"I don't want to need you." Faith grabbed hold of the blonde's hips bringing her closer.
"I know the feeling." She kissed the girl softly. "I know you hurt… I know you are hurting inside deep. I can take it away." The blonde rested their foreheads together.
"What about your friends, your family?"
"They won't have to know. All that matters is the two of us."
Faith nuzzled the blonde's neck, placing kisses here and there making the blonde melt into her.
"What about Dawn?" She whispered.
"She's not my sister."
"Yes, she is."
"She wasn't always. They don't matter. They won't have to know."
"You left two days after beating the First. They know things have changed."
"I needed to get away. I was trapped in there. I needed some air."
"You think they won't know?"
"Are you going to tell them? They've seen me. I've talked with them. They don't know a thing. They are as clueless as they've always been about me." The blonde spoke with bitterness.
"They love you."
"No. They loved 'Miss fucking goody two shoes', not me."
"They deserve to know." Faith said running her hands through the blonde's hair.
"Will you tell them?"
"I need to explain your absence."
The blonde laughed. "You won't kill me Faith. You never could."
"Things are different now."
Buffy glared at her. "You belong to me."
"I used to belong to you. But you never took me."
"I was stupid."
"You used to have a soul."
"I don't need it! I'm fine just as I am!"
"No, you are not! You are a thing now!"
Buffy slapped her hard and Faith hit her back.
"Don't try your stupid tricks on me Buffy, I won't fucking join you! Think I believe that shit about you loving me? Stop with those fucking cheap tricks! I'm not one of them. I won't believe your lies and kneel at your feet and be your lapdog."
Buffy grabbed her by her shirt and smacked her against the wall.
"I'm not playing any games! I love you! I always have. You make me feel more that anyone ever has!"
"I've turned an obsession for you."
"Don't think you know me Faith because you don't."
Faith chuckled dryly slapping Buffy's hands off her
"You think I'm going to believe that you, Summers, love me? Always have?"
"It is the truth."
"Then I guess almost killing me shows that level of affection really well."
"Fuck you!" Buffy punched her on the face.
"Then I guess you think I have no idea why you really are here." Faith now cornered the blonde. "You think I'm clueless about it don't you?"
Buffy let herself be cornered. She could feel her levels of arousal spiking up, and Faith's as well, So she basked in it, enjoying the fight Faith was going to put up before giving herself to her.
"You think," The brunette continued. "I don't know that the only reason why you are here is because without me you can't just be? That for some reason the spell altered something within us and when they turned you, your existence wouldn't be infinite. Thought I was just gonna cross my arms, do nothing, and hope that finally we could be together since you were eternal? Well you are wrong blondie, cuz I researched, and I won't twin with you."
Buffy shook her head. "That's not why I'm here."
"Oh, cut the crap B. You are here to use me and just for that. But lemme tell you something you may not know." She said lowering her neck and sucking on the blonde's. "Even if you-" She paused and bit on the blonde's earlobe. "Turn me, it won't work because I have to be willing to be yours-" She trailed her way up the blonde's neck and kissed her mouth passionately, running her hands up Buffy's torso. "And I...won't ever be yours."
"Bullshit." Buffy said arching into her. "You've always been mine."
"In mind. Not in soul. And even if I was… well, you don't have a soul anymore."
"I don't see why that matters. I'm offering you the world."
"If you had a soul the offer would be tons better but…"
"Be with me." Buffy pleaded.
Faith chuckled. "I thought you were offering me the world B. Even like this and you are hating it."
"I'm not. I'm loving it. I just don't want to be alone."
"You are here cuz you want me to free you."
Buffy shook her head. "I'm here cuz I want you to be free with me."
"You hate that you can't be happy."
Buffy growled and her eyes held a golden glint. "I can be happy!"
"You haven't be happy in while and you think you can be now? I can't bring that balance into you now."
"Stop making us the martyrs." The blonde rolled her eyes.
"That's what we are."
"I'm here Faith, not because of my own selfish reasons but because I thought it well and I know that it is you who I'm meant to be with."
"Took you a while to realize that."
"It's not too late."
"It is, because I don't want to be with you anymore."
"Faith, don't lie to me. I can feel it."
"I'm your link to the world. If I join you, then none of us would feel anything. You need me alive Buffy."
Buffy sighed. "I need you by my side."
"Perhaps, but I don't."
"Then are you going to kill me?"
"I'm stronger than you are."
"I've changed during this year as well."
"You can't possibly be stronger than I am."
"I'm not. But it never stopped you from killing and beating down your foes."
"So, am I your role model, now?" Buffy crossed her arms over her chest.
"To some extent… except where you let yourself be turned."
"So that's it? You've been waiting for me to show up and kill me."
"You won't Faith. Don't kid yourself. You are weak."
"All of us are." She leaned down and kissed the blonde who returned the kiss just as fiercely. "But, unlike you, I don't fall for vamps."
Buffy's eyes snapped open when she felt her chest burning and looked down to find a metallic purple dagger firmly stuck in her chest.
She looked up and looked at Faith with rage and hurt in her eyes.
"What…?" She asked confused.
Faith looked down. "I'm only freeing you."
Buffy gasped feeling the heat burn her from the inside out.
The brunette let a few tears roll down her cheeks grabbing the tilt of the knife with one hand and with the other holding Buffy up.
"I love you." She said kissing the gasping woman's lips. "Always have… always will."
"Faith…" Buffy pleaded.
"I'm only freeing you." The brunette repeated. "I'm only freeing you."
"You'll die." Buffy realized. "You'll die as well."
Faith smiled. "I know."
"I wasn-wasn't lying." Buffy got out. "I do love y-you, with all your imperfections… even when you are trying to kill me." Buffy joked knowing there was nothing she could do to change her fate. She was meant to die at Faith's hands. Whether losing her life by the brunette herself or on her arms. She'd know that from the start.
She leaned forward and kissed the brunette as hard as she could, stilling and gasping when the dagger was thrust deeper into her.
"Shh..." Faith whispered at her ear. "It'll be over soon."
"I love you." She told the brunette. "I really do."
"Thanks…" Buffy smiled.
Buffy kissed her one last time, before her body went completely limp and her lips unresponsive, and the brunette let out a sob cradling her almost lover's body, softly lowering her to the ground.
She brushed some strands from the blonde's face, removing the dagger before getting up and carrying her to her apartment gingerly as if the blonde in her arms were just merely sleeping.
She walked the steps up and the door to her apartment open itself to her, revealing an afflicted Giles on the other side.
Wordlessly, he moved to the center of the living room where a vortex was already forming.
Faith followed, adjusting the blonde in her arms.
She looked down at her.
"Let's go home."
She said before getting in the portal alongside the watcher, and the pop when it closed resounded hauntingly on the apartment.
She knew there were a lot of people waiting for them at the other side of the portal and she knew all of them would hate her and him for doing what need to be done, but she had promised them one year ago to bring Buffy back home.
They all had just been stupid enough to hope she would bring the blonde alive.
"You did the right thing Faith." Giles whispered to her, placing a comforting hand once they appeared on the other side, with thousand glares sent their way.
"I know." She ignored the looks and set her gaze on the small smile the blonde's lips held, smiling herself. "I know."
The hostile looks didn't faze her at all.
She had freed the blonde from all of her burdens.
That's all that mattered.