A/N: so I had a random thought today... Remember the episode where Faith and Buffy switched bodies thanks to the device from the Mayor? Well, what if Tara and Willow hadn't made a device to switch them back? What if Buffy had died in Faith's body? Would a new Slayer have been activated or would that have to wait until Faith died in Buffy's body?
Anonymous reviewer: yes, there is more to this story. No, we will not go 'back' to the original gang - this IS them. Not an alternate universe. When they all passed out, that was time being rewritten.
A/N2: For any Angel fans out there, I'm not trying to bash him with the following chapter. I just figure these thoughts have to cross his mind once in a while.
Angel, not for the first time, changed his position on the floor where he was trying to rest - once again he was lying on his back, glaring up at the ceiling. He wasn't brooding though… what possible reason could he have to brood..?
Oh wait... there was the fact that his soulmate was less than five stores away from him, having heated sex right now with the shitty peroxide blonde vampire who was, he supposed, his grandson. There was also the fact that Faith was having sex with Robin two stores down. With Robin, for crying out loud!
Why was everyone getting to have sex but him? He had a soul and he'd been fighting the forces of evil longer than Spike yet, it was the younger vampire who got the girl.
As for Faith, she was sleeping with a teacher/vampire hunter with a grudge against Buffy's current squeeze. For a moment, he entertained the notion that he could convince Robin to dust Spike but dismissed it quickly enough - Buffy would undoubtedly end his existence for it. The vampire groaned and pulled his rolled-up jacket out from under his head and shoved it over his face. He barely managed to resist the urge to scream into it but the thought of Spike hearing and being amused because of it ensured that he did. Just.
He just wanted to have someone in his life; someone who cared. Sex would be great if it was thrown in too. Not that he'd had much luck since getting his soul back... His first time with Buffy, he'd lost his soul and tried to kill all her loved ones, drive her mad and turn her into another Drusilla. He had sex with Darla and ended up with a gorgeous son after she had dusted herself and then his son was stolen from him... Then later when he came back from the hell dimension he had been stuck in, there was the huge fact that his son had wanted to kill him and had ended up in a relationship with Cordelia - the woman that Angel loved and they'd gone on to have a child. Jasmine... A God... Who he'd had to fight. It was only as Connor killed her that he realised that they had probably messed up, ending a happy world that people were bound to have preferred and...
"Hell, the first woman I loved is now having sex with my grandson... Another woman I love slept with my son..."
Dawn walked into the store and eyed Angel. "I can hear you brooding from the other side of the mall, Angel. It's hardly a productive use of your time, is it?"
Angel looked at the hostile young woman in front of him and sighed. "Dawn, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
Dawn shrugged. "I wanted to have a chat."
Angel sighed again and sat up. "I'm not going to hurt her, Dawn."
The young woman rolled her eyes. "Oh, I know you're not - because if you even try, I will hunt you down and stake you myself!"
Angel nodded slowly. "I don't doubt you for a second. I'm here to help, that's it. I know she's with Spike now and that she's happy. Why would I take that away? I would like to point out though, just for the record, that I had a soul first." He actually pouted a little after getting that out there.
Dawn snorted, unimpressed. "Big deal - you love her with your soul but not your demon. Spike loves her with everything he is... And his soul is permanent." She considered that. "Well, perhaps your demon wanted her too but in no way was it a healthy obsession."
Angel gave her a wry look. "I'm sensing that you prefer Spike to me by oh, a little bit."
The young woman shrugged. "He's my friend - I trust him. I like who Buffy is when she's with him. It's not the intense first-love affair you and my sister shared but, that doesn't make it less. They spark off each other, they're friends... He's good for her."
Angel sighed and held his hands up in defeat. "I get it, Dawn - 'Angel bad, Spike good.' Is that it?"
Dawn frowned for a moment, trying to remember why she had sought Angel out - well, the official reason anyway. "Oh right... The amulet thing you brought, I've been researching it. Haven't been able to establish exactly what it does yet. What I did find though... It suggests that the user has to be willing to give their life for the cause. Are you, Angel?" She gave him an assessing look he was more used to seeing on the faces of Giles and Wesley.
He looked at her for a moment as he tried to find an answer. "Dawn, I've already lived far longer than I ever had a right to. So if I have to give my life to protect everyone, that's fine."
His answer didn't really seem to appease the young woman though. "Really? You'll walk away from everyone in L.A., give up your life - or unlife, whatever - here if necessary? What about your friends, your son... Cordelia?" She watched as a small measure of doubt crept into his features. "I'd advise you to give the matter serious thought, Angel - for all we know, this Amulet could be a game-changer. You would be doing no one any favours by staying and nullifying its effects."
With that said, she looked at him for another moment before turning and leaving the store. Angel merely groaned and flopped back down on the ground. "Summers women..."
Faith woke up and wondered for a moment where she was. Turning her head soon verified her location and she just managed to bite back a groan as she realised she was lying in her bed with a very naked -and it had to be said, impressive- Robin. Impressive or not though, it didn't change the fact that it shouldn't have happened. She tried to sit up slowly so as not to wake him so that she could get dressed.
Robin opened his eyes, woken by the woman's slight movements. "Leaving so soon? And without a hug or kiss or anything..?" He was trying to make light of it but Faith could hear the undercurrents that stated that maybe, Robin wasn't that pleased right then.
Faith sagged a little but finished pulling on her vest. "Look, I'm sorry - this shouldn't have happened. It's a bad habit I have when I'm worked up. It's one I'm also trying hard to break. I have to believe that I'm worth more than a quick roll in the hay. Heck, even the Watchers think I have something to offer - and they were, not so long ago, preparing to off me to ensure that a new not-so-rogue Slayer could be called."
Robin sat up, confused. "When did I say that this was nothing but a quick roll in the hay? I like you Faith."
The young woman snorted and rolled her eyes. "Please. Look, I know how this goes - guy looks at me, let's just say his priorities shift," she shook her head, "I... Think I want more. Maybe."
Robin frowned. "You can't have that with me?"
Faith laughed incredulously at that. "Robin you're a teacher... Did you miss the part where I said I missed most of school? I wasn't lying, I-"
The older man interrupted her before she could make the situation more awkward than it already was. "Faith, I'm not proposing marriage here so relax, okay? I don't care that you didn't go to school. I like you. You're smart, observant, strong-minded, beautiful and interesting and yes, I would very much like to try and have a relationship with you, if you want it too."
Faith eyed him, bewildered. "You don't have to say this just because we slept together. It happens, I know-" she was cut off by the simple action of Robin's lips descending on hers.
Anya frowned as she lay on the bed beside her husband, trying to sleep. It was hard to do that though with the noises that Faith and Robin were making. How was Xander sleeping through this? She pouted then decided that she simply wouldn't let him. She reached over and shook his shoulder – after all, they hadn't had sex in quite some time given that he'd lost his eye and had to deal with it.
"Xander. Wake up! Robin and Faith are having sex. Again. Loudly. I can't sleep. Why are we not having loud sex also? Have you gone off me? Is that it? I mean, I know that that happens when couples get married but I thought it wouldn't be for at least another couple of decades at least."
Xander had been sleeping and was groggy on being woken but was suddenly quite awake as his wife's word sunk in. "Of course I still find you attractive, Anya. You're still the most gorgeous woman I know, I still want to be with you."
Anya frowned. "Are you sure? It's just been so long… and I love you so much…"
"Anya…" Xander wisely decided that actions spoke louder than words – at least in this situation. He reached over to pull the ex-demon closer then proceeded to make up for the time they had lost.
Faith lay snuggled against Robin, for the moment satiated. "I... This is nice. I've never done this before - the cuddling thing."
Robin looked sleepily at her. "Really? This is one of the best bits." He registered that Faith was suddenly shaking... with laughter. "What? Care to let me in on the joke?"
Faith laughed some more. "I'm just... If the best bit of sex is when it's done... I'm kinda feeling a little bit sorry for you at this moment in time – and doubting my skills right about now." She started laughing again.
Robin rolled his eyes and nudged her playfully. "Oh shut up, Faith - you know what I mean. It's nice, being like this after. Isn't it?"
The Slayer sobered. "Yeah. It is" She laid her head down on his shoulder, her hand stroking his chest idly and slowly her eyes closed.
Robin smiled and just lay there until he too succumbed to sleep.
It was some time later when Robin and Faith woke again. Faith sighed as she sat up, searching for her clothes. "Man, the First wigged me out last night for sure. You think I'd be used to it by now though."
Robin frowned as he pulled his T-shirt on. "Y'know, we didn't really talk much last night, did we? About what it said, I mean..."
Faith sighed. "Robin, there's nothing else to say - it came to mess with my mind, that's it."
The teacher sighed. "You don't think possibly there's more to this? This is the second time it's visited you, both times as your former boss and surrogate father... To warn you about Buffy. Maybe we need to consider..."
The Slayer stood up suddenly, a scowl on her face. "It tells me that B is on to something and that it wants to stop her! It tells me that maybe I've become more of a threat to the First than it originally thought - what it does NOT tell me, is that Buffy is a threat." She eyed her lover for a moment. "If you can't accept that then, maybe last night really was a mistake."
Alarmed, Robin stood quickly and moved to pull the Slayer close. "I wasn't trying to... I... Look, I just want you to be sure. That's all."
After a moment of standing resolutely still in his embrace, Faith allowed herself to relax and wrap her arms around the man. "I'm sure, Robin - we can trust Buffy."
Robin sighed. "Well, I trust YOU so I'll try to."
Unseen by them both, the First stood in the room with them, glowering - would no one leave this damned group?
Angel sighed as he felt the First's presence in the room once more. "Is there any chance you could take the hint and leave me alone? You're actually more annoying than-" the rest of his sentence was choked off as he registered the form the entity had chosen this time - he was staring at... Himself.
The First looked almost pitying as it studied Angel. "I heard what little Dawn had to say... I'll not beat about the bush, shall I? How much longer are you going to keep up this pretence, Angelus? We both know that you don't have what it takes to sacrifice yourself for the people here in Sunnydale - especially as the majority of them have left the building, so to speak."
Angel frowned. "I'll do whatever it takes to make this world better, to atone in some small measure for..."
The First interrupted then. "Of course you will Angel - but here's the thing about you... You've always been incredibly self-serving. Even all your good deeds stem back to how they will make you feel better."
The vampire tried to object but the First just talked right on over him. "Oh, don't try and deny it, Angel - it's just your nature and there's nothing you can do about it. Haven't you sometimes wondered why your soul has to atone for the wrongdoings of your demon? Well, it's obviously easier to understand in relation to you because you were a worthless human being... But in relation to other vampires? Take Drusilla for instance, she was an admirable human being until you sunk your teeth into her. Yet she would still have to atone if she were to get a soul..."
The First watched Angel as he stared blankly back at him. "It's because your soul doesn't actually have as much of an impact on your actions as your character does. In fact, your character is so strong that it moulds the essence of your demon as it enters your being, stripping away the soul..."
Angel finally spoke. "Do I always talk in such a long, drawn-out way? No wonder..." He sighed and shook his head. "Is that your roundabout way of trying to get me to leave? By telling me that I'm a useless person?"
The First actually laughed at that. "That about sums it up - you're a lousy human but you have the potential to be an amazing vampire if you would only accept your true nature."
Angel closed his eyes and sighed as he actually thought on that - he couldn't deny that the thought of just letting go had a temptation that he sometimes yearned to give in to but... He opened his eyes and stared back at the entity currently borrowing his image. "You don't get it, do you? I spent my whole life doing the easy thing - drinking, sleeping around, being a completely worthless human being. When I became a vampire, I continued doing exactly the same thing - I killed off my own family, just because I could. When my soul was taken again, my demon went crazy, catching up for lost time."
The vampire sat down and pulled his boots on as he stared into the middle distance, his mind on the little sister who was never far from his thoughts anyway; on Jenny who had tried to do the right thing; on Drusilla who had been a kind and sweet girl; on Buffy... For all he knew, he could have prevented Wesley from taking Connor from him, setting them all down a terrible path if he hadn't been so focused on himself and Connor and the fresh start his son offered.
As he tied the lace on his second boot, he finally looked up at the First once more. "My whole life and most of my un-life has been about me, I didn't realise just how much so until you pointed that out. That's what taking the easiest path entails, right? Well, this time, I'm not taking the easy path... I'm staying right here where I'm needed. If I die here, protecting a few people then so be it - I have to assume that, that is what the Powers That Be want of me."
Angel eyed the First. "We're done here." He walked out of the store - actually walked through the First to do so. He allowed himself to wince at the strange sensation that caused - and the fact that his demon revelled in it almost as much as his soul cringed from it, only when his back was to the entity.
With a frustrated snarl, the First disappeared from the room.
A/N: I know that a lot seems to be happening in what would have been covered in only a couple of episodes but I'm running on the theory that the episodes don't show everything from their lives and there could be days or weeks between each.
BTW, thank you for all your reviews, favourites and watches thus far. It's cool to know that other people like what I'm writing (even if updates are getting slower). Much love to you all :D xx