Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and I make no money from this.
Summary: Set between seasons three and four. No deputy mayor killing and no turning evil for Faith. Buffy wants to be friends with Faith but finds more than she expected.
I need a change.
We blew up the school, defeated the Mayor and Angel left both me and Sunnydale. Hell, I even managed to graduate high school at the end of it. I can honestly say I'd never thought that would happen. A lot of slayers don't live that long.
Now I'll have college in the fall and it feels like it'll be a whole new life.
Which is why I think change should start this summer. I want it to start with Faith.
I'd like to say we're friends but I don't think that's true. We don't hang out outside of the slaying and even after all these months, she still separates herself from the rest of the gang once we meet up with everyone. At first I thought it was because she didn't feel included but after a few weeks of trying I got the impression she'd rather hang out at the bar, hit the dance floor or pick up someone. I stopped trying after being even the cold shoulder so many times.
That changes now. We're been through so much together in the last year that it feels wrong that I don't think of her as more than a just fellow slayer. I mean, we stopped an apocalypse from happening. There should be some major bonding after that.
There have been changes for Faith in the last few months, like the fact that in order to stay in our lives the Council has started to pay us. That meant she got to get out of that horrible motel and now has an apartment close to downtown. It's small but nice and I think she likes it. She works at a bar a few hours a week, too, but I think Giles want her to do something different. Whatever he chooses to do next outside of his watcher duties I have a feeling he'll want her to work for him.
The Council pays us enough to where neither of us really has to work but Faith said she needs something to do. I told her she could go back to school but she just laughed and said that was my thing.
Since when is school my thing? I don't even like it.
And where does my pay from the Council go? I'm allowed to spend some of it but most of what they send goes to help pay for college. So unfair.
The fact that Faith's said she has nothing to do a lot of days makes my mission to become friends a little easier. She can't exactly say she has to be somewhere when I know she doesn't.
I wait until almost noon then walk to her apartment. Faith isn't exactly a morning person and I'm pretty sure she wasn't alone when she left the Bronze last night. Leaving later guarantees I'll miss anyone being tossed out and there won't be an angry slayer to deal with because I woke her up. Besides, she's probably hungry by now.
The front door opens almost immediately after I knock and there's Faith in full workout gear. "'Sup, B?"
"Uh, I figured there was a good chance you'd still be dead to the world," I say as I walk in.
"Nah, I've been trying to run a little in the morning. Ya know, get a little loose in case Giles wants to work on something later." She pokes me in the stomach. "Gotta stay in shape."
She better not be insinuating I'm fat or maybe this possible friendship is overrated. "I am in shape and there's only muscle where you're poking."
"Think I'll have to check again," she says and laughs when I swat her hand away. "Seriously, what's up?"
"I thought you might wanna have some lunch," I say and suddenly I'm nervous. "If you're not busy anyway."
Faith raises an eyebrow. "Where's everyone else?"
I shrug. "I don't know. I'm not asking everyone else if they want to get lunch, I'm asking you."
"Oh." She looks a little confused now and finally shuts the door to the apartment. "I guess. Don't really have any plans during the day."
Maybe that's why she's working out. She probably has a lot of pent up energy to get rid of. Even though the hellmouth activity is slowly increasing back to what it once was the last couple weeks have been a little boring. A failed ascension will do that.
"Sit down," Faith says, probably realizing we shouldn't just stand by the door. "Let me shower quick and we can go somewhere."
She disappears into the bathroom and I sit down on the couch. Faith's choices in decorating aren't exactly what I would pick but I have to admit she's made the place look great and bigger than it actually is. Everything's sleek with dark shades in color and some chrome mixed in. It's all very open. Her bed, closet and the bathroom are elevated by a step from her living room and tiny kitchen. The whole place has hardwood floors that look like they've been cleaned recently. Maybe she really is bored.
"Don't turn around unless you wanna get flashed," I hear her say as the bathroom door opens.
I blush at that but not because she said it. More because I can see her in the reflection of the TV as she walks over to her closet.
"Not really used to other people being here," she says as I hear her move clothes around.
"What about the H&H guys?" I ask. It's the easiest way for me to ask about her hookups.
"Yeah, right," she responds and it sounds like there's a hint of sarcasm in there. It makes me wonder if she really does bring guys back here.
I decide not to get into that though and instead just wait for her to get dressed. I'm suddenly nervous about us eating together without anyone else to make conversation with. It feels like I'll need all the topics I can think of.
After another minute, Faith appears in front of me in jeans and a black tight t-shirt. "Acceptable?"
I nod and stand. "Come on. You're buying."
"What? Don't get all mad at me 'cause you can't use most of your pay," Faith says, a smirk on her face. "You don't have to go to college."
"Yeah, I do." I sigh as I follow her out the door. "Which is why you should buy."
She totally bought me lunch!
One of the coffee places near her apartment also sells sandwiches so we went there and Faith paid for both of our orders before I could even say anything. I almost wanted to laugh and kid her about it but I figured then I would actually have to pay.
"Aren't I intruding on yours and Red's sacred ritual?" Faith asks as we sit down.
I look at the table and realize she means the mochas. "Nah, it's not a thing. Besides, when we ask you to come along you say no."
"I guess so."
We eat quietly for a minute while I try to think of what to say. It doesn't take long for me to realize I know very little about her. The only topics we normally talk about have to do with slaying and that's not what I want to talk about today. Then I'd still be treating her as a colleague and not as someone I want to know more about.
"Why don't you ever wanna hang out with us at the Bronze?" I finally decide to ask.
She gives me a confused look. "I kinda figure you just wanna hang with your friends at the end of the night."
"But we always ask you to stay," I respond. "Don't you notice that when we get there the gang always has two spots saved?"
"I figure they're just being polite."
I sigh. "Don't you want to be friends with any of us? Don't you wanna be friends with me?"
That throws her a little and she sets her sandwich down. "Buffy, you're friends don't want to hang around me. Willow gets instantly jealous whenever just the two of us talk and Xander . . . he only wants to fuck me again."
I blush lightly at her choice of words. Her one night stand with Xander was something that she admitted was a big mistake. She let the adrenaline from the slay get to her and Xander was just there. Afterwards, he thought they would be a couple but that word doesn't seem to be in Faith's vocabulary.
There was some fallout with that but Xander seemed to get over it, even if the infatuation was still there. I think he still feels he has a chance with her even though she's never given him a second look since. The real fallout was with Willow anyway. She seemed to take what happened personally and gave Faith the cold shoulder for awhile after. Everything's okay now but it definitely put a strain on the group for a few weeks.
"What about me?" I ask. "Don't you wanna be friends with me?"
Faith looks at me like she's confused. "We're together almost every day."
"That's not what I mean." I let out a small sigh. "We don't do anything together that doesn't have something to do with slaying. All we do is maybe train a little during the day, meet with Giles and go on patrol. Some nights we don't even do that together."
She really can be frustrating. "And, Faith, that means we're more like coworkers than friends. Friends hang out after work, maybe have a drink and joke around. They go to movies together or even meet up for lunch. They know shit about each other."
"I know about you."
"Two way street, Faith," I say. "You've said yourself that you don't do much during the day and I don't have to deal with college for a couple months."
"So you want to hang out?" Faith asks and I nod. "What about everyone else?"
"Friends, Faith. I want everyone to be friends but I think it's insane that it feels like we're not friends. I want that to change."
Faith looks down and I really hope she doesn't come back with something sarcastic. My offer is completely genuine and it'll hurt if she laughs it off. She has to know I'm not kidding. If she thinks she knows me then she knows I won't take any of her jokes lightly.
"I've never had any friends," she mumbles out.
I don't believe that. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I've never really had any friends," she says as she looks back up. "In case you couldn't tell, I like to be on my own."
"Do you really or is it that way out of necessity?" I lean forward a little. "I don't know anything about you so I have no idea." I pause to make sure I really have her attention. "You know you can trust me, right?"
When she looks into my eyes I can see she does. "Yeah, I do, B. I don't do that for just anyone either but I know you've got my back."
I have to smile at that. "Great. So what do you want to do after lunch? Movie?"
Faith gets a look on her face that makes me think I should be worried. "I've got a better idea."
"Shoot that guy, B!"
"I don't know what to do!"
"Shoot him!" Faith yells as she places her hands over mine on the controller and starts helping me press the right buttons.
After lunch we walked back to Faith's apartment and now we're sitting on the floor with our backs against the couch playing videogames. Or at least, I'm attempting to play and am doing a very bad job of it. Faith gave up on playing a few lives ago and is trying to help me instead.
Her help only prolongs the game for a few more seconds though because before I realize it my little guy on the screen is dead and Faith's hands move away from mine. She's all frustrated at my inability to learn the game and it's all I can do not to laugh at her frustration.
"B, I keep showing you the right buttons. It's so easy." Faith leans back against the couch, shaking her head at me.
"I'm trying," I insist. "Videogames just aren't my thing."
She's still shaking her head, like I should be just as good as she is at whatever game she has in the Playstation right now. Just because I'm a slayer it doesn't mean I'll be any good at a fighting game. Hitting a combination of buttons to kick a bad guy isn't nearly as fun as actually kicking a bad guy.
"How come you're so good at this one?"
"Play when I'm bored," Faith says, smiling as she looks at me. "It's kinda boring during the day but I don't really wanna get a day job and I don't think Giles wants me to either."
"Yeah, I got that impression, too."
Faith nods. "So I play around on these things. Never had one when I was growing up but I always wanted one. First thing I bought when the Council started paying us was that." She points to the Playstation. "Really sucked on that motel TV but it kicks ass on this one."
I put the controller down and turn more toward her. "You never talk about before you came to Sunnydale. About Boston."
It's almost like a darkness covers her when I mention Boston because she looks away from me and stands. "You want anything to drink before I torture you with another game?"
"Faith," I start as I stand and follow her as she walks toward the fridge, "you can tell be about anything that happened. You know that, right?"
"Here's the thing, B," Faith says as she twists open the cap on a bottle of water. "Maybe I'll tell you stuff about Boston someday but today's not that day. There aren't many good memories. Gotta space 'em out."
She smiles at the end but I know she's telling the truth. I've always thought she didn't have the happiest of childhoods so that doesn't surprise me. What does is that I didn't get a more sarcastic answer. That kind of impresses me.
"I'm not asking for a lot, Faith." I walk around the couch so I only a few feet away. "Just the basics since I only know the slaying stories and the names of a few boyfriends."
"Never thought you wanted to know," Faith says as she raises an eyebrow, "and if I remember correctly, you weren't all about sharing the personal info either."
I'm a little at a loss for words there because she's right and she knows it. She's got a smirk on her face as she takes a drink. "Fine, you're right but that's something I want to change."
This seems too easy. "So if I ask you a question you'll answer it?"
Faith hands me a bottle of water and moves to sit down on the couch. "Only if I can ask, too."
"Deal." I sit down at the other end of the couch and turn to face her. "Last name?"
"Lehane. Middle name?"
"December 14th. Where's your dad?"
"LA. My parents got divorced before we moved to Sunnydale."
"Sucks. 'Cause of the slaying?"
I shrug at that and realize she probably wants me to get into it so I'll stop asking questions. "And your parents?"
"Pretty sure they're both alive if that's what you're asking. My dad split when I was real little and my mom didn't really want kids."
"Sucks." By the look on her face I know better than to ask a follow up question to that answer. "Why do you like videogames so much?"
"I don't know." She looks down like she's thinking about it. "I guess I like that I can control the outcome. If I know what I'm doing I can do whatever in there." She points toward the TV. "It's pretty fun, too."
"I'll take your word for it."
Faith laughs. "That's just 'cause you haven't gotten the hang of it yet. Once you start winning you'll never wanna leave."
I narrow my eyes a little "I don't think so."
We just look at each other for a moment and I can see the wheels turning. I have a feeling she's trying to test how much I'll really try to get to know her. Even though she's been a little more talkative this afternoon than any other time, I can still feel that she doesn't fully believe that I genuinely want to be friends.
She looks down at her stack of games. "What about a racing game?"
"You have one of those? I thought you just like the fighting ones."
"This is close enough."
I'm not sure I like the grin on her face as she puts a game called Grand Theft Auto into the Playstation. There isn't a chance this will end well for me.