Author's Notes: This is mostly a Faith-centric story, but will eventually be Fuffy. The timeline is set a few years post-chosen, certain events afterwards from the comics are referenced to, but not entirely based off of what had happened in season 8 and the beginning of season 9/Angel & Faith. I've put my own spin on things, only borrowing a few little events/situations from the comics and twisting it to my own liking. I've been wanting to write a story like this for a while, the idea always in the back of my mind, but the inspiration never there until after I had (finally) finished Whatever Doesn't Kill Us. I hope you guys enjoy the story, the chapters will be long and I'm not sure about the rate of updates since I am writing this as I go along. Let me know what you think and constructive criticism is always welcome :)

Chapter One

Being alone was something she'd gotten used to, something she learned over the years to appreciate when she had the chance just to escape for a couple of hours. It gave her time to think, but unlike how it was for her in prison, she didn't feel like the walls were always closing in around her. Everything that happened in life, whether it went wrong or right, was always a lesson to be learned in the end. Every choice, every mistake, it gave her things to think about and a reason to make things right-or at least as right as she could make them.

The world had changed and so had she. Gone were the days where she was reckless and out of control. Gone were the days where she just didn't care if she lived through the night. And gone were the thoughts that she was worthless, that she didn't deserve to be free.

"You ready for another?"

Faith lifted her head at the sound of the bartender's voice. She glanced at the beer in front of her and nodded her head yes. Lifting the glass, she finished what was left and spun around on her stool to take a look around the bar. She was a regular here, but it's not like she came here to get drunk. On a normal night, she'd always find one or two vampires trying to blend in and she'd bait them, lead them out of the bar and she'd dust them with practiced ease. It was the only way to find them now. They'd all been running scared since word got out that there were more than two dozen slayers in town.

After Sunnydale, everyone did their own thing for a couple of months. Faith stayed in LA and helped Angel and his crew out for a while, but she felt right from the start that she needed to be somewhere else. When Giles called late that August night, she was on the plane the next day to Cleveland to help him, Wood, and a few of the slayers take out a huge nest of vampires. There had been almost a hundred of them and it was a long, nasty fight, but in the end they won and she knew then that that is where she needed to be. On a Hellmouth, fighting the good fight.

Then came Scotland. It was definitely a giant mess and yet, when Buffy had called for help in retrieving the scythe, Faith was there and she was there for far longer than she originally planned to stick around. And then she was tangled in the mess with Twilight, just like Buffy and her troops in Scotland were. Faith couldn't leave her to fight alone and she stood there like the good slayer she was, fighting it all to the end until she had nothing left in her to give.

She still couldn't think about how it ended, with Angel killing Giles and Buffy destroying the Seed. That night played over and over in her nightmares and it was just something she couldn't let go of. Despite what Angel had done, she knew she couldn't let him drown in the guilt he had over killing Giles. Angel had been there for her before and she felt it was only right that she needed to be there for him since nobody else was. Not even Buffy.

Faith stayed in London for almost a year with Angel. They had a good thing going for them for a while, but she grew bored of London, bored of her life there. Angel left it up to her whether she stayed or left. She packed up her things and left in the middle of the day without saying goodbye to Angel. She hopped on the first flight back to the US and landed in Cleveland in the middle of a wild thunderstorm. All it took was one phone call and Wood came to the airport and picked her up, no questions, no nothing other than an awkward hug to welcome her home.

She'd been there ever since, going on a year and a month, give or take. Wood still ran the slayer unit there and she was fine with letting him stay in charge. She knew that Cleveland was the only unit of slayers who had stuck together instead of disbanding like hundreds of others all over the world had. She knew how those young slayers felt. They thought that Buffy had betrayed them and in some twisted way, Faith knew they were right.

It's all in the past now and the last she heard about Buffy, she was living her own life down in San Francisco. Dawn and Xander were down there with her too from what she'd heard from Wood. Willow had been there for a while too, but she had come to London after things with her and Kennedy fell apart. After a failed attempt to restore magic and bring back Giles from the dead, she disappeared. Nobody knew where she was for the longest time and when she showed up at Faith's apartment six months ago, Faith wasn't surprised to see her at all.

Willow had been there ever since, first crashing on Faith's couch for a few weeks until Faith cleaned out the spare room for her. It wasn't something she wanted, a roommate, but it was nice not to go home to nothing and nobody sometimes. She and Willow formed this bond, one stronger than Faith ever thought she'd have with anyone. Willow proved to her that everyone can have a second chance, but she'd done that years ago when she'd brought Faith from LA to help Buffy and the others fight the First Evil.

Pulling out her wallet, she placed a twenty on the counter before finishing off her beer quickly. It was getting late and she was tired, beyond tired. She hadn't been sleeping well lately and a part of it had to do with the nightmares she'd been having of that night the whole world changed. Waving goodnight to the bartender, she pulled her jacket tight and stepped out into the cool November night.

Faith dug out the keys to her truck as she walked down the street to where she'd parked it. She hit the button on the remote to disengage the alarm and stopped when she heard slow hollow footsteps approaching her from behind. Spinning around to face whatever was stalking her, she found there was nothing there. With a heavy sigh, she climbed in her truck and headed home.

"Yo, Wil, I'm back," Faith called out as she walked through the door.

"Any luck tonight?" Willow asked from where she sat at the desk, her laptop open in front of her. Faith shook her head no, heading straight for the fridge in the small kitchen. "I was doing a little bit of research tonight. I think I know why there's a complete lack of vampires around here lately."

"Why's that?" Faith asked, joining her in the living room and sipping from a cold bottle of water. "They're still running scared? That's what it is, right?"

"Uh, no," Willow replied with a soft laugh. "Their numbers are down, so far down that they're nearly extinct and it's not just here, Faith, it's everywhere."

"Are we finally winning the good fight?"

"I think so, yeah."


Willow smiled and closed the lid to her laptop. "Whatever we've been doing, we're doing it right. If we can find the ones that are left before they have the chance to turn any innocent civilians, we can wipe them from this world completely."

"And we'll be living it up, vamp and demon free?"


"So, how we gonna find the ones that are left, Wil? Cos what was working before, it ain't anymore. I haven't had a vamp in over a week," Faith replied and she stopped Willow before she can speak. "Look, it's late and I don't know about you, but I'm beat. How about we figure out all this in the morning, yeah?"

"Night, Faith."

Faith smiled and headed for her room, shutting the door behind her. Hitting the light switch, she put the bottle of water down on her dresser and easily stripped out of her clothes. Her room was modest and clean, but not as spartan as she used to live. She had belongings, more than just clothes, she had little trinkets and books, jewelry and her own personal weapons chest. The walls were mostly bare aside from the cork board hanging over the dresser that was filled with pictures and postcards.

Her life had definitely changed. She had friends who were like family to her, people who wanted to be around her and she had slayers who had left Cleveland to travel the world and cared enough to send her letters and postcards, telling her all about the things they discovered abroad. Sometimes it felt surreal having the kind of life she had now. But like everything else, she had learned to appreciate it and everyone that was in it.

Pulling on an old t-shirt three sizes too big, Faith hit the light and crawled into bed. Sleep wouldn't be coming easy and she knew that before her head even hit the pillow. She listened to the sounds of Willow moving around in the living room, shutting off the lights before making her way to her own bedroom. Sometimes she missed living alone and the quiet that came with it. But with the quiet came the loneliness and the feeling of it just being her against the world.

By morning, Faith had barely gotten a few hours of sleep and she pulled on a pair of sweat pants before walking out of her bedroom. Willow was already up and sipping a cup of herbal tea at the kitchen table, the morning paper open in front of her.

"You look like crap," Willow remarked as Faith grabbed a mug out of the cupboard and poured herself a cup of tea. "Are you still having trouble sleeping, Faith?"

"I'll live," she shrugged it off. "Anything interesting in the paper?"

"Nope," Willow replied and she flipped a few pages. "Nothing. No reports of any robberies, kidnappings or murders. Same as it's been for months."

Faith nodded and poured some milk into her mug. She kicked the fridge door shut and picked up her mug, sipping the warm tea. She leaned up against the counter and flipped on the small TV to the local news station.

"...another beautiful day in Cleveland with a slight chance of rain this afternoon. The weekend is looking like a beaut-"

"Is it just me or is the weather girl a little more perky than usual?" Willow chuckled as Faith turned the TV back off. "You sure you're feeling okay, Faith?"

"Just tired, Wil. I'm sure it'll pass and then I'll end up sleeping for like a week straight."

"How long has this been going on for?" Willow asked, sounding concerned as she stared at Faith, waiting for her to answer.

"Couple days," Faith replied. "It's no big."

"Maybe you should see a doctor?"

Faith slammed her mug down on the counter and sighed heavily. "I don't need to see a doctor. I'm fine."

Willow wasn't convinced and the look on her face said it all. Faith was at least grateful that Willow didn't keep pressing the issue either. Faith hated doctors and she hadn't been to one in longer than she could remember. She hated doctors and the clinic and the hospital. All of it. Besides, she didn't need a doctor just because she hadn't been sleeping well for more than just a few days. If she told Willow the truth, that it'd been happening for weeks, she'd never hear the end of it from her. She couldn't have her worrying like that.

Faith headed to her room and changed into her work-out clothes. She pulled on her running shoes and headed to the door, ready to head out on her regular morning run. Grabbing her keys, she headed out and jogged down the ten flights of stairs and took the back exit that lead to the parking lot. She stretched out, feeling a little more sore than what was normal for her. It wasn't just the lack of sleep that'd been bothering her lately, it was the aches that came out of nowhere.

Shrugging it off, she started off on her run, heading for the park a few blocks away. The morning sun was already high in the sky and it was feeling warmer than it should for November. Jogging past some of the regulars, Faith took her usual path that winded around the park and through the trees instead of out in the open. The trees provided a bit of relief from the warm morning sun and she picked up the pace, dodging the other people on the path with ease.

"Faith?" Jamie, one of the slayer's that stayed with Wood called out from behind her and she slowed down, but didn't stop. "Hey, Faith?"

"What's up, kid?"

"Can I join you?"

"If you can keep up," Faith chuckled and she picked up her pace again, leaving the young slayer behind. It didn't take her long to catch up and she ran beside Faith, keeping up with her, stride for stride.

Faith normally didn't associate with the young slayers unless she had to. That was usually during their monthly meeting's at the house and before things had slowed down, it was rare that she ran into them while out on patrol. But she knew Jamie, she'd been one of the girls she'd been sent to retrieve a few years ago. Jamie had been out of control, reckless and abusing her power to the full extent. When Faith had found her, she had just been arrested for nearly killing a college boy at a club outside of Miami. Jamie had been so much like Faith was when she was younger and she was almost proud to see how far the kid had come in a few short years. Like her, Jamie had turned her life around, but she had it easier than Faith ever did.

They jogged around the park a few times before Faith came to a stop, panting hard and trying to catch her breath. She barely managed to make it over to the nearest bench and sat down heavily. Jamie was still bustling with energy and Faith figured she was only worn out because she hadn't been sleeping much.

"Good run," Faith said roughly. "I'm done, kid."

"Old age catching up to you?" Jamie teased and Faith rolled her eyes. "Are you coming to the meeting tonight?"

"There's a meeting tonight?"

"Uh yeah," Jamie replied pointedly. "Monthly meeting you never miss, always the first Thursday of the month, remember?"

"Right. I'll be there."

"See you later, Faith."

Faith waved goodbye and took a few deep breaths before forcing herself to her feet. She felt a little unsteady, her head was spinning and she felt sick. Shaking it off, she started the walk back home, taking her time and trying to stay steady on her feet. It took her longer than it usually does to get back to her apartment and she was grateful that Willow wasn't home. She barely made it to her bed before she collapsed.

She knew something wasn't right with her, but there was no way in hell she was going to see a doctor. She was just exhausted and had pushed herself a little too much over the past couple of weeks, especially during her run with Jamie. Kicking off her shoes, she welcomed the pull of sleep. That's all she knew she needed was to get some solid sleep, without any of her nightmares haunting her and she'd be five by five in no time.

By four in the afternoon, Faith woke up feeling much more like her usual self. Although still tired, she didn't feel like she was teetering on the edge of complete and total exhaustion. The aches were mostly gone and if she didn't focus on it, she didn't feel it. After a long, hot shower, she got dressed and found Willow waiting for her in the living room.

"Are you ready to go?"

"To the meeting, right?" Faith asked and Willow nodded her head slowly. "Let's go. Are we taking your wheels or mine?"

"It's not that far," Willow replied. "And it's nice out tonight. I thought we'd walk, stop and grab a couple of pizza's to bring to the house for the girls."

"I bought 'em the last time."

Willow smiled and they headed out the door. Faith headed down to the elevator and pressed the button while Willow locked up behind her. They didn't talk much at all as they walked down to the pizza place on the corner. Faith put in the usual order and joined Willow, sitting beside her on the hard orange chairs lined up by the small window.

Faith sighed heavily, slouching in her chair as a nagging headache hit her out of nowhere. She hadn't had one in a couple of weeks and this one was no different than the last one that had blindsided her for a couple of days.

"Are you okay, Faith?"

"Five by five, Wil. Just a bitch of headache."

Willow paid for the three large pizza's once they were ready and they headed for the house a few blocks away. Faith tried to keep up with Willow even though she wasn't walking too fast. She tried to make it seem like she was fine. She'd felt fine before they left the apartment.

The house Wood lived in with a few of the younger slayers was a fairly modest brownstone, nestled in a quiet little neighborhood. Faith led the way up the front steps and walked right in. The girls were already sitting around in the living room and she placed the pizza's down on the coffee table, smiling as they dug right in. Faith headed back to the kitchen and found Willow in there talking to Wood.

"Hello, Faith," he smiled at her as she helped herself to a cold beer from the fridge. "How have you been? Willow says you haven't been feeling like yourself lately."

"I'm feeling fine, Wood," Faith replied, forcing down the urge to glare angrily at Willow for telling him that. "Hadn't been sleeping good for a few days, but after my run this morning I slept like a rock all day. I'm five by five."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, man. I'm sure."

"If there's something going on with you, something wrong-"

"Lay off me, both of you!" Faith said angrily. "There is nothing wrong with me! Fuck," she groaned and placed her untouched beer on the counter. "I'm going to duck out for a smoke. Don't wait for me to start the meeting."


"What, Wil?"

"I'm just worried about you," she said softly, frowning when Faith shrugged her off. "I'm sorry, Faith. It's just that I see you every day and I know you've been lying to me. It's been going on for a lot longer than a couple of days, hasn't it?"

"Just drop it. I'm fine."

Faith stepped out on to the back porch and pulled out a well-worn pack of cigarettes. She hadn't smoked in a while, a few weeks at least and before that it had been months. It was a nasty habit she'd picked up in prison and during her time with Giles, she managed to quit. But every once in a while she picked it back up again, usually when she was stressed out and feeling on edge. Like tonight.

Sitting down on the back steps, she lit her cigarette with a shaky hand. The smoke burned her lungs and the nicotine coursed through her veins, making her whole body buzz in a way she hadn't felt in a long time. She welcomed that feeling and it wasn't as if she missed it, it just calmed her in ways she couldn't even describe.

Faith looked over at the bushes when she heard something moving behind them. She'd been a slayer long enough to know that it's not always a wild animal or a stray cat lurking behind bushes. Flicking her cigarette to the ground, she slowly moved towards the row of bushes that separated the small back yard from the one next door. She heard it again and she knew that there was definitely something back there.

She felt that buzz, the one she hadn't felt in weeks, not since the last vampire she lured out of that bar and dusted with ease beside the dumpster. Smiling to herself, she looked for an opening in the bushes, but there wasn't one. Using her senses, she felt the vampire out and grabbed him, yanking him through the thick bushes and threw him to the ground.

"Look what we got here," Faith chuckled as she looked down at the vampire. "Just when I thought it was going to be just another boring, uneventful night."

Faith took a step back, watching the vampire as it got to his feet. She'd stunned him pulling him out of the bushes the way she had, but he was angry and it showed all over his ugly face. Faith, full of her usual cocky demeanor when it came to slaying, licked over her lips and took the first shot, a fast and hard uppercut that clipped the vampire in the jaw and send him sprawling backwards a couple of feet.

Storming over towards the vampire, she grabbed him by the collar of his worn trench coat and pulled him to his feet. Holding him at arms length, she threw another punch, a hard right hook and let him go. All that exhaustion, the ache she'd been feeling for weeks just seemed to disappear. Maybe all she needed was a good slay. She ducked out of the way of a fury of sloppy punches the vampire threw at her and she narrowly missed the last one. Circling the vampire, she looked for an opening, for his weak spot.

Eyes wide, she watched as the vampire pulled out a short sword from the inside of his jacket and pointed it at her. To her, it didn't look like he knew how to use it, probably carried it around for show, maybe even a bit of protection from the other nasties that went bump in the night.

"Well damn, you're the type that just don't play fair, aren't ya?" Faith asked, smirking as she raised a fist, ready to strike. The vampire took a swing at her, the tip of the sword just grazing her jean jacket right by her left shoulder. "Come on, fight fair, would ya?"

"Fair?" The vampire growled, taking another swing at her, a sly smirk curling over his lips as she stood her ground.

"Yeah," She smirked. "Fair, you know? Put down the weapons, fight like a man-or rather the man you used to be."

The vampire attacked her in a blinding rage and she rolled with every punch, ducked and blocked them with practiced ease. Every move the vampire threw her way she could predict it coming a mile away. Letting out a frustrated growl, the vampire threw his sword down and charged at her. Faith jumped out of the way half a second before the vampire reached her and she rolled across the ground, grabbing the sword before she leapt to her feet.

"Come on, man, give me something new, yeah? You're all the same. Same old moves, same old predictable shit. I could fight ya blinded and dust ya in a second."

"Then why don't you?"

A challenge. Faith never backed down from a challenge. Besides, it'd been weeks since she had her last slay and she wasn't about to have it end too quickly. She was being a little bit too careless, a little bit too reckless, but she needed this, especially after the day she'd been having.

Using his own sword against him, she struck at him, purposely missing his throat by a hair. The anger was still there, but she could swear that in that second she almost struck him in the neck, she could see the fear flash in his eyes. Laughing, Faith twirled the sword in her hand, loving the feel of it, loving how light it felt in her hands and how it cut through the air. She'd definitely be keeping this one for her own personal collection.

Taking another swing at the vampire, she was startled when he knocked the sword clean out of her hand with just one blow. Shaking it off, she pulled out her stake from inside her jacket and charged toward him, determined now to finish this before the vampire got in another lucky blow. No vampire, especially not this one, got to best her at any given time or place.

Just as she was about to go for the kill, white hot searing pain flooded through her entire body. It was hard and fast and completely out of nowhere.

"What the fu-"

The vampire grabbed her as she let out a howling scream and threw her across the yard like she was nothing more than a rag-doll. Her body slammed hard against the shed at the far end of the yard and she groaned painfully as she tried to get to her feet. Every inch of her body felt like it was on fire, the pain completely unbearable and unlike anything she had ever felt before. She takes a swing at the vampire as he moved in to grab her and she missed, losing herself in the momentum of her swing.

Faith cried out in pain, tears streaking down her face as the vampire grabbed her clenched fist and twisted her arm around. Staggering back once the vampire let her go, she tried to take another swing at him and this time her fist collided with his face. She howled in pain, holding her swollen hand against her chest. Hitting him had felt like she'd punched a block of granite.

He's right behind her and he grabbed her before she could take more than a few steps. She can feel his razor sharp fangs and the coldness of his breath on her exposed neck as he goes in for the kill.

Gathering what strength she could, she elbowed the vampire in the face and broke free of the hold he had on her. Another flash of that searing white hot pain ripped through her and she collapsed to the ground, writhing and gasping, screaming out as she lost complete control of her own body. Her tears stain her cheeks and she reached for her stake that's laying on the ground near her, just out of her reach.

She yelled out, this time not just in pain, but in sheer determination to stake that undead asshole before he can make her his dinner. Grabbing her stake, she rolled onto her back as the vampire reached down for her. She sucked in a sharp, painful breath and thrust the stake up and into his heart, using all that she had left in her to make sure she plunged it in nice and deep.

Coughing as the vampire dust rained down on her, she curled up on the ground, shivering as the skies opened up and the rain began to fall. Faintly she could hear Willow calling her name and she and the others ran out of the house. She was fading, the pain completely unbearable.

Faith had never experienced so much pain before. It was worse than the time that Buffy had used her own knife and stuck in in her gut right before she threw herself off the roof. It was worse than the time she faced the Beast in LA and even worse than the fight she had against Angelus with a deadly amount of orpheus coursing through her veins.

The thunderous roar of the rain and the sound of Willow's voice kept her tethered to reality, kept her conscious but just barely. She could feel herself being picked up and carried inside and she wasn't sure when she had closed her eyes, but found it impossible when she had tried again and again to open them.

"Something happened to her," Willow said as she and Wood stood in the doorway of the bedroom. Faith was laid out on the bed, barely conscious. "What do you think happened to her, Robin?"

"It could've been anything. Maybe she was attacked? We all heard her scream, but it all happened so fast. By the time we got out there-"

"Attacked by what?" Willow interrupted him. "A vampire? Some kind of a demon? You know as well as I do that the activity around here has slowed right down. Why now, why tonight?"

"It's possible she was targeted, maybe caught off guard. You said earlier she hadn't been herself lately. It could have something to do with this."

"We don't even know what this is!"

Robin sighed and stepped back out into the hallway, closing the bedroom door behind him. They both knew that something had happened to Faith, something big and something bad. The amount of pain she'd been in when they'd found her out in the back yard, neither of them had ever seen her like that before.

"I'm calling the doctor," Robin said quietly.

"She hates doctors."

"Dr. Jameson isn't just a normal doctor, Willow. He once worked with the coven and he might be able to tell us what happened to her tonight."


"You know as well as I do that we need to call him. If this is something as bad as we both fear, he might be the only one who can give us some kind of an answer as to what is happening to her."

Willow frowned and looked back at the closed bedroom door. Robin was right. Faith did need a doctor and whatever had happened to her, it'd been gradually happening over the past couple of weeks right under their very noses. She knew that she should've pushed Faith a little bit harder about going to the doctor. She knew she should've convinced her that something wasn't right. It was more than just not sleeping well. So much more.

"I'm going to-I need to stay here with her, in case she comes to," Willow said quietly as Robin started to walk towards the stairs. "Uh, after you call the doctor, I think you should try to get in touch with Angel. He'll want to know that there is something happening to Faith."

"And Buffy?"

"No," Willow shook her head no. "Don't call her. Not until we know what happened to Faith tonight."

"Right, okay. Let me know when she wakes up."

Willow nodded and quietly let herself into the bedroom, Robin's bedroom, where Faith was still sleeping soundly. She pulled up the chair from the desk beside the bed, shut off all the lights but the one on the bedside table and sat down.

Even asleep-passed out and unconscious, whatever it was-Willow could see the pain and anguish written all over Faith's face. And it hurt her to see her in that state. Faith had become one of her best friends and like any of those that were close to her, she couldn't stand seeing her in so much pain and not being able to help. If there was one thing she wanted most of all was to be able to use magic again and without it, she felt helpless.

Faith groaned as she opened her eyes. The pain had subsided, but it still lingered there, rolling over her in waves. She stretched out slowly, carefully, feeling the pull in every muscle. It hurt, but definitely not near as much as it had before and she could feel just how weak her body was. It wasn't just her body, it was everything right down to her very soul.

Blinking, she looked around the room, knowing right away she wasn't in her own bed and that everything she'd gone through had been very real and not just another nightmare that she thought-hoped-it had been.

Nothing more than wishful thinking, huh? Faith thought to herself and she winced as she tried to sit up in the bed. "Damn."

"Faith?" Willow said sleepily as she opened her eyes. "How are you feeling?"

"Like shit," she replied honestly.

"What happened to you tonight?"

"Beats me," Faith replied with a shrug. "God damn, it hurts."

"Where does it hurt?"

"It-fuck, Wil, it hurts everywhere," she sighed and she laid back down, closing her eyes as she forced back the tears that threatened to fall.

Now that her head felt a little more clear, she thought back to that moment when that pain had hit her. It wasn't just pain like she'd been hit by a truck or a freight train, repeatedly. It ran deeper than that. Much deeper. It had felt like a part of her had been ripped right out from inside of her. Something from her very soul. She could feel that weakness and it overpowered her, it sucked her right in, made her feel, well nothing more than human.

And she knew in that moment what had happened to her. She had no idea how or why, but what happened to her tonight while she fought that nobody of a vampire, and it was bigger than just another run of the mill slay gone wrong. Something had taken her power from her, tore that slayer essence right out of her. She could feel it, or rather the absence of it now more than ever.

But how? Faith couldn't understand how something like that could've happened. The world had changed, in more ways than one. She knew about the cruciamentum, about the injections that stripped a slayer of her powers temporarily, but it wasn't that. She would've known if someone or something had been injecting her with that drug, wouldn't she? Magic was ruled out too, it just didn't exist anymore. Still, it was there, that void she could feel the more the pain began to subside. That feeling of weakness, it filled her and it hurt more than everything she had just felt that night.

"I know what happened to me, Wil."

"What is it, Faith?"

Taking a deep breath, she sat up slowly, wincing as she felt every muscle, every joint in her body protest any kind of moment she made. Tears brimming in her eyes, she couldn't even look at Willow as she struggled to force the words to come out.

"Whatever happened to me tonight, Wil, I'm not a slayer. Not anymore."