Can't We All Just Get Along?
“Alright, see you there. And I expect some first-rate answers.” Mal said signing off his wave with Buffy.
Zoe walked in just catching the tail end of the conversation.
“Meeting up with the others, Sir?” She asked.
“On Lilac.” He answered tersely.
“Why Lilac?” She asked. There was only one thing on the planet worth any interest that she could think of.
“Best beverage this side of Shadow. And I need a serious man-sized drink.” He responded confirming Zoe’s suspicions.
Meanwhile, on the other boat:
“We’re all set.” Xander told Buffy as he finished putting in the coordinates she had given him. “Be there in a few hours.”
“Then I better go talk to Faith. Get our stories straight.” Buffy told her friend as she turned to go.
“Hey, Buff?” Xander called before she had gotten far. “What is
the story there?”
“I really don’t have an answer for that.” Buffy told him with a grimace. “At least, not a sane one.”
“Hey, my fifteen-year-old best friend who’s been invisible for nearly a decade is taking a nap in my bunk. I don’t think anyone’s expecting sane anymore.”
Buffy gave Xander a small smile of appreciation. Unfortunately, not even all of the encouragement and understanding in the world could untie the knots in her stomach that appeared when she thought of talking with Faith. The other girl was trouble and the only way Buffy knew to deal with trouble was with her fists, she just hoped it wouldn‘t come to that.
Buffy found Faith in the engine room staring at the various cogs and wires as the engine rotated.
“I bet you don’t even need half of this junk. Probably better off without it.” Faith said without even turning around.
Buffy thought that she heard a veiled threat in Faith’s statement.
“Why do you hate me so much, Faith?” Buffy asked frustrated at the other girl’s obvious dis-like for her. “What did I ever do to you?”
“You died.” Faith answered quietly still not facing Buffy.
Faith’s reply almost knocked the wind out of Buffy.
“Okay, first of all, how do you know that? And second, what does that have to do with anything?” Buffy had so many questions now and, she feared, not enough time to ask them all.
“You really don’t know, do you?” Faith asked the girl she blamed for all of her problems. “What you are? What we
seem like a homicidal lunatic but I try to keep my
crazy down to a minimum.” Buffy retorted.
“And how’s that workin’ out for ya?” Faith asked with a smirk as she crossed her arms.
Buffy wanted to smack the smug look from the other girl’s face but she took a deep breath and forced the urge down, opting for semi-impatience instead.
“What’s going on here, Faith?” Buffy asked.
Faith lost her smirk. She considered telling Buffy where she could shove it but knew that she needed to get things off her chest before she imploded with the weight of them.
“I didn’t know. About you. I thought I was alone on Miranda. All that death. Fighting. Blood. It’s enough to make a girl go a little nutty, B.”
“I know.” Buffy answered.
Faith nodded in acknowledgment.
“Everyone I ca… Everyone was dead.” She continued. “I figured I should head west. Look for survivors. Wasn’t long before I realized that there weren’t any. Just these shells of people filled with hatred and malice. I struggled at first. But it was me or them. So, I chose me. Few weeks in, I started getting these dreams. There was this Shepherd telling me that I was chosen
. That I was meant to fight these things. A ‘Slayer’ is what he called me. Said that he was this thing called a ‘Watcher’. Guy who trained girls like me. Except there shouldn’t be any other girls like me cause there’s only one. One girl at any given time. Her death calls the next one.”
Faith looked pointedly at Buffy as she went on. “Shepherd told me that a Slayer hadn’t been called in around 500 years. From the time of Earth-that-was. But I wasn’t the first. “
Buffy looked in Faith’s eyes and knew what had happened without Faith having to say another word.
“Oh, no.” She had been called as a Slayer and drowned a few days later causing Faith to be called.
Faith saw that Buffy understood and continued. “I blamed you at first, for dying. For passing on your powers to me just in time to see everyone I loved die.”
Buffy heard the anger in Faith’s tone and knew that this was just the beginning.
“That was when I thought you were dead. After a while, the dreams changed. There was interference. I think it came from Red.”
It took Buffy a moment to realize that Faith was talking about Willow.
“Wait. Willow? What has she got to do with this?” Buffy asked. This was all getting to be too much.
“She was calling to you. Trying to reach you in your dreams. Tell you she was still around, I guess. And I think that since we share this power, it made it possible for her to reach me, too. It was Red that told me you were still alive. Well, not outright but I knew she was looking for someone who had survived Miranda so, who else?” the girl said with a shrug.
“So, I started searching for you. And right when I found you, you were whisked away by your new friends. And I really was alone. Except for Red and she hardly counts.”
“Faith, I had no idea,” Buffy started to reach for the girl but she flinched away.
“I’m not finished,” Faith told her.
“Ok. Go on,” Buffy replied though she wasn’t sure she could stand to hear much more. It seemed that she was really only good at letting people down.
“I found your friend’s place, her magic book. Figured maybe I could use it to find you, bring you back but it got all screwed up. Don’t know why, but I lost control. I didn’t mean to attack you, B.” Faith said.
Though there was still anger, Buffy could tell that the girl meant what she said.
“Magic is highly susceptible to subconscious desires,” Willow said leaning against the wall behind her.
“What does mean?” Faith asked a little unnerved by the witch. The girl was already showing signs of aging.
“It means that if you felt anger towards the subject of the spell, then the spell would intensify it.” Willow answered. “I’m sorry, Buffy. I feel like this is partially my fault.”
“Will, how is that even possible?” Buffy asked.
“Remember that spell I did for your birthday? Well, it was sort of a protection spell. Spring Fling was coming up and I knew you had your heart set on being May Queen and I didn’t want you to be hurt if you didn’t get it, and I added a little protection for Xander cause I knew he was gonna ask you and a little for me cause well I’m scared of a lot of things and..”
“Willow,” Buffy stopped her friend before she ran out of breath and passed out. “It sounds to me like maybe you saved my two best friends from dying.”
Buffy wasn’t sure if the logic held together but the idea sounded right. Willows spell didn’t just save them from broken hearts or potential public embarrassment, it had save their lives.
“Really?” Willow asked sounding hopeful. “But, Buffy, I think the spell also blocked you from sensing me. At least while you were on Miranda. I tried so many times to contact you but I just couldn’t get through.”
“You’re here now,” Faith said.
“So are you,” the witch pointed out.
“So, is everything cool now? Are we all ready to get along?” Buffy asked with a pointed look at Faith.
“Bygones,” The girl answered with and affirmative shrug of her shoulders.
A few minutes later all three girls were behind Xander watching the sky.
“Truce?” He asked.
“So it seems,” Buffy answered.
Buffy could just make out Mal and Zoe in one of the back corners of the Eastwall Tavern.Let’s get this over with,
Taking a deep breath, Buffy started leading her friends and Faith through the crowd to the back table. She could see Mal already downing a pint with another waiting next to it.
Just as Buffy was passing the bar, a stubbly man in a rumpled tweed jacket stumbled into her.
“Pardon me, “he said in a lilting, slightly drunken British accent as he grabbed her shoulder to steady himself.
“You ok?” Buffy asked making sure the man was steady before letting go of him.
“Yes. Quite alright.” The man said looking at her for the first time with a small smile. Just as quickly as it appeared the smile dropped off his face and the man became eerily pale. “My God, you’re her
Buffy stiffened. She wasn’t sure why this man thought he knew her but she guessed from the look on his face that it wasn’t good.
“I’m sorry. I think you have me mistaken…”she attempted to cut off his thought process but his next words stopped her in her tracks.
“Buffy Summers?” He asked. Based on how quickly that shut her up the man knew he was right. “Yes. I thought so. I was supposed to be your Watcher but they told me you had died. And then Miranda…”he trailed off because he knew she knew the rest. He had seen the video that had gone viral of that scientist telling what had happened to the population.
“Wait. You were supposed to be my wha-huh?” Buffy asked in shock.