'Her new toy comes with knives AND a temper'
Disclaimer: See chapter one.
A/N: This is me, begging for reviews. Recs would be nice too, but I'll settle for reviews. Shiny, candy-like reviews, mmmmm.
“--Gotta say, it’s wicked lame how you’re scared to let me even try
‘scared’, you purple-haired nutcase, but if you think I’m going to just stand here and let you stab
“--And, um, I promise I won’t be any trouble.... If you let me, um, you know... stay? And my little ones won’t be any bother either. They’re very well-behaved... usually, and, um....”
Buffy watched the three other girls with amusement, fingers idly twirling a lock of her hair as she looked on.
“I’m only going to stab you a little,” Faith was saying, a blaze of violet light in the shape of a wickedly-barbed knife in her hand. She moved slowly forward and to her right, circling towards her opponent. “Come on, just let me do it already; one time, really quick, and then we’ll know--” “No!”
The other girl, Hisako, shook her head and glared at Faith even as she edged back and away, circling the room for the second time since the ‘discussion’ had began. The strange aura that surrounded her, which looked sort of like the outline of an oversized spacesuit made from large, glowing red bubbles, flared brighter for a moment in response to her emotions, then stabilized. “I swear, if you come near me with that thing, I am going to shove it so far up your backside that your eyes are going to turn purple too!”
Merrie, standing in the very center of the room with her bags, her suitcase and her box on the floor all around her, was wringing her hands in distress.
“A-and, I promise I’ll be a good roommate, and keep very quiet when you’re studying, or sleeping...?” Noticing how her hand-wringing was causing bits of pink, slightly rubbery flesh to flake off and drift to the floor, she hastily stopped and put her hands behind her. “Ah! Sorry! I’ll clean that up, I promise! Um... hello?”
The other two gave no sign of knowing the girl even existed, other than as an obstacle that complicated the stalking and evasion thing that was playing out between them. Buffy managed to keep from giggling out loud at the absurdity of the situation, but she couldn’t help the pleased sigh, and the way her lips quirked into a fond little smile as she watched Faith. This girl is messed-up in the strangest ways. Most of the time she’s so confident and strong, and then the next minute she turns massively insecure... like now. It’s like some other five-year-old on the playground just said that her doll is better than Faith’s doll... so now proving that it isn’t so is the most important thing in the world.
Why is it so adorable when she gets all crazy and violent and immature like that?
“Yeah, yeah, you’re gonna stick my knife up my own ass; whatever,” Faith didn’t look even a little impressed by the threat. “It’s that kind of big talk that got us here, remember?” She waggled the blazing weapon she held, using it to point at the other girl’s glowing armor. “You do not
get to say that my shit is weaker than your shit. You do not
get to talk smack like that to me and then walk away.” She smiled a hungry little smile, crouched a tiny bit lower, then edged forward again.
Hisako, her eyes wide, stopped her sideways motion and retreated back towards one of the room’s two beds.
“I never said
asked me what my power was, and I told you!”
“You told her you were superstrong and invulnerable,” Buffy offered helpfully from the sidelines. “And then she said ‘invulnerable?’ To which you said ‘Yes, nothing can get through my armor when it’s on, nothing at all’.” The Asian girl shot her a distracted, semi-panicked look, and the blonde smiled sweetly in return. “To me that sounds like you were
saying her knives weren’t as powerful as your wacky bubble-suit, there.”
“What?!?” The glowing girl had backed all the way to the wall now, and with a look of desperation she grabbed the nearer bed and lifted it easily. “I didn’t even know what her power was
! How could I have been saying mine was better?!”
Merrie was looking more and more lost, and upset, and now her little ‘friends’ were peeking out of their carry-case and watching the antics of the big people.
“...Is anyone even listening
to me?” She asked plaintively, her eyes going from Hisako to Faith. The girl in the glowing armor was poised to swat Faith with the bed she held, and the girl with the knife was looking for an opening so she could dart in and finally test her weapon against that defense. Merrie looked pleadingly at Buffy. “Anyone? About me living here? Anyone?”
Buffy shrugged carelessly, still playing with her hair. Looking back at the other two girls, she raised her voice.
“I mean, saying she had a lame power was bad enough, but then you called her a nutcase, too? I don’t blame her for being upset.” She glanced to the side, where the mirror over the dresser reflected the image of a beautiful blonde girl back at her. Buffy pursed her pink-glossed lips in a seductive little pout at her reflection and continued aloud, while happily admiring herself. “Honestly, I’m surprised she’s only trying to prove you’re wrong about that armor stopping her knife. With all the insults and name-calling, on top of how you’re ignoring our poor friend Merrie, here, I
think she should make you apologize to all of us.” “Apologize?!?”
Hisako demanded incredulously, outrage turning the word into a squeak. Faith darted forward, knife leading, but was forced to leap back to avoid being swatted by the bed. The wind from that swing blew her hair back behind her in a stream of wild purple tangles, and she glared at her opponent.
“She’s right! You’ve been talking shit to us from the second we walked in here!”
“And remember, she shoved you, too,” Buffy reminded them helpfully, even as she settled herself gracefully in the seat before the mirrored vanity table.
shove me!” Faith snarled, trying another lunge. When the bed came back around in a whooshing arc she leapt back again. This time, however, her blade took off one of the endposts, and a large chunk of mattress as well.
“Of course I shoved you!” Hisako snapped at her. “Because you came at me with a knife
Buffy crossed her legs at the knee and flipped her hair behind her shoulder, consciously assuming a poised and elegant pose as she regarded herself. The blonde girl in the mirror really was
extraordinarily pretty... and she looked to be having entirely too much fun.
“And didn’t she try and hit you, too?” She called in a sugary-sweet voice.
“Fuck yeah, she did! With one of those fat, stupid, roly-poly bubble-hands of hers!
“Because you came at me with a knife
!” Hisako repeated, her fear and frustration clearly approaching overload levels. Grunting with the effort, she whipped the bed she held from left to right, then back the other way, then tried thrusting it straight at the taller girl. Each time, a piece of it went flying, cut free as Faith’s psi-knife sheared through both metal frame and foam padding like it was nothing. One more attempted swat left her with barely a quarter of the bed left, and the Japanese girl gave a wordless shout as she flung it at her tormenter with all her might.
Buffy, who had taken a moment to reach into the small purse she’d brought, paused to watch the scuffle in the mirror over her reflection’s shoulder.
Faith, with a sharp gesture from her empty hand, telekinetically deflected the large projectile off to one side--the side of the room away
from where Buffy sat. The blonde girl nodded in satisfaction, even as Hisako leapt at Faith. Yes, just like that,
she thought approvingly. Random violence is perfectly okay, so long as you aim it at anyone and anything else... and never, ever at me.
She found what she was looking for in her bag, uncapped the little tube, and began re-applying her lip gloss. In the mirror’s background, Faith intercepted the other girl’s leap with another telekinetic push. Hisako swerved in mid-air, tumbling head over heels across the room to slam into the far wall. She dropped to the floor, leaving behind a faint outline of her bubble-field indented in the wall. Buffy, satisfied that her lips were once more perfectly pink, glossy and kissable, took note of this with a tiny frown. That’s a pretty sturdy wall; she hit it hard, and barely hurt it at all. They must have built everything here extra-strong, knowing that there would be lots of fights. It’s all probably fireproof too, so nobody with gyrokinesis... fyrokinesis? So nobody with fire powers accidentally burns everything down by accident.
She glanced over at the door to the hallway, which was closed, then once more around the room. Great soundproofing too, like I noticed before; nobody’s running in to see what all the yelling and crashing is about.
She smirked then, and gave a soft, very ladylike snort of amusement. Or maybe it’s just that nobody wants to get involved in whatever’s going on in here--smart of them.
Hisako had climbed to her feet with difficulty; inside her armor she looked bruised and shaken. Faith, sensing victory, bounded forward, her dagger sweeping down. The Asian girl instinctively raised an arm to deflect it, and a shower of blazing sparks rained over her as the blade made glancing contact with her force field.
Everything stopped for a moment. Both girls froze, their eyes going to Hisako’s arm.
It was still there, unharmed, although the red field showed a bluish discoloration where the psi-knife had struck, and the armor looked paler, and perhaps weaker, all along her arm.
Hisako swallowed, and met Faith’s eyes.
“There. It didn’t go through. Satisfied?”
Faith’s eyes narrowed.
“Doesn’t count; I barely touched you.” Spinning the blade around to an overhand grip, she raised her arm. “Let’s try it again, only this time I’ll give you one that’s nice and solid; straight-on.” “No!”
Hisako stepped in close, using both of her hands to try and catch hold of Faith’s wrist. She failed; encased in puffy, stubby-fingered bubbles as they were, her hands were too clumsy. Her bulky, armored form, however, did serve to knock Faith backwards, too off-balance to attack. The Asian girl pressed her advantage, managing to grab hold of that long, purple hair in one hand. An awkward swing with her other hand connected, barely, with Faith’s head, snapping it back sharply.
Buffy, who had been lounging indolently in in her chair, bolted to her feet, heart in her throat.
She was halfway across the room before she’d even made a conscious decision to move, but even so she was too slow.
Faith’s arm came across, her knife intercepting Hisako’s second, more carefully-aimed blow, and sparks showered across them both. The Asian girl flinched back instead of finishing the swing. She still had hold of Faith’s hair, though, and she used that grip to swing the taller girl around and slam her back against the wall. Faith grunted, though her glare never faltered. A second psi-knife materialized in her empty hand, and both of them swept upwards, going for a combined, crossing strike at the forearm above her head. Hisako flinched again, releasing her grip on that purple mane and yanking the arm back out of harm‘s way.
Buffy stopped where she was, in the center of the room, and tried to decide what she should do. I should help her; she’s not invulnerable, and Armor-girl is at least middling superstrong. Only... she wouldn’t want that. I think. I mean, okay, I’ve only known her for a couple of hours, but it’s pretty obvious. Everything she’s done has been her trying to impress me with how tough, and fierce, and macho she is. If I save her, I take that away... and I don’t know if she could handle that.
It was hard, taking the risk that Faith would be seriously hurt. It was surprisingly hard, actually, given that she barely knew the girl, and shouldn‘t really care one way or the other. Still, Buffy took a breath, did the difficult thing, and backed away.
Hisako was still crowding Faith back against the wall, leaving the taller girl no room to move and no space in which to set up a solid attack. A psi knife slashed across the armor’s torso, and the other cut at a thigh, both hits throwing off gouts of sparks, but the force field held. In response, Hisako drew back her fist and fired it straight at Faith’s chest, with terrifying force.
Buffy gasped, Merrie shrieked, and Faith blurred
sideways, grunting as an invisible force yanked her out of the way. Hisako’s armored fist smashed a shallow divot into the reinforced wall. Realizing her opponent was no longer before her, she turned, and saw Faith regaining her feet with murder in her eyes.
“Bubbleskank, you have no idea
how much I’m gonna hurt you.” Hisako tried her best to look angry and unimpressed, but Buffy could see the fear in her eyes. Still, the girl stepped forward, and raised an armored fist. Faith’s reply was to let both of her knives fade into nothing. She raised her hands, palms out, then shoved
The Asian girl squealed sharply in surprise as the wave of force threw her cartwheeling backwards. Faith strode forward, and Hisako rose shakily to her feet... only to be thrown back again by another sharp gesture. She struck the wall next to the open door to the bathroom, hard enough to shake the room. By this time her face was looking puffy, and a trickle of blood was dripping from one nostril. Eyes wide with fear, she made an abortive lunge for the door to the hallway, then shrank back when Faith summoned both daggers back to her hands. With nowhere else to go, she turned and stumbled into the bathroom, slamming the door a bare instant before the other girl got there.
“What’s the matter, bitch?!” Faith yelled, ramming one of her blades through the door. “Pissing all over yourself? Scared little girl needs to go potty?” Taking a step back she fired one booted foot into the barrier, but the reinforced door held firm against her merely human strength. “Come on! If we’re gonna fight then let’s fight! Let’s go
Across the room, Buffy realized she’d been holding her breath for the last minute, and released it in a shuddering rush. Thank god. For a second there I was sure.…
“Buffy? Hey, um... Buffy?”
It was Merrie, fluttering nervously at her side. The blonde pushed her carelessly away, barely noticing when the girl was sent sprawling.
“Not now,” she said absently, hurrying to where Faith was preparing to cut her way into the bathroom.
“--Going to call the Principal!” Hisako was yelling, from inside her makeshift refuge. “And the school board, and the police!” Even with her voice muffled by the door, it was plain that the girl was nearly hysterical with terror.
“You’re not going to do shit!” Faith shouted back. “Wanna know why? ‘Cause I’m going to come in there, cut you out of your glowy little shell, and then smash
your ugly little face
She’d already made one small hole in the door, when she’d stabbed her knife through it. Now she thrust one of her blades deeply into the panel, apparently intending to cut a person-sized entrance. Buffy reached out, put both hands on the girl’s arm, and kept her from doing that.
Her head snapped around with violent speed. “What?!”
Her snarl became a pained wince, though she tried to hide it. Looking at Buffy, she panted for a moment, still out of breath from her brawl. Making a visible effort to calm herself, she tried again. “What?”
“Enough,” Buffy said, in her softest little-girl voice, the one she used to persuade her father to buy her five hundred dollar pairs of shoes. “Faith, stop. It’s enough.”
Applying gentle, inexorable pressure, she pulled the girl’s arm back, inch by inch, until the psi-blade was clear of the bathroom door. Faith struggled, and she was very strong for a human girl, but of course Buffy was far stronger.
“It’s not enough,” she growled through teeth gritted with effort. “It’s not
. That bitch hit
me.” Still restraining her as gently as she could manage, Buffy nodded.
“And you scared her silly. She’s hiding in the bathroom, Faith. Actually,” Cocking her head to one side, she listened
for a moment, then gave a wry little smile. “Actually, she’s crying
in the bathroom.”
Faith blinked, considering that, and abruptly stopped trying to force her way to the door.
Buffy shook her head solemnly, eyes wide with profound quantities of mock-seriousness.
“Nope, no shit.”
The tall girl relaxed slightly, and one of her knives dissolved in a wash of purple-violet.
“Well, okay, if I made her cry then I guess I can wait a few minutes before I finish kicking her ass.” With her free hand she cautiously touched her head. “Ow! Fuck!” Buffy reached up, pushing her hand away.
“Here, let me see.” Brushing aside Faith’s long bangs, she found an impressive knot half-hidden in the hairline near her right temple. She probed the swelling with her fingertips, as gently as she possibly could, but even that feather-light touch made Faith wince. “Sorry,” she murmured softly. I think she’s okay. The new and improved Buffy super senses includes an extra-sensitive touch deal, and I don’t feel anything cracked, or shifting around in there.
A few drops of blood were trickling from one nostril, even though she hadn’t seen anything hit the girl’s nose. There was no damage visible, either; nothing that would explain the bleeding.
“Look at me,” she ordered. Faith obediently turned her head, meeting Buffy’s gaze from closer than they’d ever been up until now. Long moments passed, until Faith’s eyebrows inched fractionally higher.
Buffy gave a start, smiled, and made a show of peering into first one honey-brown eye and then the other.
“Oh; sorry. Umm... not sure what I’m looking for, here, but that’s what they always do on TV when someone gets bonked on the head.”
“Huh.” Faith thought about it for a second, then shrugged. “Well, not like it’s a chore to stare at you or anything, so take your time.”
Buffy couldn’t help the little laugh that slipped out, caught somewhere between embarrassment and delight. That girl-crush of hers is waaaay out of hand, isn’t it? I mean, okay, it’s cute and all, but it’s also very.…
She lowered her head, glanced up to meet Faith’s gaze once more, then gave a little start as she realized she was unconsciously using one of her favorite flirting maneuvers, designed to show off the green of her eyes and the length of her lashes. Very strange, the effect this girl has on me. Am I really standing here wishing I was wearing eye shadow and mascara, so that my eye trick would be at maximum flirty power?
It definitely felt odd; perhaps because of the way the mutant powers thing changed a dynamic that was otherwise familiar to her. That might be it
, she realized suddenly. This is a lot like the thing we did at Hemory, with the cheerleaders manipulating the jocks into doing things for us. They did us favors all the time, so long as we were nice to them. And the best ones, for a few kisses, or some making out, or a date, would do practically anything we asked.
Faith wants to be that for me, which is fine, but I’m not sure what to do about the reward part. I can’t be her girlfriend or whatever. That would seriously hurt my status, to be ‘weird lesbian girl’, and I can’t have that. I want to be important here; I
need to be important here.
Being a cheerleader at her old high school had been very much like being royalty, with a host of unofficial but very real privileges. That kind of thing wasn’t easy to give up once you’d experienced it, and Buffy didn’t particularly care to try. For one thing, holding on to that power would help ease the sting of having been forcibly dragged out of her old life. If she could retain her popularity here, and rebuild her circle of like-minded friends, then, well, everything else that was happening would be a lot easier to endure.
During the several seconds it had taken Buffy to work that through, Faith had been staring, as helpless and lost as the most smitten high-school jock. Buffy had played that game more than a few times, and she definitely knew the look. When the taller girl shifted, as if to lean forward and claim a quick kiss, the little blonde was ready, and easily avoided her with a step back.
“You’re fine,” Buffy told her primly, with a final glance at those eyes. “Pupils are sequel and diffractive, as well as being sort of... brownish... so you’re good.”
Faith stood there awkwardly, for once looking unsure of what to do.
“Good. I’m good; great news.”
Buffy nodded, glancing around the room, looking at anything and everything except
Faith. The room was a bit of a shambles, of course, with bits of shredded bed strewn about, cracks in two of the walls, the damaged door, and Hisako’s belongings scattered around where they’d been trodden underfoot.
“Buffy? Hey, Buffy?”
It was Merrie, who she’d very nearly forgotten was even in the room. The girl shifted nervously, swallowed (which was a disgusting thing to watch when the person doing it was missing nearly a whole cheek and parts of her throat as well), and finally spoke.
“I was just, uh, going to say that I can, uh, maybe try to find another room? I mean, if it’s going to cause all this--
” She gestured across the room, and its current state of disarray.
“This is nothing,” Buffy assured her. “Things always get broken when you move, that’s a law of the universe or something. Besides, the nice girl hiding in the bathroom did
say you could room with her, right?”
“I did not!” Hisako shouted from behind the door, her voice muffled.
Buffy sighed, turning to regard the noisy door.
“Yes, you did, don’t you remember? We very politely said ‘Hi there, this is Merrie. Would you please let her room with you?’. And you said ‘Of course.’ Which was very kind of you, by the way.”
Faith had stepped up beside her by this point, not quite
so close as to accidentally brush against Buffy accidentally on purpose. She grinned mockingly at the door, where Hisako’s eye was just visible as the girl peered out through one of the small holes a psi-knife had made.
“That is not
what happened,” the Asian girl exclaimed, her voice thin with strain and frustration. “You said ‘Hey, look Merrie, only one person in here. This must be your room!’ And then you dropped freak-girl’s stuff in the middle of my
floor without even asking!”
Merrie was looking distressed, so Buffy forced herself to reach out and--at arm’s length--pat her gently on the shoulder.
“She’s sort of mean and bitchy, isn’t she? Well, don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll be great once she calms down a little.”
the bitch, bitch!” Hisako shouted from within her refuge, which sent Faith surging forward a step.
“Oh yeah?” A gesture made the entire wall shudder with the force of the invisible impact. The battered door bulged inwards slightly, but held. Faith raised her fist again, and Buffy moved quickly to catch hold of her wrist.
don’t,” She said, her voice softly pleading. “You weren’t with me earlier, when I saw some other kids fighting with each other. They have rules about it; the people running the place get seriously cranky if we do any serious damage here.” Recalling how scared the twins had been; how effortlessly the woman Kimura had dominated those two miniature demigoddesses, she shook her head. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to push things, not until we get a better feel for what‘s going on.”
Faith looked at her, dark eyes going sullen, and she scowled at the blank door.
“That’s bullshit,” she grumbled. “I can take
her; I can so
“Why don’t you take yourself to the crazyhouse, you freaking maniac!” The muffled shout from behind the door only made Faith snarl, and she kicked the panel with all her might.
“Shut the fuck up! Unless you want to come out here and say it to my face!”
Buffy sighed, but at least it didn’t seem like the girl was about to start cutting her way in after her foe. Stepping up behind her, she spoke quietly into Faith’s ear.
“Will you please stay here for a little while, and keep an eye on things?” She indicated the pile of Merrie’s belongings with a little wave. “Just until she’s all settled in?”
Faith glanced back, saw what she was indicating, then nodded.
“Sure, B. I can do that, no problem.”
“Thanks,” Buffy said, very, very softly. She had a startlingly powerful urge to kiss the girl on the cheek, but firmly suppressed the impulse. Instead she gave the tangled length of purple hair a playful little yank, and turned away. Moving to where Merrie still stood, she smiled brightly.
“Okay, I think that‘s all settled. Have fun, take care, see you later.” Only, you know, hopefully not so much on that last part.
Merrie nodded faintly, still looking a bit dazed by how a simple change of rooms had led to so much violence.
“Uh... I guess... thank you?“
“Not a problem,” the blonde girl lied, feeling quietly ecstatic at the prospect of finally being rid of the disgusting girl. Movement on the floor at her feet caught her eye, and she looked down to see a hand-high version of Rainbow Brite staring hatefully up at her. What’s this? Some of you little monsters are quicker on the uptake than your mommy? You see how it makes my skin crawl to be within a hundred feet of her? Not that it matters.
She started out of the room, doing her best to ‘accidentally’ stomp the tiny creature out of existence, but it managed to dodge out of the way, if only just barely. Too bad. I wonder if I should start wearing my stiletto heels, though. That would teach these things to stay out of my way.…
“Faith,” she called from the doorway that led into the hall. “I’m going to look around some more. If you can’t find me, don’t forget about that assembly thing we have to go to later.”
“Sure,” Faith said, standing with her arms folded, still facing the bathroom door. “I’ll just help Mer unpack and stuff. Unless chickenshit here gets tired of counting the floor tile and decides to come out and play.”
Buffy rolled her eyes, but waved a hand in acknowledgement.
“Okay, whatever. Just remember what I said.”
“Don’t trash the place, or else the invisible overlords will get pissed; got it.”
Buffy nodded, lingering in the doorway for a few moments, her eyes on Faith. Why did she have to be a girl? Things would be soooo much simpler if it were a guy standing there. Granted, she smells much nicer than any of the football players ever did. She’s prettier too; that goes without saying. And then there’s the lack of chin stubble, and those lips, and the way her... ah, Buffy, quit being silly.
She turned away and slipped outside, closing the door quietly behind her.
* * * * *