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Living in Faith

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Summary: Faith's Season 4 body snatching adventures go a bit differently and Xander has to live with the consequences. Spander

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Romance > Spike/XanderLightningSkiesFR1515,759161,91421 Jul 0921 Jul 09No
Living in Faith


Spoilers: Rewrite starting at episode 4.15 – This Years Girl/4.16 – Who Are You

Warnings: Character death, Magically Femme!Xander

Pairings: Spander, Canon Ships

Disclaimer: BtVS characters, settings, dialogue and episodes (4.15, 4.16) belong to Joss and are in no way mine.

The fic will jump around a bit until I get past the canon stuff. I’m just trying to get the important bits, not recap the whole episodes. As much fun as it is to write something that someone else already wrote. (Note the sarcasm.) Everything right up to the TV newscast is directly from canon. In that scene Xander just called to tell them to check the TV.

-Xander reads off note cards-

X: *Ahem* Welcome readers to one of those weird spander fics where the boys are still technically straight... Wait... What? Doesn't that mean? -Turns to LS- Tell me that doesn't mean what I think it means.

LS: That doesn't mean what you think it means.

X: Well, OK then. Wait... you said that in 'These are not the droids you are looking for' voice. No fair using Jedi writers tricks on me.

LS: Look, you're gonna get turned into a girl. Deal with it. -Turns to readers- If you can't handle magically femme!Xander 'This is not the fic you are looking for.'

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*= Chapter 1 – In Which I Steal All My Dialogue from Canon =*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

The Scooby gang, plus Riley, had gathered in Giles’s apartment for yet another ADAM focused meeting. They had covered all the usual topics from ‘Ew! Demon autopsying other demons’ to ‘Oh god! Frankenstein’s monster is real and trying to end the world.’ Xander preferred calling him Frankenstein’s monster, because while Walsh’s monster was more accurate it put him more in the mindset of grape juice rather than 7 foot demon hybrid and that wasn’t a safe mistake to be making mid-apocalypse. The gang was operating with a total lack of information and aside from hoping that they encountered him on a patrol (Xander secretly hoped otherwise) they really didn’t have much of a plan for taking him down.

Giles’ old books were no use in this particular case, and Xander couldn’t be happier about that fact. He was fairly sure he was developing a dust allergy due to the long research sessions he’d participated in over the years. It was nice to have a break, but also a little scary since, without the multiple choice option, the ‘How to Kill ADAM’ question became fill in the blank. Lots more chances to screw it up for only partial credit. Giles and Buffy had started to discuss using Riley as a secret agent man to try and find the Initiative’s files on 314 when the phone rang.

Conversation paused as Giles answered, “Hello?” He turned to look at Buffy, “Yes, she is.” and handed her the phone “It’s for you.”

Willow and Xander tensed up as Buffy accepted the phone. Every member of the Scooby gang past and present had Giles listed as an emergency contact. It was a safe bet that whoever was calling here looking for Buffy wasn’t a classmate trying to check the page numbers for the history reading homework.

“Hello? Speaking.” Buffy tensed as the inaudible voice said something, “What sort of emergency?” Her jaw clenched and her voice grew colder even as confusion crossed her face. “Um… No, I haven’t. Thank you. I’ll let you know.” She set the phone back and turned to the gang with her patented bad-things-have-happened face. “It’s Faith, she’s awake. She beat some one up, took her clothing and disappeared out of the hospital. No one knows where she is.”

Xander cursed under his breath. First ADAM and now Faith. We’ve already got Spike, just bring back Deadboy and the Mayor and we’ve got the whole set. “I’d say this qualifies for a worst timing ever award.”

Willow had shrunk in on herself a little. “What do we do?”

“Well, we have to find her.” Ah, Giles. Always reliable to say the one thing everyone else is thinking and doesn’t want to admit out loud.

The Wicca turned concerned eyes on the watcher, “What about ADAM?”

“Yeah, I’d hate to see the pursuit of a homicidal lunatic get in the way of pursuing a homicidal lunatic.” Ok, so maybe Xander was still a bit bitter about Faith. He could deal. Or he could make sure he was there to watch Buffy take her down this time and get some much needed closure that way. Reaching a Zen state of mind through the enjoyment of vengeful violence was the Xan-man’s new philosophy. Anya would be so proud.

The blonde slayer just sighed. “Well, Faith’s not exactly low profile girl. I’ll patrol and wait for her to make a move.” Ah, the sitting duck approach. It wasn’t for just anyone, but Xander felt that Faith was insane enough that Buffy could pull it off.

“And then what?” Watcher-man was such a cynic, always with the hole poking in the hasty plans.

“Oh… I have an idea! Beat the crap out of her.” Willow apparently also subscribed to the vengeful Zen philosophy. They should organize meetings, shouldn’t be too hard to find members on the Hellmouth.

“Good plan.” Yes, me likey the violence against evil slayer who hurt my feelings- me! The evil slayer who hurt me. Xander looked around surreptitiously to check that no one had heard his errant thought. I’m not some little kid that’s still upset about someone rejecting my offer of friendship. Get over the feelings, she tried to kill you, worry about the bodily harm instead. It’s much more manly.

“I’m not going to rule it out. First thing we need to find her.” Buffy had full blown apocalypse face on now. Someone was gonna get their hurt on soon. Xander just hoped it wasn’t going to end up being him. It always seemed to be him. It was someone else’s turn.

“Who’s Faith?” And Cornboy was just as clueless as usual. They really needed to write up a Scooby handbook of bad ideas and worse relationships so that the newbies they picked up could understand the minefield that was the collective Slayerette history. It seemed to enjoy biting them on the ass at the worst times. Not that ass-biting was ever a good thing, no matter what Anya said.

Giles and Xander were patrolling the nastier part of town. Xander was nervous about being left with just the Watcher and a formerly broken Initiative blaster for protection. He just knew Faith was going to come after him first and was telling Giles exactly that. “See, Faith and I have this little thing between us called history.”

A bottle rattled against the concrete in a nearby alley, drawing the less-than-dynamic duo’s attention. Xander clutched his blaster a little tighter and allowed Giles to lead the way into the shadows beyond the streetlights. He was in no way hiding behind the older man, he just wanted to know exactly where the watcher was standing should he need to shoot… through him. Ok, so Xander was hiding. God, he hoped it wasn’t ADAM, he didn’t want to be torn into his component pieces. Or Faith… for much the same reason.

A familiarly bleached and be-dustered creature of the night wandered out of the shadows, sucking on a newly lit cigarette. His gave them a disgruntled look, when he noticed his visitors.

“Spike.” Oh thank god, it’s nothing dangerous, the brunette thought as he greeted the vamp. He could already feel his heart slowing to a more normal rhythm.

“What are you doing here?” The Watcher had adopted his usual snooty and disgusted, dealing-with-the-distasteful-creature tone. It wasn’t all that different from his dealing-with-American-teenagers tone and Xander was intimately familiar with that one.

“Me? Hey, I’m not the one out of place here.” Only the peroxide wonder would brag about being at home in a filthy alley.

Xander powered down his futuristic lightning weapon, inner geek slightly sad that he hadn’t gotten to use it, but survival instinct delighted that he hadn’t needed to. Years as a Scooby had deterred him from actively seeking out more than his fair share of near-death; his allotment was already large enough, thank you. “For your information smarty, we’ve got a rogue slayer on our hands. A real psycho killer too.”

Spike looked concerned. “Sounds serious.” He glanced at the Watcher for confirmation.

The younger-yet-mysteriously-still-considered-older Brit agreed, his tone grave as he sat on a nearby crate. “It is… What do you know?”

The vampire responded earnestly, “What do you need?”

“Her. Dark Hair. Yea tall.” Xander gestured a vague height. “Name of Faith, criminally insane.”

“Have you seen her?” Giles was attempting to clean Spike’s filthy alley off of his loafers with a handkerchief.

“Is this bird after you?”

“In a bad way. Yeah.” Xander punctuated his comment with much vigorous head shaking.

“Tell you what I’ll do then.” The blonde considered for a moment, “I’ll head out. Find this girl.” They nodded as he continued, “Tell her exactly where all of you are and then watch as she kills you.” He smirked at them triumphantly.

When Giles and Xander didn’t react, beyond blank staring, the smirk fell. “Ugh, can’t any one of your damn little Scooby club at least TRY to remember that I HATE YOU ALL.” He puffed angrily on his cigarette “Just because I can’t do the damage myself - doesn’t stop me from aiming a loose cannon your way.” As they considered his point he turned to leave “And here I thought the evening’d be dull.”

He shoved past the younger man and sauntered out of the alley.

Mentally kicking himself for even thinking of relying on the evil undead, Xander called out. “Go ahead. You wouldn’t even recognize her.”

Spike just turned to give him an incredulous look. He continued walking backwards away from them as he replied. “Dark hair, this tall, name of Faith, criminally insane.” Xander winced a little at each bulleted point. The blonde spun with a flare of his coat and a puff of smoke. “I like this girl already.”

As the vampire disappeared, Xander met Giles’ rueful glance. “We were dumb.”

As Buffy burst through the window and tackled Faith, she wished she could have been surprised that the dark Slayer had gone after her mother, but she really wasn’t. In some ways it even made a weird sort of sense. Faith had adopted the Mayor as a bizarre father figure of sorts and Buffy had killed him. Now, Faith was getting her revenge going after the only one of Buffy’s parent’s she could get to. It didn’t matter to the younger Slayer that Wilkins had been evil, or that he was planning on destroying the whole town, in her mind Buffy was firmly cast in the role of villain.

“Hi, Mom.” As Faith recovered from the application of a knee to the head, Buffy quickly checked her mother over for any obvious wounds; she was tired, disheveled and obviously scared, but seemed to be alright.

“Hi, Honey.” The relief on her mother’s face and in her voice confirmed the fact that any damage Faith had done was psychological.

The sister Slayers tore through the house as they brawled. Buffy had quickly moved the fight out of the master bedroom where Faith had been threatening her mom, leaving the older woman to call the cops in relative peace. The combatants tumbled haphazardly down the stairs never giving up their holds on each other. Faith made for the dining room throwing a vase and various other decorations at Buffy as she went. She grabbed a utensil drawer and chucked it at the blonde, who ducked, giving her time to grab a carving fork.

“Did it ever occur to you Faith that the reason we all forgot about you was because we wanted to?” The brunette tried brutally to stab the blonde with her makeshift weapon as Buffy’s quips made her more and more emotional, but soon lost it when it lodged deeply into the wall.

Soon, police sirens rang through the air and Faith’s blows took on a desperate energy. Throwing Buffy into the wall, she ran for the living room. She slammed one of the French doors on the pursuing blonde, breaking glass everywhere, but caught a punch to the face that threw her through the coffee table. As they exchanged punches the windows were flooded with flashing lights and cars could be heard pulling up to the house.

The Slayers grappled with each other, neither making headway over the other’s mystical strength, until Faith slammed Buffy backwards into a bookcase. The brunette tried for a kick, but was blocked by the veteran warrior. Taking a hit to the face, she spun into another high kick connecting viciously with Buffy’s jaw. The blonde reeled back from the blow, hitting the floor hard and the dark Slayer took the momentary reprieve to grab a silver device from the fireplace mantel. She quickly laced it onto her fingers and when the senior Slayer moved to re-engage her, Faith grabbed Buffy’s hand, so that they grasped the device between them.

Their hands glowed yellow and orange, appearing to waver as if viewed through overheated air, pulsing with energy. The girls stared at their entwined hands and then in shock at each other. The blonde recovered first and took advantage of the brunette’s distraction and immobility to knock her out. The dark Slayer fell to the floor unconscious.

Joyce ran into the room the moment the fight was over, worried about her daughter. “You ok?”

The blonde seemed to be dazed, staring at the device left in her hand. “All things considered.”

Noticing her daughter’s distraction, Mrs. Summers asked, “What is that?”

Her question seemed to shake away the trance, “Weapon of some kind.” The silver device gave off a strange energy wave when it was crushed under a stylish size 7 shoe. “Didn’t work, whatever it was.”

There was a pounding on the door and dispatch radio chatter could be heard outside. “Ah, the police.” The elder woman was relieved that her traumatic night seemed to be over.

The Summers ladies both looked at the fallen girl, “She’s their problem now.”

Joyce just nodded, before turning to Buffy again. “You’re sure you’re ok?”

She was still staring intently at her fallen foe. After a short moment of thought, a slow smirk crossed the blonde’s face. “Five-by-five.”

Faith was enjoying herself. This was so much better than just killing B’s mother and friends. No, she’d done one better. She had managed to steal everything that the blonde had. Everything she’d been so jealous of. B’s mother was concerned about her; her friends were fawning all over her, hell she was wearing B’s body. And Buffy, she laughed at the thought, Buffy was in Council custody, going down for Faith’s crimes. They were probably the only ones capable of containing a Slayer long term. Not even the cops could have held B if she’d wanted to escape, but the Council was shipping her out of the country and could hold her indefinitely. Faith was free of her past and could start over anywhere. The plane ticket she’d bought earlier with Joyce’s money proved it.

As if she hadn’t already known, this proved to her once again how much the Mayor had cared for her. This was better than the best gift she’d ever dreamed of and was so much more soothing than any revenge she could have planned. She wandered off the dance floor at the Bronze and was heading to the bar for another round of shots when she bumped into a platinum blonde in leather. She stumbled a bit, holding on to him for balance. He didn’t seem pleased to see her. Must have known B fairly well then. “Oh, you.”

Ooh. Nice accent to go with the rest of the gorgeous packaging. Solid chest, piercing blue eyes and cheekbones to die for. Unfortunate styling resemblance to Billy Idol. Wonder how he knew B. “And you?”

“What? Are you keeping tabs on me? You gonna give me a hard time now?” Hah. Someone had heard one too many of B’s little holier-than-thou speeches about staying as uptight and repressed as the rest of the goody-goods. Sounds like his reaction was about the same as hers had been.

“Uh, Do I usually give you a hard time?” Faith rotated Buffy’s hips saucily as she devoured the blonde with her eyes, mmm, what a choice of words.

“Very funny.” His tone indicated that he found her to be anything but. Obviously Billy wasn’t up for playing her games, too bad, he looked like fun. “Well, you don’t have to worry about me drinkin’. ‘Less you’re here to protect innocent beers.” He waved a bottle in her face disdainfully.

Now, that was the most interesting thing he’d said so far. “You’re a vampire.” God, maybe he was another of B’s ‘exceptions’. She was a goddamn Slayer, it was her job to kill these things, not make nice with them. How was it that she was the hero and Faith the outcast, when she ignored her so called sacred calling. Luckily, this one didn’t seem as disgustingly enamored with her, as Angel had been.

He snorted, “Was. An’ as soon as I get this chip out of my head I’ll be a vampire again. But until then I’m just as helpless as a kitten up a tree. So why don’t you sod off.” So, B had adopted a neutered vamp. What a fucking girl scout.

“‘Kay.” Damn, dancing and talking made a girl thirsty, and if Blondie didn’t want to play it was time to get that shot.

But apparently Billy was all hot air and he did want to play, because she hadn’t made it more than two steps before, “OH, FINE! Throw it in my face. ‘Spike’s not a threat anymore, I’ll turn my back. You can’t hurt me.’”

“Spike?” That sounded familiar. “Spike.” Oh, right, Angel’s kid. “William the Bloody, with a chip in his head. I kinda love this town.” So, B had thrown over the old man to keep the younger more evil version as a pet. That was delicious.

“Guh. You know why I really hate you, Summers?” Aw, the little vamp who lost his bite was all frustrated. B must keep this one around for sheer amusement. It was a good thing she had time for a round or two of taunt the vampire. It was just too bad he couldn’t retaliate. A nice fight or aggressive fuck would be perfect right about now.

“‘Cause I’m a stuck up tightass with no sense of fun?”

“Well… Yeah, that covers a lot of it…” Spike floundered, having had the venom sucked right out of him with her comment. If he wasn’t going to help with the Buffy-bashing then Faith was going to have to do it herself. If you want something done right… and all that.

“‘Cause I could do anything I want, but instead I choose to pout and whine and feel the burden of slayerness? I mean, I could be rich, I could be famous. I could have anything.” Spike was getting more and more confused and was developing this little crease in his brow, trying to figure out where the conversation had gone south on him.

“Anyone. Even you, Spike.” The Slayer gave him a long burning look, pushed him back into a pillar under the stairs and plastered herself to his chest. Her glistening, blood red lips moved just inches from his chin as she spoke, her tone low and husky.

“I could ride you at a gallop until your legs buckled and your eyes rolled up. I’ve got muscles you’ve never even dreamed of.” He closed his eyes, letting her words wash over him.

“I could squeeze you until you popped like warm champagne, and you begged me to hurt you just a little bit more. And you know why I don’t?” She whispered the last sentence and he tilted his head to the side, opened his eyes and leaned in to hear her words. “Because it’s wrong.” Faith cackled madly in her head as she delivered B’s fucking girl scout motto. She smirked at the dumbfounded vampire and walked away with a dark giggle.

“I get this chip out. You and me are gonna have a confrontation.” Ooh, scary. Apparently vampires were emotionally vulnerable creatures, cause he seemed to be covering a deep desire curl up and cry with his posturing. Poor baby.

“Count on it.” Hey, if it ever happened, he could be fun, one way or the other. And on that note… a girl deserves a drink for defeating her fanged foe.

As Faith walked away, Spike violently chucked his beer at a nearby wall, shattering it everywhere and pushed his way out of the club, cringing as the chip fired for each particularly violent shove.

Willow chattered at Tara in concern as they entered the blonde’s dorm room. “I’m sorry you’re feeling all blech-y, but we’ll get together with Buffy another time.” She smiled reassuringly “Sometime soon. I think you’ll really like her.” The redhead’s affection for her friend and desire for Tara to like her was obvious in her tone. She had been so disappointed when they had to leave the Bronze early, but didn’t want to make her girlfriend uncomfortable. She obviously hadn’t picked up on just why the blonde was so uncomfortable.

It made what Tara had to say all the harder. With a sigh the shy blonde turned to Willow, “She’s not your friend.”

Green eyes widened in kicked puppy dismay, “I may have overestimated the you-liking-her factor.”

Tara hastened to reassure her girlfriend that she wasn’t rejecting Buffy. “No, no I mean I don’t… I don’t think she’s… her.”

And wasn’t Willow’s look of total incomprehension just adorable. It was much better than the hurt look of rejection from before. “You lost me.”

The blonde tried to put what she had seen and felt into words. She’d never been the most verbose person, but she was willing to try. “Well, a-a persons energy has a flow… a unity. Buffy’s was... was fragmented. I-I-It grated, like something forced in where it doesn’t belong.” She peeked out from behind her curtain of hair with a small smile. “Plus she was- um, she was kinda mean.”

The redhead looked relieved at her words, that Tara didn’t have a problem with one of her best friends. But then the meaning of what the blonde was trying to say sank in. “So, you think Buffy’s not herself? Like she’s been possessed or something?”

Tara wished she knew exactly what was going on, but she didn’t know anything beyond the fact that Buffy had been… off. “I’m not sure.”

Something seemed to occur to Willow and she got very concerned, “You didn’t sense a hyena energy at all did you? Because hyena possession is just… unpleasant.” It sounded like there was a long story behind that one, but Tara would wait to ask for details, first they needed to find out what had happened to Buffy.

Giles was making his way downstairs to his kitchen, laden with dirty dishes when Buffy came in. God, she was so glad to see him after having to escape those damn Council goons. And the getaway driving… Oh, the driving, she hadn’t ever realized just how much harder it would be to drive a huge armored truck than a normal car, and she wasn’t even any good at driving cars. She was lucky that they put armor on those armored trucks; otherwise the vehicle wouldn’t have survived the journey. “Giles!”

“Oh, God!” As her Watcher turned to her in horror, she realized her mistake. She was in Faith’s body; of course Giles was going to be afraid of her.

Ok, Buffy, you can fix this without giving him a heart attack. “Don’t move. Ok, Giles you have to listen to me very carefully. I’m not Faith.”

“Really?” Oh, yeah, that was the British version of sarcasm voice and he was looking around for a weapon. Great, this was going to be lots of fun.


“Because the resemblance is striking.” Thanks Giles, I hadn’t noticed. This must be why they call you a Watcher.

“I know Giles, you just have to- Stop inching. You were inching.” If there was a little bit of a whine in her voice she was never going to admit to it. But really, how stupid did he think she was, he was obviously trying to escape, and she couldn’t allow that. Not in a psychotic Faith way, but in a Buffy needs help way.

“Look I-I know what you’re going to say and… and a-“ Dammit, Giles. Stop using the placate the murderer voice. I hate that. It sounds exactly like the agree with the dumb blonde cheerleader voice you used to use on me.

“I’m Buffy.” Please, please, PLEASE just believe me.

“Alright I didn’t know what you were going to say, but that doesn’t make you any less crazy.” Ouch, total lack of faith here. Buffy winced mentally as she realized the pun. At least she hadn’t said it out loud.

“Faith switched. I mean she had some device. She switched our bodies.” C’mon Giles, we live on a Hellmouth, this is totally possible. At least he stopped inching.

“ …” And that’s still not I believe you lets hug face.

“Giles, I swear. It’s me.” Buffy tried to look as earnest and innocent as possible. Of course since she was in Faith’s body it didn’t come across as all that comforting.

The Watcher finally gave up on looking for a weapon, and risked turning his back on her to put down the dishes he was holding. If he was going to have this conversation he was going to spare himself the indignity of appearing as an impromptu version of the wait staff. “We-um, if-if you are Buffy. Then a-then you’ll let me tie you up. Without killing me. Until we find out whether you’re telling the truth.” He wrung the dishtowel he held nervously. There was definitely still a note of humor the crazy in his voice.

“Giles. Faith has taken my body and for all I know she’s taken it to Mexico by now. I don’t have time for bondage fun.” Buffy wished she could do it, just to make him more comfortable, but she really didn’t have time for this.

“…” Think, Buffy. What would make him believe you? He obviously needs proof.

“Ask me a question. Ask me- anything.”

“Who is president?” Seriously? That’s his question?

“We’re checking for Buffy, not a concussion.”

“Oh, yes. Alright, um…”

“Oh, this is…” She growled in frustration. “Giles you turned into a demon and I knew it was you. I mean, can’t you just look in my eyes and be all, intuitive?”

“How did I turn into a demon?”

“OH! Cuz ah, Ethan Rayne. And-and you have a girlfriend named Olivia. And you haven’t had a job since you blew up the school.” Buffy mentally smacked herself. Don’t insult the guy you came to for help. “Which is valid; lifestyle wise. I mean it’s not like you’re a slacker type. But…” And there was that slightly disappointed look that she’d recognized in the Fyarl version of the Watcher. “Oh, OH! When I had psychic power I heard my mom think that you were like a stevedore during sex. Whi-Do you want me to continue?”

“Actually, I beg you to stop.” Yay! He believes me, even if he does have that offended British sensibilities expression going on.

“What’s a stevedore?” Buffy had always meant to ask someone that, but it had never really come up.

“Alright, lets um, I need you to explain everything.” Giles neatly sidestepped the uncomfortable question and moved to his desk to start sorting through his books.

“And I will, after we get Faith.”

Willow suddenly burst in with an unfamiliar blonde girl trailing slightly behind her, “Giles!”

Buffy was horrified that her best friend was going to see her and freak out. “Will.”

Catching sight of the dark slayer, Willow stopped abruptly, “Oh, my god.”

“Willow, wait. You don’t understand.” Buffy geared up for another sudden death lightning round of prove your identity, but apparently it wasn’t necessary.

“You’re Buffy. You and Faith switched bodies.” The redhead turned to Giles, “Probably through a Draconian Katra spell.”

Giles had been prepared to defend Buffy as well, but was shocked by the Wicca’s ease in deciphering the situation, “She understands you better than I do.”

“How did you-?” She hadn’t had any contact with Willow at all, how did she know?

“Tara.” Willow gestured at the blonde girl, “Tara, this is Buffy, only really this time.”

“Hi.” Tara waved self-consciously.

“Tara’s a really powerful witch.” The redhead bragged proudly.

“Not really.” She looked down embarrassed by Willow’s praise in front of total strangers.

“No, really. She knew right away that you weren’t you. And so we connected with the nether realms to find out what happened. And we conjured this.” The Wicca opened a small box she’d been carrying and revealed a brightly glowing green orb.

“What is-“ Buffy had no idea what it was, but it seemed powerful.

“It’s a katra, or the home conjured version.” She handed the spelled stone to Giles for inspection, “It should switch you back, if you can get a hold of Faith.”

“Oh, thank god. Do you know where Faith is?”

Willow just shook her head. She hadn’t seen Faith-a-la-Buffy since the night before. Buffy’s face fell. She had the means to get her body back, now she just needed to actually get her body back... or something. An awkward silence fell as they considered their next step, but it was broken when Xander barged in, went straight to turn on Giles’ TV and perched on the couch to watch it.

“You guys have to see this.”

They all gathered behind him to watch the news program. The reporter was standing just outside of the police line at a church they recognized from across town.

“…and barricaded themselves in the church with at least 20 parishioners. One of the few who escaped described the three men as frighteningly disfigured, almost inhuman. So far, one escapee has since died of severe neck wounds. There is no report of the condition of the parishioners left inside, but their assailants have vowed to kill all of them if police attempt to storm the church.”

“Oh, dear. Buffy, we’ll need to put the pursuit of Faith on hold until we can get this incident resolved.”

Xander finally turned away from the TV, looking at his friends for the first time since entering. “Yeah, Buff. You should make with the-NOT BUFFY!” He reeled backwards when he caught sight of the dark slayer and fell off the couch in shock.

“Actually, it kinda is. In the Freaky Friday body switch-y way.” Willow always knew just how to soothe the frightened beast. It usually involved movie references.

“Yes, quite. Buffy and Faith appear to have magically traded bodies for the time being.” Xander looked suspiciously from Willow to Giles to Buffy-in-Faith to random blonde girl. His friends didn’t look spelled and Faith didn’t look murderous, so he decided to accept their explanation.

“Well, Buff, wish I could say it’s a good look for you, but psychotic bitch is so last season’s color.” His smile was a little weak, but he’d just had a heart attack so he forgave himself.

“Alright, we don’t know where Faith is and those people need help. Willow, Giles and Tara, come with me. Xander, when Faith and I switched I was at home with Mom. I want you to go make sure she’s OK and see if you can find the device she used in the first place. I trust Willow’s magic glowy kryptonite thing but we may need a plan B.”

“Kryptonite, Buff? Time spent with me has corrupted you beyond your evil former-cheerleading days.” This time his grin was present in its full blown glory. There was no way the real Faith would make a Superman reference.

“I watched the movies, Christopher Reeves was cute to 13 year old me. Now go.”

The leader of the wanna be terrorist vamps had Faith cornered against a pew and was taking his time beating on her when he convulsed once and dissolved. Looking through the cloud of ash Faith met her own eyes, staring accusingly back at her. No. She had left her past behind her, she’d gotten rid of it, she was Buffy now, she was a hero, doing the right thing, not that misguided murderous bitch. She leapt forward, lashing out at herself. She threw punches blindly, putting the dark slayer on the defensive until a strike got through her defense, making her stumble back.

Faith wiped the blood from her mouth with the back of her hand as the brunette, the ghost of her past taunted her, “You can’t win this.”

“Shut up!” She was panting hard and it wasn’t all from the fight. “You think I’m afraid of you?”

She wrestled the dark Slayer to the floor of the pulpit and straddled her, lashing out with both fists at that hated face. “You’re nothing.”

“Disgusting.” Faith was panicking and near hysterical.

“Murderous bitch.” She grabbed the sides of the brunette’s head and started smashed it into the floor repeatedly.

“You’re nothing!” She was crying now, lashing out at the woman under her erratically.

“You’re disgusting!” Buffy finally managed to free her arms and grabbed Faith’s fist with the Katra clenched in her hand. A now familiar looking energy enveloped their hands as the magic activated. Buffy looked down into dazed brown eyes from her own more familiar form and took the opportunity to knock Faith out while she was down. The brunette sagged back, releasing her grip on Buffy’s hand as the blonde sat back panting and trying to regain control of her emotionally heightened adrenaline.

Across town the prone form of Xander Harris stood up from where it had fallen, the pieces of the Mayor’s gift clutched in his hand. “Its not gonna be that easy, B.”

=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*= TBC =*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

Distribution: FFN (Lightning_Skies), Twisting the Hellmouth (LightningSkies)

Author has given no other permissions.

Words 5,524 – 12 Pages – 07/21/09

The End?

You have reached the end of "Living in Faith" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 21 Jul 09.

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