What makes awkward conversation
Disclaimer: Don’t own SPN or BTVS. :(
A/N: Thanks to all for comments/reviews. Hope y’all enjoy this, too.
“Hi, uh, is that Dean?”
“This is Buffy Summers. Faith gave me this number… is she there?”
“Sure.” She heard sounds of a scuffle.
“B?” Faith was out of breath, but sounded cheerful.
“Hey Faith! How are you?”
“Five by five. Neck deep in vamp dust right now. Is the world ending?”
“No, no. Just… wanted to check in, really.” Faith was silent for a second and Buffy could hear someone whooping in the background. It sounded like Sam, she thought. Nervous, but not really sure why, she twirled the phone cord around her finger and sat back against her pillows. “I can call back later if you’re busy.” The other girl certainly sounded busy.
“Naw, it’s cool. The boys can handle the rest of ‘em.” There were more fighting sounds, but they faded slightly and Buffy imagined Faith moving away from the fight.
“Well, if you’re sure… Where are you guys, anyway?” Faith paused for a second before replying and Buffy realized that the other girl was deciding whether or not to tell the truth. When she did speak, Buffy wasn’t sure if it was the truth but she decided not to question it.
“South Carolina. There was a Master vamp here, setting up shop in Charleston. But Dad toasted him last night and we’re on cleanup tonight.”
“Tonight?” It wasn’t even dark out.
“Yeah, B. We’re on the other side of the country, so its night already.” There was amusement in her voice and not scorn but Buffy blushed anyway.
“Sorry. Time zones are confusing. So, no big showdown with the Master-guy? Those can be fun.” She was thinking specifically of fighting Spike, or Angel- vamps that could challenge her. Faith snorted.
“After the last time, with Kakistos, I’m lucky my dad didn’t leave me watching the car. We got him from a distance- crossbow bolt.”
“Ah.” She didn’t know what else to say. She’d kind of hoped that Faith would have an epic tale to tell and that would help ease the conversation along. “We got a crazy ex-Watcher who tried to take over the world using a magic glove.” Buffy would have loved to see Faith’s reaction to that one- seeing as she hated watchers and all.
“Huh. Wish I could say I was surprised but you know me, B. Watcher-phobic. You okay?”
“Yeah. I cut her hand off and the Council sent people to collect her. They asked me if I’d had any dreams about the new Slayer.” Faith inhaled sharply. “I told them no.”
“Thanks Buffy. I appreciate it.”
“Well, it wasn’t a lie. I haven’t had any dreams about you- I’ve just, you know, met you. That’s different.” Giles and the Scoobies knew her, too, but they’d never say a word. She’d warned them. “They came when Giles called, too, but he told them that you’d come to town after Kakistos and that you were alone. He told them that you were an excellent Slayer and that you were obviously following your Calling. I thought that Travers was going to strangle him.” She sounded amused.
“Give him my thanks, will you? I really do appreciate it.” She was suddenly serious and Buffy regretting not calling sooner to set the girl’s mind to rest.
“Snyder is still moping around the school, complaining that we scared off the best new prospective students that he’d seen in years.” Faith laughed.
“He’s lucky we didn’t actually start there. Sam has a habit of terrorizing teachers and I’m not nearly as angelic as some of my transcripts might suggest.” Normally, for normal people, Buffy would be scandalized at the thought of messing with transcripts. It was cheating and cheating was wrong, right? Cheating and lying and all that stuff. But she’d asked around about the Winchesters and normal wasn’t something that really applied to them.
Willy had almost wet himself when she had name-dropped John Winchester; he’d almost cried when she’d thrown in Bobby Singer. She was pretty sure he’d have fainted if she told him that the Hunters had raised a Slayer- something that she was coming to realize was their best-kept secret. And they could keep her safe just as much as any Watcher- she’d seen John Winchester take out two vamps himself, outside the warehouse. Sure, they were minions, but he’d dispatched them without breaking stride and that kind of casual slaying meant experience.
She’d told Giles everything when it had become clear that the younger Slayer and her family were long gone from Sunnydale- and about ten minutes before the watchers had shown up, demanding to know where the girl was. Giles was kind of a badass when he was riled up and he’d thrown them out of his library, feigning offence that they thought he’d lie to them. Buffy had just stood there, half-threat and half-observer.
“Yeah, well. He’d rather have you and Sam over me and mine any day, that’s for sure.” She glanced over to her dresser, wondering about Angel and wondering how to ask. “Plus, I’m pretty sure he wants to adopt Dean.” That was actually true- Snyder had used the Hunter as an example worth following more than once, despite the fact that as far as he was concerned, they hadn’t met him.
Though she kind of agreed with him- Dean was a good example, if a crazy one. Xander and Cordelia had both been uber-impressed and she understood it. They were normal, completely. Willow had her witchy-ness going for her and Oz was a werewolf, so they didn’t really get it anymore. No more than Buffy did, anyway. Being normal in the Supernatural world made you a target, not a threat, and her friends had seen Dean as proof that they could (and should) be fighting the good fight. She wasn’t sure how she felt about it yet, but she couldn’t stop them. She wouldn’t stop them.
Faith was laughing, telling her that maybe she could arrange to have Dean shipped back to Sunnydale. Buffy took a deep breath and decided to just ask. She had to know. She’d been waiting for weeks, waiting for him to call and he never did.
“Is Angel with you? Is he okay?” Faith had been mid-sentence. “Sorry, for interrupting, but… I just need to know that he’s okay.” The other girl hmm’d and Buffy could hear her asking her brother something, but her hand must have been covering the microphone because she couldn’t make out the words.
“He’s still alive. Or undead. Whichever.” She didn’t sound too eager to share, but that little piece of information was enough for Buffy to relax.
“Okay. Good to know.” She desperately wanted to ask for more, but she could hear Dean in the background, telling his sister that it was none of Buffy’s business. She wanted to argue the point but… it had been weeks and she hadn’t even called to check on him. She wasn’t sure it actually was any of her business anymore. “I don’t… I don’t what to say or how to ask but… if you need anything, just tell me, okay? I’ll do whatever I can to help, if you need it.” She wasn’t sure whether she was hoping they needed her or not. She was almost relieved that he wasn’t in Sunnydale, where she’d have to look after him and help him not be crazy. He’d attached himself to Dean- surely that was for a reason.
“Look, Buffy… Angel’s going to be fine, okay? It’s gonna take some time, but he’s getting there. And if he wants to talk to you, he’ll call.” There was a definite note of finality in her voice and Buffy felt relieved more than anything.
“Okay. I can live with that. Thank you.” They didn’t talk for much longer, after that. The vamps were dead and Faith hung up, saying they were heading for food and a shower and that she’d call her again sometime.
With the dial tone buzzing in her ear, Buffy sighed, stretched and stood up. Evil to fight; lives to save.
Thousands of miles away, Faith fell into step with Sam as Dean led them back through the cemetery toward the car. He hadn’t said much after she’d hung up the phone, just told her that they were ready to go when she was. The vamps were dust and there was no sign of anything else interesting anywhere nearby, so she waved him on.
Sam was braver than she was when it came to questioning Dean when he was pissed off- and there was no doubt about it. Dean was pissed off. He wasn’t normally easy to rile, unless you knew exactly which buttons to press, but recently Angel had become one of those buttons. Dean had actually blacked out the rear windows of the Impala- that’s when they knew it was serious. He said it wasn’t permanent; just until the vampire was able to feed himself again, and like, talk and stuff. It was a pretty big statement, though, especially for Dean. Of course, he only blacked out the rear windows, so maybe it wasn’t that big. The Vamp still had to hunker under a blanket from time to time, so it wasn’t like he was comfortable.
Sam asked, of course.
“Dude, why are you so pissed?” Ahead of them, their brother shrugged.
“Dunno. Just am.” He muttered something about self-entitled teenagers, but Faith wasn’t sure if he meant Buffy or Sam.
“She’s just concerned. You know that. She had to send him to hell.” Dean stopped walking, glancing back at them with an unreadable expression on his face.
“That’s just the thing, kid. She didn’t have to send him to hell. He was free and they pulled him back to the vampire’s body and then shoved him into hell to close a portal. The soul suffered in hell for decades when it should never have been there and that’s on them.” She thought it might have been grief she was seeing, but it looked so foreign that she couldn’t be sure.
“They didn’t have a choice, Dean. It was that or the whole world.” Dean shook his head again, disagreeing.
“She should have put him down before it ever got that far. She forfeit her right to worry about him when she didn’t kill him in the first place.” She could tell he believed it, right down to his bones.
“And if it was me? Or Sammy? Would you be able to put us down like that?” She knew the answer was no.
“Just because I wouldn’t do it, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be my fault for not. It’d still be on me; my responsibility.” Ah. Dean-logic. Beside her, Sam made a noise of agreement. Jesus, were they trying to drive her crazy?
“You guys are nuts, you know that, right?” Dean actually grinned, though, and reached into the backseat to pull her into a hug.
“You love us anyway, kiddo.” He only called her kiddo when he was feeling down, so she indulged it, even hugging him back. Over his shoulder, she saw Sam grinning- displays of affection gave him ammunition to use against Dean when the elder complained of chick-flick moments and too much caring and sharing.
“Don’t be too hard on her, Dean. She’s just a kid, too, okay?” He made a face, not happy. But he nodded, almost accepting her words. Buffy wasn’t even eighteen- she deserved a break. Faith didn’t stop to notice the hypocrisy of her own words. She’d been fighting for years to be treated like an adult and she was years younger than the other Slayer.
“Come on, let’s get back. I have vamp dust in places where there should be no vamp dust.” He was trying, she could tell. That would have to be enough. Besides, maybe Angel did need someone like Dean in his corner, regardless of logic- Faith couldn’t begrudge him that.