Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or worlds used in this story, including the American Pie franchise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, House M.D., or Scott Pilgrim. No harm is intended toward any of the copyright owners. This story is intended for entertainment purposes only.+++++PREVIOUSLY: After Faith's lover left, Faith spoke to her ex-lover's best friend, Allison Cameron, who now works for the ICW.+++++THREE: BUFFY
Buffy found Faith in her apartment. "You're not even close to ready," she said. "We're supposed to meet Satsu and Willow in ten minutes. We're going to be late."
"You go," Faith said. She was flat on her couch, hands on her stomach, staring at the ceiling. "Not much feelin' like gettin' out."
"Just... just leave, B. I ain't in the mood."
"Yeah, well..." Buffy picked up Faith's legs and sat down on the couch; when she released Faith's legs, the other slayer's calves pressed against Buffy's thighs. While Buffy had dressed to go to dinner and a movie with her lover and her friends, Faith was still in a pair of old gym shorts and a tank-top. Buffy rested her hands on Faith's shin, rubbing her thumb against the skin. "Faith, you have to talk to one of us eventually. It might as well be me."
"Why?" she asked, and Buffy saw tears glittering in Faith's dark eyes. "So you can tell me it all gets better? So you can show off your relationship with Satsu?"
"Hey, I wasn't going to--"
"Naw, you wouldn't. Not on purpose." The momentary fire seemed to have gone from Faith's voice. "You ain't that kind'a person."
"Faith, I'm your--" Buffy stopped to think. "We're more than friends. We're like sisters, you and me, and sisters don't leave each other out in the cold like this."
Faith wiped her eyes with her thumbs. "Damn it, B, why am I feeling like this?"
Buffy didn't say anything -- not yet. She knew from their years of friendship that Faith would say it when she was ready to say it. And Faith didn't disappoint.
"I've been living this life nonstop since we beat the First," Faith said. "That time the others spent on Slayer Quest 2003? Me 'n Robin were here, on the Hellmouth." Buffy knew that, and she also knew that she herself had run off to Rome, to get as far away from her old life as she could. "Angel went and took over Evil Incorporated, and all that shit happened so fast that I couldn't get there in time, and Wes died, and Gunn almost died, and it was just all crazy, and at the same time the damn Hellmouth thought it would be good to barf up a bunch'a asshole demons to wreak all kinds'a havoc."
"You stopped it, though," Buffy said. "You and Robin, Willow and Kennedy, you saved the world just like we used to."
"Did we?" Faith pushed up into a sitting position; now Buffy found the other slayer's feet in her lap, and they seemed cold to the touch. Not that Buffy would, like, massage her feet on purpose because (a) they were feet and ew
and (b) she was in love with Satsu and (c) even if Faith was into that -- which, knowing Faith, she just might be -- this wasn't one of those
situations. But Buffy's hand ended up brushing over Faith's left foot as she brought her legs back and curled them up under her body, and Buffy was struck by how cool the skin was. Slayers ran hot, hotter than normal people, and for Faith to be cool meant something was affecting her healing.
But now wasn't the time to bring it up.
"I tell you, B, I ain't sure if we're ever gonna win, not unless we blow this place like we blew Sunnydale." Faith sighed. For the first time in a while, Buffy took a close look at her friend's face -- really looked
at it -- and saw the worry lines around her eyes and her mouth. "We saved the world, we opened the school, and then you left and I had all these kids to watch over."
"You love them," Buffy said.
"I do." Her voice was soft, full of the emotion. For all she'd done for them when she was Dean, Buffy had never felt that kind of connection to the girls, not like Faith did. "I wanna give 'em what I didn't have -- I want 'em to have the biggest, awesomest family they ever could dream of, 'cause I never got that."
"You have it now." Buffy felt a tickle in her nose; Faith's words made her heart both warm and cold at the same time. She wasn't going to re-hash the year they spent together in Sunnydale, but every now and then she felt sharp stabs of guilt that she hadn't tried harder to be Faith's sister, instead of her partner-in-crime. "All of us are your family."
"I know. And I love you all." She smiled, but it was a sad smile. "Even when you killed me, I loved you for it."
Buffy didn't speak for several minutes. She ignored the insistent buzzing of her phone, vibrating away in her purse; she ignored Faith's phone as well. She ignored everything but the taste of Faith's power on her tongue -- the rich, dark chocolate that was, rather worryingly, much fainter than usual. And Buffy was worried about Faith.
But eventually she had to say what was on her mind.
"You need to go, Faith."
Faith took a slow, deep breath, and let it out in a sigh. "I know."
"Not forever -- because I'm not nearly as forgiving as you -- but you've been through hell this past year, what with Nega Scott, and with Nancy, and with the Shadow Demon and our fight."
Buffy felt the tears coming, and she didn't fight them off. She let them come even as she moved across the couch to take Faith in her arms and cradle her head against her shoulder. She sniffed hard. She stroked Faith's hair. She tasted Faith's power and let Faith feel her heart beating, heavy and hard. "Believe me, I don't want you to go." It was hard to talk now, but Buffy had to get the words out while she could. "And I wish I could say the right words..." Her throat closed and she swallowed hard, filling the time by pressing her lips to Faith's thick, dark hair. Her tears fell quietly off her cheeks and she didn't try to blink them away. "God, Faith, I love you, and I'm going to miss you... so, so much..."
Faith's arms went around Buffy and she started hugging her back. Buffy felt the wetness of Faith's tears as she, too, began to cry. "I'm so sorry, B," she whispered. "So sorry... you need me to be strong..."
"You are strong," Buffy said. "You're the strongest slayer I know. It's not weakness to need a break."
"But... but where can I go? Angel's gone, Wes's gone, I ain't got no family--"
"Say the word," Buffy said, "and I'll go with you."
Now Faith pulled away. Her face was blotchy from crying, her eyes red-rimmed; Buffy knew she looked no better at this point. "I ain't gonna take you away from Satsu and Willow. They need you too." She sniffed, wiped her nose with the back of her hand, and smiled. It wasn't a full-on Faith smile, but there was enough there to make Buffy think that, just maybe, Faith would be all right in the end. "I'll be okay."
"You'd better," Buffy said. She reached for her purse and pulled out a travel-pack of tissues. Between the two of them, they demolished its contents. "You'd better be okay," Buffy said again. "Because I need you in my life. You're my sister, Faith, and don't you ever forget it."
"I won't," Faith said, and the words had the sound of a promise that nothing could possibly break. "Now, get outta here. Your girl's waitin' for you."
"You won't leave without saying goodbye, will you?"
"Hey, I ain't you, B," Faith said with a grin. "I'll make sure to kick your ass just once more before I go."
"Like to see you try."
When Satsu and Willow finally knocked on Faith's door a minute later, the two slayers were still laughing.+++++Your continued readership, support, and reviews are greatly appreciated.
When Buffy says that she killed Faith, she's talking about the climax of "On Allison/Sarah". If I spoiled it for you... sorry.
Tomorrow: Faith and Willow.