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Acquiescence

by Ann
Rating: PG

Disclaimer: The characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer all belong to Joss Whedon and whoever else made them up. (Not that anyone cares)
Author's Notes: Continued from THE OTHER WAY. No illegal badness intended. Teeny tiny bit of B/F- More later. As before, my spelling is done mostly in the British way. Words in //...// indicate thought.

The sun began its slow decent towards the western horizon. A soothing breeze tugged at her long brown hair. The dusk air was sweet with honeysuckle. Faith breathed in deeply, it felt so peaceful right now. But despite her best efforts, her scarred memories still plagued her thoughts.

When did it come to this? How had she changed so much? Was it because of Buffy? Before she had met the other slayer, Faith had mostly been about herself and only herself. But she had always been a good person. Her watcher had told her so. She had said that she had a good soul, and no amount of evil could take it away from her.

It had been almost a month since she left Sunnydale, no, since she left Buffy. She had jumped on the first ship she spotted and she wound up here. London, England.

//Tea bag central... Great...//

The trip there was painfully long. She kicked herself for not thinking to ask anyone where the ship was headed. She had nothing, and she was an extremely long way from home. The tattered rucksack slung on one of her shoulders held few home comforts.

She managed to mug a vampire once she reached land, he had a fair amount of cash on him. She didn't like having to get money this way. It made her feel like she was going back on bad habits. But what else could she do? Get a job? Not a possibility.

1) She was an illegal immigrant now. It didn't look great on the application form.
2) Who said she actually wanted to go out and work anyway?
3) And number two seemed reason enough to convince her.

//I hope Buffy hasn't done anything stupid since I've been gone...//

"Hey! You over there!"

Faith's thoughts were interrupted by a young man. He was pretty good looking. Maybe around 25 years old. She tensed as he confidently walked up to her. He noticed her discomfort.

"Oh, I'm not gonna hurt you or nothing. I just wanted to know if you were all right. You seem lost."

"Don't worry about me. I can take care of myself."

"I'm sure you can but-"

"-But nothing. You don't know anything about me. I wanna be left alone."

The man appeared to study her closely for a minute after she spoke for the second time.

"You American? Or better yet, Bostonian?"

Faith paused briefly, surprised at how much the man seemed to know, just by listening to her accent. He looked smart though, probably some geek from Oxford or something.

"Yeah, so?"

"I'm pretty good at that kind of stuff." The man commented, obviously pleased with himself. "You're a long way from home..."

"Really? 'Cause, y'know, I didn't realise..."

She gave her best sarcastic smile. The man backed up slightly and waved his hands in a quick gesture.

"No, I was just saying. For a runaway you really run far."

"Well, I wasn't planning on it. Kind of an accident."

"So you're stuck here?"

Faith looked away, unintentionally confirming his question.

"Cor, how old are you?"

"...17."

"Hm."

The man made a sort of impressed noise and looked thoughtful. She had to admit that his persistent efforts to carry on talking to her was starting to piss her off. She tried to brush it off for the sake of trying to keep herself from using slayer moves on this guy.

"Yeah, whatever."

The rogue slayer proceeded to get up and walk away. The man snapped out of his reverie and moved forward, grabbing her arm gently.

"Wait a sec..."

She shrugged it off roughly shot a glare at him. The force of her mere 'shrugging' was enough for his whole arm to go flying back towards his body. He shrunk back, slightly surprised at her strength. Undeterred however, he ran ahead to stand in front of her.

"... Wait! Where're you going?"

"Away."

"Will... you tell me your name?"

"Why the heck you wanna know my name for?"

He shrugged, he had no good reason. She moved to walk away again but he spoke up quickly.

"I... want to remember you."

She raised an eyebrow and gave him an 'Are you for real?' look. He gave a small grin and shrugged again. Even he thought it was a lame excuse. She rolled her eyes and sighed.

"... Faith."

He smiled widely before responding.

"Deacon. Deacon Matthews."

Slowly eyeing him up and down with a smirk on her face, she approached him. She placed her hands on his chest and looked thoughtful for a moment. She put on her best pout and smiled.

"It was nice to have met you Mr. Matthews."

A smug grin found its way onto his face as she turned and left, rolling her eyes to the sky as she done so.

"Yeah well, later Deac."

As he watched her round the corner, his smile suddenly faded and a face of stone replaced it. He turned to head back the way he came, discreetly switching off the transmitter in his breast pocket.

She walked round the building, trying to stop herself from bursting into laughter, juggling the newly acquired wallet between her hands.

//Chump.//

*****

"Are you alright Buffy? You've barely touched your food."

Buffy's distant gaze reverted back to the eyes of her concerned mother. She sighed heavily. She wasn't alright at all, and hadn't been for a very long time. Still, the best thing to do was to just humour her mother.

"Yeah, I'm okay. Just thinking about stuff," Buffy mumbled.

"What stuff?"

"School stuff. I'm gonna go to college soon. I was just thinking about what it would be like," she lied, hoping it would get her mother off her back.

A faint sign of relief swept across Mrs. Summers face. She was worried that Buffy was thinking about the past again. The last month had been an emotional and physical roller coaster for Buffy to ride. The big monster thing Buffy had been stressing about was defeated, Angel had left town (much to Joyce's quiet delight) and Faith had disappeared off the face of the earth.

"You're not worried about it are you?" Mrs. Summers asked coyly.

"Not at all. Believe me mom. I've been through worse, much of it in the past month. People who should be here with me, aren't." Buffy stated flatly.

Now it was Joyce's turn to sigh heavily. She had really hoped that her daughter was over this by now.

"Look Buffy. Angel-"

"-I'm not talking about Angel. I know why he left."

"You're talking about Faith?"

"....."

Joyce hesitated before trying to respond to her daughter's silent confirmation. Any answer she gave would result in some sort of confrontation and she knew it. But she did the mom thing and tried anyway.

"Buffy... Faith left because she couldn't handle the responsibility of what she had done. She wasn't exactly the type. She was so young..."

"Stop talking as if she's dead or something!"

Joyce was taken aback by Buffy's sudden outburst. She moved her mouth to apologise but no sound came out. The slayer's eyes began to fill with tears - something that hadn't happened for a very long time now. Joyce moved to bring her daughter into a comforting hug but the slayer was too fast and ran out the back door, leaving it still swinging on its hinges. The remaining 'Summers' laughed bitterly to herself.

"Just great Joyce. Now onto step 9 in the 'Great ways to ruin your relationship with your only daughter' handbook..."

*****

She began running down the dark streets of Sunnydale, unaware of anything around her apart from the grey pavement beneath her stumbling feet. Her mind was in a strange place. If it had been where it was supposed to be, it would of already told her that she was behaving irrationally, that if she didn't stop now she would be running forever.

Frequently, she had asked herself why. Why hadn't she told them the truth about who had killed Allan? The gang had come to their own conclusions even before they were forced by Wesley to investigate the incident. The wooden splinters found lodged in the wound... The fact that Faith had suddenly disappeared. It all made sense. Faith had always been the irresponsible one. Buffy clearly had nothing to do with this. Buffy would never be so careless. Not to mention the fact that Faith had 'confessed' to Giles before she left. He hadn't even questioned whether or not she was telling the truth.

She had tried on many occasions to tell the truth, but she had been a coward. Despite the fact that she was dying inside, she couldn't bear seeing the possible look on their faces once she had told them the bitter truth. She missed Faith so much. The other slayer hadn't even said where she was going. She kept thinking,

//What if I had gone after her instead of sitting there watching her leave? Would she still be here?//

But no amount of wishing would make the other slayer come home. She remembered that night so clearly. The look in Faith's eyes.

"Buffy, listen. You're gonna forget that I was ever in your life you understand me?... All that matters to me is that you're happy."

Yeah, she was so 'happy'. So happy not knowing what was going on anymore. So happy lying to all of the people of whom she loved. So happy not even knowing whether Faith was lying dead in a gutter somewhere... Was this happy?

//Was this how it was supposed to be Faith?//

No. Not in the least. She wasn't going to be able to stand this for much longer.

//This is it. They have to know. Enough of this lying...//

And with that last thought playing on her mind. Buffy made a sharp turn and quickly made her way to the small house on Oakpark Street.

*****

"So you've found her... What?! How on earth did she make it all the way there?... Yes... I'm almost certain she accidentally killed Mr. Allan Finch, she confessed it to me before she disappeared. I couldn't stop her... Listen, no harm should come to her. There's no way she would ever do such a thing on purpose... She ran because she's scared you bloody moron!... No I will not calm down! We're talking about a 17 year old girl here! If you lay a hand on her I'll-... Hello? Hell- Oh bugger it."

Giles slammed the receiver down, nearly shattering the plastic. He had to hand it to them. The council really knew how to piss him off. He often doubted whether he should have got them involved. But he knew that if he didn't, they would have never been able to find her.

//London... What is she doing there?//

Feeling his blood boil down slightly, he thought it would be okay to answer the desperate rattling on his door.

"Buffy! Oh, hello. What are you doing up at this time?"

"Could say the same thing to you but I won't because I'm glad you're up."

Giles had to side-step quickly as Buffy made her way past him and into the house. It was then that she began her rambling. Understanding only every other word, Giles sat down on the arm of his couch, slightly amused. But his amusement was short-lived as he caught the distraught look in Buffy's eyes. He forced himself to concentrate on what she was saying. Then a sad look went over his face, it suddenly became hard to think.

She was telling him everything. That she was the one who had killed Allan and not Faith. That Faith had told Giles that it had been her just to protect Buffy. That she desperately needed to find Faith.

When she was done she was close to tears, and refused to look her watcher in the eyes. She knew that doing that would push her over the edge. Part of her was so relieved to have finally told the truth and the other part was screaming inside. The silence didn't last very long though. Giles shifted his weight slowly and his head hung low.

//I've done it. This time I've really let him down...//

"Buffy... I don't know what to say..."

His tone was full of sadness and disappointment. She put her face in her hands and began to pace around the room, shaking her head softly. She opened her mouth to say something but then appeared distracted, reading the fax trailing out of the dated machine.

>FAITH
LONDON, ENGLAND. LAST SPOTTED ROAMING THE STREETS AT LEICESTER SQUARE. MATTHEWS MADE THE CONTACT. FLIGHT AT 1:30.<

"Giles... What's this?"

"... It's Faith. The council have located her."

"In England?!"

"Yes. I was surprised too. A young man... a member of the council found her living on the streets there."

Giles noticed the new look of guilt which seemed to be taking a permanent residence on Buffy's face. He knew he would be lying, but at this point he would try anything to make her feel better.

"They said she looked healthy. She appears to be managing quite well on her own."

"Yep... That's our Faith... Life time of practice."

He didn't pretend to know what she meant. She spoke with a strange absence and he could sense the wheels turning in her head. He sighed heavily, this was yet another time in which he would have to be firm with his slayer.

"Buffy, I know what you're thinking and no. There's absolutely no way that you're going to England to chase after her. I'm going alone."

"But Giles! I have to go! I have to find her!"

"I don't want you in any danger!"

"Why would I be in... Giles! What are they gonna try and do to her?"

Wearily, the watcher slipped the glasses from his face. He tried to avoid eye contact with the now angry slayer.

"They... they will take her back to the council correctional facility. There, she will undergo a trial and they will attempt to rehabilitate her. Though their methods are quite..." he slowly trailed off and a grim look could be seen in his eyes. "Now, strictly speaking, she's in no immediate danger. But if they find her again they'll -"

"Giles! We have to get her back before that happens! Or, maybe explain to them that it wasn't her! That I was the one who killed Allan!"

"Buffy! Do you know what they would do to you if they found out?"

"What are you saying? Let Faith take the blame for my actions? I'm not gonna let that happen... not again."

"I know that all too well. That's why I'm going to get her back there by myself."

"If you go alone you'll get hurt," she stated bluntly.

"It's a risk I'll have to take Buffy."

"... Fine. So, how are you gonna get there? Are they giving you a ticket?"

"Er yes." He was somewhat surprised by her sudden acceptance. It wasn't like her to give up so easily. "It's in my room. They delivered it this morning, apparently they- Oof!"

Giles' head suddenly jutted forward and it hit the wall with a sickening thud. In just a few more seconds he was already out, lying almost peacefully on the floor.

"Sorry Giles. But I have to do this alone."

Gently, she dragged the fallen watcher onto the couch, making sure he was comfortable. Then she quickly scribbled down a note and ran upstairs for her ticket to Faith.

*****

For the 100th time since she arrived, Faith was almost taken over by loneliness. The London streets were nearly pitch black and she was yet again growing cold. She frowned as she could sense a storm was on its way. One thing she noticed about London, there are no motels. Which was just perfect because otherwise she'd miss out on her wonderful chance to travel down memory lane. Back to when she was busily enjoying life living on the streets. But that was another story.

She did have some money, just not enough to stay in any of the surrounding hotels and besides, she wouldn't really blend in. Faith was never one to blend in, at least not anymore.

She decided to keep on moving. If she fell asleep out here in the dirt then she'd probably wake up with just the dirt. She was a slayer but even she couldn't be alert at all times to the thieves around here.

Suddenly, a loud crash nearby startled her out of her thoughts. A trash can slowly rolled on its side towards her. She looked up to see a drunken, bleached blonde man stumbling towards her.

She could sense something about him, something which set all of her slayer instincts on fire whenever she felt it. This guy was a vampire. A drunk one at that.

"Heellooo loovee! You wouldn't happen to have a few quid on ya?"

Faith sneered in response as she shook her head. If she wasn't so tired right now this guy would already be dust.

"That's a mighty shame eh? Oh well no bother. It's not just your money that interests me."

Faith looked on with fading interest as the vampire showed her his true visage. He was slightly fazed when the girl in front of him didn't even scream. Nevertheless, he applied some more pressure.

"Come 'ere girl. Spike's feeling peckish."

Faith suddenly cocked her head in recognition to his name. A wide grin instantly spread across her face.

"Spike... Spike... William the bloody..."

She may not have been qualified for a slayer handbook but Faith still knew her vamps. Her watcher had been very insistent on teaching Faith all about this particular vampire standing before her. She scoffed as she recalled her watcher warning her about him. Apparently he was a big threat, but Faith was not impressed. His hair was ruffled, his lip cut and bleeding, and of course, he was drunk.

"Heard of me have you? What else do you know?"

She grinned again as Spike began to get increasingly agitated. He still had no idea what she was; one of the advantages of being the second slayer.

"You're the killer of two slayers. You're what? 130 years old? You got your name from the myth that you used to jam railroad spikes into your victims heads. You attacked Buffy, you lost and now finally, you're a pathetic drunken mess of a vampire who's about to taste wood." Faith tipped her head to one side and grinned. "What's the matter? Lost your edge?"

He was able to make out a small squeak of surprise before taking another swig from the bottle in his hand.

"...Er well. Right then. You know so much about me it's only fair that I learn a bit about you eh? Come on, who are you and how do you know Buffy?"

Faith smiled and in a sickly sweet voice answered,

"I'm Faith. The Vampire Slayer. Nice to meet you."

Spike managed to cough his disbelief before answering.

"Pfwoar! You're slightly tastier than all them other slayers aren't you?" He let his eyes rake over her body before a thoughtful expression passed over his face. "Hold on. There can be only one slayer at a time. Yet, judging by my record, I'd have to say I find it believable. What are you doing here? This here is my territory slayer."

"Hey, it's not like I planned it. Now if you don't mind. I'd like to stake you now."

"Wait, hold up there! I haven't done anything to you!"

"See how much I don't care?"

"Okay, I respect that. But before you stake me there is one thing you might want to know. I heard it from the underground."

"Yeah? Go on. Indulge me."

"You're the only slayer here right? Well, I've heard that the council blokes are after someone. Probably you now that I think about it. They want you coz of that nasty business back in Sunnydale. Which is strange because I swear they mentioned that Buffy's here now. Lookin' for you I imagine."

"Buffy's here... How do you know all this?"

"What can I say? I'm just 'convenient info' man. You need any top secret info and I'll be there in a flash. What d'you say? Let off a drunken vampire?"

"Fine, whatever. But I'm watching you. You make a move to harm anyone here and I'll kill you."

"Yeah yeah. No chance of that happening any time soon. I just fed. I'll be fine for a month." Spike smirked at himself but quickly straightened his face when he saw the glare that she was throwing him.

"Right, well... I'll be seeing you!"

He turned and left without much acknowledgement from the slayer. Her mind was suddenly elsewhere.

//I can't believe she's here... //

"What the hell is she thinking?" She suddenly blurted out loud.

"Much about you I imagine."

Faith whipped round to see who had come up to her this time. The voice was familiar but she hadn't heard it for so long. A smile crept at the corners of her mouth when she saw the person that the voice had come from.

"... Buffy."

*****

She tried to hold her stern gaze at Faith but found she couldn't. Faith looked so weak, so tired. Yet...

"You look good."

Faith was about to reply with a patented come-on but quickly snapped out of it.

"What the hell are you doing here B?! I told you to forget about me!"

"Did you ever think for a second that I would? How could I?"

"...You shouldn't be..." Faith paused mid sentence and looked away angrily, trying to calm down. "I just got word that the council are after me. Now get the hell out of here."

"Not gonna happen. We're in this together. All the way. Even if you do decide to ship yourself to another country again."

"Try swim. I got no money." Faith sighed, shrugging.

Buffy's resolve-face visibly faltered. The thought of Faith living here alone without any money had passed her mind once or twice. She was angry to know that it was true. But now was not the time. She had to know now.

"Why Faith? Why d'you leave me?"

"...The thing with Allan was a mistake. I've been around B. I know what happens when a person gets caught for this shit. You get locked away and they forget about you. And that's the best case scenario. The thought of never seeing you again was too much..."

"Oh yeah, 'cause you've just seen so much of me these past two months!"

"Stop it!"

"I won't! You've always taught me to be strong Faith. To stand up for me and the people I care about. To take whatever wild card life throws at me. One of those wild cards is you Faith. I'm not gonna lose you when I just got dealt you. You didn't even let me know where you were going..."

Suddenly, the skies opened up and rain began to pelt down on the two. Neither one wore a coat and their clothes were soaked within moments. They were both shivering from the cold but no one complained.

Frustrated, Faith ran her fingers through her hair and stared down the long dark alley. She wasn't going to let Buffy do this. Faith had to get her out of this place. Back to her happy home in Sunnydale.

"I didn't know either. I'm no plan girl, remember? That's your job."

"Don't start this..."

"Why? You don't know me! Just go back to 'Bunnydale' and do your good little slayer routine. I'm sure that they'll take the news that you offed a guy all right. Talk it out with you. I mean, when I do something wrong everyone's on my case in seconds. They were all just waiting for a reason weren't they B?"

"I don't understand..."

Buffy eyes begun to get wet with tears. Faith's plan was working. Any minute now Buffy would go running back and everything would be as it should. But Faith would be lying inside if she said it didn't hurt her to see Buffy cry. But she had to carry on. She was getting through. She suddenly found she had to shout to get over the noise of the storm.

"Don't tell me you don't see it! They watch me. Waiting for me to slip up. Worried about what I do in my little ratbag motel room. And you, 'Miss. Better than thou Buffy', can stand by doing nothing while your friends corner me."

"That's not true!"

"Yes it is! Buffy, there's no place for me there anymore."

"There is. I've already told them that I'm the one who killed Allan."

"You what? Shit B."

"So then come back with me now!"

"You don't get it! There ain't a place for me there anyway! There never was! All I did was sit in my little room downtown and come running whenever you needed me. You don't know how many times I asked myself why I did that. I was just a convenient weapon which you could just put away when you were done with me right? Just go B. I'm sure your friends are worried about you. Not to mention Mr Tall, Dark and Broody."

Faith began to realise what she was saying. Where was this stuff coming from? This all wasn't true was it?

Buffy's eyes shifted from staring at her feet. She walked up close to Faith and for once during their whole conversation, Faith didn't back off. The anger in Buffy's eyes told her it would be a bad idea to do so.

"I know what you're trying to do Faith. You want me to give up on you. You want me to leave right now and never come back."

"I..."

"Shut up! Well you know what? I'm not the type who goes running off from people who need me."

Faith scoffed. "I don't need you. Just go!"

Tears began to stream down Faith's face. The same way it had when she had left Buffy that night. But she could barely tell because of the rain which was already hitting her face.

"I won't!" Buffy softened her tone. "Just... Just tell me..."

"I... I couldn't stand seeing you go through that."

"So you left?!"

"No! I did what I did because I care too much about you to see your life ruined!"

They both stood in angry silence. Not really knowing what to say to each other anymore. This all could have gone a lot better. It took several seconds for Buffy to come to a realisation of what Faith had just said.

"I... What did you say?"

"Nothin'. Just leave me alone..."

Faith turned and started down the alley, kicking herself for saying too much.

Buffy snapped out of her daze and caught Faith by the arm. Her eyes were focused yet soft, concentrating on Faith alone. Her voice came out shakier than she had wanted.

"What did you say?"

"I said nothing! Just let me go!"

"No! How much do you care?"

"Let go of me!"

Faith struggled to get out of Buffy's grasp, but it felt like all of the fight had drained out of her. Something which seemed to be happening quite a lot lately. Buffy pulled Faith towards her roughly. She wasn't going to let her run away this time.

"Do you care about me? Do you? 'Cause if you do, you'd come back with me and we can sort this out!"

This wasn't happening. Summoning all her strength, Faith pushed forward, knocking Buffy to the soaking ground. She began to cry uncontrollably, her voice faltering under forced anger.

"Would someone who cares about you do this?! Would they struggle just to say a few simple words to you? Just let it go Buffy! I'm not worth it..."

Buffy strained to look up. The rain stinging her eyes. What did she mean? But it was too late. Faith had left her once more.

*****

//Shit. Shit. Shit!//

Faith's head was buzzing with mixed emotions. The tears hadn't yet stopped and it made her feel weak as hell. This wasn't the Faith she knew. This was someone totally different now. She had changed, she knew that already. But where did that come from? She didn't care about B in that way did she? The idea was laughable. Not that Buffy wasn't great looking. Just that, she was B. Right? It was like her brain wasn't even connected to her mouth when she spoke.

And who else would she run into down this alley? None other than Spike himself. Again. Agitated at his bad timing, she muttered a few words to show her annoyance and attempted to push past him. She was frustrated and slightly surprised to find that he wouldn't let her pass.

"Now, now slayer. Calm down. I was just thinking about our earlier meeting while I was eating someone and I thought, 'she's got a bit of nerve trying to take advantage of poor Spike while he was drunk.' So, guess what slayer? I'm feeling much better now. And I got myself a little gang to prove it. Now I'll teach you a thing or two about respecting your elders."

Faith sighed heavily as she watched a small group of rowdy looking vampires emerge from their hiding places along the alley. Now was really not the time.

"So how about it slayer? You up for a little fun?"

"Not one for being original are we?"

"What can I say? I'm old fashioned, I do come from the 19th Century after all."

"Great." Faith paused, a wicked grin spreading across her face. "How about I send you back there?"

Spike barely had a chance to retort before Faith's fist shot straight into his face. He let out a low grumble before landing into a nearby pile of trash. His cronies leapt into action immediately but they were far slower than the slayer. She gave the first one a sharp uppercut and followed through with a sweeping kick, making him fall flat on his back. She wasted no time in staking him.

The others were somewhat astonished. The girl was tougher than she looked. Some of them ran away like the cowards they were and the ones that stayed were set to meet their maker.

Faith had just about got the last vamp when a low growl caught her attention.

//Damn! I'm getting careless...//

She turned around on the balls of her feet to come face to face with William the Bloody- who was bloody in the literal sense. He grabbed her by the throat, his yellow eyes flickering with hunger for her blood. Her arm shot up to punch him hard in the face for a second time but he was never one to get hit twice in the same place. He blocked it easily and grinned. He brought his mouth close to her neck and whispered with pure relish in his voice.

"One... good... day..."

Faith closed her eyes as he pulled her head back. With a full game face on, he leant down and his teeth grazed her neck, causing her to shudder from the contact.

//This is it. Finally it ends now. Right here. This is the way it's supposed to be for me...//

But almost in response to her thoughts, she heard that old, familiar voice speak up.

"Not today."

The sound of wood piercing flesh suddenly floated to Faith's ears. Spike's eyes shot open. They were mixed with both pain and surprise. They then squeezed tight as he choked out his last words,

"Ow...that...hurt..."

There was an explosion of dust as Faith dropped to the ground. She looked up to see the blonde slayer, hands wrapped around a stake.

Tentatively, Buffy extended a shivering hand out to the fallen slayer. Faith accepted it and she was carefully lifted from her spot on the floor.

They stood there, staring at each other with unmeasurable hurt showing in their eyes. Both not knowing what to do or say. Faith tried once again to put up her emotional barriers, but found she couldn't as Buffy still had that pleading look in her eyes.

//Just trust me Faith... Let it all go...//

The brunette stared at her confused. Buffy nodded softly and held out her arms to her. Then it happened. All those walls came crumbling down as Faith yielded to her pent up pain and collapsed, crying into the waiting arms of Buffy Summers. They both fell to the floor as their legs gave way to the wave of affliction which threatened to envelop them both.

But it was over. It had to be.

...continued in Into Chaos...

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