Easing the Pain
by Sarah Meyers
Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: Graduation Day 1 and 2.
Author's Notes: There's a song used in here, and it's called "Where Does Love Go When It Dies" by Def Leppard. My idea of how things should have gone during these two episodes..I'm sure it's been done before, but here's my two cents anyways..

+1=2=3+

PART 1

Buffy entered Faith's apartment silently with one goal in mind. To kill the dark slayer and bring her dead body back to Angel. It wasn't exactly what she wanted to do, but none the less she knew it was what she had to do. She watched Faith for a few minutes as she sat on her bed reading comics, carefree as a child. She had the radio turned up loud, for which Buffy was thankful since it allowed her to enter the apartment unnoticed. She thought briefly about turning it off, but decided to just turn the volume down some instead. After all, they most likely were going to be making a lot of noise fighting and she didn't want anyone else that may be in the building to hear.

As soon as she turns the volume down some, Faith notices her presence and smiles at her. "Thought I'd stop by," Buffy says in a much more friendly tone than she intended.

"Is he dead yet?" Faith asked enthusiastically, causing Buffy to become angrier.

"He's not going to die. It was a good try though. Your plan?" Buffy says, quickly becoming annoyed with the small talk.

"Uh huh. The mayor got me the poison. Said it was wicked painful," Faith said with a smile.

"There's a cure."

"What is it?" Faith asked, trying to sound like she actually cared.

"Your blood." Buffy couldn't help but be happy when Faith's smile quickly vanished. "As justice goes, it's not unpoetic. Don't ya think?"

"Come to get me?" Faith said as she started walking towards Buffy. "Gonna feed me to Angel? You know your not gonna take me alive."

"Not a problem," was Buffy's response and suddenly both girls felt the tension in the room rise. Buffy was being a lot braver than she felt, knowing she didn't really want to kill the other slayer. In her mind, as much as she hated herself for it, she knew that if Faith would only apologize things wouldn't have to be this way. At the same time, Faith was too stubborn to swallow her pride even though she didn't really want to hurt the blonde anymore.

"Well look at you, all dressed up in big sisters clothes."

"You told me I was just like you." Buffy never broke eye contact with Faith as she finished closing the distance between them. "But I was holding it in." She stops right in front of Faith, looking into her eyes to find any trace of remorse so she could find a reason to get out of this.

"Ready to cut loose?"

Unfortunatly, Faith was just too damn good at hiding her real emotions, so Buffy could only say, "Try me."

"Okay then. Give us a kiss." Faith says with a suggestive smirk.

Not wanting to be out done, Buffy just smiles back at her. "As tempting as it might be," her smile grew as she noted Faith's confusion. "No." For a second Faith's mask of indifference fell, but it was already too late and Buffy punched her in the jaw sending her backwards. Faith quickly countered and hit Buffy in the face and the two broke apart and stared each other down for a few seconds.

The fighting continued, neither girl winning or loosing in a battle that neither really wanted to happen. Finally Buffy managed to throw Faith onto the sofa, only to be kicked by the taller girl into the wall. Before Faith had a chance to continue her attack Buffy held up her hand, and in confusion Faith stopped as she stared down at the blonde.

"Listen," Buffy said, her breath coming in ragged pants.

"To what B? The only noise other than your loud breathing is the music." Faith was annoyed at Buffy for stopping the fight, but the larger more reasonable part of her was thankful for it. She didn't really want to hurt Buffy, but she knew what they had just done, was hardly anything more than what they did in training before they became enemies.

"The words Faith. Listen to them. It's us." Faith shook her head at Buffy, but did as she was asked. At least if they started fighting again, she would't be out of breath.

	If you woke up from your sleep,
	Blood on your hands
	Would you wash the pain away
	No one understands

"I'm tired Faith," Buffy whispered softly as the words of the song sank in.

"Why B? I'm just getting started here. I know you can't be that out of shape," Faith said teasing the blonde. For a moment it felt like old times, and she felt a surge of hope that things with them could get better.

	There must be someone out there who,
	Can help you breathe again
	But would it ever be enough?

"I'm not tired physically Faith. I'm tired emotionally. I'm sick of fighting you, of hating you. I miss how it was," Buffy confessed.

"You wanna save Angel right? I'm sure as hell not going to volunteer myself so you're going to have to kick my ass anyways." Faith was trying to pretend she didn't want exactly what Buffy just said. She couldn't trust the blonde anyways. It was probably just a joke to get her to let her guard down.

"Why do you want to do this to each other Faith?" Buffy's voice was soft, almost pleading.

	All the words you whisper
	All the tears you hide
	You die for love, when it's alive
	But where does love go when it does?

"This is the only way it can be, B. Now get up already."

"Your wrong Faith. I don't want to fight, and you don't either." Faith had to turn away from the blonde knowing that her eyes would betray her.

"Like hell I don't!" Faith's anger was rising again, and she turned around to hit Buffy again. "What the hell makes you think I don't hate your guts?" But the emotion in Faith's voice gave her away, and Buffy knew she was doing the right thing.

"This." Her tone was flat, and without even looking at Faith she started to walk towards the door of the apartment.

"Where the hell do you think your going?" Faith's voice was harsh, and she grabbed Buffy's arm to stop her.

"I'm not going to fight you anymore Faith. Angel can drink my blood. Besides, it's not like I'll live much longer anyways. I may be the slayer, but it's not like I can win against another slayer and a big demony thing."

"Like hell you are," Faith stared at Buffy, and she winced when she saw the pain in the blonde's eyes.

"Isn't that what you want Faith? I thought you hated my guts and wanted me dead!" Buffy's voice was full of contempt.

"Yeah, I wanted to hurt you B. You hurt me too you know! But fuck if I'll ever let anyone else hurt you. I'm sorry B, okay? I'm sorry." Faith collapsed onto the floor, trying to hold the tears in. "I'll let him drink my blood. With me out of the picture you should be able to stop the mayor. Besides, I've got no reason to live. I'm just a killer, never done anyone any good."

Buffy knew that she had finally gotten through to the dark slayer and slowly sat down beside her. She brought her hand up to gently rest on Faith's back in an attempt to comfort her, but Faith only shrank away from it. "I can't let him drink from you either Faith. I don't want you to die."

"You don't want me to die, yet you came here to kill me?" Faith laughed at what Buffy said to her.

"I didn't want to kill you Faith. I mean, I did or at least I thought I did. But I really didn't. I was just so angry at you for leaving me, for hurting Angel. I didn't see any other way."

"I didn't leave you B. You left me when I killed Finch. Your the one who pushed me away." Faith got angry at the memory, but tried her best to keep her voice neutral not wanting to mess up this whole make up session.

"I didn't leave you Faith. I thought I was helping. I didn't know what else to do at the time. I'm sorry."

"Whatever B. Lets just forget it. I'll be dead soon anyways and you won't have to worry about me."

"Why are you willing to do this for me? Why won't you let Angel drink from me?"

"I couldn't ever let anything like that happen to you B. If we would have kept fighting tonight, I would have ended up letting you kill me anyways. All the stuff I've done, the kicking your ass shit I mean. I knew you could take it, because your the great slayer and all. But I'd never really hurt you B. I guess I never stopped to think about the emotional pain. I've been kinda numb all my life. Never really felt anything before, well except for one thing but that's not important at the moment. So uhh... I'm sorry for that too."

Buffy searched Faith's eyes for truth, and was relieved to find that the walls the brunette hid behind were temporarily down. Faith wasn't lying, and she really didn't want to hurt Buffy. "So are we friends again?" Buffy felt shy asking, but she wanted to be sure. Faith nodded and Buffy smiled at her. "You know this means I can't let Angel drink from you right?"

"B, there's no other choice. You have to be strong if you want to kick the mayor's ass. And I don't deserve to live after all I did to you. Besides, I've got nothing to live for. No family or friends like you. No one would miss me B, but you've got so many people that care about you."

"I would miss you," Buffy said honestly. Faith smiled, probably the first real smile that Buffy had ever seen and Buffy noticed a few butterflies making a home in her stomach. "But unfortunatly, you are right. There is no other choice. But if you think for a second that I'm going to let Angel kill you, you better think again. As soon as he gets what he needs, I'll make sure he gets the hell off you."

"Why B? Why can't you let me just die?"

"Because you do have friends, and family. Well, you have me at least. I know I'm not much, but I want you with me. Mom has always liked you too, and while she's not exactly thrilled with the things that have happened she can be a very forgiving person."

"I guess you get it from her then huh?" Faith smirked at the blonde.

"Get what?" Buffy's confusion evident in her voice.

"The forgiveness bit. I don't see how you can just forgive me like that."

"I guess in the end, it's all pretty simple." Buffy smiled at Faith and put her hand atop of the dark slayers. "I care about you Faith. Always have, always will."

Faith smiled at her new friend, making a silent vow that she would never hurt Buffy again. She kept her hold on Buffy's hand, and pulled the blonde up with her. "Guess we have a world to save now huh?" Faith gave Buffy a lopsided grin and the blonde couldn't help but pull Faith into a hug.

Faith stood there, unmoving while Buffy embraced her. "What's this?"

Buffy chuckled softly and released her hold on the taller girl. "It was a hug. We fought, and then made up. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time." Buffy said, almost embarrased knowing Faith wasn't used to that sort of thing.

"Uhh, yeah. We should get to the mansion now or something. There's that whole saving the world thing and..." Faith trailed off breaking eye contact with Buffy, afraid the blonde would see too much in her eyes.

"Save the world, right." The butterflies in Buffy's stomach started working overtime and she felt herself blush at the strange new sensation she was feeling around the brunette. 'Angel, remember the boyfriend that's dying now,' Buffy reminded herself.

"You ready or what girlfriend?" Faith smiled as she started walking out of her apartment. She turned around to face the blonde, and Buffy didn't fail to notice the twinkle in Faith's eyes that once again reassured her she had made the right decision.

"Ready as I'm going to get."

PART 2

As the two girls stood outside the mansion, Faith took a deep breath trying to calm her nerves. She certainly wasn't happy about what she was about to do, but she knew that she didn't want to risk Buffy's life. "Hey umm, B?"

Buffy stopped walking, and turned around to face Faith. "Having second doubts or something?" Buffy asked, hoping that wasn't exactly the case.

"No, it's nothing like that. I mean, yeah I'm not exactly all happy about it, but I'm going to go through with it. It's just there's something I should tell you first, in case I don't make it."

"Faith, I told you I won't let him kill you. I won't let anyone kill you okay?" Buffy moved closer to Faith and put her hand on the taller girls arm.

"I just, well there's something you should know, just in case." Buffy looked up at Faith, confused but waited for her to finish. "You know how back in the apartment I told you how I've been numb emotionally all my life, but only felt one thing? I said it wasn't important, but I guess when you face possible death it becomes kind of important."

"Faith, there will be no death." Buffy said firmly.

"Okay," Faith held up her hands in defeat. "But just let me say this okay?" Buffy nodded at her and she continued. "The only real emotion I've ever felt in my life, as surprising as it may be was love. There's one person that I've managed to feel something for and believe me, I tried my hardest to deny it."

"Who Faith?" Buffy was now fully curious.

Faith turned away from Buffy, making sure the blonde couldn't see her face. "You," she whispered softly. When Buffy said nothing in response, Faith knew she had to say something else. "I know you love Angel and all, so it's no big. I just thought you should know."

"Faith?" Buffy's voice was soft, and she reached out to touch Faith but the taller girl shyed away from the contact. "I don't know what to say."

"It's no big B. Like I said, I just thought you should know in case I die or whatever." Faith turned around and smiled, once again hiding behind her mask of indifference. Buffy knew that Faith was probably hurting, but they didn't even have time to deal with it. "Come on, lets go save soul boy."

Faith headed towards the door of the mansion, and Buffy followed. When they entered, they found Willow and Oz in the middle of a kiss. "Well ain't that just cute?" Faith asked causing Willow to jump away from Oz.

"I thought you were supposed to be dead," Willow snapped at the slayer, then hid behind Oz.

"It's okay Wills. She's on our side now," Buffy finally spoke up, and wasn't at all surprised to find that the red head didn't believe her.

"Right, we'll just be going now." Willow tugged at Oz's arm and the two made a hasty exit.

"Sorry B. I guess I should be nicer to the scoobs. I just, it was always so easy to pick on them. They just take it too seriously, but that's why I like you. You always joined in the banter."

"It's okay Faith. Can't really blame them for being skeptical though. We were worst enemies less than an hour ago." Faith's smile dissapeared, but Buffy kept smiling at Faith. "Come on, Angel's up in his room."

"Oh yay," Faith said sarcastically, but followed Buffy. When she saw Angel in his bed covered in sweat she wanted to kick herself for what she did. "Hey big guy," she said moving closer to him. "Got a present for you."

Buffy moved to Angel's side and took one of his hands in her own. "See, I told you I'd get you better Angel. You can drink from Faith, and then you'll get better."

Angel looked at Faith who was smiling at him. "You two made up, didn't you?" He questioned. He might be dying, but his observation skills weren't gone...completely. Sure he thought Willow was Buffy earlier, but that didn't really count. "You did," he concluded when the two slayers didn't say anything.

He forced himself into a sitting position and looked at Faith. "I can't do it. Not if your going to help Buffy." Using what little strength he had left, he stood and stumbled out of his bedroom. Faith and Buffy exchanged a glance, both knowing this wasn't going at all like planned before following the souled vampire. They came into the room just as he fell over onto a small wooden table.

"Look asshole, your going to drink from me if you like it or not! I did this to you, and I'm not sorry about it so drink already." Faith yelled at him, with venom dripping from her words. A part of her wasn't sorry for it, the dark part that she was trying to fight now. Here she was trying to save the guy who had the only thing she's ever wanted in her life. Buffy.

Then there was the part of her that loved Buffy so completely, that she knew if she didn't do this for her, she would never be forgiven for what she did. Buffy gave her a worried look, hoping that what Faith said wasn't true, but the brunette smiled at her. Finally Buffy realized what Faith was doing.

Angel, who desperately wanted to save his own life, knew that even though Faith did this to him she was still human. The things she did were nothing compared to what he did as Angelus and if he could be forgiven, Faith should be too. "No Faith," he said as he stood back up.

"Dammit Angel," Faith said through a clenched jaw, trying to keep her anger under control. He looked at her sympathetically, and Faith finally hit him. He went stumbling backwards, but didn't say anything. "If your not going to do it, I'll fucking force you if I have to." She moved closer to him, and hit him hard in the stomach which sent him doubling over in pain. She brought her elbow down hard onto his back and he collapsed to the floor.

Buffy stood to the side, hating every second of what she was seeing. She almost wanted to go and beat on Faith for doing this to her boyfriend. Another part of her was pissed at Angel for making Faith have to do this.

The two slayers looked at Angel, and when he looked back up at them he had his game face on. "That's it," Faith encouraged him. She moved her hair away from her neck and kneeled down getting close to his face. "Come on big boy, you know you want it."

Finally Angel sunk his teeth into Faith's neck, and Buffy fell to the floor as she watched what was happening. A small whimper of pain escaped from Faith's lips as Angel pushed her onto her back and crawled on top of her. Buffy finally found the strength to stand, and upon seeing Faith pass out from the loss of blood, she pulled her boyfriend away from her.

Angel's face shifted back into his human form as he rolled over onto his back trying to catch his breath. "I gotta get her to the hospital," Buffy said frantically as she pulled Faith into her arms.

"I'll carry her." Angel stood and walked towards Buffy, only to have her turn away from him.

"You need to stay here and rest. Besides, the sun will be up soon." Buffy's voice was flat and emotionless as she spoke to him. She turned around and gave him a half smile before walking out of the mansion carrying Faith's limp body in her arms.

*****

As soon as Buffy burst through the doors at Sunnydale Hospital she started screaming at the nearby nurses that Faith needed blood. She found the first empty cot and layed her friend down on it.

"What happened to her?" a nurse asked as she moved closer to Faith.

"I don't know. She just needs blood!" Buffy lied, and shouted a little louder than she intended to.

"Are you okay?" A doctor approached from behind, catching Buffy off guard.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just help her," she pleaded with him.

"I will, but you have to wait out there," the doctor stopped to point at the waiting room. "I'll call you when we're done okay?" Buffy nodded at him and solemly walked out into the waiting room.

Buffy sat on one of the hard plastic chairs that was in the waiting room and hung her head in her hands. She began to cry for Faith, for Angel and for everything that had happened in the last few weeks. She was exhausted physically and emotionally now and was angry at herself for letting Angel drink from Faith. She knew it was probably wrong, since it was Faith's fault after all that Angel was in that position in the first place.

Finally she ran out of tears, and Faith's earlier words rang in her ears. Faith was in love with her, and even when Faith opened up to her she only pushed her away by saying she didn't know what to say. What was she supposed to do though? She had Angel, though she knew her feelings for him were quickly changing. She still loved him, but it was wearing out. She didn't feel as if she was in love with him anymore, and after watching him drink from Faith, she doubted she'd ever be able to look at him the same way again.

She stood from the hard chair and walked over to the room where Faith was and looked in the window, watching as the doctors gave her blood. She held her hand up to the cold glass, wishing she could be in there now, holding Faith's hand. "I'm sorry Faith," she whispered softly.

Just as she was about to go sit back down, the doctor appeared from Faith's room. "Is she okay?" Buffy asked eagerly, hoping that it was okay. The doctor smiled softly at her and nodded. "Can I go see her?"

"Are you family?"

"I'm her sister," Buffy lied again, and cringed when she thought about how she was starting to have more than sisterly feelings towards the brunette.

"Okay. She probably won't wake until the morning, but you can stay in there with her." He smiled once more before walking away.

Buffy didn't waste any time and was soon by Faith's side. She looked around the room and found a chair, which she pulled up close to Faith's bedside. Before she sat down she softly smoothed Faith's hair out of her face and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. "I'm sorry," she whispered again, as she took one of Faith's hands into both of her own. "I won't leave you this time Faith, I promise."

*****

Faith woke up a few hours later, to find that her hand was much warmer than the rest of her body. She opened her eyes and found Buffy's head laying on the bed, and Buffy fast asleep. Buffy was holding onto her hand still, and a small tear escaped from her eye. Faith had been worried that Buffy would still try to kill her after she healed Angel. "Buffy?" Faith pulled her hand from Buffy's grasp and softly stroked her blonde hair.

Buffy started to stir, and upon remembering where she was her head quickly shot up to look at Faith who was smiling down at her. "Faith! Your awake," Buffy smiled at her. "The doctor said you probably wouldn't wake up until the morning."

"Yeah, well I guess he never heard of slayer healing," Faith chuckled softly.

"Guess not. But you still need to get some sleep, we've got a big day tommorow." Buffy sounded like she was mothering Faith, and Faith couldn't help but laugh.

"Yeah, and it's all my fault." Faith looked away from Buffy, who once again reclaimed her hold of Faith's hand. "If I hadn't have turned evil, the mayor would have never made it this far. It's all my damn fault B. You should have let me die."

"Don't say that Faith. It's not true. Besides, we'll kill him and it'll be okay. We can't change the past, but we can change the future. If we fight together, there's no way he'll get away with this." Buffy gently wiped away Faith's tears that had begun to fall. Seeing Faith like this, finally so open with her made her wonder how she could have ever hated her in the first place. Faith had just been scared all her life, and that's why she hid. Not because she thought she was better, or really hated them.

"B..." Faith started but was stopped by Buffy's lips softly pressed against hers. It was just a quick, light as air kiss and Faith didn't know how to respond to it. She wasn't sure if Buffy was doing it out of comfort, friendship, or maybe...Just maybe Buffy loved her too.

"Now get some rest Faith," Buffy said as she sat back down on her chair.

"What about you B? You should go home and get some sleep too." Faith said, glad she didn't faulter her words after being kissed by Buffy.

"I'm staying with you. Unless," Buffy smiled and Faith looked at her confused, and a little worried. "I'll be right back." She walked out of the room, and Faith finally allowed herself to whisper 'holy shit' and smile over the kiss Buffy gave her.

When Buffy came back into the room, Faith quickly hid her smile. "What's the what B?"

Buffy just threw Faith's clothes at her and smiled. "Your coming home with me." That way we can both get some sleep. I sent mom out of town so I wouldn't have to worry about her tomorrow, so it'll be okay."

Finally realizing that trying to resist Buffy was futile, Faith sat up and started to change back into her clothes. When Faith finished pulling her shirt over head, she noticed that Buffy was still looking at her. "Like what you see?" Faith asked, laughing as Buffy went wide eyed and turned around.

When she was finished getting dressed, Faith walked up behind Buffy and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "Sorry B, I'm still a little weak. I need some help getting out of here."

"I could always give you a piggy back ride," Buffy laughed when Faith raised an eyebrow at her.

"Yeah, that'll look sophisticated." Faith said as they started to walk out of the hospital.

"Since when did you become sophisticated?" Buffy teased back.

"You know, your lucky I love you or I'd have to use some smart-ass comeback." A few seconds after Buffy didn't say anything, Faith realized what she had just said. "Sorry for bringing the love thing back up. It just kinda happened," Faith added meekly.

"No, it's okay Faith. I'm really glad your opening up to me now. It means a lot to me." Buffy tightened her hold around Faith's waist, not failing to notice the return of the butterflies in her stomach.

*****

When the duo reached Buffy's house, Faith started making her way to Buffy's couch. "Thanks for giving me a place to crash."

Buffy grabbed Faith's hand, knowing that Faith had expected to sleep on the couch. Actually, until they got to her house, Buffy figured that would be where Faith slept too, but then she decided she wanted Faith to sleep in her room with her. "I was kinda hoping you'd sleep upstairs with me. After all that happened tonight, I don't really want to be alone." Buffy was being truthful, but she also knew there was more to it than that.

Faith smiled wickedly at her and laughed. "Only if you give me a piggy back ride up the stairs," she said as she continued to laugh.

"But I thought it was so unsophisticated," Buffy reminded her.

"Well maybe I just want to be pressed up against you," Faith saw Buffy blush again, and laughed harder. She figured the sexual innuendo's should probably stop now that Buffy knew there was more to them, but if she stopped, she wouldn't be her anymore. She would be pretending to be someone else, and she couldn't do that.

"Maybe that's why I wanted you sleeping upstairs with me," Buffy winked at Faith and walked away when the brunette's jaw dropped.

Faith quickly, well as quickly as she could in her state, followed Buffy up the stairs. "Your so cruel B."

"Only to people I like," she stated, wondering if Faith would catch on to what she really meant. Faith did, though she didn't let on to it. When she entered Buffy's room she found a large shirt being thrown at her. "You can sleep in that."

Faith briefly thought about telling Buffy she slept nude, but decided that under the circumstances she shouldn't. Buffy left her room to change, and Faith quickly pulled off her clothes and threw the shirt on. Buffy didn't take long to change, and when she came back into her room the two girls quickly climbed into her bed.

"Faith?"

"Yeah B?" Faith moved so she was laying on her side now facing the blonde.

"Do you think we'll really be able to stop him?" Buffy asked, turning her head to look at Faith in the dark.

"I know we will. I know how to stop him, well kind of. But I'll tell you about it in the morning. You need to get some sleep now okay?" Buffy nodded, and Faith noticed the tears that were coming from her eyes. "Hey, remember what I told you earlier?" Faith asked.

"You told me a lot of stuff earlier Faith," Buffy couldn't help but smile at her friends vague question.

"I told you I'd never let anyone hurt you B. Not Angel, not the mayor, and especially not me anymore. I'll take care of you B, and we'll stop him. I promise." Even though they could hardly see each other in the dark, Buffy was able to hear the truth in Faith's voice. Not knowing what else to say, she moved closer to Faith and wrapped an arm tightly around her stomach. Hesitantly, Faith wrapped her arms around Buffy and pulled her close. She kissed her friend on the forehead, and whispered goodnight.

Buffy's breathing became more even and Faith was glad the blonde was able to fall asleep, since she knew she wouldn't be able to sleep. She desperately needed to figure out how to stop the mayor, so she wouldn't let Buffy down again. She looked down at the girl in her arms and tightened her hold on Buffy. She knew she had to stop him, even if in a weird way she still cared for the mayor. She was in love with Buffy, and for the first time in her life she had her priorities straight.

PART 3

The next morning the sound of an alarm clock woke Faith from her sleep. She took her hand that wasn't currently tangled in Buffy's hair and slammed on the buttons, hoping she'd eventually hit one to shut it up. Luckily for her the sound woke Buffy up as well and she reached out and quickly hit the snooze button. "It's the one on the left," she said sleepily as she looked up at Faith.

"I'll keep that in mind," Faith said as she yawned. "Guess today's the big day huh?"

"Yeah, guess so. I wish I could stay in bed all day and just hide from it."

Buffy was still holding onto Faith, and rested her head back on the taller girl's shoulder.

"Hey, as long as I get to stay with you I don't mind."

"Well as cute as you look in the morning, we have to get up." Buffy pulled herself out of Faith's arms reluctantly and noticed Faith's smile. "What's that for?"

"Well I'd almost think you were flirting with me B," Faith said, highly doubting she could be that lucky.

"I just might be," Buffy teased as she walked out of her room towards the bathroom.

"You better not let your boyfriend hear you say that," Faith called out, amazed that her and Buffy were finally on good terms with each other again. Actually, they were closer now than they had been before she joined the mayor.

Buffy walked back to her room, tooth brush in hand and looked at Faith who was still laying in her bed. "He's kind of not really a boyfriend anymore. I guess we didn't actually break up offically or anything yet. I'm not really sure actually. The last few days have been kind of a blur, but he's leaving town after tonight."

Faith sat up on Buffy's bed looking perplexed. "Wait, you just went through all that shit for him. You were ready to kill me for him, and he's just going to leave you? I'm sorry B, but the guy's an asshole if he's just going to walk away from you. He's got the greatest girl in the world," Faith said, the last sentence barely above a whisper.

Buffy simply sighed and headed back into the bathroom. Faith took the opportunity to get dressed, even though she thought it would be a lot more fun to wait until Buffy returned. When she finished she walked to the bathroom, and smiled as she watched Buffy brushing her teeth. "You about done in here? I've really gotta take a leak."

"Oh that's attractive Faith." Buffy rinsed off her tooth brush and walked out of the bathroom.

"I thought you said I was cute in the morning." Faith tried to sound as if she were hurt.

"I said you look cute. There's a difference."

Faith shook her head and closed the door to the bathroom. When she came out Buffy was dressed and ready to go. "Come on, we've gotta get to the library and figure out what to do. You can tell us how to stop the mayor when we get there."

"Yeah, if the scooby gang doesn't lynch me first." Faith rolled her eyes as she followed Buffy out of her house.

*****

"Dear God," Giles muttered as Buffy entered the library with Faith behind her. His face going a few shades pale.

"God doesn't exist G-man. I'm convinced." Faith smiled at him as she made her way to the scoobs table. "If he did exist and was so high and mighty like you people make him out to be he could just wave his little hand and wipe out all these demons." Faith stopped to sit down next to Willow and smiled at her wickedly. She licked her lips, satisfied with the fear she saw in the red head's eyes. "Or if he does exist, he's an ass. Just likes to use us as puppets for his own entertainment. I mean, what kind of sick fuck likes to watch people suffer?"

"You," Xander said flatly when he finally found his voice.

"Be nice everyone," Buffy spoke as she moved to sit down into an empty chair. "Faith's going to help us."

"Yeah, help us die." Cordelia glared at Faith.

"No, she knows how to stop the mayor. She saved Angel, as you can see by his being here. I guess none of you bothered to ask how he got better huh?" The gang all looked over at Angel, then at Faith, noticing the bandage on her neck.

"It's not like I had any choice," Faith shrugged not liking the attention being on her.

"So Faith, you know how to stop the ascencion?" Giles asked getting straight to the point.

"Yeah, it's kind of simple actually. Just because he's turning into a giant snake doesn't mean he's perfect. He'll still have all his human weaknesses."

"Well do you know what he's weak against?" Xander asked, his voice harsh.

"Not really. I figured the mighty scoobs would know that. He likes milk." Faith offered.

"And that does what for us?" Willow spoke, moving a little closer to Oz, and farther away from Faith.

"How about we just attack him with humus?" Oz asked nonchalantly. Cordelia glared at him, and the rest of the gang looked at him confused. "Just keeping things in perspective."

"Thank you," Cordelia shook her head at him.

"Faith, I'm going to need you to act like your on his side still. I don't want him to suspect anything."

"Awe, come on B. He wants me to wear a pink dress. Do I have to?" Faith whined, then quickly shut up realizing how stupid she sounded.

"Wait, you in a pink dress? If you wear that and let me laugh at you a little bit, if we survive I'll forgive you." Xander stopped when he notice both slayers shooting him deadly looks. "Or I could just skip the laughing and forgive you." He laughed nervously.

"Right. I guess that means I'm outta here huh?" She stood and walked over to Buffy. "I'm so going to get you back for making me have to wear this dress."

"I look forward to it," Buffy winked at her, temporarily forgetting that all her friends were watching her. She cleared her throat and took hold of Faith's hand. "Be careful Faith."

"I will B. Don't forget the promise I made last night either." Faith squeezed Buffy's hand and walked out of the library.

Cordy briefly mentioned how she wanted to chase him around with a box that said 'ebola' on it, which lightened the mood if nothing else. Angel remembered how fond the mayor had been of Faith, from when he pretended to be Angelus again and Buffy knew what she had to do.

"Okay, I'm going to need everybody's cooperation with this plan." Buffy explained her plan to the gang, and after they were done being skeptical, she gave out orders to each of them hoping that everything would go as she planned. In the end, it would be her and Faith that lured the mayor into the library, assuming all worked out okay.

*****

After all the preparations were made, the students all processed into their seats waiting for their chance to attack. Principal Snyder gave a short speech and introduced the guest speaker, who just happened to be the mayor. As he walked onto the stage, Faith followed behind him, but stopped to stand on the side of the stage. Her eyes scanned the crowd looking for Buffy as she tried to keep her mind off of how awkward she felt in the dress.

Buffy, who immediately saw Faith couldn't keep her eyes off the brunette. When she looked up at Faith's face, she saw that Faith was smiling at her. She smiled in response, and Faith winked causing her to blush.

"Buffy are you okay?" Willow asked as she noticed Buffy's face turning red.

"Yeah Wills." Buffy tried to remind herself about the whole ascencion thing, but seeing Faith in a dress left her little room to think of anything other than how beautiful the brunette was.

Much sooner than anyone expected, the sun was covered by an eclipse and the mayor winced in pain. He tried to continue his speech, but didn't get a chance to finish before he turned into his demon. The students stood, ready to fight while their parents scrambled off.

At Buffy's command, the students ripped their gowns off to reveal several crosses around their necks, and various weapons. Some students used flame throwers to distract him, while others used various crossbows. Faith scrambled off the stage, a stake in hand to dispose of the mayors gang of vampires. Oz noticed there were too many vamps for Faith to take care of by herself so he got Xander's attention.

"I'm coming!" Xander shouted then turned around briefly. Oz and several students lit the ends of arrows on fire, and aimed them at the vampires. "Fire," he commanded turning back to Oz. When Faith noticed several of the vampires dissappear she smiled greatfully at them. Angel joined her in the fight against the vampires, and soon the students were rushing down the stairs, running from the mayor. Once most of the students got out safely, Faith tossed her stake at Cordelia then ran up the stairs to meet Buffy.

"You know, you failed to remind me about how hard it is to slay in a dress," Faith shouted as she staked a vampire that was trying to sneak up on Buffy.

"Yell at me later Faith. We have to kill this fucker now." Buffy yelled loud enough to get the mayor's attention, and he was surprised to see Faith standing side by side with Buffy.

"Remember me?" Faith asked the large demon. "I'm going to be killing you tonight."

The demon, not really caring that his slayer turned against him quickly bent down trying to eat her as he did the principal earlier. Buffy and Faith were quickly on their heels, running into the school trying to lure him into the library. He eagerly followed, glad to be given the chance to take out not one, but two slayers. He broke through the walls almost as fast as they could run, but as soon as they got into library, he stopped upon seeing the tons of explosives that Xander had set up in there.

The two slayers didn't waste any time in getting out, and as soon as they scrambled to Giles, he set the explosives off. Faith moved so she was holding Buffy, in an attempt to protect her from any debris that might come from the explosion.

It didn't take long for the fire department and the Sunnydale PD to show up, and Buffy walked off. Xander caught up with her, and followed her in silence for a few minutes. He noticed Buffy looking around and assumed she was searching for Angel. "He made it through the fight. Guess maybe he took off after."

Buffy looked at Xander, then down at the ground without saying anything. She was relieved when he walked off, only to have Giles approach her. "You alright?" he asked placing an arm on her shoulder.

"I'm tired."

"I should imagine so. It's quite a couple of days," he said as he took his glasses off.

"I haven't processed everything yet. My brain isn't really functioning on the higher levels. Pretty much fire bad, tree pretty."

"Understandable. Well when it's working again, be congratulated on a good campaign. You did very well."

"I will," Buffy forced a smile for him. He handed her a diploma, telling her she deserved it before going off to see if Wesley were still whimpering. She continued looking around, and spotted Angel standing between two fire trucks. They stared at each other for a few moments before her turned to walk away. Before she could let herself get angry with him for just leaving without saying goodbye, she felt arms gently wrapping around her waist from behind.

"Think you could use a friend?" Faith asked, resting her chin on Buffy's shoulder.

Buffy placed her hands over top of Faith's and leaned back into the taller girl. "Actually, I was kind of hoping for a little more," she confessed.

"I don't know B. I don't really want to be rebound chick. I love you, but are you sure?" Faith asked as Buffy turned in her arms.

"Your not rebound chick Faith. I've always loved you. I was just confused about things with Angel. I felt like I owed him since I sent him to hell before and all. But when I saw him drinking from you," Buffy stopped and shook her head. Faith pulled her into a tight hug as Buffy let a few tears fall from her eyes.

"So where do we go from here B?" She kissed Buffy's forehead right before the blonde looked up at her.

"I don't know," she shrugged. "I"m just glad we lived long enough to worry about what to do next. Though a kiss in the immediate future would be nice."

"Well I'm sure you could get lots of those if you wanted." Faith leaned down and gently brushed her lips against Buffy's in a tender kiss. "All you ever gotta do is ask B. I'll do anything for you."

"Then lets go home," Buffy held onto Faith's hand and led her away from the school.

"You have to sleep by the alarm clock this time," Faith smiled.

"You always have to have the last word don't you?"

"Where would you get an idea like that?" Faith asked feigning shock.

"Well you do," Buffy smirked, glad to be joking around with Faith after the long day she had.

"Do not," Faith retorted, silencing Buffy with another kiss before she had a chance to say anything else. This time Buffy wrapped her arms around Faith's neck and deepend the kiss. The kiss became much deeper, and more intense quickly making a promise for the two girls. It promised them each their chance to start over, and do things the right way finally. It healed their pain from the past, and showed that each had forgiven each other for what they had done before.

"I love you Faith," Buffy whispered when the two pulled apart.

"I love you too Buffy. But you still have to sleep next to the alarm clock."

Buffy just shook her head at the brunette. She was about to say something else, not wanting Faith to have the last word but she couldn't bring herself to do it. After all, Faith looked way too adorable with the cocky grin of hers.

The End

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