There are many diverging realities where someone's role and personality can change according to the events in their life. These realities effect how the world exists and how we exist in the world.
In some realities the girl known as Faith was the third slayer to be called.
In some realities Faith arrived in Sunnydale by order of the Watchers Council to help the first slayer, Buffy Summers, in her battle against evil.
In some realities Faith and Buffy became lovers only to have their bond eroded by the reappearance of Angel.
In some realities Faith turned on Buffy and worked for the Mayor to help bring about the Ascension.
In some realities Faith realized her mistake and helped Buffy prevent the Ascension only to die in the end.
In some realities Buffy mourned the loss of her lover and slowly pieced her life together then went on.
But in some realities none of this happened. In some realities it wasn't Buffy who was the first slayer to be called.
In some realities it was Faith who was the first.
This is the story of just such a reality.
"This is a bad night," said Faith Spencer in between deep breaths. She studied the empty air where the ugly creature had been then she looked back at the bus full of scared Baptists.
She had been trying to get to sleep despite the horrible heat in her crappy motel room when she heard the first scream. When she went outside she saw the broken down bus and a swarm of creatures attacking what looked to be its passengers. Working on gut instinct she'd jumped the railing and proceeded to get rid of every last creature, or at least the ones stupid enough to stick around.
Faith stared at the piece of plywood that she'd hastily grabbed off the street then at the empty air then back at the plywood then finally at the pile of dust in front of her. What happened to that guy? Did he turn into dust? How could he have turned into dust? And why did she just stab him? She'd never done anything like that before.
She was busy contemplating all of this when a man came up to her and averted his eyes as he handed her a shirt to cover her naked form. Smiling at this Faith accepted the shirt from him. And she was just about to put it on when she heard the sound of sirens.
Turning to look at the police car Faith heaved a deep sigh and said, "Definitely bad."
* * * * * *
Faith sat in her cell and tugged on the oversized jeans that the cops had given her. She could faintly hear the sounds of the Preacher and his parishioners that she'd rescued arguing with the cop that had arrested her.
Apparently they thought she was some kind of messenger from God. That God had sent her to save them from the demons of Hell. Faith closed her dark brown eyes and sighed.
Crazy church people.
Still, it was cool that they were trying to get her out of here. Stupid cop... it wasn't her fault that she was naked when she heard the crazy church people screaming. At least she saved them, right? And it was too damn hot for clothes.
Faith decided to revise her opinion. They were nice but crazy church people. Nice for trying to get her out of here and crazy for calling her a messenger from God.
A messenger from God. She wondered what her mother would say if she heard that.
She'd just laugh that stupid drunken laugh of hers, thought Faith bitterly. She wondered if the cops would be able to contact her mother. She gave them her number when they found out that she was a minor but she knew they wouldn't have any luck. Her mother was never home this early in the evening. Hell, it was barely past midnight. Her mother probably just left to start her partying.
With a sigh she pushed the thoughts of her mother from her head. The reason that she left home was so that she wouldn't have to see or think about her mother anymore. And now that she'd escaped from that life Faith wasn't about to start thinking those thoughts again. Even if she was in a jail cell and the cliche thing to do was brood.
"Happy thoughts," murmured Faith to herself as she stared at the ceiling. "Think happy thoughts." She stared at the discolored ceiling for several minutes before got bored and muttered, "Screw it."
Suddenly, there was the sound of footsteps and she looked up to see a prim looking man standing outside of her cell.
"Faith Spencer?" he asked in a reserved voice.
"That's me," said Faith dryly as she studied him. He didn't look anything like a cop and she knew he wasn't one of the church people she saved. The church people didn't wear things like tweed suits that screamed of dorkiness.
"I've paid for your fine and bail," the man said. "You'll be released shortly."
Faith blinked in confusion. "You what? Why'd you do that? Are you one of those nice but crazy church people?"
The man formed a face of slight distaste before he coughed and said, "Certainly not. My name is Rupert Giles. And as to why I'm doing this it's my duty as your Watcher."
"My Watcher?" repeated Faith dimly. "What are you talking about?"
"All will be explained when you're released," said Giles evasively. "This isn't a secure place for our discussion."
"Whatever you say," said Faith with a shrug as she craned her neck to look at the cop that was heading towards her cell. It looked like the guy wasn't lying after all. But why in the hell was he paying for her fine and bail?
Giving the man named Rupert Giles a hard look while the cop opened her cell door Faith tried to figure out what he could possibly want from her.
* * * * * *
Giles looked around the Denny's they were seated inside and said, "I still don't think this is a secure location."
"Yeah, but it's a safe one," said Faith dryly as she ate another fry. "You may have bailed me out but I don't know you. That means I'm not about to be alone with you until I know what's what. Besides," she paused to take a sip of her chocolate shake. "There's ten other people here and they're not interested in our conversation tweed man."
There was a slight pause as Giles sighed then averted his gaze. Removing his wire rim glasses he rubbed his eyes and said, "You've made your point." Putting his glasses back on he met their eyes in a serious gaze. "You're the chosen and I'm your Watcher."
"Uh huh," Faith mumbled in between bites of her hamburger. "You said that before but what's a Watcher anyway? You some kind of freak stalker or what?"
"No," said Giles as he gave another sigh. "Being a Watcher is a sacred duty. We care for and train those who are chosen as slayers."
"Slayers?" asked Faith. She put her hamburger down and blinked. "What's a slayer?"
"You're a slayer," said Giles patiently. "You're the chosen one who will remove all supernatural evil from the face of the Earth. That was how you were able to kill those vampires so easily and save those people."
"Vampires?" repeated Faith incredulously. She leaned back further in chair and studied Giles carefully. "You on any sort of drugs G-man? Vampires aren't real."
"Then what were those things that you killed?" Giles persisted. "They certainly weren't human. When you killed them they turned into dust, didn't they?"
Dropping her chair back into its normal position Faith demanded, "How do you know about that?"
"It's just one of the many things I know," said Giles quietly. "You felt those people's fear, didn't you? And when you were fighting those vampires it was the easiest thing in the world to you. Is that right?"
"Yeah," said Faith slowly. "That's right."
"That's because you're the slayer," said Giles as he leaned forward to speak softly. "You're the chosen one. The vampire slayer who was mean to eradicate evil."
There was a long moment of silence as Faith took this in and said, "And what are you?"
"I'm your Watcher," said Giles with a hint of pride. "I watch over and guard you while I train you in your tasks. I am the one who is meant to help you in your fight against the dark forces."
"Dark forces, huh?" Faith repeated as a smile played on her lips. "Sounds like something out of Star Wars. So who's gonna be my Darth Vader?"
"I don't know that," said Giles solemnly, choosing to ignore her bad joke. "But I know where he is."
With a blink Faith asked, "Oh yeah? Where?"
"Sunnydale," replied Giles.
* * * * * *
"So," began Faith as she looked out the window of what Giles liked to call a car. "Why me?"
It had been several hours since their talk at Denny's and Faith had been told the exact reasons behind the strange events of the night. She was the slayer, the chosen one that was meant to snuff out every last vampire in existence. If she would have heard his story on any other night Faith would have dismissed Giles as a nutcase but tonight was different.
Tonight she'd seen, battled, and killed the creatures that he spoke of. That was why she decided to go with Giles.
That and for the first time in her life Faith was needed. Giles needed her and so did this Watchers Council. They needed her in this town, Sunnydale, to battle the vampires there. She thought that it was a nice feeling... to be needed.
Besides, she had nothing to keep her in Boston. She was planning on leaving soon as she got some money. And Faith wanted to go someplace far away from Boston so she could have some distance between herself and her mother. Now because of Giles and the Council it seemed like Sunnydale was just the place.
"I'm not sure that I understand the question," said Giles. He leaned forward in his uncomfortable seat to get a better look at the road. It was a long drive from Boston to Sunnydale and his car wasn't all that reliable.
"Why me as in why am I the slayer?" Faith persisted as she continued to stare out the window. "Aren't there any others? I mean, I'm not all that qualified. Tonight counts as my first official run in with any of the undead."
"There are others who could be slayers," admitted Giles slowly. "But you are the one who was called. You were awakened first and that makes you the chosen." He paused before he said, "We've watched you for a long time, Faith. You're special. You have a gift that others don't and because of that we need your help."
"You need my help," repeated Faith in a low murmur as she pressed her hand against the window. Wearing a small smile she said, "That's cool." She coughed before she looked to him as her smile widened. "I mean, no one has ever needed me before. That's a pretty new concept for me, G-man."
As he raised an eyebrow at his new nickname Giles returned the smile and said, "We need you very much, Faith. You're special to us and to the whole world. You have a holy mission to conduct. Always remember that we need you."
"Yeah," said Faith softly. She turned to look back out the window and at the passing trees. "I'll do that."
Weird stuff and killing vampires aside she liked the direction that her life was going in. This Giles guy seemed pretty cool and she liked the idea of being needed. That for once, she was the special one.
Maybe this time around things would finally work out for her. Yeah, she thought, things were definitely looking up.
* * * * * *
"I have to go to school?" Faith whined.
"You have to go to school," confirmed Giles as he handed her the new backpack he bought. "Education isn't a punishment, it's a privilege. Remember that."
"Yes, oh mighty guru," said Faith, rolling her eyes.
She sat down on the tiny chair in the small kitchen to his apartment she'd been living in the past month. It was a bit cramped and strange living in his ex-den with books on all the walls but she liked it. She even secretly liked that he tried to set a curfew for her and asked about her day. The only thing that she didn't like was him bugging her about her choice in clothes. For some reason Giles had this thing against leather pants and half shirts. But after a week of arguing, he'd given up on her wearing dresses and calmed down. Still, even that had made her happy in a weird way. It was like she had a parent for the first time in her life. Someone that really cared and was interested in her. But as she much as she liked that she didn't like the idea of going to school. Faith had always despised school. When she had gone to school it was pure torture for her and she flunked most of her classes. Most of them except English. For some reason she always did well in English. Probably because she could bullshit her way through any report. A very useful skill for the subject.
"How'd you get me enrolled anyway?" asked Faith as she searched through her backpack.
It was stocked with the usual dorky stuff she could expect from Giles. Number two pencils, loose leaf paper, and a three ring binder. She checked the tiny pocket in front and found some dollar bills folded back with a paper clip. Faith broke out into a tiny smile. He had given her lunch money.
"The Council helped to provide the proper records," said Giles in slow careful tones. He pinched the bridge of his nose as he murmured, "Where did I put my brief case?"
"By the couch," said Faith absently as she continued her backpack inspection. So far she'd found a bag of reeces pieces and some jolly ranchers hidden in there. Giles packed two of her favorite unhealthy goodies and she couldn't help but feel touched at the gesture. He acted and looked like a dork but he was a nice dork. He was her dork. "The Council must have some pretty wicked connections."
"Quite," Giles replied as he sounded a bit distracted. She knew that he was busy looking for his briefcase and when he came back holding it he wore a sheepish expression. "You were right. It was by the couch."
"Told ya," said Faith with a grin. She zipped up the backpack and slung it over her shoulder as she rose to her feet. "You always dump your stuff in the living room by the couch." Forming a sly smile she added, "You should remember that."
Quirking an eyebrow Giles said, "I should. I trust that you're ready to leave for your first day of school, then?"
"Oh yeah," said Faith sarcastically. She trailed after Giles as he opened the door to their apartment. "I'm really looking forward to this." Watching him close then lock the door she asked, "What are we gonna do when people ask about why I'm crashing with you, G-man? Me being an underaged hottie is gonna be a big problem if they think there's bedroom bouncing going on."
"Not really," said Giles as he restrained himself from sighing. As much as he liked Faith he wished that she would restrain herself from making vulgar comments. "The records that the Council have provided clearly state that you're my niece and I've obtained custody of you. If anyone asks you that's the story we'll be using."
"Slick," Faith gave a low wolf whistle. "The Council has everything wired. You think they could fix me up with a fake ID so I could go drinking?" She was rewarded with yet another dry look from Giles. Grinning at this she watched him walk down the hallway. "Is that a no?" asked Faith playfully before she jogged after him.
* * * * * *
Faith looked at her schedule then at the secretary then at Giles then back at the secretary again.
"I think we got our Faith's confused," said Faith as she handed the schedule back to the secretary. "I'm the dumb Faith Spencer. This schedule is for her evil twin, the smart Faith Spencer. And she's not available right now because she never existed."
The secretary stared at her a moment then decided to ignore the bad joke and turned back to her computer monitor. With a sigh Faith took her schedule back and looked at Giles.
"What's this about G-man?" she asked. "I can't deal with stuff like Algebra. And there's no way I'm going to pass Chemistry." She studied the schedule as she said, "The only thing that I can stand is English and that's advanced for some reason. Why is there advancing? I'm not advanced."
"How do you know that?" asked Giles as they walked out of the office and into the hallways of Sunnydale High. "I happen to think you're very advanced. You've read nearly all of my books at home."
"Yeah, well," Faith mumbled as she studied her schedule again. "I was bored."
"You must be very bored to read over a hundred books in less than two weeks," said Giles with dry humor. He clucked his tongue before he continued slowly, "I guess we'll just have to increase your training hours then."
"G-man," whined Faith, she looked up at him with exasperated brown eyes. "I already train four hours a day plus the nightly patrols we go on. What more do you want?"
Giles paused in his walk to stand in front of the room that Faith recognized as her first class of the day. "I want you to stick with this schedule," he said gently. "You don't give yourself enough credit. I believe that you'll do well."
"You do? Really?" asked Faith as her eyes widened. No one had ever told her anything like that before. For her it'd been enough that Giles and the Watchers Council needed her but to find out that he believed in her too?
It was like a dream. A really great dream that she never wanted to wake up from. Too bad that the dream included her going to school and Giles laying a guilt trip on her with the whole 'I believe in you' thing. Oh well, even dreams have their down points.
"All right," said Faith. She heaved a sigh as she turned to face her classroom. "I'll keep this schedule but if I flunk I don't want any lectures. You got that?"
"Very well," said Giles. He was wearing an almost smug smile on his refined features.
Ignoring this Faith heaved another sigh and pushed open the door to the classroom. It had been only seconds since she'd become an official high school student again and she already felt doomed.
* * * * * *
Faith shifted from booted foot to foot and stared at the occupants of her advanced English class while the teacher looked over her schedule. There were eleven people in the class and they all fit into the category of first class dorks. Faith paused and corrected herself.
Smart first class dorks. That was what really made her nervous. With a class this small the teacher would expect her to raise her hand and make comments and other crap. She'd end up sounding stupid next to all these brains. Faith always hated that one part of school the most...
The participating. Most of the time when she would give an answer it would be wrong. After awhile she got into the habit of covering her embarrassment by making smartass remarks. But she didn't want to do that here. For the first time in years Faith wanted to do her best.
Too bad all the stares from the dorks were starting to annoy her. She met the eyes of one of the seven guys in the class and gave him her patented flirty smile. He turned bright red in an instant and ducked his gaze.
Yup, thought Faith smugly, I still have it. It was too bad she wasn't interested in guys, even the dorky ones. She could always attract them, easy as pie. She supposed it mainly had to do with her dress style. Guys just dug leather.
"Well, Faith," said the English teacher as she handed the schedule back to her. "Everything seems to be in order. Why don't you take that empty seat next to Willow?"
Following the teacher's gesture Faith looked to the subdued but pretty looking redhead who sat in the second row. Adjusting the backpack over her shoulder Faith strode down the aisle and sat down next to the redhead who gave her a soft smile.
Blinking in surprise at this friendly gesture Faith returned the smile hesitantly before she set her backpack down to retrieve the dorky three ring binder and a number two pencil. Everyone else was taking notes on what the teacher was writing down on the chalkboard so she figured that she should do the same. Exchanging another smile with the redhead named Willow, she went to work with the funniest feeling of happiness inside her.
* * * * * *
"So you're from Boston?" asked Willow curiously as she held her books close to her chest. "I never would've guessed. I mean, you don't have the Kennedy accent where they mispronounce chowder as chowdah. That doesn't make sense, does it?"
The advanced English class had just ended and Faith was actually kind of disappointed. She had been enjoying the discussion the class was having on the hypocrisy shown in the characters of the Victorian novels. And when the teacher had called on her like she feared the class didn't snicker and the teacher didn't look disgusted upon hearing her thoughts. They had listened attentively to her and given their own comments on her opinions. In that one weird moment Faith actually felt like she belonged. Maybe Giles was right, she was advanced in some ways.
Faith chuckled at that thought and turned to look at Willow who was still babbling about the Kennedy family and chowder for some reason. When she let Willow look at her schedule to get a feel for the rest of her teachers she'd found out that they shared second and lunch hour together.
"I'm from South Boston," said Faith with a smile as she decided to stop Willow from babbling. "We don't have any accents there. Well, not the polite kind at least."
"Ah," Willow nodded solemnly. "You come from the tough part of town. Makes sense with all the leather."
Smiling at this Faith ignored the curious looks from the other students and opened the door to their Chemistry class. As Willow walked in the room and past her she said, "Tell me no lies. How hard is this class?"
"Pretty hard," said Willow thoughtfully as she took her seat. "But it's okay if you pay attention and make sure to take notes. Sometimes we have study sessions." She paused to stare at Faith who was hovering by her table. "What's with the standing?" Willow gestured to the free stool. "Sit."
"Doesn't someone sit here?" asked Faith.
She was feeling a twinge of uncharacteristic anxiety. For some reason being back in school was making Faith feel ultra sensitive all over again and that was a feeling that she wasn't used to. Living with Giles made her feel secure about herself and she was starting to feel that fade away. She decided to push those feelings aside. It didn't matter what these people thought. It wasn't like last time, this time she had a mission. This time she was the slayer. She was just as good as any of them and maybe even better because she was their protector. And nobody looks down on a protector. Well, the good guys at least. The bad guys look down, but they hardly count.
"Well, there's Xander," said Willow as she tinged slightly. "Sometimes he sits here but he kinda moves around."
"Why's that?" asked Faith.
"Oh because, well..." Willow trailed off slowly.
"He likes the variety, huh? offered Faith when she saw that the other girl obviously didn't want to give an answer.
"Yeah," said Willow with a smile of relief. "He does."
"He better not move by me," said Faith. She pulled up her backpack and rooted through it. "I have enough problems dealing with the beasts as it is."
"The beasts?" asked Willow in confusion.
"Guys," Faith supplied wisely as she pulled out her pack of jolly ranchers and opened it. "All men are beasts." She popped a cherry jolly rancher into her mouth and said, "But some are nicer than others. G-man is pretty cool."
"Who's that?" asked Willow curiously.
"My Uncle," said Faith, feeling a bit sad about having to lie to the redhead. The biggest rule Giles and the Council had was about maintaining secrecy. She didn't want to ruin her new life so she was going to have to keep their secrets. Even if it meant lying to nice people like Willow. "He's the librarian here. Know him?"
"Mr. Giles is your Uncle?" said Willow in surprise. "But you sound nothing alike. I mean, isn't he British?"
"Yeah," Faith said slowly as she searched her mind. Somehow it hadn't occurred to her that Giles being British would be a problem for their cover story. "And my Mom is too, it's just that I was raised here in the states. Hence no dorky British accent."
"Oh," said Willow thoughtfully. She paused then asked, "So you're living with him?"
"Yeah," Faith said with a nod. "Things were ungood at home so he took me in. I'm his niece, little orphan Faith. But he's pretty cool to me and I think I'll dig it here."
"We all dig it here," came a humorous voice. "This town is just full of diggers."
Faith turned around and came face to face with a goofy looking but somewhat handsome boy who appeared to be wearing his most charming smile. Unfortunately for him Faith thought it looked pretty pathetic.
"Xander," said Willow in tones of fond exasperation. "This is Faith, she's new."
"Hey," said the boy named Xander in odd tones that Faith identified as more of his weird attempt at charm. "I'm Xander." His eyed got slightly bigger as he stared at her arm and said, "Tattoo. Nice... very bad girl sexy."
"Thanks," replied Faith as she smirked. "I'm glad that you like it. It was a gift."
"Yeah," said Xander as he grinned. "A real cuddly gift at that. What was it for? Christmas?"
"Something like that," said Faith slowly. "Sorry about stealing your seat. You mind?"
"Nope. I'll just go and hide in the back so I won't incur the teacher's wrath," quipped Xander. He turned on his heel before giving another goofy smile and going to sit in the back row of the class.
"He seems nice," Faith said as she looked to Willow.
"Isn't he?" said a beaming Willow.
Smiling at this Faith turned her attention to the teacher who had just entered the room and was starting to take roll call.
* * * * * *
"Any luck finding Darth Vader?" asked Faith.
It was lunch time and Faith was with Giles in the library munching on her fries. He looked at her from the foot stool he stood on and replied, "None at all. There aren't any clues in the books I've read on just who might be leading the vampires of Sunnydale."
"So let me hunt," mumbled Faith as she took a bite out of her slice of pizza. "I draw him out, then bam! I stake him and it's adios Senor Vader."
"Impossible," Giles said quietly. "It's far too dangerous. Not to mention that hunting him serves no real purpose when we know nothing of his powers."
"Then what do we do, G-man?" asked Faith. She set her can of soda down on the table and looked at him. "It's not in my gig to sit around and do nothing. Slaying the vamp drones is fun but aren't we supposed to dust Mr. Big?"
Sighing deeply Giles walked over to Faith and set another large book on the table. Sitting down next to her he murmured, "We wait for him to come to us. Eventually he'll reveal himself when you've disrupted his plans to a greater magnitude." Wearing a small smile he said, "I imagine that he'll find a slayer in his town quite bothersome."
"Bothersome?" repeated Faith as she gave a snort. "When I'm done Darth is gonna find this place hellish."
"Actually," said Giles with slight humor. "I think that's exactly what he wants to happen. He is a demon after all. Well," he said thoughtfully. "If it is a he and if it is a demon." Sighing deeply Giles continued, "We really must find some more information and quickly."
"No worries," Faith assured. She paused to munch on a few more fries before she said, "Tonight I'll ask questions first and dust vamps seconds later."
"Just what I was about to suggest," said Giles as he smiled. Adjusting his glasses while he went through the book that sat before him he asked, "And how is your first day of school going so far?"
Finishing off her pizza Faith mumbled, "It's cool. I didn't understand anything my Algebra teacher said but that was kind of expected, y'know? Most the kids are peeping me big time because of the tat and leather. The usual crap."
"Mmm," murmured Giles. He looked up to meet her eyes and asked, "What about your English class?"
Tingeing slightly Faith ducked her gaze and said, "I guess it was cool. The discussion part was sort of fun. We got to talk about sex. I can dig that."
"The Victorian age," said Giles wistfully. "One of the most fascinating to read about. Do you know that's when the number of vampires first began to rise?"
"Nope, I didn't know that," Faith said as she grinned. "Does that coincide with the big time amount of hookers they had goin' on in that era too?"
"Perhaps," replied Giles as he chose to ignore her joke. "The vampire can be a very sexual creatures at times."
"Then lucky me," drawled Faith with a playful leer.
Sighing at this Giles returned to his reading and said, "Has anyone asked about your home life, yet?"
"Not really," said Faith as she leaned back in her chair. "Just this redhead, Willow, who's in a couple of my classes. She seems cool though. In a dorky way." Her smile widening she added, "Sorta like you G-man."
"Wonderful," murmured Giles. "Another lucid influence over you is something to be grateful for."
"I guess," Faith said slowly. She looked up at the ceiling of the library and began counting the dots. After a long moment she asked, "What are the rules?"
Blinking Giles paused in his reading and looked up at Faith. "I'm not sure I understand," he said.
"The rules," said Faith again. "I wanna know what I can and can't do, G-man. I don't want to screw things up with you and the Council so lay it on me. What are the rules? I get the slay vamps and destroy evil part. But what about the rest? Do I have to keep my part time job fighting evil a secret all the time or can I tell some people? And who can I tell?" She paused then add humorously, "And the most important thing of all, can I date?"
Giles seemed surprised at this and removing his glasses he cleaned them before he finally asked, "I take this to mean that you've already found someone attractive to you?"
"A couple," Faith grinned. "But that's not the issue. So far it's been all look no talk but I just wanna know off the bat. What's the point of even trying if I know that it can't go anywhere? So can I?"
"I'm not sure," Giles reluctantly admitted. "I suppose that we'll just have to make those rules up as we go along. As for you dating I see nothing wrong with it." Seeing Faith's grin widen he added, "But only as long as it doesn't effect your duties as the slayer or your schoolwork."
"G-man," whined Faith playfully as she smiled from ear to ear. "You're so goddamn parental."
"You shouldn't use profanity," remarked Giles before he went back to reading his book.
For a response Faith smiled again and leaned back in her chair to count the dots on the ceiling as she whistled. All in all it hadn't been a bad first day of school.
* * * * * *
The last bell had rung and Faith was closing the door to her locker when a voice with a funny fake accent said, "We meet again."
Before she closed the locker to look in the direction the voice had come from she knew who it was. Meeting his gaze she smirked and said, "Hey. Xander, right?"
"Bingo," said Xander as he smiled. Leaning up against her locker he continued, "We missed you at lunch."
"We?" asked Faith as she quirked an eyebrow.
"Me and Will," supplied Xander.
"Oh," Faith formed a slow smile. She turned to walk down the hallway as she said, "I was in the library." Her smile widened when she heard Xander scamper after her.
"The library?" said Xander blankly.
"My Uncle's the librarian," Faith said as she restrained another sigh. She really didn't like lying but Giles had told her that it was necessary until she knew who she could trust. And as much as she hated it Faith understood his logic completely. "I had lunch with him."
"Oh..." Xander trailed off obviously trying to put the leather clad girl next to him with the school's librarian. It was definitely a strange fit. "That's cool. I wanted to ask you--"
He suddenly stopped with his next words as he gaped at the group of girls talking in the front quad of the school. In particular he was staring at the one with long brown hair and a body that most girls would kill for.
Releasing a low wolf whistle Faith murmured, "Nice. Who might that lovely specimen be?"
"Cordelia Chase," replied Xander automatically as he remained in his dazed state.
Looking at Xander's frozen state Faith grinned and said, "She's the resident Goddess, huh?" When Xander nodded dumbly she chuckled and studied the girl closer. "She looks like a real snob."
Xander merely nodded again as a response and Faith rolled her eyes as she tugged on his arm. "C'mon dumbo," she said as he pulled him along. "It might be fun for me to watch you act incoherent but you were about to ask me something. And I happen to be the curious type."
"Oh yeah," Xander blinked at looked at Faith. He smiled sheepishly then said, "I was wondering if you'd want to hang out with me and Will tonight. We could show you the sights, what little we have, and maybe go to the Bronze."
Before Xander could reply a lilting voice cut in, "The resident loser of Sunnydale asking for a date? Someone get a video camera so we can record his millionth strike out."
Looking around Xander, who was now beet red from embarrassment, Faith came face to face with the girl they both had been admiring. She vaguely remembered that her name was Cordelia. The girl wore an arrogant smile as her eyes raked Faith up and down.
"And what are you supposed to be?" Cordelia asked. "Dominatrix girl in that leather or something?" She looked to Xander and said, "You're into girls that can beat you up? I should have known, considering what a loser you are."
While the girls in Cordelia's group and several other students laughed at this Faith studied the girl coolly. Then in a slow deliberate movement walked forward until she and Cordelia were face to face. She gazed deeply into the other girls eyes as she licked her lips. Seeing Cordelia's pupils dilate at this a wicked smile spread across her features. Then Faith whispered into Cordelia's ear, "It's not the boys that I wear the leather for. Get my drift, girlfriend?"
As Cordelia wore a stunned expression Faith pulled away to walk back to Xander. Curving a hand up to cup his jaw in her hand she said, "I'd love to go out with you." With no further ado, Faith proceeded to give him a passionate kiss in front of the entire quad. When they separated Xander wore an amazed but very happy expression. "C'mon," said Faith as she licked her lips again. "Lets get out of here."
Tugging Xander past the crowd of students Faith paused at Cordelia. Leaning in close she said, "The name is Faith, not dominatrix girl. Remember it and maybe next time I'll give you a kiss."
With that Faith exited the grounds pulling Xander after her and leaving Cordelia in complete and utter shock.
* * * * * *
"So it's cool if I go out then?" asked Faith.
It was a little past seven o'clock and she was getting ready to meet Willow and Xander at some club called the Silver or something like that. Tonight was the first time in awhile that she would be hanging out with people her own age. So Faith wanted to make sure that she had everything cleared before she left.
"Yes, for the fifth time," said Giles with a teasing lilt. "Patrol and our investigation can wait until tomorrow. I could be lucky and find more information by then."
"Peachy," Faith grinned as she walked out of the former den and her new room. "I'm all set."
"Faith," began Giles as he took in her outfit.
She was wearing the same tight leather pants but now she had on an almost minuscule tanktop to go with it. Feeling a headache coming on he pinched the bridge of his nose. As he did this Faith turned to face with him a blank expression.
"Yeah?" asked Faith easily.
Realizing that any fashion advice would be futile Giles released a deep sigh and said, "Never mind." He looked up after a second then wearing a serious expression he asked, "Did you pack in case of emergencies?"
"You bet," Faith replied as she pulled her jacket out of the closet and flashed it to Giles to reveal the four stakes that were tucked into the inner lining. "I told you that I was a girl scout, G-man. And we're always prepared."
"Naturally," said Giles as he formed a small amused smile. "Well then, have fun."
"Oh I will," drawled Faith. "No worries about that." She then shot him a lascivious smile and seconds later the front door to their apartment slammed shut.
Alone again Giles heaved another sigh and wondered why exactly it was that the slayer had to be a teenage girl.
* * * * * *
"Faith, my hero, my savior, my goddess," said Xander as she approached the booth he was sitting in with Willow.
After entering the club, which apparently was called the Bronze and not the Silver, something that confused Faith because they were both ages. Right? Anyway, after entering the club she'd looked around for a bit before she spotted the pair sitting in a booth with a good view of the dance floor.
"Overdoing it a bit?" said Willow dryly.
"Not in my humble opinion," Faith drawled. She sat down across from Xander and smiled. "I'm guessing that my little stunt this afternoon worked then?"
"Worked?" exclaimed Xander. "You bet it worked!"
With a blink Willow looked from Xander to Faith then back again as she asked, "What worked?"
"She came up with the perfect retaliation against Cordelia for tormenting my hormones and ego," Xander supplied with a smirk.
"Oh yeah? What?" asked Willow curiously.
"She kissed me!" declared Xander proudly.
Rolling her eyes at this Faith said, "You act like I gave you a million bucks X. It's no biggie as long as you get that despite the liplock we're only friends. Comprende?"
"I getcha," said Xander as he gave a playful wink. "But you do realize that everyone in the school thinks I'm dating a mysterious femme fatal now."
"Spare me the drama," Faith chuckled.
Meanwhile, Willow was still trying her best to process what Xander had just said. "She kissed you?" repeated Willow blankly.
"Uh-huh," Xander said as he grinned. "It's wasn't my first of course. You'll always have that honor Will." He wore a silly expression as he sighed and said, "How I long for the days of kindergarten, when things were simple."
Faith studied Willow's features. "You feeling okay, girlfriend?" she asked. "You look pale."
"I'm fine!" replied Willow quickly. She shook her head and offered them a bright smile. "I'm fine, yup. That's what I am."
"Okay," Faith murmured, not quite believing what Willow had just told her. "Anyway," she continued in what she hoped was reassuring tones. "It's not a big deal. I'm not really in the available market for boys now. X knows that."
"You bet," said Xander with a wide grin. "I totally understand. This is just like in Bound or Showgirls. Minus the Gina Gershon involvement of course."
While Faith stared at Xander with a droll expression on her pretty features Willow tried to access this new piece of information. Seconds later her green eyes went wide as she almost pounced on Faith to demand at a rapid pace, "Really? You mean it? No boys?"
"Yeah, I mean it, and nada," responded Faith in an easy stream as she stared at Willow's hands that were holding onto the collar of her shirt. "Uh, Will?" she said hesitantly.
"Yes?" asked Willow.
"Release the material," said Faith gently.
"Jeez Will," said Xander teasingly. "I never knew that you were filled with so much rainbow pride."
Giving a nervous laugh Willow replied, "Just being a good Jewish liberal and all that. It's cool."
There was a long pause and Faith's brown eyes moved from the obviously uncomfortable Willow to sweep the dance floor and as they did they locked onto the stand out figure of Cordelia Chase.
"Speak of the devil," Faith remarked.
"And she shall appear," finished Xander with a smirk. He rested his chin on the tops of his hands as he said, "I hate to admit it but I still think she's gorgeous. But what a pain."
"It's a paradox," agreed Faith as her eyes lingered on the dancing Cordelia. After another moment of silence she eyed the still reserved Willow. Then rising to her feet she abruptly said, "I'm going to dance with Cordelia."
Immediately Willow's head shot up while Xander's eyes went wide. "You're what?!" they exclaimed.
"I'm going to dance with Cordelia," repeated Faith. And with increasing confidence as she sauntered out onto the dance floor with her hips swinging suggestively.
Observing this for a moment Xander turned to Willow and said, "Are you really cool with this?"
"With what?" asked Willow in confusion.
"With Faith," supplied Xander. "And the apparent Sister of Sappho thing going on with her."
"Of course I am," Willow said quickly. "I sort of figured it out earlier. That's why I was really... surprised to hear that she kissed you this afternoon."
Xander gave a solemn nod before he grinned and scooted closer to Willow. "It's weird," he confided. "Usually I'd be all nuts about a girl for doing that but I don't feel that way about Faith." He paused to consider this as he snickered then said, "Probably because I know she can kick my ass and that she's not into the scene. Either way, she's just my bud."
"Like me," said Willow softly.
"Yeah," Xander said as he focused his eyes on the dance floor as Faith neared Cordelia. "Like you, Will."
Releasing a sigh Willow followed Xander's eyes to the dance floor only to have her own widen at what she saw.
* * * * * *
Trying to block out the sinking feeling that Willow might not be as liberal as she claimed Faith wound her way through the floor full of dancers and towards Cordelia.
The svelte girl was surrounded by several dancers all trying to capture her attention but Cordelia didn't seem to notice this as she had her eyes shut as she moved to the pulse of the music. Forming the smallest of smiles Faith began to move with the music until she was dancing directly behind the other girl. In a slow movement she extended her hand to lightly run her fingertips down Cordelia's exposed back.
Feeling Faith's touch Cordelia whirled around only to pale slightly as she looked at the shorter brunette. Observing this Faith tilted her head to one side and said, "Don't look so nervous sweet cheeks. I told you that I'd only kiss you if you remembered my name."
"Well, I don't remember it!" replied Cordelia hotly as her face turned dark red.
"Oh really?" Faith said sensuously.
Noting this reaction Faith formed a slow and sexy smile as she hooked her finger into the belt loop of the tight pants that Cordelia was wearing. She then looked hard into the nervous hazel eyes above her. In a smooth movement Faith moved forward until they were mere inches apart.
In the meantime, Cordelia felt her heart racing out of control as her body remained frozen. For some reason she just couldn't tell the other girl to get lost. It was as if her brain had stopped functioning completely and she was left stuck in an uncontrollable body as Faith did what she wanted. There was a strange unfathomable power in the smaller girl's eyes that made butterflies gather in stomach. For the first time in her life Cordelia actually felt nervous around someone. And Cordelia Chase never felt nervous.
"What's my name?" whispered Faith.
Shivering on feeling Faith's hot breath hit her neck Cordelia closed her eyes and bit her lip. She knew Faith's name. Of course she knew it. How could she forget the name of the only person who had managed to intimidate her? No, it was more than that. Faith also excited her to no end.
Oh god. That was the last thing she expected or wanted. The only thing that Cordelia was thankful for was that all her friends had bailed on her tonight to spend time with their boyfriends. She not being included because she was in between guys at the moment.
"C'mon," Faith said as she lightly grabbed Cordelia's hips and began dancing with the music again. "I know that you remember it."
Numbly moving with Faith to the music Cordelia prayed that no one from their school noticed their strange behavior on the dance floor. Moving not of her own will she locked her eyes with Faith's. The other girl was smiling as she kept the small distance they had between their bodies. Not really touching but more teasing.
It was driving Cordelia and her senses insane. She swallowed to wet her dry throat then opened her mouth to slowly say the words that Faith so wanted to hear.
But it was then that Faith abruptly snapped her head to one side and her dark brown eyes narrowed in a decisive movement as she searched the club. Her gaze focused on a pair of men walking out of the club with some giggling girls. Faith wore a deep scowl as she muttered, "Fucking vamps with their bad timing." Looking up at Cordelia who hadn't heard what she just said Faith pulled the taller girl close in a hard gesture. She then stood on her tip toes and whispered in Cordelia's ear, "I gotta bail so you'll just have to tell me later. I promise to save your kiss."
With that Faith released Cordelia and dashed out of the club to leave the leggy brunette feeling both stunned and empty. Cordelia watched the retreat of the shorter girl for a moment before her senses came to her and she went for her most familiar emotion.
Wearing a scowl that was almost identical to the one that Faith had worn earlier Cordelia stomped out of the club and after the other girl. She wasn't going to let Faith confuse her. Cordelia Chase was going to set things straight.
So to speak.
* * * * * *
Cursing lowly under her breath Faith slammed the door to the Bronze shut and scoped out the alley. In seconds she caught sight of the vampires backing their two chosen victims up against the wall. The girls thought they were about to have a nice little make out session with the cute guys they had met in the club while the vampires were obviously preparing for their late night snack.
In a quick precise movement she strode up to the group as she removed one of the stakes from the inner lining of her jacket. Tapping the one on the left on his shoulder she wore a wide smile as she said, "Surprise boys!"
"You," the vampire on the right hissed. His face morphed to reveal his true nature and the girls with him gasped. "We've heard of your presence, slayer."
"I'm so glad," said Faith as her voice dripped with sarcasm. "It's nice that you know who's offing you."
Before the vampire had a chance to reply Faith spun around to give him a hard kick in the stomach which sent him slamming into the brick wall. Flying forward with the strength of all her frustration at being torn away from Cordelia just when things were getting interesting Faith aimed the stake at the vampire's heart. He dodged quickly though and as he did his companion kicked Faith in the back to send her crashing into the same brick wall.
"Screw the questions," Faith muttered as she mentally apologized to Giles.
She didn't want to go against their plan but she didn't have the patience to chit chat with these guys. Faith pushed herself off the wall to whirl around and face the other vampire that had kicked her.
In a quick precise movement Faith launched herself at him and her weight overwhelming him the vampire fell on his back. His eyes went wide with surprise he had only a moment to register what was coming next when the stake entered his heart and moments later he turned into dust.
Kneeling on the street Faith stared at the dust that had been a vampire and lifted her head to look for his companion. But she didn't to have to look far. He was standing right in front of her by the entrance to the club and he was holding Cordelia at knife point.
"Stay where you are slayer!" the vampire demanded as he tried to make his voice sound harsh.
Ignoring the vampire that she knew was afraid because she could hear it in his voice Faith languidly rose to her feet and stared at him. She shifted her brown eyes to the figure of Cordelia who was nearly as afraid as the vampire and tried to look reassuring.
Forming a sneer Faith said, "A knife? What sort of vamp are you? The new wussy model? You can't kill a few dinky mortals on your own now?"
"Be quiet!" shouted the vampire. "Be quiet or I'll kill her!" His eyes narrowed as he continued, "I know you slayer. You have to save these mortals. It's your job."
"More or less," said Faith with a shrug as she directed her gaze upwards at the club light that hovered directly over the vampire's head. "But I can't save them all, y'know? And this one doesn't even know my name so why should I care?"
The vampire chuckled at this. "You don't fool me. You care or else you would've attacked by now."
"Maybe I'm bored," Faith gave a little yawn. "You're not the most exciting company Mr. Fangsalot."
Before the vampire could reply Faith yanked another stake from the lining of her jacket and threw it up at the club light as she charged towards him. In a rapid movement she punched him in the face and yanked Cordelia away from him. The taller brunette fell into her arms and looking around her Faith watched as the club light dropped on the vampire's head and she formed a brash grin as he gave an irate yell.
"Be back in a minute beautiful," said Faith quickly as she released Cordelia and pulled a third stake from her jacket.
The vampire had just looked up when Faith trapped him against the wall with her arm pressed up under his chin. She kept the stake hovering above his heart and looking into his eyes wide with fear she knew it was the perfect time to ask questions like they'd planned.
"Who's your boss, wimpy?" asked Faith in low mocking tones. "I know someone as dumb as you couldn't be operating on your own. You're not slick enough. Maybe if you tell me who the big man is behind the scenes I'll let your blood sucking hide go this time. What do you say to that?"
The vampire seemed to blanch at this offer and he said, "I can tell you anything but that! Do you want to know about how to summon demons or--"
He was abruptly cut off as Faith drove the stake into his heart. The vampire met her gaze with certain disbelief and seconds later he turned into dust.
"Idiot," muttered Faith as she wiped off her palms as she picked up her third stake and put it back into her jacket. "That was fun," she said humorously. She then turned to face Cordelia who was staring at her in shock. "Hey," she said more softly. "You okay?"
There was a moment of silence as Faith slowly approached the other girl who still wore the same expression of total shock. Finally Cordelia said, "Oh my god. You just killed those guys."
"They weren't guys," Faith corrected as she looked around the alley for the other girls. Apparently they had run when she was fighting the vamps and that left her alone with Cordelia. Which was not a bad situation in her mind. "They were the undead. Y'know, vampires?"
"But vampires aren't real!" cried Cordelia who was currently in a state of mild panic.
"Yes they are," said Faith slowly. "Do you really think that those two were human with the way their faces looked? Do humans have weird Klingon like ridges on their foreheads and fangs? And what about them turning into dust? Instant cremation is a human thing now? Gee whiz, someone tell the funeral directors pronto or they'll start losing money."
"But..." said Cordelia with quiet confusion.
"It was real," said Faith in more reassuring tones. She gently touched Cordelia's shoulders. "It's okay though."
There was a slight pause as Cordelia looked at Faith and studied her closely as if the slayer were some kind of puzzle that she was trying to figure out.
"Who are you?" Cordelia asked in soft wonder.
Forming a slow lazy smile Faith replied, "You already know the answer to that. Don't you?"
Cordelia could only mutely nod as a response and at this Faith's eyes crinkled around the edges. She moved closer to Cordelia and gently held her chin so that their eyes met.
"So who am I?" Faith said in low mesmerizing tones.
Feeling more nervous than she ever felt in her entire life Cordelia took in a shaky breath and said, "Faith."
Her smile returning, Faith reached up to lightly curve her hand around the back of Cordelia's long neck and pulled the other girl closer. When their lips were only inches away from touching Faith murmured, "Now you get your kiss."
Faith's lips were hot and searing as they captured Cordelia's before they began to ardently devour the other girl. Giving the softest of sighs Cordelia unconsciously opened her mouth to invite Faith in further. Something the slayer quickly accepted as her tongue darted out to explore the crevices of Cordelia's mouth in an intense study.
It was so intense that Faith failed to notice when the front entrance to the Bronze opened. It was only the loud sound of music filling the cool night air that eventually got her attention. Reluctantly pulling away from Cordelia she looked at the front entrance to stare at the stunned figures of Xander and Willow who were gaping at them.
Shooting a look at Cordelia who appeared totally mortified at having witnesses to what they were doing Faith looked at her new friends who were still in shock. She had to say something to clear the uncomfortable air and she had to say it soon. A long moment passed as Faith tried to think of the perfect thing to say.
"I can explain?" Faith finally offered haplessly.
When three pairs of eyes looked at her with sardonic disbelief Faith knew that definitely wasn't the perfect thing to say. Oh well, at least she had given it a try. To be continued... "Wave those flags out in the air as long as it takes place over there."
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