"So... wait... tell me this again... you DIED?"
"Yep, pretty much," Faith replied with a nod before she stole more fries off of Cordelia's plate while her girlfriend watched with fond amusement. "I mean, that's what they tell me. I wasn't with it, y'know? Sorta dead."
Xander was now shrieking and waving his hands around and all in all, it made for a pretty strange sight for most everyone in the Bronze who had long since given up trying to be subtle with their stares at the group.
"Calm down," said Faith easily, still stealing fries from Cordelia who was now playing with Faith's hair by winding it around her index finger and tucking it behind the Slayer's ear. "It's not that big a deal. I'm here, right?"
"But DEAD!!" Xander emphasized wildly.
He stared at Faith and Cordelia, who looked quite calm before he gave a frustrated scream then stalked away from their usual booth and into the crowd.
A moment of silence passed then a puzzled Faith looked at Cordelia and said, "What's with, X?"
Cordelia merely shrugged and continued to play with Faith's hair as the Slayer pondered her friend's mood. She just hoped that when Amy showed up she could calm him down. Maybe it was a good thing that Xander wasn't around for their big battle against the Master.
Of course, they still had to tell him about Zac and Brendan. Considering how he took her 'death' Faith was wondering how well he'd take their undead status.
Speaking of which, Faith looked around for the pair and found them hovering next to the stage having a quiet talk with Willow before she went on. Smiling as she saw her friend laugh at whatever Zac said while the blonde man leaned slightly against an also smiling Brendan, Faith found herself wondering just what was going on there.
Turning to regard her girlfriend, Faith blinked and said, "What do you mean by that, sweets?"
"I know what you're thinking," Cordelia said with a smile as she tapped Faith's nose. "And whatever the deal is with those three, it's none of our business."
"Yeah, but... c'mon, aren't you curious?" Faith pursued, turning back to regard the three friends. Brendan was adjusting Willow's top while the redhead blushed lightly and Zac focused a fond smile at them both. "They're just as tight as us, the three of them. And Zac and Brendan are always touchy feely with each other and her plus--"
"None of our business," Cordelia repeated teasingly before she leaned over to kiss Faith lightly. "And don't you have better things to think about than them?"
Turning to regard Cordelia, the Slayer formed a slow smile then drawled, "Of course. Prom is tomorrow."
Immediately Cordelia's eyes lit up and Faith braced herself for an too familiar routine.
"Is it black?"
"Is it silk?"
"Is it sheer?"
"Is it designer?"
"Is it sexy?"
Smiling at the response to the last question, Cordelia wound her fingers up and under Faith's shirt to touch her abdomen muscles as she said, "I can't wait to see your dress. I know you'll look fantastic in it."
"Of course," Faith smirked. "I picked out the dress that I know you'd most like to see me in."
"Aren't you curious about my dress?" asked Cordelia while she gave a facetious pout that Faith still found incredibly cute.
"Nah," murmured Faith, leaning in to kiss Cordelia's neck as she breathed into her ear. "Because I know no matter what you wear, you're always beautiful." She then paused to add humorously, "Plus you'd never tell me even if I bugged you about it nonstop. Am I right?"
"Fair is fair," said Cordelia as she pulled Faith closer to her as the Slayer slung her legs over the taller girl's lap so they sat in a comfortably snug position.
Faith chuckled at this and was about to reply when someone else beat her to it. To talking, that is.
"Two questions. First: why is Xander repeating 'Faith dead' over and over? Second: how can you be dead?"
"Hey, Amy girl," said Faith with a smile as she gazed up at the blonde witch hovering over them who wore a mixed expression of confusion and frustration. "Well, to start off I think that he's saying that I'm dead because of what we just told him."
"And what did you just tell him? asked Amy.
"We told him that Faith died," replied Cordelia.
"Well, we sorta had to," Faith intervened, meeting her girlfriend's eyes. "I mean, we were gonna tell you both when you were together but he just kept on bugging us for being..." The Slayer paused and formed a thoughtful expression. "What did he call it, sweets?"
"Extra super duper mushy," Cordelia supplied.
"Yeah," said Faith as she scowled. "That's it."
"Even if we're being extra super duper mushy, we earned it," continued Cordelia, now taking on Faith's huffy attitude as she recalled Xander's interrogation. "Excuse me, but I saw my girlfriend and the love of my life die. A girl tends to be a tad huggy attached after that, you know?"
"Totally," Faith enforced with a nod.
There was a long pause of silence while Amy stared at the couple with a blank expression on her pretty features as she tried to process everything they said. After a moment, she finally came back to herself, blinked, and said dimly, "What?"
"I died," Faith repeated. "Fighting the Master Vampire guy a few weeks ago. But I'm okay now."
"Obviously," Cordelia said as she gave Faith's stomach a light caress. Moving her hand upwards, she gently stroked the Slayer's cheek and murmured, "And remember your promise never to do that again."
"No worries, sweets," said Faith lowly, moving to clasp Cordelia's hand in her own and kiss its palm. "Doing the whole 'dying' thing isn't high on my list of priorities."
"Wait, wait, wait, wait," Amy repeated emphatically as she waved her hands around, reminding both Faith and Cordelia of Xander as she did so. "What do you mean you died? And how did you die?"
"I was fighting the Master Vampire," Faith informed, turning back to face Amy. "And he killed me. But," she looked back to Cordelia and kissed the other girl's lips lightly. "My girl brought me back no prob."
Blinking again, Amy said slowly, "Okay... I think I'm beginning to understand. I guess I'll go try to explain it to Xander and try to calm him down some more."
Amy started to walk away only to stop when her name was called out. When she turned around, Faith said to her, "There's just one more tiny thing, Amy girl..."
"What?" asked Amy warily.
"Y'know Will's two friends?" Faith nodded over towards Zac and Brendan who were still chatting with the redhead over by the stage. "The two dark hunky guys?"
"Yeah..." Amy said slowly. "I know them."
"They're vampires," Faith supplied.
"Good ones," Cordelia added immediately.
"Yeah," said Faith with a nod. "With souls."
"They helped us beat the Master," finished Cordelia. "They're really very nice for undead people."
For a response, Amy merely blinked again before she turned to make her way over to Xander in a daze.
Turning back to her girlfriend, Faith gave an almost wicked smile then said, "That was mean of us."
"Definitely," agreed Cordelia with a chuckle. "But it was also very funny. Besides, why should they get to be the ones playing jokes and making quips all the time?"
"Hmm, good point," Faith murmured in husky tones, leaning forward to place a soft kiss on Cordelia's neck as she breathed in the scent of vanilla. "We should take advantage of any chance to tease those two."
"Right," said Cordelia, moving her hands up to clasp Faith's face tenderly. "But I'd much rather be taking advantage of some other more important things."
"Oh yeah?" drawled Faith. "Like what?"
"You," Cordelia replied sensuously before lips met lips in a passionate kiss that affirmed the love they felt.
And although she didn't say it, Cordelia knew without a shadow of a doubt that Faith agreed with her.
And agreed with her one hundred percent.
And who can really blame her?
Zac and Brendan weren't happy vampires.
Then again, were there truly any happy vampires? If there were, one would suppose these two would usually fit the bill due to the joy they found in one another.
But right now, they weren't happy.
"You haven't told her yet, have you?" asked Brendan quietly, his eyes locked on Willow who was starting the third song in her set onstage.
"No," replied Zac as he frowned. "I'm... not sure how. No... I do know how. I just don't want to tell her."
"You don't want to say goodbye," Brendan murmured, saying what Zac wouldn't dare to say.
"No," Zac repeated with a sigh. "I don't. But we can't stay here. We have to move on, look for more kin who might need our help. Our guidance. Then, perhaps by the time we have them all gathered she will know how to help our brethren who haven't been blessed with souls."
"It will take time," said Brendan softly, turning to look into Zac's storm blue eyes. "She only recalls bits of her past life. Of the life that she once shared with you. If she recalled more, the process would go quicker and--"
"We could be together again?" finished Zac sadly. Shaking his head, he murmured, "No, Brendan. That was then and this is now." He paused to blink then asked, "Isn't that the name of a Judy Bloom book?"
"I'm not sure, Anointed," said Brendan wryly. "I myself tend to stick to the classics. Homer and the like."
"Literary snob," said Zac teasingly. His smile fading, he continued quietly, "Nevertheless, our past is past. It would be wrong to force her to become what she once was for our own reasons. That would make us as bad as the Master," Zac hissed the final words out. "She has made her decision and we will abide by it. Even if it causes the process of peace to be slowed down. It's worth it."
"Yes," Brendan gave a low nod. "I agree."
Blinking at this reply, Zac turned to Brendan with his eyes wide and asked in surprise, "Then why...?"
"Did I ask you?" Brendan said with a slight smile which widened a bit when Zac nodded. "Because, my dear Zac, I wanted to know how you felt about the situation."
"Sneaky little..." Zac muttered as he scowled.
"Now, now," murmured Brendan, smiling still as he leaned over to lightly caress the back of Zac's neck. "It isn't like you don't do some sneaking of your own."
Mulling over this, Zac finally looked to Brendan with wide puppy dog eyes then said, "You'll tell her then?"
"Anointed..." began Brendan slowly. "I don't--"
"Please?" Zac's eyes got even wider now.
"Shouldn't you be the one--" Brendan attempted.
"Pretty please?" Zac touched his chest lightly.
"This really isn't my realm--" Brendan tried again.
"With sugar on top?" Zac held his waist gently.
"Oh, fine," Brendan groaned, rolling his eyes.
"Yay me," Zac murmured, leaning forward to kiss Brendan's lips lightly before pulling away. "I win."
Brendan merely grumbled and did his best to hide the smile he felt spreading across his features.
He didn't do a very good job of hiding it.
Not that he or Zac really minded.
Inspecting herself in a full length mirror, Faith couldn't help but smile. The green dress she wore was sleek and fit perfectly on her trim frame, accenting every curve, and the long sleeves that covered her hands and attached through the hook over her index finger made her look and feel like... well, like a princess.
But one thing bothered Faith.
"G-man?" she asked, looking at his reflection as Giles hovered behind her, placing some more pins in her hair as several more stuck out of his mouth. "Do I even wanna know how the heck you can do hair this fancy?"
"No, you don't," Giles replied in muffled tones. "And promise me to never bring this instance up again."
"I promise," Faith said solemnly. A few seconds later she formed a mischievous smile then added, "Only if you promise to do my hair for the next dance too."
Groaning at this, Giles muttered, "My work is never done is it?" Placing the final pin in Faith's hair, he stood back to admire his work as Faith turned to face him while wearing a shy smile on her features. "Lovely," Giles murmured after a moment. "You look simply lovely."
"Thanks, G-man," said Faith softly, trying not to blush and failing horribly at the attempt.
"But don't forget," Giles moved away from Faith and seconds later produced a single red rose. "To give this to your intended. We did spend some time picking it out. Far too much time, if you ask me."
"Yeah, well, I didn't," Faith teased, sticking her tongue out at Giles who pretended to be offended at the act. Turning serious, she gazed at the rose she held and said, "I just wanted to get Cordelia the perfect one, you know? Not one that's wilted or covered with thorns..."
"I understand," said Giles softly, his eyes warm. "And I'm sure that she'll appreciate your efforts."
"She better," said Faith, brown eyes twinkling.
Just then, a knock sounded and their eyes met. Forming a small smile, Giles murmured, "Cordelia has a most impeccable sense of timing, doesn't she?"
"Hey, she's my girl, she's gotta," replied Faith with a wide smirk as she followed after him.
"Wait," Giles paused in his walk and Faith almost bumped into him as he did so. Turning to look at her, he said, "You should answer the door. To give her the rose. I have something I need to take care of anyway."
With that, Giles hurried away and Faith stared after him as she called out, "You gotta take care of what?!"
When he didn't reply, Faith merely shrugged and went to answer the door but not before hiding the red rose behind her back. So with a smile, she opened the door only to be met with a sight that almost made her jaw drop.
Faith thought she had a nice dress.
Faith thought she had a sexy dress.
Faith thought she had a prom dress.
But Cordelia... well, she had all that and more.
The dress she wore was sleek, just like Faith's, reaching the ground. It was a blackish purple as it tended to shift from color to color depending on the light and the long slit it had on the right side displayed Cordelia's long and perfect legs in tasteful abundance. The neck was swooping, to give just a hint of cleavage, and the spaghetti straps fell gently on Cordelia's shoulders like a waterfall.
For several seconds Faith swore that her heart had stopped beating and she'd died for the second time.
But then she caught her breath and moved backwards to allow her girlfriend into the apartment. Once Cordelia shut the door, Faith finally managed to regain her wits and pulling the red rose from behind her back, she offered it to her girlfriend who formed a surprised and pleased smile upon seeing it.
"You look amazing," Faith whispered in husky tones as she gently held the rose in front of Cordelia. "Like a dream that I'd never want to wake up from."
"So do you," Cordelia replied, reaching out to take the rose and then carefully placing it on a nearby table. She then reached out to stroke Faith's cheek. "You're beautiful, just like you've always been. See?" she softly teased. "It's fun to play dress up once and awhile, isn't it?"
"Yeah," said Faith with a chuckle. "It's fun."
The two girls smiled softly at one another and moved in for a kiss... but were interrupted by a blinding flash.
"Ha! I got a good one!" Giles cried triumphantly, holding the camera in his grip like it was a mighty weapon.
"G-MAN!" roared Faith indignantly, fighting the urge to put her hands on her hips. "I told you that I hate having my picture taken! Why the hell did you do that?!"
"It's my right," Giles sniffed, readying the camera for another shot. "As your Watcher. Now say biscuits."
"It's cheese, and no!" Faith said irritably.
"Too late," said Giles smugly, taking the picture.
Wincing as the flash of the camera semi-blinded her, Faith scowled and held her hands over her face. "This is some sorta training torture, isn't it?" she demanded.
"No, this is me wanting pictures of you when you're not wearing leather for once," replied Giles smartly.
"And what's wrong with my leather?"
"It's far too tight, I've told you that."
"Yeah, well, I like it tight. So does Cordelia."
"I've never heard her say that."
"Well, she does like it. Don't you, sweets?"
Immediately two pairs of eyes fixed on Cordelia who stared at them with a blank expression.
Seconds later, the expression shifted to one of humor as she burst out laughing at their antics.
Staring at her girlfriend, Faith said lowly, "I don't think this a staunch show of support for my leather pants."
Giles responded by taking another picture.
Needless to say, it took Faith and Cordelia awhile to get to the prom. And Giles as well, since he was one of the school chaperones for the dance.
But at least they had fun in the meantime.
At least, they think that they had fun.
Who can really tell?
What was better? Having a date to the prom or playing at the prom? Willow really didn't know.
She supposed playing at the prom was almost as good. And she did have her friends here. Along with Zac and Brendan, who were currently helping her set up all of her equipment onstage before the students all arrived.
Of course, the two vampires were acting strange.
Stranger than usual because as vampires they always tended to act a bit strange. Being undead and living on the blood of other creatures probably does that to you.
She didn't bother to ponder it too much. As it was, she had far too much information in her head thanks to the slight return of her powers of old.
Running her fingers over the piano keys, she looked back at the band that was setting up and wondered how it would work out with them. Zac thought it would be a nice chance for her to expand her act, playing at the prom, and use it as an opportunity to see if she liked singing in front of a band instead of playing the piano with all of her songs.
To be honest, she found it a bit nerve racking and exciting all at the same time. When she played the piano it still felt like a part of her was hidden. Like the piano was there to protect her as she exposed her inner thoughts to the world through her songs. But standing in front of band and singing, there was no where to hide. She was in the front, up there for everyone to see and examine.
Willow wondered if they'd like what they'd see.
She hoped that they would. For her sake, at least.
Lifting her head, she gazed up at Brendan and smiled at the dark haired vampire. His curly hair had fell into his eyes and his distinguished features looked anxious.
It made him look extremely cute, in her opinion.
"Yeah?" she asked, still smiling at him.
"After tonight... we'll be leaving," Brendan said quietly, his voice echoing with sadness. "We must go to look for other kin like us. Those who retain their souls. In hopes of discovering why some of us still possess a measure of light inside. But we--"
"Promise to return," finished Zac firmly.
They both turned to look up at the blonde vampire who gaze them a soft and tender gaze.
Giving a sigh, Willow pushed back some stray strands of hair, recently cut shorter to give her an almost edgy and sexy look, and said, "I knew that you'd have to go eventually. I mean, there's only so many nice vampires you can find in one area, right? You have a lot of ground to cover before you end up finding them all."
They both nodded quietly at this statement.
"It's okay," Willow formed an easy smile as she rose to her feet. "You're coming back, right?" When they didn't instantly reply she shook her fist at them in a mock threatening movement and repeated strongly, "Right?!"
"Right, right!" Zac and Brendan nodded quickly.
"That's what I like to hear," said Willow with a grin, putting an arm around both of their waists. "Now quit being slackers and finish helping me set up already."
"Yes, ma'am," they both replied, instantly getting to work before they risked incurring Willow's wrath.
And while it had yet to be seen, Willow's wrath was rumored to be even worse than Cordelia's.
Yep, it's a pretty scary thing.
"Harris, Xander Harris. I'm shaken not stirred."
The girl collecting the prom tickets merely blinked at Xander's attempt at a joke. Amy however, smiled fondly and that was a good enough response for him.
She honestly couldn't blame him. How often did he really wear a tuxedo anyway? James Bond jokes were just a natural thing for a guy like him while wearing one.
Gazing at the orchid he'd given her, Amy couldn't help but smile. It went perfectly with her dress. She didn't know how he'd known they would be a perfect match and when she asked him about it he'd simply smiled sneakily and said that secret agents like him had their ways.
"So," Amy said as she hooked her arm in his and leaned against him slightly. "How exactly are we going to get our revenge on them for scaring us with their death and vamp jokes?"
"Simply this," Xander said with a smirk, pulling something out of his jacket pocket for Amy to see.
Blinking at the object, Amy looked up at Xander with a perplexed expression then said, "That? You sure?"
"Yep," said Xander, his smile getting wicked. "I was told by very informed sources that Faith hates this thing."
"If you say so," murmured Amy, still staring at it.
And as Xander tucked it back into his jacket pocket, Amy couldn't help but wonder why Faith would have such a big problem with cameras.
"You dance divinely, my dear."
"Why thank you, my snookiewookums."
Raising an eyebrow, Faith repeated, "Snookiewookums? C'mon now, is that British?"
"I don't know, ask Giles," replied Cordelia teasingly as she wore a charming smile.
The two were in the middle of their eighth dance, the current one being a slow dance, totally unaware of any stares that they were getting as they were lost in each other.
In each other and their jokes.
To be perfectly honest, Cordelia had snuck some wine from her house and into her Range Rover. Only to be consumed once they'd reached the prom, of course. And it now had started to take some effect. Making them both a tad tipsy in the happiest of ways but nothing more.
"Lets do something fancy," Cordelia said suddenly, pulling away from Faith to place her hand high in the air.
Understanding what her girlfriend was up to, Faith smirked then performed a quick twirl before being strongly pulled back into Cordelia's arms and against her body.
Chest pressed against the taller girl's, Faith smiled slowly then drawled, "Was it good for you?"
"Oh yeah," Cordelia mimicked her drawl. "Very."
And as Willow's song ended, their lips met in a passionate kiss and the world seemed absolutely perfect.
Perfect until Xander took a picture of them, that is.
But that's a story for another time.
Elsewhere in California another Slayer wasn't having nearly as much fun.
Some might say she wasn't having fun at all.
She'd lost her friends, her status in life, and even her newfound Watcher. Someone she'd grown to trust.
It was all gone.
And now her parents were divorcing. Partially because of the troubles she'd gotten into recently.
This was all because of her being a Slayer. She was sure of it. She'd never had problems like this before.
Worst of all, she was moving. Being uprooted from all that she'd ever known.
Uprooted and taken to some stupid hick town.
What was it's name again? Oh yeah, Sunnydale. What sort of name was that anyway? A stupid one, that's what.
In that instant, Buffy Summers made up her mind right then and there about two things.
One: she never wanted to slay again.
Two: she was going to hate Sunnydale.
And no matter what anyone told her, she knew both of these things to be the absolute truth.
The trouble is, she didn't know how wrong she truly was. Because things weren't like she thought they were in Sunnydale. No, they weren't like that at all.
For the time being, anyway.
(Okay, yeesh. Sorry, I had to wrap some of the minor details up. Chapter Eleven starts Season Two of It Starts With Faith, with the summer having past for the gang.)