The Vulnerability of Faith


by Demona


**********

Cordelia, Wes, and Gunn were completely shocked because they no clue that I was going to betray them like that and then side with Darla and Dru. Fortunately for all of us I didn't run into any of them while I was still evil with Dru and Darla. I'm not sure to this day what the outcome would have been because once I got in tight with the vampiresses I was completely one of them. I was evil and I'm not sure if I would have been able to differentiate between them as my friends or them as my enemies. Cordelia, Wes, and Gunn still attended to the visions that Cordelia was sent by the PTB but they didn't really try to cross Darla, Dru, and me. Angel was out there lurking, I could feel him within the city still, but he didn't try to come after the three of us either, nor did he team back up with Angel Investigations.

It was three months after I had been with Darla and Drusilla that the attack came. Over those three months I had bonded with those two and we had become known as the "Terrible Trio" among the demon community because we showed no mercy to anyone or anything that got in our way. These were my two sisters and I wasn't sure that I really wanted to follow through with my original plan of killing them now that I had been with them for this long. I was even pretty sure that killing Angel would be something that I could do and/or would allow Darla and Dru to do at this point as well. And then things changed because the attack came. The time came and I had to choose because Angel surprised us all and made his move.

Darla, Dru, and I were all chilling in our apartment. Darla and Dru were about to head off to bed for the day and I was going to head out to the store to do the grocery shopping for myself. I was in the process of searching the apartment for my favorite tank top to wear out. I had no clue where it was because I didn't do the laundry, we had a maid for that.

"Darla have you seen that black tank top with the silver stitching?" I called out as I went through the hanging laundry in the laundry room.

"Damn it Faith can't you keep your clothes in order? Miranda is not in charge of separating clothes for us. You have to take care of finding and sorting your own clothes. How many times to I have to tell you?" Darla yelled out to me from her bedroom.

"My princess, don't fret. I know where it is, but you won't be happy with it," Dru called to me and I walked out to where she was standing in the kitchen. She was wearing a plain white summer dress with a container of blood in her hand and blood all over her lips and chin.

"Where is it Dru?" I asked her, impatient and antsy at the present moment for some unknown reason.

"I hid it because you hid Miss Edith. When you return Miss Edith then your tank top will turn up too," Dru said to me and I glared at her.

"I'm tired of your shit Drusilla. I didn't hide your fucking doll. Now give me back my tank top," I told her and she shook her hand at me and tsked.

"You took Miss Edith. The other children (dolls) don't lie to me Faith. Give her back or else," she hissed at me suddenly angry.

"Whatever Dru, I'm not afraid of your threats," I told her and walked out of the kitchen. She followed me as I walked into the living room. I started pulling up the couch cushions, looking for my top. I was still wandering around in a pair of short jean shorts and my bra and that was it.

"Why are you lying to me Faith? The other children say that the souled one took it," Dru yelled at me causing Darla to come out of the bedroom in her nightgown.

"Did it ever occur to you Drusilla that I'm not the only fucking thing running around LA with a fucking soul?" I yelled back at her and threw a cushion in her general direction.

"I think that you should have read into your dolls more Dru, it would have forewarned you about this," a male voice that I never expected to hear ever again said to Dru. It was all in slow motion as Dru, Darla, and I spun around to face the voice.

There he was. I had been waiting what seemed an eternity to see him once again. He stood there in his long black trench coat, black leather pants, a tight black shirt, and his hair spiky and crazy-like, looking completely hot as hell, and *he* was holding Miss Edith in his hand.

"Angel?" all three of us asked at the same time. It was true that the three of us were all obsessed with Angel. That was probably the thing that we most had in common and that which brought us all together.

"It is time," Angel said and snapped off Miss Edith's head and threw both pieces at Drusilla. Dru dropped the container of blood to catch the parts of Miss Edith. The container hit the hardwood floor and splashed up all over her white dress and it hit me all over my legs as well. She screamed in agony as she caught the different broken pieces of Miss Edith. Darla was in shock and didn't say anything at first.

"You think you are tough shit don't you? You do realize that you are walking into a situation with three of your enemies, don't you? You won't be walking out of this one at all Angel," Darla finally managed to get out. The look on his face and the lack of emotion in his voice were what did me in and made me switch alliances right then.

"Not a problem. I don't expect for any of us to walk out of here at all. This is where it all ends Darla. We all are going down tonight," he threatened her. She laughed at him.

"You think you can take on me, Drusilla, and Faith?" Darla asked him and he actually smirked.

"I don't need to worry about three on one. I think the odds are in my favor. It is a two on two fight isn't it Faith?" Angel asked and my eyes immediately locked onto him. He knew. He knew the whole time that this was all a sham. Darla looked up at me completely in shock.

"I don't know about that Angel. Perhaps three months ago I might have stood by you but I don't think that I will now. You deserted me in jail; you left me there to deal by myself. That wasn't supposed to happen because you promised to always be there for me and to always help me. You lied to me Angel and I'm not too happy about that at all. You are on your own on this one buddy," I told him and his eyes twinkled with something that I had never seen before.

He rushed me and I moved out of the way, as he expected that I would do, and since he was expecting that he grabbed me and threw me in the general direction of Darla. I made up my mind the minute that he touched me that I was his forever and I would do anything to help him. Darla opened her mouth to say something and I landed a solid punch in her jaw. The force of my punch sent her reeling backwards and into the doorway. She looked up at me with anger and venom in her eyes. I knew that I had just sentenced myself to a painful death, but I wasn't going to go out without a fight. Darla and I threw blow after blow and landed punch after punch on each other. Although I was supposed to be the vampire slayer and the stronger one out of the two of us she knew a little more about survival and she was starting to beat me. I didn't get a chance to steal a glance at the fight between Drusilla and Angel, but I knew that it was rough because I heard all the sounds of breaking glass and furniture around me. Darla finally got in a brutal kick to my ribs and I felt them bend and then finally crack and break. I felt one puncture something inside of me as I doubled over in pain. She was grinning knowing that she had beaten me. I wasn't going to die without taking her out with me though. I looked up and realized the only way that I was going to stand a chance at surviving this fight was the window and the sunlight that I knew was outside. I grabbed ahold of Darla and threw us both, with all the strength and energy I had left in me, through the window and out of the building. On the way out of the building she latched onto my neck, ripping it open as we fell. It took about two seconds for her body to catch fire and then it started to burn me all over as she disintegrated. She turned to ash about a second before I hit the sidewalk five stories below. I felt more bones break and pain lance through my body. Before I let the pain overtake me I uttered one word "Angel" and then the darkness consumed me.

**********

During my yearlong coma I had a lot of things I had to work out before I could come back and face anyone, but especially Cordelia. I had to make sure I wouldn't be homicidal when we met again. I didn't want to have any desire to still kill humans when I woke up. It was the mental battle within myself that kept me comatose for that long. The injuries would have only lasted a month but the inner war was too much for me to deal with while conscious. It took me a year to come to terms with myself, to tell myself that I did overall good. I had to tell myself that to get by. I knew I had done complete evil by killing people to finally kill Darla and Drusilla. But once I had gotten into their group I had lost a lot of my control; evil was always too powerful for me without Angel. He was my link to stay good and to strive to find the good inside me and other people.

In LA, 2001, Oz returned to assist Cordy, Wes, and Gunn. Angel had evidently disappeared from LA totally. Lindsay went and had himself an epiphany of his own and had decided to help with Angel Investigations three months before my coma ended. I had the shock of my lifetime, I think, seeing him and Oz together when I woke up. Cordy still got her visions and all five of them would fight evil together. Cordy and Gunn finally got together about three months into my coma. They were very happy together too. Wes dated several people but never made a real connection throughout the year that I was out of commission.

**********

In Sunnydale, 2001, Buffy starts to secretly date Spike after their confrontation when Buffy wants to know how Spike killed the other two slayers. She is stunned by his honestly and his love her for and she decides that she has nothing to lose when dating him. So they start dating after Riley leaves and finally come out to the Scooby Gang after a year of secretly dating. They realize over the course of their secret dating that they are really good for each other. After Spike and Buffy announce they are dating Spike is semi-accepted into the Scooby Gang after he does several things to prove his worth and trust. Willow and Tara figured a way to magically deactivate Spike's chip. He still continued to fight evil alongside of Buffy, protecting her. He usually feeds from her and now he could defend himself against humans. Giles met a witch, Cassandra an Immortal, drawn to the Hellmouth. They started seeing each other after she came into the Magic Box to get a few ingredients for her spells. They are a happy couple and are very content with each other even though Giles knows that she is Immortal. Xander and Anya got engaged in January of 2002. Although they are engaged they haven't planned out their marriage yet.

**********

LA
November 23, 2002

I awoke with a start. I couldn't move my body. My eyes adjusted to the dim lighting and I tried to speak but found it difficult. I finally got out a single word.

"Angel?" I asked, my voice foreign and scratchy to my own ears. I called against a little louder. The young black man, Gunn I remembered, came into the room. He came over to the bed and poured me a glass of water. He let me drink a little and then looked down at me. I could see the pity evident in his eyes, but uncertainty lay there as well. He didn't trust me. I had to explain my plan, the reason I betrayed them, and I had to explain it all right then.

"So how do you feel?" He asked me as he sat down in the chair next to my bed, leaning forward to brush a strand of hair from my face.

"Like I got hit with a truck. Tell me…. tell me why I can't move my body," I quickly got out as tears clouded my vision.

"When you took that dive out of the window combined with all the injuries you sustained before that…well … your back broke Faith. You had several injuries all over your body. The doctors aren't very optimistic. But…um…we have a therapist for you. The best that money, from an anonymous source, can buy."

"Angel?"

"He disappeared about…well over a year ago. Cordelia got a vision of you in danger with Darla. She knew it all. The deception was just that – a lie. You helped Angel; you helped save him Faith!" Gunn explained to me.

"I know what I did. A year? I have been in a coma for another fucking year?" I snapped in general not really at Gunn.

"Yeah Faith," Gunn replied softly

"But Angel? Where's Angel?" I asked him and he wouldn't make eye contact with me.

"We aren't even sure that he is alive Faith. When we got to the apartment that night we saw the damage you all created and there were two piles of dust on the floor. But Cordy didn't get a vision of Angel's death."

"So he is dead? I risked everything including my life to save his and he is dead!?!" I yelled and tried to sit up which my body didn't respond to at all. "He's dead?" I whisper this time; tears rolling continuously down my face. I couldn't believe that Angel was dead.

"We aren't sure if he is dead. We figure that if the PTB's champion was going to die then we would be let in on it. Cordy hasn't gotten a vision about his death yet," Gunn attempted to assure me and failed miserably. He left me alone after he gave me another sip of water and I was left to think and worry about Angel all by myself.

**********

Over the next eight months I underwent intensive and extensive physical therapy to get me back on my feet. Wes, Gunn, Oz, Lindsay and Kate went on patrols nightly and sometimes daily to help keep the citizens of LA safe. Cordelia had the visions and ran what remained of Angel Investigations. She also stayed with me pretty much 24/7 now that I was awake and moving, taking me to the office with her so that I wasn't alone in the apartment with Phantom Dennis as my only company. I had been residing in her apartment with Phantom Dennis for the year that I had been in the coma. He watched over me while she was at work. After 8 months I was able to move freely – I wasn't quite up to par but I was human and moving.

It took a long time to get back to somewhat of a normal friendship with Cordelia. It took even longer for her to fully trust me again. My relationship with Gunn and Wes got back to its normal level a few months after I woke up. However, Cordelia was upset that I couldn't let her know what I was doing even though at the back of her mind she understood why I couldn't let her know.

**********

In September of 2003, 10 months after I awoke from my coma, Cordelia got a vision of a man getting a phone call from Angel. Gunn, Cordelia and B flew with me to a town in Washington where the mystery man was located. From what Cordy made of the vision he was a professor at the college. Wes, Oz, and Lindsay stayed in LA for Angel Investigations and Spike watched over the Hellmouth with the Scooby gang. We rented a car and drove to the college and around until we found a parking spot. We walked, with Cordy leading, to the man's classroom. It was September and decent weather. I was wearing leather pants, a tank top, and a dark denim jacket. Cordy was in a short skirt and matching cute top, B was dressed in jean shorts and a tee shirt and Gunn wore jeans and a tee shirt. We walked as a pack, people staring at us as we crossed the campus, moving out of our way as we neared them. We entered the building where he was and I entered the classroom. Cordy nodded in recognition of him.

"Can I help you?" He asked us. I grabbed him by the throat and pinned him to the chalkboard.

"Yeah, you can. Where is he?" I asked angrily.

"I have no clue…" he started but I slammed him against the board again.

"No games! I know you know whom we are talking about," I hissed at him.

"I don't know Faith. Even if I did I wouldn't tell you at all," he answered and gasped for air. I let him go after he said *my* name. "Yes, I know you too. He sent me your name, what you are, how you -- like the others -- betrayed him. How you, of all people, he felt he knew – knew his darkness and knew his light. You deceived him well Faith."

"How…?"

"He's alive – er rather undead but around nevertheless. Dru didn't manage to kill him. He called 911 and got you help because he couldn't go out into the day after you took that suicide dive with Darla out the window. Then he called me – told me the deal was off." He explained to me.

"What deal?" I asked him. I never saw him move but I felt the blackboard slam roughly into my back as he grabbed ahold of my throat and threw me against it.

"The deal was to kill you Faith. He asked me to kill you because even though you had betrayed him, killed the innocent, and created chaos in LA for him and his ex-crew and yet he still couldn't kill you. He attacked you, Dru & Darla and was prepared to die that day. But for some reason he couldn't kill you. He didn't mind staking Dru, his childe, or Darla, his sire, but you Faith -- you he couldn't kill!" He yelled at me. I stood there in shock.

Then a flashback hit me:
**Angel as he dodges another hit: "I'm not gonna make it easy for you." I throw myself against Angel screaming: "I'm evil! I'm bad! I'm evil! Do you hear me? I'm bad! Angel, I'm bad! (I begin to sob, grabbing a hold of Angel's shirt and shaking him.) I'm ba-ad. Do you hear me? I'm bad! I'm bad! I'm bad. Please. Angel, please, just do it." Wesley comes running out of the house. Me sobbing: "Angel please, just do it. Just do it. Just kill me. Just kill me." Angel wraps his arms around my shoulders and pulls me against him. I over balance us and we sink to our knees, Angel still holding me as I cry. Angel: "Shh. It's all right. It's okay. I'm here. I'm right here. Shh."**
End Flashback.
"It was my mission to come to LA that day of the fight and if I didn't get a call from him then I was to kill you. I was on my way to find you – to kill you – when he called and told me that my mission was now to watch over you. He told me at which hospital you were at and to call a number and to explain to them that "Faith needed their help" and everything else he had told me about the fight. I made sure you lived Faith – your bills were paid – etc. So don't come here and threaten me little girl. I gave you life – I can end it too!" He yelled in my face. I lashed out with my right leg while B rushed him. I landed a solid kick causing him to release me while B shoved him away. He fell to the floor and laughed at us, a gut-wrenching full belly laugh. B, Cordy, Gunn, stood ready for battle in front of my while I crouched on the floor gasping for air.

"Calm down children. I will not harm you, any of you." He rose to his feet gracefully and fluidly causing us all to tense. He adverted his attention from us back to his class, which was still sitting there.

"Class dismissed. You are all free to leave. I expect you to continue reading. I'll see you on Wednesday." The class all looked reluctant to leave. "I'll be fine go please," he dismissed class. They filed out warily and slowly. I rose to my feet once I had my breathing somewhat back to normal. He had cut off my air supply totally, almost killing me.

"Lets take this to my office. Shall we?" He asked us as he packed his bag.

"That we shall. Lead the way," I spoke steadily. B was very edgy around him. As we walked to his office behind him she whispered to me.

"He is sending my spider sense way over the edges here Faith. I think he is going to drive me insane," B honestly told me. I smiled at her gently and then that smile changed into an evil smirk.

"He is more powerful than you or I. He could have taken us all, if he had so desired. I feel him calling to me. His darkness is very deep – it is buried deeply – held and caged securely for now. He has so much darkness in him I could get lost and never find myself again," I honestly told her in response. She looked over at me very worried. "Calm down B. I'm not going to go all Darth Vader on you. I have accepted and so far conquered my beast. I know I have evil in me B – I know I can be evil – but why would I throw that all away – why go back to evil and killing when I am completely happy saving people's lives and stopping evil from taking over this planet that I do love so much?" I asked her. "Oh come on B. I'm good. I might not look it or act like it all the time but I'm one of the good guys now. I'm batting for the winning team," I told her.

"That's what I'm afraid of Faith. What if you realize evil is gonna win? You gonna jump sides and join their 'winning team'?" She asked me angrily as she stepped in front of me effectively halting us both.

"Not likely. Keep it up B though and I just might – just so you can say 'I told you so' to all your little Scoobies. I'm the fuck up Slayer B – you are the perfect one. I know my role – now you make sure to stay in yours," I snapped back at her and angrily brushed past her. She grabbed my arm on the way by spinning me back around to face her.

"No! Faith. Look – I am trying. It is so hard for me. I gave you every chance – every chance! You destroyed every ounce of trust I had in you. Then you turned yourself into the police for all your crimes and I thought perhaps you would get help. But no, you then con Cordy into getting you out and then turn on her. You killed innocent people again Faith – you almost lost yourself in that darkness and evil yet again. I know that you did all this to get revenge on W&H and Darla and Dru and I know that you actually did kill Darla and almost yourself in the process. But you betrayed everyone's trust again. It isn't that easy for me. I thought I was going to have to come to LA to put an end to you for good Faith. I didn't want to have to waste my time fixing your mistakes again!" Buffy yelled in my face. I opened my mouth to speak and then quickly snapped it shut. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. By the time I opened my eyes and was ready to speak Cordelia had put herself between Buffy and me and gotten in B's face.

"Don't you fucking start this shit now! I thought that I had made it perfectly clear to you when you insisted on coming with us that you were never – under any circumstances to bring up her past and pass your judgment on her again. She isn't the same woman you knew Buffy! She is different. You don't know her anymore!" Cordelia yelled.

"She betrayed you and …" Buffy started but was cut off by Cordelia.

"And I trust her right now despite everything that she did, yes. I let her sleep in the next room over in my apartment without locking my door or having a weapon to use against her in easy reach. *I* know her now. I realize exactly what she did to herself to get in tight with Darla and Dru. Fucking ask her why she did what she and stop assuming you know why she did it! FUCKING ASK HER!" Cordelia continued to scream in the blond Slayer's face, not afraid in the least of what Buffy could do to her if she really felt like it. I saw her then take a deep breath and re-center herself. I had taken several steps backwards away from the scene. Buffy turned to face me.

"Why Faith?" Buffy asked me. I looked at Cordy and then to B and then back at a smiling and nodding Cordy.

"Angel," I softly answered. I knew it was the reason and so did everyone else but Buffy.

"What about him?" B asked me.

"I did it all for Angel. He is the PTB's champion. He is their warrior. I am nothing but a Slayer. My time will come and I will die and another will be called. Angel has to stay alive; he has to be there for the final battle. I don't have to. Why do you think I'm here B? To beat up a professor? To slip into his darkness? I came here without hesitation because he is my only link to Angel. I have spent the last 10 months trying to find Angel and the others have spent close to 2 years. This man is the link. The PTB want their champion back and I intend to find him and beat it into him that he is never to leave them…or me…ever again," I honestly told her.

"You want him! You really think Angel would be with you?" B spat at me.

"He left the country for a reason Buffy. Just like he left you for a reason, " the professor finally spoke again.

"Oh yeah what was it?" B snapped, daring him to continue with his train of thought.

"He fell in love with someone else. He left Sunnydale because he couldn't kill her – you could and you tried. He left LA because he couldn't kill her – Darla could and she tried. He fell head over heels in love with Faith the moment he saw her.
"Buffy – you are like fire to him – so beautiful to look at but no matter how hard you try to avoid it you always get burned. You are the truest Slayer in centuries maybe millennia even. You are a pure soul – holy – just – perfect – the Slayer. He touched you, he made love to you, and he couldn't handle the ramifications of that.
"Faith is his equal because she is one of light and darkness. She too constantly is fighting to head towards that light. Faith is his soul mate – the perfect person for him to be with. He could make love to her and not get burned – he could love her and not lose his soul – although it is permanently anchored to him courtesy of the PTB. He can be with her and be himself – he doesn't have to hide any of him because she knows his darkness, she knows it all.
"Don't take offense to that Faith. You know that you aren't the white knight. You aren't pure and that is the way that the fates wanted it. You weren't meant to be Buffy's shadow, you were meant to be Buffy's opposite.
"Buffy I know that you probably don't understand how Angel could love her. But he does. She is his light and he is hers. Without the other they are both miserable. I have been listening to that damned Irishman brood for the past few years about everything. He broods a hell of a lot more when Faith wasn't in his life in a positive way. He was so proud of you Faith when you killed Darla."

"How do you know Angel anyway? He never talked about any friends." Gunn interrupted his speech.

"I met him back in Galway in 1753. I think it was about 36 hours after he had been turned and he was hungry and looking for a meal to play with to impress Darla. He didn't realize that I was going to kick his ass until it was too late. So I whipped his ass – befriended him – traveled with him for a century or so and then disappeared shortly before he got his curse. We ran into each other about 75 years ago in Chicago. We didn't exactly hang out but we kept in touch. We wrote to each other, called when necessary. He just needed me in his life. See - I've gone through his pain. I've been on his side before. I'm sure it'll happen again."

"What do you mean been on his side? How in the hell did you meet him 247 years ago? You aren't a vampire!" Buffy argued with him, confusion and hostility evident in her voice.

"Neither is Anya and she made it 1000 years."

"She was a demon."

"True. I am not a demon in the literal sense. Some have called me that. It was easier for them to deem me a demon than human considering the things that I did. But I am getting way off topic here Buffy. I have done things that I am not proud of. I have done things that I will have nightmares about for centuries to come, but I am not going to be all broody like. I just deal with it. I helped him deal and he kept in touch. Look, you came here to find Angel and I think that we should continue this conversation in the privacy of my office so the students who are staring at us won't be here to hear things that they shouldn't," he suggested to us. I nodded in agreement. He turned and continued to his office. Cordy grabbed my hand, lacing her fingers with mine, and drug me along. Buffy trailed in the back of us and Gunn walked in front of us a little behind the professor. He led us into a tight little office and he took a seat at his desk and we just stood there rather awkwardly.

"What is your name?" I asked him suddenly breaking the silence. "Not your name that you go by here Dr. Pierson. But your real name?" I asked him.

"You can call me Adam. I don't tell just anyone my real name," he quipped and I frowned.

"All right. Lets cut the bullshit ok? We are here to find out where Angel is. You know and we want to know too," Buffy suggested to him.

"I don't think that you understood me the first few times that I explained to you that I have no clue where he is. He calls me. I don't ask and he doesn't volunteer information."

"How often does he call you Adam?" Cordelia asked as I sat down in the other chair.

"Once a week usually. He is due to call today actually, you picked a good day to harass me."

"Ok. So when you talk to him tell him that you would like to see him again. Tell him to come here to visit you at the college or your home around here. Then when he gets to your house we will confront him." I suggested quietly.

"I personally don't think that he will come."

"Why not?" I asked Adam in disbelief.

"Because I have never asked him to come and be with me before. He will probably think that something is up. He won't just buy into the whole fact that I want to see him. I think that you are going to have to think up another way to get ahold of him. He won't come," Adam tried to tell us.

**********

Three weeks – of living in a small Washington town with only two pairs of clothes per person – later, Angel finally arrived. Adam had called him and suggested that he come back to the States and stay with him for a while and Angel evidently thought that was a great idea. He showed up on Adam's doorstep about an hour after sundown. Adam opened the door and he came into the house. We heard Adam suggest that Angel go into the living room, where we were all sitting unknown to him. I was nervous yet again. I had seen this man once almost 3 years ago and he was going to be walking into the room I was sitting in, in a matter of seconds. When he did actually walk into the room he didn't seem surprised about the fact that we were all in there. I realized then that Adam had told him that we were here and he still came anyway. Buffy immediately rushed him to hug him. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head while looking at me. It was déjà vu all over again except this time there was no plot to kill B. He acknowledged Gunn with the nod of his head after Buffy stepped away from him. Cordy walked up to him and slapped him across his face hard.

"You have a lot of explaining and groveling to do Mister," Cordelia honestly told Angel. He bowed his head and looked away from her heated gaze.

"I promise that I will fill you in on everything in time ok?" Angel admitted to her.

"Fine," she said to him and walked back over to her seat between Gunn's legs on the floor. That left me. He hadn't moved at all since he first made his presence known in the doorway to the living room. Cordy and Buffy had gone to him. I refused to go. I may have been a wreck on the inside, but he wasn't going to see that. He was going to get to see the Faith that he left behind, the strong and mature woman. His lips turned up slightly at the edges when he realized that I wasn't going to come to him. He moved through the room almost hesitantly, uncertain of how my reaction was going to be to him. He got about two feet in front of my position curled up on the couch. He squatted down so he was eye level with me.

"Hi," he gently said to me.

"Hi," I answered just as softly. He reached forward slowly as if towards an injured and frightened animal. His right hand reached out and cupped the left side of my face gently. I leaned into his touch rubbing my face gently against his hand as he brushed his thumb gently back and forth over my cheekbone. He pulled his hand away after a few moments but not before running his thumb across my lips once. He looked me in the eye.

"We definitely need to talk ok?" Angel said to me and I nodded slowly. He stood back up and walked over to Adam.

"So, what is your game plan? Flee or crash here in the bedroom that I have spent hours sun-proofing?" Adam questioned him. Angel laughed a little.

"If I flee I had better run heart first into a picket fence because if Cordy ever catches me I will wish that I was dead. So, I think that I'll take door number two, the sun-proof room Bob," Angel quipped and everyone in the room was shocked. He had just made fun of Cordy, himself, and Adam. Adam was used to it, however, and just slapped him on the back and then pushed him in the direction of the kitchen.

"I drained some blood for you and bought you some Oreos for you dip with," Adam said and everyone other than the two of them made a disgusted face. They walked into the kitchen and Cordy moved up next to me from the floor.

"You want to tell me what that was?" She asked me and I shook my head and then blushed and hid my head in her shoulder.

"I don't know what that was at all," I mumbled to her with my head still hiding in her shoulder.

"What was that, Mumbles?" She teased me. I pulled my head out from her shoulder and just rested it on her shoulder.

"I don't know what that was, but I don't think that I mind at all," I freely answered and she just laughed at me and pulled me into her embrace.

**********

The remainder of that night wasn't very eventful. Buffy and I trained in Adam's basement for an hour before we went out. We had worked out our differences and our opinions in the past three weeks we had spent with Adam in Maryland over Angel and my past. She had agreed that I had done nothing to her in the recent past to make her believe that I was going to betray her again. I told her that I was a different person since Angel had convinced me to change. She didn't understand how Cordelia and I were now best friends, but she accepted the fact that I was Cordelia's physical bodyguard and Cordelia was my emotional/mental one. We took care of one another. After we trained we took a break and then told the others that we were going out on the hunt. Cordelia, who still hadn't gotten tact in the years since I first met her, spoke up and suggested that Angel and Adam come with us. There were two motives behind that suggestion that I saw. One was that she thought it would be a good way for Angel and myself to spend time together, and two because she and Gunn wanted to be alone to do things that they generally didn't do with people in the room – there are always exceptions to every rule however. So the four of us went on patrol around the campus and the town. Buffy and I had been making rounds every night usually out of shear boredom. Gunn or Adam usually came with us. Cordelia didn't want to venture out into the night and we didn't make her. She had her part of the team with her visions, I didn't want for her to have to handle anything else on top of that.

"How about we split up? Two and two? We'll cover the town faster and call it a night sooner," Adam suggested to us. I looked at Buffy and threw my arm around her shoulders.

"We'll beat you home," I told them and turned with her to leave.

"How about I take Buffy cause I'm not sure I really want to spend the night with this dead company. You can have that honor Faith. See if you can beat some life into him or something. You and Angel can take from here to the river and Buffy and I'll take the college and shopping centers. Don't hurry back," Adam suggested as B spun us both around. Buffy then slid out from underneath of my arm and linked arms with Adam. They waved bye at us and walked away.

"That was foul," I said out loud and Angel chuckled.

"Nah that was just Me…Adam's attempt at tact. Like Cordelia, he has none," Angel just supplied for me.

"What were you about to call him?" I asked Angel, catching his slip.

"Another name I know him by. Don't worry about it Faith. We have a race to win," Angel said smiling slightly while his eyes shone with real excitement.

"So you get off on hunting vampires now?" I asked him and his smiled faded and I frowned as well.

"I don't get off on much Faith, especially not killing my own kind. You on the other hand, I have heard many a stories about you post-slayage," Angel told me and I had to thank the darkness of the street to cover the blush that quickly spread across my face.

"Who did you hear what from?" I asked him thinking that Buffy had told him about our conversations while we slayed. That was definitely breaking the Slayer law – conversations on the hunt were supposed to be sacred between Slayers, it was a rule we had shared at one time.

"Buffy didn't tell me so you can stop freaking over that. I lurk Faith. Come on, you should know that by now. I followed you both when you first got here after I came back. Partially because you fascinated me and I didn't understand the draw that I felt to you then and partially because at the time Buffy was my sorta girlfriend so I followed her to protect her. Besides when you get excited you get loud Faith. It makes me wonder about you sometimes," Angel admitted to me. I was shocked that he was being so candid with me. He had never been this forward with me, even in the times we had spent talking while I was in jail. He had come back from his two-year vacation a changed vampire. I wasn't sure if I liked this vampire better or not yet.

"So Angel what did you hear? I call your bluff," I told him, praying he was indeed bluffing. I was getting embarrassed and horny just from the conversations I remembered having with Buffy about post-slayage horniness.

"I distinctly remember you talking about how you get all horny after slaying, all that built up tension or something like that. You definitely brought out a side of Buffy I had never seen before. It definitely didn't make it any easier for either one of us because I couldn't have sex and she wanted it. I mean hell I wanted it too but I couldn't. So, do you still get all horny after slaying?" Angel bluntly asked me finally. I laughed at him and then took a look at his face in the light from the streetlight and realized he was grinning like a fool and I laughed even more.

"To be honest sure. But I don't get no play. It has been way too long since I got some action from someone … or something," I answered and then walked past him not waiting to see his face and reaction to my answer.

That conversation topic was dropped then and new ones were discussed. We talked about vague things after that. It wasn't anything earth shattering or particularly personal but it was conversation. We didn't see any vamp action the entire night, I knew that we wouldn't. The campus and the graveyard behind it were the hot spots and Buffy and Adam had taken them, probably to give Angel and I a chance to talk. I would have to smack Adam later for that. We came back to Adam's house about 3 hours and found that Buffy and Adam had just gotten back themselves. Cordy and Gunn had finished up shortly before they came home too. The sun would be rising in an hour or so and I was honestly exhausted. This day and night had worn me out emotionally.

"I am headed to bed. I'll see you all in the morning, or afternoon," I told everyone the moment I walked in the door from slaying. Everyone raised an eyebrow and shot a glance at Angel to see what he had done to piss me off. He just shook his head and shrugged a little. I walked up the stairs to the bedroom I was sharing with B.



Continued