Part 02

By DragonWriter17

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: All of the materials borrowed from Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon and to the entities and companies associated with their creation. I have borrowed them for creative and entertainment purposes only. No compensation has been or ever shall be received for the writing below. No copyright infringement is intended.

My Website:

Feedback: Yes, but only if it’s of the non-flamey variety:

Distribution: The Mystic Muse and my personal site (If you are interested in posting my story on your site, please contact me first for permission.)

Spoilers: BtVS Season 3’s Faith episodes and Season 4’s “This Year’s Girl”

Pairings: Buffy/Faith

Author’s Notes: (1) Most of this chapter is original material, but I have borrowed one scene from “This Year’s Girl.” I have used the transcript from the Buffy vs. Angel web site for the scene that I borrowed, modifying it as needed. Thank you Buffy vs. Angel! (2) Just a reminder that I’m writing this one in modified Watchers style. This means that it uses scene headers from screenplay format, but the text is written in fiction format. Unlike Watchers, though, I may occasionally show a character’s thoughts in italics. (3) And thanks, as always, to Lilly for the beta read and edit!

Number of Chapters: 3

Complete: 3

Story Premise: Faith awakens from her coma and finds that the Council has been recording surveillance of her hospital room. She finds a stack of videotapes that contain recordings of Buffy’s visits to see her. What do the tapes reveal? And how does Faith react to seeing them?

Part 01 Summary: After months of nightmares and observation by the Council, Faith wakes up from her coma. She escapes from the hospital and finds Sunnydale a very different place.

Part 02 Summary: As Faith hides out from those searching for her, she views the tapes she stole from the surveillance room. What she sees changes everything.

PART 01     PART 02     PART 03   

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Fade In:
Giles’s Apartment – Resume

Buffy hung up the phone. Everyone was looking on with concern. When she didn’t turn around, Giles spoke up.

“What is it?” he asked.

“It’s Faith. She’s awake.” Buffy turned to face the others. “She attacked someone, took her clothing, and disappeared out of the hospital. No one knows where she is.”

“I’d say this qualifies for a ‘worse timing ever’ award,” Xander said darkly.

“What do we do?” Willow asked worriedly.

“Well, we have to find her,” Giles stated.

“But what about Adam?” Willow went on.

“I’d hate to see the pursuit of a homicidal lunatic get in the way of pursuing a homicidal lunatic,” Xander quipped sarcastically.

“Well, Faith’s not exactly low-profile girl,” Buffy pointed out. “I’ll patrol and wait for her to make a move.”

“And then what?” Giles asked.

“Oh! I have an idea,” Willow said, now past her worry and into vengeance mode. “Beat the crap out of her.” She grinned widely.

“Good plan!” Xander readily agreed.

Buffy tried not to let her friends’ hatred for Faith bother her. “Good on paper,” she replied evenly. “But we still have a decision to make. Do we hand her over to the cops? They wouldn’t know what to do with a slayer even if they knew we existed.”

“What about the Council? Willow asked.

“Been there, tried that,” Xander said. “Not unlike smothering a forest fire with napalm, as I recall.”

“Well, the Initiative, they do have containment facilities,” Giles suggested.

Xander looked Giles in the eyes. “One word: Evil.”

Riley wisely remained quiet on the issue of the Initiative, but he had a puzzled look on his face as the conversation went on.

“There’s no way around it,” Buffy said. “Faith is back, and whether I like it or not, she’s my responsibility.”

“Yeah, too bad,” Willow sighed. “That was funnest coma ever.”

Xander nodded in eager agreement.

“We have no idea where she is,” Buffy said, imagining Faith’s emotional state. We don’t know what she’s thinking, what she’s feeling...”

“Who she’s doing,” Xander interjected in a spiteful voice.

Buffy ignored him and went on. “She could be terrified. Maybe she doesn’t even remember? Or-or maybe she does, and-and she’s sorry, and she’s alone, hiding somewhere?”

The looks the others gave Buffy that told her they didn’t share her optimistic theory. But when Buffy frowned sadly, Giles softened his expression.

“Uh, perhaps there’s some form of rehabilitation we just haven’t thought about?” he offered.

“And if not,” Willow added, “ass-kicking makes a solid Plan B.”

“I’m not gonna rule it out,” Buffy conceded. “But the first thing is...we need to find her. Then we can take it from there.”

When the room finally grew silent, Riley spoke up. “Who’s Faith?”

Cut To:
Pawn Shop – Later That Night 

Now in stolen clothes more befitting her style, Faith crept away from the small back window she had just climbed through. Under one arm was the box of videotapes that she had taken from the hospital.

Slowly she eased her way through the store, past furniture and tools, exercise equipment and stereos, until she reached the TVs and VCRs. She set down the box of tapes and tried powering up the various devices until she found a combination TV/VCR that was plugged in and working.

She dragged over a plastic crate, dumped out its contents, turned it over, and sat down. In the dim light of the glowing television, she looked through the box of videotapes and selected one to watch: a tape dated the day after Graduation. She got up from her seat and slid the tape into the machine. She picked up the remote, sat back down, and waited for the tape to play. When she saw the image of her room at the hospital, Faith leaned closer to the screen.


The hidden camera’s point of view was such that it showed a medium shot of the room. It was focused on Faith, still in her coma, and the empty visitor’s chair on her left, on the far side of the bed.

Within seconds, the door to the room opened, and Buffy slipped inside. After she had shut the door behind her, she took a step toward the bed and stopped.

“Hey,” she said simply. “It’s me.”

She paused a moment as if expecting an answer from Faith, but obviously she didn’t get one. She ducked her head and walked over to the visitor’s chair and sat down, keeping her gaze mostly on her hands in her lap rather than on Faith.

“I-I-I’m sorry I didn’t come see you sooner,” Buffy said, “but I kinda had some world-saveage to take care of.”

She shifted in her seat and added, “We stopped the Mayor...we stopped the Ascension.” She let her eyes flicker up to Faith’s face for just a moment before casting them downwards again. “I, um, I used your suggestion, by the way. You know, to appeal to the Mayor’s human side? It worked. It made all the difference, actually.”

Buffy let out a long breath. Then, once again, she allowed her gaze to settle on Faith. “He...he really loved you...”

Her eyes became pained as she finally forced herself to look closely at Faith’s comatose form. She frowned deeply and teared up as she took in the sight—Faith, pale and still, with tubes and wires leading to and from her body, with only the slight beeping of the heart monitor and the faint movements of her chest indicating that she was alive.

Buffy began to cry in earnest. “Why, Faith?” she asked, sobbing. “Why did you make me hurt you?”


Her own eyes moistening with unshed tears, Faith merely sat and watched, clenching and unclenching her jaw repeatedly, but saying nothing.

Cut To:
The Docks – Same Time

Buffy and Willow crept along the concrete dock and scanned the area for the umpteenth time.

“Anything?” Buffy asked.

“Nada,” Willow replied. “She’s not here.”

“Damn,” Buffy said before pulling a radio from her belt and keying it. “Xander, whatcha got?”

“The busses are a bust,” came Xander’s voice over the radio.

A few more calls to Giles and Riley confirmed similar results at the train station and airport.

Buffy stared off into the darkness. “Faith, where are you?” she whispered worriedly.

Cut To:
Pawn Shop – Later That Night 

Faith slid in another videotape and waited as the machine began to play. She used the remote to fast-forward the recording until she saw Buffy entering the hospital room. Faith watched intently as Buffy silently walked to her bedside.


Buffy didn’t sit down in the visitor’s chair; instead, she remained standing a few feet from the side of the bed. For the longest time, she said nothing at all but just wrung her hands nervously. Finally, she wrapped her arms around herself and looked up to see Faith’s face.

“Angel’s gone,” Buffy said in the barest of whispers. “It’s over between us,” she added in a voice that was slightly stronger.

After thinking about her words, Buffy gave a rueful laugh and shook her head. “It was over before it even started. We just didn’t know it.” She sighed heavily.

“And when he came back,” she rattled off, “we were trying so hard to not be together because we knew we couldn’t, but at the same time we knew that—”

A slight catch entered Buffy’s voice, and she stopped in place. After taking a deep breath, she pressed on in a softer, slower tone. “We knew that it was gone anyway...that what we’d had…it just died when he lost his soul.”

She wiped away the tears rolling down her cheeks and gave another rueful laugh as she glanced back at Faith. “You were right,” she said. “Big love, big loss, shoulda moved on but hadn’t...”

Buffy just let her gaze fall to the floor.


Faith folded her arms across her chest. “Told ya,” she said to Buffy on the screen.

Cut To:
Hospital Heli-Pad – Same Time

Once the arriving helicopter had sufficiently powered down, three men emerged and hurried toward Faith’s nurse, Doris, who waited near the roof entrance.

“Collins, Weatherby,” she greeted grimly to the first two men. She looked at the third man expectantly.

“Smith,” he piped up, identifying himself.

“What’s the situation?” Collins asked.

“You’d better come inside,” Doris said, opening the door. “She’s been at large for several hours. Margravine is on her way, but the police have already been here. So has the other slayer.”

Doris’s voice faded away as the door to the roof eased shut.

Cut To:
Pawn Shop – Later That Night 

The stack of viewed tapes was now a bit taller. This time Faith wasn’t sitting as she watched; instead, she was pacing behind the plastic crate, shooting angry glances at the source of the loud voice coming from the television.


“Why did you do it, damn you?!” Buffy nearly screamed from the foot of Faith’s hospital bed. “Why?!”

Buffy leaned over and placed her hands flat on the mattress, glaring at the comatose Faith. “Why on earth did you join a man who was intent on destroying the world as we know it? Huh? Can ya tell me that?”

When Faith didn’t answer, Buffy straightened up and asked in a softer voice, “Why did you have to hurt Angel? And-And Willow and Xander?”

Then she turned her back on Faith, the hidden camera now revealing a tear-streaked face with more pain than anger. “Why did you have to hurt me?”


“Because you hurt me!” Faith screamed while pointing viciously at the screen. Then she kicked the plastic crate, making it slam into the VCR controls. The image on the screen blinked then froze. Faith stood there, breathing hard for a moment, before walking off to calm herself.

Cut To:
The Bronze – Same Time

Collins, Weatherby, and Smith strode calmly through the crowded dance floor, scanning for Faith. When they didn’t see her, Collins waved them toward the exit.

Just then, they saw Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies entering. Collins redirected his team to blend into the crowd. As he watched Buffy and the others search for Faith, Collins got a cunning smile on his face.

Cut To:
Pawn Shop – Later That Night 

After getting her temper under control, Faith had returned to the VCR, restored her plastic crate to its former position, and sat down. Soon she had the next tape cued up.


Buffy had filled several minutes with innocuous small talk about summer events as she sat in the visitor’s chair next to Faith’s bed, but now she let the forced cheerfulness slip away.

“I should be getting ready for college this fall,” Buffy said with a guilty shrug of her shoulders. “Getting registered for my classes, getting a dorm room, all that good stuff.”

“Will’s already gotten her schedule, her dorm room, her books…she’s even contacted some of her instructors and started on some her assignments.” Buffy shot Faith an eye roll and a smile. “Yeah, I know… she needs to get a life.”

Buffy’s smile quickly faded, and she let her body slump once again. “I want to be excited,’s hard. I know in my heart it won’t last. Something will come up...something slayer. It always does. You’d think I would’ve given up by now—trying to have a normal life. It’s just not in the cards for the slayer. I should’ve stopped fighting the slayer life. I should’ve embraced you did.”

Buffy lifted her eyes and reached out to touch Faith’s arm. “We should’ve been together, all this time. As slayers, I mean,” she quickly amended, pulling back her hand. “Fighting side by side. It was so much easier when I knew I wasn’t alone, when I had someone who understood...”


“We should’ve been together, period, B,” Faith said, “but you couldn’t let go of Angel.”


Buffy stood up and leaned over, searching Faith’s face for some sign that she could hear and understand. “What happened, Faith?” she asked. “Why did you run away?”

“Even after that fiasco with your fake Watcher Gwendolyn Post, with me lying to everyone about Angel, you still came back around.” Buffy gave her a small smile. “You and me...we were finally clicking again, we were in synch, and I felt like we were really—”


“What?” Faith prodded when Buffy stopped short. She leaned toward the television screen. “Really what? Say it, B.”


Buffy’s eyes were stricken as she looked over at Faith in the bed. Then she shook her head.

“I don’t know,” she said lamely. “I don’t know what we were...”


Faith wearily eased back onto the crate and sighed, letting her head fall back against her shoulders.

Cut To:
Revello Drive – Later That Night

After shutting the door to Giles’s car, Buffy bent over to talk through the open window.

“Thanks for the ride, Giles,” she said.

“We’ll get back on the search first thing in the morning,” he told her. “In the meantime, get some rest.”

“I’ll try,” she replied. “But if you hear anything…”

“I’ll call you right away,” Giles promised.

Buffy gave him a wave and watched him drive away. Then she trudged off to her front door.

Cut To:
Pawn Shop – Same Time

As Faith watched the last tape in the box, she finally let the tears come. She wiped uselessly at them with the back of her hand as she tried to focus on the scene before her.


Buffy was holding Faith’s left hand with both of hers and sobbing hysterically, forcing out words between heaving breaths.

“I’m so sorry…God, I’m so sorry…” she cried. “For being jealous of you… and-and excluding you…for not reaching out to you when you needed it…for letting you push me away when I should have held on and never let go…”

Buffy caught her breath and then went on in a sad, small voice, “I wish I could go back and start over.” She reached over and trailed her fingertips along Faith’s forehead in a gentle caress. “I’d do so much differently…” she whispered.

But then her sobs returned. “Please come back, Faith,” she pleaded. “I’ll do better, I swear…just please come back…”


Faith hit the pause button and dropped the remote to the floor. Covering her face with her hands, she let herself cry hard for a full minute. When she got her crying under control, she looked back at the screen. She reached out and touched Buffy’s image.

“I want a do-over, too,” she whispered hoarsely. She cleared her throat and said, “But that ain’t never gonna happen, no matter how much we want it.” Then she let her hand fall away from the screen.

With a sigh, she turned the VCR off, causing the monitor to go black.

Cut To:
Phone Booth – A Short Time Later

Faith paced outside a phone booth in the corner of a convenience store parking lot. She had stopped at the store for something to eat and drink on her way to the interstate, where she hoped to hitch a ride to Los Angeles. But now she hovered near the phone booth, warring with herself about whether or not to call Buffy.

Come on…she said she was sorry, one inner voice pleaded.

          She’s sorry all right, another voice noted angrily. Sorry she
didn’t finish you off the first time!

Just call her. She wants to make things right.

          Forget her. Forget Sunnydale. Forget everything that happened
           here. It’s time to move on and start fresh someplace else.

You know you can’t leave…not without seeing her one more time. You owe her that, don’t you think?

Faith stopped pacing and closed her eyes for a moment. Then she let out an exasperated huff, opened her eyes, and headed for the phone.

Cut To:
Buffy’s Bedroom – Seconds Later

After talking with her mother down the hall, Buffy entered her bedroom and started taking off her shoes. Suddenly, the phone suddenly rang, startling her. She scrambled for it and answered.

“Giles?” Buffy waited expectantly but heard nothing. “Hello?” she called out.


Buffy instantly recognized the voice. Her face lit up in both alarm and relief. “Faith! Where—?”

“I need to see you,” Faith said, cutting her off.

“Fine,” Buffy quickly agreed. “Just tell me where you are. We’ll come get you.”

“No. No ‘we’,” came Faith’s voice over the phone. “Just you.”

Buffy hesitated, suddenly uneasy about the prospect of meeting Faith alone. “Ummm…”

“Look, I know I screwed up, all right?” Faith blurted out. “I just…I need to talk, and you’re the only one I even remotely trust.”

“Okay,” Buffy replied. “Where?”

“Meet me in Elmwood, the Carlton tomb, in an hour,” Faith instructed. “Alone.”

“I’ll be there,” Buffy assured her.

Cut To:
Elmwood Cemetery – An Hour Later

Buffy fidgeted in front of the Carlton tomb, pacing for a while then looking at her watch. It had been an hour already, but Faith hadn’t shown herself.

“I’m here!” Buffy called out into the darkness. “And I know you’re here, too, so you might as well come out.”

Faith stepped out from the shadows. “Just making sure you’re alone.”

“I am,” Buffy said, turning toward her. “Just like I said I’d be.”

As Faith stalked closer, Buffy fought the urge to tense up and mirror Faith’s posture. She willed herself to relax and remain calm.

“Are you all right?” Buffy asked.

“Do you care?” Faith shot back.

Yes, I do,” Buffy replied sincerely.

Faith considered Buffy’s answer for a moment, but refused to let her defenses down. She smiled and began circling around Buffy.

“Well, I’m five-by-five,” Faith snarked back. “Best thing about a coma, you wake up all rested and rejuvenated. I’m ready for anything you can throw at me.” She stopped in place and struck a cocky pose.

“I’m not gonna throw anything at you, Faith. I’m here to help,” Buffy insisted.

“Why?” Faith challenged.

“Like I said. Because I care.”


Buffy got a puzzled look. “Why with all the why’s? You’re the one who called this meeting.”

Faith hesitated, not really sure how to begin. She opened her mouth several times, but no words emerged. When she did manage to get something out, it was only a spattering of disjointed phrases. She finally let out a frustrated howl.

“What is the matter with me?!!” she growled. “It’s just two freakin’ words!!!”

“What?” Buffy asked in confusion. “I don’t understand.”

“I’m trying!” Faith grumbled to Buffy.

“Trying to do what?” Buffy pressed, still perplexed.

“To say ‘I’m sorry,’ okay?!!!” Faith shrieked, startling Buffy.

When she saw Buffy jump in fear, Faith closed her eyes and hung her head, letting out a deep, sad sigh.

“It doesn’t matter anyway,” Faith said softly. “It’s just words. Two stupid, useless words. Saying ’em doesn’t change anything.”

Buffy cautiously moved closer until she stood right in front of Faith. Then she gently took Faith’s hands in hers, a little surprised that Faith actually let her do so.

“You’re wrong,” Buffy told her in a choked voice. “It changes everything.”

When Faith looked up, the two slayers stared at each other, tears filling their eyes.

“I’m sorry...” Faith whispered, trying to pour all of her regret and remorse into those two simple words. As she ducked her head once again, the tears that had been forming in her eyes rolled over the lids and streamed down her face. “I’m so sorry,” she went on. “I screwed up so bad. I hurt everybody, especially you, and I know I can’t ever make up for that. I know it’s just words, but I wanted to say it, to your face, at least once before I—”

Buffy yanked her hands back. “Before you what?” she asked angrily. “Leave?

Faith glanced away without answering.

“Faith, the running has to stop. Right here. Right now.”

“What choice do I have?” Faith shot back. “The police want to throw me in jail. The Council wants to chain me up and drag me back to merry ole England. What am I supposed to do?”

“Stay here...with me,” Buffy told her. “We’ll fight this. You and me. The Chosen Two. Remember?”

Faith shook her head. “Buffy...I’ve killed people...there’s no coming back from that.”

“There is,” Buffy insisted, desperation filling her voice. “There has to be!”

“Why?” Faith asked, confused by Buffy’s reaction.

It was Buffy’s turn to let the tears fall. She swallowed down the lump in her throat and said, “Because I don’t want to lose you. Not again.”

Faith merely stared, an anguished look on her face, her expression revealing how badly she wanted to accept Buffy’s offer. But all she did was drop her head.

Buffy stepped closer once again, ran her hands up Faith’s arms and over her shoulders, then rested them on the sides of her neck. She leaned her forehead against Faith’s.

“Please…” Buffy begged.

When Faith still didn’t look up, Buffy lifted her chin and gently kissed her. Faith didn’t kiss back. Instead, she broke into a sob, took a step back, and dropped into a squat.

“This can’t be real,” she said, hugging herself. “This can’t be real…”

Buffy knelt in front of Faith and grasped her arms. “It is real,” she assured her. “It is…”

When Buffy tugged Faith toward her, Faith allowed herself be pulled into a hug. The embrace made Faith cry harder. She just fell onto her knees and clung to Buffy even tighter.

After her sobs had subsided, Faith pulled away somewhat. She didn’t raise her head but kept her gaze firmly on the ground.

“All I ever wanted was for you to love me,” she confessed in a whisper.

“I do,” Buffy replied earnestly.

Faith’s head shot up, and she looked at Buffy in utter disbelief. She shook her head strongly and pulled out of Buffy’s grasp.

“Not possible,” she told her, getting to her feet. “Not after what I did to Angel.” As Buffy also rose, Faith went on frantically as she moved away. “No…no...this is some kind of punishment, isn’t it? Any minute now you’ll laugh and point and say, ‘See, that’s what it feels like to get your heart torn out!’ ”

“No! Faith, no,” Buffy pleaded. “That’s not—”

“Well...lookee here...” said a taunting voice from the shadows.

When the two girls followed the sound, they saw Weatherby and Collins stepping into the moonlight right in front of them, with Smith just a few yards away. All three were armed.

“Did ya hear all that weepy talk, fellas?” Weatherby continued. “Pretty convincing, eh? If I didn’t know better, that is.”

Faith immediately whipped around to face Buffy and jabbed an accusing finger toward her. “I knew it!” she screamed. “All of was just a trick to keep me here long enough for the Council cavalry to get here.”

Buffy held up her hands in defense. “Faith, no! I swear!”

“Well, it’s not gonna work,” she told Buffy before turning back to Weatherby and the others. “’Cause you’re not takin’ me alive.”

Collins racked back his nine millimeter. “Not a problem.”

“Faith, run!” Buffy yelled before spinning into a simultaneous attack on both Collins and Weatherby.

Smith pulled an Uzi from his coat and began firing at Faith, who took off behind a line of tombstones. As she darted and dodged, Smith kept blasting rounds at her, but he only succeeded in destroying a dozen or more headstones. When Smith’s gun ceased firing and he turned his attention to reloading, Faith rushed him. One kick and two punches later, Smith was on his back seeing stars.

Nearby, Buffy sent Weatherby tumbling a distance away with a high kick to the chest. Upon landing, she spun around and nailed Collins with a roundhouse that sent him slamming into a tombstone. She rushed over to Collins, but he didn’t move.

Buffy swept her eyes across the cemetery until she found Faith. She exhaled in relief when she saw Faith snatching up Smith’s Uzi and ripping out the clip. Suddenly, Buffy’s breath stopped when, right behind her, she heard another nine millimeter being racked for firing.

She whipped around to see Weatherby dragging himself to his knees. He wobbled a bit but then steadied and took aim, first at Buffy, who was closer, then to his right for Faith, who was further away and who still had her back to them as she finished clearing Smith’s weapon.

“Faaaaiiiithhh!” Buffy screamed in warning, causing the dark slayer to turn in her direction and unwittingly give Weatherby a perfect target.

Weatherby curled his lip into a snarl and said, “Bye bye, birdie...”

“Noooo!!!” Buffy yelled, waving her arms as she dashed in front of Weatherby to hopefully block his line of sight.

She was too late, though, and Weatherby’s shot rang out anyway. The bullet blasted through Buffy’s chest and kept streaking toward Faith. Luckily, with its trajectory altered, it narrowly missed the brunette, but the damage to Buffy had been done. She put her hand to her chest, stumbled slightly, then crashed to the ground on her back.

As Faith screamed Buffy’s name and raced towards her, Weatherby looked on in horror at what he had just done.

“Damn it, man!” Collins exclaimed. “You’ve shot the wrong slayer!”

In a panic, Collins and Weatherby fled the scene with Smith quickly following.

When Faith reached Buffy’s side, she immediately pressed her hands against the gushing wound in Buffy’s chest in a useless attempt to stop the bleeding.

“Oh God, Buffy...oh God…” Faith cried.

With her last bit of strength, Buffy grabbed Faith’s shirt and pulled her close. In a wet, rasping breath, she said, “It…wasn’t…a trick…” Then her eyes fluttered closed, and she went limp, releasing her hold on Faith.

“No, no, no,” Faith muttered wildly as she felt for a pulse that was no longer there. When she realized Buffy was dead, Faith rocked back on her heels and screamed her grief to the heavens.

Cut To:
Sunnydale Hospital – Faith’s Room – Night

Faith was still screaming as she suddenly awakened in her hospital bed, emerging from her coma for the first time. She threw the covers off and jumped out of bed. When she felt their presence, she ripped the IV needle from her hand and snatched off the heart sensors as well. The readings on the heart monitor immediately flat-lined. Panicked and confused, Faith glanced rapidly around the drab hospital room.

Just then, Doris, the nurse, entered the room, drawn by the heart alarm at her station. “Miss Lehane!” she called out to the slayer.

Faith whipped around and frantically asked, “Where’s Buffy?!!”

“You need to lie down, you’re very sick,” Doris continued, trying to soothe her patient with her words, but Faith paid no heed and quickly closed in on Doris.

“Where’s Buffy?!!” Faith demanded. “What happened to Buffy?!!”

Frightened by Faith’s crazed expression, Doris could only stutter, “She’s...she’s...”

Faith grabbed Doris by the arms so hard that the nurse slipped to her knees in pain. She screamed at Doris, “Tell me!!!”

Just then Buffy rushed in, still carrying the coffee that she had just gotten from the vending machine. Buffy froze when she took in the scene. She slowly set down the coffee and carefully approached, holding her hands out in placating gesture.

“Faith, let her go,” Buffy said. “Then we can talk, okay? Nobody has to get hurt.”

For a moment, Faith just stared at Buffy. Then she released Doris, who gratefully scrambled away to the safety of the corner. As Faith made halting steps toward Buffy, her mind slowly began to accept the fact that Buffy’s death had been only a dream.

As Faith approached, Buffy set herself, preparing for any possible attack from the volatile slayer. But when she saw the tears streaming down Faith’s face, Buffy relaxed her stance and reached out to steady the slayer. She was shocked, though, when Faith pulled her into a desperate hug. After getting past her surprise, Buffy gratefully returned the embrace.



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