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In Pieces

By Ariel Dawn

Summary: Buffy feels guilty

Disclaimer: You know the drill…not mine, never will be mine.

Once again beta’d by the wonderful BTL

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Chapter 8: Guilt

Willow magically pulled Faith behind her the next morning. It was time to check in with Giles.

Faith shook her newly straightened hair. Though she wouldn’t admit it, Faith kinda envied B’s hair; it did what she wanted it to do. It was definitely one of the perks of having B’s life.

The school thing wasn’t much fun. Being all goodie two shoes all the time seriously sucked.

“Xander,” greeted Willow softly as they entered Giles’ home. “Did you talk to her?”

Xander just shook his head.

“Nothing?”

“She got on a bus to LA. I don’t know where she’d go after that. I really blew it.”

Faith really didn’t have any feelings one way or the other about Xander and his chick, but the sharp elbow to the ribs that Willow gave her reminded her that she had to act like she cared, to pretend to be Xander’s friend.

“Ya, and I’m sure when she calms down she’ll be back, Xan,” Faith said.

“Ya, and I’m sure that when you and Buffy get back to your own bodies she’ll be really apologetic too,” he said with a sneer.

“It’s not Buffy’s fault,” chimed in Willow.

“Just who do I blame then?” Xander asked getting quite angry.

“Buffy would never intentionally hurt you, Xander,” added Willow.

“Why don’t you just blame me then?” suggested Faith. “Everyone seems to think that’s a good idea.”

“I guess it’s easier to be mad at Buffy when she’s wearing your face,” noted Xander.

“Any changes since last night?” Giles asked bringing the topic back to something more civilized.

“I woke up with straight hair?” Faith contributed. “And last night, I had this wicked craving for yogurt. I don’t even like yogurt.”

“See! Good!” chirped Willow in Faith‘s direction. “That’s very Buffy like!”

“Great, I’m all B like.”

“I think she’s doing very well,” Willow continued, looking at Giles.

“Yes, wonderful. You are taking proper precautions? Not drawing unwanted attention to yourselves?” Giles asked Willow. “Now that she looks more like Buffy, it is probable that the Council will take a renewed interest in capturing Faith. We can’t let Buffy be captured again.”

“All careful,” Willow placated with a firm nod. “And we have class.”

“Yes, off you go then,” noted Giles getting up from the chair he had been sitting in.

“You want us to take Xander with us?” Willow asked, casting a sympathetic eye towards her friend on the couch.

“No, he’ll just be in your way.” Giles sighed. “It is better that he is here, and not in his basement listening to country music as he explained to me when he arrived. He won’t do anything foolish if he is here sulking in my house, hopefully.”

“What? Like go after her?” added Faith.

“I don’t know where she is,” Xander sniffed. “And I’ve got work in an hour.”

“Are you sure?” asked Willow.

“Why don’t we come by and hang… or something after class,” Faith suggested, earning another praiseful look from Willow.

“Sure,” Xander sighed, rolling to his side and burying his face into a pillow.

“That was nice,” Willow remarked to Faith.

“It’s got me all antsy, this nice stuff. Doesn’t feel right.”

“Maybe it feels antsy ‘cause it is right,” suggested the witch.

“I still think you’re full of it.”

“Full of something you’re not.”

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Buffy walked into Giles’ house, not with the bounce in her step she was used to, but at a bit of a trudge.

As she opened the door, she noticed Xander curled up in a ball on Giles’ couch, his face buried in a pillow.

Buffy felt a stabbing pain in her heart. Swallowing, Buffy entered the room and headed towards Giles’s empty comfy chair.

“Who put downers in your wheaties?” Buffy asked to keep Faithy, when she just wanted to beg Xander for forgiveness.

“Ah, that would be you,” Xander muttered from the pillow. “Anya’s left.”

Buffy quirked an eyebrow. “Left?” she asked. “As in left left or going on vacation and will be back left?”

“Left left,” answered Xander again from the pillow. “LA left.”

“Oh,” responded Buffy.

Xander sat up from his position on the couch to look directly into Buffy’s eyes.

“Ya, oh. How could you not tell me?” Xander accused. “I thought I was your friend.”

“Hey!” protested Buffy. “I didn’t do anything she wouldn’t have done, anything she hasn’t done before. I thought you’d shoot me down.” Buffy paused. “I hoped you would,” she continued in a small voice.

“I take it yesterday was a success?” Giles asked in a curt voice from the kitchen.

“Five by five,” Buffy answered. “I vegged, I slayed, I partied.”

“You ruined,” Xander retorted. “I’d say that was real Faithy.”

“Whatever.” Buffy stood up from the chair and stepped towards the door. “I’m more Faith looking today. The spell’s working. I figure I’ll be completely Faithy by tomorrow.”

Giles looked at her critically for a moment. “I believe you have Faith’s chin as well.”

“See, Faithy me,” Buffy noted. “See you around.”

“Not staying around for the depression?” asked Xander.

“Nah, I figure you’ll get that all sorted without me.”

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Buffy paced the motel room. She was bored, and she felt guilty, massively guilty. Xander and Anya had broken up because of her.

She had to fix it.

So what if Faith wouldn’t have fixed it. Maybe Faith would have if she cared.

Buffy grabbed her bag of personal effects and headed off to find someone with a car.

Spike.

Buffy barged into his crypt, waking the vampire from his mid morning slumber.

“Bloody hell,” he muttered, startled from his sleep. “Oh, it’s you.”

“Yep, me,” she answered.

“Didn’t you have straight hair last night?” he asked, setting his head back on his pillow, eagerly anticipating her departure.

“Yep, another Faith thing.”

“Don’t think it’s an improvement.”

“I thought you like it when I had curly hair. You didn’t complain when we were engaged.”

Spike laughed. “I don’t recall complaining about much when I had you all hot and bothered on my lap.”

“Mmmm, good times,” she responded with a nostalgic grin.

“Don’t you get any ideas in that warped mind of yours, pet,” the vampire noted, sitting up. He realised that she wasn’t going anywhere any time soon.

“Ideas? Me? Never!” she feigned innocence.

Spike cocked an eyebrow at her.

“Okay, yes I have an idea. A good idea actually. I need to go to LA. I have to find Anya. Make this whole thing better.”

Spike shook his head. “Not going to work,” he said.

“Well, it won’t work if I don’t try!”

“It’s not what you did. I was with demon girl. When you put the moves on the whelp, we heard it all,” Spike explained. “He’s the one that broke her heart.”

“Yes, but I was there….If I hadn’t….”

“Love, please, just let it go. The whelp and demon girl were bound to break up sooner or later. Just be glad it’s done and move on.”

Buffy shook her mane of brown curly hair and pouted.

Spike frowned, knowing that those lips in that pout were going to get him stuck in a car with his slayer, being all schizo, enroute to the one city he wanted to avoid like the plague. Well, at least until Angel got over the whole torture thing.

“Please?”

Bloody hell.

Spike grabbed his keys off of nearby statue and growled his frustration.

“Goodie,” Buffy giggled following him down into the bowels of the crypt and towards the sewer entrance. “Angel’s gonna be trippin’ when he sees me.”

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Spike climbed into his baby and shut the door in time to see Buffy climb in beside him. The garage he’d parked his Desoto in made for convenient access, but the trek had given Buffy time to reassert her Faith personality.

“Ground rules?” he started looking at the body occupying the passenger seat.

“’Kay?” she responded.

“When we get there, you explain. That’s what got the whelp in trouble. I’m sure your Angel pie is gonna want to be all stake happy with my ass.”

“Let’s just hope that he doesn’t freak out too much. What if he thinks I’m Faith? I could be in a world of trouble.”

“As long as his bloody nose is still attached it’ll be fine, pet,” he noted, starting the engine.

“Any other ground rules?”

“Keep your mitts to yourself. Not that I’m not flattered, but Peaches is not going to like it, seeing you pawing all over every male you see. Don’t care if it’s what you have to do to change back or not.”

Buffy pouted. “Are you sure it’s Angel you’re concerned about?”

Spike looked over at her, staring down her green eyes.

“Oh ya, you want me,” she noted aloud to herself.

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Faith followed Willow down into Xander’s basement, noting with amusement just how much he lived like she usually did. It had been another boring day at UC Sunnydale. No Riley sightings, no opportunity to flee Willow’s side. No way to escape, no way to bum a cigarette off of someone.

She so badly needed one.

But Willow was just a little bit scary.

Now she was faced with a movie and friend bonding in Xander’s basement. Something she would have avoided like the plague when she was friends with these people.

Xander was definitely worse for wear, lying on the couch. His clothes looked like he’d been wearing them for two days. Sad strains of country music were playing in the background.

“Oh Xander, you look terrible!” whispered Willow sitting down beside her friend.

“I wonder what she’s doing right now,” he groaned reaching for a glass of what looked like coke on the coffee table.

“She’s probably as sad as you, Xander. Just give her some time,” Willow said trying to comfort him. “She’ll be back in no time.”

Faith doubted it. She didn’t see what happened but then, this had happened to Xander before right? With Cordelia? He tended to attract the girls that didn’t really forgive this kind of thing. She wasn’t going to be holding her breath.

Willow glared in her direction. Time to act the part.

“She’s right Xander, just give Anya some time. You two are meant to be,” Faith said super sweetly.

“I brought Doritos and root beer, and Faith picked out some really action-y movies. We’ll have you cheery in no time.”

“You guys are the best,” slurred Xander, sleepily, grabbing the two girls into a hug.

Faith felt herself go stiff as a board. Xander was hugging her. Like a friend. Was he drunk? It felt weird, very very weird. Yes, she’d boinked Xander that one time, but this was different, affectionate. Wrong.

Willow stood up from her position on the couch and found a bowl in which to put the Doritos, all the while giving Faith hints to put the movie into the VCR.

This was going to be one awkward movie.

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Tbc…

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