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Sunshine and Shadows by slaymesoftly
Chapter Twenty-six
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Buffy caught up with Faith quickly, and they dropped their pace to a fast walk once they were safely away from Spike’s car.
“Any idea what your honey is gonna do with that pitiful excuse for a vampire?” Faith gave Buffy a nudge. “Gotta say, I’m surprised you left it to him.”
“Whatever he wants to I guess.” Buffy shook her head. “Poor Joey. He used to be a nice kid. Kinda sucks that he got himself vamped, but if I gave a pass to everybody who went to high school with me, we’d be up to our eyebrows in vampires with pimples.”
Faith snorted her appreciation of that image.  “So, you’re gonna make Spike do the deed?”
“He’ll do it, or he won’t. Probably he’ll dust him, but you never know with Spike. He’s not like other vampires.”
“So I’ve noticed,” Faith said dryly. 
Buffy gave her a sharp stare. “I know you meant that in a good way….”
‘I do. Don’t be getting your panties in a wad. I just meant that I’ve been around him enough now to know he’s not like any vampire I’ve ever seen before. I can see why you might be willing to overlook his little being dead handicap.”
“Remind me to tell you about what happened last year… with my mom and all. Spike helped me keep it together. And I don’t just mean he saved my life—which he did— he helped me get it back. I owed him a lot... and I learned to really… like… being around him.”
“I bet being easy on the eyes made that a lot easier,” Faith said with leer. “Don’t suppose you want to tell me what he looks like naked?”
Buffy just smiled and shook her head. “The less you know about that, the better for our relationship.” She knew the smile didn’t quite reach her eyes, but kept her tone light.
Faith burst into laughter. “That good, huh? Damn, you have all the luck!”
“Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t,” Buffy said, remembering the reason she’d ended up living with Spike.  She shook off the momentary sadness to say, “If Giles thinks we shouldn’t go around alone, do you want to stay with us for a while? Get out of that crummy motel?”
“Bet your mom would love that,” Faith scoffed.
“She’d be fine with it. We have an extra bedroom, and she worries about you living by yourself anyway.”
Faith didn't’ respond immediately, but before Buffy could repeat the offer, Faith was shaking her head.
“I appreciate the thought, but I’ve been taking care of myself for a long time. I can’t see me living where somebody’s going to be worrying about what I’m doing or asking me what time I’m coming home. Didn’t get that from my own mom—back when I had one.”
Buffy nodded her understanding. “I get that, I guess. It took a while for Mom and me to work things out when I first moved back home. She wanted to tell me what to do just like she did before she found out I was the slayer, and I’d been living with Spike and doing whatever I wanted or needed to whenever. There were some adjustments to make… for both of us.”
“But you’re good now?”
“We are right now. Depends on how much time I start spending at Spike’s. It could go south pretty fast if she thinks I’m over there too much…”
“And that’s why I’m gonna keep living by myself,” Faith said. “Just in case some sex-on-a-stick vampire decides to adopt me. I wanna be free to enjoy it.”
Buffy frowned. “I wasn’t kidding about how different Spike is,” she said. “You can’t—”
“Relax, B. I’m just pullin’ your chain. Stake first and worry about dating potential later is my motto. I’m not gonna be looking for love in all the wrong places.” Faith stopped and pointed toward downtown. “Here’s where we part ways. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Okay. Sure. I’ll probably come by right after school.”
Buffy went directly from school to Faith’s’ room in the motel, only taking time first to make sure nobody was following her. With Giles having repeated his advice that they remain together as much as possible until they had taken care of any unusual threats, it made sense they should hang out in the daytime too.
Faith was expecting her and ready to go.
“So, what are we doing?  I’m getting hungry and bored sitting in this room all day.”
“Let’s go to my house and get something to eat.” Buffy paused and bit her lip. “I… I might want to swing by Spike’s on the way. Just in case he has any new information for us.”
Faith laughed. “You sure you want me along for that?”
Buffy snorted. “Honestly? No, I don’t. But we do what we have to do. And you should know where the house is, anyway. Just in case you need a place to hide some night.”
“The house a vampire lives in?”
“Willow put some wards on it last year when I was living there. The only vamp that can get in is Spike. And most demons can’t either. They don’t keep humans out, but that’s only happened once.”  Buffy giggled. “Those guys never tried to come back.”
“Humans came in and Spike didn’t have them for dinner?” Faith stared at Buffy in disbelief.
“He wanted to. Trust me… I was sure I was going to have to stop him from—but I didn’t. He scared the hell out of them, and made them clean up their mess, but then he sent them away to tell the rest of Sunnydale’s lowlifes that the house wasn’t empty, and it wasn’t just a teen-age girl living there.” Buffy giggled again. “I guess they must have spread the word, ‘cause I don’t think there’s been a human near the place since.”
“That’s wicked cool. Talk about having a scary guard dog.”
“Very scary guard dog,” Buffy agreed. She took another look around to see if they were being watched, but saw nothing suspicious. When Faith asked her what she was looking for in broad daylight, Buffy just shrugged and said, “Nothing. I hope.” They walked quickly, and if Faith thought it was odd that Buffy seemed to be going around in circles, she didn’t say anything.
As they reached the mansion on Crawford street, Faith was gazing around in amazement. “You gave up digs like this to go home?”
Buffy snorted. “It’s not as fancy as it looks. Probably was at one time, but it was deserted for years until Angelus set himself up here. Spike and I didn’t do much to fix it up. He thought Dru was coming back any minute, and I thought I’d be going home in a few days.”  As she opened the door, Buffy continued, “Turned out we were both wrong.”
“Hey, honey, we’re home,” Faith sang out.  “If you’re not decent, don’t change on my account.”
“Be careful what you ask for, Two,” Spike said as he entered the foyer, still zipping his pants.  He couldn’t hide his smirk when Faith stared at his bare chest and abdomen with wide eyes, but one look at Buffy’s face wiped the smirk off. He quickly pulled on the tee-shirt he was holding and walked over to give her a warm kiss. “Guess this means no afternoon delight for us today,” he said with an exaggerated sigh.
“Behave!” Buffy blushed and smacked his chest, allowing her hand to linger there until he took it and brought it to his mouth so he could kiss her palm and tickle it with his tongue.
“You want me to behave, you’d best keep that hot little hand to yourself, love,” he said, smirk back in place when her heart rate increased in response to his licking.
“Uh, I can leave if you two—”
“No, sorry,” Buffy mumbled. “We’re fine.” She focused her attention back on Spike. “We’re on our way to Mom’s for something to eat, but I thought I’d show Faith where this house was, just in case.”
Spike nodded, turning more serious. “Good idea. If you ever find yourself in need of a bolt hole, you’re more than welcome to duck in here,” he said. “Wouldn’t make a habit of coming here a lot right now, but once we take down His Honor….”
Buffy’s face paled. “I didn’t think of that! We shouldn’t be here.”
“Relax, Slayer. Wouldn’t be a vamp or demon out and about in daytime, would it?” He frowned. “But after I make contact, it might be best if you stay away. Don’t know who he’s got working for him, but we know some of them are humans, yeah?”
“Not to mention the guy that followed me the other day was human.”
“Forgot about that. Yeah, that needs to be nipped in the bud… so to speak,” he added, letting his fangs drop.
Buffy shook her head at him.
“Okay, we’ll take the long way home and see if he picks me up again.”
“You’re careful, yeah?” Spike said, ghosting his hand over her cheek.
“Of course I am! I watch for a tail all the time now. I made sure nobody followed me to Faith’s, and I made really sure nobody followed me here.”
“Well that explains all the gawking around you were doing,” Faith snorted. “I forgot about that guy that followed you. I thought you were just embarrassed to be seen with me.”
Buffy shrugged, pretending she hadn’t caught the insecure undercurrent in Faith’s comment. “I don’t think it matters if we’re seen together, but I didn’t want to lead anybody to where you live, so I was watching for him.”
“If he does it again, I think we should have a talk with him,” Faith said, smacking her fist into her palm.
Buffy rolled her eyes, but Spike nodded his approval. “No reason why you shouldn’t make sure he knows you know who he is. He probably works for the Mayor, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to want to brass off two slayers. An’ if the man who thinks he runs Sunnyhell has his eye on his likely enemies, you can bet he already knows where Two lives,” Spike said.
“Probably true,” Faith shrugged. “That asshole I killed last night already knew where it was, and he worked for the Mayor, didn’t he?”
“He did. Now he doesn’t.” Spike shook his head. “Might want to think about finding another place to sleep. Even a slayer can be vulnerable when she’s snoring…”
“I tried to get her to stay at my house, but she thinks my mom would cramp her style,” Buffy said, grinning at Faith to show she wasn’t complaining.
Spike’s laugh followed them to the door. “Better your style has to take a hit, Slayer Two, than your hard slayer head. You should probably think about it.”
While Buffy and Faith debated the pros and cons of living in the same house, they both began to squirm and glance around.
“You feel it too?”
“Yep. Somebody or something has eyes on us.”
“Guess we’re taking the long way home, then,” Buffy said as she paused to look into a store window and point at something inside. “I’ll duck in here for a minute and you can pretend to be waiting for me.”
Buffy entered the store, exchanged pleasantries with the shopkeeper, then rejoined Faith, shaking her head as if talking about what she’d look at.
“See anything?”
“I think so. How about we split up for a few minutes? I’ll watch to see who follows you, then we can switch places.”
“Sounds good.”
While Faith nodded her head and entered the shop Buffy had just left, Buffy set off down the street, pausing occasionally to look into a window and try to catch a glimpse of anyone in the reflection. She turned around after going a block or so and waited for Faith to catch up, narrowing her eyes when she noticed a man who’d been loitering across the street from the first shop now keeping pace with Faith from the other side of the street.
“Whacha got?” Faith asked when she joined Buffy and saw that her gaze was focused elsewhere. They both pretended to be looking in the shop window.
“That guy with the funky hat was waiting for you to come out, and he followed you here.”
“Huh, and the one in the hoody, pretending not to know him, followed you all the way down the street.”
“Guess we ought to say hi, huh?”
Without more discussion, the two slayers darted across the busy street too quickly for the men to realize they’d been caught until each had a very powerful, if feminine, hand on his bicep.
“You lookin’ for a good time?” Faith asked with her best slutty leer. “Why don’t we step in here and talk about it?” As she spoke, she was marching her captive into a nearby alley, closely followed by Buffy who was even less gentle with her captive.
“Why are you following me?” Buffy demanded, shaking her captive by the arm she hadn’t let up on.  “Who sent you?  Why shouldn’t I just call the cops on you?”
When his eyes lit up, Faith snorted. “Seriously, B. We know who sent them. They probably have the cops on speed-dial.”  She turned to her captive, now glowering at her and struggling to free his arm, saying, “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t break both your knees so you can’t stalk any other girls?”
Showing that he hadn’t really been briefed on what Slayers were, Faith’s captive attempted to pull away and hit her with his free fist. At the same time, Buffy’s captive tried to use his larger size and weight to push her against the alley wall. His surprise when she slid to one side and shoved him face first into the wall would have been funnier if he hadn’t dropped to the ground unconscious. She shrugged and turned her gaze to Faith.
Faith’s captive was lying on his back, glaring up at her and not quite sure how he’d ended up there. With her grip on the fist she’d stopped with one hand, Faith twisted that arm while she placed her foot on his neck.
“I think you broke yours, B,” Faith said, glancing at the other man’s inert body.
“Maybe,” Buffy said with a lack of concern that made Faith’s victim blanch. It was obvious that Faith’s threat to break both his knees was suddenly seeming much more credible to him.
Buffy walked over and glared down at him. “Why were you following us?” When he didn’t respond, Faith stepped a little harder on his throat and twisted the arm even more.
“Think you ought to speak up, asshole,” Faith said.
“We’re supposed to figure out what you’re doing when you aren’t together.”
“Well, that’s just nosy,” Buffy said with exaggerated indignation. “Don’t you think so, Faith?”
“Sounds wicked pervy to me. What with me being underage and all….”
He rolled his eyes toward his companion.  “Is he dead?” he managed to get out past Faith’s foot.
Buffy walked over close enough to see that the man she’d slammed into the wall was breathing.
“No.”  She turned back to the man on the ground. “But he could probably use an ambulance pretty soon. Guess you better answer our questions a little faster, huh?” She leaned down. “So, what have you learned about what we do when we aren’t together, huh?”
He tried to shrug, but gave it up when he couldn’t move the arm Faith was still twisting.
“You go to high school, and mostly spend time at home or at your watcher’s.  She just watches soap operas all day,” he almost sneered at Faith, but stopped himself with visible effort.
Faith snorted her lack of interest in his opinion. “Guess I need to start bringing guys home so he has something to talk about.”
Buffy looked offended. “Why didn’t you say we also slay vampires and demons? You know, those things your boss keeps sending after us.”
“We don’t go out at night. It’s somebody else’s job to watch—” He caught himself, but not before Buffy and Faith exchanged glances.
“What ‘somebody else’?” Buffy demanded while Faith took her foot off his neck and dragged him to him feet. When he didn’t respond, she shook him.
“Answer, asshole!”
“Mr. Trick or one of his boys,” he muttered. “They’re supposed to be watching you at night and trying to catch you alone.”
Faith laughed so hard, she lost her grip on the surprised man’s arm.
“What’s so funny about that?” he demanded. “Trick is a righteous nightmare.”
“What’s funny is, she dusted him last night. He’s not going to be watching anybody. And neither are his minions once we find them.”  Buffy was grinning as his face paled even more. “Good thing for you, we don’t kill humans… usually.”  She began to walk away. “Let’s go, Faith, we’re gonna be late for dinner.”
“Right. Don’t want your mom yelling at me before I’m even living there.” Faith turned her back on the men in the alley and followed Buffy out onto the street.  “See you around boys… if you’re really, really stupid.”
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