Debts VIII: Memory
by Te
July 1999

Disclaimers: If they were mine, I'd treat them a 
damned sight more responsibly.

Spoilers: None.

Summary: Reunion time.

Ratings Note: R for violence, implied f/f, 
disturbing imagery, and also disturbing 

Acknowledgments: To Rae and Woodinat for fine
audiencing, to Laura for putting up with a truly
frightening amount of whining, to Dawn Sharon
for many helpful suggestions...

Hey honey mine,
I was there all the time...

We're out in the middle of this huge crowd of 
people. Street fair in Little Italy. The air is so 
spicy I almost forget I'm in a city and breathe 
real deep. Meat and ozone.... the air has been 
thick and a little frightening since I got to 

I think I would've gotten out for health reasons
alone if I was mortal. Or maybe I wouldn't have

But Dru's right at my side, and she's smiling... 
It's dark, so no one can see that her eyes don't 
shine the right way. Only I know. It's a thrill, 
beyond everything else, even. It's like I'm walking 
around with a loaded gun with no safety and I'm 
just pointing it at the world.

Dru's got on a white dress. I thought I'd torn all
of them up, but she found one for tonight... she 
looked so beautiful when she came out from 
behind that screen I got us I couldn't even touch 
her, not really.

She just swayed on up to me, looked up at me 
and... looked. And I drowned in her eyes a hundred
thousand times and then she touched my cheek 
and I just sort of leaned into the touch.

She makes me growl but I can rarely make it come
out as more than a purr. She's beautiful.

But we're out here and we've been roaming, 
wandering. Back and forth. There's wine on the air.
Thick red stuff, way better than anything I ever 
drank in high school. I kinda wonder who's funding
this shindig.

I think the Boss would've liked it, even with the
booze. People running around laughing, eating. 
Little kids in pretty dresses -- though not as pretty
as my Drusilla's. This would really be his scene. 

"Faith, I can't decide what to get... it all smells so 

And it seems like she's taking in the street 
vendors -- who all suddenly turn to beam at 
*her* -- but I know she's taking in the whole 

I love watching her breathe... she only does it 
when she's very excited. I think... I think all the
information she takes in with her other senses 
is just too much, that breathing overloads her. 
I know she's swaying on her feet now... but 
when she's happy, she doesn't care about being 

And I love the way she falls into me when she 
sways. Every time... it's like she curls into my 
body. I'm shaped by Drusilla, new with every 
touch. It makes something bundle up in my 
throat. I have to be careful... it's clear she 
doesn't want a scene this time, so I have to 
hold on to my human face.

It's hard, but... there's something really hot 
about denying myself stuff like this when 
there's a point to it. 

And every time the bones ripple beneath my 
skin I get this hot-tight jab of fear and Dru 
looks over at me and smiles. 

She wants to be at the street fair, but she *also*
wants a riot.... I love her. 

I do. 

And she's moving up close to a pretzel vendor 
when it happens.

I first think it's arrows, but when two of them
fucking *punch* through her, one in her arm, 
one in her stomach, I know they're crossbow 

Way thicker than arrows, strong as stakes.

I get her bundled in my arms and I'm running
before I hear the screams. 

Not my Dru... she didn't scream. Just fell 
against me again, but this time her shoulder
slammed into me, nearly knocked me 

I run.

I hear something clatter to the pavement behind 
me, another bolt. I just run faster. Hit the dead 
end we usually both climb over but Dru isn't 
really with me right now, Dru can't climb and 
the thought of tossing her over makes me sick. 

Stupid mistake another fucking stupid mistake 
and I run back out into the street and I can 
fucking *feel* a thousand pairs of eyes on me 
and I know one of those pairs is the bastard 
trying to kill us but I have no *choice*.

And the screams fade for a moment before 
flaring up again. It's what tells me I've changed,
heartbeats before I feel it on my face. I'm too 
late, step behind, no more clatters but I can't 
trust that means anything.

I take off down another alley and this time I 
can get through. Dru's legs bump against a 
crate and she moans so quietly I can only feel 
it. Her eyes are closed, one arm is stuck out 
beneath her, swaying with that... that fucking 
*thing* sticking through it and I run and run 
and then I have to set Dru down for just a 
second, just a second...

It pushes the bolt in her belly a little further 
and her eyes fly open and her body arches and 
then she loses consciousness. I barely keep 
myself from howling but I know I have to take
another second to get the bolts out of her.

She won't fit down the manhole in my 
arms any other way...

Finally, we're down in the sewers and I take 
off again immediately. For a terrifying few 
seconds none of it looks familiar but then 
there's that part that looks like it's just a dip 
but is really a twenty foot drop and I barely 
manage to get Dru balanced in my arms 
before I run off the little cliff.

I've got her in my arms so I take every last 
jolt of impact in my legs. I think I hear 
something snap but I don't take any time, just
run and run and I get our door cycled open 
but before I can close it behind me hands 
catch me by the jaw and *jerk*.

I can smell him before I feel the first angle 
of the twist, do my best to send my head the 
other way without dropping Dru. Something 
cracks and my left arm gives out on me 
entirely, something in my legs too. I fold over 
but before I can go down completely I push 
back a little with my right leg and tumble us
both over, further into our home...

The home I found for us.

I've got her settled on the pillows I've left on 
the floor but the world is skewed weirdly and I
 can't really move. 

Instinct takes over and I grab my own head 
and *snap*. I'm screwed on tight again.

Not real tight, though. One good punch and --

The hit comes from behind.

Short sharp punch from behind and I can see
where a hole has been fucking *drilled* 
through from the abandoned sub-basement 
above us and I know this was planned. 

And I know it wasn't Spike that hit me, and
not just because I'm looking right at him 
while he looks down at me.

I know and I take another hit in exactly the 
same place and all of a sudden I'm hearing 
everything through this... this fucking pillow
of whatever *she* shattered because dead or
alive, it just fucking *has* to be that girly 
cologne shit.

I freeze up and she knows her cue.

"What's the matter, Faith? Aren't you happy 
to see your daughter?"

And then she's in my line of vision, crawling 
out from whatever she's been doing to Dru. 

The shift on her face... it's ugly but it's also 
so fucking compelling I can feel part of me 
trying to reach out.

And then I look past her torso and realize the 
reason she's shimmying up to me... 
worm-crawling up to... bulked up like some 
fucking... fucking thing that just *ends* and I 
keep my mouth shut.

"Oh... Oh, fuck Buffy, did I do that?"

And it sounds so stupid giggles bubble up out
of nowhere, but I manage to swallow them. 
It's too much. 

And look at her. Still right where the forces of 
Good command. 

Her skin is still more peach than dead somehow.
Her demon face... her demon face is perfect just
how it is. 

I feel the laughter yowling for release, but by 
then I can only pass out. 


I wake up muzzy to find Buffy straddling Dru and
her... her stumps just hang there. Her hips 
themselves aren't moving. She's tying up my Dru. 

I move toward her immediately, or try to. I'm 
trussed up like a fucking turkey. And, right on 
time, Spike gets a good one to my ribs and I'm 
flipped on my back, struggling and helpless. 

I curse and Buffy looks over then. She's not in 
game, and even though she doesn't look quite like 
my memory she doesn't look like anyone else,
either. She cut her hair at some point. Some 
dead stupid part of me wants to feel the spiky
ends --

Suddenly, after *weeks*, I hear that fucking buzz
and it tears through me that "she's lovely now 
yours now forever punish punish her she hurt 
the sire yours to punish --"

I shout for it to shut up, start slamming the back 
of my head against the floor and fuck it hurts 
before there's even impact. I only get in three 
slams before there's a thick arm under my jaw, 
another curling over my forehead.

"Shut up." Spike's voice, but he's not the one 
holding me. Buffy... swung over here. I feel 
sick again and I know it shows.

"Awww, Faith... don't you think I'm pretty 
anymore? Everything we do is the same, right? 
Wasn't that what you said?"

"You're pretty no matter what you do, B. 
Especially when you killed me."

Spike's eyes are on me again, not Dru. It's all I
can do --

"God, that was always the worst thing about 
you. You honestly *believe* you're the victim
in all this --"

"Fuck that, B -- we both know you'd have been
nowhere near my place that night if you 
hadn't decided to kill me for fucking *parts*. 
Slaying and killing, remember that?"

I can't even tell if that sounded good. The 
words don't mean anything anyway. It's... 
empty. Old, somehow.

Her arm tightens around my throat and I can't
get any more words out. She's so tight around 
me she'll break my neck if she fucking *flexes* 
but all I can really think about is what I left 
her to --

"A word of advice, Buffy -- long philosophical 
discussions about ethics are rarely a good idea 
when *you're* not the one tied up and inches 
from death."

She snarls at him. I can hear it. Feel it, too. 

I can't stop thinking I couldn't have planned 
revenge better if I'd been able to try. I know... 
I *know* there's just enough of my Buffy left to 
look at what the rest of her is and puke.

And then the arm that was around my head is 
gone and there's a stake pointed at my chest. 

From the edge of my vision I can see Spike 
moving toward Drusilla. I whipsaw in Buffy's 
arms reflexively but it doesn't do me any good.

Drusilla hasn't even twitched. He's going to kill 
her while she's unconscious... I can't really 
decide how much of what I feel is gratitude and 
how much is contempt. Is he afraid he'll 
remember it's *Dru* he's killing?

Fucker. I pray he remembers every night for 
the rest of his life. 

But I'm not going to watch her die.

I close my eyes and I still can't stop thinking 
about Buffy. 

I wonder if we'll be able to kill each other 
again in Hell.


End Notes: Lyrics stolen from "Reasons To Be
Beautiful" by Hole.