"It's depressing is what it is," she whispered as she bent to retrieve one of the flowers made out of streamers from the floor. The high school gym looked pretty nice, but standing there alone reminded Buffy that it was a gym in another place and time that altered her life forever. She was no longer Buffy Summers, Homecoming Queen and Trend Setter of Hemry High School. She did not even have a date for tonight, proving just how far she had fallen from the pedestal she had at one time been on.
All she had wanted was one night to not be the slayer, a chance to recapture the Buffy she used to be. She could hardly remember what that girl was like it had been so long since she had been her. She wished for the moment the others knew about Angel's being back because he would have taken her to the dance.
Angel was not the solution. In a way he was the problem. With Scott she had a chance at some normalcy, but even he thought she was a freak in the end. Faith would have known how to handle it. Faith could probably balance it all and leave no one the wiser that she led two lives.
Buffy released the fake flower, letting it fall to the gym floor before she turned to leave. She did not want to ride with her coupled off friends in a limo and listen to them talk about what a great night it had been. She and Cordelia had a near death experience, but the party must go on. She left, feeling a little better about the night knowing that Cordelia had not been crowned queen either. Neither of them won. They successfully split the votes so that a third person who probably never thought she had a chance won.
"At least there's that," Buffy said, letting it give her some consolation.
She walked toward The Bronze, thinking maybe she would run into Faith there. She wondered if Faith knew there had been an attempt on her life tonight. Would anyone have gone to tell her? Buffy sort of doubted it.
"Hey, B! Look at you, all spiffed up and nowhere to go." And there she was, showing up out of nowhere just when Buffy was thinking about her.
"Yeah, that's me. Always overdressing."
"No, you look good. Really."
"Thanks. Were you heading to The Bronze?"
"I was actually going to head back to my room, but I can deal with a change in plans. The night's still young and you look like you could use a good time."
"Yeah," she said.
"What happened? You get all dressed up and the guy stood you up or what?"
"He broke with me."
"No way. B! You let him get away with that?"
"What was I supposed to do? Beat him up until he changed his mind?" Faith's eyebrows arced up as her eyes met Buffy's as if saying it was a good thought. And it was. She had wanted to hit him, something, to get him to realize that she was not crazy. "I could have done it."
"Of course you could have."
"But he would have told everyone and then they'd all think I was weird."
"So it's probably just better I went stag."
"And now you're just agreeing with me to be nice."
"No problem, B. So, what did you have in mind? Wearing that dress you couldn't want to do any vamps tonight."
"I've slayed vampires dressed nicer than this," Buffy said. "Of course, I died, so I probably shouldn't."
"Wouldn't want to ruin the digs."
"No, we wouldn't want that."
"So, what's the deal? Why are you out here by yourself?"
"Just had enough of being the fifth wheel."
"I hear that. But, we're destined to be the odd man out, B. When it comes down to it, it's always going to be just us."
"Now that just sounds kind of creepy, Faith."
"And kind of kinky, but I didn't mean it like that. No offense, but you're not my type."
"None taken, I assure you," Buffy said with a smile. "Thanks for taking my mind off things. I get kind of grumpy when someone tries to kill me."
"Yeah, doesn't that just bring down a girl's night?"
"You know it!"
"But you're alive and well, they didn't get you."
"I was lucky."
"You know what you're doing, B. You got out of it, no need to say it was luck or skill or whatever it was. So you're dressed like a queen with no place to go. Who cares?"
"Okay, enough with the dwelling on death stuff. Let's have some fun."
"Count me in with that. Maybe we can snag us a couple of good looking studs and really make it a memorable night."
"Faith," Buffy said. She was still reeling over Scott's untimely break up and the fact that Angel was back. Her love life was not easy.
"Okay. We dance, I'll screen for good looking guys, and you can feel like a third wheel until I leave you behind to get me some one-on-one action."
Buffy rolled her eyes. She was not sure how much of Faith was real and how much was bravado. She had a tough life, Buffy knew that nothing had come easy for Faith. Buffy's friends were the reason she was alive today. Faith did not have anyone and viewed Buffy's friends as just that and not hers.
"So long as you promise not to get mad when I bail on you and leave you by yourself. But I know you can get yourself home."
"Yeah, I think I can manage."
"All right then. Let's go!"
Story © Susan Falk/apckrfan/phantomroses.com