PART FIVE: 17th March 2004
Chapter One: Knock-Down Drag-Out
Okay, so this was a pointless exercise if ever Buffy had taken part in one. Dancing around Faith while they tried to not hit each other but make it look like they were hitting each other? What was the point of that? Hence the pointlessness.
The situation would be a lot more pointy if Buffy could beat the crap out of her sister-slayer in the name of newbie-demonstration, thereby relieving a little of her own pent up aggression at the same time. But no. Giles wanted them to pretend to beat the crap out of each other, which had absolutely no point.
She was even repeating herself in her mind now, she was that bored. Even watching the way Faith's breasts jiggled about inside her sports bra as she too went through the motions had only made her more resentful of this training exercise.
After all, what were the new slayers going to learn just by watching Buffy and Faith pretend to kick ass? They should be teaching them just how hard to hit, not how to pull the punch or miss the kick. Self-defense was something they would learn when a vampire tried to bite them, not by watching the senior Slayers prance around each other like super-hero ballet dancers. It was embarrassing!
Faith rolled her eyes at Buffy, probably just as bored, and Buffy gave a little shrug back as they exchanged gentle jabs with point blank accuracy.
Giles stood from his seat behind the circle of new Slayers and cleared his throat. "Girls, watch particularly for how Buffy and Faith control their center of balance at all times. This is highly important. There is no point at all in mastering a high roundhouse if you are going to fall over immediately afterwards."
Out of the corner of her eye, Buffy could see the new slayers looking at each other and trying to work out what roundhouses had to do with fighting. Green wasn't the word for these fifteen year olds. Had she ever been that bad?
Giles called out to the senior Slayers: "Continue with what you are doing, there is a phone call I must make but I'll be back shortly." He left the training barn.
"Yes sir!" She heard Faith mutter under her breath.
Buffy sighed and let her mind drift as her body continued to dance around her counterpart; it wasn't like she had to concentrate to avoid injury.
She remembered the conversation she'd had on the phone just before she'd come to this so-called training session. Toni had called to check everything was still on for that night; or at least that was why she'd originally called. After Buffy had assured her she was still looking forward to it, they had found a dozen other things to talk about. Buffy would probably still be on the phone with her now if Giles hadn't clucked his tongue and tapped his watch.
A sudden blow to her chin derailed her pleasant thoughts. It had been softly delivered, but with enough force to turn her head slightly. She glared at Faith.
"Sorry B, I thought you looked like you needed waking up." Faith grinned at her, feet still dancing around the centre of the chalk circle that was the sparring ring.
"I don't need to be awake to play this silly game," Buffy retorted irritably.
"You wanna make it less silly?" Faith's eyes were sparkling.
Buffy caught her meaning immediately and couldn't help the tiny shiver of excitement the idea brought. She shook it off though. "Giles won't be happy if he comes in here and finds you injured, Faith."
"Oh yeah? Think you can take me?" Faith asked, still with that hyped up grin.
"Yes, and I don't need to provoke the wrath of Giles to prove it, so why don't we just go back to playing 'let's pretend?'" Buffy emphasized by lightly kicking Faith's hip.
The movement was pretty slow on purpose so that the young Slayers sitting around outside the chalk ring could see how she lifted her leg and where she connected with Faith, and how she kept her balance after that contact.
What it wasn't supposed to do was give Faith the chance to grab her calf and force her to hop forward.
"Come on B, what are the girls going to learn from this?" Faith asked quietly, voicing what Buffy had thought before. "Let's show 'em what being a Slayer really means."
Buffy's leg was released and Faith relaxed into her natural fight stance. The sight of it made Buffy's knees a little weak, but she didn't want to have that feeling. She wanted to go back to the prancing around so she could think of something that wasn't the brunette raising a competitive eyebrow her way.
"Fine," With a sigh Buffy gave in, dropping into her own comfortable stance. "So are we fighting to the death?"
Faith chuckled. "I was thinking we just take it up fifty percent, you were right about Giles kicking my ass if I send you home in an ambulance."
Buffy moved first with a side kick aimed at Faith's head. As the brunette ducked, Buffy kept up the kicks until one finally connected with Faith's forehead, pushing her backwards a few feet.
"The only way I'll be going home in an ambulance is if I spend the night by your hospital bed and a nice paramedic offers me a ride in the morning."
There were some gasps of awe from the assembled trainees as Faith retaliated with a spinning kick. Buffy tried to step out of the way, but the toe of Faith's sneaker caught her painfully on the elbow.
Shaking off the pain, Buffy rushed forward with a series of punches aimed at Faith's face, all of which were lightning fast.
Faith was forced to fall back, but she skilfully slapped the punches away, still grinning.
"That's sweet of you B, offering to play nurse like that, but all the tubes the doctors are gonna have to stick you with are gonna ruin the allure of the uniform." Faith ducked under another swing and pushed Buffy hard with both hands, making her stumble a step or two. "I think we should leave playing dress-up until after they release you, what do you think?"
"If we're talking dress-up, don't you think I should get a prison guard uniform? Wouldn't that be more appropriate?"
"Ooh, low blow," Faith chuckled, dropping to sweep Buffy's feet from under her.
Buffy jumped high to avoid it. "Just saying."
Their attacks were getting faster now, too fast for the newbies to learn anything about technique, but the blood was rushing through Buffy's veins and that was way more satisfying than winning "Teacher of the Year" award. She could tell Faith was getting a buzz from it too. The color was high in her cheeks and that grin was not giving an inch.
Faith swayed to one side just in time to make Buffy's foot kick empty air. "Getting old, B? Not long ago I�d have been flat on my back by now."
Faith pushed Buffy's foot away trying to overbalance her again, but Buffy went with it and spun around, her foot fully connecting with the side of Faith's head this time. "Time was F, I wanted you flat on your back. Now? Not so much."
Faith danced out of the way of another kick, rubbing the side of her head. "You trying to hurt me Buffy?"
"You're the one who wanted to step it up a notch." Buffy pointed out.
Faith shrugged away from a punch. "I didn't mean the sparring, but whatever." She threw a combination of punches herself, forcing Buffy to throw her arms up quick and jerk her head back.
Catching Faith's wrist, Buffy pulled her in closer, too close for Faith's long reach to be effective. "I know what you meant Faith, I'm just not going there." She twisted the other Slayer's arm just hard enough to apply pressure.
"Yeah, well that's getting old too." Faith kept her light tone and tried to pull her arm away.
"Not for me it's not." Buffy twisted the arm further and lifted it slightly.
Faith tucked her head and rolled forward, releasing the tension on her arm. Landing on her back she pulled her arm hard towards her, making Buffy stumbled forward.
Buffy let go of Faith's wrist and jumped over the brunette.
The watching slayers clapped.
Buffy had almost forgotten they were there. Spinning around, she was just in time to see Faith jump back to her feet.
The Chosen Two paced around each other, both panting hard as they tried to glare the other down.
Buffy kicked out at Faith's head again, missing by a hair.
"You know, the more you try to act like you don't give a shit, the harder it is to actually believe it." Faith came back with her own spinning kick.
Buffy somersaulted backwards to avoid it, and there was more clapping.
"And that would only be a problem for me if I cared what you believe."
"Then I guess you have a problem.: Faith replied cockily as she rushed Buffy, letting fly with a rapid succession of punches, all of which only narrowly missed her face.
Buffy didn't bother to answer as she put all her energy into defending herself. This wasn't the first time that Faith had brought up Valentine's night, albeit indirectly, but that was a conversation Buffy just couldn't get through.
If Faith had wanted to talk about it because she'd had a change of heart, then Buffy would be right there with her. But Faith only wanted to talk about it to make herself feel better, and why should Buffy help with that?
So she had pretty much been avoiding Faith for the past month, not completely, but the blossoming Slayer friendship had definitely died a sudden death that night. Faith was still trying hard to forge a closeness between them, but Buffy knew that would never work now, at least not until she was over Faith once and for all. Maybe after a couple of hundred years they could grab a coffee and catch up. For the time being though, she was keeping it to light conversation and group activities only.
Buffy ducked under a strike and ran her shoulder into Faith's middle, tipping her up and throwing her over her back, garnering much loud approval from the young spectators.
Faith rolled with it, coming back up already kicking.
"Y'know Buff, I had this shrink in prison who told me that talking about pent up shit was good for you, what do you think?" Her voice was low enough that the new slayers couldn't hear their conversation over the sounds of combat.
Buffy chuckled darkly as she ducked a flying roundhouse. Giles would have been proud with the way Faith kept her balance . . . well, right up until Buffy swept her balancing leg out from under her, causing Faith to land on her ass.
"There's only one way you're going to get me laying on your couch Faith, and psychotherapy isn't it."
Faith jumped back to her feet. "Yeah? And how do you think your girlfriend would feel about that?"
Hearing the word 'girlfriend' gave Buffy a slightly not-unpleasant squirmy feeling in her tummy; her blush was hidden beneath the rush of blood from the fight.
"How do you think your boyfriend would feel if he knew you fantasized about me in a nurse's uniform?" Buffy shot back, blocking a barrage of left and right hooks.
"Doesn't matter, 'cause I was only joking." Faith's last right hook boxed Buffy on the jaw, making her teeth rattle. "Oops." She apologized with a grimace.
Buffy shook it off as it had only stung a little; the surprise of a blow getting through her blocks hurting her more.
"I was joking too; you don't even have a couch!"
"No you weren't." Faith smirked at her.
"Of course I was, your imaginary couch couldn't be further from my fantasies."
"So you're still getting mileage out of the stairwell fu - Holy shiii..."
Faith spun in the air once from the force of Buffy's crescent kick before landing hard on the floor face down. "Fuckin' hell!" She groaned, her voice muffled by her hands and the wooden floor.
"Oops." Buffy bit her lip. "Are you okay," she asked the prone slayer. "Can you move at all?"
"You better pray that I fucking can't." Faith growled as she tentatively shifted her head from side to side.
"See, this is exactly the reason why I don't think we should talk about it." Buffy quipped to hide her guilt.
"I'm starting to agree." Groaned Faith before her head hit the floor again.
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