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Damned If I Don't, Damned If I Do
Part Three of The Damned Series


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PART NINE: 5th July to 23rd September 2004
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Chapter Twenty Seven: Secrets and Truths

"You have to be quieter," Buffy whispered urgently into Faith's ear.

"Hey, I'm not the one who threw me against the freakin' door," Faith complained as she pulled Buffy's top over her head. "Don't get why we can't do it on the bed anyway."

"It's Toni's bed. It's bad enough we're doing this in her room. Very, very bad, in fact. I'm not defiling her bed too."

They'd been slaying that night, Faith showing her around the Roman cemeteries under a big, bright full moon. Faith had walked her home afterwards and Buffy had invited her up for coffee...

They had made the coffee, because Dawn and Andrew were still awake watching TV on the couch, but it was going cold on Toni's desk as they got further and further into fooling around.

"Well, you keep saying you wanna do it in a bed," Faith reasoned as she lost her own shirt to Buffy's hands. "And there's one right there. Not like she'll ever know."

"I'll know," she muttered back, working on Faith's pants now. "So it's not happening."

"Yeah, it is." Faith's hands slid under the swell of her ass and picked her up. "Hard sitting on your face against a door."

"Tough." Giggling, Buffy struggled in her arms as Faith walked to the foot of the mattress. "Put me down!"

Faith complied and Buffy fell back on top of the covers. She pushed Faith with both feet to stop her from following.

She jumped back up as Faith hit the bedroom door again with a soft thud. They both said "Shhh!" giggling like kids.

Buffy pinned her against the door once more. "Stop being difficult or I'll send you home without your happy."

Faith grinned, turning them so that their positions were reversed. "No you won't, because then you'll miss out on me doing this."

She dropped to her knees and unbuttoned Buffy's pants, pulling them down her legs and kissing up, down, all over her thighs as she did so.

"Good point," Buffy murmured, leaning back against the door, one hand lovingly stroking Faith's hair as her arousal heightened.

The phone rang in the other room but it was quiet, far away compared to their noisy breathing and the wet kissy sounds Faith was making as she slurped her way up Buffy's inner thighs. Besides, who would be calling her at this hour? It was nearly midnight. The machine could take it.

"Oh, that's nice," she breathed as Faith's nose nuzzled against her panties.

"Gets better," Faith promised, catching the top of the underwear between her teeth and pulling the material down slowly.

The sudden knock on the door sounded really, really loud. Probably because it was right next to her ear! Buffy jumped so hard she literally fell over the top of Faith's head.

"Smargle flucksag wraghlesh," Faith shouted through the tight panty gag.

Buffy didn't try and translate it; she could imagine the gist.

"One second," she shouted in panic as she tried to roll off of Faith. "Oh God, Oh God!"

Eventually they were free of each other, but neither of them was less panicked. Faith rubbed at her red mouth with one hand while grabbing her top with the other. Buffy stayed on the floor as she pulled her underwear and pants back up.

"What is it?" she called out, knowing it sounded suspicious because if there wasn't anything going on that shouldn't be she wouldn't be speaking through a door.

"Willow's on the phone," Dawn, sounding a little uncertain, called back.

"Can you tell her to call back? I'm sleeping." Faith punched her hard in the leg as she gestured frantically at herself. "I mean, not sleeping, talking. Talking to Faith; about important slayer stuff. Not to be disturbed stuff!"

There was muttering on the other side of the door that Buffy assumed was Dawn talking to Willow and then Dawn was calling through again.

"Willow says it's really important too. Something about the prophesy."

Buffy groaned inwardly, closing her eyes for a second. "Okay, tell her I'll be there in a minute."

If she was calling this late surely it had to be important and they had to be due a breakthrough by now. It had been easy all week to pretend there weren't darker forces at work and her reasons for being in Rome was to uncover them, but duty had apparently called her back and boinking Faith couldn't stand in the way of saving her soul... or damning it, whatever.

"Are you kidding me?" Faith asked softly as she re-buttoned her pants.

Buffy did the same and answered just as softly. "I have to take this, but you can wait in here until I finish. Can't say how discreet it'll look now though."

"Can't I come out there?" Faith helped her up. "That'll make it less weird."

Buffy hesitated, but there was blatantly only one answer she could give.

"Sorry, no."

"Why not?"

While mentally killing Willow for putting her in this situation, Buffy pushed Faith against the door again and kissed her. She put as much feeling - and tongue - into it as she possibly could, hoping it would quell Faith's curiosity. She ran her fingers down Faith's cheek as their lips slowly parted.

"Why not?" Faith asked again, albeit slightly dazed this time.

Buffy sighed. "I have to speak to Willow in private."

"Why? Is this prophesy about me? About me and you?"

Buffy pulled her top over her head and then tidied her hair with her fingers, not looking at Faith.

"I'll take that as a yes, then."

Buffy put a hand comfortingly on her arm. "Look, Effie, let me take the call and then..."

Faith pulled the door open and left the room. Buffy sighed before following her. She hadn't even thought about the prophesy being a bone of contention between them, which was stupid considering it was obviously going to be a major one at some point. Maybe if she'd had a little more time it would have occurred to her, but she hadn't been expecting Willow to call while they were in the middle of you know what.

She arrived in the living room just in time to see Faith pull the phone from a protesting Dawn's hands.

"Faith, no!" she tried, but it was too late.

"You wanna let me in on the big news you have about my future?"

Buffy held her breath. Dawn gave her a sorry look, but this wasn't Dawn's fault; it was all hers. Andrew looked worried, sitting forward on the couch like he was about to leap into action, but wasn't sure what action to leap to. Buffy could relate.

"Red? Will? Willow!"

Faith threw the phone so that it bounced hard off the couch between Andrew and Dawn and landed a foot away on the floor. Then she rounded on Buffy.

"Looks like our friend doesn't want to speak to me. What's that about, huh?"

Buffy stared at her, not knowing what to say.

"Fine!" Faith whirled away from her. "I'll go and let you call her back in peace."

All three of them watched her storm to the front door in silence, but she only looked back at Buffy for a beat before pulling it open and leaving.

"Call Will," Buffy said, already moving to the door. "I'll be back in just a minute."

She found Faith waiting by the elevator doors; thank God it was broken again!

"I'm sorry," she said as she approached.

"Sorry for what?" Faith pushed the button again.

Buffy thought about possible answers to that and decided to go for broke. She had insisted on no lying between them, even though she knew - although she had forgotten at the time - that no lying was impossible. If she wanted to keep Faith's trust now though, she had to give at least a little away.

"The prophesy. It's about the baby."

"The baby neither of us is pregnant with?"

"Yeah that one."

"I thought Rona..."

"She's not," Buffy cut her off. "So that leaves us two open for motherhood again."

"But we're not either," Faith said like she needed reminding.

"I know. But that's the only prophesy that's up in the air right now so I assume that's what Willow is calling about."

Faith pressed the button again. "So why can't I sit in on the question and answer session?"

Buffy took a deep breath while she tried to come with a suitable answer.

"That didn't sound good."

Buffy frowned. "I didn't say anything."

Faith gave her a knowing look and smacked the button with her palm. "What's keeping this thing?"

"It's broken." Buffy caught Faith's arm as she went to turn away. "Please don't storm off."

Faith shrugged off her hand but stayed put. "You gonna tell me anything?"

"I can't."

"Bull."

"It's not. I've told you as much as I can."

"You've hardly told me anything."

Buffy shrugged helplessly. "Okay, you want me to be completely honest with you?"

"If it's not too much trouble."

"Fine." She crossed her arms as she prepared to give Faith the hard truth. "You can't listen to the conversation with Willow because it's supposed to be a secret."

"A secret," Faith repeated, frowning. "You getting me a surprise baby for my birthday, B?"

Buffy ducked her head, trying not to smile at that. "There's stuff you can't know."

"About what?"

"It's for your own good," she tried next.

"Yeah, Blondie, I'm a grown up. I get to judge what's good for me."

"Yeah, but if I tell you so you can judge it, you'll already know; so by the time you decide I'm right, it'll be too late."

"What?"

"Please, just forget it." Buffy stepped closer, sliding her hands over Faith's shoulders reassuringly as she leaned in to kiss her.

"Not here," Faith snapped quietly.

Buffy pulled her hands back as if Faith burned her and shot backwards. "Sorry."

Faith sighed impatiently. "Tell me or I'm gone."

Buffy took another step back, crossing her arms again. "I guess you're gone then."

She held Faith's stare firmly while fantasizing about slaying Troy in many colorful ways over and over and over.

She could just tell Faith everything that she knew. Everything about the prophesy, everything about Troy's apparent yen for the mystical baby, everything about Troy's deal with the devil to get her into Heaven.

If she was just holding out to keep Faith safe, why the hell was she risking everything by sleeping with her as often as possible?

Because this would hurt Faith, that was why, and not just in an afterlife kind of way. If she told her now that Troy had been using her to get their baby it would be devastating for her. She trusted him. More than she trusted Buffy, it seemed. The big Heaven-shaped reward she was going to get would seem inconsequential against the pain of betrayal right now.

That was if Faith even believed her. She might think this was just the latest in not a short line of tactics Buffy had used to try and pry her from Troy's clutches. And, truthfully, if it wasn't for the 'get out of hell' free card, Buffy would have told her everything for that very reason just as soon as the nightmares about volcanoes had faded to just one or two a week.

"I can't tell you everything," she repeated softly. "So please don't ask me to."

"Tell me one thing?" Faith asked, shoving her hands in her pockets and rocking back on her heels slightly. "Is what you're hiding from me really worth fucking up what we have together?"

Buffy shook her head. "No. And I really hope you don't think it is either."

Faith nodded thoughtfully, apparently satisfied just enough with that answer; and then she added. "You'll tell me whatever the hell it is before our kid turns twenty-one though, right?"

Buffy grinned. "I'm still hoping there is no baby. My fingers are crossed that our 'experts' have the word for baby mixed up with the word for ironing board or something. Apparently it's a possibility."

"Okay, well if it's an ironing board, you can be the pregnant one."

"Fine, but you have to teach it to ride its first bike."

"Sure. Stick some training wheels on; give it a push, its riding a bike." Faith was grinning too now. "Be a damn sight easier than giving birth to the thing."

"Okay, you can be responsible for taking it to school and then you can field all the questions about why its classmates call it a freak for looking so different." Buffy countered, not to be outdone.

"Hey, don't call my ironing board a freak!" Faith poked her playfully in the ribs. "'Sides, I'll take him to laundry school. He'll fit right in."

"Laundry school?" Buffy squirmed out of the way as she caught Faith's hand and held on to it. "And how do you know it's gonna be a boy?"

Faith just poked her with her other hand, pulling it back too fast each time for Buffy to snag. "Easter Bunny told me so."

Buffy chuckled softly, remembering this wasn't all a big joke, but potentially really real. She had the urge to ask Faith what she would do about Troy if either of them did get the other pregnant, but it felt like the kind of question that could blow up in her face and Faith had only just started smiling again.

She finally grabbed Faith's hand. "Aha!"

"Aha yourself," Faith said, bumping her body lightly into Buffy's before pulling her hands free and backing off. "Go talk about me to Willow before she gets as suspicious as your sister probably is."

"Yeah, I probably should," she admitted, but stayed watching Faith as she sauntered backwards towards the stairs. "But, we're okay?"

"Sure." Faith shrugged offhand. "Long as I don't find out you're keeping me in the dark to screw me over."

"I wouldn't do that."

Faith nodded slowly, still looking a little dubious even as she said, "Then we're fine."

Buffy smiled in relief. "Good."

"Serena wants to meet in the morning to talk bachelorette parties. Think you can make it?"

"I guess."

She had mixed feelings about the party. On the one hand she wanted to give Faith a fantastic night; on the other she wanted to pretend it wasn't even happening. She wanted to let Serena handle it all so she didn't have to think about it, but she was also jealous that the posh Italian woman was horning in on her territory. Ambiguous feelings aside, though, she would be at that meeting, same as she would be at the party - she would just try and pretend they were throwing it for Faith's birthday instead.

"We can do something special after. Just the two of us."

Buffy grinned. "I wouldn't miss it then."

Faith smiled, gave her a nod and then started down the stairs fast.

She watched until Faith turned the corner and then let herself back into the apartment, groaning, "Why do I think something special means Faith roasting me on a spit while she grills me for answers?"

"Because you and Faith have a really kinky sex life?" Dawn asked, overhearing her as she held out the phone.

"Me and Faith don't have a sex life let alone a kinky one," she lied easily as she took it. "I'll be lucky if we even have a friendship after that. Did you get Willow back?"

"I'm here." She heard from the phone and raised it to her ear.

"Sorry about that, Will. You just called at a really bad time."

"So I gathered." Willow sounded slightly accusing, but she didn't pursue it and Buffy kept her mouth firmly shut. "Is Faith okay? I didn't mean to hang up on her but I panicked."

"She'll live. So how are you and what do you have for me?" Buffy asked, wanting the subject off of Faith, or at least as much as it could be. "Shall I put you on speaker phone?"

"No, put me on your web cam."

"Okay." She frowned at the phone. "How do I get a web cam on here?"

"No, silly," Willow giggled. "I mean, IM me. That way we can talk more freely."

"I'll do it," Andrew offered, getting up and going to the computer.

"I'm a twenty-first century girl with a net-geek as a best friend! How did I end up so technologically challenged?" she griped playfully.

"Because you have a net-geek as a best friend so you never had to learn this stuff," Willow reassured her. "And we're all fine apart from the shock and the growing dread."

Shock and dread didn't sound good, but it did sound like they finally had something worth getting her teeth into. It would be welcome if it wasn't almost certainly going to put some kind of glitch into her budding relationship with Faith. Still, the reason they called it duty was because it was usually something you wouldn't do through choice and if it was time to suck it up, suck it up she would.

"And Xander," she asked casually while she waited for Andrew to get things ready. "He okay?"

"Yep. He says the change of scenery is nice, but don't worry, he'll be back from Mexico in time to come to Faith and Troy's wedding."

'Nice touch', Buffy thought, wondering for the first time if Troy was having the house in Cleveland watched.

Willow obviously thought it was a possibility if she was making excuses for his absence, but would he feel any need to go to those extremes? Maybe he thought Buffy was in Rome to distract him while the Scoobies mounted a surprise attack from America. Well, he wouldn't be totally wrong, would he? She suddenly felt worried for her friends and wished she could hurry them over sooner, despite the fact that their presence was going to make it that much harder to sneak around with Faith. She almost laughed out loud as she realized - probably foolishly - that she wasn't worried the wedding itself would make it harder.

"I called Angel too," Willow was saying, his name jolting her from her thoughts. "But... but apparently Fred died recently so... Harmony's going to get him to call me... sometime."

Buffy paused, Faith pushed out of her thoughts for the first time all week with the unexpected blow.

"I'm sorry, Will, I know you two were kinda close."

"Not really, but she was a good person. It's sad, you know?"

She'd only met Fred for a short time, between Sunnydale becoming a crater and heading to Cleveland the long way round, but she nodded and softly said, "Yeah."

Faith came back into her head again with the question of who was going to walk her down the aisle now if Angel was grieving. Not that he had been asked yet, but Buffy had been automatically assuming he would say yes. Perhaps Faith would want Giles to do it. Or even Xander. Or maybe one of Buffy's other feelers would turn up something. Time was running out though.

Andrew had the computer all set up now so she made her way over. Dawn disappeared out onto the balcony and came back awkwardly carrying two of the dining chairs which she set either side of the computer chair.

"We're ready," Buffy said into the phone.

"Gotcha. Speak to you in a... now."

As Andrew moved over and Buffy sat directly in front of the computer she both heard and saw Willow put the phone down. She did the same and returned Willow's little wave. Kennedy was there also and Giles was dragging a chair into sight.

"Must be serious if you coaxed Giles in front of a web cam." Buffy grinned. "Didn't you once tell me they steal a little bit of your soul, Giles?"

"Not that I recall," he smirked. "It's good to see you, Buffy, even through this contraption."

"Well, in a couple more weeks you'll see me in the flesh and this'll all just be a distant nightmare. So what do you have for us?"

"We have a new theory," Kennedy said immediately. "Troy's the father."

Buffy just blinked, taking a second to digest the fast news. It didn't go down well, sitting hard on her chest.

"What?" she finally whispered. "No, no way. That's impossible."

Willow was glaring at her girlfriend for her abruptness, but turning back, she said softly, "He's a Greek god, Buffy. They produce heroes all the time."

Giles hesitantly spoke next, , "And we have new evidence that suggests this to be true."

"Yeah," Kennedy agreed. "And him collecting all these ancient prophetic relics is like a big neon arrow pointing at him if you ask me."

Buffy wanted to say she didn't ask her, nor did she want her opinion on the matter, but that was just fear talking. Troy and Faith having a baby together was even scarier than her and Faith having a baby together, and a hundred percent more likely, what with the interlocking baby making equipment they had. This was bad. Wasn't it enough that they were together, that they were getting married, now they were gonna have a child too? That made them far too permanent for Buffy's liking.

"I'd rather be a mommy than an auntie."

She didn't mean to say it out loud, but a glance showed that Willow, Giles and even Kennedy were looking at her sympathetically.

"It does make more sense," Dawn said awkwardly.

Andrew just nodded. "I thought maybe... but I didn't want to be the first one to say."

"No." She tried to find a way to disprove the theory. "They've been sleeping together for months and months. Surely if he was going to impregnate her to fulfill this prophesy, it would have happened already."

"What if he has to get all the mythical stuff first?" Kennedy suggested.

"Plus these things normally have to be done at a pretty specific time," Willow said. "Not getting pregnant, obviously, that can happen at any time. But prophesy fulfillment usually only happens when the right stars align and celestial bodies converge and stuff. Right, Giles?"

"Usually that is correct, yes."

"Does a celestial body converging with Faith's body count?" Kennedy grinned.

"Not helping," Buffy snapped.

Willow stifled her own grin. "Well a lot of that stuff can be metaphorical anyway, but if I had to guess, I'd guess we should be looking for big events in Troy's calendar."

Giles agreed. "Something of this magnitude would most likely need a certain amount of formal ritual and symbolic sacrifice to pull off."

There was silence in Toni's apartment for over a minute as they all thought about it.

"Big event like getting married?" Kennedy asked cautiously.

"A marriage ceremony is about as ritual as you can legally get these days," Willow said reluctantly.

"It would fit," Giles mused before leaning out of sight and coming back with a book to look through. Buffy had a feeling it wasn't because he was bored.

"Faith's wearing white!" she blurted suddenly. On the monitor, the other three frowned at her a little. "Virgins are supposed to wear white. Virgins that are gonna give it up for the first time on their wedding night," she clarified impatiently.

Willow's eyes went wide. "And Faith is about as far from virgin as you can get without... no, wait, she is as far from virgin as you can get."

"Hey!" Buffy snapped on Faith's behalf.

Willow just chuckled.

"Well that has symbolic sacrifice written all over it then," Dawn said from beside her.

Buffy nodded frantically. "She's symbolically sacrificing her virginity after a big formal ritual. That's the night it's going to happen. She's gonna get pregnant on her wedding night. We have to stop it!"

"How do we stop her wedding night?" Andrew asked, probably echoing everyone's thoughts. "I mean, it's her wedding night. That's not something you can mess with without a really good reason."

"I have a good reason!" Buffy almost wailed.

"Yeah, but Faith doesn't know that," Andrew pointed out.

"Can't we just tell her everything?" Kennedy asked.

"Yeah, 'cause if we did, she probably wouldn't even marry him," Dawn said. "Which would be happy for you too," she added, giving Buffy a smile, then she frowned. "Not so much for Toni though."

"Forget about Toni!" Kennedy insisted.

"No!" Buffy snapped. "We're not forgetting about Toni! She's my girlfriend!" And such a great girlfriend I am. "And we can't tell Faith any of this either."

"Why not?" Willow and Andrew asked at the same time, while Kennedy just gave her a slightly suspicious look.

"Because..." she hesitated for a moment. "Because Troy forbid it."

"Since when do you do what Troy says?" Kennedy asked, still suspicious.

"Since he told me Faith's soul hangs in the balance." She paused to be smited, or volcanoed. Neither happened. "He wasn't big on the specifics, but he made it clear that me interfering with his plans and coming between them would go badly for Faith's future."

"She should know what kind of fiancÚ she has then," Kennedy said.

Dawn nodded. "Surely that's just all the more reason to tell her."

Buffy shook her head. "No, not if it puts Faith in danger."

"I agree with Buffy," Willow said.

"As do I," Giles said. "Faith and Buffy's safety must be paramount, but we still have to prevent this prophesy from happening. From even the little more we have learned today it is clear that this baby must not be conceived."

"Yeah," Willow nodded. "If only half of it's true it's bad news for the whole world."

Buffy wanted to ask exactly what they had learned, but right now the focus had to be on stopping it. She'd learned enough about this kid's future from Quantiaro to know it wasn't going to be rosy, and now she wasn't going to be a part of the kid's biological family she wanted nothing more than to crush it before it was real. She also hoped now that if it did come to pass, it really was an ironing board.

"So how do we stop it?" asked Andrew, looking from Buffy to the monitor and back again. "How do we purposely ruin the happiest night of Faith's life without her knowing?"

Buffy winced at his choice of words. She didn't want to ruin the happiest night of Faith's life! Unless she could ruin it with something better. Now all she had to do was figure out how to convince Faith to spend her wedding night with her instead of her new husband. Something she couldn't say no to and Troy couldn't dispute.

"We have to stage a demon attack," she said. "Something local so Faith and I are the obvious Slayers to prevent it and something big enough that it needs the two of us all night."

"It might work," Giles allowed. "If, that is, we can find demons who are willing to play-act and die for our ruse."

"Plus if Faith figures out it's a ruse she's gonna be way mad," Dawn said.

"So what? We round up enough demons to cause a big threat and then set them on innocent people?" Kennedy asked.

"We can't go around rounding up demons," Willow said reasonably. "Look what happened when the Initiative did it."

"I could summon some," Andrew offered.

Buffy turned in her seat to look at him. "What do you mean?"

"I mean I could summon some demons on her wedding night. I haven't done any summoning in a while, but I'm pretty sure I can still do it if I try," Andrew explained. Everyone was giving him their undivided attention now and he grew more excited as he expanded on his idea. "In fact, I could probably summon one right from the reception if I have two minutes alone with my pan-pipe..." Kennedy snorted and he shot her a hurt look. "...Then if we can find a way to make him run away, I can summon another one a little further off and then another one a little further away than that and so on."

"That would minimize the threat to the public," Giles said.

"And it would keep Buffy and Faith on the move," Dawn added. "Can you go all night, Andrew?"

Kennedy snorted again and even Buffy cracked a smile, but she said, "He wouldn't need to. Three or four should do the trick if they're summoned far enough apart and we can keep them running."

"Can you summon a particular species, Andrew, or is it like a lucky dip?" Willow asked.

"If I have everything I need I can be pretty specific."

"In that case we can probably keep them running, or chasing anyway," Kennedy said. "We just have to figure out what their red rag is."

"Then it sounds as though we have a plan," Giles smiled.

Buffy nodded. They had a plan alright. A plan to spoil Faith's wedding. She should have felt okay about that, but she didn't. It just made her feel like she needed a shower. Even though it was for the greater good, wrecking Faith's special day just seemed so wrong; especially after all the work they had put in together to make it happen.

They would still be getting married though. It wasn't as if she was preventing the ceremony itself from taking place. It would only be afterwards that was messed up. They could still eat, still cut the cake, still have their first dance and then the demons could crash the party.

"Yeah, we have a plan," she said softly. And Faith had been right; she was keeping her in the dark to screw her over. "Sorry, baby."


Chapter Twenty Eight

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Part Nine Quick-Jump:

Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen || Chapter Fourteen || Chapter Fifteen || Chapter Sixteen || Chapter Seventeen || Chapter Eighteen || Chapter Nineteen || Chapter Twenty || Chapter Twenty One || Chapter Twenty Two || Chapter Twenty Three || Chapter Twenty Four || Chapter Twenty Five || Chapter Twenty Six || Chapter Twenty Seven || Chapter Twenty Eight || Chapter Twenty Nine || Chapter Thirty || Chapter Thirty One


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