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Throw Away the Rulebook

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The nightclub is so crowded that it's almost claustrophobic for her but she does her best to move through the crowds, to relax and not see everyone as a potential demon, monster or vampire. But it's hard, very hard, and she sometimes wishes that she had never been called. Things were easier when she had just been a Potential.

"Kendra!"

Faith's voice is loud, even over the heavy bass lines of the music. She's relieved and she turns toward the sound. Faith is pushing her away off of the dance floor and for a moment it makes Kendra angry to see the way that Faith behaves. Especially when Faith pushes a quarterback out of her way.

When Faith is beside her, Kendra grips her arm and pulls her closer.

"We're supposed to be incognito," Kendra reminds her.

"Give it a rest K!" Faith replies. "We're at a nightclub."

"We should be heading back to our room and calling our Watchers to file a report."

"Is that all you think about?" Faith asks.

"I have discipline."

Faith rolls her eyes at Kendra. The song changes from something heavy and fast to something just as heavy but slower. Faith's lips curve upward in a smirk.

"You have a stick up your ass, K," Faith tells her. "But c'mon let's dance. I love this song!"

"We need to call Mr. Giles," Kendra protests.

Faith is already dragging to the dance floor by the arm.

"The G-man can wait," Faith says. "We're only gonna be young once."

It'd be easy enough for Kendra to break Faith's hold but she doesn't want to. Instead she allows Faith to drag her to the centre of the dance floor. And for a moment she watches Faith dance and then with a shrug of her shoulders she starts to dance as well. She's learned that it's easier to comply with Faith's ritual of dancing and eating immediately after they've hunted down vampires.

* * *

Ten songs later and they're by the bar, Kendra is still trying to argue why they should go back to the motel and Faith doesn't seem to care. It just makes Kendra angrier.

"We need to make our report," Kendra hisses into Faith's ear. "It's disrespectful. Mr. Giles will probably be worried."

Faith pulls away and orders two shots of tequila. For a moment, Kendra thinks that Faith is going to offer her a shot but Faith slams them both back before turning towards Kendra. Faith places a quarter in her hand.

"There's a payphone over there," Faith says as she points towards the back of the club. "Go make your call, tell Giles all that happened. Or more accurately all that didn't happen."

"Why must you do this?" Kendra asks.

"Do what?" Faith asks. "Live? Have fun? Try to make every moment last?" Tell me what's so wrong with wanting to enjoy the fact that I am alive?"

"This is not what the Handbook or the Council permits us to do."

Faith laughs. It's a loud, carefree sound but Faith's eyes are dark and hard.

"I don't give a fuck about you precious Handbook, K, and I'll tell you a secret."

"What's that?" Kendra asks, her voice tight and small. She hates it when Faith curses.

"The Council makes all these rules for us but it's only to control us, to ensure that we're the perfect weapon for as long we're alive. But in the end, we're disposable. They don't care about us."

"Mr. Giles isn't like that," Kendra protests.

"Yeah and he's one of how many?" Faith asks. "You think he cares if we make the report now or not? I paged him when we got here, he knows we're alive. That's what he cares about but if you don't believe me, go make that call and tell him how bad I've been."

Faith pulls away from Kendra For a moment, Kendra watches as Faith pushes her away back on to the dance floor. A guy seems interested and Faith moves close to him. Kendra watches as Faith grinds against. A moment later, Faith's head is thrown back in laughter. She's wild and dangerous and Kendra hates it. There's a part of her that wishes that she was that carefree, that reckless. And another part of her that wishes she was the guy who Faith is dancing with.

* * *

"Kendra is that you?" Giles asks over the phone.

"Yes it is," Kendra shouts into the receiver.

"Has something happened?"

"I am calling to make my report," Kendra tells him.

"I was worried that something dire had happened."

"Why is that?" Kendra asks.

"Faith has already paged me," Giles explains. "I wasn't expecting either of you to call me until the morning."

"But protocol indicates that I should call with my report once we're finished," Kendra tells him, even as she feels a rush of embarrassment.

"Kendra, unless there is something urgent, I am fine with you and Faith calling me in the morning to check in," Giles tells her. "Is something wrong? Is Faith behaving poorly?"

"No it's fine, it's just the Handbook has rules."

Giles sighs heavily. And Kendra feels more embarrassment. Things are so different in California and with Giles.

"Kendra, rules aren't a failsafe, they won't save you when you need them to," Giles says. "It's fine if you bend them. I won't report you to the Council or think less of you."

"Oh," Kendra says.

Before she knows it; Faith is there. Loud, obnoxious Faith who seems to be a better Slayer than she is. Even if she breaks every single rule. Kendra hates it and admires it at the same time.

"Is that the G-man?"

Kendra dumbly nods. Faith takes the phone receiver from her.

"Is everything okay in Sunnydale?" Faith asks.

Giles responds and Kendra wishes the ground would swallow her whole.

"Great, yeah there's not much to report here. If you can get Willow to send that info, we'll try searching in the north part of the city tomorrow."

Kendra turns away with the intent to leave, but Faith grabs her wrist and tugs her back.

"G'night G-man. Yeah, yeah I know you hate it but it makes you smile!" Faith says and then hangs up.

"You alright?" Faith asks Kendra.

"I'm fine," Kendra replies.

"Let's get out of here," Faith says. "Slaying always makes me hungry."

There's a ghost of smile on Faith's lips as she says that. For a moment it's like she's a million miles away and Kendra wants to know who or what causes Faith to look so distant.

* * *

The diner is a cheap place but they have good food and coffee. It's just that Kendra's not hungry. She thought that she was getting the hang of it but she's always putting the wrong foot first. Faith looks at her as she takes a sip of her coffee.

"Giles isn't like other Watchers."

"I've noticed," Kendra says.

"He wants us to have a little more free reign," Faith tells her. "He wants us to be able to blow off steam and to live like we're just two extraordinarily hot normal girls."

"Why?"

Faith's animated face shuts down as she turns away and looks out of the plate glass window. Every time Kendra asks, this is what happens. People shut down. She knows that it has something to do with the Slayer that was called before her. But no one wants to tell her the truth.

"It's complicated," Faith says.

They fall into a silence and eat the food in front of them before they make their way back to the motel. Faith is silent and won't say anything more than one word answers.

* * *

Kendra is laying awake in the quiet and dark room when Faith slides into her bed. She wants to protest when Faith wraps an arm around her and places a chaste kiss on Kendra's temple but she keeps quiet. This is the most affectionate that Faith has been in days. And although Faith confuses her, Kendra wants her. She really, really wants her. Even though that level of want confuses her even more than Faith confuses her.

"I'm sorry," Faith says.

"It's okay," Kendra says.

"No, it's not." Faith tells her.

When Kendra starts to protest, Faith silences her with a kiss.

"It's just hard to tell you the truth, to tell you why I am like this and why Giles is the way he is."

"You don't need," Kendra says.

"Yeah I do," Faith tells her. "I can't pretend that we're just friends or that we're just Slayers. We're more than that, aren't we?"

Kendra takes a deep breath and thinks about it. Is this a trick question? Does Faith mean what she hopes she means?

"Yes," Kendra says as she exhales the breath she'd been holding.

She can feel Faith's smile against the curve of her shoulder. It makes her heat beat in her chest like she'd just taken on a nest of vampires on her own.

"Can I tell you a secret?" Faith asks. "One that I hope will help you to understand things?"

Kendra nods. "Yes, if you want to."

"Her name was Buffy."

And Faith starts to tell her about Buffy Summers, the slayer between them that they've never spoken about. The Slayer who died so Kendra was called and then died again so Faith was called. And how Faith loved her. It breaks Kendra heart but when Faith is finished spilling all of her secrets, she can understand Faith a little better.

She wraps her arms around Faith and places a gentle kiss on her forehead.

"I won't ever leave you," Kendra promises.

The minute the words are out of her moth, she expects Faith to argue but she doesn't.

"Good," Faith tells her.

And it's enough for tonight. It might not be enough for tomorrow but it's what they both need now.

 

((END))