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Crazy is Just A Choice

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Chapter 1

 

“Do You Like Me?”

 

You could ask Red.  Hell, you could ask anyone and they would all tell you, “Faith was the one who was supposed to go loco.”  And I was, right?  I mean stability was never my… strong point.  Add the princess into the mix, and I was lucky to get out of Sunnydale with my sanity, not to mention my life.

 

Being used to “hard knocks” though certainly had its advantages.  A knife in the gut, prison, and the hell that I’d been through (and caused) had hardened me I guess. I learned not to be afraid of things that went bump in the night, but hey, so did Buffy.  The big difference was she still believed that humanity was worth saving, while I… well; let’s just say I had my doubts.

 

There was a time after the crater that was formerly known as Sunnydale, when I thought everything would be okay. Even with all of the loss and all of the pain, we had each other and I was a part it.  If I knew anything about being a slayer though, I knew that things weren’t always what they seemed and peace was an illusion that our type of normalcy didn’t afford. 

 

It started about a month after we got to L.A. We were staying at Angel’s. The original gang, I mean and the few strays picked up along the way – that being me, Kennedy, and Andrew. Angel was gracious and all, letting us shack up in his hotel.

 

“Faith?” He knocked on my door. I was watching Underworld with Andrew and Xander.  We’d just finished discussing the merits of leather cat suits. Andrew figured that they would get “all sweaty” if you were constantly running in them.  Xander and I disagreed.  Of course, that could be because we had the hots for Kate Beckinsale and Andrew couldn’t spell hots, but whatever.

 

“What’s up, broody boy?”

 

Angel looked in the room and noticed the popcorn spilled all over the floor.  He raised an eyebrow at me.  “Look dude, I did not spill that shit.  I refuse on principle to pick it up.”

 

Andrew piped up from behind me. “You know she’s lying. I reached in to grab some and she turned it upside down.”

 

I smirked at Angel and whispered. “Little dude’s hand touched mine. There was an eww factor involved.”

 

He smiled back and shook his head. “Can I talk to you, in private?”

 

I turned to look at Dumb and Dumber. They were completely ignoring us. “Can’t you two lovebirds like push pause or something?”

 

Xander shook his head, “You move, you lose, oh dark one.”

 

I shrugged.  Whatever.  “You two, suck.” I followed Angel into the hallway.  “So, what’s up?”

 

“Buffy,” he stated simply.

 

I sighed.  B had been acting weird for a while now.  At first, she was fine.  Well, looking back, maybe fine is not the best word.  I mean she certainly was “finding the fun.”  But she wasn’t hurting anyone.  And when a couple of glasses of wine turned into a bottle or two a day, we ignored it. Hey, we weren’t perfect, but no one was dealing well.  And out of everyone, Buffy deserved to let loose.

 

A couple of nights earlier, we’d gone out and she’d had her usual seven thousand glasses of whatever it was she drank. I had to literally carry her ass back to the hotel, and when we’d gotten in, well, fun time Buffy really came out.

 


 

“Faith,” she drawled, “do you like me?”

 

“What?”

 

“Do you,” she pointed to me, “like me?” She finished pointing to herself.

 

Loaded questions were never my strong point.  Did I like her?  Jesus, I mean, she was Buffy, right?  Of course I had learned a long time ago to stop voicing those types of thoughts. Still, she passed three sheets about four hours earlier, so it didn’t hurt to humor her.

 

“Of course,” I said, helping her take her shoes off.  “You’re my friend.  I’m glad, we’re finally getting along.” 

 

She fell back on the bed, giggling.  “You know that’s not what I mean.”

 

And I did. However, this was not a conversation I was having with her drunk.  Or ever, for that matter.  I ignored her, and pulled her legs onto the bed.  “Jesus, B. Dead weight, much?”

 

She giggled again.  “You’re funny, Faith,” she said, reaching up to touch my face.  “I like you too, you know.” 

 

She was smiling at me.  I was standing there like some kind of idiot, holding her legs in the air.  Normally, I am the first to have a comeback, but right then I was kinda shocked.  I laid her legs down, and sat down at the end of the bed. 

 

“Have you got anything to say?” She asked.

 

I was hiding my face in my hands.  The thought of looking at her at that moment was about as pleasing as a punch to my gut. Truthfully, I felt like she’d punched me. “No,” I finally said.

 

She sighed quite audibly, “Well, that was anti-climatic.”

 

I turned to look at her.  “I don’t know what to say to you, B.  You’re loaded.”

 

She closed her eyes, “tell me the truth.”

 

I sat there for a moment, before turning away.  Was I supposed to do that?  Did she have a week?  “B… Buffy, I… uh… what do you want me to say?  Do I like you? Ha.  Like is not the word I would use.  Half the time I’ve known you, I’ve wanted to strangle you and the other half… well, do I really need to say that out loud? Cause if I do, you’re officially dumber than you act.”

 

I finally turned to look at her.  And she was asleep. Just like that. Did I pour my heart out to her? No. But still… Did she hear me? I didn’t have a freakin clue.  She avoided me for the next two days. Or more accurately, I avoided her. So, I was a wuss, so what? Movie marathons with Xander and Andrew (and occasionally Kennedy, when she wasn’t screwin Red) weren’t that pathetic.

 


 

 

“What about her, Angel?”

 

“Did you see her last night?”

 

I shook my head at him.  I’d stayed in my room with my aforementioned “buddies.” “No.”

 

“Well, I did.” He sighed again. This dude sure the hell sighed a lot for a dead guy.  “She was crying.”

 

I admit it; he’d piqued my interest. “When?”

 

“About midnight.  She was standing outside of your room, and I saw her. I asked her if she was okay, but she didn’t say anything.  She just walked away.”

 

I’d thought I felt her.  We still had that connection, or whatever you called it. I hadn’t realized she was so close though.  And if I’d have noticed, what would I have done?  Walked out there and put my arms around her? 

 

“And?”  I was getting frustrated.  How the hell was that my fault?

 

“And, have you seen her today?” It was about noon, which wasn’t saying much.  B sometimes didn’t get up till after lunch.

 

“No.”

 

“Well, no one else has either.”

 

I grabbed his shoulders, “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

 

He shrugged my hands off. “She’s gone, Faith. She left.  Her clothes are gone.  And so is the car I gave her.”

 

What?  Wait… what?  This idiot gave her a car. “You gave her a car? Are you stupid? Why the hell would you give her a car?  She couldn’t drive when she wasn’t on a permanent bender.”  As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I cringed.  We may have been the stupidest lot in all of L.A. She’d been an alcohol induced train wreck for weeks now.  I’d ignored it. The Scoobs ignored it. Giles took Dawn to London with him a couple of weeks earlier – also ignoring it.  I fell against the wall.  “Jesus…” I whispered.

 

He leaned next to me.  “We screwed up.”

 

“Yeah,” I took a deep breath. “Majorly.”

 

“I’ve got people looking for her. I don’t know how long she’s been gone. Willow’s been calling around too. We have resources, but it’s like she disappeared.”

 

I looked at him. “People don’t disappear. Especially unstable blondes in what I am assuming was one of the firm’s luxury cars.”

 

He shook his head.  “That was pretty dumb of me.”

 

“Understatement.”

 

Kennedy came around the corner. “Hey guys, sorry to interrupt the brood fest, but Willow needs to see you.”

 

Angel turned to her.  “Did she find anything?”

 

“Yeah, but um… you aren’t going to like it.”

 

“What?” I yelled at her.

 

She threw her arms up.  “Shit.  Calm down. Just come downstairs. She’ll explain.” She put her hand on my arm. “And breathe, Faith.”

 

I hadn’t realized I wasn’t.  Weird.

 

 


 

Willow was in the lobby of the hotel when we all got there.  Angel had filled Xander and Andrew in on the sitch.  Kennedy was holding my arm like I was going to fall down or something.

 

Xander rushed ahead of us, “Where is she, Will?”

 

Willow shook her head sadly.  “Gone.”

 

Wow, thanks for stating the obvious, witch. “What does that mean?” I asked.

 

“I mean gone.  Like fallen of the face of the earth gone.” We stared at her. “I contacted the coven. They couldn’t find her. They said it was like she’d disappeared.”

 

“I am sorry to be all underwhelmed here, but…” Xander motioned with his hand for her to continue.  He sounded as exasperated as I felt.

 

I went to speak, but Red held up her hand to stop me. “They did, however,” she said, giving Xander the evil eye, “find some things out.  First, they think she’s hooked up with a warlock…”

 

I felt like the breath had been knocked out of me. “What?!?”

 

She smiled.  “Oh wait, not hooked up, hooked up.  I mean been in contact.  He’s most likely helping her hide.”

 

Angel forced out his trademark sigh. “Can we find him?”

 

Willow shrugged.  “They’re looking.  I’m looking. People at your creepy law firm are looking.  It would help if we knew how long she’d been gone.”  She looked around the room at us.  We all looked down. “Wow,” she said, “we officially suck. When’s the last time anyone saw her?”

 

“Midnight?” Angel asked.  No one said anything.  “So, midnight, I guess.”

 

“So,” Kennedy said, “We can assume she’s been gone for twelve hours?”

 

Andrew piped in, “We should call Mr. Giles. He can’t kill us if he’s on another continent.” He looked to Xander, “can he?”

 

Before anyone had a chance to respond, Angel’s cell phone rang.  After staring at it for a minute, I assumed because he refused to figure out how to use it, Kennedy grabbed it out of his hand and answered it. “Hello.” She looked at him. “It is…. Where? Okay… are you sure it’s the right one? Okay, thanks.”  She hung up and looked at us.  “They found her car.” She turned to me, “seriously, Faith, you’ve got to breathe.”

 

Angel grabbed the phone back. “Where?”

 

She grabbed it back from him. “Some dealership in San Diego. Look, they’re texting us the address. So we can spend twelve more hours watching you try to figure out how to use your phone, or you can give it to me, so we can go.”

 

Willow turned to Angel, “do you have a big enough car for all of us.”

 

Angel nodded. “You know I can’t go. It’s daytime.”

 

Xander patted him on the shoulder. “Well that sucks. We’ll keep you informed.”

 

Willow turned to head up the stairs. “Grab overnight stuff,” she yelled over her shoulder to us, “we’re leaving in ten.”

 

We looked at each other and moved towards the stairs. Kennedy stopped me at the bottom. “We’ll find her.”

 

I nodded, not trusting my voice. There was no way I was crying in front of her.  And I didn’t want to tell her the feeling that I had.  Or rather, the lack thereof.  Because even when I was in prison, I still “felt” B.  The only time I didn’t was when she’d… when she’d died. 

 

Well that was until now. Because, I didn’t feel her now.  Not at all. I just prayed to whomever was listening that it was because she wanted it that way.  I didn’t think that I could deal with the other.

 

 


 

 

When we got to the dealership, Kennedy spotted the car.

 

“There it is,” she pointed. 

 

It’s safe to say there were audible gasps all around. “Fang gave her a 7 series?” My god, had he really lost his mind? Maybe he was trying to lose his soul again?  Maybe he’d found some clause at Wolfram and Hart that would let him… I shook my head, no need to go there.

 

Willow looked at us. “Is that a nice car?”

 

Xander put his arm around her. “To be so smart… it still amuses me that I know a few things that you don’t.”

 

She shrugged.  “I don’t care about cars.”  They both walked inside, with Andrew trailing behind them.

 

Ken and I walked up to the car. She whistled.  “Nice.”

 

“No shit.  This baby’s a year old.  He gave the worst driver in the state of California this car.”  I patted its hood.  “She probably had no idea what she was driving.”

 

Ken nodded.  “Honestly, the fact that it made it all the way here in one piece is amazing.”

 

Andrew yelled from the door, “Coming?”

 


 

The dealership’s owner was staring at us like we were all mental.  “I can’t give you that kind of information.” He’d answered when Willow asked about the car.

 

“Listen,” Xander said, “that car belonged to a friend of ours.  She’s not in her right state of mind.  We need to know some things.”

 

The dealer held up his hand, “Hey, I bought that car fair and square.”

 

Kennedy growled, “No one gives a shit about the car. We want to know about Buffy.”

 

He shrugged at her. 

 

I had him pinned against the wall before he could even answer her.

 

“Listen dude, these people here,” I motioned with my head, “they’re nice.  Me – not so much. So you can tell us who you bought this car from and where she was going, or you can stay here, with my hand against your throat until you slowly suffocate.  Your choice.”

 

He mumbled something.

 

“What did you say?”

 

Kennedy pulled my hand away, “Umm, he can’t answer you if you’re cutting off his oxygen.”

 

The dude coughed for a minute (oh please, he was fine) and then looked at me… and then quickly looked at Willow instead. “She was here this morning. I get here early. She was here about 6. She said she wanted to sell the car. She said she knew how much it was worth. It was loaded. She asked for seventy-five thousand. I gave her seventy. She gave me the deed and that was that.”

 

“How did she leave?” Xander asked.

 

“She called a cab.”

 

Willow looked hopeful.  “From you phone?”

 

He shook his head.  “No, she must have called it before she came. It was waiting out front for her.”

 

I looked at him again.  “Do you remember anything?  The cab company name?  Anything?”

 

He took a deep breath.  He was still scared of me.  I thought better than to glare at him.  “No, there must be over a dozen cab companies around here. It was yellow.” Jesus, mother of god, I was going to kill this asshole.  “Wait,” he held up his hand. “there was a man.”

 

We all turned around sharply. “A man?” Xander asked.

 

“Yeah.  He was standing by the cab.  Waiting on her.  About six feet tall. Dark hair.  Dressed in a suit,” he thought for a minute. “A nice suit, too. Tailored.”

 

“That’s it?”

 

He frowned, “yeah.  I’m sorry.”

 

I stormed out.

 

The others soon followed.  Willow started the car and we all piled in. “What now?”

 

I was staring at the window.  She patted my arm.  “I don’t know.”

 

Andrew cleared his throat.  “Umm… we call Mr. Giles.”

 

Willow sighed.  “He is right.  I don’t know what else to do.”

 

He was right.  We all knew it.  But holy shit, we were in for a world of trouble.