Part Three: Chapter One
She half expected Faith to have disappeared by the time she woke up. Not because the other girl had done anything to make Buffy doubt her, but just because her brain didn't immediately equate sex with morning after cuddles. But when her eyelids fluttered open in the grainy morning light filtering through the motel's ancient curtains, Buffy immediately smiled. The other slayer was still sleeping, facing toward Buffy with one arm tucked casually under her head. Stripped of her lipstick and bravado, with dark eyeliner smudged around her eyes, Faith looked more like a little girl playing in her mother's makeup than the strong, capable almost-but-not-quite adult she was. Faith was kind of amazing, Buffy thought. She'd been so sweet about everything even though it had to have sucked for her to stop where they had. It had taken a little time to find the right spots and get into a good rhythm, but once they had… wow. Faith's hands on her thighs and her mouth on Buffy's neck, and the way she breathed and Faith's dark eyes watching her own hands moving across Buffy's skin… just wow. She hadn't known what it would be like with Faith, but somehow whatever she would have imagined wouldn't have compared to the real thing. The more time they spent together, and the more she was starting to get to know Faith, the more Buffy was realizing she really liked her.
As if sensing she was the subject of scrutiny, Faith blinked blearily into consciousness. "Watching me sleep?"
Buffy shrugged shyly.
"Kinda creepy, B." Faith muttered, but she was smiling when she gripped the blonde's elbow and tugged her gently closer.
Snuggling into Faith's arms, Buffy sighed contentedly. "You're the creep."
"Okay, Freddy Krueger."
"Freddy doesn't watch people, he kills them."
"Maybe you were just warming up?"
"Looking more like that now, yep." Buffy muttered into Faith's shoulder.
The brunette smiled, letting her fingers tangle in the other girl's already rumpled hair. "That's just mean."
"You compared me to a hideous murderer."
"Alright, alright." Faith considered, "You're a freaking Disney princess. Happy now?"
Buffy looked up. "Which one?"
"Does it matter?"
Faith rolled her eyes. "Sleeping Beauty, I guess."
The blonde stared back at her. "So I'm a bimbo who falls asleep and waits for some guy to come save her."
"I don't even know what we're talking about anymore." Faith grumbled. "Which one do you wanna be?"
"Ariel!" Buffy replied instantly. "Ariel was the best of the princesses."
"Whatever. Sleeping Beauty was the hottest."
This mollified the irritated slayer slightly. "So you think I'm the hottest."
"Well, only because I'm not one of the princesses—oomf!" Her words were interrupted when Buffy's elbow rammed into her diaphragm.
"Faith," The blonde said sweetly. "Quit while you're ahead." She pecked Faith's frowning lips and began worming backward out of her hold. "I should go home and get changed before we meet the gang."
Watching Buffy slink out bed barely clothed, Faith decided to lay back and enjoy the view. The blonde bent over to retrieve her crumpled dress from the floor, affording her girlfriend a nice view of her ass. Frowning as she tried to shake the wrinkles from her garment, Buffy asked, "Hey, can I borrow—" She glared playfully when she noticed the brunette ogling her. "Right, and I'm the creep. Enjoying the view?"
"Yup." Faith grinned saucily, before being pelted in the face with the dress. "Hey!" She yanked the offending garment from her head, to find Buffy rifling through her dresser drawers. "Can I help you?" She demanded, getting out of bed too.
"I need to borrow some jeans and a t-shirt."
"What, you don't ask?" The brunette's fingers gripped her wrist, stopping Buffy's hands from searching the open drawer.
"Girlfriends don't need to ask." Buffy retorted, obviously making this up on the spot.
"Really?" Faith considered, "So I can borrow something of yours without asking then."
"Yeah…" Buffy's voice was wary. Her suspicions were proven valid when Faith's hands found her hips and pushed her back against the dresser. "What are you doing?"
"Need to borrow something."
"What—" The blonde began but Faith's mouth was on hers, cutting off her words. She forgot what she'd been about to say as the other girl's tongue slid softly against hers. "Mmm," Buffy breathed, her arms coming up to snake around Faith's waist.
But the other slayer's hands caught hers, pulling them down and pinning them against the dresser. "Uh-uh." Faith mumbled against her lips. The brunette's kisses trailed away from her lips, over her jaw, nestling into her neck.
Tilting her head aside accommodatingly, Buffy's eyes fluttered closed. "Faith…"
"Hmmm?" Faith didn't stop nibbling and sucking her way across Buffy's throat.
"You're trying to, mmmm," Buffy panted when the brunette's teeth sank gently into her earlobe. "Uhh," She tried to move her hands again, but Faith's grip on her was ironclad and she just pushed against her harder, pressing her bare breasts into Buffy's.
"What am I trying to do?" Faith whispered in her ear, letting her soft lips brush against the sensitive flesh she found.
"Is it working?" Faith asked, managing to maneuver Buffy's wrists behind her so she was gripping both in one hand.
"No." The blonde denied stubbornly.
The other girl's free hand slid quickly to Buffy's chest, grabbing one boob and squeezing gently. "How about now?"
"Oh... Yeah… I mean, no!"
Chuckling, Faith pulled backwards on the blonde's captive hands. Buffy's body tilted backward automatically to avoid straining her arms. "How about now?" The brunette's head dipped and her mouth was on Buffy's nipple, sucking insistently.
A sharp exhale was the only response.
"Thought so." Faith muttered smugly. Her palm left the blonde's chest, sliding down to grasp the edge of her underwear. She smiled when she felt Buffy spreading her legs to accommodate her. "I'm just going to…"
"What?" Buffy panted approvingly, struggling slightly but not making any real effort to free herself from Faith's hold.
"Borrow these." Faith finished with a smirk, yanking the other girl's panties free of her body in one quick tug. She released Buffy's wrists and the blonde stood upright, glaring at her indignantly.
Faith shrugged, grinning widely. Her eyes trailed down the other girl's totally nude body, as if just now realizing what was exposed to her view. Buffy's breasts were heaving with every quick breath, her nipples damp from Faith's mouth and erect in the cool air. The brunette's eyes swept downward, over the other girl's toned abdomen, to her smooth pussy just barely peeking from between her slender thighs.
Before she could recover her senses, Buffy had plucked a pair of jeans from the drawer and begun sliding them on.
"Wait!" Faith protested.
Buffy smile was teasing. "Nope, you borrowed something of mine. It's my turn."
"You can borrow 'em later!" Faith moved closer to her, dropping the torn panties she'd been gripping and trying to encircle Buffy with her arms. "You can borrow whatever you want, promise."
The blonde laughed and evaded her searching arms. "I have to go home!" She insisted, snagging one of Faith's shirts from the dresser and pulling it over her head. Before she could fully pull it down, the brunette's hands gripped her hips and Buffy found herself being roughly pushed back onto the bed. "Faith!" She whined.
"Yeah?" Faith peered down at her innocently.
"If I don't get home I'm gonna be late for the meeting!"
"Dunno if you've noticed this, B, but we're kinda useless in the research part."
"So, what's the rush?" Faith's hands slipped under the bottom of Buffy's borrowed shirt, moving eagerly up her stomach.
"You might have a point." The other slayer conceded, before yanking Faith down on top of her.
Faith was happy to be pulled, especially when Buffy's hands immediately found their way to her ass. A swift smack followed. "Hey!" Faith grunted.
The blonde's palm rubbed soothing circles over the place she'd just slapped. "You so deserved that."
Faith cocked an eyebrow at her before working her hands under Buffy's t-shirt and cupping her breasts. "Didn't know you were into spanking, B."
Gasping as the brunette's fingers pinched her nipples, Buffy smiled. "There's a lot you don't know about me, F."
"Like what?" Faith's mouth found its way to her neck, sucking hard just below her ear.
Buffy couldn't think of anything specific at that particular moment. This was basically Faith's fault because the quick tempo of her breathing was tickling Buffy's ear and when her lips left Buffy's neck with a wet pop and a low, pleased purr, the blonde's eyes nearly rolled back in her head. As if piloting themselves, her hands pawed at the backs of Faith's thighs, pulling them to either side of Buffy's waist.
"Maybe you're a secret dominatrix?" Faith suggested breathlessly, as she allowed Buffy to push her hips where she wanted them.
"I guess you'll find out." The blonde replied quietly, taking in the view of the almost naked girl straddling her. Faith had really great tits. It didn't hurt that she was wiggling back and forth on Buffy like she was riding a horse, causing them to jiggle enticingly. Her fingers dug into Faith's hips as the other slayer ground her pelvis slowly down into Buffy's.
"So come on then, B." Faith challenged. "Show me whatcha got."
Buffy's creamy skin flushed, her eyes lowering to hide behind her lashes. Relenting in her teasing, Faith laid down over the other girl, kissing her softly.
The blonde surprised her by clasping her arms around Faith and rolling them to the side so she was on top. She smiled at the brunette's raised eyebrows. "What?" Getting no response, Buffy leaned down to kiss the other girl. She captured Faith's lip and rolled it between her teeth, making the brunette's breath catch in her throat.
Not content to let Buffy take control, Faith's hands crept around the other girl's waist, again sliding under her clothes. A knock sounded just as Faith was tugging the borrowed t-shirt up Buffy's smooth back and her fingers dug into the other girl's muscles. "Fuck," She growled, balling the fabric together in her fist. She bit the blonde's neck playfully. "Stay here. Let me just kill whoever that is and I'll be right back." She flipped Buffy into the open space next to her.
Laughing, Buffy swatted her away. "I should get home anyway."
"Damn it." Faith grumbled to herself, striding over to the door. She pulled an errant tank top over her head and yanked it open, prepared to berate her visitor.
Cordelia stood at the threshold. She was dressed impeccably as always, but she looked tired, her eyes red-rimmed. It was obvious to Faith that something was wrong. Swallowing the abuse she'd been about to unleash, she took a calming breath. "Hey."
"Hey." The other girl peered past her into the room, where Buffy was sliding her high heels on. "Am I interrupting something?"
Faith started to say 'yes' but Buffy appeared beside them, her dress stuffed in her purse. "No," She said cheerfully, kissing Faith's frowning mouth. "See you guys at the meeting?"
"Meeting?" Cordelia asked.
"Faith'll fill you in. See you guys later." Buffy breezed out, grinning to herself at Faith's obvious displeasure in seeing her go.
Sighing, Faith pulled a hand through her unkempt hair and jerked her head. "Coming in?" Cordelia did so, closing the door behind her. "So, what's going on?"
Cordelia didn't even bother to sit down. "So I wake up this morning to the sound of my parents screaming at each other which is unusual only because my mother's usually too hung over to be up at this time. And I go downstairs to see what's going on and my dad says-" A furious laugh bubbled from her throat, "That he's 'going on a trip' and not to worry because Mom and I can stay at the house and he'll be back soon. But my mom says that we're probably going to lose our house because of the taxes daddy didn't pay and he won't even be around to deal with it so we'll be out on the streets. And Faith, I can't be homeless. Me, homeless? I like regular bathing! And I have a collection of porcelain dolls. I can't be homeless! Does this look like the hair of a homeless person?" Hefting a handful of her shiny hair, she waved it in Faith's direction. "Well?"
Faith's expression pretty much conveyed her sentiments, but she shook her head dutifully. "No. Definitely not." Cordelia had obviously gone off the deep end. "You hungry?"
The other girl's mouth open and closed a few times incredulously. But, having run out of steam, she finally flopped down onto the unmade bed. "Yes."
"But I can't be seen in public with you like that." Off Faith's indignant look, "The hair… it's just…There are no words."
Faith cocked her eyebrow as she got up to find pants. "People who live in glass bus terminals shouldn't throw stones."
Cordelia glowered. "If you weren't freakishly strong, I'd kick you in the face."
"You can't even get your leg that high."
"Faith, I'm a cheerleader. I can get my legs places even you can't."
Buttoning up her pants and running her fingers through her hair in lieu of real brushing, Faith smiled cheekily. "Doubt that. Just ask Buffy."
Groaning, Cordelia covered her eyes with her hand. "You make me sick."
"You love it." Said Faith, grabbing her arm and pulling her to her feet. "C'mon, I'll buy you some gruel."
"Gruel?" The taller girl wrinkled her nose.
Faith stared incredulously at her. "Yeah, you know, Oliver Twist?" Off Cordelia's puzzled face, "Oliver Twist!" She cupped her hands pathetically in front of her. "'Please, sir, I want some more.'" She dropped her hands in defeat and held open the door for Cordy to pass through. "You don't know Oliver Twist. Who are you?"
"Who are you? She-Giles!"
Faith locked the flimsy motel door behind them, leading the way toward Cordelia's car. "It's famous! Everyone knows it! What about Dicey Tillerman?"
"The Boxcar Children?"
"Must have missed that one."
"Little Orphan Annie?"
"Yes, but eww."
"I am too cool to be hanging out with you."
"Just get in the car, Faith, and shut the hell up."
Cordelia had been uncharacteristically quiet during the car ride aside from a few requisite snipes ("The Doublemeat Palace? Are you serious?"). Faith wasn't exactly worrying about it, given that her thought process was tending more toward … but after they sat down with their food, Cordelia sighed dramatically, twice, which drew her attention. "You want one of these burgers?" Faith offered magnanimously, gesturing to her pile of four burgers.
The other girl wrinkled her nose in clear revulsion and stabbed her plastic fork into her salad. "That's disgusting, Faith."
The slayer took a huge bite and mumbled, "Mmmmmmm!" with exaggerated delight. "Double the meat. Can't beat that."
"Maybe you should get a job here." Cordy suggested dryly. "Maybe we both should." Her eyes glittered and the fork in her hand shook slightly before she dropped it and took a deep breath.
Faith didn't say anything, just watched her with concern before reaching across the table to pat Cordelia's hand awkwardly.
The cheerleader didn't say anything for a long moment, just sniffled and took a deep breath. Then she shook off Faith's hand. "What's your major malfunction?" She asked in a watery voice. "Just because you're a lesbo now doesn't mean you get to grab me."
Faith smirked, taking her hand back. She was used to the other girl's vitriolic personality and had learned that with Cordelia, sometimes her mouth said one thing while her eyes said another. "What're you doing tonight?" She asked, pretending to be interested in the cashier's line while Cordy covertly wiped the dampness from her eyes.
"Nothing, I guess. Maybe Bronzing. Why?"
"Cause I'm coming over."
"Glad you could accept that invitation that I didn't give you."
"Well, I wanna see how the other half lives before you're living in my half."
Cordelia snorted out a laugh. "Faith, I have basic grooming skills. I'll never be in your half."
The other girl narrowed her eyes thoughtfully at Cordelia. "Those grooming skills must be getting a little rusty. What's up with your hair?"
"What?" Gripping her hair in her fingers, Cordelia frantically examined her ends. When Faith let out an amused snort, she dropped her hands and glared. "Very funny." She resumed eating her salad, watching her friend polish off her second burger. "What am I going to do?" Cordy muttered quietly, as if to herself.
Faith gave her an extremely serious look. "Two words. Motor. Inn."
A chunk of lettuce hit her in the face.
"Come on," The slayer cajoled. "Adjoining rooms?"
Her exaggerated wink brought a smile to Cordelia's face. "I'd rather trade wardrobes with Willow. No offense."
"None taken." Faith smirked. "Seriously, you'll be fine."
"Yeah." Cordy agreed, forcing a bright smile to her face. "Can you hurry up and finish your mystery meat burgers? We're gonna be late."
Faith and Cordelia were predictably the last to arrive to the Scooby meeting. Wesley, who had been studying a particularly haggard volume, snapped his book shut abruptly and beamed in their general direction. "Faith! Hello."
"Wes." Faith was secretly pleased by his obvious enthusiasm to see her, but she merely smirked in his direction. The dude was kind of like a golden retriever.
The young watcher's eyes had fallen upon Cordelia, who was gazing back with equal interest. "Wow," She practically purred. "When you said you got a new watcher, I was expecting someone all old and stuffy. You know, more like Giles."
Used to these types of remarks, Giles interjected dryly, "Yes, well, putting aside my advanced age, can we get back to the issue at hand?"
"Right." Cordelia took Faith's arm, guiding her toward the table while smiling coquettishly at the flustered Wesley. "Research. I love to help with the research."
The others looked skeptical and Xander laughed incredulously. "Yeah, it's a shame we haven't found out yet which demon species Cordelia is a member of."
"So what you're saying is that even demons don't wanna date you." Faith clarified, while taking the seat next to Buffy.
"Et tu, Faith?" Xander shot her a hurt look.
Faith shrugged, snagging a few Swedish fish from the bag in front of Buffy. The blonde automatically slapped her hand without looking up from the book she was reading.
Catching the other girl's wrist, Faith pulled her hand under the table and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Hey," She murmured.
Looking away from the book, Buffy smiled. "Hi."
Faith leaned in, eager to kiss her, but the blonde sat back quickly, her eyes darting nervously to their two watchers. Faith frowned. Buffy had been the one who wanted to be a couple, and now she was rejecting Faith's attempt to be coupley?
The other slayer rubbed her thumb across Faith's hand apologetically, under the table where no one else could see. She hadn't had a chance to tell Giles yet, about them. Her and Faith. And their new togetherness. She wouldn't even usually have told him if she had a new boyfriend. So it was probably going to come as a shock if he found out that she was dating someone (and a girl at that, who happened to be Faith) by seeing said person giving her smoochies in the library. It wasn't like she thought Giles would be unsupportive guy. It was just… new and kinda strange and she thought he should find out the old fashioned way. Although in her case that meant that he found out the pertinent details when her honey went evil and tried to kill them all…
Buffy bit her lip anxiously when Faith dropped her hand back in her lap and grabbed one of the books stacked in front of them. Bumping her knee against the other girl's, Buffy tried to meet her eyes. Faith gave her a quick smile but focused on reading. Sighing, the slayer resumed gazing sightlessly at the musty book in front of her. It was going to be a long day.
Faith's stomach began growling at dinner time like clockwork. Flipping the book she'd been studying closed, she set it down. "Think it's about break time."
"Sounds good!" Xander echoed immediately, slamming his book closed.
Giles cast him a withering look, laying his own materials down reluctantly. "Xander, perhaps you can order us a pizza?"
Xander looked around surprised. "Oh God, did he get into the band candy again?"
"Band candy?" Wesley asked.
Cordelia leaned in Wesley's direction. "Giles ate some candy that turned him into a teenager. He was like a total delinquent."
"And he made out with Buffy's mom on a police car." Willow added helpfully. "It was," she caught Giles's stare, "something that we do not talk about! So, uh, pizza?"
Giles had begun a thorough assault on his glasses with his handkerchief. "Yes, thank you, Xander, for bringing that up." He replaced his spectacles. "These dreams Buffy and Faith have been experiencing indicate there may be a serious threat to Buffy's life. It would be best if we continue our search tonight. So yes, I'm suggesting that we call for a pizza."
"Why didn't we get pizza that time when I died?" Buffy pouted.
"Or when Angel almost killed us all?" Xander added, oblivious to Willow's disapproving stare.
"Excuse me," Cordelia interrupted, "What about my pain and suffering? I was kidnapped during Homecoming and had to spend the whole night reenacting scenes from Friday the 13th with Buffy!"
"That sounds horrific—" Wesley began sympathetically, only to be interrupted by Faith.
"Well, Giles tried to get me killed and I didn't get any pizza either. So can we all shut up and order already? I'm starving."
The elder watcher flushed, quickly reaching for a phonebook behind the counter.
Faith looked around at the silent Scoobies. "What? It was a joke. Ha-ha?"
"Uh," Xander broke the ice. "Giles, can you get extra cheese?"
"Maybe you should lay off the fast food." Cordelia suggested brightly, patting her stomach. "I want peppers and olives!"
"Pepperoni!" Buffy demanded.
Giles nodded in response to all their requests and went to his office to make the call.
"Wanna go outside for a minute?" Buffy turned to Faith expectantly.
Faith followed her out and the two stopped in the rapidly darkening courtyard. Buffy immediately stepped close to the other slayer and slipped her arms around Faith's shoulders. "Hey," She said quietly, pecking Faith's lips.
"Hey," Faith's reply was a little less enthusiastic, but she put her hands on Buffy's hips.
Buffy's second kiss was met with a similarly lackluster response. "You mad about something?" She asked.
The brunette shrugged and her fingers tapped anxiously against Buffy's sides. "Nah, it's cool."
"It's because I didn't kiss you in the library."
Faith shrugged again before letting her hands fall from Buffy's waist and taking a step back. "It's fine. I just thought you wanted me to do stuff like that. You wanted all this couple stuff, right?"
"I know I did. I mean, I do." Buffy stepped back into Faith's space and cupped her face. "I do, I'm sorry." She kissed her.
Somewhat mollified, Faith asked, "So what was that about then?"
"Maybe it's stupid… but I'm just kind of nervous about telling Giles."
The brunette nodded, looking pensive. "G'll probably have a heart attack when he finds out you're bumping uglies with me."
The blonde rolled her eyes. "You're such a romantic."
"You ain't seen nothing yet." Faith winked and took her hand, tugging her forward. "Let's go romantically make out on the fountain."
Buffy laughed. "We should get back inside!" She pulled Faith's hand back toward her.
"Pizza's not here yet." Faith tugged her forward.
Buffy pulled back again, managing to yank the brunette a few feet closer to the door.
Surprising Buffy, the brunette quickly maneuvered her palms behind the other girl's legs and scooped her up.
"What are you doing?" Buffy shrieked with laughter, wrapping her legs around Faith's waist.
"Just showing you who's boss." Faith mumbled, already having started kissing her girlfriend's neck.
"Oh really?" The other slayer leaned abruptly backward, putting her palms on the ground and yanking her lower half forward so Faith somersaulted over her.
Only quick reflexes allowed the other girl to meet the pavement with her hands and execute a flawless cartwheel. "I'm so gonna kick your ass for that."
Buffy raised a skeptical eyebrow. "As if you—mmmph." Buffy found herself on the ground with the other slayer on top of her, kissing her forcefully.
The sound of a throat being cleared made them both look up. "Faith," Giles began, red-faced, "I was hoping I could speak with you for a moment."
Buffy scrambled to her feet with Faith following behind at a more leisurely pace. Before the brunette could refuse, the mortified blonde was calling, "I'll be inside!" and darting past her watcher.
Faith sighed, crossing her arms in front of her torso. "What do you want?"
Giles tucked his hands in his pockets, still shocked by what he'd interrupted. He quickly focused on what he'd planned to say to the girl. "Faith… I wanted to speak with you about your cruciamentum." When Faith didn't respond, Giles took a deep breath and continued, "I know that what I did to you is completely… inexcusable. There is nothing I can say—" He looked up when Faith snorted sarcastically. "To-to even begin to earn back your trust."
"You got that right." Faith's tone was bored, but her eyes were cutting across the courtyard, darting left and right. Giles hoped that meant she cared more than she was letting on.
"For what's it worth, I'm truly, very sorry."
Faith said nothing.
Giles moved to sit on one of the nearby benches. "I've done a lot of things in my life that I'm not proud of."
"So what was one more?" Faith looked at him now and the fury in her eyes almost took his breath away.
"No. That's not it at all."
"So what then?"
"I've—I've been trying to make amends for my past. I thought joining the council was the best way to do that. I suppose I followed their instructions too blindly." He glanced at his hands and then back at the young girl in front of him. "I thought I was on the right side… But, Faith, I should have been on your side."
Against her better judgment, Faith felt herself growing confused. It was hard to reconcile the Giles who had easily shot her full of drugs with the man who labored with them day after day researching the newest bad guys. It was so tempting to see him again as the awkward, good-natured watcher. But he'd helped them poison her. How could she forgive that?
Giles sighed as he stood, smoothing his palms against the sides of his slacks. "That's all I wanted to say." He slowly walked back inside, leaving Faith standing in the courtyard alone.
"Buffy!" Faith's voice shattered the relative quiet of the cemetery. The blonde slayer plucked the stake flying toward her from the air and quickly slammed it into the chest of the vampire she'd been grappling with.
"Thanks." She grinned, as Faith jogged up next to her.
The other girl shrugged off her gratitude, bumping their shoulders together. The vamp activity was higher than normal tonight; apparently the vamps were also celebrating the new year. In three graveyards, they'd taken out 11 vampires. "You up for one more?" Faith asked, rummaging in Buffy's backpack for the candy bar she'd stashed there before they'd left for patrol.
"Yeah, I'm good." Buffy was getting a little tired, but wrapping up meant going home to think about the fact that they hadn't gotten anywhere with their research and she was possibly going to die. Again. Besides, more patrolling meant more Faith. She snuck a sideways glance at the brunette as she led the way out of the cemetery with seemingly boundless energy. She was crunching lustily on the Butterfinger she'd unearthed from the bag. Her hair was loose and wild as usual and stray vampire dust floated free with every stomp. Free from the confines of the jacket she'd been wearing, the muscles in her shoulders and arms rolled tantalizingly. Not to mention the fact that the tank top wasn't concealing much at all. The moon was full in the sky above them, illuminating Faith's mostly exposed breasts.
Buffy was shaken from the ardent eye-fucking she was she was giving the other girl when Faith's cool palm enclosed her wrist and pulled her to a stop. The brunette jerked her chin ahead to their left. "Big, nasty, green thing at ten o'clock." She whispered.
The description was pretty much spot on, Buffy thought, wrinkling her nose in distaste. Striding down the street without a care in the world was a grotesquely obese green demon at least two feet taller than either slayer. Its skin was ridged with shining scales and its face was ichthyoidal, rounding into a wide mouth and ringed with large spiky gills. Unfortunately the rest of it was humanoid, with frighteningly large arms and legs. "Plan?" Buffy whispered back.
"I'll take the right. You take the left. We kick its ass."
"Great plan, Faith." The blonde said dourly. "Very complex."
"Don't need to be complex. Just needs to be violent." With that, the dark haired girl darted from their position, moving quickly toward the still oblivious demon.
"Point." Buffy muttered, now talking to herself, and took off after the other slayer.
Faith reached him before she did and let loose a flurry of punches that caught the demon in its chest and face. As Buffy arrived beside her, Faith was halting in her second assault, looking down at her hands strangely. Paying her no heed, Buffy immediately kicked the large demon's knee, forcing it to fall back with a roar.
She brought her knee up into its face and it cried out, grasping its face in its webbed fingers. Before Buffy could deliver the punch to the head she'd planned, Faith began to shriek beside her.
"What's wrong?" Buffy turned to her in alarm. Faith's teeth were clenched and as the blonde watched her body bent backward involuntarily, her chest jutting out painfully. Her hands and a few spots across her chest and face had lit up in shades of neon green and white. "Faith!" The blonde moved toward her.
The glow dimmed and the other slayer sucked in a deep breath.
"What happened?" Buffy cried.
Faith began to frantically rub her fists against her thighs as she opened her mouth to respond. Before she could, she went rigid once more, moaning through her gritted teeth.
Bewildered, Buffy turned back to the kneeling demon. Whatever was going on had something to do with it. The thing's distorted fish-like face was almost smiling as it glowed green and white. Buffy extended a hand toward it and felt the hair on her arm raise. The demon was letting out some kind of electricity? She turned a horrified glance to Faith who was beginning to shake in an unsettling way.
The slayer cast an appraising look over the closest houses. There, that would work. She raced toward a nearby tree, leaping up to the lowest branch and grasping it in her palms. She braced her feet against the trunk and yanked downward with all her might. The thick branch snapped off and both she and it fell to the ground. Buffy rolled on impact, immediately snatching the wood up and running back to the demon. Faith had fallen to the ground and was on her hands and knees, gasping for breath. Evidently seeing his assailant approaching again, the demon began to glow, causing the brunette to keel over in convulsions.
Buffy didn't hesitate, drawing up beside it and swinging the branch full force into its face. She winced when shimmering liquid sprayed across her face and torso. The demon collapsed backward, its glow momentarily halted.
Faith let out a frustrated growl as the current once again released her from its lethal grip. "I'm gonna kill that prick." She declared as she climbed shakily to her feet and cracked her neck.
Beside them, the disoriented demon shook its head, rolling to its knees and attempting to stand fully. "I don't think so." The brunette took the long branch from Buffy and swung it viciously into the demon's face. It glowed feebly, trying to muster another jolt of electricity, but Faith smashed the wood into its chest, aborting the attempt. Still, she received a small shock that forced her to drop the weapon. "Fuck!" She swore, shaking out her tingling fingers.
Buffy too was zapped and she cried out as the demon's blood on her skin singed her. Snatching up the fallen branch, the blonde twirled it before stabbing the broken edge into what should have been the demon's heart.
It roared in pain, but merely appeared angry instead of dead as she'd hoped. Well, crap. This wasn't good. It closed its eyes as its body lit up once more.
Both slayers fell to the ground as electricity scorched through their bodies. Buffy felt each of her muscles contract as her body went rigid with shock. It was almost excruciating. The glow on her skin faded momentarily as the demon released its hold on them.
"B," Faith managed to cry out, "The ba—" Another short burst of energy hit them both before the injured demon was forced to release them once more. "Fuck," The brunette shook her head, starting to crawl toward her fallen girlfriend. "The bag!"
Buffy gave her a confused look but grabbed the nearby backpack, pulling it to her just as the demon began to emanate light once more. Desperately, she yanked the zipper open before losing coordination of her hands.
Faith was convulsing in the grass behind her, closest to the demon. The creature climbed unsteadily to its feet to loom over the two of them. The thing was regaining its strength. Fuck. The energy required to stand seemed to take a lot out of the demon and it swayed, appearing about to collapse. Watching it through unblinking eyes, Faith saw its shining skin flicker. This was probably the only shot they were going to get. Ignoring the white hot pain shooting through her limbs, Faith kicked out, connecting somewhat feebly with its shin.
It was enough. The injured demon stumbled and lost its concentration, releasing the slayers from the current it had been transmitting. Buffy shoved the backpack at the brunette and Faith's shaking hand grasped a large bottle of water. She yanked the cap off and lurched to her knees.
The demon recovered his senses, fixing his wide eyes on them as he fired up his next shock for the two girls. Faith flung her hand out, splashing a stream of water across its chest.
The demon's cry was horrific and high pitched. Faith winced as she stumbled upright but she kept splashing the thing until her bottle was empty and the demon was on the ground, his unmoving corpse smoking and melting under the final drops of water.
Dropping the empty container, she let herself sink back down. "Okay?" Buffy asked from where she was pressing her face into the cool grass under them.
The brunette grunted affirmatively, watching as the spots of blood and shining scales clinging to her skin disintegrated into ash and blew gently away. "You?"
"I think so." Buffy heaved herself onto her back, the tingling in her muscles fading into a dull, fatigued ache. "I just hope I don't look as bad as you do."
Faith glanced over, taking in the bright red spots on Buffy's skin. "Nah, you're alright."
"We should get to the library." The blonde suggested, making no attempt to get off the ground. "You're starting to blister."
"Awesome." Faith muttered. "Just give me a couple hours and then I'm good to walk."
Xander closed his book with a dejected sigh. It was getting late and they'd made no headway into figuring out who was trying to kill Buffy this time. Cordelia had gone home, citing the danger of letting library dust build up in her pores. He and Willow had remained in the library with the two watchers and each of them was growing more and more frustrated as time went on.
"This book collection is just abysmal." Wesley broke the quiet with his declaration.
Giles's glare went unnoticed as Willow abandoned the old, frayed journal she was reading and joined in the discontent. "This is hopeless."
"It's not." Giles insisted.
"Giles," The girl protested. "Kendra told Buffy we weren't going to be able to find anything."
"It's not as though prophetic dreams are an exact science."
"No, but maybe we should start branching out."
"What do you suggest?" Wesley asked skeptically.
Willow shrugged helplessly and the group sat quietly, each lost in their own thoughts.
"I have an idea." Xander offered hesitantly.
Giles blinked hard. "Alright, let's hear it."
"Well, there's an issue of X-Men," He paused as Giles groaned. "No, I'm serious! Just listen. There's an issue of X-Men when they're fighting the Brotherhood of Mutants and Kitty Pryde's future self possesses her present self to warn them that they won't win. So basically the future sucks and it's got robot sentinels in power and the mutants are in camps. So after she warns them, they're able to win and avoid that future."
Everyone stared at him blankly.
"Of course, when Kitty went back that future still existed as an alternate timeline. So I guess Buffy would still be dead…"
"Xander," Giles pinched his nose in consternation. "How does this help us?"
The boy looked back grimly. "What if instead of someone from the future coming back to help us they're coming back to kill Buffy?"
"What evidence do we have to suggest that?" Wesley asked, troubled.
"It makes sense." Willow's worried gaze met her friend's. "Buffy and Faith saw the slayers from the past doing things we know they couldn't have because they were already dead."
"Of course." Wesley said, understanding dawning on him.
Giles still looked skeptical so Willow continued, "What if what they saw was real, but someone is going back after the fact and killing them so they never get there?"
"My God," Giles breathed. "If someone from the future is killing slayers…"
Xander finished his thought. "Buffy won't be able to fight them."