We had lunch by the pool, then when the afternoon heat rolled around, we went in and pretended to take a nap. Well I pretended, she really did fall asleep. I ended up watching her as she slept, just like I've done every night since we arrived here.
I'm sure that everything I felt for her was on my face, but I really couldn't care less. I've got nothing to hide anymore, it's all out in the open…except that it's a secret. Okay, that didn't come out right.
What I meant to say is that it's all out in the open with me and Willow, and as crazy as it sounds, Giles is on the "open" team too. Everybody else is in the dark, but that's not going to be true for much longer, pretty soon the whole world's going to know.
See it's all really simple: I want Faith. I want her more than I've ever wanted anyone or anything in my entire life. I am filled with want and lust and desire and need. I am filled with the biggest of the big. That's right, I am completely and positively filled with love for Faith.
There's no doubt about it, none at all. I am madly in love like never before, and I want her. Physically and emotionally I want her to be mine, and I so desperately want to be hers. Yep, I want her…and I am going to have her.
This whole "business" trip is a set-up. It's a big lie, an elaborate pretense designed to get us here all alone. There are no bad guys and there never were. I just wanted to go someplace romantic, just the two of us, so I could seduce her.
I have it all planned out, well I had it all planned out until The Dawson family messed everything up. But it's okay, I can adapt, that's one of my best qualities. I can be all adapty when the situation calls for it, and this situation is definitely calling for it. In fact, this situation is flat-out screaming for it.
The basic part of the plan is still on track. I am going to show her how I feel about her, and then I'm going to tell her how I feel about her. It's kind of the reverse way of going about it, but it's what's going to work best, of this I'm absolutely positive.
These are special circumstances if ever there were special circumstances, and I've got it all figured out. Showing her is the best way to start, and I took us away from home so that I could have her full attention with no distractions. I want to be able to take all the time I need to take, to be able to say and do whatever I have to in order to get her to understand.
Probably some back story would be helpful right about now…Well, it's been over two years since we defeated The First and destroyed my little Hellmouth of a town. Angel and Spike have been gone now for fifteen months, that's still so hard for me to believe, and I've been back from Italy for just over a year.
It's a long story, but the gist of it is, we saved the world again and then what? All that was left was us and a school bus, well that and the wide-open road stretching out ahead. And the truth of it? I wanted that open road. I wanted out, I wanted away, and most of all, I wanted to live my own life.
We all scattered the first second we could, still a team maybe, but no longer any kind of family. That had all vanished during our big fight in Sunnydale, and it never came back. When I walked out of my own house after they'd made it so clear they didn't want me there, well let's just say it was not a highpoint for The Slayer and her Scooby Gang. I felt betrayed by all of them, and I guess they felt the same about me.
We didn't hate each other, but it was tense and painful to be around them. It was professional between us, but that's all it was. None of us had anything else left, it was just gone. I'd had more than enough, so when my chance came I never hesitated. I took off for Europe, all carefree and normal.
Little problem there because I am most definitely not normal, and I just can't pull off "carefree" anymore. It turns out I like being a Slayer, it's a big part of who I am. It also turns out that I need it, I don't feel right without it. But I wasn't a quitter, so I kept right on trying to make a go of it. That was me, all carefree and normal.
I got bored so quickly it was embarrassing. Dawn began missing everything back home about six weeks into it, that's what world travelers the Summers girls turned out to be. I told her she could go back, but she wouldn't, not without me.
So we decided to settle in Italy and make the best of it. It shouldn't have been a big hardship, it was Italy after all. I received plenty of money every month from The Council, okay from Giles, for services rendered. We had more than enough to live in a very nice style, and it was one we should have become accustomed to.
We never did, but life carried on the way it always does. Then one night Andrew just showed up at our door. We were so happy to see him, and boy doesn't that just say it all? He moved in with us, and I finally couldn't take it anymore.
I mean the not slaying, Andrew actually worked out fine. He loves to cook, he's great at it, and he and Dawn became pretty close. Yep, Andrew was a very good thing, it was the not slaying and not being involved that began getting to me.
I ended up calling Giles, and just like that I was back in. It turns out that everyone else had missed it too, and one by one we all came back to the fold. The fold had to be pretty large because we were all still scattered around the world, but Giles made it work somehow. I guess because he's Giles.
It was great at first, just what I needed, but then I began to miss them. I'd call in every couple of weeks for my assignment, and Giles' voice would just trigger this longing in me. I wanted my family back, but I knew for all intents and purposes, my family was dead. Too much had happened, too much to ever come back from.
We'd turned on each other, lost track of who we really were, and it just wasn't possible to recover from something that severe. It was sad and it hurt, but it was what it was. Somebody once said, "You can't go home again", and boy were they right. Especially when your home's just a big crater in the ground and your family doesn't know you anymore.
One night at about three in the morning, there was a pounding on our door. I had no idea who it could be, and judging by the sleepy look on Dawn's face and the terrified one on Andrew's, they didn't either. I grabbed an axe and opened the door.
"Hiya B, what's shakin'?"
She breezed right in, no invitation needed, and collapsed down onto the sofa. In seconds she had her dirty boots resting on our coffee table as she looked around the room:
"Nice digs. Got anything to eat?"
"Been awhile, but figure I'm all unforgettable and shit."
Andrew looked panicked. He's got issues, don't ask, and he nearly screamed out the question on all our minds:
"Is the world ending?!"
"Jesus Andy, wanna take it down a notch? World's spinning fine, far as I know. Hey Squirt, got any leftovers?"
Dawn yawned, then not too surprisingly said:
"Get your own fucking food, bitch."
"Whoa, gotcha a real pair, yeah?"
"I don't need this, I'm going back to bed. Try not to kill us all in our sleep."
"Think I can promise. Sweet dreams, Dawnie."
"Go to hell."
Faith laughed then, her eyes showing nothing but amusement and respect:
"Probably, but still got me some time."
Dawn slammed her door hard enough to rattle the pictures on the wall, and Andrew as well. He jumped about a foot and went white.
"Fuck, now what is it?"
"Nothing…I…I just don't like surprises."
"Great. Why don't ya haul your girly ass back to bed? Gotta talk to B."
Andrew never even moved, he just looked at me.
"Wow B, another lapdog. How do ya do it?"
I smiled at him:
"Andrew, just go to bed. Everything will be fine."
"Are you sure because I could…"
"I know you could, but it's okay. Goodnight."
He looked relieved and didn't say another word as he took off for the safety of his room. I turned to face her then, and I think I made it pretty clear that I was not happy to see her.
She knew that, which is why a big annoying smirk appeared on her face. She got up and sauntered past me into the kitchen like she'd done it a million times before. She turned on the light, flung open the refrigerator, and began digging around in the most annoying way possible.
After watching her for about fifteen seconds, I shoved her aside and told her to sit down. That smirk was still in place as I slammed a roast beef sandwich and a bottle of beer down onto the table, right in front of her.
"Now talk, why are you here?"
"Came to bring ya home."
She was trying to unwrap the sandwich.
"…Fucking cellophane, hate this shit! You heard me."
"Are you out of your mind?"
"C'mon B, this whole deal's ridiculous. You don't belong here, you belong back home."
"Really? And just where might this `home' be?"
She spared me a quick glance:
"For now? Cleveland, but wouldn't bet that's where it's always gonna be."
"Man, who the fuck wrapped this? It's like trying to bust into Fort Knox…Your home's with Giles and Willow and Xander and Dawn. Location don't mean shit."
I yanked the sandwich out of her hand and unwrapped it for her:
"In case you've forgotten, we lost that a long time ago. So thanks for stopping by, don't let the door hit you on the way out."
She looked me right in the eye and began laughing. I had to fight the urge to smash her head in with our cast iron frying pan.
"That shit ain't gonna fly. You're talking to me now, Blondie."
"Not by choice."
"Guess you still got that burr up your ass. Ever stop clenching your cheeks, it just might come out."
"I don't even know what that means, but I know it's disgusting enough to…"
"Means that what went down is over. Means I'm sick of watching Giles miss you every fucking minute of every fucking day. Means I'm tired of Willow asking me over and over if I've heard anything from you. Means it's gotten way old when Xander compares everything that goes down to something you did in Sunny D."
Her eyes never left mine, and she forced me to look away:
"Well I'm sorry, but I don't miss…"
"Don't say that `cause then I gotta call you a fucking liar. And don't try telling me all the stupid bullshit you been telling yourself. Already got plenty of my own runnin' loose in here."
I didn't know what to say to that, so I didn't say anything at all.
"You're still mad because they turned on you, and I don't blame ya. `Cause that's just what they did B, they turned on you like a buncha ungrateful, backstabbing, two-faced pussies. It got tough, and not one of them had your back."
The silence just stretched there between us for a long time, and finally I responded:
"Okay then, that really makes everything so much better. Thanks."
"Ever ask yourself why?"
"Faith, could you just leave now? All I want is to go back to bed and forget you were ever here."
"Geez B, think you could pry that stick outta your ass? Gotta be getting pretty crowded in there."
My reply to her was calm because that's what I did back then. I kept all my emotions in check because I didn't want to feel them, any of them.
"If I do, I might just beat you with it."
"Free to try, but I'm not your little whipping boy. I just might fight back."
I was mad then, madder than I'd been in forever.
"That makes two unflattering references to Spike. Trust me when I tell you there won't be a third."
"I supposed to be pissin' my pants now? Hey, got any mustard?"
I got out the jar and threw it at her just as hard as I could. She caught it with a grin:
"Thanks…Just gonna spread it with my finger, no way am I asking you for a knife."
What else could I do? I laughed and grabbed a knife, handing it to her as I sat down across from her.
"All right, what are you trying to tell me?"
"They had reasons B, G-man figured it out. Not my place to explain it to you though."
"But it's your place to be here?"
"Probably not, but you know how I am."
We sat quietly while she inhaled her beer and sandwich.
"Damn, did that ever hit the spot."
"Faith, as much as I might want to…I just can't go back and act like nothing happened."
"Course ya can't, don't hear anybody asking ya to. But what ya can do is go back and try and fix things. You don't belong here, and I know sure as shit you don't wanna be here either. That's why we're booked on a flight that leaves in…damn, just about eight hours."
"Yep, even got the yippy little rat boy a ticket."
"I can't just…We can't…"
"Gang's all back, just waitin' on The Slayer to show."
"There are hundreds of Slayers now and…"
"Buffy, there's only one and we all know it. Wanna see her? Look in any mirror. Ya got an extra blanket and pillow? Could really use some sleep `fore I hop back on a plane."
I went and got the spare stuff, then helped her make up the couch. As I went to turn off the light, her voice stopped me:
"Was just trying to get the blood flowing before. Spike was a good man, a fucking hero. He wasn't anybody's lapdog, guy just knew class when he saw it. You were right about him, all the way."
I couldn't even respond. I felt so many emotions just surging their way right to the surface, and my eyes filled with tears. It was such a sweet thing to say, and it was a real comfort to me somehow. I could barely choke out my goodnight, but she seemed to understand.
"See ya tomorrow."
I walked down the hall and stood outside Dawn's door until I'd managed to compose myself. It took a couple of minutes, and then I went in to ask her how she felt about leaving. She was already packing.
"Dawnie, are you sure?"
"I'm sure. I just want to go home."
"How did you know?"
"Why else would she be here?"
Andrew was thrilled too, and before we even knew it, we were back.
It took awhile. There were a lot of discussions, arguments, tears, accusations, apologies, and there was plenty of pain to get through, but we did it. We made our way back to each other because we couldn't do anything else, it was where we all belonged.
It seemed way clear that The Hellmouth had been affecting them, and it was just as clear that I did my patented, extra-special, don't try this at home "Buffy Summers Pull Away". We'd all made mistakes and done stupid things. There was nothing to do about it except get over it, so we did, and everything went back to the way it was supposed to be.
Faith never asked for any credit, but it was all thanks to her. She dragged all of us back one by one, not taking "no" for an answer from any of us. She helped Giles get the new and improved Council up and running, and she trained every single new Slayer who showed up.
While the rest of us took off, Faith stayed and she did her duty on the frontline each and every single night. She helped Giles with all the day to day operations, and never once complained about the huge workload and responsibility. She did her duty and more, and she never once backed away from it.
Except when they got the word about Angel. Evidently Faith went into a tailspin for about a month, drinking every night, getting into fights and slaying like a madwoman. Apparently it was touch and go for a while, but then she just pulled herself together.
In some ways, I think it hurt her worse than me. She loved Angel so much. He was her savior, and she felt she owed him everything. She hated that she hadn't been with him, that he hadn't asked her for her help. It was hard for her to deal with, and she felt like she had let him down.
She got a letter from him after he died, but she didn't tell anyone what it said. Willow told me Faith read it in the living room, then stood up and hurled the chair she'd been sitting in, right through the window. She walked out, and they didn't see her again for a week.
I understood how she felt, I'd received my own letter. I was so angry at him for not calling me. Sure we'd been having problems, but I would have gone to his side no matter what. And I would have brought Faith and a hundred other Slayers with me.
But no, Angel had to be Angel and go it alone…and this time it cost us everything. I wanted to hate him for it. I convinced myself that I did for awhile, but he's Angel, and I will never be able to feel anything but love for him. He did what he had to do, and I respect that. I have to.
I received no letter from Spike, and I didn't expect to. He wouldn't have known what to say, and how funny is that when I think about it? William, the Poet with no idea what words to write. But what words could ever explain him, me, our relationship?
It wasn't the most normal of situations. I didn't even know he was alive again until just before he died. And oh my God, was I furious with him. I decided in my infinite maturity that "I" would not be the one who contacted "him". If he wanted to talk to me, he knew where I was. I would just wait his dumb ass out.
Of course I had no idea that in less than three weeks he was going to be gone for good. The cost of my stupid pride was so hard to get past, but I did it because I knew Spike would want me to. I don't have any doubt about that, so I did my best to let that guilt go, and I've tried not to look back. And the thought that Angel and Spike were fighting side by side? Well that image never fails to bring a smile to my face.
So it hurt like hell for quite awhile, it still does somewhere deep down inside, but I cling to the fact that they went out like they wanted to and it helps. I made myself go forward just like I always do because I'm Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, and no matter what, I have to keep going. They'd expect nothing less from me, and I guess it's what I expect too.
It helped so much when I came back home. Just to be surrounded by people who knew them both was a comfort, and Faith helped me really deal with what had happened. She'd suffered a huge loss as well, and somehow her understanding let me truly move on.
It was then it began, or maybe I should say it was then I began to notice what had probably been there right from the start. It came slowly, but it came, and I finally knew it for what it was. For the first time since I'd met her, I didn't back away from it. I didn't look for something else to hide behind, I didn't try to ignore it and just carry on, and I didn't pretend I didn't feel it.
Faith and I have always had a Slayer connection, but there was also something else going on too. She made me feel alive whenever I was with her, and I knew she understood me, she always has. I never let that be a positive before, but now there was nothing in our way, nothing that made any difference, and I couldn't see it as anything but a good thing.
She stirs me up inside like no one else ever has. It was like that the first time I saw her, and it's something that has never changed, no matter what we've put each other through. This time around, I'm old enough to understand exactly what it means.
I sound all secure and mature now, but when I first figured all of this out, I was a little on the terrified side. I'm like anybody else, and finding out I wasn't who I always thought I was, well it sure wasn't all about the warm and comfy. It was scary, and I went around and around with it until I had myself totally frazzled. Still, I wasn't going to panic. I thought maybe I was just overreacting or something. In fact, it wasn't long before I'd talked myself into totally believing that theory.
I avoided her for a few days, then I went into action. I asked her to spar with me, that's how confident I was. I mean, Faith wasn't off the mark with the whole "hungry and horny" thing, even though she's way more intense about it than I am. So I figured I'd jump right into the fire and prove to myself that I was not having feelings for her.
It went fine at first, normal service had resumed. It was just simple sparring, nothing else, and I felt the relief practically surging through me. I had no idea what I'd been thinking before, but I'd obviously gotten myself all worked up over nothing. I called myself an idiot, and settled into the workout.
We'd been going at it for about twenty minutes when I noticed that a few strands had worked their way loose from her ponytail. They were stuck against her neck by the sweat that was lightly coating all of the exposed skin that I could see, and for some reason I could not take my eyes off the damp spot on her shirt.
It was right above her breasts, and as a drop of sweat rolled down her neck and headed straight for it, I felt my body come alive. Apparently that hadn't been "relief" I'd felt surging after all. Relief doesn't usually affect a girl where I was clearly being affected.
My eyes followed that drop on its journey, but then I managed to pull my attention back to what I was doing. It was almost impossible to do, but I was determined. I told myself I was a Slayer, not some silly schoolgirl who couldn't keep her mind on her business.
When I felt somewhat in control, I looked up to find her grinning at me all sexy and smug. I knew she knew, what else could that look mean? My heart sped up and I almost took off running, but then she laughed from down low in her throat:
"Aw B, you can look all ya want. Not gonna distract me, but nice try."
I didn't get it for a second, and yes, I am a blonde. The blow she delivered to my cheek made it all crystal clear.
She thought I was looking at her that way because I was playing with her. She thought I was just pretending in order to distract her. Talk about being saved by the bell…no, that's not right. Saved by…
I never did figure it out. Just as I was celebrating that she didn't know I was thinking about using her as my sex toy, her tongue came out and licked all around her lips. She was just doing it to be funny, to freak me out, but all it did was force my mind to wander to the thought of her and me naked on top of the…
The blow caught me on my chin and I went flying. I hit the mat and before I could move, she had me pinned. She was straddling me, her hands holding my wrists firmly above my head. Her mouth was just inches from mine and both of us were breathing deeply, causing our bodies to rub lightly against each other at some very interesting points.
I was like a deer in the headlights, well if the deer wanted to have sex with the headlights. She was all happy with the position we found ourselves in, and so was I. But I was also scared, so I began struggling to break loose.
"No way B, not `til you admit it."
"Yep. Say I'm the best Slayer."
She was laughing, and her dimples looked deep enough for me to crawl into. I am little, some would say tiny, and I think living in a dimple is a…
"Hey, knock off the escape plans. You're mine baby, to do with as I please. You don't do what I want, just might have to teach you what that really means."
And it was then I knew. The thrill that shot through me at those words, the desire I felt to learn exactly what it really meant to be hers, well there was no way to deny it. Of course that didn't mean I didn't try. I'm an excellent tryer, and I gave it my all…later.
But at the time as I laid there with her nestled against me, her beautiful dark eyes smiling down at me, all I could think was how I wanted to raise my head until our lips met. And that was so just for starters. My mind was rapidly continuing on, assigning important tasks to all my other body parts, and I was getting ready to make my move.
She sensed something because she got this adorably confused look on her face, but then at the worst possible time, Dawn decided to burst in. She was furious at Giles because he wouldn't give her an advance, and she was demanding that I talk to him for her. Normally her attitude would have made me do the exact opposite of what she was asking, but what I'd just almost done had me ignoring every time-honored sister rule in the book.
I struggled to get up, and Faith quickly leapt to her feet, extending her hand to help me. I felt wobbly, it was almost like I was drunk, but I decided to ignore that. Unfortunately I swayed just a little bit, and Faith reached out to steady me. A normal thing to do, but I reacted like she'd tried to kill me.
I used my Slayer speed to move away, then I accelerated like I was shot out of a cannon. Dawn was so busy complaining, she didn't notice I was already gone from the room. I was hoping that would be the case until I made it upstairs to the safety of my bedroom, but she's Dawn… Dawn after money…Dawn after money for clothes. She eventually tracked me down.
Anyway, I was shook up for five long days and nights. I went around and around with it, turning it this way and that, and it all kept coming back to the same thing. There didn't seem to be anything I could do about it. It just sat there looking at me, and for the first time I was looking back.
It was a big deal, a huge thing, and I struggled to accept it. Like I said, nobody thinks it's easy when you find out you're not who you always thought you were. It's scary, it shakes you, but there it is: the truth. It had been waiting patiently for me to face it for years, and I guess I finally got tired of running from it.
There was no one left to hide behind, there were no more distractions, no extenuating circumstances. There was just me and her and what had always been there between us. I wasn't sure what it meant for my future, I wasn't sure what I was going to do about it, but I knew what was true now. I knew how I felt, and I was all done backing away from that.