Two nights of freaking out about a whole bunch of different angles, led me right to Willow's room. I stood in the hallway for a couple of minutes, inhaling and exhaling what were supposed to be big calming breaths. They didn't seem to be calming me, but they did almost make me start hyperventilating.
I finally decided enough of the breathing, I needed Willow. All I had to do was knock, just lift my hand, curl it into a fist, and bring it down against the door. I had to count to ten twice, which of course makes it twenty, but then I did it. I knocked, and it wasn't long before the door opened and there stood…Kennedy. Terrific.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't hate Kennedy or anything like that. But whenever I see her, I want to kill her. She definitely doesn't like me either, and she's always trying to push my buttons to get me to react to her irritating crap. She's just a joy to be around.
"Hi, is Will here?"
God, she's such a little bitch.
"Because I need to talk to her."
"Gee Kennedy, if I wanted to talk to you, I'd have asked if you were in."
"You wanna talk to Willow? Then you're going to have to run it past me first…Buffy."
Oh my God. She stood there with this snotty smile on her face, and I had to take it back: I really do hate her.
She's a Slayer now too, strong and tough, every bit my equal…Not a chance. I can handle her with one arm tied behind my back, and so can Faith.
Giles had explained it, and yes there were charts and graphs and extremely big words involved, but what it all came down to is that Faith and I are the big shots. We're like seniors to their geeky freshman. We're faster, stronger, and tougher, and according to Giles we always would be. I guess you could say we're still the real Slayers, the originals.
Kennedy didn't want to accept that, hence the constant button pushing every single chance she got. She is such a baby.
"I so do not have time for your crap. Is Will here or not?"
Then she made her second mistake, poking her finger hard just under my collarbone:
"You might be Head Slayer, but this is still my room."
I felt my temper rising, but I managed to control myself.
"That's right, I am the Head Slayer, and I can assure you I know exactly whose room this is. I can also assure you that if you touch me again, you are very much going to regret it."
She didn't look scared, mostly she just looked stupid. Of course that made sense because she is way more stupid than anything else. So I'm guessing it was her stupidity that caused her to lean in the doorway instead of just stepping aside, and I'm assuming it had to be that same stupidity that pushed her to continue on with her stupid game.
"You want to talk to Willow?"
"Why yes I do, Kennedy."
"Well then you're going to have to talk to me first…Buffy."
I love Willow, truly I do. She's my best friend and she's great. She was also the only thing preventing me from smashing my fist right through Kennedy's face.
"Look I know it's hard for you, but could you stop being so stupid?"
"No, you look…Buffy. I don't worship the ground you walk on like everybody else does. If you're looking for somebody to kiss your precious ass for you, why don't you go track down your slutty little sidekick? I'm sure she'll be happy to drop to her knees and lick your…"
The next thing we all knew, Kennedy's feet were well off the ground as I held her by her throat. I slammed her hard against the wall, and as the plaster fell onto the carpet, I noticed she seemed to be all done talking. It seemed like she was much more interested in breathing, and it wasn't going that well for her.
Then someone was clinging to my arm screaming my name, I think it was Dawn, but I wasn't really listening. I was much too fascinated by all the pretty colors Kennedy's face kept turning. It was like a beautiful sunset, it kept changing the more you stared at it.
At first she had a rather stunning bright red going, but then it became darker, shifting to a deep rich purple. It was a shade I'd never seen anywhere before, and even though I'm not a huge fan of the purple family in general, I've got to admit it was lovely. Oh sure, I've been known to wear a little light pastelly lavender as an accent, but outright purple? Not so much.
I vaguely heard footsteps coming, but I ignored them. Then a strong hand grabbed my arm, and when that did nothing to loosen my grip, another hand quickly followed, tugging hard until I was forced to let go. Kennedy crashed to the floor, gasping for all the air she could get while Faith slammed me up against a door.
"What the fuck is going on?!"
I was still not in control, and my voice came out all calm and scary:
"I was just explaining to Kennedy that I didn't care much for her suggestion."
"Jesus B, you coulda killed her!"
"Yeah, being a Slayer is dangerous."
Faith grabbed my arm just above the elbow, then jerked it higher than my shoulder.
She marched me down the hall to her room, flung me inside, and slammed the door.
"Buffy, what the fuck is going on?"
"Didn't you just ask me that?"
"Yeah, and I'm gonna keep asking `til I get an answer that makes some fucking sense!"
"I wanted to talk to Will, and as usual Kennedy was being an obnoxious bitch."
"You just said it, `as usual'. So the hell what? She's always a bitch, always pushing at us."
"Well I guess I finally got fed up."
"So you thought you'd just choke her to death in the hall?!"
"You're right…I should have taken her into a room."
"B, this isn't funny. You snapped, went right off the deep end. You've been acting nuts for the last few days, wanna tell me what's wrong?"
I couldn't face her, so I went to stare out the window with my back to her:
"Don't lie to me. Wanna sling shit at somebody else, go ahead. With me, you're gonna have to do a lot better."
"Look, it's no big deal. I was upset, I didn't like her attitude, and then she said something that pissed me off."
"B, Kennedy pisses you off just by existing. What'd she say that made you so…"
"Nothing! I mean, it was more her attitude."
I tried to look as casual as I could, calmly walking over to her bed and sitting on the edge of it, all the while looking like I was fine. I could tell she wasn't buying it for a second.
"Alright…I know you're not telling me something, but I'm not gonna keep digging. Guess you need to talk it over with Red. If I go get her, ya think you could hold off on killing her girl?"
"As long as she doesn't come near me."
"Not much chance of that. Okay, stay put and I'll grab Willow. Don't move, promise?"
"I promise, no moving."
"Okay, one sec."
It wasn't long before Faith was back with Willow, and both of them looked all worried.
"Gonna just head out to the mall with Squirt and Andy. You guys hang as long as ya wanna. And B, no more of that shit, yeah?"
She closed the door behind her, and then it was just Willow and me. Before either of us could say a word, I burst into tears. Willow sat down next to me and pulled me into a hug:
"Buffy, what's wrong?"
I tried but I couldn't even form words, let alone make any sense. It had all caught up with me, and it came out in this weird keening wail… wailing keen…Whatever it was, it lasted a long time and it was loud.
Willow just kept holding me, and eventually I calmed down. She went into the bathroom as I sat there sniffling, and brought back a million Kleenex. I needed every single one.
While I was busy wiping and blowing, she pulled two bottles of water from Faith's mini-fridge and rejoined me on the bed.
"Can you talk yet?"
I nodded my head.
"So what's going on?"
"I'm sorry Will, really I am. It's just…Well, she really crossed a line this time and I…"
"I know. She managed to croak out what she said. Believe it or not, she's really sorry. We had a big fight just before you got there, and I guess she kind of took it out on you."
"God, I think I might have killed her if…"
"Well you didn't, and you wouldn't have. Her throat hurts, but she's fine. She knows she was wrong, and when she can talk again, she wants to apologize."
"I'm sorry Willow, I just…"
"Buffy, it's okay, okay? I'm not mad, heck I felt like strangling her myself a little while ago."
I laughed and drank almost an entire bottle of water before I spoke:
"This is all so messed up."
I got up and started pacing, and when I didn't stop, Will got up and joined me. It must have been a ridiculous sight to see, the two of us wearing a path in Faith's carpet as we went back and forth, back and forth.
I glanced up and saw the worried look on her face as she kept pace with me step for step, and it made me smile at her.
"Okay, stop. We can sit back down now."
"Are you sure? I don't mind walking if you need to. You know I'm big with the exercise, well in theory. Plus there's the whole clearing of the head thing…no downside there."
She's just so sweet. I took her by the hand and led her back to the bed. We sat side by side, but facing each other, and I wondered how I should start.
"So we're going with the sitting? Okay, sitting is good too."
I started to take a deep breath to calm down, but then I remembered where that led me last time. I decided to go straight to the talking.
"Will, I've got something to tell you and it's going to be a big shock. I need you to help me figure some stuff out…God, I need you to help me figure almost everything out. But not how I feel, that's the one thing I know for sure. I don't have any doubts about that part of it."
"…Oh boy, this is harder than I thought it was going to be."
"You can tell me anything Buffy, you know that."
I wanted to get up and start pacing again, but Willow tightened her grip on my hand:
"I know that, I do."
"Okay then, so tell."
I just blurted it out:
"I'm in love with Faith."
Of all the reactions I'd been expecting, her reaction was not one of them. She just sat there, still looking like she was waiting…or something. It was hard to tell because she wasn't really moving or speaking or even blinking.
"Aren't you going to…Oh my God, are you in shock?! You are! Okay, okay…Sit down…You're already down! That's good, good girl Willow. Don't panic…I need…"
"…cold water…A blanket!"
I didn't really hear her, I was too busy using my Slayer speed to save her life. I was moving like a Slayer on speed, and I vaguely remember snatching a blanket from a chair and wrapping her up tight in it. Really tight. What could probably be described as "mummy tight".
"Maybe you should get into bed? I'll get a cold cloth and…"
"Buffy, I'm not in shock."
"I wish I'd paid attention in class because…You're not?"
"No, I'm not."
"I don't need to call for help?"
"Not unless it's for yourself."
"…So you're okay?"
"I'm fine, except it's a little uncomfortable being all wrapped up like this."
"Huh? Oh, right. Here…"
I got mad as I began unwrapping her:
"Why the hell didn't you say something?"
"You said you had some big shocking news, so I was waiting to hear it. I didn't know your feelings for Faith were the big shocky thing."
I had the blanket off of her, and I tossed it angrily back onto the chair.
"You didn't? How could you not know?! Maybe you didn't notice, but Faith is a woman and so am I!"
"Trust me Buff, I've noticed…boy have I noticed."
"Well then how can you…Wait, tell me you meant that about Faith only?"
Her grin would have made me laugh at any other time.
"Wouldn't you like to know?"
"Will! I am so not at the teasing stage yet."
"Okay, sorry. Yes, I know both of you are girls."
"And don't you think that's strange? I'm not even gay, and I'm in love with a woman!"
"I think that's kinda how it happens, at least that's how it was for me."
I sat back down on the bed next to her.
"You know as crazy as it sounds, the gay thing is not what's freaking me out the most."
"Not even close. Will, I'm in love with Faith."
I had to start pacing again, but this time Willow let me go by myself.
"She's Faith…Faith! All one night standy, `get some, get gone', and I'm all `let's get married and live happily ever after'."
"I don't think either of you is quite that…"
"Then there's our past history…well I guess all history is past, but not like ours. I mean, who else has a history like ours? We've switched bodies, beaten each other up on a regular basis…we've even tried to kill each other. It's not exactly the kind of stuff that makes you think `great romance'. All we've got is a huge can of worms or maybe just a rotten apple…What we have is a can of rotten apples with worms."
"But there's a lot more than just that stuff between…"
"And she's Faith, you know? How much trouble is that all on its own, even when she's being good? I must be insane, that's what it is. I've completely lost my marbles, it's finally happened. Where do you commit a Slayer? It can't be a good place, I'll probably have to be confined in…"
"Buffy, will you please try to calm down? It's not helping anything to get so crazy that you can't…"
"See? I am crazy, Will! I need to…"
She got up then and grabbed me by my arms:
"Shhh…It's okay. Just be quiet and breathe."
"I don't know how! I tried it before and I almost lost consciousness! Will, what if I can't breathe right?! How can I…"
"Buffy, stop! Let's just calm down, okay? Sit here and… Come on Buff, just sit right here."
She pulled me down until I was back on the bed, but she didn't let go of me. She looked into my eyes and I don't know if she did a spell or if it was just because she's Willow, but I felt myself starting to calm down.
"Buffy, you are not crazy. You are in love, and that's a whole different kind of crazy. It's a normal crazy, an acceptable crazy, the kind of crazy we all want to feel. Of course there are big issues to deal with, things you need to figure out, and you'd really be crazy if you didn't realize that. But you do, so you're not, okay?"
"I'm going to help you do whatever it is that you need to do, and we're going to get it all worked out."
"Is it even workable?"
"It's totally of the workable, and there is nothing wrong with you loving Faith. You've had feelings for her for a long time, and it's good that you're finally admitting them."
"…So you're not freaked?"
"Nope, not even a little bit."
"What could I be freaked about? The gay part? All gayed up here, so I'm fine with that. The Faith part? I was there at the beginning, remember? I've known you've had feelings for her forever. And besides, I like Faith now. I think she's great."
I opened the second bottle of water and took a sip. I almost wished it was something stronger, but then I'm not much of a drinker, so water was probably best for everyone.
"As for the history thing, well it's not important anymore. It is in the past Buffy, and as much as you've both changed, it just doesn't matter now."
I nodded, not convinced, but wanting desperately to be convinced.
"Faith is so great now. She's all responsible and mature, she's there for everybody. The new Slayers really look up to her, she's like a mentor to them."
"She is really good with them."
"And she's thoughtful and kind, and she's really fun to be around. Everyone here is way big with the Faith loving."
"Yeah, she's great but…"
"But she's still all Faith, and that's definitely a handful, the biggest one ever. There's no doubt she needs someone who can stand up to her, someone who can go toe to toe with her…Know anyone who can do that?"
I took another sip as I thought over what she was saying.
"I get it Will, it's just…I'm scared. I love her so much…I want her to be mine, and only mine. I don't want a fling, I need it all. I'm terrified that if we do get together, it'll just be about the sex for her."
Willow's face had that serious look it gets whenever she's really trying to get to the bottom of something. It made me feel better just seeing it.
"I get that, and I can see how it would be kind of scary. But Buffy, I don't think she's like that anymore. I haven't even seen her with anyone in a long time."
"Yeah, but just because she doesn't bring them here…"
"But she almost never goes out unless all of us go. She hardly ever even dances with anyone except one of us or herself, and she turns down guys and girls all the time. I don't think she just picks up… people anymore."
"What do you think that means?"
Now it was Willow's turn to pace.
"I'm not sure. I mean, when we go out she can still be all wild…Maybe it just means she's matured."
"She's still all sexy and out for a good time though…but it's like something's missing. Maybe…I don't know."
"Will, what should I do? I can't just blurt it out, she'd probably panic and take off."
"Maybe, but maybe not. It's different now, she might…"
"I wouldn't be able to take it if she left. I want her to stay here with me."
"So you should just sit down with her and tell…"
Willow was talking, but my mind was on the great idea that was slowly coming to me.
"…to lose? Buffy?"
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?!"
"Uh, well if you're thinking you should…"
"I am! I can do that Will, I can be all sexy and subtle. I'll be subtly sexy! Thank you!"
I gave her a hug that made all the air shoot out of her lungs, and then I went hurrying out of the room. I had no more time for talking, I had a plan to plan and put into action.
It was the sexily subtle approach, and it was pure genius on my part. Just slowly, softly, smoothly let Faith know that I was interested. I could do it, I knew how to do it, and I was going to pull out all the stops to get it done. Yep, pure genius.