by Bobbi Manuel
"Love Games" Challenge:
It wasn't coming anywhere close to working. She was already on her sixth Jack Daniels and she wasn't a bit happier nor was she remotely in the vicinity of forgetting. Big fucking surprise.
The waitress swung by again, clearly flirting and clearly not planning to give up any time soon.
"So, sexy…want another?"
She looked up after a beat too long and forced herself to smile. After all, it wasn't the waitress' fault. She was first-rate at her job, something that wasn't all that easy in a place like the dive they were in.
"Oh, I'd say you're way better than that."
Said suggestively and with a slight bend over so that her impressive cleavage was on display.
"Maybe you'd like something to eat?"
"No thanks, wanna keep my guts on the inside tonight."
The server leaned down even further, her lips brushing lightly against her favorite customer's ear:
"My shift's over in forty. Why don't you come home with me and I'll fill you up."
It wasn't even tempting despite the fact that the woman was smoking hot, but she smiled her best smile to take some of the sting out of it.
"Any other time, I'd take ya up on it. Not gonna happen tonight though."
Knowing it was her last hurrah, the waitress spoke as enticingly as she could:
"No chance I can change your mind?"
Faith stood, tossing some bills down onto the table as she did.
"You got no clue how much I wish you could, but thanks for the offer."
The waitress scooped up the money.
"Hey, this is way too much."
"Keep it. I always appreciate a shit hot waitress."
Faith reached down and polished off the rest of her drink, then winked and headed outside…where she deflated like a busted balloon as soon as her feet hit the pavement.
She stood there looking lost and alone, and a big chunk of her just wished she could head home. But that wasn't a possibility, not tonight.
"Fuck this shit."
She wandered aimlessly down the sidewalk for a while, finally entering a place just because she wanted to sit down.
It was way too bright, more like a club than a real bar, and she almost headed right back out. But the guy at the door had already waved her in without asking her for the cover charge and the band was playing a song she liked, so she decided it didn't really matter. She'd have a few drinks, kill a little time, and then head on to someplace a lot better suited to her mood.
She stopped at the bar, paid for a bottle of bourbon, and found a seat off to the side and in what passed for darkness in a brightly lit yuppie joint. She had herself a cozy little table for two, and that made her laugh.
"Oh yeah, gotta have a table for two."
Within twenty minutes, six people: four guys and two girls, had planted themselves in that empty chair only to find that it was like riding a bucking bronco. None of them lasted longer than fifteen seconds, and they all felt a little bruised and shaken when they left.
It wasn't long until she had almost half the bottle gone and she knew she needed to slow down…Way easier said than done. The pain was still there, just as fresh as when she'd started trying to drown it, and she wasn't forgetting anything. Every word was playing over and over in her head, every expression was still too easy to see.
It was fucked up. It had always been fucked up and obviously it always would be. She was nothing but a fool for thinking it could ever be any different, but she knew that given enough time to recover, she'd fall into the same stupid trap again. She hated herself for not being able to let go and she hated that no matter what she did, it was never anywhere near good enough. At least not for little "Miss High and Mighty".
She poured another glass and raised it in a mocking toast:
"Here's to the world's perfect, untouchable bitch! Long may she keep that fuckin' stick up her fuckin' ass!"
She slammed back the contents of her glass and quickly poured another.
"And two guesses who that toast was to."
Faith looked up at the sound of the familiar voice and no longer wondered how the night could get any worse.
"Queen C, ya slummin' or somethin'?"
"In a way. I was out with some old friends, emphasis on the old. They're so boring, I think they're planning on playing shuffleboard and..."
"Sorry to hear it. See ya later."
"Okay, rude much?"
"Much as I can be."
Cordelia didn't seem put off at all.
"Mind if I sit down?"
Faith's legs instantly reached out to claim the chair opposite her, her boots resting comfortably on the seat.
"Yeah, I do, so why don't ya go find…"
Cordelia shoved her feet to the floor and slid smoothly into the chair.
Faith took a swig of her drink and stared sullenly at the newest invader of her privacy. This one was more dangerous because she clearly didn't care that her presence wasn't welcome.
"Look, ya need cab money?"
Faith dug into her pocket, then casually tossed some bills onto the table.
"Here, just get lost."
Cordelia looked down at the money in disgust.
"Wow, thanks for the way gracious offer. I mean, there's nothing like being treated like a whore to make a girl feel special."
"Great. Go feel `special' someplace else."
"Why don't you drop the tough girl act?"
Faith splashed some more alcohol into her glass and knocked it back in one swallow.
"How `bout I beat the shit outta ya and kick ya to the curb instead?"
Cordelia rolled her eyes.
"Is this you trying to be all intimidating? Because it's working in the way that's not."
Faith sneered at her, her eyes menacing.
"Yeah, figures you'd be too stupid to…"
"Blah, blah, blah."
Cordelia reached out and grabbed the bottle off the table.
"Hey, put that down!"
"What is it?"
"Sure as fuck's not cheerleader juice, so give it back."
Cordelia read the label then took a swig straight from the bottle. She waited a second, then took another big slug.
To Faith's surprise, there was no coughing fit, no gasping for air, no watering eyes. Cordelia just smiled and placed the bottle back on the table.
"Not bad. I haven't had any of that in a long time."
Faith had expected irritating girly sputters, not the silence of somebody who'd clearly done some booze in her time. She was surprised, but she made sure to keep her face neutral. She didn't believe in giving anybody the upper hand, not if she could help it, and showing someone they'd surprised her was providing them with an advantage she didn't ever want to offer up.
A waitress breezed by and Cordelia quickly requested another bottle and glass. With her order taken, she turned back to Faith.
Faith's question was gritted out with a clear threat, but Cordelia wasn't remotely fazed.
"So she's done it again, and all in a matter of what…three hours?"
"No clue what you're talkin' about."
Another waitress brought Cordelia's bottle and glass and was gifted with a dazzlingly white smile. She left and Cordelia poured herself a drink as she waited for Faith's grudging response.
Cordelia said nothing, but her eyes remained locked on Faith's. A minute passed in silence, and then Faith shook her head and laughed.
"Okay, you won the big stare down. What's next?"
"I'm not sure, I'm just looking to have a little fun."
"True, it's not exactly ideal, but trust me Psycho Girl, it's way better than what I had going on."
There was another dazzling smile and Faith felt herself relaxing.
"Alright, but don't piss me off."
"Me? Now when have I ever done that?"
They both laughed and Cordelia poured them another drink from the new bottle.
"So what did Buffy do this time?"
Faith swallowed carefully before answering.
"What makes ya think she did..."
"Oh please, I've only seen you like this twice since you got out of prison, and both times Buffy was front and center. Given the fact that she's in town, staying at the hotel and the two of you were yelling at each other just a few hours ago, hey, call me a genius, but I think `Little Miss Sunnydale' has been spreading her special brand of good cheer…just like always."
Faith downed her drink and poured another.
"She just pisses me off, is all."
"Yep, that sounds like the Buffy I know. So what happened?"
Once she got started, Faith couldn't seem to stop. Later she blamed it on the alcohol, but she knew that wasn't really the cause. The cause was a gleaming white smile, long legs that went up to there, and not the slightest bit of resemblance to Buffy Anne Summers.
"…so then she jumps down my throat again and won't even let me explain. I kept tryin' `til I finally just told her to fuck off and then I hauled it. I'm not takin' her shit anymore."
Cordelia nodded understandingly.
"I don't blame you. I walked in right after you left and when Angel could finally get a word in edgewise, he stuck up for you."
"Yeah, Soulboy's cool. So what'd B say?"
"Well, believe it or not, she actually shut up and looked a little on the guilty side. Maybe when you get back she'll…"
Faith was squinting down into the empty bottle:
"No, she won't. Never apologizes to me. Just spouts her shit, rips me a new one, then breezes back to her perfect little world of sight and lunshine…Light and shine sun. Meanwhile, my ass sits in the dark feelin' like shit. `Great to see ya again, B, Thanks for the fucking help, you fucking bitch'!"
She hurled the bottle against the wall, just missing the couple seated at the nearby table. The noise was louder than it should have been since the band was on a break, and the bouncer standing at the bar heard it.
He turned around and when his gaze settled on Faith, she smirked and flipped him off with both hands. His eyes narrowed and as he began approaching the table, Cordelia shot to her feet.
He shoved her aside without breaking stride and continued on his way.
"Okay, stop right there mister!"
The authority in her voice made him hesitate, and she quickly stepped around in front of him again.
"My friend is drunk. She's had a really bad day and we were just leaving."
"Damn right, she is."
"So would you mind not going over there and challenging her because…"
"I'm not going to challenge her, I'm going to throw her bitch ass out!"
Faith made another rude gesture:
"Yeah? Better bring about fifty more shit for brains with ya!"
He started for the table again, but Cordelia managed to stay in front of him.
"Look, I get the whole macho thing, all right? But she's just a girl who's had too much to drink. All you're going to prove is that you're a big muscle bound freak who hits women. Wouldn't it be a lot better for everyone if you just let us leave?"
"Let him bring it, Cor. Be way happy to smash his face to a ploody bulp."
Cordelia gave him her best smile:
"See how drunk she is? Like she could even remotely hurt a big strong man like you. Pfft…women, right? Can't live with'em, can't smack'em around like the old days. I just don't know how guys manage today with the constant rule changes."
He looked at her then.
"Yeah, it ain't easy. Alright, get the crazy bitch outta here and don't come back."
Cordelia was already on her way over to Faith.
"We have absolutely no problem with that. I mean, this is the kind of place that once you've seen it, you've seen it enough for the whole rest of your life."
He was trying to figure out if he'd just been insulted, but Cordelia didn't give him a chance to ponder.
"It's just so beautiful, you know?"
His confusion was obvious as he turned and walked away without another word.
Cordelia's hands were on Faith's shoulders and she encouraged her to get to her feet. Faith stood and instantly began moving towards the bouncer.
"Hey, where ya goin', hot shot? C'mon, I feel like rearranging somebody's face and it might help ya out since you're so futt bucking ugly!"
He hesitated but kept walking, and Cordelia tightened her grip, sliding her hands around Faith's waist from behind and practically bear hugging her to slow her down.
"Faith, if you don't shut up and head for the door, I am personally going to kick your ass. Now move it!"
"Me? He's the one who made a federal case outta…OW!"
Cordelia twisted Faith's nipple…hard.
They made it safely outside with Cordelia clinging to her all the way, causing more than a few interested glances as they exited. She loosened her hold when the doorway was cleared, but her fingers still dug painfully into Faith's bicep. As they successfully gained the sidewalk, Faith yanked her arm free.
"What the fuck are you doin'?"
"Stopping you from getting into big trouble."
Faith glared at her while she weaved and bobbed in place.
"Wasn't gonna be any trouble for me. Was gonna kick the shit outta that…"
"Wow, you really are not so bright. What were you going to do – beat him up and take on every other bouncer in the place?"
"Damn right, I was!"
"That's just great. And where would that leave you?"
"Happy and in the `Winner's Circle'."
Cordelia was staring at her incredulously.
"You know it's amazing that someone as ridiculously stupid as you even manages to stay alive from one day to the next. There is no `Winner's Circle', there's just jail which is where you would have ended up on your way back to prison."
The hand was back, and although Faith could have easily wrenched her arm free, she didn't.
"Where we goin'?"
"We're going to my place."
Faith leered in, flirtatious and suggestive as her sexiness fairly oozed out of her.
"Hey, if you're lookin' for a little slap and tickle, alls ya had to do was ask, baby."
Cordelia flagged down a taxi, keeping a tight grip on an increasingly difficult to handle Slayer.
"If you don't stop making this harder than it has to be, I'm going to take you up on the slapping part."
Faith laughed and clambered into the backseat. Cordelia followed, giving the driver her address as she shut the door. In less than ten minutes they were idling at the curb outside her building and Faith thrust a hundred dollar bill at the cabbie. He lit up until Cordelia pulled it back and offered him a twenty instead.
"No, it's not your lucky day."
He took the money, but his eyes were all over Faith. He grinned when Cordelia's arm grazed along two spectacular breasts as she reached across to open the door. She ignored him and pushed and shoved as hard as she could until finally Faith got the idea and stumbled out onto the sidewalk. She was swaying as she tried to keep herself upright, and Cordelia quickly got out and grabbed a flailing arm. Faith took it as a come on rather than a simple attempt to steady her, and she leaned into Cordelia.
"Mmm yeah, Cordy…can't keep my hands offa you neither."
She began rubbing her front against Cordelia in a manner that left no doubt as to her intentions. Cordelia stepped away, but Faith lost her balance and began falling forward. Cordelia swiftly moved back against her, their bodies meeting everywhere as she clutched Faith even tighter to her.
"Oh boy…isn't this just so much fun."
She could see the cab driver over Faith's shoulder. He was practically salivating as he looked them both up and down, and Cordelia snorted in disgust:
"And it's not my lucky day either, so don't even think about it…or us…later… when you're all alone…Pervert."
Holding Faith to her just as hard as she could, Cordelia kicked the cab door shut, and began the long, slow walk into her building.
"Smell wicked great."
The comment was muffled since Faith's face was smushed against Cordelia's throat, but Cordelia understood her easily.
"Thanks. And I'm really enjoying your drool production on my neck and shoulder. Now come on!"
A slipper bounced off Faith's head as she sat on the couch, and she turned to glare blearily in the direction it came from.
"Don't start with me, fucker."
There was only silence until the mate came flying at her, but this time Faith was ready. She snatched it out of the air and flung it back, at least that was her plan, but the vast quantities of alcohol she'd consumed had taken her coordination from her. That meant instead of catching the airborne missile, she merely waved at it feebly as it sailed by and smacked her right in the face.
"Ow! Look, already apologized like a thousand times and I meant it every goddamn time. Not gonna hurt her again, give ya my word. Gave it to her too, and obviously good enough or I wouldn't be here, yeah? So could ya gimme a fuckin' break, room's spinnin'."
There was no response, but both slippers returned to their original spot on the floor and Faith struggled out of her jacket. She leaned her head back against the couch just to rest her eyes, way more hammered than she'd been in a long time. Hell, she couldn't even remember being so…
She must have nodded off because when she opened her eyes, Cordelia was sitting in a chair in her pajamas watching TV. There was a plate stacked high with sandwiches waiting on the coffee table, along with an unopened bag of chips and a huge bottle of aspirin.
Faith yawned and stretched, flinging off a blanket as she sat up straighter.
"Time is it?"
"You've been out for almost two hours."
"Thanks for coverin' me up."
"I didn't. Dennis did."
Faith grinned as she looked around.
"Hey thanks, Kit."
Cordelia headed for the kitchen.
"Do I even want to know how you came up with that ridiculous nickname?"
Faith grabbed a sandwich and took a huge bite before answering:
Cordelia's came back into the room carrying a couple of cans of Coke.
"The Phantom. Ya know, purple tights, guns, Devil, Fraka, Hero?"
"Are you still speaking English?"
Faith took one of the cokes with a smile, popping the lid and swallowing half the can and four aspirin in one go.
"That's the names of his animal pals. Lives in Skull Cave and has these two bitchin' rings that…"
"I don't read comic books."
Faith snagged another sandwich.
"He's in the paper too. Bet Denny knows him."
There was a loud bang on the wall.
"See? Dude's kick ass, Kit knows."
Dennis banged again and Cordelia rolled her eyes:
"Okay, well, whatever makes you two happy."
Faith polished off the rest of the sandwiches, most of the chips and both Cokes. She leaned back again and noticed Cordelia staring at her.
"Yeah, I'm still drunk, but don't worry. I never throw up."
"Okay then, I'll hold you to that."
They watched TV for another hour and then Cordelia yawned loudly.
"I think that's it for me, and you could probably use some sleep too."
She stood and picked up a pile of linen from the nearby table, gesturing at Faith to get up as she began making the couch. She tucked a sheet under the sofa cushions and pulled it tight, then shook out a top sheet and a blanket.
"The only rule's no sleeping nude on the couch."
"We're in luck, wearin' underwear tonight. Just need a T-shirt if ya got one."
"There's one under there."
Faith lifted the pillow and tossed it onto the end of the sofa just as Cordelia finished. She smiled as she picked up the shirt.
"Well, what else can I do? Let you take your drunken ass back out there? I don't want to waste all of our petty cash bailing you out."
"Yeah, well why ever, I appreciate the place to crash."
Cordelia smiled, her expression warm and friendly.
"Feel free to use the bathroom whenever you need to."
"Maybe I oughta use it now, then I won't wake ya up later."
Faith took the shirt and performed her nightly ablutions which included splashing cold water on her face to try and sober up. It didn't work, it just made her wet. She dried off and stood looking at herself in the mirror, wondering just how long she was going to keep doing stupid stuff.
When she came out, Cordelia was already in her bed with the lamp turned off.
"Go ahead and leave the bathroom light on. Just pull the door closed, that way you'll be able to see if you need to…
Faith hit the switch, instantly bathing the room in darkness.
"Slayer eyes, `member? I can see just fine, `less you want it on?"
"No, I like it black when I sleep."
"Cool. Thanks again, Cor."
"You're welcome, Faith. Good night."
And then she was gone, walking with the exaggerated care of a drunk back to the couch.
Cordelia stood in the doorway as she studied the beautiful woman sleeping soundly on her couch. The slight glow of moonlight that filtered in through the curtains illuminated Faith as if it were made for her. It followed her curves and planes effortlessly, smoothly gliding over her just like Cordelia wanted to.
She'd tossed and turned for an hour, finally getting out of bed but then quickly veering away from the door. Instead she'd gone into the bathroom and switched on the light, hoping that the soft illumination would stop her from leaving the safety of her room. It didn't, which was why she was now standing where she was…mesmerized by the sexy, drunken woman whose hurt was rolling off of her even in her sleep.
"God, what am I doing? Dennis, go wherever you go or pretend to go. I need some private time."
She felt a breeze gently caress her face and she knew that was his way of telling her that he was "gone".
Cordelia didn't waste any time, not when her mind was made up, and she strode to the couch and crouched down beside it. Her hand slid lightly along Faith's arm and she was surprised at how soft the skin was. She eased the covers aside and let one of her hands glide up and down the exquisite leg that was now on display. Her lips began placing feather light kisses on Faith's shoulder.
Faith shifted, her voice rough from sleep and something else:
"What're ya doin', Cordelia?"
"I don't know…I just know I want you.
"Not somebody you can count on."
Cordelia's mouth travelled upwards, inching itself along until it hovered above Faith's lips, their breath mingling as one. She pushed the t-shirt up and out of the way as her hands sought out the now rock hard twin points of heat.
"This is just for tonight; no strings, no obligations."
"Yeah, that's what they all say."
Cordelia kissed her and Faith shut up…except for the slight moan that escaped from her when they parted.
"Bet none of them ever kissed you like that."
"Not that I remember."
Cordelia smiled and kept at it, easing up on the couch and letting her body help with the seduction. She could feel it the instant Faith gave in, and she smiled when two strong hands grabbed onto her butt and yanked her even closer. Faith delivered her own kiss and she left Cordelia breathless as she pulled back.
Faith knew she should stop it before it went any further, but she couldn't really think of one reason why…at least not when she was still drunk. She had a beautiful sexy girl with legs that went all the way to the floor crawling all over her…Why should she stop her?
She moaned again when Cordelia's knee fitted snugly up between her legs, the sensation making her pull her even closer. She smelled so good...and nothing like Buffy. Cordelia was all spicy and Buffy smelled like flowers, but not. It was almost indescribable, it was just "Buffy", the thing that made her uniquely herself, and it always sent Faith reeling the second she caught the faintest whiff.
She was gone in an instant when it hit her and she'd never even had the pleasure of anything sexual with Buffy. The closest she'd come was that time they'd danced at "The Bronze" and…
Cordelia's sharp nails scored along Faith's shoulder, probably drawing blood.
"Stop thinking about her. I'm right here and I'm not playing `stand-in' for anyone."
Faith looked her right in the eye:
"Sorry. You're not a `stand-in'…well, least not any more than I am."
Cordelia nodded and smiled slightly.
"Okay, point taken. But you're not going to get lost in her, not when you're with me."
She kissed Faith hard and deep, and Faith groaned low in her throat as she went to take control. Cordelia had other ideas.
"That's what I said."
"Sorry, baby, but I always run the show."
Despite Cordelia's best attempts to stop her, Faith sat up easily and lifted her into her arms.
Faith kissed her as she carried her into the bedroom, casually tossing her down onto the bed. She wasted no time in flinging the t-shirt and her underwear somewhere behind her, her eyes locked on Cordelia's the entire time. She leapt onto the bed, straddling Cordelia as she pulled off her top, then tugged on her panties until she lifted her hips to help.
Faith smiled again, a wicked grin that made Cordelia smile back even though it also sent a chill down her spine. She wasn't exactly sure what she had gotten herself into, but it was too late to worry about that now. The time for doubt had been when she'd left the safety of her bed and practically attacked her inebriated guest.
She reached out to Faith, but her wrists were quickly pinned over her head by one powerful hand. Cordelia struggled, but Faith didn't relent, seemingly not the slightest bit concerned as she softly trailed her other hand leisurely along Cordelia's body.
"Fuck, you're beautiful..."
Cordelia's breath caught in her throat as Faith's gaze followed the path her hand was taking.
"…all long, lean, soft, hard…"
Faith's mouth dropped to surround a nipple causing Cordelia to moan and thrust upwards to get more of the perfect warmth.
"…and so damn wet."
Faith took her time, her fingers gentle but firm, exploring and teasing in all the right places. Cordelia wrapped her legs around Faith's waist and began moving in time with the intimate touch.
"Ya like that, Cor?"
"Wha…What was your first clue?"
Faith kissed her again, more forcefully, pushing her hard into the mattress as her hand continued stroking all around.
"Damn, you are one hot bitch."
"Let go of my hands."
Cordelia was wildly turned on, but even though her voice had an unfamiliar quiver to it, she somehow managed to remain her usual haughty self:
"Because I said so, and if that's not enough, because I want to touch you."
Faith smiled, letting go as she slid her way down the lengthy body.
"No prob, Queen C. Touch away."
Faith buried her face between Cordelia's legs before she had a chance to respond and Cordelia began speaking in tongues. Faith was speaking in tongues too, well, just the one, and she was incredibly fluent in the language. She had Cordelia coming in just minutes.
She rode it out, slowing but not stopping as she lost herself in the pleasure of going down on one of the most beautiful women she had ever seen. Her tongue worked in concert with her lips and teeth, and she drew out Cordelia's ecstasy for just as long as she could.
When Cordelia fell back loose limbed, eyes closed and a smile on her face, Faith's tongue still swirled lightly against her. It wasn't long before that smile began growing bigger.
"Careful, you just might start something again."
"That's the plan, Queen C."
Cordelia inhaled loudly as she felt Faith's fingers sliding in.
"Okay…not bad….not bad at all."
"No way. Gotta have a better response than that."
She began thrusting while her mouth joined in, and Cordelia was soon writhing and swearing, her hands tangled in Faith's hair as she urged her on.
Cordelia came fast and she came hard, her whole body rigid as it filled with warmth, and she knew without a doubt that Faith was just as good as advertised. She collapsed back against the mattress, tugging Faith up and away from her.
"I'm positive. If I come like that again…Well, just as soon as my brain starts working, I'll tell you what would happen."
Faith kissed Cordelia's neck and shoulder, then she dipped lower again.
"Fuck, these are some perfect tits you got."
Faith laughed and Cordelia joined in.
"Well, they are."
"No argument here, Cor. Could play with'em all night."
Cordelia moaned her approval as Faith's tongue wove its way around first one nipple, then the other, her hands each caressing a breast.
"So, got any ideas what else we could do?"
"Hmm, well I was thinking I'd just lay back and get some sleep."
"Sure, feel free. Just make sure your face lands between my legs as ya pass out."
Cordelia opened an eye to look up at her:
"You aren't the classiest of women, are you?"
"What? Not gonna waste time fancyin' it up for ya. Let the pussy eatin' commence."
"How do you know I even know how to do it?"
Faith reclined on her side, her head propped up on one hand as the other still stroked Cordelia's breasts.
"Got a sixth sense. Knew you went both ways when I first saw ya back in Sunny D."
"Well, with the general selection being as poor as it was, I didn't see any reason to rule anybody out based on gender. There were plenty of other reasons to exclude them."
"So either get busy or I'll start gettin' myself off."
Cordelia smiled, her gaze lazily trailing up and down Faith's nude form.
"Just so you know, that's hardly an enticement to get to work. It's not like I'd mind watching you abuse yourself."
"Maybe later, but right now thinkin' it's time for some tat to go with the tit."
Faith squeezed a little too hard, making Cordelia jump.
"Don't blame me, Cor. Was you who started this whole thing."
"True enough, but that doesn't mean I want to be manhandled."
Faith lifted up until she was on all fours over her. She kissed her hard while she let their breasts touch and glide. When they parted, Cordelia licked her lips and tilted her head up to flick at Faith's nipple:
"Mmm…I don't seem to mind being woman-handled though."
"Yeah, I noticed. Now let's see you use that big mouth and wicked mean tongue for somethin' `sides talking."
Cordelia tried to push her down onto her back, but Faith didn't budge.
"Sorry. Don't let anybody on top of me."
"I don't like it."
"Then I guess it's lucky for you…"
She slid down the bed underneath Faith, making sure that every part of her that could rubbed against every part of Faith. Her mouth followed hungrily, blazing a trail of kisses on every inch of quivering skin it could reach .
"…that I love a challenge."
Faith felt the hot breath hit her first, then long fingers were grasping her hips to haul her down closer. Faith let herself be pulled and then without further delay, Cordelia was doing her best to do her fair share…and then some.
It didn't take more than a few seconds before Faith was enjoying it immensely, and as Cordelia would confidently tell anyone at any time about anything: Cordelia Chase's best was always way more than good enough. They didn't call her "Queen C" for nothing.
Faith walked into her room and closed the door, turning the lock as she stood there leaning against it. She was tired, worn out, rode hard and put away wet, although her fatigue was mainly all on the mental side.
She didn't regret fucking Cordelia, especially not when Cordelia was so skilled in the art of fucking, and certainly not when she'd almost literally had her brains screwed right out of her head. But a big part of her couldn't shake the feeling that she'd somehow done something wrong.
She didn't get it. It wasn't like Cordelia didn't know that their relationship was never going to go anywhere else, not ever. And it was perfect because Cordelia didn't want that anyway, at least not with her. They'd had a good time, they might have more, and there was no downside or guilt attached to any of that.
And it wasn't like Faith had cheated on anybody, there was nobody to cheat on. She didn't have to answer to anyone for her actions, and she hadn't hurt or even slightly taken advantage of anyone. She'd simply had mind-blowing sex with someone who'd wanted it for all of the same reasons she had, and it had been perfect.
It was what was called an "adult fuck", correction: a "hot adult fuck". A mature coupling between two grown-ups who understood what they were doing and why. No guilt, no shame, no big drama, no trying to cling afterwards. It was perfect, just the way sex should always be, and yet Faith knew it wasn't sitting right with her.
She tossed her jacket on the chair across from her bed and stripped as she headed for the shower. She was going to clean up and then she was going to crash for several wonderful hours until she had to get up and patrol or do some other "responsible" thing. She was all done thinking about stupid bullshit.
When she got to the bathroom, she left the light off and turned the water on just as hot as she figured she could take it. Her head was still hurting, she couldn't remember the last time she'd gotten as drunk as she had last night. Hopefully the pounding spray would take care of the pulsating pain.
She stayed in the shower for a long time and the heat did the trick. She could feel her muscles relaxing and her headache easing as she leaned under the water, comfortably balanced on one outstretched arm. Her thoughts went unbidden to the specifics of her romp with Cordelia.
Damn, was she ever sexy. Long strong legs that Faith could still feel wrapped around her waist, a flexible tongue she really knew how to work, and a mouth that could suck like a Hoover or nibble so delicately Faith could barely remember who or where she was.
And then just like that, the guilty feeling returned. It made no sense, but it was hounding her, and her headache started threatening a comeback as well. She struggled to focus her thoughts back on Cordelia – the way she looked when she came, the way her nails ripped grooves down Faith's back, the way her eyebrow had quirked when she'd finally regained her senses, and the way she'd reciprocated over and over again.
Faith swore and shut off the water. There was no point in standing there and letting her hangover roar its way back. Better to crawl into bed and just sleep it off. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, and even through the misty steam she could see that look on her face. She'd done something wrong and she didn't know what it was, let alone why she was having the bizarre reaction she was.
She dried off and tossed the towel onto the shower curtain rod, then heard it slide all the way over and land in the tub. Whatever. Angel had some hotshot service for linens and towels, all she had to do was cram everything into a big bag and leave it outside her door on Thursdays. Problem solved, or at least shifted to somebody else.
The cooler air of the bedroom felt good as she headed for her bed, determined to stop thinking everything over like a big pussy. She got laid last night and she got laid well. She was a grownup, she had fucked a consenting adult, and she hadn't cheat on anybody. This crap running through her head was bullshit, and she was all done with it.
"So you finally came back."
Faith jumped and let out a tiny little scream as she whirled to face the chair.
Buffy was sitting there calmly, at least that's how it looked, but Faith could easily read the anger in her eyes. She'd had plenty of experience with making Buffy mad and she knew exactly what it looked like in all its variations.
"What the hell are you doin' in here?"
Buffy didn't move, but she looked away:
"Would you mind putting something on?"
Faith smirked. The little priss ass was uncomfortable? Tough shit.
"Hey, you busted in here without an invite. I'm gonna grab some sack time and this is what I sleep in. Deal."
The anger flashed back and Buffy focused her gaze on Faith's face this time.
"Where have you been all night?"
"What's it to you? You my mom now?"
Buffy stood and took a couple of steps towards Faith.
"No, I'm not your mother. What I am is a Slayer who wonders where her partner's been all night."
"`Partner'? In what, mouthy smackdowns?"
She placed her hands on her hips, looking entirely comfortable as she stood there nude.
Buffy's face flushed, Faith's zinger obviously too close for comfort.
"Nothing happened because thankfully Angel and his crew take their jobs seriously."
Faith was mad now and she didn't bother to hide it:
"Don't fuckin' piss on my turf and try to school me on the people I work with every fucking day. I don't need you explaining how good they are at what they do, and I don't need you bustin' in here to slam me for takin' a night off."
"So is that what it was? You just `took a night off'? Because from where I'm standing it looks way more like you bailed again when things got too tough for you to handle."
Faith's fists clenched and she actually took a step towards Buffy before she made herself stop. Instead she walked over to her bed, picked up the sheet and wrapped it around herself as she tried to refrain from pounding the crap out of the Slayer.
"Yeah, you made it crystal clear yesterday what you think about me. Pretty obvious you didn't want me around, so I left. Now ya wanna bust my balls `cause I wasn't standin' by your side? Maybe you oughta make up your mind what it is you want."
Buffy rolled her eyes in disgust and shook her head.
"It always comes down to this, doesn't it, Faith? It's always `poor me' any time somebody dares to point out something you've done wrong. You make the mess and someone else always has to clean it up. You haven't changed a bit, you're still all about you."
Faith knew the hurt flashed across her face despite her best attempts not to let it show, but she closed it off just as fast as she could.
"Well, you've sure changed, Buffy. You're a bigger bitch than ever, which I woulda laid odds was fuckin' impossible for you to pull off. You still think you got all the answers, that you're way better than me."
They stood staring at each other, the intensity crackling between them.
"Never gonna give me a chance, are ya, B? It's always gonna come back around to the past with you."
"Hold on, Faith, let me get my violin out."
"Trust me, bitch, you'll never be able to pry it outta your ass. You wanna keep kickin' me, go right the fuck ahead, but I'm actually doin' some good now. You don't wanna let it go and gimme a chance? That's your problem. Now get the fuck outta my room."
Buffy stood right where she was and clapped mockingly.
"Wow, great speech, but I can't see how your past is any different from your present. We needed your help last night, I needed your help last night, and as usual you were nowhere to be found. So what was it, Faith? Did you have an itch to scratch, a need to ride stick?"
"Yeah, after lettin' you tear me a new one for a coupla hours, I decided maybe a down and dirty might be just the thing to make me feel better about bein' such a useless cunt. And for your info, I got fucked every which way and it was great, not a stick in sight."
The shock on Buffy's face was almost funny.
"Are…are you saying that you slept with a woman?"
"Wasn't much sleepin' goin' on, but yeah, she was definitely all woman."
Something weird settled on Buffy's face, a look Faith had never seen before. It made her guilt flare up hotter than ever and she didn't want that, so instead of trying to figure it out, instead of asking what it meant or just stopping things before they went any further, Faith let her sheet slide slowly to the floor and licked her lips lewdly.
"Want a demo, Buffy? Huh? Want the fuckin' of your life?"
Buffy stood frozen, that same weird look on her face. She backed up, then turned away, but not before Faith saw the tears swimming in her eyes.
Buffy's voice came out softly:
"I didn't mean to…I just came here to apologize and say…I'm sorry I attacked you yesterday. I…Angel said you were…Anyway, what you do isn't any of my business...I'm sorry, Faith."
And then Buffy was out the door.
Faith struggled to wrap the sheet around herself and follow.
By the time she'd managed to stop fumbling around and make it out into the hallway, Buffy was nowhere in sight. Faith sighed and went back into her room, locking the door again for all the good it did.
She straightened out the sheet and blanket and crawled underneath, shifting her pillow in a vain attempt to get it just right. Her head was pounding again and her muscles were tighter than they'd been before the shower. She knew sleep wasn't coming anywhere near her today.
And how was that at all fair? Buffy had busted into her room, been a big fucking bitch again, and then somehow Faith was the one left behind feeling guilty…and for what exactly?
So she'd had sex last night, she was allowed. Then she'd verbally defended herself in her own fucking room after Buffy had just barged in because she obviously had no respect for Faith's privacy. All Faith had done was give back to Buffy some of the shit she'd been slinging, and there was no way that was wrong…not technically at least.
It was Buffy who was the asshole this time around, the one who was in the wrong….but somehow that wasn't quite true and Faith knew it. She'd crossed a line, and even though she didn't know what it meant or why, she knew she'd messed up big time.
She rolled over, smashing her fist into the most uncomfortable pillow ever made. Fuck it, all she'd done was stick up for herself and now she was the bad guy? No way was she taking that on. It was Buffy who was the bitch and she'd gotten exactly what she'd deserved. Faith wasn't going to feel bad because she'd given Miss High and Mighty a little taste of her own medicine.
She wasn't going to let it get to her; hell, she'd already thought about it for way too long as it was. Buffy had created the whole mess, let her worry about it if she wanted to. But Faith? Well, Faith was all done with it. She had a nap to take and a life to live.
She snuggled in determinedly, but when she closed her eyes all she could see were the tears brimming in Buffy's. The hurt on her face was…
Faith's eyes snapped open:
The before patrol meeting was more than awkward. Buffy sat off to the side looking unhappy and Faith kept pacing and dangerously tossing her axe into the air, making Fred wince every time she caught it. Wesley and Gunn had already taken off and Giles was explaining the situation for the third time on the speaker phone.
"Buffy? Buffy, are you still…"
"Yes, I'm still here and I still heard you…all three times. I have to stay put until you guys finish the research."
"It shouldn't be more than a few days, Buffy. Willow and I are pretty close, I think."
Buffy smiled at the unintentional double entendre and nodded warmly at Fred:
"I'm sure you are."
"I know you'd much rather be home, Buffy, but it's imperative that you…"
She rolled her eyes.
"Giles, do not go over it again. I get it, all right? Now is that it, because we all have other things to do."
He knew that tone, his Slayer was upset, but he couldn't very well get into it with everyone listening in.
"Yes, I believe that covers everything. Buffy, rest assured that we'll do our best to get you home as quickly as possible."
"Well, it can't be soon enough. Bye, Giles."
"Goodbye, Buffy, and please be careful. Ms. Burkle, might we impose upon a bit more of your time? Willow wishes to consult with you about some of the materials you sent."
Fred's face lit up.
She grabbed the phone and began heading for the stairs.
"I've got most of the texts in my room, so just give me a minute to get there."
Then she was gone and an uncomfortable silence descended upon the lobby. Angel kept glancing from one Slayer to the other, but each girl was firmly ensconced behind her protective wall. He knew both of them well enough to know they were not coming out any time soon, so he decided to just plow ahead with business.
"Okay, I guess we've finally got some good news then."
Cordelia snorted from her seat on the counter.
"Maybe to you `Mr. Gloom and Doom', but how does more waiting around…"
Angel was ready with his answer:
"Because just maybe there isn't going to be anything happening that we have to…"
Faith was all done waiting around.
"We patrollin' tonight or not?"
"Yeah, I think we should stick with the plan, just in case."
She turned to leave, but Angel's suggestion quickly stopped her.
"Wait! I think it'd be best if you and Buffy patrolled together."
Said by two different voices so close together, there wasn't even a slight echo effect.
He spoke to them as if they were brain damaged novices, and dangerous ones at that.
"Safety in numbers, remember? Just because we assume there's no special danger right now…"
"I patrol alone all the time, Angel. I hardly think L.A.'s any…"
"Look, don't need a babysitter, alright? You're so worried about it, let her tag along with you."
Buffy stood up then, everything about her revealing her fury.
"I don't `tag along' with anyone, so why don't you just shut your…"
"Well, maybe that's your problem `cause you sure could use some…"
All eyes turned to Angel.
"Do you think you could be civil long enough to do your jobs? I have to meet up with Wes and Gunn, so that means you guys need to make sure everything's like it's supposed to be."
Faith answered quickly:
"Fine, we'll get more ground covered if me and the fairy princess split up."
Buffy started for the door:
"That works fine for me."
Angel was getting frustrated.
"Buffy, stop! I don't know what's going on with you two, but we don't have time for this. I need to go, will you please stick together?"
Neither Slayer spoke nor did they look at each other. It was Cordelia who finally broke the silence.
"Oh for crying out loud, is it that time of the month for both of you? Stop acting like two bitchy girls and go be Slayers."
Faith swore under her breath and still looked ready to bolt. Angel decided he had to force the issue.
"Please, Faith…as a favor to me."
This time the swearing was loud and clear, but she turned to face him.
"…Yeah, okay fine. I'll keep an eye on her, but I'm not takin' a buncha shit neither."
"Go to hell, Faith. If anybody knows how to hand out shit, it's you. You're the queen of shit."
Then they were outside, their arguing lost as the door slammed closed behind them. Angel turned to Cordelia with concern:
"Do you think they'll be okay?"
"From the things they find out there or from each other?"
He almost smiled at her.
"I'm not worried about what's out there on the street, but I can't say that was the most encouraging agreement I've ever seen."
"Well, maybe they need a good fight, Angel. Just to clear the air."
He began tossing some knives and a small sword into a large bag, his face puzzled as his eyes scanned the weapons case.
"Maybe…I just wish they'd give each other a chance. They've both changed so much, I think they could even be friends if they'd just calm down."
"'Calm down'? The drama queens? Don't hold your breath…Here."
She reached under the counter and held up the axe he'd been searching for. He took it with a nod and a small smile of thanks.
"Call on Wes or Gunn's phone if you need me."
Cordelia folded her arms across her chest, her face stern and somewhat disbelieving.
"And why can't I call you on yours?"
He looked like a sheepish little boy as he shouldered the heavy bag.
"Uh…because I lost it."
"Again? Angel, you do know phones cost money, don't you?"
He was instantly on the defensive.
"It wasn't my fault this time!"
She stared at him as she waited for him to meet her eyes, and when he finally did his words came out in a torrent:
"It was Gunn! I mean, it was Faith! Faith and Gunn both! You know how they're always…"
It was clear she wasn't buying it, so he gave up and decided to throw himself on her mercy.
"Okay, it was my fault, but honestly, Cordy, I have no idea how it happens. One minute they're in my pocket, the next they're gone."
"You are ridiculous."
"Well, they shouldn't make them so small. I can barely even hang onto them when I'm just standing still. How am I supposed to…"
"We'll talk about it later, along with my bright and shiny new raise."
His face now sported the confused look it often did when he was trying to deal with Cordelia.
"Raise? We don't have the money to give you a raise."
"I beg to differ. We seem to have plenty of money for you to lose a phone a week, so I think me getting a raise for a job, very well done I might add, sounds like a way better use of our funds."
She spun him around and shoved him hard from behind, propelling him along to the front door.
"You'd better get going before you're late. And don't call me, I'll call you."
He headed out into the night without another word, knowing there was no point in arguing with her. He tossed the weapons bag into the backseat and got in, muttering under his breath.
"I'm out here fighting evil…I don't see how it's fair to expect me to hang onto some tiny thing that doesn't even work right half the time…"
The tires squealed as Angel peeled out, his latest missing phone sliding around happily under the driver's seat with the previous two.
"…is what I'm saying. They could be lost in the sewers or in a hell dimension, for all I know. She's being totally unreasonable and no way is she getting a raise. Stupid modern technology."
The patrol was now at an awkward and tense level, a definite downgrade from the violent and tense level it had started out at. They'd gone out the door of the hotel arguing and their rancor had all too quickly escalated.
Neither girl spoke about the issue currently boiling between them, their real grievances were buried as they always were. There was a difference now though, a real hurt running through Buffy's insults and accusations, a wounded timbre that rode along with every mean and painful thing she said, and it was pushing just about every button Faith had.
She still felt guilty, and no matter how she tried to rationalize things, she couldn't make herself stop feeling that way. The pain was still there in Buffy's eyes, and Faith found she could not look at it for too long without feeling like shit. It didn't seem fair, in fact, it seemed majorly unfair and more than a little crazy, but that was the way it was.
Faith finally forced herself to stop arguing, preferring to let Buffy say whatever she needed to say unhindered and unchallenged. Buffy carried on, but before too long the steam appeared to blow out of her and she fell silent, leaving them where they now were: tense, awkward, hurt, angry, and uncharacteristically quiet.
With a loud sigh, Buffy finally relented:
"I don't exactly know what I'm apologizin' for, but I'm sorry you're…"
"Just shut up, Faith."
"What the fuck, Buffy? I'm tryin' to…"
"Who was it?"
"Who was she, Faith?"
"What the hell does that matter?"
"It matters because I want to know."
Faith tried to look casual, but inside everything was swirling and jumping.
"Well, ya don't always get everything ya want, Blondie. `Sides, it's none of your business anyway, so why the fuck are you…"
"It's none of my…none of my business?"
Again that look was on Buffy's face, but this time Faith decided she was going to get to the bottom of it.
"Yeah, it's none of your fucking business who I screw. You got no claim on me and I don't answer to you."
Buffy said nothing and turned away, but Faith grabbed her arm and spun her back around. Buffy jerked away from her with a venom that was intense, even for them.
"Take your goddamn hands off me!"
"What the hell is this, B? Why ya got your panties in such a bunch?"
"I'm not talking about this anymore."
She walked off, but Faith went right with her, getting in front of her and making Buffy stop again.
"So I fucked somebody. I fuck lots of people and it's got nothing to do with you."
"Yeah, you're right there. It doesn't matter to me how big of a slut you are."
The contempt in Buffy's voice hurt worse than the words, and Faith struggled to hit back.
"That the problem, Buffy? You're some uptight bitch who can only fuck a corpse, so the rest of us gotta…"
The slap was loud in the silence of the night and it staggered Faith. She stumbled back two steps before she could regain her balance, and when she did, Buffy was just inches away from her.
"Don't you dare talk about Angel like that. After all he's done for you…God, you make me sick."
Faith made herself sick too and her anger at Buffy dwindled.
"…B, I don't know what this is, alright? I don't know why you're so pissed off."
"I'll tell you why Faith…because I'm sick of you! All you ever do is…"
"How can you be `sick' of me? You've seen me what, three times since I been outta jail? Most of the time you don't even know I'm alive, so what the fuck are you talking about?"
Buffy had had enough. Faith had pushed all of her buttons and she was now right on the verge of blurting everything out. Faith wanted to know what was behind her hurt and rage, well Buffy was going to tell…and then they were attacked.
Faith was hit hard from the side and the loud growling in her ear and the strong smell of the leather uniform told her that her assailant was one of the demons they'd been worried about. She used her elbow, slamming it into the demon's side as she put some space between them, rolling clear.
One demon was down, obviously dead with a broken neck, and Buffy was grappling with another. Faith kicked her demon as hard as she could in the head and was already whirling to help Buffy as she felt its skull caving in.
Buffy was giving as good as she took, maybe even better, but when another demon swung a club at the back of her head, Faith screamed out:
But Buffy had obviously felt the blow coming and she ducked at the last second, allowing the weapon to smash into the other demon.
It caught him directly in the face and he dropped instantly, dead or unconscious it hardly mattered. Buffy was already engaged with the club wielder as Faith crashed into him from behind.
They all went down with a loud exhale of breath, almost totally synchronized as one when they hit. The demon punched Buffy in the side of the head and she slammed painfully against the ground. Faith had the demon in a chokehold and she wrenched him back and off of Buffy.
Buffy was already up and on her feet, her expression slightly pained, but deadly nonetheless. The demon had spun within Faith's grasp to face her, but Faith head butted him and then wondered if she'd given herself a concussion as her noggin collided with his hard as steel skull.
She staggered backwards, hooking him around the leg as she fell, pulling him off balance as she went. Buffy took advantage, grabbing him swiftly around the head and twisting with Slayer strength. His neck broke with a loud crack.
They heard a noise, a battle cry, and then the unpleasant sound of too many footsteps rushing their way. Both of them knew they had to move and move fast, and Faith stumbled to her feet dizzily. Her left leg seemed not to be working like it was supposed to, but she tried to shrug it off.
"Go, B! Right behind ya!"
She nearly fell as she took a step, but Buffy was there to catch her.
Buffy hoisted her quickly, dangling Faith over her shoulder as she turned to run.
"B! Fuck, I can…"
And then Buffy was off, running at the limits of her Slayer speed, jarring and bouncing Faith uncomfortably all over the place, but uncomfortable was something Faith could handle…especially when there seemed to be at least eight to ten demons chasing them.
She was hoping against hope as she hung over Buffy's back that she was seeing double, but she didn't think she was.
"They're gainin', B!"
Buffy half slid, half ran down an embankment, then made a leap only an adrenalized Slayer could make. They landed hard, the impact clacking Faith's teeth together as Buffy quickly wove around headstones and small trees. She veered out of sight behind a row of tall shrubs, then entered a nearby mausoleum through the open entrance.
She let go of Faith, leaving her balanced precariously on her shoulder as she struggled to close the door.
It wasn't long before the sound of several sets of footsteps went running by as some stopped outside the Slayers' hiding spot. They struggled to gain entry, pushing hard against the nearly closed door until finally they were in.
They searched the room carefully, even going so far as to slide the heavy lids off the four caskets resting in the center of the crypt. Their exploration revealed nothing except the moldering bones of the long dead occupants, and they left to continue the hunt somewhere else.
Buffy counted slowly to thirty, her arms shaking slightly as she hung from the small handholds she'd found in the chipped ceiling. Her legs were pulled up to her chest, Faith still draped over her shoulder as she tried to will herself into being lighter than the nearly dead weight she knew she was.
When Buffy's countdown was finished, her legs slowly unfolded as she wrapped an arm around Faith's waist, holding them both dangling with just her right arm. She waited, counting to thirty again before dropping and landing lightly on her feet…"lightly" being a relative term.
"Ow! Fuck, B!"
Faith yelled just above a whisper, aware that the door was still partially open and that their pursuers could still be in the area. Buffy placed her gently on the ground, then silently crept to the opening to peer out carefully. She saw nothing, heard nothing, and after another minute, she headed back over to Faith.
"Leavin' it open?"
Buffy was already crouched down and tearing off the bottom of her own shirt.
"Yep, just in case they come back. I don't want them remembering they didn't close it."
"Sorry, it's deep."
Buffy dabbed at the blood, then wadded up the material and pressed it against Faith's forehead.
"Can you hold that there? Use a lot of pressure, okay?"
She guided Faith's hand and after making sure she could provide enough force, Buffy headed back to the doorway. She stood off to the side in the shadows, her eyes constantly roaming the darkness for any sign of movement.
"…No, not yet. Hopefully they'll think we made it out of the cemetery and they'll just head back home."
"That'd be nice. Think my head's startin' to clear a little, leg's still fucked though."
They were quiet for a few minutes, the tension from earlier having dissipated in the aftermath of the fight and flee. Buffy's back was still facing Faith as she peered off into the night and she spoke softly:
"Faith, you were right. None of this is any of my business and I'm sorry for being such a bitch about it…and everything else."
A noise sounded in the hedges outside and both Slayers tensed, but when Buffy relaxed, so did Faith.
"I get it, B. You still see me a certain way and maybe you're right, ya know? But I gotta hope you're not `cause I'm tryin' to do somebody some good now. I don't wanna be just a slutty fuck-up anymore."
Buffy glanced back at her with a slight smile:
"I'm getting that. Everybody here seems to be crazy about you."
"Yeah, they're good people. Took me right in…course I never tried to kill any of'em either."
She winced as she lifted the makeshift bandage from her head.
Buffy bent down to examine it up close.
"Not really. Tilt your head that way…I think it's stopped."
"Good, `cause no way do I wanna keep holdin' this."
She tossed the bloody wad off into the blackness of the corner and started to struggle to her feet. Buffy's firm hand on her shoulder stopped her.
"And just what do you think you're doing?"
"Not gonna sit on my ass all night while…"
"Yes you are, at least for a while longer. We can't leave anyway, so there's no point in you not taking advantage of the down time."
Faith barely had time to open her mouth.
"Don't argue with me, Faith."
"Would I do that, B?"
Faith grinned at her and Buffy smiled, her first real smile since arriving in Los Angeles.
"That's a definite yes, F."
"Nah, c'mon, not my style, Slayer."
"Right, I must have you mixed up with someone else."
Buffy returned to her previous post at the door, her eyes searching relentlessly.
They stayed in the crypt for another hour before Buffy made her move.
"Okay, you stay put, I'm going to go have a look around."
She eased out into the darkness and was gone for several minutes, just long enough for Faith to start worrying. As she began trying to rise to her feet, Buffy walked back in.
"There's no sign of them…or anything else except the vamp I staked climbing out of his grave."
"Great, so let's motor."
Faith stood shakily, letting out a groan as she let her left leg bear some of her weight. She clenched her teeth, determined to grit it out, but after just a few seconds the pain became too much and she had to sit back down.
"Fuck, you'd better go on and bring back the troops. No way can I walk on this."
"I'm not leaving you here so…"
"Go ahead, B, I'm cool and the bad guys are nowhere around."
"I'm not going to take that chance, I'll just carry you home."
Faith laughed, scooting back against one of the coffins.
"Nah, no big. I'll hang here `til you…"
Buffy was already lifting her.
"Hey! B, ya don't need to do that. I'll…"
Buffy cradled her in front of her like a baby, the sight ridiculous as Faith was bigger than a baby and bigger than a Buffy.
"We're going together, that way we can both be back at the hotel safe and sound in twenty minutes. Stop trying to talk me out of it."
"Yeah, but this ain't Sunny D. Can't just waltz around carryin' me. Gonna be a shitload of people `tween home and here."
"Okay, fine. When we get to where it's populated, I'll find a phone and somebody can come get us. Hey, wait a sec, don't you have a phone?"
Faith looked embarrassed and somewhat defensive.
"Used to, but Angel took mine and lost it."
Buffy nodded, understanding completely.
"I can't hang onto them either. Giles finally put his foot down and won't get me another one."
"Things are just a bitch anyways. Angel blows through one a week."
"Okay, so we'll have to borrow someone's or find a payphone. You don't happen to have a signal flare thingy on you, do you?"
"Nope, and the Bat Signal's out too."
"Then I guess it's 'Plan A'."
They eased out of the crypt and after standing still for a minute, Buffy seemed satisfied that the coast was clear. She began heading toward the cemetery exit and Faith relaxed as much as she could.
"Least I'm not flipped over your shoulder like a sack of potatoes this time."
Buffy barely even glanced at her, her attention firmly focused on their surroundings as she stayed alert for any sign of danger.
"Well, knock on wood we don't have to run and you can stay in a comfortable position."
Faith knew she shouldn't risk the tenuous new peace accord, but she couldn't stop herself.
"Fuck B, got lotsa other positions that are way more comfortable than this one."
Buffy looked down at her, her eyebrow raised.
"Really? Well, why don't you save that info for your whore."
Faith's laughter was unrestrained.
"Damn B, I'll make sure to give her the message."
"Yeah, you do that."
It took Faith a couple of days to recover, but the new peace that had developed between the Slayers continued on without a hitch. They got along fine, just like the "old" old days before it had all gone so horribly wrong. They hung out together, they teased each other, they sparred together, and at the moment they were sitting in the lobby finishing their lunch together. It was all good. Nothing but good and together…and Angel was worried.
"Why are they acting like that?"
Cordelia looked up from his desk where she was balancing the books.
"Why are they getting along?"
"Um, isn't that what you wanted?"
Angel leaned in the doorway watching them before turning to Cordelia with a worried look on his face.
"Well, yeah…just not like this."
She rolled her eyes and got up to join him, nudging him aside to make room for herself. She studied them closely for a couple of minutes.
"I see what you mean. Yeah, that's definitely not of the good."
"See? I knew something was wrong!"
She sat back down at his desk.
"What is wrong, exactly? They seem fine, great even, so what's…"
She picked up her pencil and tapped it slowly on the desk, her focus already back on her work.
"Well, for one thing, Buffy's faking. She's got her: `I'm a dizty cheerleader' act going, and despite the fact that I don't really like her, she's in no way `ditzy' or clueless."
Angel's eyes were still on the Slayers, but his head was nodding along with Cordelia's assessment.
"And Faith's pretending to be relaxed, but she's really just waiting for the other shoe to drop. She looks like all hell's going to break loose at any second, and based on the way they're both acting, I'd say she's probably right."
Angel took one last look, then sat down in the chair in front of his desk. Cordelia continued trying to get their accounts to balance or at least come within a hundred dollars, and Angel waited patiently. When almost five minutes passed in silence, he could no longer contain himself.
She never even glanced up:
"So what are we going to do?"
She put down her pencil with great care as she looked at him.
"We're not going to `do' anything. There's nothing to do."
"Cordy, if we don't do something, they're going to fight again!"
"Like that's anything new? Angel, they're big girls now, they have to work things out for themselves."
He was shaking his head in disagreement.
"No, that never goes right. Somebody's going to get hurt."
"Probably, and here's hoping it's not me."
She picked up her pencil again and got back to work. Angel sighed and went back to his post in the doorway.
"Now they're laughing."
"A definite prelude to disaster. Listen, Gunn's home. Why don't you get him and the two of you can go kill things in the sewers for awhile. That always makes you feel better."
He glanced at her over his shoulder.
"Do you think he'd want to?"
"He just got that new battle axe and that mini-crossbow thing. I think he's dying to kill something."
"…Maybe you're right. You'll keep an eye on them, let me know if anything happens?"
"Sure, glad to help."
He left and when she was sure he was gone, Cordelia got up and closed the office door. As she sat back down at the desk, she muttered:
"I'll watch them like a hawk."
The evening brought with it another call from Giles, and this time the news wasn't at all good.
"They're clearly mounting an offensive."
A snort of laughter came from Faith.
"Is something amusing?"
"Uh…No, sorry, Giles."
"Yes, well, where was I?"
Buffy immediately piped up:
"Something about an `offensive mounting'."
This time Faith's laughter was full blown and Buffy joined in.
"Girls, really. This is quite serious, and I'd appreciate a bit of professionalism, if not a healthy dose of outright maturity."
"Sorry, Giles, we're sorry. Faith and I will be good."
"Yeah, and no unhealthy doses neither."
The call continued without any more interruptions and by the end of it, no one felt like laughing. It was the end of the world again, unless they could somehow pull off another miracle.
When Giles hung up, Buffy took control:
"Okay, I think Angel, Gunn and Wes should take the South side, and Faith and I will take the North. Cordelia, Fred, you guys keep researching, there has to be some way to prevent this ritual from working. We just need to find it."
She quickly glanced at Angel as she realized she'd perhaps stepped on his toes.
"If that sounds good to you, Angel?"
"Makes sense to me."
They exchanged meaningful looks as the boys were already grabbing their weapons of choice, and Wesley broached a question.
"Might I inquire as to the plan if we do happen to stumble upon their lair?"
"Fuck, Wes, back off like a pussy until we all hook up again."
Buffy couldn't agree fast enough:
"Faith's right. Don't do anything, we need to be at full strength if and when we attack. That means waiting for Will and her magic to arrive if we're going to stand a real chance at stopping them."
Gunn swung his axe, a deadly expression on his face.
"Wouldn't mind thinning the herd a little though."
Faith slugged him lightly on the shoulder as she passed:
"Be our herd that gets thinned. All you got's a vamp, you and Wes. Tough as you two are, still only make half a Slayer. Gotta play it smart, Chuck."
"Damn, girl, tryin' to insult me and Wes?"
She yanked an axe out and tossed it to Buffy, then grabbed one for herself.
"Hell no. Seen you boys fight, no better humans around. But even B had to run from'em, and I tagged along with her tiny ass."
"Yeah, as I saved your life."
"Tomato, B. Point is: these guys are tough and there's a shitload of'em. I know you're all man, but ya got a brain too. Use it and haul ass like a chick, yeah?"
"I hear ya."
"As do I, although I must say it stings somewhat to be regulated to a mere quarter of a Slayer."
Faith smiled at him as she headed back over to Buffy:
"Yeah, but it's a choice quarter, Watcher."
He blushed and cleared his throat.
"I must say, that's an awfully nice…"
"Come on, Wes, you can cry about it in the car."
Gunn wrapped his arm around his shoulder and steered Wesley outside. Angel paused, holding the door open.
"Everything you just said applies to you guys too. If something happens, you run like girls, promise?"
Buffy smiled in that special way she always did for him, her voice softening:
"We will, Angel, promise."
"Jesus, just watch your own fucking ass."
Faith's tone was sharper than she'd intended and everyone looked at her surprised.
"…Eyes peeled, Soulboy."
And with that she was out the door.
The patrol was a bust in every way. The Slayers walked around aimlessly in an intense silence for a couple of hours, the night deader than dead. They decided to do some surveillance near where they had last encountered the demons on everyone's mind, and settled down hidden in a small grouping of trees and bushes.
After a while, it became apparent that there was no one around but them, yet it wasn't as if they could just leave. It was still early and they had to be sure, so they waited to see what, if anything, would develop. There was nothing much to do except talk and despite the fact that Faith still looked out of sorts, Buffy just couldn't seem to shut up.
Faith was irritated right from the start and as the chattering continued, she wanted to punch Buffy in the face, especially when she began talking about her love life. It wasn't like she was going on and on in great detail, but it was more than enough to make Faith squirm as she became increasingly furious.
"…and so that was that. I don't know if I'm ever going to find someone. It's always angst, pain, murder, secret identities…I just seem to have the worst luck ever. I mean, surely there has to be one person in the world who can understand what it means to be a Slayer and a woman. "
"I've looked everywhere, well, everywhere in the immediate vicinity, and nothing. I get that being with a Slayer might be a difficult thing to deal with, but doesn't it seem like there should be somebody who can handle it? All I need is one person, you wouldn't think that'd be so..."
It was then that Buffy trailed off, finally noticing the dark cloud that Faith had become. The angry scowl on her face, the bunched muscles, the slight flush visible on her cheeks all made it clear to Buffy that Faith was royally pissed off.
"Uh…so anyway, you haven't told me anything about what you've been up to."
Buffy slapped at a mosquito as quietly as she could.
"Boy, if it's not one bloodsucker after us, it's another."
That was it, not so much as a chuckle for her efforts, but Buffy plowed on anyway.
"This stealthy waiting's sure the kind of exciting that's not."
"Think the guys are having any better luck?"
"…Are you okay?"
Faith tried hard to ignore Buffy's steady gaze, but she wasn't all that successful.
"What's with the stare, B?"
"I'm just wondering why I'm only getting one word answers all of a sudden."
Faith shrugged and went back to looking straight ahead:
"What have you been up to?"
Buffy was getting irritated and trying hard not to lose her temper.
"So you've what, been living in a bubble for the last few years?"
"Wow, you're really quite the conversationalist."
"Not tryin' to be."
"Faith…I thought we agreed that we were going to try and be friends."
"Yeah, we are."
"Well, you not talking and making me work for even the tiniest scrap of information isn't the best way to go about it."
Neither spoke for a few minutes until Buffy tried again:
"So say something."
"Nothin' to say."
"And can ya stop with the staring already?"
"Sure, just as soon as you stop with the cold shoulder."
"…Not givin' you the cold shoulder, alright, B? Just…I don't know what you want me to say."
"I want you tell me what you've been up to."
Faith looked increasingly uncomfortable and angrier by the second, and Buffy was baffled. She touched her arm and Faith jerked away.
"Wow Faith, I've had my shots, you know."
"What do ya wanna hear? I was in prison, I came here, and now I work for Angel and try to stay on the right side of things."
"And how's that going for you? I mean, is it hard or has it gotten easier?"
"I don't know."
"What about in the romance department? Anyone special or…"
"Listen Buffy, I don't feel like gettin' grilled, so…"
"`Grilled'? I'm just asking…"
Faith turned to her, an angry sneer on her face:
"Ya wanna keep yappin' about you, be my guest. Otherwise, shut up."
And just like that, Buffy was furious.
"Why are you mad at me this time? What did I say?"
"God, you're such a coward."
"You heard me. I said you're a coward."
"Based on what?"
"This stupid non-conversation. I'm simply trying to get a little closer to you and…"
Faith leaned in, her expression making it clear just how pissed off she really was.
"I didn't ask ya to get closer, and just `cause I don't wanna talk about it doesn't make me a coward."
"You don't want to talk about what?"
"Jesus, wanna give it a rest already?"
"Give what `a rest'?"
"Is this about you sleeping with that other woman?"
"Well what the hell else would it be about? You been angling everything that way tonight even worse than every other fucking night."
"I have not!"
Faith waved her off:
"Gimme a break, B. All your bullshit about boyfriends and feelings…"
"Well, excuse me for sharing my personal life with you. I thought you wanted to hear…"
"Oh yeah, always love it when you go on and on about fucking somebody else. Can never get enough of that, not fuckin' ever."
Buffy was now confused along with angry.
"Are you going crazy…crazier? I was just telling you about my life since you've been gone. I'm wasn't trying to steer the conversation anyplace special. Maybe it's your guilty conscience that's doing the 'angling' here."
The tendons on Faith's neck stood out as she strained to keep control of herself.
"Why the fuck should I feel guilty about banging somebody? You obviously didn't have a problem screwin' Captain Iowa."
"And why would I?"
Faith tried to stop herself, but she blurted out the first thing that popped into her head:
"`Cause he was so boring, I could barely stay awake when I fucked him."
The slap wasn't unexpected, but it still hurt and Buffy's eyes were blazing with her rage.
"God, what was I thinking? You're such a bitch."
"Pipe the fuck down!"
Buffy stood up:
"You're yelling at me to be quiet? Can you be any stupider?"
Faith grabbed her arm and yanked her back behind the bushes they were using for cover.
"Shut up, B! We're on the job, try actin' like you…"
"Oh, that's rich. You're going to lecture me on how to be a Slayer now?"
Faith laugh wasn't pleasant:
"Yeah,well 'scuse the fuck outta me for pointin' out that you're not perfect."
"I never said I was."
"Bullshit, Buffy, that's your motto. Always lookin' down your fucked up nose to…"
Buffy's eyes widened.
"What's the matter with you? Why are you attacking me?"
"Fuck this shit, I'm outta here."
She tried to stand, but Buffy's grasp was Slayer tight on her forearm.
"Faith, what's wrong with…"
"Let go of me."
"Would you stop making us fight and just…"
She shoved Buffy, knocking her back into the bushes as she stood.
"Take your ass back to the hotel. I'm outta here, Blondie."
She stalked off into the night, Buffy sprawled in the bushes and watching her with a puzzled look on her face. When Faith was no longer in sight, Buffy stood, brushing leaves and dirt from her hair and clothes.
"And my nose is so not fucked up. Cute and quirky maybe, but definitely not...Bitch."
The pounding on her front door at…3:23…didn't scare her, she knew who it was. She put on her robe as she headed for the door, and Dennis turned on the lamp for her when she reached the front room.
The banging didn't stop and Cordelia almost got hit in the face when she yanked the door open.
"What is wrong with you? Normal people are asleep at this…"
The rest of her sentence was cut off as Faith's lips pressed against her own, her tongue already playing with Cordelia's.
She walked Cordelia backwards into the room, her foot kicking the door closed behind her as her hands began fondling every sensitive place they could reach.
That was all Cordelia could get out before Faith's tongue was entwined with her own again. Dennis helpfully snapped off the lamp as they passed by it on their way to the bedroom, but Cordelia gestured with her hand for him to turn it back on. She shoved against Faith as hard as she could, trying to get a fired up Slayer to move back.
"What're ya doin', Cor?"
Faith began moving in again, but the flat of Cordelia's hand against her chest stopped her.
"That's my question to you."
"Thought it was obvious. I'm tryin' to fuck you."
"Uh-huh. Well, as sweet as that is: why?"
Faith quickly shrugged out of her jacket and lifted her shirt over her head, tossing both onto the couch.
"`Cause you're hot, I'm horny, and…"
"And you're drunk again, and the last I saw you, you were with Buffy on patrol."
Faith kicked off her boots and unsnapped her pants.
"Not drunk, just got a good buzz goin'."
"Let's slow it down here and..."
Faith shook her head and stepped out of her pants. She was now completely naked and Cordelia couldn't help but look. She was stunning and so beautiful she looked like an illusion. Her breasts alone had Cordelia entranced, and she felt herself twinge at the thought of letting Faith have her way with her again. But she couldn't…not without an explanation.
Faith grabbed for her and pulled their bodies flush, her mouth whispering seductively in Cordelia's ear:
"Baby, c'mon. Remember how good it was? Gonna be even better tonight…"
Her tongue traced patterns along Cordelia's neck, and her strong hands had a firm grip on Cordelia's ass as she rotated their hips together. Cordelia tried to resist, but she was only human and she did remember the other night…all too clearly. The fact that all that separated them was the thin material of her robe wasn't exactly helping her either.
"Gonna make ya…"
Faith's hands suddenly slid into the small gap in the robe, opening it and making it slip off of Cordelia's shoulders.
"…lose your fuckin' mind, B."
Cordelia froze, then shoved again, and this time Faith lost her temper.
"Jesus, what's the fucking problem? You're already so wet ya need a…"
"Wet or not, I am not Buffy!"
Her voice reverberated around the room and Faith looked at her shocked.
"Yeah, I know that. Why you goin' there?"
"Because you just called me `B'."
"No I fuckin' didn't!
"Yes, you fucking did."
Cordelia gathered her robe, cinching it together as she walked over to sit on the couch. Faith slowly turned to face her.
"Cordy, I musta said `C'. Not my fault the letters sound alike."
"Uh-huh, except you never call me `C', not without `Queen' in front of it."
Faith finally moved, walking over and collapsing into the chair across from Cordelia.
"…Jesus…I'm sorry, Cor."
"It's not that big of a deal, okay? Although if these weren't special circumstances…"
They sat in silence until Cordelia spoke quietly:
"Have you ever considered talking things through with her openly and honestly?"
"Yeah, considered it, but she's just...ya know?"
"I know, Faith, but the thing is: I'd have sex with you, almost anytime, anywhere. But not when you don't even want to…at least not with me."
"I'm so screwed, Cor."
"Yep, it sure looks that way. I'll tell you what – I'll go make us something to eat and we'll talk things over. Maybe we can figure it out, okay?"
Faith looked at her gratefully.
"…Man, be wicked great if I was in love with you."
"Oh please, I'd slit your throat one week into it."
"Be a hell of a week though."
"Yes, it would."
She headed into the kitchen, then paused:
"Oh, and Faith?"
"Put your clothes back on. The 'couch' rule applies to the chair too."
She came dragging back to the hotel at 7:30a.m., a time way too bright and early for a hung-over and depressed Slayer. She was thankful no one was in the lobby and she made it to her room unseen.
Faith divested herself of her jacket and clothes and headed for the shower. She turned the water on hot and while she waited for it to heat up, she dragged the heavy dresser over and wedged it against her room door. She didn't want any surprises this time around, she just wanted a shower.
The spray hit her and she leaned in under it, her hands bracing her against the wall as the water pounded down on her head and back. She sighed as she felt the liquid heat loosening her bunched shoulder muscles, and she offered a silent thanks to whoever invented pulsating showerheads with power.
She knew she had been an idiot last night. She'd overreacted, making a big deal out of nothing because she was all worked up over all things "Buffy". She didn't want to hear about the men Buffy had loved and slept with, and she sure as hell didn't want to see her look so lovingly and so "Buffy" at Angel. Not now, not when Faith wanted that for herself.
Buffy had asked her a simple question, but Faith couldn't give her the simple answer. Because the honest truth of it was: Faith had spent the past several hard fought and hard won years struggling to regain her sanity and trying to make amends, all while fucking small, petite blonde girls when she just had to have someone to be with.
Guys were now just a distant speck in Faith's rearview, they had been ever since Sunnydale. The last men she'd had sex with were Xander and Riley, and it wasn't like she hadn't had plenty of opportunities to make it otherwise. The problem was that Faith didn't want anyone except Buffy, she hadn't since she'd first laid eyes on her.
Anyone with any sense could see that she had it bad and she had right from the get go. No one but Faith knew, but when they'd parted ways that first night at the Bronze, Faith had picked up a tiny blonde girl, taken her back to the motel and fucked her brains out. She did that same thing over and over again, until finally bumping it up to Buffy's best male friend and then taking advantage of her chance to do Buffy's boyfriend of the moment.
Prison hadn't posed much of a challenge, at least not in the beginning. At first she had nailed several of the smaller blonde inmates and even a couple of the guards who fit the bill, but then as she began returning to the land of the sane, she forced herself to go without. She didn't want to keep using sex as a way to escape herself; it was time to learn to live with who she was.
But even though she was on her own, Buffy was always with her. Faith thought about her constantly, wanting to apologize to Buffy, to somehow make it all up to her and restore the brief friendship they'd once had. She also wanted every inch of Buffy, and when she was alone at night in her cell, it was Buffy she always fantasized about. She wanted her in every possible way and as Faith came back to herself, she accepted that of all of the things in her life, that was the one constant that was never, ever going to change.
Buffy Summers was it for Faith, there was nobody else. She was in love, and it was a messy, fucked up, tangled web that was never going to get straightened out. She had been snared completely and she knew that there was no point anymore in struggling to escape. Love had found her – unwilling, unknowing, but it had found her nonetheless, and it was simply "game over". Point, set, match all went to the "Accept No Substitute, Original Chosen One".
And standing there in the warm, soothing shower, Faith Lehane made the decision of her life. She was sick of running, pretending, hiding, worrying. What she wanted was just a few doors down the hall and it sure seemed like maybe, just maybe, she finally had a shot at it. It was past time she found out.
"No guts, no glory, bitch."