Willow's hair was streaked white, red, black; but her eyes were slowly returning to their normal colour. She had lost the intense concentrated look of magic-in-progress, started to smile, blink and breathe like a normal human.
"Whoo! That was a hefty dose of magical blast from the past. I think I caught all the spells. Everyone back to normal?"
The de-centaured Dawn, the no-longer-demon-magnet-Xander, the no-longer-demon-Giles nodded. The various Slayerettes involved confirmed they were now unmagicked from the retro-enchantment too.
"That was some weird-ass warlock, re-conjouring magicks past. Wonder what he got out of it?" Willow was musing aloud. "Maybe that's how he learns?"
"Bizarre how it only hit some of us." Dawn's embarrassment over her briefly renewed centaur self was making her definitely peevish.
She looked over at the senior Slayers, "How come you two got off lightly? Buffy's been, like, the most magicked of any of us."
Faith winked discreetly at Buffy, who started to grin. Dawn frowned over at them. "What's so damn funny, Faith?"
"Just Slayer stuff," said Buffy. Out of Faith's mouth.
"Tell me why we just did that?" Buffy was having serious doubts already. Impulsive not her style nowadays.
"Cuz why not?" Faith said, in Buffy's voice, using Buffy's tongue and lungs and larynx and whatever else you use to talk and it was so wrong to hear it that Buffy closed her eyes to block out at least part of the bad.
But her own voice continued. Faith's words, and Faith's logic, were unmistakeable though. "C'm on, B. Don't you want to do something stupid, just for once? I'm all over the Senior Slayer biz, but god it's tough behaving right all the time, y'know?"
"And so we're going to play with the fun magick tricks?" Not convinced. Not at all. But then why hadn't Buffy objected before, like a sensible person?
"Two days." Faith said it before Buffy could even process what that thought meant.
"Give us two days. Just for fun, okay? No harm, no foul, no doin' anything that'll stick. Just... take each other for a spin. You didn't get much good outta me last time, but I had fun." All too blatantly, Faith remembered the screwing-Buffy's-boyfriend bit of that fun. "Maybe a little too much, granted... but I'm maturer now. And there was this whole thing with taunting Spike which was wicked cool; gotta tell you someday. Besides, we'd only be in the castle. So, just a little fun. Okay?"
For a second, Buffy was seriously tempted. But then a really big thought struck: "And you'll enjoy the irresponsibility of being me? With all the fun theory training and the instructors' exam?"
No way was that a Faith thing. And they couldn't afford to waste time getting the new training programme running – already, their North African operation was desperately stretched since the Tripoli disaster. But Faith was shaking Buffy's head (and Buffy was going to have to stop thinking like that, because her own brain, wherever it was located at this point, was spinning out of control).
"I can do that shit; you know I'm good enough when I try. And you know what would be a change for me? Not being the chief bad girl. All the kids come to me with their whacked out problems, cuz they think I'm the cool one, like I know what to do with the cutters and the infected piercings and... They want me to be a sister and the cool mom, and they don't want to listen." Faith paused, listening to herself for a moment. "Not much of a selling job, huh? But it's a fun life other times. Come on: take me for a ride!"
Buffy wanted to say no. Still could. But Faith's complaints were the mirror of her own: Buffy was the dull one. The in-charge one. The one no one talked to for the fun of it; they'd no more share secrets with her than with Giles. She was turning into Giles.
More than any other thought, that was the killer.
Okay. Not becoming Giles. Being Buffy. While pretending to be Faith. Which is like licence to go a little wild.
So Buffy nodded. "Two days."
"Excellent." And Faith leant forward, brushed 'her' lips across 'Buffy's'.
"Whoa," as she leant back. "Now that's kinky! Great start B."
This was a mistake. But she couldn't fix it tonight. So Buffy resolved to sleep through her moments of stupidity, and talk it out with Willow tomorrow, see if they could sort it without involving a big argument with Faith.
Meantime, she had no idea what Faith had been doing with this body. First thing to do: a good long, hygienic shower.
But that was a whole lot of naked. A lot of body-awareness. Buffy stripped off Faith's T-shirt, skinny jeans and non-matchy underwear, and found herself standing by Faith's bathroom mirror, contemplating another female body in more detail than she was comfortable with. Faith was just... more. Taller, darker, curvier (a little more weight all round, and a lot more on the boobs). Better muscles, which was just unfair. Didn't wax anywhere, and Buffy seriously considered shaving Faith's legs at the least, but that seemed a little snotty. Unless maybe Faith had been planning to shave that evening – was that any reason to go round sprouting leg stubble while in her body?
Yes, these were displacement thoughts. Buffy was trying very hard not to look at Faith's dark, half-erect nipples, or to be aware of the slightly different sensation of her hand against them. Why was her hand there? Absent minded curiosity, apparently. Because that hand strayed; pinched a nipple and noticed the difference (less sharp than for Buffy's own breasts. Huh. Maybe Faith wasn't 100% more sexual than Buffy, which was Buffy's usual asumption).
This wasn't Buffy behaviour. Or so Buffy informed herself. Some Faith-part was lurking round, making her think and do unBuffy things. Like stand naked in front of an increasingly steamy mirror while the shower ran unused in the background.
The Buffy thing to do was to shower, so she did. And shave Faith's legs after all. And not to think about what she was lathering and stroking as she completely normally washed herself.
The unBuffy thing was to notice how wet she was for reasons not related to showering. Or to dress for the night in one of Faith's obscure and faded old rock T-shirts, and no panties. Also to leave the light on as she got into Faith's bed and touch herself frantically, shirt hitched up so one hand could strum and twist at her nipples, while the other learnt the feel of Faith's pussy.
Yes, it was different. Reactions a little varied. Some of Buffy's own patent moves didn't quite hit the spot (literally). The uncertainty of orgasm was maddening; surely she should be able to make another woman come?
In the end, though, she found the right rhythm and the exact places to work and, yes, it was a little different, but the basics were right there. Buffy slept deep; sticky and triumphant.
At breakfast there was a note by her plate. Usually that meant extra teaching cover or some other minor work crisis. Not today.
"I know what you did with me last night. I did the same with you.
Want to compare notes tonight? 10.30, your room.
It would have been a disorienting day even without being bewildered and turned on. Because Buffy hadn't talked to Willow. She was being Faith after all.
She didn't want to think about why.
She really didn't want to focus on how she could feel a wet spot on her underwear from her instant response to Faith's note.
So Buffy focused on combat-ready 1:1 training for Shayla and Tolani, trying to keep Faith's moves in mind and finding she had a very clear image of how Faith fought. Okay, she had to make it a hand-to-hand day; couldn't match Faith for bladework. But she could picture Faith's moves moment to moment. As though Buffy had been watching her specially all these years.
No one had noticed the switch by evening. Maybe only because they both steered clear of Willow and Giles all day. But the girls certainly seemed to take them at literal face-value. Krista came to talk to 'Faith' about her recent pregnancy scare and the low-down cheating dog who had run at the mention of a late period. Buffy dealt.
Karla freaked Buffy out completely by winking and hinting about their 'secret', till she realised the girl was one of those who periodically got a top up from Faith's not so well hidden stash of Stolichnaya. Okay, don't think about that too much, just give the girl what she wants.
It was fun, in a way. Not having to be a 100% team player; having the girls look to you for advice about something other than killing techniques. Less good? When Giles passed her in the corridor with an absent nod, rather than giving her the overnight sit-rep from their eastern divisions. And when the Research Team shut the library door on her – because Faith never did research. Even though Buffy knew it was the place where a lot of important priorities were sorted. And so would Faith, now, because she was on the inside for the first time.
Buffy dodged Faith for the day, apart from one unavoidable and tense three minute conversation with Dawn, when the two of them kept tripping up over their fake identities. If Dawn had been less traumatised by the reprised centaur episode, no way she wouldn't have noticed their confusion, but luckily the whole horse-body-with-girl-parts-on-display-to-everyone thing was big enough to distract her from other people's weirdness.
"So, Faith," said Faith. "Gonna make that meeting later?"
"I don't know, Buffy," said Buffy. Who wasn't going to call herself B, secret bodyswap magicks or none.
"You did, didn't you?"
"Did what?" I did not just say that.
"Take me for a ride." Faith's grin made Buffy's mouth look... filthy. "Didn't you?"
No comment. Which made Faith laugh. "So let's do the other thing."
Buffy was going to her own room at 10.30. To talk? Not so much.
How do you dress to date yourself? Because, basically, it was a date. In a bedroom. To do... stuff.
Buffy? You don't have to do... stuff. Especially if you can't even think the words.
But she was going to. Because ever since Faith kissed her, Buffy had been wondering. What was it like to make love to Buffy?
(If it was you, you'd want to know. Be honest.)
So Buffy had dressed Faith/herself in Faith-type clothes. Black all the way down. Nothing frilly. Admired her/Faith's half-dressed rear view in the bathroom mirror. Nice ass. Really nice.
Good. Admire the gorgeous girl. Because you're going to do... stuff with a girl. Right?
That wasn't important. Nothing to be nervous about. It was herself. And Faith.
Buffy, Faith-like, slung on dark jeans and a white vest, grabbed a jacket and went out to blow her own mind.
This was awkward.
"I have beer."
Buffy's shoulders stiffened. "You have beer? Already? There was no beer here yesterday. How come my room is suddenly booze central?"
"I have four beers, cuz I brought them up from the kitchens. Not gonna get you an alcoholic rep just yet, B."
"But I never do that. They'll guess..."
Faith shrugged. "Gonna be all back to normal tomorrow, aren't we? They'll forget it, 'less you keep going back for more. So... beer?"
Bottles of Bud. Classy. But watching Faith curl her lips round the bottle was a sharp jab in a good spot. She knows how to use that mouth, even if it's someone else's.
What if Faith's a better lover than me? In my body?
Faith leant over, clinked her bottle with Buffy's. "Whadda they say over here? Bottoms up, right?"
Buffy sat; wrapped her own mouth round her own bottle, and didn't think about Faith's sexy round butt. Or what her own bottom would look like close up.
This was confusing.
It got simpler when Faith leant over again, and rested her mouth on Buffy's. It wasn't quite a kiss, till Buffy opened her lips a little, and Faith flicked her tongue along the sensitive open flesh.
Drawing back, she laughed. "I taste pretty good, right?"
Buffy was still feeling that tiny kiss. "Yeah. Uh. Yeah. Good. You- I do too."
Faith laughed. "Chill, B. It's a little screwed up, and a whole lot of kinky. But it's legal and it's gonna feel real good, so I say go with it."
"You know I've never done this, right?"
"Fucked yourself? I figured." Faith laughed enough to make her top slip off one shoulder. Pink bra. Totally not Faith; one of Buffy's favourites. Pretty, she approved, from a distance, before finally getting it together to respond.
"No. Well, yes, but... girls. Not my thing."
Faith rolled her eyes. "Yeah, because life's just that simple. I love guys; you know that. Didn't mean the old prison clichés didn't feel good when I wanted it. Big Ol' Bertha's got a sweet mouth on her." Which was a joke that Buffy couldn't spot. "Besides, it's you and me. With me and you like this. One night only, right? Doesn't mean you get in line for the toaster oven just yet."
It's not that I'm homophobic... I just don't want to be a little bit gay. Yeah, Buffy. Brilliant reasoning. Stop thinking. Right now, it isn't going too well.
So she leant over in her turn, and tried a sultry Faith-type tone, "One night only? Better make it a good one."
Watched hazel eyes widen, pupils dilating for a second. Pink mouth falling open just a fraction with want.
Arousal looks good on me. Let's have some more of that. More kissing. Very nice kissing. Buffy lay back, feeling Faith's slight weight on her, small breasts crushing against her own till they sorted out their position a little. Definitively different to guys. But good.
I taste nice. Good to know.
It was Faith who first wriggled out of her outer clothes, but Buffy close behind. They considered each other approvingly. "Excellent boobs, B."
"They're yours and you know it. Fun to borrow, though." Laughter wasn't something Buffy had been expecting, and it faded soon enough into more erotic uses for mouths. Lots of touching. Mutual bra removal was... very good. Freedom to touch exactly how you wanted, because it was you getting touched, really. So they did, fingers getting sticky as they stroked, and underwear getting lost along the way.
But... It was a little like taking notes, seeing how your own body responded. Buffy was conscious of a 'this is nice' feeling, good but not overwhelming. Okay. Fun experiment.
Till Faith slipped out of their embrace and said, "This isn't doing it for me."
I did it wrong. Squirmy shameful feeling. Even weird cellmates did it better.
But Faith was smiling, shaking her hair back, not leaving. "Think it's cuz I don't know how I'll respond to anything. I keep thinking, dammit."
Relief. "Me too."
"So c'mere and let me really show you how I roll. I'm getting dizzy doing it this way – like in a mirror. Got a better idea." Faith sat back, turned Buffy to sit facing away, then leaning her back against Faith, who was murmuring approval and reassurance all the time. "I'm gonna do what works for me, and you're gonna love it B. Just let me... That's it, right?" Didn't need a response.
Different rhythm, different angle. Yeah, that was working. Harder fingers on one nipple, tugging and twisting in ways that Buffy would have found painful, but were just right for these breasts. Deep twisting coil of lust building, more demandingly, and Buffy was rocking back against Faith, feeling the other girl's wet need against her butt, but right now that wasn't her priority. The most important thing was to focus on the swelling good, wonderful feeling that was tightening till it burst with a shuddering rush that had Buffy calling out, in Faith's lowest, roughest, dirtiest tones.
It had to be mutual, but Buffy didn't want to play copycat. So, once she'd come back to earth, time to take the initiative. Be Faith, just for a second. Turning as she unpeeled herself from Faith, still flickering with afterglow, she slipped further down the bed, wriggling Faith's thighs apart, and... got a view of herself she'd never had before. Pretty, actually. Pink and glistening, asking to be touched. As was Faith, aloud.
Buffy loved this. When guys did it, this was the good stuff. So she tried to remember the best things anyone had ever done for her, tongue flicking and knotted fingers pressing up and into Faith. It was working. Faith was moving and moaning in ways Buffy usually didn't, but that had to be a good sign. Definitely a good sign when Faith tangled hands in her hair and rocked right up into her mouth, driving herself as much as Buffy was taking her there.
She did sound like Buffy as she came. Small triumph there.
Okay, wow. Buffy moved a little on that happy thought. Faith's arm slipped over her at once. "Not leaving tonight."
No, I'm really not. So much to explore.
Much later, Buffy was thinking hard when she should have been getting some rest. Tomorrow, they'd talk to Willow, and confess. So this would be over.
It would be great to be back in the right body; her place in the world was definitely hers.
But Buffy wasn't totally sure she wanted this part to be over. Yes, it was awkward, making love to herself. But making love to Faith... that had felt pretty good.
"Hmphm? Wassup B?" Faith was on the edge of sleep.
Buffy leant over her, eyes wide open in the dark. "Can we do this again? Properly?"
Faith started to come back from drowsiness, moving towards wary. "Thought this wasn't your speed?"
"Things change." Buffy snuggled down beside her. "Think about it."
Faith slung an arm back over Buffy, dropping back into somnolence. "I'll do that." She was smiling as she spoke.