Chapter Seven: Acceptance
Fourteen months ago.
"Maybe this was a mistake."
Buffy stared at Faith incredulously. "You think?" Her distraction was rewarded with a Hothsiff wing to the face. She gritted her teeth and yanked the creature out of the air. Her partner dive-rolled, grabbing two more by their tails before they could vanish into the depths of the cave. Buffy pushed her blonde hair out of her eyes. "You think taking the advice of a conservative frat house..." (she pulled two more off the cave wall) "...about the best places to camp..." (she stomped them and kicked the carcasses aside) "...when they clearly had a problem with the ‘us-ness' of us..."
There was a screech as five more Hothsiff swooped to attack the slayers. Buffy's hands blocked her face; Faith was able to slam three against the wall, leaving Buffy to finish the last two. The slayers bent over to catch their breath.
With her hands on her knees, Buffy panted, "You think...you think that might have been a mistake?"
Faith slowly stood up, wiping her forehead. She shrugged. "That, and the fact that you won't dye your hair. Maybe if those locks weren't so gorgeous, these Creatures of the Night wouldn't dive-bomb you so much."
"Mmm, good point," Buffy said in mock-seriousness. She straightened up and sauntered over to her girlfriend. "But then, neither would you." She gave Faith a playful shove.
The dark-haired slayer grabbed Buffy's arms and pulled her close. The blonde gasped in surprised delight as a wicked look came over her lover's face.
"Don't ever think that," Faith growled.
One hand started working its way lower on Buffy's body. The blonde bit her lip and moaned in anticipation, even though she knew the more she needed it, the longer Faith would tease her. Her lover's other hand tucked the blonde strands behind Buffy's ear before reaching around to the back of her neck. As Faith's fingers traced a pattern, Buffy's breath sped up.
"All right...all right."
Faith kissed her cheek, her neck. "All right, what?"
Buffy grabbed Faith's wrist, stopping her fingers from dancing just inside her waistband. "I take it back."
The dark slayer raised an eyebrow and took a step forward, pressing Buffy against the cave wall. "Is that right?" She started to move her hand away from Buffy's jeans, but Buffy's grip was firm.
The blonde pressed her lips to Faith's ear. "I take it back," she whispered. "Just...take me."
The words were barely out of her mouth when her button was undone and her lover was inside. Buffy inhaled sharply as her knees went weak, but Faith's other arm reached around to support her. Buffy kissed her fiercely.
The blonde slayer's moans became louder with every thrust; she reached out to Faith, slipping a strong hand under her shirt, determined not to be the only one making noise. Faith pulled back and looked into her eyes. "Not so fast, B." She pushed inside Buffy even harder; the blonde cried out. Faith kissed her forehead. "We're not done with you yet."
The strong arms and husky voice won out; Buffy allowed Faith to lower her to the cave floor. She wrapped her arms around Faith's neck, burying her hands in the dark locks and giving herself over to the pleasure only her lover could bring.
An hour later, Buffy sat with her back against Faith, with the dark slayer's arms wrapped around her. A light rain had started falling. Their clothes abandoned, they were sitting on the blanket Faith had pulled from their bag. They watched the rain in silence.
Buffy took one of Faith's hands and pressed it to her lips. Faith held her closer. The blonde rested her head on Faith's shoulder, wondering if she should ask the question that was on her mind.
Her partner sensed her hesitation. "Don't think too hard; you're too hot for wrinkles."
Buffy sighed. "Jerk."
"Yup. So what is it?"
Buffy kept her head on Faith's shoulder, avoiding her gaze. "You weren't talking about the cave, were you?" She felt Faith tense.
"Earlier." Buffy sat up. "The mistake. You didn't mean the cave."
Faith stared out into the rain, not answering. Buffy wasn't worried; she was used to this pattern by now and knew to give Faith time. She waited.
After a few minutes, Faith cleared her throat. "Yes...and no. I mean, yeah, we shouldn't have listened to those preppy little mama's boys...pretty obvious..."
"Though," Buffy said gently, "it does seem to have worked out for the better." She ran a hand through Faith's dark locks, letting her fingers linger on her neck, her earlobes.
"Yeah." Faith shrugged away the blanket and got to her feet. "You want anything to eat?"
"The apples are still pretty fresh; we could-"
"It's not working." Buffy spoke softly as she stood up, gathering the blanket around her slender form. "I've been able to feel what you feel for a long time. Talking over it doesn't change that."
Faith clenched her jaw. You deserve everything I can never give you.
Buffy sighed. "So do you, you know."
Faith gave a soft laugh, crossing her arms against her breasts. "There's nothing else in this world for me but you."
In the quiet, all they could hear was the rain.
Faith avoided her gaze. "You deserve a real bed. Warm food. Not this."
"I don't deserve hot sweaty sex with my girlfriend?"
"You know what I mean. You should have a choice, now that there's so many of us. You should have a house, a family..."
"And the other slayers shouldn't have those things, if they want them?" Buffy raised an eyebrow. "We left to keep them safe, to give them choices. And as for me...Faith, I choose you, every day. If the baddies find you, if they kill you...everything we've fought so hard for will be lost." She stepped closer and took her lover's hand. "But more importantly...more selfishly...I'll be lost."
"Will you just hold me? Please?"
Faith nodded. Buffy let the blanket drop to the ground and Faith held her tight. "I'm sorry," the brunette whispered.
Buffy kissed her. "There are some hard times...but let us remember that there is also lots of sex. It's our cross to bear. So this, all of this, is our life if we're going to be together. Is that clear?"
Faith rested her chin on Buffy's head and gazed into the night. "Yeah, B," Faith said softly. "Crystal."