by Eden Lee Raven
Authors Note: This started out as a challenge that Amberina set me. I was hoping for a one-part fic. unfortunately, she’s evil.
Dedication: And Amberina. You bitch. [smirks]
I. So Hard To Love You
“Do you have any idea what it’s like, being in love with some one like you Faith?” my voice was sad as I spoke those few words to her, her eyes locked onto mine for a single instant before flickering away to look at the carpet down and to the right of me.
I could see her fingers slowly working themselves, fidgeting against each other, while her brow furrowed in concentration. I guessed she was trying to think about how it would be.
To love your best friend. To know that your best friend knows. To watch her strut around as if it was nothing. To fuck whoever she felt like it, and spend hours telling me about them the next day.
I suppose the last part was probably my fault. I told her to just forget it, to act like it hadn’t happened. But despite a part of my brain forgetting it, the rest was still playing catch up, at an amazingly slow rate.
At the speed it was going, I doubted I’d ever forget.
“I know what it’s like..” she sighed heavily, leaning her elbows down on her knees and covering her face with her hands. She sat; doubled over for long minutes, leaving me thinking she wasn’t going to answer me. “I know what it’s like to want someone so much you feel like you can’t breathe.”
“What did you do?” she laughed mirthlessly as she sat up again, leaning her head back against the chair she was sitting in, her eyes focused on some unseeable point on the ceiling of our living room.
“I haven’t done a god damn thing.” She looked at me then. Burning balls of almost pure black, searing into mine. And I felt myself falling. Taking a header into those eyes, and feeling the pull, the lure they always had on me, become all that stronger.
I shook my head out, dragging my eyelids closed and hoping she hadn’t noticed how much of a profound effect her looking at me like that really had on me.
“They don’t know?” I brought my hand up, rubbing my closed eyes with my finger tips, hoping to elevate the pain of knowing where she’d just been, with god knows who. When all I could really want is for her to come home with me after clubbing. If only to just have a cup of coco before falling into our respective beds and drifting off into sleep.
At least that way I’d know she was safe. That she was home for another night at least.
“No, probably not.” I could almost hear the shrug in her voice; see that humorless smile flutter across her lips. The far away look that her eyes always gained when she was thinking about something she thought she could never have. “Cause I haven’t told them. I’ve had the opportunity to tell them.”
I opened my eyes, slouching down further in my chair and propping my head against the back of it, getting myself comfortable.
“Yeah. But.. how do you tell your best friend, you’re in love with them?” My entire world froze. Like someone had just found the remote and accidentally pressed the pause button.
“What? I’m sorry I just meant… *what*?!” the force with which my voice tumbled out of my mouth shocked me slightly. But I had suddenly found myself through the looking glass and into a world of permanent acid trips. She couldn’t have just said what I thought she said. Right?
She shook her head and sighed slightly, looking back up at me, and then away again. Her hands hanging limply between her legs as she swallowed deeply.
“Buffy. I’m in love with you. I have been for the longest time.” Her voice sounded resounded. Like she’d set herself up for the inevitable fall of rejection. But why, when she knew that I had loved her for the longest time?
“Then why the hell didn’t you say something?” I found the anger in my voice slightly surprising. But hell, I shouldn’t have done really. She’d know for the better part of a year how I felt about her. She’d had the chance to tell me how she felt for just as long. Dammit, I had a *right* to be angry. “Fucking hell Faith. You’ve really put me through the fucking ringer.”
I slammed my head back against the chair I was in and slammed my eyes shut. Shit. I always swore when I got angry. I hated that my mask slipped, if even for just a second.
I suddenly felt the backs of her warm fingers, trailing a soft line of fire down my cheek. Forcing me to open my eyes, to look at her as she knelt on the carpet before me.
“I’m sorry.” She swallowed deeply, her eyes following her fingertips as they carried on their path, down the side of my neck and over my collarbone. The very contact causing shudders of pure passion and longing skuttering through out my entire being. “I was scared. Even when I knew how you felt.”
I could understand that. She wore a mask too. One of strength. One of confidence. And only I was the one to see the scared and confused girl beneath the thick hide of the woman the world got to see. I was the one to hold her when she woke up crying in the night. I was there whenever she started hyperventilating, when the panic attacks grabbed her. Her head reeling from the past she had worked so hard to forget.
“What changed?” I was silently pleased that my voice came out almost steady. Her digits making it hard for my breathing to remain normal, as they wove an intricate web of heat around my body.
“I saw the way you looked at me when I came in tonight.” She eyes flickered up to mine for a brief moment, a ghost of a smile on her lips, before they lowered again to her hand. “That look of utter fear, and then complete relief when I walked through the door. That it was me, and not some police person coming to tell you that I wouldn’t be coming home.”
I grabbed her hand, stilling her fingers on my flesh, and squeezing slightly, causing her to look up into my eyes again.
“I’m always scared that tomorrow might be the last day I ever see you.” I smiled weakly at her, finding my fingers slowly interlinking with hers. Holding the back of her hand against my bare color bone, and the seam of my top. “Because I’m so in love with you, I don’t think I could survive if I knew you weren’t gonna be there the next morning.”
She smiled at me softly, her thumb running back and forth gently over mine, her skin grazing the skin on my color bone as it glided gently, soothing the ache that had come upon me with thinking thoughts of her not being there.
“I..” her eyes slowly drifted from mine, trailing a soft path over my face, and coming to rest on my lips, slightly parted and waiting with bated breath for the chance to steal the kiss I’d been wanting to have for as long as I can remember. “I desperately want to kiss you right now.”
Her breath whispered softly across my face, causing a shiver of pleasure to worm it’s way down my spine, at the husky and endlessly sexy levels her voice had dropped into. Whispering her need to kiss me across the airwaves to me.
“I’ve been wanting that for years.” I whispered back as I pushed my fingers into her hair and gently pulled her towards me. Her lips landed on mine and neither of us moved for fear of suddenly waking up and finding out this wasn’t real.
But the Dawning of reality came over me, and I gently lead the way in our first kiss. Brushing the tip of my tongue over her bottom lip so lightly, I wondered for only a moment if she’d felt it, before her lips opened up to me and responded.
It wasn’t a memorable day. The sun wasn’t crystal clear, the weather wasn’t notable. The club was monotonic, the music lethargic, the clothes having been worn countless times before. It wasn’t a national holiday, nothing happened to make that day stand out in my mind.
But for that one moment, the clocks stopped ticking, the wind died, and the world stop turning. I will remember that single moment for the rest of eternity, simply because it was just her, and only me.
I will remember that instant, because in that moment, she was mine.
I slowly ran my fingers tips down her collarbone, flickering them so softly over her heated skin. Wondering when I stepped out of the dream and ended up in a reality that didn’t leave me breathing hard, my world cracking just a little bit more.
Continuing my path, I trailed my digits down her chest, between her beasts, almost being unable to curb the impulse to veer off to the sides, to cup my hand fully around one of them.
But I kept going, gently rubbing the material of her shirt over her skin, being unable to suppress the screaming rush of heat that flooded me every single time her breathing hitched against my lips.
I popped open the bottom few buttons of her shirt, and quickly rushed my hand inside of it. pressing my hand flush against her skin, reveling in the feel of her muscles ripping underneath her skin at the contact, my eyes closing at the warmth of her being underneath my palm. Causing the heat that was surrounding me to increase.
God. I wanted to take her so much right then.
Rip open her shirt buttons and tug down her pants until there was nothing left but her, sitting there in that skin I loved to feel so much. To make her whisper out my name as I kissed every single inch of her body.
As my lips led their way down the smooth column of her throat, nipping softly and gently suckling at her flesh, I shifted my hand, letting it flow over her stomach, around to her side and squeezed my fingers gently. Her body arched up into mine slightly, pushing her further forward. Almost as if she was half laying down.
I could feel her fingers woven into my hair, her thumb slowly running back and forth over the skin of my throat. Her other hand resting on the top of my arm, slight perspiration causing our skin to stick together. Forcing mental images of sweat covered stomachs pressing against each other, as the bodies they belonged to writhed together as one.
“Wait..” I breathed, pulling my lips away from her so I could see her face, gulping heavily. Her cheeks were flushed, lips parted as she almost heaved air in and out of her body. Her eyes were slightly glazed, an air of confusion ringing behind them. “Wait.”
“What?” a shudder ran down the length of my spine as her voice wrapped itself around my brain. Soft, whispered, breathy, husky. And so very deeply sexy.
“Dawn’s home soon.” She nodded gently and then sat up straight again. Tugging her shirt back into place and running her fingers through her hair.
“Right. We can always save this for..” I shushed her quickly with my finger over her lips. Shaking my head softly before leaning in and replacing it with my lips. The kiss was short, yet passionate. Letting her know that tomorrow never came soon enough.
“Let’s not go too far.” I pulled away and smirked slightly at her.
For slayers, I don’t think either of us have ever moved so fast in our entire lives.
III. The Raven
My back was pressed into the hard surface of her door, my head lolling against the wall as she gently thrust herself up into my heat. A slow, lapping rhythm that caused my legs to wrap around her waist impossibly tighter.
I could feel my lips starting to crack slightly, as I breathed heavily through my mouth, and it took almost inhuman effort for me to close my mouth and lick them to get them half way moist again.
Her lips blazed a trail of utter molten lava down my throat, latching on to my pulse point and making me keen into her thick hair as I lazily ran my finger tips over the back of her neck. If I had it in me, I would have been smiling at the sensation of gooseflesh appearing in their wake. Positively grinned at the vibrations of shudders that were rambling through my body, from her.
My mind sudden took stock of the fact that our entire torsos were pressed together. Breast against breast, stomach against stomach. Heat against heat. The thought made me moan, low and deep into the room. And I knew, if she kept this up, no matter the pace of her gentle thrusting, she wouldn’t even have to take the rest of my clothes off.
My shirt lay in a heap on the floor, her tank top throw carelessly next to it. I frowned slightly, as her top was shed, to reveal the black bra beneath. The one time she chooses to wear a bra, and it just has to be tonight?
I ran my fingers slowly down her back from under her hair, feeling her arch like a cat into me, as I pressed into her flesh with my nails. I figured her bra clasp for a few moments, before quickly flicking it open and pressing my palm to the newly exposed skin beneath.
I knew, without ever having to see into the future, that I would spend countless hours memorizing every single inch of her skin. Smooth expanses of darkened flesh. Goosebumps arising where ever I breathed out onto her. The soft downy hair on the back of her neck, trailing down from her hairline. I wanted to know it all. I wanted it all.
I pulled her head back up towards me and almost brutally slammed my lips to hers, shocking her enough to make her stop the movement of her lower body, giving me enough time to at least be naked before I blew into ecstasy.
Dropping back down to the floor, I stayed close, but slowly pulled off her bra, letting the garment fallen, forgotten, between us to the floor as I looked at her. A small smile playing over my lips as I rounded her body, running my hands over her shoulders, and down her back.
A grin spread across my face as I looked at her. The very center of her back was covered, almost completely, in a delicate, very detailed tattoo. Raven’s wings spreading out as if to take flight, seemingly coming out from her body, ready to take her with them. Blacks, grays and whites flashing across her skin, filling in the details that would have been missed without them.
Running my fingertips gently over her skin, I started to trace the lines and curves of that tattoo. Memorizing it, taking a mental and physical snap shot of its beauty.
She slowly turned around to face me, her hands running up my arms and back down again. Linking her fingers with mine as she looked into my eyes.
“Just for you B.” she whispered, before slowly walking me backwards towards the bed. My heart was thundering in my chest, both from the way she was looking at me, and the memory of that day, years ago.
“Faith, you’ll die! You *can’t*!” I screamed at her over the sounds of burning wood and rusted metal. The cries of pain from below where we stood.
“Buffy, I have to.” I could see Dawn leaning heavily against one of the poorly constructed pillars, over Faith’s shoulder, ignoring the shaking she was putting me through as I pleaded with Dawn to help me save her.
“Buffy listen to me, listen. I love you. I will *always* love you.” She looked over my shoulder at that point, the blazing blue shimmers of the vortex reflecting in her eyes. “This is what I have to do. Tell Nisis.. Tell Nisis that I figured it out. And.. and I’m ok. And give my love to our friends. You have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be *strong*. Buffy.. the hardest thing is this world.. is to live in it. be brave. Live. For me.”
She leaned forward and kissed me softly on the forehead. I could feel her lips quivering against my skin as she gulped down the tears I knew she wouldn’t let fall. Then she pulled away from me, smiling one last time before she turned around and pulled Dawn into a quick, fierce hug.
She quickly ran around me, after dropping Dawn from the hug, and jumped off the end of the platform. I felt myself stumbling behind her and dropping to my hands and my knees at the edge, my breath all flying out of my body as I blinked, hoping the tears would fall so I could see her just one last time.
My vision cleared to see her entangled in ropes of electricity. The blue bolts running up and down her beautifully flawless skin, as she writhed about in pain. Her arms were spread out to either side of her body, and her fingers kept clasping and unclasping in the obvious pain she was going through. And her hair was flying about her head in the wind what was whipping against my face.
And a second before she took her last breath, she opened her eyes, and looked straight up at me.
My last thought, on seeing into those eyes, for what I felt was the last time, was how beautiful she looked. Despite the pain, despite how she wasn’t going to be left standing after this, despite the throbbing of agony welling up inside my chest, and threatening to pull me down into that dark place. That quiet place. Despite all those things, her beauty was still radiating out of her very being, and the thought suddenly cross my mind that she looked like a raven.
Beautifully formed in the pre-Dawn light, arm spread as if the wings of a raven, her dark tresses wildly rushing around her head.
“My Raven.” I whispered, knowing she wouldn’t hear me even if I shouted, but knowing if she was still alive, she’d know what I had said.
Her mouth opened in a soundless cry, before her head lolled back and her eyes rolled up into her head. And then she was falling.
A whisper of her voice across the wind, the last time I thought I would ever hear that sweet, melodic sound, ever again.
My knees hit the bed, causing me to waver on my feet, my balance lost for a moment, before I finally gave up the fight with gravity, and sat down. My eyes were levels with her stomach, and it took only a moment for me to register this fact before I leaned forward and laid a gentle kiss just above her belly button.
I could feel fresh tears stinging the backs of my eyes, a lump had risen in my throat and I fought desperately to swallow it. to blink back the tears that memory wanted to fall. I refused to cry. I refused because she was right here, stood in between my legs, her fingers running soothingly through my hair.
And I refused because most of my entire being would rather not wait another hour or two to make love with the woman who stood in front of me. The woman who went through hell to get back to me.
IV. Hell And Back Again
“Well well, isn’t this a surprise?” the voice jolted me out of the haze I seemed to have been existing within for the last year or five. My vision swam in front of me, making it hard for me to focus on the being sat in front of my battered and bruised body. “You know, you weren’t supposed to be here now.”
I shifted slightly, closing my eyes and swallowing the bile that rose up within me, as I left the jagged edges of two broken ribs, creak against each other and push at my skin.
“When that whole mayor thing went down, well hoo boy howdy! *then* you were down on the guest list. But you just had to go screw things up by doing that whole redemption gig.” The voice continued talking to me as I was making a mental checklist of exactly what in me was broken.
Dislocated left shoulder.
Twisted right knee.
Broken right ankle.
“Yeah, you landed pretty hard. Haven’t seen someone hit the ground like that in a good long millennia. But then, mystical portals always shake things up with speed.”
“Where..” my voice sounded completely alien to my ears, causing me to cough and swallow before trying again.
“No no. don’t bother. I know what you’re gonna say. And, unfortunately, there’s been one *hell* of a mistake. Someone in admin’s gonna pay for this one, if that blonde slayer ever gets wind of this.”
What the fuck, are you talking about?
“Listen, some dumbass in admin screwed up. Something about the old filing system being in disarray or something. Anyway, he had your file. And then saw on the monitors what you were about to do. So, he was there in that portal, ready to bring you here. Figured he’d get a promotion or something. Pffft. Lucky if he gets away with just a broken neck.” The guy, because it was obviously a guy. I’ve never met any female yet would could talk in that low of a pitch.
“so, basically, he screwed up, took you when he wasn’t supposed to, brought you here. And there in lies the problem.”
I found my vision growing slightly darker, despite having my eyes wide open. What the fuck was *wrong* with them anyway?
“Oh.. that. You haven’t used them in about a year. Listen, you’re obviously about to pass out again, so I’m gonna leave you to it, and I’ll be back when you start coming around again. Okay?” if he was expecting an answer, he was disappointed.
He was gone before my head hit the deck.
“hey sleepy head.” I groaned out loud as I was forced, once again, out of the darkness that seemed to like me so much. I mean, what’s not to like? It’s quite, you don’t have to move, and no one bothers to come in and get you.
Unless you’re this asshole sat in front of me that is.
“Hey hey now. No need for that. Last time I woke you up was a week ago missy.”
“A week?” my voice shot across the room, obviously startling him with the power of it. I cracked open my eyes to find myself looking at a huge horned demon, with black and red skin.
“Yeah. A week. Skip, by the way.” He held out his hand and I softly shook my head at him. “Oh sorry. I forgot you’re still slightly broken. Didn’t expect you to have your voice and vision back so soon though. You haven’t used them is a very, very long time.”
“You said last time I’d been here for a year. Then why am I still hurt?”
“Ah. Unfortunately, this is hell. The laws of human physiology don’t apply here. We let people go to sleep? They start to heal. And as you probably already know. Pain hurts a lot more if you’re still banged up. So you go to sleep, and you’re entire body kinda does this.. you ever watch demolition man?”
“Err.. that film with Wesley snipes in it?” the question had caught me completely off guard. Demon’s watch movies in hell now? Well fuck a duck.
“Yeah, that’s the one. Well, it’s like that cryostasis. You go to sleep and you just like, stop. Well you keep breathing and stuff, but you don’t start to heal.”
“So, basically, I’m gonna have to stay awake to get better.” He nodded at me, and I wondered what it was about him that made me not want to rip his head off. “But there’s no point in that, because hey! Hell. Torture when you’re awake.”
“You don’t listen very well for someone who hears, do you? This, you being here, it’s all one big mistake. You’re not supposed to be here.”
“I’m not? But.. I deserve to be here.”
“No one who gives up their life to save everyone else’s, deserves to be here. The people here, they never even think what they did was wrong.” He shrugged and looked around the room I was in.
Which I didn’t notice looked a hell of a lot like my apartment back in my dimension.
“listen, there’s only one way to put this mistake right. Faith? Faith!”
“huh?” I shot my attention back to him, tearing my eyes away from the picture of B, Dawn and me in the park one day. Xander had taken that picture a week before everything with glory went down.
“This mistake, it needs to be fixed, because you can’t stay here. Not when you’re not supposed to be here.”
“So send me home wizard of oz.”
“What?! You guys fuck up royally, and you can’t fix it? what kind of hokey shit is that?!” I really had the urge to jump up and lamp the guy. They stole me away from whatever the hell I was supposed to have when I died, and they’re telling me they can’t send me home? They can’t fix it? well fuck that!
“It’s.. I have no idea why it’s the way it is Faith. but, the only way out of here, is to fight your way out of here. You need to get better, get stronger, and then you need to get out of here.”
“And how the fuck am I supposed to do that. Ask the guy in cell five B which way the big fucking green exit sign is at?”
“you need to get to the main gates. There’s some pretty nasty things out there that don’t want to see you leave Faith. you killed a big chunk of them. They want you to suffer. And they’re gonna do anything they can to trap you here.”
“How do I know you’re not one of them?”
“Did you ever kill me? I don’t think so. I work for the powers. I don’t die. Listen, I gotta go to a meeting about some chick in l.a, but when I get back? I’ll help you out properly. You just concentrate on getting better.”
“But..” I turned my head towards where he was sitting, and groaned out loud to myself.
I *Hate* when he just disappears like that.