And really, it should have been more of an event, more of a trauma or some kind of big gay epiphany, but it was just like falling off a log - and it was only afterwards, quite a while afterwards, that she realised that she couldn't exactly claim to be 100% straight any more. That, technically, fucking Faith in the rain was pretty much a case of the heterosexuality leaving the building, thank you very much and goodnight, and that if Xander ever heard about it he was going to be all kinds of happy. But it just seemed so damned natural and normal and, hell, it was Faith, so did that really count? Because Faith was Faith - it wasn't like she'd fallen in love with a sweet little Tara or something like that. It wasn't like she'd taken a vow of no more penises ever again.
It was just - the rain was coming down so damned hard, warm and wet and insistent, fat droplets bouncing off skin like so many useless little missiles as the two of them took apart the nest and vampires flooded out into the alleyway. It was just the endorphin rush kicking in at the sweet perfection of punch and slash and thrust and kick, the pure pleasure of allowed violence as the startled and badly dressed undead exploded into gravedust. It was the buzz of it all, and the weight of the world gone from her shoulders at long damn last; just the two of them, like it had been in that little perfect time before reality came crashing down and they got shoved to different sides. It was simple. Seductive, having someone at her back she could trust, someone who was (maybe, possibly, conceivably) as good as she was herself. Like having Spike there, and knowing absolutely that he wouldn't let anything get past him, wouldn't need her to do his work for him. And maybe it was that too - missing Spike, in some weird fucked up way. But maybe not. Maybe it was a slayer thing.
Twenty, thirty - she'd not been counting, but it was a fair sized nest and they put up a decent fight. Buffy was panting when she drove her stake deep into the last cold chest and felt it crumble into satisfying powder. A second later the rain was washing the remnants down onto slick ground and she was raking her hair out of her eyes as she turned, grinning a savage little grin.
Faith's last vamp had turned to powder under her; Buffy reached out an unnecessary hand to help her up and felt the skin warm and wet and alive under her own as the other girl sprang to her feet. Faith's pulse was racing and she knew precisely how it felt, the flood of adrenaline in the veins, the endorphins doing their thing. She felt like a shaken bottle of champagne, still fizzing with unspent potential, and she knew Faith felt the same. She wondered where they could find other vamps in this no-Starbucks town.
"All right, B!" It was the same cocky grin as ever, the same voice she'd heard in dreams and nightmares. Nobody had the power to irritate her like Faith did - nobody's voice could so instantly set her on edge, could have her itching so swiftly for a fight. That's how it had been, at least - seeing Faith got her fingers clenching into a fist straight away. But the voice and the smile mirrored her own exhilaration right now and it was good. Just good. And maybe she was growing, or something, because she didn't want to make Faith bleed. Or at least - not too badly. Not to death.
"Yeah," she said vaguely, aware that she was still smiling a predator's smile and still holding onto Faith's hand - and maybe a little too tight. "You're not too bad at this." Faith met her gaze and grinned back toothily.
"You don't suck yourself, B." Faith's hair straggled down her back in limp black streamers, sodden as seaweed and a million miles removed from the usual sexy bounce of dark waves. Her eyeliner was all but history, raccoonishly smudged all to hell. The tight white vest top was soaked right through and clinging to every bra-less curve, and it was stained with God knows what muck, and there was a little blush of red from a shallow cut on her collarbone. Faith looked like crap, and Buffy knew she did herself, and it didn't matter at all. They were both glowing - Buffy could see her own expression on Faith's face, fierce and hungry. And she was still holding Faith's hand.
Afterwards she couldn't quite remember who moved first. The bricks felt rough against her back, the breath was being shoved out of her lungs and then Faith's breasts were crushed against her own, familiar but different - heavier, hotter, nipples hard and thick and insistent through a couple of thin layers of wet fabric - and she was pulling Faith closer so damned hard that she knew her fingers were going to leave bruises.
Familiar lips came down on Buffy's throat and closed over the scar of Angel's bite, raising blood up to the surface and bruising her with blunt teeth - and if Buffy hadn't already been liquid at this point, the bite would have done it. She gasped something incoherent and her head bumped against the bricks behind her - and all she could think was that Faith had her own scar left by Angel's mouth. Angelus's mouth. It made Buffy angry and not-angry at once; made her jealous, but she wasn't quite sure of whom, and made her weirdly satisfied too.
She arched her back as Faith's fingers kneaded her through denim, and this wasn't happening fast enough. Buffy laced her hand through the dark tangle of tresses and pulled Faith's head back untenderly. She smiled into the startled dark eyes, and there was nothing sweet about her smile, nothing friendly really - still damned if she was going to let Faith think she was top dog - and pulled her into a kiss that felt like fighting.