The warm sunlight felt like heaven to wake up to. Buffy still was at Faith's side, and somehow during the night they ended up stretched out on the couch together with Faith's arms still wrapped around her. She barely moved as she opened her eyes, letting them adjust to the brightness of the sun pouring in through the window. Her eyes fell upon the faintest scar on Faith's neck and she couldn't help herself as she brought her hand up and delicately ran her fingers over it. It was her mark. She just had that feeling as she touched the soft, warm skin around it.
She wanted to kiss her, to wake her up with the softest of kisses. She wanted to stare deep into those eyes that seemed to burn into her own whenever she found herself in their intense gaze. She could feel her heart begin to race as she moved her fingers away from Faith's neck and placed a light kiss over her mark. She could feel Faith's arms hold her just a little closer, a little tighter as she pulled her lips away from her neck, lifting her head up to watch as Faith opened her eyes.
"Morning," Faith whispered, her voice raspy and her accent thicker than she'd ever heard it before.
"Hope it was okay that I stayed."
"Shit, what time is it?" Faith asked, making no effort to move and keeping her arms around Buffy as she closed her eyes.
"After eight," Buffy replied as she took a quick glance at the clock. "It's Saturday. We don't have anything to do until the afternoon."
"Don't you always just do whatever you want to do these days?" Faith questioned as she looked at Buffy, a small playful smirk dancing over her lips. "Saturday or not, B, been sticking to a strict training schedule these days. I should keep up with it."
"You wouldn't rather spend the morning just like this? With me?"
"I would, I do," Faith nodded as she slowly ran her hands down Buffy's back. "This is definitely nice. Doesn't help the feeling I got of impending doom though."
Buffy couldn't help but chuckle a little. "You think I'm going to turn around and kick your ass for waking up like this?"
"Something like that."
"Well, I'm not."
Faith gave her a small smile before she slipped out of her arms and got up from the couch. She stretched out before she grabbed her boots and slipped them on. Buffy could only watch her as she made her way to the door, not stopping to turn and say something even though Buffy knew she wanted to. She could feel how conflicted Faith was feeling and she was without a doubt feeling her own set of conflicted feelings. She waited until Faith had left her room before she got up from the couch and began to pick up the clothes still scattered on the floor.
There were a lot of things she still just didn't understand. Things that felt natural, like falling asleep in Faith's arms like they did it every night. Things like freely admitting, mostly to herself, how she felt about Faith when just a few days before all she could think about was how much she hated her and wanted her gone, out of her life for good. A part of her was saying not to try to understand it and to just go with what she felt was right. That was the thing, though: She wasn't even sure what was right. All she did know was she felt safe and not lost and alone all night. It'd been far too long since she'd felt that way and she didn't want to lose that. She didn't want to lose Faith either and she was afraid of pressing her into something more so soon.
She focused on cleaning the mess throughout the suite, hoping it'd help her take her mind off of everything. It did quite the opposite and no matter what, all her thoughts came barrelling back to Faith and how she felt about her. This was worse than the time when she'd been sixteen and had fallen hard for Angel. The feelings were at least as intense, maybe more so, than what she'd felt back then. They were real, too real, and she couldn't get her mind off of how she felt no matter how hard she tried.
Three hours later she had the suite spotless. She stood by the window and took a look around, satisfied with the improvement. She'd never been a messy person, but the past week she just hadn't cared. It always came in waves with her as well, just like most things in her life. She shrugged it off, picking up the few dishes from the coffee table and heading downstairs to the kitchen.
The kitchen was busy and crowded with a bunch of the younger slayers making lunch, laughing, and generally just hanging out, doing what they always did. Nobody made any notice to Buffy as she placed the dishes in the sink and got herself a cup of coffee, not even looking at her as she walked out of the kitchen and followed the rhythmic sounds of fists against the punching bag. She'd grown used to the sounds of Faith working the bag over; it was almost comforting, mesmerizing to her. It was music to her ears, so to speak.
"Buffy, could we talk?" Willow asked softly as she walked up to Buffy before she could reach the training room doors.
"Sure, I guess," she shrugged as she turned to look at her. "Talk about what?"
"About what happened with Dr. Sonia? Giles asked me to come find you. We're going to have a little meeting in his office. Do you know where Faith is?"
"In there," Buffy motioned towards the training room. "I'll get her and meet you in Giles' office in a few minutes, alright?"
Willow nodded and walked away without saying another word. Buffy knew she was feeling guilty about what had happened to her and for her bout with amnesia. She wanted to tell Willow she forgave her, but she knew deep down she really hadn't gotten close to forgiving her for putting her through all that she had. She took a sip of her coffee, fighting back the tears that suddenly sprang to her eyes as she walked into the training room and straight over to where Faith was.
She stood there for a moment, just watching the perfectly timed and fluid movements of her hits and kicks against the bag. Faith was so into it she didn't notice Buffy standing there for a couple of minutes. Once she did, she smiled as she brushed away the strands of hair sticking to her forehead. Buffy let her eyes roam over Faith's body, drinking in every inch of her. It was hard not to leer a little bit with her in only a pair of sweats and a sports bra. Faith snapped her fingers, getting Buffy's attention before she grabbed her t-shirt and pulled it on.
"Was there something you wanted, B?"
"You," she stammered as she quickly looked down at her mug of coffee then laughed nervously as she looked back at Faith. "We're having a meeting in Giles' office. I came to get you."
"Right now?" Faith asked as she grabbed the bottle of water sitting on the windowsill and downed the entire thing in one go. "This about Dr. Sonia or something?"
"I'm already itching to kick that bitch in the face," Faith said under her breath as the two of them made their way to the door. "She fucking betrayed all of us, you know?"
"Doesn't surprise me, though," Buffy replied quietly as they walked side by side through the corridors. "She had been here since we came here, but I always had this funny feeling something wasn't quite right with her. Always just thought it was because she rubbed me the wrong way."
"She seemed all right," Faith shrugged as they climbed the stairs slowly. "A little stuffy, but then again most doctors are, aren't they?"
"You aren't all wigged about this morning, are you?"
"Me? No," Buffy said quickly as she shook her head. "Definitely not wigged out by this morning at all. Are you?"
She felt the hesitation in Faith's voice, but she shrugged it off as they approached Giles' office and walked in. Faith took a seat on the couch near the window and Buffy stood by Giles' desk, looking down at the books and the papers he had out in the open. He looked tired as he glanced up from the book he had open in front of him and she knew he'd been up all night trying to find answers. Answers as to why Dr. Sonia had turned into whatever she was now and why she had betrayed them all without much of a reason.
"What's the what, G?" Faith asked, breaking the silence in the room. "You find out anything?"
"I have," he replied as he closed the book and stood up from his chair. "I have found a connection between Dr. Sonia and Victor. It seems the two of them had been working together and now she's continuing on without him, trying to find other ways to bring you down, Buffy."
"Why me?" Buffy asked as she leaned against the desk and took a sip of her coffee. "There are all these slayers now and I'm always the target. What, do I have this big bulls-eye slapped across my forehead or something?"
"We don't know why," Giles replied as he slipped his glasses off and wiped them with the white handkerchief he pulled from his pocket. "We need to find out is why Dr. Sonia was working with Victor in the first place."
"You don't think she is the reason Buffy and Victor..." Willow asked, her voice trailing off as she moved to stand next to Buffy. "I know this is hard to hear, Buffy, but we all kind of thought Victor was..."
"I know," she said sharply. "I was too blind to see it in the beginning. You know me. Stupid Buffy always falls in love with the ones who end up being evil."
"Satsu wasn't evil," Willow said softly.
"I didn't love Satsu. I used her. There's a big difference."
"So what are we going to do about Dr. Sonia, then?" Xander spoke up, feeling the need to break the tension that was quickly growing between Buffy and Willow. "We thought that Buffy was bait to bring Faith there, but if she was really bait, don't you think Dr. Sonia and her minions would have stopped me from just walking out of there with her?"
"It's not that simple, unfortunately," Giles answered after a moment. "It does seem that Dr. Sonia has a vendetta against Faith for taking out her first...ahem, army. It's just another piece to the puzzle we'll need to figure out before it's too late."
"Giles, should we..." Willow said softly as she turned to look at Buffy. "It was her who switched the blood."
"When I did the spell to heal you that turned you."
"Oh right. That."
All eyes fell upon her then and she sighed as she drank the last of her coffee and calmly placed the empty mug on the desk. The only pair of eyes she felt burning into her was Faith's and she found herself gazing across the room at her, watching as a stream of endless emotions played out over her face. It was heartbreaking to see that look of longing in her eyes, especially now that she had finally accepted what she felt about Faith. She had to stop thinking about that. They had a serious situation on their hands that needed to be dealt with.
"So, what is she?" Buffy asked when nobody said a word. "Is she a vampire, a demon, what?"
"We're not sure," Giles replied. "She may be some sort of demon goddess, but everything I've found so far has been sparse on the crucial details. Andrew has a few volumes with him in Italy that may give us some answers."
"So? What are you waiting for? Get them."
"He's on his way right now."
"I offered to bring him here quicker, but he hates teleporting," Willow said with a soft chuckle. "You know how he is."
"What's the plan then?" Faith asked. "We're just gonna do what, sit here and research and hope to hell Dr. Sonia doesn't get to us first?"
"For now, yes," Giles nodded.
"I say," Faith said as she stood up from the couch, "we find the bitch and bring her down. Smack her around a little. Could be fun."
Buffy sighed out and shook her head no. She knew as well as the others that they just couldn't charge off and fight Dr. Sonia. There was more than what met the eye and they needed to figure it out before they went after her. The vampires that had surrounded her and brought her to the cave were also stronger than what she was used to fighting, and they'd have to bring them down before they could go after Dr. Sonia. She let out another sigh as she crossed her arms over her chest and looked around at the others. She had to come up with a plan; it was what the others were waiting for. She'd been out of the game too long, though, and nothing she thought of made much sense. She knew she'd only end up leading them all into a trap.
"There is one thing I don't understand," Buffy said softly as she looked over at Giles. "All these years and we find out now that the enemy has been in our fold? Shouldn't there have been signs that pointed this out?"
"There certainly should have been signs and if there had been we all were blind in seeing them. Now if it's not too much to ask, I'm going to need you to tell me everything that happened the other night."
Buffy nodded and watched as Willow, Xander and Faith got up to leave the room. She waited until a couple of minutes had passed before she began at the beginning of the night. From the conversation she'd had with Angel, to the fight, to Kennedy decking her and her walking back to the castle feeling lost and then actually becoming lost in the woods she thought she knew better than the back of her hand. Of course Giles has his own theories of how she actually became lost and even she knew that anything was possible. There was still so much they didn't understand about the world, about the mystical boundaries the earth was treading on.
They talked about Buffy's experience, her lack of memory and how that all was playing a part in what was unfolding now. More and more it seemed as if everything was connected in one way or another and that nothing that had happened was a coincidence. She was beginning to understand everything, more so than she did just a day before. She was beginning to truly accept what she was being told: That she had been a vampire with a soul and that she'd truly, deeply loved Faith with all that she had. She could feel it in her, reaching to her, but there was something there that was still blocking those memories.
It felt like far too much time had gone by since the last time she and Giles really talked. She knew how withdrawn she'd become over the years and how much she'd pushed them all away. She found it rather pointless now to apologize for that too. She knew they were all fully aware of what she'd been going through, understood as well as was possible, and weren't going to question it or push her to talk about it. It was one of those great little things she loved about them all, especially about Giles. They just knew.
"We'll get through this, Buffy."
"I know, Giles," she said with a forced smile. "We always get through everything, together and alone, don't we?"
Giles gave her a hug and she sighed softly as she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him back. "Stay strong."
"Always try even when I don't," she chuckled as she pulled away from him. "So, Andrew is coming back?"
"Yes. Just for a little while. We can use all the help we can get right now. He's more than willing to stay for as long as it takes. Angel as well."
Buffy grabbed her empty coffee mug and headed for the door. She turned and mouthed a silent thank you before she walked out of his office and headed for the kitchen. She needed more coffee. She was becoming dizzy with all the thoughts running rampant through her mind, and one cup of coffee was definitely not enough caffeine for her to fully process everything with a clear head. She was trying to fight off the worry she had, worry that they wouldn't be able to take down Dr. Sonia anytime soon. The ominous feeling that they were about to walk into something none of them were prepared to face was looming in her mind.
She let out a breath of relief when she found she was alone in the kitchen. She needed the silence just as much as she needed to be alone right then. She let her thoughts drift back to Faith as she poured herself a cup of coffee and walked to the tall window, staring outside. She closed her eyes for a moment, remembering how amazing it'd felt to wake up in Faith's arms. It was something she never thought would be the way it was. She never thought she'd ever feel so deeply for Faith either. It was funny, but comforting, how everything was turning out. No matter what else was happening, or how far away from Faith she still felt at the moment, she and Faith were growing closer together.
She felt a slight blush creep over her cheeks as she thought about the night before and the thoughts she'd had of Faith while she'd been in the bath. Faith knew what she'd been doing and even though she hadn't too blatantly pointed it out, it was bothering her. On what level it bothered her, Buffy had no idea and she wasn't about to go and find out just now either. She let herself drift back into her thoughts, still processing the things she and Giles had talked about.
He knew how she felt about Faith. She'd told him the things she'd been feeling over the past week. It'd come so easily, the words of the love she knew she had for Faith and Giles had only smiled warmly, an understanding and accepting smile. There'd been a sense of relief too, mostly on her part, for finally just letting those thoughts come out. They still consumed her, now more than ever and she knew she'd have to tell Faith, make her understand how deeply in love she was falling for her.
She left the kitchen then, fully determined to find Faith and just talk to her. They'd made a lot of progress the night before and that morning, but it wasn't enough. They still had a long way to go. She focused on the connection she always felt with Faith, hoping it'd lead her to the other slayer. The pull was subtle yet strong. She made her way through the castle and came to a stop outside of Faith's room. She raised her hand to knock on the door, but then instead placed her hand flat against the soft wood and listened. She could feel Faith in there and only faintly could hear her as she moved around in the room.
"Faith?" Buffy called out quietly as she tapped on the door. "Can I come in?"
"Door is open, B."
Buffy took a deep breath before opening the door and walking inside. The room was dimly lit, the sun now lowering in the sky barely making its way through the window. Faith stood by it, a cigarette dangling from her lips and a bottle of whiskey, nearly empty, in her hands.
"Are you drunk?"
"Nah," Faith said as she shook her head, "this bottle is from the other day. I know what you're thinking. Just needed a bit to calm myself down. This whole thing with Dr. Sonia is getting to me. Just want to go out there and bring the bitch down."
"Oh. I thought...never mind."
"Isn't always about you, Twinkie."
"Wasn't trying to make it about me, but whatever, Faith. I came up here to talk to you."
Faith motioned to the chair near her and Buffy walked over and sat down. "So talk."
She looked away from Faith, hating hearing the bitterness tear at the edges of her voice. She knew she wanted to talk to Faith about how she felt. The only problem was she just wasn't sure where to start.
"Have you been talking to Giles this whole time?" Faith asked quietly, taking a long drag of her cigarette as she looked down at Buffy. Buffy only nodded in reply. "You gonna tell me what you two talked about?"
"Meaning? Come on, B. Work with me here. You came up here to talk so that means you do the talking thing."
"We talked about the situation with Dr. Sonia, and then about what happened to me and the things I can't remember. Then I uh...talked about you."
"What about me?"
"You know how I feel about you, don't you?"
"I know how you used to feel about me," Faith pointed out. "Since you can't remember, I'm starting to get used to the fact that we're back at square one all over again."
"You can't love me now, B."
"Dunno," she shrugged. "Few days ago you couldn't even stand to fucking look at me. What changed, Buffy?"
"A lot of things," she replied. "Mostly letting my thoughts wander and finally accepting how I really feel about you."
"And how would that be?"
Buffy sucked in a deep breath as she kept her eyes locked with Faith's. "I think you know."
"Maybe, but it'd be nice to actually hear the words too."
"I..." Buffy shook as she tried to let the words come out. It had been so easy to talk to Dawn about this, and even to Giles and Angel. It was a whole new ballgame when it came to facing Faith and telling her straight out how she felt. "I'm falling for you. I have been for a long time."
"You sure about that?"
"Do you think I'd be here right now talking to you about this if I wasn't?" Buffy asked, feeling a surge of anger bubbling from deep inside of her at how Faith was putting up walls around her, making it impossible for Buffy just to talk to her. "I woke up this morning feeling better than I ever felt in my life and I know it's because I woke up with you. I don't know what changed or why it's happening now, but if everything happened the way everyone has been telling me, it's not completely impossible, right?"
"What did everyone tell you about what happened? They tell you I used you? Led you on? Fucked you because I knew you wouldn't remember?"
Buffy stood up quickly and slapped Faith across the face. "What the hell is wrong with you? Nobody has said those kinds of things about you, Faith!"
"This has been fucking hard, B. After what we had together and having it ripped away from me, well I think it's a damn good excuse for me wanting to protect myself from getting hurt again!"
"You really did love me, didn't you?"
"I still do!"
Buffy took a step back, shaking as she tried not to let her tears fall. She was tired of crying, tired of feeling so conflicted. She just wanted to end that and try to move on, whichever way that was. "Why are we even fighting over this?"
"Don't know, B. Nothing we ever do makes any fucking sense half the time. You spent all these years not wanting to have anything to do with me, then I get a phone call in the middle of the night from Giles telling me I'm needed here because you tried to get yourself killed. Do you know how many nights I'd spent lying awake and doing nothing but thinking about you, wondering about `what if', daydreaming that things had ended up differently between us? I don't even know where we went wrong! Everything felt like it was finally gonna be okay after Sunnydale, but it wasn't!"
"I don't know either."
"This is bullshit."
"Why are you so upset, Faith?"
"Cos right when I thought that for once in my fucked up life I could be happy, even as fucked up at the whole situation was, it was taken from me just like everything else! I just want what we had back."
Buffy's heart was breaking as she watched Faith slump against the wall and let the tears flow freely. Buffy took the bottle from Faith's hands, placing it with her cup of coffee on the windowsill. She then took both of Faith's hands in her own as she stepped closer to her, invading her personal space and not caring if Faith reacted badly to what she was about to do.
"Buffy, just tell me how you feel right now," Faith whispered as she shook slightly, leaning as far back into the wall as she could as Buffy moved closer. "Just tell me straight up how you feel about me. I need to know."
"I love you," she said so softly she could barely hear the words herself. "I've been fighting it for so long, Faith. I can't do it anymore. I can't fight how I feel about you. I gave up trying to push all my feelings down the other day. I'm in love with you."
"Yeah," she smiled, moving even closer to her so their bodies were nearly flush against each other. "It's never going to be easy between us, I know that and I know you know that too. I know what happened before; I might not remember it, but I feel how real it was between us. I feel it every day. I feel it right now."
"What do you feel?"
"A connection," she said softly as she slowly inched her way to Faith's succulent lips. "Something deep that's pulling us together, something that always has pulled us together. I don't know how to explain it, and I don't want to question it anymore, because right now all I can think about is how much I want to kiss you."
"What's stopping you?"
"Nothing. Not anymore. Never again."
Her heart was racing as she let go of Faith's hands, and she could feel Faith's heart beating just as quickly as her own. She ran her hands up Faith's arms slowly, feeling her shiver and tremble under her touch. Their lips slowly met and it burned through Buffy, a pleasurable burn of passion that she'd craved for so long to feel. She could feel Faith holding herself back and she wasn't having any of it, not now. She pulled her away from the wall and began to slowly make her way back towards the bed, pulling Faith with her, not letting her pull away or back down now. They both needed this. Buffy could feel it in Faith and she knew Faith needed it just as badly as she did.
Faith finally gave in, parting her lips as she surrendered herself to the kiss, to Buffy. They kissed long and deep and slow, but when Buffy tried to pull Faith down on the bed with her Faith stopped and pulled away, gasping for breath as she kept her arms wrapped firmly around her.
"B, we can't...I mean, we have but right now we...too fast," she stammered, trying to catch her breath as Buffy's eyes searched hers, looking for reasons why she was holding herself back. "Just take this slow, for me?"
"How slow?" Buffy asked, wanting to ask her why she was so into taking things slow. This wasn't the Faith she knew, though the more she thought about it the more she began to realize she never actually knew Faith, she'd only just assumed she did. "Faith?"
"Just slow, okay? Been hurt already when everything went and changed on me, on us. I don't think I can deal with that again so soon."
"I'm not going to hurt you, Faith."
"Tell that to my heart."
Buffy smiled a little as she pulled Faith back in for a kiss, stopping when their lips barely brushed against one another's. "I won't hurt you. I won't let that happen this time."
Buffy kissed her softly at first, feeling Faith grow tense as she pulled her down onto the bed. She wanted to respect Faith for wanting to take things slow, but taking it slow was the furthest thing from her mind. She stopped questioning why she was doing this. She knew it felt right, it was what they both wanted, and that's all that mattered. It didn't matter that they should be taking it slow and focusing on the situation with Dr. Sonia instead of each other. It didn't matter that Buffy couldn't remember from before, she wanted to make new memories and just live in the now instead of always living in the past.
Faith was still hesitating, just a little less than she had at first. She moaned into Buffy's mouth as Buffy ran her hands down her back and slipped them under the edge of her shirt, raking her nails lightly over the smooth skin of Faith's lower back. She wasn't going to press for more, just kissing Faith was satisfying her, sparking the flame deep within her she hadn't felt in a long time, if ever. Faith was shaking still, just a little, and Buffy knew she was nervous about what was unfolding between them. She tried to soothe her nerves, pulling away from the kiss for a moment just to look into her eyes.
"We'll get there," she promised as she gave Faith a gentle kiss and smiled, trying to reassure her. "I can't promise you we'll get there slowly because I'm getting all sorts of addicted to kissing you."
"Oh yeah?" Faith grinned as she ran her hand down the length of Buffy's body and came to a rest on her hip. "Addicted, huh? Is that a fact?"
"Feels kind of wrong sharing something like this with you, having a moment to ourselves when we should be worried about what's really going on around us. I want to do the right thing, but right now I'm asking myself what the right thing is."
"What do you think the right thing is?"
Faith shrugged as she let her fingers trail over the skin just above the hem of Buffy's jeans. "Don't know, B. I honestly don't have a fucking clue. This has been one fucked up week, I'll tell you."
"You're telling me," she chuckled as Faith moved to lay next to her. "And it's okay to have a moment where it's just you and me. I think sometimes you just need to be, you know?"
"Yeah," Faith nodded as she leaned up and smiled down at Buffy. "I just want you to remember and it's killing me that you can't. Then I look at what just happened between us, how it kind of feels the way it'd been before, and I wonder if maybe this might be better. It might be better just to start all over again."
"Where are we going to start?"
"Right now I'm thinking we could start with more of this whole kissing thing," Faith grinned as she slowly licked her lips. "Then I think we should talk."
"Not sure yet," she chuckled softly as she leaned in to kiss Buffy. "We'll figure it out when we get there, alright?"
Buffy nodded, biting back the words she wanted to say right then. She wanted to talk and leave more kissing for later, but she had a sinking feeling that the talk between them would be long, it would be intense, and walls would be built back up around them that would cause them both to shut each other out. She sighed out contentedly as Faith lips crashed against her own. Whatever they'd deal with they'd deal with it when it came. All she wanted to do now was become lost within Faith.
First night of snow and yet it wasn't cold. Buffy ran through the cemetery, chasing down two newbie vamps that had gotten the upper hand on two of the younger slayers she'd gone to supervise on patrol. Faith was close, barely a step behind her, and they both leapt forward and tackled the newbie vamps, staking them before they hit the ground.
"Doesn't that remind you of the old days, B? Synchronized slaying?" Faith chuckled as she got up and helped Buffy to her feet. "These newbie vamps around here are sure jazzed, aren't they?"
"Yeah," Buffy breathed out as she smiled at Faith and brushed the vamp dust and snow from her clothes. "Let's get the girls and do a quick sweep before we call it a night."
"Sounds like a plan."
"Yeah, B?" Faith asked as she stopped walking.
Buffy blushed a little, feeling like a silly and hormonal teenager just wanting to jump Faith right then and there. The hour or so that they'd spent in Faith's room just kissing had her worked up and she wanted more. It was more than just that, though. It was the way Faith looked as the soft snow fell from the sky. It was how she was still breathing heavily from the slay and the way she just looked at Buffy like she was about to pounce. It was the memory of those strong, soft lips and the way Faith flicked her tongue against Buffy's lips that had made her moan.
They hadn't gotten to the talking part as of yet. Their make-out session had gotten interrupted by Giles asking them to fill in for Kennedy that night on patrol. There was no explanation as to why, but Buffy didn't care. She needed to get out on patrol on a regular basis again and she wasn't about to pass up the chance to spend as much time with Faith as she could without seeming like she was becoming clingy. She was becoming clingy. She couldn't help it. The overwhelming need to just be near Faith was already quickly becoming over the top and unbearable.
"B?" Faith laughed as she snapped her fingers in front of her face. "You completely just spaced on me. What'd you want to ask me?"
"Uh...nothing important, forget about it."
Faith raised an eyebrow before she turned and continued walking to where they'd left the girls. Buffy tilted her head to the side a little, watching as Faith walked away and taking just a split second to admire her ass in those tight jeans of hers. Oh yeah. She definitely had it bad and it was seriously getting out of her control. It was bad enough it'd taken her so long just to accept her feelings for Faith, and for her to go from accepting it to jumping face first into acting like a lust-crazed teenager was just a little too much. How could she complain, though, when she was lusting after someone like Faith? Underneath those clothes and what she knew was definitely a deliciously sexy body, there was a woman in there she couldn't wait to explore and get to know.
"B, stop checking out my ass and get your cute butt over here!" Faith called out, and Buffy felt the blush creep over her cheeks as she walked quickly to where Faith and the girls now stood.
"I wasn't checking out your ass," Buffy muttered under her breath as she stood off to the side and stared down at the snow-covered ground.
"Whatever you say, Twinkie. Alright girls," Faith said as she looked at the two younger slayers, "we're gonna do a quick sweep, then I believe there'll be a couple cups of hot chocolate waiting for us when we head back."
Buffy laughed as she saw what could only be described as child-like innocence in Faith's eyes at that moment. She was definitely not the Faith she expected her to be. The woman was full of surprises and she hoped she'd get the chance to discover all of them and soon. Buffy was all for taking it slow, but when her feelings for Faith were intensifying by the moment, there was only so much `slow' she could handle.
"Hot chocolate?" Buffy asked her quietly as they trailed a little bit behind the girls. "They aren't twelve, Faith."
"No, but they aren't old enough to share a bottle of wine with us either. Besides, I know of a room with a nice big fireplace and a couch that has our name written on it."
"Is this going to be like...a date?"
"We're gonna talk like we said we were gonna earlier. Just thought the wine might help loosen our tongues and the fireplace might warm us up a little."
"Right. Did we...before, you know...go out and have an actual date?"
"No," Faith said quickly. "With you being what you were, kind of hard to take you anywhere. Plus you were like..."
"I was what?"
"Driven by bloodlust and the other lust. Couldn't keep your hands and lips off of me," she winked as she gave Buffy a gentle nudge with her shoulder. "Can't say I was complaining or anything, B. That kind of dating I am good at. The other, not so much."
"Have you ever been out on a date with anyone before?"
"Have you ever wanted to?"
Faith laughed as she reached for Buffy's hand and linked their fingers together. "Yeah, I have actually. Only with one person, though."
"You," she smiled as Buffy gave her hand a tight squeeze and moved to walk that little bit closer to her. "Thought that bit was kind of obvious?"
"Not really," Buffy laughed as they followed the two girls to the front of the cemetery. "So wine? I didn't know you liked wine."
"Guess there are a lot of things you don't know about me, B."
"Well, I'd love to find out some of these things. If you'll let me, that is."
"I can tell you one thing," Faith said quietly as she stroked her thumb over Buffy's. "This whole hand holding thing? Always used to think it was for pussies. It's actually not that bad. Mostly cos you're attached to the hand I'm holding."
Buffy wanted to call her out on how adorable and sweet she was being, but she bit her tongue, not wanting to possibly piss her off if it was something she didn't want to hear. She was beginning to really see Faith as who she was in the little things she did and said. Dawn had been right when they'd talked the other night. Faith was sweet. Sweeter than Buffy ever imagined she could be. It was a far cry from the Faith she used to be so many years ago, and she couldn't help but wonder what had changed to bring that side of her out.
She had to wonder how she went from having thoughts fuelled by hatred to having thoughts that reminded her of how she'd felt when she'd first fallen for Angel. In a way it was a lot of the same. She couldn't stand him in the beginning and then it just changed. It evolved. Very much like what was happening between her and Faith now.
The walk back to the castle was quiet aside from the sound of the freshly fallen snow crunching under their boots with every step they took and the sound of the two girls ahead of them talking quietly. There were a lot of things Buffy wanted to ask Faith, and she had a feeling that she'd get the chance to tonight. The deal with Dr. Sonia was also on her mind, tearing her back and forth and making her feel slightly guilty for wanting to push it aside for the night and have her full attention on Faith. She could sense that Faith was thinking a lot. It explained the lack of words between them the whole walk back to the castle.
"So, this room," Buffy said as they walked in through the main doors of the castle. "Is it the same room I'm thinking about?"
"The one near mine," Faith replied as she shook the snow from her jacket and out of her hair. "Nobody goes in there. Giles gave me the key the other day. Just needed a place to escape and I'm not always left alone when I'm in my room. You know how everyone is here; always in your space when you need it the most and all that."
"I definitely know how that is."
"So, I hope you like dry white, it's all I could get my hands on earlier."
"Its fine," Buffy said softly as she followed Faith towards the stairs. "Are you sure this isn't a date?"
"Do you want it to be?" Faith asked, reaching for Buffy's hand as they climbed the stairs. "I mean, it's not dinner and a movie or any of that cliché shit..."
"I never liked those kinds of dates."
"Point is, and I did have a point really, I just...don't know how to go about this now. I mean, this is still very new, and even before you became amnesia-girl on all of us it was still new. I'm still nervous around you, B."
"Maybe just a little," Faith chuckled uneasily. "Look, I just want to take things slow between us and if this is a date or like a quasi-date or whatever, then I just want to roll with it without any pressure, you know?"
Buffy nodded as she let Faith lead them down the corridor. She wasn't going to press the issue any further. She was a little cold now, despite the total lack of frigid cold outside with the snow and all, and she just wanted to sit in front of a fire for a couple hours, drink a little, and just talk. They needed this and she had to hope that they wouldn't be bothered at all. There was no such thing as being alone there in the castle and it was one of those things that Buffy had hated since the younger slayers started moving in to train, to learn, and to live together as one.
Faith unlocked the door to the room and held it open, waiting for Buffy to walk in first before she checked down the corridor to make sure nobody was around to see them slipping away to be alone. Buffy shivered as she walked over to the dark purple couch and sat down. The room wasn't big. There was a small window and a decent sized fireplace, no lights that she could see, and it was sparse on the furniture aside from the couch and the few bookshelves that lined the one wall. She watched as Faith threw a couple of logs into the fireplace. A couple of minutes later the fire was lit, and Faith straightened to pick the bottle of wine off the mantel along with the two glasses that were next to it.
"How come I've never been in here before?" Buffy wondered out loud as she took in the room around her, absorbed.
"Dunno," Faith shrugged. "Giles said most of the girls think it's like a supply closet or something. Come to think of it, it's not much bigger than some of the ones I've been in before."
"Spend a lot of time in supply closets?"
"Some," Faith shrugged. "A long time ago."
"And what'd you do in there?"
"You really gotta ask me that?" Faith chuckled as she popped the cork on the bottle and poured them each a glass. "Besides, like I said, it was a long time ago. Before I even came to Sunnydale."
"Oh. Well, this is kind of nice. Sort of getting to know each other in a way."
"I wouldn't put talking about past sexual experiences as getting to know each other."
"Right," Buffy said with an awkward smile as she took a sip of her wine. "You have a hard time talking about yourself, don't you?"
"Sometimes. Depends on the subject. There's a lot of stuff I just want to forget and all that. Not who I used to be."
"No. You really aren't," Buffy replied as she reached for her hand to assure her she meant it in a good way. "You said earlier about needing to talk and I want to know what it is you want to talk about."
"Everything," Faith repeated and she let go of Buffy's hand and took a few sips of her wine. "Guess everything means telling each other stuff about ourselves we never told each other before. Just like the whole dating thing, I'm not so good on the communicating thing either."
"Maybe we don't need to talk about the heavy stuff right now," Buffy said softly as she moved across the couch to sit closer to her. "Or talk at all."
Faith raised an eyebrow, chuckling as she lifted her glass to take a sip. "Oh really?"
"Who are you and what'd you do with Buffy?" Faith asked, winking as she placed her nearly empty glass on the floor and reached for Buffy's, gingerly taking it from her hands and placing it on the floor next to hers. "Cos seriously, B, I don't think I've seen this side of you apart from what happened before."
"So I've had a few revelations! It's not the end of the world, is it?"
"Besides," Buffy said with a smile as she moved to straddle Faith's thighs and lightly traced the tips of her fingers over her jaw and her lips. "It's hardly fair you remember and I don't, isn't it?"
"Definitely not fair at all, B."
"So...I was thinking," Buffy grinned as she leaned in to kiss her lightly. "Maybe we could uh, you know, make some new memories."
"That was kind of fucking cheesy," Faith laughed as she ran her hands over Buffy's thighs slowly.
Buffy didn't let her say another word. She kissed her, not holding herself back. She kissed Faith deeply, feeling her moan into her mouth as Buffy slid her fingers through her hair and around to the back of her head. Faith seemed a little stunned at the intensity of the kiss at first, but when Buffy gently bit onto her lower lip she began to relax and kiss back with just as much want and need. Buffy could still feel the adrenaline from slaying pumping through her veins and she wondered, only briefly, if that had a lot to do with her being so bold in taking what she wanted.
In truth she did want more, but she only wanted to take whatever Faith was willing to give to her. She kissed Faith harder when Faith moved her hands from her thighs to her hips and around to her ass. Every inch of her was tingling from the sensation of feeling Faith's hands on her and she needed more. She craved it. She broke away from the kiss, gasping for air as Faith moved her lips over her jaw and her neck as she slowly manoeuvred them so they were lying on the couch with Faith hovering slightly over her.
She pulled Faith away from kissing her neck, wanting her lips on hers once again. She was afraid to move her hands from the vicinity of Faith's neck and shoulders. She wanted Faith to set the pace and she was okay with however fast or slow she wanted to go. She knew why Faith was holding back. She was afraid to take it too fast, too soon especially after what they'd been through and the lack of Buffy's memories of their brief, instantaneous relationship. The kiss went from ravenous to soft and sweet and Buffy felt as if she was floating. All her senses were on high alert, every inch of her body that was touching Faith fully aware and craving more.
"Faith," she whispered as she broke from the kiss for a moment, "please touch me."
"I am," she smiled against her lips as she began to move her right hand along Buffy's side, teasing the skin where her shirt had ridden up a little. "Still want to take things slow. You okay with that?"
"You don't believe that I can take this slow between us, do you?"
"Tell me the truth," Faith urged as she ran her fingers and her palm over Buffy's stomach, slowly inching its way up her shirt. "I know what you used to think of me cos of how I used to be. When we did this before...we let the rush of the slay get to us that one night."
"You regret it?"
"No," Faith said softly as she shook her head. "I really don't. I just want to do the right thing. I'm all about doing the right thing these days and right now, you know what my heart is telling me? It's telling me I gotta take this slow even if it feels like it's gonna kill me."
Buffy nodded, really knowing where Faith was coming from. She knew Faith was right. They had to do what was probably considered the right thing. Taking it slow, one step at a time. She definitely wasn't complaining, though. Kissing Faith was purely satisfying on its own. Faith laid a gentle kiss upon her lips and then sat up, pulling her up with her. Buffy smiled a little, knowing without words being said that they needed to take a breather, take a step back, drink a little more wine and get the talking deal out in the open and out of the way.
"Thanks," Buffy said with a smile as Faith handed her back her glass of wine.
"No problem," Faith replied softly. She ran her tongue over her lips slowly, eyes twinkling in the glow of the fire as she stared at Buffy. "This whole talking about everything thing; I don't know where to start, honestly."
"This is kind of why I want to take things slow, you know? We got to like, get through the whole `getting to know each other' stage. We know each other, but we don't. I want to change that cos I want to know everything about you."
"I do too," Buffy smiled as she reached for Faith's hand. "Give it time. We can't tell each other everything in one night. There's just too much."
They both laughed and settled back on the couch. Buffy curled up against Faith's side, sighing contently as Faith put her arm around her shoulders. It was relaxing just sitting there watching the fire, feeling Faith's warmth and sipping her wine. It was a far cry from what she'd imagined it'd be like to just be with someone like Faith. She'd never felt like this and never wanted to feel this way with anyone else.
"B?" Faith whispered as she gave her a light kiss on the forehead. "Buffy?"
Buffy blinked as she opened her eyes and lifted her head from Faith's shoulder. "When did I..."
"After the third glass," Faith chuckled softly. "Didn't have the heart to wake you or move you to your own bed."
She smiled up at her before laying her head back down on her shoulder. She really didn't want to move, but she knew they couldn't spend the whole day cooped up in the room together no matter how nice it sounded. She softly kissed Faith's neck before she willed herself to get up from the couch. She stretched out and groaned, still feeling the pain from the other day in her stiff muscles. Years of slaying and just years in general were starting to catch up to her and she hated feeling so out of shape. With a disgusted groan aimed at those thoughts she headed for the door, looking back at Faith for a second before she unlocked the door.
"B," Faith said softly as she got up from the couch and walked over to her and wrapped her arms around her from behind. "Thanks for last night."
"Thanks? For what?"
"Just for being here with me without any drama."
"It was nice," she smiled as she turned around and kissed her, keeping it short and sweet. "Really nice. You really surprised me last night."
Buffy nodded her head and gave her one last kiss before reaching for the doorknob and pulling it open. "Oh yeah."
She walked out of the room, looking back at Faith and smiling before she headed for her suite wanting nothing more than to have a nice, long, hot shower before she went downstairs to get some coffee and possibly breakfast. It was still really early and she passed only a few of the early risers on the way to her suite. She couldn't wipe the smile off of her face either, and she knew without a doubt those that she passed were wondering what was up with her. It'd been far too long since she had a reason to smile, to feel genuinely happy. Deliriously happy. She embraced that feeling knowing that no matter what, something or someone would end up stepping in and stripping that happiness away from her.
That someone being Dr. Sonia.
It'd been far too long since they all had to deal with a big bad, but she was ready for anything now. Maybe not physically ready, but she'd get there. They had an army of their own, the younger slayers in their third year proving time and again they could handle themselves. They were strong, fast, and well trained. Buffy didn't have a strand of worry when it came to them. It was the younger girls, the ones who had just arrived in the last year or so she worried about. She worried about Kennedy, too. She had a temper and a very short fuse. She was also very stubborn, at least the sides of her that Buffy had seen.
"Speak of the devil," she muttered under her breath as she saw Kennedy heading down the corridor towards her.
"Buffy," Kennedy nodded as she came to a stop a few feet in front of her. "I wanted to apologize for the other night. I had no right to punch you like that. I overreacted."
"Did Willow put you up to this?"
"No," she replied as she shook her head. "Angel and I had a talk. I've just been...all over the place lately."
"It seems like we all are."
"I've been briefed about Dr. Sonia," Kennedy said quietly as a couple younger slayers walked past them. Buffy motioned for her to follow her into her suite. They needed the privacy and she and Giles had agreed not to let the younger girls know about what was going on with Dr. Sonia until they found out more. "What do you think she's after?"
"Honestly? It sounds like revenge of some sort, but I'm not so sure. Why has she been after me for years?"
"I think she's after Faith, too."
"Why do you think?"
"Original chosen ones, why else?" Kennedy shrugged. "Will and I came up with our own theories. None of which make any sense, by the way."
"Aren't you tired of this?" Buffy asked as she walked over to the couch and sat down. "I'm tired of this. Just for once I'd like to have a semi-normal life. I don't even remember what that's like."
"We'd all like that. It isn't going to happen, though. In the years I've been here with you guys that's something I've learned, and no matter what we do there's always something else out there looking to stir up shit."
"So, what do you think we should do, then?" Buffy asked, finding no harm in seeing what Kennedy would come up with and suggest.
"I say we go after them, her army first. How many are there you figure?"
"I only saw maybe fifty down in that cave. Not sure how many more there'd be."
"There are hundreds of us here, Buffy."
She nodded and sighed as she leaned her head on the back of the couch and closed her eyes. "We're going to war, Kennedy. I don't think we're prepared to do this yet."
"We might not have a choice," Kennedy said softly as she sat down next to Buffy. "Whatever Dr. Sonia is cooking up, it's more than revenge. It has to be."
"Why does it have to be?"
"Revenge is so...ancient."
"So are most vampires and demons."
Buffy shook her head, trying to find that bit of happiness she'd felt before she ran into Kennedy. She couldn't let the real world, her world, bring her down. She couldn't let it. She wasn't going to let it. She was not only tired of the things she had to deal with every day, she was tired of letting herself fall into the darkness that surrounded her and called out to her every second she let her guard down.
"We'll figure it out, Buffy."
"Don't we always?" Buffy replied, the bitterness in her voice making her cringe a little. "Look, I just had a great night and this is kind of a downer talking about this. I know we can't just ignore the things that are happening, but..."
"Were you with Faith last night?" Kennedy interrupted and she smirked as Buffy slowly nodded her head. "Good. You two need to find what you had before."
"What did we have before?"
"Something real. Something untouchable. Will was kind of jealous of you two."
"Was she?" Buffy laughed, finding it unbelievable. "Why?"
"It was just...real. I don't know, souls joining and all that shit," Kennedy replied. "I think she's just jealous of what you two had because it was meant to be. As cheesy as it sounds, you two were destined to be together. It's written somewhere. Giles showed us before you..."
"Our relationship is written down somewhere?" Buffy laughed again as she shook her head. "Alright, Kennedy, I think I'm just going to shower and get some coffee, possibly even some breakfast, because what you're telling me is making absolutely no sense at all."
"You do feel it, though, don't you?"
"When you are around her," she said softly as she stood up from the couch, "you feel how right it feels with her, don't you?"
Buffy nodded her head, finally making sense of what Kennedy was trying to tell her. It did feel right, it always had felt right, and that was why she'd fought it for so long and pushed it away. She'd been afraid of giving in, afraid of what would come when she did, and afraid of herself for feeling that way about someone like Faith. She knew now what a mistake she'd made fighting it all those years. She'd denied herself a chance at happiness for far too long. She saw it now and she knew it now, especially after spending the night with her.
Kennedy just gave her a knowing smile as she got up and left the room. Buffy sat there for awhile, thinking about what she'd just been told about her and Faith. She thought back to how she'd felt a few days before, the hatred she felt for Faith and felt torn up about the way she'd treated her. She was a bitch, a downright bitch to Faith, and even if she didn't feel the way she did about her now, Faith didn't deserve that at all. She didn't deserve any of the bad that had gone on in her life.
She decided at that moment that a shower, coffee, and breakfast could wait. She headed for Faith's room, hoping she was in there. Without knocking first she walked in and closed the door behind her. The room was dark, the heavy drapes closed, and she could hear the water running in the shower. She took a few deep breaths, debating whether to stay there and wait for Faith to get out of the shower or to come back later. Just as she was about to walk out of the room, she heard the bathroom door open and she turned and watched as Faith walked out.
"B? What are you doing in here?"
She said nothing as she walked over to Faith and pulled her in for a deep, passionate kiss. She felt it in the kiss, she felt it with the way Faith wrapped her arms around her. She felt it when Faith's towel fell to the floor. It felt real, it was deep, and she never wanted to let go or to stop kissing her. She needed to forget about the rest of the world, and with Faith it was so easy just to slip away for a little while. It was so easy to feel a sense of normalcy with Faith's arms wrapped around her, her lips devouring her own as they took those few tentative steps back towards the bed.
"I know you wanted to take this slow," Buffy said softly as she broke away from the kiss, "but I can't take this slow, Faith. We don't even know if we'll live to see another day and with what's going on with Dr. Sonia now we might not have much longer just to be together."
"You know how I feel about you and you know that I'm sorry for everything I put you through over the years and that I'm sorry I never gave you a chance."
"I love you, Faith. Just being with you feels so right and I never knew this until the other night. I never knew how amazing and happy you'd make me feel just by holding me."
"B, you don't have to apologize," Faith whispered as she ran her hands over Buffy's arms and around to her back. "I know you don't remember, but you already apologized to me for all the wrong and the bad and the ugly that's gone on between us since the day we met and I don't think..."
"Don't think what?"
"I don't think we should be talking when I'm all sorts of naked right now," she chuckled. "I get what you're saying though, Buffy. Maybe taking it slow isn't what we should be doing even though that is what my heart keeps telling me."
"What else is it telling you?"
"Honestly?" Faith asked softly as she smiled down at her. "It's telling me to listen to my soul. You know what my soul is telling me, B?"
"To let me in?"
Faith nodded and pulled her in closer, the dampness of her skin already soaking through Buffy's clothes. "To let all of you in. I just...I need time, Buffy. I don't know how much time I'm gonna need, I just want you to promise me you'll give me that time and try to be patient. I'll make it worth it. I just need you to wait for me. Will you?"
"For as long as it takes," she whispered, feeling her heart and her soul just reaching for Faith in that moment. And she would wait, even if it was nearly impossible to resist those urges. She'd wait forever if that's what it took. She just hoped that it wouldn't take forever. She didn't want to feel so far away from Faith. She needed to feel closer to her. Closer than ever before.