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by Invalid Reality


Rating: NC-17
Summary: In dreams, sometimes you see just what you've always wanted and yet could never have. In dreams, what you've always wanted can be real. For Faith, it's all she can have. For now.
Author's Notes: I've taken the basic plot from the first story I ever wrote 13 long years ago. I've modified it, of course. And yes, it is a Fuffy fic, but it is more Faith-centric than anything else :)


The sand felt warm beneath her bare feet as she walked along the deserted, quiet beach. She'd been thinking a lot the past week; too much for her own good. The dreams had been haunting her for years. Dreams of Buffy, of the two of them together in ways that made her think about just how she truly felt for her fellow Slayer and one-time enemy.

Was she in love? Did she even know what being in love felt like? She already knew the answer to that question, and the answer was yes.

Shrugging it off, she came to a stop by the edge of water, the waves crashing gently at her feet. After Sunnydale, everyone had gone their separate ways and she hadn't seen or spoken to anyone since. She had stayed in LA, doing her own thing and occasionally helping Angel whenever he needed her. He paid her for her help and he kept a roof over her head, clothes on her back, and food in her stomach. She didn't know what she'd do without him. He'd been there for her whenever she needed him and even when she hadn't. He'd been the one she went to when the dreams started. He'd been the one to first hear that she might be in love with Buffy, the one who was there when she realized that she always had been in love with Buffy even when things went bad.

Angel was the closest thing she had to family. She loved him because he'd been the one to pull her out of the darkness that threatened to consume her once and for all. He'd been the one who stood by her side and had faith in her when no one else did. She loved him because he'd given her a reason to trust others even when she couldn't trust herself.

But back to the dreams: She couldn't stop thinking about them and what they could possibly mean. They felt too real to be just normal dreams and she knew that one way or another, Buffy was having them with her too. There'd been so many times, especially over the last year, that she wanted to pick up the phone and track Buffy down, talk to her, just to see if she was okay. She knew it probably wasn't the greatest idea, though. Buffy had taken off on her own and wanted to be left alone; she felt, even knew, that much in those dreams she had, but she felt something else, too. She felt Buffy reaching out for her, wanting to feel loved in a way that only she could love her.

It wasn't that easy, though. She had Leah, and even though she didn't love her she had been with her for seven months. They'd been living together for almost five months now, and Leah was the only one she'd ever felt comfortable spending almost all her time with, but it just didn't feel right. Leah wasn't Buffy. She was the complete opposite of Buffy, actually, but she made Faith feel good, loved even, and that's all Faith felt that she needed at this point in her life. Leah was stable, she was normal, she was sweet, sexy, and funny. And the sex was amazing.

"Faith?" Leah called out as she walked out of the house and headed down the soft embankment towards the beach. "Got dinner on, babe."

"Cool," Faith smiled as she kept her eyes trained on the water and watched the sun as it began to set. "What are we having?"

"One of your favourites," she replied as she wrapped her arms around Faith from behind. "Steak and baked potatoes. I left out the vegetables tonight since we don't have any."

"Cool," Faith repeated as she shoved her hands into her jean pockets, wishing she hadn't quit smoking a few months back. She could really use one right then. She really hated when Leah invaded her personal, private space when she was thinking about Buffy. Something about it just annoyed her.

There was one thing she could say she loved about Leah and that was the fact that she never pushed her, never asked for anything more than what they had and never expected her to say that she loved her back. It was the one reason that after their first few times they'd slept together that Faith felt comfortable enough to enter a relationship with her. But she wasn't Buffy, she wasn't even close to being everything that Buffy was and could be. Angel had told her repeatedly since her relationship with Leah had started not to put her up on the pedestal that she had Buffy on.

Leah gave her a soft kiss on her cheek before she dropped her arms from around her and headed back up to the house. Faith turned briefly to watch her walk away, her long black hair flowing freely down her back and swaying slightly in the soft breeze. She tilted her head to the side a little, her eyes trained on her long, lean legs and the pert backside that plagued her mind every minute when she wasn't thinking of Buffy. Leah glanced over her shoulder and winked at Faith before she walked into the house, leaving the back door open for her.

She let out a soft sigh as she took a couple steps back from the water and sat down in the sand. Her life had changed so drastically since she'd met Leah. No longer did she go out to the clubs or bars every night. No longer did she drink until she fell down and passed out wherever because she was completely wasted. No longer did she dive into the darkness that once plagued her when she felt down on herself and alone in the world. Her life was the epitome of what she'd once considered boredom and she wouldn't have it any other way. She wouldn't trade those quiet Friday nights where she'd sit with Leah on the back porch with a glass of wine and just watch the waves as they rolled in. She wouldn't trade those Saturday mornings where she was woken up by light kisses and soft caresses. No, the only thing she'd trade everything for was to have it all with Buffy.

Leah knew about Buffy. Faith had told her only once about her. She didn't like to talk about her past and for the most part Leah had respected that. She only told her about Buffy since she felt it was one thing Leah needed to know. She left out the major details, the dreams, most of their past, but all in all she'd basically told her that she was in love with Buffy without actually saying the words. After that talk, Faith had slept that night on the couch and had the first dream with Buffy in it that she'd had in weeks.

The dreams were what kept her heart set on Buffy. The dreams were what gave her a lingering thread of hope that maybe at some point, one day in the future, they'd have a chance to be together.

"Oh, who am I kidding?" Faith muttered to herself as she stared out over the water. "Buffy is never going to want to be with me the way I want to be with her. Stop holding on to false hope, Lehane. Never did you any good in the past, did it?"

She laughed at herself before standing up and slowly making her way up to the house. She could smell the steak cooking, the baked potatoes steaming, and she could hear Leah softly humming as she put the food on the plates. She stood to the side, leaning against the counter with her arms crossed over her chest, and watched Leah as she finished putting the food on the plates and turned to face her.

"Smells good," Faith smiled as she walked up to her and gave her a soft kiss. It felt good, but it didn't feel right. It never did. "Did you get the wine out yet?"

"No," Leah replied as she shook her head. "Why don't you grab the bottle and the glasses and meet me out back?"

Faith waited for her to walk out the back door and set the plates on the small table on the back porch before she grabbed a fresh bottle of wine off the rack and then picked up two glasses. She sighed softly, feeling so happy yet feeling so empty at the same time. She shrugged it off, just as she always did, and walked out to the back to join Leah at the table where they ate most of their meals or would have a glass of wine or two when Faith got home from a short patrol every night.

They ate in comfortable silence, a common thing between them. It wasn't that they didn't have anything to talk about. The silence itself was comforting and all they ever really needed most times. They communicated through touch, through the soft, tender kisses, and through a simple look at one another. It often made Faith wonder if maybe she did love Leah, just in a different way than the way she loved Buffy. She and Buffy would never have this kind of relationship, she was sure of that much. The dreams were mostly of a sexual nature and although she wasn't complaining, she knew if it ever came down to it that's all they'd ever really have.

"Someone called earlier while you were out," Leah said softly as soon as they'd both finished eating. "Someone named Xander."

"Oh yeah? Did you take a message?"

"I left it by the phone," she replied and took in a deep breath. "Who is he anyway?"

"An old friend."

"A friend of Buffy's?"

Faith said nothing as she reached for her glass of wine and took a sip. She didn't want to bring Leah into that part of her life and she didn't want to explain why Xander called her every couple of months, either. It was usually just to check in and catch up; sometimes to ask her if she'd heard from Buffy at all. Most times when she talked to Xander they both avoided talking about Buffy at all. He, out of all of them, was hurt the most by her taking off to be alone. She could understand why he felt that way, too. Buffy was one of his best friends and she'd walked away after Sunnydale without a care in the world.

"I'm gonna go call him back," Faith said softly as she leaned over and gave Leah a quick, chaste kiss.

She left her sitting outside and went to check the message scribbled down on the notepad next to the phone in the kitchen. There was just a number written down, a Cleveland number, and she quickly drank the rest of her wine before picking up the phone. With a shaky hand she dialled the number and waited.



Chapter One

Faith paced the kitchen for a few rings before taking the phone with her out onto the front porch. She wasn't sure how the conversation with Xander would go, and she wasn't going to risk having Leah pick up bits of the conversation if Buffy was mentioned. She was nervous, as she always was whenever she talked to Xander. She kept waiting for the day the phone call came in from one of them to tell her that Buffy was dead.

She really hoped this wasn't the phone call. Even though she could still faintly feel that connection she'd always felt with Buffy, she still had that fear running through her mind.

"Hello?" Xander said quietly, his voice riddled with exhaustion.

"Hey," Faith said after a moment. "You called?"

"Hey, Faith."

"So, what's up, Xander? Haven't heard from you in a couple months. When was the last time you called, May or something?"

"Yeah, something like that," he replied. "Just calling to check in, see how life has been treating you these days. You and Leah still shacking up?"

"Yeah," Faith laughed as she sat down on the front steps and tried to still her shaking hands. "Still shacking up and all that."

They talked back and forth for a while, both of them catching the other up on the things currently going on in their lives. Xander, as he had been since Sunnydale, was with Giles, Willow, Dawn, and a handful of younger slayers in Cleveland, watching over the Hellmouth there and holding onto hope that one day Buffy would come back to them. Faith knew all about the hope they all had when it came to Buffy coming back from wherever she was. She had it too. She felt it every day, especially in her dreams. Then, partway through the conversation, Xander dropped a bomb on her.

"Dawn and I started dating last month."

"What?" Faith asked, switching the phone to her other ear and blinking a couple of times as she held back the laughter. "Did you just say what I thought you said?"

"I did," Xander chuckled, and Faith heard another laugh on the other end of the line that she knew was most definitely Dawn. "Are you going to say anything?"

"What do you want me to say?"

"I have no idea."

Faith laughed as she shook her head and picked at the hole in the knee of her jeans. "What do you think Buffy would think about you and her little sister getting pelvic?"

"Honestly? I really don't want to know," he said softly and followed it up with a soft laugh. "You haven't...heard from her by any chance, have you?"

"Same story as always, Xander. No."

"You don't think she's..."

"Dead? No, I don't. I think she just doesn't want to be found right now."

"But it's been five years and none of us have heard a single word!"

"I know how long it's been," Faith said under her breath. "She'll come back or call or write or something."

"You've been saying that for how long now?"

"Gotta have a little bit of hope she still cares, right?"

It was ironic that she was the one that Xander turned to every couple of months when he got worried about Buffy. They had formed a bond since Sunnydale, and she'd even gone to Cleveland for Christmas two years back after he had begged her for months to come for a visit. She had changed since Sunnydale and so had everyone else. Change was only natural, as Angel once told her, and she had learned to embrace it and await more changes long before they ever came. It was advice she had passed on to Xander during their last phone call and she had to laugh to herself now that she knew just how much he had embraced the changes in life.

For the longest time since the dreams had become almost a regular occurrence, she'd debated whether or not to tell Xander about them. In her mind, it was Buffy's way of seeing her, letting her know she was still alive and well. She still wasn't so sure if they were shared dreams or just figments of her imagination, even though they seemed very real most nights. She didn't want to give Xander or the others the false hope she'd given herself. They didn't deserve that. She also knew that if she really was sharing dreams with Buffy, her friends and family would be hurt by their exclusion from them.

"I gotta go, Xander. Give my best to everyone, yeah?"

"Will do, Faith. Oh, wait," he said quickly before she had a chance to hit the end button. "What do you think about maybe me and Dawn coming down for a visit sometime?"


"That'd be cool, right? I mean, we haven't even seen your place and we haven't left Cleveland since we got here. I thought it'd be nice for me and Dawn to get away for a weekend and come visit you and finally get to meet Leah."

Faith ran her hand through her hair as she thought about it for a moment. She'd love to see Dawn and Xander again, but having them come down to stay with her was the part she wasn't so sure about. She liked her privacy, and she liked just being with Leah at the house alone. Not even her and Leah's friends came by very often. This was her sanctuary. A place of her own that she just so happened to share with the woman she'd been sleeping with for the past seven months. She groaned as she hung her head low and held the phone away from her ear for a moment as she rubbed her eyes.

"A weekend. Two days. Max."

"Really?" Xander said excitedly and she could hear Dawn in the background nearly squealing with joy that she'd said yes. "When is good for you?"

"Whenever. It's not like I have a job or much responsibilities these days."

"Next weekend cool?"

"Sure," she said through gritted teeth, trying to sound as happy and enthusiastic as Xander sounded. "You still got the address?"

"I do. So, I guess we'll see you in five days then."

"Sure. See you then, Xander," she said softly as she hit end and placed the phone down on the step next to her.

She stared blankly out at the street and sighed. Maybe a visit with Dawn and Xander wouldn't be so bad. She had put it off for five years already, always making excuses before about being too busy or never home to entertain them for a weekend. She leaned against the railing, watching the neighbour's kids as they chased each other in the street, laughing and living that carefree life she'd never known as a child. She smiled at the two kids, a boy and a girl barely under the age of ten, as they ran across her front lawn and waved to her. She never minded the kids on the street, they left her alone for the most part, so she tolerated them and slapped on that happy face whenever she came across them.

Only two people knew what her childhood was really like. Angel and Xander, both for the same reasons. She could talk to them without fear of being judged, without feeling as if she was nothing to them. They couldn't relate, not completely, but they'd been her shoulder to cry on, both literally and figuratively, when she had needed it the most. It was one of the reasons why she loved them both and why she kept them both in her life, even if they weren't completely in it. She kept telling herself that if she gave it time, she'd be able to talk to Leah about her past and what it was really like for her growing up. Leah couldn't relate to it. She'd grown up with her parents and three brothers in a happy, healthy home in a good neighbourhood and surrounded by love.

She felt the tears burning in her eyes just thinking about it and she quickly wiped them away when she heard Leah open the front door. She turned to look at her, smiling as Leah sat down next to her and reached for her hand.

"How did the phone call go?" Leah asked softly as she intertwined their fingers and leaned over to give her a soft, lingering kiss.

"Alright. Xander and Dawn are coming by for a visit next weekend."

"And Dawn is who exactly?"

"Buffy's little sister."


"She's dating Xander, and besides, I haven't seen either of them in like two years. Thought it'd be nice to see them again, you know?"

"They'll be staying here?"

"Yeah. Gonna fix up the spare room and move some of the junk in there into the attic. They're only staying for the weekend. It's not like they're gonna stay here for like a week or something. You okay with this, babe?"

"Why wouldn't I be? I've never met any of your old friends. You never even talk about them."

"Not much to say," Faith shrugged. "Kind of don't like talking about the past, you know?"

"I know," Leah smiled as she leaned in for another soft, tender kiss. "I just want to know something, anything. I know about the fight you all had with the First, but is that really enough? I feel like I don't know you at all sometimes."

"You know enough," she pointed out. "Besides, that's not who I am anymore, Leah."

"And who are you exactly?"

"You know who I am," Faith said softly as she squeezed her hand a little. "Are we really gonna get into this again, babe?"

"I just want to know everything there is to know about you, Faith. Is that too much to ask?"

She wasn't going to answer that. It was a loaded question and no matter how she answered it, it wouldn't turn out well. Silence was the best thing she could do, along with avoidance and changing the topic. Three things she did best around Leah, even though at times it made her feel a little guilty for keeping Leah at arm's length. She did want to let her in, eventually. She just had to get used to the idea of letting her walls down for her. She wasn't like Angel or Xander. She wasn't easy to talk to sometimes, either, and could be a downright bitch when she wanted to be. The latter quality was something Faith had never minded at all in the last seven months they'd been together.

She did need a little bitch in her women. Just to keep things interesting.

They sat there together watching the neighbour's kids play out on the street and on their front lawn and everyone else's. It was almost a habit for Faith to just sit there whenever the kids were out. Even though the area they lived in was relatively demon and vampire free, she was always on high alert. Leah knew about everything, she'd told her about three weeks after they'd been sleeping together. It didn't even faze her, and the only thing she'd said was that she always knew there were things lurking in the shadows beyond just her imagination.

She thought back to how she and Leah even met. She'd been out drinking, not drunk at first, just buzzing. She'd seen Leah across the club surrounded by a group of people she assumed were her friends. The moment their eyes locked, Faith knew she had to have her. She'd been with women before, here and there, and at the time she was going on a rather big dry spell, having stopped sleeping with men completely. There was just something about the way a woman felt when she fucked her that made her start to question her ambidextrous sexuality. Leah was different from the other women. One night with her hadn't been enough for Faith.

It had definitely been a first, coming back for seconds, for thirds, until she stepped back and asked herself if she really wanted more. The dreams of Buffy were getting to her, she knew that, but there was something else there. The need to just be with someone who really did want to be with her too. After awhile, things just evolved naturally between them and it led them to where they were now. She knew that Leah was in love with her, she'd said it a couple of times after they'd spent hours making love and fucking in bed and around the house. It surprisingly didn't even scare her off the first time she heard those words. It just made her kiss Leah harder, hoping that if she distracted her enough that she wouldn't be expected to say those words back to her.

"Are you coming to bed or are you heading out for a couple hours?" Leah asked as she ran her hand over Faith's bare arm, smiling at her as Faith turned to look at her.

"I'm sure I can ditch patrol for one night," Faith replied with a grin as she picked up the phone and let Leah lead the way back inside. "Isn't it a little early to go to bed?"

"Who said we'd be sleeping right away?" Leah winked as she waited for Faith to lock the door and flip off the lights. "I've already locked the back up, come on."

Faith put the phone down on the base and let Leah tug her down the hallway to their room. Even though she wasn't Buffy, she was still probably one of the sexiest women Faith had ever been with. Leah was taller than her by a couple inches, lean and tanned. She had legs that went on forever, an ass so perfect and tits that weren't big, just big enough for Faith to fit them into the palm of her hand. Her eyes were deep, intense green, a contrast against her long black hair. She had a smile that flashed a set of perfectly straight and blindingly white teeth. Faith groaned at the thought of what that tongue of hers truly was capable of.

"I know what you're thinking about right now," Leah whispered as she grabbed onto the front of Faith's tank top and pulled her towards the bed. "You always think about me right before we..."

"Can't help it. You're fucking sexy."

"Is that right?"

"Oh yeah," Faith growled playfully as she tackled her to the bed. "Very fucking sexy."

She kissed Leah nice and deep, her hands roaming over her body and under her clothes. She loved to take her time with Leah, to tease her until she practically begged for her to just take her, no holds barred. The phone rang and Faith pulled away from her slowly, groaning as she reached over to pick up the phone that sat on the nightstand. She rolled off of Leah, ignoring the pout sent her way as she put the phone to her ear.


"Sorry to bother you, Faith."

"No big, Angel. What's up?"

She ignored the eye roll Leah gave her as she sat up on the bed. Angel was asking her to swing by the local cemetery to check the vampire activity there. He'd gotten a few tips from his unnamed contacts that there were a handful of vampires that had headed up her way. The phone call was short and she hung up without saying a word.

"You've got to go out, don't you?"

"I'm sorry," Faith said softly as she leaned over and gave her a soft kiss. "I won't be too late."

"Be careful," Leah said with a forced smile as she lay on the bed and watched Faith as she pulled on some socks and her boots and slipped on her jacket quickly. "You left a stake out in the living room. Your favourite one."

"Thanks. Almost forgot where I left it last night."

"Oh and Faith?"

"Yeah, babe?"

"If you're really late tonight, don't expect me to wait up for you."

Faith nodded as she walked over to the bed and knelt down and gave her a long, passionate kiss. "I never expect you to wait up for me. I just like it when you do."

After giving her one last kiss, Faith headed out. The local cemetery was about three blocks away and she never drove, always walked. She walked slowly for the first two blocks, kicking the gravel on the road as she tried to clear her head. A part of her was actually just a little bit relieved that phone call had come in. No matter how much she did really want to be with Leah, she wasn't feeling up to it. Especially not after the phone call with Xander and having her head full of thoughts of Buffy all day long.

As warm as the night was, the wind picked up as she reached the cemetery and she shivered as she slipped past the gates, the iron rusted and permanently open about a foot and a half wide. She hated slaying and Angel had asked her only to just keep an eye on things around there. Most nights she came across nothing and was only out there for an hour, tops. She had a sinking feeling tonight wasn't one of those quiet nights with mistaken information from Angel, at least not like the last time. She cracked her neck as she walked deeper into the cemetery, feeling her senses come alive with every step she took.

A smile crept over her lips as she spotted four vampires hanging around near the oldest mausoleum in the cemetery. She hadn't had a good fight in years, but despite that she was still in shape. At least she hoped to hell she was. Taking on four vampires was hard, even for a seasoned slayer like herself. She was craving a good fight, though she didn't realize just how much until the vampires spotted her and her heart began to race.

"Hello boys," Faith chuckled as they surrounded her, staring her up and down, trying to intimidate her as they began to circle her slowly. "Now, you know something? It's been awhile since I had a good fight. Which one of you wants to go first?"

The only response she got was a low growl from the vampire standing closest to her. She swung around, kicking him square in the chest and sending him flying back a dozen feet. A surge of adrenaline shot through her body and she went after the next one, taking him down in seconds without a fight. The three that were left stood stock still as she brushed the dust from her clothes and twirled her stake in her hand. It was times like this when she did miss the thrill of the slay and she chuckled sadistically as she went after one of them, kicking him so hard in the chest she heard the bones break.

She spun around just in time to see the knife the tallest vamp wielded. She gripped his arm, twisting the knife away from him and kicked him back far enough for her to grab the knife and throw it so it lodged into the closest tree. She hated when they fought with weapons. It didn't seem fair on her part, then again it never was. She pulled her hair away from her face, feeling the small beads of sweat rolling down her back as she looked around at the two vampires as they tried to get up from the ground. The third one, the one who hadn't made a move, just eyed her, daring her silently to try to take him and the other two on.

The first one charged after her first, catching her slightly off guard. She sent him flying back with yet another kick to his already broken chest and smirked when she heard him groan out in pain. She took on the second vampire, blocking a flurry of punches he sent her way. It had been far too long since she'd fought vampires who tested her this way. She welcomed it. It made her muscles ache, her hands throb in welcome pain with every blow she sent to his face.

One by one she took the last three out, then made her way to the nearest tree, leaning on it as she tried to catch her breath. The adrenaline was surging through her almost violently now and she tucked her stake into her jacket pocket as she quickly made her way out of the cemetery and headed home.

Leah was already sleeping when she quietly walked into the bedroom nearly twenty minutes later, and with a dejected sigh she stripped out of her clothes before heading for the bathroom to take a quick shower. The hot water felt good against her tense muscles and she stood there under the water for a good ten minutes before she got out and headed for bed. The aftermath of her adrenaline rush had left her exhausted. She got into bed and smiled as Leah moved to curl up next to her. She gave her a soft kiss on the top of her head and closed her eyes, waiting to slip into her dream world where Buffy always waited.

Faith opened her eyes and she knew she was dreaming. The small room she always found herself in was illuminated by the soft sun streaming in through the windows. She walked around the room, feeling the warmth of the sunlight against her skin every time she walked past one of the many windows. Buffy was there, somewhere. She could feel her.

"B?" She called out as she stopped at the only door in the room. "Buffy?"

"Yeah?" Buffy asked softly as she walked up from behind her. "I was wondering when you'd come. I've been waiting for you."

"Had a situation to take care of."

"Did you get hurt?"

"Nah, you know me, always walk away without a scratch," Faith chuckled as she turned to look at her, her breath nearly taken away at the sight of Buffy standing in front of her. "You look good, B."

"You always say that."

Faith smiled down at her as she reached up and tucked a few strands of her hair behind her ears before she leaned in and kissed her lightly. "I always say it cos you always look good."

"I don't want to talk right now," Buffy whispered as she pulled Faith towards the bed in the middle of the room. "I just want to be with you. I need you, Faith."

It gave her chills to hear Buffy say that and she wasted no more time as she captured Buffy's lips with her own and kissed her with such fiery passion it made her toes curl and her skin burn for more. Most nights they didn't do much else other than talk, but there were nights where all Buffy wanted was to make love until one of them woke up. Either way, Faith wished she could just stay there with her. She wished she would never wake up since she never felt happier than she did when she was there with Buffy, wherever they were.

She could feel Buffy's hands as they slowly inched her shirt up and she pulled away from the kiss, laughing softly as she pulled her shirt off and gently nudged Buffy down onto the bed. She wore only a white silk robe and it contrasted against her tanned skin perfectly. Faith stripped out of her shorts and stood there before her, allowing Buffy a moment just to let her eyes roam over her body and drink every inch of her in.

Faith wanted to speak, but she couldn't find any words. She just lowered herself to the bed, her hands already gliding over the softness of the robe and pulling it apart. Their lips met again in a soft, passionate kiss as Buffy rolled them over and quickly shed the robe as she settled between Faith's legs. They both moaned at the contact, hands gripping at bare skin as their hips set a slow, deliciously pleasurable pace together.

It was never fast, it was never rough, not between them. It was always slow, tender. It was as if even in their dreams, time came to a stop just for a moment and they became completely lost in one another. And even in their dreams, it felt too real and it was how in the beginning that Faith knew it wasn't just a figment of her imagination. She was really there with Buffy and they were together, possibly in love, and the only way they could be together was just like this.

"Oh Faith," Buffy moaned softly as she pulled her lips away for a moment to catch her breath. "I've been waiting all day for you."

"I've been waiting my whole life for you," Faith whispered softly as she pulled her back down, their lips and tongues devouring each other as Faith swept her hands over Buffy's back and came to rest on her ass. She thrust up hard into Buffy, holding her there as she felt the first waves of her orgasm begin to roll through her.

"Faith," Buffy breathed out slowly as she gripped onto Faith's hip. "Harder, baby."

She could feel the thin layer of perspiration building on her skin as she thrust harder into Buffy. Her lips latched onto Buffy's neck as soon as she threw her head back a little, both of their bodies shuddering gently as they came hard and fast together. She bit down on Buffy's skin just a little, knowing just how she liked it right there. It was her sensitive spot, one of many she'd discovered over the years of spending time with her right where they were.

"It's never long enough," Buffy whispered as she collapsed on top of Faith. "It's never going to be enough, is it?"

"No," Faith replied softly as she held Buffy close. "It's never going to be long enough and it's never going to be enough."

"I'd come to you, but I can't."


"I want to stay lost. I want to stay alone."

"Stay alone where?"

"Here," she whispered as she lifted her head and placed a soft lingering kiss on her lips. "When I'm ready, I'll come home. I'm not ready yet."

"It's been five years."

"I know."

"I love you, Buffy."

"Do you?"

Faith nodded her head slowly as she reached up and gently stroked her long blond hair. "I do. I've always loved you. It's different now."

"Are you in love with me?"

"Yes," she said softly. "You know that I am in love with you."

"I know."

Faith laid there for a moment just holding onto her, holding onto the hope that this time Buffy would say the words back to her. She never did before, always showing how she felt in other ways. Faith did hold onto the hope that one day she'd hear Buffy tell her that she loved her, but it was hopeless in a way. Buffy would never tell her. It was just the way it was between them and it was just the way it'd always be.

Every night they were together, she always had a hundred questions she wanted to ask. She never got the chance though. Most times that she had tried, Buffy would wake herself up and Faith would find herself there in the room, wherever the room was, and encased in sudden darkness. She learned after the first couple of times not to question things. Whatever made Buffy scared of whatever it was they had together, the questions were what made her run. She just wanted to know she was safe. She wanted to know where she was, not so she could find her and see her outside their dreams, but to know she was really there. To touch her, to see her, to feel her outside the hidden realm of dreams was the only thing she wanted in the last five years.

It was the only thing she needed.

They kissed for the longest while, their arms holding onto each other tight as if they were both afraid to let go. Faith never wanted to leave the soft confines of Buffy's arms, never wanted to lose the feeling of her soft body on top of her own, or beneath hers. She loved being surrounded by Buffy, feeling only her. She loved tasting Buffy upon her lips and tongue. She loved the way Buffy's skin felt against her fingertips and how they just seemed to fit so perfectly together when they just laid there.

She could feel the edges of reality beginning to tug her back, pull her away, and she gave Buffy one last kiss and whispered a soft goodbye before she found herself surrounded by complete darkness and warmth. She wanted to stay, she needed to stay, but she couldn't.

It was just a dream. It was only ever just a dream.

She woke to the sunlight streaming in through the window and an empty bed next to her. She groaned softly as she stretched out, feeling that delicious ache all over that she always felt after spending her dreams with Buffy. It made her wonder too if they ever could have this in their reality and if it would be just as it was in their dreams. Anything was possible, she knew that, but she'd been holding onto the hope for far too long that one day Buffy would come home.

Buffy didn't want to be found, to be bothered. Time and time again she'd told Faith just that in their dreams. No matter how many times she had told her just that, Faith always felt that lingering bit of unhappiness just from the tone of her voice. Wherever Buffy was, even as alone as she was, she wasn't happy. She'd never be happy. She made sure she never would and even Faith knew her well enough to know why she made her life so difficult, why she made it impossible to feel even just the tiniest strand of happiness she deserved to have.

"Faith?" Leah called out from the kitchen. "Are you up yet?"


"I put a pot of coffee on for you."

"Cool," she groaned softly as she climbed out of bed and quickly threw on some clothes.

"I got called in to work this morning," Leah said to her as she walked into the kitchen. "I shouldn't be too long."

Faith nodded as she reached for a mug and poured herself a cup of coffee. She watched as Leah packed her camera into her bag carefully. She didn't work too often, but when she did the hours were long. She did mostly freelance work, but a private company had her on call most weekends when one of the other photographers wasn't around. She was talented, Faith knew she was, and told her that almost every day. There were framed pictures that she'd taken over the years all over the house and proudly displayed.

"Do you want me to stop at the store on the way home later?"

"Do we need anything?" Faith asked as she leaned against the counter and took a small sip of her coffee. Leah shrugged as she slung the strap over her shoulder and walked up to Faith to give her a soft kiss. "Careful driving down to the city, babe."

"I'll call you when I'm on my way home."

She gave Faith one last kiss before grabbing her keys off the counter and heading for the front door. Faith sighed out softly as she turned to look out the back window and watched as the dark clouds began to roll in overhead. There was a bad storm coming. She could sense it. She felt it before she even woke up. It made her bones ache, a dull and painful ache she couldn't shake off. She walked to the front door and stood on the front porch, watching as Leah loaded her car with her camera bag and a few small boxes. She smiled over at her, blowing her a kiss as she got into the car and backed out of the driveway.

She stood there on the front porch for awhile, sipping her coffee and watching as the sun disappeared behind the dark clouds. Thunder rumbled off in the distance, causing her to shiver slightly, and she headed back inside before it started to rain.

She'd seen the look in Leah's eyes before she'd left. It was almost like she knew that Faith had been with Buffy while she slept. She didn't know how or why she thought Leah might know. She knew for certain that she never talked in her sleep, but it was a gut feeling and she always listened to her gut. She knew that Leah knew she'd never come close to being what Buffy was to her. She always felt guilty too, almost like she was cheating on either Leah or Buffy, depending on the way each day went and how each dream unfolded.

She grabbed another cup of coffee before heading to the spare room to try to get most of the junk out of there. It was mostly Leah's things she'd brought with her when she'd moved in. Books, knickknacks and other random things that they hadn't found a place around the house for yet. One by one, she carried the boxes up to the attic and with the last box she stayed up there and walked to the old wardrobe she had sitting against the far wall. It was locked and she always kept the key on the necklace she wore. She slipped the necklace off, her fingers running over the small cross for a moment before she slid the key into the lock and opened it.

Inside were old weapons, old clothes, and a picture, the only picture in existence, of her and Buffy together. It'd been taken shortly after they all arrived in LA after they defeated the first. They were sitting on an old, worn couch in the hotel they'd chosen to stay in. They'd been talking and that conversation was forever burned in Faith's mind. Buffy told her she needed to go off and be alone. She told her that she'd forgiven her for all the wrong and all the bad things that had happened in their past and she thanked her for being there for all of them and for fighting at her side without ever backing down.

Willow had taken the picture. She'd gone around that day with an old camera she'd found in her hotel room. It was months after everyone separated and went their own ways that she'd gotten the picture in the mail one day. It once had been framed and placed on her dresser in her room, but it had since moved from the frame to being taped inside the wardrobe. She didn't want to explain to Leah why she had a picture of her and Buffy framed and close by. Leah was slightly possessive in a way, sometimes it scared her since Buffy had been such a big part of her life and still was.

But Leah, or anyone else for that matter, didn't need to know that. Even telling Angel about the dreams had been hard enough as it was. She sighed as she ran her fingers along the edge of the photograph. It made her smile a little to know that at the time they'd been completely oblivious that a picture had been taken while they talked. The way Buffy looked at her always mesmerized her and was forever captured, just a single moment in time. There was love, pure love, shining in her eyes that was clearly visible. She'd seen it so many times before too, never having thought much about it until Buffy was out of her life and invading her dreams.

"I miss you, B," she whispered as she closed the wardrobe and locked it back up.

A loud boom of thunder rattled the house as she slipped the necklace back on and headed for the stairs. She grabbed her mug she'd left in the spare room and headed for the kitchen, standing there by the back window just watching as the waves picked up and the rain came down in sheets. Lightning zigzagged across the sky, hypnotizing her for the mere seconds it lit up the darkening sky. She always loved storms, especially the intense ones. It gave her an adrenaline rush much like one she felt while slaying. It made her skin tingle with anticipation of more and that alone reminded her of the way Buffy made her feel even when she just thought of her.

She knew she'd have to tell Xander about the dreams. He deserved to know and so did Dawn. They worried about Buffy just as much as she did and all they ever wanted to know was that she was still alive. The dreams had started out that way, with just the two of them talking and Buffy assuring her she was still very much alive. It evolved over time, just like a natural relationship would. But it was different for them, there was something much deeper there than just what they had.

She wanted to know just what that was one day. Leah could never make her feel the way Buffy did and she never would. She was just there for now, a stable fixture in her life that kept her rooted, kept her sane. She did know that in some ways, she did love Leah, but she wasn't in love with her. Her heart had been reserved only for Buffy and it would stay that way until Buffy came to claim it as her own.

Until then, all she had was her dreams and hope that one day it'd come true, that it'd become real.



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