The cemetery was as familiar as a childhood home to the slayer. Faith peered through the iron gates, knowing her apprehension had nothing to do with entering this graveyard. Before she went to prison, she'd patrolled many dead spots like this one. But now that she had returned to Sunnydale, she was anxious about Buffy's reaction to seeing her again. Even after thinking about it for two years, Faith still had no idea what she would say to Buffy. She needn't have worried……
Seeing a young girl fleeing a blonde vampire erased any more thoughts from her mind. Faith took off after the demon, dropping him dead in his tracks when she caught up to him. He knew her. Spike. She remembered him now. A little verbal volleyball ensued between them and the fight was on.
She floored the vampire with a mighty uppercut. But then Faith was caught off guard with a completely unexpected right cross from out of nowhere. She went down like a rock.
Looking up in confusion, Faith felt her heart skip a few beats. Above her stood the woman she'd been dreaming about night and day for two solid years. In the moonlight, she looked like a goddess.
"Gee, Faith. I didn't realize that was you." Her smile was sardonic, but her tone was slightly teasing.
"S'alright, B." Faith got up rubbing her jaw. "Fortunately you still punch like ya used to...."
They didn't speak on the way back to the house. The reunion there was even more awkward. Dawn and Giles were not at all thrilled to see her. Not that she could blame them. Dawn suggested she stay in a motel.
"No." Buffy replied. Her expression impossible to read. "She can stay in my room."
Faith merely shrugged at the varying degrees of surprise on the faces of Buffy's family and friends.
Following Buffy up the stairs, she dropped her duffel bag in the corner.
"You look tired."
"I'm up to speed, B." Faith answered. "Whatever you need me to do."
"It's late. I'll go to the hospital and check on the girl that Willow's been watching. We can start fresh in the morning."
She looked at Faith for a moment. The brunette wished for the life of her that she could know what Buffy was thinking. But again, nothing showed on her face. She turned and left Faith alone.
The slayer from LA was indeed tired. It was only yesterday that she had taken such a beating from Angelus. The wonder drug she had taken, getting bit, the fight with the beast, had taken its toll on her. Despite the amazing recuperative powers of slayers, all those injuries were still very fresh on her body. She needed rest if she was going to be up to fighting by Buffy's side. She stripped off her clothes and crawled into Buffy's bed. The sheets smelled like the blonde she held so close to her heart. Faith was asleep in minutes.
A few hours later, Buffy climbed the stairs to her room. Opening her bedroom door, she could see a figure sprawled across her bed. She kept the lights off. The moonlight coming through the window was all she needed. The rogue slayer was lying on her back in the nude. She had kicked off the blankets and was covered only by a sheet that didn't quite reach her navel. Her head was slightly turned toward the window, facing an out flung right arm. Buffy sat on the edge of the bed and gazed at Faith. It was obvious that very recently the LA slayer had been badly beaten. There were cuts and abrasions on her shoulders, neck and face. Over her torso Buffy could see angry bruises most likely covering broken ribs as well. And though she knew Faith would heal quickly in the next few days, Buffy knew that she must have suffered a great deal to still be injured so.
The blonde reached out her hand and gently touched a new bruise on Faith's jaw. She felt a pang of regret for having inflicted that particular injury. Willow hadn't told her until she got to the hospital what Faith had been through in LA. On the phone, the wiccan had just said that Faith had helped Angel and that she was coming to Sunnydale to help them too. Buffy hadn't asked for any more information at the time. The very thought of seeing Faith again had incapacitated her.
She ran her fingers down Faith's neck. She brushed aside the long thick locks to reveal the two healing puncture marks left by Angelus. She had identical scars on the opposite side of her own neck. So much alike, yet opposite. That was a fairly apt description of the two slayers. Buffy continued to let her fingers drift down the sleeping slayer's neck and chest. Across her flat stomach, she palmed the large areas of injured ribs. Her hand came to rest on Faith's hip.
"Still so beautiful...." It was both an appreciation and a lament.
Buffy got up, slipped out of her pants and took off her blouse and bra. She pulled a t-shirt over her head and got into bed. Faith shifted slightly and reached for Buffy in her sleep. The blonde snuggled underneath Faith's arm and molded herself to the sleeping slayer. It felt so familiar to be wrapped in Faith's embrace. Despite all the turmoil going on around her, Buffy also fell asleep instantly.
Faith stirred in the pre dawn hours. Unable to move, she opened her eyes and found a blonde head resting on her chest. Buffy had tucked herself up against Faith's left side. Her left arm lay across Faith's chest, her left hand gently cupping the rogue slayer's right breast. Buffy's left leg was draped possessively over Faith's hips.
"I guess some habits die hard...." she whispered into soft blonde hair.
Faith planted a gentle kiss on top of Buffy's head. She gently massaged the smaller woman's back. Lying there asleep, she seemed so fragile. But Faith knew that nothing was farther from the truth.
Holding Buffy in her arms again brought a flood of memories back into Faith's mind. The day when she had arrived in Sunnydale, the camaraderie with the original Chosen One. Those were glorious times. She had never felt so alive. The slaying had always inflamed her. It infused her with a sexual appetite that she had never bothered to try to ignore. One night, after a particularly intense battle, she had grabbed Buffy and kissed her with all the pent-up passion that was raging through her body. She had fully expected her partner to punch her out. But instead, Buffy had responded just as fiercely. From that night on, they had shared a blazing, insatiable craving for each other. Faith's urgent sexual hunger. Buffy's intense desire for intimacy. Oil and water, fire and gasoline. It was nothing like either of them had ever experienced with anyone else.
But Faith had rage issues that boiled inside her. When she finally realized that she had fallen in love with Buffy, she reacted badly. She needed Buffy and that scared her. She grew reckless and made a fatal error. Killing the Deputy Major brought up one more emotion she was unprepared to deal with. Guilt. Faith's emotional stability disintegrated. She didn't do need, she didn't do fear and she certainly didn't do guilt. The rogue slayer lashed out at what she perceived to be the source of her pain, the only person who meant anything to her. Buffy.
After she had destroyed everything good that she might have shared with Buffy, she ran. She ran to LA because Angel was there. And he was the one person she knew who could kill her.
But he didn't kill her. And he wouldn't let her go. He forced her to face all the demons that tore through her soul. And Angel knew all about demons that haunt the soul. When Buffy found out that the rampaging slayer had gone to LA., she followed. Faith wasn't sure now if Buffy had come to Angel's aid or hers. She would never know. As the bars of prison closed in on her, she was left with one scarring memory. The heartbreaking image of Buffy hating her.
Faith shook her head slightly as if to dispel the recollection. That had been over two years ago. A lot had changed since then. She had changed. She had acquired restraint in prison. She had learned to harness her rage, and to cope with her pain and her guilt. But there was one thing she had never been able overcome. Her love for Buffy. If it was possible, she loved her more today than she had two years ago. And she'd made herself a promise. If she ever got out, she would spend a lifetime trying to make up for all the pain she'd caused her.
The room was getting lighter. Buffy awakened slowly. If she was surprised to find herself nestled so intimately with Faith, she didn't show it.
"Hey." She looked up at Faith and smiled.
"Hey." Faith leaned closed and softly kissed the sleepy slayer. They let their lips get slowly reacquainted. Envisioning moments like this was the only way Faith had been able to sleep in prison. It was an unbelievable luxury now.
Shortly, Buffy pulled away and sat up.
"Com' on." She said, fingers barely grazing Faith's face. "We have a performance to do with Willow."
Faith raised her eyebrows, questioning the statement. "I hope you're going to explain that in a little more detail...."
The afternoon's group argument went as scripted. Buffy's seemingly irrational need to take on Caleb at the winery again. Kennedy's expected objection and Willow's planned agreement. As the final blow, Dawn acted out her part, standing up against her sister. Faith was elected the new leader. Buffy was banned from the group.
On the porch, Faith didn't want to let Buffy go.
"Lead them, Faith." She said. "I'll find what I'm looking for. Caleb can't hurt me if I'm alone. Recon at the school for the weapons and kill as many of the Bringers as you can. I'll be back tomorrow night."
A great plan, save for the bomb that none of them could have anticipated. The potentials had fared better than Faith. Buffy had heard the explosion and come running. As Xander and Giles carried the unconscious Faith to Buffy's bedroom, she knew she was back in charge with the confidence of the potentials and an incredible new weapon. But at what price?
She put the scythe down next to the bed and sat watching Faith. So much had happened between them. Faith was obviously different now. And so was she. Her death, her rebirth, her brief violent encounters with Spike. She had been trapped by the destructive need to feel anything but empty. Now that she knew what it was like to suffer those demons, she finally understood Faith.
Lying down next to her slayer, she pulled Faith into her arms. She stroked her hair as she eased Faith's head onto her chest. She drifted as she listened to Faith's steady breathing.
"Please wake up, Faith." She murmured. "I can't do this without you."
It was almost morning when Faith stirred to a familiar sound. A heartbeat. Buffy's heartbeat. She'd have known that sound anywhere.
Buffy was instantly alert.
"You're awake! " Buffy hugged Faith and placed small kisses all over her face. "Thank God.... you're awake...."
"Whoa, B. Take it easy." Faith protested weakly. "Got a bit of a headache here." When Buffy stopped and looked at her, Faith said. "What kind of firepower did ya get us?"
Buffy got up off the bed, picked up the scythe and handed it to Faith. The Boston slayer weighed it in her hands. She marveled at the way it felt as much as the stunning craftsmanship.
"Damn.... It feels like, it's mine...." Realizing how that might have sounded, she rephrased. "Which means, it's yours."
"It's ours, Faith." Buffy sat on the bed with the scythe between them. "It belongs to both of us. And I think I figured out a way to use it."
That morning the core group gathered in her bedroom, Buffy explained her idea. Faith watched her, thinking that Buffy was a fucking genius. It would work, despite Willow's uncertainty, because Buffy believed it so. They would tell the potentials the plan, set it up, and attack the Hellmouth the next day.
That evening everyone retreated to reflect on the do or die situation they'd be facing in the morning. Couples paired off for what could be one final night together. Willow and Kennedy. Xander and Anya. Buffy and Faith.
Buffy laid the scythe down on the table beside her bed. Faith came up behind her and embraced the slender slayer.
"You have got be the most incredibly imaginative slayer that ever lived."
Buffy covered the arms around her with her own.
"We're going to win, Faith. I can feel it. I just know we're going to win."
"Yeah, B." Faith nuzzled Buffy's hair away from her neck and softly tasted her skin. "We are."
Buffy wasn't surprised by the onset of desire that coursed through her body from the feather like contact. Faith's touch had always ignited her passions. That had not changed with the passing years or with the heartaches they had each endured. She leaned back so that Faith could caress her ear and cheek. She could feel Faith unbuttoning her blouse and unclasping the front closure of her bra. Opening the clothing, Faith exposed Buffy to the cool evening air. Her hands smoothed up and down Buffy's slender torso until she cupped perfect breasts. Holding her this way, she fondled the blonde very gently. She felt the heat building in Buffy. But she wanted to savor every sensation. She squeezed the delectable flesh of the right breast, while her fingers softly worked the left nipple. Knowing Buffy was slightly more sensitive on the left than the right was an instilled memory that Faith didn't even realize she was practicing. The blonde's breathing became more labored. She was leaning more against her former lover. Faith slipped her hands to Buffy's jeans, unbuttoned and unzipped her. Pulling the clothing apart, her fingertips toyed with the elastic band of Buffy's panties.
"Faith....." Buffy was hardly able to get a cognizant thought out. "Don't you need to go first?"
Faith's hand worked down inside Buffy's panties until her fingers met with the soft curls that covered the treasure she sought.
"No, baby." Faith reassured her impassioned lover. "I've learned a lot about the benefits of being patient. Feeling you this way is a much sweeter burn......"
Buffy felt Faith's fingers descend though her hair. Splitting her index and middle fingers, Faith surrounded, but didn't directly touch Buffy's awakening sexual shaft. The blonde was already slick with anticipation. But the rogue slayer continued the tortuously delicate foreplay.
Lifting her arms, Buffy reached back and entangled her fingers in Faith's hair. She turned her head enough to pull the southpaw into a fervent, possessive barrage of kisses. Faith retaliated by finally claiming Buffy's heated center with her teasing fingers.
It wasn't enough. Buffy lost all of her tightly held control. She stopped kissing Faith. Stripping off her blouse and bra, she discarded her pants, and pulled her lover onto the bed. She didn't care that Faith was still dressed in that sexy red tank top and tight jeans. What she wanted was to reach the soaring climaxes Faith had always created for her. She wanted to feel those strong fingers filling her. She wanted Faith back.
The Boston slayer did not disappoint. She lay next to Buffy alternating between caressing her hungry node and stroking her warm, soft inner walls. She took her time. Something Buffy was not used to. And while she was enjoying Buffy's body, Faith talked to her. She murmured into Buffy's ears, her neck, face and chest. She spoke softly while her lips pleasured Buffy's aching nipples. She told her all the things she had thought of doing to Buffy while she lay alone in her prison cell. She reminded her of the things they had done together and everything she was planning to do to her now that she was back. Buffy was literally burning up from the subtle, yet sweetly intense, onslaught.
When Faith finally sought Buffy's release, the blonde was in an absolute wanton state of desire. She craved the slayer's quick strokes. Needing to be released so that she could feel Faith's penetrating fingers completely filling her inside. The orgasm grew more and more powerful until it shattered within her like glass against concrete. Afterward, she fell gently back into Faith's arms. As always, she was amazed at the invasion of peace she felt throughout her body and in her heart.
"Wow...." Buffy looked up at Faith when she could finally move. "Is that what you learned in prison?"
Faith laughed. "No, B. No action in the big house. But hey, it's not like I didn't have offers." She added hastily. "Just night after night, thinking of making love with you."
The brunette's eyes shone with emotions Buffy had never been allowed to see. There was devotion and a willingness to open herself completely. Trust, hope and the most astonishing thing.... love. Faith had indeed changed.
She reached up and pushed Faith's curls behind her ear, stroking the sensitive lobe in the process.
Smiling, Faith got up and pulled her form fitting red tank top up over her head. Her black bra was equally as intoxicating. Buffy sat up at the edge of the bed and straddled her lover. She ran her hands up the tightly fitted jeans and her lover's smooth torso to the silk covered breasts. Faith reached around her back, released the snaps and her bra fell away. The blonde didn't quite gasp at the beautiful sight. But she held her breath for a brief moment as she admired the lovely body standing before her. Breaking out of the spell that Faith cast over her, she quickly unbuckled Faith's belt and opened her jeans. Pushing them down off Faith, she leaned in and kissed the soft, wet hair at the apex of Faith's hips. Her hands stroked the muscular thighs. She knew that she would fight a hundred battles, if it meant that she would always be allowed to love this woman.
The dark slayer felt Buffy's hands, her lips, her tongue caressing her body. Faith didn't think she could remain standing much longer. She needed her lover to show her that she was alive again.
"Buffy.... I need more...."
Buffy momentarily stopped her exploration at the sound of her name. The soft pleading of her lover made her heart swell. The need, the desire, the small measure of desperation prompted Buffy to act. She pulled Faith down onto the middle of the bed. She spread herself on top of her ravenous lover. After kissing Faith breathless, Buffy descended to the lovely breasts that she had always adored. Nipples responded immediately to the demands of Buffy's mouth. The sound of Faith moaning urged Buffy lower.
Sliding further down Faith's body, Buffy touched her everywhere. She didn't miss any curve, any valley. She rediscovered all the softness that was Faith. She parted tanned, powerful thighs and lay between them. Her fingers spread the soaking folds and she gazed at the sensuous center she was about to own. Faith's hips twitched and involuntarily tilted towards Buffy. Looking up, she could see the rogue slayer watching her every move. Dark brown eyes were ablaze with a fervor that could only be extinguished by Buffy.
Faith couldn't hold back the groan that escaped her when Buffy's lips possessed her suddenly. The kissing, licking, sucking by Buffy's mouth dissolved the last bit of any control Faith had over her emotions and her body. Sliding her tongue everywhere, the blonde couldn't get enough of the rogue slayer. She had not forgotten how much she loved this. The salty, sweet taste of Faith. How wet she got whenever Buffy stimulated her pleasure points. Over and over she drank in everything Faith had to offer. When her fingers tunneled into Faith's heated cavern, it was the final trigger to the second slayer's orgasms. Her climax erupted like a volcano.
The small blonde hung on to her bucking, thrashing lover. Buffy knew she was as strong as Faith, maybe at times even stronger. But Faith, in the throes of her multiple climaxes, was amazingly vigorous. It took everything the smaller slayer had to keep doing all the things that coaxed the lustful reactions from her lover. Buffy loved it.
Several moments later, the slayers rested in each other's arms. Faith's heart was finally beating in a normal steady rhythm again.
"God, B. Loving you......" Faith's tone was part awe, part surrender. "I've missed that."
Buffy turned her head slightly and kissed Faith's chest. "And I've missed going on that wild ride with you." She thought for a moment. "You possess me like no one else can."
The slayers fell into a deep sleep. They would awake rested and determined to have a future, a life they that they could share.
The next morning, they set the plan in motion. Willow knew that their success rested squarely on her shoulders. The responsibility was hers. With everything that had happened, it all came down to this. Her power. Her magic. She couldn't let them down. These thoughts were running through Willow's mind as she finished preparing to use the essence of the scythe to release hundreds of slayers into the world.
Kennedy watched Willow begin the magic that would take the witch beyond the good and evil of that domain. They hoped that Willow would be able to reach a magical region far beyond what any of them could imagine. Kennedy was here to hold onto Willow's heart and soul, lest she be lost in either the realm of the greater good or fall into the abyss of devastating evil. Kennedy knew it was not her strength or fighting skill, or even the fact that she was a potential slayer that put her in this position. It was her love for this powerful woman that would give her the ability to hold onto Willow as she traversed the uncharted territory.
She hadn't known Willow very long. But in these extreme times, everything seemed to intensify. The attraction had been immediate and stronger than anything Kennedy had ever known. She had never actually said the words. But the night before, the potential had as much admitted that she was in love with Willow. She would keep Willow grounded and protected, with her very life if necessary. She would rather die than to be without her new love.
As Willow bent her head and concentrated on a chant that Kennedy could not understand, the potential uttered her own incantation.
"Com' on, Red. Make it happen..."
The scythe began to glow. And when Willow reached the essence of the scythe's endowment, her words were crystal clear.
A bright beam of light shot out from the scythe. Kennedy could feel its heat. Her body surged with the kind of power she had only dreamed of possessing. It coursed through her veins, infusing every part of her with the instincts and strength of her destiny.
Beyond the rush, that Kennedy could only describe at orgasmic, she felt Willow. For a brief moment, Willow's essence was inside her, flowing through her. She could almost feel her lover embrace her heart. The feeling took her breath away more than the instilled energy of the scythe.
As Kennedy became a slayer, Willow's spell shot out over the world, awakening slayers everywhere. She could feel tiny pinpricks all over her body as the scythe's capacity found its many marks. But nothing came close to what she felt as Kennedy came into her own. For a fleeting moment, she essentially became one with the potential as Kennedy gained her strength. The wiccan actually felt what it was like to become a chosen one. It was the most amazingly magical thrill.
As the scythe continued its outpouring, Willow felt herself slip away from Kennedy. She began flying toward the last realm beyond good and evil. Succumbing to the euphoric force, she was unable to pull back. It was stunning and terrifying all at the same time. She thought to herself that this was the price she would pay. The final sacrifice she would be asked to make. But then she heard it.
The sound of Kennedy's voice calling out her name slowed her ascent. She could feel Kennedy's love grasping her and drawing her back. Kennedy.... wanting her, needing her. The witch could not possibly leave her. Willow suddenly craved the touch of her new slayer. The need to be in Kennedy's arms again was more compelling than the command of infinite magic.
The scythe stopped glowing. Its task complete. Willow fell forward onto her hands completely exhausted.
"You," Willow heard Kennedy whisper in awe, "are a Goddess....."
She lifted her head and smiled. "And you're a slayer.... Get this to Buffy..."
As she reached out to take the scythe, the struggle within Kennedy was not about the war that raged in the basement. She was torn between leaving to fight with the other slayers and ravishing Willow right then. Her need to touch her witch, to be inside her, to please her, was as overwhelming as her desire to partake in the battle she was born to fight. It seemed like several minutes that she was wracked with indecision. In reality, it was a split second before she grabbed the scythe from Willow and ran out the door.
Willow collapsed on the floor of the office. The post spell exhilaration was intoxicating. She was depleted, yet overjoyed at her accomplishment. As she lay there, she thought of Kennedy. How beautiful she'd looked when she'd gained her powers. Willow thought about the intensity of the experience she had shared with Kennedy. About how the other potentials taking possession of their fates had felt minuscule in comparison. At first she thought that the reason she had felt Kennedy's change so acutely was because she was the closest in proximity. Or perhaps because they were lovers. But as she lay there, she eventually understood. Willow would have felt Kennedy's power no matter where she was or what her circumstances were. The Slayer's Scythe had enlightened her about the mystery of the next generation. If anything had happened to Buffy or Faith, Willow now knew who would be the next potential called. If not for her spell, Kennedy was destined to be the next Chosen One.
Kennedy landed at the bottom of the stairs and called out to Buffy. Both Buffy and Faith looked over at Kennedy as she flung the scythe to Buffy. Then the new slayer attacked the Ubervamps with a vengeance. Already a well trained, seasoned fighter, Kennedy was an unstoppable force. There would be no loss of life here as long as she remained standing. The battle raged on and she seemed to know the vital dangers. She was at everyone's back. Taking out vampires and saving slayers who would have otherwise died if she'd not been there. Kennedy saw Buffy go down, saw Faith rush to her side. She had no doubt that the older slayers would persevere. She fought on until Spike began to glow and emit a huge destructive beam. Faith yelled for the slayers to get out and they all began to scramble up the stairs. Kennedy herded all the slayers together, gathering the wounded, until they were all out of the cavern. She was the last one up the stairs. Leaving any of her generation behind was not an option.
Willow was so tired. She had tried to stand, but before she could, she was overcome with a sense of alarm. At first she thought it might be Kennedy or Buffy in danger. But when she concentrated, she could envision the peril.
Willow focused the last of her energy to create a protective shield around her strange, ex-demon friend. The spell deflected a Bringer's knife that would have otherwise killed Anya.
Suddenly a beam of energy burst through the floor of the office where she had worked her spell. The building began to shake. But after invoking the protective barrier spell around Anya, Willow was now totally drained and unable to move.
Kennedy. All she could think of was how much she wanted Kennedy.
Then through the fog of her depletion, she felt strong, familiar hands lifting her to her feet. Kennedy half walked, half carried Willow out of the school. She got her on the bus and set the weary witch down on a seat. She held her lover in her arms as all the potentials boarded. Faith jumped aboard and shouted for Principal Wood to drive.
Willow could feel the movement of the bus. But all she knew was that she was safe in Kennedy's embrace. Looking up, she was mesmerized by Kennedy's eyes. The potential's look could be fervent before. But now her eyes were absolutely ablaze with passion. Kennedy put her hand gently under Willow's chin and lifted her head. With an intensity that belied the soft gesture, the slayer kissed the witch. It was a kiss full of erotic intent, fierce, deep, and demanding. As the kiss continued, Willow could feel heat and strength course through her body. Her fatigue subsided until it disappeared completely. When Kennedy broke the contact, Willow could only look at her in wonder. The slayer had known exactly what she needed. She'd given Willow the energy to recover from the laborious spells. Buffy had transferred a slayer's strength to her once before. And Willow knew there was nothing quite like it.
Kennedy's eyes softened. "Better?"
Willow smiled. "Who's the goddess now?"