Just Another Love Story
(One month ago)
She had lied to Angel, told him the wrong date for her release. Sure, she had vowed never to lie again, but had she believed herself? Not really. Faith wanted redemption, she wanted to make up for her countless sins, but did that mean she'd never have any fun? Not if she could help it. The slayer admired him, his determination to do what was right, but surely he could do it less... moodily. Anyway, Faith would go to him again, and she knew it wouldn't be long. It was always Angel that she ran to. He understood the seductive nature of darkness better than anyone, and he also understood the constant struggle against it. Yes, she would go back to the vampire and fight the good fight and slay demons and all that... but one night of freedom? Surely THAT wasn't a sin.
So she stepped out of the gate and squinted in the sunlight. She needed one night, just a break, some time on her own, just to prove to herself that she could do it. That prison hadn't taken away her ability to stand on her own two feet. Speaking of which, she looked down at her feet, taking her eyes away from the sun's hypnotic gaze, and studied her boots. And then her leather clad legs, her black top, her black jacket. Lots of black here. This was her uniform now, as it had been before she had been forced into baggy blue shirts and pants. She took a few steps forward, appreciating the feel of the material on her body. Her body, her clothes, just her... yeah baby, Faith was back.
She grinned to herself and walked forward. It took her a few minutes to slide back into her overconfident strut, but once she got there, oh yeah, it felt right. She moved along the LA street with a firm destination in mind. What does a girl do after she gets out of prison? Checks her wallet and heads for the nearest pizzeria, that's what.
So that's what she did. She threw open the door, glanced around and sat down at a table to order. She still had a grin on her face when the waitress walked over to the table and she still had grin on her face when she looked up.
Maybe it was just the shock of talking to someone who wasn't wearing a prisoner's uniform or had a baton hooked in her belt, but when the short blonde waitress simply said "hungry?" and Faith automatically replied "starved", the grin slid from her lips like melted ice cream. She stumbled over her words as she ordered the biggest pizza on the menu and a large coke, and sat back as she watched the waitress move away. Faith shook herself. This was not the plan. She had thought about little else inside her cell, and now she was out, she wasn't going to mope over the other slayer. Not yet, anyway. First, there was pizza to eat, and fun to be had. Tonight, she was going to forget why she had gone to prison in the first place, tonight she was going to forget about obsession.
So Faith gave herself a mental shake and slapped the grin back on her face, ignoring the fact that it didn't feel real. Make yourself believe it, and it'll become real, she reasoned. She was good at that denial thang, after all.
The waitress brought over her order, and Faith flashed her a winning smile. Pretty waitress! "Looks good." She said in a voice something like a growl. The colour rose in the waitress's cheeks, the possible double meaning not lost on her.
She met Faith's eyes hesitantly. "Yeah... you get some great stuff in here." She replied.
The brunette nodded. "Got that right." Faith shook off the familiarity of the exchange and dragged her eyes over the blonde.
"You haven't tried it yet." The waitress said, growing more confident under the girl's appreciative gaze.
"It gets better?" Faith smirked. "Glad I chose this place..." She glanced at the girl's name tag. "... Ali."
"Now that's not fair. You know my name and I don't know yours."
"Well it's written right there." She smirked. Ali pouted at her and Faith felt an involuntary shudder go up her spine. "Faith." She said.
The blonde grinned at her. "Enjoy your meal... Faith." She purred.
The slayer watched her walk away with a small smile on her lips. The sighed and turned her eyes to the feast in front of her.
Faith wasn't a believer in doing things by halves. She focused on her meal like there was nothing else in the room. The blonde watched her with interest as she wolfed down her pizza like someone who hadn't seen good food in a long time. Ali was watching her so intently that she jumped when her boss tapped her on the shoulder and pointed to a new customer. Ali nodded and walked over, ready to take the tall brunette's order.
Faith gulped down the last of her drink and sat back with her eyes closed, finally feeling full. It was a feeling she had missed, prison food was definitely not suited to slayer appetites. She closed her eyes, drifting off in the contentment of someone knowing she did not have to live by a bell today. No one was going to give her orders now, today she was free.
She was snapped out of her thoughts as Ali tapped her on the shoulder. "Was it good for you?"
"Oh yeah." Faith smirked. "Now I've gotta work off another appetite."
The blonde blushed under her gaze once more and began to clear the table. "There's a club near here that's pretty cool." She murmured.
Faith nodded. "Maybe I'll see you there."
"Maybe." Ali said innocently as she picked up the dishes and walked away.
Faith smirked to herself and threw some notes on the table. She stood up and stretched, pulled on her jacket and walked towards the door. Feeling a hand on her shoulder, she turned with a grin, expecting to see the blonde again. "Yeah-"
She shut her mouth as she was met with a decidedly pissed off seer. "Let you out early, huh?" Cordelia said, with more than a hint of sarcasm in her voice. "Hotel. Now."
Faith just shrugged helplessly and allowed herself to be pushed out the door by Cordelia.
Cordelia shoved Faith into the car and slammed the door. Without saying anything, she got into the driver's seat and started the car, keeping one eye on the slayer and one on the road.
Faith squirmed in the seat. Damn it, why did she feel so guilty? She just wanted one night, one night to feel free again before she allowed herself to be put under the LA gang's watchful gaze. Now here she was, being pushed around by Cordelia Chase like she was a kid. Fuck it, maybe she wasn't the old Faith after all. The old Faith would have told the ex-cheerleader to go fuck herself, but now... Faith needed them. She was willing to admit that.
"I'm sorry." She said through gritted teeth, the words still feeling alien to her. Shouldn't she be used to them by now? She'd been apologising for two and a half years just by being in prison. Saying it shouldn't be such a problem.
"I'm sorry." She said again, slightly louder this time. "I just wanted a night out."
Cordelia's eyes flashed at her for a second. "I don't want you to apologise, Faith. Just take some responsibility."
Faith nodded. Man, what was with people telling her not to say sorry? They always acted like she should, then she'd try it and they'd tell her to shut up. Women!
"I know you want to make things right," Cordelia went on. "You just have to stop lying."
"Yeah, I know." Faith said, feeling guilty again. "Look, Cordy... thanks."
"For writing to me and stuff." Faith blushed. Thank yous weren't really her strong point either. Being a good girl was definitely going to be a struggle.
Cordelia shrugged. "It's OK." She was still a little pissed with her. Telling Faith why she had kept in touch would come later. Right now, she was debating what to tell Angel. The vampire trusted Faith, and whatever she had done, deep down Cordelia believed he was right. Besides, she knew how hurt he'd be if he knew Faith had lied to him already. "Faith, I'm not going to tell Angel why you lied."
The slayer turned to her, somewhat surprised. "Huh?"
"I don't want him to get hurt. He's put a lot of faith in you... uh... Faith." Cordelia said, breaking out in to a smirk.
Faith grinned at her.
"Look, I just think it'd be better if we say that you told me you were out today. We'll tell him we wanted to surprise him."
"OK." Faith said. "Thanks." Maybe saying thank you wasn't so hard after all.
Faith walked into the hotel with her mouth open. Angel always did have a thing for big impressive buildings, definitely the stereotypical part of his vamp nature showing through. She followed Cordelia into the lobby and gazed around. Cordelia had obviously been the decorator. Everything was polished, smart, and looked expensive. Faith wasn't the person for this kind of thing. She was happy with a roof over her head, didn't matter what the place looked like. Still, she couldn't help being impressed with the brunette's taste.
Cordelia nodded towards the girl standing by the desk. "Faith, this is Fred."
"Hey." Faith said, slightly nervous. She wasn't really in the mood for meeting new people.
"Hey! Weren't you supposed to out tomorrow?" Gunn asked, walking into the room and running his eyes over the slayer with interest.
"And that's Gunn." Cordelia said.
Faith sighed inwardly. "Hey." Where the hell was Angel?
"Where's Angel?" Cordelia asked. "We thought we'd surprise him."
Gunn nodded in understanding. "Him and Wes went to kill that demon you saw."
"Right!" Cordelia said. She'd completely forgotten about it after seeing Faith. "Forgot. C'mon, I'll show you your room." She said to Faith, who nodded and gratefully followed her out.
Faith lay down slowly on the bed after Cordelia left, appreciating the softness after her prison bunk. She closed her eyes and sank into its comforting embrace. She must have drifted off to sleep, because the next thing she felt was Angel's hand on her arm.
"Hey." She said, opening her eyes and seeing him, Cordelia and Wesley next to her.
"How are you?" The vampire asked with a smile. "Cordelia said you wanted to surprise me."
"Surprise!" Faith said, sitting up. "Nice place you got here."
"Do you want to sleep?"
Faith shook her head. "Actually..." She said, wondering if she was going to get a lecture, "I want to go out."
Angel frowned. "Clubbing?"
Man, he knew her well. "Yeah."
The two men looked at each other. "I don't know..." Angel said. "Maybe you should rest."
"Angel, I've been in a cell for two years. I'm rested."
"I'll go with her." Cordelia said. "And you should come too. Mix a little."
"Not for me." Wesley said. "I have a date."
"It's not really my thing..." Angel shook his head.
Cordelia motioned to Faith with her fingers as she looked at Angel.
Angel sighed. He nodded reluctantly.
"Cool!" Faith said. "Get ready. We're gonna have some fun!"
"I need to find something to wear!" Cordelia exclaimed, rushing out with Angel clinging to her, asking her how she should dress.
Faith tapped Wesley on the shoulder as he was leaving. The ex-watcher flinched.
"I wish I could take it all back." Faith said softly, hating that he was still scared of her. "I'm sorry."
"Don't tell me you're sorry." He said. "Just prove to me that we can trust you."
Faith nodded. There it was again, "Don't say you're sorry." Men!
The music was blasting as they entered the Cathouse. The three of them walked towards the bar and ordered drinks. Faith's eyes were searching the place for Ali, the adrenaline of her freedom and the loud music mixing with the sight of swaying bodies, making her body howl with excitement. This was a club where you went to dance and fuck. Not to chat. It was Faith's sort of place.
They walked towards the rails that cut off the dance floor from the bar, leaning on them and looking out. Faith stole a glance at her two companions. Angel, like her, was dressed all in black, and unlike her, was looking extremely nervous. It wasn't surprising, of course. All these young, hot people, and he couldn't get close to any of them. Faith smiled at him with sympathy, understanding the feeling, although for her it wasn't physical.
She was slightly surprised by Cordelia, however. Faith would never have imagined that the ex-cheerleader could look natural in a place like this. She looking stunning, all in red, and the look on her face was suggesting that she was enjoying this trip to the bad side of town.
Faith grinned and looked back towards the floor. Taking a swig of her drink, she did a double take. She saw Ali, dancing with none of the nervousness she had shown earlier that day. Faith put down her bottle and muttered barely loud enough for her friends to hear. "I'm going... there..."
"Huh?" Angel said, but Faith was off. He watched her walk towards the blonde, and without speaking, they started to move together in perfect synchronisation, pressing against each other, their hands straying over their bodies. Angel glanced at Cordelia, who was watching them with her mouth agape.
"Did you... I mean, is she...?"
Cordelia shrugged, her eyes still on the two girls. "No I didn't... and apparently she is..."
After an hour or so, Faith walked back to her friends. "Having fun?" She asked, wiping the sweat off her forehead.
"Not as much as you." Cordelia replied, her eyes flicking between Faith and the blonde.
Faith grinned sheepishly. "We're gonna go-"
"Don't want to know!" Cordelia exclaimed, cutting her off. "Have a good time! And tell me NOTHING."
"OK." Faith smirked, clapping a still speechless Angel on the shoulder. "Oh, and Cordy?"
"You're looking great tonight." She winked, and went to find Ali. Cordelia just blushed as Angel turned back to her with a helpless look in his eyes.
Ali unlocked the door to her little apartment and pulled Faith inside. The two girls fell onto the bed ripping each other's clothes off. Sweat and desire filled the room as hands and tongues explored each other's bodies.
Faith straddled the blonde's waist, hitting Ali's hands away as the tried to enter her. "No." She breathed, as she slid down Ali's body, ignoring her frustrated moans. She wasn't ready to be touched, hot as she was. Faith needed control and she took it in the way she knew best. Ali's moans quickly gave way to cries of pleasure as Faith's tongue swept over her folds and ran over her clit. Faith slid her fingers inside her, enjoying the sounds the blonde made almost as much as the feeling of her clenching around her fingers. It wasn't long before the girl was bucking and crying Faith's name as the brunette thrust her over the edge. Faith crawled up her body and kissed her lightly. The blonde grinned through her gasps and began to kiss Faith's breasts.
Faith squeezed her eyes shut as she felt a nipple being sucked into the blonde's mouth. Hot girl! Great sex! Screamer!... Buffy!!! Faith gently pulled Ali up and shook her head. "Don't." She said softly. It was no good. When it came to guys, Faith could detach herself, make it just sex. No big deal. With girls it was different, more intimate. Faith cursed herself, knowing that she couldn't let Ali touch her. Damn it! No one else could, she wouldn't let anyone have that power. No one but Buffy.
Ali gave her a look of confusion and hurt. Faith touched her cheek. "I'm sorry."
Ali shrugged and lay back down. "No, it's OK. Don't apologise."
Oh for fuck's sake... Faith sighed. "I like you, but..."
Ali turned to her and watched her for a moment. Faith tried unsuccessfully to hide the look in her eyes from the blonde. "What's her name?"
Faith didn't want to open herself up, hell, she never did. She didn't want to lay this on the girl either, as she really did like her. But she couldn't help herself, the need to talk about her was so strong. Talking about her made her feel closer. So she sighed and rolled onto her side. "Buffy."
Ali nodded. "Big love?"
"It was for me."
"Oh." Ali touched Faith's cheek. "Tell me."
Faith nodded, and leaving out the slayer parts, told the blonde everything.
When the blonde feel asleep, it was with her arms around Faith. The slayer kissed her gently and unwrapped herself from her embrace. She pulled on her clothes and smiled once at her. There had been a time where Faith would have wanted to hurt her for making her open up so much, but now... now all she felt was grateful. Ali had taken it all surprisingly well, and Faith was sorry to leave. She kissed her one last time and left. In another world, they might have worked out together. But not in this one.
Faith began the long walk back to the hotel in the early morning light, and understood.
In this world, there had never been anyone for her but Buffy.
Faith and I have travelled the same road. We have both done things that make our hearts curl in disgust as we remember them, we have seen darkness few ever dream of, and tasted power that was not ours to hold. We travelled these roads alone, seeing others along the way, but never walking with them. It is a journey nobody can share.
That path is an easy one to walk, with no fear, no remorse, and no guilt. It has called us back so many times with seductive promises to free us from our pain, but we resisted. There is one thing that held us back from returning to that path, and that was Buffy.
I knew Faith wouldn't stay with us, that as hopeless as it was, she would return to the source of her obsession and do everything in her power to make things right. Had I known what that would mean, perhaps I would not have let her leave.
But after all, it was not my choice to make.
(Three weeks ago)
Angel, Wesley and Gunn watched as Faith rammed the stake into the vampire's heart. She wiped the dust off her clothes and turned to face Angel, who nodded at her. "Nice job."
She shrugged. "It's what I do. We done here?"
"You get going. We'll do one more sweep." He replied. Faith nodded at him, and strode off, hands in pockets.
"Think she's OK?" Gunn asked the vampire. "She seems a bit-"
"Yeah." Gunn said as they began to walk down the alleyway.
Angel shrugged. "She won't talk to me about it."
"She's dealing with a lot." Wesley said, tucking his axe back under his coat. "You can't expect her to open up straight away."
"Got any ideas?"
"I think all we can do is wait. We're doing the right thing, Angel."
Faith headed to the nearest bar, intending to get really unconscious. Yeah yeah, good girl now. Not supposed to drink, not supposed to party. Not supposed to hide in the oblivion of sleazy bars. Fuck that. She walked over to the bar and ordered a shot of vodka and a beer. She'd barely gotten the first swig of alcohol past her lips when she felt someone walk up behind her, a little close for comfort.
The voice was slightly slurred. "Aren't you supposed to be a good girl now?"
"I was just thinking that." Faith replied, before doing a double take as the smartly dressed woman sat down next to her.
"Fuck..." Faith said, turning to face her. "Lilah Morgan. I thought you only came to dives like this on Wolfram and Hart's orders." She said, her body tensing, ready for combat.
"Who says I'm not?" Lilah said, nodding to the bartender for another.
Faith smirked. "Well if you are, I can't see them being too pleased with that." Faith said, pointing at the beer Lilah was drinking. "Never thought you'd be a beer drinker."
Lilah leaned forward and whispered into Faith's ear. "I've got lots of secrets."
"Yeah?" Faith raised an eyebrow. Man, what the hell was going on? She should be getting as far away from the lawyer as possible, but something told her that she wasn't a threat at that moment. There was no way she was this good an actress, Faith reasoned. She'd have been able to tell after last time.
"Can I get you a drink?"
Faith shrugged and put her bottle to her lips, downing it smoothly. "Why not?"
"Isn't she back yet?" Wesley asked a few hours later.
Cordelia shook her head and continued filling. "She's probably out... dancing." She said, rolling her eyes.
"You mean getting it on with some chick?" Gunn grinned.
Wesley spluttered out his tea and stared wide eyed at him. "Excuse me?"
"Cordy didn't tell you? Seems Faith likes girls." The young man smirked, interesting images wandering through his mind.
"Well that explains a lot." Wesley nodded.
Angel looked at him. "Explains what?"
"Well, B- Uhhh..." He stopped as Cordelia glared at him. "Anyone for scrabble?"
Angel stood with his mouth hanging open, everything falling into place.
"So where'd the pretty guy go?" Faith asked, ordering yet another drink from the bar, the alcohol finally overcoming her slayer stamina.
"Lindsey? Don't know. Don't care." Lilah shrugged.
"No, I guess you wouldn't."
Lilah sighed. "I'm bored."
"Yeah?" Faith asked, keeping one drunk eye out for vampires.
"Why don't we cut to the chase?" She drawled, placing a manicured hand on Faith's thigh. Faith's eyes snapped to where her hand rested. Duh. "You said you're more of a doer..." She continued, her hand sliding up Faith's leg.
Faith caught her hand in her own and looked straight into Lilah's smouldering eyes. "You're evil."
Lilah smiled. "So are you."
"Not anymore." Faith replied, shaking her head furiously.
"Don't kid yourself, Faith. You weren't hard to find, you know." She purred, grinning wickedly.
Faith looked at her. Hot woman, there was no doubt about that, but even through her drunken haze, she knew Lilah Morgan was a one way ticket back to hell. "I'm not gonna fuck you, Lilah." Faith grinned sweetly. Personal triumph there.
Lilah whipped her hand away. "It's just a matter of time, Faith." She spat. "You'll fuck up again, and I'll find you."
"Don't waste your time." She replied, slamming a few notes down on the bar. "Good luck finding someone stupid enough to get you off." She hissed, stumbling away.
"It's never a problem." Lilah said quietly. "Good luck with Buffy."
Faith stopped in her tracks. "What did you say?"
"I said good luck with Buffy. You'll need it."
Faith spun round and walked back towards her, invading her personal space quite dramatically. "What the fuck do you know about Buffy?" She growled.
"Just that it's never going to happen. And if it does, you'll wish it hadn't."
Faith slapped her, the drink being the only thing that kept Lilah off the floor. "Fuck you."
"You had your chance." Lilah replied, rubbing her cheek. "I could send you back to jail for that."
Faith growled at her again.
"Don't worry, I won't. I just can't wait to see you hurt more people. You're evil, Faith. Whether you know it or not."
With all her willpower, Faith clenched her fists and walked away, shaking with rage.
When she finally managed to stumble back to the hotel and found her way upstairs, Faith stood with her arms folded across her chest and swayed, staring out of the window. The city below could have been hers, it could have given her the chance to prove her worthiness as a slayer without constantly being bettered by Buffy. It wasn't right though. It hadn't been right for a long time. She missed that old feeling of Buffy's closeness, of knowing that she was one of the chosen two.
Lilah's words kept screaming themselves in her head. "Evil", "hurt", and perhaps most importantly, "you had your chance." But she had to try, as stupid as it was, she couldn't give up. She needed Buffy. There was no point in living without happiness, and she knew she'd never be happy without her. Without her other half. Faith moved away from the window and began to pull her clothes out of the drawers and threw them into a bag. Maybe she should just leave. Good byes were never her thing.
"I heard you come in. What are you doing?"
Guess that's out the window. Faith turned around to find Cordelia staring at her with a confused expression. "You're not..."
"I gotta get moving." Faith sighed, hating herself as Cordelia looked at her with hurt in her eyes. "I'm sorry, but there's stuff I gotta do."
"You're going to Sunnydale?" She asked.
Faith nodded, wondering how much the ex-cheerleader had worked out. Faith thought herself pretty hard to read, but Cordelia was good at seeing through the shit, and considering the time they'd spent together over the last week, Faith wouldn't have been surprised if she knew everything. She looked up at the seer, meeting her eyes. "I gotta make stuff right."
Cordelia nodded. Her fingers drummed on her leg for a few seconds as she thought of what to say. There had been a time... most of her life, actually, when she wouldn't have thought twice about who her words hurt, but she had changed. As Faith looked at her, she could almost see the mental screening process take place in Cordelia's brain. Faith smirked and took pity on her. Fuck it, she probably knew anyway.
"Yes, I know B might tell me to fuck off, or she might try to beat the hell out of me, but I gotta try." She shrugged. "I... I..." Faith struggled. Fuck, why was it so hard to say? "I love her." She said firmly.
"I know." Cordelia walked slowly towards the slightly drunk slayer. "I just don't want you to get hurt, Faith." She said slowly. "There's a real chance that she won't want to hear it."
"More than a chance, I think." Faith agreed, sitting down on the bed. Cordelia sat down as Faith looked at her. "How do you know?" The slayer asked.
"Promise you won't get all defensive?" Cordelia asked her, reaching out a hand and gently stroking the slayer's hair. Faith nodded, slightly surprised by the gesture. "I'm a seer, Faith. Just after you went to prison, my mind was opened up to all the pain in this city." She sighed at the memory. "There's so much of it..." She said, shaking her head.
Faith looked at her, confused. "I felt you, Faith, all that hurt and passion and anger, all directed at Buffy."
Faith turned her eyes to the floor, embarrassed that someone had seen her so fully. "That's why you wrote to me?"
Cordelia nodded. "I'm glad I did, though Faith." She said, moving closer to her and bringing up her eyes to meet her own. "I really am."
"Why are you so good to me? I don't deserve it." Faith said, blinking back tears. The memory of that pain was still there like a shadow on her soul. Pain she had caused, pain she had suffered. There was still part of her that honestly felt she deserved to feel nothing else. "I'm gonna fuck it up again." She said, one tear making a run for it and actually escaping.
"No you won't." Cordelia said softly, catching the tear and brushing it away with her fingers. Buffy had never been that high on Cordelia's 'people I love' list anyway, and as irrational as it seemed, she was drawn to the dark slayer. Perhaps the fact that they hadn't spent much time together before she had gone all evil helped, but the seer had started to feel as protective of Faith as Angel did. "You'll be OK." She whispered. The two girls stared at each other for a moment that was filled with possibility. Cordelia broke the tension by leaning forward and kissing Faith on the cheek. "You'll be OK." She said again, before standing and walking towards the door. "I'll see you in the morning."
"Yeah... night." Faith said softly. She shook her head and got undressed, slipping blissfully under the covers. God, why was it always this way? Figure out who you want and all these great girls came along at once. She sighed and rolled onto her back. But that was the least of her worries. She drifted off to sleep thinking of what she was gong to tell Angel.
The gang were waiting for her when Faith got downstairs the next day. She put down her bag and put her hands in her pockets.
"So..." She said, looking at them all nervously.
"Take care, Faith." Wesley nodded at her, joined by Gunn and Fred.
"You too." She grinned. Maybe this wasn't going to be all emotional after all.
Angel walked towards her and handed her an envelope. Frowning, Faith opened it to find a large sum of cash. "Angel..." She said, feeling guilty again. She was going to try to hook up with the girl he loved and he was giving her money. This was not a good thing.
Angel shook his head. "It's OK, Faith." He said gently. "I want you to stay somewhere decent, OK?"
The vampire looked at her with understanding. "It's OK." He said firmly. "Good luck."
Faith looked up at him and felt her eyes start to get moist again. When did she suddenly become emotional girl. "Are you sure?" She asked, her voice full of double meaning.
"Yes." He clapped her on the shoulder. "And Faith? You're always welcome here, you know that?"
Faith nodded. "Thanks." She whispered.
"C'mon. I'll drive you to the bus station." Cordelia said.
Faith paid for her ticket and walked back over to the seer.
"Yup." She replied, holding up her ticket. "So this is it?"
"For now." Cordelia smiled. the two girls stood for a moment, before Cordelia broke the tension once again. She stepped forward and hugged the slayer. "She'll be lucky to have you." She said softly. "You better go."
Faith glanced at the bus and nodded. "I'm... uh..." She said, before stopping and looking at her friend again. "I'm gonna miss you, Cordy."
"Me too." She smiled. "Now go."
Faith grinned at her and nodded. "Later." She said, turning and getting on the bus to Sunnydale.
"Yeah." Cordelia sighed. "Later."
Fear is something that does not exist without love. With no love we are empty, cold, inhuman machines with nothing to lose, and with nothing to lose we have nothing to fear.
I know now that Faith had always loved Buffy, even when that love showed itself in hate and anger, but for a long time, she didn't know it herself. She pushed love away until she believed she cared about nothing, including her own life.
But love cannot be tamed. It rages inside us until one day it bursts free, so much stronger than before. And once we let it out, it will never be caged again.
And then? Then we have something to lose.
(Two weeks and six days ago)
As the bus ground to a halt, Faith grabbed her bag and made her way to the door. She stood and looked out at Sunnydale bus station in the afternoon sun. Her stomach was doing cartwheels, the seemingly quiet little town made her senses tingle, vampires, slayers-
"Move!" A voice growled behind her. She felt a hand on her back and found herself falling off the bus steps. Barely managing not to land on her face, her boots hit the hard concrete followed quickly by her hands. Crouching, she turned and snarled at the man who had pushed her, who quickly walked away. Great start. She stood up and picked up her bag, muttering. Note to self- thinking too much is dangerous... wait! Wasn't that her motto?
Shaking her head in annoyance, she set off instinctively towards the sleazy motel she had stayed in on her first Sunnydale visit, her hand finding the wad of money Angel had given her. The now familiar feeling of guilt washed over Faith as she fondled the money in her pocket. "Stay somewhere nice"... she frowned to herself. The Motel was shitty, but she knew the place, and it was close to the station... and besides, it would leave her some cash for more important things. Faith grinned to herself as the motel came into view. Yup, there were much more important things to spend money on than a roof and a bed.
She threw her bag onto the bed and sat down, taking in the room with her eyes. She'd purposely asked for the same one she'd stayed in before, but as she looked around, it surprised her how many memories it brought back. Why did she do it to herself? Simple really. Faith wasn't the person for doing things by halves and she was facing up to her past the only way she knew how, confronting it with every inch of her soul. There was no turning back.
Of course, that didn't mean she didn't have time to go shopping first.
Faith wandered down Sunnydale's main street in the dim early evening light, keeping one eye out for the scoobies and one eye out for a shop that would suit her tastes. Surely there was someplace cool, the vamps had to buy their leather somewhere, right? Faith wasn't the girliest of girls, that was true, but even she had to admit she got a kick from clothes shopping. Spending money was a great stress reliever, almost as good as sex... but not quite. She turned up her nose at most of the places; way too Buffy, way too Cordelia... way too Willow! ... And then she saw it. Had it always been there? A little store on the corner of the street hiding next to a cafe, was a place that made Faith grin ear to ear. Fuck a nice place to stay, it was all about the leather, baby!
She strode into the shop and grinned at the assistant like she owned the place. Her heart skipped a beat at the goods on offer, and not just the clothes either... Snapping her eyes back to the rail in front of her, she trailed her fingers along the clothes, cold and new under her skin. She could feel eyes burning into her back as she flicked through the rails. Ignoring the look of interest on the woman's face, she pulled out a pair of leather pants and licked her lips. Mmmm... you can never have too many clothes, right? Besides, her old leather pants were looking kind of worn... She skimmed her eyes down her own legs, clad in black jeans and shrugged. Denim. Denim jacket. Leather jacket? She glanced around at the assistant who smiled at her wolfishly.
"Try over there." She said, reading her mind (or possibly her eyes) and pointing to the other side of the shop. Faith grinned a winning smile at her and walked over to the rail, swinging her hips seductively. Was the woman pretty? Hell no. Did she have the power to give discounts? Hell yes!
"What do you think?" She asked, holding up a tight black jacket.
"Why don't you try it on?" The woman breathed at her, walking closer. Faith nodded and slipped her own jacket off her shoulders.
"Can you help me?" She asked, innocently.
The woman gulped and moved behind her, taking Faith's jacket in her hands and pulling it off slowly. Faith could have swore she heard her moan. "Maybe a new top too?" The woman gulped, holding her breath as Faith pretended to contemplate it. The woman grabbed a deep red tank top and handed it to Faith. "It'd suit you." She said.
Faith took it and glanced at the price, doing a few calculations in her head. "OK." She said, smiling at the woman. "But you've gotta tell me how it looks."
The woman was nodding vigourously as Faith stepped into the changing room. A moment later, she was out, tight leather trousers that gripped her thighs and butt for dear life, the deep red top showing off her cleavage and strong back and arms. With her dark hair framing her face and her tongue flicking over her lips, she didn't need a mirror to know she looked good. "Well? I'm not sure..." She lied.
"You... amazing... buy..."
She grabbed the jacket and slipped it on, pulling it tight around her small frame. "Yeah?" She asked again. Oh, this woman was SO not saying no to anything.
"Yes." She nodded again.
Faith sighed. "I wanted to show it off tonight."
"You're going out? Here?"
"Yeah." The slayer smirked, before quickly letting her face fall. "I can't afford it though."
Faith cast her eyes longingly at the clothes. "Oh well."
"I'll give you them for 225."
"I've only got 200." Faith shrugged. "Maybe I'll just take the jacket..."
"No! 200 is fine." The woman exclaimed, smiling again as Faith grinned brightly at her. The brunette began throwing off her new clothes even before she got to the changing room, suppressing a giggle. God, people were so easy.
She handed over the cash and picked up her clothes. Heading towards the door, the woman called after her. "So where you going tonight?"
"I'll see you around." Faith grinned. "Small town." She walked out the door with no intention of ever seeing her again, and shook her head. Being good wasn't as easy as it looked.
Back in the street, darkness had quickly fallen over the town. Faith swung her arms, the bags swishing against her legs. Funny how something so small can make you feel so good. She had found a little optimism simply by the shopping experience, and as she walked along the road, she almost didn't see Willow and Tara until it was too late. "Fuck!" She whispered to herself, slipping into an ally as the two girls walked towards her. Faith's eyes glinted out of the shadows as Willow babbled on to her girlfriend, oblivious to the world. A pang of jealousy shot through the slayer, that was what she wanted, to be so wrapped up in the person she loved that danger and fear didn't even register.
As the two girls walked past her hiding place, Tara's eyes flicked towards her. It was only a spilt second, but Faith felt her fear rise in her throat. Uh oh.
But she didn't stop. The witches kept walking, and as soon as they rounded a corner, Faith bolted in the direction of the motel.
And then there was nothing, only the pounding of her boots on the road, and the rustle of the bags against her legs. Thought went out the window as panic washed over her, and not soon enough for Faith's liking, the motel rushed into her view. Still running, she found her key in her pocket and held it ready. Bam. Motel. Clink. Key. Clunk. Door open. Slam. Door shut.
She threw her bags on the bed and sunk to her knees. As she caught her breath, Faith started to giggle, the absurdity registering in her mind. She'd fought vampires, demons, lost the person she loved, been in prison. And it was the two girls that had made her truly scared, the most frightened she'd been since that night in LA. The night she'd remembered the word 'consequence'.
She was sitting on the floor, her giggles becoming an insane cackle when the tears started. She gasped out for air as her laughter gave way to sobbing. What if Tara had seen her? What if she told the gang? What if she told Buffy? Her chance, if she even had one, would surely be gone.
Struggling to her feet and wiping the tears from her eyes, she made her way to the bathroom and rested her hands on the sink. It took her a moment to look up in to the mirror, scared of what she might see. So much fear.
Raising her eyes, she stared at her reflection, her cheeks stained by salt water, her eyes bloodshot. There had been a long time where Faith thought she was all evil, that there was no light in her at all. She'd thought she was a woman, never having the chance to just be a kid. She thought she was strong, not this person staring out at her with so much fear. She'd kept it locked up for so long. Let people see your weaknesses and they walk all over you. But now, now the gates were open and she couldn't help it.
"Wuss." She whispered. Faith rubbed her eyes and shook herself. This was not how it was going to be. There would be time for crying later, but right now she was going to get to Buffy before Tara did.
She washed her face and puled on her new clothes. The important word was 'new'. She wasn't going to fight. She wasn't going to run. If she did, she'd regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of her- ugh! Gotta stop watching so many movies...
She left the motel and walked towards the biggest cemetery still thinking about Casablanca. It really didn't go with the bad girl image, that one. Getting all weepy over some old movie? Man...
Thinking about anything but Buffy, the walk seemed shorter than ever. Then she saw it, looming dark and overbearing in the distance was the largest of Sunnydale's cemeteries. Forcing her feet to keep moving, Faith steadied her breathing and walked in the gate.
Perhaps she was drawn by the vampires, perhaps she was drawn by her, but something pulled Faith towards Buffy with a force that she couldn't have resisted if she wanted to. She heard the thump and crack of fist on bone, and before she could even stop and panic, the blonde was in sight.
Buffy moved and fought with all and more of the skill she had always possessed, and as Faith watched her move she was almost overcome with desire to run to her side and join in the fight. To be together, the chosen two against all the darkness in the world. Together, Faith had no doubt that they would win.
The vampire exploded into dust with a 'poomf'. Just as Buffy was about to make a witty remark, her senses started tingling, and not in a vampirey way. "Come out, come out where ever you are..." She sang softly, looking around in the darkness.
Faith held her breath, an internal battle raging inside her. This was it, perhaps the only chance she would ever have to make things right. She took a step backwards as her confidence faded. Maybe this could wait...
Buffy turned and faced where Faith was standing hidden from the blonde's view. Did she know? She couldn't...
Buffy stared ahead with a strange expression on her face. Expectation? Hope? Fear? Faith cursed herself, frustrated that she couldn't read the blonde's mind. It really would have solved a lot of problems.
"I'm gonna leave." Buffy whispered. "Do you want to do this or not?... Or are you too scared?"
Faith's breathing kicked back in at that moment and she stepped out of the shadows. "Hell, no." She lied.
For a long time Faith was as dead as I, emotions muted almost to nothing, the meaning of consequence long since forgotten. She functioned only in the actions of murder, and as a walking corpse she killed not for passion, not for revenge, but as a reminder of the life she had taken first. Her own.
When Faith finally struggled free of death's icy grip, she was drawn back to the one person that made her feel more alive than anyone. Living for so long feeling nothing, even pain can be a kind of ecstasy, and no one can hurt us like someone we love.
And Faith loved no one like she loved Buffy.
(Two weeks and six days ago)
Faith met Buffy's gaze with a confidence she didn't quite feel, the blonde's blank expression making her more nervous than she would have liked. So much had passed between them, so much pain, so much time, that a simple 'hello' seemed ridiculous. Besides, Faith was sure that Buffy would attack at the littlest offence. So instead she stood there silent, hushing her nature and waiting for Buffy to make the first move.
Buffy's eyes trailed over her, head to foot, as if to make sure she was really there. Slowly, the blonde put her stake in her pocket, and then did the last thing Faith had expected. She turned and walked away. That was it, no anger, no venom, nothing. Shocked, Faith almost let her leave, before she shook herself and ran after her. "Buffy?" She asked, tentatively placing a hand on her shoulder.
Buffy didn't even turn. She just stopped and pushed Faith's hand away. "Leave." She said simply.
"I'm not going anywhere." Faith replied, still confused by the lack of emotion in Buffy's voice. She had been so sure that Buffy had been calling her, urging her to confrontation, and now this...
The blonde slayer's silence was unnerving. As she stood completely still, the rustle of wind through the trees was the only noise in the darkness. There should have been something, a sign, thunder and lightning. But there was nothing. Only calm.
"Please?" Faith asked softly. "Talk to me?"
Buffy's shoulders rose slightly as she smirked. "Why? So you can blame me for your mistakes again? So we can fight?"
"No... I want to-"
"Make things right?" Buffy broke in, her voice still a whisper. "Apologise? Tell me you've changed?"
"B..." Faith pleaded. "Do something... hit me, tell me you hate me. Just-" She stopped talking as Buffy turned slowly towards her.
"It doesn't matter anymore," she said, still oddly emotionless. "That's it."
"That'll never be it." Faith said, her voice close to breaking.
Buffy shook her head. "That's it." She said firmly, turning away again. "You're not worth my anger." She whispered, struggling to keep her own voice steady as she started walking again.
Faith stood and forced down the urge to cry, or to run after Buffy and attack, or to scream... anything to get a reaction. There had always been something, a passion between them, and even when it had been focused around pain or hate, it had been a kind of comfort. She had mattered, made a difference, and that was something. "That'll never be it," she whispered to herself as she watched the other slayer leave the cemetery. "Never."
She forced her feet to move in Buffy's direction. Fuck it, she wasn't going to leave it like that, the blonde was holding something back and she was going to find out what it was.
Unfortunately, as Faith walked out into the street, she could no longer see Buffy. She glanced around, and seeing nothing, see let out a grunt of frustration. No no no! That wasn't going to be it! Faith closed her eyes and tilted her head to the sky, silently calling out for Buffy in her mind. Where was she? Logic told her that the blonde was probably heading to her dorm to surround herself with Scoobies and get out a really big axe or something, but she shook her head slightly. She hadn't sensed any fear. Following her instincts, Faith opened her eyes and decided to go to the Summers' home.
She struggled to keep her mind blank as she walked up Revello Drive, refusing to think of what could be waiting for her. It all looked the same, so familiar and yet so alien. She had walked this street so many times, and she had always felt like a visitor in a place she didn't quite understand. Happy families, people walking their dogs, playing with their kids. This had never been her life, and she didn't believe it ever would be.
And there it was. Buffy's home, everything she had ever wanted and everything she could never have was inside, and it scared the shit out of her. For a long time she had lashed out against it, needing to make herself believe that she didn't want that kind of life, that it was beneath her. She was good at bullshit.
Her boots seemed to stop outside the yard of their on accord, and try as she might, she could not get them moving again. "Wuss." She whispered to herself for what felt like the millionth time that day.
But still she stood, looking up at the house and praying for something to take the decision away from her. Where the hell were all the vamps when you needed them?
Faith's breath caught in her throat as a light flicked on in Buffy's window. She'd been right. Give it up for instincts! Breathe. Breathing is good... willing herself forward, she walked underneath Buffy's window and began to climb. Doors? Fuck doors, we're making an impression here.
Pulling herself up, she looked in the window and found that Buffy had left the room. Deciding that it would be hard to make things worse, she opened the window and crawled in. "You should know better, B." She said softly, shaking her head. Her boots landed softly on the carpet and she straightened up, once again holding her breath. After what seemed like eternity, and yet not long enough, she heard the padding of feet on the carpet, louder, louder, louder, stop. Buffy stood in the doorway, her hands halting in the process of brushing her hair and her mouth hanging open.
Faith stood there and tried not to think about how cute Buffy looked. "Window was open." She murmured, as if it explained everything.
Throwing her brush on the bed and placing her hands on her hips in her trademark full body version of Willow's resolve face, Buffy stared at Faith and questioned her with her eyes.
"Can we talk?" Faith asked nervously.
"No!" Buffy exclaimed with a look of disbelief, before forcing down her emotions again.
"What part of 'no' don't you understand?"
Faith eyes slid to the floor, knowing that a smart ass comeback would only make things worse. "I just want to talk. I'm not gonna hurt you, B."
Buffy smirked and rolled her eyes. She glanced around the room for a moment, controlling herself before she looked at the brunette again. Faith watched her, praying for the impossible as Buffy trailed her eyes over her.
"I don't want to talk." She said. "I don't want to listen. I don't want to see you. All I want," Buffy said slowly, "Is for you to leave."
"I thought I told you that I'm not going anywhere." Faith snapped back, and mentally slapped her forehead. Control!
But Buffy ignored her. "Listen to me very carefully." She said, marvelling at the steadiness of her voice. "Leave. Leave this house. Leave Sunnydale. I don't care where you go, as long as it's far away from here."
Summoning all her will, Faith looked into the cold, green eyes and shook her head. "No."
"I know what you want, and I'm not giving it to you." Buffy said, her voice close to cracking. She gulped once, her eyes flicking towards the ceiling before falling back on Faith. "You're nothing to me."
Faith stared at her and shook her head, familiar tears in her eyes. "And you're everything to me." She gasped out, before steadying herself and walking past Buffy to the door. The blonde's hand grabbed Faith's wrist. Without looking at each other, they stopped and stood for a second, all of their senses burning at their point of contact, taking their breath away. For an instant, that contact was all that existed. But it was only an instant.
Buffy freed herself from the moment first. "Don't come back." She said, before letting Faith go and walking to the window.
The brunette didn't look back, not trusting herself not to cry. She walked out the door, down the stairs, outside, onto the street. When she couldn't stand it any longer, she glanced at Buffy's window. But the blonde slayer had gone.
Faith didn't so much walk back to the motel as stumble. She shouldn't have been confused, after all that had happened she hadn't been expecting to be welcomed back into Buffy's life with open arms, it was just... she seemed like she was holding back. Faith would have known what to do had Buffy attacked her, or screamed at her, but this?
She hadn't expected 'nothing'. It was harder to deal with than anything else that could have happened. Her boots scuffed the concrete as she dragged herself along the road, not in despair, but in absolute confusion. She needed to clear her head.
Taking a detour towards a cemetery, Faith took a stake out of her pocket and held it tightly. There were some things that stayed constant, and being a slayer was one of them. Thank god for that.
Like they knew she was ready for a fight, three vampires soon descended on the young slayer, the grins on their faces quickly fading as they saw she was prepared. They circled her slowly as she stood firm, stake in hand and her eyes flashing.
Duck, punch, balance, thrust, poomf.
Side-step, trip, crouch, thrust, poomf.
Jump, kick, land, thrust, miss, dodge, kick, thrust, poomf.
Easy. She held her stake like it was part of her body and panted slightly. Easy, but it still felt good. She wandered deeper into the cemetery and looked around, willing away the nagging feeling at the back of her mind that still latched on to Buffy.
Run, grab, thrust, poomf.
There were some things that stayed the same, all right.
Kick, punch, kick, thrust, poomf.
The effects of slaying being one of them.
Punch, punch, punch, kick, punch, kick, kick, kick, kick, thrust, poomf.
Not a scratch. "Is that all you got?" She called out into the darkness, hearing a scamper of feet running away from her. Who could blame them?
She sighed and put the stake back in her pocket. Stretching, she walked back to the motel, her mind still calling out for Buffy.
Opening the door, she began stripping off her clothes even before she got into the room. A reaction. That was all she was hoping for right now. That was she could hope for, she sighed as she walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower. Leaving the room dark, she got in and leaned against the tiles, letting the warm water run over her and closing her eyes.
She had looked so cute, standing there with her mouth hanging open, her hair draped across one shoulder, leaving her neck bare on the other side. Smooth, soft skin, muscles tense... Faith's hand slipped down between her legs of its own accord.
"No, no, no!" She gasped, pulling it away. She felt guilty enough already. Running her hands through her hair, she attempted to concentrate on something else.
Buffy hadn't been shocked in the graveyard, that was the weird thing. It was like she had known she had been there all the time. She stood there, her eyes trailing over Faith's own body. What she would have given to pounce on her right then...
Somehow, her hand had made its way back between her thighs. She gasped into the darkness as her fingers trailed over her own clit. Damn slaying side effects!
Her finger trailed their way around her pussy, slipping in the wetness of her body and the water from the shower. Images of Buffy flashed though her mind as she lost all will to remove her hands.
<She felt Buffy's eyes on her as she danced, amazed at how strong the feeling was. Faith moved to the rhythm of the music, pressing against the vampire, using her body not to tease him, but her. The girl she had come here for. Heat mixed with the vampire's cold skin as Buffy's eyes burned into her, every nerve in her body aware of the other slayers stare.>
Her fingers massaged her clit, drawing groans from deep within her throat.
<Thud, thud, thud.
Buffy pummelled the gloves on Faith's hands as she let out all the tension of her break up. Her face pink from anger and exertion, her eyes fuelled with rage. Faith's breathing was ragged as she took Buffy's blows, suppressing the urge to comfort her in a rather special way...>
Faith slid two fingers inside herself with ease. Gasping into the night, she leaned harder against the slick tiles, cold against her burning skin.
<She saw her from the other side of the Bronze, smiling and giggling with the scoobies. Faith moved slowly towards her, savouring the anticipation of a night alone with the older slayer. Then she was there, a smile plastered on her face to hide her nerves. So close, so warm, and then Buffy touched her. Her arm wrapped around Faith's shoulder, in their first intimate contact, their only contact past training. Faith's senses screamed Buffy's name as she struggled to keep a neutral look on her face, heat rising and pulsing through her body as she could only shrug as the gang looked at her. With Buffy so close, she had no idea what they were saying.>
Her fingers slid in and out faster and faster, her breathing shallow as she neared climax. Her hips ground against her hand, and she was oblivious to anything but the slayer in her mind.
<They moved together, hands clasped, bodies close. Sweat and desire mixed together as they moved in perfect synchronisation. Only them. Only them in a room filled with people. No one else existed.>
Harder and harder, faster and faster, so close...
<Then Buffy's eyes flicked to hers, and for a split second, Faith saw in them everything she had dreamed of.
Passion. Desire. Love.>
She felt her muscles clench tightly around her fingers, her body throbbing with pleasure. And then...
<They stopped moving, holding their breath as Buffy's hand gripped her wrist, searing her skin with one touch.>
Faith yelled Buffy's name as she climaxed, coming hard around her own fingers, her hips bucking and thrusting in the darkness.
She slid gasping down the tiles to the floor, pulling her fingers free of her body. She shook away the feeling of guilt she had known she would experience, and closed her eyes. Sitting under the warm water, a tear slid down her cheek.
It had only been a moment, but a moment can seem like eternity, and that was enough to keep her hope alive.
Faith smoothed the hair out of her face and knew she wasn't going anywhere. Not without Buffy.
When it gets difficult, we hide.
Faith had hidden herself for years against the pain of loving, and opening herself up to it once more was harder than anything.
Hope is a hard thing to kill. She tried not to let it take her over, but it stayed, urging her to confrontation, pleading with her to stay near Buffy. And she did, giving in helplessly to its whispers, letting herself believe once more in happiness. But love leaves us open, naked and vulnerable, and if that love hurts us, our defences come back up and we cling to the one thing we know we have control over, whatever that may be.
For Faith, that one thing was obvious.
(Two weeks ago)
"And you've been, what? Stalking her?"
Faith was sure Cordelia was rolling her eyes. "Not stalking." She said firmly. "Just... looking out for her. And y'know, waiting."
"For what?" The seer asked. "For her to send an invitation?"
Faith sighed. Perhaps calling hadn't been the best idea, a lecture was really not what she needed right now. "It's not easy." She said, switching phone hands and playing with the bedclothes.
Cordelia sighed back. "I know. Look, does she even know you're there?"
"Yeah, I told you I spoke to her."
"But since then?"
Faith flopped onto her back and stared at the ceiling for a moment. "Yeah." She said finally. "She knows. I can feel it."
"Then what's stopping you?"
"It's..." Faith paused and shook her head. God, this was dumb. "I get to be near her this way." She said quietly. "I get to see her fight and walk and breathe... I get to see her without us fighting. It doesn't hurt so much." Faith waited for a reply and was met with silence. "Cordy?"
"You're in love." She said after a moment.
"I know 'duh' is your word, but I'm gonna steal it for a sec." Faith replied. "Duh."
Cordelia's death stare was almost audible. "You have to take a chance with these things. God, I've had it with you dark moody types and your obsessions over little blondes!" She exclaimed. "I mean, hello, I know she's not the most open person in the world, and she's whiny and self-involved, but... wait, why do you love her again?"
Faith was silent for a moment, allowing the seer to catch her breath. "She's Buffy." She shrugged quietly.
Yet another sigh was heard down the phone. "Yeah. She's Buffy."
A few tension filled seconds passed before Faith broke the silence. "I miss you." She said, the words feeling strange in their honesty.
Cordelia closed her eyes. "Me too." She whispered.
Faith drummed her fingers on her knee nervously for a moment. "I gotta-"
"Go slay, I know."
"I'll call you."
"You better." Cordelia said sharply. "And Faith?"
"Take a chance. Maybe she'll take one too." She said, before hanging up the phone and shaking her head. "You're worth it."
Willow was worried. She had that cute little frown on her face and her hands were clenching and unclenching frantically. Tara smiled softly at her girlfriend. "What's wrong?"
Willow got up from Buffy's bed and poked her head out of the door to make sure the slayer was still downstairs. "Buffy." She said, turning back to Tara. "She's been sort of... unBuffylike."
Tara looked at her questioningly.
"Off on her own a lot and stuff."
"Buffy does that." Tara shrugged, not seeing anything different.
"I mean, yeah, with the slaying, but she's not usually so 'I can't wait' about it, you know? Or maybe you don't know and I'm just thinking too much..." Willow paused for breath and caught the amused look on her girlfriend's face. "I'm thinking too much, aren't I? I do that sometimes."
Tara smiled at her affectionately. "Why don't you talk to her if you're worried?"
Willow's hands started clenching again. "I don't want to seem nosey, is it nosey? I can't ask her why she's going off on her own- oh! Maybe she has a new boyfriend?"
"Maybe. She's your best friend, honey. You can ask her."
"Yeah, maybe I should. Just say 'Buffy, new boy?'"
"No new boy." Buffy said firmly, walking back into the room. "No romance in Buffytown."
"Oh! I didn't mean to-"
"Will!" Buffy exclaimed. "Chill."
"Yeah, OK." The red head sat back down again and instinctively took her lover's hand.
Buffy tried not to notice their closeness and instead pulled out a box of weapons. "I'm just being responsible." She said.
"But it's been quiet?" Tara asked her. "No big evil, I mean?"
"Well, yeah." The slayer replied quickly. "But that's always when something bad happens, you know?" She put a stake in her pocket and picked up a small knife, examining it closely.
"Maybe we should go with you?" Willow asked. "We could try that new paralysing spell we were-"
"No!" Buffy exclaimed. "I mean, I don't want to put you guys in danger."
"But it'd be safer if you weren't alone."
Buffy threw her knife back in the box and pulled out a bigger one. "I'm not alone." She said absentmindedly as she looked it over before putting it in her pocket.
"You're not?" Willow asked.
"Huh? Oh! Uh..." Buffy stammered, realising what she had just said. "I mean, uh, Spike! Spike usually turns up, so no. Not alone."
"Well if you're sure..."
Buffy smiled at her friends. "I'm sure."
Faith walked where ever her instincts told her to go, just as she had every night that week. The cemetery was deserted as it always was, save for a few vampires that were hiding in the darkness, and Buffy. Yes, Buffy was there. Faith could feel her senses tingle as she drew closer, slipping through shadows and past gravestones. She could barely hear the thump of wood hitting flesh over the beating in her chest, but it was there. She was there.
Buffy walked slowly through the cemetery, her eyes and ears open for any sound of movement, her heart crying out for something she knew was there, but would not allow free reign. She ignored the excitement of possibility she felt, and looked around. It was too dangerous. Suddenly, her thoughts were broken as the third vampire of the night flashed across her view and she pounced, pushing against him and swiping his legs.
Faith watched her in fascination, repressing the urge to clap as Buffy's efficient hands ended his movements, her stake reducing him to a pile of dust. Every nerve in her body called out to her to walk over to Buffy, to stop hiding. But she couldn't. She wasn't supposed to be there.
The blonde slayer stood and looked around, perhaps it was movement that she sensed, perhaps it was something deeper. This had to stop. She knew nothing could come of this, she wouldn't allow it.
It was time for confrontation.
"I know you're there." She said to the blackness.
Faith could have sworn her heart stopped beating for a second.
"This has to stop." Buffy said, putting her stake back in her pocket.
Faith breathed deeply and nodded to herself. She could do this.
"No more hiding." Buffy said loudly. "Come on!"
Faith took a step forward and then stopped suddenly as Spike stepped out behind Buffy.
Buffy whirled round. "Spike?" She said, somewhat shocked. Was this who she had felt? Couldn't have been...
"So you can feel me here, huh slayer?" Spike grinned. "I knew it."
"Spike, what the Hell are you doing here?" Buffy asked, looking over her shoulder for signs of another person.
Spike shrugged and lit a cigarette. "Looking out for you," he said. "In case you needed some-"
"I. Don't. Need. You." Buffy hissed, wishing he would leave. There were more important things to worry about.
"Yes you do. I've waited so long for you to realise we're meant to be together, and I'm not leaving now." He said smugly.
Buffy sighed in exasperation and whipped out her stake again. "I don't want to do this." She said. "No, that's a lie... I do want to do this, but I'm giving you a chance because of what you did for me and Dawn."
Spike looked at her with a pained expression. "Oh that's bloody great." He said, his cigarette leaving trails of light in the air as he moved his hands. "You need to figure out what you want, Summers." He said, spinning around and striding off, muttering to himself.
Buffy shook her head, feeling slightly guilty. She sighed and turned around to see Faith leaning against a gravestone.
"Maybe he has a point." She said.
Buffy stared at her, her hands in pockets, leaning casually against the stone, long hair framing dark lips and darker eyes. For a moment, Buffy lost herself in memory, memory of who they were when they first met. Carefree, wild, fun. No no no. Buffy shut her emotions down as soon as they began to rise.
She shook her head slightly and met the brown eyes with as much coldness as she could muster. "I thought I told you to leave."
Faith shrugged. "First you tell me to stay away, then you tell me to come back. You need to figure out what you want." Both girls were as surprised as each other at Faith's slip into her old cocky self.
Buffy's head was leaning to the side in confusion, giving her the appearance of an inquisitive puppy. Faith couldn't help but smile slightly. So cute.
"I know what I want." Buffy said finally.
"Yeah. And I know what you want, too." She said, moving closer to the other slayer. "You want this, don't you Faith?" She purred, indicating her body with her fingers. "It's what you've always wanted."
Faith could feel her heart ready to explode, but unwilling to submit, she gave it all right back. "We all know what I want, B." She said. "This is about you."
Buffy stopped in her tracks, surprised at Faith's honesty and slightly disappointed that her game had been cut short. "I want you to leave me alone."
"Really?" Faith took a step closer. "It doesn't look that way to me." God, what was she doing?! This was where Faith's confidence lay, and she knew she could use it. She didn't have anything else.
"Yes." Buffy whimpered, electricity shooting up her spine. This shouldn't be happening, this was the end.
"Tell me one more time." Faith said, raising a hand slowly to Buffy's cheek and sliding it softly round to her neck. Fuck it, all or nothing. "Tell me one more time, and I'll leave."
Buffy shivered against her touch, her brain screaming to tell her to go.
Their eyes burned into each other's, years of unresolved tension still evident in each. "Tell me one more time."
"Fuck you." Buffy whispered, grabbing the dark slayer roughly by the shoulders and pulling her closer. "Fuck you."
Their lips met suddenly, hungrily, devouring each other's taste and touch, lips and tongues sliding over and into each other, and as quickly as it had begun, it was over.
Buffy pulled away and stepped back, her breathing shallow and her eyes wild. "Fuck. You." She said one last time, before turning and leaving as fast as her slayer legs could take her.
And once more, Faith was left alone and confused. But this time, she was smiling.