by Only Passenger
Notes: Written for the Buffy is the Hero, Damnit ficathon put on by ruuger. This story is for thedeadlyhook, who wanted Faith and Buffy bonding. This is set during season three.
You might have to squint a little to see the hero in Buffy. But that's why she's my hero.
If she could cut herself in half, part of Buffy would follow Faith anywhere.
It's better if she doesn't think it through too much. Every so often, maybe two hundred times a day, Buffy reminds herself of this.
Probably Faith doesn't have to. She's action first across the board. Bounds into demon lairs and breaks lots of glass. Never says sorry, just raises her eyebrows up high and gets that wild, oh shit look to her.
Buffy has a tendency to roll her eyes and sigh and act generally appalled in these situations, but the truth is that she doesn't mind Faith's ask-questions-later approach. If they were both large with the advance planning, they'd still be sneaking looks at each other across the Bronze.
Faith tells her this story while they're patrolling. Ancient Greek twins—Castor and Pollux—and she points to a set of stars and says they're Gemini.
"When the gods had twins, one was always mortal,"Faith explains. "When Castor was killed, his brother Pollux begged their dad, Zeus, to take him instead."
"How do you know Greek myths and astronomy?"
"I don't. Just that one."Faith shrugs, drums her fingers on her stake.
Buffy doesn't say that the night she and Faith met, she dreamed of those mythical twins too.
Everything is subtle. This is the reason Buffy can do it. If she had to, she could explain all of it away with context. Slayers. An intrinsic physicality to their relationship. Psychic symbiosis: Buffy can assure you that Faith dreams in color. In its simplest form, it can be boiled down to something as mundane as basic moral support.
After a messy slay, Buffy asks Faith over. "Coldwater wash, before the stains set."
Faith does that wide-eyed snuff of a laugh, like Buffy's one surprise after the next. Like she'd never expect in a million years that Buffy did her own laundry.
Or knew the first thing about stains.
But when the real surprises come up to the surface, Faith doesn't laugh. She works her way out of her tank top, tries to keep the gooey spots away from her hair. Pitches it into the open washer, water already running down. And when Buffy comes up behind her and dips her fingertips into that blurry line—Bottom of her back? Top of her ass?—Faith holds her breath.
"Detergent,"Buffy murmurs, and hands the cup to Faith.
Faith pours, and Buffy reaches around to unhook the button from its loop on Faith's jeans. "Throw it all in,"she instructs, maybe just a little more breath than word. "I've got some pajamas you can wear."
"Pollux appealed to Zeus on behalf of his brother, yes,"Giles explains, sifting through a stack of books and checking them against a list on the desk in front of him, like Santa Claus in tweed.
"So they both got to go to heaven or whatever? Live up in the stars?"
"Not entirely. They were reunited on Olympus, but for only half the time. On alternating days both of them were confined to Hades."
"So every other day they went to hell, but they were together."Buffy sighs into the tea Giles has steeped without having to be asked. Hibiscus, which represents a meeting in the middle for them, stuffy English tradition infused with blossoms.
Today the color reminds her of Faith's lipstick. She drains the cup as quickly as she can.
Giles smiles and his whole face loosens. "It's only a myth, Buffy. It's meant to represent the importance of dichotomy. Light and dark. Nature and spirit. That sort of thing."
"Right,"Buffy offers absently. "It's just…I had this dream."
"Oh? Something you think requires further investigation?"
"I—no. Just wanted to know how it ends, I guess."
Faith tries to kiss her mouth, and Buffy pushes her to the ground.
"Damn, B."Faith looks up, smiling. "Never pegged you for the S&M type."
"Faith."Buffy rolls her eyes and tries to manhandle her blush back into her chest.
"Not that I'm not game, you wanna call some shots."Faith's up again, and she's swaggering, and it's too much, too obvious. "Can't say I mind toe to toe with you, either."
And yeah, their toes are touching, and knees, and breasts, and Faith's closing the gap between her voice and Buffy's ear.
"Look."Buffy swallows. Casts her eyes down. Stalls. "Not now."
Faith spreads her arms out wide. "Cemeteries were good enough for you and Angel."She's smiling, with this easy posture and this suggestive gaze, and Buffy feels so damn tight next to her.
"Just…wait till after we kill something. Something big."Wait till I have something to blame it on.
"Respect a girl who needs some foreplay."Faith backs off, adjusts her jacket and stake, waits for Buffy to do the same.
It's a nice out Faith gives her, but the words are dry. Buffy wishes she could tell her. It's not that she doesn't feel the same way.
It's that she can't.
She doesn't dream it before it happens. Or if she does, it isn't like this.
Faith's never looked monochrome ever before, but now the lines of her fade, and she's more a yellowy brown than anything else. Buffy wishes for hibiscus, something bright to smear across the papery, still lips.
But there's barely a pulse against the hospital monitor. And all the blossoms between them have been shriveled for awhile now.
Buffy wants to look, considers it even, pulling the blanket down and the gown up, peeling back the bandage. She wants to see what she's done. How deep. She wonders even now how much she meant it or how much she didn't, and she aches for the evidence.
As if the answers about them can be reduced to the measurements of a wound.
If she could cut herself in half, it wouldn't matter how far down she'd have to go.