Faith Finds Out
"Okay, ladies," I state loudly, commanding everyone's attention, "take a five minute break, and then we'll return to the next portion of our regularly scheduled programming. Satsu? You're first."
The usual flurry of furtive looks and murmured condolences pass through the crowd as I wait calmly for her acknowledgment.
"Yes, ma'am," she sighs wearily.
I nod briefly at her, and then glance up at Willow and Xander on the castle wall walk. I can't see their faces clearly, but I know they're both watching me and wondering the same thing.
The exact same thing everyone else has been wondering these past few days:
Why I'm being such a complete asshole lately, and taking it all out on Satsu. Wondering why I'm being so relentless and mean, and keep pushing to extremes...and then deciding -with all certainty- that it must be because we slept together.
And they wouldn't be wrong.
Because I am being relentless. I am pushing her.
Pushing her to train harder, fight harder, and well, just be harder. She's a tough little girl, but I'm worried her feelings for me will make her go soft.
And I can't have that.
Like I told her, people who love me tend to die. And if my enemies get word that she's special to me, then the event of that happening will increase exponentially.
But she doesn't get that. All she sees is me pushing her to be someone she isn't.
So I can't go easy on her training. I can't let her slide with a mediocre move, a common counterattack, or an "acceptable" anything. It has to be better, and quicker, and harder. It has to become effortless on her part, and foremost to her nature.
But it hasn't. And that's the problem. Because she still seems to be operating under some false assumption that she'll always have a safety net beneath her.
Don't get me wrong, Satsu's done extremely well with the powers that have been 'thrust' upon her, and she's actually become our best fighter. She's smart, she's fast, and she's lethal.
But her sense of survival just isn't there.
I'm not saying she has a death wish or anything like that; I'm simply saying it never played a key factor in her life before she was activated, and it still doesn't appear to play much of one now.
Not that it played much in mine before I was Called either, but afterwards it most certainly did. I didn't have the luxury of knowing there were nearly two thousand just like me world wide, or have the added security blanket of a hundred trained Slayers fighting by my side.
Because it was just me.
The one girl in all the world...well, me and...
I'm not saying Satsu is reckless either. She's not. She doesn't lose herself in her quarry and she doesn’t take any unnecessary risks. But sometimes...sometimes...oh, I don't know, let's just say even someone with "reckless" behavior will sometimes possess an air of confidence and winning, of self-preservation, an amazingly wicked knack for survival against all odds...
I need to stay focused.
Stay focused on Satsu, and saving her life.
A shift occurs in the air, and a sudden hush falls over the crowd as Satsu grimly makes her way through it. A path has been cleared down the middle for her, and a few girls pat her in passing, whispering words of encouragement.
I wait for her to get into position -
And I attack.
"Get up," I pant.
"Get up," I pant again.
The same stare.
"I said get UP!"
But she doesn't. She just continues to lie there, broken and confused, looking at me with the same wounded expression in her eyes...in her brown eyes...
In her hauntingly familiar, wounded, betrayed, achingly beautiful brown eyes...
I blink and break the stare.
"Listen to me, Satsu," I intone menacingly, "if you want to impress me, if you want me off your back, then you'd better do a hell of a lot more than just lie there!"
And I freeze, realizing my mistake the moment the last word comes flying out of my mouth.
Maybe she won't.
Maybe she won't bring up what happened, or allude to anything at all about the other-
"Didn't hear you complaining the other night."
-but she does.
Calmly, quietly, barely above a whisper, but loud enough to surely know my aural abilities could scarcely miss it.
...along with all the other girls in the area with enhanced Slayer hearing.
A cough, a muted chuckle, and then some seriously unacceptable sniggering can be heard rippling throughout the courtyard.
I have to stop avoiding this. I have to start somewhere...so I'll just explain my recent bad behavior to her, and my obvious reasons behind it:
Because I'm worried.
Because the next time she falls on her pretty little face, she might just very well break it...
...and if I'm lucky, she'll buy it.
So I can leave my other increasingly obvious reasons alone.
"Ladies, you're dismissed. You all did very well today, and I'm proud of you. Now hit the showers and see to your duties. We'll convene in the mess hall at eighteen hundred hours for dinner and discourse."
I wait for the trudging feet and laughing voices to fade away before redirecting my attention to Satsu, bracing myself for the inevitable backlash that's bound to come.
But instead, she raises a gracefully shaped eyebrow at me, and gives me a tiny smirk.
"What?" I question, taken aback.
"Convene?", she mimics comically, "Dinner and discourse?"
And I relax, immediately allowing my stance to soften. She's such a sweetheart. Here I've been treating her like shit after we had sex together, and she just wants to make me smile.
I offer her my hand, and she accepts it, allowing me to pull her upright and directly into my personal space-
-and I still can't feel it.
The Slayer Connection I was hoping to spark when we had sex together.
"You miss him, don't you," she asks quietly, wiping a hair from my face, "Giles. You miss him. I can always tell when you start talking like him."
"Hmm," I murmur vaguely, masking my disappointment. Her fingers brush my face tentatively, and then with more confidence as she cups my cheek to caress it. I close my eyes and lean into her touch, hoping to convey at least one of my reasons without having to voice it.
That I care.
Because even though I can't feel a Connection with her, I do feel something.
"Buffy? I'm really sorry for bringing up the other night. I know you didn't want me to say anything about it, but everyone pretty much already knows, you know, with the whole world dropping in on us, and you-"
"Don't," I interrupt, "you have nothing to be sorry for, I should never have done it."
My eyes snap open as she abruptly pulls her hand away, obviously mistaking my meaning in the worst way possible. I quickly grab her retrieving hand to kiss it.
"No, Satsu. Not like that. I'm not sorry that it happened, I...I like that it happened. I meant I shouldn't have treated you like I did without giving you an explanation for-"
"Oh wait," she interrupts angrily, "you mean the nightly bed-checks and the daily ass-beating? You know, the first couple of nights you came around, I was hoping you were visiting me for sexier reasons. But when that didn't happen, I was kinda hoping that some part of you was jealous...you know, that maybe you didn't want me, but you didn't want anyone else to have me either...and I know that sounds kinda creepy, but I actually found it comforting. And now? Buffy, what am I supposed to think? Ever since we slept together, it's always 'is that all you got, Satsu?' or 'for fuck's sake, hit me harder, Satsu' or ' how many times do I have to repeat myself? Never forget the First Rule, Satsu!' when you used to tell me I was your best fighter and I could lead the crew one day...Buffy, it makes me think you regret it. Regret what happened. Regret having anything to do with me at all...so yeah, a little explanation would have been really helpful."
"I don't regret it," I say softly, squeezing her hand.
"Coulda fooled me," she scoffs quietly, shifting her gaze. But her expression is beginning to soften some, so I squeeze her hand one more time to make her look at me, and then I repeat myself again, looking her directly in the eyes.
"I don't regret it."
A silence falls between us as we stand there. I can tell she's trying to process this information, and not knowing what to do with it. I'm about to say something, to clarify, when she clears her throat and speaks to me. Tremulously at first, but then more strongly and clear.
"You know how I feel about you, Buffy. And...and I never would have said anything to you about it either, but you know...things happened, you found out, and then we wound up in bed together. And trust me, I never expected that to happen...but I'm not one of those people either, you know, the kind who wished something had never happened because it could never happen again, so if it hadn't happened at all, it probably wouldn't hurt so fucking much. I mean, I'm not a total head case, but..." she trails off, unsure if she should continue.
"But?" I prompt, squeezing her hand again.
"But it would kill me if you regretted it. Because...well, because I love you, Buffy."
Emotions cross her delicate features as she desperately searches mine, and for a brief moment I'm reminded of someone else again; someone like her but not her, someone equally as expressive, and dark, and stunning, and passionate...
If not equally as forthcoming.
And without any thought for the consequences, I find myself blurting out:
"I didn't say it could never happen again."
And realize –ironically, and a little too late- that I'll probably wind up regretting it.
"Okay, let me get this straight. First, Xander tells you about a vamp nest, says you should probably bring a 'date', and mentions that you're spending too much time alone. Second, you take Satsu as your 'date' for said vamp nest, and decide that that was the best time to address her feelings for you..."
"Well, yeah, Wills, but-"
"...and then you tell her that you think it's kinda awesome; cus she's hot, she's cool, she has great taste, and she's a hell of a Slayer-"
"And she smells good," I remind her.
"-and she smells good. You tell her it makes you feel a little bit less lonely, and then you tell her it's good for you but bad for her-"
"Okay wait, lemme explain that part-"
"-because people who love you tend to die. I know. So then you proceed to get the snot kicked out of both of you, she gets put into the infirmary, and you have a little...oh, I don't know, a little flashback time to when you were in a hospital with someone before, except this time the girl wasn't in a coma that you put her in, and you didn't kiss her on the forehead!"
"Why are you yelling at me? You wanted to know how it happened, didn't you?"
"Oh, Buffy. Let me finish. Then you'll know what real yelling is."
"And then Xander throws out some half-baked theory that you don't get to feel a connection like everyone else does, because you're the leader, the girl that brings it all together, so then you promptly sleep with a girl WHO IS IN LOVE WITH YOU to try and FORCE one??"
"There was no forcing. I was gentle. Maybe even a little too gentle, but considering it was my first time and all, I really didn't think I should just go jabbing my fingers in places I've never been befor-"
"Stop avoiding. You were trying to force a connection, and you know it. And now you're thinking about doing it again? She's in love with you, Buffy, not to mention being one of your subordinates. I mean, talk about taking advantage of a delicate situation and being utterly irresponsible about it."
And I finally lose it.
"Can you blame me, Willow," I cry, "for trying to get back what's mine? I used to feel that Connection with every fiber of my being, every ounce of my essence, every morning, noon, and night, and even in my dreams I could feel it...but now...well, now there's nearly two thousand Slayers, with over a hundred of us living under the same fucking roof, and I just can't feel a thing!"
A very pregnant pause follows my emotional outburst, punctuating all the things I had just said to her...but more specifically, all the things I didn't say as well. I groan inwardly at my gaffe.
"I see," Willow states softly, "when did you feel it?"
"She's a grown woman, Willow," I continue defensively, "I'm a grown woman. If we decide to...to explore our feelings for each other, then whose business is it other than our own?"
"You're right. You're both grown women, and it isn't our business. I apologize. But I'm curious...what if that Connection you're so desperately trying to seek still doesn't happen? What then? Will you continue to take it out in training and beat the living bejesus out of her?"
"See, that's not what's happening. I'm just bringing her back to basics. Without the added security of a safety net and all that high-tech commando gear we now use. You know, just a girl, her stake, and her wits. I can't have her walking around with a 'I'm special to Buffy' target on her forehead without her mastering the basics, now can I? Because that, Willow, would be irresponsible."
"Yes, it would be. Does she know this?"
"I don't know. I haven't exactly explained it to her yet. For all I know, she probably thinks I'm just pushing her to be someone she isn't."
"Something she isn't," Willow corrects quietly.
"That's what I said."
"No, you said someone she isn't."
"It's the same difference, isn't it?"
"Depends on where you're coming from."
"I just told you where I was coming from. Why are you making this more than it really is?"
"Why are you making it less than it really is?"
"You know what?” I return irritably, "You apparently have all the answers, so you tell me."
"I already did. That's what caused the whole 'I used to feel it. Every morning, noon, and night, and even in my dreams, I could feel it' outburst, remember?"
"That's because you accused me of trying to force a Connection, when all I was trying to do was tell you how it happened. You did ask me how it happened, remember?"
"And yet I still had to break it all down and piece the relevant parts back together for myself...you told me ' how ', but now I know ' why '. And Buffy, admit it...you do, too."
"Sunnydale, okay?" I suddenly blurt.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"You asked me when I felt it. The Connection."
"Okay, that's a good start. So now I know ' how ', ' why ', and ' when '. Was it the first time?"
"Yes," I admit grudgingly.
"Was it the last time?"
"So it wasn't Sunnydale itself? It wasn't a Hellmouth thing?"
"So when was it? The last time you-"
"Think one Norwegian truck driver and two marmosets later."
"-and now I know ' who '. Can't say I'm surprised, of course, since the first three answers pointed to the same person. So. You felt that Connection when she was trying to drown you?"
"Yes. And...no, but yes. I felt it before I even saw her. But so much was happening that I didn't pay attention to what I was feeling until it was gone...well, until she was gone. It was so strong, Willow. So strong it made me throw up. When I first got there, and then later when it suddenly got ripped away from me...it wasn't just the after-effects from the teleportation spell like I first thought it was, it was the combination of the spell and me acclimating to a Connection I hadn't felt for so long."
"Wow. That kinda reminds me of the Dark Magicks...and, um, heroin. The highs are amazing, the lows, not so much."
"Yeah," I scoff bitterly, "and sometimes just as deadly. Eventually all that energy between us tends to build up and we wind up wanting a piece of each other."
"Well, I hope you don't mind me pointing out the obvious to you, again, but that seems to be the crux of your problem. Maybe if you had a piece of each other in the good way, you wouldn't be so inclined to express it in the bad way...or, you know...wind up sleeping with an unsuspecting subordinate as a substitute."
"Ha. Say that three times quickly...wait, you seriously think that's what I was doing?"
"Don't you? Didn't it happen after you felt that Connection with Faith again? Wasn't that what really drove home your loneliness for you, and your desperate need to quell it?"
"So, what? Now that I'm all 'bi-curious Buffy', I'm just supposed to find Faith and suggest we jump into the sack together? Be all 'hey, sorry I tried to kill you that last time we saw each other, ya know, bygones and all, but Willow thinks if we just got buck naked with each other it would make everything better'?"
"Well, not everything better, but sure. It's a start."
"Okay, you're nuts if you think that's gonna happen."
Although I must admit, I have been thinking about it myself lately...but then again, what the hell do I know?
I'm the genius who assumed Faith was up to no good and wound up trying to kill her again. After I accused her of lying, being untrustworthy, and starting an Evil Slayer Club with her little "Lady" girlfriend...
Willow suddenly quirks a brow at me, and I suspiciously narrow my eyes at her.
The little mind-reader.
She sighs, raising her hands in surrender.
"Buffy, I'm just saying look at me and my magicks. After I learned to control it, it became my bitch and not the other way around. So what's to say that can't happen for you two, if you both try really hard at it?"
"How? By making Faith my bitch? Gee, I dunno, Willow, somehow I just don't see her agreeing to it."
"Maybe the other way around, though. I'm sure she had plenty of practice in prison," she says slyly.
"Okay, see? I don't even want to think about that."
"About what? Being her bitch or the bitches she had in prison."
"The b...both, okay?"
"Why does it bother you?"
"Oh gosh, I don't know. Would you enjoy being her bitch?” I ask sarcastically.
Both my eyebrows pop up at the unexpected look that crosses her face. One that definitely has no place being there or one that I'm particularly comfortable with!
"Willow!" I rebuke sharply.
"What? She's hot, she's cool, she has great taste, she's a hell of a Slayer, and- "
"Well, stop pretending to be so obtuse. Why does the possibility of her having had women in prison bother you? Or you know...the idea of any other 'little girlfriend' she may or may not have had in general?"
See? I knew it. The little mind-reader.
I send her a particularly nasty thought, and she calmly responds by returning it back to me... except hers is loaded with lurid details, graphic images, and she's even thrown in an extra thing or two!
Apparently I've severely underestimated her powers...and her prowess. I guess that'll teach me to tell her to go fuck herself...
But throwing in Faith was extremely uncalled for.
Considering myself properly chastised, I clear my throat.
"Well, that's assuming she's even gay...or you know, bi, or whatever. I don't care to jump to those assumptions, so there's no point in answering your questions. Dealing with what's happening in my life right now is confusing enough; so tell me, bestest bud, why I'd even want to consider entertaining a boat load of 'what ifs'?"
She sighs resignedly, shaking her head.
"Pulling out the bestest bud card, Buffy? Is that your subtle way of telling me to back off? I swear, getting you to open up is like pulling teeth from a mule...and Buffy? You're definitely just as stubborn. So avoid it all you want, but at least admit that's what you're doing. If not to me, than at least to yourself...before Satsu comes over here again, and you wind up poking around in places that you now have been before.”
I let out an involuntary snort. Willow Wisenheimer Rosenberg. Seriously.
"I'm not avoiding anything,” I reply smoothly, recovering, "I just got done admitting that Satsu is a beautiful girl whom I enjoy spending time with, didn't I? I mean, I'm young, I'm open-minded, and I'm making up for all the experimenting I didn't do in college. Why does it have to be anything more than that?"
"It doesn't, if there wasn't anything more than that, but we both know that there is."
"She likes me, Willow," I whine, "And she has no problem telling me, either. She's not defensive, she doesn't give me weird mixed signals, and she is a great Slayer. She just needs to work on her survival skills, and not keep looking at me like I'm trying to make her into someone she isn't."
"Something. Something, she isn't." Willow corrects quietly.
"Whatever!" I yell irate.
I'm about to really go off on her, to tell her exactly how she can take that something, and where she can put it, when an awkward sounding thump appears to bounce right off my door-
-followed closely by a very audible, very miserable groan.
My eyes widen in shock.
I fling open the door to find a familiar figure standing there, alone and hunched over, wiping her mouth with the back of one hand. She looks up at us sideways.
"Hey B...Red. So, uh...which one of you is gonna pay me for that pepperoni pizza?"
"Willow, what did you do?" I cry confused, whirling around to look at her.
But she seems decidedly perplexed, obviously denying any wrong doing.
"Ask her, it wasn't my idea."
I whirl back around to look at Faith.
"It was your idea?"
"Jesus, B. Stop whirling around or you're gonna make me hurl again."
She's gonna hurl again? That's all she has to say?
I grab her shirt and pull her into my bedroom, quickly scanning the corridor both ways before slamming the door shut behind her.
"What are you doing here, Faith?" I hiss, trying to ignore the energy coursing up and down my arm. I felt it when she first arrived, but touching always amplifies it. I immediately release my hold on her shirt, but she grabs my hand to her chest to keep me from moving.
"Hold on, B. Haven't felt that buzz for a bit...feels real good, doesn't it?"
She's smiling, but the look in her eyes is too intense for the casual way she said it. Everything is too intense. From her body language, to the red-rimmed eyes, to the tiny worry lines around her mouth from days of heavy frowning.
So she knows. She knows about me and Satsu, and it's been eating at her.
"Hey Red. Thanks for the lift, but I think me and B have some catchin' up to do." She obviously says this to Willow, but her eyes never leave mine and her grip doesn't slacken.
"Sorry about the turbulence, Faith, but I had no idea you'd choose this moment to come here. If I had known, I would have totally warned you about it. And you know...advised you to bring along a barf bag."
"My bad, Red. I didn't realize just thinkin' about stuff could make it happen. But you can explain all the mojo magicks to me later, yeah?"
"Okay. I'm not really sure why it happened either, but I may have an idea. I just have to run it by...um, someone, first. Are you alright, Buffy? I'm really sorry, it wasn't supposed to happen like this."
"Yes." I know I should be mad at her, but I just don't feel it.
All I can feel is Faith and the delicious tingle spreading throughout my entire body.
Part of me wants to cry from sheer joy, and the other part just wants to smash her face in.
But isn't that always the way?
Isn't that our way?
Willow shuts the door quietly behind her, and now I'm alone with Faith.
Well, alone with Faith and my guilt.
I decide to address the obvious before she does.
"Faith, I'm sorry for trying to kill you that last time, and you know, for always assuming the worst, but Giles didn't tell-"
"I don't care."
And I wince, feeling the familiar flare up of an old injury. I may be older now, and I certainly know better now, but those words will always strike a nerve.
My guilt increases threefold.
"You do care," I murmur quietly.
"You're right, B, I do care. But that can wait."
She looks at me with those red-rimmed eyes, and gives me a wry smile. Her face looks drawn and weary, like she hasn't slept much or eaten much in days...and there's some residual bruising on her cheek that I hadn't quite noticed before...and the fading discoloration of two black eyes, and a split lip that's started to mend...
Knowing Faith, she probably found out about me and Satsu, picked a few fights, and then just drank and smoked herself silly.
But I refuse to feel guilty for that.
I don't feel sorry for her, and I certainly don't feel flattered, because now I'm just pissed.
"So, B. Anything new or exciting you wanna tell me about?"
"Oh? Why not?"
"Why should I?"
If she thinks she can just drop right in and jump into the intimate details about my sex life, she's crazy. It's none of her damn business...and if she thinks it is her business, then she better open that perfect mouth for once and tell me exactly why she thinks it is.
Because I'm tired of guessing. Tired of assuming, and waiting, and wondering, and getting a great big nothing at the end.
Just like that last time in Sunnydale when she was recuperating in my bed.
She was finally opening up to me, bonding with me, sharing with me, telling me things she never had before. But even while she was doing it, she'd keep throwing in these ambiguous little comments to get my reaction; which then conveniently allowed her to maintain her emotional distance too.
It was totally weird. It was like she was fishing for answers, but when I'd bite, she'd quickly reel the lure away.
From the ownership of The Scythe, to having sex with Principle Wood, to our not supposing to exist together, to us being hot chicks with super powers...everything was interjected during a serious conversation.
A conversation that confirmed our Connection, but freaked her out somehow by us both actually admitting to it.
When I finally realized it was a just giant fishing expedition for her, I let it go. She'd keep reeling me in and then throwing me back, and it eventually tore a hole in my heart.
It was frustrating to say the least. I left her in my bed feeling emptier than when I had first walked in.
So, no. She's not getting a single thing from me, not until she tells me first.
"Well, B, because I'd tell you."
Great. Not exactly what I had in mind...but since she brought it up!
"Really, Faith? So when were you planning on telling me about Lady Genevieve? Before or after she got done 'felling' me?"
"She did what, now? I didn't see her feeling you up, she was just trying to kill you."
"Felling not feeling, and I know she was just trying to kill me, you jackass!"
"You don't have to get so hostile about it, B. Besides, nothing happened between us...well, not much anyway, so there's really nothing to tell."
I knew it!
"I'm sorry, did my accidentally showing up put a monkey wrench in your plans?"
"No, B. More like my accidentally killing her did."
"So then you were planning on sleeping with her, weren't you?"
"I didn't say that."
"You didn't have to."
"Look, B. I was just getting close to her to find out what she was up to, okay? It was just part of the job Giles put me on."
"And it's not your fault that you enjoy your work, or that you're so damn thorough at it either, I suppose."
"Well, Giles did trust me to do it correctly."
"Yeah, Giles,” I scoff scornfully, "that was a brilliant plan."
"Hey, give the guy a break. Someone had to do it. I mean, God forbid his Golden Girl got her hands dirty. He was just looking out for you, B."
"You're kidding, right? Do you even know why I'm not talking to him?"
"Well yeah, because you weren't in control. Because he used me, and didn't run it by you first."
"That's right, Faith. Because he used you, and didn't run it by me first. And you know why he didn't? Because I never would have allowed it to happen, and he knows it. You're a convicted murderer, Faith, doing her very best to find redemption, and he uses you anyway? Knowing what that could do to your soul and your emotional state of mind? But hey, why the hell not, right? Your soul is already tarnished. Your head is already fucked up. So really, who the hell cares, as long as he's the one sanctioning the killing. Faith, he may have been looking out for me, but he sure as hell wasn't looking out for you!"
His assumption that he could lure the murderer out of retirement -by offering retirement- is simply unforgivable. How could he do that to her? How could he put her in that position?
And worst of all, how could he think that way about her!
I forgave the Cruciamentum, I forgave the attempt on Spike's life, but I cannot, will not, forgive him for this!
She looks at me silently for a moment, taking in the full extent of my anger. I just don't understand it. I'm 'bout ready to burst a blood vessel, and she's as composed as a corpse!
"He may have used me, B," she finally says softly, "but there was no other way around it."
"And why is that, Faith?"
"Because he knows I would kill for you, B."
He knows she would...
So I was the ace up his sleeve.
Plan A was retirement, but Plan "B" was me!
"Well then he used both of us. I fail to find any comfort in that, and I'm really not speaking to him now!"
"You don't see me doing the cabbage patch over it either, but it is what it is, B."
"I can't believe you're defending him. He used you, Faith. He used both of us. He used your feelings for me to-"
"You're still alive, aren't you?"
"Then that's all that matters.”
"But he made me think the worst of you, he made me-"
"Hold up, B. He didn't do that, you did. So let's not get carried away with pointing fingers."
"I'm sorry, Faith. I really am...but if you recall, I was attempting to apologize when you first dropped in, but then-"
"I know, Buffy, and I told you it could wait. But you still had to go there anyway, didn't you? But now it's done, okay?"
"Okay...but...well, do you understand why I'm upset with him?"
"I do, B. And, you know...thank you."
"You too," I return awkwardly.
I mean, seriously. What do you say to that...
...and why is it that she can tell me that she would kill for me, but she can't tell me the reason why...and then she cuts me off when I mention Giles exploiting her feelings for me?
Jesus, no wonder she didn't want me to talk about it, she didn't want me to know!
Is she ever going to address her feelings for me, or would she rather just die before letting that happen?
Lady Genevieve could have killed her!
"So, B," she continues casually, "is there anything new or exciting you wanna tell me about?"
I stare at her incredulously.
"I'm pretty sure I already answered that question."
"Yeah, but your answer was kind of weak, B."
"So then ask a different question, Faith."
She ponders this for a moment, absent-mindedly squeezing my hand that's still being held captive to her chest. I can feel the rhythm of her heartbeat, and her squeezing hand matches it perfectly.
And then it doesn't.
Suddenly my own heart begins to race in anticipation of her next question. Because maybe this is it. Maybe she'll stop beating around the bush, and come right out with it this time. Maybe she was just trying to gauge my feelings before revealing hers, and now that-
"Did you like it?"
-but she's gonna have to try harder than that.
"Did I like what?" I ask exasperated.
"You know. It."
" 'It', Faith? 'It' was fine, 'It' was great, 'It' was amazing even."
"You don't have to be a bitch about it."
I'm about to give a stinging retort when her stomach lets out a low, angry rumble. I arch my brow and give a slight smirk.
"What's the matter, Faith? Haven't you been eating lately? I bet that pizza was the last thing you had in a long, long time, wasn't it?"
"Haven't had much of an appetite, B."
"Hmm, that's interesting. And here I thought you were always hungry and horny."
"Not lately. You?"
"I bet you have."
I ignore her obvious innuendo.
"Well, you look like crap. A stiff wind could probably knock you over; forget about demons and vamps."
"Yeah? Bet I could still take you, though."
"Still? You never could before," I scoff lightly.
"Well, that's because I never really tried, B."
But she says this so quietly and so deliberately, that I finally catch on to her double meaning.
So I give one right back.
"Well, then I guess you really should have."
She eyeballs me for a moment, obviously trying to figure out which meaning I was responding to, but my facial expression gives nothing away.
"Really," she says finally, in a monotone.
"Mm-hmm. Really," I reply, just as blandly.
Vague, party of two? Your table is waiting for you.
Cus it's gonna take a hell of a lot more than a few casual innuendos to get me to bite. Because I know why she's here, and I know what she wants to talk about. But what's the point? She's not gonna really do anything about it, she's just gonna make her wise-ass little comments and then leave again.
Like she always does.
And she'll probably try to fuck Satsu before she goes, because she's still too scared to try and fuck me.
I'm not kidding. The Single White Female-ness of it all is way past getting old.
Her stomach begins to growl again, except this time it’s lot longer and a lot louder. She's trying her best to ignore it, but the amused look on my face won't cut her any slack.
"So I might be a little hungry, what of it?"
"Nothing…just, you know, wondering why you haven't eaten."
"I just haven't."
"Are you fasting or something, Faith?"
"Are you fishing or something, Buffy?"
"Fishing? Hardly, that's your favorite pastime, not mine."
"Not the way I hear it."
"Well, you know what they say; you can't always believe everything you hear."
"So you're telling me it's not true?"
"I'm not telling you anything, actually."
"Yeah, no shit."
"Here's an idea. Why don't you tell me why you're here? And maybe you can suck it up for once and be a fucking man."
"Nah. I think my chances are better by bein' a girl."
"Chances? And what chances would that be? Because in order to get a chance, you need to take a chance, and we both know how that's not gonna happen."
Her heart begins to beat hard and fast against my palm again, but she doesn't say a word.
"Go big or go home, Faith."
And still she says nothing.
I look at her intently for a moment, eye to eye, before freeing my hand in bitter disappointment.
"Just go home, Faith."