Ever have one of those perfect relationships? Ya know, the kind that is so easy it makes you wonder if it's really real? I had one once. And no, it wasn't with a vampire. It was a real live person that loved me, not a cardboard cutout. Sorry, Riley. Anyways, this relationship was different than anything I'd ever had. It had me doing really silly things all the time. I suddenly found myself buying things in twos, smiling for no reason and humming without warning.
My friends were thrilled after the initial shock of things. We had just settled in Cleveland when the whole relationship started. Neither of us were expecting it to even start. I think it honestly caught us both by surprise and it caught the rest of them by even more of a surprise.
Anyways, like I said, it made me do all these silly things. I made sure I only had the best sheets on the bed, I made sure I always had her favorite beer in the fridge and when I signed us up for a cell phone plan together I even made sure to buy her one of those phones with the built in keyboard so she could text Kennedy whenever she wanted to without too much trouble. She loved it.
After the fall of Sunnydale the two of us stayed with the gang until the Council was up and running and then we left. Nobody said a word. They all understood that being the Chosen Two was enough for the seven or so years we kept Sunnydale safe. We left everything in the very capable hands of Giles, Willow and Kennedy and took some time for ourselves.
First we traveled around the world. We took Dawn with us to France, but she quickly grew tired of Faith slamming me against the wall of our adjoining rooms while she fucked the hell out of me so she took a flight home after a few weeks.
We went back to Cleveland eventually. Once we drank our way through Italy we moved on to Spain. Our days were spent on the beach, Faith looked amazing in the white two-piece I bought for her in the resort gift shop. Her skin turned six shades darker and she looked hot as hell with a tan. She had guys following her around everywhere she went, but she would just catch my eye and wink and smile and I knew I had nothing to worry about with any of them. It made me feel really special to know that she was mine and I was hers.
So our nights were spent in the club dancing and drinking or we just stayed in bed and ordered room service. We spent so many nights with me licking ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream off her belly and other various parts of her body. I know the maid service must have either hated us or wondered what the hell was going on all those nights…or both.
All I really wanted was to show her the world. I just wanted to show her that there were things and people and places out there that didn't have to be dark reminders of who she used to be and where she came from. We had a nearly limitless credit card courtesy of the Council and I put it to good use on anything and everything for her. We went swimming with the dolphins and parasailing, we stayed in private villas and we ate only the best. I still remember sitting on the terrace of one of our suites feeding her chocolate dipped strawberries and loving the way they made her eyes roll back in her head and her dimples flash. We shared candlelit dinners that were intimate and romantic and once Faith got over the initial stubbornness of me being romantic and sweet and gentle with her, I think she really began to like it.
Anyways, we came back eventually and Giles had us moved into the Council building. We each got our own apartment, thinking it probably would be best to have our own space since we'd only been together for a few months. We didn't spend a night apart for six months and then one night she decided to stay at her place and that I should stay at mine.
Ever have one of those stomachaches when something is definitely wrong with your relationship and you seem to be the only one that doesn't know what that is? She called me to tell me to stay home one night, she said she needed to think and she needed to think alone. I don't think I got out of bed for two days after that. I figured that was the end and it hurt so bad I could barely breathe. Dawn and Willow both really tried to be there to comfort me, but their time was limited with baby Slayers running all over the place so I spent most of those days alone in bed.
Xander came to my apartment one of those mornings and made me coffee and sat on the end of the bed waiting for me to say something…anything. He decided after a while that if I wasn't going to talk, he would and he told me about Faith. He told me that she'd done nothing but drink her way through the days we'd been apart and he and Kennedy peeled her up off the floor, drunk as hell, for three nights straight. He wanted me to talk to her. I just wanted to cry.
When he left I got up and showered and went off to find her. I really didn't have to look far, her apartment was across the hall from mine and her door was unlocked. When I entered, I was almost positive her place had been robbed, but it was apparently just a bitch fit. She was sitting in the corner of the room nursing a beer looking like shit.
"Faith, what are you doing?" I asked her softly, hoping she'd let me get close enough to really get a good look at her.
She just shook her head and took a long drag of a cigarette. "What are you doing with me, B?"
I approached her slowly and stopped short when she help up a hand to stop me. "Faith, what's wrong? Tell me what's going on and I can help."
She shook her head again and I noticed tears in her eyes. "Just go away. Just leave me alone."
My stomach sank and my head swam as I desperately tried to think back to something, anything I'd done over the last seventy-two hours that could have made her this upset with me. "Faith, baby, please tell me what's going on. What did I do to make you this upset?"
Suddenly she met my eyes and I was shocked to see how empty and cold they were. "I'm not your baby." She clenched her jaw and I watched her swallow back tears. "I don't want to do this anymore with you. I don't want to be with you. Leave me alone."
I think those words literally knocked me back a step and I felt tears well up and my throat close up. "Faith, you don't mean that. I love you."
She suddenly stood up in an angry flash and nearly knocked me over when she stumbled drunkenly. "Don't say that! You don't love me and you know damn well I don't love you. You were just a good fuck. Slayer stamina is more powerful than you realize. Leave me the hell alone."
Hurt, and frazzled, I left. I didn't say another word, but one last look into her eyes before I closed the door behind me had me positive she was hurting just as bad as I was and I couldn't figure out what made her say the things she did that night. Little did I know, I wouldn't get the chance to find out for two years.
Two years ago she left. She left the Council, she left all her friends and she left Buffy. I know better than anyone that my sister has never had the best taste in men. Angel was so totally all wrong for her, the whole destined mortal enemies thing was sort of a relationship killer from the start. Riley was so boring he made watching paint dry seem like a super fun afternoon activity. Spike, I love him, but again with the mortal enemy thing and, of course, the almost raping her thing. I really thought Faith would be different. I don't know why, now that I think about it. Faith tried to kill every last one of us at one point or another. But Buffy was so happy with her. They made me want to puke with how sappy and lovey dovey they were in Europe.
I didn't see her for two weeks after Faith left. She hid in her room and I'm not entirely sure she moved from her bed or even ate. I'm sure Willow did some magic to keep her from starving or something. It was really hard for all of us to just sit and wait for Buffy to feel better. When she emerged from her room, she started drinking a lot and she wouldn't really let anyone get close to her. And I don't just mean in a ‘get close to her heart' kind of thing…she literally wouldn't let anyone touch her.
She was absolutely devastated when Faith left. Buffy is the kind of person that's so loyal she really takes offense when the people she loves and the people she's most loyal to aren't loyal back to her. Buffy loves with everything she has inside her. When Faith screwed her over the first time, she decided that hating Faith was far less painful than missing her, so she just got angry. This time wasn't quite the same. I could almost feel her heart breaking every time Faith's name came up in conversation or any time we found something of hers lying around. Tears would well up in her eyes and her chin would quiver and she would get herself as far away from whatever it was that reminded her of Faith as quickly as she could. I mentioned her name once and Buffy didn't look at me for a week. It was bad.
There's nothing worse than when your gut feelings and instincts come true. I knew she was going to leave me and I couldn't do anything to stop her. It took me months to get over her. I didn't go out, I didn't teach any classes, I didn't do much but drink and smoke entirely too much.
We didn't hear a word from her for a year. At least I didn't. Willow and Giles exchanged funny looks now and then and it made me wonder sometimes what they knew and weren't sharing. I picked up a Council line once when Andrew wasn't around to get it and it was her. She stuttered through about forty-seven seconds of awkward nonsense before Giles picked up and I was saved from having to stumble through any more conversation with her. I remember getting really drunk that night and cursing her name the next day when I woke up feeling like I'd been run over by a dump truck.
I feel like the person who suffered the most because of Faith being totally selfish and leaving me was Dawn. I spent all that time in my own world, missing Faith and drinking to forget her that I totally ignored Dawn and everyone else. Willow had Kennedy and Xander had a new Slayer that he met and fell head over heels for. Giles had the Council to run and even Andrew met someone. Dawn was sort of left to her own devices for far too long and guilt ate at me for months because of the way I acted after she left. When I finally woke up from my heartbreak haze, I found that she had become a full-fledged watcher and had taken on some of the responsibility in actually helping Giles run the Council. Talk about weird. I spent the year after she left just trying to get over her. I knew that my relationship with her was without a doubt my one great love and it was gone.
I somehow managed to let Willow and Kennedy take me out to a club one night. I went along with it mostly because when Willow gets stubborn about something and puts on her "face", I pretty much do what she says…mostly out of fear. She went on and on about how it was time to move on and it had been over a year and I needed to get out. Anyways, I found myself getting entirely too drunk at a table by myself as I watched my best friend get nearly molested by her girlfriend on the dance floor of their favorite girly club and I was shocked when I was joined at the table by a stunning brunette.
I can't say that before Faith I had a type that I went for…well I guess the tall, dark, dangerous, killer type that looked really hot in leather was my type, but that's beside the point. Anyways, this girl was gorgeous. She was in great shape, she had dark, wavy hair and dark, pouty eyes. She was hot and I wanted to cry with how much she reminded me of Faith. Instead I took a shot. I think at that point I was so drunk I had no idea what I was doing so I let her lead me to the dance floor and felt a tingle travel up my spine when her breath tickled my neck as she pulled me close during one particularly dark and sexy song. I had to ignore the looks Willow and Kennedy shot me as I wrapped an arm around her waist and made a conscious decision to just go with it. Her name was Jennifer.
She wanted me to go home with her that night, but I somehow managed to graciously decline…but not before giving her my number. Like I said, she was hot but I was way too drunk. She called me two days later and we went out on a date. Like a real date. Before my date with her, the last date I'd had was with Wood the night that Xander almost got gutted over the seal. I have to say that the gang was pleased that I seemed to be getting on with my life and I have to admit, it felt good to go out and not have everything remind me of her and what we had.
It didn't take many more dates for me to completely freak out about dating this new girl. Her fingers grazing my arm or her breath tickling my neck was enough to have me humming. Her kiss left me wanting more and it was getting to the point in the relationship where we seriously started contemplating sleeping together. I was definitely ready, but scared to death I'd forgotten everything I'd learned sleeping with Faith. If you honestly don't have a clue how intimidating women are, try sleeping with one…then they get scary intimidating.
One horribly uncomfortable conversation with Willow later, I was feeling somewhat better about my dilemma and I felt like I might actually be ready. It only took two more dates for it to actually happen and I hate to say it but the whole experience left something to be desired. Jen was far more emotionally expressive than Faith was in bed. It took me months to convince Faith that she didn't have to slam me into a wall or a door or the side of a shower while we had sex. There was no lovemaking. It was fucking. Plain and simple. After the fight with the First we both had enough pent up energy to fuel a fleet of jets and that was really the only way to get it out. It took a few months but one night in Spain, she finally allowed me to lead her to bed and worship her body. I poured every emotion and feeling I had into that single night of lovemaking and when I was done with her, I had her whispering in that oh so sexy rasp of hers that she loved me too. But back to Jen. She was really great in bed, really she was…but she isn't a Slayer and didn't have the Slayer stamina and it wasn't quite the same. I actually had to worry about her. I had to be careful not to get too "Slayer" on her and hurt her. It's not like she was some frilly girly girl that was all fragile. She was tough enough, but she was still just a girl so I really had to watch myself at times that I didn't get too carried away.
Anyways, Jen and I were together for nine months before she came back. I was in the middle of a training class when Kennedy snuck in and told me I had to go to Willow's office immediately after class. I freaked out thinking Giles was having a heart attack or something and dismissed my class, taking off for Willow's office on the top floor. Kennedy trailed behind me wondering aloud what could possibly be such a big deal that they called me, Kennedy, Dawn and Xander from our classes. As soon as I opened the door to my best friend's office I knew why.
I stood in the doorway, completely stunned, as I took in the sight of her. She somehow managed to look even better than she had the last time I saw her. Her hair was a little longer and her body a little leaner, her eyes a little older and it took everything I had not to run straight into her arms. The feeling was fleeting however and it was quickly replaced by nausea. I excused myself and barreled towards the bathroom at the back of Will's office and once the entire contents of my stomach had been emptied, I felt my heart thundering in my chest and my mouth go dry.
"Oh my God, she looked good," I told myself. "Too good." I shook my head and stood up, moving to the sink to splash cold water on my face. "No, Buffy, don't even think about going there. You're with someone now that isn't emotionally retarded and it's stable and she won't leave you in the middle of the night for two fucking years."
A minute later I found myself plunked in a large, cushy chair in the corner of Willow's office listening to Faith fill everyone in on where she'd been. Apparently she had been working for Angel. She wanted to fight the good fight out from under the Council's thumb but under a watchful eye of a friend. At that moment I wanted to kill her and stake him for not telling me.
It didn't take long for me to leave in the middle of the meeting, knowing everyone's eyes were on my back as I left the office. I waited until Faith's Slayer hearing wouldn't pick up on my running down the hall and I took off towards my apartment, slamming the door behind me and leaning heavily on it. There was only one person at that point that I wanted to talk to so I grabbed my phone and dialed her number.
"Hello?" Jen answered after two rings.
All it took was her voice. "Hey, it's me."
"Hey. I was just thinking about you."
"Just waiting for you to get here. I miss you."
"I'll be there in twenty."
As I hung up the phone, I felt my stomach knots ease and I hopped in the shower. As I was brushing my hair I heard the front door open and a moment later I felt arms encircle my waist and lips press against my bare shoulder.
I turned and kissed her soundly on the lips. "Hey, what took you so long?"
She smirked and shook her head. "I'm early."
"It still took too long," I told her with another kiss.
She studied me for a moment and I had to escape from the weight of her stare and the oppressive heat in the steam of the bathroom.
"What's wrong, Buff?" she asked me a second later, following me into the kitchen, slipping up onto the counter as I made coffee.
I couldn't look at her in that moment…she'd see it all over my face. "What makes you think something's wrong?"
"I can hear it in your voice, I can see it in your eyes," she told me in what I call her sweet and concerned voice. The first time I heard it was after a brawl with four vamps that kicked my ass and she took care of me.
I turned towards her and had to stop for a moment and catch my breath when I saw how concerned about me she really was. She was so expressive…so much more so than Faith ever was. Jen never had issues showing or telling me exactly how she felt. It was one thing I loved about her. "You want the honest truth?"
Her jaw clenched and her brow furrowed but she nodded. "Of course."
"Well, my ex is back. Not back as in back with me, obviously, but she's back. Here. With the Council." I ducked my head and felt tears sting my eyes. In an instant, she was standing in front of me tilting my chin back up so my eyes would meet hers.
"Buffy, honey, look at me." She looked me dead in the eye. "This is the same ex that left in the middle of the night two years ago, right?" I nodded. "Do you still have feelings for her?"
I shook my head. "No."
She studied me carefully and shrugged, planting a gentle kiss on my lips. "Well, then there's nothing to worry about."
I couldn't believe that she just let things drop like that, but she did and she went about pouring us each a cup of coffee and handed me mine, just the way I liked it. "She's gonna be working for the Council again."
"Buff, like I said, if you don't have feelings for her, I have nothing to worry about. Right?" she asked me with a sweet smile.
I smiled back and nodded. "Right."
I just hoped that was the case…only time would really tell I guess.
Faith spent the next two days completely out of my sight. I didn't see her once. I had hoped that someone had tipped her off that I wanted nothing to do with her. At least that's what I wanted her to think. I wanted, more than I was willing to actually admit, her to tell me what the hell happened two years ago when she left me in the middle of the night.
She had me distracted during the day and I decided one of those nights to go out and slay to keep my mind off her. I felt horribly guilty that Faith had taken up so much of my thoughts when I had someone like Jennifer in my life. It turned out that Faith had me distracted that night too since I was left barely able to walk after I'd gotten my ass beat by some random demon with mega claws and I actually had to call Jen to pick me up from the cemetery. She pulled her car up outside the gates and I could see how scared she was as soon as she laid eyes on me that night.
"Oh my God, Buffy, are you okay?"
I nodded my head and winced as I tried desperately to stand up on my own. I was the Slayer in this relationship and I wasn't going to let her see me like this if I could help it. I realized how dumb that sounded when I was the one that called for her help. She managed to help me up and I somehow convinced her that I just wanted to go home, not to the Council infirmary. She made me promise to let her take care of me and I had to give in, otherwise I'd be on injured reserve for at least two days per Council policy on injuries.
We somehow managed to get back to my apartment without alerting anyone to my injuries. Let's just say that Andrew can be just as easily distracted by shiny things as I can. She laid out towels on the bed and once I was settled on top of them she moved to the bathroom for the first aid kit and came back with a very determined expression on her face.
"Where are you hurt the worst?" she asked placing a gentle hand on my arm.
I'd been through this enough to know that I needed to just fess up if I wanted this to end well. "My leg got sliced up pretty bad."
She nodded and kissed me lightly before moving to my belt buckle and undoing it. She helped me slide my jeans down my legs and that left me in my favorite supergirl underoos. I know I saw a ghost of a smile pass her lips when she caught sight of them, but it was replaced with concern when she saw the angry gash on my thigh.
"Damn, baby. Does it hurt?" she asked me, not looking up.
I still got that flip-flop feeling in my tummy when she called me baby. I hated to compare her to Faith, but the first time Faith called me baby, she had me pinned to the wall in a very hot shower in Switzerland after we'd been snowboarding and she still had little chunks of ice in her hair. Her raspy voice had my girly parts humming and I nearly came with the whisper of that one word.
"It's not that bad."
She looked up and a few errant strands of dark, wavy hair fell over her eyes. She looked more than beautiful to me in that moment and I wanted to cry. She saw it in my eyes and her brow furrowed and she moved up on the bed to capture my lips with hers. "What's that face for?"
I had to lie to her. I had to. "I just got scared when I got my ass handed to me tonight. There was a lot of blood."
She gave me a heartbreakingly sweet smile and her concerned look that just put my stomach in knots all over again. "I think it looks a lot worse than it is. Your healing should have it sealed up in no time and I'm sure after you take a shower you'll feel much better."
I know I pouted, I could see the look that she gets when I pout, but I had to…I was injured. "I'd rather take a bath."
She smiled just a little so only one corner of her mouth turned up and before she could say anything I grabbed the front of her tee shirt and yanked her close to pull her into a deep, searing kiss. Her eyes opened slowly when she pulled back and she gave me a sly smile. "What was that for?"
"Taking care of me," I replied with a smile.
She cupped my chin in one hand and looked at me carefully for a moment. "Want me to run you a bath?"
I nodded happily. "Only if there's room for two."
I kept my eyes trained on her as she got up. She was wearing dark hip hugger jeans and a black tee shirt with tiny sleeves that showed off her toned arms. She was no Slayer, but she was in amazing shape and I couldn't help but nearly drool over her. A few minutes later she re-emerged and pulled me up carefully to lead me to a hot bath and a glass of wine. It kinda broke my heart how she took care of me when all I could think of was how I didn't deserve it.
The next night there was a knock on my door and glancing at the clock I noticed it was well after midnight. When I opened the door I was surprised to see Faith standing looking weird. Well I wasn't surprised to see her, but I was surprised to see her looking weird. I suppose she looked weird because she looked uncomfortable...which was rare.
"Hey, B," she said quietly.
I stood and took in the sight of her up close. She looked really damn good. "Hey."
She seemed to look over my shoulder into my apartment, almost like she was checking to see if I was there alone. "I know you probably hate me, but I was hoping we could talk."
I wanted to tell her to go to hell, I wanted to tell her to fuck off, I wanted to tell her anything but yes, but all my body seemed to want to do was simply stand aside and let her enter. She looked around taking everything in. I moved to the fridge and grabbed two beers, handing her one and I moved to the terrace to smoke. We sat in silence for a good ten minutes before she got the guts to start talking.
"I guess I should explain," she started quietly.
I wanted nothing more than to be a bitch or a smartass or both, but I held my tongue and waited for her to continue.
"I fell in love with you, B."
I sat and waited for her to say something else…certainly she hadn't kept me waiting for two years to simply tell me that she fell in love with me. I knew that already. She would have to do better than that and I think the look I gave her said it all.
"It scared the hell out of me when I really realized that I loved you and you loved me," she told me, ducking her head and taking a long drink of her beer.
"That's why you left?" I asked angrily. "You really need to do better than that."
"You don't know how scary it is to be loved when you're not used to it. I didn't feel like I deserved to be loved." She looked up. "Especially by you."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" I asked her skeptically.
"Do you have any fucking clue how amazing you are?" she asked as she ran a frustrated hand through her hair. "Seriously, B, you've had just about everyone you know in love with you at some point, Xander, Willow, Angel, Spike, even Cordelia had a thing for you at one point. You're special and to be the one that gets loved back…it just got overwhelming."
I sat, completely dumbfounded. I knew about Xander's feelings and Angel's and Spike's, but not Willow and Cordelia's. That was news to me. I shook my head and got back on subject. "Why did it take you almost a year to get overwhelmed?"
She clenched her jaw and lit a cigarette. "At first it was just like a party," she reminded me with a wistful smile. "We got stuff settled here and took off to drink and screw and drink and party and play and that's all we had to do. When we got back and things got a bit more real and serious is when I really started to freak."
I really hated that I could actually rationalize Faith's behavior. "So what are you doing back?"
She dropped her head a moment before sneaking a sideways glance at me. "I want a second chance with you. Or third…whatever."
I narrowed my eyes and tilted my head. "How do I know you won't leave again?"
"Can you trust me?" she asked looking at me fully.
Yeah right. "No."
She gave me a nod and shrugged. "Well, then I'll have to do whatever I can to get you to trust me again."
I couldn't take much more of this. "It's been two years. How do you know I haven't met someone?"
She stopped for a second and looked down at her beer. "Have you?"
I smiled. I was going to enjoy this part. "Actually, I have."
She actually looked a little crushed at that. She nodded her head and took a drag of her cigarette. "Do you love him?"
I was going to enjoy this even more. "Her name is Jennifer."
Her head snapped up and her eyes narrowed, thinking I was messing with her. Then she realized that I wasn't. "Wait, hold up, you're dating another chick?"
I gave her an expectant look. "Why is that so hard to believe?"
Her mouth opened and shut before it opened again. "I thought…I dunno, I just…"
I really was enjoying this a bit too much. "What? You thought you were the only one and would always be the only one? At one point I thought that too, but you left me, Faith! I waited for you for two years. When you didn't come back I decided to move on with my life."
She sat silently, snubbing out her cigarette and standing up. She moved to stand in front of me and she looked me in the eye. "Do you love her?"
I couldn't hold her stare and I looked down. "I don't know yet." I had to move from that spot, I could feel the Slayer connection pounding through my system and the feel of her so close to me was making my head spin. She was too close and she smelled so good. I moved to the railing of the balcony and leaned against it, taking a deep breath of fresh air to clear my head.
"Look, B, the truth is I'm not going anywhere. I don't care if you're with someone else or not. I'm gonna stick around until you can trust me again and until you're single again and then I'll win you back. You wait and see."
I turned to see her give me a sad smile before she turned and walked out of my apartment. It only took a moment for me to collapse into a nearby chair and cry. I must have been crying pretty good because I didn't even hear Jennifer come in.
"Baby, what's wrong?"
My head snapped up, panic rising in my chest. I didn't mean for her to catch me crying. She couldn't know about Faith. I wiped my tears away and shook my head. "One of the girls got hurt pretty bad tonight and we weren't sure she was going to make it."
Her sympathetic face was on immediately and she moved in to hold me. I couldn't take it at that moment. I was way too confused. I felt completely overwhelmed and claustrophobic when her arms encircled me and all I could do was shake my head and stand up. I couldn't even look at her as I stood with my back to her as I lit a cigarette. I knew I was being unfair and all the shit with Faith was what was really pushing me further from Jen, I just didn't know what else to do.
"Buff? Are you okay?"
I could hear it in her voice, she knew it was more than what I told her and I was making myself sick lying to her about this. She couldn't know the truth. She would hate me. I turned and looked at her. Her eyes were begging me to let her in. I had to give her something. "Sometimes it just hits me how close I can be on any given night to dying."
With that, her entire body language changed. Her shoulders relaxed and her hands unclamped and she gave me an understanding smile. She moved so she was standing in front of me and I was completely captivated by her. "Aww, baby." She pulled me into a hug and held me for a few minutes.
My stomach was in knots again because of the lies I was telling. I was lying to her, Faith and myself and I hated myself because of it.
She pulled back after a few minutes and gave me a wicked smile. "Ya know, if you want I can take your mind off things for a while."
I smiled and kissed her, holding my hand out to her and letting her lead me to bed.
Faith has always had this way to make people…well, obsess is probably the right word for it. She's always had people obsessing about her. Will and Xander obsessed about her when Faith first came around…well so did I but can you really blame me? Anyways, in the few days since she'd been back I couldn't stop thinking about her. Every little thing she did when I was around her was burned into my brain. She moped around the campus avoiding just about everyone but me and Xander. It was weird. I noticed that she just happened to be in the gym when I was there for my classes and she disappeared when Kennedy taught hers. Before Faith left, she and Kennedy had been great friends.
Anyways, she was moping around one day in particular with her jeans half hanging off her ass and her tee shirt was worn and faded. She had flip flops on and I watched from my office as she stood in the gym after all the girls left and stood shooting baskets by herself. Every time she took a shot her shirt rode up to expose her belly and I found myself captivated by her. I could hear her keeping a running commentary with herself about the basketball she was playing and I hated to admit that it was really quite cute. Ya know, she drinks juice boxes…Faith, the big, bad Slayer…she likes the orange ones. She makes me crazy with all her stupid, cute crap. I made a point when we were together to learn every little thing that made her who she was. It's hard knowing how much effort I put into our relationship only to have her throw it back in my face when she left me, but even after all that I wouldn't take a minute of it back. Dammit…
She had only been back three days and was going through a lot in being back, but as her best friend I had to talk to her now that she was back. I found her in one of the training rooms knocking the shit out of one of the hanging bags in the back of the room. She must have sensed a shift in the air because she stopped instantly and looked around. Once she spotted me I could see it in her eyes that she was expecting me to either kick her ass or giver her shit. Of course, I had no intentions of doing either. Once I was close enough to her I pulled her into a hug…I really needed her to know I was on her side.
I gave her a squeeze and released her giving her a punch on the arm. "Where the hell have you been? You barely call, you don't write. What's a girl to think?"
She smiled a second before she rolled her eyes. "Apparently a girl thinks she should move on."
About that. "Yeah. Dude, in her defense, she waited like over a year for you to come back before she'd even go out."
Faith shook her head and sighed. "Wanna go out and drink?"
I gave her a sideways look. "So there's going to be more talk about all this, right?"
"As long as you're buying, kiddo," she called out as she headed out the door. I followed along behind her and she waited as I locked up the training room. I left her at her place and headed to mine and Willow's to shower. She was on the phone when I came in and I planted a gentle kiss on her lips before heading to the shower. A few minutes later Will entered the bathroom and sat up on the counter while I showered.
"Did you find Faith?" she asked over the dull roar of the shower.
"Yup. We're going out for a few drinks."
"How is she? I haven't seen much of her or Buffy so I'm kind of out of the loop on Faith's sanity since she's been back."
I lathered my hair with shampoo. "She seemed okay. She's obviously seen Buffy. Or at least she knows about Jennifer."
"Even more of a reason to keep an eye on her sanity meter."
I smiled. That's my girl, always thinking about the big picture. "She seemed more sad than pissed, so I guess that's a good thing, right?"
"I guess we'll see."
I peeked my head out from the shower door and smiled when Willow kissed me. "I'll be sure to get the whole story tonight."
She smiled and nodded. "I'm gonna go over to Buffy's to watch a movie with her and Dawn. Call me later?"
I nodded and leaned closer for another kiss. "Love you."
She smiled that perfect Willow smile. "Love you too."
I watched her leave and thought to myself how lucky I was to have her in my life. I finished my shower and got dressed. Faith arrived as I was drying my hair and she wandered around looking at pictures we had up all over the apartment of the gang working and playing. She picked up a framed picture of Buffy, Will and Xander and ran a gentle finger over Buffy's face, setting it down gently and biting her lip. She looked up and gave me a sad smile. "You about ready?"
I nodded and grabbed a jacket. "Let's go."
We walked to a bar nearby and grabbed a booth in the back. It was one of my favorite places to go to drink mostly because it was quiet enough to talk and it was dark and kind of a hole in the wall that kept most of the college kids from coming in. It had more of a local feel to it and it was a good place for us to sit and drink and talk. We each ordered a beer and I just sat and waited.
"I really didn't mean to be gone for two years," she started, running her fingers over some of the names carved in the table. "I went to Angel and worked with him. I needed to know that I could fight the good fight on my own."
I sat and listened, stealing a cigarette from the pack she rested on the table. When in Rome? I dunno, Will would probably chew me out later, but this was a stressful situation and I needed something to relax me a bit.
"That excuse may work for Giles and even Willow, but not me. Frankly I'm sort of insulted that you even tried it."
She glanced up sharply and looked at me carefully for a second. "Me and B spent months together doing nothing but drinking and partying and screwing and it was easy because that's all I thought of it as."
Ah, something was starting to click. "So when the party ended and you sobered up, you had to face the feelings."
"That was some scary shit. When we first got back, I tried to keep it a party cause I was freakin' out about the way I felt about her…she wanted to get back to work and back to reality. I couldn't handle that shit."
"Do you still love her?"
She just shook her head and laughed bitterly. "B's the kind of girl that once you love her, there is no not loving her. It's kind of a permanent thing. Just ask Angel."
"Pass," I mumbled. "So what the hell are you gonna do?"
She shrugged. "I talked to Giles and he's gonna give me a job and let me have my old place back. I'm back to stay this time."
"Are you sure?"
"Look, Ken, I had to know I could do this fighting thing when the world wasn't at stake and I didn't have B and Giles holding my hand. I had to do it alone."
"Then why go to Angel?" I ask angrily.
"He believed in me when nobody else did. I knew he'd give me freedom like I needed but still let me bend his ear when I needed that too. I can't explain it. I just needed to be with him."
"Buffy was crushed when you left." I hated to go there on Faith but she really needed to understand that she couldn't just think about herself anymore…especially if she was back for good. "I don't care what you say, but if you're really back for good, you need to start thinking about the whole team, not just yourself. We rely on each other here and we have to be able to trust that we can count on each other. Can I count on you?"
She met my eyes with a long, hard look and finally nodded her head. "I'm back for good. Whether or not B ever takes me back."
"Good." I knew that was all that ever needed to be said about that stuff.
It didn't take long. "So tell me about her."
I held up a finger and moved to the bar to get us each a new beer and two shots. I knew it was gonna be a long night and Faith needed to be really drunk to get through it.
Once I was seated we took our shots and I couldn't stall any longer. "They met at a club. Buffy was hammered and they danced. They dated and ya know, whatever."
"What's she like?" I knew it must have killed her to even ask.
"She's like an emotionally available, non-Slayer version of you. She even fucking looks like you. Shocked the hell outta me when she first came around to meet us."
I watched as Faith ran this over in her head…I would have paid to hear her thoughts in those moments. But that's more Willow's thing not mine. It didn't take me long to really regret taking Faith to a bar to talk about her ex and her ex's new girlfriend, but I think she needed it.
"So the gang didn't have a problem with her dating another chick?" she asked.
"Faith, we were all there when she dated you…how is that different?"
She shrugged. "Yeah, but me and B were different. I think everyone saw that one coming." She gave me an expectant look. "Didn't you?"
I shrugged. "We all just figured at first that she had some kind of secret lovah or something," I joked with a grin.
A few hours later, she was totally tanked and I had to drag her drunk ass out of the bar and back to the Council. Unfortunately we couldn't have timed our entrance any worse and it just so happened that Jennifer was waiting for the elevator. I panicked and tried desperately to get Faith to look at anything but the other girl, but Faith had killer instincts and knew just by looking at her who she was.
"That's her, isn't it?" She looked from me to Buffy's girlfriend and back to me. I couldn't lie…Faith could read me like a book. She let me go and made her way over to the girl.
"Hey! Are you Buffy's new girl toy?" she slurred as she made her way across the lobby.
Jennifer looked up and shot a panicked look at me before setting eyes on Faith. She knew Faith was a Slayer too and you could see fear in her eyes as Faith approached her.
"Are you? Are you my replacement?"
Jennifer backed up a step and I managed to get close enough to Faith to hold her still. The alcohol made it tough for her to do two things at once, so she stopped moving to speak. "You see the resemblance, don't you? I bet you haven't seen a picture of me because she was scared you'd see it too."
"You must be Faith," Jennifer mumbled. "You left her in the middle of the night and took off for two years, right? You snuck out like a coward and you wonder why she moved on?"
Faith made a move towards her and I managed to hold her back as the elevator dinged. "You go ahead, we'll take the next one."
Jennifer opened her mouth to get another shot off on Faith, but held her tongue and stepped onto the elevator, giving me a worried smile.
"She'll never love you like she loved me!" Faith called out before the doors shut completely.
Once the doors closed I smacked her on the arm. "Will you chill? The best way to get Buffy back isn't to go after her girlfriend. She's gonna be pissed."
Faith suddenly pouted and slumped over a bit. "I don't want her to hate me."
I had to smile a bit at the cuteness of the pout. "Faith, she won't hate you. She'll just be pissed."
She pouted deeper and slouched her shoulders. "I'm tired of her being pissed at me. What am I gonna do?"
I asked myself the same question thinking about the coming weeks as we waited for the next elevator. As we stepped on, Faith mumbled about being drunk and being an asshole. It was really sad actually and I hated that she felt that way.
I heard Jen open the front door and move through the apartment before she made her way into the bedroom. She moved through the door and shrugged off her jacket.
I smiled broadly, her presence easing the knots in my stomach that had been present for days. "Hey."
She gave me a brief smile and leaned over for a quick kiss. When she stood up with a sigh, I knew something was weird. "Jen, honey, what's wrong?"
She moved to the other side of the room to remove her jewelry and get ready for bed. "I ran into your ex downstairs with Kennedy."
Oh boy. "So you met her?"
"Well, she asked if I was her replacement."
That definitely pissed me off. I narrowed my eyes. "What else did she say?"
She looked up, probably wondering how I knew. I knew because Faith always had to say something stupid when she was drunk and chances are, calling Jen a replacement wasn't the worst thing to come out of her mouth. "She said you'd never love me like you loved her."
See? Never fails. With that, I grabbed some sweats off the back of a chair and tugged them on before I stormed from the apartment. I was livid by the time I got to her door and I could see Kennedy struggling to get her down the hall. I didn't slow down as I grabbed Faith by the front of the shirt, propelling her from Kennedy's grasp and slamming her against the wall. "You stay the hell away from her, do you understand me? Not so much as another fucking word to her."
She just stood there breathing hard and then she stuck her chin out a bit almost daring me to hit her and she looked down at me ever so slightly…she was wearing boots and I was barefoot after all. "Let me go. I didn't do a damn thing."
Kennedy stepped forward and tried to get between us. "Buffy, she's really drunk."
I gave her a deadly glare and she actually backed up a step. "I don't care if she's dying." I looked back to Faith and held her a bit tighter against the wall, leaning in closer to her ear. "Leave her alone. Do you understand me?"
She swallowed hard and nodded ever so slightly. "Whatever you say, B."
I wanted to smack the hell out of her but instead I let her go and stormed off. "I can't tell you how attractive being falling down drunk really isn't, Faith."
Not my finest moment but Faith always did that to me. She got me tongue tied and made my head swim. I hated it. I took a few deep breaths before I entered my apartment and I found Jen reading in bed. She looked up with that look she gets sometimes. I could tell she was trying to be understanding but I knew life at the Council was inexplicable sometimes…a lot of times. It was hard for people to get it that, well, didn't get it. She wasn't a Slayer or a watcher or a witch…she was just a girl. One of the things I really loved about her. She was my one sliver of normalcy in a life that had me killing boogey men and getting slimed by demons.
"I really hope you didn't hurt her," she told me as she placed her book on the table next to the bed.
I rolled my eyes and moved to the bathroom to brush my teeth. "I should have."
"Buff, I understand why she said what she did."
I shook my head and started brushing. I moved to the doorway and gave her a look. "You must be much more understanding than me then."
She shook her head and ran a hand through her hair. "Buffy, you're amazing. You save the world and help all these girls and you're smart and funny and sweet and if I lost you to someone else I wouldn't like them much either. She's probably just missing you and she doesn't know what to do with the feelings that have come back since she came back."
Usually I love when people tell me how great of a person they think I am…who doesn't? But for some reason I just felt guilty when she told me all this. I didn't really know what to say so I smiled and kissed her and crawled into bed next to her.
For some reason I wasn't all that shocked to see Kennedy hanging around my door when I opened it to head to a class the next morning. She gave me an easy smile and handed me a coffee. I narrowed my eyes, knowing she was trying to butter me up.
"The last time you brought me coffee in the morning it was after you ran my jeep into a ditch…what did you do this time?"
She followed as I made my way down the hall, stuffing my keys in my bag. "Nothing. I wanted to talk to you about Faith."
"Kennedy, Faith is a big girl and I'm really mad at her for what she said last night. If she wants it to be okay she will have to come to me on her own. She doesn't need you sticking up for her."
She shook her head and hit the button for the elevator. "I'm not. All I wanted to do was to ask that you go easy on her." She saw the look on my face and shrugged. "For what it's worth she misses you and she's kind of heartbroken that you have Jennifer and she doesn't have you."
I stopped short and pointed a finger at her. "No. I'm not letting you guilt me into forgiving her because I've moved on with my life after she left me without so much as a good-bye. I won't feel bad for having someone new in my life."
She held her hands up in surrender. "Hey I get it, I'm not trying to guilt you into anything…just don't kick her ass or anything, cause if you notice, she's not much for fighting back these days."
I rolled my eyes and stepped onto the elevator when it opened. "Whatever. I'm not promising anything."
I made my way to the cafeteria and to the front of the line to grab a doughnut to go with my coffee and I headed to the gym for my first class of the day. It was then that I noticed Faith and Xander standing across the gym looking at weapons that he'd made and they both looked over when I entered. I rolled my eyes and headed for my office. Once the door was unlocked, I dropped my bag on the floor and flopped down in the chair to finish my coffee and doughnut and a few minutes later I heard a knock on the door. I knew it was Faith without even looking up…that damn Slayer tickle only seemed to work with her. All these Slayers everywhere around me and the only one I could feel was her. It pissed me off.
"What, Faith?" I asked still without looking up from my paperwork.
I heard her swallow hard and shuffle a bit. "Look, B, I'm sorry about last night. I was really drunk."
"I'm not sure that's really an excuse for saying what you said." She shuffled her feet again. I stole a glance at her and my stomach flopped when I saw how good she looked. How does she do that? It's too early to look that good. Then again I remember how good she used to look in the morning…no make up and her hair all tousled. Focus, Buffy!
"Look, I'm just trying to adjust to you having someone else in your life. It just hurts."
I shook my head and stood up so I could pace. The room seemed to be getting smaller and pacing was a way for me to remind myself that it wasn't actually closing in on me. "Faith, I waited over a year for you. I cried and drank too much and smoked too much and questioned every single thing I did and said while we were together to figure out what I had done wrong." I met her eyes. "Then I realized it wasn't me that had done something wrong. It was you. You were the one that shut me out and snuck out like a dog. You left without saying good-bye and ran away from me. If you think for a second that I'm going to feel guilty that your poor little feelings are hurt because I moved on, you can turn around and walk away right now because it's not going to happen."
She took a step closer to me. "Call me a bitch. Call me a dog. B, I don't care what you call me because I deserve it. Just please forgive me for last night."
I was really confused. Normally when Faith was being attacked, she attacked back. She was definitely not the type to just give in and take it. Maybe this was the new her? Whatever. "I'll consider it if you apologize to Jen."
She immediately pouted when she heard that. Her shoulders slumped and her bottom lip popped out. I wanted to smile and hug her and kiss that lip, but Jen's face flashed through my head and the image of Faith slumped over in her room two years ago with a bottle of liquor blew through my brain and my resolve returned. "I mean it."
She threw her hands up and turned around to leave. "Fine."
I smiled triumphantly because I knew it would kill her to apologize to Jen and I just prayed I was around to see it.
What the fuck does she expect me to say? Sorry sweetheart, I didn't mean to hurt your precious little feelings when I told you exactly what the sitch was. Fuck that. I guess I should say somethin' to her, otherwise B will never forgive me and I'll totally blow my chance to ever get her back.
Sometimes I really hate myself for leavin' her, but I had to. Damn. I spend my entire life with everyone I know at arm's length and somehow B gets through all that shit and I fall in fuckin love with her. Me and love don't mix. Me and like barely mix, but B's always been different. I can't explain it. I tell ya, Angel and Spike can vouch for me though.
I meant what I said about being back and havin' everything scare the hell outta me. Europe was a fuckin' blast. All we did was drink and fuck and sleep and eat and lay on the beach or by the pool. B surprised the hell outta me, that's for sure. She was down for just about anything. She always told me that I brought out the experimental side of her. I'm pretty sure we did it all. The night I knew I never wanted to be with anyone but her was the night she led me to bed and made love to me. I told her that night that I loved her. Her hands were gentle and her body was soft and sweet. She looked me in the eye when she told me she loved me and she took me somewhere I'd never been before. Even after that when we were in the shower together, she washed my hair and kissed me lightly. There were moments and minutes after I told her I loved her that I wanted to run. I wanted to leave and never come back because I had uttered the three words to someone I'd never said them to before and it scared the hell out of me. She knew it. She saw it in my eyes. She kissed my neck and my shoulder and my lips and told me she loved me back and she wasn't goin' anywhere. I believed her because it was B. She didn't say shit like that and not mean it. The big ass shower felt like it was closin' in on me at one point and she knew it then too. She held me and smiled that perfect Buffy smile and she kissed me. I swallowed my panic and just went with it and I found that later that night after another few hours of sex and a cigarette when she wrapped herself around me and her arms slid around my waist as she slept that it really was somethin' I could get used to. And I did. And then I destroyed it. Dammit.
I guess I knew deep down that if I didn't ever actually apologize to B's girl, B would still forgive me. Shit, she forgave me for almost killing her and all her buddies…being a drunk asshole is easy to forgive after that, right? I also knew that if I actually did tell her I was sorry it would get me back in B's good graces that much quicker. Still…I don't have to like it.
B had mentioned that her and my replacement were gonna go out to dinner one night so I did my best to hang out in the lobby and try to catch her before she got anywhere near B so I could make my apology without her breathin' down my neck.
I guess my karma came back around to bite me cause B and the replacement came in through the front door together…damn. I took a deep breath and made my way over to them. They were laughing about somethin' and they both stopped when I got to them. I refused to meet B's eyes.
"Hey," I started lamely.
They both mumbled hello's and we all stood there like idiots waiting for someone to say something. Right, guess that was supposed to be me. "So look, I'm sorry about what I said. You…" Damn, I can't believe I'm gettin' all weird and my voice is crackin' and shit. "You and B seem happy together and that's all I really want for her."
I peeked up to look at B and I was half expecting her to be gloating like she always was in the past when I fucked up and had to try to fix it, but instead she was giving me this really sweet look. I smiled a little knowing she wasn't mad at me anymore.
"It's okay," the replacement replied with a wide smile. Damn, she was kinda hot.
"Cool," I mumble and give them both a quick smile and make my way to the gym. I can't take this happy, sappy crap that girls do. It makes me nuts.
Anyways, I taped up my wrists and started swingin' away on the heavy bag. I didn't have long to get into it because somebody came in the gym after me and I was kinda surprised to see the replacement standing there watching me.
"Sorry, one apology's all you're gonna get," I told her and started swinging again. She was starting to piss me off.
"That's not why I'm here," she told me as she got closer.
I sighed and stopped again and looked at her expectantly. She takes my girl and now she's interrupting my workout. Not cool. "So why are you?"
I musta looked pissed cause she swallowed really hard and got kinda nervous. "I just wanted to know that I'd never hurt her."
"You do realize she's a Slayer, right?" I asked with a roll of my eyes.
"No," she replied, "I mean I won't break her heart."
I glared at that. Who the hell does she think she is? "What, like I did?"
She took a step back and held up a hand. Guess she heard I was a psycho at one point. Cool. "No, I didn't mean it like that. In the lobby you said you just wanted her to be happy. Well I think she is."
"You think?" I asked with a smirk. I had to enjoy this a little.
"She is," she replied sounding less sure than ever.
"Congratulations," I told her before turning to my bag and knocked the shit out of it with a heavy punch.
"You still love her." She said it as more of a statement than a question.
"Of course," I replied as I turned to face her again.
"Are you going to make a move?"
I stopped again and swallowed hard before I said anything, tryin' to keep my cool. "Look, I fucked up when I left. I can't go back and stay. If I could I would, in a second. There's something between me and B that nobody will ever touch. Call it the Slayer bond, call it whatever…whatever you call it, just know that you won't ever have it with her." I had her full attention. "We ignored it for 4 years and when we finally stopped ignorin' it, the world was right for us and everyone else. Make of that what ya want."
She just stood there for a minute. "Sorry, I'll go," she told me with a point to the door.
"Yeah," I replied. I apologized…that was all I agreed to. Fuck this being nice crap. Whatever. I needed a drink.
I have to admit that I thought I would have gotten a lot more satisfaction out of Faith apologizing to Jennifer, but when her voice cracked and she stopped and swallowed hard my heart broke just a little bit for her. My anger with the whole thing had been gone so to me it was all over and done with and I just wanted to move on. Why Jen felt she needed to talk to Faith one on one was beyond me, but she wanted to so I told her to go for it. She came back from the gym looking weird, but insisted that everything was okay. I really hoped Faith hadn't said something else stupid.
Jennifer's hand sliding into mine was enough to jar me out of my thoughts and I smiled as the elevator dinged on my floor. We moved silently down the hall and I was about halfway to the door when I realized there was something on my doorknob. As I got closer I realized it was a single daisy. I looked to my right and saw that Jennifer looked as puzzled as I did about it. Guess that rules her out as the deliverer.
"I hope you left that there," she told me with a bit of an edge to her voice.
I shook my head and reached for the flower as we got to the door. "Nope."
"Think it was Faith?" she asked.
I shook my head and shrugged. "I don't know, why would she?"
Jennifer sighed. "She's probably going to start trying to win you back."
My stomach flip-flopped and I tried hard to ignore the way my heart raced with just the thought of it. Bad Buffy. "Did she say that to you?"
"Not in so few words," she told me with a small frown. Now I really wanted to know what went down between the two of them in the gym.
"What did she say to you?" I asked as we entered the apartment. I noticed Jennifer threw the daisy in the trash.
"Essentially she told me I was standing in the way of fate," she replied. At that I was completely dumbfounded. Faith said that? Wow…it was kinda romantic in a way. But not to my girlfriend I guess. Focus. She met my eyes. "Do you think she was right?"
"I think I'm fated to be alone," I replied before I could even think. Damn. I squeezed my eyes shut and shook my head. "I didn't mean that."
She looked at me and ran a gentle hand over the side of my face. "I'm kind of afraid you did." She took a deep breath and looked at me silently for a minute. "I think I'm gonna go."
"No, Jen, stay, please?" I asked her.
She shook her head. "I kinda want to be alone tonight."
Her words struck me as a physical blow. Faith had uttered those same words to me two years ago and knowing what had followed those words was enough to scare me. "Don't leave me."
Jen looked slightly taken aback and when she realized what she'd said she shook her head and gave me a soft smile and placed a gentle hand on my cheek. "I'm not leaving you, I'm just going home."
Her words calmed me to a certain extent but my reaction left me wondering if I would always anticipate being left all alone when I cared about someone. My reaction also left me with the realization that I cared a lot more about Jennifer than I thought. That was calming as well. "Will you please stay?"
She must have seen something in my eyes because she nodded and smiled and allowed me to lead her back to the bedroom to show her just how much she meant to me.
"Hey, Buffy," Kennedy greeted me with a grin.
"Hey, Ken," I replied with an easy smile. She did grow on you after a while.
She fell into step with me as we made our way from the training rooms to the apartment building. "So, Faith is working at the club as the new bartender. You and Jen wanna go out tonight and see her at work?"
I stopped short. "Faith is working at the club? Your club?"
Kennedy smirked. "Well it's your club too now…remember you play on my side of the fence these days."
I rolled my eyes. I don't know why she found that so amusing. "I remember." I began walking again. "So how long has she been working there? How can she work there and slay too?"
"About two weeks and she has off nights just like you and I do. She just works there when she's got a night free."
"She must be busy," I mumbled.
"I think she prefers it that way," she told me. "Less time to pine after her one true love."
"It's not really nice to make fun of that you know," I told her with an annoyed glance.
"She said it not me," she replied.
"Faith said having a job would give her less time to pine after her one true love?" I asked skeptically.
"Well she said that you were her one true love, I added the pining part." She grinned a cheesy grin that made me want to smack her.
I shook my head and sighed. "I'll call Jen and see if she's free."
Kennedy smiled and gave a nod of her head. "Cool, just call us and let us know what you're gonna do."
I nodded and watched her jog off. Something about Faith having a real job left me puzzled. I'm not so sure Faith had ever had a real job. It really made me wonder if her having the job was one of the ways of showing all of us that she planned on making Cleveland her permanent address like she'd said. Guess we'd have to wait and see.
It wasn't hard to find Faith later that night behind the bar…she had a line of girls waiting to have her make them drinks. She was popular already. We sat down the bar a ways and I got to watch her. Where she learned how to make drinks I'll never know, but she seemed to know what she was doing after a few weeks on the job.
I felt guilty noticing how good she looked in her dark hip huggers and black tank with her hair flowing around her as she moved behind the bar. She looked up and winked at all of us with a grin as she served the masses in front of her. We all ordered drinks and waited until Faith was less busy and she made her way over.
"Hey kids," she called out over the music.
"You got a real job?" I asked her with a small smile. "You do realize we get paid to slay."
"Well I wanted something kinda…permanent," she stressed the word with a shrug, "I guess. And normal."
"You seem to know what you're doing back there, have you worked as a bartender before?" Jennifer asked.
Faith shook her head and dropped her gaze to the bar. "Nah, just somethin' I picked up here and there."
Jennifer nodded her head and turned to me. "You wanna dance?"
I nodded mutely and smiled; standing up and flashing Faith a small smile as Jen led me to the dance floor. I found it strange to be dancing with another woman in front of Faith…it was stranger because we were in the place where Jen and I first met. It was just a strange feeling altogether. I felt like I needed to get really drunk to make it through the night.
Once the song ended I headed for the bar and we all took a few shots and I ordered myself a mixed drink to go with it. It was going to be a long night.
Faith's shift ended and she joined us for drinks and dancing a few hours later. She and Kennedy danced to several songs together which made all the girls lusting after her totally jealous and made Kennedy one of the most disliked women in the bar. They all seemed to be after her.
I watched her the entire night. I was totally stealthy about it though…I hope. If I wasn't nobody told me otherwise. Anyways, I was half expecting her to find herself some girl to dance and drink with and make me jealous with, but she didn't. She danced with Kennedy and Willow and sat at the bar…but really didn't give anyone the time of day. It was weird. But part of me found some comfort in that. I'm so totally damaged.
As I approached my office I noticed a note attached to my door with a sliver of tape and I guessed it was Faith who had left it. Over the course of a few weeks she had begun leaving little things here and there for me. She left flowers and candy and sometimes little notes to remind me of something funny we'd done or seen on our travels. It was really sweet but with every note I grew more conflicted and confused.
When Faith and I got together it was like the last piece of the puzzle that was my life slipped into place and I finally knew what it was to be complete. I thought she was my soul mate. I thought she was my whole world. When she left, everything hurt. It hurt to breathe, it hurt to live. Everything was that much less important to me. I probably sound needy and clingy but until you really have that one person you don't realize how hard it is to be without them. Part of me wondered if I would ever really be able to move beyond that. Or her.
Anyways, she'd been doing really sweet things for me now and again and it hurt my heart every time she did them but at the same time it made my heart swell a little. It was not a fun place to be.
I flipped open the note and smiled when I read her writing.
Remember the first night we spent in Spain? Every time I drink sangria it reminds me of it. Definitely one of the top five nights of my life. The number one? The night we met.
I sighed heavily thinking back to that night. The villa we stayed in was absolutely beautiful and I can still remember the way her tanned skin looked against the soft white sheets. She had a habit of kicking the sheets and blankets off the bed and I remember waking up freezing because they were on the floor and seeing the way she looked in the early morning blue hues. It still takes my breath away.
"Lost in thought?" Her soft raspy voice jarred me from my thoughts and I looked up at her. She stood leaned against the doorframe watching me with a small smile. It was enough to have every inch of me humming. I shook my head to clear it.
"Something like that," I replied.
She nodded and watched me a moment longer before standing straight. "So I was wondering if I could ask you a favor."
"You can ask," I told her with a cautious tone. I had a feeling that this could get me into trouble.
"You wanna help me paint my place tonight?" she asked. That was the last thing I expected to come out of her mouth.
She shrugged. "I think it's time for a fresh start."
Her words resonated through me as I watched her drop her head and purse her lips. "What time were you thinking?"
One shrug of a shoulder was all I got. "Maybe 8?" she asked as she met my eyes again.
I nodded and couldn't help but smile when a little grin slid onto her lips. She stuffed her hands in her pockets and gave me a nod. "I'll see ya later, B. Thanks."
I simply nodded and watched her go. The note she left still sat on the desk and I picked it up and re-read it. Images of that night flashed through my mind and I couldn't help the shiver that passed through me as every detail came back.
I grabbed the phone to make a call and Jen picked up after two rings.
Smile. "Hey, Jen."
"Yeah, why?" I asked.
A pause. "You don't usually call me this early."
"Did I wake you?"
"No, no. What's up?"
I took a breath. Here we go. "We don't have anything going on tonight, do we?"
"Um…I don't think so, why?"
Deep breath. "Faith asked me to help her paint her apartment tonight."
A long pause. "Are you going to?"
"Is that okay?"
There was another pause. "Buff, you don't have to ask my permission to hang out with her."
Something about her voice had me on edge just a little. "I just think that if she is back for good I should make an effort to get along with her. She's gonna be a higher up again at the Council and it helps if we all get along."
"I know," she told me, she sounded weird, but only for a moment. "Do you want some company later when you're done?"
I smiled. "I'd love that. Definitely come by later."
"I'll see ya later."
I hung up and felt better but I still felt like I was letting her down. I meant what I said about needing to get along with Faith. In the Council it was imperative that we all trust each other and get along…our lives are constantly in each other's hands…but on the other hand I knew that a night alone with Faith at her place sounded better than it should. I was finding that the longer Faith was around, the more confusing everything was becoming.
A few minutes past 8 that night I showed up at her door and knocked a few times. She opened the door a moment later looking way too good. She was wearing some ratty jeans and a white wifebeater with her hair pulled up and a beer in her hand. She smiled and held the door open wider.
I felt strange walking into her apartment as I thought back to the night she told me she didn't really love me. The image of her drunk and miserable and crumpled on the floor with a bottle in hand sneering at me trying desperately to make me hate her flashed through my head. I shook it off and Faith caught me staring at the spot where she'd sat that night.
"I didn't mean what I said that night," she told me quietly…she was too close and smelled way too good. "I was just terrified."
I nodded silently and shook it off. I was determined to have a good time with Faith and not bring up any of our painful past.
She headed for the kitchen and grabbed me a beer. We moved to the balcony to have a cigarette and discuss the plan of attack. A few minutes later we were back inside moving her furniture and covering the carpet. We spent some time putting up painter's tape and it was a while before we even got to the painting.
"I like the color," I told her as I rolled a blue/grey paint onto her wall.
She nodded and rolled away on her side of the room. "Yeah, it's different."
"I'm surprised you're not painting it black," I joked with a smile.
She laughed. "I'm not that dark, B."
"I know you're not," I told her. It was good to hear her laugh. It had been too long. The raspiness of that laugh did things to me that it shouldn't have.
We worked away silently, just sipping our beers and listening to the music she had on in the background. We chatted as we worked; making small talk and reminiscing about our travels. It was all good stuff that I enjoyed reliving with her.
A while later she had been way too quiet so I made my way across the room to see what she was doing with a small brush. When I got close enough I had to smile. She had painted a little heart with our initials in the middle and a little stake in the heart. The same one she'd drawn that day in high school.
I shook my head and dabbed her with a spot of paint. She shot me a look with a raised eyebrow and a sly smile and swiped me with her brush across the cheek. Of course us being the Slayers that we are, it turned into a full-blown paint war.
Looking back, we could have been quieter…and we could have been less wrapped up in our wrestling…we could have done a lot differently about that night, but we didn't. I didn't. And all it got me was into a fight with my girlfriend when she caught us wrestling because you could hear us, well me, squealing down the hall and she thought I was being attacked or something. It wasn't pretty. There was a lot of yelling and a lot of tears and a lot of general feelings of badness. The fact that Faith was straddling me when Jen walked in really didn't help either. It looked worse than it was. It was innocent…yeah, I'm not fooling anyone. So not good.
She let me apologize eventually. I had sent her flowers and cards and done everything I could think of to get her to forgive me but we both kind of knew that things had been damaged and it would be a long time before things went back to the way they were between us. I hated myself for making her doubt me and not trust me with Faith. She'd caught us in a compromising position with Faith hovering over me on the floor with me on my back and the two of us panting from the wrestling. We were covered in paint and laughing hysterically when she walked in…it must have looked really bad. But we got through it. I guess.
"Are you sure you're happy?"
Jennifer's question caught me off guard and caused me to slip with my knife and slice my finger open. Damn knife. Damn salad. Damn it.
"Damn!" I cursed. One-track mind, this one.
"Buffy, I'm so sorry," she told me as she rushed around the kitchen to get the first aid kit.
I shook my head and stuck my finger in my mouth. "It's fine, just a little cut."
"Are you sure?" she asked me, moving to stand in front of me to take a look at it.
I nodded. "Yeah, it'll be healed in no time."
I shook my head. "It's fine. Just don't ask me stupid questions while I'm slicing. Unless it's the Slayer-y kind of slicing. That I can do with my eyes closed and standing on my head."
"It's not stupid," she mumbled softly.
I watched her duck her head and drop her eyes to her glass of wine on the counter. She reached for it and took a long drink. "It is."
"So you're happy?" she asked again. "With me?"
"I am," I told her, meeting her eyes. I did mean it. Just because Faith was back in my life and was flirty and reminding me of the good times we'd had didn't make me any less happy with Jen.
"I just," she started and shook her head. "I just saw the way you smiled at her when you were in her apartment helping her paint. It was so raw and genuine and real. I could see how much she meant to you."
I leaned in and kissed her gently. I could feel her shaking slightly as I wrapped my arms around her. "Jen, Faith and I have something that nobody else in the world has. Before all the girls we were the only two. The original two Slayers. It's a special bond." She opened her mouth to protest and I shook my head and kissed her "Let me finish." She nodded silently. "But that bond isn't anything more special than the bonds I have with Xander, or Willow or Giles. Or you. I have different bonds with different people and they all mean different things to me, but I'm happy with you."
She ducked her head, but I could see her smiling. "Good."
"I love you," I told her softly.
She grinned wider and I felt a charge run through me. I loved that smile. "I love you too."
With that she grabbed my hand, salad forgotten, and pulled me towards the bedroom. I'll just say it was hours till the salad was ever eaten. And I finally felt like I was forgiven.
"So how goes ‘operation win back Buffy's heart?" Kennedy asked as she plunked herself down next to Faith outside the gym, where the older Slayer was eating an apple on a bench.
Faith shrugged and chewed silently. Once she swallowed she studied the piece of fruit carefully, as if it held all the answers. "It's hard to win a girl back when her girlfriend is always around."
"It's hard to win a girl back when she has a girlfriend period," Kennedy reminded her.
"Yeah, well this is different," Faith mumbled, trying to convince herself as much as the younger Slayer.
"Why, because you dated her first?" Kennedy asked.
"Because we're soul mates," Faith blurted out before she could stop herself. She cringed.
"Soul mates?" Kennedy asked with a smile.
Faith glared at her briefly. "You keep that one between you and me, Kid."
"Of course," the younger girl promised. "But it's really romantic, Faith."
"Ken, not now."
"Girls like to hear that kind of stuff," Kennedy told her with a smile. "Buffy's a girl. You should tell her."
"The timing's not right."
"Plans for tonight?" Faith asked after a minute of comfortable silence.
"None I know of," Kennedy replied after thinking a moment.
Faith nodded. "Wanna get hammered?"
"Do you really think that's the best idea?" Kennedy asked. "Last time you got drunk you had Buffy really mad at you."
"Yeah, well I'm more at peace with things now," Faith replied with a small grin.
"What does that mean?" Kennedy asked, suddenly worried.
Faith shrugged. "Just that I know now it won't happen with me and B right away so I just have to be patient for her to come back to me."
"Okay you're scaring me a little," Kennedy told her. "Since when are you this calm and insightful about things?"
"I'm not really," Faith mumbled. "I just know that I'd wait forever for her so I might as well start now."
Kennedy smiled. "Aww, that's so sweet, Faith."
The older Slayer scowled and punched her. "Shut up, Kid."
Kennedy grinned. "It is. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone about this either."
"Damn right you won't." Faith stood up and tossed her apple in the trash. "Come on, let's go spar, I feel a sudden need to beat your ass."
Kennedy grinned and hopped up, she'd been dying to spar with Faith since she returned to show her everything she'd learned. She smiled knowing for sure that her friend was back to stay.
Buffy was sprawled out on a blanket on the lawn behind the apartment building later that day reading a book when she caught sight of a limping Faith making her way to the apartments. She sprung up, her first thought immediately wondering what kind of threat had attacked the other Slayer.
"Faith!" she called out.
The brunette Slayer looked up, recognizing the voice and she dropped her head. "Hey, B," she mumbled when the other girl was close enough.
"What happened? Did something attack you?" Buffy asked, her eyes scanning the other girl silently for more wounds.
Faith laughed, which caused her to groan in pain. "Ahhh. No. Me and Ken were sparring."
"Kennedy did this to you?" Buffy asked with a hint of humor in her voice.
"You should see her," Faith replied immediately.
"Did you hurt her?" Buffy asked worriedly. She didn't need two injured Slayers.
Faith shook her head and winced as she and Buffy started walking towards the building. "Nothing that won't heal overnight."
"Good, I can't have both of you out of commission," Buffy told her as she held the door open for her and they both headed for the elevator.
"B, I'm fine, you don't have to babysit," she told the blonde.
Buffy smiled. "It's fine. I just want to make sure you get in okay and I'll get you an ice pack or something."
"Thanks," Faith replied, realizing suddenly how good it felt to have Buffy taking care of her again. She'd missed it.
Once they were in the apartment Buffy pointed at the couch. "Go lay down and I'll bring you ice."
Faith nodded and lowered herself gingerly onto the couch. She slipped her shoes off and allowed herself to stretch out.
Buffy returned a moment later and handed her the ice pack wrapped in a towel. "Want something to drink?"
Faith nodded and hissed as the cold ice hit her warmed skin. "Thanks."
Buffy smiled and grabbed two bottles of water from the fridge and set them down on the coffee table before she knelt down beside Faith on the couch. "Let me see."
Faith shook her head stubbornly.
"Faith," Buffy coaxed, "I just want to make sure nothing's broken."
The brunette Slayer rolled her eyes but relented, picking up the ice pack from her ribs. Buffy reached out slowly and placed a hand on the other girl's torso and felt carefully for broken ribs.
Faith sucked in a sharp breath. Buffy looked up and noticed her eyes were closed. Faith opened her eyes when Buffy's hands stopped moving and their eyes met. Buffy leaned in unconsciously and swallowed hard.
Faith leaned up and closed the distance and just as their lips were about to touch, Buffy blinked and backed up, realizing what a huge mistake she'd almost made.
"I have to go," she mumbled and stood up quickly.
"B!" Faith called out, moving to stand, but her ribs protested and she groaned. She only heard the soft click of the door shutting behind the blonde and she squeezed her eyes shut. "Damn."
Another flower on my desk and a note reminding me of one particularly hot night we spent in Italy had my mind reeling one morning a week later. Faith and I hadn't spoken about that night. We had an understanding about it. That didn't stop her from bringing me coffee and leaving these flowers and notes and it didn't stop me from being completely confused. I was driving myself insane asking how long I was really going to let this whole thing go on. I knew I would have to make a decision and it would have to be soon or all three of us would end up hurt.
Faith suddenly barged in with an armful of sugary treats and her hands full with two coffees and I had to smile the way her dimples flashed in an adorable way as she held a stir stick in her lips. She proceeded to dump the contents of her arms on my desk and place both drinks down without spilling a drop of anything. She grinned triumphantly as she pulled the stir stick from her mouth.
"Faith what is all this?" I took in the sight of all the crap on my desk and couldn't help but smile. She had packages of cakes and candy and mini boxes of cereal and there were things I couldn't even identify. There was also a plain brown paper bag in the middle and she pointed to it.
"A bagel just the way you like it and a bunch of sugar if you'd rather have that," she replied as she plunked down in the chair opposite me and unwrapped a ho-ho and stuffed it in her mouth, chasing it down with a sip of coffee.
"So you brought me breakfast?" I asked, slightly amused.
Faith shrugged. "Member when we were in Mexico and you loved the chocolate so much we'd eat it all day long? I was craving chocolate this morning and I knew nobody else would get it."
"No one ever does," I mumbled with a smile. I looked over everything and finally settled on the bagel.
I heard her shuffle her feet and clear her throat before she finally spoke. "So, I was kinda wonderin' if you maybe wanted to go out to grab somethin' to eat tonight. Ken took me to a pretty cool spot a few weeks ago. Maybe we could talk or whatever?"
I stole a glance at her and I couldn't help but remember the first time she ever asked me to go out to dinner with her. We had just arrived in L.A. after the fight with the First and things were so different. We went out that night and had dinner and then we went to some random arcade down the road. We played for hours that night and it was then that I saw a completely different side to Faith and I fell in love with her. To be fair I think I was already a little in love with her…I always kind of had been, but nobody but her knows that now. Anyways, we played in the arcade and she won me a big stuffed animal and when we got back to the hotel I invited her in to my room and sort of began our year and a half of crazy fun.
"Sure." I said it before the more practical part of my brain told me I shouldn't be doing this. Honestly I couldn't help myself. I knew it was going to end badly in some way or another, but she was completely irresistible to me and I refused to stay away.
She flashed a brilliant smile that had my stomach in knots all over again. "Cool, is 8 okay?" I nodded and watched her smile again before she turned to leave. "See ya tonight, B."
I couldn't help but smile at the mess she'd left on my desk as she left my office. It seemed just like old times again. Later on that day, my cell rang and I saw it was Jen and I felt those damn knots in my stomach again. I was getting really sick of having a rumbly tummy. I lied to her again. I told her I was going out to dinner with Willow for some best friend time. I hated myself but she really couldn't know where I was actually going. She would be crushed. I couldn't deal with it.
Later that night I was dressed in some nice jeans and a white girly top waiting for her. I was nervous and it was making me crazy. I was sitting on the balcony smoking when I heard the knock on the door and I snubbed the cigarette and moved towards the door quickly. She took my breath away standing on the other side of the door. It killed me how she always managed to look so good without even trying. She was wearing a black tee and jeans. It was so simple but she looked amazing.
She gave me that smile and I felt me heart melt a little. "Hey, B."
Her voice didn't do much to help the situation and I smiled back. "Hey, you ready?"
She nodded and stepped aside so I could close and lock the door. I nearly lost it when her hand grazed my lower back to signal I should step into the elevator first. We walked through the lobby of Slayer Central and I noticed Dawn and Andrew give us both a smile. I knew I was blushing from the heat of my face and I couldn't help but smile back as we pushed through the front door.
"So where are we headed, should I drive?" I asked once we hit the sidewalk. It was nice out.
She held her hand out. "Mind if I drive? You still have the jeep?"
I nodded and handed her the keys. As we took the long way to the parking garage to get my jeep I remembered buying it. We had just gotten back from Europe and Faith had just gotten her drivers license and she was itching for a car. I bought it for both of us. Though I never drove it, which was probably best since I was never the best driver. Faith took it everywhere. Even just down the street. She loved it.
Once we were both settled in the jeep she drove us to a little bar down the street that I'd been to lots of times with the gang.
We took a booth in the back and got settled with our drinks before she lit two cigarettes and handed one to me.
"So how's Angel?" I asked a minute later, realizing I hadn't asked about him since she'd been back. See? She's distracting.
She nodded. "He's good. He's the same old Angel though…dark and broody."
"Is he still getting over Cordelia?"
"Yeah," she replied with a frown. "He's still kind of sad about that."
I made a mental note to call him and say hi. "So how did you find this place anyways?"
She took a sip of her beer. "Ken brought me here."
I smiled. "Yeah, she knows all the interesting places in this town."
She hesitated for a second and met my eyes. "So maybe we could hit the club later?
I rolled my eyes and smiled. "The club you work at?"
Faith raised an eyebrow. "You like that place, right?"
"I met Jen there," I told her, watching her carefully for a reaction.
Her smile slipped into a smirk and she shook her head. "I shoulda known." She lit another cigarette from the end of the one she was smoking and snubbed the first out. "So is she all hearts and valentines…ya know, everything I wasn't?"
I gave her a long look. "Do you really want to talk about her?"
Faith shrugged and met my eyes as she took a long drink of her beer. "I just wonder if you would have ever slammed someone up against the wall for me the way you did for her."
That's about when my heart started to ache a bit. "Faith I would have died for you. Do you even get that? I though we were forever. I nearly died when you left and you wonder if I would have slammed someone against the wall for you?"
She took a long drink of her beer and kept her eyes trained on the table as she played with her bottle. "And what about now? Would you slam someone against the wall for me now?"
I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream and I wanted to run out the front door and never come back. I sat silently for a moment and really thought about what she was asking me. I looked up and met her gaze, my stomach knotting up as I let myself get caught up in her beauty. "Of course I would."
I saw something in her eyes in that moment and in an instant it was gone and she grinned. "So I had a dream the other night."
I smiled; this was something we used to do back in the day. We'd wake up and spend a few hours worshipping each other, we'd smoke a cigarette and she'd tell me about the dream she had the night before. It sounded silly, but it was something that was just us. "About what?"
She gave me this smile in that instant and I don't know what it was about her smile but I wanted to cry, it was the weirdest thing. "We were on the beach and we were just chillin', ya know, drinking and stuff and anyways we got hungry so we wanted to get something to eat but the only place to eat was out in this place in the middle of the ocean and you had to tightrope walk to get out there. It was fuckin' weird."
After that, we fell into comfortable conversation for a few hours. It had been ages since I laughed as hard as I did that night. We talked about all the strange things we'd seen in Europe and everywhere else that just made us laugh. We had so much history together and while I always thought it would be painful to go through it, it wasn't. It was almost therapeutic. Anyways, we got entirely too drunk and decided it would be fun after all to go dancing so we made our way down the street to the bar. We ended up getting even more drunk and dancing until around 4 in the morning.
It was scary how we just fell back into the rhythm again. Her arms wrapping around my waist and mine circling around her neck. Dancing too close to pass it off as anything but what it actually was. I was so crazy in love with her and I couldn't take it any more. I didn't give a damn anymore if I let her back in again and she left me again as long as I got to love her at least one more time. I wasn't complete without her in my life and in my arms and I wanted to scream and cry at how crazy she made me.
Once we were done dancing she walked me back to Slayer Central and somehow got our night desk clerk to go get my jeep and drive it back. She walked me to my door and it took everything I had not to kiss her and hold her and lead her to bed. But I knew Jennifer was at her place in her bed thinking that everything between us was okay. Besides, Faith didn't have to kiss me to leave me wanting more. She just grinned and ran a hand down my arm and told me in her sexy rasp that she'd see me tomorrow. That was enough.
I was on such a high when I entered my apartment that I didn't even sense the other presence in there with me until I was nearly nose-to-nose with her. My eyes went wide and my heart thundered in my chest. My palms were sweating and I knew things were about to get bad. I was stone sober in an instant.
"Did you really have to lie to me?" Jen asked quietly. The fact that she wasn't yelling made it that much scarier.
I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out.
"I asked Giles about the girl that got hurt the other night and he told me everyone was fine. Then I saw you and her go into the bar down the street. I thought you were going to dinner with Willow."
"Jen, I…," I trailed off, I couldn't deny it. I was busted and all I could do was stand there.
"I can't just stay here with you when I know I'm not the one you want. I won't," she told me with a frown. I wanted to cry.
"Please don't hate me," I mumbled. My chin was quivering and tears were welling up in my eyes. "I don't think I could handle that."
"Did you sleep with her?"
I shook my head.
"Did you kiss her?"
I shook my head.
"Did you cheat on me in any way?"
I shook my head. Was that a lie? I mean, no, physically I didn't cheat, but emotionally I did.
She sighed. "Buff, I love you. I can't hate you for loving someone else. That's not fair. I'm just hurt that you couldn't just tell me. I worried this might happen when she came back and to be honest I kind of expected it. I know how much you loved her and how bad she hurt you."
I looked up and when I saw her face I hated myself. "I'm so sorry."
She nodded and kissed me gently. "I know." She hugged me tightly and when she let me go I could see tears in her eyes. "Don't let her break your heart again."
I looked her in the eye. "I love you."
She shook her head and gave me a teary smile. "No you don't. But it's okay."
She gave me another small kiss and handed me the key to my door. She gave me one last smile before she closed the door behind her and once it was shut, I collapsed on the floor and cried. I felt awful that I had treated her like I did and I hated myself for doing that to her.
I decided that I was going to go out and slay something to make me feel better so I changed clothes, grabbed the bottle of vodka in the freezer and headed back out of the building. I probably should have just passed out since I had about a gallon of alcohol in my system, but a drunk Slayer can be a stubborn Slayer sometimes….well all the time.
Anyways, about an hour later Kennedy and Willow pulled up in Will's car and both rushed over to me. I had gotten myself into a fight with a demon and he managed to get my stake off me and stab me with it. Luckily demons don't have much practice with stakes and hearts so his aim was a little off…though I guess it could have been me nearly falling down drunk that could have hindered his aim. Either way I nearly got myself stabbed just about in the heart and I had to call my best friend to come get me. Kennedy moved quick when she saw how much blood I had lost and she picked me up and moved me to the backseat of the car.
"The alcohol in her system thinned out her blood so we need to move," I heard Willow mumble. I waited for Kennedy to respond but I must have passed out because the next thing I knew I was in the infirmary and it was about four hours later.
"Buff, you okay?" Xander asked once my eyes opened.
I looked around and he was sitting by the bed with Will and Kennedy. My mouth felt like it was stuffed with cotton, my eyes felt glued shut and my head was throbbing. It wasn't pretty…or even remotely comfortable. I blinked a few times and licked my lips. "Can I have some water?"
Willow stood up and handed me a cup of water. When I was finished with it I handed it back and rubbed my eyes. "What happened?"
"You got stabbed with your stake and called Will and we came to pick you up but you passed out on the way back…though I still don't know if that's because you had six bottles of alcohol in your system or because you lost a lot of blood," Kennedy filled me in with a tiny grin. "I'm glad you're okay," she added when she saw the way the rest of us looked at her.
"Buff, do you want me to call Jennifer?" Willow asked a second later.
Well there's that heartache again. Damn. I shook my head. "She left me."
Nobody said a word for a few moments until Willow stood up again. "Well, we should go and let you sleep. But we're really glad you're okay."
I smiled as Xander and Kennedy both stood up and began talking at the same time. Willow ushered them both out the door and moved to stand next to the bed and grasped my hand. "Do you want me to stay? I don't mind."
I shook my head and smiled. "Can you call Faith and see if she'll come down here and sit with me?"
Willow titled her head and gave me a sly grin. "You want Faith to sit here with you?" She smiled wider when I rolled my eyes and she nodded. "I'll call her, but I'm going to stay down here with you until she gets here."
I smiled in thanks and nodded. A few minutes later she came back in the room and sat down next to the bed. "Faith sounded awful."
"That's because she's just as drunk as me."
Willow gave me a sideways glance and pursed her lips. "So you and Jennifer broke up?"
I nodded and leaned back on my pillows. "I might have lied to her about who I was going to dinner with tonight and she might have caught me."
"So I'm guessing you went out to dinner with Faith?"
I nodded. "It was innocent."
"Buff, if it was innocent you wouldn't have lied to her about it."
"I know," I whined.
She waited a moment before her next question. "So are you and Faith back together now?"
I shook my head. "No." I sighed heavily. "I want to wait a little while before I jump right back into something with Faith."
"But you still love her?" she asked with a smile.
I rolled my eyes. "Of course I do. I'm not entirely sure I ever stopped loving her."
She nodded and sat back in her chair. "The first thing I'm doing tomorrow when I get in is I'm going to order some more comfortable chairs for these rooms."
I knew that question and answer time was over for now and I was grateful that my best friend knew when to back off. "Thanks, Will."
She just smiled. A few minutes later there was a small knock on the door and one of our doctors came in to check on things. Willow waited outside until he was done and as he was leaving, Will poked her head in and told me Faith was here and that she'd see me in the morning. I thanked her again and a moment later, a very tired, still drunk looking Faith walked into the room and plunked down in the uncomfortable chair Willow left unoccupied.
"Damn, this thing sucks." She looked up at me and furrowed her brow and stood up again almost immediately. Her voice was extra raspy with sleep and alcohol and it was making me crazy. She moved to the side of the bed and brushed some errant stands of hair from my face. "Damn, B, you okay? You look awful."
I rolled my eyes. "Wow, Faith, you really know how to flatter a girl."
"Baby, you know I know how to flatter a girl," she shot back with a wink.
My stomach flipped and my chest constricted. She leaned her arms against the rails of the bed and leaned over me. "So what am I doing here, where's your girlfriend?"
Yup, she has a way of getting right to the point. "She broke up with me when I got home."
Her eyes got wide. "Like when you got home from us drinking and dancing?"
I nodded. "Yup."
"Damn." She paused a moment. "Okay, that covers the girlfriend part of my question, you didn't answer the part about what I'm doing here."
I shrugged with the wrong shoulder and hissed in pain. It took me a minute to get over it and without meeting her eyes I told her. "I just need you close."
With that, she nodded and pulled the uncomfortable chair closer to the bed and sat down in it. She leaned her forehead against the metal rail of the bed and grasped my hand in both of hers. Just as I felt myself drifting off to sleep I felt her lips press to the back of my hand and I know I fell asleep with a smile on my face.
"Fuckin' dinosaurs," Faith mumbled, still half asleep.
"I could kill Willow and Kennedy for not telling me until this morning. Are you okay?" she asked as she settled on the edge of the bed. She looked at Faith quizzically suddenly. "Did you just call me a dinosaur?"
Faith shook her head. "Dream."
I raised an eyebrow. "Dawn, I'm fine. What's with all the commotion?"
She sighed. "I just heard that you lost a lot of blood and Kennedy had to carry you in because you were unconscious. That kind of thing makes a sister worry."
Faith stood up and rubbed her eyes. She jutted a thumb over her shoulder. "B, I'm gonna go."
I shook my head. "Faith, stay, please? At least until they let me out?"
She looked surprised but sat back down and waited. I turned to Dawn. "Dawn, can you go get the doctor and get him to come in here? I'm ready to go home."
She looked at me for a moment and then at Faith and then back to me and she nodded. "Are you sure you're okay?"
I nodded my head. "I just want to go home and take a shower and go to sleep."
I glanced down at Faith who had her arms folded next to me and had her head resting on her arms. She had her eyes closed and a little smile on her lips. I reached out and ran a hand over her hair gently and she smiled wider though didn't open her eyes.
"Dinosaurs?" I asked.
She smiled, eyes still closed, but remained silent. Interesting.
An hour later Dawn got off the elevator on her floor and hugged me carefully. "Call me later?"
I nodded and ran a hand over her hair. "Of course."
She smiled and left me and Faith in the elevator for one more floor. I handed her my keys as we neared my door and she opened it to let us both in. We headed for the bedroom where I managed to get my shoes off without too much trouble. "Do you mind sticking around for a while? I don't want to be alone if I slip and fall in the shower. I'm still a little out of it."
She nodded her head. "Yeah, sure."
I moved to stand in front of her and reached a hand out and placed it on her cheek. She searched my eyes for a moment until I leaned in and kissed her lightly. "I'm just not the same without you."
She gave me this really soft smile and placed a hand over mine, turning her head just enough to place a kiss on my palm.
When I emerged from the shower a little while later, I found Faith sound asleep on my bed. Her boots and socks placed carefully next to the bed and her jacket was slung over the back of a chair. She looked so cute all curled up so I did my best to not wake her as I slid her under the blankets and slid into bed next to her. I curled up so she was behind me and a moment later her arms were around me and we both drifted off to sleep.
When I woke a few hours later I was shivering. It was nothing new to me. Having slept with Faith for months it was something I grew accustomed to. She hated covers. Sworn enemies apparently.
I took a moment to sit up slowly and I caught sight of her. She'd somehow removed her jeans in her ploy to remove all blankets from the bed and to see her sound asleep dressed in a white wifebeater and boy shorts was almost too much for me. Her dark hair was a stark contrast against the white sheets and pillows on the bed and I smiled as I took it all in. It had been so long since we'd just slept together that I didn't know what to think when I woke up and found her still sound asleep in bed next to me.
"Like what you see?" she asked sleepily.
I smiled. "Always have."
She rolled over and slung an arm around me and pulled me close. "I missed this."
"Me too," I told her.
She slid a hand under the hem of my tank and ran her fingers over my tummy gently, careful to avoid my injury from the night before. I rolled my eyes and grabbed her hand, removing it.
She smiled, eyes still closed and ran her hand up my leg. It was all I could do to once again remove her hand from my body. Her touch was too good.
"Faith stop," I told her gently with a smile.
Her eyes opened and she shot me a confused look. "You really want me to stop touching you?"
"No," I replied honestly. "But you should."
"Why?" she asked, fully awake now.
"Just because I'm single doesn't mean we can jump right back into what we were," I told her. "We need to go slow."
I smiled and leaned over to kiss her cheek. "Last time we went all out right away and you freaked out when we came down. I don't want that to happen again."
"It won't," she told me seriously.
I smiled wider. "I really think it's the right thing to do."
Faith thought a moment and finally nodded her head. "Okay, B. We'll go slow."
"Will you take me on dates?" I asked with a grin.
Faith laughed and pulled me even closer. I closed my eyes and reveled in the feeling. "Of course."
"Good." I snuggled into her and breathed in her entire being. I'd never been so happy.
"Good," she repeated. "Now go back to sleep."
"Kay," I replied happily and closed my eyes, sleep finding me quickly.