by Queen Zulu
Time Line: Bad Girls
Summary: Faith's killing in the alley may destroy her relationship
You put your face in front of mine
All but hiding desperation
Hunger leaks out of your eyes
Whetting me with dark temptation
It wasn't like Buffy hadn't skipped class before. It wasn't even the first
time she'd skipped a test.
Climbing out the window while the teacher's back was turned was new, though.
But Faith's grin was a challenge and a dare, her raised eyebrow accused
Buffy of being chicken, and the little heart she'd drawn in the mist of
her breath--well, it didn't mean anything, just that there were vamps
to slay, but something about it prickled at her and made her jump up,
filled with a strange, dark energy. She barely even noticed Willow's protests
and Xander's gape, just did what she had to do--climbed out and followed
Faith was leaning back against the warm brick wall, her smile wide and
lazy and showing off her dimples. She tipped her head back and leered
at Buffy, smoothly, blatantly, again with the daring--now, daring Buffy
to call her on checking her out. Buffy didn't say anything this time because
she'd never had the nerve to say anything before. The first time she'd
noticed Faith's eyes doing the leisurely once-over, she hadn't believed
it; now, it was just par for the course, just Faith, and Buffy shivered
under the appreciative weight of her stare and ignored it.
As much as she could.
"Come on, girlfriend, we got vamps to slay," Faith said, and led the way.
She was walking way faster than she needed to. They both were. Buffy was
psyched up on the feel of Faith's eagerness, the amazing high of anticipating
the slay. Adrenaline pumped through her and she fought not to break out
into an exultant run, knowing that Faith would match her, would challenge
her and push her until they were breathless and aching and yet still filled
to the brim with that strange desire. It was partly the Slayer-instincts
in her that ached for the kill, and partly it was the way Faith--
Well, it was a Slayer thing. Even Willow wouldn't understand the death-need
of it, the way every vamp exploding into a choking cloud around her stake
made her almost complete. Almost. It was a thing she sort of understood
about Angel--he felt the same way about blood. Every time he drank from
his little hospital blood-packets, he was doing what the demon inside
The demon wanted more. The demon wanted death and pain and the hot spurting
feel of a torn carotid artery, pumping out bittersweet blood in time with
the last of a victim's screams. Angel was burying a part of himself, denying
that he still wanted that. But she knew he did--she could sense it, every
time his kisses moved over her neck and he would jerk away like she burned
him. And he would end it, there, tell her it was late, she should be sleeping,
and she knew that when she was out of sight he would be running--running
away from her. From her blood.
And until Faith arrived, Buffy had been running as well.
She'd hated that death-lust inside her. She pushed it aside and pretended
slaying was only a job, a chore. She'd hidden the quick thrill of killing
underneath a barrage of puns and quips. Like it didn't mean anything.
Like she wasn't living for it, with it, in it.
Almost. Because she'd never given in completely. Not yet.
Sometimes, in the beginning, when she was out slaying with Merrick and
then Giles, she would make her kill and then turn to them only to see
them staring at her strangely, like they were wondering about her.wondering
what she was truly feeling. They were probably looking for signs of it,
whatever it was--the desire that filled her in hot, shuddering waves after
a long night's patrol. The desire she fought against when she was alone,
in bed, in the shower.
Not that there was anything wrong with it, just--she wasn't like that.
Oh, but Faith was.
She sauntered along the street like a goddess lowering herself enough
to appear on the earth. She was wearing leather like a second skin, even
in the California heat. She was probably wet with sweat inside those pants,
although the filmy barely-there shirt might be compensating. Every couple
of blocks she'd drop back two steps behind Buffy for a moment, and Buffy
could practically feel her eyes, like hands, roaming over her ass and
then down between--
Faith had taught her that the slay-lust wasn't bad, wasn't evil, in the
same way that Angel's need for blood was. But Buffy knew she was the better
slayer because she kept it under control. Faith was wild and careless,
chasing down her high however she could, no matter what danger she put
herself in. Kendra had been the exact opposite--too controlled, like a
Watcher's experiment in trying to rein in a Slayer's natural tendencies.
And those two extremes tore at Buffy, like one big tug-of-war, the wanting
on one hand and the caution on the other.
The more she slayed with Faith, though, the more the desire was winning.
Right now--right at this exact moment--she knew that if a vampire appeared,
she would stake it with a smile on her face and a quivering pleasure curling
between her legs.
"Here," Faith said. She was holding a stake, its grip shiny with long
familiarity in her hands. She was pointing at a manhole cover, and all
at once Buffy felt like she'd been doused in ice water. Clarity and prudence
"How many?" she asked.
"Six, I think," Faith said. "Come on, don't tell me you're scared?"
"Six to two? In the sewers? And you're not even sure--it could be more."
Faith shrugged, that devil-may-care gesture, and flashed another dimple-showing
grin. She looked Buffy up and down again, slowly, lingering in all the
right places. "I may not die happy," she said. "But it will have been
close." She kicked the manhole cover off. It hit the pavement with a grand,
ringing clang that would probably warn every vamp in a mile-wide radius.
"Your call, girlfriend," Faith said, and dropped down into the sewer.
Lust and fear. Being good or being free. Sounds of combat drifted up,
Faith's voice yelling curses, and before Buffy could make a rational decision,
she was falling into the dark.
A vamp was on her immediately, huge and incredibly strong. Buffy felt
the tightness in her gut that screamed danger at her, that told her she
was surrounded, that was her Slayer-self tensing at the feel of vampires.
She lashed out with a kick to his kneecap that sent him stumbling back
with a growl. She launched herself at him, her punches exploding in his
face, his ribs. She felt the crunch when she broke his nose, blood streaming
down his face. His tongue darted out to lap at it, and he grinned at her,
showing fangs. Buffy grabbed him when he rushed her and sent him over
her hip, flying into the concrete wall. Before he could rise, she slammed
her stake into his back. She felt it in slow motion, as it went through
his clothes, piercing his skin, slipping through the bands of muscle,
cracking a rib--and, finally, sinking into his heart. With a sound like
a sigh, he dissolved into a dusty skeleton and then into nothingness.
And it was good.
She was grabbed from behind next, thick arms cutting off her breath and
squeezing her ribs. She drove an elbow backwards, then leaned forwards
to throw the next vamp over her head and down on her back. He leapt to
his feet and swiped a punch at her that caught her high on her right cheek.
Her eye watered, but not enough to blind her, and she swung a roundhouse
kick into his temple, knocking him for a loop. He grabbed at her feet
and pulled her to the ground beside him, and she cracked her elbow on
the slimy shit-smelling floor. She scrambled closer to him, switching
her stake to her other hand, wrestling him until she had his hand up behind
his back. She twisted, hard, pressing at the same time, and felt more
than heard the dull snap of his collarbone. He howled, all the fight gone
out of him, and she drove her stake home. She was left sitting in his
dust and a pool of filthy who-knew-what, in her favourite pants, no less.
Her Slayer-rage was trying to emerge, clawing at the cage she'd imposed
on it, but she forced herself to stop and see what was happening.
Faith was fighting the last vampire, and taking a beating. The tight confines
of the sewer were no place for her wide, sweeping style, and she'd already
taken the short end of the stick from the three she'd fought first. Buffy
waited until she saw an opening and shot to her feet, her stake already
pointed in the right direction, and she impaled the vamp when Faith's
kick sent him flying backwards.
The skeleton exploded into dust between them. Faith stared at her through
the fading cloud of grit, her face twisted into an almost-snarl, her chest
heaving with her rasping breath, her hands twitching around the stake
she still held. Buffy was shaking, the slay-lust shrieking through her
body, the ferocious energy singing like fire along her nerves. She held
herself still with an effort, but she couldn't stop herself from staring
at Faith, the dull flush climbing her cheeks, her pupils dilated to their
full extent here in the sewer's dimness. Buffy could feel the connection
between them flaring brighter than it ever had, sending cascades of ecstatic
sparks down her back. She was wet with desire, and she could smell it
in the air, feel it in the way that Faith's eyes were moving over her.
There was something horribly, wonderfully wild in Faith's gaze.
Something that said, I want you.
And something in her wanted to answer.
Instead, she asked, "You hungry? We could maybe grab some burgers."
Faith's glance flicked away. "Yeah. That's cool." Her voice was low and
husky. When she looked back, there was only the usual lazy appreciation
in her eyes. Just Faith. Just good friends. Nothing strange going on with
them, not that there was anything wrong with that, it was just that she--well,
she wasn't like that. It wasn't even an issue. Which is why she didn't
even really need to be thinking about it.
Buffy felt a surge of--something--go through her, as she bottled up all
her Slayer instincts once more. Probably it was relief. She was relieved.
She loved Angel; even though they could never--well, but that wasn't the
point. She loved him. Not that that had anything to do with.this. There
was no connection at all between the way Faith looked in her tight leather
pants and cleavage-baring tank top and Buffy's relationship with Angel.
So, of course it was relief.
Because it sure as hell wasn't disappointment.
You can read me like a trashy book
I'm barely keeping in these rages
So far, so clean, but I'm torn between,
See, I'm torn between these pages, pages.
I can hear the angel on my shoulder
And the devil on your lips.
The music throbbed through the walls of the Bronze, the deep bass drumming
an impossible-to-sit-still-for beat. Faith grinned over her shoulder at
Buffy as they swung through the doors, already dancing as she pushed through
the crowd to get closer to the speakers. The hot press of dance-sweaty
bodies warmed her after the cool night outside. Buffy let Faith shove
open a space for them to gyrate within the heavy Friday night crush. The
thunderous blare of band and audience felt like a solid thing, inside
her, pulsing in time with her blood, and Buffy gave herself up to the
music. She moved on instinct, feeling the brief brushes of warm strangers
against her mostly-bare skin. The heat and the flashing lights whirled
together, feeding a frenzy within her to move, to touch, to dance as hard
as she could until she was panting for air.
Faith lifted her hands through her hair and slid them down her body to
the music's pounding rhythm, inviting everyone within fifty feet to check
her out. She led their eyes down from the black silk cloth she'd worn
as an excuse for a top, to her tight-in-all-the-right-places leather pants,
to the heavy combat boots that didn't match the outfit so much as they
matched Faith. Buffy could feel the room gasp...or maybe it was her, releasing
a breath she hadn't known she was holding.
Boys surrounded them, but somehow Faith's elbows managed to slam into
them if they got too close. Still, the guys crowded in, but they were
only obstacles to dance around, touches to avoid. Buffy closed her eyes
and ignored them, stamping her heels down on their toes if they tried
too hard to cop a feel. Even dancing blind, she knew every time it was
Faith's fingers stroking up and down her bare back, Faith's hand settling
on her hip to guide her closer for a second, for a beat, for an eternity.
Every now and then, the animal fervor of the people around them pressed
them together, so closely that Faith's swaying hips might ram into her
ass, randomly, accidentally, the brief friction making her tremble. Even
in the breathless heat, Faith's touch sent shivers through her.
But that was just the Slayer connection. If it weren't for that, Buffy
could be dancing with anybody. It could have been Angel...and she was
beginning to wish it was. She wanted to--well, to see him. She hadn't
dropped in on him lately, and they hadn't even gone on a date since that
disastrous French lunch movie. Buffy shoved away the guilt that thought
provoked. Tonight was about fun.
And, really, Faith was miles ahead of Angel in the having-fun category.
Buffy felt the jangle of her vamp-alarm and opened her eyes, searching
for the source of the sudden tension low in her stomach. Faith was looking,
too, but she didn't pause in her dancing--if anything, her movements became
even sexier. She was perfectly happy seducing the undead before staking
them. Buffy twisted around, peering into the dark corners of the room,
wondering where the danger was.
Angel was standing in the shadow of one of the pillars, watching her with
a frown on his face, his shoulders hunched. As soon as he noticed that
she'd seen him, he moved as though to leave. Buffy rushed across the floor,
dismissing the boys who'd glommed on to her during the dance.
She jumped up on Angel, wrapping her legs around his waist and locking
her ankles. "Hey! You're not leaving, are you?"
Angel glanced over at Faith. "I saw you making friends."
She clasped her hands behind his neck. "I like you." She leaned in for
a kiss, the coldness of his lips and tongue contrasting sharply with her
pent-up heat. Her body was going crazy, the scratchy-twitch of her Slayer
part demanding that she kill it kill it killit killitkillit, the pre-slay
adrenaline flooding through her, mingling with the damp ache between her
legs. Buffy gripped him tighter with her thighs, deliberately humping
him right here in the middle of the Bronze. She felt him stir against
her crotch and did it again. He was getting harder, but he stopped cooperating
in the kiss and dropped his arms from around her waist, so that only her
strength kept her clinging to him.
"You're not afraid of little old me, are you?" she asked.
"Buffy..." He was frowning fiercely at the air beside her left ear, his
voice strained. "You know I can't..."
"I can sense this is a business trip." With a pout and a sigh, she released
her legs and slid down him, feeling his erection pressed against her stomach.
Angel stepped back. "We'd better sit down."
Buffy turned her back on him and headed for the couches. Angel followed
her, and she tried to bury the feeling that a vampire was creeping up
on her. What the hell was going on with her Slayer instincts? Angel always
set off her vamp-dar, but never this much. Her goddamn spidey sense couldn't
tell good from evil, just vamps from humans, and right now that was doing
more harm than good. Her stomach was doing flips, and she wished she were
holding a stake--and it was just Angel.
Angel dragging along his matched set of emotional baggage. What did he
think, that she didn't know exactly what the risks were if she asked him
to--well--help her out? She wasn't ignorant. She knew damn well there
were things they could do that wouldn't make him too happy. Hanging out
with Faith was an education and a half as far as that went. But what could
she do? Just grab him and whisper in his ear exactly what she wanted?
She snuggled next to him on the couch and wondered if she had the nerve.
Faith would. Hell, Faith could probably give Angel pointers. Heat surged
through her at the thought. Okay, she could admit it, she was horny. One
dance, one kiss, an afternoon of some pretty intense slaying, and she
was ready to jump out of her skin.
Before she could say anything, Angel shifted to the far end of the couch.
"It's Balthazar," he said.
"Dead demon," she answered. Faith was dancing with some random guy now,
hanging off his neck, her head thrown back as she rode his thigh. Angel
could be carved out of some broody rock for all it looked like he cared
about being here. "We have his amulet."
"He's not as dead as you think," Angel said. "Word on the street puts
him in the packing warehouse on Devereau. I spoke to Giles, but he said
you gave the amulet to someone."
"Ah-ha!" Wesley stepped in front of them, hands on his hips. "There you
Buffy leaned sideways so she could see the dance floor behind him. Faith
was practically raping that scrawny idiot she was dancing with.
"...and I think we ought to establish that if you're going out slaying,
you leave me a number at which I can contact you."
Buffy glanced up at Wesley. She seized him by the lapel and yanked him
closer, ignoring his girly shriek. She pulled the amulet out of his pocket.
"Walking around with that thing is like wearing a target," Angel said.
"I'll keep it safe...actually safe," Buffy said, with an irritated look
"It might be better if I took it," Angel said. He sounded like he was
trying to reason with a two-year-old.
Fury slid through her, and Buffy clenched her fists around the amulet,
feeling the diamonds digging into her skin. "You don't think I can handle
it?" she said sweetly.
Angel's lips thinned with anger. "You've been acting reckless lately,"
Buffy glared at him. "Reckless?"
He refused to meet her gaze. "Not like yourself." He paused, scowling
at the dance floor. "More like Faith."
Fury boiled over, but Buffy refused to let it show in her voice. "I'll
do some recon on Balthazar."
Wesley looked back and forth between them. "If I may...Balthazar is dead.
Am I the only one who remembers that?"
They both ignored him. Angel stood up. "I'll tell Giles where you're going,
then I'll join you."
"Don't rush on my account."
"Buffy..." Angel sighed. "Why torture ourselves when we know what a loss
of control would mean?"
Buffy stared at him for a moment, then brushed past him to grab Faith
off the dance floor. She felt him leave out the front door by the fading
ping of her vamp-dar. Did it never occur to him that maybe she'd like
to lose control for once? She wasn't the one who had to worry--her soul
was firmly attached. This afternoon in the sewers she'd nearly let herself
be carried away, losing herself in the slaying. Hours later and she was
still on the knife-edge of the struggle, the killing-need and the hot
crashing want of the dance balanced against the sensible good-girl she
was supposed to be.
And at this rate she was going to be that sensible supposed-to-be person
Well, fuck that.
"Faith!" she yelled over the music. "We gotta go!"
Faith grinned at her, still hanging off her partner's neck. Buffy grabbed
her by her free arm and gave a half-serious yank to detach them. The guy
protested, but Faith only waved and said, "Call me!"
Buffy shouldered her way through the throng, pulling Faith by the hand
even after she started following voluntarily. They stepped out into the
relative cool of the alley and Buffy dropped Faith's hand, trying to shake
the tingles. She paced while Faith leaned back against the door and lit
"You doing okay, girlfriend?" she asked. "You're looking tense."
Buffy wanted to jump up and down to get rid of some of the excess energy
that Angel's appearance had caused. Instead she kicked a trashcan, nearly
putting her foot through its side and sending it crashing into a wall
twenty feet away. "I'm fine."
Faith nodded and blew a smoke ring. "Okay, no big, I was just asking.
So what's the what?"
"Balthazar's still alive. We're going to take a look."
"Just a look?"
Buffy whirled around. How could Faith be so calm after all this--the slaying,
and the dancing, and--and everything? Why was she suddenly the one who
couldn't stay still for two seconds? But the tip of Faith's cigarette
was wobbling, and she was smiling like she couldn't stop, her eyes gleaming
underneath the kohl-dark makeup and the alley's shadows. She took another
drag, her breath coming in a quick, shuddery sigh.
"Yeah. Just a look," Buffy said. "We're not going to do anything reckless."
"I shoulda known," Faith said.
"What the hell's that supposed to mean?"
Faith shrugged and pitched her butt in a shower of sparks. "Just that
you're all about the window-shopping, B."
"We'd need more fire power than none," Buffy said, trying to hold down
the rage that kept wanting to take her over. She did not need any of Faith's
insinuations. Not now. "And Angel's going to join us later."
"Who-fucking-hoo," Faith said. "Let's motor, then."
Buffy led the way to Devereau, not paying anymore attention to their route
than necessary. She couldn't think--she was too busy playing over her
conversation with Angel, and it blurred in her head, cut through with
the static of her stupid (kill it) vamp alarm.
Faith touched her arm and she nearly answered with an instinctive punch.
She caught herself at the last instant, and Faith smiled faintly.
"Check it out, B," she said, pointing. "That is too good."
Buffy raised an eyebrow at the sign that read Meyer's Sport and Tackle.
"You're not seriously going to..."
Faith was already across the street. With a powerful kick, she shattered
the main display window and climbed in through the sharded glass. Buffy
stayed where she was, paralyzed. She hated the itchy danger-feel of being
without a stake, but she'd meant for this to be recon only. She knew she
was too close to the edge, and if she got her hands on a weapon then there
would be no more excuses, no more holding back.
You've been acting reckless lately.
"When are you gonna get this, B?" Faith called, appearing at the window
with a long-bow in her hands. "Life for a Slayer is very simple: want...take...have."
Buffy walked across the street and ducked under the slivered remains of
the plate glass window. Faith grinned at her, already tucking a pair of
nunchucks into her pants.
The knife case shone under the display lights. Buffy stepped up to it,
and her fist shot out before she was aware, smashing the glass and catching
the knife as it fell.
"Now how about slaying that Baltha-whatzit?" Faith asked. "New Olympic
category? Most dead vamps in one day."
You haven't been acting like yourself...more like Faith...
Buffy stared at the knife in her hand. "Tomorrow...we'll have Giles and
maybe even Willow--she's got these protection spells she wants to try..."
"Fuck that," Faith said. "You want to put 'em in danger? You said Angel
was gonna back us up."
We know what a loss of control would mean...
Buffy gripped the knife's handle. "Are there more of those arrows?"
Police sirens wailed in the distance, getting closer.
"Come on, B, let's get out of here," Faith said. She grabbed Buffy's hand
and hauled her out, running back to the shadows of the alley across the
Buffy looked back once, to see two cops drawing guns as they entered the
store. Then she was running at Faith's side, the knife's grip steady in
her sweaty palm. There was no guilt--there was only the Slayer. She matched
Faith's stride, tried to pull ahead, but neither one could outrace the
other. Excitement thrummed through her, like a dance beat, like lightning;
electric and terrifying and something she was finally ready to move with.
A hot spurt of sparks swept over her every time Faith brushed against
her. In all the world, there was only the two of them, hot and quick and
real, want meeting want.
Buffy's spidey sense jarred her an instant before the first vampire dropped
down from the fire escape above them. There was no thought before action:
she and Faith moved in tandem, kicking his feet out from under him and
slamming an arrow into his chest a second later. Faith was laughing, breathless,
as the breeze whipped the dust away, and Buffy found herself doing the
same. This felt good; this felt right; and Faith's eyes were wide and
dark and Buffy could nearly count her heartbeats by the pulse jumping
in her throat.
"If they keep coming one at a time this is gonna be a piece of cake,"
Faith said, bouncing on her toes and making mock-thrusts with her arrow.
Buffy nodded, took a deep breath, smelling the sea and the stink of the
packing plant and the gravedust of the dead vamp. "Next one's mine," she
challenged, and sprinted off down the alley, Faith at her heels.
The next vamp came at them faster, the third and fourth attacked together,
the fifth got in a lucky kick to her ribs that nearly knocked her wind
out. Buffy's body buzzed with the constant sense of vampires lurking.
She'd just staked the sixth when a hand landed on her shoulder, and she
automatically bent over and yanked the arm, sending another vampire flying
into a dumpster. Faith raised her arrow and plunged it down towards the
vamp's chest when Buffy saw his face.
"Faith! No!" she yelled.
The dust seemed to erupt in slow motion, starting where Faith's stake
plunged into his heart, expanding in a clogging storm of powder, skin
and then skeleton exploding into nothingness, and the last thing Buffy
saw was the agonized look on Angel's face before he died.
She says, "Where is the place that the good souls go?
Where they take away, take away, the pain that they know?
Where are the angels, angels, angels?"
I cannot tell you, my little darling.
All my faith has fallen, fallen, fallen.
The world slammed to a standstill.
The alley was empty. There was no sign, no evidence, nothing to show that
Angel had been there a moment before. There was only a drift of ash in
the wind; a scent of dead roses and freshly turned earth. The smell of
cemeteries. Angel's smell.
Faith backed up a step, holding out her empty hands. The arrow had dusted
as well. "Jesus, B--Buffy. I--I didn't know--"
Buffy stared at the oil-stained dumpster, the indentation in the metal
where Angel's body had slammed into it--where she'd thrown him. Her chest
burned, her heartbeat pounded in her wrists like a hammer. She couldn't
breathe. She hurt, every bruise or slash clamouring for attention. She
shook her head, slowly, once, twice, then turned to look at Faith.
Faith stared back at her, her eyes wide. Something there. Regret, yes.
And...fear. But, also--pleasure. The death-lust.
Slayer. Vampire. Dead vampire.
Buffy crouched down beside the dumpster and reached out to touch the ground
where he'd been. Her fingers were shaking. The grime coating the asphalt
felt slick, gritty, cold. The wind kicked up sharp gusts of dirt, chilling
her now that she wasn't running. The feel of vampires lurking was fading,
was already gone. No more Eliminati, not tonight. They'd go back to their
master and tell him how they'd lost, again. The satisfaction in that thought
seemed very far away.
"Buffy--shit, I'm sorry--"
A touch on her shoulder. Warm. Trembling.
This time she did nothing to stop the instinctive attack.
She launched herself out of her crouch and smashed a right uppercut into
Faith's jaw. The shock on her face was almost comic, filling Buffy with
a vicious gratification. This was desire. She wanted to hurt, to destroy,
anything, everything her body was begging for. She plowed her fist into
Faith's gut, doubling her over. Pleasure thrummed through her, a vibration
too deep to hear. Buffy grabbed Faith's head and pulled it down, bringing
up her knee into her face.
She missed. Faith shoved her leg aside, spinning her around, then kicked
the back of her knee and dropped her on her back. Pain flared, pale next
to the red glare of her fury. Buffy flipped to her feet and drove forward
with a kick that clipped Faith's thigh even as she was backing up. Seeing
Faith limp filled Buffy with a savage joy, spurring her forward. Faith's
hands were up defensively, a bruise already showing on her chin, almost
as dark as her makeup, her lower lip swollen as if with kisses.
Buffy rushed her, throwing wild punches, not caring where they landed.
Pain roared in her knuckles with every hit, satisfying yet feeding her
hunger. Faith blocked most of them, making no attempt to fight back, only
to thrust her away. Buffy fought blind, the world blurred by tears. Cold
air corroded her lungs, and she couldn't breathe, couldn't breathe. Lust
stormed through her, every wish she'd never made, every urge she'd never
given in to. She snapped a kick at Faith's chest, but Faith caught her
foot and pushed, sending her sprawling again.
Faith bent over, one arm hugging her ribs, panting. "Buffy--what the hell..."
Buffy wanted to stop, and she wanted to go on forever. Faith watched her
like she was a rabid dog. Buffy lay on the ground where she'd been thrown,
sobbing. Faith wasn't--wouldn't let herself be--a part of this. Her eyes
flicked from side to side, searching for an escape. Behind the bruises,
her makeup was smudged and running. The wind whipped at her hair, leaving
it a dark curly tangle. Faith clenched her hands into fists, but she was
quaking, her whole body trembling. Not with fear. No. She wasn't afraid.
Faith was holding herself back.
Furious, Buffy scrambled to her feet and lunged at Faith, crashing with
her into the wall, their bodies pressed together. Faith's breath exploded
out, a wash of cigarette smoke. They were both slick with sweat, smeared
with the alley's filth. Buffy held Faith's upper arms, her fingers digging
into her flesh, shivering as each harsh pant brushed Faith's breasts against
Buffy squeezed her eyes shut, leaning her forehead against Faith's shoulder,
her tears hot against their chilled skin. Faith was still, but her breathing
grew ragged, the tension melting out of her muscles. Buffy bit her lip,
concentrating on the electric feel of her silk top sliding across her
nipples as they moved. With a sound--some sound, a whimper, a word, Faith's
name--Buffy turned her head and nipped at the pulse fluttering in Faith's
neck. Faith jerked, and Buffy's hands tightened automatically on her arms.
There would be bruises there, the shape of her fingers, but Buffy was
long past caring.
She let go with her teeth and sucked at the spot, moving her lips over
Faith's neck and jaw. Faith moved her head, not trying to get away, but
not trying to get closer, either. Anger drifted beneath Buffy's desire,
a dark undercurrent, and she bit Faith again, harder. Faith's breath burst
out next to her ear, making her shiver. Her mouth glided lightly over
the bruise from her first punch, moving away again. Buffy flicked her
tongue out, feeling the heat of blood throbbing through Faith's puffed
"Buffy..." The word was whispered nearly into her mouth.
Buffy froze. Faith pulled back a hair's breadth, her eyes only reflected
pools in the darkness. "What the hell, Buffy? Why are you fucking with
Buffy moved closer, pressing Faith harder against the wall, feeling the
frantic gush of pleasure between her legs. "Because I want to."
Faith turned her head, looking away. "The hell you do."
Buffy let go of Faith's arm and snaked her hand down her front, over the
zipper of her leather pants. Squeezed. "Tell me you don't get off on this,"
she said. Mocking. Harsh.
Faith grabbed Buffy's arm and swung her around, too fast for Buffy to
respond, trapping her in a full nelson. Buffy lurched forward. Faith followed
the motion and then hauled her back. Buffy threw her head into Faith's
face, but Faith ducked away. She squirmed madly in Faith's arms, fighting
and writhing. She didn't know what she was struggling for, to escape from
Faith's hold or to get as much friction from the encounter as she could.
She panted out curses, thrusting her ass into Faith's crotch. Finally,
exhausted, she stopped, fighting her desire to melt backwards into Faith's
"You don't know what the hell you want," Faith whispered into her ear,
her voice rough. "I just fucking staked your boyfriend after you threw
him at me. You think you can screw me over?" She loosened her hold with
one arm, slithering her fingers down Buffy's front, mimicking her actions
from before. Her hand pushed beneath the waistband of Buffy's pants. Buffy
gasped as fire shot through her. Faith's fingers slipped easily into her
soaking pussy, rubbing small, gentle circles around her clit with her
thumb. Buffy twitched and moaned, twisting closer to Faith's hand. She
could feel her orgasm building quickly, its sweet, hurtful edge knifing
through her thighs, her stomach. She opened her mouth to scream--
And Faith pulled her hand away. She shoved Buffy and stepped back at the
same time, so that they stood facing each other. By whatever instinct,
they were both crouched into fighting stances, fists raised. Faith lifted
her hand to her mouth and sucked Buffy's juices off her fingers one at
a time, watching Buffy's eyes the entire time.
"Bitch," Buffy hissed, vicious with frustrated longing.
"Whatever, girlfriend," Faith said. "How would you feel tomorrow knowing
you'd been fucked five minutes after Angel bit it?"
Buffy shrugged angrily. She hung on the brink of coming, needing something,
anything, to get her off. Needing Faith. She was still coiled, tight,
ready to lash out in any direction. Most likely, Faith's direction. But
the cold and the standing were bleeding away the slay-lust, and she was
falling. She tried not to look at the empty space near the dumpster. "Where
do you get off telling me what to feel?"
"I don't," Faith said. "And believe me, I'm not happy about it." She relaxed,
slowly, keeping a sharp eye on Buffy's fists. "This ends. Now."
Buffy dropped her fists. She let her head fall, and pressed the heel of
one hand into her pelvic bone, shuddering. "Please, Faith..."
Faith stepped forward, backing her up until she was leaning back into
the frigid metal. She looked Buffy up and down, the familiar wolfish leer.
"What, B?" she asked. "You want me to fuck you? You want to come for me,
you want me to make you scream?" She smiled, consideringly, her hand hovering
a fraction of an inch above Buffy's collarbone. Buffy could feel the heat
of her hands, her body, so close, so fucking close...
"Yes," she breathed, tilting her head back against the dumpster, baring
Faith's hand closed on her neck and squeezed, lightly, but with all the
threat of her Slayer strength. "It'll end like shit," she said, stroking
her thumb over Buffy's pulse. Her eyes were as dark as oil slicks, and
Buffy could see her wavering--the lust, the wanting.
"I don't care," Buffy said. "Get some, get gone--that's your motto."
Faith's hand spasmed shut, cutting off Buffy's breath for an agonizing
instant. She stepped back. "The answer's no," she said. "Not like this.
Never again like this."
"I--" Buffy stopped, wondering what never again meant, then forced it
out: "I need it."
Faith turned away. "Angel was a nice guy. I'm sorry. Maybe tomorrow that'll
mean something to you. I'm taking you home, and if that means hauling
your ass over my shoulder, then that's how it'll be."
Buffy shook her head. Her eyes skittered over the dusty alley ground,
again. "I can't--"
Faith looked over her shoulder. "You need to."
Buffy slumped back against the dumpster, closing her eyes. She was sweaty
and dirty and sore; she could still feel her body singing on its slay-high,
the desire washing over her. And Angel was dead. Tears burned salty trails
down her cheeks. She felt Faith take her hand, warm and solid, squeezing
even though her knuckles were split and bruised.
"Buffy. It's time to go home."
Buffy allowed herself to be led.
I stutter like a broken clutch
When you touch me too much
My tongue gets twisted in your twirl
You say I'm not your kind of girl.
What kind of girl should I be?
The kind of girl who doesn't see
That you're looking at me
Like you want to be seeing someone else
The sun broke through the stained glass windows, splashing colour over
the dark wood paneling of the church. It was empty and dim. Silent.
Buffy walked up the aisle, the train of her gown hissing over the carpet.
Angel stood in the shadows by the altar, waiting for her.
She reached out for him, took his icy hands in hers. The priest blessed
them, named them man and wife. She raised her lips to be kissed. Angel
led her past the pews.
The double doors stood open. Blinding sunlight streamed through, white-hot,
glaring. She tried to stop, but Angel only smiled and tugged her forward.
He disappeared. Buffy closed her eyes; she felt the puff of dust sting
When she opened her eyes Faith stood beside her, holding her hand. They
walked together into daylight.
Faith opened the hotel room's door. It was immense, gorgeous. Blood-red
satin sheets covered the bed, wide bay windows opened above the town.
Below them and far away, the setting sun faded into a molten bronze sea.
Faith raised an eyebrow at Buffy, then swept her off her feet, carrying
her across the threshold.
Faith let her down and leapt into the center of the bed, stretching spread-eagled,
black leather on red lace. Closed her eyes. Lay as quietly as death.
Buffy stood next to the bed. It was bare, white, stark. The slow hum of
machinery was interrupted by the pattern of electric heartbeats. Beep.
Faith was pale and drawn, her arms hooked to IVs, her breathing a mechanical
whoosh of air down a tube in her mouth.
Buffy reached for Faith. The knife she held stabbed deeply into Faith's
flesh, and blood spurted from her stomach. The gray hospital room filled
with its coppersweet stench. The sheets turned crimson.
"You killed her for me," Angel said. He stood on Faith's other side, holding
The knife was wet and slick in her hands. Warm with Faith's blood.
The heart monitor stuttered, blipped, repeated. Shuddered. Stopped.
The knife was a stake, and it sank into Angel's chest like a stone into
a calm pool; the ripples were the dust of his death.
Buffy killed him, and when it was over, Faith was still dead.
"Buffy! Honey, wake up."
Buffy opened her eyes, squinting in the sudden flare of light. "Mom?"
Her mom sat on her bed, brushing her hair off her face with gentle fingers.
"You were crying in your sleep. Bad dreams?"
Buffy rubbed her eyes, surprised to find her cheeks wet with tears. "Yeah,"
she whispered. "Dreams."
"How about some waffles? Nothing cheers you up like waffles." Mom smiled,
but Buffy could see the worry in her eyes. "You and Faith certainly got
back late last night. Not that I stayed up! And I'm not going to ask boring
Mom-questions about your slaying."
Buffy smiled back, but her face felt stiff. She felt sick to her stomach,
and the mention of waffles made her want to gag. She closed her eyes and
lay back, covering her face with her arm. "I--I'm not too hungry."
"Are you sick?" Mom asked next, leaning forward to press the back of her
hand to Buffy's cheek. "No fever."
"No, I'm just--not hungry right now." Buffy clenched a fist, concentrating
on the pain of her fingernails digging into her palm. Why couldn't her
mom just leave her alone? She could feel tears tightening her throat again,
the scene in the alley playing out against closed eyelids. She felt drained,
weak, empty; there was nothing left of last night's Slayer heat. She was
back in control. She wanted to be relieved, but there was no room for
it; all she could feel was the nothingness where the want had been.
"All right," Mom said. "But...if you need anything...?"
"Yeah," Buffy said, not meaning it. The weight lifted from her bed, and
Mom left her room, closing the door softly. Buffy rolled on her side and
let the tears come, fighting to keep quiet, hugging Mr. Gordo in a death
grip. She wanted to be crying for Angel, for losing him, but the face
that wouldn't leave her mind was Faith's...
Faith, bruised and hurt, looking up at her from the bottom of the porch
steps while Buffy opened the front door. Faith, still standing on the
lawn, leaning against the tree below her window as Buffy got ready for
bed. Faith, glancing over her shoulder one last time as she left, her
face pale in the moonlight, while Buffy sat on her windowsill and tried
to wake up from a horrible dream.
She couldn't wake from reality, and her Slayer dreams were worse.
Did Faith have the dreams?
Don't think about Faith.
Why not? You nearly--if she hadn't--
Don't think about Faith.
Buffy threw Mr. Gordo at the wall as hard as she could. She had to do
something, anything, to stop the thinking. She showered, got dressed,
picked up Mr. Gordo and pushed some of the fluff back inside the split
seam. She was still holding him, trying to keep him in one piece, when
the doorbell rang.
Her heart leapt, wondering if it might be Faith. What could she say to
her? And did she have time to change? But there were no Slayer-tingles,
and then Willow's voice was greeting her Mom, and she remembered that
Willow had been excited about meeting her today. Buffy closed her eyes
and braced herself against Willow's happiness.
There was a knock, then Willow popped her head around the door, a half-anxious,
half-hopeful look on her face. "Hey, Buffy!" she chirped.
Buffy tensed against Willow's cheerfulness, and smiled back. "Hi, Willow."
"Look what I brought!" Willow plopped down beside her, dropping a sachet
of herbs. "Smell."
Buffy stared at the packet for moment. "Lavender," she said, trying to
sound like she was interested. The tone fell flat, and Willow gave her
a hurt look before going on as if everything was fine.
"It's a little something we witches like to call a protection spell,"
she said, putting on a big proud smile. As if Buffy had asked. "I might
be the first Wiccan to do all my casting in minty-fresh scent!"
"That's great, Will." Buffy smiled again. She felt so fucking fake doing
it. It was a wonder her face didn't crack and fall off.
Willow nodded, but all her puppyish enthusiasm was gone. "So...what's
up tonight? With the slayage? Are we going after Balthazar? 'Cause Giles
"No." Buffy fiddled with the woven bag. She looked up in time to see the
hurt look flit across Willow's face again, though she tried to hide it.
She probably thought Buffy was abandoning her. "No, I mean, I'm not going
slaying tonight. I can't..."
Can't risk losing control again. Can't risk letting the Slayer take control.
Can't risk going out with Faith.
"But, Buffy, as long as you have his amulet he's going to come after you.
I thought you and Faith checked out his evil lair last night, and we--"
Buffy pushed herself off the bed and walked to the window, staring out.
Evil lair. Like it was all some comic book game, like it wasn't for real
every time she patrolled, as if people didn't die because of her-- She
realized she was crushing the herb-bag in her hand and felt tears start
when she saw the scatter of dried leaves and cloth that was all that was
left of it. "I didn't. We didn't," she said. No. I was too busy coming
on to Faith to do my job.
Just a job. Just a fuck in an alley. Just Faith.
Willow stuttered out a few more "buts" and then settled on, "What were
you--what were you guys doing then?" She sounded nervous, like maybe she
didn't want to hear the real answer to that question--as if she knew what
the real answer was. Or maybe all Buffy was hearing was the sad jealousy
in Willow's voice, because she'd been out with Faith instead of her.
Buffy crossed her arms, holding herself tight, holding herself in. Nothing
left to let go of. Nothing left of her. "We--Faith...she staked Angel,"
she said, her voice cracking. Accidentally! her mind insisted, but she
didn't say it. And it was my fault. I did it. If I hadn't been so fucking
"Oh, my God!" Willow jumped up and rushed over to her, turning her around.
"And I'm going on about protection spells...which are stupid anyway...I
mean, I thought something was wrong, but--oh, Buffy, I'm so sorry. Are
you okay? No, dumb question, of course you're not, and--oh. I suck at
best-friendness. You can fire me if you want. But don't. No--I--what happened?
Did Faith--no, shut up, offer silent sympathy, or--Buffy...oh my God..."
"She staked him," Buffy whispered, staring over Willow's shoulder, out
at the lawn where Faith had stood last night. For how long? An hour? Two?
Why? Because of what Buffy had--had done to her? She shifted, aware of
a low heat starting between her thighs. Because of what they'd almost
Not like this. Never again like this.
"Buffy..." Willow peered at her, touching her arm. "Faith's--I mean, you
know how she is. And you, I don't even know what to say. Is Angel really--gone
gone? There's nothing we can..." Willow trailed off, gesturing vaguely
to finish the thought, and shrugged. "A spell, maybe?"
"I never knew why he came back," Buffy said. What was the point? She killed
him because she had to, and he came back. Something brought him back.
There had to be a reason. Was it just so that he could die again, uselessly,
"Here...sit down." Willow patted her gently, herding her to the bed. She
sat down, and Willow faced her cross-legged, holding her hands. Buffy
stared at their clasped hands. Faith's hands were warmer...stronger...and
her touch was--
Buffy felt her face warm, and she pulled away from Willow's grasp. "I'm
sorry. I can't--I can't think. I just--"
There was a sudden tingle in the pit of her stomach, and Buffy looked
out the window again. Faith was striding across the lawn, her hands stuffed
into her jeans pockets, staring at her feet. Her face was veiled by the
long, loose fall of her hair. She took the porch steps in one leap. Buffy
forced herself to stay still, not to go rushing downstairs. There was
a long pause before the bell rang.
Willow raised her eyebrows, but when Buffy didn't go to answer the door,
she just sat with her, being silently sympathetic. Buffy ignored her and
listened while her mom let Faith in, Faith's polite but gruff responses,
then the Slayer-soft footsteps on the stairs. There was another long pause
while Faith stood outside the bedroom door and Buffy waited, straining
to hear as much as she could. Willow stared at her as if Buffy was lost
Finally, Faith knocked. Willow jumped. Buffy squeezed her hands together
in her lap, the Slayer-nearness sparks growing. There was no danger, no
spidey-sense, and yet she could feel her body revving up, tickling anticipation
through her. She cleared her throat. "Come in."
Faith opened the door and stepped in, glancing around the room with mild
interest, like she'd never seen it before. Buffy stared at her hands.
Willow stood up and positioned herself between the two of them, trying
to play the protector, as if she had a chance if the two of them decided
to get into it. Buffy blushed at her lap and wished that Willow would
leave, that she hadn't shown up, that Buffy hadn't told her anything about
last night...but at least she hadn't told her everything.
"Hello, Faith," Willow said. Her voice was icy.
Faith's head whipped around. Buffy refused to look up, though she knew
Faith wanted to meet her eyes now. To ask why the hell she'd said anything
to Willow--and why she hadn't told the truth.
"Hey, Red," she answered, calmly enough.
"That's quite the shiner you've got," Willow said. "Bad luck patrolling?"
Faith cracked her knuckles. "You could say," she said, and this time her
smoky voice was edged and hard.
Buffy risked a peek at Faith. Her eye wasn't really black, but enough
that you could tell--especially if you knew how fast Slayers healed, and
what it took to hurt them for longer than a day. Her lip was still swollen,
too, only slightly, and maybe it was the sort of thing you wouldn't notice
unless you were close...kissing-distance close. Her makeup didn't help,
either, the dark eye shadow and the wine-red lipstick showing off her
injuries more than hiding them. She was wearing black jeans and a red
t-shirt under her jean-jacket, a lot less revealing than yesterday's clothes,
but still tight and sexy and--
"So...you ready to motor, B?" Faith asked.
Buffy tensed. "What?"
"Last I checked, we still had one not-so-dead demon to make deader," Faith
Willow's gasp was almost to soft to hear. Buffy and Faith both did.
"Balthazar," Faith said, quietly. "You're not leaving all the fun to me,
"Fun?" asked Willow. "You still think that you're going out there to get
hungry and horny?"
Faith shrugged and stared at Buffy.
"Buffy's not going," Willow said. "And after--after last night I don't
think you should even be here, let alone asking her to go with you! You--you're--well,
I'm not going to say what I think, because I'm nicer than that, but I
think you should leave."
Buffy felt Faith's anger growing, a match for her own, as if their connection
was more than just a warning system. She could feel Faith's muscles straining
as she flexed her shoulders, the dark energy moving through her. It filled
the empty places inside her where she'd carved away at the limits of her
control, and Buffy found herself leaning towards Faith. She wanted to
touch her again--she wanted to slay again--she wanted.
"Fine," Faith said. "But if I go alone--I might die..." She raised an
eyebrow at Buffy, then turned on her heel and walked out of the room.
Willow gave Buffy a look, and followed Faith down the stairs.
Buffy snuck to the half-open door, where she could watch them without
being seen, and listened.
"This is not the time for your games. Buffy needs help." Everything in
Willow's voice implied that Faith was not the one to be offering it.
Faith stared at her for a long moment. "I think you're wrong."
"I'm her best friend. I've known her--"
"You don't know about this. This is a Slayer thing."
"Yeah? Who's wrong now?" Willow crossed her arms. "Faith, maybe you can
shut off all the emotions that you want. But Buffy's not like that."
Faith glanced back up the stairs, and Buffy knew she knew that Buffy was
listening. "Okay, listen, Red, let me explain it to you the way I see
it. Buffy has always let Angel live because he's good. But he was still
a vamp, and one slap-and-tickle too many and we'd all be out gunning for
him. This is what Slayers do, and if I hadn't, she would have--maybe not
now, but some time. It happened before, it could happen again."
Willow shook her head. "Just because you dusted him doesn't make the problem
"It does for me."
"You don't get it, Faith. You killed her soulmate."
Faith snorted and moved to the door. "No, Red, you don't get it. I...don't...care."
And the door slammed behind her when she left.
I've been swallowed up by greed,
I've been spat upon by lust.
If they ain't playing with your money,
they're playing with your trust.
And I'm trying so hard to stop sitting still
To gather the juice that's been spent or been spilled
To find a spark in myself that hasn't been killed
Cause if Death doesn't get you then Life surely will.
Willow came back into the room, looking like a puppy that knows it's done
wrong, but hoping to be forgiven anyway. Buffy stared through her. She
wanted to pretend that none of this was happening, that she was a normal
girl without a Slayer's senses, a Slayer's desires.
It was impossible. She felt like someone was shuffling across the carpet
and then poking her--she twitched with each staticky spark, her nipples
hardening with unwanted excitement. She hunched forward, as if hiding
her arousal from Willow could somehow erase it from her mind.
"Faith left," Willow said, sitting beside her. "Do you want me to stay
with you tonight?"
Buffy shook her head. "No..."
"I don't think you should be all by yourself," Willow said. "It doesn't
have to be all about--I mean, I could just tell your mom it's a sleepover.
And if you needed anything..."
"No." It came out stronger this time, and Willow winced. "I mean, I--I
just want to be alone," Buffy said. "For tonight, Will, okay? I don't
need anything, I don't--it's not you; it's--I can't be around people right
now. It's too soon."
Willow nodded cautiously. "Okay," she said, in a tone that was anything
Buffy knew Willow wanted more reassurance than that. She wanted Buffy
to comfort her, to convince her that everything was going to be just fine.
Add that duty to the Slayer's calling: make sure everyone was feeling
empowered in their ability to help her. Which wasn't fair. Willow didn't
mean it like that--she was trying to be a best friend, as she saw it,
and make sure Buffy wouldn't turn Juliet the instant her back was turned.
But more than anything it felt like an obligation. As if not being okay
meant failing some test of friendship.
"Thanks," she said, and turned back to the window.
Willow got up, and hesitated for a long moment. "Well...I'll see you,
then. Monday? For school?"
Buffy nodded. The sparks weren't going away. She rubbed her arms, where
all the little hairs were standing up.
"Okay, well...bye." Willow gathered up her protection spells and left
the room with one last pleading look back, closing the door behind her.
As soon as she was gone, Faith swung herself up into the tree and leapt
to the roof. She pushed the window open wider and dropped inside, as lightly
as a panther. She tossed her jacket aside, restlessly flexing her hands.
All the air seemed to go out of the room as Buffy watched her approach.
The brief static sparks came quicker, closer together, until her body
hummed like a live wire. She forced herself not to squirm under Faith's
predatory gaze, not to cross her arms to hide the rapid rise and fall
of her chest. And the fact that she wasn't wearing a bra.
"So you want to be alone?" Faith asked, placing one fist on either side
of Buffy's hips, invading her personal space. She leaned forward until
there was only a breath between them.
"Faith..." Buffy wanted to explain, but the words wouldn't come. They
were lost in Faith's eyes, that dark angry stare. Worse than angry. Hurt.
"Because I fucking well wouldn't want to mess with what Saint Buffy wants,"
Faith said. "She's so fucking perfect, what she wants must be what's right."
Buffy pulled away from Faith, her breath catching in her throat, moving
backwards on the bed. Not enough to get away. Not nearly enough...and
she refused to think about why she wasn't running, fighting, escaping.
Faith followed after her, as Buffy knew she would, and shoved her sharply
down on her back. Buffy twisted out from beneath her, pushing back. Faith
lay half on top of her, grabbed her wrists and pinned them above her head,
squeezing hard enough to hurt. Not hard enough that Buffy couldn't break
her hold, if she tried.
She didn't try.
"What she wants isn't always so perfect, though," Faith muttered, her
eyes raking Buffy's body, her warm weight holding Buffy down. Her clothes
smelled like smoke and sweat, her hair like cheap bar soap. Buffy closed
her eyes and turned her head, as if that much denial could save her--as
if everything could be right again if only she could believe this wasn't
But it was, and she wanted it, and Faith knew it. Faith grasped her chin
and turned her back, waiting for Buffy to open her eyes. When she did,
Faith let go. Her hand drifted lower, to explore underneath the hem of
Buffy's silky tank top, brushing feathery strokes over her stomach and
side. This chaste touch was even more exciting than yesterday's rough
intimacy, and now she couldn't blame their slaying for the tight, shaky
delight building somewhere south of Faith's roaming hand. They stared
at each other, Buffy's lungs working in short, sharp pants, Faith's deeper
breaths pushing her breasts into Buffy's.
For a long moment it seemed that Faith would go no further, or would ask
before she did, but then her eyes darkened with lust or anger or the memory
of last night, and she squeezed harder at Buffy's trapped hands. Faith
kissed her, her lips almost violent, and yet somehow soft. Buffy arched
off the bed, her head held between her raised arms, her body trapped by
Faith's tender hand and Faith's leg overlapping hers.
Faith's tongue stabbed into her mouth, and Buffy gasped with surprise.
It had been so long since she'd been kissed by someone living. The heat
of Faith's mouth took her breath away. She expected Faith to taste of
cigarettes, but instead her breath was sharp and minty. Faith pressed
her more firmly into the mattress, her hand moving higher, one finger
sliding along the underside of Buffy's breast, into the soft hollow of
Cautiously, Buffy allowed her tongue to meet Faith's, closing her eyes
to better concentrate on the feel of the kiss. It was almost like sparring,
in some strange way--circling and maneuvering for position, seeing who
could come out on top. She was sweating and panting and nothing but sensation
and desire, and that was like sparring also--at least, sparring with Faith.
Faith's hand circled back again, higher this time, pushing Buffy's shirt
up to her collarbone.
All of the sudden Faith's fingers pinched her erect nipple, hard. Fire
and pain exploded inside her. Buffy bucked off the bed, her shout muffled
by Faith's mouth. She reared up into the kiss, fighting a little to twine
Faith's tongue firmly around hers. She wriggled, trying half-heartedly
to free her arms, but Faith's grip was steady on her wrists. Her fingers
grew gentler on Buffy's breast, soothing the hurt, leaving only the hot
throb of pleasure. It spread, joining the slick wetness between her thighs,
where Faith's strong leg rested against her pussy.
Buffy bucked up again, slowly, but more forcefully, and Faith gasped into
the kiss. Her hand started moving downwards again, over Buffy's stomach,
descending to where they were nearly joined together, and Buffy writhed,
waiting for it, waiting.
They both heard the sound at the same instant--the creak of floorboards
under someone's feet. Mom, coming upstairs. Buffy moaned, once, a frantic
sound that Faith ignored. The footsteps came closer--the top of the stairs--down
the hall--Buffy whimpered again, more urgently, as they heard the footsteps
approach the room. For a moment it seemed that Faith wouldn't stop, that
the insistent, bruising kiss would never end and Mom would walk in on
Faith growled and rolled off her. Buffy barely had enough time to sit
up and yank her shirt down before her mom opened the door. Buffy held
her breath, her face flaming. Faith lay behind her on the bed, her head
propped on her folded arms, the mask of indifference firmly in place once
"Yeah, Mom?" Buffy wiped the back of her hand across her mouth, a quick,
furtive movement, rubbing away any trace of Faith's lipstick.
"I wanted to see how you were doing...any better since this morning?"
Buffy nodded. "I'm fine. But there's a demon--Faith and me are getting
with the slayage tonight. We won't be late."
Mom smiled knowingly. "Ah. Of course. You're going out slaying."
"Yeah," Buffy said, suddenly going cold. Had her mom heard them? Why the
wink-wink, nudge-nudge agreement? "What do you mean?"
"Not going out to the Bronze again?" Mom asked, raising her eyebrows.
"Because it occurs to me that the battle of good and evil is an excellent
excuse to get out of having a curfew, don't you think?"
"Oh--yeah--great," Buffy said, with an uneasy laugh. "Good one, Mom. I'll
have to use that one of these days. Destiny."
"Hmm," Mom said. "Well, you be safe. Nothing too dangerous."
"Don't worry, Mrs. S," Faith said, not getting up. "I'll keep an eye on
Buffy wondered if that was a promise or a threat. There was nothing in
Faith's voice to suggest she'd meant anything more than exactly what she
said, but on the other hand, it was Faith. And maybe she thought that
this, between them, meant something; but Buffy wasn't so sure.
Mom shook her head, leaning against the door jamb. "I meant both of you,
Faith." She eyed Faith affectionately. "Okay. Enough mothering. I guess
you two know what you're doing. I'll see you tomorrow."
When she left, Buffy sprang up as if the bed was on fire. Know what they
were doing? She had no clue what was going on, or why she'd let Faith
go so far, or why she'd been such an active, willing participant--knowing
what she was doing was about the last thing on her personal list of achievements.
How could she go out slaying like this? She'd--she'd lose control--worse,
she'd lose herself; and someone could get hurt or killed--
And someone had. How could she forget that? Forget Angel? A day later
and she wanted nothing more than to see where Faith would take this, if
only they weren't here. In her room, where she'd so often kissed Angel
goodnight--in her room, where her mom had very few worries about walking
straight in. If only it weren't them--if she never had to face Willow
or Giles or worse, Xander--if she'd never known Angel, or thought, childishly,
that she'd found true love--if only--
With a disgusted noise at her own thoughts, she started digging through
her drawers for an outfit more appropriate for slaying. No matter what
the danger to herself, Faith was right--she couldn't send her to Balthazar
alone. If Faith died--
But her brain stuttered away from that thought.
She found a bra and a thicker shirt, and turned around, about to order
Faith out while she changed, then realized how useless that would be.
Acting before she could think about it, she stripped off the tank top.
The swift hiss of Faith's breath stopped her and she looked over. Faith
had sat up and leaned against the headboards, and was watching her, but
she was bright red. If it had been anyone else, Buffy would have thought
she'd embarrassed them, but Faith? She blushed herself and quickly put
on her clothes. She thought about changing her pants, as well, because
right now she was in serious need of some new panties...but no matter
how cute an embarrassed Faith was, Buffy wasn't ready to go that far.
Faith was frankly staring at her, breathing hard, and now she was cupping
herself over her jeans and rubbing, slowly, rhythmically. Their eyes met,
but Faith didn't stop...in fact, her hand sped up, pausing every now and
then and her whole body would go still for an instant and she would release
a short, sharp sigh.
Buffy didn't know how it happened, but she was on the bed again, and this
time Faith was beneath her, and her hand covered Faith's. She let Faith
guide her, but used the angle and her better leverage to apply more pressure.
She watched the small twitches in Faith's expression, the open, hungry
look in her eyes. When Faith tried to go faster, Buffy pulled her back,
keeping the steady rhythm.
Faith grunted and lifted her hips, her eyes sliding closed. Buffy touched
the cleft in the middle of her lower lip and Faith looked at her again--now,
desperate, her hand limp beneath Buffy's.
This was entirely within her hands, literally, and she didn't know if
But Faith didn't give her time to think. She surged forward, burying her
lips on Buffy's neck, sucking and biting, humping Buffy's hand wildly.
Buffy gasped, tipped her head back, matched the movement of her hand to
Faith's frenzy, felt the liquid heat through the crotch of Faith's jeans.
Faith groaned, one long release of air, and rested leaning against Buffy,
both of them sitting facing each other on the bed.
When she looked up, a single strand of dark hair, sweat-dampened, trailed
across her cheek, and Buffy brushed it aside. This close, she could see
that the last of Faith's black eye and swollen lip were healed. And Balthazar
"I'll go with you," Buffy said.
Faith pulled her closer and kissed her. It was shorter, sharper, sweeter
than before. It felt good; it felt right; it felt like giving in, giving
up. It felt like forgetting.
"I'm scared," she said, eyes closed, millimeters from Faith's lips--imagining
a million different scenes, not knowing if she wanted anything other than
"I know," Faith replied, and her kiss told Buffy that she was scared too.
Buffy didn't know whether they were talking about Balthazar or them: one,
the other, or both.
And maybe, in the end, it didn't matter.