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As Tara followed Dawn out the door, Buffy looked across the room and saw Faith standing at the bar. Almost immediately Faith was approached by a pretty blonde who'd been sitting with a group of college coeds. She leaned close and spoke into Faith's ear, lightly brushing her fingers up and down the slayer's arm. Buffy couldn't see Faith's expression. But she did see her look down at the woman's hand, take it, and lead her to the dance floor. Not unexpected, Buffy thought. Faith could literally have asked any person in this room, male or female, to dance and they would have. Buffy was willing to wager that a majority would have also gone home with her if she'd wanted them. That was the seductiveness of Faith's natural sexuality. Add to that her incredible good looks and her innate power and who would want to resist?

The band was covering an eclectic mix of dance music. There was a variety of styles that allowed for the maximum of lustful connections.

"You give me a taste so I want more…."

The music's beat was driving and sensual. The coed used it well to keep her body in rhythm with Faith.

"I've never known a girl like you before…."

Halfway into the song, she turned and made it quite clear that she wanted to finish the dance erotically rubbing up against the sexy brunette. Faith had only to step up and her breasts, stomach and hips would be sliding all over the young woman's back and ass. It was definitely what the blonde had in mind. But to Buffy's amazement, Faith put her hands firmly on the tempting hips swaying in front of her; keeping the would-be seductress at a close, yet respectable distance.

Willow nudged Buffy. "That looks to me like a ‘You can try to give me yours, but you can't have mine' message."

Buffy pulled off her jacket and handed it to Willow. "Damn right."

The song ended and the coed was leading Faith off the floor. As the singer began a sexy disco style selection, Buffy stepped up and took Faith's hand from the young woman. As she led the rogue slayer back out onto the dance floor, Buffy shot the girl a warning look in case there was any objection. There wasn't.

"I'll forgive and forget, if you say you'll never go…."

A smile tugged at Faith's mouth as they begin to dance. Just like when they were fighting, they fell into perfect sync. Their movements mirrored and complimented each other as if they'd practiced together for years.

"Cuz, it's true what they say, it's better the devil you know…."

Partway through the piece, Buffy also turned her back to Faith. In a matter of seconds, Faith had stepped up and embraced Buffy's slender body drawing her close. Buffy could feel Faith's breasts pressed against her back, her nipples hardening from the friction. Faith's hips continued her moves as they cupped Buffy's ass. One strong arm wrapped around Buffy, resting directly under her breasts, holding her tight. Faith put her other hand low across Buffy's pelvis. She splayed her fingers possessively above Buffy's mons, leaving no doubt that they would rather be mere inches lower. The blonde leaned her head back onto Faith's shoulder feeling the brunette's cheek against her own. They lost themselves in the music. When the song ended, Buffy turned in Faith's arms. Looking into those beautiful brown eyes, she knew that there was nothing Faith could ask of her that she wouldn't do. But if she kissed her now, Buffy didn't think she'd be able to stop.

"We need to go." Buffy stated.

"Go where?" Faith asked as innocently as she could manage.

"Anywhere where I can be alone with you."

The rogue slayer grinned. "Why Buffy Summers," she teased, "are you coming on to me?"

The blonde took Faith by the hand leading her off the dance floor. "Yes," Buffy admitted, "I am."

The two slayers approached Willow and Tara. "We're leaving." Buffy looked a little flustered, yet determined.

"So we gather." Willow kidded. "Have fun."

Faith leaned over and kissed Tara on the cheek. "'Night, T." She nodded to the redhead. "Wil."

Tara watched the two slayers depart. "Did you feel that, Willow?"

"Yeah, that's some powerful wattage coming off those two." Willow turned and took her lover in her arms. "How about you and I go home and take advantage of that big empty house with a little wattage of our own?"

As Buffy put her coat on, Faith grabbed her leather jacket from the rack near the door. They headed out of the club and around the corner to where the motorcycles were parked. Buffy stopped short. "You've got to be kidding."

"Nope." Faith replied as she mounted a new Harley and started to back it out of the parking space. Seeing Buffy's hesitation, she ran her hand down Buffy's leg. "Ah, come on, B. Just think of it as the first time you'll have me nestled between your legs."

Buffy could feel the blush creeping up her face at the comment. But she could also feel a smoldering heat between her legs at the promise of what the comment implied. She mounted the bike and molded herself tightly up against Faith.

It took less than ten minutes to reach Faith's hotel. Dismounting from the motorcycle, Buffy watched the brunette lean it on its kickstand.

"Faith." Buffy touched Faith on the shoulder. "I haven't done this in a long time."

The brunette swung her leg over the front of the bike. She sat on the seat sideways looking up at Buffy and grasped both her hands. "S'ok, B. I kinda stopped bringing people home to share the sheets. So it's been a little while for me too."

"Really?" Buffy looked somewhat unconvinced. She knew her fellow slayer could have anyone she wanted, 24/7. Sex had always been Faith's constant companion. "Why?"

The dark beauty stood up and wrapped her arms around Buffy. She pulled her close and looked into her eyes with an openness that took Buffy's breath away. "Cuz none of them were ever you."

Buffy involuntarily leaned back at the subtle yet revealing admission. But the implications of what Faith had said got lost as the rogue slayer brought her lips down possessively onto Buffy's. It was a kiss that at first appeared to be gentle. Yet it was constant and demanding. There wasn't the patience that Faith had displayed at the Bronze. It was all fire and need. As Faith's tongue sought entrance, all of Buffy's apprehension disappeared.

Faith continued to kiss Buffy as they stumbled toward the hotel side door. She didn't stop as she fumbled with the card key. They continued the few steps to Faith's room. Buffy moved down to Faith's neck, nibbling and kissing her as she opened the door. As soon as they were inside, Buffy immediately began trying to push Faith's jacket off her shoulders.

"Hey, slow down, B." Faith said as she took off of her jacket. "We got all night."

"I need you, Faith." Buffy pleaded. "Please, don't make me wait."

Faith relished being the lover in control. She liked being on top. But the hunger in Buffy's voice and in her eyes was something she could understand. She postponed the image of slowly lowering Buffy's blouse down her shoulders for another time. They lifted each other's shirts off. Buffy hurriedly unsnapped Faith's bra and discarded it. She sighed deeply as her hands immediately cupped the beautiful mounds. Faith undid Buffy's bra as the blonde fondled her. When they were both topless, Faith embraced Buffy. The feel of skin on skin was electrifying for them both.

Buffy maneuvered Faith over to the bed and sat her down. Buffy slipped her shoes and socks off quickly, then she dropped her slacks and panties to the floor. Faith had removed her boots and socks and stood up. She paused for a moment to admire Buffy's supple body. Her hesitation was more than Buffy could stand. She unzipped Faith's leathers and slipped the offending item down her body. As the brunette stepped out of her pants, Buffy practically tackled her. She landed on top of the sexy slayer, her knee parting Faith's legs.

This was not what Faith had imagined all those nights she'd spent alone. She had fantasized about how Buffy's tongue would taste as she sucked on it. About what it would feel like to have lover's nipple in her mouth. About how many fingers Buffy would want inside her as she came or how many orgasms her clit could handle in one night. All those imaginings disappeared as they ran their hands all over each other's bodies. Buffy's fingers traveled extensively over Faith's breasts, her toned stomach, hips and thighs. Faith countered with hands that roamed up and down Buffy's back and fondled her ass. The intimate contact ignited a lustful burning in both slayers. With their thighs pressing up between each other's legs, something, someone, had to give.

Buffy stopped for a moment and whispered softly into Faith's ear. "Let me."  She drew back slightly to look into Faith's eyes. "Please."

Surrender never felt so sweet to the dark slayer. She tilted her head back and closed her eyes. The blonde's lips lightly caressed the exposed pulse point on Faith's neck. Buffy's hand swept down the lovely torso to where her thigh had been between Faith's legs. She wanted to own Faith and she wanted to own her now. Sliding through wetness, she entered the rogue slayer with determined fingers. Buffy's penetrations eagerly reached deep inside. Faith gasped at the invasion but reacted immediately, rocking her hips in rhythm with Buffy's frantic thrusts. No waiting, no hesitation. Buffy kissed Faith hard as the first orgasm hit the rogue slayer. The quick intense burst caught Faith off guard. "Damn, B." Faith tried to communicate, but Buffy cut her off. "Shhhh..." She licked Faith's lower lip, then gently nibbled at it. "More," she whispered, before letting her tongue slide into Faith's mouth. "I want more."

Faith was desperate to get her hands and mouth on Buffy's body. Yet right now she wanted to give Buffy whatever she needed. "Then come get me, baby." She murmured into Buffy's ear. "It's all for you...."

The blonde slayer grasped Faith and kissed her hard again. Faith welcomed the strength and the passion. Buffy's hand spread her legs further and Faith felt insistent fingers enter her once more. She fell in sync with the searching penetration, feeling the heat and magic coursing through her again. Faith urgently wanted to give Buffy everything she possessed; still she tempered her response so as not to overwhelm her lover.

"Don't hold back, Faith." Buffy implored, feeling her hesitance. "I need to have all of you." Another intensely erotic wave began to surge through Faith as the implications of what Buffy meant permeated her mind. After all the countless nights of nameless sex, she finally had a lover with whom she could let herself go completely. At last, she was with someone who could handle all of her power. Someone who wouldn't be broken or battered by her strength. The mere thought was intoxicating. One she had never allowed herself to entertain. The experience of totally feeling everything that was inside of her. The kind of freedom that only another slayer could provide.

Buffy descended Faith's body. Everywhere she touched was responsive, soft, yet muscular. She spread Faith's legs even wider and slipped her body between them. She started low, kissing and nipping at the inside of Faith's knees. She traveled upward learning every inch of the satiny skin inside Faith's thighs. She could feel the muscles quiver under her lips. She stopped at the apex of her lover's legs. The scent arousing Buffy even more than she already was. She turned her head to the left and latched her mouth onto the delicate skin so near Faith's center. Faith could feel Buffy sucking gently at first on the tender skin of her upper thigh. But the pressure increased and she knew that Buffy was marking her. Normally Faith would never have let anyone mark her. But Buffy already possessed her completely. A small brand would make no difference now.

Later, Buffy lay on top of Faith as the dark slayer tried to get her vital signs to return to normal. The blonde had pushed her to her limits with strong fingers, a sensual mouth and a determined tongue. Faith had lost count of the orgasms. But as sated as she was, the ache to touch Buffy won out.

Flipping her slender lover on her back, Faith grinned down at her. Drawing her fingers across the blonde's jaw line, down her neck, and palming her breast, Faith brought her lips feather-light against Buffy's ear.

"Do you have any idea how long I've wanted you?"

Buffy sighed at the multiple sensations Faith was eliciting from her body and mind. "Faith…. I…."

"5 years." Faith sucked gently on Buffy's earlobe. "3 months." She kissed down Buffy's neck and chest to softly breathe over her right nipple. "28 days." Faith spread compliant thighs apart with her knee. "9 hours." She moved to position herself between Buffy's legs. "35 minutes." The lustful slayer gently parted the downy hair that hide Buffy's treasures. "14 seconds." She breathed in the subtle scent and gazed down at the silken folds that she was about to have the pleasure of savoring. "And counting....."

Buffy's hips lifted involuntarily trying to get closer to the sexy mouth whispering to her in that sultry voice. "Faith.....please...."

Faith smiled as she heard the passionate pleading in her lover's voice. She immediately attached her mouth over the folds already slick with Buffy's readiness. "I'm here, baby." Faith murmured as she nuzzled the blonde curls. "I'm here."

Faith snaked her tongue over Buffy's center in strong and possessive patterns. Buffy was already ravenous. And Faith knew it wouldn't take much to take her lover where she so desperately wanted her to go. She brought two fingers close to Buffy's heated entrance and slipped them in easily. Reaching as far as she could, Faith's thrusts complemented the stimulation her tongue was lavishing on Buffy's sensitive clit.

"Oh god..... Faith..... oh my god....." The sensations were overpowering and Buffy responded almost immediately with an earth-shattering climax. Trying to catch her breath, Buffy expected Faith to slow down and let her rest. But Faith had waited for years to be the center of Buffy's passion. And she had no intention of letting her lover off so easily. Soon Buffy recognized that the subtle sensuous attention continued. She cried out Faith's name over and over as she eventually succumbed again.

Faith withdrew her fingers from inside Buffy and slid them down through the abundant wetness to stroke her puckered back opening. She massaged the tight skin and added a slight amount of pressure. When Buffy gasped slightly and then relaxed, Faith knew that she could have everything Buffy had to offer. Some images of the many things they would do to each other quickly flashed through her mind. She returned her fingers to Buffy's still eager clit and feverish tunnel. While the dark slayer eagerly concentrated on her body again, Buffy climaxed a third crushing time.

As her lover collapsed back down on the bed, Faith crawled up and covered Buffy's body lightly with her own. She held herself up and rained soft kisses on Buffy's lips, neck, breasts, shoulders, and ears. Trying to convince herself that the woman recovering beneath her was not a dream. That she was not merely the wishful thinking Faith had been doing forever.

The women rested against each other for what may have been minutes or hours. Eventually Buffy's hands began to wander over Faith's body until a sexual rapture consumed them both all over again.



Hours later, a barely rising sun cast a faint light on the two slayers. Buffy was lying on her side, her head leaning on her hand watching her lover. Faith was on her back still asleep. Buffy brushed her fingertips over the slayer's smooth skin. She wondered if she'd ever be able to get enough of the silkiness of Faith's firm body. Faith stirred under her touch. She opened her eyes, slightly surprised to find Buffy still with her.

Faith smiled up at her. With a whispered "Hey" she pulled the blonde down into a soft kiss. Buffy continued the gentle intimacy by smoothing her lips down the silken neck Faith presented to her.

"So." Buffy murmured against the tender skin over Faith's pulse. "You gonna tell me why you're here now?"

Faith brought Buffy up to look at her. "I woulda thought it was obvious by now. But since you're still askin', I'm here to be with you. To help you, B., to fight by your side." Faith paused and mentally braced herself. "And if you'll let me, I'm here to love you."

Buffy was obviously stunned at the revealing admission. Faith was telling her that she loved her?

Faith thought Buffy looked as though she couldn't comprehend what she had just said. "I love you, B." She wanted to make it perfectly clear. "It's always been you."

Buffy's only response was to lean down and kiss Faith gently. Her hands continued their exploration of Faith's body. But this touching wasn't the frantic search and possession that had pushed their sexual interactions through the night. In the delicate morning light, there was a soft and slow discovery; with attention to detail, revelations of emotions, and the worshipping of two beautiful bodies. For the moment, intense passion was set aside for the sake of learning and loving each other.



That evening Faith rode up to the Summers' house. Buffy heard the motorcycle and was waiting for Faith at the door. Faith took off her jacket while she kissed Buffy. Afterward she hung it on the coat hook and turned to her lover. She was dressed in her usual black leather pants. But she wore a tight white tank top that had the words "U Slay Me" written at an angle across her chest.

Buffy smiled and shook her head. "Where did you get that?"

Faith looked down at her chest. "Oh, it was a little going away present from Fred."

"She liked you." It wasn't a question.

"She may have been crushing a little." Faith admitted. "But she was cool."

Buffy stepped closer to Faith and began to trace the letters displayed on her chest. The "U" started very near Faith's right nipple.

"You keep doing that, B. No one's gonna get slayed tonight."

Buffy burst out laughing at Faith's warning.

Dawn was in the kitchen and froze at the sound. It took a moment for her to realize what it was. It had been so long since she'd heard her sister laugh out loud. She quietly looked around the corner into the living room to see what could have caused her sister's amusement.

She found Buffy being held by Faith. Her sister's eyes were closed and her head was resting on Faith's chest. She had such a look of contentment on her face. Faith's head rested on top of Buffy's. While Dawn watched, the rogue slayer moved to kiss the blonde's hair before resting her head down on top of Buffy's again. Dawn returned to the kitchen. Tara had told her to trust Faith. She made a decision to try to accept the woman who could give her sister such peace and make her laugh again.

For several days Buffy spent practically all her time with Faith. They went slaying every night. They slept either at Faith's hotel or in Buffy's room. Buffy couldn't remember when she'd felt so alive. At times Faith puzzled and exasperated her. But Faith also amused and excited her. She challenged her to live and Buffy knew without a doubt that Faith loved her. For the first time since even before her death and resurrection, Buffy felt whole.



A few weeks later, Faith arrived at the Summers home slightly before she was to meet Buffy. She was hoping to catch Dawn at home. She wanted to try and spend a little more time with the young woman. To try and bridge the gap she still felt between them.

When she climbed the porch her slayer's senses went into overdrive. The door was ajar and she could detect the essence of demon activity inside. The room was in chaos as if there had been a struggle. When Faith saw Dawn's purse on the floor, her blood ran cold. Near it she saw what looked to be parchment paper. The writing on the paper was obscenely neat and beautifully scripted. Completely at odds with what it said. Dawn was being held in some caverns near the outskirts of Sunnydale. The slayer was to come alone or the young woman would be horribly killed. The author would give the slayer until 5pm. Faith looked up at the clock. It was already 4:40pm. She tucked the note into her jeans and ran for her bike.

Dawn was frightened. She didn't understand why the demons had brought her here. The witch, who was setting up some kind of crystal on a pedestal, had told her nothing. She sat on the floor of the cavern and waited silently.

Suddenly from the tunnel leading to the outside, there was a commotion and cries of pain. Almost immediately, Faith was standing at the entrance to the cavern. The witch greeted her calmly.


Faith glanced at Dawn, who seemed to be restrained with some kind of glowing neon bindings around her wrists, ankles, and neck. She then turned an angry glower back at the woman across the room.

"You are so dead." Dawn had never heard Faith sound so cold or so dangerous.

"I think not, Slayer." The witch replied confidently. "As you can see, I have something you value." She intimated, pointing to Dawn. "Your sister's life."

Faith walked over to Dawn, while keeping an eye on her captor. Squatting by Dawn's side, she asked quietly. "Are you alright?"

When Dawn nodded, Faith stood and turned to the kidnapper. "What do you want?"

"Hmm." The witch moved away from the pedestal. "Let's see, why would I want the Slayer here and at my mercy?" Faith continued to glare at her, clearly not amused at the riddle. "You, Slayer." She stated. "I want you. Your strength, your life force."

"Well, I can tell ya right now that ain't gonna happen."  Faith assured her.

"Oh, I think it will." The witch's voice was almost silky. "You see, I know I can't take it from you. But I think I can persuade you to give up your life force willingly." The witch looked pointedly at Dawn. "Because if you don't, I'll kill your sister." The witch smiled in a way that made Dawn's skin crawl. "And I assure you I can, before you could ever make a move to stop me."

Faith stepped in front of Dawn. She had an instinctive feeling that the witch was telling the truth. Considering the magical restraints that were now holding Dawn, Faith had no doubt that the witch could kill a human before she could prevent it.

"So I give up my life force and you let my sister go. That the deal?"

"Yes." The witch agreed. "Once you consent to willingly put your hands on this crystal, I won't need her." The witch waved a hand as if to dismiss the useless mortal. "She was merely the bait to get you here. She means nothing to me."

"It's a deal." Faith agreed. "Now untie her."

The neon bonds holding Dawn disappeared. Faith helped her up. Seeing Faith's resolve, Dawn tried to appeal to her. "Don't do this…"

Faith kept her hands on Dawn's arms. "Listen to me. This is who I was chosen to be. I was born to protect people and to fight against evil like this. There were times when I lost sight of that. But it's who I am now."

"But she loves you…" Dawn pleaded.

"I know that. And I love her." Faith admitted. "I'll always love her. But I can't allow anything to happen to you when there's something I can do to stop it. If I did, my life would mean nothing to her. There would be no going back from that."

Dawn wrapped her arms around Faith and hugged her tightly. The dark slayer returned the embrace and said softly into Dawn's ear. "Now go. I'll be alright."

Faith released her and turned to face the witch. The neon manacles that had been holding Dawn now materialized around Faith's wrists. "Just a precaution." The witch warned. "Now come here." As Faith approached the pedestal, Dawn moved quickly out of the cavern. She rushed out into the early evening light and started to run.


Buffy was pacing the living room when Willow and Tara arrived home. They could see that the downstairs was in disarray from some kind of struggle. "Dawn's gone!" Buffy was frantic. "And I can't find Faith either!"

"Buffy, calm down." Willow stopped the agitated slayer's movement. "If Dawn is with Faith, she's safe."

"Something's wrong, Wil." Buffy implored her. "I can feel it."

"Well, if its vampires or demons, Faith can easily handle them." Tara interjected trying to placate her upset friend.

"But if it's something else?" Buffy asked fearfully.

"Magic." Both witches said in unison looking at each other.

"I'll get the map." Tara said.

In moments, the witches had the Sunnydale map spread out on the table. Willow mixed a potion of multi-colored powders together and poured a measure into Tara's hands. As they cast the spell, both witches tossed the contents of their hands onto the map. Almost immediately the caverns near the edge of town drew a concentration of the powders. That area of the map began to glow intensely. "Massive unnatural activity going on out there." Willow admitted.

"Let's go." Buffy grabbed the car keys and was already halfway out the door.

Fifteen minutes into the drive toward the caverns, the car's headlights picked up a figure running along the side of the road. In the twilight, the women recognized a frightened, disheveled Dawn. As the car screeched to a stop, Buffy jumped out and grabbed her sister.

"Are you ok?" Buffy held her sister to her. "What happened?"

Dawn was having trouble talking. Her heart was pounding and her breath was coming out in short painful gasps. "A w-witch." She stammered. "She has Faith." More labored breathing. "She's going to kill her."

The women piled back into the car and Willow gunned the vehicle toward the caverns.

"Put your hands on the globe, Slayer."

Faith's heart ached. Her mind flashed on the future she would now never have with Buffy. She knew that Dawn's safety was the most important thing. But she grieved to know that after she was gone, Buffy would once again be alone. Reaching out she put both hands on the empty orb.

Almost immediately the globe began to fluoresce. Sparkles of little bright lights appeared in the middle of Faith's chest. They traveled down her arms, through her hands and into the crystal ball. That was when the anguish started. Faith gritted her teeth as she felt a fierce burning throughout her body. It felt as though her insides were being ripped apart. It was becoming increasingly difficult for her to breath. She'd never in her life felt such pain.

"That's it, Slayer." The witch cooed, also placing her hands on the crystal. The sparkles of light began to leave the ball and travel up the witch's arms where they disappeared into the middle of her chest. "Give me everything."

Willow's car came to a grinding halt at the entrance to the caverns Dawn had pointed out. Demons came out of the cave to block their entry. But Buffy dispatched them with hardly a backward glance. As she cleared the way, Buffy could feel the warm connection with Faith fading. She was extremely close and yet Buffy could barely feel her.

"Willow, we have to hurry!" Buffy cried. "I'm losing her."

They entered the cavern to see the witch basking in Faith's life source. The dark slayer was on her knees, her hands still glued to the crystal ball that was draining her. Buffy could see the agony etched on her face.

The sinister woman orchestrating Faith's death smiled at the entering liberators. "Well, what do we have here, reinforcements?" The witch practically purred with loathsome confidence. "Witches to the rescue. How sweet."

Tara caught Willow's eye. "I'll take Faith." Willow nodded. Tara, Buffy and Dawn moved to the fallen brunette.

Looking at the dying slayer, Willow could feel the anger quickly building up inside her. There had been a time when she couldn't control that rage. But that was long ago. She now used it as a catalyst to tap into the wealth of power she possessed.

"You can't stop me, witch," taunted the malevolent being. "I have the slayer's strength."

"Well, we've got something more powerful than that, you bitch." Willow countered. "We have the slayer's heart."

The witch shot out a bolt of power that knocked Willow across the cavern. Willow's eyes darkened as she stood up and shot back with a force of her own. The witch was thrown a distance away from the pedestal.

Buffy grabbed Faith from behind. "Buffy, no!" Tara stopped her. "Don't move her. She has to stay in contact with the globe." Buffy supported the now unconscious Faith against her chest while Tara began to chant softly. The sparkles of light in the glass stopped their movement and then slowly began to swirl. Gradually they reversed direction and began traveling back up Faith's arms. Tara made a circular motion with her arm and drew a transparent curtain around them and the pedestal.

Outside the protective cloak, Willow was going head to head with the witch enhanced with the slayer's strength. It was fairly even so far. Willow's innate power held a slight advantage against this moderately competent demonic witch whose magic was getting a boost from Faith's life force.

When the globe was empty of light, Faith's hands were automatically released from the crystal. She fell back into Buffy's arms, hardly breathing. Tara looked into Buffy's eyes. "It may not have been enough."

Tara turned to where her lover was engaged in a battle of magical wills. She knew that Willow was powerful, brilliant, and at times charged with emotion. She'd seen her lover's magical potency escalate when her anger at the thought of losing Faith had kicked in. Willow needed an extra push now.

"Willow!" Tara called out. "It's not enough. I need more."

The redhead felt another surge of emotion shoot through her. The determination to not lose the rogue slayer heightened her powers yet again. She encased the witch in glowing red magical shackles. The demon struggled, but could not break free. Willow came over and stood in front of her. Suddenly she plunged her hand into the demon's chest. The evil witch howled in rage. When Willow withdrew her hand, it contained a circular measure of dense sparkle lights. The wicked witch dropped to the ground. Willow crossed the cavern and knelt down next to her lover. Carefully giving the luminescent sphere to Tara, she asked. "Will this help?"

Tara took the glowing orb and turned to Buffy who was still holding the motionless slayer in her arms. "Hold it against her heart, Buffy." Tara instructed. "Concentrate on your slayer's connection." Buffy held the orb against Faith's chest and focused on the potent bond she shared with her lover. Tara began to chant again. The sparkle lights started to disappear into Faith's body. In addition, Tara could detect Buffy's transfer of some of her own strength. Tara didn't know if it was something Buffy did consciously or if it was a side effect of the spell. But she knew that it could only help Faith to recover.

Willow turned to the now helpless witch from another dimension. "You don't belong here." With a wave of her hand, she opened a portal that would normally have taken her minutes, if not hours, to do. But Willow was still charged by her emotions. The evil being screamed in frustration as Willow pushed her though and slammed the portal closed. She turned back to her family.

"Ready to take our girl home?"

Faith had not awakened. But she seemed to be merely sleeping now. Buffy ran her fingers through her lover's hair and softly down her cheek. She stood up and quietly left the room.

In the living room the two witches looked up anxiously as Buffy came down the stairs. "Still asleep?" Willow asked.

"Yeah. But her breathing and heartbeat are steady and strong."

"She'll be fine, Buffy." Tara reassured the blonde slayer. "Don't worry."

Buffy sat down next to her friends. "I can't thank you two enough…."

"Hey." Willow interrupted. "We're a team." Willow put her hands over Buffy's. "We save each other one way or another every day. Some days are just a little more exciting than others." Tara's smile confirmed her agreement.
Buffy went to sleep that night holding Faith possessively in her arms. She knew now that she'd be truly lost without her. She couldn't begin to imagine the pain she'd be going though if Faith had died. She realized that Faith did know how awful that kind of loss felt. ‘How did she survive that?' Buffy wondered. Not for the first time did she consider that of the two of them, Faith might definitely be the stronger.

When Buffy awoke the next morning, she found Faith watching her.

"Hey." She greeted her with a soft kiss. "How're you feeling?"

"Tired." The dark slayer whispered. "God, you're beautiful."

"Hmm, guess you are feeling better." Buffy smiled and kissed her again. "Need anything?"

"Just you." Faith replied. "And maybe a glass of water."

"Ok. I'll be right back."

After Buffy left the room, Dawn stuck her head through the partially opened door. "Can I come in?"

"Sure." Faith moved over to make room for the young woman to sit beside her.

"Are you gonna be ok?" Dawn asked hesitantly.

"Five by five."

Dawn smiled. "I'll never understand what that means." She looked down at her hands. "I just wanted to thank you for saving my life. I know you didn't have to. And that you did it for Buffy…."

"Hey." Faith tilted Dawn's chin up slightly so that the young woman would have to look into her eyes. "I know I haven't been here long and that we haven't had much of a chance to get to know each other. But I know that you're an important part of this family. And no one's ever gonna hurt you. Not as long as I'm around. Got that?"

Dawn gave the dark slayer a quick hug and stood up. "I got it."

Buffy was standing in the doorway as Dawn left the room. She sat down on the bed and gave Faith her glass. "Interesting talk?"

"She may think that I'm ok now." Faith replied before she drained the glass.

"Good thing." Buffy responded. "It'll make moving you in that much easier."

Faith looked surprised. "Moving me in?"

"That's right, slayer." Buffy took the empty glass from Faith and leaned over her. "You get into entirely too much trouble left on your own. I think I need to keep a much closer eye on you."

Faith pulled her down and kissed her. "Wanna start keepin' a closer eye on me right now?"

"Yeah, right…" Buffy rose up and smirked down at her lover. "You haven't got the strength yet."

Faith gave Buffy her best seductive grin and pulled her down again.

"Watch me."




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