Buffy turned on Giles the moment Travers was out of the room. I didn't know what to expect. Tears were still pouring down her face, but she wasn't sobbing or crying really, and somehow that made it worse. Like she hurt so bad she couldn't even make a sound. Giles stared back at her. God, he was so still. He kinda opened his arms and stepped away from the table, but he didn't try to get near Buffy. He was making himself a target. He knew he deserved anything she cared to dish out.
There was so much tension in the air between them, I felt like I was only in the way. Giles always seemed like an okay guy, but there's no way he could ever replace my Watcher, and I think he knew that. He never tried to get too buddy-buddy with me, and I was fine with that. But at least I respected him. I knew he was doing right by Buffy.
Parents--most parents, not mine, but real parents--like Joyce, for instance--they're always saying that when their kids mess up, they don't get angry. They say, in this really serious voice, that they're mainly disappointed. And that's how felt about Giles right then. I was plenty angry, but I could even swear at him or throw things or punch him a couple of times to get it out of my system. This huge empty sadness stared just under my ribs and stayed there like a stone. You just can't see how awful it made me feel--how let down I was. I thought Giles was decent. Maybe the only Council guy, apart from my Watcher, who was. But you can't simply get over a thing like this, a betrayal. Fuck, it's everything to a hero, that trust. You rely on the good guys and you smash up the bad guys, it's that simple. Now everything was messed up in my head, and I wasn't even the one Giles had hurt the most.
When Buffy didn't say anything at first, Giles silently turned and opened the briefcase that was sitting on the table. He pulled out this little case and opened it, too. Inside was a cloth wrapped around a syringe and a vial of some thick liquid. Giles placed it on the table like a lawyer revealing the smoking gun.
"It's an organic compound," he said. His voice was shaky, uncertain. Not like himself at all. "Muscle relaxants, and adrenal suppressors. The effect is temporary." He paused, then added, kind of hopelessly, "You'll be yourself again in a few days."
Even after everything, I thought Buffy had this idea that somehow Giles wasn't involved. She took a step forward and touched the little tube, as if to prove to herself that yes, this was real, this was really happening. "You?" she whispered.
"In matters of tradition and protocol, I must answer to the Council." Giles gave a little shake of his head. I don't know what he was thinking. That he should have defied the Council? That this wasn't his fault because he was just following orders? That no matter what, this had to work out--that Buffy would eventually forgive him?
Fuck, you know I don't ever want to understand how it feels to betray someone you love. I'd rather die than see that empty, disbelieving look of Buffy's turned on me. I think it'd break me, to hurt her that bad.
I drifted closer to her and stroked my hand down her back. I don't know why. Just to show her I was there, I was on her side, I guess. I could feel her trembling. She shrugged away from my hand, grabbed the syringe, and threw it at Giles' head.
She missed by a mile. It shattered against the wall to his left. "You bastard," she said. Her voice was broken, but she held back the tears. "All this time, you saw what it was doing to me. All this time, and you didn't say a word!"
"I wanted to," Giles started, but Buffy cut him off.
"Liar," she said. If he'd wanted to, he could have said something, she meant. She'd been getting weaker for days. He had his chance.
"My role in this was very specific," Giles said. He sounded exhausted, worn out. Like he'd been fighting for far too long and it wasn't over before every last detail was sitting between them, in the open. "I was to administer the injections, and--"
"Fuck, Giles, we know what you did," I burst out. "Don't think you can make it better by admitting it now! She trusted you. Shit, I trusted you. God!" I couldn't even talk. I didn't have the words to show Giles how much he'd fucked up. I wanted to break something, to shatter the furniture, destroy the library. Anything to hurt him back the way he'd hurt Buffy. But Buffy reached out and caught my hand. This time I was the one shaking and she was still. Her eyes were red and swollen from crying, and there was a cut on her forehead I hadn't even noticed in all the fuss. She was pale and her grip was so light it scared me. But she was in control again. She held me back, for the second time. She was the only one who could have. I only coulda been this upset for her.
Not that she'd ever know that.
Giles came closer, one hand outstretched. "Buffy, please..."
That was too much. "If you touch her," I said, slow and shaky and careful, "I will kill you."
Giles looked at me for what seemed like the first time since we'd walked in here. There was pain in his eyes, and regret, sure, but not enough. Not near enough. "Faith, you have to understand--"
"I understand you're not getting anywhere near me on my eighteenth birthday," I said. "I understand you'd better stay the hell away from both of us."
"I am deeply sorry..."
"You stuck a needle in me." Buffy's voice was low, but deadly. "You poisoned me."
Those words hit Giles harder than any full-strength Slayer punch could have. Still, he tried one last time. "You're safe now--"
"No thanks to you." Buffy tensed beside me, the way she did before a fight. "I want you to leave."
Giles only stared at her.
"Now." Buffy looked him straight in the eye. She was strung tight as a crossbow string, all her control directed at keeping her voice steady. "Get out."
Finally, Giles nodded. "Just...don't walk home alone, Buffy. Please. Take Faith with you, to keep you safe."
And he slipped out of the library. We were alone.
Buffy was still holding my hand, and all of a sudden I didn't know what to do. There was no way in hell I was leaving her, but she couldn't be feeling that friendly towards me right now either. She never liked how fast I got to know the Scoobs and her mom. She thought I was taking over her life. Now it was true, sort of. I was the Slayer, at least as far as the Council was concerned. I got the Watcher and the training. I got to be the hero.
And looking in Buffy's eyes right then, I didn't want any of it.
They say be careful what you wish for. Ever notice how they only say it when it's too late to take it back?
For once I was glad that Buffy wasn't saying anything. I couldn't have said anything myself right then to save my life. I squeezed her hand and pulled her to the table, and sort of pushed her down into a chair. She watched me with those wide green eyes of hers, looking like a five-year-old who's been told there's no Easter Bunny. Disbelief and disappointment and the kind of sadness you can't ever forget. I didn't even want to let go of her for the two minutes it took to get the first aid kit.
I got out some antiseptic and mixed it with warm water in a bowl, then dipped a cloth into it. Buffy kept her eyes on me, so I was glad to have something to do, somewhere to look. I couldn't meet her gaze. It's like for the first time she was seeing more of me than I was willing to show. For the first time she was really looking at me, and not at that hungry-horny Slayer I play at being most of the time.
I crouched in front of her, balancing myself with one hand on her knee. I brushed her loose hair off her forehead. The cut wasn't nasty or deep, and the bleeding had mostly stopped. It was the sort of thing that would heal on its own in an hour or two, usually. But Buffy's healing was down along with her strength. I wrung out the cloth and dabbed at the cut. Buffy winced, but didn't pull away. I tried to be business-like about it. But the way she was looking at me...
I cleaned the cut, and put the cloth back in the bowl. I couldn't help but stroke her hair again, for no good reason but I wanted to touch her. I'm lucky to even hold her hand sometimes while we dance, or get a high-five when we slay. My training would be for shit if I ever let myself think about how much our bodies brushed together as we struggled on the mats. So I push it out of my mind, the way I do with pain when I'm fighting. Don't acknowledge it and it isn't there.
The library was incredibly quiet. The lights were dim, and none of the overheads were on. And I couldn't move. Buffy caught me with her eyes and kept me there, looking up at her, one hand on her knee and the other reaching up to stroke through her hair. I could smell sweat and alleydust and blood on her, and the fading sourness of her fear and anger. She moved, at last, and I thought the moment was ending. Instead, she blinked, and tears slipped down her cheeks again. It felt like slow motion as she crumpled forward, into my arms. She buried her face on my shoulder, sliding down to kneel in front of me, holding me as tight as she could. I hugged her back, careful of her weakness. She was so warm, her breath and tears hot against my neck, and finally she was crying for real, sobbing into my jean jacket. I rubbed slow circles on her back and let her cry. I felt every inch of her pressed up to me, and for once my mind wasn't in the gutter.
For once, I was feeling like a hero.
I don't know how long we sat there, wrapped in each other, but at last Buffy had cried herself out. She kept holding on to me. It was like she didn't know how to let go. I turned my face into her hair, breathing as deep as I could of her scent. I knew this couldn't last. If there's one thing I've learned in my life, it's that closeness never does.
"Faith," Buffy whispered, into my shoulder. Knowing it didn't take much to reach Slayer hearing.
"Yeah." Just a breath, my lips close to her ear.
I coulda asked, for what? I coulda been cynical, thinking she's grateful that she's not the Council's toy anymore, that Slaying's my duty now, not hers.
But I knew she meant it better than that. Thank you for saving my life. Thank you for saving my mom. Thank you for being on my side.
"You know I got your back," I said. It was the closest I could come to saying what I felt.
Maybe she knew that.
She pulled back a bit from my shoulder, but she kept her arms around me. I lifted a hand and thumbed away her tears. I don't know what was getting into me, how much I was touching her, but she actually turned her face towards my hand until I was cupping her cheek. I thought about all those times on the dance floor, how I'd though she'd wanted to get closer, if only her little Scooby pals weren't watching. How she'd flirt right back at me when we were patrolling, and no one had to know but me. Maybe this was like that--she would let me comfort her as long as we were alone. She wanted me, but only if she didn't have to tell the world.
I let my hand fall. "Buffy..."
She smiled, just a bit. "You know that you've only called me B once today?"
I'm sure my face went red at that. She caught me being serious. I was too worried about her to be thinking about nicknames today. "I do remember your name," I said.
"Only when it's important, though." Her smile was growing. Hell if I knew why. It was a ridiculous conversation to be having when we were still holding each other on the library floor, so close together that it would have been easy to kiss her.
If I dared.
She couldn't kick my ass right now if I tried something.
But that thought was too dangerous and I pushed it away. "Maybe I should get you home," I said. I didn't make any move to get up, though.
She nodded. "Can you help me with something, first?"
"Uh-huh." Of course. Like I was gonna say no.
She looked upset again, frowning. "It's about the Cruciamentum. Something that Kralik said."
"What?" Danger signals were going off in my brain.
"He said something about Angelus--that the Council used to use him as the vampire for the test."
"Yeah." I could see where this was going. If Angel knew about the Cruciamentum and didn't tell Buffy, that was just as much a betrayal as Giles'. He probably didn't want to go around advertising how many helpless Slayers he'd killed. Love poetry was a much safer birthday surprise than that little piece of history. Obviously having a soul didn't stop him from hurting the person he said he loved, or from lying to her. I wished I could dust him for it--
And maybe that's what Buffy wanted help with.
Fucking cold-blooded, if it was.
She musta seen what I thought on my face. "I just want to talk with him," she said. "I need you to come with me, that's all. I'm un-Slayer Buffy right now."
I didn't know if that was better or worse. Listening to their lovers' quarrel wasn't the way I'd planned to spend my evening. But I'd promised, and if I didn't go with her she just might slip out and go see him alone, power drain or not. "Okay," I said. This time I got to my feet, and helped Buffy up. Her knee was still bothering her, but not as bad as a couple of hours ago. So the Slayer healing wasn't gone, just delayed. That was a relief, anyway.
"Listen, Faith..." Buffy was still holding my hand as we left the library.
She didn't say anything. She seemed serious, though, so I stopped and leaned back against a locker. The halls were dark, but I could see her fine. And if her hearing was still working, then I figured her eyesight was as good as mine. I wondered what she saw.
"What is it, Buffy?"
She smiled, and I realized I'd used her full name again. There's so much it's too hard to say, but it's easy just to call her Buffy and let that stand in for everything I'm never gonna tell her. Because she doesn't want to hear it. I know that. I know it.
Buffy stepped towards me, and I would have backed up, but I was pressed against the locker. There was no way she was doing what I thought she was doing.
But she was.
Buffy leaned forward, watching my eyes the whole time, and touched her lips against mine. And hell, you know I didn't stop her. I've never felt anything softer. Buffy's kiss went through my whole body like I was suddenly on fire, like a vamp in sunlight. I know I made some sound, but I couldn't hear it for the blood pounding in my ears. I sagged against the locker and forced myself not to grab her, hold her, because then she'd never get away. I closed my eyes and just felt her mouth move against mine. It was over so fast at first I didn't even want to believe it had happened. Better to keep my distance and my cool.
But there was no distance left between us. Buffy smiled at me, her eyes shining, her hand still clasping mine. "Sometimes thank you isn't enough," she said.
I swallowed, licked my lips, and finally nodded. Maybe the hero business isn't so bad after all.
It's fucking crazy, how confused I was, going with Buffy hand-in-hand to Angel's place. I kept wanting to shout out "I told you so!" to the whole world. She wanted me. She kissed me. I knew the whole time it wasn't just in my head. Maybe I'm not the smartest person on the face of the Earth, but even I don't just keep smashing my head against a brick wall for the fun of it. All those times I flirted with Buffy, it's 'cause I knew she liked it. On some level, she wanted me just as bad as I wanted her.
So, okay, I save her ass, not once but maybe three times by my count--and her mom's too, besides--and then in the middle of the school she just steps up and plants one on me like it's no big deal? Well, if I'd known that's all it took I woulda been rescuing her every chance I got, from day one onwards. But of course with Buffy it can't be that simple. No way. I figured I knew what came next. She'd get freaked and deny it ever happened and if I opened my big mouth about it then she'd close it again quick with a punch to the jaw.
But she's still holding my hand like we're girlfriends or something, getting all sappy with each other. While we're on our way to Angel's mansion to ream him out about what maybe he knew or didn't know about the Cruciamentum. On top of that, I'm the only Slayer here right now so she's expecting me to keep an eye out for vamps after all this stuff she just dumped on me. Fucking head trip. Look out for nasties? Hardly. I'm thinking more along the lines of doin' the nasty, maybe right here in this graveyard we're passing through as a short cut, because the thought that I'm the strong one here still hasn't left my mind, and if I hauled her into one of these tombs--
Shit, shit, shit, I cannot be thinking like this.
I should be getting mad at Angel. What a fucking coward. He'd rather do nothing and hope for the best than tell Buffy that she's about go out and get herself killed. Hope she didn't die, and hope she didn't find out. He was no better than Giles, locking her in with a hungry vamp. Worse, because Angel lied to protect himself, not even out of some stupid sense of duty.
"Faith--" Buffy was giving me a weird look.
"You're holding too tight."
I looked down at our hands and immediately let go. "Jeez, I'm sorry." The last thing I'd wanted was to hurt her. Giles had said she'd be back to her old self in a few days, but talk about rubbing her face in it in the meantime. I hadn't even been thinking about it, which made it worse. "Sorry," I muttered again, and stuffed my hands in my pockets.
"It's not your fault." Buffy sighed. "When I get my strength back..."
I couldn't help grinning. "Not 'til then?"
I think maybe I mentioned how adorable Buffy is when she blushes. She has this smile that's flustered and inviting all at once, and it's like she's embarrassed to meet your eye but she can't help looking at you anyway, 'cause you're the only thing in her world right then. I swear, I get wet just from having that smile turned on me. I know she's imagining doing every dirty thing she'd never admit to wanting, and I'm the star attraction in her fantasy.
And all the times before, I woulda just ignored how she's making my heart pound, and probably let her off the hook with the kind of lusty glance that'd tell her I'm thinking all the same things, only doubled. But tonight was different. Tonight, I was the hero.
Tonight, I was also faster.
I was kissing her before she knew I was going to, and this time there was no backing off. I lifted my hands to cup her face--softly, 'cause I was still able to think that much--and I kept her close to me. I sucked on her bottom lip until she opened her mouth and I tasted her for the first time.
I've never been lost in a kiss. I never forget where I am and why I'm letting whoever it is get a piece of me. But with Buffy, I stopped caring about any of that. I wasn't in control and I didn't care because neither was she. We both disappeared into the feeling of it. I wasn't thinking. I was just living in the warmth of her mouth, the way her tongue sliding against mine washed through my whole body. I kissed her like it was new to me, like I wanted to find out just how to move to make my body start singing.
I pulled back when I heard Buffy whimper. Her eyes were dark and she was panting like she'd run a marathon without her Slayer strength, and her hands were about a quarter inch away from groping my ass. I slipped my arms around her waist, and we stood there for a minute, looking into each other's eyes. Fuck, I'll tell you, that kiss was better than most sex I've had, and I was dying inside knowing that it was probably about as close as I was gonna get any time soon.
"So what was that for?" she asked, finally, again with that smile that I just wanted to kiss away.
"Um...you're welcome?" I tried half-heartedly. I was afraid the real reason was that I wanted her to remember me when she was talking to Angel, but that sounded too desperate even in my head. It sort of occurred to me then that we were swaying back and forth, and her thigh was slowly but surely nudging between mine, and if we didn't let go soon then I wasn't going to be able to. That tiny amount of friction felt like Buffy was taking a sledgehammer to my self-control. I was still gasping for air like a landed fish. "I, uh, I guess we've got to go..."
"Mmm-hmm." Buffy was staring at my lips. "Faith, you are going to take me home afterwards, aren't you? Giles is right, it wouldn't be safe for me to go alone..."
I'd gotten plenty of invitations in my time, but I'd never expected to hear one from Buffy. "Yeah," I said, like I was promising a lot more than to keep the vamps off her until we got to her place. In my mind, I was.
Buffy nodded. "Then yeah. I guess we've got to go."
But this time, she linked her arm through mine and leaned against my shoulder as we walked.
Angel looked up when Buffy pushed through the drapes and I followed her into the living room. I think I saw everything on his face right then. But he went blank so fast I didn't know if it was guilty relief or just surprise I saw. He set down the book he was reading and stood up.
"Buffy," he said, like her name was a prayer. "Faith," he added, to be polite.
I gave him a quick, sarcastic smile, and wondered if he could smell how worked up we'd gotten each other before we'd arrived. I know I could. It was mixed up in sweat and blood and vamp dust, the smell of fighting, and it wasn't doing anything to calm me down. I forced myself not to react when Buffy left my side and took a few steps towards Angel. But you know I wanted to. There's nothing that makes me more invisible than Buffy looking at Angel.
"Did you know?" Buffy spoke simply, quietly, and I knew she wasn't going to let their soap-opera soulmate thing stand in the way of her getting the answers she wanted. I shoulda remembered she killed him when she needed to. She's a Slayer to the core that way. Even heroes need to have steel inside 'em, sometimes.
"You could never be helpless," Angel said. At least he wasn't trying to pretend he didn't know what she was talking about. "Not even if you tried. I knew you'd pass."
Buffy's face gave nothing away. "And you knew that how, exactly?"
Angel gave a matter-of-fact shrug. "I saw you before you became the Slayer."
I rolled my eyes at him behind Buffy's back. I don't know what he thought that had to do with Buffy's Cruciamentum, and apparently neither did Buffy, because she only stared at him coldly.
"I watched you, and I saw you called." Angel stepped around the couch and moved across the room to her. I crossed my arms and glared daggers at him. "It was a bright afternoon in font of your school. You walked down the steps...and I loved you."
"And you lied to me."
Angel hesistated, then said, "I wouldn't interfere..."
"Not even to save my life." Buffy took a step back, neatly avoiding him. "How many Cruciamentums have you seen, Angel? You knew what the risks were, didn't you?"
There was pain on Angel's face now. He musta seen it was hopeless. "I thought you didn't want to hear about Angelus. When I told you about Drusilla--"
"You were trying to warn me away from you. Well, guess what, Angel? I think I'm finally ready to listen." Buffy took the book of poetry he'd given her out of her coat and tossed it to him. He caught it on instinct. "What did you think, that telling me you were some sort of creepy stalker guy when I was fifteen would make me forget how you didn't say a word when my life was in danger?" She shook her head. "I'm leaving."
She whirled around and headed for me. When we got to the door, she took my hand. She paused, then turned around again. "And, Angel?" she said. "I didn't pass. Faith saved me."
And we walked out of the mansion together.
I could hardly believe that Buffy had dumped Angel. Even more, she'd all but told him that I was the reason why. It felt amazing, to be chosen like that. I thought of the day I was Called--the day I started being able to save myself. It was a thousand times better to save someone else, and to see the gratitude and love in her eyes when she looks at you.
Love can be a scary thing, when you see it like that. I was pretty freaked when I recognized it in Buffy's eyes, after we left Angel. This was more than thank you, more than a couple of kisses she could call experimenting if she wanted to forget 'em, more than me dusting a few vamps for her when she was off her game. This meant something real.
I was finally starting to get that what I felt for Buffy was more than just my normal hornies. Tonight maybe I'd saved her life, but that wasn't so unusual. We'd saved each other more times than I could count. A hungry vampire faster than a stake, a demon's claws stronger than a sword stroke--every time, you think you've bought yourself one of Sunnydale's many fine six-foot-square pieces of real estate, and then there's someone standing between you and dying. No, it wasn't saving Buffy's life that made a difference. The hero bit can't stop when the slaying's done. Buffy taught me that, but it was only tonight I figured it out completely. Holding her, and backing her up--being there, mostly--that's what made me a hero in her eyes.
It's not because Buffy lost her strength that she needed a hero, either. It's because everyone turned on her, making her see she had nothing where she thought she had friends. And I was ready to show her I was more than just a slaying partner. I wasn't going to run off on her when she needed me.
That was the freakiest part of all. I wasn't thinking about running. I was thinking about what would happen when we got to Buffy's place, and I was thinking about waking up tomorrow with things between us being maybe different, but maybe better. I was even trying to come up with a few lines for Joyce in case she was wondering why I'd stayed over.
'Cause I was definitely planning on staying over.
We were heading to her house, and I was almost sorry Buffy's knee had healed enough that I didn't need to carry her. I coulda enjoyed it more this time, knowing I wasn't the only one getting off on it. But it didn't really matter, because after a few steps Buffy was walking so close to me that putting my arm around her waist seemed like the thing to do. Protective, sure, but so much more. Before tonight, the only place we woulda touched this much was on the training floor. Even then we were more often scrambling to get away from each other, and I figure that was 'cause of what we both felt when we fell on top of each other.
And I was sure as hell feeling it now. My body was humming the way train tracks do before a freighter goes by. It was the sort of energy I'd normally use up on the dance floor, and later in the graveyard. The sort of energy Buffy denied she ever had. I wasn't going to let her deny it tonight. I didn't give her any space climbing up her front porch steps. I stopped her when she started to unlock the door, trapping her against the wall. I put one hand over hers on the handle, the other on the wall next to her head, and leaned in. Not touching but my body so close to hers it made no difference. Buffy looked up at me, and I could see her trying to control her breathing. Her eyes gave it away, though. They were dark and deep and fucking gorgeous. I wanted to fall right in. Took everything I had not to melt into her and kiss her like I did in the graveyard, and never let her go.
But I can't just be soppy-sweet. That's not me, never has been, and I'm not gonna start changing--not even for Buffy Summers. There's danger here, for both of us, me knowing I could have her any five ways from Sunday if I forced her, her knowing I could be nothing but a rebound fling, both of us scared shitless of what it might mean if we let it. Who's gonna be the hero now, huh? Who's gonna do the right thing, the right way?
"You gonna invite me in?" I asked, letting my husky whisper touch her where my body wasn't--yet. Smoking's too long-term to kill a Slayer, but the side benefit is a voice as sexy as fuck.
"Are you a vampire all of a sudden, to need one?" Buffy asked back, and damn, if she didn't have better control over her voice than I woulda given her credit for. She tilted her head back, nothing but challenge in her eyes now, a question for a question. She's the Slayer. She doesn't give.
She's a Slayer. And I am on top tonight, I am the saviour, the rescuer, the protector. If she thinks one kiss is thank you enough, she's gonna learn different now. I grinned, and did like my body wanted--I leaned in. Sweet fuck, but it was good. A night's slaying, a few kisses to rev me up, and Buffy's body under mine, pressed against her front door. I swear she fit me closer than my leather pants usually do. Buffy gasped, her eyes going half-lidded, and she squirmed--not to get away, but just to see how much we could slide together while we were still wearing all our clothes and we were out where the whole neighborhood could see us if they only had half a mind to watch. It'd be a show better than cable, I'll tell you that. I almost laughed at the thought, but it came out breathless, short, and then I sorta groaned and leaned in even more, dropping my head to kiss her neck.
I let my lips trace over her skin, scraping my teeth across her neck until her whole body surged against mine. I licked away the salty taste of sweat, nipping and nudging, showing her what I'd do when I had more than just her throat to work on. Buffy's breath was harsh in my ear, and she threw her head back so I could reach more and more skin. And still it was just my hands pressing flat to the door behind her, and her just standing there, not reaching for me or stroking me. No hands. No holding. 'Cause you know I wasn't going to force anything that wasn't coming my way. I let her feel the length of me, from collarbone to knee, and I tongued her neck, tasting that smooth skin. I could sense Buffy's body getting tighter and tenser as she fought not to make a sound. Not a whimper, not a moan. Finally I stopped and lifted my head a fraction, enough to breathe into her ear. "Invite me in."
"Took a sleeping pill, which I handed to her, so don't give me that." I started to pull away. Show her what she's missing. Maybe a week out of town didn't get her longing for my company, but that was before tonight.
I was an inch away from her when her hands came up, dug into my hair, and pulled me back. Buffy yanked my mouth to hers, her tongue eager, darting out to meet mine. There was as much force in this kiss as she could muster, her fingers tangling in my hair to keep me still. This time she was the one leading and I was happy to follow, sinking back down into her. God, I swear, Buffy is hotter than hell. I'd gotten burned my share of times, but now, it was like getting close to a campfire on a cold night. I relaxed and let her explore my mouth, showing her what I liked, nibbling on her lips when she backed off, sucking on her tongue when she dove in for more. And still I kept my hands flat on the door behind her, behaving. Not pushing, but not giving her everything she wanted, either.
Buffy was pushing back against me, now, looking for more contact, moaning into my mouth, "Please...touch me..."
I was dying to show her everything my hands could do, and my brain was slowly going off-line as I let the storm in my body take over. But there's another lesson from Buffy the Slayer. Heroes have standards. Heroes don't settle. "Invite me in," I said again, harsher this time, not even bothering to let her mouth escape. I went back in for more, kissing her for all I was worth, and I was worth a hell of a lot, tonight.
"Yeah...Faith..." Buffy let go of me with one hand to find the door handle again. "Come in."
And you better believe I didn't have to be asked twice.
We were inside before I knew what was happening. Only my Slayer-quick reaction saved the door from crashing against the wall and waking Joyce up, sleeping pill or no sleeping pill. I got it closed again and locked it, with no help from Buffy. She was holding me so hard I was half-hoping that power-drain junk was leaving her system. I was on fire, burning so bad I was giving up any thoughts of going slow. We were still going at it, hot and heavy, and now I had Buffy pinned on the other side of the door. I was out of breath and so wrapped up in her I didn't want to move. At least we were inside, technically safe. Getting to Buffy's bedroom was going to be another job altogether.
Buffy was kissing along my jaw now, and all my senses were focused on the trailing warm wetness of her mouth. God, I wanted her so bad. I was aching to get my hands on her. The feel of her mouth was driving me crazy. "Buffy--" I gasped.
"Yeah," she muttered, still paying more attention to kissing me than to listening to me. Not that I was complaining, mind you.
"Lift up," I said. "Put your legs around me."
She was quick to do what I asked, jumping up a bit and locking her ankles behind my back, just above my ass. I braced myself, not against her weight, which was easy to manage, but against the incredible feel of her pussy grinding into mine. Jesus Christ, but I could practically feel the heat of her through our pants, and you know I could smell her. I breathed it in like some kind of perfume, getting more turned on with every second.
Buffy moaned. "Mmm--Faith, that's good."
The sound of her voice was the sweetest thing I'd ever heard. "Are you wet for me, baby?" I asked, trying not to sound too smug. As if I didn't know the answer to that one already.
Buffy blushed, her whole face flushing pink. "Yes..." she whispered, almost a hiss. Hearing her admit it made me swallow, hard. There was no way I'd expected to get this far with her tonight. Hail the conquering hero...oh, yeah. Her hips moved against mine, and I had to stop where I was and just breathe for a minute before I got my control back.
I lifted my face to kiss her again. It was different with her being above me, but still amazing. I loved having her in my arms, supporting her with my arms, letting her hands trace my face and sink into my hair. Her tongue was exploring over my teeth, pushing against the soft flesh at the top of my mouth. I rubbed my hands over her ass, massaging and squeezing, every now and then cupping her hard against me. I slid my fingers lower, between her legs, stroking the seam of her jeans. The feel of her dampness and heat made my clit throb where we were pressed together. I started moving my fingers back and forth, hard enough that Buffy would feel it, light enough to be frustrating. "When I was carrying you before, this was all I could think about," I admitted, mumbling the words into her mouth.
"Oh, God," she gasped. "I--I knew you were--"
"What?" I laughed a bit, but it turned into a groan. She was wriggling in my arms, trying to get more friction, and it only reminded me that we still had way too many clothes on. That, and we were still downstairs. "Thinking about you? Hot for you?"
"Hmm--yes." Buffy suddenly sat back in my arms, straining, and the sudden movement jarred our crotches together again. Pleasure washed over me, so hard I nearly dropped her.
"Jesus, Buffy, don't--ah--do that--God, you're gonna make me come in my pants."
"Oh, and we can't have that...very undignified..." Buffy smiled and leaned forward again, capturing my lips.
"No, bad for leather." I didn't mention how they were probably already needed a trip to the dry cleaners. Instead, I kissed her back, and finally got it into my head that the reason we were still standing down here was that I hadn't gotten us upstairs. I tightened my hold on her and turned around, heading for the steps. Superpowers are meant for saving the world, but I'm not against using 'em for my own ends. Carrying Buffy, balancing her, sensing the route without tripping over anything, and listening to make sure Joyce wasn't playing watchdog at the top of the stairs were all very important things. No regular human could have done them all at once--especially not while still in the middle of one very hot kiss, and not really thinking about things like breathing and watching where they were going.
Finally, we were in Buffy's room, all shadowed and moonlit. The dark didn't bother me--I could still see Buffy fine, looking incredibly beautiful with her eyes all dark and her lips warm and moist with kisses. Now that we were here, I didn't want to put her down, but the damn clothes were still in my way. Buffy seemed to have the same idea, 'cause she leaned back again, trusting me to hold her, and pulled off her shirt in one smooth motion, dropping it somewhere out of sight. My breath caught in my throat as I stared at her, her nipples tight and straining against the lace of her bra, her chest and stomach sheened with sweat. Then needing oxygen caught up with me and I was panting hard. My breath raised goosebumps when I leaned in to taste her. I mouthed my way over her collarbones, lifting her higher and sliding my tongue under the harsh edge of the bra's fabric.
Buffy's hands slipped into my hair and hesitantly guided me to where she wanted my mouth. I smiled, hearing her nearly incomprehensible mutter of, "Please." I lowered my head and sucked my way across her right breast. I licked her nipple through the lace, listening to Buffy's whimpers, her hands tightening their hold, pressing me more firmly to her chest. I sucked harder, feeling the texture of skin and lace against my tongue. Buffy's breathing was light and quick, and she could hardly keep still. She moaned when I moved back, then again when I caught her other breast in my mouth. I started walking forward again, stopping when I felt the bed against my knees. I couldn't remember how long I'd been holding Buffy up, and I wasn't tired yet, but there were so many things I couldn't reach with her in my arms.
I let her slide down. Buffy paused only long enough to get rid of the bra, then she lay back on the bed, looking up at me with a lazy smile. Her skin was flushed, her nipples pale pink and so hard I wanted them back in my mouth. I could feel my heartbeat pounding through my body, each pulse like a tiny orgasm, my clit protesting that Buffy wasn't pressed against it anymore.
"Faith..." Buffy's lips quirked, but it was her gaze that caught me and held me there. There was such trust in her eyes it scared me, but there was passion, too, and I knew there was no turning back now. Fuck, I wanted her, and not as just some notch in my bedpost, but because she was the reason I kept coming back to Sunnydale. "Take it off."
There was no saying no to her. That confidence of hers is pure Slayer. I ripped off my jacket and yanked off my tank top, losing my bra a second later. I grinned down at Buffy, amused by the appreciative hum in her throat, almost a purr. She reached up and pulled me down on top of her by the front of my pants. "You like?" I asked. Her skin was hot as an oven against mine. Her muscles were tight and quivering underneath me as I straddled her, slippery where we were both sweating. I settled my weight on her a little bit, so that she would really feel it when I slipped my fingers between us to undo her fly. "This good?"
I only woulda asked for her. Anyone else I had in my bed--or theirs--woulda been there to get me off and relax me a bit, to scratch that slaying itch. Not Buffy. I cupped her over her panties, the jeans open between us, and I wanted to melt into the hot liquid I felt there. Not 'til she gave the okay, though. I was here 'cause I was the hero, and heroes do things right.
"Yes, God, please Faith." Buffy said it, staring into my eyes, maybe knowing what I was waiting for. "Please...touch me."
"I'm gonna do better than that, baby," I said. I pressed a little closer, my index finger slipping inside that last barrier. Sweet fuck, but she was swollen and hot, and she nearly bucked up into my slightest touch. "I'm gonna show you it can be so good, okay? It's gonna be good for you."
Before she could answer, I lay down, half on top of her, half beside, and found her mouth with mine again. I knew better than anyone that first times, even with the soulfullest vampire around, aren't exactly comfortable. And I also knew a first time was all she'd ever had. This time was gonna be better. This time I was gonna save her from everything Angel stood for, when this happened before.
There's more than one kind of hero, after all.
I deepened the kiss, focusing on how soft her lips were, how easy it was to fall into wanting her all over again. It was the strangest feeling--I was all wound up tight, my body throbbing, and every touch was like electricity was running through me. But none of that mattered, 'cause I was concentrating on Buffy's lips, on the quiet, pleading sounds she was making, the way she wiggled against my hands to help me shove off her jeans. She was eager to lend a hand at getting my pants off, too, her fumbling fingers every once in a while finding my clit.
"Shit, Buffy," I gasped, bringing my hands up her body. There was nothing left between us now and I was dying at the feel of her. Her stomach was taut under my hands, and I cupped her breasts, working her nipples between my fingers.
Buffy's hips jerked in time, the vibration of her moans sinking into my mouth. "That's, yes, that's good...oh, my God, you're incredible."
I never figured I'd come from words alone, but that nearly sent me flying right there. Incredible, yeah, that's me. Fucking amazing. And this was so good, and I was never gonna let her go. I groaned into her mouth. I started working my way downwards, pausing wherever I could tell it felt good. Buffy's hands were wandering now, too, following my actions, and when she squeezed my breasts I couldn't help but squirm into her touch.
"That's it, baby, right there..." I sucked on her neck, just at the sweet spot where it met her shoulders, flicking my tongue against her pulse. "Here..." I sat up a bit, moving her hands to where I wanted them. I held her fingers over my nipples, helping her to rub 'em. They were hard and shooting pleasure through my whole body, and my pussy was soaking. I knew Buffy could feel it against her thigh, like I could feel hers where my knee was wedged between her legs. "Go ahead, pinch 'em, you're not going to hurt anything--oh, fuck, yeah, yeah--"
Buffy licked her lips, watching what she was doing. She was pressing upwards, looking for me to get down to the real action. I let more of my weight rest on my knee, shoving against her pubis. Her eyes went wide and suddenly she went crazy, ramming her pussy up into my knee, writhing on the bed. "Faith...ah...Faith!"
It was the hottest thing I'd ever seen, watching her come for me. I kissed her again, just to taste my name on her lips. Buffy relaxed back after a minute. "I've never..." She flushed an even deeper red, the blush coming up all the way from her chest. "I mean, not like that."
I grinned. "You think that's it?" I started tracing my fingers down to the trimmed curls between her legs. My knee was slippery with her juices, and I shifted it out of the way.
Buffy quivered under my fingers. "Oh, God, I don't think I can--"
"Liar," I told her. I found her clit with my thumb, and pressed down just a bit. Buffy jumped under my touch. "See...I'm just getting started..." I started rubbing tight small circles around her center, dipping down to coat my fingers in her come and spreading it around. Her folds were hot and puffy, sliding so perfect against me. I swear I never touched anything softer.
"Okay, this is so--uh--not...fair..." Buffy let her head fall back. "You didn't say you could--" She bit her lip, her eyes squeezed shut. "...do that--"
"Hmm, you mean we coulda been here sooner?" I murmured. "I thought I'd advertised pretty well." I eased one finger inside her. Fuck, she was tight, her muscles shuddering around me. I flicked her clit again, feeling it harden under my touch. I started fucking her, slow at first, listening to the wet clicking sounds of her cunt around my finger. I wanted to taste her, but not yet. I was gonna exhaust her, both of us, and I was gonna still be good tomorrow.
"Faith." Buffy's voice was shaky, giving up completely to what I was doing. "Faith, yes, don't stop..."
"Not gonna," I said. I was starting to feel shaky myself, my pussy aching for her. I lowered myself down to rub against her leg, matching the way I was fucking her. Christ, it was sweet, the angle hitting me just right. I sped up my motion, swaying above her, my finger buried so fucking deep inside her. "Oh, yeah, Buffy...fucking amazing..." I was close, pleasure knifing through me. Just a little more and I'd be there. "Oh, shit, yeah..."
I worked Buffy's clit harder, curling my finger inside her, searching for her g-spot. Buffy spread her legs, letting me get deeper, angling her thigh up so that it pressed into me just right. My breath exploded out, and just then I moved my fingers just right and Buffy was a wild thing under me. "Fuck, fuck, yes. Buffy, Jesus--" I rammed myself down on her, meeting every thrust, coming sharp and hard against her. "Hmm, you're so good, baby..."
This time I didn't even pause, I just dove down and tasted her, the way I'd wanted to since I first smelled how turned on she was. She was already soaked and slippery, and I tongued her from ass to clit, moaning at the taste of her. Buffy yelled out something, her thighs opening for me. I sucked her lips, then used the flat of my tongue on her clit, still pulsing from her last orgasm. I went in as deep as I could, drinking her down, loving every second of it. I reached down and fingered myself at the same time. Fucking perfect, the way Buffy was calling out for me, the way she made me feel. I'd wanted her for so long, and now here she was, lifting her hips up, begging for my mouth, and I was gonna take her with me again.
This time when I came, it was longer, drawing out with every lick of Buffy's pussy. She pounded hard into my mouth, calling out with every thrust, finally shivering to a stop. I slowed down, waiting for her to relax, and slowly kissed my way up her body, her come warm on my lips.
"Faith." Buffy pulled me down and kissed me, tasting herself on my tongue. She said my name like it meant something, like I was her hero all over again. "Thank you."
I kissed her slow, rolling over until we were on our sides, facing each other. I was cooling down, but still warm where we were pressed together, and I sat up quick to pull the sheets and blankets over us.
I figured I'd never have to move again. I was the hero. I was home. And I was falling asleep in the arms of the woman I loved. Shit, you know I could even say it now without being afraid. I loved Buffy Summers. I might be the real Slayer now in the Council's eyes, but laying here, right now, I figured I could quit that gig anytime. Heroes don't need someone to tell 'em what to do. They do what's right, and they do it the way it's supposed to be done. I could be anybody's hero, as long as Buffy was mine.
We'd been lying there on the edge of sleep for a few minutes, when Buffy shifted against me, her breath warm against my neck. "Faith," she said quietly. "Do you think I could have done it? Passed the Cruciamentum, if you hadn't saved me?"
I turned my head, breathing in the scent of her hair. There were lots of answers to that question, easy ones like "Of course," and the tougher ones that might get me kicked out of her bed, like "Who knows?" The real answer had something to do with who wins and who loses, and what it means to save somebody. Fuck saving their life. There's a better kind of saving, and that was more like what Buffy had done for me. Was doing, still, her head cradled on my breast and her fingers drawing circles on my stomach under the sheets. Warm and cozy and tucked up together. No leaving. Could she have passed the Cruciamentum without me? Probably. She woulda found a way. But that wasn't the question she cared about. And there's only one thing I could say to give her the answer she really wanted.
I held her tight, with a just touch of Slayer strength, remembering how good it felt to be back in Sunnydale, how this crappy one-horse town felt like home now, how I knew I'd never have to go on walkabout again. Not while Buffy was here saving me, and being here needing me to save her.
"You're the hero, Buffy," I said, like it was the only truth there was. I felt her lips curve against my chest, smiling, and I knew I'd finally found a way to say what I meant, and to say it right. Hard to believe it was only tonight I came back, only tonight all this happened. Maybe it'll all go to shit, tomorrow, next week, whenever.
But for now, Buffy's the hero, and the hero gets the girl.