W&D Banner

Book One: Fate

by Amanda
Rating: NC-17

Note: Language. F/f nookie. Mild violence.

Willow sat on the end of the bed, rubbing lotion onto her arms.

“I still can’t get over it.”

“What baby?” Tara asked, closing her chemistry book and setting it down.

“That Faith is back.” Willow turned to face Tara. “I know how sad she was, you know when she called. But I had this feeling that she really wasn’t going to come back for a while. And then, she was all, Hello I’m back, let’s be friends.” Willow shrugged. “I just still can’t figure out why, is all.”

“Um, W-w-willow?” Tara blushed.

“What is it?” Willow crawled up the bed to sit right in front of Tara.

“I, I asked her to come back.” Tara sighed deeply.

“Oh, that’s okay, baby.” She took Tara’s hand. “I know you were worried about her, being wherever, she was all alone. It’s okay.”

“That’s not exactly it.” Tara closed her eyes, and leaned her head back against the wall. She was trying to decide if she should just come clean. Over the past few months she became the private confessor in the group, the priest to whom every one came to share the burden of their secrets, and it was weighing on her heavily. “I thought that Buffy, that s-s-she needed Faith’s help.” She said, keeping her eyes closed. There, that was partial truth, and she felt better for saying something.

“You still hope that there can be something between them?” Willow asked, softly.

“Yes.” Tara opened her eyes, slowly, waiting for Willow to tell her she was crazy.

“Well, don’t feel bad about that. I mean, Faith is here, and we have all agreed to let her stay and try and be part of the team.” Willow smiled, but Tara sighed. “What? Why the sigh? Is there more?” Tara shook her head. Willow leaned in and kissed her cheek softly, then ran her thumb over Tara’s eyebrow. “You can’t lie to me, you know.” She sat back, “but I don’t want you to tell me either. Not unless you are ready. Does Buffy know that you asked Faith back? I know you two had a fight the other day.”

“Oh, no w-w-we didn’t fight.”

“Well, Buffy said she might have hurt your feelings, saying something.”

“She was within her r-r-rights to s-s-say what she d-d-did.”

“Why don’t you go down and talk to her? I heard her come home a little while ago.” Willow smiled. “I’ll keep the bed warm for you.”

*****

She was sitting on the couch in the dark. The house was sleeping around her. She needed this time to think, to go over the days events in her mind. It has been a whirlwind two days. Faith coming back. Faith apologizing to her, to the Scoobies. Spike leaving. Her confessing to Faith that she had been in heaven. And then, tonight in the cemetery, with the moment so oddly perfect, and they had almost-

“Buffy?” A soft voice from the bottom of the stairs. She turned to look through the dark.

“Hey, Tara.”

“Are you alright?” She came into the room and sat on the coffee table, facing Buffy. Was she all right?

“I think so.” Buffy shrugged.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Tara asked. Buffy leaned forward, elbows on her knees.

“I would like to, but I don’t know how much sense I would make.”

“You can try.” Tara offered.

“You are so good to me. To us.” Buffy looked up and smiled.

“Some times I think I might be getting it wrong. You k-know, over stepping my boundaries.”

“Tara, you care about us, and love us. You only try to do what’s best.” Buffy smiled at her, wondering why she looked so nervous. Tara looked down, and Buffy knew what she was thinking. She was remembering the harshness of what she had said to Tara. “I really didn’t mean what I said, the other night.”

“Yes you did, and that’s fine B-b-buffy.” She sighed. “I told Faith about you and Spike. I know I shouldn’t have, but I was so mad, and so worried. Are y-y-you mad?” Buffy had guessed that was why the other Slayer had come back suddenly, though Faith had not mentioned a reason.

“No. I’m not, promise. I know that you were worried, and you didn’t think anyone else would have been able to stop him, or even get me to realize what I was doing.” She smiled at the witch. “Seeing Faith there, that was kind of my wake up call, you know. I had to stop it.” Buffy set her hand on Tara’s knee. “I did stop it. That is over between us.” Tara looked at her skeptically. “Really, it is. He left.”

“You just let him go?”

“He apologized.” Buffy said.

“And that makes it all b-b-etter? Buffy he raped you!”

“No he didn’t.”

“What I saw was not consensual.”

“Tara, I could have stopped him. You know it was just easier for me to just let it happen, than exert any strength to stop it. It was just that, at first it made me feel something. When I was with him, - Tara did I ever tell you what heaven felt like?” Tara shook her head no. “It was a constant feeling of euphoria, and peace. Sometimes when I was with him, it felt like that. When, well, when I, erm, it felt like a little piece of heaven. Since I got back I have been robot girl, not really feeling anything, so when I did, I didn’t want to loose it.

“He may not have known where that I was in heaven, but on some level Spike understood that I needed the physicality. He made me come back, to my humanity. Because of him I felt shame, rage, passion. Deep down I knew it was wrong, but stopping it, well.” Buffy paused for a moment. “I realized what he was doing. He loved me the only way he could. The only way I would let him.”

“Sorry, B-b-buffy, but t-that is bullshit.” Tara snapped.

“You and Faith, what happened to you was different. You just don’t understand.”

“I really want to know then. I want to understand it. A-all I know Buffy is that I wanted him dead for hurting you.” Tara sighed.

“I know a lot about Spike. He is still William underneath it all, and William is pure obsession. He finds a woman, and she becomes his entire world. He convinces himself that it is love. I am not saying what he did was okay. I know it wasn’t. But, he was the same way with Drusilla, and he was the same when he was human.”

“But still.”

“I cannot want someone dead for loving me.”

"That makes no sense. You wanted Faith dead-"

“No. I didn’t want Faith dead.” Buffy said strongly. “Even after all that she did to me. She raped me too.”

“What?” Tara’s hand went to her mouth, shocked.

“Not physically. Emotionally. I’d be a hypocrite if I killed Spike, but let her live. She made me a victim too. I hated Faith for it. Just like I hate Spike for what he did.”

“You always clung to how much you hated her. I could see it Buffy. It swirled around you. But I don’t feel the same hate coming off of you for Spike.” The witch said.

“I expected more of Faith, I guess. Spike is a demon, and a man. I can’t hold him to the same expectations.” Tara looked confused. Buffy sighed. She knew she had to confess something to Tara, and she was afraid of how it would sound coming out. She took a deep breath. “I know that at the time Faith was just a kid, but she was a Slayer. She and I were the same. I wanted Faith to be different. I wanted her to be better… I wanted her to love me.”

“You wanted her to love you?” Tara was taken aback.

“Tara,” Buffy smiled, “haven’t you wondered why I felt so strongly about Faith? Why I was so upset when I found out she was still alive? I hated her so much because when she went bad, she broke my heart. I, I thought that she and I could,”

“You loved her?” Tara was still shocked.

“Yes. I did. But she hurt me so much.” Buffy rubbed her hands on her legs. “Her going to the Mayor, trying to kill Angel, stealing my body. I wanted it to be different, but when I am betrayed, I tend to hate. I had to hate her. How could I fight her, fight the darkness inside her without the hate?” Buffy sighed. “I forced her away, concentrating on that hate, to help ease the pain. Then I thought she was dead. And I really let everything go, the hate, the anger, and the love. She was gone from me, forever. Or so I thought. And when you brought me back, I was scared and confused. Nothing made sense in this world, not after being where I was. I fell back onto the old comfortable ways of doing things. That was my fault. So you see, I can be mad at Spike, but I can’t want him dead. If I can’t forgive him for what he did to me, how can I ever expect to forgive Faith?”

“You want to forgive her?”

“Yes.” Buffy whispered. And she did. Just these past two days she had felt herself awakening. When she looked into Faith’s eyes tonight, it was so perfect. Buffy wanted to forgive the other girl; she wanted to move forward.

“What happens when Spike comes back?” Tara asked, softly, seeing that Buffy was thinking.

”He won’t want me anymore.”

“How can you be sure?”

“I am. He’s gotten what he wanted. He had me, for a while. His goal was obtained. He needs to be obsessed with someone; it gives him something to strive for. When he gets it, he gets over it.”

“Buffy?”

“I’m complex, I know.” She laughed lightly. “I’m stronger now, I’m more myself than I have been in a long time. He did do something good, though.”

“What?”

“He made you bring her back.” She smiled. “I think we both know that she wouldn’t have come back here unless I needed her help.”

“So you aren’t mad?”

”That you asked Faith to come? No.”

Tara smiled. “I’m not going to lie. I think Faith really loves you and would be good for you. But if you don’t feel the same, then that’s okay too.”

“I don’t know what I feel, not yet. A lot has happened in a really short amount of time.” And that was the truth. “She almost kissed me tonight.” Buffy whispered. Tara looked at her expectantly. “But she didn’t - well not really. Part of me really wanted her to, and another part was scared that she would. Tara, I don’t know what I am feeling, what I should be feeling. She hurt me so much, and then she was gone.” Buffy whispered sadly. She looked up at Tara, worried that she was sounding completely crazy. She was forgiving Spike, and wanting Faith. Oh, Buffy’s head hurt. “And she’s back and, Tara I don’t want to loose her again. But I don’t know if I can allow myself to feel that way for her. I don’t know if I can feel that pain again. I can see that she has changed, just in the past few days. My God seeing her in the Magic Box, apologizing to everyone. The old Faith would never have done that. She was scared, even I could see that. She has changed, she wanted to change. But I am still afraid of being hurt. Tara, am I making any sense? My head is spinning.”

“I know.”

“This really is a chance for the two of us to start over. I know we are going to have to deal with what happened eventually, but I think this could work. It feels like it should work. I want to be her friend. I can do that, and maybe. Well," Buffy paused. “I wish I could open a door in my head, let you look around.”

“Why?” Tara laughed.

“I have been in love before. I know I have. Hello, Angel, Riley. I know what it felt like. But with Faith, it has always been different. Like when we are slaying, it, it.” Buffy was at a loss, but then perked up. “It’s probably a lot like when you and Willow do your spells. You know, you can feel that you are connected with someone, right in the moment, and there is no need for pretense or anything else.” Tara nodded understanding. “That’s what it’s like. That is what I feel when I am with her. It’s freeing, but it scares me, because I don’t know if that is love.”

“I can’t answer t-that for you.”

“Too much to hope for, huh?” Buffy smiled.

“So you only see this connection when you are with her?”

“When we are slaying, or having those dreams.”

“Dreams?” Tara asked.

“Slayer dreams. You probably have a term for it. But sometimes we meet in this other place, when we are both asleep.”

“You have them a lot?”

“Just sometimes. It’s like when there is something we really need to talk about, we end up there together. Maybe because it feels like there isn’t right or wrong just us.” Buffy waved her hand. “But Faith asked me not to do that anymore.”

“Why?”

“She wants us to be able to talk, face to face. In reality.” Buffy smiled, remembering the firm look in Faith’s eyes when she had made that request before they left each other tonight. Tara sighed, and then took the other girl’s hand.

“Buffy will you promise me something?”

“If I can.”

“Don’t play with Faith’s heart. If you don’t love her, then don’t lead her on, and don’t convince yourself to be with her, just because you are lonely.”

“I, I,” wow, that was harsh, especially coming from Tara.

“I know that sounds mean. I love you Buffy, really I do, but I care about Faith too, and if there is one thing that could really hurt her, it would be you settling for her.”

“I know. I want her to be happy, too.” Buffy stood up. She missed Faith already. She wondered where the other girl was right now, what she was thinking. My God, Buffy thought. Faith was in the musty, dirty motel all over again. Was she already making the same old mistakes again?

“What is it?” Tara asked reading the concern in Buffy’s expression.

“If this is my second chance, then I need to start getting with the program.” Buffy stood straighter. “I want to have a family meeting in the morning, will you guys be here?”

*****

“How are you doing?” She asked, looking over at him as they lay in bed, the morning sun was just beginning to creep through the curtains. Xander had his arm draped over his eyes. He groaned, not answering. “I will not accept that for a response Xander.” Anya pinched his chest.

“Ow!” He moaned and rolled over to look at her. “I am fine.”

“Liar.”

“Okay, not fine.” He sighed. “It’s just weird.”

“What is weird?”

“Faith, being back here.”

“Because you slept with her.” Anya said this as a statement.

“No.” She stared. “Maybe.” She kept staring. “Yeah?”

“Explain. She won’t want to sleep with you again. Though why I am not sure, you are very good at what you do. Should I thank her for that?”

“No!” He exclaimed.

“So what is the problem, Xander?”

“I just. Well, she used me, oh and she went all evil afterwards.”

“She was a little evil before Xander. I think Buffy has cornered the market on having sex with people and making them go crazy.” Anya said snuggling closer. “Do you want to have sex with her? Is that it? Maybe you feel guilty? It is natural you know. I would want to have sex with her too. She is very attractive.”

“An, hon. Please don’t go there.” He moaned, wishing he didn’t get that visual. O.o.o. No such luck. There it was, the delicious visual.

“So tell me Xander. I need to understand why you are sad.”

“Maybe I feel bad about what I did to her. I mean, it was all right there, you know. Maybe I broke her heart.”

“I love you.” She laughed. “But there is no way you could break her heart. You used each other, and she doesn’t hold that against you. So I think.” Anya sat up. “You need to go, talk to her, get this all out in the open. And get over it. Life’s too short, and I want my happy Xander back.”

“I guess you are right.”

“No guessing here. I am over a thousand years old, I know about things like this. Go, shoo.”

*****

“Well, looky here.” I said holding the door open, looking at Xander, standing there with a brown bag and two cups of what looked like coffee. “Imagine, me and you, meeting again like this after all these years.” I laughed.

“Funny.”

“Just messin' with ya. Come in.” I turned and walked over to the dresser, picking up a rubber band and pulling back my hair tightly. Luckily for him, I had been awake for a while; thinking about last night everything that B and I had talked about. It was still a really heavy thought. Buffy had been in Heaven. Like THE Heaven. I was sort of disappointed when she told me she hadn’t seen the pearly gates, or the clouds. She said it was more of just feeling, being out of her body, of being energy and feeling. I still wasn’t sure what she had meant by euphoria, but at the three different shades of red she turned, I guess it was probably a lot like an orgasm, one big continuous orgasm. Wow. That was pretty amazing when you thought about it.

Now she was here, dealing with reality. The daily grind, waking up, slaying, just boring shit that was life. Man, I didn’t know how she could be so strong.

“Is one of those for me?” I asked, sitting on the edge of the bed, breaking myself from my thoughts, and focusing my fidgeting guest.

“Sure, I mean yeah.” He held one out. “I figured you’d be hungry, and all.”

“Gotta say, Xander, you have being a Slayerette down pat.”

“Lots of experience.” He looked around lost. I figured I was feeling pretty good about things, so I’d go easy on him.

“Sit down. There, see, chair. Made for sitting.” I pointed in the corner.

“Right, thanks.” He sat, holding the bag and other cup of coffee awkwardly on his knees.

“Lighten up. I won’t kill you. I promise.” I smiled widely at him, teeth and all.

“I like that.”

“What?” I tilted my head looking at him.

“That smile. You look so young.”

“I am young.” I winked at him, and took a sip of the coffee. It was good and hot, and black. But, I’d deal with the black. “Thanks again, for this.” I held up the cup and sipped again.

“Sure.”

I knew he was here for a reason, but kind of liked watching him squirm. This was after all the exact same room where I helped him get over that pesky virginity he had. I still felt a little bad about the whole trying to choke him part, but he was pushing me, I just snapped. I wouldn’t have followed through with it; even then I had enough control to see that Xander wasn’t my stepfather. I would have stopped, but that choice had never been Xander’s or mine. Angel had come to the rescue.

Man that felt like a million years ago. I looked at Xander again. He was different. Older, a little harder. Clearly events over the past few years had affected him; the things that he had seen since, the things he had gone through. Still amazes me that the whole Scooby Gang still hangs around. I mean, they don’t have to; it’s not their calling. They could leave, hide from the Hellmouth. But they still stay. You got to give them props for that. “So,” I dragged out.

“Listen, Faith. I am still mad at you.” He looked up. “I just don’t know why exactly.”

“You need me to write it all down for you?”

“No.” He chuckled. “We all made a lot of bad choices back then. Things were kind of crazy, with the whole Ascension and wacky Mayor.” I nodded, barely flinching at the mention of the Mayor. “I don’t think you are the only one to blame. But I don’t think you are off the hook either.” He tossed the bag to me. “Bagels.”

“Wicked!” I opened the bag. Raisin, my favorite. Wow, he remembered. Never thought someone would. I shrugged and took a bite.

“If you haven’t noticed by now, I am protective of Buffy.”

“Naw, Really?”

“Okay, Mr. Obvious again. I won’t lie. When Giles had us read your, erm, journals. You know a lot of stuff in there shocked me. I never knew you were…” He looked down at the floor. I knew what he was thinking. He never knew I was carrying a torch for B. Made sense. I was always bragging, telling them all about made-up conquests, flaunting myself around. I was the slutty Faith, the easy whore. God - what a bunch of shit. I wondered how shocked Xander would be if I told him that he was the last person I had been with. Riley didn’t count in my book, not my body. I decided to keep that little fact to myself, he didn’t need to know. “We all read it, and I figure, if Buffy is willing to give you another chance, then so am I.”

“But if I hurt her, you’ll kill me.” I finished for him.

“Heard that already have you?”

“Red,” I began counting off my fingers, “Blondie, the Kid. Just left you and G-man. And with training later I am sure I’ll hear it then.” I leaned back.

“So we’re better?” He asked.

“In my book, yeah. It has always been up to you.”

He smiled, sipping his coffee. “So, you really were around this summer?”

“Totally. I was a little messed up still.” He looked with questioning eyes. “Kind of just moving on as little power as possible you know. Kinda numb and everything. I think that we all were, after B died.” I stopped for a moment, to take a breath, feeling the pain I knew when she was gone. No sense in feeling sad and missing Buffy, she was right here, alive and well. “Anyway, I just was robo Slayer, just killing the nasties. You know, not feeling anything. Luckily Blondie helped me get out of my funk. But yeah I was here.” I tossed my empty cup into the trash, grinning when it made it in. “You guys sure gave me a run for my money though.”

“Really?”

“Ah, sure. You guys were always popping up right when I was fighting something. Hard to kill a demon and hide the body with you coming around the corner.”

”We had no idea. You were doing something right.” He smiled, and I liked it. I had missed that goofy grin he had. Me staying would work out after all. I mean sure I was still a little freaked, being around B. It was like this constant temptation, right. Look but don’t touch. I so could feel Angel’s pain now. Though, I was a pro at this. The unrequited love thing. I’d get over it, or used to it. But getting some friends, really this time. That seemed like it would make everything pretty worth it.

“Man, that one night, you guys nearly had a big surprise.”

“Which night?”

“You remember when you got attacked?”

“Little vague. Happens a lot.”

“Right,” I began to clarify. “You all thought that Blondie did some spell that dusted all of them.”

“That was you?” He leaned forward. I was getting into storyteller mode now.

“Here’s how it went down, Xan. So I was running right, stalking these fuckers, when I hear,”

*****

“So what’s the difference between a family meeting and a Scooby meeting?” Dawn asked sitting down on the recliner, tucking her legs under her. Buffy followed with a bowl of cereal, which she handed to her sister.

“Um, no boys?” Buffy said and sat down on the couch next to Willow and Tara. Last night, after their talk, Buffy had felt a little better. She knew she couldn’t possibly figure everything out in one night. She needed time, and she just needed to let things take their normal course. She wanted Faith in her life, period. Tara was right, she couldn’t jump into anything. It would hurt both of them too much.

She looked around the room, at her family. Who would have ever thought she would become a mature, responsible, head of a household. She grinned, who was she kidding. Willow and Tara ran this house. Her and Dawn were the kids.

“What’s so funny?” Dawn asked with a mouth full of Lucky Charms.

“Oh, funny? Share!” Willow said.

“Nothing funny. Just a smile. Can’t a girl smile any more?” Buffy crossed her arms.

“Sure a girl can, but this is you.” Dawn smirked, and Tara laughed lightly.

“No more picking on the Slayer. I wanted a meeting. I need your guys input on something.”

“Okay.” Dawn shrugged.

“So what should we do about Faith? I mean I will not let her keep living in that motel. Not again.” Buffy said.

“Right, that is one of the things we did wrong last time.” Willow added, nodding.

“I am not sharing my room!” Dawn exclaimed. They all smiled.

“No one asked you to,” Buffy set her hand on her sister’s arm.

“She’s right, Buffy, there really isn’t a lot of space here.” Willow said scrunching up her forehead, thinking. “I don’t know where we could put her.” Tara looked at Buffy for a moment, and then said softly.

“Where were you thinking of putting her?”

“Hmm? Couch. I was thinking couch.” Buffy said quickly, tossing Tara a look.

“I don’t know Buffy. I don’t think she would be comfortable down here.” Willow mused. Then she looked over at Buffy. “I go with my statement of the week.”

“Which would be?”

“Ask her what she wants.”

She stood, leaning against the open door, watching the two of them. It was cute, kind of like seeing two kids playing. Faith looked so young, not a stitch of make-up on, her hair a little messy, pulled back in a ponytail. They were both lying on the bed, flipping through comics. There where seven of them open in various stages.

“You could not!” Xander exclaimed.

“Fuck yeah I could.” Faith sat up. “It’d be easy. See you would just have to make sure your velocity was right, and then get the angles just so,” Faith was moving her arms around, and then she stopped. “You gonna say hello, or just stand there?” She asked.

“What?” Xander looked confused.

“Could feel me huh?” Buffy asked, stepping into the room.

“Oh, yeah. You’ve just been there staring, and it was getting on my nerves.” Faith grinned. No more sneaking up and surprising one another. Maybe that was a good thing. She sat back on her heels, looking at Buffy. They were both wondering what the other was thinking. Was Faith thinking about last night? Was she wondering what Buffy wanted now that the first step was over?

“Well, I think I should be going.” Xander said, sitting up slowly, noticing something going on between the two Slayers. He wondered, did Faith still have feelings for Buffy?

“Take those with you.” Faith motioned for the magazines.

“You sure?” He asked.

“Yeah, once I read them, the thrill is sort of gone for me.”

“Thanks. So.” He stood looking at Buffy, then at Faith. “See you guys at the Magic Box?”

“Yeah.” Buffy said. She hadn’t seen Faith look like this since she was in the coma. Not that the younger girl looked bad, she just was her. A girl. Not hiding anything, not acting grown up, not under the pressure of saving the world. Just a girl. She was content just looking at her.

“Training then?” Faith asked, getting off the bed.

“Giles asked if we could be over around three. And well, it’s around three.” Buffy said, stepping into the room. It looked just the same, well no Christmas lights this time.

“I gotta shower.” Faith motioned to the bathroom, “Um, you wanna wait? Or have me meet you there?”

“Don’t take a shower,” Buffy said, tossing a pair of track pants at the other girl.

“I was going to do it for you. You know, out of the kindness of my heart and all that.”

“Naw, you’ll just get sweaty again.” Buffy said.

“Counting on it.” Faith grinned and slipped on the pants. This was nice. Being like this with Faith. Just like it was before.

*****

I was drumming my fingers on the table, feeling a little weird. We were all sitting around, and the Scoobies were talking about this and that, but without a major demon lurking around, the talk was pretty boring. Willow was going on about her new classes. Maybe I should try and jump in, be part of the conversation. I turned to Buffy, who was drawing circles in a notebook, staring off into space.

“Why aren’t you being the big girl on campus?” I whispered, leaning over. I hadn’t meant to but I was brushing up against her arm. I felt a shock run through my body, and glanced up at her face. Could she feel it? Did she feel weird about last night?

“I don’t know. My heart wasn’t in it. After you’ve died twice, the thought of struggling through just to get a BA in religious studies didn’t seem like a big draw.” That made sense. And she was just as relaxed as she was before I bumped her. Maybe last night was cool by her. Maybe she thought I was just trying to show her my support and all that. Sure, she wouldn’t think anything else right?

“So you won’t go back?” I asked.

“I don’t know. What about you?” She had thought a bit before she answered.

“What about me?” I asked, leaning away. She smelled good today. I wondered what perfume she was wearing.

“Do you want to go to college?” I didn’t mean to, but I chuckled.

“Kinda have to finish high school first B.” I got out.

“Oh.” She looked back down at her notebook, pouting her lips.

“No listen, it’s fine. I got plenty of smarts. Street smarts you know.”

“I know.” She winked at me. Okay. What was that about? I looked around the room.

“So, no big bad huh?” I asked the group, as it had gotten quiet, them listening to us talk.

“Nope. Just little ones.” Xander said, flipping through Spiderman. That was a good one. “So no real reason for me to be sitting here, bored.” I moaned, leaning back in the chair, feeling my muscles stretch.

“Well, then Faith. If you would rather, why don’t you and Buffy train?” Thank God for small favors. I leapt from the chair.

“B?” I asked.

“Following you.” She said, snapping the notebook closed.

*****

The two girls were circling each other in the room. The sun was going down, and they had left the lights off. They didn’t need them. It seemed quiet, so they were both talking softly, in low, throaty whispers.

“I’m kind of nervous B.”

“You? Nervous?”

“Sure. See, this is a big step.” Faith moved her arms at the space between them.

“Oh, yeah. Huge.” Buffy breathed out.

“Don’t wanna mess it up.”

“How could you?”

“What if I do it wrong?”

Buffy laughed softly. “You? Do this wrong?”

“Don’t laugh.”

“Explain then. But hurry up. I don’t wanna wait.”

“Begging now?”

“If I have to. Do you like it?” Even deeper.

“Whoa.” Faith said with a laugh.

“So what’s the problem?” Buffy stepped a little closer.

“Should I do this fast and hard?”

“Hmmm.” She moaned out.

“Or slow and smooth?”

“Why don’t we just get started and see where it takes us, F.”

“Okay then.”

Faith kicked out, aiming for Buffy’s head. Buffy used her forearm to block, and spun, with a hard jab towards Faith’s gut.

“Am I the only one turned on by that?” Xander asked the group, they were all standing in the doorway, watching the Slayers attacking each other. Willow looked over everyone, and with a grin answered.

“I’d have to say a big no.”

The group went back to watching, and now it looked like Faith and Buffy had moved on from uneven aggression, to a smooth dance of blocks and hits. It had been two years since they had fought each other, really lashed out, but all that time slipped away.

“They are amazing.” Giles commented.

“Like two animals.” Dawn sighed, and left the group.

“They are the only two of their kind,” Anya sigh, leaning her head on Xander’s shoulder.

“You know if they hit any of us like that we would fly across the room.” Willow remarked, watching the exertion in the muscles of the girls. She thought it was beautiful, watching them moving in the near dark. Faith flipped over Buffy’s shoulders. “They are not even pulling their punches.”

“D-d-do you think the spell made either of them less, you know, strong?” Tara asked, looking over at Giles.

“Quite the contrary, Tara. From what I have been able to see, Buffy is stronger now than she had ever been.” They all looked at him like he was crazy. “Let me explain. When Faith was here before the Ascension, Wesley and I watched closely her progress and style, and compared it to that of Buffy. You see they both were accomplished and strong. But there were differences. Buffy would pull her punches, even when fighting vampires and demons. She thought about her moves before she made them. She played around before the kill.

“Now Faith, she never pulled her punches, and rarely thought about an attack. She used her raw strength to take the opponent down. Also, she didn’t like to play as so much dominate.”

“She loved to tell them what she was about to do.” Willow smiled, remembering.

“Right.” Giles agreed. “Since Buffy was brought back, it appears that they have combined. I mean look.” The group looked and it seemed as though the two girls were mirror images of one another, fighting, moving, breathing. “They are equal.”

“One Slayer. Two bodies.” Xander mumbled, then turned to Giles. “What happens if one of them gets hurt? Or worse?”

*****

I needed to get away from her, and I needed to do it now. The humming was back and I couldn’t turn it off, and all I wanted to do was grab her shoulders and press her up against the wall right here. I needed to feel her lips, taste her skin. Oh yeah, I needed to get away from her.

Training had started off in high gear, I wanted to play around with her, and she was there with me, throwing it all back right at me. It was amazing. Just like old times, maybe even a little bit better. I was guessing it might be due the tension I was feeling coming off of her. B was a little wound up all day. I thought I would see how far I could get her to go, before she’d back off with her embarrassed, “Oh Faith.” But she surprised me. She didn’t give in. Actually, I think she won that round of the game.

She was acting just fine when we were done sparring, but me, I was ready to pop. I was amazed that I could walk, I was so aroused. B walked with me out of the Magic Box, and was still next to me as I moved down the street.

“So the motel for you huh?” She asked.

“What?” Man, I needed to pay attention, what if she said something important and I missed it? Or worse, she asked me what I was thinking. I couldn’t lie for shit, and we both knew it. No, I needed to pay attention. “Yeah. Home sweet home.”

“Was that where you were staying before?” She asked.

“Huh, before?” I looked at her, raising my eyebrow.

“When you were in town, being the top slayer? Before.” When you were still dead, and happy up in heaven, sitting on a cloud, eating as much chocolate as you wanted. Being happy. I shook my head.

“Right. No I was staying at Angel’s old apartment.”

"Oh! I am sure he would be fine if you stayed there again-" Not going to happen. I needed a place that was a Buffy free zone. I had hated staying there. I would sit for hours, looking at that bed, knowing that she had been in it, naked. That she had lost her virginity in that bed, under those blankets. No fucking way I was going through that again.

“Listen B, I’d rather not.”

“Why?”

“I’d kind of like a place with out me - forget it.” Damn, almost slipped up there. God, I needed to get away from her! I could smell the sweat on her skin, her body warming the perfume she had put on earlier. Urgh!

“Faith?”

“Forget it B, it’s five by five.” Oh, she is looking at me, pouting that lip. I need to have that lip in my mouth. GOD. THAT IS IT!

“But.”

“Patrol later right? See ya about eleven.” I said and took off running. I needed a cold shower, like right now.

*****

“So it’s tonight.” He said spinning in his chair.

"Um, what’s tonight? I mean I know they are rerunning the Tribbles episo-" Andrew started but was cut off by Warren’s hand hitting the back of his head.

“Focus here boys.” Warren looked at Jonathan, who was sitting looking through one of his old conjuring books. “Tonight we get the diamond.”

“Right.” Andrew nodded his head up and down. He was lost. The three of them were sitting in the basement, their ‘liar’.

“To complete step two of our plan.” Warren stressed, turning over the white board. “You do remember don’t you?”

“Sure he does.” Jonathan grumbled.

“Taking over Sunnydale.” Andrew began picking at his shirt. “Are we sure the Slayer won’t be around?” he looked nervous.

“We are going in later. She’ll be tucked away in her bed, dreaming of friggin vampires.” Warren beamed, so very pleased with himself.

*****

“Maybe we should go on vacation or something.” Buffy said as she sat heavily on the couch. Faith dropped to the other end, kicking up her feet.

“I know. What is the deal? I mean walking around is fine and all, but is anything going to happen?” She leaned back into the couch, folding her arms over her face. Buffy watched her stretching; watching as her shirt slowly inched up her torso, revealing her taunt muscles. She had never realized how muscular Faith was. She was still stretching, not moving. Buffy looked from the waistband of her jeans, over her skin, stopping on the thick white scar. The scar Buffy had given her. She had the urge to feel it. What would Faith do if she felt her fingers on her? Buffy wanted to find out, but guilt rose in the back of her throat, over how badly had she hurt the younger girl. She knew she had put her into a coma, but Buffy had never had the strength to go and visit when Faith was in the hospital. She had never had the courage to ask the doctors what was really wrong with the other girl. Another example of how she had failed, how she had allowed her hurt to twist her into an uncaring person. Faith had told them all that it wasn’t their fault, that when she had been here none of them had control over how they treated her. The younger Slayer told them all of the vision she had of the PTB, and their declaration that it had been Faith’s destiny, her fate to betray them and to be alone. But Buffy still didn’t believe it. She still felt responsible for pushing Faith away. And she was afraid she was pushing her away again.

Buffy had felt the tension between them all day, it just seemed to build and get stronger after their sparring. Buffy had loved every second of it, not realizing how much she missed being so close to Faith, feeling the younger girl’s strength. The whole time she had felt it building inside of her, making her heart race and her face flush. Buffy completely understood the hungry and horny feeling. And it had seemed to be amplified in that small room, even with their audience watching. Buffy had wanted to talk with Faith after, but the other girl had clearly wanted to be left alone, and that worried her. Ever since training that morning, Faith had been acting differently. No, not different. Just like old times actually. The old times when the younger girl was closed off from everyone. What had happened?

“Faith?”

“Hmm.” She was still leaning back, her eyes covered.

“What’s wrong?” Buffy asked, moving her hand to the other girl’s leg. She felt Faith’s thigh muscle twitch. Slowly Faith sat up, putting her hands in her lap, and turning to look at Buffy. Slowly a grin came over her features.

“Nothings wrong, B. What made you think that?”

“It’s just, well,” she paused for a second. “You and I seemed to be, connecting or something last night. But now,” Buffy sucked on her bottom lip. “Well, now.”

“Listen B. Last night was intense. For both of us.” Faith looked around the room, towards the stairs, listening. She blinked and then continued, whispering. “That was something really serious that you told me. I am still freaking on it you know. I mean, what we did. How could someone have that kind of power and not know where you were?” Faith held up her hands. “I’m not blaming Red, I’m not blaming anybody, okay. It’s just heavy. And you have to live with that. Every second. That takes some serious strength. And me, I have to deal with knowing that it’s because of me that you came back. Plus,” Faith smiled, but it was sad. “I am waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“Shoe?” Buffy asked.

“It’s been going kinda fast, you know. I am afraid.” She moved to touch Buffy, but dropped her hand. “You weren’t at your best when I got here, and we’ve been sort of moving along pretty quick. We haven’t dealt with any of that stuff.”

“Oh.”

“From what I remember B, you hated me something fierce.” She grinned, “We tried to kill each other a couple of times. And we haven’t fought yet, we haven’t started screaming.”

“You miss that?”

“No. I don’t ever want that to happen again, but there is some badness we need to deal with, and we haven’t yet. It seems to be like we are completely ignoring it and just running in the opposite direction. Actually,” she took a deep breath, “B, whatever you thought I might have been about to do, last night, it wasn’t just about that.” Faith sighed. “It was a little about that. But it was more like me wanting to make sure you understood where I was coming from.”

“Where are you coming from?” Buffy asked.

“I want to do this all over again, right this time. I want to be your friend.” She smiled at Buffy, and it wasn’t suggestive, it just was. “See, and none of this other stuff should get in the way. You need to know, that I am here for you, as a friend. Whatever you need, you have.”

“Pretty big offer. I already have your soul.” Buffy said, lightly, and watched Faith’s face grow cold. What had Buffy said wrong?

“Yeah, you do.” She stood up. There was so much that Buffy didn’t know about Faith, still even after all the knowledge she had gained. She still didn’t know how to read the other girl, and didn’t know what set her off, hurt her. Faith was right, they were moving in a completely opposite direction. They were focusing on what could be, instead of what was. But Buffy wanted to change that. To be honest she didn’t want to go back and relieve their past, but they needed to, the future would falter with out the solid foundation. “I should go. I mean, unless you need to talk it out or something.”

“I want you to stay here, you can sleep on the couch.” Buffy said. Faith let out a low laugh. It shot to the very core of Buffy, pulling at her lips and making her smile widely.

“B, me, the slayer, on your couch?” Faith was still laughing. “No sorry don’t think so.”

“Why?” Buffy asked.

“You may be able to get away with the frozen yogurt, but um, not me. So I don’t think it would be a good idea.” Buffy looked confused, then she got it.

“Oh.” She said, a blush rising in her cheeks. Faith was feeling hungry, and - okay Buffy would not think about the second part, if she did she would demand that Faith stay.

“Don’t worry about it.”

“But, after last time,” Buffy stood up. “I want you to know that you are welcome here, Faith. You don’t have to stay at that motel.”

“This time is different. I had no other choice then. I do now.”

“Oh, OH! I could get you an apartment or something. You did give me all that money,” Buffy was feeling guilty. Should she give the money back? Did Faith want it back? She scrunched up her face out of habit.

“Hey, no frowning.” Faith ran her finger down Buffy’s forehead. Buffy calmed for a second, closing her eyes, but then her heart picked up its pace, Faith was standing very close. Buffy looked anywhere but Faith’s face, afraid the other girl could see all of her secret thoughts written in her eyes. “It’s cool, B. I still have the old place, the one the Mayor got me.” Buffy sighed.

“You think that is really a good idea? You know, memories and all.”

“They weren’t all bad.” She laughed. “Okay most of them where, but I am a big girl. Just don’t come over with any knives and we should be okay.”

“I think I can manage that.” Buffy laughed. “So you sure you don’t want to stay tonight?”

“Not a good idea, B.” She said softly, looking directly into Buffy’s eyes. Even in the shadows Buffy could see that they were nearly dripping with desire. She took a deep breath. Wow that look. Wow. “I’ll see you tomorrow, for patrol.” Faith walked to the door, opening it. Buffy really didn’t want to see her go, but she knew something might happen if she forced Faith to stay tonight, something that wouldn’t be fair to either girl. Tara’s words echoed in her mind, in her conscious.

“No.”

“No?” Faith stepped back, looking at her quizzically.

“I mean, meet me for lunch tomorrow?” She babbled.

“Sure. Here? Pick you up, one?”

“Great.” Buffy said with a smile. She stood in the open doorway watching Faith walk down the street.

*****

No. No. NO! Was the mantra going through Angel’s mind as he stood across the street Faith had just left Buffy’s house, and was walking away. That was much better than her staying the night. But Buffy was leaning on the door, watching the other girl walking away. Why would she be watching her walk away? Unless she liked watching Faith.

He had just gotten into town, and he was seething, in just two days it seemed like that girl had wormed her way back into all of their affections again.

He would have to put an end to that.

*****

“What do you think now?” Tara whispered into Willow’s ear as the two stood at the top of the stairs, having watched the two Slayers talking, and then seeing Buffy’s vigil.

“Maybe I am having second thoughts on the whole, 'Never' statement I made.” Willow answered back. She wondered if maybe her best friend was softening to the idea of being with Faith. She shook her head. “This is crazy. It’s only been what? Two days?”

“I knew I love you the moment I met you.” Tara hissed Willow’s cheek. Tara had not shared Buffy’s confession, about once having feelings for the other slayer. She could and would keep that secret.

“So different.” She laughed.

“I can’t hear the words, but I hear two witches chattering on the stairs.” Buffy said, still in the doorway.

“Busted.” Willow groaned. “Sorry Buffy. We just wanted some … juice, yeah, juice. And didn’t want to bother you.”

“Hm mm. Sure Wills. Then go get your juice.” Buffy closed the door, and walked up the stairs. She looked at both girls. “Well she doesn’t want to live here with us, so the couch is still free.”

“Where will she?” Tara asked.

“Probably her old apartment.”

“Oh, but, but bad memories, with you trying to kill her there and all.” Willow squirmed.

“She said she would be okay.” Buffy shrugged. “Maybe it will help. We kind of need to get over that whole, trying to kill each other hurtle.” She yawned. “See you guys tomorrow.”

*****

She knocked on the door, looking in at her sister. Buffy was laying in bed still, legs in the air, tapping a pin on her teeth.

“Hey, Dawn.” She said.

“Hey. What are you doing?” she asked stepping into the room. She looked at the notebook in front of her sister, and saw doodles.

“Thinking.”

“Want to share?” Dawn asked. Buffy always doodled when she was thinking about important things. There were notebooks all over the house filled with random circles and squares.

“Sorry, Dawn, not ready to verbalize yet.” Buffy shrugged. Dawn wondered what was on her mind. Maybe she was thinking about the same thing Dawn was, and that was Spike.

“Okay.” She looked at the dresser, all the pictures around the mirror. Off to the right side there was a new picture, of Faith. “This is new.” Dawn took it down. It was Faith, her hair done up, dressed in a, well dress.

“Actually old.”

“Homecoming right?” Dawn asked, putting it back. What had made Buffy put that out now? It was so crazy now, Faith being back, and everyone agreeing with Buffy that she might be good again, and they should trust her. “Have you heard from Spike?” Her sister winced.

“No. You?”

“No. I’m sure he will call or something. Vampires can use the phone right?”

“Yeah, they can.” Buffy smiled. “I am sure he will call. He’ll be worried about you.”

“You think?” Dawn beamed. She hoped so. She missed him so much already. Spike always treated her like a person, a real human.

“You are his favorite.” Buffy grinned.

“What are you doing today?”

“Thinking about getting a hair cut, then I’m meeting Faith for lunch.”

“Oh.” Dawn wasn’t happy about that. Sure she had hoped when Faith first got back that she would be good again. But now she blamed her for Spike leaving, and she wasn’t convinced that she wouldn’t hurt Buffy again.

“Don’t like her huh?”

“It’s not that.” Buffy looked at her skeptically. “Well, she came and now Spike is gone. I am putting two and two together.”

“I will admit she is not in the Spike fan club. But Dawn, she had nothing to do with him leaving. That was his own choice.”

“But he did it for you.” She snapped.

“He did it for himself.” Buffy closed her eyes. “Listen, I have to get dressed, want to go with me?”

“Naw, I have plans.”

"Okay, just be home-"

“I know, before dark. I kind of know the rules by now.” Buffy laughed.

“Okay.”

*****

Buffy stepped out onto the street, feeling the wind catching her much shorter hair. She was happy. It surprised her when she realized it. But she was feeling - and feeling happy! She walked down the sidewalk, stopping in a window to look at her reflection. Her hair was short, and a little darker. It made her look older she thought. Maybe a little tougher, but still girly. She touched it gently. Would Faith like it? Did she care if Faith liked it?

Buffy, smiling turned to cross the street. She did care if Faith liked it or not. She cared a lot about what Faith was feeling and thinking. Buffy was really looking forward to having lunch. She wanted it to be just the two of them, the two girls. Not the two Slayers. That was one of the things she did wrong last time. Not separating the two. But not now. There was so much she didn’t know about Faith, and she wanted to. She really wanted to know all of it.

Buffy stopped at the cross walk, waiting as a car rolled past. It came over her as a warm jolt. She was happy, and she was nervous. She was going on a date with Faith.

*****

“Let me hold it!” Andrew whined.

“No, me. I have had practice.” Jonathan joined in.

“Shut up and let go you two. I am going to be the one to do it first, then you two, and then we go in there and rob the bank.” Warren pulled. All three sets of hands were on the large silver gun, which held a glowing diamond which they had stolen the night before.

“No!” Andrew squealed like a girl.

“Would you shut up and let go!” Warren hissed.

“Shit, it’s the Slayer!” Jonathan moaned. They all looked from where they were bickering in the alley, to see Buffy walking towards them.

“Hurry up and let go.” Warren snapped, pulling on the gun. Someone’s hand hit the trigger, because a flash of light blue energy shot across the street, and hit Buffy, knocking her to the ground.

“Great, now you’ve done it.” Warren snapped letting go of the gun.

“Is she dead?” Andrew asked.

“Hello, moron. It’s not a death ray.”

“Guys, we better get out of here.” Jonathan took off towards the van.

*****

“What the hell?” Buffy mumbled, setting her hand on her head. She had been knocked on her ass by something. She looked up, to see the three nerds running towards a black van. She wondered what they had been up to. A human messing with the occult was always a bad thing in her book. Especially those three. God, how many times was she going to have to save Jonathan and the others from some stupid mistake? They were always coming up with some weird idea, and screwing it up. When did she go from Vampire Slayer, to babysitter?

Buffy didn’t have time for this. Ugh. Buffy felt a new rip in her jeans, and looked down. Now she was going to have to change before Faith came over, and she had spent a good forty-five minutes getting dressed the first time. Buffy froze, she couldn’t see her leg. Buffy held her hand up in front of her face. Then groaned. “Those assholes made me invisible!”

What to do. That was what Buffy was thinking as she sat on the couch in the living room. She was invisible. She had tried a few tests, standing in the sun, no shadow. Looking into the mirror. Nope nothing there. It was freeing in a way. She could run down the streets of Sunnydale buck naked, and no one would know, no one could see. So an invisible Slayer. That made her pretty much unstoppable. Nothing could touch her. Killing vamps and thwarting plans of opening the Hellmouth would be a piece of cake. She’d never have to worry about doing her makeup, or what clothes she was wearing. Buffy giggled. She wasn’t all that mad anymore.

“Hello? Guys?” The front door was pushed open slowly. Buffy leaned over, looking as Faith peered in. “B?” She called out. Faith looked around, seeming nervous about stepping inside.

It’s kind of cute. Buffy thought to herself. Slowly Faith stepped inside, and closed the door behind her. Buffy watched as she stepped into the foyer, looking up the stairs, and then turning towards the living room. I think she got dressed up for me. Buffy smiled. Faith was wearing a pair of black jeans, and a fitted, blue long sleeve shirt. Even her boots seemed to gleam, like they had been freshly polished. Faith bit her bottom lip.

“Where is she?” She mumbled to herself, looking at the clock on the wall. “I’m on time.”

Yes you are, Faith. Perfect time. Buffy stood up and walked over to the other girl. She stopped just short, maybe a foot away, and waved her arm up and down. Faith squinted her eyes, and inhaled deeply. Oops. Don’t forget she’s a slayer too. She reached out and ran her finger over Faith’s cheek. The other girl jumped back, eyes wide.

“B? Are you here?” She whispered. Faith looked around again. “God I am a nervous wreck.” She mumbled, moving towards the couch. Buffy jumped out of the way, watching as Faith sat, looking like she would be prepared to wait. She was nervous too! This was going to be like a date. Damn! Buffy thought. How could she have a date if she was invisible? Ugh! This would never do. She needed to get fixed, come back and do this right. Two normal girls, having lunch, talking about normal things. That was all she wanted.

Buffy walked over to the door, which was still open, and walked out. She got to the street, and turned. Faith was standing in the doorway, looking right at her. Can she see me? Buffy wondered. She looked down, nope she wasn’t there. Buffy sighed and started walking.

*****

The door flew open at the Magic Box, with such force that it came off the hinges and hit the floor with a thud. Faith stood there, out of breath, looking over the group.

“There is a problem!” She yelled.

“Bloody hell!” Giles exclaimed, dropping a crystal vase, looking from it to the door. "I would ask you Faith not to do that. The door is completely ruined as is this rather rare-"

“What is it?” Willow asked, cutting him off.

“Buffy.” She sighed.

“Good God no!” Giles exclaimed.

“Not that.” Faith said motioning to him to be calm as she walked down the steps. But how could he be. She had burst into the shop, damaging items. Expensive items. But at least Buffy wasn’t hurt. They all looked at her nervously. “I went to her house, you know, we were going to have lunch.” Was that a slight blush in her cheeks, Giles wondered? “Anyway, I got there, and the door was open. So I freaked for a second. But it was okay. Because there was no damage, and I could feel her in the house, right.”

“Feel?” Tara asked.

“It’s a humming like vibe thing. We can sense each other - listen, not the point right now.” Interesting, Giles thought. This was a new development. Faith was clearly distraught. She was speaking rapidly, and her right hand was curled oddly at her side.

“Oh,” Tara said.

“So, I feel her, right? But I don’t see her. That was freaking me out. I mean it was like she was right there, but not.” She took a breath. “Then I feel it moving away, getting weaker. Okay, I’m thinking, I can track her. So I start following, and I get a few blocks away from here, and I get an attack of the vamp cramps.”

“The?” Giles asked.

“Vamps are near, we sense it, feels like a cramp.” She looked at him like he was crazy. “Aren’t you supposed to be a Watcher? Know these things?”

“What happened, Faith?” Willow asked, saving Giles from her sarcasm.

“I lost my concentration. And then I tripped over this.” She lifted her hand in the air.

“Um, Faith. There is nothing there.” Willow said.

“Wrong Sherlock.” Faith walked up to the table, picking up a sharpie marker, and started writing on the air. To everyone’s astonishment there was something there. Slowly coming into focus. “From touching it I think it’s like a traffic cone or something.” She shrugged and set it down on the table.

“It’s invisible.” Giles stated the obvious.

“I think B is too.” Faith walked calmly back towards the steps. This was most intriguing.

“Did you speak to her?” He asked.

“Naw.” Faith said, closing her eyes.

“What if she can’t talk?” Willow shrieked. “Oh my god! She could be hurt, and no one would see, and she couldn’t cry for help.”

Faith moved her arms to the side of her swiftly, Giles noticed her eyes were still closed.

“OW!” They all heard Buffy yell.

“Okay, she can talk.” They all looked to where Faith was tightly holding the air beside her.

“I got you, B.”

“A little tightly, F.” That was amazing, Giles pondered. Faith had been able to sense, and then capture Buffy, even though the rest of them had no idea she was there. Extraordinary.

“Sorry, can’t see you.” Faith grinned.

“Well let me go.”

“Not till we pin a bell on you.” Faith snickered.

*****

“This is really most amazing.” Giles said. Buffy rolled her eyes, but knew they couldn’t see it. She stuck out her tongue. Nope, no reaction. So she leaned forward and ran her fingers through Faith’s hair.

“Stop it.” Faith hissed very quietly. None of the other’s heard; Buffy grinned devilishly at the blush on Faith’s ears. Buffy had been doing that most of the afternoon. When Faith had burst into the Magic Box and explained to all of them, it was interesting how she had left some parts out. Faith standing in the foyer of her house, talking to herself had been adorable, and Buffy had reached out and touched her cheek. Being invisible had given her a sort of freedom. She was able to look at the younger girl without worrying about getting caught. Buffy had never realized that she had a few flecks of gold in her eyes. She was looking at them again.

“But how is this possible?” He was still pondering. God, him and the pondering. She moved to stand up, but Faith grabbed her wrist.

“Going somewhere, B?” She asked.

“So not fair that you can use your Slayer mojo to sense me.” Buffy grumbled sitting back down, putting her hand over Faith’s.

“Really, Buffy, this is quite serious. What if we can’t recover your body?” Him and the rational thoughts, Buffy grumbled to herself, absently running her thumb over the back of Faith’s hand. Buffy could not believe it was so soft, these hands made for violence. She wondered where else Faith was deceptively soft. She was glad she was invisible, because she knew she was blushing now.

“My body is right here, you just can’t see it.” Faith let go of her and moved away.

“He means, what if you just disappear all together.” Faith snapped. Man, she was in a mood.

“Fine. It was the triangle, or whatever they call themselves.” She said.

“Who?” Faith asked, looking confused.

“Oh, Jonathan, Warren and Andrew.” Willow filled in. The group looked at her confused. “Nerds. They were nerds in school. They randomly try and be evil, like by hatching these really lame ideas that never work out.”

“Well something worked.” Faith scoffed.

“I guess it did.” Willow mused. “Hmm” Buffy could tell Willow was trying to figure out the thermal dynamics or something that sounded like that. She was being of the brainy.

“So we find these guys, and I kick their asses till they fix B. Gotcha.” Faith stood up. “Red, can you find them for me?”

*****

“There will be no ass kicking.” B said from beside me. We had found the nerd boys, followed them into the arcade, and I was making my way through the crowd.

“Like hell. They zapped you. Ass kicking is deserved.”

“Faith, it’s no big. Really. You don’t have to be my knight in shiny leather all the time.”

“It is clear that I am not.” I snapped, in a mood all day. This was supposed to be a good day, just me and B kicking it. But no, these guys had to mess with that, and they had to mess with her. She was acting different today. This day was supposed to be good. Now it sucked and I was going to fix it, and then maybe she and I could have a little talk.

I walked up to one of the guys Buffy told me was Warren. I spun him around. His eyes got wide, and then moved down to the cleavage, where they got wider.

“What’s the problem little lady?” He asked, not even looking at my face. I punched him in the nose.

“Faith!” Buffy called from behind me.

“You will fix B, got it. Now get your pals, and get your toy gun, and undo it.”

“I will have you know that it is no toy.” He scoffed, pressing his fingers to his nose. Oh, this one was making me mad. I looked to my right. Two more little boys, shaking, looking at the scene. This was all of them. I kneed Warren in the gut, and dropped him.

“Okay boys. Where’s the gun?” I asked. The blonde one was actually shaking so hard he looked like he was going to fall apart. I leaned forward. “Boo!” He fell over, out cold. What a pussy. I swung back to the smaller one. He was looking behind me. I wondered what was there. “Your turn. Can you get the gun and make Buffy visible again?”

“Yes.”

“Well, what are you waiting for?” I quipped.

“Will she hit me after I do it?”

“B?” I shrugged.

“No, Jonathan. Just put me back.” Her voice said from beside me. I felt my hair moving, like she was touching me. “Be nice to him. He’s a good kid.” Her breath whispered into my ear. She had been doing that all day. Getting way up in my personal space. It was crazy, not being able to control it, or to see her. Not being able to see her meant I didn’t know if she was playing around or being serious, and it was messing with my head.

“Fine. Come on kid.”

“It's not here.” He said, and was lying.

“You shouldn’t lie to a Slayer.” I leaned forward and pulled down his baggy pants. He was mooning the enter arcade. Poor kid. Not much to moon with. His face blushed. “One more time?”

“Fine.” He hissed and pulled back up his pants. This one looked like he was going to cry. He reached behind the pinball machine and took the wicked nasty looking gun out. He aimed it at where he thought she was.

“Before you get all happy with the trigger there, bud. I want you to know, that if you hurt her. Human or not, I will hurt you right back.” My voice was ice, and I knew it. He nodded and fired.

“Don’t” I heard one of the boys behind me. I turned, and got smacked in the face with what felt like the butt of a gun. What the fuck? I snapped my head back to see Warren holding a gun. Okay. Didn’t like that one bit. I reached out and pulled it out of his hand, dropped out the clip, and ejected the bullet in the chamber. His eyes were huge now. I guess I did do that kind of fast.

“Don’t you know that guns kill people?” I asked, and pulled my fist back, striking him across the jaw with the gun. He flew back. I felt someone on my arm, keeping still it. I looked to see B; it worked she was back.

“Faith don’t, he’s just a human.”

“A human who had a gun.” I snapped. What did she think? “You think I was going to kill him?” I asked amazed she would even think something like that.

“You, well.” She rolled her eyes. She fucking rolled her eyes.

“You thought that I would. God B, I can’t believe you.”

“You’ve done it before.” She snapped, but she knew she had fucked up. Her hands went to cover her mouth, but it was too late. I dropped the gun on the floor. How could see even think that I would kill someone. I mean sure, if he was shooting at me, I’d hurt him real good, but just for sport? No way, that wasn’t me any more. I could not believe her!

“Just forget it. Forget everything, forget me!” I started walking way.

“Don’t you dare run away again!” She hissed. Man, who did she think she was?

“Why not? What the fuck do I have to stay for?” I meant it. If she still thought so very little of me, what was the point? Why should I stay? To be near her while she flitted back and forth trying to decide if she could trust me, deciding if I had really changed. Come on B, give me a reason not to leave and never come back. Come on.

“I, um, I.” Just what I thought.

“Huh, B? Nothing. Right? Just like me, nothing.” I pushed through the crowd, leaving her behind.

*****

“That girl always did have one heck of a temper.” Buffy spun around to see Angel standing behind her, his hand on Jonathan’s neck. “You need this little one?” He asked her. She looked back over the crowd where Faith had gone.

“No.” She said softly. What had she done? What was she thinking? Faith was just teaching them a lesson; she wouldn’t have gone too far. God, the hurt in her eyes. Buffy had wanted things to change; she wanted Faith to be a part of her life, like she was meant to be. Buffy had messed that all up.

“Run, be free.” Angel said as Jonathan ran away. “So what was all this about?” He set his hands on her shoulders, his chin on her head.

“Nothing.” She mumbled. She wanted to go after her, but his hands tightened on her shoulders. “When did you get back?”

“Today.” She stepped away from him. “Happy to see me?” He asked, grinning. But she was not returning it. “Faith just needs time. Let her cool off.”

“Really? You think so?” She hoped that was it. Faith just needed to cool down, and so did Buffy. Part of her wanted to run after the other girl. Angel must be right; he always had seemed to understand Faith better than any of them.

“I am. Come on, let’s go.” He took her hand in his. “Hair looks great by the way.”

*****

God, how could I be so stupid to ever think that she would let it go, move past it all. Maybe I was kidding myself, there was some heavy shit that I had done in the past. How does one really forgive someone else for killing two humans? But what about the hundreds I had saved? Didn’t that tip the scales?

“Fuck.” I hissed. This was the same logic I had used last time, when I killed Allan. I didn’t want her to allow me those murders, I didn’t want her to go, ‘Oh, Faith, it’s okay if you killed them, it happens.’ All I wanted was for her to trust me, in the here and now. To see that I was a different girl. Maybe older, a little wiser. Different. Someone worthy of being her friend.

I was so mad; I was stomping down the street, moving through the crowds, oblivious. It was clear that she was not following me. I didn’t feel the humming at all. A hand grabbed my arm, and I spun my head to see who had dared touch me. It was Red.

“Faith, what’s wrong?” She asked, still holding onto my arm. I wanted to pull away roughly, but didn’t.

“N-nothing.” I looked at her hand on me, and then her green eyes, pleading with her to just let me go. Slowly she understood, and let go, taking a step back.

“You’re crying.” She whispered. I raised my hand to my face, and she was right, I could feel the wetness.

“God,” I sighed feeling completely worthless. I was crying, in public, over her! “She is the only one who can really hurt me with words.” I mumbled.

“What happened?” Red looked concerned.

“Doesn’t matter.” I sighed, and then took a deep breath. Hell, she saw me crying; why not let it all hang out. “Sometimes I wonder if this is right.”

“What?”

“Me being here, trying to do good. This cloud, my past is always right there. It colors everything I try to do, you know.”

“Faith,”

“This is really hurting.” I set my hand on my chest, “And it’s my own fault.”

“Why?”

“I was starting to hope that maybe she'd see me. You know the real me.” Why was I talking like this with her? I was supposed to be off somewhere, alone. Not here, talking to her, and certainly not participating in the Sharing Hour.

“She can’t if you don’t let her.” Red smiled at me. She was right. B had even mentioned it. I had shut down. It seemed like the two of us had come so far in the past couple of days, but we had gotten no where close to where we needed to be. There was way too much past to just sweep it under the rug. The two of us needed to deal, to make it possible for us to even just be friends. I nodded at Red, and then walked away. I was feeling a little less rampagey, but I still needed to be alone.

*****

In the basement he was pacing, while holding an ice pack to his cheek. He was livid. This town was supposed to be perfect, open wide with stupid cops and corrupted city officials, a perfect little hamlet for them to swoop in and become the great force that he knew he should be. He was one to be taken seriously, and be feared. Two Slayers! God!

“There are two! Why are there two? You told me specifically that there where not going to be two!” Warren screamed at Jonathan, his face red.

“Well, there aren’t two. I know I did the spell right.” Jonathan snapped back.

“You can’t even walk right! We all saw them.” Warren moved his hands around erratically.

“He is right, Jonathan. I mean, I saw two.” Andrew chipped in.

“Fine I will do the locater spell again!”

*****

Buffy held the cup of hot tea in her hands, looking across the room at Angel as he sat in his favorite chair. The mansion was dusty, from disuse, but it felt like old times, the two of them here.

She had wanted to go after Faith, apologize, but maybe he was right. She did have a temper, and it would be better to just let her calm down, and then they could talk about it. Buffy had been concentrating on moving forward, making this time work between them that she forgot all that had happened in the past, all that was just right there, behind them, waiting to come back out. And it had, just a slip, and it was there on the table all over again. If the two of them didn’t talk about those things, they would keep coming up, and keep pushing them away from each other.

“Penny for your thoughts.” Angel asked, and she looked up.

"Just thinking." She said softly.

“That’s okay.” He shifted.

"If you want to talk about it-"

“Thanks. Maybe.” She looked over at this dark vampire, wondering why he had suddenly returned. They had not been on the best of terms when he left.

“Can I talk to you about something?” He asked, and she nodded at him. “Buffy have you thought about what I told you?”

“Yes.” She sighed. She had, and she knew her initial response had been the right one. “I really hate feeling pressured like this.” Buffy did. Every time she saw him since she was brought back he always had to talk about this, like waving a big flag. Look at me, I love you and you love me and let’s get married. God, when would he hear the words coming out of her mouth?

“This is what we always wanted.”

“No.” She stood up, walking behind the couch. “You were this powerful, dark and dangerous animal. That was what I fell in love with. Not a man. I never for one moment forgot what you are.” Why did he want to talk about this now? Couldn’t he see that she had other things on her mind? Angel always did have a way of pushing his agenda, why would she think that this time would be any different.

“What?” He was shocked.

“You heard me.” She frowned. “You are a vampire, you were then. I knew what you were, I knew what you could do.” She shrugged. “But that is besides the point. You don’t even know when this will happen, Angel. You expect me to wait? I am a slayer, Angel, and a human. I could die any day, for real this time. Not come back. Or worse, I could live a long life, waiting, unhappily waiting for something that I just don’t want anymore.”

“What do you want?” He asked.

“To be happy. To be loved.”

“I love you.” He said softly.

“I want to be with someone. Completely. I want to love someone, trust them, and have them feel the same.” She said. It was the truth that was what she wanted. Buffy knew she didn’t have that with Angel, she never had, and never would. But Buffy did have hope that she might be able to have that one day with Faith.

“Is that why you were with Spike?” He asked, hissing the other vampire’s name.

“How did you know?” She asked, eyes wide.

“I have informants all over this town, Buffy. You two did it out in the open often enough, just begging to get caught.” He shouted.

“Caught? Caught doing what?” He had been watching her? “Is that why you are here? Is that why you keep bringing this up, even though I told you that I won’t wait and that I am not in love with you anymore?”

“No, I came back because of Faith.”

“Why?” She stopped, looking at him closely.

“I heard she was back. I need to see for myself that she won’t do anything. I know you are trying to trust her again, Buffy, but I know evil. I know that it just doesn’t go away, and no matter how strong you think you are, it is always stronger.” He stood up, walking towards her. “You may not love me, right now. But you know that I love you, and I am looking out for you.”

“I don’t need you.”

“I think you do. You always need your friends.” He smiled.

“So that’s all you want?” She asked.

“No. You know what I want.”

“What if being a friend is all I can offer.”

“Then I will take it, for now.”

“What if my heart belongs to someone else?” She asked, thinking about Faith, hoping that she was safe.

“I don’t think you would just give your heart to anyone. If it isn’t Spike,"

“I am not saying there is someone right now. But you need to accept that, for the future.”

“Buffy, I have always been your friend. I won’t stop now.”

“If you can accept that,” She smiled, “I would really be happy.”

“Should you patrol?” he asked, changing the subject. Buffy groaned.

“I should. And I will. I am the Slayer after all. Do you want to come along?” Buffy wondered if she could find Faith.

“No, I don’t think so. But come back when you are done. We should talk.”

*****

I was sitting on the bed, listening to the sunrise, through the broken window. And you could hear it. Sure the view was beautiful, the sky lightening in it’s blue, sometimes clouds catching the color from the first glimpses of the sun. But it was the sound that I liked. Starting with frogs and crickets, nighttime animals, who handed the symphony over to the morning doves, and the songbirds. They were all welcoming the sun, and welcoming a new day. A day, that for them was fresh and pure, with nothing holding back the potential.

“Man, when did I get so deep?” I grumbled, but smiled. I stretched my arms over my head, and then walked back into the apartment. I had moved my things over last night, and then spent the entire time cleaning. I scrubbed windows and floors. Everything. It was still a little musty, but I could leave the windows open for a few days, and it would be fine. I was hoping that the memories would fade as well. This place had seen so much. The walls had heard my screams, seen my tears. This place was my haven when my world was falling down around me. This was the one place where I allowed myself to just be. It knew my secrets, the heartbreak over B, the allure of the Mayor.

Over in the corner I had stood wearing that silly dress, just because he asked me to, and seeing pride in his eyes. Never thought I would have someone look at me like that, but he had. A demon had seen the real me, and had wanted to make my life better. Sure he wanted to destroy the world at the same time, but he had accepted me, for all my faults, and all my shortcomings. The Mayor never looked down on me, never called me a whore, trash, worthless. The only thing he did wrong was reminded me that I was second best. Man, that had all been so hard. It was like the knife he had given me. Double edged. He loved me, he protected me, and he wanted to see me better myself. But he wanted it all at the cost of my being evil. He used me; only he did it in such a way that I welcomed it. He made me a tool and I let him. Sure I had just been a confused sixteen year old, begging for attention, hoping that someone would want me. Still didn’t excuse the fact that I had killed for him, killed just for the pat on the head and a smile.

Living here would be hard, but I needed to know that I could do it. I felt that I was different inside, and if I could still be good, if I could be everything that I wanted here, then I could do it anywhere.

I didn’t bother to go out on patrol last night, there didn’t seem to be a point to it. I know that I was way too wound up, and I knew B could handle it. She could handle pretty much everything on her own. I was figuring I should talk to Giles; maybe see if the two of us should split the town. Maybe until some time had passed, until she could trust me again. I really wanted to see her, all the time, but it wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t necessary. It was just making things weird again, seeing her every day. It made me forget myself. It was so easy for me to just loose all sense of myself, looking into her eyes. And the pain of being so close to her, but not being able to love her, was annoying. My soul ached when I was away, and it hurt a little even now, not being near her. But we both needed some space. At least until we talked things over. With slip-ups like yesterday it was all still too fresh. Too easily we could make each other bleed.

I rolled off the bed and walked over to the bathroom to take a shower. It sucked, trusting someone but knowing they didn’t trust you back.

*****

His tea was cold, he thought grimacing and setting it down on the bench. Faith was in the corner stretching after her work out. In her time away she had added back the weight that she had lost while in Sunnydale. Her cheeks were fuller, and her body appeared soft. Though, watching her attack the punching bag, he clearly noticed her muscles, the power just hidden under the surface. Another amazing trait of the Slayer. Mostly, they appeared weak, completely human and defenseless. It was an evolutionary marvel really. They had adapted since the First Slayer perfectly, to confuse and trick their enemy, their prey. A vampire would see a nubile, lithe, weak young woman, swoop in for the kill, and be shocked to find that the human they were attacking was twice as powerful, twice as hungry for the kill.

“So G-man, how are we going to work it this time?” She asked, pulling her arms behind her back. She had surprised him that morning, waiting for him outside, asking if they could train early. He was still amazed at the transformations that he had seen in this young woman. From her first appearance in Sunnydale through now. She was not the same girl, not completely. Though the darkness and the pain were still swirling just beneath the surface, this Faith was different. More like Buffy, than he thought either girl realized.

“I’m sorry, what?” He stepped further into the room.

“You know, what are the rules this time around? I kinda moved into my old apartment, the one the Mayor gave me. I hope that’s okay.” She asked, looking up at him. How had he been so cruel to her when he brought her here after her stay with the Council? Treating her like an animal, or as she affectionately remarked, a ‘tool’.

“That is fine, Faith.” He sat beside her. “I am sorry for how I treated you before.”

“It’s five by five, G. You had your reasons,” she said lightly, forgiving him with her eyes. “Are you okay with me being back? I know I said I wouldn’t, but you know, things came up.”

“I was meaning to ask what prompted your return.”

“Just had a feeling.” She shrugged.

“A Slayer connection perhaps?” He ventured.

“Sure, whatever. If, erm, I mean, I was thinking about some stuff this morning.”

“Do tell.” He wondered what she had pondered.

“About the lack of action, and how B’s back, but not really living.” She shrugged again standing. “With no major badness, maybe the two of us are over kill, ya know?”

*****

She knocked again on the door. That was the fifth time. She needed to talk to Faith. They needed to work through this, and really talk about things. If they didn’t Buffy was certain a rift would separate them again. After she had left Angel, she had walked the streets, doing sweeps of the cemeteries, but no Faith in sight. Maybe she had waited too long, she feared. Maybe Faith had left town again.

Buffy knocked again on the motel room door. Waiting.

“She’s not here.” Buffy turned to see an older man say from beside her. She raised her eyebrow at him. “The girl. She left last night. Even though she had paid through till tomorrow. She said she had to go.” He shrugged and walked past Buffy. Her heart sank. Faith had left again. Oh God, no. What had she done? Buffy had let her slip away again. This was just too terrible. “Something about having an apartment in town here ready.” The old man went behind the corner, missing the electric smile on Buffy’s face. She had just moved, she hadn’t left! Just in that one second Buffy realized how foolish she had been, not going to Faith and talking about what had happened. She needed to find the other Slayer.

*****

“Hey Giles.” Buffy said happily hopping down the steps of the Magic Box. He looked at his watch, with a frown. It was nearly five o’clock in the evening. He had been expecting her for hours. “Where is every body?” She looked around.

“Come and gone.” He said.

“Faith here?” She was walking towards the training room.

“She was here this morning.” Buffy stopped and looked at him, her eyes disbelieving.

“The morning?”

“Yes. She has here before myself today. Waiting out front, actually. Brought me crumpets. Where she found them at that hour of the morning.” He was grinning.

“Oh.”

“She had a rather good idea.” He said removing his glasses. He had been surprised to find the girl had been giving thought to the current conditions of the Hellmouth.

“Really?” Buffy asked, sitting at the table. “What?”

“Due to the, well, lull in activity, she suggested that the two of you split the slaying duties.” He said, moving to turn on the teakettle.

“Split?” He looked at Buffy. Why was she suddenly only monosyllabic?

“Yes. Faith suggested a schedule. She would patrol Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. You could then take Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.”

“So separately.” She mumbled. “Well, what about training?”

“Perhaps we could do it once or twice a week,” he dropped a tea bag into his favorite mug, waiting for the water. It really did seem like a good plan. Giles was hoping with this that Buffy might be persuaded to return to school. “This will free up much more of your time. Perhaps you could join Willow and Tara at the University. I believe you have until the end of the week to resume your studies.” Buffy slowly stood up.

“Maybe. I guess, I mean I will think about it.” She tugged on her jacket. “I guess if that’s it, then I will head home.” Oh, he had nearly forgotten!

“Oh, Buffy.” She stopped and turned. “I have been giving what Xander said some serious thought.” He poured the water. “About you and Faith, and the connection that you seem to have now.”

“Connection?”

“She has mentioned that there are some new, well, aspects. Such as the ability to sense one another.”

“Right.”

“Well, I think it would be in all of our best interests to see how deep this connection goes. You know, I hate to think the worst, but he did have a good point.”

“I must have missed it. What’s the point?” She asked.

“Well, would pain that one felt effect the other. Are you tied on an emotional level?” He dunked the bag in the water. “I would like to test the two of you.”

“And what did Faith have to say about this? She seems to be the one with all the great ideas today.” She grumbled.

“I forgot to mention it to her. I perhaps the two of you could be here tomorrow?”

“I don’t know where she is. Maybe ask Tara to find her.” Buffy was walking out of the shop. “Bye.” Giles watched her go, wondering what was wrong with his Slayer now.

*****

She wanted to split up. Not slay together? That didn’t make any sense. Buffy was grumbling to herself as she walked through the streets. Was it because of what she had said yesterday? Maybe she had been a little more than just upset. Angel had told her that Faith just needed some time to cool off. Was that the right thing to do?

“Damnit!” Buffy grumbled. Was she still screwing up? No, she thought. This was a two way street, and if Faith was mad, why was it up to Buffy to seek her out, to make her feel better. They were both adults, right?

*****

One newbie vamp, and that was all I could find. This was getting ridiculous. Maybe all the ghoulies were still freaking, hearing that a Hell god had gotten her ass handed to her by the Slayer, and so they were all staying away. Couldn’t blame them. Made sense. But it was taking its toll on me. Hell, there had been more demons and vamps in Seattle, and that’s not even a little Hellmouth.

She hadn’t come by. I thought she would have gotten pissed if after she talked to Giles. He had called and said she had liked my idea, and we should start it tonight. Which was fine with me. I was hoping for some serious action tonight, a couple of good slays to get my aggression out. Maybe then I would feel less tense, and I would head over to see Buffy. It really was dumb of me to expect her to come running to see if I was okay. That was what I did wrong last time. I kept waiting for her to come to me, to initiate everything. And when she didn’t I had become resentful. It wasn’t her fault, my past was there, and we both knew it. I should have expected it. We needed to talk about it, get it all on the table, and then we could put it away and move forward. Shrugging inside, I began walking over to the Summers' house. Now was a good a time as any to try and talk with B.

*****

She glared at the other girl, her eyes as hard as she could make them. “She’s not here.” Dawn kept her hand on the door, not opening it all the way.

“Oh. That’s cool. Tell her I stopped by? And that I am staying over at my old apartment?” Faith turned, and then looked over her shoulder. “You still mad at me?” She asked.

“Duh!” Dawn scoffed. She just wanted Faith to leave. The nerve of her, coming over here this late at night, wanting to talk to Buffy.

“Nothing I can do to make you not be?” Faith asked.

“Leaving us all alone would be a start.” Faith winced at that, and inside Dawn was doing the victory dance. She had hurt the big bad Slayer.

“Oh.” Faith turned, and walked away.

“Forgive you? You hurt Spike, you hurt Buffy. Just crawl back under your rock.” Dawn whispered, not realizing that Faith had heard her. She closed the door, locking it.

“Hey, Dawnie, whatcha doing?” Buffy asked as she walked down the stairs.

“Nothing, just thought I heard something.”

“Anything out there?” Buffy asked, before turning towards the kitchen.

“Nothing.” Dawn smiled, following. They both sat back down to their ice cream sundaes at the kitchen table.

*****

Why was the Kid lying to me? I could feel B in the house, it was faint, but I knew she was there. Had B asked her sister to lie if I showed up? Was she avoiding me just because I wanted for us to patrol on our own? I did it for her too, not just my own selfish reasons. B needed to start living her life again, she needed to accept that she was back, alive and the world around her was still there. This was stupid! I turned back around, walking up the front walk. B and I needed to talk about this, and I was tired of running away, tired of waiting for her to come to me.

I stood in front of the door, closing my eyes, and just called to her.

*****

“What is the deal with Faith?” Her sister asked. Then took a spoonful of ice cream to her lips.

“What do you mean Dawn? Faith is good, she is one of the team now.” Buffy smiled. One of the team. She liked that.

“You hate her! You have always hated her.” Dawn exclaimed, shocking the slayer.

“No, I,” Buffy stumbled.

“She’s just confusing you. I was there, you told me yourself, you hate her.”

“Dawn, Faith and I have always had this thing.”

“Thing?”

“We care about each other, always have. It was hard to understand, and scared me. When I don’t understand something, it’s easier to hate it. Hate is so easy.” Too easy.

“God! You can never make up your mind!” Dawn groaned, turned and went back into the living room. But it was for the best; Buffy was lost in her own thoughts. She had been feeling things for Faith that she had never dreamed she would ever feel again. Buffy had to admit it to herself; she had been crushing on Faith, big time. Then the invisibility thing, and her lashing out when she really didn’t mean it. And now Faith wanted separate patrols. Why would she want that? Ugh. It was all seeming too familiar!

BUFFY

“Shit!” Buffy dropped her spoon on the floor, grabbing her head. It felt like someone had just smacked her with a sledgehammer. She had heard Faith, calling her name. Buffy froze, taking a shaky breath. She relaxed, and then she felt it. Faint, but there. The humming. Faith.

*****

The door opened slowly, and I watched as she peeked around it. What was she afraid of? Me? I grinned.

“Faith.”

“Hey, B.” I looked at my hands. “Listen, I know the Kid said you weren’t here, but, why are you avoiding me?”

“What?” She scowled, “Dawn,” Oh, she hadn’t known. I guess the Kid really was pissed with me.

“Oh, so.” I was nervous again. God, it was just Buffy! “Listen, B, I really want to talk to you.”

“Me too.” She sighed. This was a little awkward. “I heard you, in my head.”

“Really? It worked?”

“Weird. You didn’t um, see anything did you?” She was looking wicked nervous now too.

“No. I was just chanting your name over and over again. I know the phone would have been easier.” She giggled. At me, she giggled. “B, come have coffee with me.” I said boldly. She nodded, reaching for her coat.

She looked radiant.

Okay, I always thought that. But it seemed especially true tonight. Maybe because of the hair. I’d noticed it in the arcade, but was too busy storming off mad to say anything about it. The Espresso Pump was a happen joint, we were barely able to get a free table, and I think we only got that because B intimidated some guy.

“I like the hair.” I said softly, not looking directly at her. I was holding a mocha in my hands, feeling the heat escaping through the paper cup.

“Oh, really? I mean I wasn’t sure, you didn’t say anything.” She babbled. I turned my head slightly to look at her.

“I was kinda distracted at the time, going crazy.”

“Faith I didn’t mean what I said.”

“It’s okay B. I was being too sensitive. Took it the wrong way. I just wanted you to know, it looks real nice.” I touched the short ends with my fingertips. It was so soft. I’d love to just hold it tightly in my hand. Okay, come on, Faith. Back to the plan. And the plan was, B was off limits. Completely and utterly off limits. “I wanted to say something sooner, but,” I stopped. “No big. I’m here now, and so are you, and I am sorry about over reacting.” I WAS BABBLING. God, someone save me.

“I don’t mind the babbling.” She smiled, and my knees melted. Okay, calm down Faith. Just chill. Be cool. “Faith?”

“Yeah?”

“Why separate patrols?” She asked, softly.

“Just want you to have time to do what you need to do. There’s this whole big world out here, and you need to be living in it, not just slaying. Sure it’s our calling, but you have a life B. I want you to live it. I’m here, let me share the duty. Okay?”

“Okay. I was just scared, that, never mind.”

“You thought I didn’t want to be around you?” I quirked my eyebrow.

“Maybe.”

“Maybe you were partly right.” She looked shocked. How was I going to pull my foot out of my mouth from this one? “What I mean is, erm, I.” Big smile. Go with the big smile. She grinned back, so it probably was working. “We don’t have to spend every day together, you know. I don’t want you to feel weighed down. Um, this time it is different; I understand that you have a life. And I know you aren’t hiding anything.” Oh, mistake. Her face looks like she sucked a lemon. I needed to get us moving in the right direction. “B?”

“Hmm?”

“I think we really need to talk over stuff. I feel like if we don’t it’ll just keep coming out.”

“You’re right. Though I was just hoping we could shove it all under the rug, forget about it.”

“3,000 pound elephant though, B. We have to get it out there.” I smiled. “How many people in this place would guess that us, the two Slayers are afraid to talk about a little attempted murder between friends?”

“Faith,” she whined, but was laughing, and I got to see the thousand-watt smile.

“God, I am so glad to be able to see that again.” I mumbled.

“See what?” DAMN SLAYER HEARING!

“Um, your smile.” I looked away. “I really missed it, when you were,”

“Dead.” She sighed. “Where should we start? I really just want to lay it all out, so we can move past it, because that is something that I really want, Faith.”

“What’s that B?”

“To have your friendship, completely. I want it to be the way it was supposed to be before. How it would have been if we all hadn’t been so blind.”

“I told ya, it was Fate. None of us had a chance.” I was getting real interested in my hand, but I knew I had to keep talking. “I think you know most of what I was going through, from reading my journal.” Was she blushing, just a little as she nodded. Oh, God. Forgot about all the entries that started with, I love Buffy. Idiot. “Anyway. It, erm, it consumed me. You consumed me.” Okay, wrong word, but just keep on going. “The jealousy for everything I didn’t have. I did the only thing I knew how. I lashed out at you, at your friends. I was at war with myself, and loosing. My conscious was weak. I was out of control, completely.

“And I forced your hand. I wanted it. I wanted you to kill me. I needed it Buffy. In a way you saved me. See that was the beginning of me realizing my mistakes, seeing that the nothing was eating me alive. So never feel sorry for what you did. I forced you.” Her eyes were wide, looking at me, and I just kept going. “God, I am so sorry for doing that. For all of it. Like I told everyone else, I have no excuse. I am sorry, B. I am living every day knowing I can’t, I won’t go back there to that dark place.”

“Faith,” she sighed my name and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention. “What I did, it was so not right. I, I stabbed you.” She looked at my stomach, looking to where I knew the scar was.

“It’s okay, B. I forgive you.”

“But, the scar,” she said softly, her eyes so sad.

“I love that scar.” I rubbed my stomach. “It reminds me of what I have to loose if I don’t fight the good fight.”

*****

Buffy ran her eyes over Faith’s face. When did she go from being this girl, this completely confusing ball of energy, to this alluring woman sitting before her? Some of the baby fat was gone from her face, but it was still soft, beautiful. There was a resigned peace around her now, so different than the twitchiness she used to possess. She was calm and beautiful.

Faith reached her hand across the table, using the tip of her finger to gently wipe an errant piece of foam from the corner of Buffy’s lip.

“You just had some….” Faith’s voice trailed away as the two of them locked gazes. Buffy froze. Her blood boiled. She wanted Faith to touch her again.

What had she really been afraid of those years ago? Feeling something akin to desire for another girl. Oh, sure that was one of the big ones. Things had been complicated before, Angel was back from Hell, and she was trying to understand the dynamic of their relationship, while wigging over the fact that she was attracted to another girl. But for those few days, when Buffy had stopped resenting Faith, and had let herself just ‘find the fun’ she had wanted to find all the fun that Faith was offering. When they were slaying, she felt it. That night at the Bronze when they were dancing it had consumed her. This complete abandonment of logic, replaced by pure physical desire.

Then Buffy’s world had fallen apart.

It felt like it was all happening again, though stronger this time. Her feelings for Faith. Angel was back again, and possibly getting in between them, just like he had done before. Last night she had stayed with Angel, while he moaned and pleaded. When all she wanted to do was be with Faith. She didn’t want Angel like that. It dawned on her. She wanted Faith like that.

Buffy knew what simple desire felt like; she had felt that for Parker. This wasn’t just desire. This wasn’t just lust. When Faith walked into a room, Buffy internally sighed, feeling happy, safe. She wanted to be even closer to the girl. Dying and coming back had seemed to put things into perspective for her. Sure the past was ugly, and sure it hurt. But she wanted to move past it, get it out of the way and just know Faith. Be near Faith. Be with Faith.

Oh my God. I think I love her.

*****

“When will you be coming back?” Wesley asked into the phone, annoyed that he was left leading the band of fighters in L.A. while Angel pursued his love interest.

“As soon as this little problem is taken care of.” Angel said.

“Problem? You couldn’t possibly be referring to Faith, could you?”

“Why would you say that?” Angel asked.

“It is only that I received a call from the Council a few days ago, asking if I had heard from her. I of course told them that would be highly unlikely as the last time I was near our little Faith, she was torturing me.” He snapped. Angel did not respond. “You know this is called Angel Investigations, not Wesley. I do hope you accomplish whatever you are attempting soon. Los Angeles may not be the Hellmouth, but we certainly have our fair share of problems here.”

“I should have it taken care of soon, Wesley. Alright?” Angel snapped, and hung up.

“So who was that?” she said softly.

“Doesn’t matter. Can you do it?” Angel asked the young vampire sitting on his couch. The sun had gone down a just a few minutes ago, and he was preparing a little surprise.

"Of course. Now you promise that I won’t-"

“You will be fine. Safe and sound. I promise.” He grinned at the girl.

“Okay then.” She stood up, running her hands over her shirt, straightening it. “See you then.” She winked and then walked out into the new night.

*****

“Guinea Pigs huh?” Faith asked, sitting on the couch in her apartment.

She had been working out when Tara and Willow had shown up. Both of them had walked around the apartment eyes wide. Willow had been amazed at the size of the place, and the opulence. She could not believe that the Mayor had given this place to Faith, or that the other girl had been able to clean it up so quickly. The large window was still broken, leading to the roof, but Faith had mentioned that she needed to round up some money to get it fixed. Willow made a mental note to call a repairperson that afternoon. Now they were all sitting, Faith sipping water.

“Yes. Giles is concerned about how deep the connection between you two might go.” Willow said, watching as Faith nodded.

“Makes sense.”

“Buffy said that you are trying to avoid her.” Tara added. Faith let out a soft laugh.

“Avoid huh? I’m right here.” Was Faith blushing? “I talked to her about that, last night. I think she understands.”

“B-but with the separate patrols?”

“Just trying to lighten the load on her. B should really go back to school.” Faith curled her legs underneath her. “I explained that.”

“It has nothing to do with the argument you two had?” Willow asked, remembering how upset Faith had been on the street.

“It wasn’t an argument. It was a difference of opinion, and we can get over those. No big deal. We don’t need to see each other every day. She has her thing to do. I have mine. Really, we talked, things are okay between us. Promise.” Faith walked into the kitchen and Tara and Willow looked at one another.

“What can we do?” Tara whispered.

“Nothing. I mean, if they are meant to be, then they are. Nothing anyone does will affect that.” Willow answered back.

“But she loves her so much.”

“Doesn’t matter Tara.” Faith said crossing her arms. They both looked up, concerned. “I would appreciate it if you two just let it drop okay? Sure, I have feelings for B; I have for a long time. And they have been all over the place. I’ve hated her, and I’ve loved her. But that is between us. I am not going to freak out, just because she doesn’t feel the same for me.” Faith smiled. “I’m not going to lie, it sucks, and sometimes it hurts, and it is all awkward and weird. But being her friend, and having you guys as friends is way better than being alone.” She walked back into the room. Willow was amazed at the change she had just witnessed, from the cold hard killing machine that cared about nothing to this, just a young woman, being open and honest. “When I was away, even though it was only like a month, it hurt so much. I mean I never knew it could hurt like that.” She looked down at her hands, twirling the rings on her fingers. “And being back here, it’s only been a few days, but it feels really good. I mean, kick ass good.” She laughed. “I have hung out with Xander; laughed and messed around. I am sitting with the two of you. Shit, even Giles has been cool to me. So I don’t want to loose this. I like it. I know why she can’t leave you all, why you are all so good together.”

“What have you done with our Faith?" Willow joked.

“I know. It’s weird.” She grinned. “But I thought about what you said. I hide myself from people. I am afraid of being hurt. There is way more to loose though if I don’t even try.” She clapped her hands together. “But enough of that. Tell me why G-man wants to poke and prod me. Before I have to go out there and save the world.”

*****

“Hi.” Buffy said standing just inside the mansion. Angel was doing his Tai Chi. He stopped, and looked at her smiling.

“Hi.” He picked up a towel and wiped off his face. “Didn’t expect to see you here.”

“Got bumped from the patrol gig.” She said walking deeper into the room. He didn’t understand. “Faith is going to patrol tonight. She came up with this brilliant plan.” She said exasperatedly falling onto the couch.

“Plan?”

“Low activity, we should split up patrols.”

“It sounds like a good idea.”

“Grrr.” She said.

“Buffy, why are you mad?” He asked sitting next to her, knowing full well why she was upset. But he would fix that.

“It was her idea, but I liked the idea of slaying with her.”

“You haven’t told her about that?”

“No.” She whined. “I was going to, but I just didn’t. It’s complicated.”

“Buffy, do you like Faith?” He asked.

“Of course I do.” She looked away nervously.

“You love her don’t you?" Angel said softly, wishing it wasn’t true, but he had a feeling it was.

“I, I don’t know.”

“Does she know? That you feel something?”

“Not yet. I can’t play around with her heart, and not only because Tara would kill me. Faith deserves so much more than a maybe. I know I have feelings for her, but. I’m sorry Angel; I shouldn’t be talking about this with you. Listen.” She stood up, “I will go.”

“Buffy, wait.” He took her hand. “Friends, remember? I will always be here for you.” He stood looking down on her. “I know, we just need to go find her, so you two can talk.”

“But she is on patrol.”

“We will find her.”

*****

It had been dead, literally, until I saw her. She was a young one, maybe a year old. She had been strutting through the cemetery like she didn’t have a care in the world. Kind of felt badly for her, she obviously had missed out on all the bedtime stories about the bad dark slayer. About a foot away from her, I grabbed her arm and tossed her with all of my strength. She flew into the side of a mausoleum, her head hitting with a thud. I sprung on her, pinning her arms above her head. I looked her over, she was pretty enough, but what was the obsession vamps had with bleaching their hair?

“And what are you doing out on a night like this?” I asked.

“Waiting for you.” She sneered, and then kneed me between the legs. I may not be a guy, but that still hurt like hell. I staggered back, and she spun us around. Great, now I was slammed up against the wall.

*****

“She’s over here, I can feel her.” Buffy said, as they entered the cemetery. Angel smiled to himself, after looking at his watch. Everything was pretty much perfect. He looked through the rows of graves, and then saw them. Faith was pinned against a crypt wall, and the young vamp was pressed against her.

“Buffy, I don’t think you should-” Angel said taking her arm. She looked up at him and he nodded towards the two figures in the distance. The blond vampire was doing as she was told, rubbing herself against Faith, and appearing very sexual. “God, Buffy, I am so sorry.”

“I have to get out of here.” Buffy said, and turned and began walking away swiftly.

*****

“What the fuck? You fucking sicko. Stop it!” I howled, and shoved her away with all of my strength. She slammed against the ground and I jumped on top of her, stake in hand. What was she playing, getting all Strip Tease on me. I was sitting on her stomach, lifting my stake high.

“Wait!” I stopped, looking at her quizzically. “Please, Slayer. I came looking for you.”

“Death by Slayer huh?” I laughed. “Have to say, not very original.” I pressed the tip of the stake into her chest. Her blue eyes widened in fear.

“No. There is talk about an ascension!” She howled.

“You are two years too late for that sweetheart.” I smirked.

“Not Wilkins.” Just hearing this vampire saying that name sent a chill down my spine. He had been known far and wide for what he had tried to do. I clenched my jaw. “The rumor is that it is a master vampire.”

“Here?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“So you want to trade info for another night of unlife, huh?” I asked. If she was telling the truth, that might explain why things had been so quiet lately, if some powerful vamp had slipped into town and was setting things up. I couldn’t just dust her and hope she was lying. I needed to make sure.

“Yes.”

“Get me a name, something, and meet me here.” I said, getting off of her.

“No, meet me at the Bronze, tomorrow night. I can get you what you need by then.”

“Fine, but if you aren’t there, I will find you, and I won’t stake you. I will slowly behead you, and I mean real slow. So you feel it.” She nodded, looking wicked scared. I guess I was still a bad ass. My head snapped up. I could feel a slight humming, it was faint but. “B?”

*****

“Buffy, wait up.” Angel called from behind her. God, she thought, how could she be so stupid. Faith was get some get gone girl, why would she even think that had changed. She had been diluting herself thinking that she and Faith could ever have something more than friendship. No matter how much Buffy wanted to be with Faith, She couldn’t be a one-night stand.

“No, I need to be alone right now.” She grumbled, heading for home.

“Buffy I am sorry, but isn’t this better?” He asked. She spun around to face him.

“Better?” She asked.

“That you find out she has someone else, before you really started to entertain thoughts that you and her could be together. I mean, come on Buffy. She had never been in the same class as you. This is what she does, she is a hedonist. You aren’t meant for that, you said it yourself, you want to be loved, and trusted, and to be able to do the same in return. You know, deep down, that never could have happened with her.” He pleaded.

"But I thought that-"

“Now you know the truth.” He said. “I am here for you, come back with me, to the mansion. We will talk about it.”

“No, maybe tomorrow. I, I need to be alone.”

*****

Well she wasn’t there. I thought I felt her, but I looked. No Slayer. Why would she have been out here anyway? She knew the new plan, and she liked the new plan. And God I wish that she had been out here. I needed to see her. Last night, just being me, and her just being her had been amazing. Sure I think I might have crossed the line, when I touched her. But I couldn’t help myself, that little piece of foam right there just dancing around, begging me to lick it off. At least I had enough control to just use my finger. Okay, I was getting all hot and bothered. Needed to concentrate. No more thoughts of B.

I really hoped that vamp was on the level. If something was going down, and I could bring it to the Scooby table, that would feel pretty darn good. I didn’t just want to be the extra muscle like I had been last time. I wanted to be a real part of the team. So tomorrow I would see what that skank had, and then she would be dust. For now I had three more cemeteries to patrol. I needed to get moving.

I strutted into the shop. I was late again. Everyone was already here, even Buffy. She was leaning against the counter. Today she had on flared jeans, and a tight cropped sweater. They all greeted me, and I walked up next to B, bumping her with my hip. She flinched, but just a little. What was that about? I looked at her, searching her face, but she looked through me.

“Faith, glad you could make it.” Giles said from over by the table. “If you would be so kind,” he motioned me over. I looked at Buffy who shrugged, and then walked over to the table and chair. I noticed the cuffs, straight away. Made sense. I doubted this test would be multiple choice. I pulled off my leather jacket, and cracked my knuckles. Then sat.

“Let’s roll.”

“The test will be simple really. I need to see if there are any connections, physically and emotionally between you two.” He said as he strapped me to the arms of the chair. He had something on the table beside us, covered dramatically with a red piece of cloth.

“So how we gonna play this then?” I asked, feeling the bindings. They were tight. I could pull them off, but they were still firm enough for now.

“You will be here with me. Buffy and the others will be in the training room. I will perform tests, ranging from, heat, cold, pain, and pleasure.” He said, and then looked over a piece of paper. Must be his notes. He needed notes for this?

“Have you been talking to Wesley?” I asked, sounding cocky, but feeling a little sick to my stomach.

“Erm, no, why?” he looked concerned.

“Just, your ‘test’ is the four basic principles of torture is all.” I sneered, and then winked at him.

“Oh, really?” He was blushing! Man oh man this was going to be interesting.

“Like you didn’t know, Ripper.” I whispered to him.

“Yes, well, if you would all please go to the training room. I will ask you not to seal the room with magic.” He strapped my legs down tightly, and then looked up. “I assume I can trust in you not to scream?” he asked.

“I’ll do my best.” I answered.

“Mr. Giles, I would like to stay, and watch.” Tara said, pulling out a chair and sitting.

“Of course Tara, thank you. I could use some help.” He smiled. I watched as the others went into the other room, Buffy looked over her shoulder at me, a little green. I winked and grinned at her.

“Don’t worry B, just keeping the seat warm for you.” She smiled sadly, and then closed the door. “Right. So can I pick the order?” I asked Giles as he lifted the cloth.

“No.”

*****

Tara winced as she watched Mr. Giles press a burning cigarette into Faith forearm. He had assured Tara that it would only hurt for a while, and it would heal over night. But she hadn’t been convinced until Faith agreed with him, and told her that this was for the best. So the red end hissed as he put it out in her arm, and she gritted her teeth.

“Now, cold.” He took a piece of dry ice from a metal tin. “Open your hand please.” He instructed, and Faith opened her hand. He used tongs, and set it down on her palm. “Please close your hand, Faith.”

“Way ahead of ya.” She said, making a fist around it. Giles wrote a few words down, watching Faith as she closed her eyes and breathed deeply. Tara could see her eyes moving behind her lids. That must hurt, but she was hardly reacting to it.

“Alright.” He said, and she opened her hand. It was blistered and red. She dropped the ice back in the tin for him.

“Pleasure now.” He said.

“I was wondering how you are going to manage to do that one.” Faith smirked, flexing her injured hand. “I mean, I got a few ideas.” She rolled her head and winked at Tara, causing her to blush deeply.

“Really now, Faith.” Giles stuttered walking around behind her. He set his hands on her shoulders. Tara watched as her entire body tensed. He squeezed.

“Mr. Giles.” Tara asked, watching Faith’s face.

“Yes? Oh, I was going to give her a massage.”

“Can I do that instead?” Tara asked, standing and walking over, showing him with her body language that he really had no choice. He moved away, nodding.

“Right.” He said. Softly she ran her fingers over the side of Faith’s neck. Tara leaned down, putting her lips next to Faith’s ear.

“I was okay.” Faith whispered.

“But if we want the test to show us the truth, you really need to feel good, not nervous and stressed out.” Tara whispered back. She felt Faith shiver as soon as her breath hit her neck. Tara grinned.

“Naw, I know the results for this part of the test already.” Faith said. Tara moved her hands to her shoulders and began gently working out the muscles.

“How?” Tara asked.

“Um, oh, that feels nice.” Faith said.

“You changed the subject.”

“Yeah I did.”

“Erm, what are you two discussing?” Giles ask.

“Dirty talk.” Faith breathed out.

“You are so bad sometimes.” Tara laughed.

“Yeah.” Faith grinned, and leaned out of Tara’s hands. “Come on, let’s move on to my favorite. Pain. Are you going to whip me? Got a cat-o-nines in the back room?” Tara stepped back, and watched as Mr. Giles lifted a wicked looking knife from the table.

“Flaying is more appropriate, I think.” He said.

*****

“So?” Xander asked, watching Buffy.

“What?” Asked Buffy. She didn’t want to be here today. When Faith had strutted in all, Look at me, I am so sexy and late it had hurt Buffy. And then the nerve of her talking like nothing had happened last night, but Buffy had seen her. Angel had seen her.

“Are you feeling anything?”

“Not really.” She shrugged. Just feeling stupid for thinking Faith would want her, and only her.

“Buffy, you need to be concentrating. This is really important. What if one of you is hurt, you know like bad. We need to know.” Willow said, pushing the paper and pen at Buffy.

“Fine.” She closed her eyes slowly, feeling her body, concentrating. “I itch here.” She pointed to her arm. “And my hand is kind of numb.” She turned it over looking at it. Buffy closed her eyes again, feeling. She smiled slowly. Then snapped her eyes open. She had felt a wash of electricity, like someone had blown on her ear.

“What? What’s wrong?” Willow asked.

“I felt something.”

“What?” Willow asked. Buffy leaned forward, and blew lightly on her best friends ear. Willow shrieked. “Okay, you aren’t allowed to do that to me. Gay now, stuff like that feels kind of good.”

“Wills that feels good regardless.” Xander laughed. “So what are you thinking, Buff? Maybe there is a connection there?”

“You guys I don’t know. I mean this is all kind of new, and how can anyone really understand - MOTHER FUCKER!” Buffy screamed jumping up holding her forearm.

“Buffy?” Xander asked.

“FUCK. I am going to kill him, what is he doing to her?” She moved towards the door, but it opened and Tara stepped into the room, blocking the way. “Tara get out of the way.” Buffy hissed.

“Y-y-you, you are holding your arm.” Tara said shocked.

“No shit.”

“And it hurts?”

“Like someone just pulled off my skin.” Buffy snapped. “What the hell did he do to her?”

“It’s okay, Buffy. She said it was okay.”

“Well, she’s crazy like that. Move.” Buffy growled, forgetting that she was upset with Faith, only concerned with the pain she was obviously feeling.

“No, it will mess with the test.”

“Fine.” Buffy touched her arm. “Goddamn that hurt. So what is next?”

“Mr. Giles will help her to relax. You need to focus and tell us what her emotion is.” Tara said. Buffy shrugged and went to sit down, waiting to feel something. Her arm hurt and she really didn’t want to think about Faith or what she could be feeling. Part of Buffy didn’t care what the other Slayer was feeling. Maybe Faith was thinking about her new girlfriend. GRR.

“Buffy?” Tara asked softly, the others weren’t paying attention.

“I’m focusing okay.” She snapped. Tara took her chin in her hand.

“Buffy, your aura is scaring me. What happened? Why are you so mad?”

“I don’t want to talk about it right now Tara. Can we just do this?” Buffy nearly growled.

“What is she thinking?”

“Thinking? I don’t know.” Buffy looked up at the ceiling. “Are you sure this is part of the test?”

“Yes. She is supposed to just relax and think of something.”

“Like a car, or a place?” Xander paced, growing bored. “I think I saw something like this on the X-Files.” He mumbled.

“When will all this be over? I hope there is no blood out there, I really hate having to clean the blood.” Anya pushed at the punching bag.

“I am sure they won’t make you clean it up, An.”

“Whoa.” Buffy whispered.

“What?” Xander leaned forward. “What can you see?”

“She is angry.”

“Well, this is Faith.” Xander retorted. Buffy stood up.

“No, this is, big angry.” Buffy walked past Tara, and out the door. Giles was standing in front of Faith, who was still tied to the chair. Both were red faced.

“I am not saying it again. The tests are done. You hear me! Use what ever results you have, but you are not doing this to.” Faith stopped, looking at Buffy, her eyes rimmed red like she had been crying. She was that angry with Giles? Wow.

They had untied Faith, and were all sitting around the table. All but Faith, who was sitting on the steps leading to the off limits section. Giles had looked over Buffy’s comments from during the test.

“It really is quite extraordinary. It seems to be a low level of perception, but you can feel one another. So maybe our theory is correct?” Giles said.

“What was that?” Willow spoke up.

“That they are two pieces of one slayer, and if one dies, so does the other.”

“How you plan on testing that one?” Xander scoffed.

“I am sure, that in a controlled environment, with the Councils assistance we could.”

“You can’t be serious!” Buffy exclaimed.

“It does make sense, Buffy.” Xander said.

“Whoa there big guy.” Faith said sliding down to the floor. “In case you all got hit by the stupid truck on your way over here today. There is only ONE Slayer. It just so happens that the one slayer is in the two of us.” She touched Buffy’s arm, and Buffy flinched, Faith noticed, her eyebrow rising, but kept talking. “Simple logic tells you, that if you kill me, just to see if it might kill her too, but then bring me back and her back, BAMN!”

“Another slayer.” Buffy said.

“Right, and we start this whole fucked up mess again. So sorry, I am not playing dead to test a theory.” She crossed her arms.

“What if you don’t have a choice?” Giles asked.

“That an offer?” She took a step closer to him, but Buffy grabbed her arm.

“Stop it. Faith is right, it is a stupid idea.” She said. Faith relaxed, and went back over to the counter. Why was she still so angry with Giles?

“Sorry, G-man. I am still a little wound up.” Faith looked at him sadly.

“I understand.” He nodded. “As of yet, the Council is unaware that Faith has returned to Sunnydale. But for how long they will be in the dark is not clear. You know Faith that they will want to bring you back in. And they can do then what they like.” Giles said, cleaning his glasses.

“No!” Tara whispered, leaving her place in Willow’s arms.

“We can always contact them first, be all olive branchy, and see what they want.” Buffy offered. “Convince them that our tests are sound.”

“No!” Tara yelled, getting everyone’s attention.

“Blondie, calm down. It is okay, really.” Faith said, moving closer to Tara. The witch looked like she was going to explode.

“No. They will not lock you up, and just wait to kill you. You belong here.” Tara said strongly.

“Sure,” Faith mumbled.

“She’s right, Faith. You aren’t going anywhere with them.”

“Buffy, the Council does have means.”

“Giles, I have beaten them before and we can do it again. I would hope that they could see reason. If not we will show it to them. Faith is staying here.” And Buffy meant it. Regardless of her anger at Faith, she knew, could feel it inside of her that the two of them belonged here in Sunnydale. For now.

*****

There was something wrong, she was acting completely closed off. Which was weird for Buffy. She was talking girl, but I had been able to tell all afternoon that something was up with her. And it scared me, her being quiet. Maybe she just needed space, I told myself, and left the Magic Box as soon as Giles had given me the all clear. I figured I would give her all the time and space she needed.

Watching Giles pull back the three by three patch of flesh from my arm. God that had fucking hurt, but I promised him I wouldn’t scream. I didn’t have to, I heard B do it for me. And that scared me worse than the blood. Hearing her scream like that. That was why I was ready to beat the shit out of him when he announced with a smile that it was B’s turn. There was no way he was going to do that to her, test or no test. There was just no way. Besides, I figured we got enough information from what we did already. I mean it was pretty fucking simple. There was a big chance that if I got dead, B would probably follow. Okay, new Rule in the Book of Faith. Don’t get Dead.

I ran my fingers over my arm again, as I walked down the street. I had some time to kill before I went to meet that informant vampire, and figured I would do a quick sweep. Get my mind off all of the eventualities that were crowding around in my head. Man so many thoughts, reminded me of the queue for the bathroom at Fenway Park.

“Well, well, well.” I said under my breath. That little runt, Jonathan was slipping through a weather door, into the basement of the house just to my right. What was that little shrimp up to? I never did get a chance to properly introduce myself to the boy wonder and his pals. Why not now?

I opened the door slowly, and walked inside. This place was pretty sweet. Hated to say it, but way nicer than Xander’s old basement. Oh, and they had a massive wide screen. I just knew that Play Station 2 would rock on that. Maybe if I asked B real nice she would hook me up for Christmas. I moved deeper into the room, keeping next to the wall. Hmm. Lots of technical stuff too.

“So what did you see?” Warren asked the runt.

“Buffy went with him into the mansion. I am not sure about the other one.” Jonathan said, sitting down in a swivel chair. Keeping tabs on the slayers huh? New nerd past time? Wait, had he just said? What was B doing at the mansion? And who was Him? WHAT? Okay, now was not the time for a Faith melt down. I had some scaring to do.

“Other one?” I asked, stepping into the room. The blonde kid screamed again. Man that guy was annoying. “I hate being called, ‘the other one’. Kinda demeaning.”

“Slayer.” Warren said, standing up, he eyed something to the right. Probably a gun. I hated guns. What was with this guy?

“Name’s Faith. And don’t move Warren.” I said.

“You gonna stop me?” He actually raised his eyebrows in a threat. Oh, man, this kid. I shook my head, walking closer to them. I passed by a shelf with a collection of action figures. The holy shrine for the nerds, that much was clear. This was going to hurt them.

“Yeah, I think so.” I swung my arm through the little boys’ toys, which caused them all to snap, brake. Pieces rained onto the floor, to get lost under my boots, cause I kept walking. “I have been thinking about how mad I was the other day that our introductions were cut short.” I smiled. “You’re Warren, and you’re Andrew, and you’re Jonathan. Did I get it right?” I asked in my lilting, ‘duh I’m a girl voice’.

“Right.” Warren said. “We’re the Troika.”

“Actually, you are a bunch of little boys hoping to wear big sister’s pants.” I pushed him down, not too hard, but he’d have a bruise. “You are humans.” I took a sharp in take of breath. “I can smell how weak you are.” I smirked. “I just wanted to stop by and make something perfectly clear to all of you. See, B, she won’t hurt humans. Me? I’m good at it. Kinda was my thing a while back.” I looked at Jonathan and winked at him. “So you little boys need to stop playing games and get the fuck out of my town. Any more stunts, like robbing banks and other sophomoric bullshit is going to stop. You are not super villains, you are not even evil.” I turned and began walking away, “Next time I visit, I won’t be so nice.” I walked out the open storm door, next stop, the mansion. I needed to know what the hell was going on with B.

*****

“Are you sure that is a good idea?” Angel asked, sitting on the edge of the coffee table. Buffy was sitting on the couch in front of him.

“Yes. I will not let her be locked away, waiting for them to decide to kill her. How could you even think that would be an okay idea?” Buffy asked.

“I just don’t trust her.”

“It’s not up to you.” Buffy snapped. Faith was standing outside, in the garden. She was afraid B might pick up her thoughts, so she was thinking only of grass. She thought it was weird, but it was all she could think of.

“I will protect you from her.” He responded softly. Buffy stood up and walked away.

“I am not asking you to.” Buffy turned. “And what do you mean, protect?”

“She hurt you once.”

“I doubt she would do that again.”

“Don’t be so sure. You saw the same thing I did last night. You still want her around?” He asked, touching her arm, softly, showing her that he was soft, and kind, and would never hurt her. Faith was confused, but more than that she was enraged that Angel was here.

“I, I.”

“She shouldn’t have that chance. She doesn’t deserve your kindness.” Faith clenched her jaw tightly.

“Deserve? Angel what are you talking about?”

“I am only saying she cannot be trusted. She is planning something.”

“Angel, we both know that Faith does not plan.” But you do, Buffy finished to herself.

“Buffy, I just love you so much.” He said, stepping forward and cupping her cheek in his hand. “I will keep her from hurting you.” He leaned forward, setting his lips on hers.

*****

So that was it. He was back. Sitting there like the King of Sunnydale. Angel was fucking in town and she didn’t even tell me. De ja vu for the two of us. I thought we had talked about this, about the betrayal. She didn’t think it applied to her, well Fuck Her!

And Him touching her. The lust bunnies were back together. I always knew he hated me. Fine, feeling was mutual. And so was the distrust. If he hurt her I would, well I couldn’t dust him, but I would hurt him real good.

I didn’t need to see anymore. Buffy had made her choice again. When would I learn that I would never be good enough for her? I turned and took off for the Bronze. I had a date with a soon to be pile of dust.

*****

She pushed him away.

“Angel, no. I told you no.” Buffy crossed her arms, walking away. “I, I have to patrol.” Buffy closed her eyes, she felt Faith near by. God, she knew if she started letting her self feel for Faith that this would happen again, that Buffy would get hurt. This had to stop.

*****

“So let me get this straight. The Master Vamp who wants to ascend is who?”

“Harmony.” The blonde said. I had to laugh.

“Harmony. Little scaredy cat, can’t tie her own fucking shoes, Harmony?” I laughed again.

“Do not laugh at me Slayer.” She growled. I grabbed her arm in my hand, squeezing, letting her know exactly who she was talking to.

“Shut your mouth. We’re going outside.” I pulled her with me through the club. I really didn’t have time for this. I had somewhere to be, my sister Slayer to throw down with. We stepped out into the alley, and I slammed her against the wall. “Who really sent you?” I asked. She looked around, seeing no help in sight.

“Ever fuck a vampire, Slayer?”

*****

“Ever fuck a Vampire Slayer?” Buffy heard, and turned around, looking down the dark alley. This could not be happening! She saw Faith, pinning that blonde against the wall. Had Faith just asked her that? This was horrible. Buffy stood transfixed, feeling tears rolling down her eyes. Her heart ached. It hurt so much to see that. She turned, and was enveloped in Angel’s arms. She had felt a vampire, but had not known that it was him.

“I told you, Buffy. I tried to warn you. She is trash. She is not worthy of your love.” He kissed the top of her head, “Let me take you home.”

“Okay.” She whispered, looking up at him with her tear-streaked face.

*****

“Nope, and don’t care to.” I sneered.

“Scared you might like it?”

“See, the thing is, the old me would do it and dust you right before you came, just to torture you. But see this is the new and improved Faith. I’m kinda saving myself for a special someone.” I grinned. It felt nice to say it out loud. I was. I was waiting for B, and if I died celibate, that was okay. Probably was a good chance of that happening now to, with her and Soul-boy locking lips.

“Buffy.” The vamp rolled her eyes. I slapped her, hard.

“What the hell do you know about B?”

“It’s always about her isn’t it?” She shook her head. “God, everyone wants to get into her tight pants. You, Angel, even Spike. A girl cannot get laid in this town without being compared to Buffy.”

“What do you mean, Angel?” I squinted my eyes at her.

“You aren’t that bright are you?”

“Hey, fuck you. I can kill you.” I hissed, not liking her tone.

“I can kill you.”

“Um, no.” I crossed my arms. “So you know Soul-boy, huh?”

"Sure, we all do. He made a lot of us. Me included. You know, after Buffy fucked him and he was back to normal. But then the bitch got his soul back, and now he only calls when he needs a cock tease. If you ask me, Buffy would be a bet-" She couldn’t finish her little speech, because she dusted away before my eyes. No body talked about B like that.

*****

“Hey, Buffy.” Tara said as the front door opened, and then stepped forward pulling the Slayer into her arms. She looked terrible. Her aura was solid sorrow and pain. “What’s wrong? What happened?” Tara sat Buffy on the couch. “Should I call Willow?” She was concerned, the Slayer looked so broken.

“No.”

“What happened?” Fear crept over her neck. “Is it Faith?”

“Faith! Faith!” Buffy groaned. She locked eyes with the witch. “I think she is just fine with her new girlfriend.” Buffy snapped.

“No,” Tara was shocked.

“Yes. I saw her with these two eyes, TWICE.”

“But, I mean, what?”

“I saw her in the cemetery, and the girl was, you know. And then in the alley behind the Bronze.” Buffy rolled her eyes, even though she was sobbing.

“What?”

“Tara, I don’t want to talk about this. I just feel really stupid. I mean everyone was right; Faith is the get some get gone girl. I was crazy to think that she would ever really have feelings for me.”

“How can you even think that? Who said that?”

“A- it doesn’t matter. I think that. I saw her with another woman.”

“And you are sure it wasn’t just a vampire?” Tara asked.

“Why would a vampire be all rubbing on her?”

“Have you looked at Faith?” Tara snapped, her hand to her forehead. She hadn’t meant that to sound so harsh. She took a breath. “I am sorry Buffy. I-I just don’t believe it.”

“I know it wasn’t a vampire. I would have felt it.” Buffy stopped. No she wouldn’t. Angel had been standing next to her. She only felt him. She shook her head. “Maybe it was a vampire, but I saw what I saw.”

“Maybe you should talk to her about it?” Buffy shrugged her shoulders. Tara sat back on her heels.

“I don’t want to look at her again.” Buffy moaned.

“Buffy.” She whispered. “What can I do?”

Buffy looked up her eyes round. “Will you talk to her for me?”

“I don’t know what I can say.”

“Tell her she is a bitch and she should leave town?” Buffy grinned.

*****

“And that was all she said?” Giles asked, cleaning his glasses.

“Pretty much.”

“Are you sure? I mean, what was her plan? We all are well aware of Harmony and her delusions of grandeur.”

“Not sure, G-man. Too late now, she’s dust.”

“You staked her prior to discovering the true plot.”

“Plot? Man, what happened to you? Giles, she was a vampire, she played me, she had a fucking dirty mouth, she went poof. End of story.”

“I would ask,”

“Sorry, G-man. Rough night.” She shrugged, “So you think it was just a load too?”

“Erm, well yes. I can ask Buffy when she reports in after patrol, but I agree that this makes no sense.”

“Something’s going to go down soon. I mean, with all the quiet, my guts are wicked nervous.”

“Though I cannot share your flare for colorful language. I would have to agree.”

*****

“Faith!” I turned to look over my shoulder. Tara was rushing up to me.

“Hey, Blondie. Come to finish what we started earlier?” I wiggled my eyebrows at her, but she kept her face emotionless, which was rare for her.

“How could you?" She hissed, and I actually took a step back.

“Whoa, what did I do?” I held my hands up in surrender.

“B-b-buffy saw you!” She looked so sad. “Do you know how much that hurt her? I mean,” she looked confused, “maybe you don’t bec-c-c-cause I’m not supposed to say anything to you, but. Goddess Faith, what were you thinking?”

“You are freaking me out! What did I do? What did B see?” I had never seen Blondie this worked up before.

“You and your girlfriend in the cemetery and then at the Bronze? Was everything you told me a lie?”

“My what?” I laughed, “You have to be kidding me!”

“Faith, what happened?” Tara asked.

“I was on patrol, couple of easy slays. Oh.” My eyes rounded.

“Oh?” Tara snapped.

“Calm down, it was a mistake, what she saw.” I ran my hand over my face. “Fuck! There was this blond vamp, and I was about to stake her, but she managed to flip me, next thing I know she is humping my leg.”

“And you didn’t stop her?”

“I did stop her. I got my stake out, and then she tells me there is this plan going down for an Ascension. That got my attention. So she was supposed to meet me tonight and give me the skinny. Only she feeds me a line, totally lying, and then she is all, aggressive, and then starts talking about how everyone in town is Buffy whipped, so I dusted her freaky ass. It was wicked crazy. I’m not B; I’ve never had a vamp get all up close and personal before. Fuck.” I paced. “I thought that I had felt B.” I spun around. “Tara what should I do?” Blondie shrugged.

“She is really upset Faith.”

“Where is she, I’ll go and explain.” I stopped, glaring at Tara. “Why would B care if I had met someone?” I asked.

“I, erm, that is,”

“Blondie?” I asked.

"Faith, really I-"

“Tara?” What was she hiding?

“I have to go. She doesn’t want to see you.” I grinned.

“Doesn’t matter. I need to explain.” God this was just going from bad to worse. “Is she still with Angel?”

“What?” She shrieked. Wow, Blondie was freaking out.

“I saw them, in the mansion, you know kissing. But that’s okay. I know that he is her true love.” Tara laughed, but it sounded pained. “Tara?”

“You two really like to screw things up don’t you?” I looked at her like she was crazy, cause, right then, I thought that she was. “You two just need to talk, why are you so afraid to talk? And I don’t mean about demons and vampires, and all the terrible things you did. I mean about how you feel?”

“Honestly?” I shrugged. “I am afraid of how good I feel when I am around her, how at peace. I’m scared that I won’t be able to keep what I am feeling inside, that she’ll know and it will freak her out. She doesn’t need me to throw it in her face. She doesn’t need to know, period.”

“Faith, just so you know,” Tara put her hand on my shoulder. “We all know you love her. Even Buffy knows that.”

*****

The blonde Slayer was lying in bed staring up at the ceiling, counting the cracks. Why was she so hurt that Faith had someone else? She wanted Faith to be happy, to have all that she deserved.

“But I wanted her to be happy with me.” Buffy whispered into the empty room. And she did. She wanted to be with Faith. She wanted to hear her voice, and see her smile. Buffy wanted to know when she saw a happy light in Faith’s eyes that she, Buffy had put it there. Sure it was selfish, but it was what she wanted. Buffy rubbed her eyes. How could she expect Faith to know? She hadn’t told her she had feelings for her. As far as Faith knew, Buffy still hated her, and was only tolerating her while they discovered if they could truly be friends.

Buffy sat up, and moved off of the bed. She had to get ready for school.

*****

“So how long were you going to hide Angel from me this time?” I asked, stepping out from behind the tree. She turned, but wasn’t surprised. She had felt me. I had been waiting for her outside of her house since Tara had found me last night. I refused to go inside. I wanted to wait. I needed to get my head in order. But it was tough. Every time I closed my eyes I saw them kissing. God I was PISSED. I had wanted to leave, repeatedly, but didn’t. I just stood here like a fucking stalker, waiting for her, letting my anger brew. Tara and Willow had left for school. I knew she would have to come out eventually, and I wasn’t moving until she did.

“I wasn’t hiding him.” She said.

“Right.” I circled her, looking her up and down. God, why did I feel so jealous? It was none of my fucking business.

“What about you and your little, girl friend.” Buffy hissed, picking up on my aggression.

"Don’t know what you think you saw-"

“Oh, Angel and I got a really nice show.” She sneered. So he had been there huh? I didn’t like the feelings my gut was sending to my brain. My instincts were telling me that Soul-boy might have had more to do with that skanky vamp than just siring her.

“It was a vamp, B. I don’t know why she was wanting to take a ride, I dusted her before I could ask.” God, how could I tell her that she was wrong? That whatever she thought she had seen hadn’t been true. Why couldn’t see look at me and see I only loved her?

“A vampire, sure. Listen it doesn’t matter. I mean if you have a girl friend.” She looked so hurt.

“I’ve only been in town a few days,” I mumbled.

“Get some get gone, Faith? Angel was right. You can’t change.” Oh that was FUCKING IT! I was so mad that it was Him, again, coming in when things were just going somewhere. Pushing her away from me.

“Angel is always right, huh? Angel, so strong, so smart. So loving.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“I saw you two, B. I know you are getting nice and cozy again.” I moved closer to her, feeling my fists clenching at my side. “Why are you so upset? So what if I did find somebody? Not that I did, but it shouldn’t matter to you, you have Him. You have always had Him. Which is just fine.” I snapped. “Just admit it, it’s okay. You like him being around, protecting you from the big bad darkness. Reminding you that I am trash. Just do us all a favor, B. Keep your legs closed.” Her hand connected with my face. But I had expected it. It was what I would have done. I just grinned, my famous shit eating grin. “Thanks for that. Time to dance?”

“I don’t want to fight.” Buffy yelled.

“Aw, but we’re so good at it!” I lunged forward, but she blocked me. We moved across the lawn, trading hard blows. I was surprised we weren’t drawing an audience with the sounds of our punches and grunts. I gave her a solid move, my roundhouse, but she just dodged. She countered with a right hook, but the impact was my shoulder, instead of my jaw. I noticed that I wasn’t hitting her, she was blocking, and she hadn’t gotten past my blocks either. “It is just so easy isn’t it?” I asked, sweeping her legs away. She was down, but then up, lashing out again.

“What, F?”

“To believe him. To think the worst about me.” I sent a kick to her head, but she countered. Man she was as amped as I was.

“I saw what I saw.” She cracked back.

“Oh, so Soul-boy sitting on your shoulder pointing out how terrible Faith is, how you can’t trust Faith, that didn’t help you along?” She landed that time, fist to the stomach. Shit that hurt.

“What do you know?”

“Only what I saw.” I was so angry, at him, at myself for not doing something about that slutty vamp. “God, B. It is so easy for you isn’t it? Him or me. I should have known you’d choose a vampire over me, again!” Oops. Didn’t mean to say that. I went to elbow her, but she caught my arm, and flipped me over. “Repeat performances, B. We are stuck in a groove or something.”

“What about you and your little vampire pin up?” I landed on my feet and shoved her. She turned to me, her eyes burning. “I heard you!”

“Heard me what? Asking her for the information she promised? You think I would touch her? That I would touch anyone else?” I growled. I hadn’t meant to say that either.

“Information? ‘Ever Fuck a Vampire Slayer’ that’s what I heard.” I groaned. I never said that, but what did I expect.

"He was there wasn’t he?" Kick. "He was all, poor Buffy, I told you Faith was a no good whore." Her fist hit my jaw. That hurt. “You didn’t really hear what was going on, because you didn’t want to. You still think I am the same Faith. You know what? I’m not, and even though I am so pissed because you are with him, again, I will not go back to being that Faith. I hate that Faith. I am glad she is dead.” I blocked her next punch. "I hate him so much. I hate all of them. Why do they get to-" I stopped myself. I didn’t need to go there, not now, not while we were fighting. None of it mattered. She would never want me. Never. “You always choose the vamps over me, your fellow Slayer. And that fucking hurts!”

“You are right! I did choose him over you. That was the hardest decision for me to make, but I did it!” She hissed, kicking out my legs, and I hit the ground. But instead of getting up I stayed there. What was I doing? Why were we fighting? I had promised myself to just let her go, let her be happy. I was messing with her, and I should just shut up and go home.

“Must not have been that hard.” Right, me not say something? Come on.

“You don’t get it! I choose him, and it killed me to do it, and then he left!” She kneeled beside me. The fight washed out of her face with a blink.

“Well he’s here now isn’t he?” I asked, sitting up. “And you’ll choose him again.”

“Doesn’t matter about now, Faith. You and I, this” she moved her hand around. “Fighting? This isn’t about right now, today. This is about what happened that night, two years ago when I stabbed you.” She took my hand, it felt good, so I squeezed. “I hated doing that to you Faith. But I thought he would die. It was either you or him. And I chose him.” She closed her eyes. “God, I picked Angel, and then he left me. If I had chosen better, I know you would never have left.”

“You're right, I wouldn’t have, we would have killed each other, but I would never have just left.” I smiled sadly at her. “I, I am sorry. About then, and about now. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. You and I were really getting back to something you know? But then he comes back, just like he did then. He makes me crazy, you know?”

“I know.” Buffy said, but I really didn’t think that she did know. I shook my head at her.

“Naw, don’t think so. But that’s not your problem. I am glad you have him. Honestly B.” I stood up, brushing off my pants. She looked up at me, quizzically. “Not that it matters, but that vamp you saw me with, she was just playing me, making up a big bad.”

“Bad?”

“Said there was an Ascension coming. A master vampire was trying to open the Hellmouth.”

"Oh, my-"

“No, it’s okay. She was full of shit. She said it was Harmony. And well that just confirmed she was playing me. So I dusted her.”

“Harmony?” Buffy cracked up. I nodded, smiling.

“Buffy, we can’t do this anymore.” I sighed.

“What?”

“Pretending that there is nothing wrong between us.” I looked down at her. “If I don’t deal with the past, it will keep coming back like this. I know we talked. But I really have a problem with Angel. And I know that I shouldn’t; he loves you, and he would never hurt you.” Not like I did, I thought, but didn’t say.

“Faith, I am sorry.”

“B?”

“I was just, it was so nice to.” She shook her head. “You are right. Can we talk about it?” I set my hand on top of her head, meeting her eyes. She looked a little better than she had been when I first came to town. There was something in her eyes, akin to happiness, and I liked seeing it there. So what that it took Soul-boy to make her happy. At least she was happy.

“Yeah. But not now. I need some time, to just get used to it. Man, I am such a loser. I don’t know why he bothers me so much.” I grinned. I knew why, she loved him and not me. Ugh! “Maybe I’ll see you in a couple of days.”

“Couple of days? Why so long?” She stood up too, frowning.

“Our new schedule, you know.” I shook my head. “Buffy, get some sleep.”

“I don’t want to wait. I have made that mistake too many times.”

“We won’t accomplish anything right now. I just, I need some time.” God that sounded lame. “I am sorry you thought that about me and that vamp. I didn’t know, I.”

“That’s okay, Faith.” She smiled. I nodded. “You waited all night for me?” I shrugged and then walked down the driveway, leaving her behind.

*****

“So, the two slayers are connected.” Warren said pacing the floor. Andrew was still sitting amid the ruined action figures, he had not moved for hours. “Okay, that means we take one out, and both go down.” He turned and paced back. “Good, I am liking this.”

“How can we take out a Slayer?” Jonathan asked, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Look what she could do to Bobafet.” Andrew whined. “We're no match for them.”

“No, we aren’t. Not alone.” Warren said, his eyes shinning with a new plan.

*****

“Hey, Little One.”

“Spike!” Dawn exclaimed into the phone. She had answered, bored, wondering who would be calling, but it was Spike! “Are you back?”

“Um, no, afraid not.” Dawn could hear noise in the background, honking cars, city noise. She hoped Spike was all right, somewhere safe. He wasn’t some big bad vampire anymore, and that made him vulnerable, and Dawn worried about him.

“Where are you?” She asked.

“Big city, good place for me to hide.”

“But why?” She asked, in a groan. She just didn’t understand why he had to go.

“We all needed this time.”

“Why?”

“I did things I’m not proud of, and I needed to get away. It’s better now; I know what your sister needs, and what I really want. She taught me things. About the man I am inside and who I want to be.”

"What are you-" Dawn started, even more confused.

“Listen pet, we all gravitate to what we know, are comforted by familiarity.”

“Spike who are you talking about?”

“Faith. She understands Buffy. They are the same.”

“No, they hate each other.”

“No, Buffy is just slow, we all saw it coming.” Dawn thought about that, still not completely sure what Spike was meaning. If that was true, what did that mean for her? Who was there for a Key? But now he was talking in circles around her, and she decided to be more direct.

“Will you come back?” She asked.

“You can count on it.”

*****

Willow helped carry in the last bag of groceries from the cab. Faith was already in the kitchen unloading.

“Thanks again for going with me to the store.” Faith said, putting away a box of popcorn.

“No problem. I know how much you can eat, figured you could use a hand.” Willow grinned, putting away the bottles of water, and then the six pack of beer she had gotten for the younger girl. “Besides, you can’t buy your own beer.”

”I can, just I have to drink it at Willy’s and the atmosphere there isn’t the greatest.” Faith joked.

“I know.” Willow leaned back, watching Faith zip around. She decided it was better to stay out of the way. “How are you holding up?” Faith turned and looked at her quizzically.

“Holding? I am fine, why would you ask?”

“You’ve been a little rollercoastery the past couple of months.” Faith raised her eyebrow. Willow sighed. “You know, suicidal, and then apologetic, and then all sad again. A lot of emotions in a short amount of time.”

“Not for me, Red. See the thing is, I’ve always been like this, I just used to hide it real good. Now, I’m trying not to hide.” Faith crossed her arms.

“I’ve noticed.”

“So what do you think? Really? We haven’t talked much. Where do we stand?”

“That’s a tough one to explain.”

“I don’t have any plans. Enlighten me.” Faith took two beers out, handing one to Willow.

“I really didn’t like you. For a really long time.” Faith nodded, drinking back half the beer at once. “Really hated you.”

“Gotcha.” Faith grinned.

“But see, Tara, she helped me understand.”

“She is good at that.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Both of you are really lucky. Like you were made for each other.” Faith smiled sadly, Willow would have bet money that she was thinking about Buffy. “So Blondie talked to you?”

“She talked, but I didn’t listen. I felt like I couldn’t, so she did a spell.”

“Huh?”

"It’s like a sharing spell, actually it is from the text of-"

“Whoa there Red. You are talking to me, remember? Keep it simple.”

“Fine.” Willow grinned. “It’s sharing, she opened up all of her memories. I got most of them I think.”

“How did Blondie’s memories help me out?”

“I saw you through her eyes. I saw you starved, beaten.” Faith dropped her gaze. “And I saw you grieve.”

“Hmm?”

"You remember, Tara did a spell, so when you where in Buffy’s room-"

“The silent one - the one you two use when you get frisky.”

“She told you that?” Willow blushed.

“Red, this is me, I figured it out. So what, you knew she did the spell?”

“Actually, she kind of forgot to mention to you that the caster is still aware.” Faith drained the rest of her beer, setting it down on the counter. Her back was to Willow.

“So you are saying she heard everything I said and did, huh? And now you know?”

“Yes.”

“And that made you forgive me?”

“I think everything all together. How you were with Tara, how you were with the memory of Buffy. The journals. I think it all came into view for me. That you weren’t all to blame, and we could have done things differently.” She set her hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Faith, you are someone I want to know. I want to have you as part of our weird little family.”

“Thanks, I think.”

“How about this. I forgive you.” Willow said softly. Faith was about to speak, but a knock sounded on the door. Faith shrugged and walked over, opening it. A vampire stood there, covered in a long black blanket.

“What you want?” Faith snapped.

“This is for you. And I have a message.”

“Well?” Faith took the note.

“He wants you out of the way, and will do whatever it takes.” The vampire rushed away. Faith just shrugged, looking at the note. Willow was shocked, wondering what in the world that vampire had meant. And why Faith seemed so calm when she heard the message. She watched Faith skim the note, her eyes blackening.

“Fuck. Gotta go Red.” Faith picked up her jacket, dropping the note on the coffee table. “I liked our talk. Maybe we’ll do it again.” Faith winked, and then walked out the door. “Lock up behind you!” She called out. Willow walked over to the table, looking at the note.

“Oh, shit.” She said reading it.

*****

“Buffy?” Willow brought her out of her thoughts, and her best friend walked up the front steps. She had been sitting, enjoying the afternoon, and working up the courage for her meeting later with Faith. After this morning, Buffy knew Faith was right. There was a lot that Faith had said without saying the words. She had seen Angel kissing her, and had felt the old pangs of jealousy. Buffy was no fool. She knew how Faith felt about her, and she could just imagine how painful it was to think that Angel and Buffy were together, again. She understood that pain and jealousy, had felt it herself seeing Faith with that blonde bitch. Buffy needed to make Angel understand that it was over, everything, and if he couldn’t just be her friend, then he would be nothing to her. Buffy knew she needed to do that, for Faith, and for her. Buffy needed for them to be able to move forward, so she could really completely feel what she was feeling for the other Slayer, without having the shadow of Angel hanging over them.

“Hmm.”

“Um, Faith is high tailing it the mansion.”

“God, no.” Buffy stood up swiftly. What was going on now?

“Buffy what happened?”

“Angel is in town, has been for a few days. Faith is kind of mad that I didn’t tell her. Again. You remember how this all went down before, her trying to dust him and all.” Buffy needed to get over there and stop this.

“I don’t think it was her.”

“What do you mean?” Buffy asked, confused.

“She and I were at her apartment, talking, and this came.” Willow handed her a note.

	This needs to end. Come now. ~Angel

“Thanks, Wills.” Buffy took off running.

*****

So he wanted a meeting? Well fine. I was so tired of him jumping to conclusions, sitting on everyone’s shoulder and whispering about me. He was filling B’s head with doubt. She didn’t need any more reasons not to trust me. He wanted her, and she wanted him, fine. But I was not going anywhere. I figured he was playing a game, who knows he could have been doing this before too. I just needed to get him to understand that I was staying here, on the Hellmouth, to take care of business. Angel needed to go back to his cronies in L.A.

I stood in the garden, feeling the sun on my back, liking that I could stand here, awash in it, and he was reduced to hiding in the shadows. He was looking into the fireplace, beside the chains that were still there. Almost all of us had taken turns being in those irons. Angel, Buffy, me. Not pretty memories.

“Faith.” He said, turning to face me. “Come in.”

“You forget? I’m the Slayer, I can walk in when I want.” I crossed my arms, my guts going all wacky. Something felt off here. “What do you want?”

“Honestly?” He walked closer, to stand at the very edge of the shadows. “I want you to leave.” I let out a laugh. “Faith, you do not belong here. I know your game, and it isn’t going to work.”

“I have a game now?” I asked, stepping inside, right up next to him. Oh, no. B was here. I could feel her. I wasn’t sure how close she was, but she was coming fast.

“You can’t fool me.” He said.

“Really?” I sneered. “So tell me, Angel. What’s my game?”

“Buffy. You think that you can just come back here, after everything that you have done, with your sad eyes and sob stories and make everyone forget, make them forgive.”

“Sounds a little familiar. Isn’t that your deal?”

“I am serious. Everything that comes out of your mouth is controlled, a well calculated lie.” He moved deeper into the room.

“What reason would I have to lie?” I asked.

“To fool her into thinking you’re something that you're not. Your whole reason for being here is to make Buffy think that she loves you. It is not going to work.” He was pacing now, and that was fine, cause so was I. I gave him a groan.

“You know, you are pretty dense.” He stopped, looking confused. “You float around, brooding, thinking of yourself, and that the world revolves around you, and you don’t look around you. You don’t see what has been happening, you don’t see her begging for someone just to purely love her for her.” I said.

“Oh, and you think do?” He picked something up off the couch. Well, my my my. Our little Angel and his favorite Louisville Slugger. He was so angry; maybe she hadn’t picked him yet. Why else would he want me to leave?

“I know that I do. Can you say the same? Can you say that you love her for her, not for what you think she is and what you want her to be? Just her?”

“You are fooling yourself if you think she will ever love you.” Angel spat, moving a step closer. A laugh broke from deep inside of my chest.

“And that’s it, Angel. I don’t need her to love me, to want me. I will love her anyway.”

“Right.” He said softly.

“Angel? Why did you set me up?” He tapped the bat against his palm, but I didn't flinch. “If I am so bad, if everyone can see I am worthless trash, why'd you set me up?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Hmm. Let me think. A blonde vamp, knowing exactly who I was, being all up in my space. You were her Daddy,” Oh, he felt that. “She told me all about you. So I am thinking you set me up. Didn't you? There was no way I would touch a vamp like that.”

“You'll never touch her like that either.” He snapped, and I knew what was coming. I heard the air break around the wood, and then felt the bat connect with the side of my face. He had put a lot of power behind that swing, because he had me flying across the room, hitting the wall, and rolling down. I jumped up, and slowly moved closer to him, in fighting stance. Now the big question, go all out? Dust his ass? “I will stop you.”

“From doing what?” I asked.

“From loving her.”

“You think that is your choice? Wasn’t then, and it isn’t now.” I said, and he came at me quickly. She would hate me for a really long time if I dusted him, especially if I did it out of jealousy. She was here, somewhere. Okay, so I wouldn’t stake him, but I wouldn’t just take him beating on me either. As he pulled the bat back, I ducked and double punched him in the gut, sending him reeling. He dropped the bat, glaring at me with his yellow eyes.

“You are nothing Faith. A nobody. She will never see you as anything different.” I looked at him and shrugged. Couldn’t argue with his logic. He caught me off guard, thinking and all. His hand was around my neck, and my feet were off the ground. He spat on my face. I could feel it, cold, rolling down from my eye. “Scum.” He said, and then grimaced. That hurt. I really hated being spit on.

“I think you need to set her down.” B’s voice. I tried to see behind him, to see her, but couldn’t.

“Thank God you’re here, Buffy. She attacked me.” Angel said, tossing me across the room. But it didn’t hurt so much. I touched the side of my head, the one he used for batting practice. It felt okay. I looked over at the two to them. He was looking down on her, all, oh I am a souled demon with so much pain, but I still love you. Please. He wanted to possess her that was all. To have complete power over her. I stood up. I knew how that obsession could eat at you. I used to be exactly the same.

“You okay, Faith?” She asked.

I smiled. “Five by five, B.”

“How could you Angel?” B asked him. He shrugged. Shrugged! I walked over to them. She looked at me, her eyes searching my face. She was looking at the damage, her body still ready to strike, just in case. Her eyes softened a little, and then she smiled. She turned back to Angel. “I really can't believe you would do this, all of this just to get me back. I'm going to say this one last time, so listen. I do not love you, I do not want you, and I will not wait for you. Now get the Hell out of my town.” She said. What! She wasn't with him? She didn't want to be? God, that was something I never would have expected. I stepped out into the garden.

“B? You coming?”

“You bet.” I smiled to myself, taking the steps up, two at a time, knowing she was following.

*****

Faith was smoking, sitting on the bench at Weaverly Park, looking away at something in the distance. They were sitting on the picnic table, just sitting. No words needed between them. The smoke rolled from her slightly open lips, catching in the light breeze, moving away, breaking down, and disappearing.

The same could be said for the thick walls inside of Buffy. Before she had stopped Angel from choking Faith, from hurting her more, Buffy had been listening to their words. She had heard almost everything. She had felt the truth, that he had been playing a game to win her affections. Buffy had also listened to Faith.

In the past, Faith had lashed out, in the name of love. She had focused on wanting to possess Buffy’s life, own it or destroy it, and all out of love.

It had been happened again. Spike was able to beat her, in the name of love. Angel wanted to possess her heart, have her wait for him, even if she was unhappy, out of love.

It was the same, but different. Then it had been Faith hurting her out of love. Now it was the two vampires. What Faith wanted was completely different now.

Buffy had listened to what Faith had said back at the mansion, and had felt calm. Faith was content with loving her, sure she wanted more, but she didn’t need it. Faith would love Buffy forever, just as much as she did today, and expected nothing in return.

Wow. Buffy sighed.

That felt good.

She turned back to Faith, really looking at her. She had never noticed the natural waves at the ends of her hair, where it gathered at her shoulders, or even the few auburn highlights.

Faith closed her eyes slowly, pulling deeply on the cigarette.

God, she was beautiful.

“Faith?”

“Hmm?” She turned slowly to face Buffy. She opened her eyes slowly, revealing the kind soft brown. In a brief second there were no walls, no secrets there. Just the truth.

“Will you patrol with me tonight?”

“Sure.” She smiled. God that smile. So pure so - okay. Buffy Summers, you are getting sappy. You need to talk to someone about this, because I think we all know what just happened, she thought to herself.

She had ten minutes to get out front and meet Faith. Buffy ran up the stairs and knocked on the door to Willow and Tara’s bedroom. Tara opened the door, smiling.

“Hey Buffy.”

“Hi!” She was nervous. “Can you guys do me a favor tonight?”

“Okay.”

“Can you take Dawn to the late movie?”

“Why?”

“I, erm, well. I want to bring Faith back here, after patrol.”

“Buffy, what are you doing?” Tara asked, looking worried.

“I think, no I do. I love her.”

“Don’t tell me, tell her.”

“I want to. I think I might tonight. I think I have decided.”

“You think? I am sorry Buffy, but Faith deserves more than you think.” Tara said softly.

“Tara, I realized something today. She is giving me all of the control. No one else has ever done that, given me all of the power. It is completely up to me to decide, and she isn’t pushing me, constantly reminding me that she cares, and that I should chose her above all others.” She walked away from Tara, pacing. It truly was an amazing revelation. “God, I love her.”

“Why do you look scared?”

"I, but I mean-"

“What are you afraid of?”

“What if she goes all bad? Face it, my track record sucks.”

“Do you think she would? Don’t you think she would do anything for you, to make you happy?”

“I know that she would, she has been. I just want it to be perfect.” Buffy straighten up. “I have to tell her.”

“Well, just be sure. Once you say this, taking it back will not be easy.”

*****

“Well, this is wonderful news.”

“I thought you would think so.” Wesley said, ringing his hands as he stood in front of the man who had made sure he was kicked out of the Watcher’s Council, and the one man who could see that he was brought back.

“I believe a visit to Sunnydale is in order,” Quentin Travers smiled.

*****

We made a quick circuit of the cemetery’s neither of us really talking. It had been an emotional day. I was tired, and thinking about how nice it would be to just curl up in bed and sleep for a good solid ten hours. I tucked my stake back in my coat, and turned to her.

“I guess that’s it then.” I said, shrugging my shoulders.

“Hmm?” her eyes were clouded, like she was off somewhere thinking. I worried when she did that during patrol. What if something snuck up on her?

“You know, quiet, everyone hiding because the two Slayers are on the case.”

“Right. Yeah, weird it is so quiet.” She blinked, coming back to me, out of the clouds.

“Well, I will see ya around then.” I turned and felt her hand on my arm.

“Faith? Wait.” I turned back around. What did she want to do now? I had been ready to talk earlier, after my Angel encounter, but now I just needed to get home, be quiet and clear my mind. I raised my eyebrow at her. “Um, I have something I need to give you.”

“Okay.” I replied.

“It’s at the house.” She let go of my arm, and started walking. I waited, watching her go. I shrugged to myself. A quick run over, get whatever it was and then back home.

*****

Buffy was nervous. Her hand was shaking, and she could barely get the key into the door. Luckily Faith was some ways behind her, and didn’t notice. The door opened, the house was dark, and still.

“Where are the troops?” Faith asked, as she stepped inside.

“Movies.” Buffy answered, closing the door. “Come on.” She moved to walk up the stairs.

*****

I watched her moving through the dark, one step, two steps, three. I was feeling this nervousness coming off of her. It paralyzed me. Everything got slower, and she turned.

“Faith?” She called down.

“Yeah?” I asked back.

“Come on.” She motioned me up. Okay, maybe there was something in her room that she needed me to have. She kept all her weapons there. Maybe it was something Slayer related. Sure that was it. Don’t worry about it.

I took the steps two at a time, to step into her room right behind her. She turned to face me. It felt surreal being in the room again. Last time I was in here, she had been dead, and I had cried like a baby over never having the chance to see her again. But here she was, tossing off her light jacket. Her hair shimmering under the bulb in the ceiling. She was back. And I loved her so much.

“So what’s the what, B?” I asked, breaking the tension.

“I have something that I wanted to give you for a really long time.” She took a step closer. “But I wasn’t sure the time was right, or if it was really totally there to give you.” B reached out, and set her hand on my cheek.

“Um, what was that, B?” I whispered, swallowing hard. She ran her thumb over my lips. A jolt of excitement surged down my spine.

“My heart.” She said softly. Our eyes met, and I felt another rush come over me. It was from her. It was strong, like a pulse radiating through me. It was pure want. Her eyes were glowing, suddenly so deep, so green. She smiled softly, her eyes moving from mine, dancing over my face. She looked at my lips, and then back up to my eyes. There was a question there. A question I never thought I would see in her eyes. She wanted to kiss me! Oh MY GOD. I closed my eyes slowly, and then opened them again. B leaned forward, there was hardly any air separating our bodies. Her face tilted up. I would not back out this time.

Her lips were on mine. They were so soft, gently resting there, testing. Her hand moved into my hair, as I returned the kiss with a little more pressure, and slowly opened my lips, running my tongue over her bottom lip. She was kissing me! I felt like I was going to explode.

*****

The softness of the kiss, the tenderness conveyed there was matched beat by beat with the passion that was building between them. Buffy had guessed that kissing Faith would be amazing, she just never imagined it would feel this good. Faith’s arms encircled her waist, and Buffy deepened the kiss. She explored Faith’s mouth, feeling the texture of her tongue, the smoothness of her teeth. She tasted like cinnamon.

Buffy pulled Faith tighter to her, feeling the other girl’s body pressing against her own. A low moan came from deep inside the brunette’s chest at the firmer contact. Faith pulled away, slowly, and began trailing kisses down along Buffy's jaw, over her chin to her neck. Faith kissed her way up to her ear, taking the lobe between her lips and sucking.

“Faith.” Buffy moaned, feeling that kiss everywhere on her body. She pushed them back, until Faith was against the wall. Their lips met again, this time harder, filled with desire. Buffy ran her hands down Faith’s arms as they kissed, pressing her body against the other girl. She could feel Faith's breasts on her chest, the increasing rise and fall of them as her breathing picked up. Their mouths fought for superiority, neither one relenting or giving in. Faith captured her tongue, and sucked on it. Heat and pleasure ripped through to Buffy’s core. She had never felt so much in just one kiss.

This was right, and perfect. This was what had been missing from Buffy's life.

*****

If I was dreaming, I never wanted to wake up. Never! She felt so good in my arms, like she was meant for them. Our bodies fit together perfectly. And her mouth. God. It felt so good. I slipped my leg between hers, feeling her burning heat against my thigh. She wanted this, she wanted me! I could feel her body reacting to mine. Oh, this wasn’t a dream! It was almost too perfect to be a reality. Her hands were clutching at my sides, her thumb nudged the side of my breast, and I pulled away from the kiss.

“What’s?” She asked breathlessly.

“God, B. You are going to make me cum just by kissing me!” I hissed in her ear before attacking her mouth again. I couldn’t get enough of this. My head was spinning. I had never felt this good with somebody in my entire life. This just felt so right. Oh, what is she doing? My eyes rolled back up into my head. She was moving against me, grinding. I pressed up with my thigh, feeling her. Oh, God! Her hands pulled at my shirt, untucking it. Fast little hands, and they were searing my flesh, running over my naked stomach. I leaned my head back, groaning.

*****

Buffy wasn’t sure what exactly was happening, and that was good. She wanted to loose herself in this, in Faith. How could she have been so blind as to not understand everything earlier? This was where she was always meant to be, in these strong arms, feeling these kisses. Faith pulled her lips away with a groan, and Buffy actually whimpered from the loss of contact.

“Wait, Buffy wait.” Faith whispered.

“Why? What’s wrong?” She asked, looking into Faith’s eyes. They were black with desire.

“I…” Faith swallowed. “I don’t want to rush this.”

“Rush?” Buffy couldn’t help but laugh. “We’ve wanted this, waited for this for over two years.” She leaned in and kissed those full and swollen lips. “We’ve waited long enough.” Buffy huskily finished. Faith grabbed her outer thighs and lifted her up, stepping away from the wall. She slammed her mouth down on Buffy’s, and neither needed any more words. She wrapped her legs around Faith’s waist, plunging her hands into her long dark hair as the kiss turned from exploration to raw passion. Faith’s hands were under her shirt, running over Buffy’s back as she walked them to the bed. Slowly she lowered Buffy down. Between darting kisses, Faith unbuttoned the blouse Buffy was wearing, tenderly pulling it off. Then she kissed from her chin down her chest, stopping at the front clasp of the bra. Faith took it in her teeth, and snapped it open, using her cheeks to push the cups off of Buffy's breasts. Her mouth was on Buffy in an instant. Taking the already hard nipple into her mouth. Buffy’s back arched off of the bed.

*****

She was more beautiful than could ever have imagined. I moved away from her, and she moaned in protest. I pulled off her bra completely, looking down at her hard pink nipples that crowned each of her small perfect breasts. I leaned down and licked one, then the other, before moving my tongue down her stomach, dipping into her belly button. I felt her stomach muscles spasm. As my fingers made quick work of her button fly jeans, I was kissing her sides. Slowly peeling away her jeans, moving my lips to Buffy’s newly exposed skin. I could smell her arousal now. My breathing picked up. I had never been this excited, this full of need and lust and love in my life. I had to feel her, I had to taste her.

“God, Buffy.” I moaned, pulling the jeans completely off. Only her panties were left. I moved my eyes slowly, up her body. "You are so beautiful. I never dreamed you would be so beautiful." I whispered, and then met her gaze. She was breathing as heavily, matching me pant for pant.

“Please.” It was a whisper. I hooked my thumbs around the waistband, not taking my eyes off of hers as I pulled the panties off. I dropped them on the ground, not yet touching her. This was the most erotic moment of my life. If I died right now, it would all be worth it. I felt the truth of that through my entire body. My body was aching for her, breast staining for her touch, my core feeling amazingly wet.

I dropped my eyes, seeing her. Her skin was so perfect, unmarred. God, she was so wet I could see it glistening. I forced myself to stand up, not to touch her yet. I pulled off my shirt, and then took off my bra. She gasped, but I knew it wasn’t out of fear. I needed to get the rest of these clothes off of me now. I needed to feel every inch of her skin on mine. I kicked off my boots, and pulled off my pants, tossing them across the room.

“You are so beautiful.” She said softly, as I leaned forward capturing her lips, thrusting my tongue inside of her mouth, and she took it, sucking it hard. I felt my knees weaken. Her hands were on my breasts, nervously touching, but then she understood that I was completely hers, she had nothing to be afraid of. I felt her pinch my right nipple, and I pulled my lips away from hers to moan.

“Are you sure?” I asked, kissing her neck again, as my hands moved down her body. I kept them on her thighs, not going any closer. Her legs were on either side of mine, but I was holding myself up, not yet allow myself to feel all of her. I needed to know that she was sure. Before it went any further, I had to make sure.

“Faith.” She said. I ran my tongue over her neck. “Look at me,” I turned my head, locking our gaze. Looking into her eyes felt as good as any penetration I had ever felt in my life. It wasn’t just looking for the sake of being romantic. When we looked at each other, it was like we were touching, connecting. It was a part of this. “I want you to touch me, I need you to touch me.” I lowered myself slowly, feeling her naked breasts on mine, the wet hair of her sex pressing against my pubic bone. “Faith I love you.” She said strongly, and for an instant I froze. The world stopped moving, and there was nothing but those words in my mind. But just as quickly, my desire for her doubled, and I pressed down against her, feeling her wrapping her legs around my hips.

“Buffy I have loved you my whole life.” I whispered and then kissed her roughly as I began circling my hips against her. God she was so wet. “I need you B,” I hissed pressing into her, feeling her body shudder. She moaned underneath me. I could feel the tension in both of us. I had wanted this, all of it, her heart, her love, her body for so long, that I couldn't last much longer. It was too much, too good. And the way B was matching me thrust for thrust; I knew she couldn't last either. “Unlock your legs, baby.” I kissed her forehead, and felt her grip lessen. “I am going to make love to you, Buffy.” I kissed down her chest, taking each breast into my mouth, before sliding my cheek down her stomach. I didn’t wait, I didn’t tease her. Running my tongue down her slick hot center, while pushing her legs open even wider with my arms.

“Oh God.” She yelled into the room. Pulling away I gazed at her, seeing the pink flesh, glistening, quivering. It was the most pure and beautiful thing I had ever seen.

"Buffy you are so open and beautiful." I gently kissed my way over her thigh, and then my lips were on her core, I sucked one lip into my mouth, and she hissed above me. I used my tongue to taste her, dipping it inside, feeling her walls immediately grabbing for me, trying to pull me deeper. She tasted so fresh. I took her clit into my mouth and sucked hard.

“Faith!” Buffy screamed and bucked her hips. I hadn’t released her sensitive nub yet, but was pulling it from side to side. The sounds coming out of her now were simply amazing. Slowly I slipped one finger inside of her. She was so hot.

“B you are so sexy, you are going to make me cum just watching you.” I couldn’t help myself, I was a talker, and she was making me feel so much, I just had to share. I began moving my finger slowly, in and out.

“More.” She moaned. I obliged, sliding two fingers inside of her. She arched her back, rolling her hips in time with my thrusting.

"I love you, Buffy."

“Ohhhh!” She moaned loudly. She was so close already.

*****

The movie had been all right, and all three of the girls were tired. Dawn walked through the door first.

“Man that was lame.” She said, but stopped. She heard a whimpering sound. “What was that?” Dawn asked, turning to look at the two witches who were behind her.

"OHHH."

“Is that Buffy?” Dawn asked.

“I know that she was going to ask Faith over,” Tara said, nervously.

“Do you think she is hurting her?” Dawn exclaimed moving to the stairs.

"OH GOD FAITH!"

“No, I don’t think anyone is hurt.” Willow said with a grin.

"YES, FAITH HARDER!"

“They aren’t?” Dawn asked looking at the two witches. Tara took a shaky step back, rubbing her forehead.

“I think they - erm, okay, I say we go for ice cream!” Willow said.

“Right, let’s go.” Tara took Dawn’s arm and led her out of the house.

“But.”

“No buts. They need this time.”

Willow blushed deeply, gazing into Tara’s eyes. “Can you feel it?” She whispered as they walked down the front steps.

“Yes.” Tara nodded. The moment she stepped into the house she could sense the passion, the arousal.

“I need some cold water.” Willow laughed.

“I can’t believe they finally.”

“I know.”

*****

She was going to pop, I could feel her tightening around my fingers, see it in the blush that was growing on her chest. I wanted to bring her over the edge. I moved up her body, not stopping the rhythm of my fingers, I needed to kiss those full pouting lips, I needed to feel her breath on my face. I kissed her cheek, feeling the heat coming off of her. She was so beautiful, and I was making her feel like this. She turned to face me, both of us panting, her eyes wide, looking at me. I ran my hand through her hair, holding her head so she was looking at me.

“Cum for me B.” I whispered, then kissed her lips softly.

“Uh. Faith, Faith, I love you.” Her eyes rolled back, and it was here. I felt her release, around my fingers - Oh my God! A tremor rushed through my body. The clutching of my own insides. B went over the edge, and I was feeling it too. It was almost too much, I felt myself coming. It was almost like a short circuit. My senses got all messed up. No hearing, nothing, just ringing in my ears. My sense of smell seemed muted; I could only find two scents, her skin and mine. My hand in her hair could sense every separate strand of hair; the hand pressed inside of her could feel her heart beating. My ears were burning, flushed, and I felt heat over my entire body. This was so intense. I felt the contraction, as I came again, just from holding her. “Buffy, I love you.”

*****

“What do you want?” Angel growled from where he was sitting in the dark. Warren took a step forward.

“We have a proposition for you.” He said. Angel raised his eyes.

“I am listening.”

“Seems we all have a common problem.” Warren smiled, “A certain dark haired Slayer.”

*****

“Oh God.” Faith mumbled, as she lay on her back looking up at the ceiling. They had heard the others come home an hour ago, and had been just lying beside each other in bed, relaxing, letting everything that had happened earlier sink in. They had made love, and it had been exquisite. Buffy had never felt so loved, and safe and happy in her entire life. She loved the woman next to her. Buffy was a fool. Trying to feel when she was with Spike. What a joke. Being here with Faith, felt exactly like being in heaven. She was so happy.

“What?” She asked, rolling over onto her side and looking at Faith.

“Is all of this just because of the spell? I mean what if you just didn’t have a choice, like this is some fucked up side effect from the whole soul sharing thing?” The younger girl’s eyes glistened with tears. She really was afraid that this wasn’t real. Buffy set her finger on Faith’s lips, silencing her.

“Faith, I loved you before you gave me your soul. Before I died.”

“But,”

“No. I did. It was so hard, coming back, being here. Hating you was always so much easier than dealing with it, facing the truth.” Buffy kissed her cheek tenderly. “I was stupid, and I am sorry. I should have just accepted the truth. I love you Faith. I always have.”

*****

“Hey, baby.” Tara whispered, kissing Willow’s lips softly as they snuggled in bed. “Why the frown?” Tara asked.

“I’m worried.”

“Worried about what?”

“Everything. So much is happening.” The red head sighed. Tara wondered what she meant. Things were quiet; the two Slayers were together at last. What could Willow mean?

“But, no big dark evil.” Tara offered.

“Not yet.”

“Do you know something?”

“I’m just scared.” Willow sobbed, burying her face in Tara’s neck.

“We’ll do the best we can. That’s all we can do, Willow.”

*****

“I want to be inside of you.”

“B, you have been inside of me.” Buffy pushed her shoulder, laughing. But then her face grew serious again.

“There is so much I don’t know.”

“I know.”

“Will? - Never mind.”

“B, I love you. More than that, I trust you. I just need time. This is new, and I want to give myself to you, completely. But I just need time.”

“So this wasn’t a one-off thing? Get some get gone?"

“No. Never.” Faith leaned in and kissed her passionately, causing Buffy to moan softly. She wanted to touch Faith again, feel the heat. Slowly Faith took away her lips. “Miles to go.” Faith murmured kissing Buffy’s neck.

...continued in One Day...

:HOME:BACK TO FANFIC: