The Morning After
by Anne
Rating: R

Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and any others who own the characters of BtVS, I'm just dabbling. Please do not sue.
Spoilers: After season four. Sequel to The Jack Daniels Effect.
Author's Notes: Been tricky writing this one, so it probably sucks. Oh, and no beta reader, so bare with me.
Feedback: If you think it's worth writing home about...

When she awoke, the first thing Faith was aware of was an arm wrapped almost possessively around her waist and the warmth of another human body pressed close against her back. Her stomach leapt when she remembered who it was, what they had done, how it had made her feel. And then the fear kicked in. What if this became a terrible case of the morning after? What if they couldn't speak or make eye contact? It would ruin the chance of friendship that they had already somehow managed to claw back against the odds. She didn't have much experience of morning afters, she was usually long gone by then. She knew that Buffy would be awake soon, the light that filled the hotel room was becoming brighter. Thank God she had decided to call Angel last night, after Buffy fell asleep. The last thing she would have wanted would be for him to burst in here panicking and ruining the moment. She tensed as she heard a murmur behind her and felt Buffy start to move. God, she had said 'I love you'. She had never said those words to anyone before in her life. The arm around her waist pulled her, forcing her over to lie on her back. She couldn't believe it when Buffy placed her head on her shoulder and casually draped her leg over her body, as if they had been waking up every day together for years. Then another thought suddenly occurred to Faith. What if Buffy did not realise it was her? What if she thought it was Angel? Then Faith's stomach churned with an even more horrendous possibility. Beefstick. Riley. B's boyfriend. Oh God, oh God...

"What time is it Faith?"

"Oh God..." Faith exhaled the breath she did not even realise she was holding, and looked over at the bedside alarm. "6.45."

"Way too early. Need more sleep." Buffy mumbled into her shoulder. "Busy day. Vamps. Demons. Shopping."

"Shopping?!?" Faith was about to object when she felt the flutter of lips across her collar bone. As they began to work their way up her neck to her ear, Buffy shifted her body slightly, pulling herself closer to Faith.

"Looks like I'm not so sleepy after all." Buffy whispered into her ear.

"B. Wait. We need to talk." Faith knew that if they started kissing again, she would loose all rational thought. And for the first time in her life, she was beginning to understand the importance of consequences. Buffy stopped kissing her neck and pulled herself up, resting on her elbow as she looked into Faith's eyes.

"We will. Later. I promise," she whispered, as she lowered her head.

*****

"Okay Guys. What's with the glow?" Cordelia had been staring at them since they came through the door. "Or do you two *really* get off on the whole slaying thing?"

"Just a productive night Cordelia," said Buffy as Faith snickered behind her hand. "Saving the world must just bring a rosy blush to my cheeks these days." Buffy knew she was smiling like a Cheshire cat but she couldn't help it. She noticed that Faith was too. Had been ever since she said 'I love you' again that morning. Right after they had...No! Stop those thoughts. The smile became even wider. She looked over at Faith who was fidgeting now. Picking things up, putting them down just to pick them up again. Suddenly they heard the elevator grind into action from the floor below. Faith could tell that Buffy was instantly uncomfortable and couldn't help but wonder just what Buffy still felt for him. Not that she expected her to feel nothing. This was the guy that she had tried to kill her for. She stopped before she went too far down that road. That headed straight for trouble. But trust her to finally fall, and when she did to a person with so much history.

When Angel pulled back the door the first thing he did was look at them both, assessing them for damage, and then nodded. "I see you're both recovering well. By the way Faith described it you were both nearly killed last night."

"Well, you know the ole slayer healing."

"Didn't realise you would find vampires so much tougher here than in Sunnydale. How are they in Sunnydale by the way?"

"Quiet." The tension between them was so thick you could almost feel it. Faith knew that he was still in love with her. Always would be. He had told her about it in his letters to her. They had that common bond, that response to Buffy. Though they had a lot more in common now than he realised.

"Jobs for today Cordelia?" he turned his attention away from them.

"A few routine demon hunts. Oh, and Kate wants you to visit her."

"Kate?" Buffy asked, and then realised who they were talking about. "Oh, Kate." So the two of them were still helping each other out. Faith had known they were getting closer, she was starting to trust him more, but it was obviously news to Buffy. Faith watched as her eyebrows raised and again felt a slight pang of jealousy that Buffy was feeling a slight pang of jealousy. "Oh that's good" she said brightly. "That means Faith and I can go shopping."

*****

"Are you going to tell me just what the hell is going on?" Angel was angry, and Buffy couldn't help but find her mind going back to all the other times that she had seen him rage. Only, this time she did not know why.

"Would you mind telling what I am supposed to have done?"

"Are you deliberately messing with her head Buffy? Because it's a pretty cheap shot at revenge if you are."

"What?"

"First time you turn up here, you're all wanting revenge and now you're sleeping with her."

"What! How...how did you know? I thought.."

"I'm not stupid Buffy. And I am slightly supernatural, just in case you forgot. I can smell her all over your skin." He paused as Buffy looked at him puzzled. "It's like perfume," he explained. "Put her on your pulse points and it makes the smell stronger. And I have a nose for pulse points. Not to mention the fact she seems to have *really* got all over yours." He looked at her as she blushed.

"I'm not messing with her head Angel. I promise. I feel like mine's being messed with. Talk about confused."

"Let me guess. You didn't know she felt this way about you."

"Oh, I knew. Knew from the moment we first slayed together. I just thought that I could hold in the way I felt. Thought that my life was complicated enough without adding the other problems of dating a slayer, a girl, not to mention the fact that I always seem to be wrongly involved whenever she shows up. Not that you were wrong..." She trailed off, realising what she had just said. "It's just that, if you hadn't come back from hell at the same time she showed up, we probably would have got it together. I mean, Faith isn't exactly backwards in coming forwards."

"I know." They both winced at the memory. "So you are being sincere? This isn't just some twisted form of revenge?"

"No. I care for her a lot. I love her even. I know that it makes this whole trying to reform slayer thing a bit more complicated, but there are positives too. I think I broke down a few barriers last night. And she knows that she can turn to me now whenever she gets scared. I think that's a lot for Faith to have."

"It's more than she feels she has ever had before. But you do realise that this is a bigger step for her than for you. You break her heart now Buffy, and you'll probably be the one with a knife in the stomach next time. She's acting more like the old Faith, but that confidence is only there while you can give it to her. She's still fighting against the worst side of her nature Buffy."

"I know. When I'm with her we seem to go back to the beginning and it's so easy to forget. But I know the bad in her will always be trying to find its way out. But I want her to be better Angel. I want things to be perfect for us." Buffy paused trying to work out the best way to say what she needed to. She decided to go straight to the point. This was Angel she was talking to after all. "Do you still want to help her though? Now this has happened. I know you still love me Angel, just like a part of me will always love you. You don't hate her for the fact I care about her, do you?" She watched as he turned away from her, and she knew she had hurt him by bringing it up. After a few minutes he turned back to her.

"You are right. I do still love you. And I care for Faith too. That's why I want what's best for you. What you need. Whatever makes you both happy. But tell me one thing Buffy."

"What."

"Will Riley feel the same way?"

...continued in On The Line...

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