Disclaimer: The characters of Buffy and Faith do not belong to me, even
though there’s plenty of room in my bed for them. The song is A Mistake by
the glorious Fiona Apple.
Author’s Notes: I thought I misplaced the sequel to Truth so I wrote this. Then I discovered that my computer had conducted a covert kidnapping mission and taken it into the deep recesses of its evil mainframe. I retrieved it. I love Fiona Apple - her album title is about 90 words long. When the Pawn etc etc etc…
Buffy felt the world around her begin to spin at an alarming rate. The ground beneath her feet suddenly had a firm grip on the soles of her shoes and her jaw clenched involuntarily as her brain registered who stood in front of her. There was no mistaking the husky voice. A voice that soothed the fears of one, while striking the identical emotion into the hearts of those who ceased to breathe. The smoky eyes that sought out their nemeses with ferocity, yet they were presently laid on her with an entirely different intention. Buffy realised that it was not the earth that was moving, but Faith circling her, yet the effect was the same. Her eyes closed as she tried to maintain some form of composure and judging by the sudden halting of footsteps, she had achieved some semblance of equanimity. Faith stood behind her and Buffy inhaled the scent that she had missed – on some extremely weird level – filling her brain with an intoxication that no other substance on Earth could supply.
Faith focussed on the line of blonde hair that traced a path down Buffy’s back. It was longer than she remembered, but the texture and sun-coloured hue was the same. Her only interaction with Buffy’s golden locks had been accidental. Buffy casually flipping her hair and brushing Faith’s cheek, a stray sweat-soaked lock pressing against the back of the brunette’s neck as they fought back-to-back and a night at a club where blonde and brunette combined in a frenzy of twists and thrashing heads. Unable to control herself, Faith reached out and combed her fingers through the softness. She was not surprised that Buffy flinched, but she was caught off-guard when the blonde emitted a barely perceptible sigh. It was not a sigh of exasperation, but one that usually resulted from having one’s hair stroked. Now Faith was surprised. She had been expecting anything from Buffy – but this? Then again, she did not make a habit out of caressing people’s hair in cemeteries in the middle of the night, so she was hardly an expert on reactions to it. Was it possible that…fuck Faith. Get it together.
The brunette withdrew her hand, still anticipating a blow of some sort. It never happened. As if under a spell, her hand made its way back to the blonde’s sun-kissed head and resumed its gentle caressing. Uh oh. Here we go. Faith closed her eyes. She knew where this was going. She had avoided it for as long as was humanly possible. [I’m gonna make a mistake] Faith battled with her newfound sense of reason. [I’m gonna do it on purpose] Unfortunately, reason left the building any time Buffy was so much as in the same area, yet Faith still wondered why she bothered if nothing ever came of her attempts. [I’m gonna waste my time] But still her fingers were full of glossy blonde hair, clenching it in her fist and desperately trying not to get whisked away in a fantasy of her own making.
In front of Faith, the cold night air had ceased to have an influence on the blonde. Buffy senses, human and Slayer, were tingling from the contact of Faith’s hand in her hair. Her frenzied mind barked out orders that demanded her to fight, to run, to spin, to lash out, but none of these were being realised. Buffy was a believer in following her instinct, and it was telling her that she was safe. Her senses always warned her of imminent danger, but it was apparent that Faith was no threat to her. Their proximity was all the reason Buffy needed. Nevertheless, there was another level that Buffy had failed to take into consideration and it was one that had descended upon her during a night of restless sleep. Her usual nightmare-fest had been replaced with a setting that was all too familiar. A rooftop. A knife. A pale smile plastered on a kindred spirit. Only this time, steel never met flesh. Instead, hungry mouths tasted each other eagerly, causing Buffy’s consciousness call to be amongst sweat-laden rumpled sheets. She knew then what she had denied for the longest time. [Coz I’m full as a tick] Her mind-power was defeated by the sheer strength of her body’s desires and she found it virtually impossible to touch herself without thinking of Faith. [And I’m scratching at the surface] And lo and behold, her hair was currently the centre of the brunette’s attention. Buffy inhaled and exhaled, attempting to bring her racing heart under control. She turned, breaking the contact, and pierced Faith’s dark, honeyed eyes with dazzling jade greens [And what I find is mine].
Neither Slayer spoke. The night air squeezed through the miniscule amount of space that was available between their bodies and continued unaffected into the darkness. They had stood here so many times, yet each time, different emotions had been flowing between them. Friendship, camaraderie, hesitation, uneasiness, anger, hate – these all dissipated in the wake of one overriding feeling: intensity. The air around them was thick with it and it enclosed both Slayers in an unflinching embrace. An embrace that Faith wanted to bring to life, more than anything in the world at that moment, yet the whispers of the past filtered into her mind. [And when the day is done, and I look back] It was what that Dickens dude had said “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. The word compromise did not exist in the world of Buffy and Faith. It was all or nothing, and any half-assed attempts on either side were rewarded with severe hate or excruciating concern – depending on the situation. Faith had yet to regret a single moment. [And the fact is I had fun, fumbling around] Faith loved that their relationship had been indefinable, to them or anyone else. It was a rollercoaster ride with no visible end, but unfortunately, it did indeed have an end. [All the advice I shunned, and I ran, where they told me not to run] Faith had concluded that she had fucked up. It was not an unfamiliar revelation, but this one cut deeper than anything before, resulting in a pain that never left her bruised and beaten heart.
[But I sure had fun] Buffy’s lips curved into a delicate smile as her mind joined Faith’s in thoughts of the past. Her memories were identical to those of the younger Slayer, save for the unadulterated lust that had been evident in Faith’s eyes every time they were together. Buffy’s smile widened and mirrored the grin that so often adorned the face that she was staring at. It spoke volumes within itself, and the context in which it was being sent, only amplified its effect. Buffy hoped that she would not have to spell it out. Her confessions of love and need inevitably led to heartbreak or imminent violence, and Faith was the one person she did not want to have to deal with in that situation – again. Buffy’s courage left her momentarily and a single thought flitted into her perplexed mind. [So I’m gonna fuck it up again] She shook herself out of the staring contest and subconsciously reached up to touch where Faith had been stroking her hair. She told herself that she needed to do this. It might have been a selfish concept, but if she was not able to complete what she was now faced with, she was the biggest coward on the planet. [I’m gonna do another detour] She had berated Faith for trying to escape her responsibilities, yet here she was, dodging the difficult stuff with relative ease. Buffy squared her shoulders and prepared to dive into the deep end of her own emotional pool, hoping that Faith felt as naked as she did. [Unpave my path]
Faith knew Buffy was speaking. She could see her lips moving and the blonde’s breath caressed her face at intervals, yet the words that reached her ears seemed unreal. After the first sentence, Faith had convinced herself that she was in an alternative universe, one where her wildest dreams came true in the most tangible fashion. [And if you wanna make sense] Faith cast her eyes to the ground, blinked furiously, rubbed her eyes and lifted her head to once more gaze upon Buffy. [Watcha looking at me for] The blonde was oblivious to Faith’s state of utter perplexity, wiping her hands on the sides of her pants as she stumbled over words that seemed to physically hurt Buffy as she spoke them. Faith could not remember the last time she had seen Buffy like this. [I’m no good at math] Hell, she had *never* seen Buffy like this. Her own thoughts made way for Buffy’s words to slowly infiltrate her conscious mind and when she heard what the blonde was saying, she put a hand on Buffy’s shoulder and effectively stopped her. Seeing that her words had registered, Buffy stood and waited for a response. Faith weighed her options. [And when I find my way back, the fact is I just may stay, or I may not] She found it increasingly strange that she had to think about it, but the time she had spent isolated from the world, and from Buffy, now assisted her in making informed decisions. She thought for all of two seconds before cocking her hip and beckoning the blonde towards her. [I’ve acquired quite a taste, for a well-made mistake] Decision made.
Buffy closed the fraction of a distance between her and Faith, satisfied in the knowledge that her confession had not been in vain. Buffy was tired. Yes, being responsible for the human race tended to take the oomph out of her step, but more than that, she was tired of adhering to the expectations of all and sundry. [I wanna make a mistake, why can’t I make a mistake?] Her hand closed over the hand that rested on her shoulder and she brought it down and clasped it tightly. Her blood began to flow at a heightened pace and she could feel the heat of Faith’s life force beginning to do the same. [I’m always doing what I think I should] Too long, Buffy had dealt with slaying and life as two separate entities, and she discarded this notion as she leaned in and captured Faith’s voluminous lips in a passionate and heated kiss. [Almost always doing everybody good] Buffy understood why Faith had given so much attention to enjoying herself. [Why?] Besides the somewhat brief life expectancy of a Slayer, they were humans first, and humans need affection, love, and above all else, understanding. And Buffy did. She understood.
Faith was trying very hard not to panic. This was a situation that she had never envisioned herself having to deal with. Even if she had imagined anything of the sort happening to her, she would have expected herself to handle it with ease. There were a lot of things that Faith had never handled with deftness, but those around her often mistook this for apathy. [Do I wanna do right, of course] Faith’s mouth was presently being explored by the one person she had had pegged as the ultimate do-gooder, subverting any notion she had of Buffy as a mortal saint. People were complex, and Faith counted herself amongst them as decidedly multifaceted. This was largely the reason why she had refused the blonde’s help on occasions when she desperately required it. [But do I really wanna feel I’m forced to answer you] Being a stubborn bitch was just that – a bitch – and more than often, it set into motion a chain of events that even a Slayer could not prevent. [Hell no]
Faith was never treading that rotten path again. The texture of Buffy’s lips against hers told her everything she needed to know. [I’ve acquired quite a taste for a well-made mistake] The blonde pulled away abruptly, and panic rose in Faith’s chest, her heart thumping so loudly that it hurt her ears. Then Buffy smiled again, trailing her fingers down the length of Faith’s body as she sat on the damp grass and held out her hand. Fuck. Faith’s years of pent-up desire came crashing down around her and she all but threw herself on the blonde. [I wanna make a mistake] The nocturnal animals watched silently as the two human creatures of the night engaged in a still-primal ritual, hooting and scuffling to muffle the indescribable sound of a very intelligent mistake.