Faith got to Giles’ apartment as fast as she could, Buffy not waking the entire time. She had been mumbling, making Faith aware that she was at least still alive, but other than that Buffy was still out of it as Faith gently cradled her in strong arms.
Faith banged on the door with her foot when she finally reached her goal, the sound resonating around the small courtyard. Buffy’s watcher could be heard at the other side of the door, and Faith realised he was busy looking through the spy hole so she waited.
He opened the heavy door without hesitation as soon as had seen who it was banging loud enough to wake the dead. He looked understandably worried as he stood looking at the limp girl in Faith’s arms.
“What happened, Faith?” Giles asked as he stepped aside.
Faith entered the apartment and placed Buffy gently down on Giles’ couch.
“It was a demon. It fucking bit her, then. . .” She indicated Buffy’s unconscious state with a sweep of her hand.
“What did this demon look like?” Giles bent down and looked over the slayer, checking her for injuries other than the bite. He then examined her now swollen right hand.
“A fucking big dog, but not like a werewolf. Man, this thing had scales.” Faith remained close to Buffy as Giles checked her pulse. She was trying her best to stay calm and not so obviously anxious. “Is she gonna be alright? Maybe we should take her to the hospital.”
She really wasn’t doing a good job at hiding her feelings, running her hand through her hair and approaching the verge of panic.
Giles stepped back away from the couch and removed his glasses. He also couldn’t hide how much he cared for the stricken slayer, although he did seem more composed than Faith. As they stood contemplating what should be done next, Buffy began to stir. Faith was knelt beside her in the blink of an eye.
“B? Hey, girlfriend, you ok?” She brushed an errant strand of hair from Buffy’s brow.
“Well, I guess I was right. . .I fainted. Didn’t I?” She looked up groggily at the relieved slayer beside her.
“Are you ok, Buffy?” Giles hovered next to the prone girl.
“I feel a little strange, but alive.” Buffy shifted herself a little so she was sitting up more, propped against the armrest and leaving room for Faith to perch on the edge of the couch beside her, which she did.
“You were totally out of it, B.” The worry was clear in Faith’s tone, even though she was doing her best to disguise it.
She placed her hand across Buffy, gripping onto the back of the couch as she sat facing her. Giles disappeared into the kitchen for a moment and returned carrying a first aid box. He placed it on the coffee table and proceeded to rummage through its contents, arranging his chosen items on the polished wooden surface.
“How did we get here?” Buffy kept her eyes locked on the other girl.
“Faith carried you it seems, Buffy,” Giles answered as he adjusted his spectacles. He then soaked a wad of cotton wool with some antiseptic.
“Thank you, Faith.” Buffy practically whispered her gratitude, placing her good hand gently on Faith’s thigh closest to her.
“No problem.” Faith knew right then and there that she would do anything for Buffy
She knew she would do it without even thinking. Although she didn’t quite understand what that could indicate as she had never really cared for anybody before.
Giles moved towards the two girls with an antiseptic wipe in his hand. “I’m afraid I’m going to need to clean that,” he told Buffy as he examined the bloodied bite.
Faith shifted in order to get up and make room for him, but Buffy kept her hand firmly on her thigh, halting her movement. Looking into Faith’s eyes Buffy didn’t need to speak for her to know that she didn’t want her to move away. Faith smiled a little and remained seated as Buffy twisted on the couch and presented her hand to Giles.
“Do you really need to do that? It’s gonna hurt,” Buffy whined, frowning and pouting in anticipation.
“I’m afraid so, Buffy. The wound has to be cleaned.” He took hold of Buffy’s wrist and was about to wipe at the small amount of damage but she flinched and pulled her hand away again.
“Jesus, B. For a fucking slayer you’re such a baby,” Faith chuckled, making it clear how silly the other girl was being, even if it was sweet.
“Hey, just because I can take the pain it doesn’t mean I want it, or look forward to it in some kinky way.” She eyed Faith, alluding to something with her expression.
Faith just grinned and winked at Buffy. “If you wanna keep it dirty go ahead, B. But I’m not too sure the hygiene habits of your average dog, demon or not, is all that good. I mean, you gotta remember where those things can get their tongues.” Faith raised her eyebrows, knowing she had to convince Buffy to have the bite cleaned properly.
The realisation of what Faith was referring to became obvious on Buffy’s face. “Eww, that’s disgusting. Oh my God. . .don’t bother cleaning it just chop it off,” Buffy cried, waving the offending hand in front of Giles.
“Err, B? I think you’d better hang on to it. Never know when it might come in handy.” Faith couldn’t hide her grin at the pun. . .and its undertones.
“Yeah, well. . .clean it good.” Buffy scrunched her eyes shut as Giles again took her by the wrist. “Wait!” Buffy flinched away again.
“Buffy, will you please let me do this. It’s not like you’ve never been injured before, even worse than this,” Giles sighed, quickly losing his patience.
“Ok, ok. . .Faith, will you do it?” Buffy looked up at her through her eyelashes, all girlie and sweet.
Faith had to remind herself how to breathe, and that the blonde girl wasn’t flirting; that she couldn’t possibly be. Even though they had been close to something earlier, it was just too implausible in these circumstances. Especially given the fact that Giles was hovering close by.
She couldn’t refuse Buffy, however. “Sure, if that’s what you want.” Faith hoped she hadn’t revealed too much in that small statement.
She took the cotton wool from Giles as he set to work getting a bandage ready. Turning to face Buffy more fully Faith laid the small and injured hand in her own, placing it carefully in her palm. She looked into Buffy’s eyes, saying nothing but trying to convey to her that she would never intentionally hurt her in any way.
Faith curled her full lips in a gentle smile as she dabbed at the puncture wounds, removing the blood and any residual saliva the demon may have left behind. Buffy winced a tad at the stinging pain but kept her hand in contact with Faith's, allowing the younger girl to take care of her injury, never once taking her green eyes from her.
“All done, girlfriend.” Faith slowly lowered Buffy’s hand, doing her best to ignore how the tension between them had just about intensified tenfold.
She turned her dark eyes from Buffy, pretending to watch Giles prepare the gauze he was going to use. Buffy once again allowed her hand to settle on Faith’s strong thigh. Faith wasn’t watching Giles out of interest, the truth was that she could no longer gaze into that penetrating look she was being given and not act on it. Her heart was racing and she had no clue why. All she had done was clean Buffy’s injury.
But then she realised that Buffy had wanted her to do it, not her watcher that had been there for Buffy for years; standing by her and taking care of her. He’d lucked out to Faith this time. Buffy had trusted Faith not to hurt her too much. To do something for her. Something that had suddenly seemed so much more intimate than it should have felt as Faith had performed her task.
“Right, let’s get that covered.” Giles broke the stifling tension that had clouded the air between the two slayers.
Buffy prepared herself to be bandaged, but as Faith and Giles looked down at the wound they realised it was hardly even a scratch now. The nasty bite had transformed into nothing more than some red marks where the puncture wounds had been.
“What the fuck?” Faith had always been good at expressing herself.
“Whoa, what was in that antiseptic? That’s quick healing even for me.” Buffy flexed her fingers and thumb, apparently not feeling any discomfort.
“Well, I must say, that is rather strange. I think you’re both going to have to describe this. . .demon dog to me in as much detail as you can. This needs looking into.” Giles had already gone into watcher mode.
Feeling better, Buffy sat up and offered her version of events and her description of the demon, along with Faith’s account. It took a while to get it all down; Giles making sure no detail was missed. If his slayer was in any danger he wasn’t going to slack any, and that was obvious to Faith.
After eventually being satisfied that he had gained as much information as he was going to get out of the two slayers, and that he was sure Buffy would be ok at home for the night, Giles offered to take the girls back to their respective homes. He told Buffy to get in touch with him if anything happened, even if she didn’t think it important. He wanted to make sure there were going to be no side effects to her bite. After all, this was the hellmouth and all manner of things could go wrong.
Faith wanted to tell Buffy to also let her know if she wasn’t feeling well, or if she was worried about the bite and how quickly it had healed, but she didn’t get the chance what with Giles busy fussing over her.
They squeezed into the back of the librarian’s old car, Faith doing her best not to sit too close the other girl as she was on edge enough. The palpable tension between her and Buffy was more glaringly obvious than ever, probably due to their earlier conversation. Thankfully Giles hadn’t seemed to notice the furtive glances they were giving each other, or the fact neither of them seemed to know what to say. They sat in silence as Giles drove Faith to her motel room.
He was preoccupied with Buffy’s encounter with the demon, and Faith was preoccupied with the way Buffy seemed to be leaning into her at every opportunity. She didn’t say anything about it but took note of it, along with any other clue she had been given today about Buffy’s interest in her.
“Here we are, Faith.” Giles stopped the car outside the grotty motel.
“Thanks.” She looked over at Buffy. There was a look in the older girl’s eyes she couldn’t quite place. It almost looked as Buffy wanted to stay with Faith. Kind of a look of longing.
Faith dismissed that thought as ridiculous. After all, she really didn’t have much of a basis for thinking it. She edged out of the car, turning to shut the door without saying anything, knowing she would probably mess up and say something out of turn to Buffy.
“Faith,” Buffy said quietly as she put her hand on the car door, stopping Faith from shutting it. “I. . .I’ll see you tomorrow. Be careful.” She smiled innocently at Faith, who was wondering why Buffy would ask her to be careful as she had never said that to her before.
“Yeah. . .you too, Slayer.” She winked at Buffy subconsciously, and then closed the door.
She clomped up the stairs to her room in her heavy boots, turning to watch as the car drove off with Buffy looking out of the window at her. She sighed heavily as she entered her sparse room, not knowing how much more she could take of wanting Buffy so much, but not knowing what the hell was going on in the other girl’s head.
It had been clear they were close to a breakthrough earlier but fate had intervened and fucked up the moment. Faith just hoped they would get another chance. That maybe she would get a chance to find out what Buffy wanted from her, if indeed she wanted anything other than just her friendship.
* * *
Morning came along quicker than Faith had really wanted or expected it to. The summer sun - coupled with her persistent alarm clock - woke her from the delightful dream she had been having about Buffy.
“Fuck. . .just when it was getting good.” She stretched her arms out above her head, then let her hand drop down onto the alarm, knocking it off the table.
The warm morning sun poked through the sagging curtains at her, calling for her to get up and face another day of craving somebody she was sure would never want her back in the same way. . .despite the handful of signals telling her otherwise.
Faith didn’t want to get her hopes up to be let down, and she enjoyed Buffy’s company far too much to risk losing her friendship. Before eventually getting to sleep Faith had decided she wouldn’t risk telling Buffy how she felt, like she had almost done before the demon had attacked. At least, not for some time. She would just have to see how things went between them; clock up the signals before jumping in with both feet.
Faith was up earlier than usual because she wanted to meet Buffy before she made her way to school to do her Sunday study. It was something Willow had practically forced Buffy into, telling her she needed the extra tutorial time. It wasn’t usually until lunchtime that the two slayers would see each other, but today Faith felt the need to make sure Buffy was ok. That nothing had happened to her because of the bite and her little fainting episode.
After getting ready as quickly as she could, Faith made her way round to Buffy’s house. She was planning to walk her to school. The very idea seemed beyond sickly sweet to the normally rough and ready brunette but she just couldn’t help herself; no matter how silly it might make her look.
It was again a lovely day, like the sun was shining just for Faith as she approached Revello drive. It made her feel warm inside, but then again. . .the warm feeling seemed to grow as she got closer to Buffy’s house. Faith ignored the implication of that particular feeling and continued on.
Buffy was just closing her house door behind her as Faith turned onto the path leading to it. She had no hope of controlling the size of her dimpled smile when Buffy span to see what it was causing the tingles up and down her spine. Faith knew the other girl would be feeling them just as much as her.
“Hey, B. How ya feelin?” She ignored the slightly puzzled look coming from Buffy.
“I’m, um. . .Ok.” She stepped towards Faith. Fussing with her rucksack that looked to be full of books.
“Here. I’ll get that.” Faith had no idea what had just possessed her to offer to carry Buffy’s bag. It wasn’t like Buffy was going to have any trouble with it. Still, Buffy handed it to her with a smile.
“Thanks.” Buffy fell in step with Faith as they began to make their way to the high school.
“So. . .how’s the hand?” Faith asked.
“It’s, err. . .fine.” Buffy fidgeted about, putting her hands in the pockets of her light jacket. But Faith had caught a look at the injury first, as she no longer had it bandaged; there was hardly even a mark now.
“You sure, girlfriend?” Faith eyed her little friend suspiciously.
“Yes, why wouldn’t I be?” Buffy sighed, sounding somewhat pissed off. “What are you doing here this early anyway, Faith? Don’t you usually rise with the vampires?” Buffy was definitely sounding pissed off, as if she hadn’t had enough sleep or something.
“No need to get all snotty, B. I just wanted to see if you were all right. Fuck, I won’t bother next time.” She stopped, looking squarely at Buffy with her dangerous dark eyes.
“I. . .I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap, I’m just tired. Really, I’m glad you came round this morning. . .it’s nice,” Buffy said softly. She reached out and gently touched Faith on the arm, lingering as she let her fingers slip down the soft denim of the brunette’s jacket, pulling back before reaching her hand. “Come on, or I’ll be late for study, and Will might turn me into a frog or something.” Buffy set of walking, leaving Faith wondering about a few things behind her.
Faith smiled as she caught up with her fellow slayer. It was nice that Buffy had said it was. . .nice. Faith patted herself on the back for doing something right for once. Although, around Buffy she hadn’t really done anything wrong yet. She had to throw in the yet because she knew herself too well, and screwing up was definitely her forte.
They got to the school with little fuss, although Buffy did seem to be a tad distracted, fidgeting with her clothes and generally seeming a little wired. Faith had pointed it out but Buffy had said again that it was just because she was tired. Faith couldn’t put the many glances her way down to that however, and she was beginning to wonder if she had done something wrong.
She didn’t have time to clarify it though as they reached a crossroads in the corridor of the school. Faith taking one way to the library and Buffy going to class the other way.
She handed Buffy her bag. “Now you be a good girl, Twinkie. I wouldn’t wanna have to spank ya.” Faith had only been joking, but Buffy had reddened considerably and seemed to be thinking about it a little too long. “Hey. . .I didn’t mean it.” Faith thought she had better play safe.
“I know, I was just. . .I. . .you’d. . .” Buffy paused in her stammer. “No. . .I’d. . .better go to class.” Buffy was most definitely flustered now and fidgeting even more. It wasn’t really something Faith had seen the other slayer do before.
“Buffy. . .are you positive you’re feeling ok?” At the moment Faith had said Buffy’s full name said girl broke out into a full smile.
“I like it when you say my full name. . .not that I don’t like you calling me B. It’s just. . .I dunno.” Evermore jittery, Buffy looked like Faith had just hit her with some of her best moves, but she hadn’t. It was unnerving to say the least.
“Right. Err, B. . .you’d better get to class.” She didn’t know how to handle Buffy like this.
She wanted the blonde girl to be flirty and cute with her, but it was kinda out of the blue. Even after the ‘almost’ revelation that night.
“Ok. Faith? I’ll see you for lunch right?” Buffy tucked her hair behind her ear in a classic ‘look at how delicious looking my neck is’ move.
“Yeah. . .sure.” Just as Faith was about to turn to head for the library to help Giles with the research Buffy reached out to her and pulled her into a tight hug.
Buffy pressed herself up against the younger girl, who couldn’t do anything but allow the almost fierce embrace. She did her best not to feel anything other than what she supposed must have been gratitude at how Faith had helped Buffy out after she had fainted. But it was extremely difficult given the fact Buffy had her face buried in her neck and seemed to be breathing in Faith’s scent.
Faith had to force her mind out of the gutter as Buffy clung to her. She wanted to push her away but couldn’t find the strength right now, and she was becoming more aware of the fact the smaller girl was virtually pushing her hips towards her as she held her.
She had to push her off. Buffy obviously had no idea what her innocent - if that’s what you could call it - embrace was doing to Faith.
“B, you’re gonna be late. I don’t think I’d like you much as a frog.” She gently eased Buffy off her.
“Yeah, I guess. Wait. . .you wouldn’t like me as a frog? So, you like me now?” Buffy looked up demurely through her long eyelashes.
What could Faith say? She couldn’t very well tell Buffy she didn’t like her, even if there was more to it than just a ‘friendship’ thing for her. She still liked the cute blonde for who she was not just because she wanted to get up close and personal with her.
“Of course I like ya, girlfriend. Why the fuck would I hang out with you if I didn’t?” She had hoped that had sounded like a purely platonic remark. Even if Buffy’s demeanour was hinting that she wanted Faith to mean something more by it, Faith didn’t want to grasp at straws. “Now scoot. . .get to class before I do spank ya.” She couldn’t help it; the words had just fallen from of her mouth.
Buffy grinned then blushed, then frowned and turned to go. “God, Faith. . .don’t you ever think about anything other than sex?” Buffy continued her way down the corridor, leaving behind a perplexed slayer.
Faith just shook her head. Something was definitely off with Buffy today, even taking into account her usual quirkiness she seemed a little weird. Faith took a deep breath and headed towards the library, thinking that maybe Giles had found out the demon dog had a bite that turned you crazy. There had to be something to explain why Buffy had been all over the place with her.
“I certainly know how to pick em,” Faith muttered to herself.