Chapter Four

Faith watched the puddles mix to form small rivers on the stone patio not too far ahead of where she sat beside Buffy. The constant sound of rain kept the silence at bay, but it didn’t keep it from pressing in on Faith, making her feel awkward.

“So,” Faith began, struggling to keep herself still, “you normally come out here and sit naked in the rain, or is this a special occasion?”

Buffy shook her head, little splashes of water tumbling over Faith from her blonde hair. She didn’t really know why she was sat out in the rain. She’d needed to breathe. Needed to feel what it felt like again just to. . .feel; to know that life was still going on, still turning, despite how stuck in place she felt.

“Pretty much a first,” Buffy answered, feeling strangely glad that Faith had found her there.

Sweeping a wet strand of hair out of her eyes, Faith nodded. She had an idea why Buffy was there. She’d done similar things herself when all she wanted to do was step away from everything that was causing pain, hurt, anger. Faith was good at walking away and finding a space to just be; to listen to the turning of the world, alone. It didn’t seem like leaving Buffy alone was the best thing to do, however. She didn’t want to just leave her there.

“You have a fight with Satsu?” Faith asked quietly, hoping she wouldn’t stir up Buffy’s temper.

Buffy let out a small sigh. “Yeah. No. . .kind of.”

Faith raised an eyebrow, glancing over at Buffy. “Doesn’t sound like you’re sure. Either that or you got knocked over the head earlier,” she chuckled.

“I messed up,” Buffy said, almost too quiet to hear.

Resting her head against the cold stone behind them, Faith looked up into the falling rain before closing her eyes and letting the water drip over her face. “We all mess up, B. Some of us more than others,” she pointed out. “Trick is to know when to stop before it’s too late.”

Buffy knew what Faith was alluding to. She also knew how sorry Faith was for everything that had happened in the past. She’d allowed Faith to say sorry in LA, to let them both try to move past it all. It had helped and Buffy still recalled the night they’d sat down and talked it out. It hadn’t been easy, but they’d struggled through it, sticking Band-Aids over the places they’d hurt each other. Of course, Buffy hadn’t told Faith of the biggest place it had hurt her. That would have been one conversation too far at that point. One emotion too much. She’d been glad of her decision not to reveal anything major to Faith considering how quickly she’d jumped into bed with Kennedy, despite how close they’d been getting. It hadn’t stopped Buffy feeling it, however.

“I hurt her,” Buffy said, lowering her head so her chin was almost touching her chest. “I shouldn’t have. . .led her on.”

Faith turned her face from the rain again, her eyes settling on the small girl beside her. “Yunno, somehow I don’t think she really believed Buffy Summers – Queen of Angst – was gonna live happily ever after with her.”

Buffy narrowed her eyes and looked at Faith, noticing a small grin at her lips, the soaking rain trickling over her. “I’m not the Queen of Angst,” she huffed, knocking her shoulder into Faith. “I’m just. . .really bad at all the relationship stuff.”

“So what happened?” Faith asked.

Buffy wiped her hands over her face, feeling a few tears mingling with the rainwater. “She said some things. . .I said some things back. It wasn’t a fight, it was just. . .”

Faith didn’t push Buffy, though seeing the few stray tears made her feel the need to pull Buffy to her. She didn’t of course; they weren’t that type of friend. Never had been.

“She found out there’s something wrong with me,” Buffy continued.

Faith knitted her eyebrows together, watching Buffy intently as she asked, “And what’s that?”

“I’m defective,” Buffy replied with a resigned sigh.

With a soft chuckle Faith looked Buffy up and down. “You don’t look defective from here.”

“Not like that, pervert.”

They both laughed lightly, the tension slipping from them as Buffy once again knocked into Faith, staying close this time instead of pulling away again.

“I gotta tell ya, B,” Faith began, trying to lighten the mood a little, “I never pegged you for a muff diver. Thought I saw the signs when you’d be ogling my goodies, but I guessed that was more of just a curiosity thing than something you’d act on.”

She grinned at Buffy, seeing the wheels turning in her head.

“Hey, I never ogled your goodies. . .intentionally. Your goodies are pretty much out there expecting attention, wasn’t like I could just not look at you,” Buffy explained, hopelessly.

“Sure, B,” Faith said with a wink.

“Anyway, nobody ever said I was a hundred percent straight, I just never mentioned it, or acted on it. . .or admitted it to myself,” Buffy confessed with a wry smile.

“Yeah, it can be one hell of a shock. Can’t say I took to it that well at first either,” Faith admitted, sharing more of herself than she’d initially planned. “There ya are digging nothing but guys, then some chick comes along and fucks with your world. Not easy to deal with. Can getcha freakin’ out big style.”

Buffy looked up once again at Faith, studying the side of her face as she stared out into the darkness. Her skin was wet, dribbles of water running over her as if she was stood under the shower, her dark eyes so full of life, yet still so clouded by sadness. Buffy wondered who it was that had “fucked with her world”, which girl had made Faith realise she wasn’t exactly totally straight. Deep down Buffy guessed it was her, but she couldn’t ask, and thought it better not to comment on it.

“Still, it didn’t take me as long as you to jump in and get to the action,” Faith continued with a smirk. “You always were kinda slow.”

Buffy struck Faith on the arm with the back of her hand, stifling a chuckle. “I’m not slow I’m. . .ok, so the whole girly-parts thing used to freak me out. I couldn’t help that. It was easier to block it out.”

“Girly-parts used to freak you out?” Faith asked, grinning wildly. “Wow, I knew you were repressed, but I didn’t know it was that bad. Did you have to shower with your eyes closed?”

“Silly,” Buffy said, shaking her head in amusement.

She couldn’t blame Faith for being a little confused about recent events. She’d done her best to repress her desires where Faith was concerned; always trying hard not to look too long or too much at her, stopping herself from touching, being close to her. She’d fought the battle right from the start, probably messing up any hope they’d ever had of a true friendship. It was hard to be any kind of friend to somebody you wanted but never allowed yourself to have. It had fucked up everything about them, keeping them ripped apart, walking on eggshells, doing their best not to overstep the boundary. Buffy wasn’t sure where that boundary was anymore. She didn’t know if she could ever step over it, or if Faith would even want her to now.

When they’d gotten back to the castle from the hospital, Satsu had asked some uncomfortable questions. She’d wanted to know why Buffy had always done her best not to talk about Faith but failed miserably at it. Why she’d get a distant look in her eye whenever Faith was mentioned. Why she’d changed since she’d come there. They were questions Buffy hadn’t been able to answer. She’d stuttered and shook her head, telling Satsu not to look too deeply into anything. Satsu had called her bluff, asking Buffy if she’d been involved with Faith in the past and if she loved her still.

It had stumped Buffy. . .taking any words of denial from her as she’d stood, open mouthed, trying to think of a way to placate Satsu without outright lying or deceiving her. She’d made it clear that they hadn’t been lovers, stumbling on the word and fighting not to blush. She’d tried to tell Satsu that she’d never loved Faith. . .but the sentence never left her mouth, the words not even forming in her brain. All she’d been able to do was slump down onto the bed, head in her hands as Satsu told her she wasn’t going to compete with Faith.

Buffy had never expected her to compete with Faith; it had never been about that. Hell, she’d been sure her feelings for Faith had gone, slipped away just like they had the first time she’d fallen for her. It went deeper, however. Much deeper than she knew how to deal with.

Buffy knew - could no longer deny - that she’d fallen for Faith back in Sunnydale, before Finch, before the Mayor. It had all gone sour, though. Anything she’d felt had shrivelled and died with the betrayal and all that followed. Her feelings had turned to anger and hurt. Though she’d never truly hated Faith, her heart had hardened towards her. At least that’s what Buffy had believed. When Faith had turned up back in Sunnydale, so long after everything that had happened between them, after everything that had happened to Buffy, she’d felt it stir again. Buffy had felt her heart warm to Faith once more, despite her struggle not to allow it to thaw. She hadn’t been able to put it down to just being a crush then either.

Once the gang had all settled for the short stay in LA, Buffy had tumbled headlong for Faith again. It was as if she just couldn’t stop herself. Like nothing would stop it. Nothing could stop her wanting Faith, her heart yearning for her as much as her body. It’d scared her less the second time, but any chance of finding out if Faith could – or did – feel the same got lost as soon as Kennedy had spent the night yelling her name in ecstasy for all to hear.

That night, Buffy had cried herself to sleep, vowing not to allow Faith to break her heart again. She shut down, hardly talking to Faith; waiting for the day she could leave so she could finally move on from her. But Buffy wasn’t sure if she’d ever moved on. She felt nothing but lonely. . .any attempt she made to quash the feeling failed badly.

“I feel so lost,” Buffy whispered, her heart feeling heavy, her body tired and cold.

Without thinking too much about it, Buffy rested her head on Faith’s shoulder, holding the jacket tight around herself as the cold finally started to make her feel uncomfortable.

Faith didn’t know what to say at Buffy’s declaration. She felt just as lost, always had. Despite all the progress she’d made, all the good things she’d done, the only time she’d ever truly felt right, good about herself, was fighting by Buffy’s side.

She lifted her arm and draped it over Buffy’s shoulders, holding her to her as she rested her head back down. It seemed like a natural thing to do. . .even if it wasn’t. They’d never been very tactile with each other, always holding back, unless they were sparring or fighting. And they’d done too much fighting over the years.

“I didn’t mean to hurt her; I just wanted to feel connected to something. To just feel,” Buffy continued quietly. “Know what I mean?”

Faith nodded, looking down on Buffy as she felt her body prickling from being so close. “Yeah, I know what you mean, B.”

“It didn’t work,” Buffy said with a sigh. “There was connecting. . .plenty of connecting. But I just didn’t feel. That can’t be right can it? I mean, I like her, I really do. . .it’s just not. . .”

Buffy didn’t finish her sentence, swiping at her eyes as she felt tears start to fall. Her heart was raw and splintered, searching for something to strap it back together. It’d taken too many knocks, too many bruises, and she wasn’t sure if it would ever be fixed.

“Dunno what to tell ya, B. Only thing I ever felt was you,” Faith confessed quietly, the words tumbling from her mouth before she could stop them.

Stiffening, Faith waited for Buffy to pick up on what she’d said; to ask her what she meant, or get angry at her for saying anything. But Buffy didn’t speak; she wrapped her arm around Faith’s lower back and snuggled closer.

The little confession from Faith had made Buffy’s heart swell just a fraction. She felt a twist in her stomach that indicated there could be trouble ahead, or something else entirely. She’d never been sure if Faith had felt more for her than just attraction and desire, but the pieces were coming together. They always had been, but Buffy had never been willing to see the finished product before. Things were different now.

Faith had told Buffy she’d never lost her. . .and the words wouldn’t leave her alone. Buffy wanted to touch them and see them; she needed to know what it meant - what any of it meant - but nothing had ever come that easy between the both of them. They’d always had to fight for every step forward.

“When did everything get so crazy?” Buffy asked through her sniffles, not really expecting an answer. She already knew the answer.

“Right from the first moment we met,” Faith replied with a soft laugh.

Buffy chuckled through her tears, letting more of them fall as she melted into Faith, finally feeling something after far too long. She let herself go, allowing the sensation of having Faith so close - so warm and soft beside her – wash over her. Buffy could smell Faith’s distinct scent, the scent that she’d never forgotten. Faith’s hand was stroking softly at the top of her arm, a tender touch that she’d never received from her before. It made Buffy want more. She’d always wanted more, but now she was finally able to see it for what it was, and accept it.

They fell into silence again, neither girl moving as they sat with their arms wrapped around each other, fighting back the cold that was quickly making its presence felt.

“I’m cold,” Buffy eventually said through the steady flow of tears she couldn’t seem to stop.

“I can tell.”

Faith could feel Buffy shivering beside her, her smaller body doing its best to meld into her side for warmth. She didn’t know how to console her, didn’t want to ask why there were so many tears and such sadness. She could practically sense how sad Buffy was and it was clawing at Faith’s heart in a way she knew was dangerous.

“Let’s get inside, B,” Faith said softly, gathering Buffy’s clothes in a pile.

She placed the wet clothes on Buffy’s lap, tucking them past her knees as she sat hugging them to her chest. There was no way Buffy could put them back on; they were drenched.

Ignoring the squelching of her boots and the stickiness of her clothes, Faith moved so she could slide her arm under Buffy’s legs. She didn’t wait for protests before scooping Buffy up as she stood, cradling her to her chest as Buffy slid her arm over her shoulders.

The move had surprised Buffy a little as she hadn’t expected Faith to pick her up and carry her. Her clothes were unwearable however, and her only other option would be to wait around in the cold for Faith to bring her some dry ones. Holding onto the younger girl, she allowed her to take her back inside the castle and its relative warmth.

“This is a little weird,” Buffy remarked, a slight smile to her lips as Faith tried to ensure her jacket would stay on Buffy, at least partially.

Faith raised an eyebrow, her dark eyes soft as she regarded Buffy with a smile just as unsure.

“You wanna walk back naked, or wait around outside getting colder? Pretty sure your skinny ass’d freeze to death real quick,” she pointed out, her voice low and sensual.

“Point taken,” Buffy agreed, wiping at her nose.

Faith was happy Buffy wasn’t going to argue with her or get all stubborn. She wanted to help, and given the fact Buffy didn’t seem to be able to stop crying it seemed like a good way to do it, so she continued on with Buffy in her arms.

They hadn’t gotten far before Faith had noticed the pile of clothes in Buffy’s lap was now only covering her lower half. Her breasts, though partially hidden by Buffy’s arm as she clung to Faith, were much more visible now. It was definitely distracting, and Faith almost tripped over the first steps heading up to where the bedrooms were.

“Hey, don’t drop me, clutz,” Buffy said with a mock glare.

“Trying not to, B. . .but you’ve got really nice tits and they’re all kindsa distracting me here,” Faith informed her with a grin, getting her back for calling her clutz.

Buffy felt her cheeks redden as she pulled her soggy clothes further over herself. It wasn’t that she minded Faith looking really; it was just a little embarrassing. She wasn’t exactly an exhibitionist so flashing her intimate parts wasn’t something she did normally, though she had to concede that it was nice that Faith had paid her a compliment in a round about kind of way. She could tell Faith still liked her that way, and it was good to know.

Faith continued to grin as she noticed the flush to Buffy’s cheeks. It’d been a while since she’d had the opportunity to make Buffy blush with a rude comment. It felt good. It felt nice to be able to do that with her again and not worry so much about going too far. She knew where the boundary was, and somehow. . .she knew they were kind of ok again, like they had been in LA.

There was still some stuff to deal with, things to move past, but it looked promising.

As Faith took them towards the next set of stairs that would lead to Buffy’s room, Buffy stopped her. “Could we go to your room?” she asked.

“Sure,” Faith said with a nod, changing direction to head to her room, which was higher and further out of the way. “Any reason why?”

With a small shrug Buffy replied, “Don’t feel much like being in mine, or alone.”

Faith smiled softly at Buffy and continued, keeping Buffy pressed against her in her arms as she rounded the last corner and headed for her door. She had to force herself to concentrate on anything other than the way it felt to have Buffy against her. There had been a few stumbles, a slight knock to Buffy’s head on the way. . .and a distinct sensation of arousal that Faith couldn’t ignore.

Luckily they hadn’t bumped into anybody, avoiding any awkward questions or looks; it was late, and Faith had taken the back stairs. They approached the door and Faith looked at the handle and back to Buffy. She’d either have to let Buffy drop down from her, or get Buffy to open the door. . .which meant getting another eyeful of her breasts now that her pile of clothes had slipped further down once again, and reaching for the door handle would cause Buffy to remove her arm from over her chest.

“Oh, the door,” Buffy said, almost reading Faith’s mind as she reached down for the handle.

Faith just barely suppressed a small moan as Buffy stretched to the handle, revealing herself once again. She had a perfect body, slim and athletic, every muscle toned, yet not to the point she looked hard and masculine. There was nothing masculine about Buffy’s figure; she was soft and feminine in all the places she was supposed to be.

It took a huge effort on Faith’s part not to rush into the room and throw Buffy down onto the bed to devour her. She doubted Buffy would react too kindly to that, so she took a steadying breath and strode in, trying not to look at Buffy’s soft white skin.

Buffy noticed how Faith was now avoiding looking at her. It made her want to chuckle, and maybe tease her a little. But now wasn’t the time for that; she felt too sullen, too sunk into her own self-made depression.

“Thanks,” Buffy said softly as Faith placed her on top of the bed with care. “My knight in. . .really wet clothes.”

Faith smiled at Buffy before turning to head for the towels in the small bathroom attached to the room. “No problem,” she called to Buffy, “but I better get a pay rise for hauling your ass up all those stairs.”

When Faith got back into the room she noticed right away that Buffy had pulled on the big old tee shirt she had laid on her bed to wear that night. She wasn’t keen on wearing anything normally for bed, but Scotland was cold so she’d made an effort. It now had damp Buffy skin within it, not that Faith minded. She said nothing and threw a towel towards Buffy, keeping one for herself as she attempted to dry her hair at least a little.

Buffy sat and watched Faith from her position on the bed. Her wet clothes were now in a pile on the floor, and having sat on the tee shirt she was now wearing she saw no reason not to put it on. It smelled like Faith, her perfume, a hint of her sweat, the slight aroma of soap and shampoo. It was obvious Faith had worn the tee shirt at least once, and Buffy had held it to her nose and inhaled before sliding it over her head. Her stomach had flipped, butterflies making it clear she wasn’t as over Faith as she’d always tried to convince herself. There was no getting over the girl stood before her.

Her eyes remained fixed on Faith as she ruffled her blonde hair with the towel, easing out the rain. She tried not to make it obvious she was watching as Faith began to peel her wet clothes off; it was dammed near impossible to look away altogether, however.

“Gonna take a week for these to dry,” Faith murmured as she stepped out of her jeans and pulled her top off, throwing them to the floor.

She was stood now in nothing more than her black bra and tiny little matching panties. Buffy licked her lips subconsciously, her heart rate having doubled as she stared at Faith. She was stunning, always had been; every inch of skin perfect, lightly tanned, toned and tight. Buffy had almost forgotten just how attractive Faith was, but it was clear the past year had done nothing to dent her beauty. There had been a time Buffy would have looked away, embarrassed by her thoughts, but she was no longer embarrassed, only entranced and aroused.

“You really are sexy,” Buffy said, her own words giving her a little shock. She hadn’t quite meant to say them aloud.

Faith turned towards Buffy, giving her a puzzled look and a raised eyebrow.

Buffy felt her cheeks reddening once more. “Sorry, didn’t mean to. . .say that,” she mumbled.

Laughing and shaking her head, Faith threw her towel onto the nearest radiator and bent to pull another tee shirt out of her bag. “No problem, B,” she said, grinning. “Can’t blame ya for having taste.”

Faith flicked her hair over her shoulder after slipping on her clean shirt and taking her bra off from underneath it, noticing that Buffy was having a hard time not staring. She’d shuffled backwards on the bed and was leaning against the dark wood of the old headboard, her towel discarded as she sat with her legs crossed in front of her. Buffy’s hair was still damp and straggly, skin pale from the cold, but she looked younger, freer than she had earlier. The sadness was still in her eyes, but they seemed less hollow despite how tired she appeared to be.

“Do you mind if I stay here tonight?” Buffy asked after a few minutes of silence.

Faith had been striding around the room in nothing but a small tee shirt and panties, shaking out wet clothes and placing them over the radiators and furniture. She hadn’t thought about what Buffy wanted to do, or if she was going to leave. The thought hadn’t crossed her mind that she’d ask to stay.

“Sure. . .I mean no, you can stay,” Faith replied, running her hand through her hair as she glanced at Buffy.

She watched as Buffy yawned and smiled softly before getting up from the bed and padding over to the bathroom. The tee shirt just about covered Buffy’s backside and Faith groaned internally. How had things gone from their recent bout of animosity to Buffy striding around half naked in front of her? It was just another one of the things about their relationship that always had Faith confused. They’d always been stepping around the obvious, wobbling on the edge, yet never letting go.

Whatever was going on, she didn’t want to find herself stuck in Buffy’s trap again. . .not knowing if she should make a move, or stay the hell away when Buffy made it clear she’d been reading the signals all wrong. She wasn’t Buffy’s toy and had no intention of being some kind of filler between boyfriends, or other slayers. Faith didn’t want half-hearted gestures or scraps from the table, she knew she deserved more than that. They deserved more than that.

Pulling on the blankets on the bed, Faith took a sheet for herself and left Buffy with the majority of the more cosy looking ones. She threw a pillow onto the old comfy chair that sat near the bed and decided that’s where she’d be spending the night.

She took her turn in the bathroom when Buffy came out and crawled into bed, giving Faith and the chair an odd look as she noticed the blanket strewn over it. Faith didn’t tell her she planned to sleep in it, closing the bathroom door quickly to avoid any questions.

“What the fuck, Faith?” Faith said quietly to herself in the cracked bathroom mirror.

Her mind was a torrent of conflicting emotions and thoughts, each one crashing into the next and giving her a headache.

When she left the bathroom she saw that Buffy was under the covers, her small frame looking lost in the big bed. Without saying anything Faith switched off the light and made her way over to the chair, clambering onto it and pulling the cover over herself. She could see Buffy was watching her, her eyes shining from the low light of the moon.

“You don’t have to sleep there, Faith,” Buffy practically whispered.

“I do, B,” Faith corrected. “It’s easier this way.”

She didn’t want to elaborate on why it was easier, and she was glad that Buffy didn’t ask her to. Things had taken a turn for the surreal and Faith wasn’t quite ready to find the steady ground that seemed to be shaking under her feet. When she’d arrived in Scotland, the last thing she’d expected was for Buffy to offer the hand of friendship. . .but there seemed to be more than that running under the surface once again. Was it friendship Buffy wanted, or more? Faith couldn’t tell, and she wasn’t about to ask. She didn’t like getting burned.

Buffy tried to relax her muscles, straining to keep her eyes open enough to continue looking at Faith. She didn’t want to turn away, afraid that she wouldn’t be there when she woke. There was something inside her telling her that she couldn’t just let things go this time; that they had to jump, or never look back. Buffy wanted to jump, but she also didn’t want to make a fool of herself or push Faith away.

Their relationship had always been a complex dance, a tango they’d both tried to lead only for them to stumble and fall. Buffy could feel that it was time to stop the dance. It was time to find where they stood with each other, side by side, or hand in hand. Whatever the outcome, she knew they’d be ok. If it was too late for them there would be the sadness that Buffy couldn’t seem to step out of, but she’d get by, she’d do what she did and survive. She always had.

As the clock ticked loudly from its place on the wall, each minute chiming out a rhythm that kept Buffy awake and wanting, she felt the need to do something. . .to do anything. From the rustling and the shuffling coming from Faith’s direction she could tell that the other girl wasn’t yet asleep, and didn’t sound like she would ever sleep in the confines of her chair.

“Faith,” Buffy whispered.

Faith held her breath, begging herself not to answer.

“Faith,” Buffy said again, a little louder this time as she lifted her head from the pillow. “Come to bed.”

She pulled the covers back and waited.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea, Buffy,” Faith responded finally, staring at the empty space in the bed beside Buffy.

“I’m not. . .”

Buffy was about to say she wasn’t expecting anything, but that would be lying; she did expect them to stop fighting what they had for so long. It wasn’t as if she was asking for them to forget who they were or why it was so difficult for them, but there had to be some room for movement.

“You just look so uncomfortable on there,” Buffy continued, trying not to make a big deal out of it. “I can’t sleep with you fidgeting.”

She smiled and hoped Faith could see it.

Faith knew that wasn’t the reason Buffy had asked her to move from the chair. She wasn’t sure how, but it was clear to her. If she were to get up and get into bed with Buffy, everything would change. Even if nothing happened - and Faith was certain nothing would, as she wasn’t ready to deal with that – things would change. It would either be a good change, or push them both back further than Faith ever wanted.

Seeing the soft light streaming over Buffy, her green eyes looking at her with gentle persuasion, Faith had to accept that there was no way she could turn her back on what was on offer. And it wasn’t about sex, or wanting, or needing to have. . .it was about trust, and friendship. It was about them - putting down the weapons, laying down the barriers and just being.

Faith got up from the chair, pulling the pillow from its spot and placing it beside Buffy’s. She took a second just to gaze at the other girl, her heart pounding in her ears, blood gushing through her veins with each intruding thud. Buffy laid her head back down, the sweet smile still on her lips as she kept her eyes locked on Faith’s as she got onto the bed and pulled the covers over herself.

They settled down, facing each other, probably closer than necessary given the size of the bed. It felt strange, but not wrong. Neither of them felt that it was wrong.

The atmosphere seemed to thicken as they breathed hot air over each other, their eyes refusing to close, just looking, searching, finding the truths that lay hidden. The silence wasn’t awkward, the space between them only a small distance to cross rather than a chasm to leap.

“Wanna know why I’m defective, Faith?” Buffy asked in a hushed tone, going against her better judgement. Taking the risks she should have taken long ago.

Faith furrowed her brow, unsure of where Buffy was taking this. “Why?” she asked in response.

“Because I can’t stop wanting you,” Buffy said, her voice small yet sure. “Even after everything you did, after all we went through, there was still a part of me that wanted you, wanted to be with you. That’s why I’m defective. . .because it never stopped, and I fucked it up every chance I got.”

A tear rolled from Buffy’s eye to the pillow, and Faith watched it drop. She could never have expected Buffy to say what she just had, but somewhere deep inside she’d always known it was coming, or hoped that it would.

There were chances in life that passed by so fast they were almost impossible to spot. . .but this one wasn’t speeding by, it was right there, holding them both still as they gazed through the darkness into one another. A shared thought, a shared feeling. . .a shared connection that now had them back on the edge of the cliff once again.



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