The Into Series

Into Something New

Two weeks earlier (before the events of Into The Night). . .

My fingers drum on the counter-top as I stand with it between me and the gang. The gang being Xander, Willow, Dawn. . .and Buffy obviously. Giles is there too, and they're chatting up a storm with Angel; dealing with the important things like money and stuff for the girls, and contacts and fuck knows what else. I'm pretty sure they don't need my input so I'm staying out of it, happy to go along with whatever sounds right.

The night we got here at Angel's hotel it was madness trying to get everybody situated and dealt with. Injured girls - and Wood - needed to go to the hospital. Rooms were allocated, food handed out, stories swapped, tears shed. I tried to keep out of the mayhem. Angel made sure I ate, though. He patted me on the back and gave me that winning smile that let me know I did good without patronizing me.

We've been here three days now, and Giles decided some plans need to start being made. Hell, I'm just happy to still be alive, and Angel already let me know I always have a place with him. It's sweet, and all kindsa great. . .but the real place I wanna be is with Buffy. Not sure how that's gonna work out, though. We haven't had much time to talk since the bus ride here, and I'm not sure we should talk. I wouldn't know where to start.

Watching my fingernails tap on the dark wood of the counter, I fail to notice when Buffy stops right in front of me. Kinda startles me when she clears her throat.

“You should come over and talk with us,” she says.

I raise an eyebrow and stop tapping.

“Figured you'd all be making with the plans and dealing with the important stuff,” I tell her.

She looks tired and fragile and I wanna pick her up and take her someplace comfy to lay, but I know that's just me being weird. I think she'd freak if I did that, even after our little thing during the ride here. She hasn't said anything about it, and I'm not about to rock the boat. We're all still kinda spinning and I feel like I'm spinning the most.

They did some mojo on my records and now I'm a free girl. Not sure how I feel about that, but Angel's been trying to convince me that I'll repent better if I'm able to do some good for the world. Being trapped up in a cage doesn't leave much room for slaying and saving the world. Guess he's right, but I still feel off. Still feel like I'm cheating.

Surprisingly, Buffy's cool with it. In fact, she encouraged the whole thing. She doesn't want me being slammed up again. It's probably the closest I'm gonna get to really feeling her forgiveness. Not that I don't see it in her eyes now, or just sense it when she's around me 'cause I do. There's this feeling I get around her that I'm just getting used to. It's like a warmth I've never felt from her before. Hell, never felt it from anyone before. Maybe it's just the boost to our connection that the spell did when we flipped the slayer switch back in Sunnydale. Who knows? I'm not complaining.

“You're part of. . .us, Faith,” Buffy says, glancing back at her friends.

Can't say I remember the point I became part of them, but whatever. I shrug and slide my hands into my pockets so I can quit fiddling. Never been the nervous kind, but Buffy brings it out in me. Especially now, after we kissed. I don't know why it happened and I don't even know if Buffy meant it to, but it's clear something's changed. I can't guess how, or what'll happen now. I'm just sitting back and taking it in. Feels like I'm floatin' above myself, just watching, letting stuff play out. Maybe that's for the best. . .otherwise I'd probably screw it all up again.

“You know me, B,” I say. “Happy to go along with whatever.”

She gives me a puzzled look. “I obviously don't know you because I'm pretty sure you've never just 'gone along' with anything before.”

Her chuckle makes me smile and I shake my head. I guess she's right, but I'm not gonna play who's on top with her now. She's the boss, the leader, the slayer. I'm just happy to still be alive, and to be accepted into their world again.

So they yapped some more, and I sat by and nodded when it seemed appropriate, and shrugged when I didn't feel like it was my decision, and smiled when Buffy told me she wanted me with her in Cleveland.

Giles started the ball rolling on getting a place for us all – the gang, and most of the newbie slayers – and Angel said he'd help in any way he can. I'm still buzzing from knowing I'll be along for the ride with Buffy, and the rest of it. . .well, it's all good. I'll get to slay, help the new girls – seems I'm a cautionary tale or something – and make amends for all the shit I did wrong. I'll never wipe the slate clean, but it's a start. It feels good.

I tried not to smile too much but it was hard. Think I caught Buffy doing the smiling thing too. She's been pretty blue, trying to come to terms with everything that went down. She's taking all the responsibility, for every death and injury, and it's eating her up inside. She tries to hide it, but I feel it bubbling inside her. She can't hide it from me now, and I wish I could take the pain away.

We've all told her that she's the reason we're still alive, and that the world isn't now overrun by demons and God knows what. She doesn't hear it, or doesn't want to. She just looks down or away and nods as if she's listening, but her mind is someplace else, trying to deal.

“Ugh,” I hear Buffy grunt from down the end of the corridor as I make my way to my room. “Why can't you go somewhere else?” she continues.

She storms out of her room, waving her hands in the air. I guess right off that she's talking to Dawn.

“We're staying here. You go somewhere else,” Dawn tells her from inside.

I know Buffy's sick of sharing her room with Dawn now, but there aren't enough rooms to go around. At least not ones that are habitable. I've got one to myself for now, but as soon as the slayers that are still in the hospital get out. . .I'll be sharing too, and probably tearing my hair out just like Buffy.

“No!” Buffy yells. “You can't just kick me out and. . .”

The door slams in her face and she stares at it, fists clenching. I should probably intervene before Dawn finds out what it's like to have her own head shoved up her ass.

“Hey, B,” I say, strolling up calmly and trying to ease the tension. “Little sister problems?”

“She's not my sister, she's an evil troll that was dropped here by evil monkeys,” she says through gritted teeth.

I nod slowly and lean against the wall next to her. She's still staring at the door; probably trying to figure out a way to rip it from its hinges without coming off as unreasonable. I can feel the anger inside her, rolling in waves over me and making my skin prickle. It's kind of exciting, but I won't tell her that. Not too keen on making her any more angry than she is; that'll just get her pissed at me instead of Dawn, and also get me horny. Or hornier at least. Been pretty charged since the battle, and having Buffy around sending me weird vibes and signals isn't helping.

After a few moments she sighs and I can sense her relaxing, or trying to. She needs a break.

“Wanna grab a few beers or something, B?” I ask. “Stake a few vamps? Or maybe just poke Angel a few times with a blunt pencil.”

She rolls her eyes but kinda smiles. It's not a true Buffy-smile, but it's better than nothing. I can see she's turning the idea of going on patrol over in her head.

“The image of you torturing Angel with pencils – disturbing,” she says with a soft chuckle. “I think I'll pass on that, and the vamps can have a night off. Beer sounds good, though.”

Raising an eyebrow, I grin and nod. Guess she thinks she needs to relax too. It's cool by me; the more she unwinds, the better we get along, and the less horny she makes me with the whole tingly thing. I always thought she was hot when she was pissed, and that hasn't changed.

“I don't suppose you have some in your room do you?” she asks, making my eyebrow get even higher. “Dawn is having some kind of girly thing with some of the younger slayers. Apparently I'm barred from my own room until they're done.”

“You know she's probably emptying the mini-bar right?”

“The little. . .wait, we have one of those?” she asks, scrunching up her brow as she glances towards her door.

“Yup,” I answer. “Well, my fridge was stocked at least. Might not be a real hotel, but there's definitely little bottles of real hotel grog.”

I've been playing good-girl so haven't touched 'em, but they've been speaking to me and telling me to take a sample. It's been a while and I think both of us could do with a drink. I know Buffy's not really a drinker, but. . .loosening up can't hurt. Might get some of the tension out of the air.

It's not long before we're in my room and she's pulling faces with each swig she takes. We're sampling the goods in my mini-fridge and some of 'em are pretty strong. Not saying they're strong for me, but Buffy's definitely loosening up. Maybe beer woulda been a safer option.

“And then he tried to blame me,” Buffy says, sighing as she tells me about the dumb-fuck Riley. “He was nice, mostly. . .until he started getting cozy with vampires. I mean, ew.”

She pulls a face and twists another bottle top off, offering me first try.

“You do remember Angel right?” I ask. “And Spike?”

I smirk her way as we lounge on my bed.

“Oh,” she says.

Yeah, oh. That whole thing is major ew to me too. Can't believe she'd get wriggly with a vamp once – even if Angel's hot, he's still dead – but twice. . .that's just kinda twisted.

“Still, that was different. The first time. . .I was an impressionable teenager wanting to rebel. And Spike was just,” she pauses as I swallow a mouthful of whiskey. “I was messed up. Broken.”

Her eyes cloud over as she looks away. There's obvious pain coming from her. I can't place what it means, but I know it's there. As much as the guy was a dog, he was there for her at the end. That's gotta be worth something. Gotta be worth her caring.

“Sorry,” I say, softer than I meant to. “Didn't mean to bring it up.”

“It's ok. It's good that we're talking.”

Her smile is kind and genuine; warms me up all the way inside. She's right, it is good. We've never really sat back and talked like this before. It's not exactly sleepover levels of bonding, but it's a start. I think it's helping her too – getting it out in the open about her mom, about dying and everything that's happened over the last few weeks. She's sharing some of herself with me and it feels great. She's trusting me to know this stuff about her, and finally. . .I'm trusting her to know more about me.

Told her about jail and how I feel about not going back – which is confused mainly. We swapped mom stories, but I stopped when I got the pity look. I don't need her pity. Understanding is cool, but pity ain't my thing. I think she got that and switched the subject. She moaned about Dawn for a while, then moved on to ex-boyfriends. Pretty sure she didn't wanna hear about all my one night stands, or the few chicks in jail I got down 'n dirty with, so I skimmed over that subject and left her to do the talking. Think I got away with it too.

“So, tell me more about you,” she says, shuddering after a big mouthful of burning alcohol.

I think about telling her to slow down, but I'm not gonna kill her buzz. We're both just starting to feel the liquid soak into our veins and Buffy's words are getting just a little slurred as she relaxes and lays back on my pillows.

“Guess I didn't get away with it huh,” I chuckle.

She scrunches up her nose in confusion and I have the urge to tell her she looks adorable. Of course I don't, I just lay next to her and soak up all I'm feeling from her.

“Well there's not much to tell as far as exes go,” I continue. “Think ya gotta have had an actual relationship to be considered an ex.”

“One night stands?”

“Mostly,” I admit freely.

No use glossing over it; I've slept around. Didn't feel like a big deal whenever I did it. I just take what I need, and do what comes natural. I know it's not great, and she probably thinks I'm a giant skank, but you get used to being a certain way. Never thought twice about being with somebody for more than just sex. Even with Buffy - in the beginning - I just wanted in her pants. The idea of being her girlfriend? I woulda ran a mile.

“So you've never had a serious relationship?” Buffy asks, turning towards me so she's propped up on her elbow, hand holding her head up.

“Nope,” I reply. “Unless you consider the deal I had going inside as one, but. . .I doubt most people would,” I say with a chuckle, remembering the illicit sex.

“A guard?”

“Inmate,” I correct.

Buffy nods as if she's filtering the piece of information through her brain, testing it and figuring out what kinda label I need. Doesn't bother me, it's not like I'm full of secrets when it comes to sex. I've got nothing to be ashamed of. I'd kinda like to know how she feels about it, but I'd have to ask to be sure, and I don't think we're quite that comfortable with each other yet.

“Are you going to stay in contact with her? I mean, if you can?”

I smile as I notice the slight look of worry cross Buffy's features. Not sure why but she seems almost jealous. Maybe I'm just being crazy, but hell. . .that kiss on the bus had to mean something.

“Nah, it was just sex,” I assure, fixing my eyes on Buffy's for any hint of something I'll be able to understand.

Even though I feel things have shifted between us, I'd like to know for sure where it's heading.

“Good,” she says.

Her eyes go wide and she makes a little gasp sound. Obviously that hadn't meant to come out. It makes me grin like a cat with a bunch of cream and I just watch as her cheeks get red.

“I didn't mean. . .I just. . .” she stutters, unable to find excuses or explanations.

“It's cool,” I tell her. “You can't help it if you're all into me now and want me to yourself,” I joke. “It's totally understandable.”

My eyebrows wiggle as I pretend to stretch, her eyes roaming all over me making it far less of a joke than I'd meant it to be. There's a pause in the conversation and I wonder if I've gone too far. Tension feels like it's beginning to fill up the space between us, and I get the urge to jump up and leave. I didn't wanna push too far, or tip the balance.

“It is totally understandable,” Buffy says suddenly, her voice kinda floaty and unsure. “But yunno, your arrogance is less appealing than the rest of you.”

I dare to look into her eyes and see them smiling shyly at me through her eyelashes. If I didn't know better I'd say she was flirting with me - maybe even coming on to me. I gotta be screwing up the signals though, 'cause unless she's drunker than I thought it's probably not likely.

“Are you coming on to me?” I ask, forgetting instantly about being subtle and not pushing.

The blush that deepens on her cheeks is answer enough but I don't react. I should be jumping on her, or. . .fuck, I don't know. I'm just sat watching her as she glances away and gets even more nervous.

“I thought I felt. . .” she begins. “Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe I'm insane but. . .it feels like we should be doing more than just lay here and talk.”

My mouth opens and I wanna say something, but nothing comes out. I wasn't expecting that. Wasn't prepared.

“Ok, I've just totally weirded you out huh,” she continues. “I'm sorry, I thought. . .wow, those little bottles pack more of a punch than I thought. Either that or I'm misinterpreting all these funky slayer vibes I'm getting from you. It's ok, no need to say anything, I'll just leave and you can. . .”

I watch as she starts to get up, my mouth still gaping like a fish. I can't just let her think she's wrong, or that I'm not getting the same vibes from her, but I'm seriously thrown here. Without thinking much about it, I do the only thing all my instincts are telling me to do. Reaching out, I grab her hand and pull her back down next to me.

Our eyes lock and I see questions and hopes all playing out in shades of green and hazel. Whatever happens now. . .it changes everything. It changes the past and it changes the future. Nothing will be the same again.

“You're not wrong,” I finally manage to say.

Before she can say anything back, and before I can fuck it up in some way, I lean in towards her and kiss her. My lips just about melt against her as she kisses back softly. I don't go nuts or do what I'd normally do – which is get us naked as quick as possible. Instead, I just feel; her mouth, lips, hands touching my face softly as she lays back and takes me with her.

Pretty soon the gap between us disappears and Buffy's tongue slides easily against mine as we kiss deeper. I taste the alcohol and need, and she moans quietly as I start to lose control. I can't hold back any longer and it's not long before we're both pulling at each other's clothes.

“You want this?” I ask, my voice thick with lust.

“I do,” she replies, breathless and sexy, fingers undressing me. “I don't know what it means, or what comes next, but I want it.”

When the last piece of clothing hits the floor and we're all tangled up in each other, I swear all I can feel is her. It's like she's inside of me, filling me up. Her skin is flush against mine, her breath in my mouth, her heat on my fingers as she shudders and moans. It's hot and needy, fast and then slow, everything I've never had and only ever wanted from her.

As she comes she sighs my name and I quickly follow, heart pounding in my chest, head full of everything I feel, and all the new things I feel from her. It's almost too much, yet still not enough. Feels like I want to consume her, soak her up, hold her tight against my naked skin and never let go.

We spend the night together, learning things about each other in more of a physical way.

Talk about overwhelming. . .I think it sent us both spinning even more than we were, and it feels like just the beginning. There's more to feel. More to know.

More for us to be.



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