One Day I'll Find You

Chapter Ten

She was in hell. There was no doubt about it. . .it was tormenting, agonizing and painful hell. And Buffy didn't know which way to turn for the best. Faith had been back for four days – not including the Sunday night of casual groping and calling her Tru – and Buffy was finding it tough. She couldn't get away from her. She was everywhere, or at least that's how it felt.

Every time she ventured into Giles' shop, Faith would be there. Every time she'd try to talk to Willow about anything but Faith – while at college – Willow would start telling her about how she'd been getting to know more about Faith, regaling Buffy with stories about how her and Tara were spending more and more time with her. Apparently Tara just loved Faith, though obviously not in a sex way otherwise Buffy had no doubt Willow would be less inclined to hang out with her. But hang out with her was exactly what she was doing.

Not only was it hell. . .but it seemed Faith was stealing her best friend to boot.

“Stupid, sexy, annoying, Slayer,” Buffy mumbled to herself as she fumbled around in her closet trying to find something to wear.

Faith was beginning to get on her nerves, and that was quite a feat considering they hadn't really spoken more than three words to each other since the meeting in the Magic Box.

She'd done her best to stay away from Faith. It wasn't that she didn't agree they needed to include her more and get over the past, it was just easier not seeing her than having to deal with all the thoughts and feelings seeing her caused. Buffy made excuses as much as she could; she was too busy at college, out slaying, had to go to dinner with her mother, etc. It wasn't like she was making it obvious she was doing the avoiding thing. . .but Willow had picked up on it.

So now Buffy was frantically looking for something to wear, so she could meet the gang – including Faith – at the Bronze. It was a group get together and Willow had made it clear that Buffy was expected to go, even though it was Thursday night and there were semi-important classes to get to in the morning. Nope, Willow wouldn't take no for an answer.

“Stupid, nerdy, lovable, Witch,” Buffy muttered as she pulled on a top she thought would compliment her pants, ignoring the fact it probably was a little more creased than it was meant to be. It was tight enough for creases to be ignored.

Checking herself in the mirror, Buffy felt her head already starting to spin. There would be no avoiding tonight. Faith would be there in all her glory. Faith in her dancing clothes. . .dancing. It wasn't good. It was most definitely erring on the side of hellishness with knobs on.

To make herself feel a little better about things, Buffy had called Tru twice during the day after learning she'd have to endure the Bronze-shaped torture. Tru wasn't complaining about Buffy annoying her, in fact she'd seemed all kinds of happy given the fact Buffy had only called her on Tuesday after their last date.

Buffy had needed time to collect her thoughts before speaking to Tru, and had felt silly for leaving it so long once she'd spoken to her. Tru had been nothing but sweet and nice during the delayed first call, and it had made Buffy feel relaxed. . .and a little further from the fiery pit of Faith-imposed-purgatory.

So calling her twice in only a few hours wasn't so bad really, not when Tru's soft voice had calmed her and made her smile.

“Why can't I just be happy with what I've got?” Buffy said to herself as she pulled on her jacket.

She stood looking at herself in the mirror, studying her own eyes and calling to every bit of sensibleness she had inside her. She'd make herself be content with having Tru and not Faith. It was the only thing she could do. Tru was solid and sure, and Faith was. . .well she was anything but solid and sure, and Buffy knew what was right. Tru was who she wanted. Tru was what she needed.

Taking a slow stroll towards the Bronze, Buffy could already feel the apprehension and butterflies making her spin. She didn't want to be around Faith, yet all she wanted to do was be around Faith. It didn't make Buffy feel at ease with herself, and she hated the sensation of being ruffled. When she wasn't in control she didn't feel like herself. Not feeling like herself made her feel out of control. Vicious circle of the worst kind.

“See, we're not the last here,” Buffy heard from behind her.

It was Anya and she turned to see her hurrying across the road with Xander in tow.

“Yes, dear,” Xander replied, his shoulders drooping just a little.

“We could have done it again,” Anya continued as Buffy stopped for them to catch up with her. “You always want to stop after three times, and you leave me all. . .”

“Hey, Buff!” Xander called out loudly, interrupting Anya's flow.

Buffy raised an eyebrow and greeted them both. She could see that Xander seemed uncomfortable and decided asking him about his day at work would give him a reprieve from Anya's babbling.

They chatted casually as they walked into the Bronze, chuckling easily and bantering warmly with each other. In all her avoidance of Faith she'd also caused herself to miss her friends, and she knew just what her friends meant to her – especially with being a slayer. Things were a bit mixed up and muddled and she had no idea how to resolve it. Maybe she needed to finally just get over Faith and accept that she was. . .looking drop dead gorgeous as she sat next to Willow, laughing and appearing confident, oozing an irresistible form of sexuality that Buffy – un-ironically – found irresistible.

“Yay, you're finally all here,” Willow said excitedly as they approached the table they were sat at.

“Yup, right here. Bronzing at the Bronze,” Buffy replied absently as Xander and Anya shuffled around them for seats.

Buffy was trying not to look at Faith, but it was difficult considering how Faith was eyeing her up over the top of her drink as she took a nice long gulp. Buffy couldn't help but feel the burn of Faith's dark eyes on her, and it made her shudder. She didn't know if it was good shuddering or bad, but she knew she had to ignore it.

“Drinks?” Willow asked the new arrivals as she stood to go to the bar.

“Sure,” Buffy answered. “Coke.”

She felt nervous and probably looked nervous, and her heart was thudding in her chest. It was silly. It was a bag of silly things wearing silly trousers. Buffy had to get a grip.

“So. . .is there a. . .” Buffy stuttered as Faith placed her drink down and licked her full, red lips, her eyes still fixed on Buffy as the others made room on the table for the drinks that would be coming.

Faith did her cute little puzzled look and Buffy momentarily slipped into dorkdom, with hints of Neanderthal thrown in.

“Um. . .one of those, yunno. . .people that play instruments. Is there one tonight?” Buffy continued in desperation as she finally peeled her gaze away from Faith.

“String quartet? A Jazz ensemble?” Xander questioned, a sly smirk on his lips. “Gotta be specific, Buffy. This is Sunnydale we're talking about.”

“I like Jazz,” Anya butted in, leaning forward to make sure everybody had heard her. “The little trumpets are cute.”

Buffy shook her head and tried not to wonder about what exactly Anya meant.

“I think there's a band, Buffy,” Tara said, rescuing Buffy from the headache that was forming.

“Ok, good,” Buffy responded, fidgeting with a stained beermat.

There was a whole two seats between her and Faith – occupied by Xander and Anya - but it still felt like she should be further away. Faith's eyes were too close. The low cut top and promise of cleavagy goodness if she bent over a little was too close. Her scent was too close. Everything about her was just too damn close.

“Yunno, that's a sign of frustration,” Anya pointed out, indicating the now shredded beermat in Buffy's hands. “Maybe you shouldn't have dumped Riley.”

Xander looked apologetically at Buffy and nudged Anya. “What did we talk about earlier, An?”

He gave Anya a funny look and something obviously crossed her mind.

“Oh yes,” she remembered out loud. “We're not to talk about Riley, or Faith's penchant for stabbing and killing.” She emphasised her words, making little stabbing movements over the table.

Another cute puzzled look on Faith's face - as she watched Anya - made Buffy want to run screaming in sexual frustration towards the nearest exit. The night was going to be hard.

“And this is the point where I crawl under the table in embarrassment,” Xander commented, once again looking apologetic.

Faith chuckled and patted him on the shoulder.

“Don't sweat it, big guy,” she said, with a smile. “I've heard worse.”

Buffy wasn't certain, but she thought Faith had tried to avoid eye-contact with her as she spoke. It made her think of all the things they'd called each other, and all the hate she'd shown Faith in the not so distant past. Though guilt didn't sit easy with her, Buffy felt it brewing inside.

“Well, I don't know why we have to be so careful, Faith tried to kill my Xander and it's not like it's a big secret that she was clearly all kinds of cuckoo,” Anya added, twirling her finger around at the side of her head.

“Won't find me arguing with that,” Faith agreed, winking at Anya and then taking a long drink.

The slight threat of an awkward atmosphere was broken by Willow returning with a tray of drinks. She set it down on the table and Tara helped her allocate them. Things were quiet and Buffy could clearly see a worried expression beginning to take shape on Willow's face as she sat down. She didn't want to let her friend down, and knew they'd all be a bit worried about how she'd be around Faith. All of them had spent some time with her since she'd been back. . .except for Buffy.

Clearing her throat nervously, Buffy decided she needed to be the one to take the lead.

“Did you move back into your apartment yet?” Buffy asked Faith, remembering Willow mentioning how she'd helped Faith make the place a little more comfortable again.

Looking a bit confused at Buffy's sudden question at first, Faith hesitated before answering slightly uneasily.

“Yeah, got some help to fix it up again.” Faith nodded in Tara and Willow's direction.

“That's good,” Buffy commented weakly, smiling as best she could.

She glanced away and brushed the tattered remains of the beermat aside, as she attempted to occupy her mind with something other than Faith and the awkwardness hanging over them. The Bronze was busy but not overcrowded. People were bobbing up and down to the music as a guy in scruffy jeans began to set up band equipment on the small stage. It was just like any other Thursday night, but it all felt wrong to Buffy.

“Well, this is interesting,” Anya butted in. “I mean, in a purely scientific way.”

All eyes turned to her, confusion obvious as they waited for an explanation.

Xander scratched at his head and asked what she meant.

“The two slayers. . .all edgy and tension-y with each other. Which is understandable since they tried to kill each other in the past,” she continued frankly. “Kinda makes me all tingly, though not in a horny way. Well actually, maybe just a little in a. . .”

“An!” Xander interrupted with a slight splutter. “Let's go dance.”

“Oh, ok,” Anya responded brightly, oblivious to the shocked faces around the table as Xander dragged her away.

“She's one weird chick, but kinda cute,” Faith chuckled once they gone.

Buffy tried to hold her tongue as Willow and Tara took tentative sips from their drinks, the atmosphere clouded in possible outcomes to a charged situation. She knew she should just ignore everything that lead to the liking-Faith thing, but it was staring her in the face, holding her down, suffocating her with its temptingly dangerous grasp.

“You think Anya's cute?” Buffy asked, almost too quiet for anybody to hear.

Willow raised her eyebrow and Buffy chose to ignore it. She knew tiptoeing into the burning fire that was her attraction to Faith was a bad idea. Tru was waiting back in LA for her next visit, for sex shenanigans and possibly more. Tiptoeing anywhere other than towards Tru was just asking for a world of trouble.

Studying Buffy for a heartbeat, Faith seemed to be choosing her words carefully. She glanced towards Willow and Tara and it almost seemed like she wished they weren't sat so close. Big, dark eyes engulfed Buffy within them as Faith leaned forward slightly towards her to finally respond.

“Don't worry, B,” she said low and husky, making Buffy have to stop herself from groaning under its arresting sexiness. “Only got eyes for you.”

Faith winked and moved back again, leaving Buffy searching for a derisive quip that would ensure everybody knew she didn't care if Faith did or didn't like Anya, or her for that matter. The quip wasn't there and she knew she was beaten this time around. Her blood was rushing through her veins, a mixed pulse of anger and desire. It was always the same reaction.

There was no getting away from the desire, but there was always that stain of anger entwined with it, sullying it. It was generated from Buffy's need to deny acceptance of how Faith really made her feel. Faith spoke to the very core of her – the need and the yearning – and she hated that she was powerless to stop it. She always wanted to stop it. Even now, after giving in to the temptation of Tru, she still couldn't find it in herself to embrace how easily Faith switched her on, turned her on, made her want. There was always such a fight within herself over Faith, and now she had more reason to fight than ever. She had a girlfriend that was everything she wanted and had held herself back from. . .and she didn't want to ruin that just to get her kicks with the broken version of the same copy.

Buffy had to reel herself in.

As wrong as it all was - and she knew it was very, very wrong – Buffy knew she had no choice but to push Faith out of her mind so she could at least have her in some way, in the guise of Tru. Yeah, it was wrong all right. . .but it was the only way. It was the only way to have Faith without the hurt and the pain, and the eventual betrayal she had no doubt would rip them apart again.

“Keep your eyes to yourself, Faith,” Buffy eventually said, a small note of warning oozing from her words.

Faith just smirked and chuckled under her breath as she turned to look out at the stage. The band were beginning to tune their instruments and people were filtering from their seats to the small space of the dance floor.

Feeling herself shaking with repressed desire and the obligatory anger inside her, Buffy disregarded Willow's uncomfortable cough and somewhat panicked expression. It was hard enough trying to deal with her own emotions, let alone Willow's. It wasn't her fault if she found it difficult to just be nice to Faith without it getting all mixed up in her head – jostling somewhere between hurt and horny.

Buffy sighed to herself and sipped at her coke, hoping Willow and Tara's attention would soon be directed towards the band now playing rather than her.

When she felt like their attention was off her, she relaxed a little. Faith had her back mostly to her, looking out into the crowd of dancers, Willow and Tara were now watching the band play – moving their heads in time to the music – and Xander and Anya were out on the dance floor doing something akin to dancing, though it looked more like Anya pushing and pulling Xander around by his arms.

Buffy had a moment to try to compose herself. She'd felt on edge ever since walking in, and it had only gotten worse when she'd laid eyes on the other slayer. Her friends expectations and hopes were also weighing heavy on her. They wanted her to try to move on and accept that Faith was back to help, and to atone. It was difficult to see it as anything more than a spoke in her wheel, however. Faith's arrival had been bad timing. In fact, it was terrible timing and Buffy wished she could click her fingers and have Faith disappear. Not completely. . .just back to prison where she was in no danger of making Buffy go all weak kneed for her again with just a flick of her hair.

She tried to keep her eyes on the dancers and the band, but with Faith beginning to bob a little in front of her she found it difficult to do anything but stare at her back. Her gaze travelled up over the lightly tanned skin of Faith's arm, towards the tattoo that Buffy had always found herself wanting to touch. She continued, taking in firm and powerful shoulders, the long, lush wave of dark hair that her fingers could so easily become lost in, the side of her face and the attractive curve of her nose. She closed her eyes and envisioned Faith's staring back at her, bold and defiant, beautiful and possessive.

“You ok?” Willow whispered beside Buffy.

Opening her eyes, she nodded vaguely.

“Yeah, just tired,” she replied.

“I'm glad you came,” Willow continued as Buffy watched Faith get up from the table and dance her way over towards Xander and Anya.

Her eyes never left Faith's retreating form as it swayed and moved to the heavy beat of the music. “I probably shouldn't have,” Buffy said honestly. “This was a bad idea.”

“No, it's good,” Willow insisted. “You have to deal with this.”

Pulling her eyes away from Faith, Buffy looked at Willow, scrunching up her brow in defiance.

“I don't want to deal with it. I want to hide until it goes away,” Buffy stated with a little whine.

“She's not going away,” Tara added gently. “A-and. . .she's really worried that you're never going to forgive her or let her try to make up for what she did.”

Buffy narrowed her eyes and glanced back towards Faith, feeling a sneaky flush of heat creep over her as she noted the way Faith danced to the music beside Anya and Xander. She danced with confident recklessness and it was hot. It always had been.

“I don't know what to think any more,” Buffy said, speaking softly, evidence of her sense of defeat weighting her words. “She's dangerous. Everything about her.”

Willow frowned and nodded, seemingly understanding that Buffy didn't mean she believed Faith would cause havoc this time, but that she was dangerous for Buffy and her sense of self, and her new relationship with Tru.

Tru, who was Faith's sister. A sister Faith didn't even know she had. Danger was everywhere.

“I can't fall for her again, Will,” Buffy said mournfully.

She rubbed at her brow and once again found it difficult to look away from Faith, but the surprised look on Willow's face soon caught her full attention.

“Fall for her? You mean you. . .there was falling before?” Willow asked, as Tara smiled softly beside her.

Buffy hadn't quite told Willow the full extent of her keenness on Faith she realised. No wonder she looked a bit startled.

“There was falling, and I can't do that again. . .not now I have. . .”

Buffy stopped herself from finishing the sentence as Anya flomped down into the seat beside her, puffing out of breath.

“Even if she is a little nutso, that girl can certainly dance,” Anya stated, nodding vigorously in agreement with herself as she pointed over towards where Faith was now dancing with just Xander. “No wonder all the guys drool over her.”

A sly smile crept over Buffy's lips as she thought about how it wasn't just guys that drooled over Faith, and how it felt to know that Faith - somebody so hot and wanted - was interested in her more than she was interested in anybody else there. As if to cement that thought, Faith spun round just enough to catch Buffy's eyes. They gazed at each other across the room as Faith continued to cause drooling on a massive scale.

The swaying of hips, hands running over tight clothes and sensual curves into heavy hair as eyes pierced and burned. Buffy felt the world slipping from beneath her feet and she knew it was a bad sign. She needed to stand firm, on solid ground.

“You'd think she was so full of confidence, but her eyes give her away,” Anya said to nobody in particular. “There's a sadness about her that almost makes me feel sorry for her.”

Buffy looked at Anya as she turned to talk more directly to the table occupants. She didn't look for long, finding her eyes drawn to Faith once more, though Faith was now lost to the beat, dancing with her eyes closed as guys tried to get as close as they could to her.

“Almost, but not quite,” Anya continued. “She did take Xander's virginity after all,” she said, clearly showing her jealousy and distaste at the thought. “She's lucky I'm not into vengeance any more.”

“I'm sure she's happy about that,” Tara added, her smile trying to ease the atmosphere.

Buffy filtered out the rest of their conversation as Xander ambled away from the dance floor, leaving Faith to be free amongst the sweaty bodies. It almost made Buffy want to get up and go and join her, but she knew she couldn't. She didn't dare. It would send all the wrong signals to Faith. . .and make keeping away from her in the sexual sense practically impossible.

“I think I need some air,” Buffy said in a distant tone, standing from the table and shaking herself free from the clutch Faith had over her.

“Do you want me to come with?” Willow asked, looking concerned.

“No, I just need to. . .I think I'm gonna call Tru.”

Buffy smiled as best she could to ease Willow's mind, noticing the confused look on Xander's face only momentarily as she turned to leave the table. No doubt she'd have to explain to him later who Tru was. She wasn't looking forward to that conversation.

Brushing her way past the few people lingering at the front of the club, Buffy found the entrance and stepped out into the warm evening air. She took a deep breath to calm herself and wandered slowly down the street a little way to a bench on the sidewalk. It wasn't a busy night and she found herself alone with her thoughts. Not the best idea she'd had as now there was nothing at all to distract her.

Pulling her cellphone from her pocket, Buffy flipped it open and let her fingers idly punch in Tru's number. But she didn't call. What would she say? “I'm going nuts over your twin sister 'cause I wanna fuck her so bad. How about taking my mind off it?”

There was nothing she could say right now that wouldn't be lies and misleading mis-truths, and thinking about fucking Faith had been a really silly thing to do as now her head was full of nakedness and moaning.

She allowed herself the opportunity – for just a minute - to indulge in it; in Faith pressed hot and naked against her. In the sounds and the movements, the scents and the. . .

“Holy monkeys, that's hot,” Buffy muttered to herself as her imagination took the opportunity and ran with it.

Fighting to push the image from her head, Buffy found herself feeling a little out of breath. Her body wanted Faith so much and it was driving her crazy. It always had. She guessed it probably always would.

“Too much fun goin' on in there for ya?”

Buffy froze at the words and turned her head to see Faith approaching.

“You'd know all about fun,” Buffy responded coldly, the images of hot and sweaty sex soon being replaced by memories of fists and fighting.

“Been a while since I had any,” Faith said nonchalantly, her boots thudding brashly on the wooden bench as she hopped onto the back, feet placed on the seat beside Buffy.

“Been a while since you learned to sit properly too?” Buffy asked with a smug expression as she moved a little so she could look up at Faith.

“Never did like living by the rules, yo,” Faith replied with her own smug grin. “You know that better than anyone.”

Buffy looked down and fought back the harsh memories and harsh words that wanted to come out about them. She really did want to try to put the past behind them.

“So you came out here to tell me things I already know? Or was there another reason?” Buffy asked.

Faith just watched Buffy intently for a few moments from her perch above her. It began to unnerve Buffy and she fidgeted with her phone, not knowing where to look.

“Look, I don't know what you. . .” Buffy began, finding herself cut off as Faith slid down properly into the seat beside her.

She rested her arm behind Buffy, sitting closer than was necessary or comfortable.

“Calling Tru?” Faith asked, nodding towards the cell phone.

Buffy grasped it in her hand and then slid it firmly back into her pocket.

“I was thinking about it,” Buffy said uneasily as she wondered how she could extract herself from the bench and Faith's sudden closeness without it appearing abrupt.

Guessing that Willow must have given Faith that piece of info in order to explain her disappearing act, Buffy didn't bother asking how she knew. She promised herself to have a little word with Willow on the subject of saying anything to Faith about Tru. It was perilous territory.

“She's gotta be one helluva catch for you to dump Riley for her. That guy doted on you,” Faith said, her eyes catching Buffy and keeping her trapped where she was.

“Well you should know, what with sleeping with him as me,” Buffy said bitterly, feeling a bubble of anger pop inside her.

Faith looked down, her body visibly deflating somewhat as she grimaced. But then her expression changed and she looked back up at Buffy with more resolve and self-assurance. Her eyes were full of a stormy darkness that made Buffy feel a thrill of excitement and a tingle of dread in equal amounts.

“We all do stuff that's pretty shitty, B,” Faith said firmly. “Granted, I did the fucking shittiest stuff to you and there's no excuse, but two wrongs don't make a right.”

Buffy blinked at Faith's words, unsure what she meant exactly.

“Are we still talking about Riley?” Buffy questioned. “If we are, can I just say. . .you'll always be a fucking bitch for doing what you did.”

The hurt and venom spilled from her lips before she could stop it, but Faith was making her feel exposed and raw. Something was going on and she didn't know what it was. Things had certainly moved on from their relatively cosy chat in the Magic Box the day that Faith had said her sorries.

“I'll never be able to say sorry enough for that,” Faith responded, her shoulders dropping a little again as she moved her arm from the back of the bench to crack her knuckles nervously.

It seemed liked Faith was trying to get something off her chest, but the confidence wasn't quite there and it withered every time Buffy stuck the knife in over what she'd done.

“This is getting us nowhere. Just go back in, Faith,” Buffy said.

But Faith didn't move, she just sat. . .contemplating, staring at nothing. Buffy didn't know what to do or say.

“All the fucked up things I did,” Faith began slowly, her voice raspy and low, “I can't take back or fix. And you know what sucks the most?” She didn't wait for an answer that Buffy didn't have anyway. “I blew my chance with you.”

Buffy shuffled beside Faith, their legs almost touching. Bodies close, but never close enough.

“I'm not sure you ever really had a chance, Faith,” Buffy said, letting go of some of the bitterness enough to try to have a meaningful conversation about what they'd always held back. “I don't think I was anywhere close to even contemplating it back then.”

Looking up at Buffy, Faith nodded in understanding, but there was something in her eyes. A warm glint of something. A spark of something.

“But we're not back then, B. We're now. We're here.”

Holding onto her breath to steady herself, Buffy frowned, about to ask what she meant.

“You want me,” Faith said, an undoubting tone making Buffy open her mouth only to find no words of contradiction forthcoming. “Don't bother saying it ain't true, Buffy. I know it is now.”

Buffy felt the rise of panic beginning to well inside her. She didn't like the way this was going. She didn't want to fight with Faith. She didn't want to have this conversation if it wasn't on her terms.

“Wait,” Buffy finally said, sitting forward, “what suddenly makes you so confident I want you?”

She watched as Faith turned more towards her, her hand resting behind Buffy once again as they sat together under the stars.

“Tru,” Faith stated without hesitation.

A warning light switched on in Buffy's head, but she ignored it. She couldn't run from this.

“Just because I've got a girlfriend now, that doesn't mean I want. . .”

“I told you, B. Don't bother saying it isn't true,” Faith butted in, her tone shifting a little to hold a note of icy cool decisiveness.

Buffy took a steadying breath, holding back her annoyance at being spoken to in the way she was by Faith.

“Never was that smart, and it wasn't her fault, but it didn't take a whole helluva lot to figure it out when Will started saying more than she should about your girl Tru,” Faith stated steadily, her brown eyes shinning in the lamplight as Buffy found herself caught in them, her heart in her mouth at what Faith was saying.

They gazed at each other with a thousand questions hanging between them, each one a rope ready to hang themselves on. Each one a hope ready to take a chance on.

“Got nothing to say?” Faith asked, her closeness feeling more ominous now.

Buffy swallowed, her instincts telling her to get up and walk away. She didn't have to answer to Faith. The thing was, in this situation she knew she was in the wrong, and Faith had every right to question her.

“What is it you think you know, Faith?” she asked, making sure they were on the same page.

“I know it's me you want and not her,” Faith replied, her confidence from earlier back and bristling.

“How? You don't know anything,” Buffy said, deflecting and hoping she was wrong about Faith knowing.

How would she deal with her knowing? With her knowing how twisted and wrong she was.

“My twin, B? My fucking twin? That I didn't even fucking know about.”

Silence shrouded them suddenly as Buffy listened to the angry words reverberating around her skull. How the hell had Faith got that out of Willow? She knew Willow wouldn't have just offered up the information, no matter how much closer she'd been getting to her.

“H-how did you. . ?” Buffy stuttered, feeling suitably embarrassed and guilty.

“Doesn't matter. I put a couple of things together and I guessed,” Faith replied abruptly, her brow furrowed scornfully.

Buffy lifted a hand to her head, pressing her palm against her temple as she tried to think of a way to make it sound less bad. But it was bad. It was unforgivable to hold back the information she knew; that Faith had a twin. That she had family out there that was kind and caring. It stung her, and Faith's now cold eyes made the sharp pain that much more abrasive.

“I'm sorry,” she mumbled, knowing that her words were hollow and inadequate. “I should have told you. . .that you had a sister. I didn't think. I. . .”

“You were too busy getting' it on with her wishing it was me. I get it,” Faith declared, her words strong and sure, making Buffy feel small and powerless.

“That's not how it is,” Buffy lied. “And I am sorry that I didn't tell you. I know I should have told you as soon as I found out about her. I don't know why I didn't.”

Buffy could feel tears threatening to break the surface, but she didn't want to cry in front of Faith. Not for something that was all her own doing.

“Stop lying to me, Buffy,” Faith said, a calmness coming back to her voice that made Buffy look at her properly. “Look, I could care less if I have some sister running around somewhere with everything I never fucking had.”

There was a sting of bitterness in Faith's tone, but she held solid, her eyes showing no emotion as Buffy allowed her to continue.

“What pisses me off is that you're fucking her. . .when you should be fucking me,” she finished, her face a little closer to Buffy's in the small space being shared between them.

Buffy's blood pounded through her veins, her stomach twisting in knots at Faith's deceleration. The way Faith had spoken was sexy, alluring, hot. . .but also completely shocking.

She found herself lost for words. She didn't have anything to say. She didn't know the truth of it herself. As much as she'd fooled herself into believing Tru wasn't just a replacement, in a lot of ways she was. As much as she'd played around with the rights and the wrongs, and everything in-between. . .she knew her actions had been inexcusable. She tried to justify it with the pieces of her heart that Faith had broken – telling herself she'd been left with no choice. She didn't have control of her heart, of her body, of what she wanted.

“Faith, I. . .” Buffy began, hoping she could come up with something to keep the situation from turning ugly.

But Faith stopped her speaking, placing her hand on Buffy's cheek and brushing her thumb over her lips.

“Don't,” Faith said, the low burr back to her voice as she seemed to creep even closer. “All I wanna hear you tell me is that it's really me you want.”

Gazing into Faith's brown eyes, drifting on her scent and the warmth of the heat coming from her body and the hand cupping her face, Buffy was tempted - so very tempted – to lay herself on the line. But she realised lies were never the right answer.

She couldn't say for sure if it was Faith she truly wanted and not Tru. She liked Tru, more than she'd even realised up until this point. Tru was everything Faith probably never could be, and though her looks – being so identical to Faith's – played a big part in the reason she liked her. . .it wasn't the only reason.

She had to be honest. There'd been enough lies between them poisoning their relationship. Enough hurt caused by avoiding what was obvious.



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