One Day I'll Find You

Chapter Fourteen

The smell of blood lingered in the air, assaulting Buffy’s nostrils as she stalked through the graveyard, stake perched inside her pocket ready to be used. Her feet hit the ground softly, picking out the quietest path, the shortest route towards the scent that had led her that way. It was the scent of demon blood; fresh, a heady mix of acrid iron and tar that always made Buffy’s stomach twist in repulsion. She was close, listening out for signs of fighting, or feeding. At the first sign of a struggle she’d end her slow and stealthy approach and bolt as fast as she could towards her goal. But there were no sounds of trouble, just the aroma of spilled blood.

Her heart was beating fast, body on high alert, and then the tingles began. There was a vampire close by, and by the sounds of it they weren’t alone.

“So I gave this guy my kittens and the bastard still won’t let it drop. I swear, that’s the last time I play poker with a Falanjoid demon. He wanted my brain, chip and all.”

Buffy rolled her eyes and relaxed her shoulders, turning around in order to avoid him. It was Spike and she didn’t want to deal with his clinginess, especially if he had friends along with him. There were only so many ‘friendly’ demons she could deal with on a nightly basis. She had enough on her plate.

“Dude, you know the kitten thing is sick right?”

But that was Faith’s voice, which meant Faith was with Spike. Faith and Spike together. At night. Outside.

Buffy felt a little bubble of torment burst inside her. She couldn’t allow them to fraternise all willy nilly, in her graveyard. She turned around again and headed towards the voices.

It had been a few days since she’d last seen Faith – she was back to avoiding. Thankfully they hadn’t run in to each other on patrol or at Giles’ shop, which probably had more to do with the fact Buffy was making sure she knew where Faith was at all times so they wouldn’t be in the same place together, rather than missing her by chance. It had worked well, but she hadn’t counted on Faith teaming up with Spike at any point. Now she had to face them both when she’d much rather have finished up her patrol and gone home to a nice mug of hot chocolate.

“Well kittens are easier to come by than money so it works out in the end,” Spike said as Buffy got closer.

“I don’t even wanna know what they do with ‘em,” Faith commented. “The less I know about demons enjoying kitty cat treats the better.”

Buffy rounded the corner, placing herself in front of them both. She glanced from Spike to Faith and instantly wished she could turn around again and run; Faith was all decked out in black, leather, and tight things. Her hair was straight and sleek, makeup dusky and sexy, curves hugged close by her clothes. She looked good – really good - as if she was on a hot date and knew she was going to get ‘serviced’ all night long. And Spike had the biggest, shit eating grin on his face she’d ever seen. It really wasn’t a good combination.

“What are you doing?” Buffy asked abruptly, not particularly aiming the question at either one of them.

Both Spike and Faith stopped walking and looked at each other. Faith’s eyebrow raised and Spike’s grin got that little bit wider.

“What’s it look like, B?” Faith asked, continuing before Buffy could answer. “We’re makin’ plans to take over the world. He’s Pinky, I’m Brain.”

“Hey, why don’t I get to be Brain?” Spike asked Faith, practically pouting.

“Trust me, it’s better this way,” Faith said with a decisive nod causing Spike to shrug his shoulders and relent.

They were being far too friendly with each other and Buffy didn’t like it. She’d warned Spike away from Faith, and she had hoped that Faith would have stayed away from Spike, but obviously they actually liked each other.

“I meant what are you doing out here together,” Buffy persisted, failing to find their closeness endearing.

She realised she was coming off as a bitch, but she felt bitchy. There really was no need for Faith and Spike to speak to each other let alone wander around graveyards together, and she didn’t care if they knew that’s exactly what she thought. This was her patch and she wanted things done her way.

“I’m slaying, he’s. . .watching mostly,” Faith pointed out.

“It’s impressive stuff,” Spike added. “She does it better than you.”

Narrowing her eyes and doing her best to ignore his comment, Buffy shook her head at Faith, unimpressed with her choice of slaying partner. It wasn’t like she wanted to slay with Faith herself, but that wasn’t the point. She knew just how impressive Faith could look whilst slaying and wasn’t keen on Spike being witness to that, and possibly the after effects of said slaying.

“Impressive or not, I told you to stay away,” Buffy reminded him. “You’re not one of us. You’re a vampire.”

“Hey, wait a fucking minute, B,” Faith cut in. “I invited him along. You wanna get pissed at somebody get pissed at me.”

“Oh believe me, I am,” Buffy assured.

“Well that’s new at least,” Faith responded sarcastically.

Buffy didn’t exactly know what to say to that. It wasn’t her fault Faith rubbed her the completely wrong way. Well actually, Faith had been very good at rubbing her exactly the right way but that was in a totally different respect and so not what she was meant to be thinking about.

“I can almost taste the unresolved tension,” Spike said, his grin turning wicked and making Buffy want swipe it right off his face. “Bloody delicious.”

“Shut up,” both Buffy and Faith told him.

He pouted again but Buffy didn’t care; her eyes were fixed on Faith and she felt the distinct urge to punch her in the head. It was one of the lesser urges she was feeling about Faith but she decided concentrating on that one was safer. Safer but not altogether convincing; as she did her best not to wonder if Faith’s leather pants looked almost sprayed on, she noticed a spatter of blood on her thigh. It brought back some rather harsh memories.

“Why do you have blood on you?” Buffy asked.

“It’s demon blood,” Faith replied, instantly reminding Buffy why she’d come that way in the first place. “But I guess you’d probably rather believe I just notched up another murder.”

Faith’s words were cold and hard but Buffy heard the splinter of emotion lying just under the surface. Did Faith really believe Buffy still thought that way about her? Obviously so, and that made Buffy choose her next words a little more carefully.

“No, of course not,” she said, softer than she’d previously been speaking.

Though she’d tried to sound convincing it obviously hadn’t had the effect she’d hoped for. Faith just shook her head and rolled her eyes. Her walls were up, guarding her even more than usual.

“We just slayed a couple of horny bad guys,” Spike said, stepping forward a little to try to catch Buffy’s eye. She continued to watch Faith.

“Horny?” Buffy asked, furrowing her brow in a disapproving manner.

“As in they had horns, B. Mind outta the gutter.”

“My mind is fine where it is, I knew what he meant,” Buffy lied.

“Sure you did,” Spike responded sarcastically. “Now, how about we make this a threesome?”

Both slayers looked at him as if he’d just dropped off the nearest banana tree. Faith raised an eyebrow and Buffy curled her lip a little as the words threesome and Spike kept jolting her brain. It wasn’t a pretty thought.

“Hey, it’s you two that are the perverts, I didn’t mean anything by it,” Spike protested. “I meant. . .yunno, to go slay evil.”

He jabbed with his hand as if he was holding a stake, but Buffy wasn’t going to be fooled.

“How about you go find a nice comfy spot in the dirt, and we’ll go and slay evil,” Buffy instructed, moving to Faith’s side and tugging on her jacket sleeve to follow her as she started walking.

“Guess that means she’s done ignoring me,” Faith commented to Spike with a chuckle.

Buffy tugged a little harder and Faith relented, falling into stride with Buffy as they walked away from Spike down the gravely path. She did pull her arm away from Buffy, however, tucking her hands into her pockets and away from further tugging.

“Oh that’s just great that is,” Spike grumbled after them.

“I’ll catch ya later, William,” Faith called back, giving him a wave and a wink.

Buffy definitely didn’t like the wink.

“Stay off my patch in the meantime,” Buffy added, shouting so she was clear he’d heard.

He threw his hands in the air. “But it’s all your patch,” he whined

“Exactly,” Buffy said firmly, turning to give him a little shooing motion.

He kicked at a rock and turned to slope off, his shoulders slumped and ego bruised.

“Yunno, the guy was just helpin’ out,” Faith said after several minutes of silence as they made slow progress down the path.

Buffy hadn’t wanted to speak – afraid of what she might say. She’d tried not to feel the pang of jealousy that seeing Spike with Faith had caused. She wasn’t in any position to be jealous; she was dating Faith’s sister under dubious circumstances without the sister knowing about Faith. Really, she had no right to start telling Faith what to do, but it was Spike, and. . .well, she just couldn’t sit back and watch them become best buddies – or more – without letting it be known she wasn’t happy about it and planned to stop it happening.

“The one thing you have to remember about Spike is that he never does anything just to help out,” Buffy informed Faith. “He always wants something back.”

They both strolled along with their hands in their pockets and boots scraping across the hard gravel. The tension between them was as heavy as ever, but it almost felt like they were growing accustomed to it rather than trying to fight it. Buffy couldn’t put her finger on the difference, but it was definitely there.

“Well maybe I don’t mind that, B,” Faith responded, her shoulders jerking but her hands remaining crammed into her tight pockets. “He’s been totally straight with me the past few days which is more than I can say for some.”

Buffy knew that was directed at her, and she knew she should say something about it, but avoiding that issue was preferable to talking about it and starting an argument. Instead she chose to skirt around it.

“You want me to be straight with you, Faith?” Buffy asked, putting emphasis on the word straight. “Really?”

She raised her eyebrows and glanced over at Faith. They swapped grins until Faith laughed and Buffy followed.

“Ok, not straight exactly,” Faith said through her laughter.

“Yeah, I didn’t think so.”

They continued to smile and for a little while it felt good, easy almost. It was surprising given their last encounter and the prickliness of their words to each other, but neither of them had mentioned it so far, which was a good thing as far as Buffy was concerned. Being quiet and calm was a good thing too, but through the deafening silence Buffy realised that her determined fight to keep away from Faith had lasted. . .not so long actually.

Walking through the cemetery gates and towards the looming college buildings not too far beyond, both slayers relaxed; footfalls chiming out together and small glances keeping them connected despite their reluctance to talk. It surprised Buffy at how stoic Faith was being. She was normally full of bravado and stories, and she just knew that bubbling under the surface of Faith’s apparent serenity was a hundred different emotions and instincts just waiting to make their presence felt. It started making her uneasy and Buffy was quickly losing grip of the gentle calm between them.

She tried her best not to put her foot in her mouth by opening it to speak, but as they made their way onto college grounds and towards Buffy’s building she realised she had to ask why Faith had walked her home – or kind of walked her home. In fact, she wasn’t even certain why they’d gone that way and not continued slaying. It wasn’t actually that late.

“So we’re done slaying for the night?” Buffy asked tentatively, slowing their pace even further.

“Looks like,” Faith replied. “I was just followin’ you after ya kinda didn’t give me a choice.”

Buffy winced, unable to refute that fact. She felt a little embarrassed about it but at least Faith wasn’t getting on her case. She probably should have been but Buffy certainly didn’t want to instigate it.

“I guess I just. . .” Buffy didn’t know what she guessed. “I think I’m just tired.”

They left the solid ground of the path running into the campus and trudged across the grass they weren’t supposed to walk on.

“That’s understandable,” Faith said with a nod. “Gotta be tough leading a double life; in and outta the closet, up and down to LA.”

There was a coldness to her last words that made Buffy wrap her arms around herself. She hated that she’d caused this new problem between them; she was meant to be the superior one, the righteous one. This was all upside down.

“Don’t start,” Buffy said solemnly.

“I didn’t start it, chica.”

Buffy rolled her eyes and took a deep breath. The apparent calm between them had obviously just been waiting for the storm to come. They started walking alongside the back of a building; heading towards the one Buffy’s room was in. It was darker now - especially on the path they’d stepped onto - but the shadows didn’t bother Buffy and she imagined that Faith probably relished them.

“Are we gonna keep doing this?” Buffy asked, continuing before Faith had chance to answer. “Creating problems for each other and making sure we can never just. . .get along?”

She saw a silent shrug from Faith but wasn’t satisfied with that answer. Buffy put her arm out to halt Faith, stopping just before they reached the end of the long building, placing a hand on her arm and turning to face her.

“If we’re going to be in the same town we need to deal with this. With us,” Buffy said, forcing the words out.

“We do?” Faith stubbornly asked; the relaxed poise from only minutes before giving way to tight muscles and defensive glances. “I don’t think there’s anything to deal with, B. I just think you need to quit going to LA.”

A forlorn sigh escaped Buffy’s lips and she lowered her head. She didn’t think she had the energy to dance around the same subject again. Telling Faith over and over that she was sorry and that she wasn’t going to be with her was no longer a fun game – not that it ever had been.

“And I think you need to back off,” Buffy reminded.

Buffy’s grasp on Faith’s arm tightened a bit, emphasising her words before she let go. With a lick of her lips and a flare of her nostrils Faith made sure to let Buffy know she wasn’t about to be pressured; in one quick move she had Buffy up against the wall of the building, hands trapped at her sides by Faith’s strong grip.

“Back off?” Faith asked, a low growl to each word. “And when did you ever back off of me?”

Buffy tried to struggle free as the bricks behind her snagged at her clothes, but Faith had the advantage of anger strengthening her muscles. Trying too hard to break free would probably only cause an all out fight anyway, and Buffy didn’t want that. If it was possible to do so she wanted to fix them and at least be Faith’s friend, so punching and kicking was out of the question. . .unless Faith kicked first of course.

“I had to put up with everybody trying to make me into another version of you, and now. . .they’re finally seeing that ain’t gonna work so they’re accepting me, but you won’t stop, B. You never stop pushing!”

Blinking up into Faith’s eyes, Buffy tried to look past the sudden anger. She understood now why Faith got this way – at least a little. Faith couldn’t bear being told what to do, and couldn’t stand being seen as something less than she was. Buffy had never wanted to hear it from Faith in the past, shutting her up whenever Faith got close to opening up, but she’d heard anyway.

Buffy could practically feel the emotions within Faith rolling off her – so close to her she could pick up every subtle scent of the girl and feel the heat through her clothes. Faith was close to exploding, and this time it was all Buffy’s fault. It probably always had been.

“I’m sorry,” Buffy said softly, hoping to bring Faith down off the edge.

She knew the words seemed hollow but they were all she could offer Faith right now.

Fingers dug in to Buffy’s wrists where Faith was holding her with both hands; nails biting at her flesh as Faith breathed heavily, a darkness to her eyes that scared Buffy more than any demon. There were passionate emotions taking control of Faith that Buffy had only recently realised were there inside her. Faith’s anger was being fuelled by everything they’d never had together. By a heart that had probably been broken. By a trust that had been betrayed.

They’d done that to each other, more than once; each time worse than the last. And now Buffy was doing it again. She was rejecting Faith in favour of somebody who was similar but good, safe, better. No, maybe not better exactly. . .but better for Buffy.

“You’re not sorry, B.”

Buffy held Faith’s threatening eyes with her own, daring her to see the truth past all the hurt they’d done to each other.

“I am,” Buffy reassured, trying to make her voice sound sincere.

Swallowing hard, Faith glanced away, her grip loosening just a little on Buffy’s wrists. She was still ominously close; doing her best to intimidate Buffy, or at least to seem more powerful or sure than she was.

“If you were sorry you’d stop,” Faith pressed, her eyes snapping back to Buffy in anger, but the tremble to her voice giving her away.

Wriggling her right arm free, Buffy lifted her hand, tentative fingers sliding through a soft tumble of dark hair as she pushed it back from Faith’s face. There were tears in Faith’s eyes and it stung inside Buffy’s chest. It made her heart hurt in a way she didn’t like, couldn’t deal with so soon.

She kept her hand touching Faith – resting at her neck with her thumb grazing over her jaw. The tears didn’t fall and Faith stood strong, eager to prove that she was worthy of being the person she thought she was. There was so much more to her than that and Buffy knew it now, but it wasn’t her place to point it out to Faith, and if truth be told she didn’t want to see it herself. She didn’t want to look that deep because if she did. . .she’d have to question everything she was doing, every choice she’d made since Faith came back, and every choice she was still going to make.

“I can’t stop,” Buffy said, wishing the words could be different and Faith’s sad eyes could be happier. “It’s this that has to stop. You know we can’t do this.”

Buffy glanced down to indicate the position they were in: faces close as if they should be kissing, bodies on the verge of sliding together. Faith narrowed her eyes and moved even closer, pushing her breasts into Buffy and slipping a strong thigh between her legs. An inaudible gasp caught in the back of Buffy’s throat and she tried to pull back, away from the torturous temptation of Faith’s thigh, but there was nowhere to move to.

Dropping her hand to Faith’s shoulder, ready to push her off if need be, Buffy fought with every natural instinct she had that was telling her to want, take, have. Much like Faith’s old chant – which she found quite ironic.

“No,” Faith said, almost cruelly, “you say we can’t but I know you want to.”

She pressed against Buffy with her thigh, the strong muscle tensing between her legs and causing Buffy to hold her breath. She had to get out of this situation before Faith got the better of her resolve again. It couldn’t happen twice, not after what she’d done with Tru. It had meant something with Tru and she didn’t want that tainted by allowing herself to be so easily swayed by Faith’s powerful presence.

“Faith, I don’t. . .”

“After what you let me do to you on the floor of Giles’ shop? You can’t fool me, B,” Faith asserted.

A hand ran up Buffy’s side and Faith moved against her, subtle enough not to make Buffy push her off, but just enough for the heat between Buffy’s legs to intensify. She’d been slaying, and that coupled with holding in the urges she’d felt ever since being stuck in Faith’s bathroom with her. . .well it was beginning to have an effect. Buffy closed her eyes and searched within herself for the strength she knew was there somewhere. She’d always had the strength not to go too far with Angel so it was there inside, but then – even though he was all kinds of hot in his own broody way – he didn’t come close to Faith in the scorching hotness stakes.

Faith’s lips were dangerously close to Buffy’s and she could smell the faint scent of vanilla flavoured lip gloss. Buffy desperately wanted to know what it tasted like on Faith’s lips. Desperately wanted Faith possessing her with her mouth again and making her insides quiver and crumble.

“You want more,” Faith claimed boldly, her hot breath teasing Buffy’s lips.

With a telltale quiver to her voice Buffy tried to deny it.

“I don’t. . .I don’t want. . .” She took a sharp breath as Faith rubbed her nose along Buffy’s, so close to letting those delicious lips capture what they wanted once again.

Fingers dipped under the bottom of Buffy’s top, brushing over the sensitive skin of her stomach as her mind became a blur of need and desire. She wanted to press her lips against Faith’s. She wanted to end this torture and enjoy the warm mouth that was so ready to be hers. She couldn’t feel this without letting Faith know the truth at least. She owed her that.

“Actually, that’s a lie,” Buffy said, finding it difficult to speak as her heart pounded in her chest. “I do want more.”

Faith’s brow twitched with a look of disbelief, but mostly she seemed ready to hear the truth- impatient to move things between them to where it should always have been.

“But. . .” Buffy began, her heart clenching as Faith’s fragile and cautious smile fell.

“Don’t say but,” Faith challenged.

“I have to.”

Buffy leaned her head back enough to pull her away from the temptation of Faith’s lips, looking her in the eyes despite seeing nothing but disappointment behind the gold-speckled brown. With a sigh she eased Faith away from her a small distance, instantly missing her heat.

“All we would do is hurt each other,” Buffy said softly, her words betraying everything she truly felt inside. “All we would do is spoil the friendship we could. . .”

“You don’t want me to be your friend, B.”

“You’re wrong,” Buffy said a little more firmly. “I do want that. Probably even more than I want. . .yunno.”

A slight blush crept over Buffy’s cheeks as she tried to adjust to talking like this with Faith.

“More than you want to fuck me?” Faith asked, moving close to Buffy once again as Buffy closed her eyes and took a steadying breath.

She really wished that bad words didn’t sound so sexy coming from Faith; it had always been a distraction. She needed to focus.

“We can’t just jump into this,” Buffy continued, trying her best to ignore how close Faith was again, searching for all the excuses she could think of. “I have a girlfriend, and you need to respect that even if it is shitty. We both need to move on.”

“So your idea of moving on is dating my twin?” Faith asked incredulously. “I’m pretty sure you realise how stupid that is.”

Buffy couldn’t exactly refute that but she needed Faith to let go of this. As Faith leaned a hand next to Buffy’s head, her body looming over her, she told herself not to cave, and not to fall in to the trap of endlessly apologising. She could only say sorry so many times before it became meaningless, and she had to stop believing it was all her fault. If Faith had never done all those bad things then. . .but then again, all those bad things hadn’t entirely been Faith’s fault either.

“I know you, B,” Faith stated, emotion cracking her voice. “I know you want. . .”

Buffy clenched her jaw and lifted her hands to Faith’s face, holding her close and looking deep into eyes that appeared far more vulnerable than she’d ever seen them before.

“You’re right,” Buffy accepted. “I wanna. . .” She paused, gathering her courage. “I wanna fuck you so bad it hurts. . .but I want more than that, and this is the last time we’re gonna talk about it. We have to move on.”

Her hands lingered on Faith’s cheeks for a few seconds as Faith regarded her with much less vulnerability than just a minute before. The flash of pain flitted across her face and Buffy dropped her hands, releasing the other girl. With a flare of her nostrils Faith pushed away from the wall, and from Buffy. A shaky hand ran through her dark locks, and before Buffy could attribute the shaking to emotion, she was given clear evidence that it was in fact anger causing it.

“Since I’ve been back I’ve been nothing but honest with you, B,” Faith vented, her chest rising and falling quicker than normal. “I opened up to you. I left myself dangling out there.”

She started pacing in front of Buffy, her fists clenching and shoulders tightening. Buffy cautiously moved away from the wall but she didn’t try to interrupt. Not this time. She’d done that too often with Faith – unwilling to hear the hurt inside the other girl.

“Yunno what?” Faith continued. “You’re right, we should move on. I’m done trying to be good enough for you. Have fun screwing my twin and trying not to think of me. I can’t do this anymore.”

She moved quickly and purposely towards Buffy, catching her off guard and pressing her hard into the wall. Her hands held Buffy firmly, painfully at the hips, and her mouth crashed against Buffy’s with enough force to bang the back of her head against the brick. A muffled “oomph” against Faith’s lips did nothing to stop her as she kissed Buffy harshly, anger rumbling in the back of her throat.

With her hands on Faith’s shoulders, Buffy gripped at the material of her shirt, letting herself be kissed despite knowing she should push Faith away. Her fingers grasped tighter as Faith’s body overpowered every one of her senses; the outpouring of desire and anger holding Buffy ransom against the painful scrape of the bricks. Their lips barely moved, holding firm and pushing the issue as they breathed hard against each other. When Buffy felt Faith’s hips against her own she barely contained a whimper, shuddering and digging deep within herself to find the willpower to stop the kiss.

“Faith,” Buffy managed to mumble out; trying to get control of the situation, though she didn’t attempt to untangle them exactly.

Faith hummed against her mouth in answer, and as Buffy opened her lips a little way in order to speak again she found a quick tongue sliding against her own. This time her whimper came out loud and clear and Faith grinned into the kiss. One last sweep of her tongue over Buffy’s - making Buffy’s legs turn to jello and her breath quiver – and then Faith was gone.

She ripped her body and her mouth away from Buffy, giving her a cold, hard stare before turning away and disappearing quickly along the path. Buffy watched her go, slumping against the wall and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, fighting the urge to call after Faith. If she called Faith back then they’d go the final step, seal the deal, confirm what they’d always known. But it would all fall apart so quickly that neither of them would survive the fallout, so she bit her lip and begged the ache in her heart and her body to dissipate.

Watching as Faith got further and further away, a single tear rolled down Buffy’s cheek. She swiped it away but it kept falling, clouding her vision until she could no longer see Faith at all. It felt like a last chance had come and gone, and now – without Faith’s body against her own – she just felt cold and vulnerable.

That had to be the last kiss. The last time she accepted that all she really wanted was Faith. It was time to put it behind her and heed her own words; to move on.



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