Buffy stood staring at the piece of paper in her hand, her heart aching in her chest, her jaw clenched and eyes trying to burn through the words she’d just read. Three times she’d read them now and still she couldn’t quite believe how stupid she’d been. Buffy knew she should have guessed this would happen; that Faith would let her down again. That they could never have what Buffy had secretly longed for.
She’d woken up alone, tangled in only her sheets rather than Faith. Her hand had swept over the cold space beside her and she’d sighed, feeling a pang of regret already. Faith’s clothes were gone; well most of them were. Her panties lay discarded on Buffy’s dresser with a hastily scribbled note on top of them.
Reading it again, Buffy sighed. It read: Thanks for the fuck, it was great.
“I can’t fucking believe it,” Buffy murmured to herself, though of course. . .she could believe it, had been expecting it really.
Faith’s named scrawled at the bottom made Buffy seethe and she crumpled up the paper, throwing it into her trash can without a second glance. As Buffy had laid there in Faith’s arms thinking they’d just shared something special, obviously Faith had been thinking her own thoughts. For Faith it had just been about the sex; about conquering and discarding. It had meant nothing to Faith.
Rubbing at her brow, Buffy glanced at her messy sheets and felt anger bubbling up inside her. She was angry at Faith, but mainly she was angry at herself for being so foolish and for giving in so easily. Ripping the sheets from her bed Buffy pushed them into a pile in the corner of her room. She’d wash them later; maybe twice just to be sure that there was no trace of Faith’s scent left on them. No memory of what they’d done.
Buffy knew right then and there that she could never trust Faith; certainly not with her heart. It had been a dumb fantasy to believe even for a second that it was possible for them to connect, to open up and find themselves striving for the same thing. Faith had ruined any hope of that too many times, and last night was the last straw.
Hurt and mad, Buffy quickly showered, scrubbing hard at her skin everywhere that Faith had touched or been pressed intimately against. Once done she grabbed her phone, calling Giles. Not bothering to mask the anger in her voice she told him to keep a close eye on Faith. Buffy wasn’t planning to take Faith’s crap any longer, nor trust her with her friends and her watcher, especially now that Darla was hanging around her.
He seemed worried at first, about Buffy, but he told her not to fret. He also told her that Faith had called him not long before to inform him that she would be out of town for the weekend. Buffy narrowed her eyes and instantly felt the sensation that something bad was about to happen, but Giles tried to convince her not to dwell on it and that Faith really was trying to do better, to atone. Buffy wasn’t buying it now and she wondered just where Faith would be that weekend, and who with.
She asked Giles if he knew but he didn’t. There were lots more questions Buffy wanted to pose but instead of wasting her time going in circles with Giles she decided right then and there that it was high time that Tru came further into her life. She would ask her to come to Sunnydale – though Buffy wasn’t planning on letting Giles or her mother know about her just yet. Still, she could meet Willow and Xander at least, and see how and where she lived. It would be good for them, and would hopefully ensure that Buffy didn’t waste her weekend worrying about Faith and what she was up to.
With her mind made up, Buffy got dressed and put fresh sheets on her bed, throwing the soiled ones into a bag to take to the laundry. For a moment she found herself feeling wobbly as the scent of sex, of Faith, wafted over her. It brought about mixed emotions. She felt the rush of renewed desire, longing and need, but that soon dissipated as anger and remorse took hold.
Tidying her room, she made sure all traces of Faith were out of sight; stuffing the note she’d hastily retrieved from the garbage and Faith’s panties into her bedside drawer, placing them under the picture of Faith she wished she could tear up. There was a voice in the back of her mind telling her to throw all those items away but she ignored it, not dwelling on the reason why she ignored it. It was probably best not to question her inability to fully just let go of Faith – she’d do it eventually, she was sure.
Before long she was calling Tru and inviting her to Sunnydale, smiling wide as she allowed Tru’s voice and her promise to be there as soon as she could soothe her. With Faith gone for the next two days it was the perfect opportunity to be closer to Tru, in more ways than one. She knew that keeping Tru from her home, from Sunnydale, and from her friends would only cause Tru to grow weary of the distance between them, and perhaps suspicious of the reason she wouldn’t invite her. Now she would be able to put Tru at ease as well as allow the time spent in her company to eradicate thoughts of Faith, and thoughts of what they’d done together.
She planned on showing Tru just how much she wanted her in her life, and in her bed. She wouldn’t allow Faith to spoil this.
Hours later - as the night began to creep towards morning - Buffy trailed her fingers over Tru’s stomach as she lay sprawled out on her bed. They’d stumbled into the small dorm room kissing and touching, desperate for each other, after dropping Willow and Xander off at their homes. The night had been a success; both Willow and Xander seemed to love Tru. They’d laughed at her jokes, listened to her stories – though Tru’s stories were less salacious and surprising than Faith’s always were – and genuinely enjoyed her company. Buffy had been nervous about them meeting her but things couldn’t have gone better.
It had been a good idea to have her come there, and as Buffy felt the slight sheen of sweat drying on her own skin as Tru tried to catch her breath beside her, she couldn’t help but feel contented. They’d spent hours touching each other, pleasuring each other, learning about each other. Buffy had finally tasted Tru, using her mouth on her more than once as Tru had grabbed at her shoulders, nails scratching as Buffy had brought her to orgasm over and over. She’d been unable to get enough, but when Tru had practically begged her to stop so she could catch her breath Buffy had relented, crawling up beside Tru and just gazing at her.
Her fingernails softly scratched at Tru’s belly as she watched her with hooded eyes. They were both spent now, happy to let their skin cool and the ardour between them dissipate. Buffy felt comfort with Tru’s arm wrapped around her back, Tru’s scent on her own skin, on her sheets. She knew she could fall easily for this girl and probably already was.
Her heart longed to let go for her and Buffy allowed it to, slipping, stepping into territory that would complicate things further. She didn’t care. Buffy had just had sex with Tru with more than just her body; her mind had been all Tru’s. For the first time Buffy hadn’t thought once about Faith.
She smiled, placing a tender kiss on Tru’s temple as she pulled the sheet over them and snuggled into her side, feeling Tru’s arm tighten around her. It wasn’t long before she felt sleep tugging at her and her body sighed in contentment as Tru turned into her and pulled her even closer, her lips whispering over Buffy’s mouth. There was a moment in which it seemed as if Tru wanted to say something, but she didn’t. She stayed quietly pressed against Buffy as they drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms.
This was how relationships were meant to be, not like with Faith. Not all anger and contempt, passion and fury. This was what Buffy needed. Faith was. . .Faith was too dangerous.
By lunchtime the next day Buffy was sure she’d shown Tru everywhere important in Sunnydale. It hadn’t taken long.
There had been an awkward moment in which Tru had inquired about Buffy’s mom, but Buffy had been able to change the subject before any harm could be done. She wanted Tru to meet her mother, she really did, but there would be so much confusion for Joyce, and not only about the fact that Tru was very clearly a girl. That would have to wait, for more time than even Buffy knew. She wasn’t ready for that.
“So, this is where you have coffee everyday,” Tru said, looking around the small diner with a smile.
“Well, not every day,” Buffy corrected, “Though if it were up to Willow we’d be in here every hour.”
They both chuckled and Buffy couldn’t help but fall a little more for Tru, so happy that she could talk about her friends with her now so openly. That Tru had met her friends and liked them. It almost felt as if Tru filled a space in Buffy’s life that she hadn’t even known needed filling. They were completely at ease with each other, as they had been the night before, and it made Buffy happier than she could remember.
Eventually she’d have to explain things to her mother, and to Giles. She’d have to try to clarify why she wanted to be with Faith’s twin sister when she couldn’t stand being around Faith. And why it just felt right, even though it was strange and odd and beyond what most people would call proper. Buffy didn’t care that things would get more awkward before they settled down, not really, as once things did settle she knew she’d be able to give her heart to the girl sat opposite her without restraint.
Things could only get better.
“Just gotta use the bathroom,” Buffy said as she swallowed the last of her muffin.
For a second she almost leaned forward and kissed Tru before leaving the table, but she stopped herself, feeling both silly and smart for deciding against such a public display of affection with her girlfriend.
“Don’t be long,” Tru warned playfully, her full lips curving into a smile that just about had Buffy changing her mind so she could kiss it. “If I’m sitting here for more than two minutes alone I might end up with more muffins than I can eat.”
Buffy thought it would be adorable to come back to Tru trying to secretly munch away more muffins before being caught; it stole most of her self-control and she quickly placed a kiss on Tru’s cheek before scurrying off to the bathroom.
When she emerged back into the diner after going to the toilet, Buffy stopped dead in her tracks. Her heart jumped in her chest and her breath caught in her throat. Lounging in the chair she’d vacated only minutes before was Faith. She was smiling, though the smile wasn’t reaching her eyes, and she was sitting opposite Tru.
“Oh god,” Buffy muttered, feeling light headed.
Tru’s eyes were wide and her skin paler than normal. She looked on the verge of speaking, mouth open and jaw slack, but then Faith swept her gaze over to Buffy and Tru followed suit, staring at Buffy with complete confusion.
“Oh god, oh god, oh god,” Buffy repeated to herself, wondering if fleeing the scene would be the best idea.
“Your girlfriend’s back,” Faith said sardonically, letting the few other patrons of the diner hear. Buffy didn’t care if they heard at that moment; all she cared about was the utterly baffled and hurt appearance on Tru’s face. “Guess you’ve got some talking to do.”
Without another word Faith got up from the seat, her eyes connecting with Buffy for a tense moment before she turned and left. Buffy wasn’t sure what she’d seen in Faith’s eyes, but it hadn’t all been cruelty. She was almost certain there had been a hint of an apology there, though why Faith would feel sorry for doing this she didn’t know.
When Buffy reached the table, standing beside it with her arms hanging by her sides, her skin almost as pale as Tru’s, she didn’t know what to say. How could she possibly explain this? Explain Faith?
“She said she’s my sister,” Tru said, shaking Buffy from her momentary daze.
Tru’s voice was tight, a slight tremble making Buffy’s insides crumble. Buffy didn’t speak, just stood staring as she tried to find excuses that wouldn’t sound pathetic.
“My twin sister,” Tru went on. “Tell me you didn’t know about this. Tell me she’s lying. Tell me that’s not the Faith you were in love with.”
Buffy could see tears forming in Tru’s eyes and she desperately wanted to stop them from falling. Wished she had the words and could tell her that she hadn’t known, and that Faith hadn’t been the girl she’d told her about. Nothing came out of her mouth and she watched as Tru pushed her chair back and stood, giving Buffy a look that clearly showed her disappointment and disbelief before she too left the diner.
It was all Buffy could do to force her limbs to obey so she could follow, still no idea of how to put things right. She knew she didn’t want to lose Tru, however. Or hurt her.
“Wait,” Buffy said as she finally caught up with Tru someway down the road already.
There was no sign of Faith anywhere and Buffy was at least grateful for that.
Tru spun around, her eyes harder than Buffy had ever seen them, reminding her more of Faith than she cared for.
“Why?” Tru asked, ignoring the people passing by who looked at them oddly. “So you can just lie to me? Make me look even more like an idiot?”
“No,” Buffy replied feebly. “Let me try to explain.”
With her brown eyes full of a pain Buffy hated herself for placing there, Tru shook her head no.
“I don’t think I can listen to it right now,” she said, tears finally beginning to fall. “She said she’s your friend. She knew about us but I didn’t know about her, Buffy. Do you have any idea how confused I am right now?”
Buffy looked down at the ground between them, unable to say anything that wouldn’t seem completely lame. Shaking her head, Buffy felt her own tears sliding slowly down her cheeks as she tried desperately to think of a way to make this better.
“I don’t want to lose you,” Buffy said, a small sob breaking from her throat as she stepped closer to Tru. “I just. . .I didn’t know what to say. Didn’t know how to. . .”
“You didn’t try,” Tru pointed out.
For a moment there was only silence as Buffy swiped at her tears and Tru allowed her own to fall. Of all the ways Buffy had envisioned this moment, she hadn’t imagined just how much it would hurt to see Tru so upset. To see the distrust in her normally sympathetic eyes.
“I thought we had something,” Tru said, breaking the endless, soundless pause. “I thought you felt something.”
“I did,” Buffy quickly blurted, her voice shriller than she’d expected, making her glance around, feeling embarrassed. “I do.”
It was true, she did feel something for Tru, and it wasn’t just because of Faith, or in spite of her. Tru was the perfect girlfriend. Maybe too perfect.
“Can we talk about this somewhere else?” Buffy asked, feeling stupid for standing in the middle of the street crying. “Back at my room?”
Tru looked away, wiping at her nose as she steadied her breathing.
“Ok,” she replied, her voice just a whisper.
She didn’t look into Buffy’s eyes the entire way back to the dorm, silence surrounding them again as they both battled with their own thoughts. Buffy wanted to hurt herself, to throw herself on the floor in front of Tru for forgiveness. She knew she’d just ruined something that could have been wonderful. Knew it had been just waiting to happen once she’d taken the decision not to tell Tru about Faith from the start.
When they walked solemnly into Buffy’s room the air felt too warm and Buffy could still detect the slight scent of what they’d spent all night doing together, and some of that morning. She moved to the window and pushed it wide, letting the light breeze sigh across her face before she turned back to Tru.
“I really am sorry,” Buffy all but whispered as she watched Tru move around the room as if in a daze.
Tru picked up a book from Buffy’s desk, gazing at the cover yet not really even seeing it; she was clearly stunned and trying to understand what had just happened. Placing it back down, Tru finally looked at Buffy, her eyes sad and shimmering with the threat of more tears.
“Who is she?” Tru asked, a tremble making her usually distinctive voice sound weak, unused. “Is she really my twin?”
“Yes,” Buffy answered, lowering her head, wondering how to explain. Where to begin? “Did she tell you anything else?”
With a sigh Tru sat heavily on Buffy’s chair, her furrowed brow making her seem tired.
“Not really,” Tru replied. “Something about you and her going ‘way back’ and that she hopes we’ll be happy. It was all kind of strange. I don’t know what to think.”
Buffy took a seat on her bed, idly fluffing the pillow before she decided that maybe it was time to tell all. She couldn’t very well explain this away or pretend that it was all in Tru’s head, or something equally as appealing.
“Faith and I were. . .friends,” Buffy began. “Initially anyway.”
Looking into Buffy’s eyes, Tru only seemed to appear more confused.
“Just friends?” she asked.
“Not even that really,” Buffy clarified, finding it almost impossible to label just what she really had been to Faith, with Faith. “Our ‘friendship’ got a little intense, and then it kind of imploded. There was badness. Lots of badness.”
Shaking her head in bewilderment, Tru implored Buffy to continue with just a look.
“We fell out,” Buffy said with a shrug. “It got messy and then she spent time in jail.”
“Jail?” Tru questioned, her eyebrows raised.
Buffy nodded. “Faith has never exactly played by the rules,” she replied. “You should probably ask her about that, though.”
The last thing Buffy wanted to do was get into everything that had happened and the reason Faith had gone to jail. She couldn’t tell Tru about the slaying or vampires, or anything that might seem completely mental; this really wasn’t the time.
“Go on,” Tru said, her voice harder than Buffy had ever heard it.
“Well, she came back,” Buffy explained. “She came back to Sunnydale and has been making my life a misery ever since.”
Buffy yanked at a stray thread emerging from her sweater and pulled, feeling the anger of the last few weeks bubble up as she really came to understand just how much Faith’s return had affected her. If only Faith had stayed where she was, or had gone somewhere else when she’d been released. It would have been better for them all.
“And when you met me you didn’t think to tell me about her, or ask if I even knew I had a twin sister?” Tru pressed.
“It was. . .complicated,” Buffy said lamely. “And then you were so nice, and I liked being around you, and. . .”
“And you lied to me,” Tru interrupted. “Did you think I’d never find out? Did you think you could just use me?”
“Use you?” Buffy asked, getting up from the bed and moving a little closer to Tru. “I wasn’t using you I. . .”
“Buffy, don’t keep treating me like a fool, you’ve done it enough,” Tru retorted angrily. “You were in love with her. You want to be with her.”
“I. . .that’s. . .” Buffy stuttered, hoping she didn’t look as impossibly lost as she suddenly felt. “I know this is really messed up and you must hate me right now, but I didn’t mean to hurt you. And I’m in love with you, not her.”
For a moment Buffy couldn’t quite believe what had just come out of her mouth, and it seemed Tru was having a similar reaction. They both stared at each other, eyes wide and questioning.
“You choose now to say that?” Tru asked, rubbing at her brow in frustration.
“I’m sorry, you’re right, I shouldn’t have said that. Not like this,” Buffy replied with a sigh. “But I do feel it.”
Buffy wasn’t lying. She knew right then that she had fallen in love with Tru, at least somewhat. It wasn’t a lie, even though her feelings for Faith were still all over the place. One thing she knew for sure was that she wanted this to work with Tru.
“I don’t know what to think, Buffy,” Tru said sullenly. “I obviously don’t know you as much as I thought I did. I don’t know what I should do about Faith. Should I talk to her? Am I supposed to just carry on with my life knowing she’s out there? And you. Can I even trust you now?”
Though Buffy wanted to tell Tru that she could trust her, it would only have sounded foolish, forced. She wished she had the answers, but even though she’d been waiting for this day to happen – for it all to blow up in her face – she didn’t have any.
“I don’t know if Faith wants to know you,” Buffy told her sadly. “She’s only known you existed for a while, and she. . .well, she’s difficult sometimes.”
“Difficult or not I think I need to talk to her.”
Buffy hated to think what kind of things Faith could say to Tru if they did actually sit down and talk properly; there was too much that Buffy didn’t think Tru should hear, and it would really be the nail in the coffin if Faith decided to tell Tru about their night together.
Feeling the weight of her lies and her cheating pressing down on her, Buffy sat back down heavily on the bed, holding her head in her hands.
“I’ll get you her cell number,” she said, the words partially muffled.
There was no escaping the mess she’d made.
With Tru watching her every move with an unwavering disappointed expression, Buffy pulled out her cell phone and found Faith’s number. She handed the phone to Tru and held in the urge to plead with her not to make the call, but she did call, and not even two minutes later she was hanging up and looking even more disappointed.
Faith didn’t want to talk to Tru and turned down the offer to meet. Tru seemed genuinely upset that Faith was so unwilling to find out more about each other, but Buffy didn’t know what to say. She was relieved but couldn’t exactly show that she was, so Buffy told Tru to try again in a few days. Faith liked to do things her own way after all.
“She said she was busy with somebody called Darla,” Tru said as she took Faith’s number then handed Buffy’s phone back to her. “Too busy to talk.”
Buffy blanched a little at hearing Darla’s name, trying her best not to wonder what Faith could possibly be doing with her. Faith was a lost cause and she knew she had to stop caring, stop thinking about her. There could never be anything between them that went beyond the night they’d had together and Buffy tucked her away in her mind, promising herself she wouldn’t ever allow Faith to manipulate her again.
“Give her a day or two, she might talk to you then,” Buffy suggested, hoping Faith actually wouldn’t change her mind. Hoping Faith would never speak to either her or Tru again, ever.
“Maybe,” Tru responded quietly. “This is all so strange. She looked so much like me.”
Buffy looked away guiltily; she knew fine and well just how similar they looked.
“I wish I’d told you,” she said, meaning it. “It was really, really stupid of me not to.”
“It was,” Tru agreed, though her eyes were a little softer now as they gazed at Buffy. “And what you said before about. . .”
“I meant it,” Buffy interrupted. “I’ve fallen for you; and I know that’s probably not what you want to hear right now, and you have every reason to want to break up with me but. . .”
“Buffy,” Tru began, getting up from the chair and walking the short distance to the bed so she could sit beside Buffy, “I can’t say that I understand why you didn’t tell me about Faith, but I feel the same about you.”
She picked up Buffy’s hand, holding it gently as she looked into her eyes.
“I think I need some time, though. To work this out,” she continued. “So I’m gonna head back home.”
Lowering her gaze to the space between them, Buffy nodded slightly, enjoying the soft caress of Tru’s thumb over the back of her hand for as long as she could.
“I don’t blame you,” she said, understanding.
When she looked back up at Tru she wished she could hold that moment and keep it forever. She saw the blossoming of love in Tru’s eyes and wanted that love, that hope, to wrap its arms around her and keep her safe from herself, but it was just a moment. Just a few seconds as they lingered, lips wanting to touch, hands wanting to hold despite what had just been driven between them.
The moment didn’t last long and Tru stood, taking a deep breath as she scanned the room for her bag and then began placing the few items back into it that she’d left lying around. Buffy instantly felt tears swelling in her eyes and excused herself so she could attempt to pull herself together in the bathroom before saying goodbye. Wiping at her eyes she looked in the mirror, cursing herself, disgusted with how she’d been behaving. She could only hope that she could fix this with Tru.
Once she was back in the room and Tru was ready to go, Buffy promised herself that this wouldn’t be the end. No matter how. . .she was going to make this right.
Tru appeared distant again, shaken. Her hands were gripping her bag tightly and there were tears in her eyes again. Buffy hated that this had happened but she knew she only had herself to blame.
“Keep in touch?” she asked as they walked slowly towards the parking lot, Tru remaining quiet beside her.
“I will,” Tru assured after a pause as they stopped by her car and she shoved her bag onto the back seat. “I’ll call in a few days.”
“Ok,” Buffy responded forlornly, grasping her fingers in front of herself. She’d give Tru her time to think before even attempting another charm offensive. It was only fair.
Before Tru slid into the passenger seat she looked long and hard at Buffy, studying her it seemed, a gentle hand coming up to touch Buffy’s cheek.
“No more lies, ok?” Tru asked.
Buffy nodded, unable to speak as she felt weeks of emotional baggage - of guilt, of Faith breaking her down, of falling in love – pushing on her.
There was a brief pause before Tru leaned forward and brushed her lips over Buffy’s, lingering only momentarily. Buffy wanted more, needed more, but she didn’t try for it when Tru stepped back.
As Tru’s car left the parking lot Buffy watched it go, tasting the hint of Tru on her lips. It tasted like regret.