“Well, that was awkward,” Willow said as she walked with Buffy to a quieter, more private area of Giles' magic shop.
Buffy nodded, moving behind the far end of the counter with Willow, her eyes still fixed to the table across the room. . .and its occupants.
“Do you think she meant it all?” Buffy asked, forcing herself to turn away from Faith, and rest against the counter behind her.
“She sounded sorry. . .for everything,” Willow replied.
“Do you forgive her?” Buffy questioned, hoping her friend could ease her mind about Faith and make her realise that maybe she did deserve this chance.
“I think in time, if she stays true to her word. If she shows that she's really changed,” Willow answered. “Maybe it's too much to ask, but I think we should help her this time instead of push her out. Tara made me realise a few things about Faith, and I'm as much to blame for her going off the deep end as the rest of us. None of us were really there for her.”
Buffy was a little shocked by Willow's speech. She didn't know Willow felt so strongly about it. They both recently agreed that Faith wasn't evil, but she hadn't expected Willow to feel quite how she now obviously did about her. She wondered if maybe she should talk to Tara herself, and hear what she had to say. Buffy didn't want to be left with bitterness if it was possible to move on from that.
They'd all been called to the Magic Box by Giles that morning – he'd asked them to come with open minds, and ready to hear Faith apologise. Buffy could only imagine what had gone through Xander's mind knowing she was back, but when they'd arrived he wasn't as cagey as she had expected him to be. He wasn't full of hugs for Faith, but he seemed calm. . .almost uninterested.
After settling into their seats, Giles had asked for them to just listen, and then Faith apologised to each of them. She promised not to screw up again, and to truly pay for what she'd done. Buffy had heard the emotion in Faith's voice - feeling a lump in her own throat as she'd laid herself open for attack. But nobody attacked. There were a few questions, but mostly the room stayed quiet, the atmosphere thick with regret and unmistakable remorse. The weight of Faith's crimes seemed to lay heavily on them all, and Buffy didn't like that feeling. She didn't want to feel her own responsibility tugging at her.
“She's going to live with what she did for the rest of her life,” Willow continued. “And even if she can't put any of it right, at least she wants to try.”
Buffy found herself nodding again, wishing she could see things as clearly. Her judgement - her thoughts - were clouded by everything else she'd ever felt for Faith.
“How do you think Xander feels?” Buffy asked, planning to talk to him about it later, but wanting to test the water.
Nobody knew Xander as well as Willow.
“He's a good guy,” Willow said. “She hurt him, but he's strong – in a lot of ways. I think he'll try to give her another chance.”
It sounded plausible, but Buffy couldn't be so sure.
“Do you think you could ever forgive her?” Willow asked as Buffy looked down at the old wooden floor.
Buffy wasn't certain of the answer to that either. She felt like she wanted to, but there was much more at stake, much more involved.
“I don't even know where to start,” Buffy admitted. “I don't even know why it all happened. How she got so. . .”
“Lost?” Willow finished for her.
Sighing, Buffy glanced over at Faith as she sat by Giles, going over some paperwork – terms of her release, and something else to do with the Mayor. Xander and Tara were talking amongst themselves, looking more at ease than she thought they probably should. For all they knew, Faith could be tricking them all. Her apologies could all be lies. Buffy just didn't know for sure. She didn't want to think Faith was here for another round, however. She wanted to believe that Giles knew better, and that Faith had changed.
“Yunno, Tara said some things before we got here that kinda made me think,” Willow said, interrupting Buffy's thoughts. “She told me how difficult it is being around us at first. She felt like an outsider for the longest time, and we did that to Faith too. As much as you tried to include her, we were like this impenetrable group of people she couldn't feel part of. For somebody like Faith – with her history - it wasn't easy to deal with.”
“That doesn't explain or excuse the fact she killed people. She switched sides,” Buffy pointed out, holding onto her safety net – keeping herself from thinking anything was salvageable with Faith.
Willow turned and rested against the counter with Buffy, speaking low. “She made a mistake. It was an accident either of you could have made. . .but she didn't know how to deal with it and nobody really got it. The rest was her being desperate for acceptance from somebody – the Mayor. We didn't give her it but he did. He needed her and she wanted to be needed.”
Buffy furrowed her brow and wondered how Willow had worked it all out so simply. She understood Willow's words. She could see how they could be true. . .but it still didn't sit easy with her.
“You make it sound so simple,” Buffy said quietly.
“It's not simple, it's just human nature. She was surviving the only way she knew how. . .and we're awful people for not giving her a better way to do it,” Willow responded sadly.
Buffy glanced behind again to Faith, wishing she could make up her mind about her and about how she now felt about her.
“You think we're to blame. . .as much as her?” Buffy asked, already knowing the answer – although she didn't want to admit it.
“We all played our part, and I don't want to feel that guilt any more,” Willow said. “I'll do my best to help her make things better.”
Taking a deep breath, Buffy looked at her friend, noticing how Willow appeared determined not to make the same mistakes she believed she had done before. Buffy wasn't certain of her own mistakes, but she wasn't stupid enough to think her hands were totally clean. She had a certain amount of blood on them, probably more than the rest of her friends. It was hard to accept that was the case – Buffy was stubborn – but it was there, eating away at her.
“I guess I could try to. . .forgive her,” Buffy said with a resigned sigh.
She had no choice, it was the right thing to do. It was the only thing to do – but it wasn't going to be easy, or quick. They had a long way to go.
They stood in silence for a little while as Buffy digested everything Willow had said. It was twisting around in her mind, tripping her up and making her think about the past, and amongst it all was the desire, the need, the feelings she'd had for Faith. It all mocked her and burned her, scolding her insides with the memory of the pain and confusion. She'd had a hard time with Faith right from the start, and a lot of it was due to her own fear.
“So, apart from the whole not trusting her thing, and being annoyed that she's back. . .” Willow began.
“Not annoyed, just. . .mildly disturbed,” Buffy corrected.
“Well, apart from that. . .how else do you feel?” Willow asked. “I mean, about her now that she's back, now that you're all gayed up.”
Buffy couldn't help but chuckle. It was funny to think she was in any way 'gayed up', but she supposed she was to some extent. She had a girlfriend - one that she’d forbidden Willow to even mention around Faith, for obvious reasons - so it wasn't as if she was exactly totally straight.
“I don't know how I feel,” Buffy confessed. “I never expected her to just turn up.”
Hearing a noise behind her, Buffy looked around. They were all still sat at the table, but Faith glanced up at her, her dark eyes capturing Buffy instantly. She blinked, trying not to see Faith. Trying not to see her in the way she wanted and needed. Faith would never be what she needed, and she had to keep telling herself that. She had to keep herself from falling into the same trap.
Tearing her eyes away, Buffy rubbed at them and turned her back to the table once again.
“I don't want to think of her in that way; not now that I have Tru,” Buffy said quietly to Willow.
“Can you do that?” Willow asked.
“I have no idea,” Buffy replied. “Faith's still totally and completely hot, and I guess I'm just. . .weak.”
“Dunno about that, B. You always had one hell of a right hook,” Faith said behind them, making both Buffy and Willow jump. “Never felt weak to me.”
“Ok, next time you creep up on me could you do it a little louder?” Buffy asked wryly as they spun around towards Faith.
“That would defeat the point. Plus, I wasn't creeping up on anybody,” Faith responded with a slight grin starting to curl her lips. “Not my fault you were gettin' all hot n bothered about me just as I got here.”
“I was not getting. . .ugh, it doesn't matter, just don't creep around like that when people are having private conversations,” Buffy blustered as Willow knitted her brow in worry next to her.
“Sure, I'll get a collar with a bell if it helps. That way I'll jingle when I walk and you won't have to get caught calling me hot,” Faith said with a big, mocking grin.
“I think I'm gonna. . .just. . .go over there,” Willow said, her eyes wide as she backed away from the two slayers and pointed towards the table now occupied only by Tara and Xander.
She scurried away before Buffy could stop her, leaving her stood alone with Faith. There was the counter top in-between them, but it still felt too close to Buffy. She couldn't handle Faith being so close.
“Maybe a collar is exactly what you need. . .to keep you in line,” Buffy stated smugly, gaining a raised eyebrow from Faith.
“Didn't know you were the dom type, B. Kinky.”
“That's not what I meant,” Buffy said hastily, feeling herself flush.
“Sure,” Faith said with a wink.
As usual, Faith's flirting was unnerving Buffy – even more so given the fact she now knew how much she liked her, and now that Faith had more of a clue about it. She needed to gain control, and to show Faith that she wasn't going to make her insides go all squirmy so easily, so soon after everything that had happened.
“Don't joke with me, Faith. It's too soon,” Buffy said harshly. “You have a lot to do before we're anywhere close to that.”
Faith dropped her eyes to the floor momentarily, her shoulders slumping just a little.
“Yeah, I know,” Faith said quietly, the husk to her voice making Buffy feel the need to get closer, to rest against Faith and feel her heat and be wrapped in her scent.
She had to almost shake herself free of the thoughts. She couldn't want what her body was clearly telling her she still wanted – it just wasn't right.
“I'm sorry,” Faith continued, just as low and quiet, her brown eyes flicking up to Buffy's as she spoke. “Believe me when I say I'm sorry for everything I did.”
Buffy felt her heart squeezing in her chest as she gazed into Faith's dark eyes – eyes that were full of hope. She'd never seen Faith looking so vulnerable. Her instincts told her to scoff at Faith's heartfelt apology, but she couldn't. Buffy wouldn't beat Faith for being sorry, but the words still made her an incoherent mix of angry and hopeful.
It felt like her mind and body, her heart and soul were at war over Faith.
“I'm trying,” Buffy responded, almost too quiet to hear.
Faith smiled a small, tentative smile that made her eyes sparkle.
“Thank you,” she said to Buffy. “If you give me a chance. . .won't be long 'till you're telling me more about how hot you think I am,” Faith added, her smile sliding into more of a grin.
Buffy couldn't help but chuckle as she shook her head. There was just something about Faith – even after all the heartache and the fighting – that made her do the girly-smile thing. That made her want to flirt back, and to push that little bit further. But she'd always done her best to try to resist it, and now was no exception. Only now. . .it seemed like it was going to be much harder.
“You tell your girlfriend yet about how you got me all confused with her?” Faith asked after a short silence between them.
Buffy coughed and looked wide-eyed behind Faith to make sure nobody had heard.
“Faith, I told you to forget about that. About Tru,” she said firmly. “She doesn't know about you and doesn't need to. Now just drop it.”
Faith looked a little puzzled at Buffy but nodded slightly in understanding. The exchange was awkward and loaded, for all kinds of reasons that Faith didn't need to know about. She didn't want Faith talking about Tru - not only because she had no intention of revealing just who Tru was and who she looked identical to, but also because she felt guilty for being unable to look at Faith without her body reacting. She didn't want to think of Faith in any way other than the person who had wronged her, but it seemed her body was far more willing to forgive and forget than the rest of her.
“So,” Buffy began, not certain what she was going to say next as she shifted around uncomfortably behind the counter.
“So,” Faith echoed, also failing to continue.
Faith leaned on the counter that was between them, turning from Buffy as she looked around the shop. It gave Buffy the opportunity to study her a little – not that she'd admit she wanted to.
Her dark hair was long, lush and wavy – though not in the same bouncy way as Tru's - flowing down her back and over her shoulders. Wearing a dark tank top and black jeans with a silver studded belt, Faith looked uncompromisingly tough. Buffy knew she was that. The dark clothes mirrored Faith's dark depths. The depths that threatened to pull her down – that had pulled her down when she'd turned to the Mayor. Buffy wished she could see into those depths and help Faith stay out of them, but she knew they were part of who she was, and changing that was impossible.
Looking at her now, feeling the energy oozing from her lightly tanned skin as she stood too close for comfort, Buffy wasn't surprised that she'd fallen for her. Faith was mysterious and charming, and she was beautiful. She appealed to Buffy in every way, almost too well. She still wanted her, there was no doubt about it. She wanted to feel the burn of her skin, naked and pressed against her. She wanted to feel her full lips on her own. She wanted to know Faith in ways only a lover could. . .and she hated it. Buffy didn't want to feel that way. Not before, and not now.
“Dunno if you knew it before,” Faith began, turning her head only slightly towards Buffy but not looking into her eyes, “but I always thought you were pretty fuckin' hot too. Still do,” she said, her chest rising and falling a little faster. “If you weren't taken. . .I'd probably have the guts now to ask you out, but I know that's crazy talk. I know wanting you isn't gonna get me anywhere.”
Blinking and trying not to feel the rush of excitement go through her hearing Faith's words, Buffy attempted to come up with a response. But she couldn't think of an appropriate one. She could lie and say she didn't care about what Faith had just said – that it didn't mean anything - but that didn't feel right.
“Faith, I. . .”
“Don't have to say anything, B,” Faith interrupted, shrugging. “I just don't wanna start with all the bullshit again. New start and all that crap.”
Buffy understood that. There had been so many lies before, and so many things kept secret and hidden. It had poisoned anything they could have had, including any hope of friendship.
“You can tell me to fuck off,” Faith continued, “but I'm not here to lie and fuck with you any more.” She looked into Buffy's eyes, moving her body round to face her again. “Got a thing for ya, B. But unless you let me know you're interested, I'll keep it outta your face. Gotta admit though, hearing you say I'm hot. . .makes me wonder if you are interested.”
Feeling her mouth open and close, Buffy once again searched for an appropriate response. She looked into Faith's eyes and couldn't lie. Their brown depths pulled her in, enticing her, wrapping their way around her and offering her a chance to see deeper. No, she couldn't lie. . .but she also couldn't tell Faith the truth.
“Let's just. . .work on being friends, if that's even possible,” Buffy said.
She pulled her eyes from Faith's and moved away, walking around the counter towards the table her friends were sat at. Glancing back she noticed that Faith wasn't following her, instantly realising she should do or say something to make Faith know she could sit amongst them. If Willow and Tara were right then Buffy had to try a little harder to include Faith, even if it went against her better judgement. Even if all her instincts were telling her not to trust Faith and not to allow her back into her life.
Buffy gestured with her head for Faith to come and sit down, and she watched as she pushed away from the counter to join them. She couldn't take her eyes off Faith, and she could see that Faith knew it. As Buffy sat down she kept her gaze fixed on Faith's slow walk to the table, her sure swagger mesmerizing her as it always had.
It was hard not to think lascivious thoughts now that she knew what she was missing – or almost at least. There was no ignoring how sexy Faith was now. . .but Buffy still had a pain in her heart from where Faith had betrayed her. Her appeal was heavily tainted by all she'd done.
They stayed at the Magic Box for a short while until first Xander had to leave to go to work, and then Willow and Buffy had to get to classes. Giles had asked Buffy to help re-train Faith and with all eyes on her she'd had to agree – though she made it clear she wasn't going to just let Faith walk back on to her patch without first getting on the path to trusting her.
Giles agreed that it would take time and he thanked Buffy for at least being civil. He also let it slip that the Mayor had thought highly enough of Faith to leave her a large amount of money, the apartment he'd bought her, and some land. She was rich. She had millions of dollars and it didn't seem to affect her at all.
That wasn't quite right, though. Buffy saw the guilty look in Faith's eyes when he mentioned it. She saw that she didn't think she deserved it. She probably didn't deserve it, but it was hers.
“I can't believe she's rich,” Willow said aghast as she walked alongside Buffy to their first class.
“She didn't seem too happy about it,” Buffy pointed out as students bustled around them in the crowded hall.
“I noticed that too,” Willow agreed.
They filed into the class, taking their seats next to each other as they both pulled books and pencils from their bags. Buffy felt like she could do with a day off – time to herself to figure out some things - but that wasn't really a possibility. She needed as much study time and learning as she could get as everything just seemed much harder than she'd expected. It wasn't that she was failing completely, she was just struggling a little. It didn't help that she spent her nights out slaying when she should have been getting a good night's rest.
“I overheard Giles talking to her about it just before we left,” Willow said. “She was asking him about giving most of it away.”
Buffy furrowed her brow. She couldn't imagine Faith being the charitable type.
“He said they'd arrange something, but that he wanted her to make sure she was comfortably well off,” Willow continued.
“Do you think she deserves to be 'comfortably well off'?” Buffy asked a little bitterly. “She does. . .everything she did, and gets rewarded for it. Doesn't seem fair.”
“I don't think money will stop her paying for what she did for the rest of her life, Buffy,” Willow stated. “In fact, it's probably only gonna make it worse.”
“I hope so,” Buffy responded without thinking.
She received a disproving glare from her friend and looked suitably sorry.
“I didn't mean that,” Buffy said. “Well, not totally.”
“I understand how hard this is for you, Buffy. She really did her best to hurt you,” Willow said quietly as the room filled with students. “You must be all kinds of confused, especially if you still like her in the. . .yunno, groin-y sense.”
Buffy spluttered as she swallowed, looking a bit shocked at Willow's choice of words. Thinking about anything groin-y where Faith was concerned was a bad idea, and best left unmentioned, but now Willow had said it Buffy found it difficult not to think about it.
“You still like her don't you,” Willow stated, whispering as the class hushed for the teacher.
Chewing on the end of her pencil, Buffy thought about it. She didn't have a direct answer for sure. The hurt and betrayal and everything that had happened between them still didn't completely kill the attraction she had for Faith. Maybe it was a slayer thing, but she doubted it as that didn't explain her attraction to Tru. No, it was something deeper. It was lust and desire and it ran right through her for Faith in a way it never had for anybody else.
“Yeah,” Buffy admitted with a resigned sigh. “I hate that I do, but I can't help it. She's just. . .”
Buffy sighed again, wishing she had more control over what she felt. But it was all still inside her - she'd proved that by being so bowled over by Tru.
“You like the dark and dangerous types,” Willow said matter of factly. “She's like the female version of Angel, except not as broody, and less fangy.”
“What?” Buffy didn't see the connection.
“It's true,” Willow went on. “He was bad once – much worse than Faith with the stabbing and killing, and he also drank blood. But he was trying to make up for all that, and now that Faith's doing the same you're just destined to go gooey eyed for her even more.”
“God, I hope not,” Buffy muttered as the teacher shushed them and began the lecture.
Hoping she didn't really have a thing for 'dark and dangerous', Buffy thought about Tru and all she could have with her. Tru wasn't any of the things Faith was. She was sweet and kind, gentle and promising. But what could she really have with somebody that was basically a stand-in? How far could they go if it was all based on a lie? She didn't want to dwell on it, too eager to hope that Tru would be the one she could be happy with. Buffy wanted to be happy. She was tired of fighting and she was definitely tired of depressing and impossible love affairs.
No matter how her body and her heart had reacted to Faith's words earlier – and they had, without warning and against everything she was trying to avoid – she needed to keep Tru in mind. She wasn't about to throw away what they could have just because she thought Faith was all kinds of sexy. And she knew she needed more than just sexy to build a decent relationship.
The only thing she could probably ever have with Faith was hot, mind-blowing sex, and though the thought of that made her hot and sticky in obvious places. . .she didn't just want sex. She wanted much more than that.
It was hard work, but Buffy did her best to avoid thinking too much about Faith for the rest of the day. It was hard not only because of herself, but also because Willow kept mentioning her. It was like a non-stop roller-coaster of thoughts and feelings that Buffy just didn't want to deal with. She'd start off being adamant that she wouldn't get friendly with Faith on any level – planning to stay away from her so nothing could go horribly bad between them again. But after a while she'd soften and believe that they could maybe patch things up enough to start again. It always sounded nice in her head, but she knew it wouldn't be that easy. And she knew it shouldn't be that easy for Faith.
There was no getting away from the fact she had to stop thinking about her in the way that was creeping up on her already. There was no future with Faith. She didn't want a future with Faith.
By the time Buffy had eaten and organized her work for the next day it was time to get ready for patrol. She hadn't called Tru yet and was feeling guilty about it, but she couldn't deal with hearing her right now – she needed a day or two to settle her feelings before carrying on with Tru. Faith's arrival had been a big shock, and Buffy was still reeling from it. It was going to be tough to get used to.
It was also tough to keep her mind on the job as she strolled through the shady corners of her first cemetery. She didn't want to find herself on the floor unconscious again, so she kept her stake in her hand and her mind focused.
As she strayed from the path, her eyes searching deep into the darkness, she heard the snap of a twig behind her. Spinning, Buffy raised her stake in readiness, dropping a little lower as she moved towards the sound of rustling.
“If you're blue and demon shaped, get ready for some payback,” Buffy mumbled under her breath.
Getting closer to the quiet disturbance just beyond the thick bush ahead, Buffy prepared to lunge and attack whatever it was creeping around.
“Thought I'd never find you,” came a flustered English voice from behind the bush. “Whoa, steady on, Slayer. No need to get all stake happy.”
“Spike,” Buffy said with an annoyed sigh. “Why are you even looking for me?”
She straightened up and lowered her stake – though not quite all the way, as she was getting way beyond agitated with Spike following her.
“Not exactly looking. . .more like, expecting to find you. What with you being a slayer and all, out here amongst the cobwebs and worm eaten bones.”
“You make it sound so glamorous,” Buffy said with a soft glare.
“Could be worse. I know demons that live in raw sewage. Nice fellas but they don't make the best dinner guests,” Spike declared.
Buffy shook her head. She didn't want to imagine what Spike meant exactly by dinner guest. An image of him tucking a napkin into his tee shirt, as a stinky, hog tied demon struggled on a large plate in front of him didn't make Buffy instantly want to keep talking to him. Not that she actually wanted to talk to him at all.
“Yunno, if you're planning to keep stalking me like this, you could at least bring doughnuts,” Buffy quipped, feeling her tummy rumble and wishing she'd had more to eat than a small TV dinner.
Spike grinned and adjusted the collar on his long black coat. “I could bring you something much better than doughnuts to eat,” he said cockily.
“Ew,” Buffy responded, pulling a disgusted face. “Please tell me you didn't just suggest what I think you did.”
Although she wanted Faith off her mind, getting lewd suggestions from Spike wasn't going to help. In fact it did the exact opposite and made her want to think about the girly-loving even more than before.
“Mind outta the gutter, Love,” Spike scoffed. “I have a friend that works in pizza delivery.”
“And by friend you mean?”
“Demon that owes me some kittens,” he replied. “Pizza shop manager just thinks the kid looks a bit weird, but he's a Gralk demon through and through.”
“Don't tell me, he lives in the sewer,” Buffy guessed, feeling less and less hungry as she thought about grime encrusted pizza.
“Only on weekends, but the pizza is good. . .or so I've heard. Not much of a fan of cheese and. . .”
“I'm getting bored now, so what did you want?” Buffy asked gruffly as they slowly made their way towards the cemetery gates, no hint of any vampires other than the one pestering her.
The night was a little cooler than previous ones and Buffy rubbed at her arms after tucking her stake into the inside of her flimsy jacket. She wanted to get her patrol done so she could get back to her dorm and plan on how she was going to keep away from Faith.
“Got some interesting news today. Something about another slayer being in town,” Spike told Buffy as he strolled beside her.
Buffy wasn't surprised he'd heard already. Nothing seemed to get past him. She really didn't want to have to talk to Spike about Faith, however – it wasn't going to help the whole trying-not-to-think-of-her project.
“Was it that gossiping grape again?” Buffy asked, rolling her eyes.
“Grapevine,” Spike corrected, giving Buffy a puzzled look. “As in news travels along it like. . .yunno what, forget I ever mentioned the bloody grapevine,” he sighed. “So, is it true?”
“It might be,” Buffy replied, crossing the street, heading to the next cemetery.
She wasn't keen on Spike knowing all about the 'slayer business'. He'd helped them out here and there, but she didn't think it was a good idea to let him get too comfortable. Without his chip he'd be just another monster looking to feed on innocent people.
“I knew it,” Spike said excitedly. “So, what's she look like? Not as skinny and short as you I'm hoping.”
“Huh? I didn't even say she was here at all for sure,” Buffy pointed out, stopping and turning to face Spike.
“I can read you, Slayer,” he said with a confident smirk. “So spill the beans.”
“What is it with you and fruit?” Buffy asked, raising her eyebrow.
Spike laughed loudly, scratching at the back of his head as he studied the small slayer.
“A bean isn't a fruit. . .for a start. Now stop deflecting and tell me about her.”
“Why?” Buffy asked, getting suspicious.
“Because I'm hoping she's more fun to be around than you,” he said bluntly.
He pulled out a cigarette and lit it. Buffy narrowed her eyes, watching as he took a long drag on it. She didn't like his interest in Faith, and it wasn't just because she was a slayer and therefore the natural enemy of any vampire. She didn't want Spike near Faith for reasons she didn't quite want to admit to herself. Faith wasn't exactly virginal and chaste, and she had a feeling she'd find Spike an interesting guy to conquer.
She couldn't let that happen.
“Spike, I'm gonna make this as clear as I can,” Buffy began, taking a threatening step towards Spike. “I want you to stay away from Faith.”
Spike regarded Buffy with a cold stare, his cheekbones looking even sharper in the moonlight than normal.
“Sounds like a threat, Slayer. Or maybe a challenge,” he said, cocking his head slightly and raising his eyebrows in defiance.
“Oh it's definitely a threat,” she confirmed. “I mean it, Spike. She doesn't need you around her. I don't want you around her.”
His defiant expression slowly changed into one of amusement as he kept his eyes fixed on Buffy's. Looking like the cogs were turning in his head, Spike blew out a few smoke rings before chuckling a decidedly devilish chuckle.
“You're sweet on her aren't you,” he said confidently. “Holier than thou Buffy Summers. . .not quite as straight cut as she makes out she is.”
He continued to chuckle and grin, and Buffy reached for her stake.
“You're totally wrong, and you're this close to floating around in the air.”
“Don't worry, Love. Your secret is safe with me,” he nodded, taking a step back and holding his hands up in mock surrender. “Would love to stay and chat, but I've got people to see. . .new slayers to find.”
“Spike, don't you dare,” Buffy warned, practically growling. “Keep away from her.”
“Come on now, Buffy,” he said as he began to walk away backwards. “I gotta check out the girl that's got you all flustered. It's just too intriguing, not to say bloody funny if all those stories about her and you are true.”
But Buffy didn't see the funny side. She was angry. She also knew chasing him and staking him wasn't something she could get away with, so she watched him scurry away, feeling her blood boiling and wondering just how he'd guessed so correctly about her thoughts on Faith.
She didn't know if she was more angry at his assumption about her interest in Faith, or if it was the slight possibility that Faith would be interested in Spike. Though she wasn't planning to give in to what she felt for the other slayer, she certainly didn't relish the idea of somebody else boasting about sleeping with her. She had to concede it would make her incredibly jealous.
And she knew how big a leap she was taking even imagining that Spike would get that far with Faith, but Faith was in a slightly vulnerable state, and she was no angel. She knew Faith would toy with Spike just for laughs if the opportunity presented itself.
Oh, Buffy felt jealousy rising alright, and it wasn't good for her plan to quash all she really wanted from Faith. Not good at all.