The morning doesn’t start out quite the same as it has been doing lately with Faith in my bed. Instead of waking alone this time, I regain consciousness to become fully aware that Faith is very much with me. So with me she’s practically on top of me. Her leg is draped over me and her arm is thrown around me, hand reaching up so her fingers can twirl in my hair. It’s something I’ve started to get used to at night, but by morning she’s normally up and gone before I open my eyes.
Taking a few moments just to indulge in the contact, knowing I should end it so I can stick to my guns this time, I let the morning roll over me and wake me slowly. I feel mentally drained. Physically tired. How many times can I convince myself I don’t want this, and that I can’t have it, only to crumble at the first touch from Faith? What she’s offering is too powerful to fight easily. I’m going to have to use every ounce of strength I have left in me, so I can move past it and keep myself sane.
I prise my eyelids open to force myself away from Faith as she sleeps, but as soon as I glance over at her I realise she’s not asleep at all. She’s leaning on her hand, just looking at me and smiling gently. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t in the plan. I’d told her not to touch me, and here she is. . .all touchy and feely and making my life hell.
“Faith,” I say quietly, the morning harshness clinging to my voice, making it low and hoarse. “I told you not to touch me. Why are you. . ?”
Faith interrupts. “See, I was thinking about that, B, and yunno what? It’s complete crap,” she informs me, her warm body temporarily making it impossible for me to argue. “We both want the same thing, so you shouldn’t let anybody fuck with that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting when that person wants you right back. You’ll get it. . .and when you do I’ll be right here, ‘cause I ain’t givin up, B.”
She smiles broadly at me, a stunning dimpled smile that leaves me almost as breathless as the kiss that follows. Her lips hit mine and relentlessly make me yield to them. Faith kisses me fully and forcefully, not letting me have any doubts about her intensions. I can’t help but move my lips against hers just a little as my breath hitches and my body responds.
All I can feel is her lips and her heat, pulling me into her like I don’t have a will of my own. But she doesn’t linger long, pushing herself up and off me as she climbs over me and out of bed. I watch her every move, caught up in her like she’s tangling me in a web. Of course, she’s practically naked and wearing the smallest pair of panties I’ve ever seen, so it’s not making me want to look away like I should. Then she stretches right by me. My gaze travels over her, sliding over her neck and down to her breasts as they stand proud, their dark nipples enticing and arousing. I try to look away but I let my gaze drift lower instead, feasting on her firm stomach as she stands in all her glorious. . .gloriousness.
My mind has left the building. How can I make myself not want her when she looks like that?
I do my best not to stare at her panties, but I’m losing this battle already. I wish I could reach out and rip every last piece of clothing from her, including the holy socks she’s wearing again. Doing my best to breathe normally I get distracted by the tattoo I’d seen snaking over her hip the other night. It’s some kind of black tribal bird of paradise, curling over her hip and heading down over her stomach at the side of her adorable little belly button. It’s a beautiful work of art, made more impressive with the light tan to her skin and the slight outline of small muscles.
Without realising I’d sat up I reach out with my fingers and trace the outline of the bird’s tail feathers arching over her hip, trailing them over and down towards the top of her panties where the tattoo disappears a little as it swoops lower. I stop at the edge of her underwear and am transfixed. She’s so close. I’m so close to taking, to seeing, to having her be mine. But what would I do with her?
I’m not stupid, I know what I want to do with her. . .but beyond that I’m lost. What would we be? Lovers, or girlfriends? Friends who fuck? Would she be my dirty little secret? I can’t answer any of my thoughts, and that’s telling me to keep strong and remember what it felt like last night to fear that this is too much like what happened with Spike.
My fingers drift away from her and she reaches out to take my hand, just holding gently as she looks down at me. I get lost in her eyes and the connection of our fingers as she brushes her thumb over me. I want this to be easier. I really do. She doesn’t deserve me being the way I am, pulling her in and pushing her away. It’s making me nuts so God knows what it’s doing to her.
I drift back to thoughts of her kissing me; telling me with the press of her lips that she’s sure of what she wants and where it’s going. I wish I was as sure because I need her lips on me again. Her eyes darken as she inches closer and replaces my hand on her stomach. I feel the slight tremor that runs through her at my touch and it’s intoxicating. Faith’s eyes are burning darkly with passion and desire, but I can see so much more. I see wonder, uncertainty, a vulnerability I’m sure she’d hate me seeing. I can’t trust those vulnerabilities to me. I don’t want to give her false hope.
Pulling back again I take a deep breath and shake my head, her eyes still trying to draw me in. We’re both startled from the tension with a knock at the door.
As I pull the covers up around me even though I’m not the one stood around half-naked, Faith turns and asks who it is. Willow answers and Faith rolls her eyes, grabbing my robe from the chair close by. She shrugs it on and it’s even shorter on her than it is on me. She looks. . .damn it, she looks sexy as hell with her hair all tousled and her chest all cleavagey as she leaves the robe a little open instead of pulling it around herself. Willow is going to faint if Faith opens the door like that.
“Faith, wait,” I utter, but it’s too late.
Faith pulls the door open and Willow stares at her, blinking as she holds her hand out ready to knock again. I can almost see the hormones rushing through her as she fights not to ogle Faith. I’ve tried that, it doesn’t work. It’s like Faith was made to be ogled.
“Hey, Will,” I say, looking past Faith and throwing Willow a lifeline.
“Hey,” she stutters back. “I have some good news.”
“Well don’t just stand around, Red,” Faith says with a grin. “Come in.” She leaves the door open for Willow and moves to her side of the bed where her clothes are strewn around.
Willow cautiously enters, not quite fully closing the door as she keeps her eyes on Faith. It’s actually making me a little uneasy. I mean, I know it’s hard not to look at Faith when she’s. . .clumsily trying to pull on her jeans under my very ill fitting robe, but hey, Faith is my. . .I scrunch my brow and get Willow’s attention with my hand.
“Sorry,” she mumbles, sitting on the side of the bed and facing away from Faith so she can’t watch her get dressed.
“So, what’s the news?” I ask, my eyes flitting back to Faith at every opportunity.
It’s not my fault I can’t keep my eyes to myself if she’s wriggling around, getting into her jeans and letting the robe drop so she can put on her bra. I might be drooling in fact, which I’m pretty sure would be a massive giveaway. I should stop looking. Stop wanting her so damn much it aches.
“It’s Kendra,” Willow says, finally getting most of my attention as Faith pulls on a tee shirt. “She’s just about to leave LA with her watcher, so she should be here in a few hours.”
“Great,” I say, distracted by all the black Faith is wearing.
Why do I have such a weakness for people who wear lots of black? She does look particularly edible in it though. All mysterious and sleek, and. . .I’m really not doing well at keeping my mind off her and sticking to my hope of staying away.
“So. . .” Willow begins, glancing towards Faith and losing her train of thought as Faith stumbles around trying to put her boots on.
She knocks over the lamp on the desk as her ass backs into it and I can only hope she gains more poise and balance if she becomes a slayer. It is adorable though, especially as she keeps mumbling swearwords to herself as if nobody’s watching. I shake my head and chuckle as the boots are finally pulled on and secured, leaving the room a little safer.
“Catch ya later, B,” Faith says with a wave as she blusters out of the door. “I hope Andy’s got his apron on, I’m fucking starving.”
We hear her greeting potential slayers who are waiting for the bathroom, a yelp letting us know she’s smacked at least one of them on the ass. The torrent of abuse that follows indicates that it was Kennedy. Willow sighs and I can’t help but laugh.
“You like her don’t you,” Willow says, not really having to ask.
I’m guessing my smile gave it away, though I hope she doesn’t mean that I like her like her; I don’t want to arrive at that conversation just yet.
“She’s. . .different,” I say, trying to pick my words carefully. “I mean, sure she’s kind of infuriating and annoying, but she’s a lot more than that. She’d make a good friend.”
I hope I didn’t stutter on the word friend too much. Thankfully Willow doesn’t seem to have picked up on it, or anything else. She just smiles and nods.
“So, Giles thinks it would be a good idea to take the potentials out shopping to get them geared up, yunno. . .before all the shops close down,” Willow tells me as I get out of bed and retrieve my robe to put on. “He says some of their clothes are ‘unsuitable for slaying duties’, and he wants us to get some new weapons.”
“Sounds great,” I nod. “He always hated my choice of outfit when it came to patrols. I tried to tell him that looking good came with the job. It’s part of my calling,” I say with a grin, thinking back to all the silly outfits I’d tried to slay in. I must have destroyed a small rainforest of clothes over the years. . .not that my clothes were made out of wood.
“He’s going to hire a minibus tomorrow and take them. I don’t honestly think he knows what he’s letting himself in for,” she says, looking suitably worried.
We might possibly never hear from Giles again if he takes all those girls shopping for clothes. I hope Andrew goes with him at least.
“I’ve been told I have to go with,” Willow continues. “So I was hoping you’d come along too, so you can be there to save them if I turn all evil again.”
I look over at her and wonder if she’s serious, both about me going and about her going all dark-Willow again. Her little grin gives her away and I relax.
“There is no way I’m going shopping with a bunch of adolescent girls,” I say firmly. “I had enough of that growing up with Dawn. That’s a nightmare I really don’t want to visit again.”
“I know, but it was worth a shot,” Willow says with a giggle.
We make our way out of the room and I book a place in the shower queue. You’d think I’d be first in line considering who I am, but just like with the soda I have to wait for the girls to finish up first. I guess it’s my fault for not being an early riser but I can’t break the habit of a lifetime.
* * *
For most of the day I don’t see Faith. She’s busy with Giles and the other girls, learning about the art of being a slayer. I almost decide to sit in on one of the lessons, feeling the need to learn about it myself, but I doubt Giles would be too happy if I started asking more questions than the potentials.
As lunch rolls around I get pushed into the plan to teach Faith and Kennedy some basic hand to hand combat moves. The idea doesn’t sit easy with me. I don’t want to spend that much time in the presence of Kennedy for one thing, but mainly I just don’t think I can be that close to Faith and keep on the straight and narrow, pun fully intended.
Giles is insisting and looking all fatherly at me so I guess I don’t have a choice, but I can still be slightly pissed about it.
“Kennedy is with Willow at the minute helping her and Andrew prepare some warding spells, but Faith is waiting in the basement for you,” Giles informs me. “I told Spike to leave it free for you as it’s probably best the other potentials aren’t aware you’re giving extra tutelage to Faith and Kennedy.”
“And the noisy grunting definitely won’t give us away,” I say sarcastically, blushing a little as I realise just what I said.
“I’m sure you can contain yourself, Buffy,” Giles says, a painful smile crossing his features.
I’m not sure if he’s thinking what I’m thinking but I sure as hell hope he isn’t. I don’t want him imagining me and Faith grunting for reasons other than physical combat. That’s just all kinds of icky.
I make my way down to the basement, feeling butterflies attempting to take flight inside me. I try to suppress them but realise slaying butterflies is not my strong point.
“Thought you’d never get here,” Faith calls to me as I leave the last step behind me, wishing I could run back up them and hide.
She’s wearing far too much black, and her eyeliner is thick, making her eyes seem even darker and more dangerous. She pushes herself up from her sitting position on Spike’s bed and strolls towards me. I feel trapped, caught in the headlights, hooked on her. . .hook. I have to stay strong, and professional. I can’t let her reel me in again.
“I was just making sure Giles had plenty of first aid supplies,” I say, feeling my muscles twitching. Eager to see how Faith moves when she’s fighting.
“I’m pretty sure he’ll have plenty for ya, B. Wouldn’t want his slayer getting banged up and full of boo-boos without enough band-aids around.” She winks at me and I lick my lips.
This could be fun.
We get right to it after I show Faith some quick stretches, which were rather distracting given the fact I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She’s not too bad at swinging punches and the kicks I show her don’t seem to be too difficult for her. Faith is lacking strength, but her agility is surprising. The combinations she’s putting together would test any normal person and she hasn’t had any formal training.
“You’re pretty good at this,” I tell her as we relax for a moment, our bodies still circling in fighting stances.
“Told you I could hold my own, B.”
I chuckle at her grin, actually feeling proud that she’s much better than Kennedy is. We’re working up quite a sweat, and I think I’m doing well with not pouncing on her and tearing her clothes off. Maybe I’m getting the hang of ignoring this desire I have for her. I’m kidding myself of course; I’m tingling all over when she touches me and finding it hard to breathe when we get caught locked together. Each time I’ve landed on my back with her on top of me I’ve thought one thing. . .that I want her naked and writhing all over me.
These thoughts are just too hard to push aside, and the distraction is allowing her to beat on me more than necessary. I know she’s holding back though, even though I’m a slayer, and it’s kinda cute. I told her she didn’t have to but she said doesn’t feel right hitting me for real. I know how she feels; I really don’t want to keep knocking her back on her ass when she gets her timing wrong. At one point I let my fist fly at her a little heavily and her nose bled. I wanted to stop and make sure she was ok, but Faith wanted to continue. She’s no pushover, and definitely not any kind of wuss.
“Come on, give me your best shot, B,” Faith says, her eyebrows bouncing playfully as she beckons me forwards.
“You sure you can handle it, F?” I ask, gaining a wide grin for my use of a parallel nickname.
“I can handle everything you’ve got,” she tells me, the double meaning not lost on me at all as her eyes roam over me.
I want to tell her she can have everything I’ve got, but that would defeat the whole idea of not going there again. Instead of replying I launch myself forwards, not too quick and not too hard, just enough to make her spin a kick my way for me to dodge. I duck under her leg and grab her around the middle, hoping to pull her to the floor and declare victory once and for all.
As my arms slide around Faith she manages to get her hands tucked under them and she shoves. I go flying backwards towards the very concrete wall. Hitting it with a crack I slump to the ground, looking up at her in shock. She just threw me across the room without too much effort; I think we can safely say that’s not normal.
“Shit, B. . .I’m sorry,” Faith gasps, hurrying towards me.
She doesn’t get far before she falls to the floor, her hands holding her up as she comes to a rest on her knees. Something is obviously wrong. I get up quickly, brushing flecks of paint from me, and move towards her.
“Faith, are you ok?” I ask, kneeling in front of Faith, swooping long hair out of her face so I can see her.
“Feel like I just got hit by a fucking truck,” she responds.
She’s shaking and looking puzzled and I think I know what just happened.
“Faith,” I say softly, reaching out to her. “Take my hand.”
She looks up at me, nothing but trust in her eyes; trust that pretty much blows me away because I haven’t seen her do that with anybody here. Faith takes my hand in hers and I ask her to squeeze it as hard as she can. She nearly breaks it and now I’m sure.
“What is it, B?” Faith asks, a slight tremble to her voice that makes me want to wrap her in my arms.
“I think Kendra’s dead,” I tell Faith sadly, saying a little prayer for Kendra in my head.
Faith sits back on her haunches, her eyes searching mine. I feel the difference, like a distant hum somewhere deep in my stomach. Hell, I can see the difference. Faith isn’t just a potential anymore.
“You’re a slayer, Faith,” I tell her, keeping her hand in mine.
She blinks a few times and runs her free hand through her hair. “No fucking way.”
“I’m pretty sure,” I nod with a smile.
Faith looks confused, switching between almost smiling to frowning and back again.
“I didn’t think. . .never thought it would really be me,” she says, trying to stand.
I help her up and walk her to the small bed. We sit down and I don’t let go of her. I can’t let go of her.
“Well, you’re the chosen one, Faith,” I say proudly, not hiding my smile.
“Some chick died and I get. . .fucking super powers. As much as Giles told me about all that crap, it’s freaking me out a little here,” she says honestly. “Man, Ken’s gonna be pissed.”
We both chuckle at that thought.
“The Powers That Be must have seen something special in you,” I point out, still unable to hold back my smile.
“Yeah? Well they must be fucking crazy giving this to me.” Faith looks down at her hands as they gradually stop shaking.
I take her hand back in mine and try to catch her eye. “I don’t think they’re crazy, Faith. I think they chose well.”
She takes a deep breath and just stares at me for a second. I can see the emotions running through her, churning her up before finding a place to settle. I really hope she’s strong enough to deal with this because I don’t want her to break down or lose control.
“I feel something,” she says quietly. “I think it’s you.”
Faith’s eyebrows express her uncertainty perfectly as she lifts a hand to brush an unruly lock of blonde from my brow. I’m caught in her spell as she searches through all her new senses, her brown eyes dazzling me in the dim light of the room.
“I feel it too, Faith,” I assure.
She smiles then tucks her hair behind her ear, looking up towards the ceiling.
“Wow, I can hear everything that’s going on up there,” she chuckles. “That’s kinda weird.”
“You’ll get used to it.”
I can’t stop smiling at her as she looks at the world with new eyes, new more powerful senses. It takes some time getting used to, but I won’t lie. . .it’s pretty damn special.
“Kennedy is gonna shit,” she says in her normal eloquence.
I laugh and tell her “Just don’t die and give her the satisfaction of being the next slayer.”
“I’ll do my best,” Faith nods, her eyes back on me, driving right to the center of me.
The training we’ve been doing is going to have to step up a notch. She has power now, and that sometimes makes you feel invincible, especially at the beginning. I don’t want her getting hurt, now more than ever.
“We’d better tell Giles, he’ll want to force you to read the handbook and set up a training schedule, then he’s probably gonna want to do some tests and stuff,” I tell her, getting to my feet.
“Whoa, hold yer horses, B. . .tests? Schedules? I’m not into that kinda crap,” she says, shaking her head. “All the lowdown I need on this sitch I can get from you.”
She looks more worried about the tests than she does about the possibility of being eaten by demons. I sit back down and let her calm herself.
“I’ll teach you all I can, Faith,” I confirm, turning to face her completely. “You’re going to have to do some of Giles’ stuff too though. He’ll want to teach you things I can’t.”
Faith shakes her head again and rubs her brow.
“I’m not great with the learning thing, B. Never was,” she explains softly.
I can see the fear in her eyes. The walls she keeps up around herself are becoming pretty see-through to me and I know there’s something she’s not saying.
When I ask her to tell me what she means, gently pushing every time she pauses, she gives me the gift of knowing about her. She tells me about her home, growing up, her parents; everything. I sit and listen, pulling every bit of information up like a sponge. We sit for about an hour, swapping stories and getting to know one another. It’s definitely a good thing, especially now she’s going to be fighting side by side with me, once I’m sure she’ll be safe of course.
Faith seems a little shocked that she’s told me so much about herself, telling me she doesn’t normally spill her guts for just anybody. I swear I saw a slight blush when she said it, but I couldn’t be certain. It still made me smile all coy and girly, but then she hit me in the arm - forgetting about her new slayer-strength and using full force – and I almost went tumbling onto the floor.
We eventually made our way out of the basement and went to tell Giles. He was sad about Kendra, as was everybody when the news broke. Giles seemed proud that Faith had been the one to be called, however. I don’t think he likes Kennedy much either. I guess you could say the girl suffers from her own bad press, or maybe it’s just her big mouth.
Most of the potentials congratulated Faith warily, their jealousy showing. Kennedy stormed out of the room with Willow trying to calm her down. It was quite a funny sight and I shared a little smile with Faith.
It feels a little weird having another slayer so close. I met Kendra and she stayed in Sunnydale a few days, but. . .she was a little unusual, and nothing like Faith at all. I got the same little slayer-tickle inside from Kendra, but with Faith it feels deeper. I don’t know why and I’m certainly not going to look too far into it but it’s definitely different. I also feel like gravitating towards her even more now than I did before, which is just not helpful when I’m trying to cool it with her. I’m all kinds of confused, about what Spike said and about what I think of it. Would it really be so bad if I were to just let myself be closer to Faith? I don’t know the answer.
Maybe I’m just scared of the answer.
“So, B,” Faith says cheerfully, getting my attention. “You gonna let me come slaying with ya? Can’t wait to get in a little night time ungh with the vamps.”
I raise an eyebrow at the motion that went with her sexy little “ungh”.
“I don’t think so, Faith. Not yet,” I tell her.
Her face falls and I feel instantly bad, like I just took her favorite candy away.
“Buffy’s right, Faith,” Giles adds, saving me from being the only bad guy. “I think it’s best we work with you on some of the major slaying techniques before you rush into anything. We don’t want to throw you in the deep end without first teaching you how to swim.”
Faith scrunches up her brow and looks at me. “Why’s he going on about swimming? I just wanna beat some vampires up. . .one of em kinda got me in the mood to do it,” she explains, looking between Giles and I.
It wasn’t easy getting her to stay at home while I went out to slay, but eventually she stormed off to sulk and I left for the nightly patrol. She didn’t look happy at all, but it’s for her own good. She’d only rush in and get herself killed before I have the chance to ever work this thing out that’s between us. I think it’s becoming clear to me now that what we have - what we could have - is nothing like the sordid affair I had with Spike. She’s not him and never will be, and we’re not drawn to each other because we want to inflict pain on one another. I just need to be sure. I need to trust in what she feels and what I feel. I hope she can forgive me for being such an ass last night.
I make it home after dusting a handful of vampires. There were no scary demon types out tonight, just the usual bloodsuckers looking for a suckee. I did manage to get a nasty knock to my leg, but I’m sure the limp won’t be as permanent as the mess the guy made of my pants. I hate it when they have icky long fingernails and start scratching at you like a demented cheerleader. It so doesn’t make the vamps look as tough as they try to be, and that takes some of the fun out of turning them to dust.
When I walk through the door, shrugging out of my jacket, I see Giles striding towards me. He doesn’t look happy.
“What is it?” I ask, sensing something’s wrong.
“It’s Faith,” he says and my blood runs cold.
I try to ask what happened, but the words get caught in my mouth.
“She had a little. . .argument with Spike,” Willow pipes up, coming down the stairs carrying Faith’s bloodied clothes.
My eyes are wide as I stare at the small bundle then look from Willow to Giles.
“Is she. . ?” I can’t speak.
Willow notices I’m panicking and reaches out to me. “She’s ok, Buffy. Just a little shook up and. . .a little bit battered and bruised,” she tells me, helping my heart slowly work its way back down my throat. “Spike came off worse. He’s quite a mess,” she adds, a sly little grin crossing her lips.
I feel my body do its best to un-tense, but the only thing that’s going to put me at ease is seeing Faith and making sure she’s ok. I don’t quite get why I’m so worried and doing the whole freaking out thing, but I’m not going to stop and analyze it just yet; I have to check on Faith.
“She’s in your room, Buffy,” Giles lets me know, as if he’s sensing what I’m feeling.
Not stopping to wonder if they’re questioning why it’s Faith I’m rushing off to see and not Spike, I charge up the stairs three at a time.