You Pull The Strings

Chapter Fourteen

Something was humming in the background. Like a fly trapped in a tight container, just dying to get out. It was annoying the hell out of her. She wanted to swat it but for some reason she couldn’t quite seem to raise her arm. It was limp. She was limp.

Faith opened her eyes slowly, unsure of where she was and why she was there. Nothing in her brain was pointing her in the right direction of knowing what the hell had happened. All she knew was that she felt incredibly tired, and that she was lying down in a bed, with something making an annoying noise next to her.

Harsh light flooded in through her eyelids as she prized them open, instantly causing her to wince and want to shut her eyes again, but she had to know where she was and what was happening. Instinct had her wanting to know that much.

Above her, the ceiling looked too white almost to be real. As her eyes grew used to the blinding light, Faith realised she was somewhere clinical. The smell alone could tell her that. It was stripped of anything but cleaning agent. Testing her limbs she flexed her fingers and toes, finding them responsive. She ignored the mask covering her face, filling her lungs with foul tasting oxygen, and turned her head to look in the direction of the noise that had woken her from whatever kind of sleep she had been in.

A machine with various dials and gauges was set beside her, and she was attached to it by tubes. Acknowledging that whatever it happened to be was there for the good of her health she looked further towards the bottom of her uncomfortable bed, noticing something a lot more significant and surprising than the contraption she was currently linked to.

A cute blonde was sat in a comfy chair by her small bed, fast asleep. Faith smiled despite her returning memory of exactly what had transpired. She felt a sly tear roll down her cheek as she recalled the other slayer coming to her rescue; calling Faith’s name in the vast emptiness of the tomb of her own making. Stopping Spike. Killing Spike.

Faith felt bad about that because she didn’t really think he deserved to die because of her. She wasn’t aware yet why exactly Buffy had done what she had, or how she had known where she was. Faith didn’t want to wake the resting girl with her questions, as she was far too busy enjoying the opportunity just to look at her.

Faith hadn’t been able to do such a thing for far too long. Even just being in her presence and stealing subtle glances her way was better than nothing, but it hurt to think that she might never really have the opportunity to just gaze dreamily at the girl she loved, without her feeling uncomfortable. If she still believed Faith had done her wrong, then Faith was in no doubt they would never even get back to the friendship they once had.

Buffy stirred within her crumpled clothing, murmuring as she rolled her head to the side on the back of the large chair. Faith wanted to go over and pick her up and lift her into the bed with her, holding her close. She felt it even knowing what Buffy thought about her. Knowing that Buffy was probably there just to make sure she didn’t run off and try to hurt her friends. She couldn’t stop her heart yearning for Buffy.

The image of her rushing in to Spike’s cell like crypt was a powerful one. From what Faith could recall seeing, Buffy had been in somewhat of a rage, her ferocious eyes shooting fire at the vampire before she had slammed her stake into his cold and cruel heart. Then there was the crying as Faith had slipped into unconsciousness.

The last thing she remembered Buffy saying was that Faith had promised never to leave her. Buffy had told Faith that during her amnesia, so she shouldn’t have remembered it, or at least that’s what Faith thought. Things obviously needed clearing up. Faith just hoped she could face it and not turn and run, like she knew she had a habit of doing. Like she had done too many times before, both physically and figuratively.

She didn’t know what to think or feel. She was still heartbroken. She was broken in every way she thought it possible to be. But Faith didn’t really want to admit that to herself, let alone believe she could admit it to somebody that she had so recently fought with; somebody that had the power to hurt her in ways she couldn’t deal with. As she’d proved beyond doubt.

Closing her heavy eyes, Faith sighed as she felt her body doing its best to fix itself back together again. The memory of fangs digging deep into her neck - sucking away her life - caused her to shudder. It had been one hell of a close call, and at the time it had almost felt like salvation. But then Buffy – there and crying - just didn’t make sense.

“Faith? Are you awake?” Buffy asked quietly, sounding even more exhausted than Faith felt.

Faith opened her eyes a little, doing her best to hide the emotion in them. She watched without saying a word as Buffy got up from her seat to stand beside her bed. The blonde girl’s delicate hand was instantly in hers, surprising Faith and causing her to flinch away.

“I’m sorry.” Buffy inched her hand back away from Faith, looking down at the straight lines of the sheets she was tucked under.

Faith wanted to slip her hand down a little further on the top of the covers and touch Buffy. Take her hand like the Buffy had just tried to do with her, but she daren’t. She was too worried about fucking up all over again.

Tears were welling up in Buffy’s tired eyes as she stood with her rejected right hand resting by Faith, her head down and shoulders slumped. Seconds turned into minutes, feeling like an eternity before either girl spoke.

The atmosphere was heavy with unspoken words and emotions, and Faith was beginning to feel a little strange about the circumstances leading her to her current state. She felt embarrassed that Buffy had seen how low she had stooped, and how easily Spike had taken advantage of her. She felt embarrassed and annoyed that she’d had to be rescued, from herself as much as anything. Right now, trapped in the silence of the sanitary hospital room, Faith didn’t know what say to the girl that had just saved her life.

Obviously she was grateful, because no matter how much easier it had seemed to just let go whilst her veins were being divested of blood, Faith didn’t want to die. Not knowing exactly what Buffy felt about her was confusing. There were so many things she wanted to say and ask, but couldn’t.

Faith eventually unlocked her eyes from the far wall and lifted them to look at Buffy, hoping to get her to lift her eyes also. Faith wanted to see if she could work out what Buffy was thinking, and what was going on in her heart. She hoped that the usually open green eyes would let her know what had happened between the point of Buffy believing the worst about her. . .to Buffy having saved her and waiting by her bedside as she lay unconscious.

Faith removed the oxygen mask from her face and took a breath in anticipation of her own words, needing to break the icy glacier that had formed between them. She just had to know where she stood now.

“Buffy.” Faith spoke softly, causing Buffy to look into Faith’s beguiling brown eyes. “I don’t know why you did it, but thank you,” she said in a quiet voice, glancing away again from Buffy; afraid to witness the feelings flashing over green as much as she needed to. She certainly didn’t want to see contempt again from the girl she loved.

“How can you say you don’t know why I did it? You know why,” Buffy whispered as she clasped her hand around Faith’s despite having been rebuffed earlier.

This time Faith allowed the contact. Swallowing down the guilt for enjoying the soft touch of Buffy’s flesh to hers, Faith breathed out a small and shaky breath. Taking a second to feel every inch of the other girl’s hand in hers, and letting the words she had just spoken sink in.

She wasn’t sure what Buffy had meant. Her heart was beating one rhythm, whilst her head was pounding another. She didn’t know if Buffy was telling her that Faith knew she had saved her because she had feelings for her. It really wasn’t clear, and Faith wasn’t about to start wishful thinking once again by jumping to conclusions. But there was the fact that Buffy was holding her hand, standing attentively by her bed with tears in her eyes that were threatening to spill once more onto Faith’s pale skin. Buffy had saved her and that had to mean something big.

“B, tell me what you mean.” She couldn’t stand being in the dark anymore. It was a sad and lonely place. “Why did you stop. . .” Faith couldn’t finish her question as her words stuck in her throat from the memory of what Spike had subjected her to.

“Oh God, Faith,” Buffy sobbed as she threw caution to the wind and leaned down, pulling Faith into her arms. “I’m sorry.” Salty water ran from her and over Faith’s cheek as Buffy held tight.

Faith instinctively wrapped her arms around Buffy, her own tears washing out a little of the pain of the last few weeks, dripping down to mingle with Buffy’s as she shook softly against her. She couldn’t guess what Buffy was apologising for, but knew they would need to talk away the darkness from both of their lives.

Enveloping herself in Faith’s arms, Buffy eventually began to calm. Her tears slowed from rapids to streams, her breathing less erratic as they warmed each other’s skin with their closeness. Faith was about to speak, to ask Buffy why she was telling her she was sorry; wondering what had changed for her to be acting the way she was. But Buffy began to whisper against her neck as she refused to pull away from the tight embrace.

“I can’t believe I accused you of. . .of doing something like that to me. What Spike was. . .God, you must hate me. You should hate me.” Buffy was trembling again and undoing Faith in all the ways she had wanted to stay knotted in.

Faith didn’t want to just forget the hurt caused to her by Buffy - intentional and unintentional - but she really had no hope of stopping herself from wanting things to work out. She was still hopelessly in love. Despite what she had been accused of and what she had done to forget it - what she had put herself through to burn it out – the love was there, just waiting with baited breath for whatever Buffy had to say.

“I don’t hate you, B. I could never hate you,” Faith made clear as she nuzzled into silky blonde hair, filling her senses with the sweet aroma. “I love you.” The words snuck out of her heart and straight through her vocal cords.

She hadn’t really wanted to say it again, still not knowing exactly what reaction she would get, and what Buffy thought of her now. But there the words were. A testament to her own weariness at keeping her walls high and well maintained.

The words floated up into the static atmosphere that was filled with pent up emotion and need, they hung around them with Faith’s already shattered heart, waiting for some kind of reprieve. Some kind of sign. Some kind of acknowledgment that her love was worth Buffy’s time.

Buffy lifted her head slightly and looked into tear drenched chocolate eyes. They were inches apart, yet oceans still swelled between them. Beating hearts crashed like waves against each other. Hot breaths blew like summer winds, mingling as they met. Eyes searched and questioned as lips were left hungry and dry, waiting on the promise of collision.

“I know you do,” Buffy said, almost too quiet to hear. Stray tears once again fell from sullen green onto Faith. “Faith, I remember everything now.” The words joined Faith’s above the bed, dancing in the promises and hope that maybe things were going to be resolved.

Things were finally moving forwards instead of down in the spiralling descent of emotional denial and hidden desires, and Faith could at last see the end to her very own personal tunnel into darkness, despair, and overwhelming self pity.

She knew there was not much further down she could have gone. She had hit her bottom, and now hoped she could claw her way back up. She wanted Buffy by her side as she did it, but Faith knew at this point that counting on anything other than sheer luck was futile. Being so close to the end of her road had certainly given her a cold hard slap in the face, and she knew - no matter what - she didn’t want to go down that particular route again if she could help it.

As Buffy rubbed at her eyes and raised her obviously weary legs to settle onto the bed next to Faith - still firmly wrapped in her arms - Faith was thinking maybe luck was shining her way this time. She pulled Buffy willingly to her as close as they could get, and lay back against the hard pillow. She was tired, drained and depleted.

Faith closed her eyes, listening to the quiet breaths of the girl softly slipping back into the realm of sleep beside her, knowing that they would work the mess out between them. Knowing that she was glad she hadn’t broken her promise to Buffy to never leave her.

She never wanted to leave her, and for whatever reason - that she was sure she would discover soon enough - she was now pretty certain Buffy felt the same. They belonged together. In one way or another.

They balanced each other.



Email Dylan  |  Dylan's Twitter  |  Dylan's YouTube Channel

Website designed and maintained by Dylan

Please note that most stories on the site are rated NC17

All Rights Reserved.
No infringement of copyright is intended for the shows and characters contained herein.
The author makes no profit from these stories.