You Pull The Strings

Chapter Three

“Hey, girlfriend, wait up,” Faith called out, jogging slightly to catch up with her slaying partner.

“I’d given up on you coming.” Buffy turned at Faith’s shout. “At least you look better than you did earlier. I gotta say, the whole half dead look really didn’t work for you, Faith,” Buffy chuckled.

The two slayers fell in step, making their way to their first patrol point. They walked side by side into the glare of the setting sun. The heat dissipating with every slip of it into late evening.

Faith had done her best to get cleaned up and looking human again, and not like something she was built to kill. Something that enjoyed sludging around in the dirt at night to get out and feed.

“Come on, everything works for me, B. I’m hot stuff.” She ran her hands down the front of her body, clearly showing off her assets.

Buffy just smiled coyly at Faith, chuckling at the self-assessment. It was fairly obvious Buffy was in agreement. Not that she would voice her opinion, but Faith could tell Buffy approved of her attractiveness. She winked at the smaller girl and pulled her denim jacket around herself a little more as the sun was swallowed up by the distant horizon.

It had taken Faith most of the day to sort herself out, from her room to her alcohol soaked clothing. She had cleaned up both physically and mentally. Faith was sick of wallowing in self-pity. It was getting her nowhere and was actually serving to alienate Buffy even more from her than when she had first arrived in Sunnydale, and she didn’t want to go back to that.

Faith had also put a little more effort into her appearance for the night’s patrol, more so than she had been doing since the day Buffy regained her memory. She had taken the time to straighten her naturally wavy dark hair, knowing it made her look even more striking than usual, and she had ensured her makeup was perfect, and not laid on too thick.

It didn’t take much in the way of clothing to flatter her, as pretty much anything did. Faith had stuck with her trademark black leather pants and boots, and squeezed herself into a tight red sleeveless top, remembering an offhand comment from Buffy about how much she suited red. She was hoping Buffy noticed.

She didn’t expect Buffy to actually say anything however, as the comment about Faith suiting red had been about the closest “careful, got my whole memory” Buffy had come to telling her she looked good.

“So, anything big and nasty expected out tonight?” Faith asked Buffy as they entered the graveyard.

Buffy was wearing her usual pastel shades. Looking pretty, sweet and innocent next to Faith, who looked liked trouble. Although Faith sometimes joked with Buffy about the way she dressed all girlie, she actually quite liked it. The cuteness of the smaller girl made Faith want to just grab her and. . .well, have her wicked way.

“Nope. Nothing expected, but always planned for.” Buffy took a very ornate looking knife from her waistband, and handed it to Faith.

It was old, but very well looked after, that much Faith could tell. The handle was slightly curved to fit into the hand perfectly, and had an elaborate design carved into it. The blade glinted menacingly in the last remnants of the glow from the horizon. It was clearly sharp and cast in a way that the dark girl had never seen before.

“Whoa! This is fucking nice, B. Where’d you get it?” Faith turned the blade over in her hands, testing the weight and feel of it.

“Giles. He brought it back from one of those watcher vacation things. He said it’s really old, and from that place they wear those pointy hats.” Buffy waved her hand in a vague manner, suggesting she hadn’t been paying attention to Giles when he’d told her about the knife’s origins.

“Pointy hats? Like wizard school or something? Sorry, but I can’t see Henry Potter, slicing and dicing with this thing.” Faith demonstrated a fine slice and dice manoeuvre.

“It’s Harry Potter, not Henry. . .not that I know these things, but Willow never shuts up about him, it, whatever. Anyway. . .that’s not what I meant.” She watched as Faith played with the weapon.

They strolled along in the still evening air, not looking like they had a care in the world between them. Chatting casually and not appearing to be charged and ready for anything, but they were, and they could both sense it. Or at least Faith could always sense it from Buffy. The power and passion just riding beneath the surface, almost close enough to touch.

She breathed deeply and closed her eyes momentarily, trying her best not to think about touching and Buffy in the same sentence.

“You can have it if you want,” Buffy said and smiled sweetly at Faith.

“What?” Faith was still busy trying not to think about the touching.

“The knife. You can keep it.” Buffy kicked a stone ahead of her, glancing shyly at Faith as she beamed.

“Are ya sure? I mean, Giles gave it to you. I don’t wanna. . .” Faith stopped walking and turned to face Buffy.

“I’m sure. See it as a thank you for taking care of me,” Buffy said softly before she caught a sound off to her left. “Looks like we’re up.”

A vampire turned the corner on what was to be the unluckiest night of his un-dead existence.

* * *

Faith let Buffy head towards the vamp first, wondering a little at what exactly the blonde girl had meant about her taking care of her. She hadn’t said anything to Buffy about how she’d allowed her to stay with her whilst they’d worked to find a way to get her memory back. She realised Buffy knew she had stayed at the motel, but nothing more had been said. Certainly not by her anyway.

The two girls hadn’t really spoken much about it at all in fact. Faith for obvious reasons, and Buffy seemingly just as keen not to drag it up, for her own thus far unshared reasons. But she clearly knew something that Faith hadn’t told her, and it was the second time that day that Buffy had said something to make her wonder if maybe Willow had gone back on her word in some way.

“Hey, Faith. A little help here?” Buffy looked back at the brunette, pointing to the stake she had dropped in her struggle with the vampire.

“Sorry, Slayer, thought you had it covered.” Faith ran towards the tousling pair, picking up the stake on the way.

She lunged forwards towards the vampire as Buffy dodged a spinning kick from the athletic foe. Faith pushed the sharp wood into the vampire’s chest and grinned as he exploded into dust.

“Thanks.” Buffy took the stake back from Faith, and reordered her hair back into her ponytail.

“No problem, girlfriend. Always glad to help a damsel in distress,” Faith said mischievously and wiggled her eyebrows at Buffy, brushing the vampire off, hating it when they stuck around clinging to her clothes.

“Very funny, Faith. I was just making sure you were paying attention,” Buffy said playfully.

“Always, B.” There was no way Faith couldn’t pay attention to Buffy.

Buffy had all of her attention, and she was aware that Buffy would no doubt pick up on that in the inflection in her voice, which had suddenly dropped into a sexy tone due to more than just the fact she had just slayed. Buffy said nothing, and they moved on.

The rest of their patrol went smooth enough. They encountered just two newbie vampires, and a disgruntled bum, who grumbled as the slayers disturbed his night’s sleep. His smell quickly drove the chosen two away and home for the remainder of the night.

As they strolled slowly towards Revello Drive, they bantered about the advantages and disadvantages of slaying in a skirt, the tragedy that was Sunnydale’s nightlife other than the vamp action, and various other ‘safe’ subjects they could chat about without Faith getting all hot and horny. Or just more so than usual.

Faith was becoming more and more comfortable in the prospect of Buffy one day giving her the signal to make a move. She could feel the sexual tension, and even attraction, heading in her direction from Buffy.

It had always been there, but with everything that had happened, and all that Buffy had said to her with her loss of memory, Faith was much more aware of it. But, if she was reading things right, it was still far too soon to do anything about it. She knew she would have to sit on her hands so to speak, and ensure that the blonde girl was ready.

“Your stop, chica.” Faith stopped with Buffy at the end of the path leading to her home.

“You didn’t have to walk me home ya know, Faith?” Buffy searched out Faith’s dark eyes in the dull light.

“I know, but I wanted to.” She dazzled Buffy with her winning smile.

She was sure she caught what could only be described as a contented look glint across Buffy’s tender green eyes. Faith wanted to say more, although she didn’t know what, because she recalled seeing a similar look when she had told Buffy she loved her. It was as if she could detect what was going on inside the other girl’s head, but not. It was still utterly confusing.

She wanted to reach out to Buffy right there but she was uncharacteristically afraid. Afraid of causing Buffy to freak on her, or to run, or to deny her feelings and her attraction to her. She couldn’t risk it just yet.

“Vikings!” Buffy said excitedly.

“What?” Faith furrowed her brow in puzzlement at Buffy’s apparently random outburst. “I don’t see any Vikings, B,” she chuckled.

“The knife. It’s some kind of Viking antique thing or something.” Buffy looked down and blushed for some reason.

“Cool. You positive you want me to have it?” Faith dug her hands into her pockets, also feeling a little uncomfortable and embarrassed.

She realised they were probably both feeling a little uncomfortable because Buffy had never given Faith something so important before, or significant, or anything really. So for those reasons it just felt like some kind of step forward for them. A big one in the right direction as far as Faith was concerned.

“I want you to have it, Faith,” Buffy said softly, looking back into Faith’s eyes and reaching out gingerly, touching Faith lightly on the arm.

As soon as she made contact with Faith, Buffy winced in pain. She closed her eyes and shrank back from the brunette, holding her head with her hand.

“Buffy, you ok?” Faith approached the other girl, but she pulled away.

“I. . .I’m ok. Just. . .” Buffy blinked up at Faith. “I have to go.” She practically ran towards her house, leaving Faith behind and baffled.

“B!” Faith called out after Buffy, worried about her.

“I’m ok, Faith. I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” she called hastily as she disappeared.

Faith had no clue what had just happened. When Faith had moved towards her, Buffy had flinched away and had almost appeared scared of her. She watched as the blonde girl vanished into her house, glancing over her shoulder at Faith before closing the door.

“What the fuck was that about?” Faith said to herself as she stared at the closed door.

She wasn’t keen on just going home, but knew Buffy’s stubborn streak wouldn’t allow her to let Faith in.

She scratched her head and made her way back to her motel, avoiding any bar or club that did its best to pull her in its direction. If something was wrong with Buffy and she was needed, she didn’t think showing up drunk or smelling of sex would go down too well. She didn’t really want to go down that road again anyway.

So Faith made a hasty and puzzled retreat to her small motel room, and hoped nothing really was wrong with the girl she was madly in love with.



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