“So, what is it that’s bothering you, Buffy? Don’t look at me like that, I can tell when something’s up with you. You get all quiet, and bite your lip. You start twitching and dragging your leg behind you, and walk round in circles,” Willow rambled, demonstrating said ‘walking in circles’ with her fingers.
“Only joking. . . with the last part that is, not all of it. I mean, that would be silly,” Willow muttered.
“Willow, I’m trying to study,” Buffy said, speaking around the pen she was chewing.
“No you’re not. You’ve been sitting there for the past 20 minutes, staring at the wall,” Willow corrected, grinning.
“Yeah, well maybe I’m doing an important study on. . .plasterboard,” Buffy nodded defiantly and closed the book in front of her. She moved to lie down on her bed.
Something was bothering her. It was the throbbing headache that threatened to melt Buffy’s brain. She had been trying to study, but found it impossible to concentrate, and the more she tried the worse things got. It didn’t help that the small dorm room was as hot as hell, what with there being no air conditioning.
It wasn’t just the headache and the heat stifling Buffy’s study time, though. If she were being totally honest with herself, she would have to say a certain flirty, dark haired slayer had more to do with it. She just couldn’t get Faith out of her head.
For a while now, the little blonde had been thinking more and more about the younger girl. She had been thinking about Faith’s past, or what she knew of it. Her philosophy that all men are beasts. And her get some, get gone attitude. But most of all, she was just thinking about Faith in general.
It had started innocently enough. She liked the girl, despite the walls she had up around herself. Buffy thought she was smart and funny, and she enjoyed being around Faith, especially when they were slaying together. But more recently, what was really worrying Buffy was the fact that she had began to think about the way the other girl looked, the way she walked and talked.
She knew that it was ok to think that another girl was attractive, but Buffy realised that it probably wasn’t ok to be checking her out while you thought it. She thought Faith looked good in more than just a ‘straight’, platonic way. It all came down to the fact that she didn’t just find Faith attractive, she was attracted to her. It was definitely a distracting insight.
Buffy had never seen herself as anything but straight, but the facts couldn’t be denied, as much as she had tried to ignore them. She thought Faith was gorgeous. Buffy loved her eyes, as they were so deep and dark. She loved her sexy grin, especially when it was aimed at her. She loved the confident slayer’s body; Buffy couldn’t find the words to describe it, or the way it made her feel. Hell, she loved everything about Faith, from sassy attitude to strong, lithe legs. She was captivated, and confused because of it.
As she lay stretched out on her bed, attempting but failing to think of anything but Faith, the blonde slayer let out a heavy sigh. Willow span round in her seat, even more concerned than she had been before.
“Ok, slayer, spill. What’s the what?” Willow demanded.
“What? I’m fine, just. . .tired, and there were far too many ‘whats’ going on just then.” The frown on Buffy’s troubled face didn’t back her up in the least.
“You don’t have to tell me Buffy, but I’m here if you need me. I’m your best friend, so. . .anyway, I’ll always be here for you.” The redhead turned back to her work.
Buffy thought she must have been looking really bad for her friend to say that. But she was right; Willow had always helped her out in the past, particularly when she had still been with Angel. Even so, she didn’t know if it would be wise to tell her best friend about her feelings, especially for somebody that Willow wasn’t too keen on. But it was becoming more and more difficult to hide her attraction around Faith, let alone stop thinking and dreaming about her.
“Well. . .there is something on my mind, Willow,” Buffy said quietly.
Willow left the seat at her desk, to sit cross-legged on her own bed, the picture of friendly concern. Willow was unsure about what was upsetting Buffy, but she knew whatever it was it would be better shared.
Buffy mimicked her friend’s position as she sat on her bed, still unsure of whether or not to unburden herself onto Willow. She didn’t want to put their friendship at risk, but then again, she had been through a lot with Willow.
Before she could get a word out, Buffy’s cell phone began chirping its little tune.
“Shit. Hello?” Buffy answered.
Buffy’s eyes remained fixed on Willow as the person on the other end talked. She gave a little nod to her friend, and mouthed that it was Giles.
“Ok, we’ll be there as soon as we can. Have you called Faith? Right.” Buffy hit the end call button on her phone, and sighed.
“Is it not good?” Willow’s forehead creased into a “what now?” frown, something all the Scooby gang could relate to.
“It’s Faith. . .well, not her exactly. The, they. . .here.” Buffy busied herself getting ready to make her way to her watcher’s house, babbling her inconclusive answer.
“Buffy? You’re not making sense, what’s wrong?” Willow asked.
Buffy couldn’t stop her mind running in panicky circles long enough to form a coherent sentence. She stopped what she was doing, and tried her best to calm down. It would probably not be a good idea to just run out, leaving Willow wondering.
“The Watchers Council are coming for Faith. They want to take her back with them.” Buffy couldn’t hold back the tear that slipped noticeably down her cheek.
“Oh, Buff, I’m sorry,” Willow said softly as she stepped towards the little blonde and pulled her into a hug.
Willow wasn’t sure exactly why she was sorry, but she suddenly felt incredibly sad for Buffy. She wasn’t that keen on the slutty brunette herself, but knew that Buffy had the whole slayer-connection thing going on.
She heard the solitary tear turn into full on crying and it shocked Willow a little. I mean, even with the connection it wasn’t as if the slayers were all that close, or at least that’s what she thought. She decided to store the information at the back of her mind, planning to ask Buffy about it later.
Pulling herself together, Buffy berated herself for getting so upset. It wasn’t as if they had already come and taken Faith, but she was just so mixed up. Emotions were definitely running high. Buffy removed herself from Willow’s embrace and dried her eyes, an apologetic smile creeping onto her lips. They had to get to Giles, worrying and crying could be done later, and alone.
* * *
They arrived at Giles’ home, not too long after he had called. Buffy knocked on the door and was shown in by the mild mannered watcher. She could sense Faith’s presence, but couldn’t see her. Giles gave both Buffy and Willow a little smile before removing his glasses to clean them. Buffy always wondered why he did that, as they had looked perfectly clean to her.
Willow sat down on a comfy chair, perching on the end in anticipation. Buffy remained standing, looking around for any sign of her dark counterpart. The leather jacket nonchalantly thrown onto the couch was sign enough, and she relaxed her shoulders slightly. As if reading her mind, Giles nodded towards the kitchen.
“Faith is in there. She was hungry, apparently,” he clarified.
“Isn’t she always?” Willow huffed. She could never get to grips with just how much Faith ate. Especially with a figure like the one she had.
Buffy looked in the direction of Giles’ kitchen, and as she did so the beautiful brunette emerged, appearing to be as laidback as ever, sandwich in hand. Buffy smiled instantly, beaming at just the sight of the other girl. Her heart fluttering ever so slightly as the smile was returned with just as much fervour.
A dim light began blinking inside Willow’s head, but she refused to acknowledge it. She didn’t really have any reason to believe that Buffy was interested in Faith in anything other than a friendly way. And although she was aware of Faith’s veracious sexual appetite, she had never heard her mention being into women.
It was true that Faith liked to flirt however, especially with Buffy. Willow decided not to think too much about it, thinking always got her into trouble so she concluded that her best option was probably to feign ignorance.
Buffy disconnected herself from the spot she had been standing in, and made her way to the sofa. She got there just before Faith. The blonde slayer sat tentatively on the edge of the seat, while Faith practically threw herself into the cushions causing Buffy to roll backwards and to the side slightly, effectively bringing her closer to Faith.
Buffy tried her best not to get too close, because if she did her senses would be on overload. She could already smell the distinct aroma the other slayer gave off. It was sweet, with a slight hint of soap and fresh perspiration. She loved her slayer senses sometimes. It took all of Buffy’s control not just to lean over and bury her head in the younger girl’s neck, and not only to inhale more of her scent.
Before she did such a thing and embarrassed herself beyond belief, Giles broke the silence that had draped over the small group.
“So, I’m pretty sure council members are going to turn up here tomorrow morning. My contacts were fairly clear,” Giles told them. “We need to get you to safety, Faith, as I know they won’t be turned away so easily. It’s imperative that nobody knows where you are, so we have to find somewhere they won’t look. Any ideas?” Giles looked gravely at the young girl.
“Whoa there, G man, not so fast. What the hell are they after me for anyway, what did I do?” Faith asked, just managing to speak around a mouth full of sandwich.
Buffy furrowed her brow. “Yeah, why can’t they just leave her alone? I mean it’s not her fault Kendra died, and she was chosen. They should just leave us. . .I mean Faith alone. I’m sick of the damn Watchers Council. They’re always sticking their noses in where it’s not wanted. Jesus, I’d like them to have to come and do our job for once, instead of sitting there in their big old, stuffy, safe houses, with nothing to do but mess with people who risk their lives on a daily basis for them.” Buffy’s little speech drifted off as she noticed that everybody was looking at her, her little outburst obviously surprising them.
“Yes, quite Buffy,” Giles said slowly, raising an eyebrow. “But the fact still remains that we have to get Faith away from here. I’m not sure why they are coming for her now, all I know is that they are.” Giles looked from Buffy to Faith, following Buffy’s gaze.
Faith was pretty surprised at Buffy’s little speech. She hadn’t expected Buffy to be so bothered. It wasn’t as if they were the best of friends or anything. The brunette tended to put it down to the slayer connection to explain why Buffy put up with her at all. She knew that she was inclined to piss people off with her attitude, but Buffy seemed to actually enjoy their little insult contests.
Buffy never ceased to amaze her. Whether it was just a sweet smile, or a shy look her way, it always warmed Faith’s heart a fraction. Was it just a slayer thing? She was becoming more unsure of that day by day. When it came down to it, Faith certainly couldn’t bring herself to hope that Buffy might want more than her friendship, as it just seemed so far out of her reach.
They fell silent, busy minds trying to come up with feasible plans.
“Look, no one’s at risk here but me,” Faith pointed out. As much as Faith didn’t want to deal alone, she also didn’t want to put anyone else in the firing line, especially not Buffy. “I’ll disappear, no biggie.”
Giles nodded, and Willow smiled slightly, but Buffy couldn’t believe they were so willing to just let Faith cope with this herself. She understood that Faith hadn’t exactly ingratiated herself with her friends, but then they just never got her sense of humour.
They didn’t understand that Faith used her sarcasm and rudeness as a shield, not expecting anyone to give her a chance anyway. Buffy understood; she wasn’t sure why, but she did. And what was more, was the fact that she liked Faith’s attitude. They bounced off each other so well. Like they were two sides of the same coin or something.
Buffy shook her head, clearing her mind. Now was not the time to be thinking about how much she wanted to be with Faith, as something so much more than just a friend. Faith needed her to back her up, whether she wanted it or not.
“No, Faith, I won’t let you deal with this on your own. None of us should,” Buffy stated strongly and hit both Giles and Willow with a no-nonsense look, clearly showing her disapproval of their eagerness to just leave Faith to it.
The brunette gave Buffy such a sweet smile it almost caused her heart to burst out of her chest right then and there. Obviously Faith had appreciated her support.
“Yes of course, Buffy. We all need to think of a solution to this,” Giles nodded, and looked suitably sorry for his lapse in compassion.
“Aha, I’ve got it!” Willow exclaimed. They all looked her way in anticipation. “Buffy, you remember that cabin out of town we used to hang around? Of course you do. Anyway, it’s still empty, and no one knows about it. I mean, it’s pretty hidden, and the watchers would never guess that Faith would be there.” Willow beamed at her revelation.
Buffy rushed over to her friend, pulling her into a hug. Buffy, along with Willow and Xander, had spent some of last summer out at the old place. It was pretty much deserted but with great views, and it had offered the three friends time out away from the constant threat of slimy monster-y creatures, and impending doom.
“Will, you’re a genius, it’s perfect,” Buffy smiled, looking over at Faith. “We’ll go as soon as possible. I’ll need to go get my stuff; clothes and things. I doubt the place is very clean now, or has much in it. Right, lets get moving,” Buffy said excitedly.
They were all looking at Buffy strangely again, particularly Faith.
“B, you don’t have to come with me. You’d be putting yourself at risk,” Faith said quietly.
“Faith, like I said, I’m not gonna leave you to deal with this alone. What kind of a friend would that make me?” Buffy asked and got up from the couch, missing the look on the younger slayer’s face.
Faith had never felt so. . .happy. The broad smile that had almost broken out on her face became clouded though, as she lowered her eyes, guilt washing over her as she thought about how many times she had doubted Buffy’s friendship.
Willow however, had caught how disconcerted the dark slayer looked.
Things were definitely happening under the surface of Buffy and Faith’s friendship. Willow wasn’t sure what, and she wasn’t even sure if the two girls saw it themselves, but there was something there. It was all getting a little too confusing. She knew she would have to talk with Buffy, if only to find out what it was she had been going to tell her earlier.
They all made plans to get supplies, clothes, weapons, and anything else they could think of, that the two Slayers might need. Giles told them not to worry about their patrolling for the time being. He assured them that the scoobies could handle it, with Spike’s help if he agreed.
The gang made like busy-things, and left to carry out their tasks. Before Buffy made her way out of the door Faith gently grasped her elbow, taking advantage of the empty room. She had to let Buffy know how much she cherished the way she made her feel.
“I just wanted to say thanks, B.” Faith’s dark eyes were soft, their usual sexiness giving way to gentle gratitude. “For standing by me, I mean. No one’s really done that before,” Faith admitted.
It was true. She had always stood alone, but now she had Buffy. She didn’t have her in quite the way she wanted, but her friendship was better than nothing.
Buffy was taken aback by the gentleness in Faith’s voice. She was so used to Faith’s sassy demeanour, but she realised there was much more to Faith than met the eye. Most of her was hidden behind that hard-ass manner she had, and the walls that guarded her. Buffy had guessed as much before, but had never really seen it first hand. It just confirmed her interest in the other girl. In fact, it confirmed that she could very easily fall for Faith.
Buffy couldn’t quite believe she had let herself think that, especially as she wasn’t even sure about her increasing sexual feelings for Faith. She couldn’t ignore it, however, as she was fast becoming smitten.
“I’ll always back you up, Faith. Now come on, we have to get ready. I’ll meet you here in an hour,” Buffy said smiling kindly at Faith, softly touching the hand that still held her elbow.
Faith stood stock still as Buffy walked down the path. She was basking in the glow of the feel of Buffy’s hand on hers. Deciding whether or not it was a cold shower or a drink she needed, Faith grabbed her jacket and made her way to her motel room.