Getting Faith to agree to the hospital tests was a task, but in the end she relented. Well, she had to with the effort that Buffy had put in; convincing her it was better than sleeping alone. She certainly didn’t like that idea. In fact, Faith had grown very fond of sleeping with Buffy draped all over her.
It wasn’t just a sexual thing either. It was just nice to have Buffy that close after wanting her for so long, and craving for more contact than they had on an average day. Even with the amount of full on sparring they did, it had never been enough. Now, Faith knew exactly what it felt like to have Buffy’s slim little body wrapped around her, and she loved it.
The scans didn’t take long, fortunately, and they showed no internal injuries apart from a couple of broken ribs. There was also no serious damage to her head. No fracture hidden beneath the lump under her thick tumble of hair.
Buffy had stayed with Faith, holding her hand the entire time. Until some disgruntled nurses had told her she couldn’t remain with Faith whilst she had her x rays. Buffy had accepted defeat and waited with Giles in the corridor. She didn’t like the idea of leaving Faith alone though, just in case.
She never again wanted to be put through the pain of thinking she had lost Faith. Buffy realised it was a little melodramatic to want to constantly be by her side, but given what had just happened, she could forgive herself. She would just have to make sure that Faith was well aware of how important she was to her, and that it was really best not to run off getting abducted.
“Here we are.” Giles brought his car to a stop outside Angel’s HQ, the hotel.
It had been decided that it would be better for them all to stay there for a few hours to catch up on lost sleep, rather than putting Faith, or any of them for that matter, through the journey straight back to Sunnydale. Angel had made his way back to the hotel as soon as possible, to avoid the sunrise, and Willow and Xander had tagged along to see that rooms were ready so everybody would get some rest.
Faith was more than a little relieved that they would be spending a few hours there, as she wanted nothing more than to lay out flat on a nice soft bed, rather than cram into the backseat of Giles’ tiny car. Though she had to admit, being cooped up in a confined space with Buffy had been far from horrible. In fact, it had been quite nice, and she’d even managed to cop a feel despite her weary state. It had surprised her that Buffy hadn’t pushed her hand away, and berated her for being so uncouth, given the fact Xander had been sat right by them. But then, the kisses they had been sharing had just lead her hand to do the natural thing, and Buffy to go naturally right along with it.
Faith smiled at the thought, but then instantly felt down as she realised she was in no fit state to be doing anything physical with Buffy. She really wanted things to go further, and was sure Buffy felt the same, but her ribs were very sore and causing her to hold herself stiff to not have them crunching around inside her bruised body.
Faith leaned on the well-toned shoulder of the other slayer, as they made their way into the hotel.
Rooms were soon quickly allocated, due to Willow’s speedy and efficient means of telling people where they were to go, no questions asked. She had thankfully put Faith and Buffy in the same room, so Faith was thinking she was pretty much aware of what had been happening between them. Otherwise, no doubt she would have found herself sharing a room with Xander. Faith winced at that thought, given their history, even if it had been somewhat quick and embarrassing.
Angel shuffled about in his usual manner, waiting for his opportunity to talk to Buffy. Faith watched him out of the corner of her eye, just daring him to step forward and initiate the removal of the small blonde from her side.
Buffy also spotted Angel, and all the signs of his interest and neediness too, but really wasn’t interested in sitting down for a chat when she had better things to do. Like crawl into bed with her beautiful girlfriend, and hold her until they both drifted into the realm of sleep together. Of course, there was much more she’d rather be doing with Faith other than sleep, but she wasn’t about to jump on her and injure her some more.
She knew right now, it was going to be better to avoid too much in the way of physical contact that was maybe a little too rough, hot, sweaty, sexy, wet. . .Buffy really needed to stop her mind from wandering to anything other than just gently keeping the younger girl in her arms.
“Fuck, that bed looks real comfy,” Faith sighed and ran a hand through her heavy locks, leaning into Buffy as they slowly entered the room they had been given to share.
Buffy helped Faith to the large bed in the center of the room, doing so not only because Faith was still a little unsteady, but mainly just because she was revelling in the amount of control the usually fiercely independent girl was giving up.
The room was sparsely decorated, but clean and comfortable enough for a couple of hours sleep before they made their way back home. The prospect of dealing with any new threats from the council once they heard about Faith’s escape was not being looked forward to, by anybody, but Giles insisted that he would do his utmost to try to appease them in some way. Until things could be dealt with more permanently. He was hopeful of a resolution to the situation.
“Do you want a shower, baby?” Buffy asked, sitting down next to the shattered slayer on the bed.
She felt a little awkward, perched on the end of the large mattress with Faith. She wasn’t exactly sure why, but thought that maybe it was the fact that they were alone finally after such an emotionally wrought day, and maybe because of how close they had been earlier to taking things further between them. There was also the fact she had told Faith, in the heat of her stress at getting the kidnapped girl to safety, that she loved her.
Buffy really was uncertain if it had been the right thing to say. There was the fact that Faith hadn’t said it back of course, and even though Buffy was pretty sure Faith cared for her a great deal, she wasn’t confident in the hope that she was actually in love with her. Old doubts, fear, and uncertainty ran around her head as she sat dwelling too much on things that were glaringly obvious anyway.
“Hey, you ok?” Faith questioned, looking concerned.
“Huh? Oh, yeah. Why?” Buffy turned to face Faith, knowing she had just zoned out.
“You totally left the building, girlfriend. I just wanted to make sure you’re ok,” Faith said and smiled sweetly.
Buffy couldn’t quite believe that the once tough and self-centred girl was acting so concerned, when it was her that had just been kidnapped and beaten. She shook her head, wondering if maybe in the past she had missed just how caring the other slayer could be.
Of course, she realised that she had always seen it there in those dark eyes when they looked at her, when Faith would almost, but never quite reveal herself a little too much. Buffy wanted to see those eyes opening up the depths of Faith to her, and never shut her out again. She wanted to see all of Faith, and never have anything threaten that.
“Honestly, I don’t know. I just. . .I was so afraid I’d lost you.” Buffy looked down at her hands, a tear rolling a journey down her cheek. “I never want to feel like that again. Like I had so much I wanted to show you, and tell you, but couldn’t. It was horrible.” Looking up at the deep brown before her, Buffy allowed her grief to show, as Faith gently ran her hand through her blonde hair, then brought it down to entangle her fingers in Buffy’s.
“I know. I felt the same. Buffy, I. . .” Faith was interrupted by an apologetic knock on the door.
Both slayers looked towards the door, feeling the vampire tingles raise the hairs on the back of their necks. Buffy didn’t want to get up and answer Angel’s knock, but he banged again and faintly called out for her.
“You’d better go see what he wants, B.” There was a hint of jealousy in Faith’s tone.
Buffy didn’t like to hear it, because Faith had no worries where Angel was concerned. She could never imagine messing up any chance with Faith again over him. His untimely arrival back from hell had been enough of a test for their friendship, so she didn’t want Faith to needlessly worry about it.
Buffy closed the small distance between them and grabbed onto the younger girl’s luscious lips with her own; kissing her in a promise of devotion that took both their breaths away for a second with its melting intensity.
“I’ll be right back, Faith. Don’t move. I love you,” Buffy said quickly, moving away from the other girl and towards the door before Faith could react.
Faith opened her mouth to say something, but didn’t want to reveal how she loved Buffy to her back, as she opened the door to the gloomy vampire outside. She wanted to do it right, so that Buffy was sure about it. As sure as she was of how Buffy felt about her.
She wanted Buffy to experience the tingle as the words were said, the way she had felt it. She wanted to make Buffy feel as full and overwhelmed as she did. As totally swept up in the feeling of being the object of somebody’s complete devotion and passionate desire.
Faith watched as Buffy left the room to discover what exactly Angel wanted. Then she carefully manoeuvred herself towards the shower in the hope to wash away the grime and the memory of the council’s foot soldiers, who had violently bruised her body with their hands.
* * *
Buffy closed the door behind her and looked up at the shadowy figure of the vampire she once believed was her soul mate. He was lingering in the corridor like a bad smell, and brooding for the Olympic gold.
“This had better be good, because I’m real tired,” Buffy said with a yawn, wanting to add that she was also very keen on warming her naked body next to Faith’s, so standing around in a drafty corridor was not high on her list of things to do.
“I just thought we should discuss what happened. And about the council and. . .stuff,” Angel mumbled. He seemed unsure if he actually believed himself.
“Discuss it? Discussions can happen after I sleep, which happens after I go back in there and fall into bed with my very attractive girlfriend.” Buffy turned to leave, ignoring the wide and saddened eyes of her ex at the mention of Faith now being more than just her friend.
“I err, I know but. . .” Angel continued, and Buffy stopped to at least allow him to finish his sentence, “I thought we could get it out of the way, so you can go straight back after you’ve all had a rest.” Angel was glad he was able to find a sad excuse to sit down and talk with Buffy, before she upped and disappeared back home.
“Fine,” Buffy sighed, then hastily made her way downstairs, with Angel following like a lost little castrated puppy.
The hotel was quiet, despite the bustle of the morning traffic beginning to rumble outside. Making her way over to one of the comfy looking sofas in the lounge, Buffy yawned again and wondered why the hell she wasn’t upstairs with Faith, rather than sitting around in the large and mostly uninteresting place Angel called home. She sat down heavily on the sofa as Angel paced a little in front of her.
“So, let’s discuss. . .what exactly?” Buffy asked. She wasn’t in the mood to play.
“Well, I just thought it would be best to, you know. . .” Angel had lost his ability to lie in front of the girl he still loved.
“Come on, Angel, we both know what this is about. Faith, right?” Buffy sat back in her seat as the vampire continued to frown. She was very tired and wanted out of the conversation as quickly as possible.
“I guess. I mean, are you. . .” Angel trailed off, outdoing himself in the pathetic stakes.
“Am I attracted to her? Yes. Am I crazy about her? Definitely. Am I in love with her? Without a doubt. No, we haven’t had sex yet. Yes, I want to, a lot. No, I’m not entirely sure if it’s gonna work out and not break my heart. But yes, I want nothing more than to jump right in and give it a shot. I love Faith, and there’s not a thing about her that I don’t find absolutely adorable, and I want her, us together, more than anything I have ever wanted. And I’m sorry if that hurts you, truly I am, but she makes me feel whole, like I’ve never really felt before,” Buffy blurted, and she could feel her heart pounding with the knowledge that every word was true.
“But,” Angel stammered, looking completely crestfallen.
“I’m sorry. I do still love you in a way, Angel, but Faith and I. . .it’s, well, it’s something that touches me in all the right places. Heart, body, and soul.” Buffy took a deep, cleansing breath. “Now does that answer all your questions? Or do I have to beat you over the head with your own arm in order to actually get some sleep at some point in the next few hours?” She looked up, hopeful that she had expressed sufficiently the nature of her feelings for the slayer upstairs.
“Yeah, I guess it kinda does answer everything,” he nodded. He was a little shell-shocked to say the least.
He had always held the hope in his lifeless heart, that one day they could be together again. Angel had been meticulously researching possible cures for his curse, and had discovered some encouraging looking loopholes. Now he just felt crushed.
Buffy still had all of his love, but now it seemed Buffy had found a replacement that far outweighed his own memory of her love for him. He could see the emotion, pure and strong, in the green eyes of the girl sitting in front of him. He could honestly say he had never really seen that look directed at him before. And despite how hurt and rejected he felt, Angel couldn’t help but feel at least a small spark of happiness for Buffy to have found somebody that she cared so much for. He just hoped Faith felt the same way for Buffy. For both their sakes.
Buffy stood up and moved in front of the crushed vampire, halting his nervous pacing.
“I really am sorry, Angel. I just can’t help how I feel about her. Believe me, I’ve tried,” Buffy said softly, raising a delicate hand to caress his strong jaw.
He closed his eyes at the soft brush of her warm hand on his cold skin, and took a deep unnecessary breath, resolving to do the noble thing and accept defeat. In a way, he felt like Faith had succeeded in her divine duty and slayed him. Leaving him to be swept away by the drafts twisting their way around his phoney sanctuary of a hotel.
“You’d better go to bed, Buffy. Get some rest.” He smiled gamely, and squeezed Buffy’s hand as he plucked it from his cheek.
Even though he was being noble and accepting Buffy’s choice, he was kind of glad that Faith was a little too injured for the chosen two to be getting up to anything that he might be unfortunate enough to hear. He didn’t need the stake twisted any deeper into his heart than it was.
“Thank you.” Buffy reached up on her tiptoes and softly kissed Angel on the cheek, before turning to make her way back to her girlfriend.
She didn’t notice Giles standing in a doorway at the far end of the lounge, tears glistening in his weary eyes. He was taken back by the love he had heard in Buffy’s words. She obviously felt a great deal for the younger girl, so there was no way he could disapprove of their relationship. He had thought that maybe it wasn’t serious, that it was just a fad, or a teenage experiment that he would definitely have felt the need to try to put an end to, but there was clearly much more to it.
The slayer bond between the two girls, and the blossoming of their relationship with one another, was something he wasn’t about to attempt to jeopardise now, given the depth of feeling. He just hoped others, like Buffy’s mother, would see things the same way. The two girls were young, even with responsibilities far greater than anybody should have to deal with, they were still subject to parental concern and rules. And then of course there would be the cruel judgment of their peers.
It was going to be rough for the chosen two, without a doubt. Even with the support of their close friends, they were in for a bumpy ride.