The night hadn’t gone exactly as expected. Rather, it hadn’t gone quite as the previous nights had. Two a.m. came around and the slayers found themselves sat at a corner booth, Faith with her back against the wall and one leg rested up along the seat, and Buffy resting back against Faith. Faith had one arm up on the table, holding her beer bottle, and her other arm was snug around Buffy’s waist.
“I can’t believe I crashed this early,” Buffy said with a yawn, watching the women on the dance floor with a glossy gaze.
“Yeah, me too. I musta had a good workout this afternoon or somethin.” Faith answered, resting her chin on Buffy’s shoulder.
“I’ll say.” Buffy said with a grin, wrapping her arm gently over Faith’s.
They sat in silence, nursing their drinks while watching the hubbub of the club around them.
“Do you find it weird that all of these women are dancing and getting drunk and getting lucky, and we’re back here yawning and getting all snuggly?” Buffy asked with a little smile.
Faith thought about it for a moment or two.
“Nah, I don’t find it weird, B. To be perfectly honest, if I had come here alone any other time, I probably would’ve left with someone by now. I woulda danced and got tanked and got laid too.” She chuckled.
Buffy suddenly felt bad. She looked down at her hand as it played with Faith’s fingers and tried to hide the apprehensive tone in her voice.
“So . . . you’re basically stopping yourself from having fun because you’re here with me?” she asked, unsure and feeling rather self-conscious now.
Faith answered quickly, not wanting Buffy to think even for a moment that she had any regrets about where they were right now.
“That’s not it at all, B. I’ve been going out dancing and drinking and getting laid for more years than I care to share. But never have I gotten ‘lucky’. Right now, being here with you, just chillin’ and being close to you . . . I’ve finally gotten lucky.”
Buffy turned and smirked at Faith.
“Oh, you are SO smooth. You’re good at this, you know that? And you’ll definitely be getting lucky again later, Smooth Operator.”
Faith smiled softly. “Yeah?”
Buffy looked her in the eyes, losing her smirk and suddenly feeling self-conscious again.
“Well, if you want to, I mean. Cos I’m not much into using force these days, and I . . . .”
“Shhhh,” Faith interrupted. “Yeah, I want to. A lot.”
Buffy smiled at Faith, instantly relaxing again. “So . . . you wanna get out of here then?”
At that, Faith took Buffy’s beer bottle from her hand and placed it on the table, helping the girl up from the booth before standing up herself.
Faith and Buffy lay panting on the floor of their hotel room, their naked bodies hidden under masses of disheveled bed sheets.
“That was . . . that was . . . well, I didn’t think we’d quite get to that yet.” Buffy said through deep breaths, her face flushed. She couldn’t hide the satisfied smile that crept up on her lips.
Faith poked her head out from under the sheets near Buffy’s feet, rolling onto her back as she was panting just as hard.
“Well, B, it’s my firm belief that sixty-nining is something that everyone should know and master. Honestly, no one likes to be left out. It’s the perfect solution.” Faith responded with a grin.
Buffy laughed, then shimmied down under the blankets and turned around so that she was lying alongside Faith, her head poking up from under the covers to come face to face with the grinning girl.
“So tell me, Professor Faith: do I get a passing grade for my first venture into the sixty-nine-verse?” she asked, nuzzling her nose into the crook of Faith’s neck.
“Nuh-uh-uh, B. Yunno that good professors don’t release grades until the end of the semester,” Faith joked. “I, however, am NOT a good professor and can be bribed pretty easily.”
Faith sighed happily, tilting her head to the side a bit as Buffy began to kiss and nibble her neck softly.
“Bribes, you say?” Buffy mumbled against Faith’s neck as she started to kiss and nibble more enthusiastically. “So, would you tell me my grade if I do something like . . . oh, I don’t know . . . this?”
Buffy chose that moment to slide her fingertips slowly down Faith’s still naked body, teasing them ever-so-softly around and over her sensitive clit as she continued her ministrations on the girl’s neck.
“Oh fuck,” Faith whispered, licking her lips as she closed her eyes and began panting again.
She had already come just a few minutes before with Buffy, leaving her extra sensitive. Not to mention the fact that she could still taste Buffy’s juices on her lips. The circles that Buffy was now rubbing over her clit, which began soft but increased in pressure and speed as the moments went by, slowly began to make Faith unravel.
Faith raised her hips off of the floor, pushing against Buffy’s hand as she neared her climax.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck,” she chanted again and again, hardly able to contain herself anymore.
When Buffy decided at that very moment to bite slightly harder on Faith pulse point, Faith jerked upwards, coming hard all over Buffy’s hand.
Faith laid fully on her back again, temporarily spent after coming so hard. She was breathing heavy; her eyes clenched shut as Buffy began to nuzzle her neck again. Buffy slid her fingers from Faith’s wet folds and rested her hand on the girl’s hip, pulling their bodies together even closer.
After a few minutes passed and Faith’s breathing returned to normal, Buffy kissed her neck softly again, kissing up to her ear before whispering, “So, about that grade . . .”
Faith wrapped her arm over Buffy’s back, clinging tightly to her so that Buffy could feel her chuckle.
“B, I’m thinking about giving you a full scholarship.”
Both girls laughed aloud as they wrapped around one another again, prepared to spend yet another night in each others arms.
It was the only way either of them could sleep now.
Dawn smiled as she walked down the hotel corridor, three large mochas in a carrying tray in her hands. Mornings weren’t normally her favorite time of day, but that day was different. She was to have a big discussion with Buffy about her future, and for once, she actually had a say in it.
She hadn’t actually told Buffy that they’d be having the meeting that morning, but she had been so excited the night before that she wasn’t able to sleep. As soon as they could have their chat, she could start to plan and maybe even sleep again.
When she got to Buffy and Faith’s room, she knocked on the door, cautious not to spill the tray of mochas in her arms. After a few moments passed and there was no answer, she moved to knock again, this time forgetting to be as cautious of the scalding hot beverages in her hands.
Just as one of the disposable cups was about to fall, a maid stepped over and grabbed it, putting her hand on Dawn’s arm t steady it.
“Careful, niña, you don’t want to burn yourself. Here, I’ll open the door for you.”
The chubby little maid reached into her front apron pocket and pulled out her key card, sliding it easily into the lock.
Dawn thought about telling the nice maid that it wasn’t actually her room for a moment or two, but in the end she remained quiet about it as she knew that it was her easy way in. She flashed the maid a smile and said thank you as she backed into the room, giving a tiny wave before closing the door shut quietly.
She closed her eyes and breathed a sigh of relief before steadying herself again and turning around to wake Buffy and Faith . . .
. . . who happened to be sleeping naked together on the floor among a heap of blankets, seemingly unaware of their unannounced visitor.
Dawn gasped involuntarily, her right hand flying up to her mouth to muffle the noise. Her hand, however, smacked the side of the tray on the way up to her mouth, catapulting the three cups of mocha across the room and against the wall.
“Dawn!” Buffy sat up quickly, pulling the sheet up to her neck to avoid exposing herself even more.
“Buffy!” Dawn yelped, using both of her free hands now to cover her eyes. “I’m blind now! I have no more eyesight, and I’m blind!” The teenager whined as she tried to back her way to the door.
“You are not blind.” Buffy said, her voice even.
“Yes I am!” Dawn said, moving her hands from her eyes and peeking over at the floor again.
“Why do I smell coffee?” Faith mumbled from behind Buffy, sitting up without realizing she was still naked and that they had a guest in the room. She stretched and rubbed her eyes, then looked up to find Dawn glaring down at them. “Oh shit!” She yelped and pulled the sheet up to her chest, not realizing until it was too late that it was the sheet covering Buffy’s lower half.
Buffy made a loud ‘gahhhh’ sound as she frantically grabbed for something to cover herself up with, playing tug-o-war with Faith over the last remaining sheet.
“I am not seeing this!” Dawn screeched as she tried to feel for the door handle with her eyes clenched shut, trying hard not to stumble over the mess of shoes near the doorstep. “You guys are paying for my counseling!” Dawn yelled as she finally found the door handle and let herself out of the room, the door closing quietly behind her.
Buffy sighed and fell back onto the floor, the sheets tangled between her and Faith.
“Is counseling expensive?” She asked with a chuckle.
Faith shrugged. “Dunno, it was free in prison. Maybe we could send her there,” she joked.
Buffy rubbed her eyes and signed again, finally peeking one eye open to look over at Faith. “Well . . . at least she didn’t stab your boot.”
The two girls laughed a little at the joke, then let silence fall around them again. Buffy was surprised to find that she wasn’t freaking out about Dawn seeing what was going on between her and Faith. It was the least of her problems, she thought. In fact, she wasn’t even too worried if anyone else found out. She was an adult, and she could make adult decisions.
And whether or not she slept with Faith was definitely an adult decision; one she didn’t regret making, at that.
After a few moments, Faith got up and tossed on some clothes. She began straightening the sheets up, the smell of the mochas making her thirsty for her morning coffee. Buffy remained on the floor in her single blanket now, not wanting to start her day yet.
She was roused to reality when she heard Faith grumbling from across the room.
“You Summers chicks really need to take some coordination lessons or something.”
“What?” Buffy asked, confused.
She sat up to find Faith holding up her new leather jacket she had just purchased, mocha dripping off of it as it dangled in the air.
Buffy covered her mouth to hide the laughter that was coming out of her. “Oh, that’s classic,” she laughed.
Faith snickered. “Yeah, well, I’m taking the money out of YOUR scholarship to replace it, Blondie.” She tossed the jacket into the bathroom and walked over to Buffy, holding out her hands to the girl. Buffy grabbed onto them and let Faith pull her up. She welcomed the hug that Faith gave her, wrapping her arms tight around her in response.
“Coffee, shower, then salvaging what’s left of your sister’s innocence. That’s today’s plan. You get in the shower, and I’ll get the coffee.” Faith mumbled against Buffy’s shoulder before kissing her cheek softly.
Buffy watched as Faith walked to the door and put on her shoes, then as she walked out of the door. She bit her lip, then yelled out, “So I’m guessing this means we can’t pretend that we were playing naked slumber party?”
Buffy knocked tentatively on Dawn’s door, freshly showered and ready to take on the day. She laughed to herself when Dawn answered the door wearing a very big, dark pair of sunglasses.
“Who is it?” Dawn asked, feigning blindness. “I would have looked through the peephole, except, yunno . . . BLIND now.”
Buffy raised an eyebrow at her. “You are not blind. Scarred, maybe. But definitely not blind. And before you ask, you CANNOT have a seeing-eye dog.”
Dawn scoffed and closed the door behind Buffy, taking off her sunglasses and placing them by the entrance table.
“I see you naked and you can’t even give me five minutes to be blind? Typical.” She crossed her arms over her chest and stared off into the distance.
Buffy sat down on Dawn’s bed, trying hard not to give in to the teenager’s tantrum.
“It’s not typical, Dawn. There’s no use fighting over it; it’s over and done with now. Time to move on.”
Dawn pouted a bit and sat on the bed opposite Buffy, realizing that her sister was right.
“So, what . . . being a slayer wasn’t enough to make you different, so you have to be gay now too?” Dawn asked, still pouting but keeping a light-hearted tone to her voice so that Buffy would know she wasn’t too upset over the whole thing.
Buffy laughed a little, though she was trying to be as serious as possible.
“Gay? No. Willow is gay, Dawn. Kennedy is gay. I’m just . . .”
“Having sex with Faith in a very ‘non-gay’ way?” Dawn finished for her, making a face as she said it. “Buffy, I’m not five anymore. Two girls having sex equals GAY.”
Buffy thought about it for a minute.
“No, I . . . I don’t really know how to explain it. We just . . . I mean, it just happened.”
“Like you and Spike ‘just happened?’” Dawn asked, genuinely unsure of what Buffy meant.
“No, not like that.” Buffy answered, her brows furrowed as she recalled that time in her life. “Definitely not like that.”
Buffy took a few moments to collect her thoughts before continuing.
“Dawn, after slayers fight, we get this huge . . . burst of adrenaline, of sorts. The bigger the fight, the bigger the burst. And you have to do something to take the edge off. Yunno, exert energy, eat . . .”
“Hungry and horny, right?” Dawn interrupted again, trying to get her sister to stop rambling.
Buffy laughed again. “You know, sometimes I forget that you used to read my diary when you were younger.”
Dawn shrugged, “Yeah, well I didn’t get an allowance, and it was cheaper than reading Cosmo.”
Buffy smiled, suddenly feeling proud of her sister and of the person she was turning into.
“So, yes. Faith and I have been . . .”
“WAIT!” Dawn interrupted. “Listen, I don’t need to know the dirty details. Therapy is expensive and I STILL don’t get an allowance. As long as we still get to, yunno . . . plan the future and stuff, you can keep . . . doing what you’re doing.”
“Of course, Dawn. What Faith and I are . . . doing . . . isn’t going to change the fact that it’s time for you to finally get something that you want.”
“Well, good then.” Dawn responded, relaxing a bit more.
“Great then.” Buffy said back, also relaxing a bit more. “So,” Buffy began, moving so that she was sitting Indian-style facing Dawn, “what exactly is it that you’d like to do?”
Dawn smiled big and faced Buffy, mimicking her position, the last few moments seemingly lost in her mind.
“I don’t suppose that you’d let me give up on the whole ‘school’ thing to travel, right?” She asked hopefully.
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “Don’t even think about it,” she said plainly.
“Right. So, maybe we can’t travel. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t go someplace new and exciting, does it?”
“I guess not,” Buffy said after thinking about it for a moment or two. She looked over and noticed a book sitting by Dawn’s pillow, so she reached over and pulled it onto her lap, casually thumbing through it. “Loving Italy,” Buffy read aloud from the title page. She stopped and looked up at Dawn. “Is this where you’re getting your ideas from?”
Dawn smiled. “It may have aided in my search,” she said casually. “Between the book and the internet, I’ve been a total research junkie since last night. See,” she scrambled across the bed and sat next to Buffy, flipping the book to a dog-eared page, “Rome has these really good semi-private schools that are really liberal and cool. You can make your schedule so that you only have to go to class like three days a week.”
Buffy pushed the book flat onto the bed and gave Dawn a stern look.
“Dawn, we are not hauling our butts all the way to Italy so that you can have a 3-day school week.”
Dawn laughed, excited. “No, that’s not the only reason. I mean . . . hello, big perk. But still . . . you can pick areas of focus to study. You still have to take all of the regular classes to graduate, but you can put a focus on History or Literature, stuff like that. I figure that if I take a focus in History and do really well . . . I dunno, maybe some day I could be a Watcher. And . . .pizza, Buffy. You love pizza. Italy is the mother of pizza!”
Buffy smiled at her sister, feeling a bit excited herself at the prospect of a whole new start on life.
“Well, I do love pizza. And I think you’d make an excellent Watcher, Dawn. So long as you’re fray-adjacent, I’m okay with that idea.”
Dawn beamed, jumping up and down as she sat on the bed.
“Does that mean we can go?!?”
Buffy smiled. “I’ll talk to Giles and Angel about it, see if we can swing it financially. As long as there’s no problem there . . . I foresee us eating lots of spaghetti and lasagna in the near future-gahhhhhh!”
Buffy couldn’t even finish her sentence for being tackled by a very excited Dawn.
It was almost official; the plans were set. Now all she had to do was finalize things with Giles and Angel and she could set things in motion.
Freedom had never been so exciting yet so scary at the same time.
An hour later, Buffy found herself walking into Angel’s office where he was having a meeting with Giles.
“Ah, Buffy, you’re up earlier than usual.” Giles greeted while sipping from his obligatory cup of tea.
“What can I say?” She began. “I was mobbed by an excited teenager who’s dead-set on going to some ‘great’ school in Italy. There’s no sleeping through that. The screeching is a really haunting sound.”
“Italy?” Giles questioned. “I have to agree, there are some excellent schools in Italy. Not to mention that you happen to love pizza.” He gave Buffy a little smile.
“Anyhow,” Buffy continued, “I told her that so long as we could manage the financial aspects, it sounded like a good plan. So . . . is it a good plan?” She asked, a small grin on her face.
“Buffy, if it’s what the both of you want, you know you have my full support. I don’t have the funds to give you from my own pocket, but I’m sure that the accounts of the old council remain intact. I’ll make a few calls and see if we can’t make a few withdrawals to set us all in the right direction.”
“Thanks, Giles.” Buffy said gratefully. “Speaking of the right direction, when do you leave for England?”
“I was just discussing that with Angel, actually. It’s best that I get on my way soon. Angel is going to run things here while I’m gone, at least until I can arrange where we’ll be sending the new slayers, etcetera. I assume that I’ll be heading back within the next few days, sooner if needed.”
Buffy smiled, “I know you’re going to do a great job with the Council, Giles. It should have been you from the beginning. I know that the girls will be safe under your watch.”
In true Giles fashion, he removed his glasses and cleaned them with his hanky, clearing his throat. “I appreciate that, Buffy. Thank you.”
Angel finally spoke up.
“You’re going to love Italy, Buffy. I’ll make sure that everything is tended to here. The girls that remain can have room and board until the new council decides where to send them, and I’ll make sure to continue their training and education as best as I can with the resources I have.”
“Thanks, Angel. I don’t mind staying around for a bit though if you need my help. Dawn can put up with another few weeks . . .”
“No, it’s okay, Buffy.” Angel interrupted. “You deserve some time off. Make your plans, and I’ll take care of things on this end.”
Buffy smiled. “I guess I should tell Dawn the good news then.”
With that, she left Giles and Angel to their meeting. She’d stop by Dawn’s room to let her know that she could finalize her plans, and then she’d find a way to tell Faith.
Her stomach suddenly lurched and she wasn’t exactly sure why. Part of her, however, was sure it was because she wasn’t quite ready to leave yet.
Rather, she wasn’t yet ready to leave behind what she seemed to have with Faith.
Buffy entered her room to find Faith on the telephone. She paused at the doorway, not knowing if she should give the girl some privacy.
Faith looked up at her and smiled, waving her into the room while giving her the ‘one minute’ signal.
“Yeah, I will. I know, Grams, I’ll be careful.”
‘Grams?’ Buffy thought. She had always been under the assumption that Faith didn’t have any family, and now there was suddenly a Grams?
“I’ll give you a call a day before I leave, and don’t worry about finding a ride for me; I can take a cab from the airport . . . . okay, take care, and I’ll talk to you soon.”
With that, Faith hung up the phone and swung her legs up over the side of the bed so that she cold rest back properly.
“Sorry about that, B. Just trying to get some things taken care of while you were out.” Faith apologized as she scooted over on the bed, leaving some space for Buffy to join her.
Buffy kicked off her shoes and walked over to the bed, happily taking her spot at Faith’s side. Faith pulled her close so that they were lying with their stomachs touching and their legs tangled up together.
“So . . . Grams, huh? I didn’t know you had a grandmother.” Buffy hedged, not wanting to be too full-on.
“Oh, she’s not actually my real Grams, B. She just took me in when the wolves abandoned me at her doorstep.” She grinned and looked down at the now blushing Buffy before kissing the top of her head. “Of course I have a grandma, B. I even had two at one point. After my Dad split and my Ma died, she pretty much took me under her wing.”
“I never knew that.” Buffy said, looking up into Faith’s eyes. “How come you didn’t . . .” her voice trailed off.
“Go back to her after I got into trouble? Well . . . I guess I didn’t wanna bring my shit on her, B. She’s a sweet lady, yunno? I was a real handful for her those last two years or so. Figured she wouldn’t want me back cos I was a screwed up and junk.”
Buffy nodded, trying to understand.
“So . . . why are you going back now then?”
Faith smiled sadly, looking over Buffy’s shoulder.
“I have a lot of stuff I need to fix, B. I didn’t exactly leave a clean trail in my wake, yunno? I hurt people, left some high and dry. If I wanna get on with my life, I need to clean up my own mess and try to build from there. And come to find out, Grams has been trying to find me for some time now. She thought I ran away cos she grounded me or some shit like that. She’s happy I called.”
Buffy chuckled. “I foresee lots of oatmeal raisin cookies in your future.”
Faith laughed, “Yeah, something like that. Anyhow, Grams isn’t in the best of health . . . she’s legally blind and needs a cane to get around. I figure she can use a bit of help, and I’m all about the good deeds these days.”
“She’s lucky to have you,” Buffy said softly, looking into Faith’s eyes.
“You just wanna unload me on someone else,” Faith said and laughed as Buffy pinched her butt. Once they settled down, Faith spoke again. “So, how did it go with Dawnie?”
“Fairly well, I suppose. She found a school she wants to go to, and I think it will be good for her. We’ll probably leave after Giles can send us some funds. Probably a week or so.”
“Wicked, B. Hey, where ya headed to? Maybe we’ll be able to visit if you’re . . .”
“Italy.” Buffy interrupted, saying the word with a bit of a sigh.
“. . . not across an ocean.” Faith finished, trying to smile despite the fact that her stomach had just dropped.
Buffy tried to sound lighthearted. “Hey, what’s a couple thousand miles and a fortune in airfare between friends?”
Faith smiled slightly. “Right, I’ll just put that on my Platinum Visa card they gave me in prison.”
Her sarcasm wasn’t lost on Buffy.
“Hey,” Buffy began, trying to squash the suddenly somber mood in the room, “it’s not like we won’t be able to still be friends. We can call and email, and I’m sure that we can make trips now and again to get together with everyone.”
Faith smiled, trying as hard as she could to make it look genuine despite the fact that she was feeling suddenly miserable.
“Yeah, you’re right, B. We’ll still be friends. It’ll be . . . good.”
“Definitely.” Buffy agreed, trying to sound convincing.
Faith and Buffy lay in silence after that, both pondering what would happen to them between now and their trips, and subsequently what would happen to them after that.
Despite being in one another’s arms, for the first time since they got to LA, they both felt suddenly alone.
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