From Darkness, Light
There are still some days when, no matter how much Faith has changed, no matter how much good she has done and has going on in her life, the darkness from her past still finds a way to seep in. It's like a dark cloud hanging over her, and while Buffy can see it coming from a mile away, she knows she can't do anything about it. She can only try to weather the storm at Faith's side and hope that it passes without causing any irreparable damage.
Buffy is the first to admit that Faith's dark days scare her. She's become so used to Faith being happy and physical and just awesome that when she begins to withdraw and becomes distant, Buffy feels like someone is stealing her breath away. And yeah, that's scary, because it just goes to prove how important Faith is to her; how much she needs her now.
They used to be enemies, and now Faith is the very air that she breathes. Maybe that's cheesy and a bit dramatic, but she can't explain it. Faith completes her. She completes Faith.
And knowing that there's nothing she can do to help makes her feel like she's going to spin out of control.
But she keeps it together as best as she can, trying to go on with life as normal while Faith battles her demons. It's tough for her; she's a slayer and a former school counselor. Demons of any kind are supposed to be her specialty! Still, she gives Faith her space, letting her deal with her past in her own way while always reminding her that's she's there for her. That they can get through anything, together.
Instead of following Faith out of the house earlier in the day, Buffy let her go, giving her a soft but chaste kiss on the lips before she could leave.
"Love you," Buffy had said while looking into her brown eyes, and she squeezed her hand as Faith tried to manage a smile for her before walking out of the door.
Same as she'd done the previous two days.
Nine hours later, she's sitting on the front porch, waiting for Faith to return. She knows she's close, so she just waits, trying not to let it look like she's too eager; trying not to get too hopeful that the storm has come and gone in such a short time.
When she spots Faith up the street, kicking a small stone ahead of her as she walks along, she feels her breath return in a rush. Faith's eyes stay focused on the street and the stone, but Buffy can already feel the change. The dark cloud is gone. The storm has passed.
Her Faith is back and now she can breathe again.
Instead of rushing over to embrace her, she stays seated on the porch steps and watches Faith walk over, hands in pockets, still unable to look up and meet Buffy's gaze. When she finally reaches the porch, Faith stands there for a second before turning around and taking a seat on the step below her. They silently look out into the distance together and when Faith scootches over so that she's sitting between Buffy's legs, Buffy smiles. Faith leans back into her embrace and Buffy knows it's finally safe to touch; to offer Faith the physical comfort that she's been denying herself for three days now.
She moves forward and wraps her arms around Faith, resting her chin on her shoulder. Faith moves her head slightly to the side, touching her temple to Buffy's cheek. Buffy turns just enough to place the softest of kisses there.
While Buffy looks out to the field across their house and watches the sun start to dip behind the horizon, Faith closes her eyes and just breathes. They don't say anything for what feels like forever, and when Faith finally does speak, it almost startles Buffy.
"Love ya too."
A response, albeit delayed, from before she left earlier in the day.
Buffy smiles. "I know."
They rest back and watch the sun set in silence. Faith absently plays with Buffy's fingers while Buffy continues to press soft kisses to Faith's temple, whispering her love against her skin.
The darkness will come again; it always does.
Both Buffy and Faith know for sure that it will never win.
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