As much as Buffy and Faith try to focus on the present and the future, there are still occasions where the past creeps up and invades their lives. Sometimes it’s subtle and they can move on from it without even blinking an eye. Sometimes all it takes is a touch or a kiss to make the memory fade.
But sometimes, it takes a little bit more than that and they both struggle with how to make it right; with how to move forward again.
Buffy watches Faith through the partially opened door, peeking into the steamy bathroom after Faith steps out of the shower. She’s standing in a way that Faith can’t see her but that she can see Faith in the reflection of the mirror.
They’d had an awkward moment earlier in the day while goofing around in the kitchen. Buffy had been making a sandwich and while she was cutting it in half with a big knife, Faith wrapped her arms around her from behind to make her laugh. Buffy did indeed laugh and when she did, lost her concentration for just a split second. She accidentally sliced Faith’s finger enough to make it drip blood. Faith shook the injury off and made some offhand comment about Buffy always coming after her with knives.
That was when the awkward silence fell upon them.
Faith had cleared her throat and wrapped a paper towel around her finger while Buffy stood on the other side of the counter looking uncomfortable. When it was apparent that neither of them knew what to say, Buffy smiled awkwardly and excused herself and they haven’t seen each other since then.
That was six hours ago and now she misses Faith like crazy but just doesn’t know what to say to make things less awkward.
She watches Faith dry off with a beige cotton towel and apply some lotion to her skin. Faith doesn’t immediately bother with clothes; she’s a nudist at heart and takes full advantage of any opportunity she has to be naked. Buffy knows every step of her daily post-shower routine so she’s a bit puzzled when Faith reaches into the medicine cabinet and pulls out a small brown bottle.
Vitamins? Since when does Faith take vitamins?
But Faith doesn’t pop them into her mouth. Instead, she takes one of the softgels and cuts the top off with a tiny pair of scissors until some liquid oozes out of it. She scoops it up on her fingertip and then presses it against the scar on her abdomen, massaging it in gently.
She doesn’t know how long Faith has been doing this for but she knows that the bottle of Vitamin E has been in the cabinet for a couple of months now.
When she looks up at Faith’s face, she sees that she’s been spotted and that Faith is smiling softly at her.
“Hey,” Faith says.
“Hi,” Buffy replies back. She tries to smile but it doesn’t meet her eyes.
They stand awkwardly until Faith finally opens the door the rest of the way and pulls Buffy into her arms, holding her silently. Both girls just stand there and bask, letting the awkwardness melt away until there’s nothing left but love.
“Can we be done being stupid now?” Faith asks and Buffy sighs with relief.
Faith’s hands caress Buffy’s back and Buffy looks up so that she can see Faith’s face.
“How come you’re putting Vitamin E on your scar?” she asks.
“Been doin’ it for a while now. It’s the only scar I have that I got after becoming a slayer. Couple of docs in prison told me the scar tissue was pretty fresh and that I could put on some Vitamin E every day to help it fade. I didn’t want that though. Kinda liked having the reminder, yunno?”
Buffy doesn’t say anything but she turns her head and lets her nose and lips brush over Faith’s skin, inhaling deeply.
“So why are you doing it now then?” Buffy asks.
It takes Faith a few moments to gather her thoughts but she eventually replies, “Kinda feel like it’s past its expiration date or somethin’ like that. I used to need it as an anchor, but now I kinda got the world in front of me and I don’t wanna be tied down anymore. And we’re lookin’ toward the future, not the past, right?”
“Right,” Buffy says with a nod.
“Right,” Faith agrees. “So it’s gotta go.”
And as if it’s nothing, Buffy unwraps herself from around Faith and grabs another softgel from the bottle. She cuts it and applies the liquid right to Faith’s scar, then works it in softly with her fingertips.
It’s only logical, after all; they’d made their scars together, and now they’ll make them disappear just the same.
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