by Faith_Delivers

Title: Boomerang

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: Buffy/Angel/Faith

Disclaimer: These characters are not mine and I make no money off this.

Author's Notes: Set several years after "Not Fade Away." I'm assuming that Angel et. al. made it through that ordeal; in fact, I'm writing that story myself. But that's a different fic. ;) Huge thanks go to: glitter_j for some awesome suggestions re: a draft of the first two sections, and to queenzulu and m_phoenix for some badly needed encouragement. You guys convinced me that this story might not be completely off its rocker, after all. :) Finally, this fic is heavily indebted to Ducks's For Love or Monster. This was the first F/B/A fic that I read, and even though the ending KILLS me, she really convinced me that these three can and maybe even NEED to work.

Suggested Soundtrack: "Dissolved Girl" by Massive Attack for the first part. "It's Over It's Under" by Dollshead for the club-scene. "XXX" by Crushing Velvet, immediately post-club. "Drive" by Melissa Ferrick for the love/sex scenes. "Flames" by VAST, for the end of the love/sex scenes. "A Sorta Fairytale" by Tori Amos for the aftermath.

Fade, made to fade
Passion's overrated anyway
Say, say my name
Need a little love to ease the pain...

She doesn't apologize, anymore. The first time was so different - her wild, superhuman eyes bleeding into mine across the doorway. Waiting to be invited in. Believing she didn't deserve it. The irony so sharp it actually, physically hurt.

"Hey, Angel," she says, left foot already inching forward.

"Faith," I reply. My smile is genuine as I step aside to let her enter. We are always happy to see her, Buffy and I. She should visit more frequently than she does... but by now, the ritual is weighed down by years of practice.

I watch her saunter in, my eyes automatically flicking up and down her body. Leather jacket, white tank, washed out jeans. Smooth strides but tense shoulders. That's where it shows, now - her shoulders and her jaw. Her scent washes over me in her wake, and I inhale. Faith. Slayer. Need. Fear. Maybe not in that particular order.

"Faith?" Buffy calls from the living room. Her voice is bright and eager. I can pick up the slight clatter of her wine glass as she sets it down on the coffee table. We were reading. Now, we'll be going out.

Buffy's smile as she rounds the corner almost burns, and Faith's ragged duffle thumps to the floor as Buffy enfolds her in a swift hug. Faith is like a cat - squirmy after too much affection - but Buffy knows how to touch her, now. It wasn't always that way. I'd like to think I helped, but maybe not.

"Hey, B," Faith says into Buffy's neck. Buffy releases her and Faith steps back, trailing her fingers over the curve of Buffy's waist as she goes. Another way of saying hello. And thank you, in advance.

"Want a glass of wine?" I ask her, moving past them. "Red. 2002. Louis Latour Pinot Noir."

She laughs and catches my shoulder in a light punch. "That doesn't mean shit to white trashy me, Angel. But sure, I'll have a glass."

"Just nod and smile," Buffy advises, rolling her eyes at me. For a second, I think about coming back with some pithy Latin "vino" proverb... but finally I just end up letting go of the low growl that's been stuck in my throat ever since their embrace. To move things along.

"Shakin' in my boots, here," Faith calls after me as I stroll into the kitchen.

When I return with the wine, she's sitting on the couch, the heels of both feet resting on our coffee table. Hands laced behind her head, elbows out. It isn't time for snuggling, yet.

"Stories," Buffy demands from the seat next to her. I sit down on the opposite side, so that Buffy's in the middle. As it should be. "Tell stories."

Faith sips her glass slowly and regales us with tales from the Fyarl-demon-infested backwoods of British Columbia, later moving on to the vamp fledgling who was trying to found a "kingdom" in the unlikely town of "Spud, Idaho." She's a good story-teller; Buffy is laughing so hard by the end that she's actually leaning against Faith and half-crying.

"How 'bout you guys?" Faith asks finally. "What's been going down? And how's the fam?"

Buffy tells her about the girls she's training while I open another bottle of wine. Her voice always sounds different when Faith is here. Or maybe it's her language. They understand each other on some level that I will never, ever be able to touch - some instinctual Slayer wavelength that's absolutely forbidden to a vampire. Willow actually has a name for it - "The Slayer Exclusion Principle." Apparently this sort of thing goes on wherever two or more are gathered.

When I return, Buffy's moved on to news about her friends. And they're still her friends - all except Willow, really. Xander will always think I'm cheating Buffy out of something good and normal, whatever those words mean. Giles will always despise me for Jenny's murder. It's no less than I deserve, but Buffy's made me want more than that. Sometimes, I think I hate her. But never more than I love her.

"Oh, and Will and Kennedy are thinking about having a baby," she adds. When Faith's eyebrows shoot up to her hairline, she grins and nods. "I know, right? Crazy talk. But they've already approached Xander about the sperm thing, and if he says no, Will thinks she'll try to track down Oz."

"Shi-ite," Faith breathes, pronouncing it the British way. The way she learned from Spike. "What does Dawnie think? And who's gonna pop the sprog?"

Buffy rolls her eyes at Faith's vulgarity, then takes a long sip of wine. The flush in her cheeks grows almost as I watch, and I find myself grinning at the promise of her and Faith tipsy. "Willow, for sure. And Dawn's cool, I think. She sounded excited, anyway, when I talked to her."

Faith whistles lowly and drains her glass. I watch the muscles in her throat convulse as she drinks, and suddenly I want. Can't ever have, but that only makes the wanting sharper. Why should I want Faith's blood, when Buffy's is beyond perfect - more potent than anything I've tasted, freely offered, always tinged with desire. I force myself to look at her instead... only to find that she's watching Faith as well. Maybe this is the definition of irony.

"Let's go out," Faith says suddenly. It's an order, not a suggestion. She sets down her wine glass with a sharp clink as her eyes meet Buffy's. "Wear white, B."

"All right," Buffy replies evenly. Nonplussed. Faith always wants her to wear white. The dark slayer and the light slayer and their vampire, who is never truly sure of how he fits in the picture. Sometimes I wonder if my only redeeming quality is that now - finally - I will be there in the morning when Buffy wakes up. Unlike Faith.

Faith turns to me as Buffy heads for the stairs, and we share a tight grin. Our girl. "Leather pants?" Faith suggests. This time almost a command, but not quite.

"They don't make me look evil?"

"Naw, man," Faith replies, pulling a stick of gum out of her right pocket. "Just hot as fuck." The Cheshire grin jumps to her lips and my eyes narrow at her. "Besides... B loves 'em and you know it." Which is, of course, a good enough reason for me.

"You love them too," I retort, flashing a bit of fang. I can feel the demon blinking and stretching, like a sleepy cat. He's chained now; bound and gagged by extraplanar soul magick that has nothing to do with gypsies. But he's still in me... and in some ways, these nights are as much about him as Faith.

"'Course I do," she answers, popping the gum. "Now quit yakkin' and go put them on so we can get this party started."

Lava turns to light and turns to waste
Swallow me and tell me how I taste
People stare and some pretend to speak
It takes more than one taboo to build a perfect freak

The club is dark and hot, lit intermittently by flashes of strobe. Buffy's white dress flickers eeriely as she twists and turns in perfect synchrony with Faith. I'm leaning against the bar just watching them, clutching a vodka tonic for purchase as her blonde hair mixes with Faith's dark brown. I don't dance, but I sure as hell love it when they do.

Faith's hands cup Buffy's hips, and I watch several of the men dancing near them almost have aneurysms. Buffy does a 180 and Faith draws her in, wrapping finely chiseled arms around her waist so Buffy's back is pressed tightly against her torso. Buffy's head tilts back for a lingering, visibly French, kiss. I take a long sip of my drink.

It's funny how often I miss Spike - not that I'd ever say so. Years ago, this outing would have been a fucked up double date - Spike and Faith, me and Buffy. Or maybe Buffy and Faith, me and Spike. Hard to tell, sometimes. Not that Faith was ever anyone's girl in writing... but in practice, those were the permutations. We even all ended up in bed together, a few times.

And then... well. Final Death will come to us all, someday. We've thwarted it so often that I think sometimes we forget we're not truly invincible. Or at least, we used to forget. Buffy, Faith and I buried his dust at the bottom of the Sunnydale crater. So many people came... Giles and Willow and even Xander, along with a group of the Slayers who had known him. Andrew showed up carrying one of those onion-blossom things on a plate. Dawn couldn't stop crying for the entire duration of the multiple eulogies. I can still hear her sniffles, if I focus hard enough.

Faith didn't shed a tear. But about six months afterwards, she showed up at our apartment, wild-eyed, haunted, dirty. Track marks on her arms. She didn't say a word when Buffy pulled her inside and almost carried her up to the bathroom. She stripped her of the filthy clothes at the foot of our bed and told me to burn them. And while the fire hissed downstairs, I heard their moans and screams over the rattle of hot water against ceramic. When they emerged, pruny and quivering, I was waiting on top of the sheets.

"Tequila," the guy sitting in the chair nearest me calls to the bartender, interrupting my reverie. She brings him salt and a lime and the shot, and suddenly my brain's in overdrive. I turn around and catch the woman's eye, gesturing for three. She puts everything on a little tray for me, and then I'm walking towards Faith and Buffy's entwined bodies - towards and past them. To a dark corner at the far end of the club, hemmed in by several deserted tables. Good.

I don't ask them to follow but they do, bodies still brushing at every movement. I take a long step towards Faith and whisper in her ear, letting her in on my plan. Her eyes widen, but when she pulls back, she's grinning that wide, almost-feral smile again. "That's a beautiful thought," she tells me, turning to hook a finger in one of Buffy's spaghetti straps and drawing her closer.

"I know," I reply, and lean down to brush my lips over Buffy's. She tries to hang on, but I pull away. That makes her groan a little, and I'm glad.

"What?" she demands, voice husky. "What's going on?"

Faith, meanwhile, has been arming herself with the salt shaker. "Tilt your head a little," she orders. But suddenly Buffy has that bright glint in her eyes that says she's not budging another inch without some kind of explanation. Her feet even move ever so slightly, shifting up and back into a defensive stance. I love her when she's like this - wanting so much but unwilling to let go without a fight.

"Why?" she challenges.

Faith laughs at her. "Take it easy, B," she admonishes. "Angel and me - we just want to do body shots off your neck. That's all."

Buffy's eyes darken like an eclipse. "Oh," she murmurs. A come-hither smile rises to her lips and Faith answers, sliding forward with Slayer grace to caress the back of Buffy's head with one hand as she leans down to thoroughly lick the juncture between her right shoulder and neck. Light sprinkle of salt. Buffy hums, eyes closed. Faith lets her mouth trail up to Buffy's earlobe and spends a few seconds nibbling there, before descending back to her neck. "Yessss," Buffy whispers, her hips suddenly in motion, seeking Faith's own. And then the dark Slayer takes a long, deliberate swipe of Buffysalt as I step forward with the shot and the lime.

Lick, swallow, suck. Faith lets out a quiet moan as the flavors mix in her throat, and I grin in appreciation. And anticipation... because as much as Faith is enjoying this, I'm going to love it so much more.

"Your turn," Buffy whispers to me. She steps away from Faith, pressing my black t-shirt shirt into my chest as she leans against me. I give the tray to Faith and my hands find Buffy's waist as she tilts her head again, baring her neck. Baring the scar - white and raised and magnetic. I bend to it and take a long, slow lick, a torturous taste of FaithandBuffy. The instant my tongue touches her skin, her pulse and breath increase, arousal spilling around the edges of her scent. I pull back, holding my hand out for the salt shaker, and Faith's fingertips brush mine as she hands it over.

Buffy's eyes slam shut as the salt rain hits her sensitized skin. I lower my mouth to her again and hear Faith's involuntary gasp as my tongue cleans her of the tiny crystals. Buffy presses into me, strong arms going around my neck... arms that tighten against my ears involuntarily as I slip into game face and delicately slide my fangs into her scar.

"Angel," she gasps, one hand tangling in my hair to pull me closer.

"Fuck," breaths Faith.

I take a long pull from Buffy's artery, then draw away (always so hard) to down the tequila, followed by the lime. My eyes are almost rolling back in my head at the unfuckingbelievable taste, and for one terrifying moment, I'm afraid that my soul will disappear, because I really, really don't deserve this. But then Buffy's knees buckle, and I'm moving forward to pin her against the dark matte wall, all introspection forgotten. A single thin trail of blood cascades down her neck and I catch it with my lips before it can mar the white perfection of her dress.

"Angel," she whispers again. Her body is trembling on the edge of ecstasy - this close, I can hear the flutter of her muscles, the powerful surge of her Slayerheart. I rotate my hips and let my mouth slide up to her ear.

"Drink your shot, so we can go home."

She pushes me off, then, eyes wild and dark. Snatches the salt from the tray in one hand and Faith's left arm in the other. "Hold still," she demands, and now it's Faith's turn to tremble at the authority in Buffy's voice. Buffy sucks on her blue-veined wrist for a good half-minute before applying the salt, so long that the dark Slayer's wavering on her feet. I move to stand behind her, running my hands up and down the curves of her torso, teasing the undersides of her breasts. Trying not to fixate on the thundering of her forbidden pulse.

"God, B," she calls softly as Buffy returns to her wrist. "Fuck!"

"Soon," Buffy answers, grinning her own version of that predatory smile. And then she downs the shot and takes the lime between her perfect, flashing teeth. The movement of her throat causes a bead of blood to rise to one edge of the scar, and I lean around Faith to flick it off her with my tongue. The perfect rush.

"Home," Faith groans, moving with me so her breasts are filling my palms. "Now. Now now now."

"Yes," I agree. My voice sounds hoarse, even to me.

Buffy doesn't say another word - just grabs our hands and pulls us behind her.

I'll hold you up and drive you
All night
I'll hold you up and drive you
'Til you feel the daylight...

The darkness of the club gives way to a neon L.A. night cascading past as our driver negotiates the city after-hours. We're nearly home when Faith suddenly sucks in a long breath and Buffy's head whips to the left. "Stop the car, Todd," she commands. He's one of the Slayers' boyfriends. I can't remember which one, but there's no question that he knows what's going on. The car swerves crisply into the shoulder, hazards flashing red in all three mirrors as he pops the glove compartment. Stakes spill out onto the driver's side seat. I can't help cringing, even after all these years.

"See them?" Buffy asks Faith quietly, unbuckling her seat belt.

"Four of 'em. Yeah." Faith never buckled hers. And then I see them, too - four figures sauntering in pairs along the sidewalk next to a long warehouse. From here, they look normal. Human. I feel sorry for them, but only for a moment.

Faith quietly opens her door and jumps out of the car, Buffy exiting behind her. I don't ask if they want me to come along, because I know they don't. This is a nod to nostalgia - to the good old days. Or the bad old days. Depending on your point of view.

Faith swaggers. Buffy glides. They don't hurry, walking quickly enough to overtake the vampires but not fast enough to alarm them. I watch the four undead turn to glance hungrily at the Slayers as they pretend to pass them on the right... only to see one of the demons share a grin with his companion and, in the next movement, lunge at Buffy. I can't help but smile. So gonna lose.

The maelstrom is like one of those tiny whirlwinds that kick up the dirt alleyways in the summer - short and furious. Only Buffy and Faith are left when the dust clears, and the former has the latter pressed tightly against the rough wooden slats of the warehouse, devouring her mouth as her hands slide up and down the warm silk of Faith's black dress. I can see the material start to bunch around her thighs... and hear Todd's increasing pulse.

"Drive up," I order, barely suppressing a growl. Buffy doesn't pull away at the sound of car tires crunching on gravel, though, or at the click of my door opening. Her left hand is rhythmically squeezing Faith's right breast, in time with the circular press of her thigh between Faith's legs.

"Buffy," I call softly. The growl snarls in my throat, and her name comes out more like a groan. "Get in the car." For several seconds, I'm not sure she that she will. Maybe this will be the night they no longer need me - the night when Faith finally decides to stay. But then Buffy pulls back gasping from the younger Slayer, only to hold out her hand and lead Faith back to me.

"Hurry," she tells Todd as he pulls away. Her voice is husky, colored by vampire grit and rough passion. Faith's back is ramrod straight against the seat and her eyes are closed, breaths coming short and fast. Her hands clutch the seams of the leather interior, tendons flexing and unflexing. Buffy's not touching her at all any more; instead, she grabs one of my forearms and squeezes Slayerhard, clutching my knee with her other hand. Unable to stop herself otherwise.

"Almost there," I soothe, refusing to betray the pain of her grip. My body has its own reaction though, and for one agonizing moment, I nearly pull her on to my lap.

When Todd finally swings the car into the parking garage, the Slayers spill out first, hands clashing again, bodies finding each other against a concrete pillar. "Up," Buffy breathes reluctantly, her eyes darting to the "elevator" symbol nearby.

"Downnn," Faith argues, drawing out the last letter as Buffy abruptly presses the heel of her palm into the swatch of silk covering the apex of Faith's thighs. "Yeah," she whispers, hips bucking. Buffy twists her palm and Faith responds with a hitching groan. "Like that."

"Stairs," I choke out somehow, grabbing each by a shoulder and spinning her around. "Now."

They take the stairs three at a time, sprinting with Slayer grace and stamina that I simply can't match in this state. Hoarse laughter floats above me and I catch a quick glimpse of one delicate hand curling around a banister ahead, pulling in for added momentum. They're neck and neck in the race, spiraling up like characters in an Escher painting. Black and white. Heaven and Hell.

And then their pounding footsteps stop, only to be replaced by the metallic shriek and wooden splintering of a doorknob ripped out of its socket. The fifth in three years, but at least the bed has held up. The door slams behind them and I can hear Faith's muffled expletive as Buffy pushes her against the adjoining wall. My steps quicken and I reach the top while the door is still vibrating from Buffy's overzealous slam.

I push it in, just in time to watch Faith make a play for being on top. She shoves Buffy's shoulders and sidesteps, then pivots as she tries to reverse their positions against the wall. But Buffy will have none of it. She swipes Faith's legs out from under her with a sweeping kick and follows her to the floor. Buffy's hands pin Faith's above her head, blonde hair cascading over her shoulders to tickle the dark Slayer's neck.

"It's my turn," she whispers. Her voice is soft but ragged. It breaks my heart and turns me on, all at once. "My turn, dammit. You leave for months without any word and just waltz back in here, thinking you're in charge?" Her hips swivel into Faith's stomach, and the younger woman can't suppress a broken moan. Her face is flushed and pale, eager and pained all at once. "No way," Buffy finishes, grinding down again. I stay pressed against the door - watching. Waiting.

"Buffy," Faith manages to gasp, arching her own hips up in a desperate attempt to ease the pressure. "I'm sor-"

Buffy smashes her lips into Faith's before she can get the words out. I'm surprised Faith even started to speak; they haven't tried to have that conversation in years. Maybe it means that something is changing, though it's hard for me to believe that we'll ever be the happy family Buffy wants. I've lived too long for optimism. And that's really the problem, isn't it? We've all lived too long. One of us is going to die, someday. Like Spike did. And then there will be two.

Buffy is kissing the side of Faith's neck, now, letting her tongue swirl out occasionally to dip into the deep valleys of her collarbone. She raises her head long enough to order Faith to keep her hands where they are, and then returns to the younger Slayer's salty skin. I watch Faith's hands open and close convulsively high above her head as Buffy moves down her torso, pressing wet kisses to each silk-covered nipple as her own hands reach for the hem of Faith's dress. Her hips arch again as Buffy slides the fabric up, slowly baring Faith's naked body to our eyes... toned thighs and curly dark hair and the smooth plateau of her stomach, its softness only rivaled by the full breasts that Buffy frees from the fabric, one at a time.

And then Buffy bends her head to take Faith's left nipple into her mouth, and I watch her cheeks hollow as she sucks in. She's probably using her tongue, too; Faith is gasping for breath as Buffy wraps one arm around her shoulder and lifts up so she can remove the dress completely. Faith's head begins to toss restlessly as soon as Buffy lowers her back to the carpet. I watch her toes curl and uncurl, watch Buffy's left hand take over for her mouth as she pays the same torturous attention to the other breast. Faith's hips undulate instinctively, rising higher and higher off the floor in time with Buffy's flickering tongue. And then Buffy's mouth moves down in a zig-zagging path across Faith's stomach... back and forth, back and forth, until her lips find the jagged line of scar tissue.

Buffy's mark on Faith, like my mark on Buffy. The scars bind us more potently than any love or magic ever could. They are the signs of our transgression and passion - of the acts we should have found ways of avoiding. Of the darkness and need in us all. Of the death that is our collective gift.

"Buffy!" Faith calls again, feeling her lover's lips trace the memory of the knife. Buffy nips at the white skin, licking and sucking, one hand holding Faith's hips firmly to the floor while the other finally trails down the center of her body until her palm covers the trimmed patch of hair and one long index finger slips into the swollen red folds below.

Faith's cry is strangled. Her eyes fly open, dark and unseeing, as Buffy begins to circle that lone finger around the tiny, swollen knot of nerves. Faith's legs spread wider, allowing Buffy's fingers (and my eyes) greater access. Her sex is beautiful - a microcosm of her body. Curly black and red. Lush and intricate.

My gaze rises briefly up to Buffy's left arm, to her triceps standing out in sharp relief as she struggles to hold Faith still. But finally that teasing finger moves down - down and in - and Faith makes a noise that's somehow both a gasp and a sigh. I watch Buffy's thumb find the spot she just vacated, even as her tongue stabs delicately at Faith's scar... and that's all it takes. Faith's body freezes for one surreal moment, muscles gathering and bunching in her stomach and neck, before the orgasm takes her. Head thrown back, mouth open in a silent scream, hips thrashing despite Buffy's strong grip. And still that long, glistening finger plunges in and out, in and out, drawing out her pleasure.

"That's it," Buffy says softly. Tenderly. "C'mon, Faith. Come for me. Just let it all go."

Faith's body shudders in a long series of aftershocks until she finally collapses against the floor. Breaths shallow. Eyes closed. Buffy rises to her feet and turns towards me. I reach out for her right hand and bring it to my mouth, letting my tongue slip out to taste Faith on her finger. Her eyes flutter closed. "Bedroom," she whispers when I suck the tip inside.

"Mmm," I reply, just before releasing her. She sways on her feet for a moment, then opens those hungryhorny eyes and lets them lock with mine. No words - only the rawest of emotions. Love. Desire. Need. Pain.

She finally turns away and kneels again at Faith's side to lift the younger Slayer's limp body with effortless grace. Faith's head lolls against her left bicep as she follows the hallway's twisting corridors, until we're both standing in front of the four-poster king paid for by Wolfram and Hart. Buffy deposits Faith gently on top of the covers, then turns back to me.

"Off," she says, reaching for the hem of my black ribbed t-shirt. I raise my arms, content to let her drive. For the time being, anyway. "Mmmm," she breaths again, once my chest is bare. Her fingers lightly trace the curves of my pecs, and I can't stop the shiver. "Feel so different," she murmurs. "Love you both, so much." Her eyes slide up to meet mine again, and behind the arousal I can see confusion. "How is that possible?"

I reach down to guide her right hand to the zipper of my pants. "Just is," I tell her. My voice is deep and raspy. I don't want to talk, and she knows, because she starts working at the little metal clasp with those deadly, delicate fingers.

"I love these pants," she says as she pushes them over my hips. The cool slide of black leather makes me groan. "Told you so," Faith's voice joins in, weak but rich with laughter. I lift my feet for Buffy, one at a time. Naked. She stands again, but turns towards Faith. The dark Slayer's eyes plead with mine to take off that tiny white dress.

"Raise your arms," I order, my hands sliding up her thighs as I gradually bunch the material up towards her hips. She shimmies a little, and I almost lose it right there. It would be so easy to push her forward against the bed - to slide into her from behind and fuck her into the edge of the mattress. Faith's eyes are all that stops me.

As the dress slides over her head, Buffy crawls onto the bed. Faith opens her arms, but that isn't what Buffy's after. Not yet. She rests her hands on the younger girls' knees, pushing them apart with a surprising tenderness, and settles herself between them. I watch her palms inch their way up Faith's inner thighs.

"Buffy," Faith groans, lifting her head from the pillow. "No - you haven't -"

"Don't worry," she replies, her mouth so, so close to Faith's glistening folds. Faith's entire body convulses in anticipation and her head falls back to the bed. "I will."

I realize what she wants from me just as her fingers part Faith's outer lips to reveal the swollen bundle of nerves that is once again begging for her attention. Vampiric reflexes have me up on the bed in under a second, and as her tongue finally presses - so lightly! - against Faith, my left arm encircles her lower back.

"Are you sure?" I ask as my fingers stroke her stomach, wordlessly encouraging her to shift her own knees apart. Her tongue briefly leaves off circling Faith's clit, and the younger girl's fists clutch at the sheets in frustration and anticipation.

"Oh yeah," Buffy breathes hoarsely. She returns to Faith - this time with long, slow, vertical licks - as I finally push myself inside her. Inch by torturous inch, teasing us both. Delaying gratification. Buffy's tongue never stops moving, and the added vibration of her low moan makes Faith whimper. And then I'm inside - all the way inside Buffy as she slips her tongue shallowly into Faith. Connected.

"Fuck," Faith breathes, raising her hips to allow Buffy better access. Her eyes open and widen a bit as she sees me looming behind Buffy and over her... but soon enough, one of those quintessential Faith grins rises to her lips. "God," she groans. "Hot."

Buffy's hips push back into mine as her lips curl around Faith's pleasure point... and then we're simply one organism - moving in tandem, moaning in counterpoint, coaxing each other towards ecstasy. I start off gently with Buffy, but that's not really what she wants. Faith watches me pick up speed with slanted eyes, grunting softly in sympathy as I move more forcefully in and out of her lover. "Wish I could be with her... like that," she manages. "Inside... " But then Buffy begins to stab Faith's clit with her stiffened tongue - over and over and over - and it's the point of no return.

Beyond language, beyond humanity, beyond apocalypse... there is this. Love three-times forbidden. A fragile circle that will never stay closed. Life and death and hunger. Passion.

But when I am with you
There's no reason to pretend
That when I am with you
I feel flames again
Just put me inside you
I would never, ever leave...

Eventually, they get hungry.

"Make us eggs," Faith says, running one hand along the curves of Buffy's right side - into the dip between her ribs and her stomach. Buffy hums in contentment against her neck. "Jesus, B, you're still way too skinny." She looks up and glares at me, as if it's my fault.

"Not his fault," Buffy murmurs, snuggling closer.

"Bullshit," Faith protests, even as she runs gentle fingers through Buffy's hair in a light massage. "Eggs, Angel. And bacon. And chocolate milkshakes."

Buffy's body shakes with laughter at Faith's order. "You're such a little kid," she replies, raising her head so she can pepper Faith's lips with light kisses. I continue to watch them in silence.

"Damn skippy," Faith announces, suddenly rolling her over and pinning her to the mattress. Buffy's smile is incandescent. "Go, Angel," she tells me. "And make the bacon crispy."

"You just want more time to r-ravish me," Buffy replies in a hitching voice as I finally obey.

"Damn skippy," Faith breathes into the valley between her breasts.

Maybe it should bother me that they want to make love - because that's what this time will be - without me there. But it doesn't. Not really. The soft, breathy sounds they create together follow me into the kitchen, where I pull out two frying pans and a bowl. And the blender, because Faith is deadly serious about those milkshakes.

Buffy and I are alone together almost every night. Why shouldn't Faith have a turn?

Despite that logic, the first egg pretty much misses the bowl and splatters onto the counter.

"Mmmmm, yeah," Faith moans over her plate. "You're a rockin' cook, Big A."

"Thanks," Buffy contributes, leaning across the table to kiss me. She has scrambled egg breath, but that doesn't stop me from kissing her back. "Are you hungry?" she asks coyly when I finally pull away. Flips her hair back from her neck. "Because... y'know..."

Faith's eyebrows raise a little and she smirks, looking from one of us to the other. For one terrifying second, I almost vamp out right there and take Buffy, just to make the point. But thankfully the moment passes, and I find myself shaking my head. "I'm okay," I tell her. "Thanks, though." My hand moves to rest on top of the one she's not using to shovel eggs into her mouth. She smiles at me. Satisfied.

"Betcha I can whup your ass in Halo IV," Faith challenges Buffy suddenly. Change of subject. This, too, is tradition.

"Like hell!" Buffy retorts, letting some of that Slayer cockiness rise to the fore.

"Yep, that's how you play," Faith jabs back. "Like hell."

Buffy grits her teeth and puts on her best annoyed glare. "Go. Turn. The. X-box. On."

Faith laughs and saunters into our (un)living room, careful to take her as-yet-unfinished milkshake with her. Buffy watches her naked body go with appreciative eyes, then turns and leans her head against my shoulder.

"You okay?" she asks. Quietly.

"I'm good," I reply. And it's true, mostly.

"I love you," she says.

"I know that," I tell her. "And I love you, too."

She gives that happy little Buffy sigh that will always be a miracle, and rests against me for another few seconds before finally getting to her feet. She, too, is naked. I let my eyes trace the curves of her breasts as she turns towards the ominous sounds of the television. "All right, Faith," she calls, "time to meet your destiny!"

"Been there, done that!" The dark Slayer exclaims in reply. "Now get your ass in here and let's get down and dirty!"

I stick their dishes in the sink and join them on the couch, just as their game begins. Split screen - Faith on the left and Buffy on the right. "Slayer!" the game exclaims, announcing the mode of play. Buffy war-whoops and Faith shouts, "Oh yeah, baby!" And then they're off - looking for each other on radar. Search and destroy.

And I was riding by, riding along side
For a while, 'til you lost me
And I was riding by, riding along side
'Til you lost me in the rearview...

"Buffy beats down Faith with the plasma sword." I read aloud off the screen, my deep voice cutting under Faith's blood-curdling scream.

"You BITCH!" she yells, abandoning her controller and tackling Buffy sideways. A disembodied, gender-neutral voice announces from the television that "Buffy" has won, with twenty-one kills. Meanwhile, Faith has Buffy pinned to the carpet and her tongue is tracking a bumpy path along her ribs, licking each hollow clean of the sweat that has pooled there in the heat of the game. My body shivers in memory of the hot cavern of Faith's exquisite mouth, wrapped around me just hours ago... second only to the feeling of her internal muscles clutching at me desperately as I fucked her into the pillows. As though I were the one in danger of leaving.

Buffy orders Faith to turn in a strangled voice, and I can't help but grin. Sixty-nine. They've left me far behind, now... but that doesn't mean I don't like to watch. The sounds they make together are beautiful - whispering groans punctuated by the rhythm of wetandsticky. I love them both and each - together and apart. And as I stroke myself in time to the rocking movements of their lazy passion, I find myself hoping that this time will be different.

We finally crawl into bed just before sunrise. I can smell the beginnings of it - red-gold and terrifying - and give silent thanks yet again for the necrotempered windows of this apartment.

Buffy slides between the sheets, and us. We curl around her. Faith drapes one arm across her torso, under her breasts. I stroke the sweat-damp hair back from Buffy's forehead with light, soothing movements. She lets out a humming sigh and snuggles deeper into the covers, then turns her head to capture my fingers in a sleepy kiss. I smile and lay back, eyes tracing the brightening shadows on the ceiling as I listen to the soft sounds of their mingled breathing.

"Stay," Buffy whispers suddenly, just as I feel the sun break free from the horizon. I flinch, involuntarily.

Faith buries her face against the column of Buffy's neck, and I watch the muscles in her arm contract and release.

"Someday," she finally replies. Her voice is low and slightly hoarse. "Just... it can't be today. Not yet."

Buffy squirms a little closer to Faith, letting her chin rest on the crown of the younger Slayer's head.

"Someday," Faith repeats. Her voice is thick. I watch a single tear drip from Buffy's left eye, over the bridge of her nose, and into Faith's mass of dark, curly hair. And then I close my eyes.

When I open them again, she will be gone.


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