by Hayley

Chapter Six

Buffy opened her eyes as light began to shine in her bedroom window. For a moment, she thought about school and the fact she couldn't go there and be with her friends but that thought left her quickly. Her mind quickly went to the girl in her arms.

They moved during the night so they weren't facing each other anymore. Now Faith's back was to her and Buffy was pressed against her, holding onto her tightly. Faith was helping with that, too, since she was clutching at the arm Buffy had draped over her stomach, making sure she stayed close. She didn't mind that at all either since it meant she stayed pressed against Faith, something she quickly discovered she liked very much.

She realized as she lay there that they'd dared to sleep through the night naked. After they'd had sex, the last thing on their minds was to put some clothes on in case her mother walked in during the night. Neither one of them wanted to leave the bed. Instead, they'd only kissed until they'd fallen asleep.

Buffy was incredibly thankful her mother hadn't checked in on them. The last thing she needed was one more thing to be awkward with her about. She'd at least like to get through all the other awkward topics first before she got to be awkward about Faith or more importantly, her new sex life with Faith.

Taking a minute to listen, she knew her mom was up and looking over at her clock, she knew she should go downstairs. Buffy figured she should talk to her before she left for the gallery, especially since she was meeting with Principal Snyder later in the day. She was curious to find out what she would be saying to him. She thought maybe she could even give her some pointers but quickly decided against it. Her run-ins with Snyder never ended well so she was probably the last person who should be giving advice.

Buffy leaned in and placed a few kisses on Faith's back before slowly moving away from her. Faith mumbled a little but didn't wake up and she released her arm, letting her get out of bed. She got up and quickly dressed in the pajamas she'd been wearing before Faith had shown up and took a moment to look over the other slayer. She looked so amazing as she lay on the bed sound asleep.

Buffy couldn't believe what was happening between them. In just a few short days, she'd let Faith in, confessing things to her that she had yet to tell anyone. She had a feeling Faith was starting to open up a little to her, too. The other slayer seemed to be the type that didn't share her feelings much. Most importantly, she couldn't believe she was falling for her.

She turned and put a hand on the doorknob then couldn't help but smile. Faith had locked the door as she walked in last night. Buffy's smile widened to a grin at that as she unlocked the door and walked into the hall, quietly shutting the door behind her.

Joyce Summers was muttering as she walked into the kitchen, eating burnt toast. She looked up as Buffy leaned on the counter, watching her eat. "Good morning. Did you sleep okay?"

"Yeah." Buffy nodded.

"That's good." Joyce smiled almost nervously, cursing herself that she didn't know what to say to her own daughter. "Is Faith awake?"

"No," Buffy answered, smiling as she thought of Faith asleep and naked in her bed. "She was really tired."

"Maybe you should wake her up. I'm not sure we have much but I can make some sort of breakfast before I have to go to the gallery." Joyce stopped to take a sip of coffee. "I'm sure Faith needs to go to school."

Buffy shook her head at that. "The Council hasn't decided yet if Faith should go to school or if she should just be a slayer."

"They shouldn't have a say in that," Joyce responded. She'd only known about Buffy's slaying life a few short months but she did not like this Council at all. "They're not telling you what to do, if you should go to school . . . are they?"

"No." Buffy shook her head again. "I have you."

"It's okay, Mrs. S," Faith said as she walked into the kitchen. "I never liked school anyway."

"No, it's not okay. Maybe after I talk to your principal I can talk to Mr. Giles about it."

"That's not necessary, really," Faith said quickly. She let her hand move over the small of Buffy's back as she stood next to her but didn't keep it there, not when they were with Mrs. Summers. "I should probably get back, shower and change and all that. Should probably go to the library and talk to Giles and do slayer stuff."

"Should Buffy go with you?"

The two slayers looked at each other before Faith answered. "Actually, Buffy's not allowed at the school, being expelled and all. Giles is meeting us after school."

"Oh." Joyce looked away for a moment, wanting to say something about the situation but not knowing what or even how. Everything seemed too complicated to talk over breakfast. "I should get to the gallery."

"Yeah, I'm gonna get goin'," Faith said, looking at Buffy. "I'll stop by later, after I stop by the school."

"Okay." Buffy smiled. "Later."

Faith turned to leave and Buffy watched her go, hoping that when she came back they'd have enough time to talk about what happened last night. She knew she didn't want their night to be a onetime thing and hoped Faith felt the same. She'd also wanted to give Faith a goodbye kiss but she was sure her mother would ask questions if she did that. The smoochies would have to wait until she got back.

"When are you going to the school, Mom?"

"This afternoon," she answered. "I have a busy morning, too, so I better hurry."

Buffy smiled as best she could as her mother walked around the counter and gave her a quick hug before walking out of the kitchen. She watched silently as she gathered her things quickly and left, not saying anything else to her daughter. That left her alone in the house, wondering what she should do. It seemed everyone had their own new life in Sunnydale and none of it included her.

Faith almost ran back to Giles' place, hoping that the faster she did everything else the faster she could meet up with Buffy. She regretted having to leave so fast in the morning but she thought she'd interrupted an important conversation in the kitchen so she wanted to make a quick exit. It made sense to her that Buffy and Mrs. Summers needed to talk some things through and they needed to do that alone.

When she got to the condo she found it empty, something she expected. Giles practically lived at the library so the place was hers and hers alone most of the time. That was a great opportunity for her since she hoped Buffy and her would be able to use the place in the future if they wanted some privacy. In Faith's mind, they would definitely be in need of large amounts of privacy in the near future.

She quickly showered and changed then took a short detour to the kitchen to grab a breakfast bar before leaving and walking to the school. It was finally a place she wanted to go to. Maybe now she would be able to see what a normal day would be like, one without all the Buffy-induced depression.

Reaching the library in fast fashion, Faith walked through the school halls, trying her best to go unnoticed. She had yet to have a run in with the principal and from hearing everything she had about him, she wanted to keep it that way. She knew she probably wouldn't be able to remain respectful of her elders if one of them started acting like a jackass.

When she reached the library doors, she could hear a conversation going. It sounded like all the gang was there and it wasn't long before Faith began to not like what they were talking about so she stopped short of walking in, knowing the conversation would probably stop once she entered.

"What do we even say? I don't know what to say to her."

"Maybe we just talk like nothing happened, Will. Maybe we should focus on Buffy being back."

"Get over the positivity, Xander. She didn't even come back willingly."

"Not the time, Cordy."

"She's right though, Xander. Faith had to bring her back here. That means she could get up and leave again. We don't even know that she wants to be here."

Faith couldn't take listening anymore and pushed through the library doors. She saw Xander, Willow and Cordelia sitting at one of the tables and like she thought, their talking stopped as soon as they saw Faith walk in. They all looked at her curiously before smiling. Xander and Willow smiled anyway. Faith had a feeling Cordelia didn't like her but figured it was because she was hotter than her.

"Hey," Faith greeted them as she walked up to the table. "Giles here?"

"He's in his office," Willow answered. "I think he's upset with you. Something about not sleeping at home or slayers not respecting their watcher or something. He was muttering for awhile when he was out here then went back in."

Faith smirked. "I left him a note that I was at Buffy's."

"You were with Buffy last night?" Xander asked.

"Yeah." Faith nodded and walked to Giles' office without saying another word to the group. She didn't want to answer any questions they might have about the other slayer. She knew it would only be questions they should be asking Buffy instead. It also wasn't any of their business why she'd stayed at Buffy's place instead of her own.

She opened the door to the office without knocking and walked in, sitting down in the chair in front of the desk. "Hey, Giles. What's the what?"

Giles looked up from the papers he'd been filling out and furrowed his brow slightly. "You don't simply leave a note for me to find in the morning."

"What's the big deal?" Faith asked, leaning back in the chair. "It's not like I left you a note saying I was slaying solo or going to some seedy bar or didn't leave a note at all. I was at B's. Can anyone say slayer bonding?"

"Did Buffy's mother know you were there?"

Faith raised an eyebrow, wondering if there was more than one meaning to the question. "Of course she did, G-man. What do you think I did? Sneak through a window?"

"No, no. Of course not," Giles said carefully, not wanting to get into an argument with Faith at the moment. It was too early in the day for that and he'd rather concentrate on Buffy being home. "How is she?"

"Ya know, maybe everyone should start asking her that," Faith said quickly. "I don't wanna be the go-between."

"No, you shouldn't be one." Giles cleared his throat quietly. "I'll meet you at home after classes are done here. Does Buffy know to meet us there?"

Faith nodded. "I figured since she's currently expelled and I'm apparently not allowed to go to school, I'd meet up with her later. It's not like either of us have anything better to do."

Giles sighed at Faith's comment. "It's not that you're not allowed to go to school. The Council is simply thinking over the situation."

"Yeah, well, Mrs. Summers may have a talk with you about that." Faith smirked. "She didn't like the fact I'm not being educated."

"Yes," Giles started but stopped, knowing he'd have to address the issue if he needed to but didn't want to now. It was another possible problem he didn't want to deal with. "I'll see you at home."

"See ya, Giles," Faith said, getting up and walking out of the office.

When she walked out she noticed the library was now empty. She was more than relieved about that. The group had all looked at her like they wanted to ask her something but was too nervous to actually say it. It was starting to get annoying and Faith really hoped it would stop now that Buffy was back.

That didn't matter to Faith at the moment though, not now that she was going to see Buffy.

Buffy was bored. All those days sitting in a classroom she'd thought she'd been bored but she was wrong. In class there was at least something to ignore but right now there was nothing. She felt like she was trapped in her house and there wasn't anything she could do about it.

After her mother had left for the day, Buffy ate then showered and changed. She did it as slow as possible, too, knowing she didn't have much to do in the house but soon she was left sitting on the couch with only daytime TV to keep her company. That got old after about five minutes so she ended up lying on the couch and staring lifelessly at the TV.

She wasn't sure how long she ended up staring out into space but the doorbell brought her out of her trance fast. Buffy smiled and got off the couch, walking to the door and opening it to find Faith on the other side.

"Hey." Faith grinned widely and held up a bag. "I brought lunch."

Buffy smiled and stepped aside to let Faith in, closing the door behind her. "I never even thought about lunch."

"You're kidding, right?" Faith asked with wide eyes before beginning to walk toward the kitchen. "I'm always thinking about food. Thought it was a slayer thing."

Buffy laughed as she followed her. "Guess I wasn't thinking much."

Faith set the bag on the counter and turned back to her, still grinning. "Nah, you're probably thinking deep and meaningful thoughts. You look like a bigger thinker than me."

"I don't know about that," Buffy said, taking a step closer.

Faith closed the distance between them, wrapping her arms around her lightly. When she saw Buffy smile at the action, she leaned in and gently kissed her. Buffy responded, moving to meet her halfway, and Faith tried hard not to smile into the kiss. It was as if the kiss meant there weren't any morning after regrets for either of them.

Buffy was the one who broke away but didn't step out of Faith's embrace. "What'd you bring anyway?"

"Knew you thought about food," Faith said with a smirk as she stepped away and opened the bag. "Cheeseburgers, fries, think there might be a couple of those apple pies in there, too."

Buffy moved to stand next to Faith and looked into the bag, raising an eyebrow at the amount of food. "Is this just for us?"

Faith shrugged. "At least two of those burgers are mine 'cause I didn't eat a whole lot this morning. I wasn't sure what you'd want."

Neither said anything for a minute. Faith moved their lunch over to the table while Buffy grabbed them a couple sodas from the fridge. They sat down across from each other and ate in silence for awhile, concentrating on their food and only stealing quick glances at each other. It was Faith who finally broke the silence while she was working her way through her second burger.

"I was a little worried when I woke up alone this morning."

"Yeah." Buffy paused as she ate a fry. "I knew my mom was up and I wanted to talk to her before she either left or walked in. I didn't know you locked the door."

"I didn't think we'd wanna be interrupted."

Buffy nodded. "Last night was . . ."

"I really hope the word you're going for is something like amazing," Faith said, looking into Buffy's eyes hopefully. "And that it wasn't the last time I'll see you naked."

Buffy looked away and blushed, not being able to respond right away. She recovered after only a few seconds though since she thought the same and looked back at Faith. "Something like that. I'm . . . really falling for you."

"Yeah?" Faith asked, grinning widely as Buffy nodded. "Me, too, and that's never happened before."

Another minute of silence passed as the two continued to eat. Neither seemed to know what to say next. For Faith, that was because she'd never been in a situation like this before. That alone made her nervous but that doubled every time Buffy said something about falling for her or that she liked being with her. It made her extremely cautious of how she responded to the other girl. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt her.

For Buffy, it was that everything about the situation should be telling her that she was moving too fast. She'd only known Faith a matter of days and they'd already had sex. She had been involved with Angel for months before they'd taken that step. Despite all that, it didn't feel too fast to her. Instead, it felt like she'd known Faith for years. Being with her felt natural and that didn't scare her at all.

They finished eating quickly and Buffy started picking up wrappers, gathering them up to throw them away. Faith stood up as she did, helping as best she could but couldn't take her eyes off the other slayer. After Buffy had thrown everything away, Faith reached out and took her hand.

"You're insanely beautiful," Faith said, looking into Buffy's eyes intensely. "Everything I said last night, it wasn't just to get lucky."

"I know," Buffy said quietly. She loved the look in Faith's eyes. They were so caring and even hopeful, not something she thought would be there. The few times she'd looked at Faith when she wasn't aware she was being watched she always looked down, even a little disgruntled, and Buffy wondered why that was. She wanted to ask her about it but she hadn't found the right time yet.

Faith only smiled now. "Good." She wrapped her arms around Buffy again. "Maybe we should continue to get to know each other."

Buffy laughed, unable to stop herself as she put her arms around Faith as well. "Maybe something like that."

"I don't think I believe you."

"Really," Buffy insisted. "He was a robot."

Faith laughed quietly as she shook her head. "Your mom sure knows how to pick 'em. Someone who wants to lock you in your room, nails your window shut." She looked up at Buffy, a smirk on her face. "No wonder you had to kill him."

"Hey, no killing involved. Robot, remember?" Buffy tightened her hold on her. "Killing involves some sort of heartbeat."

Faith grinned but didn't say anything else. After lunch, she'd wanted to retreat upstairs with Buffy and explore her body a little more but the other girl has a different idea. They ended up on the couch, making out for awhile until Buffy simply reclined on the couch with Faith resting between her legs, her head on her chest.

They rested against each other in silence for awhile before Faith started asking Buffy questions about slaying. When she'd first arrived in Sunnydale, Giles told her the bare minimum about what went on in the town. He stuck to fighting skills and preparation but nothing else. No stories were told and that's what she really wanted to hear. She figured now was the perfect time for that and she knew Buffy had to have dozens of stories.

She was about to ask another question when Buffy spoke up. "Faith?"


"What did you mean when you said that last night?"

Faith turned a little in Buffy's arms, enough so she could see the look on her face. She'd hoped she could read the look on her face but she couldn't. "What part?"

"When you said you'd never hurt me and that you'd be there in the morning. What did you mean by that?"

"Exactly that," Faith said, putting a hand over Buffy's as it rested on her stomach.

Buffy smiled, knowing she'd get a response like that. She hadn't known Faith long but she could tell she was guarded, extremely so. She wanted to know how she got to be that way and didn't want her to be that way when they were together. "Why did you say it then?"

"I guess I wanted you to know," Faith said then sighed. "I'm not that big on relationships, ya know? I don't date. There's just gettin' laid and I'd either wake up alone or I'd do the leaving. I didn't want you to think I'd do something like that to you."

"I don't."

A minute of silence passed between them. Neither knew if there was anything else to say on the subject so they simply rested against each other, enjoying how close they were. Buffy was trying to figure out if she could ask Faith more personal questions while the other slayer was trying to think up some more slaying questions. They didn't have time to ask any of that however, since soon Joyce was walking through the front door.

"Buffy," she started, turning into the living room to see Faith hurriedly moving to an upright position. She tried not to smile at the nervous look the teenager had, choosing to ignore what she figured she'd walked in on. "Oh, Faith. How long have you been here?"

"The afternoon," Faith answered, attempting to straighten her clothes in the process. "I brought some lunch."

"That was thoughtful." Joyce took a few steps toward them. "What did the two of you do all afternoon?"

"Not much." Buffy looked over her mother curiously, hoping to pick up if there was a hidden meaning to her question. She couldn't place the look she had on her face. "What happened with Snyder? When can I go back?"

"We need to talk about that," Joyce said quickly before turning and walking toward the kitchen.

Faith and Buffy looked at each other for a second. Faith raised an eyebrow but Buffy only shrugged, not knowing why her mother had just walked away without any explanation. They got up and quickly followed Mrs. Summers, looking for details from the meeting.

"What's there to talk about? When can I go back?" Buffy asked as she walked into the kitchen, Faith following close behind.

Joyce sighed and looked down for a moment before looking back at her daughter. "You're not going back."

"What do you mean?" Buffy furrowed her brow and glanced at Faith. "He can't keep me out. I didn't do anything wrong."

"Well, apparently he can and he is," Joyce said, a small amount of frustration in her voice. "I think he's enjoying it a little too much, too."

"But I have to go back," Buffy said absently, trying to wrap her head around the fact Principal Snyder was keeping her from going back to Sunnydale High.

"There are some other options," Joyce said, trying her best to sound upbeat as she handed a couple pamphlets to her daughter.

Buffy took them and looked for a few moments before her eyes became a little larger. She heard Faith snicker behind her but didn't look back to see the grin that was obviously on her face. "An all girls school? Home schooling? Are you serious?"

"Those are your options, Buffy."

"They can't be my only options. Can't we go over Snyder's head or something?"

Joyce let out a frustrated sigh. "Buffy, maybe this is one of those times you deal with the consequences of your actions."

"My actions?" Buffy asked. "You make it sound like I had a choice."

"There are always choices," Joyce stated, becoming increasing irritated with the direction of the conversation.

"Not the choices you want, Mom." Buffy looked back at Faith, noticing she'd backed away, before turning back to her mother. "There are no choices in slaying. I can't just walk away, not when the world will end if I don't do my job."

"What would you call what you did just a couple months ago?" Joyce almost yelled. "You ran away from here, from me."

"You told me to leave!" Buffy yelled back. "I distinctly remember you saying that if I walked out not to come back."

"I didn't . . ."

"Yes, you did," Buffy said bitterly. "Maybe I should've stayed gone."

"We-we heard yelling," Willow said uneasily as she and Xander walked into the kitchen. "What's going on?"

"Are you running again?" Xander asked quickly, a hint of anger in his voice. "Do you even know what you put your mom through?"

Buffy turned to look at them and Faith got the feeling she felt cornered. She took a step forward and began to open her mouth in an effort to defend her but Buffy noticed and shook her head quickly. Faith nodded and took a step back again, knowing next time she wouldn't listen if she was asked to back off.

"You have no idea what you're talking about, Xander," Buffy said in a low voice.

"Really? Do you have any idea what it's been like?"

Buffy ignored the question and turned back to her mother. "You couldn't deal with the slaying. You told me to leave. I did want you wanted."

"Nobody means that stuff, Buffy," Willow said, moving to stand next to her best friend.

"It sure sounded that way," Buffy said, still staring at her mother. "I know you couldn't deal and that's why you said it. I get that, I really do. But I still had to save the world and after what you said, that meant to me that I shouldn't come home."

"I don't understand why you can't tell people," Joyce said tiredly. She didn't like arguing with her daughter in general but now she had an audience. It made everything doubly stressful. "Maybe the police and your principal. If they only knew then maybe . . ."

"Then what? Then maybe everything can be normal again?" Buffy asked, tearing up. "That'll never happen 'cause I'm not normal. I can't change what I am, even when I want to."

"Will you quit trying to make your mom the villain?" Xander asked angrily. "You're the one who left."

"Really, Xander? You're questioning my judgment?" Buffy turned back to him, trying to control her anger. She wished she was having this argument without her friends or even Faith there. Too many distractions and she wanted to concentrate on what to say to her mother. "Should we compare choices the last couple years? Like with our bug teacher or the mummy girl? Who needed to save you from those stellar choices?"

"Buffy, don't." Willow reached out but Buffy moved away.

"Not you, too, Willow."

"Wouldn't the police want to know they have a, I don't know, superhero on their side? I mean, there's even two of you now which I don't understand because you said there could only be one slayer." Joyce furrowed her brow, trying desperately to understand her daughter's life. She felt like she'd lose her if she didn't.

"There can only be one slayer," Buffy said, noticing Faith had taken a step forward again. "Another slayer is called when one . . . dies."

Joyce's mouth dropped and it took her a moment to recover. "You died? When did you die?"

"It was only for a minute, Mom. Xander brought me back and I'm okay now," Buffy said quickly. She didn't like the fearful and panicked look she had.

"I hate your life. Can't you just stop? Can't someone else do this?" Joyce almost pleaded.

"I can't stop what I'm made for." Buffy looked solely at her mother, trying to will herself not to cry but a tear fell anyway. "If you can't accept that I'll have to leave and this time I won't come back."

"How can you even say something like that?" Xander asked. He walked up to grab Buffy's shoulder but Faith stopped him before he could.

"Back off," she said sternly, almost staring him down.

"This doesn't concern you." Xander stared back. "You weren't here when all this went down."

"Maybe not but I'm the one who convinced her to come back," Faith said, not liking his tone. "I obviously listened when no one else would. Hell, if I woulda known this would be her homecoming, I wouldn't have bothered."

"Faith, you don't have to . . ." Buffy started but Faith stopped her.

"No, someone needs to say this." She looked at the rest of them, her disgust for the situation obvious. "I was always told slayers are supposed to do everything alone, no one but their watcher knowing how much vamp and demon ass they kick. Then I get here and it all seems to be different, a good different, but now I'm thinking I'm all sorts of wrong. God, I thought Buffy was lucky to have a mom that cared so much and friends that wanted to help even though they didn't have to. But every time something ends badly, it's her fault and right now, you're doing nothing to stop the guilt. Hell, right now you're helping."

"We don't mean to do that, Buffy," Willow said, causing Buffy to face her. "We just wanna help. I've never blamed you for anything that happened."

"I know you don't, Will."

"I just want everything to go back to the way it was before you left," Willow said. "Minus all the Angelus bits, of course."

"Yeah." Buffy gave her a small smile as she felt Faith come up behind her and put a hand on her shoulder. She looked back over at her mother, who was looking at her with a worried expression. "I know you don't like this, Mom. But I have help and I have Faith now, too."

Joyce nodded and walked around the center island, reaching out and hugging Buffy tightly. Faith moved away as she did, happy that maybe everything was starting to turn around for the girl she desperately wanted to consider her girlfriend. Xander and Willow also watched the scene, hoping this meant they'd get their friend back now.

"We'll talk about Faith later," Joyce whispered into Buffy's ear right before they moved apart.

Buffy tried her best not to look shocked but only half succeeded as she looked at her mother. She was only met with a smile and she hoped that meant she wasn't angry Buffy wanted to go out with Faith, that she wanted to be with her. She nodded at her mom before turning to her friends.

"I know I left without any explanation and that it made you feel like you had to fight alone." She paused, trying to find the right words. "I know that was a mistake. It won't happen again."

"We know," Willow offered.

"Yeah, Buff," Xander said, now much calmer. "Sorry about all that."

"All's forgiven, Xand." Buffy smiled and looked to Faith. The other slayer wasn't paying attention at the moment and Buffy saw the look she'd seen before. Faith looked down, like she wanted to be elsewhere. "Faith, don't we need to meet up with Giles?"

Faith looked up, the expression on her face changing instantly. "Yeah. Ya know, Mrs. S, maybe Giles can help in getting B back into school."

"I don't know," Joyce said, considering the option. "I'll make some calls tomorrow. I don't think the school board will have the same vendetta against a single student."

"So no all girls school?" Buffy asked hopefully.

"Not yet."

Buffy grinned. "I'll be back for dinner."

"We'll talk tomorrow, okay, Buffy?"

"Sure, Will. I'll see you guys later. Giles is waiting."

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