The only thing Buffy wanted to do after the long day in LA was to sleep.
Angel had asked if they wanted to stay another day, rest in LA before going back to Sunnydale, but they had declined. Giles spoke for the group in politely declining the offer and Buffy was glad that she wasn't the one to say no. She has a feeling that Angel would see some resistance to his offer that didn't exist if she had said no.
Buffy had the feeling that part of the reason Angel had offered to have them stay a day was that he wanted to talk Faith into staying behind when everyone else returned to Sunnydale. From the beginning the vampire wanted to be the one that helped Faith reform and that surely didn't change over the last few months. She had to think that Faith would decline any offer but she also didn't want to stick around to find out.
Instead, the group piled back into her mother's SUV and drove back to Sunnydale. Faith still slept most of the way but Buffy could tell that it was finally a restful sleep. Once the stone had been broken the coloring slowly began to come back to her face and the circles under her eyes also began to disappear. Buffy hadn't looked but she had a feeling the bruises that were hidden by her clothes were gone, too.
When they got back to Buffy's house Joyce was so excited that she wanted to have a big celebration but everyone was tired so it was decided that they would postponed toasting to Faith's return to good health. Her mother had to settle for a nice dinner with the two slayers but she seemed to like that anyway. Buffy could tell she was just happy Faith was okay.
Giles had suggested Faith take the night off from slaying in order to make sure she rested enough to regain her strength so Buffy went on patrol solo. It was a quiet night and that was something she was grateful for. Her mind was too preoccupied.
Now that Faith was better Buffy wasn't sure what the next step for them was. They had developed a closeness that she didn't think was possible for them, something that probably wouldn't have happened if Faith hadn't been the target from the spell. She didn't think they would have gotten close at all if she hadn't had to protect Faith from her own nightmares, from the spell that created them.
There was something going on between them. Buffy would have to be stupid to deny that. She knew Faith had let down her walls so that she could be helped and in turn Buffy had done the same in order to help her.
Buffy had thought that the fact that she had her bed to herself again sleep would come easier but that wasn't the case. It felt like something was missing and she was having a hard time admitting that what was missing was Faith. She figured that she only needed to get used to the fact she didn't need to protect someone as she slept. It had to be easy to go back to sleeping along, or so she thought.
"Come on, Buffy," she muttered in frustration. She was so tired but sleep just wasn't coming.
She stared at the ceiling and thought about how Faith was doing. The other slayer looked so much better by the time Buffy had left for patrol. She looked perfectly content to watch a movie with her mother and Buffy couldn't help but smile at the sight before she walked out the door. It looked like Faith really turned a corner.
There was a barely noticeable creaking sound and Buffy turned toward the door as it slowly opened. She knew it was Faith before she could even see the person opening the door. The feeling that she was starting to realize she felt whenever Faith was around was definitely getting stronger and she looked toward the door.
As Faith slowly walked into her room and closed the door behind her Buffy sat up slightly, watching her as she sat on the edge of the bed. They only looked at each other for a minute, Buffy noticing that if there had been any sign of injury when they returned to Sunnydale it was long gone now.
"Why aren't you asleep?" Buffy finally whispered out.
Faith shrugged. "I slept for a couple hours but now . . ."
Buffy thought Faith would say something else but she didn't, only looked from Buffy to the window. "I thought since your head was clear you'd be looking forward to getting some sleep. You know, finally being able to be on your own. You should be enjoying that you have your room to yourself and nothing's trying to get to you."
She looked back at her and Buffy couldn't read her expression, partially because it was dark and part because she never knew what to expect from the other slayer. "It's weird, you know? For the first time in a long time I don't see any of it. There's still a lot of feelings, guilt and all of that, roaming around but I don't wanna die. But I think I should feel differently than I do."
"I don't know what you mean," Buffy said.
"I mean I should be happy that I can sleep on my own but part of me isn't. Part of me misses being here, too."
The comment made Buffy smile slightly even though she didn't think she should look so happy that Faith couldn't sleep. She liked that after everything Faith didn't want to go back to simply dealing on getting back in the right path. There was a part of her that wanted her to miss the closeness they had when Buffy helped her. It meant that she wasn't the only one that couldn't ignore what was going on.
Without saying anything Buffy moved, giving Faith space to climb into bed with her. Faith kept eye contact with her as she moved and got under the covers, moving close to Buffy. It wasn't close enough that they were touching and Buffy realized that she wanted more than that.
It was a realization that shouldn't have surprised her but in a way it did. When she had first begun to hold Faith during the night, trying to keep the nightmares caused by the spell away, she tried to rationalize the act. She told herself that she was only doing it because it was the right thing to do and that she wouldn't let someone suffer in that way, even if it was someone who had caused her so much pain in the past. The act was a result of her being a good person.
Now she had feelings that she knew were real. She knew they meant that she wanted Faith in a way that she normally would have refused to think about. It was something that she would have pushed away but she knew she couldn't do that anymore.
"Are you okay with this, B?" Faith asked. "You don't have to do this anymore. I'll all healed, except for the normal craziness."
Buffy smiled, trying not to laugh at the comment, as she moved to lie back down and turned on her side to face her. "I think we both know that there's more to this."
Faith nodded as she mirrored Buffy's position. "I didn't think you wanted to do what you were doing but thought that you were just a better person than me. That was why you helped but then you didn't say anything the first time I kissed you . . . and you kissed me back later."
"It's weird." Buffy looked away from a second before looking back at Faith. "I didn't expect you to be like this. I guess I didn't know what to think when it came to you. I didn't know when we brought you back to Sunnydale that you'd be broken."
"I did a lot of bad things, Buffy," Faith whispered. "Finally admitting that takes a lot outta you, you know? That's why the spell didn't feel any different right away. I was having those nightmares, seeing what I'd done, what was in my mind to do, even when I was at Angel's. I can still see that, too. Those probably won't go away."
"Couldn't all that have been part of the spell, too? We never asked when the spell was started. Those lawyers could've done something the minute you switched sides."
Faith shook her head. "I don't think so. Just something I gotta deal with." She paused. "Being here helps."
Buffy didn't need to ask what she meant by saying what she had. The way Faith had said it and the fact that she'd moved a little closer was all the explanation she needed. She took a chance and placed a hand on Faith's side, something that was easy to do now that the other girl had moved closer.
"What does this mean for us, B?"
That was a question Buffy didn't know how to answer. She had been thinking about the same thing since Faith had opened her eyes on Cordelia's couch and her wounds had begun to disappear. Even when they were eating dinner earlier and when she was out on patrol she'd thought about it.
Truthfully, Buffy had never thought of Faith in the way she thought of her now. When she first appeared in her life everything was too intense with Angel and then with the Mayor and before she knew it Faith was on the wrong side. As much as she hated to admit it, she didn't have time for the other slayer and many times would didn't want to deal with her.
As much as she knew what a bad choice she made back then that didn't give Faith the right to go after her the way she did then. They had both made some pretty bad decisions that made them end up where they were right now. The problem was Buffy couldn't think of the right choice this time. She didn't want to make the wrong decision again when it came to Faith. Things would turn out badly again and she didn't think either of them could survive another battle.
She looked at Faith and could tell she was nervous about what she would say. The last she wanted was for Faith to be nervous. This was supposed to be a good night for her. "I don't know, Faith. I . . . I like you. But it's kind of hard to wrap my head around it."
"Is it 'cause of everything that happened before?"
Instead of answering her right away for a response that wouldn't come out right anyway, Buffy moved her hand up to touch Faith's cheek, gently caressing it. She saw Faith close her eyes for a moment at the action and couldn't mistake the feeling the action gave her. Her heart did a little flutter, especially when Faith turned her head and kissed her hand.
That small action was all she needed to close the distance between and press her lips against Faith's. It only took a second for Faith to respond and put an arm around Buffy's waist, pulling her so they were pressed together. Buffy placed an arm around her as well, suddenly feeling warm in her pajamas. The other slayer was definitely making her turned on, something she knew she would've never been able to admit to herself before a few weeks ago.
It was only a matter of a minute or two before Buffy took everything a step further and moved so she was more on top of Faith. It was a simple reaction, her body willing her to have more physical contact. She felt the other girl tense slightly, obviously not expecting the move, so she tried to keep the kisses tender and almost loving.
That was a word Buffy knew fit the situation even if she didn't want to admit it or say it out loud. Everything that she'd done since Faith needed her was caring and loving. She knew it went past not wanting to see her hurt and past being a friend. The problem was there was a part of her that didn't want to admit that they'd gone beyond friendship. Part of her wasn't really to love Faith. It still felt too soon for the feeling.
Buffy also felt that if she said anything like that to Faith it would only freak her out and she felt they had talked enough for now. She broke away from the kiss they were currently sharing and looked down at Faith. Dark brown eyes met hers and Buffy felt like they were looking right through her, something that had the ability to take her breath away.
"Are you okay?" she asked, wanting to be sure Faith's tenseness didn't have a negative reason.
Faith nodded and Buffy felt her hands tentatively moving under her shirt. "For once my mind is clear, B, and I'm still confused."
"Huh?" Buffy chuckled quietly.
"I don't have anything but you in my head, more than I ever have," she said. "It's crazy. I mean, how can you be okay with this?"
There was nothing Buffy wanted more at that moment than to make their past go away. It always seemed to come back and hurt both of them in some way and she didn't want that to happen anymore. She could see how Faith was trying to change, how she was trying to be the person Buffy knew she was already.
Buffy was trying to change, too. When she went back to all those spaces with Faith, saw the memories they shared, she could see where she had been wrong, too. She could see why Faith had felt the way she had, whether or not the feelings were justified. It made her want to change their relationship, to make it better.
"I'm seeing a new side of you," Buffy whispered.
Faith smiled before pulling Buffy down for another kiss. At the same time she rolled them so she was hovering over Buffy instead. It was a move that Buffy had somewhat expected. It felt like a control move from Faith, something she did so she could relax and concentrate on what they were doing. That was okay with Buffy though. She wanted the other slayer to be okay with everything they were doing and could do.
The kiss they shared was as passionate a kiss as Buffy had ever participated in but she suddenly realized they were moving too fast. She knew that if they kept going clothes would be gone and she definitely would see a whole new side of Faith. It wasn't a bad thing by any means but she wanted it to be right.
When they broke apart to breathe Buffy rolled them so they were on their sides again. "I think we're going too fast." She smiled as Faith furrowed her brow. "We haven't even gone on a date yet."
"That's what you want?"
Buffy wasn't sure what exactly she wanted but she definitely wanted Faith. "I think so."
Faith nodded but didn't move away. "I don't think I can sleep on my own tonight."
"I didn't say you had to leave."
Faith didn't say anything else, just moved in close so she was resting against Buffy. Buffy did the same, feeling relaxed now that the other slayer was there. Sleep came easy after that.
When Buffy woke up it was light out and she wasn't alone in bed, something that made her smile before she even realized she was doing it. Faith was still there, lying on her side and watching her as she woke up.
Faith smiled and leaned in, giving her a light kiss. "Morning."
Buffy sat up slightly and looked at the clock. "My mom should be up by now. I almost thought she'd come in here when she noticed your room was empty."
"I shut my door," Faith said, a hint of a smile on her face. "I didn't think you'd want to broadcast that I was in here . . . even though I want to be in here."
The smile on Buffy's face turned into a grin but she didn't know how to respond. Instead, she leaned in and kissed her back before sitting up. "Come on, let's go downstairs and get breakfast. I know Giles'll want to talk to us, too, so we probably need to get going."
"Okay," Faith said quietly as she got out of bed. "Just so you don't ignore all this."
"Definitely not gonna do that," Buffy said, smiling. "Once we talk with Giles and he sees you're back to normal or whatever, we can convince him we should patrol. Then maybe, I don't know, we could go to the Bronze?"
"You really think Giles will be okay with that? Until the spell really started to hurt, he had me on a strict schedule. He'll probably want me to go back to that and I don't know, B, but I think that's a good thing."
"You like the schedule?"
Faith shrugged. "It's not that bad. Giles actually listens to what I have to say when we talk about stuff and it's gotta be better than prison."
Buffy didn't respond to the comment but she knew Faith was right. She had to imagine the Faith she first met wouldn't have the same perspective as the one standing a few feet away from her did. Giles was teaching Faith everything she needed to be a slayer and she was listening this time around. Buffy wondered if she could start to sit in on them more, too, not just when she wanted to monitor Faith. Lately she'd been curious on slayer history, especially now that Giles was teaching it.
They walked downstairs where Joyce was already walking toward the front door. She looked at both of them and smiled. Buffy tried to read anything into the smile, like if she knew that Faith had spent the night in her room, but she couldn't tell.
"Good, you're both up," she said. "I have to get to the gallery but I was thinking everyone can come over tonight."
The pair looked at each other and Buffy thought about what they had talked about just minutes before. "Uh, maybe another night. I'm gonna try to convince Giles that Faith can go on patrol with me."
"Okay," Joyce said before hugging both of them. "I'll see you later."
They watched her go before Buffy turned to Faith. "Come on, let's get ready and think of a way to get a free night from Giles."
"I don't know that it's a good idea."
Buffy looked hard at Giles and tried to think of a good reason to get him to say yes. They'd been discussing schedules but when Buffy brought up having a night off now that everything could get back to normal. So far he would only give reasons why it wouldn't be okay.
"Come on, Giles," Buffy said as she sat on the couch with Faith. "It's one night and I think we've earned it."
"It's best if we stick to the schedule," he said. "Just because the spell is over doesn't mean Faith shouldn't still be on a schedule. I have it in place for a reason." He paused and looked at Faith. "You aren't feeling the effects of the spells anymore, correct?"
Faith nodded. "Nothing up here but my own demons now."
"Giles, I'm not suggesting that we get rid of the schedule or even the supervision. Faith and I both agree that the schedule is a good thing. All I'm asking for is one night off."
He looked away from the two slayers and paced for a minute. Buffy really didn't see the harm is hanging out at the Bronze for a few hours and she had thought about not even telling him but knew that would have been a bad idea. She didn't want to be the one who led Faith into not doing what Giles wanted. Part of the deal was that she listen to him and follow his lead.
When he looked back at them he focused on Faith. "Do you feel well enough to patrol tonight?"
"Yeah, Giles," Faith said, looking to Buffy as well. "As soon as the stone broke my strength came back. Haven't felt this good in a long time."
Buffy looked at Faith and could tell the other girl wasn't going to insist on her own that they should have a little time to have some fun. For the first time she realized that Faith respected Giles and what he had to say. She thought back and noticed since Faith came to Sunnydale from LA she never once questioned their watcher. It was definitely something Buffy liked to see in her. It showed a positive effort that made what Giles planned out seem perfect.
"Giles, how's Faith been doing?" Buffy asked, looking back at him.
He looked a little surprised at the question and he sat down. "Well, we're definitely in the right direction but we have much to cover. There's a fascinating history of vampires volume I'd like to go over next. And, of course, we have to finish finding a training place but I think some meditating exercises would help greatly."
"If everything's going well, what's the harm in hanging out at the Bronze for a couple hours? If you want, you can even put a curfew on it. I'm sure my mom will wait up if you want her to."
"Now, I don't think we need anything that dramatic," Giles commented as he looked solely at Faith. It almost looked like he was trying to see any sign that his work hadn't paid off or that the spell was still affecting her. "I just don't want to rush anything."
"Giles, it's not . . ."
"Buffy, stop talking." Giles still only looked at Faith. "This isn't your decision. I need to know what Faith thinks."
Faith suddenly looked a little uncomfortable but kept Giles' stare. "I feel good, Giles, like I should've weeks ago if it wasn't for the spell." She paused. "We'll still patrol but if you don't think it's a good idea, that's okay. It's still early in your schedule."
Buffy had to fight to not raise an eyebrow at the response. When she first met Faith and then when she interacted with her prior to all the problems, she would have never thought a sentence like that would come out of her mouth. It really was a sign of change and she knew their watcher would have to see that.
"Okay," he said after a minute. "I don't object to something after a normal patrol but you have to stay with Buffy."
"Not a problem."
Both slayers smiled and Giles muttered something about teenage girls before excusing himself to get the right materials for the day's lesson. Once he was out of the room, Buffy turned to Faith. "I was kind of hoping to skip patrol entirely but this is still of the good."
"Yeah," Faith agreed, a small grin starting to show. "I kind of hope I have you all to myself tonight when we get to the Bronze."
When Buffy met her eyes she had to admit she felt the same way.
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Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen || Chapter Fourteen || Chapter Fifteen || Chapter Sixteen
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