by Hayley

Chapter Eight

"Buffy, you know my feelings about this."

"I know what your feelings are but I think you're wrong," Buffy said quickly, a scowl threatening to form on her face.

There were so many reasons for Giles to be right and not have Faith join Buffy on patrol. She knew it and he had gone over all of them with her several times. Her problem was that Faith wasn't getting better to the point of being nightmare-free and she thought that maybe patrolling would help with that. It would be a sort of normalcy that seemed to be needed. Faith had also been asking about it all the time when they were training. She knew the other slayer wanted to get back out there.

Giles stood from his chair and looked down at the two slayers sitting on the couch. "You have been telling me that Faith is still having the nightmares and that is a problem. It's too much of a risk to put her out there when she's not sleeping. Exhaustion is an issue and I don't think you see that."

"I'm not asking to have Faith go out there solo every night so I don't have to." Buffy let out a frustrated sigh. "She'll be with me at all times. Hell, you could even come along and we could just have a party in the cemetery."

Buffy wanted to stand up as well since she didn't want him to start pacing but Giles sat down after the comment. "That is not necessary."

She sighed again. "Listen, Giles . . . I think getting out there and slaying will really help Faith. She's been . . . restless."

Giles looked to the other slayer, who had been silent while he and Buffy had argued. "Faith? Do you have an opinion here?"

Faith looked from him to Buffy and back again. "I never really think I get one here."

"Of course, you do," Buffy said and wondered just when she was the one coming to Faith's defense all the time. It seemed like second nature to her now. "If you don't think you're ready to patrol, I'll shut up right now."

A familiar smirk began to show and for a split second Buffy thought maybe Faith would make a comment about her finally shutting up but it faded fast. "I want to patrol."

No one said anything for a moment and Buffy knew the watcher was weighing the pros and cons of the decision. She had to admit it was a big one. Having Faith start patrolling, getting back to a normal routine, was another step to acting having everything return to normal. That meant Faith as one of the team, no more therapy as part of training and patrolling every night like she was meant to. It was a big step for everyone involved.

"Faith, are the nightmares causing any fatigue, exhaustion, hallucinations or anything of that nature?"

Faith looked to Buffy before answering him and Buffy almost wanted to check if Giles picked up on the move. "Not really. I mean, B's still kinda helping sometimes when they get real intense but you said they're just in my head or whatever. I can deal."

Buffy looked at Giles and could tell immediately he had his doubts. She had her own but she thought she could help Faith through them, just like the nightmares. "Giles, we can start with a short night. Just a couple cemeteries, maybe stake a couple newbies and then we'll end the night. If you want I can go out after but Faith's night will be over."

She heard Faith let out a short breath and she knew that deal wasn't exactly what she wanted. The problem was Giles wasn't ready to agree to no strings attached patrol and Buffy could see that easily. She would just need to explain it to her later.

"I suppose that would be a good start," Giles relented, "but I want a report from you first thing in the morning."

"Sure thing," Buffy agreed. She hoped it was that simple.

"You ready?"

Faith stopped at the entrance of the first cemetery they'd walked to. "Born ready, B."

Buffy smiled and started to walk through the gates, knowing Faith was following along behind her. It felt like a big night for the both of them and it didn't seem to be lost on anyone else. Her mother almost made it feel like the first day of school, fussing over everything before they left.

"Were you serious about having it be a short patrol tonight?"

"Uh, yeah." Buffy looked over at her as they walked. "I think it'll be easier to start this way."

"I don't think the patrolling part was ever the problem, you know?"

"Yeah, I know," Buffy said quietly. "But it's adding another piece of normalcy and we all agreed to do that slowly."

Faith nodded but didn't say anything else as they continued to walk. It was a quiet night and Buffy was thankful they weren't rushed by vampires right away. That had happened a couple times in the past week so she knew it was possible when she had pushed the patrolling issue with Giles. She had the confidence that Faith could handle herself if that had happened but it was nice that they didn't have that test tonight.

After a few minutes of slowly walking the pair walked up to a fresh grave and Buffy stopped and sat up on a gravestone. Faith raised an eyebrow at her for a moment before sitting next to her and looking at the fresh dirt.

"Really starting at the bottom, huh?"

"I promised Giles there would be a newbie and I keep my promises," Buffy said with a small smile on her face. "He may have pointed out this death to me before we left today."

"I get it." Faith let a small smile show as well as slowly took Buffy's hand in her own.

Buffy looked down at the hand and let her fingers entwine with Faith's, liking the feel of her hand in the other girl's. They hadn't really talked much about anything that was going on between them and though it still probably wasn't the right time, she felt the need to comment on it.

"Hand-holding, huh?"

Faith's eyes met hers and she immediately smiled. "Yeah . . . uh, your hand looked a little cold."

Buffy laughed, shaking her head lightly. "I guess it was a little." She paused for a moment, thinking of what she wanted to say. "I don't exactly mind the kissing either."

"Me either."

Neither of them said anything for a minute and Buffy thought about what to say next. She wanted to ask Faith more about the nightmares and if her past was really the reason. She also wanted to ask why she had kissed her in the first place, if it was spur of the moment or if she had thought about it beforehand. It was actually something she had been thinking about consistently since the first time.

A silence surrounded them and Buffy was surprised that it wasn't awkward. They were still tiptoeing around whatever attraction was between them and that should have caused some uncomfortable feelings but there wasn't. The only thoughts running around in her head was why Faith was still having nightmares when it was so easy to see when she was awake that she was starting to be more like her old self. The existence of her nightmares didn't feel normal at all.


"Yeah?" Faith asked but Buffy noticed she was only looking toward the grave, waiting in anticipation.

Buffy squeezed her hand slightly. "What are your nightmares really about? They can't only be about your past anymore. You wouldn't have gotten so much better if they were still only about that."

Faith shrugged. "Still are but it's all mixed together."

"What do you mean?" Buffy waited for Faith to respond but she didn't. When she looked at her though Faith seemed like she was making a point not to look in her direction. She took that as a sign that she was at least partially right. "Faith?"

She mumbled something at first but then spoke a little louder. "I really don't want to talk about it, B. Not right now."

"It's important you do though. You know that, right? Talking about what's been going on has gotten you this far." She paused, trying to think of the right words. "I don't think we'd be sitting here like this if you hadn't."

When she finally turned to look at her Buffy could see she was struggling with what she should say. "B, I really want this night to be good, okay? I know you wanna know about what goes on in my seriously fucked up brain but I don't know how to describe it right now. Not without reliving a little of it and I don't want that. I do it enough when I sleep."

"You don't think it'll help?"

Faith shook her head. "Can we talk about this later? Please?"

Buffy didn't like the look on Faith's face and deep down she knew there was something else behind it but accepted that now wasn't the time to push. Instead, she leaned in and pressed her lips against Faith's lightly.

It was something new for her since she had never initiated the kissing before. Faith had always been the one to start that and after the first time, Buffy had simply needed to respond. None of them had ever been anything but light and careful, of course, but they made her feel something she hadn't felt in a very long time.

They kissed lightly for a few seconds before Faith moved away. Buffy wondered why at first but then she noticed the ground on the fresh grave was beginning to move. Faith hopped off the gravestone and pulled out a stake.

"I'm getting this one, right?"

Buffy raised an eyebrow. "Yeah. That is why we're out here."

Faith grinned and stood at the edge of the grave as a hand popped out of the dirt. Buffy couldn't help but smile as she watched her wait. The other slayer was moving her legs in anticipation and was testing the grip on her stake. She was sure that if there was any delay Faith would even start to complain that he wasn't rising fast enough.

Soon though a head popped up through the dirt and the new vampire let out a low growl as he climbed the rest of the way out. Faith simply stood there and smirked at him as he looked around in an effort to recognize exactly where he was. Buffy didn't even attempt to move from her seat as the vampire noticed the two of them and rushed.

Before he could get very far though, Faith grabbed at him. "And where do you think you're going?"

He looked at Faith with wild eyes. "I'm hungry."

"Can't help you with that," Faith said quickly. "I can turn you to dust though."

The vamp looked from Faith to Buffy and back again. "Whatever, little girl."

Buffy smirked as he tried to grab at Faith's neck but she only responded by kicking his feet out from under him. He tried to get up but she was too fast, holding him down and staking him quickly. Dust flew up but then settled quickly and Faith stood back up.

The two slayers looked at each other and Buffy grinned. "How'd it feel?"

"Like I never stopped," Faith responded. "Did Giles research any other deaths that will end in a newbie vamp?"

Buffy smiled and shook her head a little at how energized Faith was now that she had staked a vamp. She knew Faith had always gotten more into slaying than she did and could see how much just that first vamp had improved her mood. Everything about her was so much more positive.

"There might be one or two but maybe we'll run into some along the way, too."

"Still gonna do a short patrol?"

She thought about that for a moment and as much as she wanted to act like Faith was perfectly fine that wasn't the case. Buffy also didn't want to start fighting with Giles about the amount of time Faith spent slaying with her. The battle to simply get her slaying again had been won by her but she wasn't about to press her luck.

"Yeah," Buffy said quietly. "I did promise Giles."

Faith nodded sadly. "I guess that's okay."

"I know you don't mean that but you know after a few nights you'll be out here all night. Sure, it probably won't be solo but I know I'll be happy to get some help. There have been a couple tough situations in the last couple weeks."

"Cool," Faith said, a grin now firmly planted on her face.

They kissed again and this time Buffy could tell Faith wanted to take it a little further but she broke away before that could happen. She wanted to wait until they were done patrolling and maybe when they had more time to talk before doing anything else.

Instead, she put an arm around Faith, showing her that she was okay with their closeness. "Come on, let's go take out a few vamps before we have to get back."

This was unexplored territory for Buffy and she wasn't sure how to deal with it.

It had been a couple days since Giles had broken down and let Faith start to patrol again and there hadn't been any issues. Of course, the patrols hadn't lasted more than a couple hours and then Faith was done for the night. Buffy would go back out after that and go through another few cemeteries quickly, which didn't make her all that happy. It would've have been much faster if they could go the whole night together but Giles thought otherwise.

Both slayers disagreed with how Giles was handling the patrol but Buffy had decided to go along and Faith had yet to vocally object to anything since she returned. Buffy thought that had a lot to do with the fact that she knew she needed to tow the line.

They had spent the morning training then meeting with the rest of the Scoobies on if there was anything weirder than normal going on in Sunnydale. It had been a little awkward at the start, Faith squirming in her seat every time one of them talked, but after a while it was like any other meeting. No one argued with anyone else and after some talking everyone went their separate ways for the afternoon.

The afternoon had been meant for them to be training in Buffy's backyard but after an hour they retreated to the living room. They had intended on just watching a movie while taking a much needed break but when Buffy saw that Faith was fighting sleep just to watch she decided a short nap might be better.

And then the kissing started.

Buffy knew that it was a little bit of a risk for them to try napping on the same bed but now she definitely knew it. They ended up with their arms wrapped around each other and though the kissing remained light, it was continuous.

When they broke away for a breather, Buffy moved as far away as she could without leaving Faith's arms. "I thought we were going to take a nap."

Faith smiled. "I do like this option better."

Just looking at her smile made Buffy do the same. "We've never even talked about any of this and you still haven't even told me about the new nightmares."

"It's nothing, B." Faith let out a small sigh. "I've even been sleeping on my own."

"Does that mean you haven't been having any?"

Faith tried to move away but Buffy kept her arms around her. She knew the only reason for Faith's silence was because she was still having them. What confused her was why Faith wasn't being honest about it.

"Faith, look at me." She waited patiently until Faith looked at her again. "You know what I really like about you since you came back to Sunnydale and decided to try to be good again?" Faith shook her head lightly. "That you've been honest and open about everything. I've been seeing things that I've been looking for since I first met you."

"So that's all I had to do to get you to start kissing me the first time around?"

Buffy shook her head at the smirk on Faith's face. "I don't know what would've happened then but I really like you, Faith. I'm trying to help you. Not to mention that I'm pretty sure I saw a couple fresh bruises this morning."

Faith just shrugged. "Didn't really notice."

"Don't lie," Buffy responded quickly. "I know you didn't get injured from patrol last night and even if you did, I can't remember the last time one of us walked away with bruises from a vampire. This was from something else. It was from a nightmare, wasn't it?"

"They're not that bad," Faith mumbled. "I can deal."

Buffy placed a hand against Faith's cheek. "Getting injured from a nightmare is not normal. We have to tell Giles you're still having them. I don't think he's right at thinking you're doing this on your own."

"Maybe he is. I've always been my own worst enemy. That's what Giles says, too."

Faith looked away again and Buffy didn't like the way the conversation was going. Faith was supposed to be gaining confidence now that she was on the right path again and even doing a little slaying. Whenever she tried to talk about the nightmares though a cloud seemed to form over the other girl.

She leaned in and kissed her again, holding her close as she did. Faith responded immediately and when she tried to deepen the kiss Buffy let her, letting her tongue begin to explore her mouth. Buffy couldn't help but let out a quiet moan and pulled Faith more on top of her in the process.

They kept the kiss going until they had to break away to breathe. Faith placed a couple light kisses on Buffy's neck before moving off to her side again. "I really like you, too, B."

"Then let me help you," Buffy said quietly as she caught her breath. "Tell me about them."

Faith relaxed on her side as she stayed close to Buffy. "I don't want to talk to you about them and then have Giles believe that having me patrol was a mistake. I don't want to stop patrolling, B. It's the one thing that makes me most alive . . . except when I'm with you."

"I'll make sure he knows that patrol is helping," Buffy said, placing a hand on her side. "Have you been sleeping?"

"Some," Faith said. "The nightmares start slow but then they work up to where I don't think I'm sleeping anymore. Then I get . . . punished."

Buffy raised an eyebrow. "What you mean you get punished?"

Faith didn't say anything and Buffy didn't have the heart to push it any further. The way Faith's face fell when she had asked the question was answer enough for her. It had to have been bad, enough for Faith to get a bruise that would last after she woke up.

"Faith, please look at me." When Faith did she gave her a little kiss. "How bad is it?"

"I can deal."

"That's not an answer."

"Yeah, it is, Buffy," Faith said. "It's the best answer I have until I can figure out how to make it stop."

"And everyone's gonna help with that," Buffy said and quickly continued before Faith could interrupt. "No, don't say you can deal. Something is causing this to try to hurt you and I don't believe you're doing it to yourself. It's something else."

"Okay." Faith gave her a very serious look. "Can you just give it a couple days? Maybe I can get it to stop on my own."

Buffy had her doubts about what Faith was asking. She would have thought that if Faith was working on it the nightmares would have been gone by now. If that wasn't the case, the thought that crossed her mind was that Faith felt she deserved to be punished. That wasn't something she wanted to believe though.

"Okay," she agreed and held her close. She didn't know exactly when she started having feelings for Faith but now that the other slayer was next to her she knew they weren't going away anytime soon.

That was the one thing about their current situation that she was happy about.

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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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