Faith stood by the Explorer with her arms crossed, watching the small amount of smoke coming from the engine. She only knew a minimal amount about cars but she knew they definitely needed to get the vehicle to a repair shop. Smoke coming from anywhere was never a good sign and if she remembered right, the last mechanic to look it over had said it might need some maintenance soon.
"Do you even know where we are?"
Faith smiled as she noticed Buffy looking over a map. "We're in Maine, babe. You have the map for Vermont."
Buffy swore under her breath and opened the passenger door to retrieve the correct map. She came back to Faith with the map, opening it as she sighed. "Where are we?"
"Don't really know," Faith said as she looked over the map with Buffy. "All we really need to do is get the Explorer to a repair shop and find out what's wrong with it. Hopefully, it'll be near someplace to stay 'cause there's no way we're getting on the road again today."
Buffy sighed. "Is this really the first time it's broke down?"
"I must be bad luck then."
Faith put her arm around Buffy and kissed the side of her head. "Definitely not bad luck."
"Mmm," Buffy mumbled as she placed her head on Faith's shoulder and took the map from her. "I think we passed that town about an hour ago."
"Weren't you asleep an hour ago?"
They looked at each other for a second before Buffy laughed. "I was only resting my eyes. I still could've seen what we passed."
Faith kissed her again as they watched a car pass them before braking and pulling over about 100 feet ahead of them. Both of them tensed for a moment and shared a look. Faith wasn't exactly trusting of others and she knew that Buffy likely felt the same. In the nineteen wonderful days they'd spent together, both of them had been hit on by a drunken guy or two. Being slayers, both of them knew to approach every situation with some caution.
"Are you armed, baby?"
"Yeah," Faith said in a low voice as a man got out of the driver's side of the car. "He doesn't look like much of a threat though. Maybe he's one of the few people around that actually helps others."
"Hey there," the man said with a wave before shielding his eyes from the midday sun. "Having some car trouble?"
"Yeah." Faith took a step away from Buffy and toward him. "Do you know of a shop nearby that will be able to fix it?"
"There's one about five miles ahead in the next town," he said, pointing down the road. "My wife and I can give you a lift if you want. They have a tow truck that will get your car back so they can check it out. They're honest, too. Don't rip off the out-of-towners. I know the owner."
Faith looked at Buffy for a moment, seeing her shrug lightly. She knew they really didn't have other options. "Yeah, that'd be great. Thanks."
He smiled. "Name's Chad."
"This is Buffy," Faith said as she gestured to her girlfriend. "I'm Faith."
"Nice to meet you," he said as he shook her hand. "Now let's get your car fixed."
"It'll take at least a day to fix."
Faith groaned internally as she looked at the owner of the repair shop she and Buffy had been dropped off at a couple hours prior. "How is that possible?"
"Look around," he said as he waved his hand around the garage they were standing in, "we don't exactly have a supply of parts lying around. It's about a two hour drive each way in order to get what I need to fix it. Now my son can do that today but then I'll need tomorrow to make the repairs."
"Okay," Faith relented as she sighed. She looked back to the miniscule waiting area where Buffy was trying not to look annoyed at the lack of magazine choice then back at the owner. "Do you know if there's anywhere we can stay for the night?"
He nodded. "You're in luck. The only place in town is a little bed and breakfast that was booked for a wedding but the groom called the wedding off so now all those rooms are free. I'm sure they'd love to have someone take one of them."
Faith groaned and looked back at Buffy again. She didn't want to stay in a bed and breakfast where the owners would be in their business and ask a much of personal questions she didn't want to answer but Buffy wanted to. In the last town they stayed at they had a choice of staying in a cheap motel or a cozy little B&B and Buffy pouted more than Faith had ever seen when they ended up at the motel.
She wondered if she would score major points for finally letting Buffy have her way.
"How far away is this place?"
"Only a few blocks down the road. It's not far to walk but I can always give you a ride if you have too much to carry."
"We'll be fine," Faith said. "We'll grab our stuff from the car and leave you to it. You have my number for when it's done, right?"
He nodded and Faith turned away from him to go back to where Buffy was waiting. She smiled at her obvious boredom as she walked up to her and pulled her up so she was standing. They looked at each other for a second before Buffy gave her a light kiss.
"So what's the diagnosis?"
"We're stuck here for at least a night," Faith said. "He has to get the parts first then do the repairs."
Buffy sighed. "So what does that mean? We're not staying on someone's couch, are we? 'Cause as much as I liked Chad and his wife I don't want to stay with someone I met for about five minutes."
"We don't need to do that," Faith said as her smile grew into a grin. "Apparently, there's a . . . bed and breakfast a few blocks from here that has a room with our names on it."
"Really?" Buffy nearly squealed as she hugged Faith but then moved away after a few seconds. "We're only staying there because it's the only place available, isn't it?"
"Does it really matter?"
"I guess not," Buffy said. "I just think it'll be romantic."
Faith put an arm around her as they started to walk toward the car. "Come on, let's get our stuff and start the walk to this place."
It wasn't exactly easy for them to drag all their stuff to the bed and breakfast but it was necessary. Faith didn't think it was safe to leave any of the weapons in the Explorer even though all of them were safely in bags. She didn't trust that anyone at the shop wouldn't get nosy and go through any of the stuff they left behind. Who knew what would happen if someone discovered they traveled with dozens of weapons and neither one of them were willing to take the risk.
Instead, they took them along with their clothes and walked into they saw the sign in front of a huge house that told them they had reached Katie's Inn. Faith raised an eyebrow at the name and raised it even higher when they walked inside. The front desk and all its surroundings were decorated with an outdoorsy feel that bordered on creepy.
The stuffed squirrel that held all the pens had Buffy giving her a definite look.
In the end, they got the best room in the place and that was all that mattered. The room was more simply decorated than any of the common rooms which was a relief to Faith as well. She didn't think she would be able to sleep in a room that was decorated with animal heads on walls.
They dropped their bags off and paid for the room before going for a walk. One thing they agreed on was that there was an odd feeling about the town and neither of them could quite figure out why. It wasn't exactly a vampire feeling or a feeling that there were demons around. It was simply something that felt off.
"You know what I like about the room?"
Faith turned her head to look at her. "What's that?"
"It's kind of cozy, you know? It feels more personal than a motel room."
"It's probably a little cleaner, too," Faith said, a smile on her face. "'Cause you know in some of the places we stay . . ."
"I don't want to know," Buffy said quickly. "In those situations it's always better not to know and that joke you made about a black light in the last one wasn't funny."
They simply looked at each other for a moment before they laughed and looked around, trying to figure out why they were getting the feeling they were. There just wasn't anything that stood out as something out of the ordinary and all that did was confuse Faith. She expected something to stick out, some sign that there was something that needed to be slayed.
After an hour of walking they decided they weren't going to find anything while it was light out and instead walked back to the Inn. The woman at the front desk insisted dinner would be fantastic and she wasn't wrong. Faith actually had to make sure she didn't overeat since most people were surprised at the amount she could eat at one time.
When they finally got back to their room Buffy sat down on the bed and looked at Faith. "Do you think we should try to go out tonight and figure out why our senses are on fire or should we stay in?"
"Well, we're one of three couples staying here," Faith commented as she looked out the window. "I'm not sure what kind of excuse we could come up with about staying out all night or even just having a late night. I bet they keep track of the guests."
Buffy stood and walked over to Faith, putting her arms around her. "Then we can just stay in here, maybe take some of these clothes off."
Faith had a grin on her face almost immediately. "I love the sound of that . . . but maybe after we take that romantic walk armed with a couple of stakes, maybe a knife or two."
It only took a few seconds for Buffy to open up the weapons bag and grab what she thought they would need. "All right, let's get this over with then. I'd really like to just spend the night together doing non-slayer activities."
"We'll do a quick sweep then we can do all the non-slayer activities you want," Faith said as she leaned in and gave her a light kiss. "Promise."
The night was only slightly disappointed but Faith knew she and Buffy had different reasons for why the night had been that way.
They found out what the problem was and it was that there was a gang of vampires mixed in with a couple demons moving through town the same time they were. Faith thought that they probably sensed the demons during the day but that the presence of the vamps made it feel off. Either way it was a good, hard fight and Faith enjoyed every second of it.
Buffy didn't feel the same and the entire walk home she let Faith know. She had wanted the romantic walk they had said they were going on to actually be a romantic walk and the fact they had to fight a gang didn't have much appeal to her. It also didn't appeal to her that her shirt had been stained with demon blood in the process.
"This isn't going to come out, Faith," she said in a hushed tone as they walked up the stairs to their room. "I loved this top."
"We'll try to get it out," Faith whispered but she knew there wasn't a chance that they could save it. The dark brown blood that had sprayed out of the demon was everywhere.
They walked into their room and Buffy took her shirt off while Faith shut the door. When it was shut and locked Faith turned around and looked over her girlfriend as she stood there in only her bra, looking over her shirt. She smiled, wondering how someone could defeat a group of vamps and demons then get sad over a shirt.
"Babe, you can get a new shirt."
"You were the one who said I had to only bring a limited wardrobe," Buffy said as she dropped the shirt to the floor. "If we run into to more demons like that, I'm going to run out of clothes."
Faith smiled as she put her arms around her. "I will go shopping with you if we ruin all your clothes."
"But you hate shopping."
Buffy leaned in and kissed her lightly, something that made Faith smile. She was very aware that her girlfriend was only wearing a bra and now she wanted to get her out of it. The fight had definitely turned her on and now that she was traveling with Buffy she wanted to act on it.
"B, let's get you out of the rest of your clothes."
"Hmm," Buffy mumbled out as she moved away. "I was hoping to ask you something tonight."
"Like where we're going next."
"What do you mean, B?"
Buffy moved a hand up to caress Faith's cheek, causing her to close her eyes. "We've been a few places in Maine but I think it's time to start going south."
Faith knew exactly what she was getting at and it made her tense even though she was in Buffy's arms, one of the few places she felt safe. "You're talking about Boston, right?"
"I think we need to have a talk about it," Buffy said as she nodded.
There wasn't anything Faith could think of to say and when she tried to move away Buffy made sure she stayed in her arms. "B, let me go."
"No," Buffy said as she shook her head, "we're here in this romantic little room and we've just had a fairly successful patrol. All I wanna do right now is hold you."
"I can think of a few other things I want to do," Faith said quietly, trying to distract her girlfriend.
Buffy smiled. "Baby, let's get these clothes off and get into to bed."
Faith liked the idea so she let Buffy undress her and she did the same to Buffy, slowly taking each article of clothing off before letting her girlfriend lead her to the bed. They slid under the covers together and Buffy immediately put her arms around her, holding her close.
"Faith, why do you not want me to know about your past?"
Nothing came to Faith right away so she didn't say anything in response. Truthfully, she didn't know why it was so hard for her to share her past with Buffy. She figured it had a lot to do with the fact that she wasn't proud of some of the things she did while she was growing up in Boston. Now that they were involved, now that Buffy loved her, she didn't want her to think less of her.
"It's hard to talk about," Faith finally said.
"Why? Are you afraid of what I'll say?"
Faith looked into Buffy's eyes and saw the curious look on her face. She tried to figure out if there was anything else, like if she was trying to get her to talk about it for some other reason, but she couldn't. The only thing she could see was that Buffy wanted her to talk.
She shook her head. "No, I don't think so. I think it's more of what you'll think." She paused and willed herself to not look away. "B, after everything we've been through we're finally together. We've finally put everything behind us. I don't want you to find out more things about me that would be a deal-breaker."
Buffy leaned in and gave her a light kiss, keeping a hand pressed against her cheek. "Nothing that you tell me would ever be a deal-breaker. I know that you and I had very different upbringings and you've given me a vague summary. I just want to know why you're scared to go there."
"I don't know that I'm scared," Faith said even though it felt a little bit like a lie. "I guess I don't want to revert back to what I was. I don't want to be that person anymore and I don't want to go back there and have it change me."
"You are a strong person, Faith," Buffy said quietly as she moved her hand lightly over her skin, maybe in an effort to keep Faith relaxed through the unwanted conversation. "You're stronger than I am and you know that I'm here, too. I won't let anything happen to you."
Neither of them said anything for a minute. Faith could only look into her eyes for a few more moments before looking away. Even though Buffy was telling her that nothing bad could happen by going to Boston and confronting the inner demons that still haunted her, she didn't quite believe her. There was a part of her, a little voice in the back of her head that told her that if she went back to Boston she would fall back into old habits: hanging out with all the wrong people and being the delinquent she had been at the time.
Most importantly, there were certain people she didn't want to see again. And she didn't want any of them to see Buffy.
Faith looked back at her and saw her concern. She tried to smile but she knew it didn't reach her eyes. "I don't want you to see that side of me, B."
Buffy leaned in and kissed her, keeping it light. "I think I've seen a lot of different sides of you already, good and bad. None of it has made me love you any less."
"Yeah." Faith knew she was right. They had tried to kill each other in the past and they were still naked in bed together. "It's just my mom was a junkie and her boyfriend was a sleaze who tried to go after me and then I had to get out of there. I had to run, you know?"
Buffy pulled her close to the point Faith could feel her anywhere. "Do you know what I feel when you talk about things like that?"
"I want to hurt anyone who even attempted to hurt you," Buffy said before she gave her a feather-light kiss. "I get that you're a slayer and you can take care of yourself but ever since we got involved I want to take care of you. I want to protect you from everything, just like I know you want to protect me."
Faith knew she was right but part of her didn't like it. It made her feel uncomfortable, like she was relying on someone when she didn't need to. "I don't know how much I like that."
"You're not getting rid of me," Buffy said as she moved her hand slowly over her back. "It doesn't matter what happens. We'll go, you'll deal and then we'll move on."
There wasn't anything she could think of to say in response so Faith simply wrapped her arms around Buffy. She wanted to tell Buffy everything, all the things her mother and her terrible boyfriends put her through and then everything after she left, but couldn't do it all at once. She just didn't have it in her.
She could feel Buffy placing light kisses on her shoulder and neck and she closed her eyes as she allowed herself to simply feel. Faith wanted nothing more to stop thinking about her past and figured the best way to do that was to take advantage of the fact her girlfriend was naked and in bed with her. It would definitely make her forget for a while.
Faith moved them so she was more on top of Buffy before resting her forehead against hers. "I love you, Buffy."
"And I love you." Buffy ran a hand through Faith's hair as she smiled. "I'm with you no matter what."
"I know." Faith looked at her for a couple seconds before kissing her with as much passion as she had in her. "I need you so much."
"You have me." Buffy lifted her head enough to place a soft kiss on Faith's forehead. "You're always gonna have me."
Faith smiled as she kissed her again, her mind already going through everything she wanted to do before they actually went to sleep.
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