Faith was thoroughly confused.
Buffy had kept hold of her hand the entire time they walked through the city streets of Reno in order to find where Faith had parked the Explorer. That was a task that was harder than they thought, too, since they hadn't exactly kept track of where they were going while running away from all the vampires chasing them.
It took almost an hour to find the car and they really didn't speak during that entire time other than a comment here and there. It was the same with the drive back to the motel and all that did was make Faith nervous. She didn't want to be the one to bring up the kiss but the more time passed without anyone mentioning it made everything increasingly awkward. Even though Faith kept wishing it wasn't.
When they got to the motel Faith took the lead, opening the door to find Willow asleep on the bed. She mumbled something then opened her eyes as Buffy shut the door behind her.
"Sorry, guess I fell asleep while I was waiting for you," Willow said as she sat up. "How'd it go?"
"Vamps staked," Buffy said as she moved to sit in a chair close to the door. "Your spell worked great, Will."
"Cool, score one for the good guys." Willow smiled at Faith. "Who knew Reno would be so interesting?"
"Maybe this means I'll get a little more sleep." Faith managed a smile back. "Thanks for, you know, helping find them."
Willow smiled. "Not a problem. It was nice to get out of Cleveland, even if it was only for a few hours. I didn't realize how strong that witch would be though."
Buffy looked a little concerned at the comment. "Are you up to transporting?"
"As long as it's just me," Willow answered, nodding. "I should be as good as new in the morning. Just call when you're ready to come back."
Buffy got up and gave Willow a hug, the other girl nodding at something that wasn't said. Faith looked at the exchange and wondered what had just happened. It seemed like the two were speaking to each other telepathically and that made her curious at what needed to be said without her knowing.
She didn't have much time think about it because soon Willow was giving her a hug as well. The action caused Faith to stiffen for a split second before she was able to relax her body enough so that it didn't look like she was uncomfortable. It was the last thing she expected from someone she had barely talked to since the Sunnydale days. She wasn't known as a hugger then and she wasn't one now.
"It was good to see you, Faith," Willow said as she released her. "Maybe next time it won't be all business."
"Maybe," was all Faith could answer with as she smiled.
In just a few seconds Willow was gone, leaving the two slayers alone. It was late, after one in the morning, and Faith knew after the high of the slay left all she would want to do was sleep. She didn't want to think about the kiss at the moment but the thought refused to go away. It was something that seemed to need to be discussed.
"We need to get cleaned up," Buffy commented as she walked into the bathroom. "Do you have a first aid kit in here? Oh, never mind, I see it."
Faith followed and watched as Buffy began to wipe the dried blood off her face and clean the cut above her eye. The action made Faith look over her injuries and noticed that the cut on her abdomen was still bleeding a little. She also noticed her shirt was most definitely ruined.
"Faith, take your shirt off," Buffy said as she turned away from the mirror. "We should clean out that cut on your stomach." She looked over Faith. "And the one on your arm."
Knowing she was right, Faith took off her shirt without thinking twice. She tossed the shirt in the small garbage can since it was ruined beyond repair so there was no use keeping it. Then she watched as Buffy picked up a clean washcloth and turn toward her, her eyes going right to the injury on her stomach.
"At least you don't need stitches," she said as she gently wiped off the dried blood on her skin. "I guess you can thank slayer reflexes for that."
"I guess so," Faith mumbled as she concentrated on what the other slayer was doing. "A little pissed he ruined by shirt."
"We can always go shopping tomorrow if you want."
Faith didn't know if that was a good idea but didn't say anything. All her mind could process was how Buffy slowly and carefully was treating her wound. It felt much too comforting, even when it stung a little, and all that did was confuse Faith.
Buffy looked at her as she tossed the washcloth in the sink. "Yeah?"
"You kissed me. Why?"
She only looked at Faith for a moment before she walked out of the bathroom. Faith followed her, curious as to what was going through the other slayer's head. Buffy's back was to her and she didn't know what else to say to get a response. This is new territory for her and it made her slightly uncomfortable. It was something that in the past she would have run from, the unknown feelings, but she knew she couldn't do that now.
When Buffy turned to face her once again, she looked more determined and thoughtful than the deer in the headlights look that Faith was trying to avoid. "Remember a couple weeks ago when I was going to go on a date?"
Faith nodded. "Yeah."
"So that day we didn't talk to each other because you had a late night and then I had one too many emergencies with the juniors so we kept missing each other."
"Yeah, I remember," Faith said quietly. It was easy to remember a day they didn't speak since they'd started talking on a regular basis.
"I was on my date," Buffy continued, "and Chad was talking about his job and all I could think was 'what's Faith doing?', 'how was her patrol last night?', 'is she okay?' I had to keep asking what he'd just said because I was so preoccupied."
Faith knew she was smiling. She had caught herself at times thinking about what Buffy was doing during the day but that was the extent of it. It felt good that someone cared about her wellbeing though. That had never happened before as far as she could remember.
"Obviously the date wasn't working out so I left early and went home but I couldn't get it out of my head. I couldn't get you out of my head." Buffy took a step toward Faith as she leaned against the doorframe of the bathroom. "I realized I missed hearing your voice that day and that I look forward to when we talk and I don't even care what it's about. I just want to talk to you."
"I like talking to you, too, B."
Buffy moved closer until she was only a foot away from Faith. "I talked to Will about it and she agreed with me."
"Agreed with what?"
"That I needed to try this." Buffy leaned in and gently kissed Faith again.
Just like before, Faith went with the kiss, responding slowly. It took a couple seconds for her to get over the fact that it was Buffy kissing her but after that all Faith could think about was how much she liked it. Buffy's lips were soft and tender and she swore she could feel how much she cared through them.
When they broke apart Faith realized their arms had made their way around each other. She also realized that she still only had a bra on but that seemed to be the least of her concerns. Buffy was smiling at her but she looked a little nervous and Faith couldn't help but think the expression on her face looked cute.
Faith thought about saying something but went on instinct instead and kissed her, knowing that was the only way to show her she was definitely okay with the kissing. Buffy responded a lot faster than she had, one hand making its way into her hair, almost as though she was keeping Faith's head in place.
"Okay, I'm getting that you're okay with the kissing," Buffy said quietly, keeping a hand in her hair.
"Definitely," Faith said as she smiled.
Buffy smiled back but then let go of Faith and stepped out of her embrace. "You know, I really didn't think past the kissing. I wasn't sure what you'd say."
"I kinda don't know what to say."
They simply looked at each other for a minute before Buffy spoke up. "Maybe we should get some sleep. It's late."
Faith had to agree with that. It had been a long and busy night and Faith's mind was clouded with all the old feelings she used to have when she first became a slayer, all of the "want, take, have" feelings. The younger version of her would probably want to push the issue with Buffy and go with her urges since the other slayer was probably willing but that wasn't who she was now. She knew when she got out of prison she was given another chance and she didn't want to mess up what she currently had.
She didn't want to mess up the friendship she now had with Buffy.
They each took turns in the bathroom and soon Faith found herself sharing a bed with Buffy. At first she kept her distance, not knowing what the correct move was. She couldn't remember the last time she'd shared a bed with someone where there wasn't an obscene amount of nakedness involved. She didn't know if there was a certain amount of space she needed to keep between them.
Buffy seemed to know what to do though. She put her arms around Faith and made sure they were as close as they could be. Faith thought it would make her uncomfortable but it didn't. It made her feel relaxed.
Sleep came soon after that.
Lips pressing against her shoulder was the first thing Faith felt as she began to wake up.
Faith also felt warm and tingly and she couldn't remember the last time she felt that way, if ever. She closed her eyes and relaxed, knowing that as soon as she opened them and turned to face the woman currently spooning her she might not be so relaxed.
There were plenty of questions that needed to be asked and answered. Faith hoped Buffy didn't think that a small confession and a few kisses meant that she would be driving toward Cleveland first thing. Nothing had changed as far as her plan. She still wanted to discover what she could do on her own, what she could do without having to have someone else set her schedule and tell her what she should be doing on a daily basis.
Faith opened her eyes again and smiled before turning in Buffy's arms so she could face her. "Good morning."
Buffy looked like she wanted to kiss her but she didn't. "This is strange."
"I can't say I disagree with you."
She laughed. "No, what I mean is last time we hung out all day, slayed and then I had to leave right away in the morning. This time the slaying's already done and we can hang out all day worry free."
"True." Faith found that she was grinning, a response to the bright and hopeful look Buffy had on her face. "Normally after I've done all I think I can then I get in the Explorer and get out of town."
Buffy moved away from her slightly and ran a hand through her hair. "Does that mean you're checking out of this place?"
Faith thought about it for a second. "Yeah, I should. I'm not exactly a fan of this city. Was only waiting to take out that group of vamps before I split."
The other slayer sat up in bed and looked down at Faith. "So we're going for a ride today." She got up and spoke up again before Faith could respond. "I got dibs on the bathroom first."
The bathroom door shut a few seconds later, leaving Faith alone in the room. She sat up and looked around the room. Because she had picked up before Buffy and Willow had arrived there wasn't much for her to pack away. Most of her weapons were already in her vehicle so all she really needed to do was pack everything in the bathroom and she was ready to go.
What she wasn't sure about was Buffy. Sure, it wasn't like the other woman was going to be tagging along forever, only for the day since Willow would simply transport her back when she called, but she wasn't used to having company. The only person that had was Billy and he was just a well-meaning demon. He wasn't someone that she had had a large amount of issues with.
Trying to take her mind off the situation, if even for a few minutes, Faith got out of bed and grabbed a map. She had a growing collection of them and taken to buying at least one in every area of the country she had traveled. It wasn't as though she'd even traveled half the country yet but she had enough to where she thought maybe she should get a separate bag for them. They were almost like her souvenirs, practical ones but souvenirs nonetheless.
She heard the bathroom door open but didn't look up from the map she'd unfolded. Trying to decide which direction was always the hardest but this was the closest she'd been to California since she'd been released from prison. Part of her thought maybe she should go back and stay in the area for a couple weeks, maybe even venture to LA.
The other part wanted to run in the other direction as fast as she could.
"Where are we headed?" Buffy asked as she stood behind Faith, her voice only revealing her curiosity.
"Not sure," Faith answered, not looking back to her. "East or west, I guess."
"Maybe you can decide over breakfast."
Faith turned back to her then and couldn't help but smile. The other slayer was dressed casually, jeans and a t-shirt, and her hair was damp, looking like she had toweled it dry as best she could. She looked cute and Faith wondered if her brain was looking at her differently because of the kissing from the previous night. She couldn't remember thinking anything like that about Buffy before.
"Sounds like a plan," she said easily. "Just let me shower and pack everything up."
Buffy only nodded and started looking at the maps while Faith walked to the bathroom, shutting the door behind her. She started the shower and let the water heat up for a few seconds before stripping off her clothes and stepping under the stream of water.
There was a lot to consider on where to go next now that Buffy was with her for the day. She didn't want to start driving south again since that's what she'd just been and driving further north didn't have much appeal to her. When she thought about it the only thing she could picture was more fighting evil in nature and after her couple of days in the national parks in Texas she'd had enough of that for now. At least until she got some camping equipment and was better prepared.
No, the only choices in her mind was either east or west. East had so many possibilities. She's never been anywhere in the Midwest before for any length of time or even other places along the coast. She wondered what type of problems she could solve in all those places.
West was only California for the most part and Faith wasn't sure about going there. She had no desire to visit the giant crater that was once Sunnydale and she had heard that it had become a curiosity for both tourists and the government. That was something Faith didn't want to be a part of and she was pretty sure Buffy wouldn't either.
Then there was LA and Faith wasn't sure she wanted to open up all of those old wounds again. She knew Angel would welcome her with open arms but he also would try to get her to stay. That wasn't something she wanted and she wasn't sure what Buffy would think about it. As far as she knew the other slayer hadn't seen Angel since Sunnydale and maybe there would still be some tension between them. Faith didn't want any part of that either.
She turned off the shower and stepped out, drying off quickly and throwing on a t-shirt and shorts again. When she walked out of the bathroom she noticed Buffy sitting on the edge of the bed, watching TV with the remote in her hand.
"There really isn't anything on during the day," she commented as she turned her head to look at Faith.
Faith smiled, realizing for the first time that it was a weekday, Thursday if she was remembering right. Since she didn't have a strict nine to five job the days tended to run together without her realizing.
"I don't watch a whole lot of TV during the day."
"Me either," Buffy said. "I usually have a class to teach or there are notes to go over or I have to talk with Giles. Not much time for anything else."
Faith grabbed some clean clothes from her bag and as if on cue, Buffy turned away from her so she could change. She quickly put on a pair of blue jeans and a black long sleeved shirt before shoving the rest of her clothes into the bag. Without saying anything to Buffy, she walked into the bathroom and packed everything that was hers, making note of what they used from the first aid kit so she could replace it the next time she stopped for supplies.
One of the first things she'd learned on her own was that a well stocked first aid kit was a slayer's best friend.
When she walked back out Buffy standing as though she was waiting for her, smiling as she did. She walked up to her and before Faith knew what was happening she was being kissed. There was more passion in it this time and Faith wrapped her arms around the other slayer, letting Buffy deepen the kiss a few seconds later.
The kiss ended when Buffy moved away but Faith knew from the smile on her face the kiss was definitely of the good. "I've been waiting to do that all morning."
"You can kiss me anytime, B," Faith said, giving her a playful wink in the process.
Buffy laughed and moved back to where Faith had left her map. "So any thoughts on the next stop?"
"I was thinking about driving east." Faith joined Buffy and pointed out the interstate. "If we take this we'll be in Salt Lake City by the end of the day. I think so anyway."
"Utah?" Buffy smiled at her and put an arm around her waist. "No California, huh?"
Faith shook her head slowly. "Too many old demons there. Prison, the crater, LA . . . don't think I'm ready for that yet."
"I thought you'd want to see Angel."
"Do you?" Faith asked, raising an eyebrow. "Have you seen him since Sunnydale?"
Buffy nodded and Faith tried to hide her surprise. "He called when he found out your release date and Willow and I transported there to get some paperwork. You know, so we could get all your papers filled out and completed . . . and so we could properly forge your signature."
Faith laughed. "Crime brought you together. Got it." She paused. "Was it awkward?"
"Isn't it always with Angel?" Buffy commented. "I don't think he liked that we had a plan for you once you got out but that was probably because he had his own plan. I guess we didn't think about what you had in mind, huh?"
That was something Faith thought about a lot for the first few days she was out and part of her was bitter about the planning that didn't take into account what she thought. The bitterness left after a couple weeks though. After that, she was able to accept that they had good intentions with the planning. They simply hadn't expected her to have her own thoughts on the subject.
"It's all right. It worked out okay."
"No, it wasn't," Buffy insisted, taking her hand. She brought her other hand up to Faith's face, gently caressing her cheek as Faith looked at her. "As much as I want you with me and everyone else in Cleveland, I will try to respect what you're doing here."
Faith grinned and closed what little distance there was between the two of them, kissing her tenderly. She wasn't sure what was happening between them but she was really enjoying the kissing. It felt like it was helping them heal whatever rift had separated them in the past and developing something new in the process.
When they mutually broke the kiss, Faith moved away entirely. She picked up one of her bags and grinned at Buffy. "Grab a bag and let's go. You're about to see what I do on the road."
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