Buffy woke up early in the morning just as the sun was beginning to rise. She shifted around slightly, being careful not to wake Faith even though she was pretty sure that wouldn't happen. The way she practically lost consciousness the night before she doubted Faith would be easy to wake. The other girl hadn't moved the entire night, simply stayed on her side, breathing in and out evenly.
Because she hadn't moved, Buffy stayed pressed against Faith, an arm wrapped around her to secure her there. She had one of the most relaxing nights she'd ever experienced because of that. There was something about the way she was able to hold Faith through the night that just felt right.
She opened her eyes and lifted her head to check on Faith. She had her eyes tightly closed, her hands pressed close to her chest. Buffy furrowed her brow at the blood stains on her shirt, knowing she should have gotten Faith out of her stained clothes and into some clean ones. She moved her hand up to check on Faith's bandaged one, smiling at how the bandages held up through the night.
Her hand slowly moved away from Faith's hand up to her face. Her fingers lightly traced her jaw then moved to where her dimples showed when she smiled. Buffy couldn't help but smile herself as Faith scowled a little at her actions, possibly starting to wake up. Lowering her head, she kissed Faith's forehead lightly.
Faith grumbled quietly and shifted around. Buffy simply responded to the grumbling by moving both of them toward the middle of the bed since Faith had been resting on the edge. She kept her arms around her, almost feeling the need to do so because she wasn't sure what would happen when Faith woke up.
"What's going on?" Faith mumbled, not opening her eyes. She moved her hurt hand and swore under her breath.
"Shh, Faith," Buffy whispered, putting her lips to Faith's ear. "It's okay."
The other girl moved around more, still swearing and grumbling under her breath. Buffy kept hold of her, concerned about how hurt her hand was now. Faith couldn't say much the night before so Buffy didn't really know how she felt.
Buffy sat up slightly but still kept an arm around her. "Faith, stay still, okay? I don't want you to hurt your hand."
Faith opened her eyes and looked around the room before turning her head to meet Buffy's eyes. "Where am I?"
"We're in my room." Buffy tried to smile but Faith's stare was too intense. "You almost passed out when you tried to take out that tree and I didn't want to take you to a hospital so . . . I brought you here."
Faith raised an eyebrow. "And you decided to what, take advantage of me?"
Buffy narrowed her eyes. "No. My place was closer and I thought I could take care of your hand better here." She paused. "My mom freaked."
"Your mom knows I'm here?" Faith asked. She shifted more towards Buffy but still looked uneasy about her unfamiliar surroundings.
"Yeah," Buffy confirmed, nodding. "I got you cleaned up and up here but she came downstairs when I was cleaning up the supplies I used to clean your hand. She almost lost it when she saw the blood."
"Sorry 'bout that."
Buffy nodded. "Why did you do it?"
"I was angry," Faith said, looking away from her.
Buffy thought for a second before saying anything, her mind going over their fight from the previous night. "Did you really think what I was doing was dumping you?"
Faith sat up a bit and turned back to her, scowling. "That's what it felt like, B. You don't wanna be around me anymore. After awhile, that always happens."
"That's not what I was doing." Buffy looked at her seriously. "I just didn't want to keep doing what we were doing."
"That's what I figured."
"I want something different," Buffy explained, knowing Faith wasn't getting what she was trying to say.
"What the hell do you mean by that?" Faith asked, giving her a confused look.
"I mean I want more than just," she lowered her voice, "sex." She blushed without meaning to and Faith smirked because of it. "I want everything else, too."
"You mean like a relationship?"
Faith's eyes went wide and she jumped off the bed like it was on fire. She looked down at her shoes and quickly put them on, her eyes more panicked than Buffy had ever seen.
"Faith, what's wrong?"
"A relationship?" Faith laughed out sarcastically. "Are you insane? I don't do relationships."
Buffy's jaw dropped, not knowing why Faith was acting the way she was. "What about all that ranting you did last night? Isn't that what you want?"
Faith scoffed. "I wanted to keep fucking you, B. I mean, that's our thing. We scratch each other's itch so we don't have to find someone else."
"That's not what I want and from the way you acted last night, I don't think that's what you want either," Buffy claimed, sure she'd read Faith right the night before.
"That's such bullshit," Faith groaned and paced before looking into Buffy's eyes. "I can't deal with this shit right now. It's early and my hand hurts and you're delusional."
"Faith, stop," Buffy said urgently. She got off her bed and stood a few feet away from her. "Stop being afraid of this, of us."
"I can't be around you right now." Faith opened the door. "I'm outta here."
"Faith, don't do this!" Buffy followed Faith out of her bedroom. "Come back here. We need to talk about this."
Faith ran down the stairs, not slowing down despite Buffy's request until she reached the front door. "Thanks for taking care of my hand."
Buffy watched as Faith ran out of the house, practically slamming the door behind her. She stared at the door for a minute, hoping Faith would change her mind and come back, before sitting at the top of the stairs.
She sat there for awhile, at least an hour before she heard her mother's bedroom door open. She kept staring at the front door as Joyce sat down beside her.
"It didn't work out, huh?"
Buffy only shook her head. She kept willing herself not to cry, telling herself that she was too strong for that and she shouldn't feel as hurt as she did. Her heart didn't see it that way, however, and her eyes began to water despite her best efforts.
Her mother didn't say anything, didn't tell her what she did was wrong or that Faith was making a mistake by not wanting to be her girlfriend. She simply put her arm around her and had her rest her head against her shoulder, seeming to know that was what Buffy needed most.
School had been particularly boring. Buffy had tried to concentrate as best she could, especially with a couple tests coming in the next week, but she knew she zoned out more than she should.
It had been a week since her big blowout with Faith and Buffy had distracted herself with school, slaying and her friends as best she could. School has been the easiest since she was a little behind in all her classes but after a couple days she had caught up and it hadn't been much of a distraction since.
She had told her friends about everything that happened between her and Faith and there was a multitude of shock on all sides. Willow was irritated Buffy had been lying to them for the last few months and the thought of the two slayers getting all sorts of naked left Xander speechless for quite awhile. The only person Buffy didn't tell was Giles. She never found the words when she was around him and she was afraid of what he would say if she ever did find the words.
Faith was nowhere to be found. Buffy had gone to the motel a few hours after their fight only to find it empty. The manager told her she'd checked out and only looked at her funny when she asked if he knew where she'd gone.
Buffy couldn't believe Faith had run out on her. All she'd really have to say was she wasn't interested in Buffy that way enough to date her. It would have sucked but Buffy knew she could have dealt. Now she was worried because she didn't know where Faith was and lonely because she couldn't patrol with her fellow slayer.
Now it was the end of the day and she had to deal with Giles and talk about the increased vampire activity they were experiencing and how Faith was completely irresponsible for not being there. Buffy hated sitting through every meeting because Giles only became frustrated and she could never find the words to tell him why he was a slayer short.
Buffy got within five feet of the library doors, her backpack full of a mix of schoolwork and weapons hanging off her shoulder, and could already hear Giles yelling. She smiled because she always thought it was funny to see him yell at some poor kid and hoped this meant their meeting would be short.
"I don't care if you needed a break. It is irresponsible for you to simply leave without consulting your watcher."
"Do I have to report every little thing? Does it really matter that much?"
The sound of the other person's voice made Buffy's stomach drop. Giles was yelling at Faith and from the sound of it she was yelling right back.
"Of course it matters. We've been dealing with an extraordinary amount of vampires and it is your duty to slay them."
"What, B take a vacation, too?"
"No, Buffy has been here doing exactly what she should."
"I'm sure she's been able to handle it."
Buffy couldn't take eavesdropping any longer, wanting in on the conversation, and pushed through the doors. "I could have used some help."
Faith's eyes seemed to light up when she saw the other slayer and she was about to smile but Giles started talking again.
"Exactly. Faith, you have to realize you have responsibilities and they affect everyone around you. There can be dire consequences if you forget that or choose to ignore it," he said, obviously trying to control his anger.
"I get it. I get it," Faith said, muttering something else under her breath before staring at her watcher with frustrated eyes. "Are you gonna, like, ship me off to another British stiff now?"
Giles sighed. "No. I haven't even told the Council about your 'vacation'." He looked away from Faith, rubbing the side of his face while Buffy leaned against the counter and waited for the argument to end. "I have some work to attend to. Faith, you will patrol with Buffy tonight." He looked at Buffy. "Let me know if vampire activity has increased again."
Buffy nodded. "Will do."
Giles shot another look at Faith before turning away from both of them and walking into his office. Buffy watched Giles close his door before looking at Faith. She first looked at the other slayer's hand, which was bandage-free but still had a couple visible scrapes. Her gaze then went from her hand to the rest of her, noticing the grin now spread across her face.
Buffy scowled in response, finding the anger she needed, and quickly walked over to where Faith was standing. "Where the hell . . ."
Faith grabbed her and pulled her as close as she could before pressing her lips against Buffy's, effectively silencing the other girl. Buffy stiffened, dropping her bag in the process, and had no idea how to react. Her body wanted to keep going despite the openness of the library but her head was screaming to pull away. In the end, her head won the battle and she successfully pulled away after a few seconds.
Buffy took a breath and took a step back from Faith as well. "What the hell was that?"
She smirked. "Not really sure. I was thinking 'apology' but you wouldn't let me finish."
"Finish?" Buffy asked. She wanted to keep a straight face but was fighting the urge to laugh due to the look Faith was giving her.
"You know I'm a kickass kisser, B, but you gotta let me finish to get the full effect."
Buffy's will to stay angry failed and she laughed quietly. She shook her head slightly until one word Faith said popped into her mind. "Apology?"
Faith shrugged. "Maybe."
"Okay," Buffy said, letting Faith's vague response go for the moment and looked at her hand. "How's your hand?"
She lifted it up and moved it around for Buffy to see. "Healing okay. You did a good job."
Faith laughed. "You wanna get out of here? Giles is kinda ticked at me so I want out of the library right now."
"He's not the only one," Buffy said and crossed her arms over her chest, wanting an apology for what Faith had put her through in the last week and wanting it fast.
Faith leaned down and picked up Buffy's bag, handing it to her. "I'm sorry, okay?" She put a hand on her shoulder. "Let's just get out of here."
Dark brown eyes pierced Buffy's, almost pleading with her to agree. She couldn't look away and figured if they left Faith could explain herself.
"Let's go but you need to start talking."
There was no response from Faith but Buffy took that to mean she agreed. She secured her bag to her shoulder once again and walked out of the library, Faith following close behind. They walked in silence until they were out of the school and walking toward Buffy's house. Buffy couldn't wait any longer and turned her head to Faith.
"You freaked me out," Faith started out.
Buffy's first instinct was that Faith was blaming her. "So it's my fault?"
"No," Faith said in a stern tone, showing her seriousness at what she was saying. "You're not the one who freaked, I did. I just felt trapped."
"So now I've trapped you?" Buffy asked bitterly, not able to stop herself from jumping to the worst possible conclusion.
Faith groaned. "Would you fucking stop and let me explain? Isn't that what you want?"
"Fine," Buffy sighed, reminding herself that Faith was at least trying. "You couldn't just leave my house that day? You had to leave Sunnydale entirely?"
"Hey, when I fuck up I like to go all out," Faith said, showing off her dimples.
"All right," Buffy laughed out as Faith grinned at her. "Where'd you go?"
"LA." Faith's grin turned into a smirk. "Figured there'd be enough action on all counts so I could forget about everything." She paused. "And I was kinda right."
Buffy didn't like the answer very much but wanted Faith to keep going with her explanation. "If you were right, why are you back?"
"For a few nights, I could forget about everything. I partied, danced, drank until I couldn't feel, whatever. It felt great." She paused again, not looking at Buffy. "Then night before last, I get to this club. It's wicked and I'm gettin' free drinks from guys." She took a breath. "The entire night's like that until later me and this guy hook up. He was kinda hot and next thing I know, we're making out in a corner booth."
"I don't think I wanna hear this," Buffy said and looked away from Faith, not wanting to look at her if she was about to talk about screwing someone who wasn't her.
"Just let me finish, okay?"
Buffy sighed. "Fine."
"Thanks," Faith said and gave her a reassuring smile. "I knew he wanted to go further but every time he tried, all I could think about was that I'd rather be with you. That I wanted to come back here because I was an idiot to leave."
They reached Buffy's house as Faith finished speaking and Buffy couldn't stop the smile that was beginning to form on her face. Faith seemed to want the same thing she did. She continued walking toward her front door when Faith grabbed her arm, stopping her.
"Are you listening, B?" she asked, staring at her intensely.
"Uh, yeah," Buffy said. She wasn't sure what else to say. She knew what she wanted: she wanted Faith. The problem she was having now was that she was beginning to doubt herself and question what she wanted. "Let's go inside."
Faith nodded and followed Buffy into the house. She led her into the living room where they both sat down. It seemed like Faith was waiting for Buffy to respond to what she had said but Buffy still wasn't completely sure what to say.
After a minute, Faith spoke up. "B?"
Buffy had been trying to count the fibers in the carpet, her mind trying to avoid thinking about what she should. Even though she wanted to be happy Faith came back, all she could think about was whether or not she'd leave again. She was also a little angry she had admitted to making out with some random guy. It made her wonder what else she did.
She looked up. "Are you gonna do this again?"
Faith furrowed her brow in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, this sucked," Buffy said, scowling. "This last week was awful. I didn't even know that you left until I went to the motel. I didn't know what to tell Giles 'cause there was no way I was telling him the truth. I even had to tell Willow and Xander everything."
"They know?" Faith laughed when Buffy nodded. "That's kinda freaky."
"You're not the one who had to go through with all of it. You weren't here."
"I know," she sighed out. "It won't happen again, B. This was a one-time thing."
"Okay." Buffy raised an eyebrow, knowing what question she should ask but also realizing she didn't want to know the answer. "Did you screw around with anyone else?"
"That's what you're so ticked about, isn't it?"
"Ya think? I say I want more and your response is to leave only to come back and tell me all about how you made out with some guy."
"Doesn't sound very good when you say it like that," Faith said, looking a little guilty.
"No, it doesn't." Buffy paused, trying to remind herself to stay calm. "Can you answer my question?"
"I don't think you're gonna like the answer."
Buffy looked away, feeling truly crushed. All she felt was doubt now and all she wanted to do was be elsewhere. She got up quickly and walked out of the living room as fast as she could.
"B!" Faith got up and went after her, stopping her as she reached the back door. "It's not what you think."
Buffy turned to her and looked into her eyes, tears threatening to fall from her own. "Really? What do I think?"
"That I was fucking someone different each night to scratch that post-slay itch," Faith said. She put her hands on Buffy's shoulders and made eye contact. "I've been around you enough to know you'll think the worst."
Buffy took a breath, trying to force herself not to cry. She didn't want to look at hurt as she felt. "So what should I think?"
"I got drunk and I messed around, trying to forget all this," she said, leaning in. "I never screwed anyone else, not even when I was here."
"Yeah?" Buffy asked hopefully.
Faith leaned in until their lips were almost touching. "Yeah." She closed the remaining gap between them, giving her the lightest of kisses.
Buffy closed her eyes as she felt the other slayer's full lips on her own. This was what she wanted and she knew it. She wanted Faith, had since the first time they kissed, and was devastated when she left. Now that it seemed Faith wanted to make it right, Buffy knew she wanted that, too.
They broke apart and Faith moved a hand off her shoulder and caressed her cheek, wiping away a stray tear as she did. Their eyes met and both of them smiled.
"So . . . are we good?"
"Not quite." Buffy paused. "But we're getting there."
Faith waggled her eyebrows. "What do I have to do to make it up to you?"
"One step at a time," Buffy said as she moved away from Faith and walked back into the living room. "I do have a lot of homework to do."
Faith groaned. "That's so . . . boring and I'm kinda tired. You know I'll fall asleep if you start doing your homework and I don't think you want me helping you with it."
Buffy grinned. "So take a nap. It's gonna be a long patrol. Giles wasn't kidding about all the vamps," she said, laughing. "And you didn't seem to have any trouble sleeping in my bed the last time you were here."
Faith laughed, too. "Hey, I was injured." She moved to Buffy and wrapped her arms around her. "But I guess I'll have to rest up for after patrol, too." She waggled her eyebrows again.
"I don't know about that."
Faith moved her hands around on her back while taking the smirk that was starting to form on Buffy's face. "Oh, we so are."
Buffy laughed and blushed. "We'll see."