It took a couple hours but Buffy not only managed to get back to sleep but have a dreamless one as well. She was incredibly grateful for that, too, since she didn't want to face the day not only tired but with sexy Faith-type thoughts in her head as well. As soon as she woke up though thoughts of her dream from the night before entered her head and while she tried her best to push them away, it stayed in the back of her mind.
Because she'd taken some time in getting back to sleep, Buffy slept well into the morning and that didn't bother her in the least. She was three weeks into her summer vacation, three weeks after she and the rest of the senior class not only graduated from high school but also defeated the Mayor and blew up the school. She figured she deserved whatever downtime she could get.
Even though she wanted the downtime today, she had to go meet Willow and then Giles so she knew she needed to get up and get moving. Her mother had long since gone to work for the day so it didn't surprise her to see a note for her on the fridge letting her know she might have to work late tonight.
Buffy sighed when she read the note, hoping she'd get to sit down with her about some of her college worries. It was still a couple months away but things like dorm rooms, roommates, classes and other school-type problems were already on her mind and she was hoping her mom could help her with her nerves. That would have to wait now until they both had free time.
After showering and changing, she nearly ran down the stairs in an effort to eat something only to groan as the doorbell stopped her halfway to the kitchen. She turned and prayed to whoever would listen that when she opened the door Faith wouldn't be on the other side. She hadn't had enough time to get over any of her dream yet.
Thankfully, it was only Willow standing there as she opened the door. "Oh, thank God," Buffy mumbled as she smiled at her best friend.
"Uh, okay," Willow said with a confused smile. "I don't think I've seen anyone be this relieved to see me before." She paused. "Why are you relieved I came to your house to meet you and not at Giles' like we planned?"
Buffy kept her smile as she let her inside. "Not relieved that you came here to meet me really, only that it was you on the other side of the door."
"Why would you . . ." Willow started then drifted off for a minute before starting to laugh. "You had another dream, didn't you?"
Buffy groaned and turned away from her friend, walking to the kitchen like she had originally intended. "Don't make me regret telling you, Will."
Willow tried to stop laughing but only managed to half-succeed as she followed Buffy. "Sorry, but your reactions the morning after are kinda funny, especially around Faith. You're always so nervous. Sometimes it's like you're doing an impression of me."
Buffy laughed quietly at the comment. "I don't know why she makes you nervous sometimes."
"She's so intense and then she has this stare," Willow said with a shrug. "She just does and I guess I'm not alone."
"Do you think she notices?"
"Sorry to say but yeah," Willow answered with an apologetic look on her face. "I think everyone notices."
"And here I thought I was being all stealthy with my nervousness." Buffy managed a smile as she grabbed some orange juice and a low fat yogurt from the fridge.
"Buffy, a couple days ago it took you about five minutes to get a sentence out when Faith asked you a question." Willow leaned against the counter as she watched Buffy eat. "You were starting to babble toward the end."
"I did not," Buffy stated, trying to show confidence in her answer. By the look on Willow's face, she wasn't all that successful. "It was not five minutes."
"Felt like longer," Willow said, smirking slightly. "Do I even wanna know what it was about this time? 'Cause, ya know, last time I think I turned a new shade of red."
Buffy gulped down some yogurt and took a breath. "It wasn't a sex dream. It was . . . something else."
"What do you mean?"
"We were . . ." Buffy paused, struggling to get the words out. She still couldn't get over how real it felt. "We were in a relationship. She was my girlfriend and we were moving in together."
Buffy waited a minute but Willow didn't say anything else. "That's all you've got for me? You're supposed to be the supportive friend here, Will. Tell me that it's all in my mind and so on and so on."
"I don't know, Buffy," Willow sighed out. "Before they were all pretty simple but your dreams have a plot now. I think I might be out of my league in telling you they're all in your head."
"Great." Buffy finished her juice and sighed. "Maybe it's a spell. Some demon or vamp is trying to drive me crazy so they can take over."
Willow let a smirk show and Buffy knew what was coming. "Then they'd have to do it to Faith, too. And that means you should talk to Faith . . ."
"The last person I want to know about this is Faith." Buffy knew Willow wanted to argue the point so she quickly continued. "She'd never let me live it down. The teasing and taunting would go one until one of us died. And no, they're not slayer dreams," she added quickly, knowing that would be suggested soon. Willow had already brought it up more than once in the past.
"You're not gonna know that unless you talk to her."
Buffy sighed again, not wanting to talk about her unsettling dream anymore. "We should get going. Who knows what Giles or Faith discovered this time."
The walk to Giles' place was uneventful and both girls were fairly quiet, which didn't happen often with the two of them.
Buffy was lost in her own world. She couldn't stop thinking about her dream and what it might mean. So badly did she wish there was a sinister motive behind it but she knew that wasn't very likely given that no one knew how crazy it would make her. Anyone trying to take over Sunnydale would most definitely use other means to take her and Faith out of the picture.
The dreams she'd been having lately were beginning to cause a rift between her and Faith and that's what Buffy hated most of all. They'd worked so hard to get back to their shaky friendship and she wanted to improve on that, not see it collapse on itself like it almost did a few short months ago. When Faith accidentally killed Allan Finch Buffy knew she'd come very close to losing her to the wrong side. If she hadn't gone to her motel room the next day and demanded she be honest with her . . .
Buffy walked into Faith's room after knocking a couple times and getting no response. She knew the other slayer was in the room, she could feel it, and it made her wonder if Faith was avoiding her. After what happened the night before, Buffy did not want to be avoided.
Looking further into the room, Buffy could see Faith through the open bathroom door. She was concentrating on what she was doing at the sink and as Buffy walked slower, she saw she was cleaning the shirt she'd worn the previous night. When she'd killed Finch.
Faith groaned in frustration and let the shirt drop into the sink. "Yeah?"
"We lost track of each other last night," Buffy said quietly. "Wondering where you went and . . . how we're gonna deal with this."
"What do mean how we're gonna deal with this?" Faith looked almost disgusted at the comment and crossed her arms over her chest in what seemed like defiance.
"Faith, you . . . killed someone." The words struggled to get out and Buffy took a breath, trying to think of the best way to say what she wanted. She soon realized there wasn't one. "We need to figure out what we're gonna do. Someone will find the body and then there'll be questions."
Faith shook her head with a slight smirk on her face. "I took care of the body so there won't be any questions."
Buffy quickly looked her over and though she was trying to look confident, it wasn't real. She could tell beneath all the cockiness and bravado Faith was scared. "He worked for the Mayor, Faith, and he will find out what happened to him. It doesn't matter what you did with it, someone's going to find out what happened."
Neither of them spoke for a minute as Buffy tried to collect her thoughts. It felt like a standoff and Buffy knew it was one she desperately needed to win. They needed to work together to fix this and they needed help to do it. It couldn't just be forgotten like Faith so obviously wanted.
"Faith, we can't just let this go. A man is dead and it's our fault."
"Let me stop ya right there, B. I don't care that he's dead. He got in the way of me doing my job and that's his fault, not mine. No one's gonna find out 'cause like I said, I took care of it."
She looked at her shirt again, like she was trying to dismiss the situation, and all that did was piss Buffy off. "That is such bullshit and we both know it."
Faith threw her shirt back in the sink and gave her a steady glare. "Are you fucking with me?"
"No," Buffy answered as she stood her ground, "but I think you are with me."
Faith's response was not what Buffy wanted. She let out a sarcastic laugh. "Whoa, B. Trying to bring out the big guns, huh?"
"As much as you're trying not to show it, I know you're scared. You can't fool me, Faith. I know you care about what happened as much as I do."
"You don't know me at all," Faith spit out and stepped toward Buffy, leaning in so their faces were only inches apart. "I'm not one of your friends that you can tell what to do."
Suddenly, Buffy knew exactly what to do and how to get to Faith. It was all so clear now. "I'm not gonna tell you what to do, Faith. We're equals, a team, and I'd like to think that at some point we could be friends but first we need to figure this out."
Faith just stared at her and Buffy patiently waited for a response. She seemed to be either frozen or thinking it over and Buffy couldn't buy the frozen option. It looked like she was trying to think of a comeback but after a couple minutes Buffy continued on, hoping she had Faith's stubbornness beaten or at the very least subdued.
"Have you noticed that I've been saying we all this time, Faith?" Buffy asked as Faith looked away and took a step back. "I'm not about to drag you to jail. We're in this together and we need to work together but I think we need some help."
Faith continued not to look at her but Buffy thought she might be starting to believe her. "It was a mistake," she finally mumbled in a whisper.
Buffy sighed and took a step closer. "I know it was, Faith."
"What are you gonna do?"
"We need to go to Giles and tell him what happened. Maybe he'll know what to do." Buffy opened her mouth to say something else but Faith stopped her.
"Wait," she said quickly as her head shot up and she looked at Buffy again, "what about the Council? If Wesley finds out he'll tell those stuffy old guys and they might ship me off or something."
"Did I say I was going to Wesley?" Buffy tried to smile in order to reassure her but nothing about the situation they were in made her smile. "Giles'll look out for us, Wesley won't. I'm not telling him a thing."
Faith nodded and Buffy thought she might actually be coming to terms with everything. It looked like she might even want to cry but was holding it in. She only thought that because she'd never seen Faith look like the way she was before. She didn't look like the tough as nails, not caring about anything but slaying, slayer that Buffy was so used to seeing. At the moment she looked small. Buffy's instincts kicked in right then and she did something she knew Faith wasn't expecting: she hugged her.
Faith stiffened almost immediately and even though Buffy thought she might try to resist or act out, she didn't. She just stood there for a couple minutes, maybe thinking Buffy would let go but she held her tighter instead. Soon she felt Faith give into the hug, her body relaxing into hers and her head resting on her shoulder.
"I do care," Faith finally admitted quietly.
"I know you do," Buffy said, letting a small smile show now that she'd gotten through to Faith. "We'll figure this out."
They had worked everything out like Buffy had promised, even if there were some kinks in the plan. The Council did end up finding out what happened after some eavesdropping by Wesley but Buffy backed Faith all the way and after somewhat of a standoff, an agreement was reached between the two sides. They wouldn't take Faith back to England and she would do a sort of slayer rehabilitation in Sunnydale. After all, she was needed in the battle against the Mayor.
Buffy was proud of Faith in how she ended up handling everything. She didn't flinch once when the Council was trying to get her. Instead, she stayed with Giles and Buffy and didn't overreact to what was going on. She finally let herself trust the two of them.
When the Mayor found out about his employee he tried to get Faith to join his side instead of turning her in. With Buffy on hers, she told him where to shove his offer. He wasn't exactly thrilled with being turned down and made a point to target the Chosen Two when he tried to ascend. Buffy knew that if Faith hadn't been there at one point during the battle, she wouldn't have made it. She knew she had saved her life.
"Buffy, where'd you go?"
She turned and smiled at her best friend. "Just thinking."
"About Faith?" Willow asked. She didn't even try to hide the smirk on her face and Buffy knew a part of her was enjoying her problem.
Even though she narrowed her eyes, she couldn't help but smile. "It hasn't gotten out of my head and I still can't figure out why I'm dreaming about her."
"There is one reason."
"And I'm not going to include that reason as an actual reason."
Buffy refused to accept that the reason that her dreams featured Faith on a regular basis now was that she was attracted to her. The other slayer was just too different from her. They had different likes and dislikes and Buffy was still in the process of getting over Angel.
Faith was still very hard core about slaying and that subject was all they really had in common. Even with that they always wanted to do different types of training, go to different cemeteries and when they did hang out together after, they could never agree on where to go. One of them always ended up unhappy with the decision.
Still, they got along when it mattered and Buffy knew now she could count on Faith to have her back no matter what. She also had a way to make slaying more fun and Buffy enjoyed the banter they had when they were on patrol. It made being a slayer less lonely.
"Are you ready to have a meeting?"
Buffy turned to Willow as they reached Giles' front door. "Ready as I'll ever be."
Willow laughed as she knocked on the door. They only had to wait a couple seconds before it opened with Faith standing on the other side. She was living with Giles but Buffy knew she was looking for a new place. She'd left the motel room after what happened with Finch and had no intention of ever moving back. Instead, she was trying to find something she could actually call home.
Part of Faith's rehabilitation was that she be supervised at all times so she'd had to move in with Wesley right away. That only lasted until her and Buffy quit the Council over how they wanted to attack the Mayor and then Giles had offered her his spare bedroom. They both agreed it was only temporary as Faith quickly found a job and had said multiple times she was gone the minute she could get an apartment.
"Hey," she greeted them as they walked in. "Giles isn't here. Said he needed to run a couple errands . . . should be back in a few."
Buffy turned and looked at her as Faith shut the door behind her and Willow. "He knew we were coming over but he's running errands?"
Faith shrugged. "Maybe he thought you'd be here earlier."
Willow snickered as she sat down but Buffy narrowed her eyes at her fellow slayer. "We had a late night last night."
"And you left early," Faith said, a smirk prominently on her face. Buffy thought she might have even just looked her up and down and tried not to blush. "You shouldn't be tired . . . unless you had a hot date you didn't tell me about."
"I . . . I . . ." Buffy started and realized she was in danger of the stuttering and babbling Willow had warned her about. "I didn't think you'd be out there much longer."
Faith sat down in a chair as Buffy sat next to Willow on the couch. "Could've used your help after you left. There was some weird vamp meeting that I walked in on or whatever."
"Vamp meeting?" Willow asked curiously.
"Something like that." Faith looked from Willow to Buffy. "Couldn't take any of 'em out 'cause there were too many. Could've used your help, B."
Buffy didn't know what to say so she didn't say anything for a minute. Both she and Faith were looking for signs that someone was trying to take over where the Mayor left off. They'd already taken out one vamp who thought he could take over the hellmouth but Giles and both of them knew that probably was only the start of something bigger. There were plenty of vampires trying to make a name for themselves and what better place to do it than at a hellmouth protected by not one but two slayers.
Giles walked in as Buffy was trying to come up with a response, a bag in his hands. Faith got up quickly and took the bag from him, bringing it into the kitchen as Giles nodded a hello to Buffy and Willow.
"Have you been here long?" he asked as he sat down where Faith had been.
"Only a few minutes," Buffy answered. "Faith was just talking about what she saw after we split last night."
"About that," Giles said as Faith joined them again, sitting on the arm of the couch, "I think it would be best if the two of you patrolled together the entire time. I don't want either of you to get into a situation where you're outmatched. We only know that there are some vampires mobilizing in Sunnydale in an effort to take over where the Mayor left off."
"I still don't get why they'd do that, G-man." Faith looked at all of them with a look that made Buffy wonder if that was the stare Willow had been talking about. "They know the Mayor was super-powerful and we took him out. Don't they get that we'll do the same to them?"
"Vamps are stupid, Faith," Buffy said, not looking at her. She was afraid she'd forget what she was saying if she looked into her eyes. "They're not gonna think we're tough for taking down the Mayor, they'll think the Mayor wasn't all he was cracked up to be. They'll think they're better than that and want to prove it."
Faith nodded. "Then we'll just have to prove them wrong."
"Willow, do you have some time today to go through a couple books?"
Willow looked over at Giles, taking her eyes off the interaction between the two slayers. "I can stop by later this afternoon."
"Good," Giles said, smiling lightly. "Faith, Buffy, the two of you should train a little today."
"I gotta work in an hour."
Buffy looked at Faith finally, confused. "I thought you had the day off."
"I picked up some extra shifts," Faith answered quickly. "I need to make some cash so I can get my own place. I can meet up with you after."
Buffy nodded, still not quite getting over how responsible Faith had become in the last couple months. She had dedicated herself to slaying and now to getting out on her own. That wasn't the Faith Buffy had met when she first showed up in Sunnydale. This Faith was one Buffy liked much better.
"That sounds okay," Buffy said quietly. That meant Faith would be showing up at her house. Because of her dreams, the thought was starting to make her feel uneasy.
Faith either didn't notice her uneasiness or simply didn't call her on it. She only nodded and stood, moving quickly up the stairs. Buffy watched her go, as did Giles and Willow, before Giles turned back to them and became more serious.
"I can do some training on my own until Faith shows up."
Giles nodded, a small smile on his face. "That sounds fine, Buffy. Please patrol with Faith the entire time tonight."
Buffy wanted to respond but knew better than to argue the point when she wasn't going to change his mind. Instead, she only stood up and looked to her best friend. "Well, guess we have our assignments for the day."
"Yeah," Willow said, looking past Buffy to Giles as she stood, "I have to meet with my mom for lunch but I'll stop by after."
"Okay. And Buffy, please remember . . ."
"I know, I know," Buffy interrupted quickly. "Patrol the whole night with Faith, don't separate, blah, blah, something watchery."
"It's good to see you take in what I've been saying."
Buffy didn't say anything else, only smiled at him as she and Willow walked out of the condo and into the sun outside. Neither of them said anything right away but as soon as they reached the street, Willow started to laugh.
"You were having trouble looking at her," she commented, trying to calm how amused she was.
"I know." Buffy hung her head, not wanting to face her laughing friend. "I'm trying not to let it get to me but the dreams are so real, Will. When I look at her, my mind goes right to them. Even more with this new one."
Willow nodded, looking as though she was trying her best not to make light of her dilemma. "You can't let it get to you, Buffy. Faith's gonna think something's wrong. I know you don't want to start fighting with her again."
"No, I don't. I want to be friends but my brain is really pushing the more than friends idea."
"Maybe your brain is telling you something," Willow teased.
"Don't make me hurt you," Buffy said with her eyes narrowed but smiled a second later. "I don't want to think about that right now. I just want to repress until I can talk to Faith like a normal person."
"How's that working for you so far?"
"Give me some time," Buffy said, attempting to sound somewhat confident. "It'll happen as long as I can get the dreams to stop."
"Yeah, good luck with that." Willow looked away from Buffy and down the block. "I should get going. Lots to do and then there's research."
"And I have training."
"Okay," Willow smiled as she turned away from Buffy, "we'll talk later."
"Absolutely." Buffy smiled but once Willow turned away it was gone. Now she was alone with her thoughts and they almost immediately went to Faith. She needed to get over her feelings about her dreams so she could act normally around Faith.
That was what she needed most.
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