The afternoon had been just what Buffy wanted. After she got home from Giles', she relaxed and it was much needed. She ate a good lunch and lounged on the couch watching trashy daytime TV until her brain was numb and thoughts of Faith being more than just a friend and fellow slayer left her. It didn't take as long as she'd thought and for that she was grateful.
Once that happened, she knew she needed to do some sort of training. She had told Giles she was going to before Faith showed up and the other slayer could always tell if she didn't. Buffy wondered how she could do that but Faith always refused to tell her. Instead, she would make a crude joke and tell her to get her little legs moving.
She changed into more comfortable clothes and went for a quick run first, trying to get worked up for when Faith showed up. Faith was always intense with training right from the first second and Buffy wanted to be prepared. Running helped her with sparring, too. She knew her quickness was one thing that helped her get the best of Faith every time. Since graduation, she had a perfect record against her when it came to sparring.
After the run, she grabbed some of the gear they'd taken from the library before it was blown up in the battle and brought it to the back yard. She slowly started to stretch out when she could tell Faith was making her way to the backyard.
That was something she wasn't used to yet and it was something Giles was fascinated by. One night they agreed they knew right where the other was without looking and their watcher thought that was a perfect opportunity to run an experiment on it. It turned out the more they concentrated on each other, the stronger the feeling was. They had worked on it to a point where Buffy could feel Faith's presence from about a block away and she knew Faith could do the same.
"Hey, B. Gettin' all ready and sweaty for me?"
Buffy closed her eyes and tried not to blush at the comment. She didn't want Faith to know how much her comments got to her now. Before she could shake them off or think of a comeback but that didn't happen much anymore. Now they just made her think of Faith in ways that made her uncomfortable.
"Just went for a run before you got here," Buffy said slowly as she turned to see Faith still in her uniform from the warehouse. She cursed herself for thinking Faith looked cute in it. "You wanna work on hand to hand stuff once you get changed?"
Faith shrugged. "Good as anything, I guess. You really need to get a punching bag or something, B. Maybe a target so we could practice with weapons."
"Using my backyard isn't permanent, Faith." Buffy took a couple steps toward her. "I was hoping Giles would look into finding someplace where we could really set up everything we needed. That way I wouldn't have to drag all the gear we need out here each day."
"Like it's really a big deal," Faith commented as she looked over the weapons Buffy had laid out. "They're not heavy for us to carry and they'll make you stronger so it'll be more of a challenge when I kick your ass."
"Faith, you've never kicked my ass." Buffy smirked as she got closer to her, relieved that she was feeling more comfortable. She always enjoyed the playful trash talking they did every time they trained. There wasn't a chance she'd be as dedicated to training if she didn't have Faith to push her. "I beat you every time we spar."
Faith smirked as she leaned in so she was only inches away. "Maybe I just like it when you pin me."
Buffy opened her mouth to say something but there weren't any words she could think of. While she won when they spar, Faith won any battle of words. She always went one step further than Buffy dared to go, leaving her speechless and threatening to blush.
Faith chuckled quietly and winked at her before picking up her bag and walking inside the house so she could change. Buffy watched her go, trying hard not to stare at her ass as she did. If she didn't know any better she could swear Faith was going slow to make a show of it, too. It was almost like she wanted Buffy to check her out.
Once the door closed Buffy turned away, shaking her head in an effort to try and clear her head. Her mind was running a mile a minute and Faith's little one-liners weren't helping. At least training would help. As long as it wasn't sparring anyway.
"That's a pretty hard hit, B," Faith said as she took off the pads she was wearing.
Buffy smiled as she took a couple steps back from her. They'd been training for about two hours and both had stayed fairly quiet which was new for them. Faith looked a little frustrated and Buffy didn't know how to ask her about it.
She knew Faith hated her job at the distribution warehouse and probably hated all the extra hours she was working even more. From what she could tell it was entry level and pretty thankless but it was all Faith could find on short notice. It seemed to be the kind of job she wouldn't quit though and that's what Buffy liked about it. She always thought of Faith as someone who didn't like working with others and didn't take orders well, especially if it was from someone she didn't respect. There wasn't a whole lot of people Faith respected.
"You haven't exactly been holding back today." Buffy picked up the pads and moved them off to the side.
"Yeah, needed to get out some aggression."
Buffy nodded and looked toward the house, noticing her mother had come home while they were training. "Work, huh?"
"Something like that, yeah," Faith said as she walked toward Buffy. "Wanna call it quits for the day?"
"Sure." Buffy smiled at her before looking at her mom walking out to the backyard. "Hey, Mom."
"I never understand how you girls don't get hurt training like that," Joyce Summers said as she met Buffy and Faith. "It looks like you're hitting so hard."
"We are hitting hard," Faith said before Buffy could get a chance to open her mouth, "but we're slayers. We can take it."
"Yeah, Mom. We had pads on and we heal fast."
Her mother nodded and smiled, looking first to her then at Faith. "Faith, are you staying for dinner?"
Buffy thought Faith looked a little nervous with the question but it also looked like she was trying to hide it. "Dunno, Mrs. S. I came right from work to here and I should probably make an appearance at Giles' at some point."
"I'm sure he knows where you are, honey." Joyce kept her smile. "Why don't you two bring all that equipment inside and you can get cleaned up while I make something, okay?"
She didn't wait for an answer before walking back into the house, leaving the two slayers watching her go. Buffy had to smile at how her mother acted and how she dealt with Faith. She knew much of what happened in the last year, the accidental killing and everything, but her treatment of Faith never changed. Whenever Faith was at the house, she always treated her as though she was one of her own.
"Your mom doesn't take no for an answer, huh?"
"Not really," Buffy answered, smiling. "It's better to do what she says."
"Your mom's cool, ya know?"
Buffy turned her head to Faith as they walked through their first cemetery of the night. "She can be."
"She doesn't need to give me food every time I go over to your house," Faith said, not looking to Buffy. "That's not why I come over, ya know? I don't come over looking for a handout."
"I know," Buffy responded as she looked around. "That's just my mom."
Faith only nodded and the pair continued to walk through the cemetery. Buffy kept getting a strange feeling, a small little nagging feeling that she wasn't able to shake. They hadn't come across any vampires yet and even though it was still early and it was only the first cemetery, it felt odd they hadn't had any action. It made her think they might be ambushed.
It was eerily quiet, too. That was something Buffy was used to some nights but not since they'd had to take down a coupe feeble attempts at vampires wanting to stake a claim on the hellmouth. It seemed there were always groups of vamps trying to take over but as Faith liked to point out, vamps were mostly stupid.
Buffy stopped as Faith put a hand on her shoulder. "What?"
"Thought I heard something," Faith said in a hushed voice. "Think there's something on the other side of the crypt ahead."
Buffy looked ahead to the crypt in the distance and tried to concentrate on any sound. Sure enough, she thought she heard some sort of rustling ahead and maybe some whispering. She nodded to Faith and they quietly approached the crypt, trying for the element of surprise.
They only managed to make it halfway there before a group of three vampires, two men and one woman, rounded the corner and quickly stopped once they noticed they were not alone. Buffy and Faith stopped, too, both looking at the trio.
The female vampire looked at the others and smiled. "Slayers."
"Devon will reward us greatly if we take out the slayers," one of the men responded.
"Devon?" Buffy asked and looked to Faith who only shrugged.
"You don't very tough, slayers." The other male vamp said, snarling. "You're both kinda . . . small."
"No one calls me small and lives," Faith said as she grabbed the stake she had tucked in her jacket. "I think you really pissed her off, too."
Buffy looked at Faith, seeing the all too familiar look in her eyes. Faith was ready for a fight and she was waiting on Buffy for the word. She noticed the ever-present smirk, too, as she reached for her own stake and smiled at her.
Whatever other problems they had with each other, this was something the Chosen Two could always agree on. Synchronized slaying, as they both liked to call it, was something they never needed to practice. As long as they didn't get too caught up in the moment, which happened less and less now with Faith, they knew exactly what to do to help the other if they needed it. It made slaying easy most nights. There were always hard fights and they got a definite workout but never any close calls.
"You know, Faith," Buffy started as her smile turned into a grin, "they did a little." She turned to the trio of vamps. "Would you like to see what happens when vampires hurt my feelings?"
The trio looked at each other, like they didn't know if they should respond. After a few seconds they finally seemed to give up on having a battle of words and charged the slayers instead. Buffy heard Faith let out a sarcastic laugh as they both met the vamps halfway.
Buffy soon found herself fighting one of the men and the woman vamp while she heard Faith begin laughing. From the sound of the hit Faith landed, she probably had just broken her vampire's nose. She shook her head and concentrated on taking care of the two currently attacking her.
She was shocked in that they were both somewhat skilled fighters. Not nearly as skilled as she was of course, but they both managed to get some hits in. Buffy quickly went to work trying to incapacitate one so she could work on staking the other but for a few minutes she couldn't move one away for long enough.
"We're going to take you down, Slayer," the female vamp grunted out as Buffy pushed her away.
"Don't think so." Buffy quickly kicked the male one in the stomach hard, sending him flying a few feet. In an instant, she used all her slayer strength to slug her across the face. "You're nowhere near good enough. I can't even give you an A for effort here."
She heard Faith chuckle at the line then a grunt came in her direction. Buffy knew she wasn't in any trouble but she still wanted to get these vamps staked just in case. She got her stake ready and after one more hit to the face she had the woman caught off guard and staked her in one quick motion. The male vamp was already running to her but she used his momentum and threw him into a tree. He landed with a thud and she moved toward him quickly.
He stumbled up and feebly tried to attack again but Buffy was having none of that. She jumped and kicked him again before staking him. A smirk slowly appeared on her face and she turned to notice Faith had one of her own as she stood a few feet away.
"I know you were done with yours as I was staking the woman," Buffy said as she brushed off any vamp dust that might have gotten on her clothes. "You could've helped with this last one."
Faith shrugged. "I know you had it under control. Didn't look like he was much work."
"He wasn't," Buffy admitted. "What the hell were they talking about?"
"Dunno, B. Maybe this guy's the new wannabe big bad."
"Maybe." Buffy thought for few seconds as they began to walk through the cemetery again. "Have you ever heard of a vampire wanting to please someone?" Faith snickered and Buffy groaned. "Mind out of the gutter, Faith."
"I just love it when you talk about pleasing someone."
Buffy started to stammer and blush but quickly recovered, trying her best to look at Faith so she could show Faith's comments didn't bother her the way they did. "Okay, let's try this: have you ever heard of a vamp talk about getting rewarded? Ever heard the name Devon?"
Faith shook her head. "Never heard the name. Vamps try suicide missions against us all the time but they don't do it so they can be rewarded by some other vamp."
"Maybe Giles has heard of him." Buffy sighed. "I have a feeling tomorrow's gonna be a more intense research day."
"G-man does love to research." Faith looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "At least we have a name now . . . even though we know nothing else."
"Better than what we had yesterday," Buffy pointed out but sighed anyway as she noticed a fresh grave and a vamp nearby. "I have a feeling this is gonna be a long night."
"Best kind of night, B," was all Faith said as she rushed toward the unsuspecting vampire. Buffy couldn't help but smile at her action.
At least an active night meant it wasn't a boring one.
The next morning Buffy was a mix of relaxation and uneasiness. She was relaxed because she thankfully had a peaceful sleep. There weren't any dreams of naked activities with Faith and even better, none of Faith being her girlfriend. She hoped there wouldn't be a repeat of that since she still didn't know how to deal with what her mind was showing her.
The uneasiness was due to patrol the night before. It had been a somewhat active night with both slayers staking their share of vampires but it was their first big encounter that had her slayer sense on high alert.
Buffy didn't like the fact that neither she nor Faith had heard the name Devon before. She had at least partially paid attention when Giles went on and on about past vampires or legendary ones over the past couple years and she'd never heard that name. Even though it didn't look like it, Buffy knew Faith paid more attention than she did and that only meant one thing in her mind: they were dealing with someone unknown.
It was much easier when vampires made their presence known right away and vamps had a tendency to do that. Buffy figured they liked the attention. She and Faith were normally confronted quickly by whatever big shot who thought they could best them but that wasn't happening now. Whoever Devon was, he had people scouting for him. He had followers.
Because of this new development, Buffy was up early and out of her house only a few minutes after her mother left for work. After the patrol Faith had told her Giles would probably want to get started right away on their discovery and Buffy agreed. He would want any time he could get for research.
She tried to walk quickly over to Giles' place but obviously it was quick enough for Faith. Once she was a block away she noticed Faith walking toward her.
"Faith?" Buffy looked at her curiously as they met on the sidewalk. "Why are you here?"
"Couldn't sleep . . . hung out for awhile but after I ate I needed a little fresh air." Faith smiled slightly. "It's kinda boring at Giles'."
"I'll bet," Buffy said, letting a smile show. "Did you tell him anything about patrol?"
"Nah, I was waiting for you to get here," Faith answered as they started walking toward the condo. "I'm sure he'll want you to tell it, too."
Buffy looked at Faith and could tell she didn't like that Giles had a tendency to look to Buffy to confirm what Faith said every time they went over patrols. She could swear he asked for Faith's opinion at times when Buffy went over patrol but she didn't think he did it as much with her.
"No, I bet he wants us both there so we can watch him think out loud and then start muttering which texts he'll need to go through."
Faith didn't say anything in response and the two of them walked the rest of the way to the condo in silence. Buffy thought Faith was acting different than normal and she didn't completely believe that she was walking her way because she was killing time. She wanted to ask her about it but thought she wouldn't get an honest answer anyway. Both of them were still somewhat guarded around each other.
When they walked in, Giles was walking out of the kitchen with a cup of tea. "Faith, I was wondering where you went off to."
"Went outside for a while," Faith mumbled out as she sat down.
Giles looked at her then to Buffy before continuing. "Did anything eventful happen on patrol last night?"
Buffy turned her head to Faith but could see right away that she was supposed to tell Giles what happened. "Yeah, when we were going through the first cemetery we ran into a group of vamps and they mentioned a name we've never heard before."
"Yeah," Faith agreed, "ever heard of a vamp named Devon, G-man?"
Giles looked down and didn't say anything for a minute, likely thinking. Finally, he looked up and shook his head lightly. "I don't recall reading that name anywhere. Was he in the group?"
"No, but I think he's the leader." Buffy looked at Faith quickly to make sure she wasn't going to add anything before continuing. "They said something like that if they took care of us they would be rewarded by him."
"Greatly rewarded," Faith added in a sarcastic tone.
"I'll need to check my sources." Giles stood up quickly. "Are you sure he wasn't one of them?"
Buffy nodded. "Nope, not one of them. He's gotta be up to something though if he has vamps out attempting to do his dirty work for him."
"Probably has power then, too."
Giles looked down at the two slayers. "I'm going to make some calls, see what I can find out. I'll need to go through some texts, too."
"I'm running on empty, G," Faith said. "I think I'm gonna need to crash for a couple hours."
Their watcher only nodded before walking out of the room, probably eager to start researching on who this new threat actually was. Buffy looked at Faith to see her already leaning back on the couch, eyes closed.
"You're really tired, huh?"
Faith opened an eye and raised an eyebrow. "Told you I couldn't sleep."
"Yeah." Buffy stood, thinking Faith probably wanted to get some sleep. "I should get going then. I'll catch up with you later."
Buffy quietly walked out of the condo, thinking Faith was probably already sleeping. Even though she didn't look it, she could tell that Faith was tired. She thought for a minute about why she looked that way but suddenly saw Willow walking toward her and the thoughts went away.
"Buffy, you're up early."
"Yeah," Buffy agreed with a smile, "we might have found something out last night so I got here early so Faith and I could go over it with Giles."
"Oh, what did you find?"
"We didn't find anything," Buffy clarified as they began to walk together, "but we did get a name out of a group of vamps we staked. Some vamp named Devon."
"Does Giles know who that is?"
Buffy shook her head. "He's checking it out now. I just left 'cause he was starting to get into research mode and Faith looked tired. I think she was asleep by the time I got to the front door."
Willow raised an eyebrow. "Faith was tired, like not sleeping?"
"Maybe she's having the same . . . trouble that you are."
Buffy looked at Willow to see she was smirking. "I don't think that's the reason. I think she's just too busy thinking about how soon she can move out. She doesn't like living with Giles all that much."
"I can see that. I'm betting they don't have a lot in common." Willow paused and stopped walking. "Should I go there and help Giles?"
"Maybe later," Buffy said as she shook her head lightly. "He'll have some sort of researchy plan of attack and then he'll need help. Let's go for mochas instead."
Willow laughed. "I like that plan better."
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