Buffy's mind was set on one thing: getting her paper done. Biology wasn't exactly one of her favorite subjects so she knew she needed to concentrate in order to finish it. If she didn't or would simply decide to put it off for later, it might not get done and she needed a good grade on this paper. Willow had already helped her as much as she could so the rest was up to her.
She was starting to get into a good writing groove when she felt hands on her shoulders. She wanted to be mad at the distraction but it only made her smile. "Faith, I have to get my paper done."
Faith leaned down and placed a light kiss on her head. "You've been working on it for awhile now. You can take a break."
"You know I can't do that," Buffy said as she closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of Faith's hands lightly massaging her shoulders. "It's due tomorrow."
"Mm-hmm," Faith mumbled as she moved to wrap her arms around Buffy. "Doesn't mean you can't take a little break."
"Yes, it does." Buffy turned her head slightly so she could look at Faith. "I thought you were taking a nap anyway. You have to work in a few hours."
"You know I can't sleep without you next to me."
Buffy chuckled lightly as she placed a hand over Faith's. "I know that's not true. You can fall asleep anywhere, especially when I start talking about my classes."
Faith laughed, placing a light kiss on her neck. "So lay down with me and start talking about your classes. I'll fall asleep in no time."
"Faith . . ."
"Come on, B. Stop working on your paper and chill with me for a couple hours. Once we get up and I go to work you can finish it and I'm sure it'll be so wicked that you'll get an A."
Buffy laughed as Faith turned her chair so they were face to face. "Actually, all I'm going for with this one is to not fail."
Faith's first response was to give her a soft kiss then placed a hand gently against her cheek. "Don't sell yourself short, B. You're the smart one here."
Buffy wanted to say something else, mostly to tell her that she was smarter than she claimed, but she was being kissed again and it was more insistent this time. At the same time, Faith was pulling her up so they were standing. Her arms moved on instinct by then, wrapping them around Faith tightly.
"Why are you so good at distracting me?" Buffy asked with a small smile on her face as they broke away from each other.
"I'm just that good." Faith winked at her and showed off the dimples Buffy found adorable. The other slayer hated when she said that but it was true. "So?"
Buffy sighed. "Fine but as soon as we wake up I have to start working on my paper again. No before work sex."
Faith's face fell just the smallest bit before she perked up again. "Whatever you want, B."
"I mean it, Faith."
"I know, I know. I'll keep my hands to myself." Faith took a step back and raised her hands in mock surrender.
Laughing at the look on Faith's face, Buffy took a step forward and put her arms around her again. "Not completely to yourself, I hope."
"That's my girl," Faith said before beginning to walk them the short distance to their bedroom.
Once inside the room, they quietly laid down and Faith reached over to the alarm clock. She had been late for work enough times that being on time for her shift later was a must. As soon as she was done with that though the two of them crawled under the blankets and cuddled together in the middle of the bed.
"See, I'll sleep now," Faith mumbled contently.
"Love ya, B."
"Love you, too."
Buffy's eyes popped open but she didn't jump out of bed. She wasn't shocked. She'd had enough of the dreams by now that she didn't get shocked just by having them.
The one thing different about this one was Faith had told her she loved her and she had said it back. That was a first as far as the dreams went though from the sound of things, it was definitely not the first time for the dream versions of her and Faith. It sounded like they were a very much in love couple.
Buffy sighed and looked up at the ceiling. The dreams were getting more and more domestic and she wondered how much more they could get. They'd dated, had lots and lots of sex and moved in together. She'd seen sides of Faith she'd never thought possible. Sure, Faith had been changing in real life, too, but it wasn't like the dreams. She loved Buffy in her dreams.
What was next? They were already a happy couple. Were they going to get married or have a family? Buffy didn't know how her brain would take that but she couldn't help but smile at the thought of Faith using baby-talk or changing diapers.
She quickly shook the thought from her head, not liking that the thought made her happy in any way. Buffy didn't want that to make her happy. She didn't want Faith in that way. The only thing she wanted from the other slayer was friendship. Just a simple, easy friendship.
Now she only needed to convince her brain that's all she wanted.
Buffy and Faith each grabbed a vampire as they strayed away from a recruitment meeting, making sure they weren't noticed by any of the other vamps that were walking in other directions. Since all of them were more preoccupied with what they just agreed to do for Devon, something the two slayers hadn't been able to hear, no one paid any attention as the pair of vamps were thrown into a secluded area.
"Hi, boys," Buffy said cheerily, "whatcha doing?"
"Slayers," the vamp Buffy had pinned against a tree spit out. "I ain't saying nothing."
"Are you sure?" Buffy looked at Faith, who was staring down the vamp she had pinned a few feet away. "I think you look like a talker."
"Your days are numbered," the other one said. "We're all gonna take you out."
"Looks like you're doing a great job so far," Faith said before delivering a quick punch, breaking the vamp's nose. "Where's the group you just joined? Think they're gonna take me out before I stake your ass?"
Buffy watched the vamp squirm as the blood poured out of his nose before looking back at hers. "I don't have a problem with doing the same to you. What did you just join?"
She waited a moment but the vampire didn't respond. He only looked at her defiantly, like he really thought he'd be saved if he towed the line and did exactly what he was told by the recruiters. Buffy turned her head slightly toward Faith and saw her give her a quick nod. With that, she gave him the hardest punch she could, breaking his jaw and sending a couple teeth flying out of his mouth.
"That's the next punch I'm gonna use on you," Faith said. "I bet I wouldn't even have to hit you that hard to make you cry like a little girl."
"Not a chance." Faith looked over at Buffy and grinned. "How many chances you wanna give these two, B?"
"Last chance." Buffy stared at the vamp hard. "What did those two tell you to do?"
"I'm still not saying nothing and you're gonna die real soon," was all the vamp said.
Buffy looked at Faith and shrugged before grabbing her stake and swiftly staking him. She looked away in disgust as the dust fell on and around her and she tried her best not to breathe any of it in. Vamp dust was gross enough without breathing it in.
"Do you want the same thing to happen to you?" Faith asked the vamp she was holding.
His demeanor changed and he was suddenly panicking, his eyes darting around, maybe looking to see if any of his new buddies would come to his rescue. "All they wanted me to do was go to a warehouse and help guard it."
"What warehouse?" Buffy asked.
"I'm not good at directions," he said then grunted in pain as Faith punched him in his side. "Okay, okay! It's on rundown side of town, where all the old warehouses are. It's an old three story building with blacked out windows."
Faith didn't say anything else to the vamp, only grinned as she staked him then looked at Buffy and groaned. "Vamps are fucking stupid!"
"Of course they are, Faith," Buffy said as they walked out of the cemetery. "Would you really want them to be smart?"
"True," Faith admitted. "I guess one manipulative asshole vamp is enough. Can you really believe the rest of them are buying this crap? They're doing his bidding and none of 'em have even met them."
"His lieutenants promise that humans will be enslaved and they'll be able to be a part of it." Buffy looked over at Faith with a raised eyebrow. "What vamp wouldn't go for that?"
Faith nodded. "Wish this Devon would at least show his face so we could know what he looks like and, ya know, stake him."
"He's gotta have to turn up at some point, right?" Buffy shrugged. "Maybe he's at that warehouse 'cause we're running out of places to look for him."
"I don't know. I really doubt he's staying in one place." Faith stopped and stood in front of Buffy so she'd stop, too. "You know what? Screw this. We're not gonna find anything else out tonight and I don't wanna be in another 'what can Devon do for you' meeting. Let's ditch this and go to the Bronze."
"How come I always get crap for leaving early but whenever I do stick around you wanna stop early and do something else?" Buffy asked. "I think you want me to look bad in front of Giles."
Faith smirked as she turned and walked away from the cemetery. "Maybe that's not hard to do."
Buffy looked away as Faith winked at her. Whenever she did that her mind immediately went to one of her dreams, this time a recent one where the two of them were in a cemetery doing more than just slaying. She tried her best to push the thought away since it really wasn't helping her at this point. They were getting along so well the entire night and she didn't want that to change by her starting to act awkward.
"So what do you say, B?" Faith walked backwards in front of Buffy, grinning. "We Bronzing it or what? Figure this is something we could actually agree on."
With that comment, Buffy knew she couldn't say no. She knew Faith was trying to keep building on their friendship. The other slayer only suggested the Bronze if she wanted to dance or if she was trying to get Buffy to hang out. Other times, she just wanted a drink or maybe hook up and Buffy didn't want any part of that.
"Sounds like a plan," Buffy said with a nod.
"Let's motor then, B."
Faith's grin was proof to Buffy that she wanted to hang out tonight since it didn't look like she was in the mood to dance. That was usually on nights where they'd staked more than their normal share of vamps and she'd need to let loose a little. Tonight was definitely not one of those nights. There had only been the pair they'd staked after the end of meeting they'd had to listen to yet again. The recruiting vampires always said the same thing so both Faith and Buffy almost knew their script word for word since they had stumbled across one or two a night for the last week.
Buffy smiled and followed Faith's lead toward the Bronze, laughing as Faith leaped over a bench on the way. Since they were already near the rundown section of Sunnydale they didn't have far to walk and therefore didn't talk much. That didn't matter though; it was finally a comfortable silence.
Once they got there, Faith went to the bar to get drinks while Buffy looked around for Willow and Oz. Her best friend had mentioned earlier in the day that they were planning on hanging out there tonight and Buffy figured it was easier to do the friend-bonding thing with Faith in a group. It was harder for her mind to wander into dangerous dream territory that way.
It took a few minutes but she found them in a booth in a corner, watching the band. It wasn't until Buffy was a few feet away that both of them looked away from the stage and saw her.
"Buffy," Willow said as a break came in the music, "isn't it kinda early for an appearance at the Bronze?"
"Yeah," Buffy answered as she sat down opposite them. "Faith and I found another one of those recruitment meetings. We listened until the end, grabbed a couple of stranglers to try and get some info then staked 'em. After that, Faith suggested we bail and come here."
"And where is Faith?"
"Someone just say my name?" Faith asked, smirking as she handed Buffy a drink and sat next to her.
"Just talking about our eventful night."
"Stupid vamps." Faith shook her head in disgust. "I can't believe they show up at these things much less sign up and do this Devon's dirty work."
Oz smiled and leaned forward. "It sounds like a vamp pyramid scheme."
Faith laughed. "Sounds about right. Except for the enslaving humans and taking over the hellmouth stuff."
The group laughed a little at that and sipped their drinks. Buffy felt relaxed for a minute before she realized how close Faith was to her, how much it looked like she was on a double date. She tried to shake the thought, trying to tell herself she was overreacting, but then Faith put her arm around her as she began to talk to Willow and Oz. The thoughts of her dreams and of Faith came rushing back.
"Hey, Buffy, you okay?"
"Yeah, Will." Buffy smiled as she was brought back to reality. "Just drifted off, I guess."
Willow opened her mouth to say something else but the music started again and all of them turned to the band. They listened to the music of a few minutes, not saying anything. Faith kept her arm around Buffy and she had to admit to herself that she didn't hate it. Sure, it was a little uncomfortable given what she and Faith did in her dreams many nights but she definitely didn't hate it.
"Oz," Faith said when there was a lull in the song, "why aren't you playing?"
"We play tomorrow."
Faith shook her head. "Should be tonight. These guys suck."
She said the last part loudly just as the music stopped, causing some of the people on the dance floor to look their way. Buffy, Willow and Oz looked away while Faith simply looked right back as if to prove she meant what she said. The band started their next song then and everyone turned their attention away from the booth.
Buffy couldn't stop the laugh that came out as Faith looked to them again. "Smooth, Faith. Very smooth."
"What? They do." Faith smiled as the others also laughed quietly. "You can't even dance to it."
"There are people dancing," Willow pointed out.
"They're swaying to crappy music." Faith looked to Oz. "Wolfman, help me out. Ruling?"
Oz scanned the crowd. "Dancing is relative. I'm sure they think they're dancing."
Faith looked disgruntled that the fact she couldn't prove her point to the rest of them and they all laughed at the look. Buffy took a sip of her drink and looked around. It was one of the Bronze's calmer nights and she knew Faith hated it, always wanting the Bronze to be busy and full of action. She started silently counting down the minutes until she got bored and left.
The minutes went by though and Faith didn't leave. She hung out with them instead, something she rarely did. The gang and Faith had tiptoed around each other after the accidental stabbing but everyone had slowly got back to where they had been. Willow still had a tendency to be nervous around her but she was before, too. Xander was on his road trip but before he left he seemed comfortable around Faith again. Oz seemed to enjoy talking to Faith now though and Buffy enjoyed listening to their back and forth.
"Have you two narrowed down where Devon is yet?"
Buffy shrugged as she looked at Willow. "One of the vamps we grabbed at the end of the meeting tonight said something about a warehouse but it's not like we know he was telling the truth."
"Vamps aren't exactly known for honesty," Willow said.
"Unless he's been at every meeting we've been to and hasn't ever identified himself to anyone," Faith said almost absently as she looked around the club.
A light bulb went off somewhere in Buffy's brain and she looked at Faith with a raised eyebrow, hoping she was thinking exactly what she was. Faith met her eyes and only stared at her for a few seconds before her own eyes went a little wide.
"He could've been there the entire time and we wouldn't know 'cause we don't know what he looks like."
Buffy nodded. "He could be in the crowd or with all those 'recruiters' and we would've never known."
Faith shook her head. "We've been going at this all wrong, B."
"Yeah," Buffy agreed, "if he's hiding in plain sight, that's where we've got to look for him."
It had been a fun night and even though they usually went home at different times, tonight when Buffy decided it was time to go home Faith had said the same thing. She wasn't sure if it was a coincidence or not but they left the Bronze together and began walking in the direction of Buffy's house.
"How do we explain all this to Giles tomorrow?"
Buffy shrugged as she looked to the ground then down the street. "He's gonna want to know how we came up with our theory but we don't have anything else to go on. There's no way he can tell us not to go with it."
"So he'll go with a slayer gut feeling?"
"He will if we don't take no for an answer."
Faith laughed quietly but didn't say anything else as they walked. They passed the turn Faith would need to take to go back to Giles' place without so much as a pause and Buffy decided not to point it out. The night had gone so well and she was actually enjoying Faith's company. Talking with her for the amount of time it took to reach her house was okay with her.
"Why did you stick around for so long tonight?" Buffy asked, curious at the unusual behavior. "Normally, you only go to the Bronze to dance and you didn't do that tonight."
"Tracking my habits, huh?" Faith raised an eyebrow but then smirked and laughed. "Nah, couldn't dance to that crappy band. I had nothing else going so I kinda thought I'd just hang with the gang. Figured that was okay."
"Of course it is," Buffy said quickly. "You're one of the gang, too."
"Yeah," Faith said but didn't say anything else causing Buffy to suspect she really didn't believe her.
"You and Oz seem to get along real well," she said instead, only slightly changing the subject.
"We get each other." Faith looked to her and smiled. "He doesn't say much but he's pretty funny, you know? Good fit for Red, too."
"I like to think so."
Neither of them said anything for a minute, both of them still listening to their surroundings. Even though they weren't on patrol Buffy knew they never really stopped once the sun went down. Sure, their main job was to patrol the cemeteries since they were a hotspot for vampires and demons but that didn't stop one of them from venturing into a neighborhood. There had been a few times a vamp had come after her on her way home.
After another couple of minutes they reached Buffy's house and they walked right up to the front door where they stopped. Buffy wasn't sure what to do next. She wasn't sure if Faith wanted to continue to hang out or if she really was only trying to make sure this new threat wouldn't try to make a move while they were doing something as simple as walking home.
The pair turned and looked at each other. Buffy looked into Faith's eyes and if she didn't know better she could swear Faith was going to kiss her. The thought entered her head because she'd seen the look on Faith's face before. She saw it in almost every dream she had.
"Uh," Buffy started, trying to get the connection out of her mind, "I should probably get some sleep."
Faith blinked multiple times and the look disappeared. "Yeah, I have an early shift tomorrow."
"I probably can get like three hours of sleep before I have to show up." Faith smirked as she said it, causing Buffy to laugh quietly.
"So I'll be telling Giles tomorrow?"
"I think you'll be able to convince him we're right. I believe in ya, B."
Buffy shook her head. "Fine, but when you get back we're gonna have to find out if that warehouse exists."
"You got it, B," Faith said as she began to step away from her. "Later."
"See you tomorrow," Buffy said as she watched Faith walk away.
After a minute she walked inside the house and shut the door behind her. The interaction she just had, the look she'd just seen, confused her in a way she couldn't describe. It didn't seem possible but maybe what Willow had been telling her all these weeks had been right.
Maybe Faith was actually having the same dreams.
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