The One
by Hayley

Title: The One

Rating: NC17

Pairing: Buffy/Faith

Disclaimer: These characters are not mine and I make no money off this.

Summary: Post-Chosen. Faith and Buffy are set up in LA four years after Sunnydale and Faith's fighting a losing battle in dealing with her attraction to Buffy.

Chapter One

"Faith, are you even listening to me?"

I turn my head to meet her eyes as she stands with her arms crossed a few feet away from where I'm sitting. "What?"

She rolls her eyes and I think is using some self control to stop from letting out a sigh. I get that a lot from her. "I asked if you were going to cook tonight or if we were going out."

"We can go out."

I'm so not in the mood to cook and don't want to have to go through the motions of arguing with Buffy on what I should cook, which happens on a daily basis. She seems to like my answer at the moment though since her only response is a small smile before walking out of the room, leaving me alone with my thoughts again.

I don't see why I always have to be the one to cook. I've lived with her for a year and a half and I'm always the one cooking meals and doing all the other thankless grunt-work in the kitchen. Once I even asked Dawn if B knew what to do in a kitchen 'cause I'd never seen her cook anything but she always shrugged it off with some sarcastic comment. Really it's like being in a relationship without the sex and there's zero fun in that.

Four years have come and gone since Sunnydale became nothing but one giant hole and since I got a second chance here in LA, which rocked behind all belief. I couldn't believe I was offered a clean slate, prison record-wise, and probably would've thought it was some horrible joke if anyone other than Angel had offered. Even though I didn't know what to do at first I took him up on the offer and it was the best decision I ever made, hands down. I made other good ones since, of course, but I couldn't have done any of those behind bars.

Everyone pretty much when their separate ways once everything calmed after the big battle but I stuck around LA, thinking it was as good a place as any. I wasn't sure I was here for good until Buffy decided to stay. Then I knew LA was for me. Dawn stayed for awhile but once she was out of high school she hopped the first plane to England to be involved in the new Watcher's Council, leaving Buffy and I to fend for ourselves.

I slowly got to know B again and no mistakes this time around. We decided to try to be friends again but had to take it incredibly slow since at first we could barely talk to each other. I guess miracles happen though since now I can say she's the best friend I've ever had. It's something I've always wanted to say, too, but now it feels right. We both finally trust each other, so much so that a couple months after Dawn moved out she asked me to move in with her. I guess she didn't like living alone.

Life should be nothing but a breeze since it looks like I have everything I want. I have my freedom, I'm finally doing something good with my life and I have the friend I always wanted but there's one small snag in the grand scheme. I'm having the same problem I did when I was a teenager. When I first met Buffy I fell for her in the biggest way and it helped to mess me up almost beyond repair. It's one mistake I haven't learned from 'cause now it's happening again. Every time we're around each other I want her a little bit more and we're together almost 24 hours a day.

Let's face it: B's fucking hot and I've always swung both ways. When I was younger I thought maybe I wanted her just to fuck her, maybe even if only to find out what it'd be like to fuck another slayer. It's so much more than that now. I want her way more than just a one time or two time fling or as a cure to the after-slaying hornies. I want her for everything else, too, and I know no one else will ever be good enough. I'll never be able to settle for anyone else either and I don't want to try.

I shake my head clear of thoughts that will only make me wanna down the nearest bottle and stand. I wonder if we'll have to patrol tonight. Due to all the slayers Buffy and I never need to patrol unless there's a big bad and it's an all hands on deck type of situation but we both go out at least once a week anyway. It's in our blood to slay and I don't trust many of the junior slayers. For most of them there's an awkward stage that besides being hugely annoying, means they're not the best fighters right away and need additional backup.

I look around the apartment for her and find Buffy in her bedroom, lying down. "Where do you wanna go, B?"

She looks up at me while I sit down next to her and there's just a hint of sadness in her eyes, something I never want to see. "I don't care."

Damn, she's been acting a little weird all day and that's one sign of it. She always cares, always has an opinion on everything, and that's gotta mean something's wrong. "What's wrong?"

"Todd and I broke up."

I put on my best "I'm sorry" face but I couldn't be happier. Todd was such a clingy jerk and nowhere near good enough for Buffy. He'd call her constantly, always wanting to know where she was and what she was doing, and nearly bit my head off when I answered her phone one day by mistake. After that I'd do it at every opportunity just to fuck with him. That was probably one of the reasons he didn't like me but I could care less now. He's history.

This is a perfect opportunity to comfort B though and I place my hand over hers, gently caressing her skin with my thumb. I wanna do more than that but she's lying down so this is it for now. I'll hug her at first opportunity, too. Yeah, that's right. I'm a hugger now but only for her. "What happened?"

She lets out a slow breath before answering. "He wanted me to move in with him and when I told him it was too soon he broke up with me."

"B, it was too soon. You'd only been seeing him for three months." The longest three months of my life. There were too many nights where I spent the entire night patrolling solo because hearing Buffy moan out his name was threatening to make me violently ill.

"Yeah," she says sadly but doesn't look at me.

It's surprising she's this sad about a break up but that could be due to the fact she was dumped and she's usually the one doing the dumping. Buffy's developed a large fear of commitment in the last few years or that's what I'd call it anyway. This last guy was the longest she's dated anyone since Sunnydale, even though she always seems to be dating someone. I think she's on a quest to find a nice, normal guy and isn't gonna stop until she finds one.

"You're better off, B. You deserve better." She deserves me and I mean that in the best possible way.

"You just didn't like him," she says quietly. No, I didn't like him but I never told her that. I keep my opinions to myself when it comes to her loser boyfriends. "He was a good guy once you got to know him."

"Sure," I say but I really don't want to talk about him. I just want to comfort her.

I do get the fact that Buffy has never shown one sign she wants us to be more than friends. It's only that when she decided to stay in LA but didn't get back together with either Angel or Spike even though they're both in town, it gave me hope. It probably shouldn't have but it did. It gave me the feeling she didn't want either of them because she wanted something different and that's definitely me. Now that hope I have becomes a little stronger every time she makes up some lame excuse to dump whoever she's dating and ends up hanging out with me instead.

B sits up and looks at me. I can tell she wants to cry but she's willing herself not to. She's strong like that. "Maybe we should stay in tonight."

I grin, knowing what she's thinking already. "You mean order pizza and watch one of your chick flicks?"

She nods and I'm sure she knows she has me wrapped around her finger right now. I'm thrilled she's only asked that, even though all of those movies are awful, because I'd do anything to put a smile on her face. I have it that bad. She's pretty blind not to notice, too. I've kinda been sucking at hiding it lately.

"Fine," I relent, not even pretending to think about it.

"Yay," she says like a little kid. "I always win."

She's right. She always seems to win around me and right now, I don't mind.

"Faith, are you crying?"

Damn it, I thought I was looking away from her. I may never live this down. "Nah . . . just got something in my eye."

"Liar," she says as she chuckles and wipes her eyes.

I should've never let her pick a movie I wasn't prepared for. Most of the DVDs she has I've seen at least once but I've never seen whatever it is she put on tonight. I didn't even pay attention to the title but now I think I should've so I can get rid of it when it's done. No way I'm watching something again that's gonna make me cry. I really tried not to pay attention to what was going on, instead focusing on how close Buffy is, but she kept catching me looking away from the screen or trying to fall asleep and demanded I pay attention. Now I'm tearing up like some sappy moron.

"You better not tell anyone about this," I mumble, continuing to look away.

"Your secret is safe with me," she responds as she puts her head on my shoulder. If she only knew what that small action does to me. "Why don't you date, Faith?"

Not this again. Every time she's suddenly single we go through this. I think she envisions us both finding guys and going out on double dates and all that shit. She even made me go on one a few months and a couple boyfriends ago but it was such a disaster I told her she wasn't allowed to do that ever again. It was probably one of the worst nights I've ever had. Besides, the only dates I think about are ones where it's just the two of us and I don't ever want to think about any other scenario.

"I just don't, B."

"Don't you ever get lonely?" she asks.

"I have you here," I say easily. Truthfully, the only time I ever get lonely is when she has someone spend the night. Nothing is worse than that.

"That's not what I mean," she says quietly.

I know damn well that's not what she means. I know she's talking about sex but I never talk about that with her, not anymore. I'm not the bragger I once was. Sure, when we first started hanging out after Sunnydale I made everything sexual when we talked but that slowly faded as I fell more for her. I knew that wouldn't be the way to get Buffy. Sure, I might've worn her down and gotten her in the sack after a night of slaying and clubbing but after I really got to know her I realized that's not what I wanted so I stopped. I still tease her and we joke around but that's where it ends.

She's only curious anyway because I've never brought anyone home, not once. Even when she has a date and I go out patrolling and dancing alone, I come home just as alone. That doesn't mean I haven't picked someone up since I've moved in, a girl has needs, but no one's come here. I'd never be able to fuck someone knowing she's right in the next room. That's pretty high up on the ick factor for me.

"I take care of it," I respond and she can take that however she wants.

She laughs. "I think you need to get set up again."

"You have awful taste in guys, B."

Shit. I know normally she'd laugh that off but she's so damn sensitive right now due to being dumped that before I even realize it she's up and walking back to her room without a word to me. As soon as I hear the door shut I turn off everything and walk back there, opening her door without even knocking.

"B, come on. It was a joke. We can finish the movie," I offer as I open the door.

I find her sitting on her bed, looking at the floor. "Why do I keep fucking up?" she asks, not looking at me.

I kneel down in front of her so I can see her eyes and she has to look into mine. I don't like seeing her sad over some loser. "You're not. You just haven't found the right one yet."

Buffy smiles a little. "You're a really good friend, Faith."

"The best. You're lucky to have me," I say, grinning.

"Sure," she laughs but I've got her smiling and that's the goal. She looks around her room before meeting my eyes. "Would you mind keeping me company until I fall asleep?"

If I could, I'd be doing a victory dance right now. I think she'd catch on to how I feel about her if I did though and I don't want that, not yet. I need to be prepared so I can give her my A game, you know? I only nod a response and stand as she lies down.

After quickly changing I'm back in there, getting into bed with her. It feels so natural and I want this to be the first of many times I do this. She's never asked before and the only way it'd be more perfect is if we were naked and basking or some shit. I'm okay with this though because the way I see it, it's another step closer to what I want: Buffy.

When I wake up it takes me a minute to realize where I am. Panic threatens to course through me because it's been a long time since I woke up not instantly knowing where I am but I successfully squash the feeling. Of course, that feeling vanishes completely the moment I realize I'm in Buffy's room. Now I can't seem to keep the grin off my face. It's probably the first time I've been this happy the morning after without having some amazing sex.

I stretch a little, noticing I'm alone in bed. I can hear the shower running though so I know Buffy's not too far away. At least that means she wasn't repulsed by waking up next to me. I hope not anyway since last night was the best I'd ever slept. Just the feeling that Buffy was next to me felt incredible and so relaxing, too. I want her to feel the same so maybe this whole sleeping in the same bed won't be a onetime deal. I so want this again.

Her room is different than mine and I'm not in here all that much, not with this view anyway, so I take a minute to look it over. It's a bigger room than mine for one and she's way more into decorating than I will ever be. She has pictures on the walls and all this girly crap, not to mention way more clothes and accessories and whatnot. She's got pictures of all the gang in frames and on the walls and by the bed she has two pictures neatly arranged. There's an old one, one she took from Sunnydale of her mom, Dawn and her, and there's one of me and her from about a year ago. It's the same one I have in my room and that's the only picture I have.

"'Bout time you get up."

I grin as I look at Buffy standing in the doorway, mostly because she only has a towel on, and quick glance at the clock. "It's still early."

"It's ten."

"That's early for me, B," I laugh and sit up. "Sleep okay?"

She nods. "Best in a very long time. I can't believe you didn't wake up during the night 'cause when I woke up I was almost on top of you."

Someone up there hates me. I would've given anything to experience that. "Guess I was just comfortable with you using me as a pillow."

Buffy blushes a little at that and I can't help but smirk. "Yeah, well, thanks for staying in here."

"Not a problem," I say, my smirk still planted firmly on my face.

There's a silence and I don't think either of us know what to say. I'm only trying to keep myself from putting my arms around her and getting her to lose the towel. Talking will only distract from that mission. I just know that'd be an incredible sight but I can't think that way. Trying to strip her this morning would definitely not end well.

"I should get dressed," she says, breaking the silence that's threatening to turn awkward fast.

"Okay," I respond and bite my tongue so I don't say any other comment. There are so many I could say right now. "I should shower, maybe make breakfast or something before we leave."

"Pancakes," she says as I walk out the door.

I sigh and it's pretty much instinct by now. Somehow I've set myself up to cook yet again and what she wants, too.

Driving anywhere with Buffy is always an adventure. You'd think she'd learn better driving as she got older but I couldn't dropkick the truth any farther. It's that far away. Our apartment is close to the training facility but B's an aggressive driver. She speeds, cuts people off and she never lets me drive. A couple times I threatened to take my car because I told her I feared for my life when I was with her but she pouted until I got in her car.

When we first got to LA and everyone was trying to figure what to do next and more importantly, what to do with all the young slayers, I stuck with Angel and started working for him. I figured I owed him what with him erasing my prison record and all. That only lasted a month or two though 'cause there's not much use for a slayer at a law firm, nothing I really enjoyed anyway, and by that time Giles was wanting to set up a training facility. Once he asked B and I if we would help train the girls if he built one here, I knew exactly what I should do.

So now we work for the Council and it's a sweet deal, too. We get paid to train, help patrol and mentor the young slayers. We don't even have to do any of that boring research 'cause all the brainy watchers do it for us. All we need to worry about is slayer stuff now.

The mentoring is the part of the job that really blows my mind. I always thought I'd be a shitty mentor due to the thousands of mistakes I've made in my short life. Giles disagreed and thought if I talked to the girls about my mistakes it'd help me deal with my past and it'd teach the girls the hidden dangers in slaying. It's worked so far so I try not to question the G-man so much now.

"God, Faith, don't be such a baby."

I look over at her as she takes a sharp turn into the parking lot of the training facility, thinking I should be insulted by the comment. Most people who call me a baby don't live to tell the tale but Buffy can get away with pretty much anything around me and could probably take me in a fight anyway. I'll never tell her that though.

I choose to ignore it entirely and concentrate on the fact that we're finally here. About thirty to forty girls train at the facility at one time or another, overseen by seven or eight watchers. Of course, there are probably hundreds of slayers all over the world but we get the young ones who need the most guidance. You know, the ones who need the Chosen Two to show 'em the ropes. B and I pretty much have the run of the place and we rarely follow the insane schedule the watchers set up, much to their annoyance.

"You cut off a truck a couple blocks back, B! A big, fuckin' truck! My life flashed before my eyes." I've spent the entire trip clutching any part of the car I could get my hands on.

"Whatever," she responds as we screech to a stop in front of the building.

I don't respond since I can't think of a good comeback fast enough so I only get out of the car and grab my gear from the trunk, which mostly consists of a change of clothes and my weapons of choice. She does the same and we walk in, immediately greeted by one of the watchers, Elise. She likes to think of herself as the head watcher even though they all answer to Giles. Here comes her daily lecture.

"It's past noon, girls."

"We know. We both have watches," Buffy says, grabbing my wrist and holding it up since I'm the only one who's actually wearing a watch today.

"I realize Mr. Giles doesn't have you on a set schedule . . ."

"'Cause we didn't want one," I cut in quickly.

". . . but it would be better for the girls if we could schedule sessions with both of you and know you would both attend."

Buffy only walks past her and I follow. There's no way I'm battling a stuffy watcher solo. If she upsets me, I might lose my cool and punch her out. I'm not that reformed and I've never had good luck with watchers, even with the ones I liked, and I don't really like the ones who are based here. Having B with me helps me to stay calm when threatened by their fake authority. She usually gives them the sarcastic response they have coming and we're on our way.

"We're always here in the afternoon," B says over her shoulder as we walk into the locker room. "Work with that."

I can only laugh and I bet Elise is pretty fuckin' irritated with us right now but she always is for one reason or another. She feels we should have office hours or something, make ourselves more approachable to the girls. I, for one, don't wanna be all that approachable and Buffy's enough for both of us. They go to her with questions for the most part anyway. Even after all these years, she's still the golden child of slayers and I'm the dark and dangerous one. That's still a sore spot with me but since it gets me out of work in this case, I'm okay with it.

I lag behind her as we walk in and since I'm in my own little world, by the time I set my bag down on the bench Buffy's already half changed. This is always the perfect opportunity to ogle her in various stages of nakedness but I always resist the urge. I want the first time I see her undress to be at home in one of our rooms. I want her to be undressing for me or at least letting me undress her.

"Come on, Faith."

"I'll get there," I respond, frowning as she's snapped me out of my fantastic fantasy.

"I'll be warming up."

I shake my head and change into my workout clothes: shorts and a tank top. We alternate between fighting in workout clothes and street clothes, depending on what we're doing. Today is more of a workout day and I'm not getting my clothes all sweaty.

All I need to warm up is a few minutes with a punching bag and then I'm good to go but Buffy likes to do aerobics with the girls, one of her "bonding with the slayers" activities. That takes much longer and it means I can take my time and still watch Buffy get all sweaty. It's the best of both worlds.

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