We don't say much during the ride back to the house. Faith's busy paying attention to where we're going and I'm trying to figure out what to say to Willow and Xander once we get back. I know they'll be happy Faith's joining Team Cleveland and all that but I'm not sure how they'll react to the Faith taking me on a date news. It'll be interesting to see their reactions. I hope no one freaks out.
"This the place?"
I look up and at the driver as he begins to slow to a stop. "Yeah, just one house down."
He nods and stops in front of our house. I turn to Faith and she's looking over the place without much expression. Our house doesn't look like much from the outside but Willow, Xander and I like it. It's a spacious four bedroom and nothing's broken or leaking that Xander can't fix so it suits our needs fine. That's all I care about in the end.
Faith still doesn't say anything as she gets out to free her bags from the trunk and I pay the fare. I get out and meet Faith on the sidewalk, hearing the cab drive away. "What do you think?"
She shrugs. "It's a house."
I smile, shaking my head, and walk up to the front door with Faith trailing close behind. Within a few seconds we're inside and greeted by my two best friends.
"Buffy, you're back . . . and you've brought Faith."
"Yeah, Will. Faith's agreed to help us out." I turn back to Faith and she just nods but I can see the wheels are turning. I can't tell if that's good or bad.
"Good. That means I haven't been picking up the spare room for nothing," Xander says with a grin. "I knew you'd say yes."
"Hey, B had a convincing argument to get me to stay." Oh, there's a setup coming. I can feel it.
"What did you say, Buffy?" Willow asks, and there's the setup Faith wants.
"Oh, B said she couldn't live without me, just had to have me back in her life." Faith's keeping a straight face and I'm impressed. "She promised me some other things, too, but I shouldn't get into that except that we're sharing a room. Who can say no to that?"
Both my friends have their mouths wide open and I'm wondering who'll speak first. I'm betting Willow but they both look a little speechless. It's actually pretty funny and when I look over at Faith I can see she trying not to laugh. She meets my eyes and can't keep quiet any longer, letting out a quiet laugh.
"It's a joke, guys." It takes them a moment but they snap out of it. "You should know I would never offer to share my room. I like my space too much."
Willow raises an eyebrow. "What about the rest of it?"
"False . . . mostly." I look over at Faith and she's grinning. I guess she's really having fun with this. "Faith is staying and she asked me out."
This must be Xander's cue to regain his ability to speak. "You said yes?"
"That's right," Faith says, losing the grin and looking to me. "I don't know about you but I'm kinda beat. Which room's mine?"
"It's kind of late for all of us, right?" I look hard at both of them so they get the hint I'm not in the mood for a deep discussion right now. We can deal with that tomorrow.
"Yeah." Willow smiles at both of us. "Good night."
"See you in the morning, ladies." Xander quickly retreats to his room and Willow's up the stairs in a few seconds so I'm alone with Faith once again.
"So . . . quick house tour. This is the living room, kitchen's through that door. There are four bedrooms, one down here which is Xander's. A bathroom on both floors and the basement is where we train. Your room is upstairs with Will and me."
"Cool. Lead the way," she says, her voice is now lacking in emotion.
It's strange but it's like Faith's mood has suddenly changed. It's almost like she's nervous or something. "Everything okay?"
Faith furrows her brow. "Huh?"
"You're acting different, like you might change your mind."
She sighs. "Just tired. I think the alcohol is catching up with me."
"Okay." That's crap and we both know it but it's late and we're both tired so I'm not going to say anything else about it. Not until the morning anyway.
We walk up the stairs and I look back at Faith to see she's taking in everything. I wonder what she's thinking but I know she's not going to tell me. She still seems as guarded as she's always been.
"Bathroom's on the right here and Willow's room's at the end of the hall. Mine's at the end in the left and yours is right here." I turn to the left and walk into the room, gesturing for her to follow me.
It looks like Xander and maybe Willow was trying to clean up the room a little. There had been some slayer gear in here that's now gone and it looks like there's clean sheets on the bed. They really must have thought Faith would be staying with us.
"I know it's a little messy but we can clean it up more tomorrow." I pause. "It used to be Dawn's room before she left for college so some of her stuff is still in here. We can pack that up, too."
Faith drops her bags at the foot of the bed. "Won't she be back to visit or whatever? I mean, where is she anyway?"
"At a university in Wisconsin of all places," I laugh quietly. "We'll figure all that out when she visits."
"Okay." She turns to me and smiles. "Thanks."
Why is she thanking me? "For what?"
"The place to stay, all that."
I smile. "I should be thanking you for helping us out."
"Don't thank me just yet. I intend to make sure you keep up your end of our deal."
"Hey, I will." I can't believe she'd think I'd back out.
I want to go out with Faith, if only for the fact that I haven't been on a date since Sunnydale. I've almost forgotten what happens on them. Plus, it's Faith. She's someone I know, she didn't exactly get beaten by the ugly stick and well . . . she's a great kisser. That's something she can definitely brag about.
Of course, just when I'm thinking about it she leans in and kisses me. It's pretty chaste and quick but I'm quickly reminded of how much of a great kisser Faith is. She has so much confidence in what she's doing and it comes through in the kiss. I close my eyes out of instinct as I feel her soft lips on mine and open them as she breaks away, seeing her smirking.
"Just a little reminder for you."
Faith grins. "I'm very serious."
I shake my head with a smile. I know I've got my hands full with her and I can't believe I didn't remember that at the restaurant. I don't think it would have changed anything though. "I think we both need some sleep."
"Whatever you say, B," Faith says as she sits down on the bed, shaking her head.
"Good night, Faith."
I wake up the next morning with someone tapping my shoulder and not stopping. I groan, irritated I'm being woken up after a very long night, but this very annoying person doesn't stop. I grab the hand and open my eyes to find Willow furrowing her brow as she looks down at me.
She sits down at the edge of the bed. "What's the deal with Faith?"
I look at the clock next to me and groan. "You woke me up at eight-thirty to ask that? You know I'm not a morning person."
"Yes and make it quick. I've got a meeting."
"It's a short meeting but I'd like to be on time."
Willow's a consultant for some high tech company and makes more than I think anyone should when she's only part time. We all have jobs actually but nothing full time because fighting the forces of evil is already a full time job. Giles likes to remind us of that all the time.
"Fine. What do you want to know?"
"You and Faith . . . dating?"
I shrug. "We were talking last night and she asked my opinion on her staying. I said I'd like her to stay and she asked if I'd go out with her if she did. I said yes. Story: end of."
Willow looks confused but I expected that. "But you never told me you were . . ."
"Into Faith?" I finish and she nods. "I guess I am. We kissed before she left."
Okay, maybe I should have saved that piece of info for later. She might never leave now. "At the party after everyone crashed."
"Then why did she leave?"
I shrug again. "No idea. It wasn't a big deal, Will." Maybe I should change the subject. "When will you be back?"
"Not sure . . . probably this afternoon."
"I'm gonna help get Faith settled. I have to call Giles and let him know she's here then set her up with a cell phone and maybe some new clothes. You know, whatever she needs."
"Okay." My best friend nods and stands up. "I've gotta go. See you later."
"Bye." I watch her leave then lay back down only to realize there's no way I'll be able to get back to sleep now. Damn Willow.
I know I should probably get up and see if Faith's awake. It's going to be a long day since I want Faith to be comfortable here. I have a feeling she'll feel like a guest if she doesn't have more of her own stuff around. I get up and walk down the stairs in my t-shirt and shorts, hoping maybe food will help me get over the fact I've only had a few hours sleep. Once I get to the bottom of the stairs, I hear that not only is Faith up but Xander, too.
"So I'm feeling pretty woozy 'cause I just got kicked in the head, right? And this demon is coming right at me, all ugly, eight feet of him."
"How'd you kill that one?"
"Well, let's just say an axe can be a slayer's best friend."
I walk into the kitchen to find Xander and Faith sitting at the table drinking coffee and eating donuts. At least they're getting along but I guess that makes sense since it was Xander's initial idea for her to stay.
"Morning," I greet them as I sit at the table.
Xander smiles at me. "Hey, Buff. You're up early."
Both he and Faith smirk and I feel like there's an insult in there somewhere. "Hey, I have the ability to get up early."
My friend shakes his head and laughs. "Yeah, after a couple alarms, someone to wake you up and a lot of coffee you do have the ability to get up early."
I scowl as they both laugh. "Fine. Is there coffee?"
Faith points to the half-full pot on the counter and I pour a cup before sitting back down. It takes me a minute because I'm still kind of tired but I look over the two of them and realize they're both dressed and ready for the day. The hell?
"When did you get up, Faith?"
She grins. "'Bout an hour ago. Red's kinda loud when she gets up. I can't believe you slept through it."
"Just used to it, I guess." I grab a jelly donut and take a bite before I start to feel a little self-conscious. Both of them are staring at me. "What?"
Xander shrugs. "I've never seen you when you've just gotten up . . . not for awhile anyway."
Faith laughs. "Whole new experience for me."
That's it. I'm leaving. It's too early to be mocked. "Fine. I'll go get ready since we have a long day ahead of us."
"What do you mean, B?"
I smile at Faith's cute confused look. "I've got to call Giles and let him know you're staying here and ask him which expense account I can use so we can get you anything you'll need to get settled in."
She looks to Xander as he nods then back at me but she's not giving me the happy look I want. It's the opposite actually. "I don't need anything to be settled. I'm fine with what I have."
Okay, I wonder why her mood's threatening to go from happy to not so much. "But I thought maybe you'd want your own stuff for your room. You know, make it your own."
"Besides, Faith, you'll need to get one of the Council cell phones. It's standard for slayers to carry them on patrol," Xander adds.
She groans but I think she knows better than to protest. "Fine, do whatever. I'll be upstairs."
Faith stands and walks out of the room quickly. That was weird. I thought she'd want new things. I know I'd like new things. I look over at Xander and I'm pretty sure his expression mirrors mine.
"What was that? Was she like that before I walked in?"
He shakes his head. "Negative. We were just talking about what she's been up to the last two years. She's been everywhere, Buff."
"Really?" Xander nods and I sigh. "I'll go see what the deal is with her."
I get up and make my way upstairs, taking my coffee with me. I'm still asleep and I need to be somewhat awake if I'm about to get into an argument. I don't get what's with her but then again its Faith. I never really understood her and that's always been our problem.
Once I get upstairs, I see her door is open and when I look in she's lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling. "Why are you wigging?"
She looks at me and I can tell she's trying to remain expressionless. "I'm not."
That didn't sound very convincing. "This more permanent than you want, isn't it?"
Faith sits up, looking a little defensive. "That's not true. I'm five by five, B. No wigging here."
Okay, if she's going to deny it I'm going to make it hard for her. "All right, if you're not wigging you'll go with me to the mall and get some new things for the room and maybe some new clothes then get you a cell phone and some other slayer supplies."
She looks down, probably realizing I'm not going to give her an out unless she's straight with me, before sighing. "Fine."
I grin. "Yay. I win."
"Don't we have enough, B?"
I look over at what we've bought so far today and go through my mental checklist. "I think so."
We're driving back to the house from what seemed like a painful experience for Faith. After I got ready for the day I called Giles and the best phrase I could give for his reaction at Faith staying with us would be pleasant surprise. He let me know which account I could take money from and said Faith could get whatever she needed.
I told Faith the news and then we had lunch with Xander before leaving for the closest mall. Of course, once we got there she drug her feet the entire time. Even with that we got everything in a few short hours. Now Faith has some new sheets, some new clothes and we even picked up a phone for her. It's the same one all of us have and Giles called ahead so all we had to do was pick it up.
The one thing bothering me is Faith's mood. She was all about joining the team last night but maybe that's because she had been drinking or maybe she was feeling guilty. I hope it wasn't anything like that though. Even though she might not believe me, I really do want her here.
"So what's your deal, Faith?"
She turns her head to me as I drive. "What do you mean?"
"Did you only want to stay here for a little while?" I ask with a smirk firmly on my face. "You know, do some slaying, have your way with me and then go on your way?"
Her mouth drops slightly and I knew that'd get to her. "I . . ."
"Only kidding," I laugh. "Seriously, what's up? And don't say nothing 'cause that's bullshit. I know it and you know it."
There's only silence from her side of the car and I concentrate on driving while she comes up with an answer. I'm sure it'll be good.
Finally, she speaks. "Isn't it all a little much?"
Huh? "What's a little much?"
"The call to Giles, the money, the shopping . . ." she waves a hand in the air like she's trying to find the right words. "I dunno, everything. I don't need all this stuff, B."
This is strange. I guess I never thought that Faith wouldn't want some new things now that she has a place to stay, mostly because that's what I would want. I frown a little and glance at Faith. "I thought you might want some new clothes and some other things since you don't have to live out of your duffle bag anymore."
"Oh." She pauses and makes a face. "Guess that's okay then."
Wow, that was a little awkward. I think I need to change the subject entirely because we've still have to be in the car for a few minutes and I'm not spending the rest of that time in an uncomfortable silence. "So when are you gonna officially ask me out?"
Faith scoffs then lets a small smirk slip. "It's not official?"
"It was late and I'd been drinking. It doesn't count."
She laughs and shifts in her seat. "God, what do I have to do? Get down on one knee?"
If she did that I'd probably pass out. No, I would definitely pass out. "No."
"So what do you want?"
I smile. "Fine. Where do you plan on taking me for this date?"
"Does it really matter as long as it ends in my bedroom?" She laughs as I make a quick stop at a red light. I should've expected a response like that. "Only kidding . . . for now. Why don't we just go to dinner and take it from there?"
For some reason, I expected more from Faith on this. Based on what happened last night I figured she would have put more thought into this date. "That's it?"
Her dark brown eyes are wide as she looks at me. "What the hell do you expect on a date anyway?"
I only smile and shake my head as I pull up to the house and park in front. I see Will's home already since she's parked in the driveway. I think Xander's home, too, so we'll be able to go over all the patrol details right away.
Patrol is a lot different here. Cleveland's not like Sunnydale at all aside from the hellmouth similarity. It's bigger for starters so when we got here Willow went into serious research mode and got a layout of the city, above and below ground. It took a couple days but we mapped out the cemeteries, labeled the worst parts of the city and figured out the best way to patrol. You know, cover the most ground in the least amount of time.
"B, you wanna help with all the crap you wanted to buy?"
"Sure." I get out and we carry all the bags to the house, being greeted by Xander at the door.
"Looks like you bought a store." He grabs a couple bags from Faith and leads us inside.
Faith gives me a look as if to remind me this was all my idea and takes everything I'm carrying. "I'll get all this upstairs."
"I'll help." Xander follows her and I watch them go before looking at Willow who's sitting on the couch, working on her laptop.
"Looks like Faith had a great time today," she says with a smirk then looks at me, closing the laptop.
"It wasn't that bad." I refuse to admit how much Faith drug her feet today, opting to change the subject instead. "How are we handling patrol tonight?"
Will pulls out our trusty map and looks it over. "Well, it's been relatively slow lately and I haven't had any hits today online . . . maybe you and Faith should check out some of the demon bars. That'll be an easy way for her to get acquainted with the city."
I'm so happy she suggested Faith and I patrol together. I want to know more about what she's been up to the last couple years. She's told Xander some stuff but not me and I'm feeling really nosy right now.
"Sounds like a plan," I say with a smile.
Will just shakes her head and goes back to work. At least she's gotten over the shock at Faith and I going out and if she hasn't, she's hiding it well. Whatever, if she has a huge problem with it she'd tell me. That's the kind of person she is.
I walk up the stairs and hear Xander and Faith laughing quietly. I look into her room and they're starting to unpack her new stuff. "What's going on?"
"Just looking through the stuff Faith'll let me," Xander laughs as Faith gives him a dirty look. "I don't think Giles would be down with the Council paying for new leather pants."
"Giles said whatever I wanted. Right, B?"
"I'm not sure that's what he said but I did."
"That's really all that matters." Faith looks over at me, an eyebrow raised. "I'm surprised you don't have any."
"She does," Xander puts in. "She just doesn't wear them."
Faith has this evil grin on her face and I wanna hit Xander. "You've been holding out on me. I'll have to ask Xander everything now."
Xander looks from Faith to me and back again. "I'm so not getting in the middle." He moves around me and out the door quickly.
I look at Faith and we laugh for a moment as Faith sits down on the bed and pulls some clothes out of their respective bags. "Need any help?"
She opens a dresser drawer and looks in. "This is already pretty full."
Crap. Dawn's clothes. Why does my little sister have so many clothes? She practically filled the trunk of her car with them when she left and there's still plenty left. "I'll grab a box and pack them."
"No hurry. I'm sure I can find some room." She pauses as she pulls a tag off a pair of jeans. "What's the schedule for tonight?"
I smile, finally knowing what to say. "We're going to patrol around a rundown neighborhood that's known for bars that hide demons. I run into my share of vamps there, too."
Faith smirks. "Sounds like fun. Are Xander and Willow going with?"
"No." I shake my head. "They do more scouting and vamp work. Xand's become a master at slaying vamps and if they see anything they can't handle they call me."
"So you really do go it alone most nights?"
I nod. "Life of a slayer."
She grins at my comment. "Guess that's changing. Cleveland's about to experience the skills of the original chosen two."
Her grin's contagious and I sit down next to her. This is the first time all day Faith seems happy to be here so I'm thrilled, even more so because I get to patrol with her tonight. It'll be interesting at the very least.