Buffy and Faith stood looking at the dinosaur before them, a look of fear and surprise written across their faces. Their hands were still clasped tightly together, and that was probably the only thing keeping them planted firmly in place instead of running off in opposite directions.
"Holy shit, you took us to Jurassic Park!" Faith said under her breath, trying her best not to move.
"First, Jurassic Park is a movie, not a real place. Secondly, shut up, I did not. The spell only opens portals to Sunnydale; it doesn't move us to different locations or forward and backward in time. We're obviously in some kind of Sunnydale where dinosaurs are the par. Thirdly, stop blaming me; you probably screwed it up with your ode to Peter. Fourthly . . . there, should be running. Why aren't we running?" Buffy asked in a hushed tone, her eyes never leaving the large dinosaur that was busy sniffing and grunting at them.
"Didn't you see the movie, B? He's a T-Rex; he can't see us if we don't move."
Buffy scoffed and glanced over at Faith.
"So we just sit here and wait for him to go about his dino-business?"
"Unless you got a better plan, yeah," Faith said with a barely noticeable shrug.
"Great," Buffy said as dramatically as possible without raising her voice. "Let's just wait for him to realize he's late for his luncheon at the Hilton."
"Shhhh," Faith hushed, giving Buffy's hand a squeeze.
As if on cue, the dinosaur chose that moment to bellow loudly, baring his razor sharp teeth. Without warning, he began to close the distance between them, his massive weight making the earth shake.
"I thought you said he can't see us if we don't move," Buffy said as panic began to set in.
Faith gripped her hand tightly and began to run, pulling Buffy along behind her.
"Steven Spielberg is a lying sack of shit!" Faith yelled as they ducked and weaved between trees and under vines, large leaves smacking them as they ran.
The T-Rex gave chase, plowing into branches and knocking over trees as if they were made of paper. He howled again and again, his roar deafeningly loud.
"He's probably telling the other dinosaurs that dinner is on the run!" Buffy exclaimed as they ran, using her free arm to shield her face from the flying branches. She felt a sense of relief as they hit a small clearing, but then panic set in as Faith turned them right around and ran them back into the jungle.
"Are you crazy?!?" Buffy asked, trying to pull her hand free from Faith's unyielding grip. "That monster is still in there, and he probably has a bunch of friends with him now, running after us with little salt and pepper shakers."
Faith held tight to Buffy's hand, determination written across her now dirty face.
"We gotta get back to the place we landed if we wanna get outta here, right?"
"Yes, but if you haven't noticed, it's smack dab in the middle of Carnivore Deli," Buffy responded, breathing raggedly.
"Right, so we led him outta the jungle, and now all we gotta do is get back there before he does," Faith explained, then quickly picked up the pace as she heard loud crashing not far behind them.
Faith followed the trail of broken limbs and branches back to where they started and stopped, panting heavily as she and Buffy looked around.
"This look like the place?" Faith asked, trying hard to look for signs that it indeed was.
Buffy looked around, trying to catch her breath.
"It looks like every other spot that we just ran past." A loud roar sounded from pretty close behind them and they felt the earth shaking again. Buffy stood up straight, trying to pay close attention to the details. "Yeah, I guess it could be. It is. I think it is."
Faith grabbed the orb from Buffy and nodded her head, and they both spoke the words together. Moments later, a large white portal opened before them.
"Damn I'm good," Faith said with a grin. She began to take a step forward, but was pulled back just in time by Buffy as the T-Rex swooped in her path.
Buffy wrapped her arms around Faith and threw them both to the ground, letting the dinosaur's momentum carry him past. As quickly as they had landed, Buffy had them standing again. She launched them forward and into the portal just as the T-Rex made a second pass at them.
The portal shimmered and closed around them, leaving a slightly dazed and confused dinosaur stood behind in its wake. He sniffed and grunted, trying to figure out exactly where they had disappeared to.
"Aatu!" A gruff voice called from behind him. A moment later, two figures walked out from behind the trees, hand in hand.
"Aatu," cave-Buffy said with a smile as she approached the large dinosaur. He lowered his head and let her approach, a happy rumble emitting from his throat.
"Aatu, good Aatu," cave-Faith said as she approached him as well, patting her hand on his side.
Cave-Buffy and cave-Faith smiled at one another then and joined hands, walking back amongst the trees. Aatu stood tall and followed them, the perfect happy family.
Buffy and Faith landed with a thud among more trees, a much rougher landing than they were expecting. Faith managed to cover her face as they tumbled over, but Buffy wasn't as lucky and a large branch clipped her on the mouth.
"Oww," Buffy complained as she sat upright, wiping away the blood from the cut on her lower lip.
Faith looked over and in an instant she was at Buffy's side checking her over.
"Nice landing, ya klutz," Faith said as she held Buffy's face softly in her hands, inspecting her injured lip.
"Sorry, I was too busy saving your ass from the giant dinosaur to worry about a ‘perfect ten' landing," Buffy said with a grin, then grimaced as her lip split more. "Again, I repeat: Oww."
"Take it easy ya big baby," Faith said, smiling lightly. She reached down and ripped off a strip of fabric from the bottom of her shirt, making sure it was clean before she dabbed at Buffy's lip with it. "Anyone ever tell ya that ya have pretty lips, B?"
"I've never had any complaints about them," Buffy said, fighting her smile.
"Certainly not from me," Faith said, smiling lightly as she remembered the soft feel of them against her lips.
They looked at one another in the eyes then and fell deep into the silence of unspoken words. Faith continued to dab at Buffy's lip which had stopped bleeding already. Buffy leaned her face ever so subtly into Faith's hand, causing a million little butterflies to flutter in Faith's stomach.
And then a banana flew from out of nowhere and smacked Faith in the side of the head.
"Umm, what the hell?" Faith asked as she looked at the banana and rubbed the side of her head. Another banana came barreling at them and Buffy and Faith looked up into the trees to see a group of monkeys there, jumping around and razzing them.
"I guess me takin us to the Planet of the Apes kinda cancels out you takin us to Jurassic Park," Faith said as she started up at the rambunctious monkeys.
"It's not the Planet of the Apes," Buffy said as she looked from the monkeys down to her rumpled clothes. She tried her best to straighten them out, but she was a mess.
When Faith scoffed in disbelief, Buffy looked at her to see her pointing up to the monkeys on the branch.
Buffy just rolled her eyes and pointed between the trees to a sign that read: Sunnydale Zoo Chimpanzee Exhibit.
"Of course," Faith said, rolling her shoulders. "I knew that."
"Of course," Buffy copied, hiding her smile.
Luckily, they were able to find an unlocked fence and they made their way out of the exhibit and into the heart of Sunnydale. They figured that their best bet was to check Buffy's old house on Revello Drive and to go from there.
Unfortunately, when they made their way to the old house, it was occupied by a family that neither of them recognized. They meandered around for a while, peeking into random windows before agreeing to check other familiar places.
While Faith didn't want to check her old apartment that the Mayor had given her, Buffy insisted that it was a viable location. Faith had too many bad memories of that place and time, and she didn't want Buffy reliving them. Anything that might put a hamper on their friendship was bad in her eyes. She knew that she had changed, but that didn't change the fact that she was still ashamed of many of her past choices.
They climbed the fire escape up to the apartment and perched outside the window ledge.
"I'm gettin extra buzzyness here," Faith said, her eyes closed. "The other you is defo in there."
Buffy didn't need to close her eyes to feel the other Faith. Ever since Faith had told her about their connection and Buffy had felt it, there was no denying that she could feel the girl. It was a buzz that was always there, but she had never paid attention to it before.
"So is the other you," Buffy said, stealing one last glance at Faith before looking away. "But for all we know, they could be in there with friends, or watching TV or something." She put her hands on the window ledge and peeked inside, looking for signs of their other selves.
Faith grinned, her eyes remaining closed as she focused her senses.
"Nope, I'm pretty sure we're not watching TV," she said, an almost smug look on her face.
"What, you see us? Where?" Buffy asked, bobbing her head around to get a better look.
"Nope, I hear us," Faith said, finally opening her eyes and looking over to Buffy.
"And?" Buffy asked, looking over to Faith with an expectant look upon her face.
"And I'm violating you ten ways from Tuesday and you're lovin every minute of it," Faith said, and couldn't help but laugh at the mortified look on Buffy's face.
"We are not!" Buffy said, closing her eyes and focusing her slayer hearing.
"Ya can open your eyes, B. No need for slayer hearing; can hear us clear as day without it," Faith chuckled.
"I have to say . . . the other us?" Buffy began and Faith nodded, waiting for Buffy to finish, "They're uber with the horny. First the groping, now the almost sex show."
"Seems like we can't keep our hands off each other," Faith said more seriously.
"Maybe," Buffy said, sitting down with her back against the brick wall. "But it could be a fluke. Two parallel dimensions don't mean we're the same in all of them."
Faith shrugged in response.
"We still have time to hit up a few more."
"Okay, but if we find the other us in a compromising position in the next dimension, I'm gonna douse them with the watering hose. A cool shower never hurt anyone," Buffy said as she stood up and made her way to the metal steps.
"Repress, repress, repress," Faith said with a grin as she followed Buffy, not at all worried about the glares Buffy was shooting at her.
They made their way back into the zoo unscathed and managed to avoid the night security guard as they huddled together in the bushes. Buffy was caught off-guard when Faith's hand shot out into the air above them, but laughed when Faith brought it back down holding a banana.
"Those guys are really looking to get a beat down," Faith said as she glared up at them.
The monkeys screeched and jumped around, and one took that opportunity to blow a loud raspberry at Faith, who returned the gesture in kind.
"That's mature," Buffy said, once again hiding her smile.
"No one throws a banana at me and gets away with it," Faith grumbled.
Faith reared back, ready to throw the banana back at the monkeys, but a soft hand on her arm stopped her. Faith rolled her eyes and tossed the banana down on the ground, not wanting to upset Buffy with random banana tossing.
They joined hands and said the phrase together, and the large swirly portal opened before them. Faith made sure to cast a menacing glance back at the monkeys before they stepped through and into another dimension.
Their landing was much more graceful this time, except for the banana that followed them through the portal and knocked Faith in the back of the head. She turned around, ready to hop back through and deliver some monkey carnage, but the portal had already closed, leaving her stuck there without her revenge.
Instead of making a further scene, she took the banana and tucked it safely in her coat pocket, earning a questioning look from Buffy.
"We get back to Cleveland? I'm making a trip to the zoo. Those monkey punks have no idea what they're in for."
Buffy simply chuckled and rolled her eyes as both girls took in their new surroundings. They were in an alley of some sorts, dumpsters and trash cans lining the sides of the narrow way. One of the dumpsters had "Willy's" printed it, and both Buffy and Faith instantly knew where they were.
"I'd complain about landing in a stinky alley, but at least there are no dinosaurs or monkeys this time," Buffy said as she let go of Faith's hand and tucked the orb back in her jacket pocket.
They made their way to the end of the alley and peeked out into the street, checking out the situation. It was just after dusk and people were walking up and down the streets, heading home from work or going to their places of weekend entertainment.
Knowing that they were safe from any immediate harm, Buffy took a step out into the street when she felt Faith's hand pulling her back. Their bodies collided together as Faith pulled them against the wall, just in time to see the other Buffy and Faith walking by the alley with some grocery bags in hand.
"Close call," Faith said as she watched their doppelgangers walk by, oblivious. She still held tight to Buffy, who was busy trying not to blush at her near slip-up.
"Thanks," Buffy said quietly, watching Faith's face as Faith looked out into the street.
"Yeah, no problem," Faith said absently. "Do they look couply to you?" Faith asked, watching the fading forms of their other selves disappear down the street.
"Who?" Buffy asked, confused. Finally she realized who Faith meant and she shook her head, clearing her thoughts. "Oh, umm . . . I don't know. grocery shopping doesn't exactly indicate coupledom. Willow and I grocery shop together all the time."
Faith nodded her head in agreement.
"Right. So, we follow them then. See where they're goin and what they do when they get there."
"Sounds good to me," Buffy said, her attention once again focusing on the way Faith's body felt pressed against hers.
Faith finally prized her eyes from the street and back to Buffy, instantly noticing how their girl was looking at her and the way Buffy's hands were gently clasped around her biceps.
"B?" Faith asked, trying to figure out exactly what was going on. She wanted to get down to exactly what was going on in Buffy's head, but she also knew that if they lost their other selves, there was a chance they wouldn't find them before they had to leave.
When Buffy didn't say anything, Faith tried again.
"B . . . Buffy? Not that I'm not enjoyin this, but we have to go after them before they get away from us."
"Oh right," Buffy said, shaking her head again as she let go of Faith's biceps. "Sorry, I was in Buffy-world again. It's a happy place," she said, trying to make a joke.
"Am I there?" Faith asked, half-joking but serious at the same time.
Buffy held Faith's gaze for a few seconds before changing the subject.
"Hey, don't we have some people to be stalking?"
"We sure do," Faith said with a grin. She finally let go of Buffy and turned, stepping out into the street to locate where their other selves had gone to. Luckily, she spotted them just before they turned a corner. "There they go. Come on, we've gotta catch up."
A short walk later, Buffy and Faith watched as their other selves entered a small ranch house together. They snuck around the side of the house and peered through a kitchen window, watching as the other Buffy and Faith put the groceries away together. The other girls chased each other around the kitchen, tickling and grabbing and pinching, laughing the whole while.
"Looks like another case of the uber hornies," Buffy whispered to Faith, her eyes focused on the two girls in the kitchen.
"Maybe," Faith said, watching as closely as Buffy was. "I dunno, though. They have this house together, and . . . yeah, I dunno. They look really happy, B."
"Yeah," Buffy said as she watched the two girls disappear from the kitchen and into another room. "They're on the move," she said excitedly. "Come on, we've gotta find where they are."
She grabbed Faith's arm and pulled her along the side of the house toward another window.
"I dunno about you, but I think I'm kinda convinced on this one, B," Faith said, draggin her feet as they walked along. "Kinda obvious we're together here, no reason to snoop around if we've already witnessed the show."
"The only thing we know for sure is that we can't keep our hands off each other. Wandering hands don't exactly equal a relationship. I mean, if that's the case, I'd have to call my ordeal with Spike a relationship, and that just wasn't the . . . case," Buffy explained, her voice trailing off as they finally reached the window and looked inside.
Buffy and Faith peered inside the window, blank expressions on their faces as they witnessed their other selves cuddled up on the couch together. The other Buffy was laying back on the couch and the other Faith was laying mostly on top of her, her head resting on Buffy's chest. The other Buffy kept leaning down and kissing the top of Faith's head as Faith flicked through the TV channels, finally stopping on some random show.
Their doppelgangers looked perfectly happy, perfectly at peace, and most of all, perfectly in love. Buffy and Faith may have been able to pass off their relationships in the other dimensions they'd visited as something purely physical, purely sexual, but there was no escaping what was right in front of their faces this time around.
"I think I'm ready to go," Buffy said quietly, her eyes still fixed on the display before them.
"Yeah," Faith agreed, nodding her head slightly. "Me too."
They left the small house and walked back towards the center of town, neither girl saying a word to one another. Seeing their other selves in that situation – in love – had really thrown them for a loop. They'd been able to deal when they had seen their other selves having what seemed to be only a physical relationship in the other worlds, but a loving relationship seemed to really affect them.
Now it seemed that not only were they together in most of these other dimensions . . . but they were in love in them -- in some form or another – as well.
Understandably, it was a lot of information to digest at once, especially given their history together.
When they finally reached the alleyway, Buffy held the orb in one hand and silently held the other out to Faith. Faith reached out to take Buffy's hand, but she pulled it back when a realization hit her.
"Wait . . . how are we supposed to get home?" she asked, looking at Buffy with her eyebrows furrowed.
"We hold hands and say patefacio porta, remember?" Buffy reminded Faith.
Faith shook her head.
"It's not gonna work, B. We've been doing that every time we jump dimensions and we always end up in someplace new. How do we get back to our own world?"
Buffy scratched her head, a look of slight worry on her face.
"I don't know. Willow must've rigged it so that we automatically came back where we started. I don't think the spell she used was meant for us to be hopping around like this.
"So what you're saying is that this wasn't the best planned trip. Yeah, I'm right there with ya," Faith said, running a hand through her hair. "Shit."
"It's okay," Buffy assured. "We've been stuck in worse situations than this before and we always find a way. We just have to put our heads together and think this through."
Faith glanced down at her watch as Buffy spoke, her eyes instantly widening.
"Well, whatever we decide, we have about 25 minutes before midnight and the portals close for good. Get thinkin, B . . . you're the brains, I'm the brawn."
"Ughh," Buffy sighed as she rubbed her temples with her fingertips. "Think, Buffy, think. What would Willow do?" she asked herself.
As if on cue, Buffy and Faith looked up at one another with hopeful expressions on their faces.
"Willow!" They said at the same time.
They quickly made their way through the town, heading to the one place they knew that Willow might be: The Magic Box. When they arrived at the shop, they held their breaths as they walked in the front door, the door chime alerting their presence.
A wave of relief washed over them as they saw a familiar redhead stood behind the counter, filing away some books. She turned her head in their direction when she heard the bell chime.
"Oh hey!" The other Willow said cheerily as she turned to fully face them. "You guys look . . . different. Not…not in a bad way. Just in a …. dirty way. Was their an accident?" she asked as she took in their disheveled appearances.
"Accident?" Oh, no," Buffy answered. "Just been a long day of . . . house work. And . . . stuff."
"Yeah, stuff," Faith answered with an enthusiastic nod.
"Oh right, stuff," the other Willow said with a knowing grin. "I won't ask. So, what brings my two favorite girls to the Magic Box?"
Buffy and Faith looked at one another, and Buffy decided to take the lead. She hoped that her best friend was the same Willow, no matter which dimension they were in.
"So, Faith and I were having a discussion earlier," Buffy began.
"A hypothetical discussion," Faith interrupted.
"Right, a hypothetical discussion," Buffy corrected herself, "about other dimensions and traveling throughout them."
"Ooh, magic stuff," Willow said with a smile. "Of course, inter-dimensional travel has really been cut down with the rarity of gateway orbs. It's nearly impossible to conjure them up these days because of the shortage of ingredients."
"Oh yeah, totally," Buffy said in agreement, earning a slight glare from Faith. "So, anyway, we were talking about how to get back to your original dimension once you were done portal hopping. Faith thought that you just had to click your heels three times and say ‘there's no place like home', but I told her that you have to hold hands and say ‘patefacio porta'. Who would win our hypothetical argument?" Buffy asked, trying to look as innocent as possible.
Willow frowned slightly. "Well, I guess you'd be right, Buffy. But that's only if you were traveling alone. The usual ‘patefacio porta' chant only works while traveling solo."
"What if someone like me and B were to try to get home from some random dimension?" Faith asked, her eyebrows furrowed a bit.
"I guess that . . ." Willow began and paused, trying to figure out the dilemma, ". . . well, if it was the two of you, you would have to copy your last intimate gesture before you last left your own dimension. A hug, a soft caress, a kiss . . . the last intimate gesture that you shared. You'd just have to hold the orb together and repeat the gesture. That ought to do it."
"So what if we were fucking before we got portal-hoppy?"
Willow cleared her throat and tried to hide her embarrassment.
"I wouldn't put it past the two of you," she said with a smile. "Well, you'd have to . . . you know . . . do it, while holding the orb. Your energy together would open the portal back home, or at least it should. You'd end up where you were last standing together."
"Great," Buffy said with a small smile. She looked down at her watch and noticed that they had about five minute left to get back home. "And on that note, we have to get home. Lots of stuff to do."
"Of course," Willow said with a smile. "I'm sure you have lots of stuff to finish up for the engagement party next weekend."
"Oh, right. The engagement party," Buffy said, shaking her head. "Who was that for again?"
Willow laughed as she looked between Faith and Buffy.
"You two really are acting strange tonight. It's your engagement party, silly," she said, indicating the two of them with a wave of her hand.
"Right," Buffy said slowly. "The party for my engagement to . . . Faith."
Faith simply raised an eyebrow, then glanced over to Buffy.
"Yep, that's right. So we really gotta run now, B. Lotsa preparations to make." Without another word, she took Buffy's hand, gave a big fake smile to the other Willow, and led them out of the shop and back toward the alley behind Willy's.
"Wow," Buffy said, barely paying attention to where they were walking as Faith pulled her along.
"You can say that again," Faith mumbled.
When they finally reached the alley with two minutes to spare, the girls stopped and faced one another, looking everywhere but at one another.
"Okaaaaay, intimate gesture. We held hands," Buffy said with a nod.
"Not gonna work, B. Been there, done that, have the concussion from a banana to prove it," Faith explained.
"What then?" Buffy asked.
Faith paused for a moment before clearing her throat.
"Kiss. We have to kiss," she said, still avoiding looking at Buffy. She glanced at her watch and said, "and we have to do it fast, cos we've got less than a minute here."
Buffy sighed, but knew that it had to be done. She couldn't listen to her conflicting emotions or take time to rationalize anything. The only way they were getting home was via a kiss.
She reached into her pocket and pulled out the orb, then took a few tentative steps toward Faith.
Faith took the last few steps, taking hold of Buffy's hand. Before either of them could hesitate, Faith leaned in and brushed her lips softly against Buffy's. The kiss started off mechanical, as if they were being forced to make out with the social leper at a 6th grade party. But as a white light appeared and began to swirl around them, the kiss grew into something soft and deep and more than either of them were willing to concede.
They continued to kiss, lips nipping and sucking, bodies pressing closer and closer together as the seconds ticked by.
Neither Buffy or Faith were aware of how long they had been stood there kissing when they finally realized that they were back in Faith's living room. Buffy disentangled her hand from Faith's and put the orb back in her pocket. When she went to pull back, she felt Faith wrap her arms around her back and pull her closer, kissing her deeper but just as softly as before.
She couldn't help the moan that escaped her as Faith kissed her more soft and delicately then she'd ever imagined possible . . . and just when had she ever let herself imagine kissing Faith? The very question elicited a small squeal from herself as she finally managed to pull away from Faith's hungry lips.
They rested their foreheads together, breathing heavy as they tried to recuperate from the breathtakingly perfect kiss they'd shared.
"I have to go," Buffy said breathlessly, her eyes still closed.
"You could stay," Faith said, leaning forward to capture Buffy's lips again, but Buffy was quick enough to pull back this time.
"I really can't," Buffy said, looking a bit dazed. "It's all a bit much, I . . . I just need to clear my head."
With that, she offered Faith a small smile and headed out the front door, closing it quietly behind her. She needed to get away. She needed to think. She needed to deal with the harsh fact that maybe, just maybe, she and Faith really were meant to be together.
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