Chapter Twelve

Buffy managed to get Faith up the stairs without too much of a problem. She already had the supplies she'd stolen from the neighbor stashed in the bedroom so setting up a nice hot bath with some Epsom salts didn't take her long at all. Faith stood against the wall and waited for her to finish prepping the tub and offered her thanks when Buffy helped her from the bedroom into the big bathroom.

The tub was nice and deep and steam was steadily rising from the surface. Faith groaned with appreciation as Buffy put the toilet lid down and helped her down on it so that she could get undressed.

"Thanks, B. You're a star."

"It's nothing. I can't have you injured if we're supposed to be stealthy about this hiding out thing."

"Well, whatever. I appreciate it."

Their eyes met and neither girl seemed to know exactly what to say or do next. Buffy finally managed a tentative smile and took a few steps back.

"Hang on, I'll grab your bag for you. You'll probably want to change out of those bloody clothes."

She stepped quickly into the bedroom and grabbed Faith's duffle bag and when she re-entered the bathroom, Faith already had her shirt off and was reaching behind her back to unclasp her bra.

"Whoa!" Buffy said and unexpectedly tossed the bag in Faith's direction, quickly spinning around so that her back was to the girl. "A little warning next time might be nice."

"Are you blushing?" Faith teased and Buffy could practically hear her smirk. "You're too easy. I didn't even unleash the twins yet. You sure ya don't wanna sneak a peek? Word on the street they're pretty nice."

"If I feel so inclined to check out a nice pair, I have my own to look at, thank you very much," Buffy replied, trying to fight off her embarrassment.


"If you throw your dirty clothes out the door when you're undressed, I'll try to wash the blood out in the kitchen sink." She grabbed the door knob and began to close the door behind her as she walked back into the bedroom but Faith stopped her.

"B, wait a sec!" Buffy stopped and glanced warily over her shoulder, waiting for Faith to continue. "I just wanna say . . . uh, thanks. Yunno. For everything."

"You don't need to thank me," Buffy said quietly, looking down at her feet again. "It's the kind of thing friends do for each other, right?"

She managed to glance up at Faith and met her eyes again. Neither girl could seem to look away but it was Buffy that eventually did first. She closed the door and waited just on the other side until it opened again and Faith's soiled clothes landed on the floor with a soft thud. She picked them up as the door closed and looked down at them, shaking her head.

Why the heck had she volunteered for laundry service? How was she supposed to get blood out of Faith's clothes without any detergent?

"Nice, Buffy. Maybe when you're done getting these stains out, you can walk on water and impress the townsfolk," she said to herself.

"You talkin' to me?" Faith shouted from inside the bathroom.

"No," Buffy shouted back. "If you need help . . ."

"What, you gonna wash my back? Maybe my front?"

Buffy rolled her eyes and walked out of the room before Faith could get any worse or decided to actually ask for help.

Buffy made her way back up the stairs and into the bedroom just as Faith was entering the bedroom from the bathroom. She paused in the doorway for a moment as Faith hobbled across the room in just a big t-shirt. Had it been Willow in just a t-shirt it wouldn't have bothered her because Willow was her best friend, but this was Faith. Faith, who had been flirting with her since the night they'd first met and who flaunted her goodies like nobody's business.

It was different with Faith.

She felt different with Faith.

Suddenly aware of the realization she'd just come to and how it could be interpreted by others, namely by those in the psychology profession, she quickly made her way into the room and to where she'd set up a couple of blankets on the ground. She made herself busy straightening them up while Faith foraged through the grocery bags.

"I managed to get most of the blood out of your clothes," Buffy said. "Well, your blood, anyhow. There might be some of mine on them now from scrubbing so hard. They're hanging up to dry over the railing by the stairs."

"Thanks," Faith replied absently. "You mind if I eat some of this stuff? You know what slaying does to a girl."

"As you've theorized to anyone that'll listen," Buffy said sarcastically. "Help yourself. It only has to last through tomorrow, we can re-stock when we move to the next house on the list."

"Great." Faith immediately grabbed a bag of cookies and tore into them, chewing enthusiastically. Suddenly the bag was dangling next to Buffy's face. "Ya want some before I scarf ‘em all?"

"Scarf away," Buffy replied, gingerly pushing the bag away from her face. "I'm gonna get some sleep. I want to be awake early to keep an eye out for any maintenance people who might come by. I wasn't sure where you wanted your blankets set up so," she indicated the blankets laid out just a foot or two away from her own.

"It's cool," Faith replied. "We can snuggle."

Buffy raised an eyebrow and looked over at Faith who was smirking as she munched away on her cookies. Faith waggled her eyebrows and Buffy couldn't help but chuckle quietly while shaking her head. Sliding under the thin blanket, Buffy pulled it up to her neck and wriggled around, much to Faith's amusement, until she produced her pants out the top and placed them next to her on the ground.

"Neat trick," Faith replied.

"Before you ask me to try it on you: you're not wearing any pants." Buffy said preemptively.

"So you noticed then."

Deciding that she needed to change the subject yet again – Faith really did seem to have a one-track mind – she ventured into safer territory.

"How's your knee feeling?"

Faith, whose legs were stretched flat out in front of her, slowly slid them up until they were slightly bent at the knee. It was still swollen and discolored but it definitely looked better.

"It's gettin' there. Some food, some sleep; it'll be back to new by morning."

"Good. Since we're trapped here for another day, we can spar a little, let you test it out."

"Wicked. You know I can't pass up an opportunity to get sweaty with ya, B."

Buffy shook her head in disbelief. How did they always end up back there? She rolled over onto her side and made sure the blanket was suitably covering her before taking a deep, soothing breath. She hoped Faith followed in her steps soon; she didn't want to think about what trouble the brunette might get up to as she lay quietly sleeping in the same room.

She closed her eyes and tried to drown out the sound of Faith munching away on whatever snack she'd moved on to once the cookies were devoured, but sleep just wouldn't find her. Even when Faith put the bags of food away and settled down onto her makeshift bed, Buffy still lay there awake.

It was nearly an hour after they'd lain down to sleep when Buffy rolled over onto her other side so that she was facing Faith who was only a couple of feet away. Much to her surprise, Faith was wide awake and looking back at her.

"Can't sleep?" Faith asked.

Buffy shook her head. "Too much on my mind, I guess."


Buffy closed her eyes and, when she opened them a few minutes later, she saw Faith was still looking at her. Seeing as that they were getting along well enough and that Faith seemed pretty mellow right now, she figured that she'd ask her something that had been eating away at her since it had happened.

"Can I ask you a question?"

Faith nodded and propped her head up on her elbow, giving Buffy all of her attention.

"After I tranq'd you, at my house," Buffy began, ". . . why did you . . ." she trailed off, unable to bring herself to say it aloud.

"Kiss you?" Faith asked. When Buffy nodded, she shrugged a little bit. "Figured that we were probably about to kill each other. Thought it was a damn shame for one or both of us to die without ever trying it."

"Oh," Buffy replied. She hadn't really expected that answer. She wasn't sure what she'd been expecting, but that certainly wasn't it.

"What?" Faith asked, her brow furrowed.

Buffy shook her head. "Nothing. Guess I was just expecting . . . something else."

"Like what? Like," Faith put her hand to her chest and made her eyes all big and innocent, " ‘oh Buffy, I love you more than butterflies and puppy dogs and I have so much gay love for you that I just had to taste your sweet sweet lips'?"

Buffy's lack of amusement must have been apparent and Faith burst out laughing, a huge smile gracing her lips.

"Sorry, B. That ain't me. You want declarations of undying love, go buy a book by Willie Shakespeare. You just happen to look even hotter when you're pissed and I figured that if I was gonna die, I might as well've gotten something good outta it. Always wanted to try it and the opportunity presented itself. Can't hold me responsible for that."

And while Buffy was sure that she hadn't been looking for some declaration of undying love, she was pretty sure that she didn't like Faith's explanation any better. It was a good thing that Faith wasn't harboring any lesbirific love for her, but still . . . the fact that it had meant nothing kind of stung.

"Well now that you've gotten it out of your system, you can keep your lips far from mine," she said.

Faith didn't reply; she just grinned in a manner that made Buffy want to stab her with a spork. The brunette rested her head back down on her pillow but kept her gaze fixed on Buffy. A few minutes passed by and, unable to take the weird staring any longer, Buffy had to ask another question that was plaguing her mind.

She propped her head up on her hand and studied Faith for a moment before asking, "Why did you really leave here tonight?"

Buffy had never seen a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car before but she suspected it looked a little bit like Faith did right then. Still, after a moment of what appeared to be panic passed by, Faith was back to her usual calm and cool self.

"To patrol, B. Just because we're hiding doesn't mean the baddies are."

"But that's the thing," Buffy said, propping herself up ever further so that she was resting on her elbow. "You haven't been patrolling for weeks. I've been going solo ever since you started working for Mayor Wilkins. Why the sudden need to start again now when you know that there are people out there looking for you?"

A completely passive look took its place on Faith's face and Faith shrugged like it was nothing. "Guess I just thought if I'm gonna be a good guy again, I've gotta jump right back into it."

Without saying anything else, Faith rolled onto her back and rested her arms under her head. She stared up at the ceiling and pretended not to notice Buffy still gazing over at her.

Buffy watched her for a few more moments before shaking her head and laying back down, pulling the blankets back up under her chin.

"You're not telling me something," Buffy said. She watched as Faith's jaw clenched, then as the girl turned on her side so that her back was to Buffy.

"Sweet dreams, B."

The conversation obviously over, Buffy sighed and closed her eyes, hoping to find sleep.

Buffy awoke to the sound of a dog barking somewhere in the neighborhood. When she opened her eyes, it was still almost pitch dark in the room, the moonlight the only bit of illumination. She immediately noticed that Faith was no longer laying down and she immediately sat up, her senses on full alert.

Dammit! If Faith ran away after all they'd been through . . .!

Buffy suddenly realized that there was a sliver of light coming from under the bathroom door. She focused her senses and could hear a soft rustling from within the bathroom, evidence enough that Faith was still in fact there.

However, when almost ten minutes passed by and Faith still hadn't emerged, Buffy became worried. Climbing out from beneath the covers, she silently approached the door and rested her ear against the painted wood, listening for any signs of life. It only took a few seconds for her to jump back from the door, nearly losing her balance when her foot got caught in Faith's blankets.

Faith was definitely inside the bathroom. Yup. And judging by the soft sighs and moans she was making along with a soft wet clicking sound, Buffy knew exactly what she was up to.

Apparently, the hungry and horny theory wasn't just a theory for Faith.

Buffy quickly made her way back to her makeshift bed and climbed beneath the covers, trying her best to get back into the same exact position she'd been in when she woke up. She'd just finished arranging the blanket around her when the bathroom door opened and the light clicked off, keeping the room nice and dark. The sound of soft footsteps filled the room and Buffy tried to control her breathing so that it looked like she was still sleeping.

She could hear Faith climbing back under her blankets as the smell of sex filled the room around them. Clenching her eyes shut tightly, Buffy hoped that Faith would just go to sleep now so that they could just get though this night and she could repress this before the morning came.

But just when it seemed as though Faith had finally settled in, she heard another rustling noise behind her. It was the unmistakable sound of blankets brushing over carpet. Was Faith getting closer to her?

The answer to that question came in the feel of a warm breath exhaled softly close enough to the back of her neck that it sent a chill down her spine. Buffy willed herself not to move even as she felt the heat of Faith's body, so close to her own but not touching. She waited for Faith to touch, to cross the distance and the imaginary boundary that always seemed to be between them.

The touch never came though. A few minutes later, Buffy heard – and felt – Faith breath steady against the back of her neck.

She'd fallen asleep.

She'd scooted close enough to spoon and had fallen asleep.

Thoroughly perplexed, Buffy closed her eyes and tried to focus on her own breathing. Unwillingly, she seemed to fall into rhythm with Faith's steady breaths and soon enough, Buffy was asleep as well.

The sound of birds chirping and a lawnmower rumbling loudly woke Buffy from her slumber. A small smile formed on her lips as she basked in the warm morning sun spilling in over her from the large window. She was warm. She was content. She was relaxed.

And she was spooning Faith!

Her eyes shot open wide and Buffy froze, her body going completely rigid. At some point during the night, she'd turned around and wrapped her arm around Faith whose back was nestled up against her. Her hand was . . . yep, it was under the front of Faith's shirt and touching warm, soft skin.

Wincing, Buffy pressed her lips together to keep from squeaking in horror. Ever so slowly, she began to slide her hand out of Faith's shirt.

That was when she realized that Faith wasn't breathing steadily. In fact, she was pretty sure that Faith's body began shaking gently.

And . . . yep, Faith was laughing.

"Where ya goin, B? Thought you were about to steal second."

Buffy quickly pulled her hand away like she'd been burned and sat up, pulling the covers around herself.

"That wasn't my fault. I wouldn't have been using you as a pillow if you hadn't gotten so close to me during the night," Buffy lamely defended.

"Pillow? Pillows go under your head, blondie. You were about an inch away from a handful of ti . . ."

"Enough!" Buffy interrupted loudly. "Tonight you sleep in the bathtub. Bring this up again and I'll make sure it's full of water before I put you in it."

Faith sat up and stretched, a sly smile on her face as she all but ignored Buffy.

"Rarr, someone woke up on the wrong side of the uber-hot body."

"Faith!" Buffy yelled.

"I know, I know," Faith held up her hands in mock surrender. "Any more of that and I'm sleepin' with the fishes. Got the memo. We got anything breakfasty to eat?"

Buffy clenched her jaw and grabbed the food bag, then tossed it over to Faith. Without looking at the girl, she got up and made her way into the bathroom . . . completely forgetting that she wasn't wearing any pants still. Closing the door behind her, she could hear Faith snickering from the other room,

"Can spoon me anytime in that outfit."

Banging her head back against the door, Buffy closed her eyes and sighed. She was never going to live that one down.

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