The days were counting down ‘til graduation and the Mayor’s Ascension. The Scoobs found out that he had done some kinda ritual to make himself immortal, so that limited our action to when he transformed. Only then could we physically injure him.
The plans were set . . . we’d unleash hell on the Mayor and his allies with the rest of the Senior Class . . . and me and B had the job of taking out the beast.
The only thing we had left to do was wait.
We were spending most of our free time in the library. The Scoobs researching, me and B developing strategy, Giles analyzing it all.
Though we really never brought up the night of the prom, I know it was on both of our minds. Maybe under different circumstances we woulda talked it out.
Or fucked it out.
Yeah, that woulda been MY chosen path.
But in all honesty, we were kinda too busy to focus on anything but graduation and the Ascension.
Still, there were little changes that I was noticing. She was always holding onto my hand or found some way to keep constant physical contact. It’s not like she was really tryin’ to hide it from the Scoobs. They’d see her holding onto my hand or playing with my hair, but I didn’t think that it really fazed them.
Interesting side note? They really DID notice it, and they were all forming their own opinions on what was happening between us. But I’ll get more into that later.
Another thing that changed was that B would let me give her a kiss every night after patrol. On the lips. Hells yeah! It was simple and innocent enough. Just a peck, really.
But the fact that she was letting me take that from her, especially with her boyfriend still in the picture? Well, it kinda floored me. Cos if she was letting me take that much from her when he was around, I kept imagining what she might possibly give after he was outta the picture.
It was like waiting for Christmas. And THAT’S what got me through the cold lonely nights at my motel.
Well, that and porn.
But that’s a different story altogether.
So about two days before the big showdown, we were patrolling like always. I could tell that something was up with her cos she was gripping onto my hand so hard it kinda hurt.
I finally stopped us and made her face me, tilting up her chin so that she was lookin’ me in the eyes.
“What’s wrong this time?” I asked her. I wasn’t trying to be rude but I kinda hate when she gets all quiet and kitteny. I rather have her ramble on about her schoolwork or something equally boring.
“It’s . . . I was just wondering . . .” she began before pausing.
“Spit it out, B. I’m aging here, and not so gracefully either.”
Did I mention that I’m a little impatient? Heh.
“. . . I was thinking that maybe instead of walking me home tonight . . . you could just drop me off at Angel’s instead.”
Not exactly what I was expecting. So, what then? She wanna get in a few last minute screws before he leaves? I couldn’t hide my confused and slightly hurt look and she picked up on it right away.
“It’s not like that, Faith. He and I just have some . . . unresolved issues. He’s leaving soon and I’d rather him and I clear things up first,” she explained, trying to look as calm and comforting as possible.
I shook my head as if to clear my thoughts.
“Whatever, B.” With that said I let go of her hand and started walking quickly in the direction of Angel’s mansion. I heard her steps next to me, trying to keep up.
We walked in silence; I think she was smart enough to realize that I wasn’t feeling particularly fuckin talkative. I wasn’t sure exactly what to feel. I mean, yeah, I was kinda pissed. But what business was it of mine? He was her boyfriend or whatever. I was just a bit of cold comfort. Or maybe warm-comfort. Whatever.
When we finally got to the mansion I had no intentions of hangin around to see the lovey-dovey festivities. Before B could even fully face me, I tried to make my escape.
“Alright, you’re here safe and sound. Catch ya later.”
I began to walk away but stopped when I felt her hand on my shoulder.
“You’re leaving? Just like that?” She asked. What the fuck did she want from me? I just nodded. She looked down before she said, “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
I furrowed my eyebrows as I thought about it. What could I be forgetting? Dignity and pride? I checked those at B’s door. Heartache? I had that. Confusion? I definitely wasn’t forgetting that one.
After a second, I shrugged my shoulders and gave her a blank look before shaking my head no.
As she closed the distance between us and stood up on her toes to brush her lips softy against mine, I realized what I’d forgotten: her goodnight kiss. Guess it had kinda become some kinda unspoken tradition.
When she backed away from the soft kiss, I shook my head at her.
“I wasn’t forgetting that, B. I just figured that you’d be saving your vicarious smoochies for your boy-toy in there. Besides, now he’s gonna smell me on your lips or whatever. That can’t be healthy for your relationship.” I couldn’t help the bitter tone in my words.
She sighed. “Faith, I already told you. Angel and I aren’t . . .” she began, but her words were cut off as we heard her name being called from inside the mansion.
I was ready to make my exit once again but I suddenly found myself being dragged into the mansion by a fairly frantic Buffy. She practically ran us through the house and to Angel’s bedroom where we found him slumped up against the wall, an arrow stickin’ out of his back.
Nice. Angel the Undead Pincushion. Comes complete with fake blood and girly whining.
When B saw him she ran over and dropped to her knees in front of him, crying at the very sight. It was pretty fucked up; he was shivering like mad but covered in sweat. His face and torso were beet-red, a really weird color to see on the usually pale vamp.
I stood there debating what I should do. B obviously wasn’t gonna be any help cos she was too busy blubbering and being a girly mess. Rolling my eyes and sighing, I walked over to the vamp and began to check him over.
Without giving it too much thought, I grabbed the arrow and yanked it outta his back, causing him to yelp out in pain. B looked at me like I was an alien or something.
What? He was technically already dead. It’s not like tearing the thing out was gonna kill him even more.
I inspected the arrow closely, sniffing the tip for traces of toxins under the coating of blood. That’s when I smelled it; the very distinctive scent of a poison that was particularly lethal to vamps and other undead creatures.
It kinda scared me. I mean, I wanted Soul-boy outta the picture but I didn’t want him dead or whatever.
B looked at me and raised her eyebrows, waiting for me to explain my unhappy face.
“It’s Absalom, B. Poison. Deadly to vamps.”
“Is there a cure?” She asked, looking up at me desperately.
I snickered. “I’m the muscle, not the brains. I’ll call G-man.”
I placed a call to Giles and found out that there was, in fact, a cure. But it wasn’t gonna happen. See, it seems that the poison can be reversed only by the blood of a Slayer. A whole Slayer. I wasn’t about to put my own life on the line for that fucktart and I wasn’t about to let B do it either.
I went back in the bedroom with a grim look on my face. Right away, B was up in my face, askin’ what the cure was and how to make it better.
“There’s only one cure, B, and it ain’t gonna happen. He needs to drain a Slayer.”
I could see her rolling the words around in her head before her eyes grew suddenly large.
“I have an idea,” she said and right away I felt like bolting outta there. “He needs to drain a Slayer. How about instead of draining a Slayer fully, he drains two partly?”
Remember before when I said I was wearing an unhappy face? Well, it came back right then, times ten.
I was about to yell ‘fuck no’ and run outta there, but she was giving me this pleading look and she had tears in her eyes, and she was holding my hands so gently that it almost made me wanna cry.
After about a minute of silence, I finally growled out loud.
“Fuck, B. I can’t believe you’re fuckin asking me to do this!” I turned my head to the side and shook it with disbelief. Maybe a little bit of disgust was in there too.
“I know,” she replied quietly. “But we don’t have any other choice. If he dies we lose a champion. We lose a fighter on the side of good.”
Yeah, and she’d lose her boy-toy.
I wouldn’t look at her as I walked over to the bed Angel lay in and kneeled before him, brushing my hair away from my neck as I leaned over him.
“Don’t get too suck-happy, fang. I’m still a fuckin Slayer and I will kill you if I have to,” I said quietly just before he sunk his teeth into my neck. “Motherfucker.” I grunted as a tear slipped from my eye at the feel of the pain.
No need to go into details here. He sucked my blood. He sucked B’s blood. It was a big Suck Fest. End of story.
As soon as I saw B was okay, I got up and I walked out.
Okay, so I kinda stumbled out. Blood loss will do that to ya.
Never thought I’d have to learn from experience.
I stayed away from her and the Scoobs and the library until the big day came.
B didn’t bother to come to my room during those few days . . . I guess she figured I was still steamin’ over the whole thing. Kinda funny how we were even more alike after the whole incident.
How, you ask? Matching bite marks.
So, the big day came and we were all meeting up at the library before the graduation ceremony started. The plan was to get there at about 6:00 so that we’d have an hour or so to finalize our plans. But I didn’t need a refresher. I knew exactly what my role was: Get in, get medieval, get out, and go home. Alone.
Yeah, that’s me soundin’ bitter.
I showed up fashionably late at about 6:45. I didn’t have a chance to talk to Giles or the Scoobs cos as soon as I walked in, B was dragging me away to the back stacks. When we were finally outta sight, she turned so that she faced me.
“You were supposed to meet us here at 6:00! Where were you?” she whispered.
“Sorry, B. I know the plan forwards and backwards. Get in, get out, go home. Didn’t wanna get in the way here,” I answered. I didn’t let my bitterness come through but I did sound mildly annoyed.
She sighed and dropped her shoulders, losing her original offensive position.
“You’re not in the way, Faith. You’re as much a part of this as the rest of us. We need you here.” Then she took a step closer to me. “I need you here.”
She was looking up at me through her eyelashes, and she looked so cute and smelled so good. I was about to grab her and kiss her but the reality of the situation came back to me and I shook my thoughts away.
“Where’s your boy-toy?” I asked her.
She lowered her eyes from me and took a step back, looking kinda shy.
“He’s rounding up the rest of the cavalry. Getting everyone ready.” Then she looked up at me. “He’s leaving tonight, you know. He said that he wants to talk to me before he leaves but that he’s not staying the night. I can’t believe he’s really leaving me. I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”
I had enough at that point. Angel this and Angel that. She knew that he was fuckin leavin’ for a while by then. To think that she was still all mopey about it just pissed me off. I mean, it’s not like she was being left alone. She had her family. She had her great friends.
She had me.
That’s more than I ever fuckin had, but still, it wasn’t enough for her. As if on cue, I felt my walls go back up. I loved the girl. Next to slaying, she was my everything. But for some whacked out reason, she thought that she had nothing; that without Angel, she’d be lost.
A bitter chuckle escaped my lips. “Well, good luck with that, Twinks. Make sure you send me a copy of the novel when it comes out.”
I turned and started to walk away but she grabbed my shoulder and spun me around to face her. Her face was a combination of hurt, anger, and confusion.
“Faith, what is WRONG with you? Why are you acting like this?” She asked through clenched teeth, tears in her eyes.
And then I let her have it.
“Like this? What . . . you mean bitter, scorned, a bitch? Because I am. You have the world, B. You have family and friends and a house and lots of pretty stuff. AND YOU’RE ACTING LIKE YOUR FUCKIN WORLD IS OVER BECAUSE YOUR BOYFRIEND IS LEAVING! I have nothing, Buffy. I live in a shitty motel, I have no friends or family, I have no possessions besides what I can carry in a back pack. But yunno what? I have you. Or at least I did. Now you’re too busy wallowing in your self-pity to think of anyone else beside yourself. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done it for you. I let Angel drink from me. I’m here fighting this battle when I could just walk away. I stay because of you. But it’s not enough for you, Buffy! Nothing is ever enough. Just when I think I’ve made you happy, you find another reason to wallow. And I hate to fuckin say it, but I don’t know how much longer I can stick around to watch.”
Then I turned around and walked outta the library, blinking back the angry tears that were threatening to fall.
I ignored the several pairs of eyes that watched me as I walked out. I wasn’t exactly talkin’ quiet so there was no doubt that they’d heard everything I said. There was no way I wanted to deal with their thoughts on the matter. Of course they’d side with B.
Even though I was pissed, I wasn’t about to let them down by running off and pouting somewhere. Instead, I made my way to the ceremony area and nestled myself in a dark corner.
I hadn’t been standin’ there for ten minutes when I felt a tingle. It wasn’t B; it was a vamp. Just when I was about to whip my stake out, Angel popped up outta nowhere and scared the shit outta me. I took a step back and crossed my arms over my chest, waiting for him to speak.
“How come you’re not in the library with the others?” He asked as he stepped closer to me.
“I don’t play well with others,” I answered with a fake smile.
“Listen, Faith. About the other day . . .”
“Stop right there, soul-boy,” I interrupted. “Save your lack of breath. I didn’t do it for you, I did it for B. I woulda walked away but I couldn’t do that to her.”
He gazed at me intently. Suddenly, a look of realization came across his face.
“How long have you loved her?” He asked me softly.
The look on my face musta been priceless when he asked me that. I mean, come on. Am I that fuckin transparent?
Either I had let down my walls in front of him or he was really fuckin perceptive.
Instead of denying it and fighting with him over it, I decided to just give up and let the truth come out. I mean, I was already down. Gettin’ kicked a few times while I was down there? Not that big a deal.
“My whole life, I think.” I answered, then I snickered. “Does that make ya feel like more of a man? Knowing that I love her but that she’ll always be yours? Maybe not in body, but in mind and soul. Does that make ya happy?”
I took a step in his direction, trying to intimidate him, but he musta known what I was doing cos he stepped forward too, looking me right in the eyes.
“No, it doesn’t make me feel happy. That’s why I’m leaving.”
What? That’s why he’s leaving?
Damn. I just though he was a big prick that liked to play heartbreaker.
“She’s going through a lot of changes in her life right now. She’s graduating from high school, going to college; she’s growing up. Being a Slayer is really hindering her from seeing what her life could look like ten years down the line from now. She wants a normal life . . . and I can’t give that to her.” He paused, thinking over his next words. “If I stay there will be no reason for her to try to find that normal life. It’s gonna take her some time to realize that she’s better off without me. She’s probably going to be hurting a lot, and she’s gonna need someone there to help her through it. Someone who has a similar life to hers.”
I scoffed. “I’m anything but similar to her. The only thing we have in common is that we’re both Slayers. I don’t have the friends or the family or the home. Slaying is what I have. I don’t get all broody cos I want a normal life because I don’t. I’m not normal. I accept that. Now, I’ve been here for B for almost the last year, and I’ve seen her through ups and downs, but I don’t know how much more I can handle. I have nothing to offer her but me, and that’s not enough. She’s got the world, and it’s still not enough.”
As I looked up at Angel, I noticed that he was looking at me too. Really looking at me. Almost like he was looking into me. I suddenly felt really vulnerable.
I started to back up and I probably woulda ran the hell outta there but his gentle voice brought me back down.
“She needs you more than you know. As much as you think you’re so different from her, your destiny is intertwined with hers. You’re the Chosen Two. As fate would have it, you’re basically meant to be together. It’s up to you to determine what together means.”
And with that said, he backed away and slowly disappeared into the background.
For a split second, I could see why B loved him.
He was the voice of reason, and believe it or not, he talked some sense into me that day.
So the big battle came and went. We lost some of the good guys; they lost most of the bad guys. I fought side by side with B and it felt completely natural. Our motions were perfectly coordinated and we moved as if we were one.
For a pretty monstrous demon, the Mayor was surprisingly easy to blow up. A little dynamite, a little fire, and BLAM! Demon no more.
Oh yeah, and we got to blow up the school.
That was pretty wicked.
As the battle ended and we began to collect ourselves, I looked across the rubble to survey the damage we did. That’s when I spotted B and Angel talking between a couple of ambulances.
I wasn’t pissed at her anymore. After my talk with Angel, I realized that she really would need someone to be there for her, and I realized that someone was me.
Not wanting to disturb their moment, I left the battle scene and headed back to my motel room.
As soon as I walked in the door, I peeled my battle-worn clothes from my body and tossed them into the duffle bag that was serving as my laundry bag. I gathered a few other dirty articles of clothing from around the room and tossed them in the bag, making a mental note to go to the Laundromat the next day.
With that said and done, I made my way into the bathroom and started the shower, stepping in only when the water had heated up.
I let the hot water spray against my face as the dirt and blood washed away from my body. The heat slowly relaxed my tense muscles and I suddenly felt as if I could sleep for days.
That’s when I heard knocking at my door.
I ignored it for a minute or two but whoever it was wasn’t goin’ away.
I cursed as I turned off the hot water and wrapped myself in a towel and made my way to the door. When I opened it, I saw B standin’ there looking all sad and confused and shy.
“You okay?” I asked her quietly, suddenly feeling kinda exposed as I tugged my towel higher.
But she didn’t answer. She just walked right up to me and wrapped her arms around me as if I hadn’t freaked out on her earlier. I felt her warm hands on the skin of my back and it made me shiver.
Seeing as that she was making no effort to move or say anything, I started backing us up into the room. There was no way I was gonna let any of the dirtbag inhabitants of the motel walk by and catch me in a towel huggin another girl. That’s one fantasy I don’t wanna be in.
When we were fully in the room and I was able to close the door, I felt her tense up against me. I glanced down and saw that she was staring at something; the duffle bag full of laundry.
Yeah, I can see why that mighta freaked her out a little. From an outsider’s point of view it probably looked like I was packing up to leave. Then it hit me: she probably thought I was leaving her.
I took a step away from her and put my hands on her shoulders, tryin’ to get her attention. When she wouldn’t meet my gaze, I shook her a little to get her attention.
“It’s not what ya think . . .” I started, but she interrupted me.
“You’re leaving me too,” she said with tears in her eyes, letting them spill down her cheeks as she turned to meet my gaze.
It broke my heart. The girl really had some abandonment issues. And to think that I was adding to her pain yet again.
“I’m not leavin’. Not as long as you need me,” I answered truthfully.
A sensitive side of me broke to the surface as I pulled her close to me and started to kiss away her tears. I could feel her breath hitch as my lips met her cheeks. She closed her eyes, probably to hide the emotion behind them.
I moved my lips from one cheek to the other, slowly and deliberately kissing away each and every tear. It was then that I noticed that a few tears had escaped the path of my lips and had made it to her jaw.
Now, you have to remember. Not only was I fighting the love that I was feelin’ for her but I was also dealing with a mad case of the post-slayage hornies.
Tentatively, I moved my lips down to her jaw line, sneaking my tongue out to taste the salty tears that had pooled there. It was when I heard an audible moan escape her lips that I knew she was feeling the post-slayage hornies too.
I froze, not knowing whether I should pull away or keep up what I was doing. When I felt her turn her head a little and felt her lips brush against mine, I knew that she wanted me to continue as much as I wanted to.
Slowly but surely, our lips started moving together. It was gentle and as sweet as the kiss that we had shared on the night of the prom. But I came to the realization that our intentions were different on that night as I felt her tongue sweep against my bottom lip. I didn’t think twice about it as I parted my lips and let her tongue enter my mouth, letting it slide sensually against mine.
Now, I may be a bit naïve, but I’m not an idiot. This was Buffy Summers, kissing me of her own free will and making the next move.
I just about did a little happy dance. Actually I kinda did do a little excited movement.
And that’s when I felt it: the towel I was wearing slipped from me and pooled around my ankles, making a little thud noise as it hit the floor.
B pulled back to see what the noise was and her eyes grew wide as she gazed upon my naked body. I watched as she slowly raised her right hand and ran it across the skin of my stomach, smiling lightly as my muscles jumped at her touch.
As her caresses became more intent, I couldn’t help the words that escaped my mouth.
“God, I want you so much, B,” I groaned as she ran her left hand down my side.
Note to self: Fire my internal censor. Hire a new one.
When I realized that I’d said the words out loud, I clenched my eyes shut and froze, waiting for her to run the hell outta my room. As a minute passed and I neither heard nor felt any type of reaction from her, I opened my eyes just a little to look down at her.
Her intense green eyes were staring up at me with something in them that I’d never seen before. I’d seen hurt, confusion, sadness, happiness, relief, etc. But this was different.
She was looking up at me with two things I never thought I’d get to see in her: lust and love.
Slowly, she closed the short distance between us, her clothed body pressed firmly against my naked form. As she wrapped her arms around me and caressed my back, she uttered two words that would change our relationship forever.
And you better believe that I was gonna.
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