Until You Say
by Desirata41
Rating: NC-17

Disclaimer: All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters are exclusive property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and UPN. I'm only paying homage to characters I love!
Author's Notes: Hi Kiddies. I know it's been a while since I put anything out there. This is just a test. Send your feedback if you want more, this could potentially be a series, or a PWP. Let me know if you think I've still got it, or if I should fade away. You know me and my total disregard for Canon, so don't look for it here. Let's just say it's post S7.
Dedication: To All women who have ever struggled with love, and persevered.
Feedback: Give it to me baby…NOW.

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CHAPTER ONE

Buffy's POV

Having a real job can be a bummer, but...such is life. I've managed to make a regular life for myself, albeit the characters that matter most to me; are far from ordinary. Giles will call from time to time, always the father figure. We laugh and reminisce about the past and then I hear it...that sound that tells me he misses me.

"Buffy, how are you...really?"

"You with the drama, always the drama." I reply playfully.

"Buffy?" His voice is insistent and urgent all at once.

"Ok...ok. Truth be told; it's a big adjustment and I'm dealing. Faith is a big help to me, you would be proud of her."

"I...I always have been Buffy, even through her worst. It was then that I saw the true slayer in her immerge."

"Careful Giles, she might have to kiss you, next time she saw you; if she knew." I giggle.

"Well, I will trust you never to make her privy to that small tidbit of information; won't I?"

I could almost feel that eyebrow of his arching in tandem with a determined set of his jaw.

"No worries dad, pinky- swear." I knew that got him, because he sighed into the phone; unable to hide the fact that he was blushing.

"Do take care of yourself Buffy."

"Sure Giles, I learned how to do that a long time ago...from the best."

I expected the click on the other end just then, because Giles had never been one to show his true emotions. Something between us changed all that, and he became able to show me a father's love. A love that I still fall back on even now.

Faith has been the real shock in my life. Always the stubborn hard- ass who had to suffer alone, she's a different woman. I wake up in the morning reaching for her, and the only thing that starts my day is the fact that she's there. Neither of us truly knew, or accepted what we felt for each other, until I took that sword in my stomach, and she watched me go down. My last image and recalled memory of that battle was the look on her face. Her worst fear had been realized, yet it was my life jeopardized; not her's.

The pain and disbelief flashed in her eyes for just a moment, because a moment was all she had to say goodbye to me. There were other young women dying around her, women that needed her far more than I did. So, her horror replaced itself with resolve, and she fought on.

Funny, my first conscious moment after that battle was waking up, to find her asleep at my bedside in the hospital. Her head was nestled by my hand as if, on guard for the moment I would stir. Even The Powers That Be couldn't have offered me more protection. She was my guardian.

She roused quickly and set upright in her chair upon feeling my fingers threading themselves in her hair.

"Buffy?"

I smiled as I looked into her troubled, yet relieved eyes; brushing away a single tear that ran down her cheek.

"Hi Slayer." I answered in a raspy voice.

"They all said...the doctors said..." she struggled to finish the sentence.

"It's alright baby." I cradled her trembling face in my hands.

"Damn you...for doing this to me. I thought you were gone B."

"Can't get rid of me that easily lady." I started stroking her hair gently. It felt good to finally be able to show my feelings for Faith. Death had given me a second chance, and I wasn't going to hold back anymore.

She jumped up out of the chair, and moved towards the door.

"The nurse should know that you're woke."

I grabbed her hand, refusing to let go.

"No Faith, not yet. Stay with me for a few minutes before the madness starts." She sat back down, returning the pressure of my hand.

"So, how ya feeling Buff?"

I surveyed the wasteland that was Faith, and knew that her tough demeanor was all a mask. Her face showed tell tale signs of a quick attempt at washing away the blood and dirt of the battle. Red eyes that were swollen from crying looked into mine, almost afraid to reveal what they had seen.

"There isn't an inch of me that doesn't hurt Faith, but I still need you to kiss me."

Normally Faith would've hesitated, and played the game that we always did, where we teased each other. Somehow, she was now ready to accept her true feelings for me, and when she moved to gently kiss my mouth, I felt everything she had been hiding from me.

"Just...don't leave me B." She murmured as she kissed me tenderly.

It was then that my heart monitor started to beep wildly, leave it to Faith to start the party.

CHAPTER TWO

Faith's POV

They scared us the way they came running into the room, like the fuckin' place was on fire. Well now that I think about it; in a way; it was. That little blonde had done something no one else had been able to up to now. she made me give a shit about something other than myself. I can't sleep lately, because I don't want to remember all those sweet babies dying. It tore me up inside because I just couldn't save them all.

But that wasn't the way of a slayer, we were all destined to save ourselves. I knew that the moment I saw Buffy go down. Our eyes locked just as her face hit the ground, and she smiled at me through her pain. It was almost like she was giving me permission to go on and have a life without her.

There just wasn't time for me to say any of the things I had always meant to. Her eyes closed...and that did it. I was ready to die, to give her death meaning. Willow had done more than release all the potentials, she set ME free. Every moment that I bitched under my breath in a training session with Giles and Buffy started to kick in.

Before I knew it, there was a pile of those ugly fuckers laying around me, in various pieces. I ran to her then, and picked up her body, determined that she wouldn't be left behind. The other girls followed me out of that hell hole, and we went looking for Giles. When the dust settled we could make out a yellow bus off in the distance, and we made a run for it.

Giles opened the door.

"For God's sake hurry, we have no time!"

He didn't react at the sight of Buffy's bloody, battered body cradled limp in my arms, that was a luxury he couldn't afford. I understood what kept him going, even as I choked back my own tears. She moaned from deep in her gut, and rolled her head from side to side.

"Giles, gun this son of a bitch, we gotta get Buffy to a hospital, she's still breathing!"

I looked over my shoulder and watched my past sink into a gaping hole, then I looked down into my lap, at my future. None of us knew what came next. We were just tired of saving the world. I couldn't speak for everyone else, but all I wanted was a normal life...with B. I wondered if it would ever be possible as I listened to her gasp for breath.

The smell of her blood was strong in the air, and there was so much of it; pulsing warm and sticky out of her wound onto my fingers, even as I pressed down to contain it. Her hand clenched my arm desperately as the pain threatened to overtake her completely. At that moment I cursed anyone and everyone who made the decision to chose HER.

"Giles, you have to hurry...she's...slipping away." My tears had a mind of their own, and wouldn't be contained anymore. They fell warm and salty. I felt a light touch on my face, and opened my eyes to find B looking at me strangely.

"Big...girls don't cry Faith..." She said weakly before she slipped into unconciousness.

The nearest hospital from what used to be Sunnydale was at least a hundred miles away and it didn't look like we would make it. There was a warm flash of light behind me and then the grip of a reassuring hand on my shoulder.

"How is she?" Willow asked frantically.

"Willow, how...where?" Willow hadn't been on the bus when we made our mad dash to safety, I was sure of it.

"No time to explain, how long has she been bleeding like this?" She looked at Buffy with more love and concern than any of us would ever understand. It made her face look even more angelic; surrounded by white hair that was red at the beginning of the battle.

"It's been about twenty minutes Red." I said in a worried tone, conveying how powerless I felt.

Willow proved that she wasn't.

"That's unacceptable." Willow cried out placing one hand on me and the other on Buffy, joining us in some kind of circle.

"Bloody hell?" Giles remarked, seeing us disappear in the same flash of light that made Willow appear on the bus minutes ago.

The next thing I know, we're at the entrance to an ER at a hospital somewhere. We must have looked like a bunch of hippies or something, because we got all kinds of stares from people coming in and out of the hospital. Especially when I walked up to the information desk, holding Buffy like she was a small child. It hadn't occurred to me that my strength would appear a little odd to regular people.

"She's been stabbed and she's bleedin' real bad." I spoke to the receiving nurse.

"How did this happen?" She asked.

"Uh...we..um...were taking a walk downtown and a gang robbed us, she wouldn't part with her Coach bag."

"What type of insurance does she have?"

"I don't know, but this place is going to need plenty, If you ask me one more dumb question...WHILE SHE'S BLEEDING ALL OVER THIS FUCKING FLOOR!"

The nurse jumped to attention and called some kind of code over the intercom, and a bunch of people came running. They took her from me; saying nothing, and slammed a door in my face. The instructions on that door read..'Medical personnel only beyond this point'.

Willow took my hand and led me out into the fresh air.

"We've got to let them work on her Faith, you can't do anything else for her."

'But you can Will, you've got mad power, I just saw you use it!"

"That's true Faith, but my power has limits. Ones that I have to set, so that what happened with Warren will never happen again."

"That rat bastard deserved to die, and everybody knows it!"

"Whether he deserved to die or not, had no bearing on ME Faith, don't you understand that. While I might be a powerful witch, I'm far from a God. I don't have the right to make those decisions. I've had to learn compromise in the wielding of my powers, so now...I only assist. I played God with Buffy once before, and the results were disastrous. I swore that I would never do it again, even if it meant her death."

"Fine time for you to go all moral on me when my girl's in there fighting for her life."

Willow took my hand again.

"Close you eyes Faith, make me feel how much you want Buffy to live."

As tired of the mumbo-jumbo as I was, I gave myself over to it, and did what she asked. There was a heat flowing from her hand to mine, and I felt the same sensation as you do just before a plane takes off. We were suspended for a minute, and then floating in a dense fog.

I heard Willow's voice in my ear, just behind me, encouraging me.

"There she is Faith, go to her...tell her."

I followed the direction of Willow's out-strectched arm until a far off figure started becoming clear to me.

It was Buffy, wearing the same clothes she wore in the battle, but they were clean..like nothing had ever happened, and there wasn't a hair on her head out of place.

"Let me go Faith."

"NO!"

"This was meant for me a long time ago, just remember me."

"You can't leave me Buffy! PLEASE! Don't you understand? I just found you!"

She looked at me as if puzzled.

"I never told you..because I didn't know how. When Willow brought me back to Sunnydale to help out, and I saw you. I knew that it was just as strong as ever. Aw fuck...I love you B, always have...more than my own life. So don't you see? Fight baby...fight to live, fight for...me." I could only put my head down and sob deeply at the thought of losing her.

Buffy's apparition smiled at me as she faded, "What took you so long to say so?"

Then she was gone.

In reality, I was standing outside with my face buried in Willow's shoulder.

"What just happened Red?"

"You are a slayer Faith, that means you have the ability to experience Vision Quests. With my new found connection to the slayer bloodline through the scythe, I was able to take you on a short one."

Before she had a chance to explain anything else. Giles pulled up in the parking lot burning rubber and trailing a cloud of dust behind him. He ran up to us almost hysterical.

"Where is she?"

Willow wrapped her arm around his shoulder and walked him inside.

"She's being treated Giles. We've done all that we can for her. Now we wait."

CHAPTER THREE

Buffy's POV

I floated in and out of conciousness for what seemed like days, but I was never alone. Her voice comforted me in its anquish, willing me to open my eyes, and come back to her. She held me in my dreams, talking about random, every day things. The staff told me how steadfast she had been, refusing to leave my side; until finally; neccesity called for a shower, fresh clothes, and food.

I paced back and forth anxiously on the day I was discharged. Faith was no where to be found, and that just wasn't like her. All my fears were put to rest by a large shadow darkening the doorway of my room. Surely there couldn't have been another ballon left in the hospital gift shop, because they all rose to the ceiling in a sea of briiliant colors and odd shapes.

As if that weren't enough, she pulled her arm from behind her back to reveal the most beautiful bouquet of starburst lillies I'd ever seen. Even the way she had dressed for the occasion, showed special preparation on her part. The usual rough and ready look she liked to sport, was replaced by a white cotton peasant blouse and simple blue jeans. Her hair was pulled back from her face with a beautiful mother-of-pearl barrette, accentuating her graceful neck and shoulders.

My face must have flushed as my eyes traveled down the front of her blouse, visually caressing the curve of her breasts. Embarrassed by the instant arousal overtaking me, I forced my eyes back to her face. There, I noticed a subtle hint of makeup, giving her face a welcoming glow. Love, warm and deep shined through her eyes, and made her lips tremble when she smiled at me.

I walked toward this woman who was my savior and the love of my life; all at once. The Southie in her calmed as I took her face in my hands and gently brushed my lips across her cheek.

"We can be together now Faith...no more running from what we feel. Neither one of us has the time to waste." I kissed her full on the lips and wrapped my arms around my anchor.

Those few moments were surreal and precious, giving me the fervent hope of sharing more of them in our life together. Her composure slipped as a faint whimper left her throat, and hungry fingers gripped my back. Unconciously, we both stepped slowly, moving until my back was against the wall by my hospital bed. Our bodies melded together in a full embrace, and I felt the heat coming from her, willing my hands to find their way down; to the swell of her hips, pulling her closer into me.

Her eyes opened for just a moment, when she felt the intimacy between us intensify.

"Want that B?" She spoke barely above a whisper, with her lips still lightly touching mine.

She took away any opportunity I had to answer, by gingerly swaying her hips in such a way; that left nothing to the imagination.

"All you have to do," her hand covered mine and placed it between us, "Is take it."

'Oh Goddess, hands...hands..." Willow said insistently as she entered the room, blushing at the position she found us in.

"So not the right time ladies, and I'm sorry." She looked more like my fourteen year old insecure friend, than the most powerful witch on the planet, as she spoke to us. "We've got to go, someone else is slated for this room in an hour."

Faith and I smiled in unison, displaying a mixture of embarrassment and tempered lust.

*****

My recuperation was speedy, and it wasn't long before I was ready to face the most terrifying thing, I'd ever come up against. I was no longer special in a world filled with potentials. Faith's cavalier attitude towards being passe' served her a lot better than my sulking did for me.

"B, ya gotta look at it from my point of view, with you around; I was always considered second best anyway, now we're both obsolete...big fucking whoop!"

She grabbed me by my shoulders and shook me, "Get a grip baby, you ain't the hot shit you used to be, but I still say being able to bend a gotdamned steel bar with two fingers ain't half bad. Besides, you're still pretty damn special to me."

"That's just because you like having sex with me...letch." I replied in my best coquette voice.

"And that's one thing that will never change baby, even when that ass is ninety years old, it's still going to be hot...and mine."

Faith puzzled me sometimes, with her willingness to believe we would always be together. It was almost like she had seen the future. The only thing was, in a way, I had seen it too. After the smoke cleared and the novelty wore off of what we had all been through, I took stock of what made us work, and what didn't. Trouble in paradise was lurking.

Everyone knew we had a passionate love for each other, built literally from blood, sweat, and tears. What no one took into account, was our innate differences...not as Slayers, but people. Faith had always taken her pleasures where she could find them, with no thought for the future. Looking back, the way she lived made perfect sense, when she faced a life expectancy of twenty or so.

That was then, now we both had longevity to deal with. I couldn't help but look back on my life and feel that I'd been robbed, of my mom most of all. There wasn't a day that went by without me remembering one thing, how she welcomed me home after I ran away from the pain of killing Angel. Our's had always been a volatile relationship, because she never truly understood my responsibility spanned something far more vast; than a good education, or a productive life.

Red, weary eyes widened in shock and instant relief when she opened the door to find me standing there. If anyone has ever loved me more, I'll never know it. She hugged me tight until her arms lost their strength, and then she gently touched my face and said tenderly, "You're grounded young lady."

Once she finally grasped my predicament, she did her best to suffer in silence, always being what she was first and foremost, my mother. I missed her most on that final day of the battle. What I wouldn't have given for one of her reassuring hugs, and a mini pep talk. Some how I envisioned her, a fierce warrior transformed with sword in hand, fighting to the death, not for the sake of the whole world; but for me. Joyce Summers would have gone out with a shout, and it is her spirit that still drives me in everything I do.

So, here I was contemplating the rest of my life, and taking things far too seriously. Everything that gravitated around me in my life had its place, but I made a big mistake trying to find one for Faith. She would not conform to anyone's laws or rules. The irony of it all, is that I ever thought she should be governed by mine. However, I was intent on *helping her get her life together* so to speak. It took the least likely advocate for Faith, to break me down and show me the error of my ways.

That day Willow and I almost came to blows....

...to be continued...

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