You Pull The Strings
by Dylan
Rating: NC-17

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PART ELEVEN: Fool No More

“Hey…worm boy, wake the fuck up.” Faith banged on the solid door to Spike’s so called home.

She had looked for him in the bar she was now familiar with, but he hadn’t been there with the rest of the Sunnydale lowlifes. Faith took the opportunity to quickly down some foul smelling alcohol, before making her way back out into the unsafe streets of the hell hole she had found herself living in.

Her mind was numb enough now not to cause her to think too much. She’d had her fair share of thinking anyway. It was time to take back her life from the pain in her chest. She surmised that if she’d already lost the one thing worth keeping herself on the right side of the tracks for, then there really was no point in staying there.

“For fuck’s sake…What the bloody hell is all the racket about?” Spike emerged from his crypt looking like he’d been beaten up by a bad assed Slayer.

“Looking good there, Spiky. You get into some kinda fight?” She mocked, and walked past him into his cold and cheerless home. She loved the fact that she had healed quicker than him.

“Yeah…some psycho bitch. Couldn’t get her off me.” He walked up behind the brunette and placed his cold naked torso against her, his arms around her tiny waist.

Faith shivered as every muscle and bone in her body screamed in defiance of the action. Her body was telling her to kill, her mind was telling her to keep control. She pushed his arms away from her waist and turned to face the Vampire. He leaned down to kiss her thinking it was the opportunity to do so.

“You wish…Now get dressed. We’re gonna have some fun.” The dark beauty moved away from Spike before his lips touched hers.

Throwing his hands up in the air slightly and sighing breathlessly, Spike rummaged around in an old trunk at the bottom of his bed. The bed they had…Faith didn’t want to think about it. She turned away from the disarray of sheets as she noticed her blood darkening in patches upon them.

She could still smell herself in the stale and stagnant air clinging in ridicule around the gothic surroundings. Her blood, sweat, tears. Her cum, as it soaked into the dirty old mattress. His…She shuddered at the memory.

“So…what kind of fun did you have in mind? You want a replay of last night? Cos let me tell you, never in all my years as a Vampire have I ever had such a good f…”

“Spike, shut the fuck up.” Faith sneered in warning, and the Vampire obviously got the message. He continued getting dressed in silence.

Once he was all decked out in denim and leather to match Faith, they left the dead, rotten air of the crypt and made their way out to find some way to feed the hungry craving for recklessness.

The brunette had forgotten entirely that she hadn’t eaten anything and was in less than a great state physically. It didn’t matter to her that it was just another pain within her torn body. She was used to hunger anyway. It was a childhood memory going back earlier than any other. That, and cockroaches.

After half an hour wasting time consuming as many shots as they could possibly manage, in the stinking bar Faith was used to stumbling out of, they decided to go and savour the delights of a place with more atmosphere than the average morgue. Faith knew just the location.

“Come on, barbie. Wanna go meet the kids?” She tugged at the sleeve of his long leather coat, and pulled him roughly from their stifling sanctuary.

The tension within Faith was building as they approached her intended destination. She wasn’t looking for a fight, but she was definitely looking to declare that she was unaffected by Buffy and her little gang of hangers on. The neon of the nametag to the club shone out into the street, as they made their way over to the queue busy jostling and murmuring to the right of the doorman.

She didn’t really feel like waiting around with the losers hoping they could squeeze into the club if they were lucky enough. She didn’t even know why The Bronze was so damn popular. But then she remembered where she was.

Faith strode past the waiting clubbers, ignoring the tuts and obvious comments, and sidled up to the heavily built bouncer. Running her hand down his large suited chest, she winked and spoke in a husky, almost feral tone.

“You gonna let me and my dog in?” Leaning close to her captive audience, Faith whispered in his ear. “I could send him away with a bone later so you and me can play. I bet you’d look real good with me sat on your cock.” Her sexy grin was his undoing. He lifted the barrier and let them both in as the crowd protested loudly. “Later…” Faith gave the doorman a little wave and entered the club like she owned it. Like she owned every worthless piece of scum that dared to even look her way.

She felt like she was on fire. Maybe it was all bravado to cover up how vulnerable she really felt inside, but right now she didn’t care about the reasons. She just knew she loved feeling like she had it all, and nobody could mess with her.

“What are we doing here? It’s like a bloody kindergarten. And the music sucks.” The blonde Vampire stopped beside the confident Slayer as she surveyed the room.

“Stop pouting. You look like a fucking prom Queen with a missing tiara.” She strode off towards the bar with him following like a lost pup.

Faith was glad she was feeling like she had the upper hand right now. The whole night with Spike had tested her and she felt dirty, but she also felt something else. Some kind of release from her self pity as he simpered after her, wondering if he would be entitled to even gaze upon her delicious body one more time.

They reached the bar and muscled their way easily past spotty adolescents too afraid of their own shadows to deny them access. Spike ordered them a round of drinks, as the bartender looked them both over curiously. Neither of them really fit in there amongst the high school and college mob.

Spike looked too hard, and well, too old and jaded to waste his time in such a place. And Faith, she looked like she could eat half the crowd alive if she so desired. They definitely stood out from the throng.

The brunette leant against the space at the bar that had cleared for her, her head held high. Hair sleek and straight. Dark makeup accentuating all the bad ass she held as a shield. With her confident shell protecting and concealing her delicateness and inner turmoil, Faith looked stunning.

*****

Her poise wavered a little though as she noticed the entrance of the Scoobies, with Buffy following almost meekly behind. Faith felt the tingle, but the small blonde didn’t look up even though she would have felt it too. It surprised Faith. The other Slayer should be on major alert. Not only was she in the club, but there was Spike too.

But Buffy wasn’t reacting. She looked lost in her own world, eyes cast down as she followed the rest of the gang blindly towards a table near the back of the small and busy room.

“Hey, Slayer. What you staring at?”

Faith took the drink from Spike’s hand and turned away from the girl that she refused to allow back under her barriers. “Nothing at all. Come on.”

She kept hidden behind the swell of the teenage crowd and made her way over to a low sofa just far enough away to stay out of view, but positioned just at the right angle so Faith could keep her eye on Buffy and her little pals.

“This stuff is bloody watered down. We should have stayed at the…” He wasn’t allowed to finish either his sentence or his drink as the dark girl took it from him and downed it.

“Tastes fine to me.” Smirking, the brunette handed him the empty glass and continued her watch on Buffy, ignoring the Vampire’s mumbling.

Faith watched as Xander and Willow spoke excitedly and Buffy just sat there, nodding occasionally, but never saying anything. There was a look in the blonde girl’s usually shimmering eyes that the younger Slayer had never seen before. She couldn’t quite place what it was. It was a sadness that held something deeper, something she would have to get closer to in order to work out.

Shaking her head slightly to stop from sliding back into longing for the other Slayer, Faith gestured for Spike to make another drinks run. She wasn’t in the mood to be sober right now. It would do her so much better to be able to ignore the feelings welling up inside her at how sullen the older girl looked.

“Ya know, I thought I had a problem with this stuff…But you? Jesus…she’s really under your skin, isn’t she beautiful?” Spike handed the brunette her drink and caught the deadly look in her eye at the same time.

“Don’t say another fucking word about her.” Her tone was dripping in danger signs.

Looking deep into the piercing blue eyes of the blonde Vampire, she could see he knew not to bring up Buffy again. She could have staked him right there. If there was one thing she hated, it was people knowing how she felt. It made all her walls look weak and pointless. She wasn’t going to let him know any more than he did about how far under her skin and how deep in her heart the other Slayer was.

“Wanna dance, dead guy?” She didn’t give him time to answer as she once more swallowed the thick contents of her glass, then pulled him out onto the semi busy dance floor.

The music was loud and hard. Dance beats booming out of the nearby speakers, shaking the floor and reverberating through the young bodies twisting and turning to the rhythm.

The stunning brunette fell right into the resounding trance of the music, wrapping Spike up along with her. She knew it was risky to show herself, but Buffy wasn’t going to stop her from being who she was. And she loved to dance. To feel the beat snaking its way around her and filtering in through her skin to sweep her up in its energy and pulsing vibrations. It was letting go without leaving herself exposed, because she commanded the music as much as it commanded her.

The other dancers had no choice but to part for the out of place pair. They were in a world of their own, and from a world of their own. Faith wished it were Buffy she was sliding up against. The slender blonde girl’s arms wrapped around her, as she seductively rolled her hips and ground her crotch into her partner.

It was always pretty spectacular when the two Slayers let rip on the dance floor, and Spike was no substitute, but she used him to show to the world that she was back. To show Buffy that whatever happened, she was untouchable.

She was free, and fine without her. She was hot and worth a thousand of her. And the major thing…That she didn’t care about Buffy and what she had accused her of. If it were some cheesy movie she was in, Faith would probably have expected Gloria Gaynor to come belting out of the speakers, singing to the world about surviving and shit like that.

Twisting her hands up into her luxurious hair, Faith stole a look Buffy’s way. The small Slayer had her eyes locked on her, but her expression was unreadable. The Scooby gang was also watching her as her hips rolled to the music and Spike’s hands touched more intimately than she really wanted him to. She noticed a flicker in the green pools staring at her however, so she encouraged the Vampire by pulling his leg between her thighs and grinding into him.

She didn’t have a clue what was going through Buffy’s head, but she was going to make sure she left some kind of impression. The thing was though, Faith wasn’t sure of what kind of impression she was going for.

The dark Slayer didn’t know if it was jealousy she wanted to instil in the older girl, or rage, because she was kind of confirming how much of a user and a slut she was with the way she was acting. She was just running on empty as far as knowing what the hell she was doing, but the beat and the heat of the dance floor stole any conscious thought from her as Spike made sure they became more of a floor show than a dancing couple.

Turning her back to the lucky Vampire, Faith slithered against him, pushing into his crotch with her ass, her dark eyes daring Buffy to show some interest. Gliding her hands down over her breasts and toned stomach, Faith licked her parted lips. She was certainly getting everybody else’s attention, and she could feel Spike becoming aroused behind her. She wanted to push him away, but she was noticing a change in the blonde girl’s body language.

Buffy was getting angry. Her body stiffening as her muscles strained against her soft, delicately tanned skin. She was no longer looking at Faith though, her eyes were slicing into the bleached demon behind her, who had his hands possessing her and telling the world that they were definitely on an intimate level with one another.

Before the dark Slayer realised what was happening, Buffy was almost on top of her, pulling her away from the Vampire. She turned to witness the diminutive Slayer kick Spike right between his legs, probably causing a lot more pain than she even intended due to his erection.

Faith stifled a chuckle, watching as the two blondes in her life set about trying to tear each other apart. She didn’t know why Buffy was kicking his ass instead of hers, but things were really starting to get out of hand. Xander and Willow had somehow became involved and all hell broke loose. She had to do something other than stand and watch. Somebody could get hurt.

Or killed.

PART TWELVE: Empty Hope

Willow was pulling on Xander’s arm, trying to stop him from yanking at the blonde Vampire’s jacket. Buffy really didn’t need the help, but he was doing his best I want to be a hero too act. As people jostled to get out of the way, drinks fell, glasses broke, and it was in danger of getting them all thrown out. Faith watched as the small Slayer shoved at Spike as he tried to get past her.

It wasn’t so much a fight really, more like a school ground push and shove contest in the middle of a haze of dance floor smoke and cheap perfume, and Faith had no idea why Buffy was acting the way she was. For a start, she hadn’t even looked in the brunette’s direction since she had leapt from her stool.

“Ok, break it up…This is fucking ridiculous.” Faith waded into the fight holding the two warring parties apart. “What the hell you trying to do, B?” She eyed the shorter Slayer, trying not to notice how sweet she looked all hot and flustered, and how her skin was burning under the dark girl’s touch.

“Get off me, Faith.” Buffy twisted away from the hand that had been holding her back by the shoulder. “And get out. Both of you.”

“Yeah…back off, Faith. You…you’re…” Faith glared at the bumbling redhead, who instantly shut up and continued cowering behind Xander of all people.

Spike straightened his jacket, also glaring at the diminutive Slayer and her ineffective gang. He looked annoyed, but Faith could see he was also a little confused. He wasn’t the only one. As far as Faith could tell, there was no reason for Buffy to have attacked Spike. He was more or less being classed as one of the good guys now, to a degree. So she knew Buffy had no intention of dusting him. Certainly not in the middle of the Bronze anyway.

There was a little speck of hope somewhere in the back of her mind that was telling her that maybe Buffy had been feeling a little jealous with Faith and Spike’s obvious show of intimacy. The last person the sexy Slayer had danced with had been Buffy, although they never were quite an erotic floorshow, they would dance a lot closer than most friends would deem appropriate.

Faith had always loved the way they could take over a dance floor. The way they moved so well together. The shy touches. The heat as fingers entwined, bodies pressed, eyes burned into one another.

They would become entirely absorbed in the dance. It was definitely intimate. She could place the feeling now, after their short amount of time together during Buffy’s amnesia. When she had kissed Buffy, it was like the same exhilarating rush of being somehow joined by what they were doing.

She remembered how it felt like the world had stopped for them the minute their lips had met. And how her heart had all but burst when Buffy had touched her the night she was drunk. It seemed like a dream now. The love that had wrapped around her with the blonde girl’s caress was a fantasy, somewhere in the back of her mind where she was still able to breath without pain, sleep without thought, feel without regret.

But she realised, as Buffy looked at her with more than a burn of disgust in her angry eyes, that the blonde girl would never be thinking of her as anything other than scum right now. Not after what she had accused Faith of in her drab motel room. She just had to feel the sharp sting in her chest to recall that.

“Don’t worry, pet. We’re leaving.” Spike shoved Xander to the side, knocking him into Willow, and her into a table.

Faith didn’t want to leave though. She wanted to stay and convince Buffy that what had been said about her, what Willow had told her, had been a pack of lies. They stood at the side of the dance floor, a handful of people milling around and pretending not to be watching, as the chosen two studied each other, glaring into each other’s searching eyes. It was like a Mexican stand off without guns. Everybody waiting for the next move.

The tension that Faith had been feeling as soon as the trouble had started, the strain of her muscles and the knot inside, eased as she continued to look into the small Slayer’s eyes. She felt deflated, and she wanted to walk away from the empty stare. Spike cleared his throat to get her attention and she turned to leave, feeling hopeless and unwanted.

“Faith…wait.” Buffy bridged the gap between them and grabbed the brunette’s arm, lightly.

She hadn’t ordered Faith to stop. Her voice was more hesitant and pleading than anything else. Soft and unsure. Without turning to face the older girl, Faith raised her chocolate pools once again to look at Buffy over her shoulder. She waited…but only saw a small glimmer of something flash in the green depths of Buffy’s eyes. It looked a little like regret, or something warmer, but nothing was said. Then Spike once again broke the heavy atmosphere.

“Come on, lover.” He took her other hand and gave her a slight tug.

The instant he had finished calling her his lover, Buffy’s face once again became a cold hard mask. The gaze became a glare, and her hand tightened its grip on the taller girl’s firm arm before she let it go suddenly, like she was throwing something away that she no longer had use for. Faith took the hint, despite the cryptic look she had seen in her fellow Slayer’s eyes.

She turned her head, and without even bothering to notice the evil glares coming from Willow, and now Xander, she took off with Spike out of the club. Because really, she had no other choice despite how much she despised the entire situation.

*****

As soon as they were on the outside of the club, making their way down one of the dreary and mostly dangerous alleys, Faith caught hold of the blonde Vampire, spinning him round to face her and propelling him up against the wall. He let out an almost feminine squeal as she pushed him hard against the dirty brick of the dark building they were next to. Gripping his shoulders painfully, she brought her face close to his.

“Just for the record, scuzzball. I’m not your fucking lover.” She was sure if she’d had a stake to hand it would have been sticking in his chest right now.

“Calm down, Slayer. I mean…that wasn’t what you were saying last night whilst you were jumping up and down on my…” Spike’s head snapped back as the angry girl head butted him.

“That was…Fuck. I don’t know what that was, but we’re not gonna be doing it again any time soon. So I’m not your fucking lover.” To emphasise her point, Faith elbowed the baffled Vampire, adding to the pain he was already in.

She dropped his shoulders from her grasp, and started walking away from the darkness of the alley, her hands dug firmly into her pockets. She was hungry and tired. Sick of feeling like shit. Sick of wanting something that was far out of reach.

“She’ll never love you ya know? Never.” He called after her as she disappeared into the shadowy side streets.

She had tried not to hear what he’d said, but it struck her like a bullet and forced its way into her brain. Walking with her head low, Faith stumbled through the streets, not knowing exactly where to go or what to do.

The brunette didn’t want to go back to the motel and fill her time going over everything in her mind. And even though she was hungry and needed to replace her lost blood, she didn’t feel like eating, as she didn’t think her stomach could take it. Unlike her, food was the last thing on her mind.

The trash filled gutters slowly gave way to spacious pavements as Faith wandered, hardly looking up or taking note of what was around her. All she could see was the look on Buffy’s face, the small flicker of something other than disgust turning icy and severe with Spike’s voiced assumption.

She didn’t even want to think about the idea of the cold dead Vampire being her lover. The thought turned her stomach more than the idea of filling it with food. Her body had betrayed her and reacted. It had sought a way to replace the emotional pain, only to replace it with more.

A sound to her right caught the young girl’s attention. She lifted her head and looked around, a trashcan was being filled by a very suburban looking man. Taking more of her environment in, Faith suddenly realised where she was. Just like before when she had been wandering aimlessly, she had homed in on Buffy.

Standing not too far away from the small path up to the Summers house, Faith ran a hand through her thick dark hair, and allowed her eyes to find their way up to Buffy’s bedroom window. She was far enough away, and hidden enough by the leafy trees nearby to feel like it was safe to be there. Although she wasn’t sure if that was a good idea, as being there was making her heart long for, and her body need, the blonde girl within.

The dark Slayer could see the light on in the small window. Its yellow hue seeping out into the dark, spreading like fingers over the lawn. Faith wanted to climb the slithers of light, knock on the window and be greeted by warm loving arms.

The fantasy of it was almost funny. She wanted to laugh, but the tragedy of knowing that things could be so different, would be so different if Buffy would just open her eyes, open her heart and see what was right in front of her, was too real. It was throbbing inside the troubled Slayer, weighing down her soul with emptiness.

The light in the window flickered a little, and Faith pulled further back into the shadows. Buffy was looking out into the night, her hand resting on the clear glass of the window. Faith couldn’t see her clearly, but with the shine of the light behind her, she looked beautiful. Like she was a painting and the window was her frame. The brunette risked creeping a little further forward to revel in the refined elegance of the girl she just couldn’t stop loving.

Long blonde hair, settling softly on her shoulders just begging for Faith’s dextrous fingers to run through it. Her face clear of makeup, fresh and almost angelic, pleading with the brunette to place feather light kisses upon it.

Buffy looked sombre though, and distant, as she stared out at nothing, just watching the stars turn and the night grow colder. The blonde girl eventually turned away from the frame of the glass, with Faith watching as she sunk into the depth of the room, and out of sight.

Sighing, the dark Slayer convinced herself that she shouldn’t just leap up to the window and prove to Buffy that she wasn’t the monster that Willow was telling her she was. That she would do anything for her. That she could love her and keep her safe. Show her how soft she could be under her hard exterior.

But Buffy didn’t want to know. She didn’t even want her friendship now that she thought Faith had taken advantage of her. It was pointless looking up and longing. Yearning for somebody that…“…will never love you…” Spike’s words came to haunt her in the silence of the suburban street she was currently hiding in the shadows of. She knew it, deep inside, she would never be good enough for the other Slayer.

Faith turned, wanting to get away as fast as possible. She ran, with her long dark hair whipping behind her, through the emptiness of the unusually tranquil Sunnydale neighbourhoods. Into the neon lights of the town. Into the deep recesses of her sorrow. Into the cemetery she had so recently stumbled out of, battered and bruised, and used more than she had taken. She didn’t have to plead with Spike to let her in, he was more willing than she wanted.

The run and the already fragile state of her body, caused Faith to fall into the blonde Vampires arms as he smirked at her, knowing he had the upper hand again. Picking the beautiful brunette up, he made his way over to the stale sheets of his bed and placed her back amongst the stains.

She wanted to slap him off her, get up and run to a safer place, but she didn’t know a safer place. Buffy had been it, and she no longer had her to turn to. There was nowhere for her to hide from her inner demons anymore. All she had was the drink currently being handed to her, and the knowledge that whatever pain she might endure at the hands of Spike, was nothing compared to the pain of being alone.

Even though she would never admit it to anybody. It was Faith’s biggest fear. Loneliness. And she had lived in that fear for far too long. Her first months in Sunnydale still had her gripped in its agonising clutches until Buffy had finally allowed her to step away from it a little, into the enticing embrace of her friendship. But the threat of it was always present.

The only time she had ever felt safe from its grabbing hold, was the moment Buffy had told her that she loved her. But it hadn’t lasted. Like a fool she had held a small hope that it would, but she was alone again. Now more than ever. It hurt. It emptied her, and looking up as she watched Spike pull his belt from his trousers, she realised it was all she would ever really feel.

Faith’s tears came soft and silent down her cheeks, as she gave in to the inevitable.

PART THIRTEEN: Broken

Notes: This chapter kinda contains non consensual sex, although not too graphic in its description (and by no means gratuitous), if you are particularly likely to find offence with this, or find it too hard to read please skip to the last few paragraphs, or skip the chapter completely. I’m sorry if it causes any problems for people but I felt it was necessary to show the fall into despair and such that Faith is experiencing. It would be best for you to read it if you want to follow what happens, but like I said, it could be too much for some people. You really might not like me much for this chapter. Sorry.

A trivial flame flickered to the left of her, standing proud on the dripping candle that was running little rivers of wax down to the tired old table below. Heavy eyes watched as it danced. The glow, and its handful of allies, humouring the gloom.

Faith wanted to close her eyes to shut out every tiny image of her surroundings. The stark coldness of the crypt. The rough sheets of the bed she was lying on. And the Vampire above her, groaning in his own world of pleasure.

The dark beauty looked away from the candle and screwed her eyes shut at a particularly violent thrust into her. The pain clearly signalling her lack of lubrication or desire to be where she currently was.

“Keep your eyes open, Slayer. I don’t want you thinking of her.” Spike sneered down at the lifeless brunette. “Not much point in thinking of that little tease anyway.”

Faith couldn’t help but know that to be true. Her own lack of self worth, the past weeks, and Spike’s views, convincing her that she was wasting her time being hopelessly in love with Buffy. She was never going to get what she wanted, only what she thought she deserved.

Not too long after stumbling to the Vampire’s dingy home, Spike had encouraged Faith to drink more than she thought was probably wise given the fact she had nothing in her stomach, and much less blood in her veins than was healthy, making her weaker than she had ever felt since being chosen.

After her first few mouthfuls of the pungent liquid however, the disparaged girl forgot all about what was wise. She sank into the warm flow of the alcohol down her throat and once again shut down her mind to function only at the basic level of consciousness. It was easier that way. Everything was.

The bleached demon had watched as she slid, far into drunkenness and defeat. He helped her decline, mumbling his opinions into her willing ears. Whispering and nurturing her feeling of loss and dejection.

He made sure Faith listened to him, telling her again that Buffy would never love her. Never feel anything other than regret at ever having even met her.

“Nobody’s good enough for that one. We’re all like pond scum and she’s bloody spring water. She may want you somewhere in that pretty little head of hers, but she’d never do anything about it. She’s too scared to drop the innocent virgin act.” He laughed as Faith fell deeper into her gloom at every word. “She’d never give any of it up…The friends, the adoring boys, the respect of her watcher, for you. You’re not worth it.”

She didn’t need to be told that, as she already felt it. Despite knowing she had never and could never have taken advantage of Buffy in any way. She felt like she might as well have, just because of the way she wanted the other girl. But Buffy believed she had violated her, so there was even more reason to think the small Slayer would never reveal her true feelings. Or the feelings she maybe once had.

“I told you to keep your eyes open.” Spike struck the prone girl in the face as she hovered between differing states of consciousness and not giving a shit what was happening to her.

Faith was no longer in complete control of her mind or body. Spike was. She had given up on even attempting to deny him what he wanted of her. Once again, she didn’t have the strength, physically or mentally, to fight. She just lay back and left the Vampire to do whatever he wanted so she could just be part of something, even if it brought bile to the back of her throat, and tears to her eyes.

She realised that Spike was using her for more than just pleasure. He was loving the idea of controlling a Slayer, having a Slayer weak and willing to shame herself for him, unable to do anything more than just be what she thought she was right now.

“Ya know, I liked it better when you participated more, Slayer.” He hurt her with his harshness and violent movements.

Spike’s cold dead body slammed into her, covering her own nakedness as she shivered from the chill emanating from him and the tormenting stone room encasing them. She wanted to push him off. With every thrust she wanted to say stop, but the words wouldn’t come.

They were stuck in her dry throat. No sound came from her bar the slight wince of pain when she could no longer hold it in. She felt low and dirty for having nothing but this. She had fallen from the clutches of love to nothing, and it had broken her.

“Fuck, you’re so tight right now.” Spike continued the consummation of Faith’s downfall. “Guess I’m just gonna have to loosen you up a little.”

The pain was almost unbearable now, the brunette’s lack of strength lowering her tolerance for it. She was on the verge of crying out, her mind clearing a little from the haze it had sunk into. She was becoming more aware despite her woozy head.

A sharp jolt intruded her thoughts, and the words finally came.

*****

“Spike…wait.” She lifted her hands up to the Vampire’s chest, attempting to push him off, but he wasn’t listening let alone acting on her words.

Spike increased his violent thrusts as he grabbed the Slayer’s wrists with one hand, holding them tight above her head, holding her down with the other, and pinning her to the bed amongst the devastation of the sheets.

Faith was surprised to find that she couldn’t struggle out of his grasp. She couldn’t release his grip on her. The thought crossed her mind that maybe her lack of blood and the fact that he had drank from her, swallowing down her thick red Slayer essence, was causing him to be far stronger than she could deal with right now. Things had definitely taken a worrying turn, and now that she was fully aware of her predicament, she realised she had totally lost all of her power and control, once and for all. She was at Spike’s mercy.

“Ok…get off me…now.” She tried to sound confident and threatening, swallowing down her new fear as he did his best to damage her.

“I’ll get off when I’m done, pet.” His grip tightened and he slipped into his grotesque game face.

“Spike, stop…or I’m so gonna kill you.” Panic was beginning to rise in her as she tested her strength and found it lacking.

Faith pushed her body up to get the message across that she wanted up, and him off her, but her actions only served to make the blonde Vampire more determined. With the room growing darker and more ominous, the Slayer increased her struggling, but she was becoming weaker by the minute. The real world was slipping away and sharp fangs descended.

“No…Stop.” She yelled, but he smirked at the panic.

“That wasn’t what you were screaming at me last time, Slayer. This time though…I’m gonna drink from your neck, and you’ll just lay there and fucking take it.” Pointed teeth gripped her flesh, ripping at the delicate skin as she screamed out in defiance.

Faith could instantly feel the tug of her blood from her veins as it slipped out and down the Vampire's throat. She had no strength inside her to fight it. The cold penetrated her to the bone. A mist descended over her, and the lust fuelled Vampire threw himself into the ecstasy of drinking Slayer blood.

He wasn’t going to stop this time. He was draining her, and it wasn’t going to take long. She could feel herself giving in, but whimpered out a last ditch attempt at release.

“Stop…please. Buffy…” Her heart slowly pounded in submission, a rhythm entirely for Spike. She closed her eyes as tears flowed freely.

Salt water mixed with blood on its trickle down Faith’s slender neck, past the hungry mouth sucking at her and onto the bed below. She could feel the spills seeping into the mattress as if she were nothing but the blood and tears. Like she was no more than that. A vessel for her pumping heart. Her broken heart. Disappearing with the cruel lust of a Vampire too damaged within himself, to realise his mistakes.

“Stop…” Her voice was weak and strained. Her pulse a distant murmur in the background as it grew faint and almost unrecognisable.

Faith was being pulled from her pain. Being encouraged to limp away, as she knew she had nothing to hold onto, or for. She knew she would never have the one thing she wanted and needed. She would never have Buffy’s love.

The failing Slayer closed her bottomless brown eyes, allowing the slithers of light to fade along with everything she had once hoped for. She couldn’t hold on any longer. The suffering and the loneliness just wasn’t a good reason to live. She couldn’t bear knowing that she had threatened Willow and lost Buffy.

Buffy, who was the one pure thing in her life. There was no hope there. Everything had fallen from her grasp because of her own weakness.

“I’m sorry…I’m so sorry, Buffy.” Tears, blood and aching hunger for release of any kind took over. “Buffy…I’m sorry.” Her heart slowed to a dangerous pace.

She recalled all the times she had laughed with the other Slayer, fought along side her, with her. Regretted being an ass to her. Remembered the touch of her lips, and the caress of her hands and fingers over her body. Everything was Buffy. She was so deep inside Faith’s heart that all she could think of as the world faded, was Buffy. All she could hear, over the sound of sucking and grunting, was Buffy.

In the tumbling dark ahead of her, Faith gripped onto the last whispering of her name on the blonde Slayer’s lips. Calling for her…searching. Filtering through the raven dusk of the lonely journey ahead…Her voice soft and faint. Her voice…Buffy calling out her name.

“Faith…hold on.” Words resonating around the harsh cell of Spike’s crypt, anything but soft and faint.

The brunette wasn’t sure what was happening. Caught between the pull of eternal sleep, and the sound of somebody crashing through the heavy door to the dim and dusty room. Another yell and suddenly a weight was taken from her. Literally. Spike was no longer attached to Faith’s body or her neck.

“Get the fuck off her.”

Faith forced her eyes to open and take in the sight of her saviour, Buffy, launching the stunned Vampire into the far wall, where he hit the stone barrier with a force stronger than any mortal could survive. His eyes barely had time to register the girl rushing towards him before his world ended, scattered to dust in the dirt he had festered in.

“B…Buffy…” The word stumbled from pale lips, as the diminutive Slayer fell to her knees besides the blood soaked bed. Beside Faith.

“Faith…oh God, don’t die. Please don’t die.” Silver shards of emotion ran down the blonde girl’s cheeks, splashing onto the cold and trembling skin of the drained Slayer. “Please…don’t leave me. I’m sorry. Faith…please…” The choked words faded on the breeze, as Faith fell silently into the swirling abyss too close now to escape from. “You told me you’d never leave me…Faith…”

Hands of ice reached out to the waiting Slayer, pulling her away from the voice she loved, the girl she loved, the life she just wasn’t meant to live without the pain and the sorrow of forever being alone and on the outside looking in.

It all faded out of view. Out of reach. Out of time. And she was swallowed by the nothingness she had run from all of her short life. Faith let go. Surrendered. And ran no longer.

“You told me you’d never leave…That you’d never leave me. Never…” Sobs cried out into the night, but it was too late.

Faith had already gone.

PART FOURTEEN: You Only Have This Chance

Something was humming in the background. Like a fly trapped in a tight container, just dying to get out. It was annoying the hell out of her. She wanted to swat it but for some reason she couldn’t quite seem to raise her arm. It was limp. She was limp.

Faith opened her eyes slowly, unsure of where she was and why she was there. Nothing in her brain was pointing her in the right direction of knowing what the hell had happened. All she knew right now was that she felt incredibly tired, and that she was lying down in a bed, with something making an annoying noise next to her.

Harsh light flooded the enigmatic girl’s eyelids as she prized them open, instantly causing her to wince and want to shut her eyes again, but she had to know where she was and what was happening. Instinct had her wanting to know that much.

Above her, the ceiling looked too white almost to be real. As her eyes grew used to the blinding light however, Faith realised she was somewhere clinical. The smell alone could tell her that. It was stripped of anything but cleaning agent.

Testing her limbs, the brunette flexed her fingers and toes, finding them responsive.

She ignored the mask covering her face, filling her lungs with foul tasting oxygen, and turned her head to look in the direction of the noise that had woken her from whatever kind of sleep she had been in.

A machine with various dials and gauges was set beside her, and she was attached to it by tubes and such. Acknowledging that whatever it was, was there for the good of her health, she looked further towards the bottom of her uncomfortable bed, noticing something a lot more significant and surprising than the contraption she was currently linked to.

A cute blonde was sat in a comfy chair by her small bed, fast asleep. Faith smiled despite her memory of exactly what had transpired returning. She felt a sly tear roll down her cheek as she recalled the other Slayer coming to her rescue, calling her name in the vast emptiness of the tomb of her own making, and stopping Spike. Killing Spike.

Faith felt bad about that because she didn’t really think he deserved to die because of her. And she wasn’t aware yet why exactly Buffy had done what she had, or how she had known where she was. Faith didn’t want to wake the resting girl though with her questions, as she was far too busy enjoying the opportunity just to look at her.

She hadn’t been able to do such a thing for far too long. Even just being in her presence and stealing subtle glances her way was better than nothing, but it hurt to think that she might never really have the opportunity to just gaze dreamily at the girl she loved, without Buffy feeling uncomfortable. If she still believed Faith had done her wrong, then she was in no doubt they would never even get back to the friendship they once had.

The sleeping girl stirred within her crumpled clothing, murmuring as she rolled her head to the side on the back of the large chair. The brunette wanted to go over and pick her up, and lift her into the bed with her, holding her close. She felt it even knowing what Buffy thought about her. Knowing that Buffy was probably there just to make sure she didn’t run off and try to hurt her friends. She couldn’t stop her heart yearning for the small blonde though.

The image of her rushing in to Spike’s cell like crypt was a powerful one. From what Faith could recall seeing, Buffy had been in somewhat of a rage, her ferocious eyes shooting fire at the Vampire before she had slammed her stake into his cold and cruel heart. Then there was the crying, as Faith had slipped into unconsciousness.

The last thing she remembered Buffy saying was that Faith had promised never to leave her. But she had told the older Slayer that during her amnesia, so she shouldn’t have remembered it, or at least that’s what Faith thought. Things obviously needed clearing up. The youngest of the two Slayers just hoped she could face it and not turn and run, like she knew she had a habit of doing. Like she had done too many times before, both physically, and figuratively.

Right now, she didn’t know what to think or feel. She was still heart broken. More than that, she was broken in every way she thought it possible to be. But the proud Slayer didn’t really want to admit that to herself, let alone believe she could admit it to somebody that she had so recently fought with. Somebody that had the power to hurt her in ways she couldn’t deal with. As she’d proved without a doubt.

Closing her heavy eyes, Faith sighed as she felt her body doing its best to fix itself back together again. The memory of fangs digging deep into her neck, sucking away her life caused her to shudder. It had been one hell of a close call, and at the time it had almost felt like salvation. But then Buffy, there, crying…it didn’t make sense.

“Faith? Are you awake?” Buffy sounded even more exhausted than Faith felt.

The dark girl opened her eyes a little, doing her best to hide the emotion in them. She watched without saying a word, as Buffy got up from her seat to stand beside her bed. The blonde girl’s delicate hand was instantly in hers, surprising Faith and causing her to flinch away.

“I’m sorry.” Buffy inched her hand back away from Faith, looking down at the straight lines of the sheets the younger girl was tucked under.

Faith wanted to slip her hand down a little further on the top of the covers and touch Buffy. Take her hand like the other Slayer had just tried to do with her, but she daren’t. Too worried about fucking up all over again.

Tears were welling up in Buffy’s tired eyes as she stood with her rejected right hand resting by Faith, her head down and shoulders slumped. Seconds turned into minutes that seemed like an eternity before either girl spoke.

The atmosphere was heavy with unspoken words and emotions, and Faith was beginning to feel a little strange about the circumstances leading her to her current state, taking up space in a hospital bed. She felt embarrassed that Buffy had seen how low she had stooped, and how easily Spike had taken advantage of her.

She felt embarrassed and annoyed that she’d had to be rescued, from herself as much as anything. Right now, trapped almost, in the silence of the sanitary hospital room, the younger Slayer didn’t know what say to the girl that had just saved her life.

Obviously she was grateful, because no matter how much easier it had seemed to just let go whilst her veins were being divested of blood, Faith didn’t want to die. Not knowing exactly what Buffy felt about her however, was obvious in the lack of clear thinking, and things she wanted to say and ask, but couldn’t.

Faith eventually unlocked her eyes from the far wall, and lifted them to look at the small Slayer, trying to get her to lift her eyes also. She wanted to see if she could make out what Buffy was thinking, and what was going on in the blonde girl’s heart, hoping that the usually open green eyes would let her know what had happened between the point of Buffy believing the worst about her, to Buffy having saved her and sat by her bedside as she lay unconscious.

The younger of the chosen two removed the oxygen mask from her face and took a breath in anticipation of her own words, needing to break the icy glacier that had formed between them. She just had to know where she stood now.

“Buffy…” The silent Slayer looked up into Faith’s beguiling brown eyes. “…I don’t know why you did it, but thank you.” She said in a quiet voice, and glanced away again from Buffy, afraid to witness the feelings flashing over green, as much as she needed to. She certainly didn’t want to see contempt again from the girl she loved.

“How can you say you don’t know why I did it? You know why.” The petite girl clasped her hand around Faith’s, despite the earlier drawing back.

This time the broken Slayer allowed the contact. Swallowing down the guilt for enjoying the soft touch of Buffy’s flesh to hers, Faith breathed out a small and shaky breath. Taking a second to feel every inch of the other girl’s hand in hers, and letting the words she had just spoken sink in.

She wasn’t sure what Buffy had meant. Her heart was beating one rhythm, whilst her head was pounding another. She didn’t know if the older girl, in her way, was telling her that Faith knew she had saved her because she had feelings for her. It really wasn’t clear, and the brunette wasn’t about to just push herself down into the pit of wishful thinking once again if she jumped to conclusions.

But then, there was the fact that Buffy was holding her hand, standing attentively by her bed, with tears in her eyes that were threatening to spill once more onto the pale skin of the less experienced Slayer. Buffy had saved her…that had to mean something.

“B…tell me what you mean.” She couldn’t stand being in the dark anymore. It was a sad and lonely place. “Why did you stop…?” She couldn’t finish her question as her words stuck in her throat from the memory of what Spike had subjected her to.

“Oh God…Faith.” Buffy sobbed out her tears as she overtly threw caution to the wind and quickly leaned down, pulling the younger girl into her arms. “I’m sorry…I…I’m sorry.” Salty water ran from her and over Faith’s cheek, as the smaller girl held tight.

Faith instinctively wrapped her arms around the distraught Slayer, her own tears washing out a little of the pain of the last few weeks, dripping down to mingle with the fallen emotion of the other girl shaking softly against her. She couldn’t guess what Buffy was apologising for, but knew they would need to talk the gloom out of both their lives.

Enveloping herself in Faith’s arms, Buffy eventually began to calm. Her tears slowing from rapids to streams, her breathing less erratic as the two Slayers warmed each other’s skin with their closeness. Faith was about to speak, to ask Buffy why she was telling her she was sorry. Wondering what had changed for her to be acting the way she was. But the blonde girl began a quiet whisper against her neck as she refused to pull away from the tight embrace.

“I can’t believe I accused you of…of doing something like that, to me. What Spike was…God, you must hate me. You should hate me…” Buffy was trembling again and undoing Faith in so many ways she had wanted to stay knotted in.

She didn’t want to just forget the hurt caused to her by Buffy, intentional, and unintentional, but she really had no hope of stopping herself from wanting things to work out. She was hopelessly in love, still. Despite what she had been accused of, what she had done to forget it, and what she had put herself through to burn it out. It was there, just waiting with baited breath for whatever Buffy had to say.

“I don’t hate you, B…I could never hate you.” Faith nuzzled into silky blonde hair, filling her senses with the sweet aroma of the clinging girl. “I love you.” The words snuck out of her heart and straight through her vocal cords.

She hadn’t really wanted to say it, again, still not knowing exactly what reaction she would get, and what Buffy thought of her now. But there the words were. A testament to her own weariness at keeping her walls high and well maintained.

The words floated up into the static atmosphere filled with pent up emotion and need, hung out above them with Faith’s already shattered heart. Waiting for some kind of reprieve. Some kind of sign. Some kind of acknowledgment that her love was worth Buffy’s time of day.

The pretty blonde lifted her head slightly, and looked into tear drenched chocolate eyes. They were inches apart, yet oceans still swelled between the two Slayers. Beating hearts crashed like waves against each other. Hot breaths blew like summer winds, mingling as they met. Eyes searched and questioned, as lips were left hungry and dry, waiting on the promise of collision.

“I know you do….” Stray tears once again fell from the sullen green, onto the brunette. “Faith, I remember everything now.” The words joined Faith’s above the bed, dancing in the promises and hope that maybe things were going to be resolved.

Things were finally moving forwards, instead of down in the spiralling descent of emotional denial and hidden desires, and Faith could at last see the end to her very own personal tunnel into darkness, despair, and overwhelming self pity.

She knew there was not much further down she could have gone. She had hit her bottom, and now hoped she could claw her way back up. She wanted Buffy by her side as she did it, but Faith knew at this point, counting on anything other than sheer luck was futile. Being so close to the end of her road had certainly given her a cold hard slap in the face, and she knew, no matter what, she didn’t want to go down that particular route again if she could help it.

As Buffy rubbed at her eyes and raised her obviously weary legs to settle onto the bed next to Faith, still firmly wrapped in her arms, the dark girl was thinking maybe luck was shining her way this time. She pulled Buffy willingly to her, as close as they could get, and lay back against the hard pillow. She was tired, drained, depleted.

Faith closed her eyes, listening to the quiet breaths of the girl softly slipping back into the realm of sleep beside her, knowing that they would work the mess out between them. Knowing that she was glad she hadn’t broken her promise to Buffy, to never leave her.

She never wanted to. And for whatever reason, that she was sure she would discover soon enough, she was now pretty certain Buffy felt the same. They belonged together. In one way or another.

They balanced each other.

PART FIFTEEN: When You Open Your Eyes I’ll Be There

Faith opened her eyes, becoming slowly aware of her surroundings once again, scanning the private room for threats without even realising she was doing it. She felt stronger this time, the blood that had been pumped back into her system had kick started her healing.

Of course, it was no replacement for her own Slayer blood, but it was a start that she could build on. Her other injuries, from the rough handling she had received from Spike, would now begin to heal quicker. The only discomfort Faith really felt now, was emotional.

As daylight filtered into the bright room through the blinds, leaving strips of light lingering over her bed, the dark girl felt the bundle in her arms stir. She looked down, not really needing to confirm with her eyes to know that Buffy was still sleeping soundly. The smaller Slayer was holding Faith, snuggled into her side, on top of the crisp covers.

Blonde mixed with brown on the stiff pillow, arms tight around one another. Faith drifted into the sensation of holding Buffy close, filling her lungs full of the scent of Buffy, ridding them of the memory of the stench of Spike and his crypt.

She loved Buffy’s scent. It was like a beacon to her on dark nights when they were patrolling, unable to stop to check on one another. Faith would know exactly where the other Slayer was, she could feel her and smell her, the distinct aroma sweetening the air for her. Faith could never get enough.

Tears stung the back of her eyes, threatening to flow and allow her pain to pour out, but she didn’t feel ready to deal with it. The outfall was too much right now. Faith had weighted herself down with so much negative energy, and now there just seemed to be no way to let it go without causing herself more distress than she wanted to plunge herself into.

She needed to know why Buffy was with her now, lying in her arms, that was her main priority. If it were true that the girl she loved had recalled their time together, when Buffy had lost her memory but clung to the link between them, Slayer or otherwise, she needed to know what was going to happen next.

Faith daren’t hope that Buffy would, or could, open up to her in the way she had before. She just didn’t feel secure enough in the other girl’s connection to her, or their mutual attraction and love for one another. It was important that she found out what was going to happen though, rather than leave herself once again exposed.

“Buffy.” Faith whispered gently.

She got no response from the other girl so lifted her left arm from around Buffy’s waist and began to run her hand through her blonde hair, relishing the flow of it, like silk across her fingers. Still getting no response, she turned to Buffy and pressed her lips against her forehead, lingering long enough to savour the taste of her warm skin.

Buffy slowly opened her eyes, gazing instantly into the deep brown pondering of the younger girl. Faith watched as Buffy lifted herself a little, resting on her elbow as she looked down at the troubled Slayer and raised her right hand to cup her dimpled cheek. Faith could clearly make out the regret emanating from Buffy as she leaned down, surprising the weary Slayer as she captured her lips.

The young girl didn’t know how to react, other than accept the tender kiss. She felt every tingle inside increase, every butterfly tumble around like they were lining up to be shot down again. Faith couldn’t pull away though, as her lips melted under Buffy’s touch, the tepid slide of searching mouths, looking to find some kind of anchor in the storm. A rest in the marathon of mixed emotions.

There was a part of Faith, dark and ominous, screaming at her to push Buffy away. To shake her by her slender shoulders and ask why she was doing what she was. Why she was messing with her head, confusing things more than Faith thought possible.

But she ignored the screaming and the whys and the warnings, as she pressed her lips harder against the girl now almost completely above her. She was weak. That’s exactly how she felt, but when it came to Buffy, she had accepted that a long time ago. It wasn’t a big revelation, unlike the fact that Buffy seemed to be losing herself in the heat being slowly generated between them.

Faith could also feel herself forget about the reason they were there, as she sank into the softness of Buffy’s lips, the silent, wet slide of their tongues reacquainting. There were tingles all over her that she couldn’t ignore, despite her need to resist the delicate kiss. Faith was fighting for control inside herself, and losing, and as she forced her eyes to open, to watch her fellow Slayer as she placed kisses over her face, Faith realised Buffy was battling just the same.

They were both tossing each other onto the rocks of desperate desire, unable to let go, unable to do anything but want to feel. To cling to something close. The connection between them, and the need that had always linked them. Looking for solace, looking to belong.

Faith pushed everything aside but her love for the blonde girl, desperate to feel the heat between them before the inevitable questions and recriminations tore them apart once more. She pulled Buffy hard against her, crushing their mouths together in a declaration of her need.

The small blonde didn’t protest, and moved her body further on top of Faith, resting her leg between the dark Slayer’s thighs, the sheet keeping them further apart than they wanted. She moaned into Faith’s mouth as the dark girl ran her hands up and down her small frame, ignoring the tug of the IV attached to her arm.

Faith closed her mind to everything but the sensation of Buffy pressed against her, her small hand in her dark hair, their lips and tongues combining in an erotic dance. She could almost taste the salt of tears shed, and unshed, but she didn’t want to think about what was to come. And it seemed Buffy felt the same as her hand drifted down over the brunette’s neck to her collarbone, resting just above the thin material of the hospital gown keeping her breasts out of reach of the roaming caress.

“I love your lips, Faith. I remembered how soft they are.” Buffy spoke between teasing kisses across Faith’s full lips.

The dark girl could feel herself heating up, becoming aroused despite of, or because of the past few weeks. She wanted to touch the girl above her. She needed to show her, in case it was the last time, that she wanted her more than anything she had ever wanted before.

Groaning under the persistent thigh of Buffy between her legs, Faith revealed to the little Slayer just how hot she was getting in the kiss she gave her, and it took both their breaths away.

“I want you so much, Faith. I know I…God, I took advantage of you, then accused you of doing that to me. Please, can you forgive me? I just…I remember not being able to resist, like now. I’m so sorry.” A few tears fell from the blonde’s eyes onto Faith, who didn’t want to deal right now with everything they would have to deal with. She wanted to push it aside and just feel, to erase the last memories of the dark place she had just been.

“Buffy, I forgive you. You know how I feel about you.” She stopped anymore discussion by placing her left hand over Buffy’s right, and encouraging it down under the sheet towards her breast.

Buffy looked down at the younger girl, her lungs taking in short sharp breaths as she slid her hand down, unassisted, to the covered flesh on offer.

“I want to feel you against me, Faith. I’ve missed you so much.” She drew her hand back and caressed the bedridden Slayer everywhere she could.

Every bit of exposed flesh caught her attention. She brushed her fingers over Faith’s bruised face, teasing the outline of her dimples, the cleft in her lip and chin. Then she caressed her neck and shoulders, arms and hands, until she obviously grew courageous with the soft moans of the brunette. Buffy pushed the sheet between them to the side, lifting herself up to move underneath.

“B, somebody could come in.” Faith didn’t want Buffy to stop touching her, but she wasn’t keen on being caught with the older girl in her bed either.

“It’s ok, the nurses won’t come in. I told them I’d keep an eye on you.” There was a wicked glint in the small Slayer’s eye. “But if you’re…uncomfortable with this, I understand.” Buffy moved back from Faith a little but she stopped her, holding the shorter girl to her.

“Don’t move. I don’t wanna stop. I never…I never got the chance to touch you, and I never want to miss the opportunity again.” Faith pulled the blonde girl fully on top of her, resting her between her legs in the small space the bed provided.

She couldn’t move her right hand far due to the drip she was attached to, but her left hand was free to explore, so she slid it under Buffy’s thin shirt, tracing the sensual arch in her back as they kissed hungrily. Buffy moaned and rocked her hips into the younger girl, the soft material of her pants chafing the insides of her thighs.

Unfortunately the action caused Faith to recollect the slight uncomfortable feeling still between her legs. She wasn’t ready for this, and her small wince of pain made that obvious.

Buffy practically leapt off her. “I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have…”

Faith halted Buffy’s departure from her bed, keeping the worried Slayer beside her. “Hey, it’s ok. It’s just a little too soon for me.” She looked away with the embarrassing memory of her unruly trysts with Spike, that had culminated in him almost killing her.

The memory was like a sharp knife to her gut. She was disgusted with herself for being in that position, and for allowing things to get so out of hand. It was a black hole of ugly regret, that she never wanted to visit again.

“Faith…” Buffy slipped a finger under the brunette’s chin, ensuring she would look at her. “I don’t wanna make you uncomfortable, I just wanted to show you, that I remember everything, that I…” She leant down to the captivated girl’s ear, whispering seductively into it. “I love you.”

Faith felt her heart almost burst from her chest. She felt her limbs become light, her mind hazy. It was too good to be true and it burned through the fear she had wrapped around her. She shook her head, thinking she had heard wrong, misunderstood her fellow Slayer. But the little blonde seemed to guess this, and whispering between delicate kisses to her ear she ensured Faith knew she wasn’t dreaming.

“You know I’m in love with you, Faith. You know how much I crave you. How hot you get me, and how much I always want to be close to you, touching you. Making love to you. I’m not afraid anymore, but I’ll understand if you feel different now. It’ll break my heart, but I don’t want to hurt you anymore than I have already.” Buffy gently dropped wet kisses down Faith’s throat, waiting for Faith to either tell her that things would never move past the latest problems between them, or that they could ease the hurt from each other a little until they talked things over properly.

Faith was still reeling from Buffy telling her finally that she loved her. Somehow, it felt more real this time, because she knew it was real. Buffy knew exactly who she was and what it would entail to be in love with Faith, and to open her heart to her. The brunette swallowed the lump in her throat, feeling her heart filling up again with the other Slayer’s love. It was far from unbroken, but the healing was beginning.

“I love you too, Buffy. You’re everything to me.” She knew she had never spoken a truer word.

She turned to face Buffy, wrapping the smaller girl in her arms, kissing her, stroking her face and hair. Faith forgot about their surroundings, and the crap she had just gone through. She concentrated on Buffy’s soft whimpers as she slowly began to undress her, undoing the buttons to her shirt. Faith pushed the thin material aside and smiled unreservedly as she unclasped the bra with her right hand at the same time.

“Please, Faith…touch me.” Buffy gasped a little as Faith did just that.

The younger Slayer licked her lips and slipped her fingers under the confining fabric of Buffy’s bra. She felt the hot flow of arousal seep out of her, as her fingertips lovingly brushed over Buffy’s breast, and her hard little nipple. Looking into the desire filled eyes of the other girl, Faith knew it was time for her to touch Buffy in the way she had always wanted to.

To slip her fingers inside Buffy. Feel her pussy dripping for her, wanting her deeper and harder. She didn’t care about anything but that right now. There was nothing but the silky soft, sweet skin of the other Slayer, and her pounding heart, as Faith leant down to taste the breasts she had exposed.

“Oh God, Faith…Make love to me, please.” Buffy spread her legs for the dark girl, leaving her in no doubt that she was now more than ready and willing to truly be with Faith, in everyway she had previously denied herself to be.

And Faith wasn’t about to deny her any longer. She had waited too long. She had gone through too much. As weak as she still felt, there was no way Faith was going to ignore the strong pull of Buffy’s heart on hers, Buffy’s hot breath escaping in deep aroused sighs. Her body waiting for Faith to touch and pleasure it.

The beautiful brunette dipped her hand down to the loose waistband of the aroused girl, promising herself to burn every detail into her mind, to help erase the fleeting visions of Spike, of Buffy‘s accusation, of her own anger and rage.

She wasn’t going to allow anything to spoil the moment she had dreamt about, for as long as she had known the little Slayer that she loved with all her heart.

Faith slipped her fingers into the warm confines of the blonde girl’s underwear, and lowered her barriers, setting her soul free once again. Hoping that this time, it would be safe with Buffy.

PART SIXTEEN: Touching More Than This

The gentle humming of the complication of medical mastery that Faith was attached to, floated into the bleak room, mingling with the soft sighs of the blonde Slayer currently lifting her body for the touch of the dark girl above her.

Faith looked down into the shimmering green of Buffy’s eyes, eyes that were revealing more than her need. More than her desire and lust. They revealed Buffy’s adoration of Faith. The specks of light dancing in her tearful gaze, showing the younger girl her love and her hope.

Faith could wait no longer. She pushed her hand down, further into Buffy’s panties, causing the sheet to fall away a little. The brunette let out a quiet sigh as she felt the tender lips to Buffy’s pussy. She sighed deeply, realising that Buffy was completely clean shaven. Soft and fragile in her exposure.

Slipping a finger into the already swollen and delicate folds of the other girl, Faith held her breath. She had dreamed of this moment for so long, and now it was real. It was like everything bad that had happened had no place in her mind. Like she could feel her slate being wiped clean to some extent. Buffy was wiping it clean, helping her overcome more than her own self doubt.

No matter why or what, or anything else that tried its hardest to steal the moment, Faith had this. She had intimacy, with the girl she loved.

“B, are you sure?” Faith just needed to be positive she wasn’t forcing Buffy into something.

“Yes. Are you?” Buffy whispered into the quiet of the space enveloping them.

Faith nodded, kissing the cute blonde tenderly as she slid her fingers between the folds of Buffy’s sex, slowly, taking her time to imprint the feeling on her heart. The small Slayer whimpered, biting on her lower lip and gazing deep into Faith’s eyes as the dark girl reached the source of her arousal, spreading the slick offering over her finger, and up over the clit that was erect and waiting for her.

Faith smiled at the thought of Buffy, of Buffy’s wet pussy, waiting for her. She smiled, then felt her whole body becoming lighter, like she was floating on the wave of desire and love she felt.

Taking her time, the brunette began to glide her finger gently over the other girl’s clit. Buffy was already moaning in approval, her hips twitching, like she wanted more but was afraid to ask. Faith didn’t want to rush anything though, as she was too caught up in the sensation. In the haze of being the only one that Buffy was thinking about. The only one in her world right then.

“Faith.” Buffy moaned.

They looked deep into one another’s eyes, as Faith circled the little bundle of nerves under the pressure of her fingertip. She could feel the other girl trembling slightly as she reacted to the touch, her body twitching in little displays of tension.

“B…are you ok?” Faith studied the older girl’s face, searching for signs of regret or the need to stop what was happening.

“I’m ok…Just, a little nervous.” Buffy smiled coyly up at Faith. “You’re just so beautiful, so perfect, and I don’t wanna disappoint you.”

Faith thought it best not to protest about how far from perfect she felt. “Buffy, you’re not gonna disappoint me. You’re everything I ever wanted, and more. I just don’t want you to feel pressured into anything. I…” She recalled the feeling of Buffy fucking her, knowing that if the blonde Slayer felt the same, like she said she did, then she wasn’t going to feel anything but need. “I just want it to feel good for you.”

“It does feel good.” Buffy’s breathing quivered out with her words, her pussy spilling its sweet liquid out onto Faith’s fingers. “You feel good. God…I wanted this so much. I wanted you. I’m just so sorry I nearly screwed it up.” Buffy cupped Faith’s face with her hand, as the brunette slowed the movement in her panties.

“I know, baby. We can start this again. I just…can we talk about things…after?” Faith began tugging the blonde girl’s pants and panties down, wanting to give Buffy as much as she could, despite her weakness and the current possibility of somebody walking in on them.

Nothing else mattered to Faith. She needed this more than anything. She needed to show Buffy what she felt for her. She needed her to wriggle just enough to free herself from the material in the way of Faith’s goal.

“Ok…” Buffy lifted her ass, and the clothing was lost under the covering of the sheet.

Faith wasted no more time in exploring the wet pussy her fingers wanted intimate knowledge of. She rubbed her hand over Buffy’s mound, causing the blonde Slayer to buck her hips into the touch. She then slipped her fingers back into the slick folds, groaning at just how soft Buffy was. How wet and perfect she was.

Suckling on the throbbing pulse at Buffy’s neck, Faith slipped over the other girl’s clit once more, being less hesitant and wanting nothing more than to watch Buffy coming for her.

She felt her own heart pounding in rhythm with Buffy’s, flicking over the hard nub, feeling herself fall deeper in love as Buffy spread her legs for her, enticing the dark Slayer further down, further down the path of losing themselves in one another.

Faith guided her fingers, painfully slow, towards Buffy’s dripping hole, noticing her own sex dripping just as much, as Buffy soaked her with the arousal seeping from her entrance. She wanted so much to travel the short distance down to taste Buffy. To fuck her and drink from her at the same time, but she wasn’t ready for that right now. Neither of them were.

Buffy was still shaking like a leaf, her chest rising and falling in rapid breaths. The green of her eyes glistening with emotion. The soft whisper of Faith’s name on her lips as she became swept up in the teasing touches of her fellow Slayer‘s loving caress.

“Faith…” Buffy’s voice was thick with need. Her eyes closing as she gave herself up to the troubled Slayer. “I need you to…I want you…” Buffy whimpered, unable to finish the sentence, instead showing Faith what she wanted rather than saying it.

The older girl placed her hand on Faith’s arm, pushing on it a little, down, and towards her, leaving no doubt that she wanted Faith’s fingers inside her. That she wanted to bridge that last gap, and give something to Faith that she obviously held in high esteem given her lack of sexual partners.

“Fuck, Buffy…this is so good.” Faith couldn’t think of words more meaningful or intellectual to describe the feeling, her mind was working on the primal desire to be one with the person she cared for most in the world. The girl she owed her life to, in so many more ways than one.

Faith entered Buffy with her finger, pushing it inside as the blonde Slayer lifted her hips to accept it, her legs open and demanding that the younger of the two plunge deeper. Faith shifted her weight a little, moving so she could delve into the depths of the girl below her. So she could make her feel as much of her as possible.

“Oh yes…don’t stop, Faith.” Buffy gripped onto the brunette’s body as she arched into the sensations being pulled from her.

“I’m not gonna stop, baby. I’ll never stop loving you.” Faith began to thrust her finger in and out of Buffy, the wet slapping sound, music to her heightened Slayer hearing.

The room was now bathed in the heady aroma of their combined arousal. It warmed to the heat between them, and it accepted the soft cries of the blonde girl, being fucked ever so gently by her fellow Slayer.

Faith kissed her way over Buffy’s collarbones, across the top of her chest, nudging the bra out of the way, placing wet lips over a hard nipple. She sucked and teased, tasting the fresh sweetness of Buffy’s skin, the distinct flavour of her perspiration on her breasts. She could feel wet trials of salt splashing down onto Buffy, and she realised they were emanating from herself. She was crying for the love of the girl below her.

“Faith…baby.” Buffy pulled the brunette’s face up to hers, kissing her gently on the mouth, then tasting the tears that fell, taking them from Faith’s skin as she too began to display the intensity of the moment through her tears.

Both girls held tight to one another, open and vulnerable beyond what either of them could have imagined. Faith closed her eyes, resting her head against Buffy’s as she thrust faster and deeper into the blonde girl, adding a second finger to her tight pussy.

Buffy was lifting her hips to meet the now deep hard thrusts of Faith’s hand, calling out as quietly as she could. Calling out how close she was to the edge. How good Faith was making her feel. How full and free.

“Faith…Oh God…oh, baby please. I wanna come for you. I wanna come with your fingers inside me.” Buffy started to tremble with more than nerves as her whole body called out for Faith. Reacted for Faith and what she was doing.

She pushed deep into the small Slayer, curling her fingers up to graze over the smooth surface inside, groaning herself at Buffy’s instant response. The inexperienced girl threw her head back, an almost wild cry bursting from her as she rode Faith’s fingers with abandon. Her body slick with sweat, writhing underneath the darker girl, coiling in its eagerness to release her offering to Faith.

She couldn’t tear her eyes from Buffy, the older Slayer’s complete ecstasy enthralling her. Urging her to give more to the other girl. To draw out the feelings she was instilling in her.

The dark Slayer swirled her thumb up to join in the soaked warmth of Buffy’s pink little pussy, flicking it over her clit rapidly in time with her fingers. Sliding in and out of her tight hole as it burst forth its wet essence for her. She could hardly breath for the ache in her chest as she let everything but her love for Buffy go, as she pushed all her hopes and fears to one side to just savour the purity of being inside the one she loved. Being held. Being accepted. Being wanted and needed, by the owner of her deepest emotions.

“Buffy…” Faith pushed the word out as she plunged her fingers into the blonde girl.

Her tears began to fall again, raining down on Buffy in a rare moment of total unity.

Buffy opened her eyes and looked at Faith as she tensed, her orgasm hitting her with the depth of Faith’s fingers inside her, the pressure of the thumb on her clit. The sheer amount of love and desire spinning them both up into a web they would never break free of, no matter what circumstances battled to part them. They were more than just Slayer’s together. As Buffy opened her mouth to let the loud reassurance of complete pleasure out, they were everything they could possibly be together.

“Oh, Faith…Fuck…” Buffy continued to moan as Faith plunged her fingers in and out of her slick hole as she came.

The younger girl felt the gush of warm cum coat her fingers as it spurted over her, covering her in its hot and sticky delight. She didn’t want to stop however. She was too deep inside the other girl, feeling the pulsing of her silken walls gripping onto her fingers, quivering for her to continue.

“Jesus, Buffy. You’re fucking amazing.” She grinned as Buffy did the same, her hips keeping their rhythm with Faith’s hand.

“Fuck…Faith, you…you’re amazing, and I’m gonna…I’m gonna come again.” Buffy arched her back, her right hand gripping onto the headboard behind her as she fucked Faith’s fingers, taking them in as far as she could.

Faith was lost to the scene, her mind on nothing but Buffy. On nothing but the warmth encasing her as she shoved another digit inside Buffy’s dripping hole, spreading her open with three fingers, as she claimed her tight cunt as her own, the thick cum allowing her to twist her fingers inside, rubbing up against the most sensitive parts of the other Slayer. She filled the wet cavern before her, watching as Buffy lost all control, her legs open, her hips slamming up into Faith, her teeth hard against her lip as she fought not to scream.

“Oooh, baby.” Buffy began panting.

“I’m right here.” Faith brought her lips down to Buffy’s ear, suckling, and breathing hard as she did everything to control her own need as she concentrated on the petite Slayer.

“Tell me…” Buffy was doing her best not to speak too loudly, but her obvious attempts were failing. “Tell me what you want me to do to you.” She gasped as Faith thrust harder, using her weight behind her hand.

“Fuck…Buffy, what don’t I want you to do to me.” Faith wasn’t sure what Buffy wanted her to say, but from the wild look in her eyes, she had an idea. “I want you to fuck me, B. I want you deep inside me, like I am in you right now. I…I want your tongue in my pussy, licking my out and sucking on me. I wanna watch as you swallow my cum, smiling cos you love it so much. Jesus, Buffy…I just want to feel you love me.” Faith whispered the last words into Buffy’s ear as she increased the pressure on her clit, rubbing over it so the older girl was unable to stay still as she shook.

“Faith…Oh, Faith.” Buffy called out, sure to catch the attention of more than just the brunette she was coming for. “I do love you…I love you, Faith.” Buffy screamed her orgasm out into the small room, then her body crashed back down to the bed, and she held Faith’s hand inside her, closing her legs to trap the fingers where they were.

Faith looked down as sighing sounds drifted from Buffy’s lips. She leant forwards and captured the lips with her own, almost tasting the amount of pleasure she had just given the girl. They kissed, affectionately, the desire making way for something deeper and richer, something both of them were so obviously feeling.

Faith removed her hand reluctantly from the warm depths of the girl she loved, and a smile broke out on Buffy’s lips, Faith felt it and pulled away, laying more to the sweet Slayer’s side, resting as she felt the tug of her injured body remind her that she was meant to be recuperating.

“You ok?” Faith asked huskily, and quietly.

“Yeah…I’m ok. I’m…a little sore, but ok.” She continued to smile gently at Faith.

“Sore? Did I hurt you? Shit, I’m sorry.” Faith sat up, ignoring the tug of the attachment to her hand. She couldn’t believe that she had screwed up again, and hurt Buffy.

“Hey…I didn’t mean it like that.” Buffy eased Faith back down to the bed, pulling the sheet up around them both. “I’m just…not very experienced I guess, but that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. God, you heard me right?” She blushed a little.

“Yeah, I heard you…along with half the hospital. Geez, Buffy, if I’d known you were gonna bring the roof down I’d have gagged ya.” She smiled at her fellow Slayer as she wrapped her arms around her, promising herself to go a little easier on the small blonde next time. “B? Is there gonna be a next time?” She just had to be sure before jumping to conclusions once again.

“After that? You’d better believe it.” The smirk on her face said it all. “Besides, I want this to work. Us to work. I have a little confession that I want to…well, I want to tell you what I’ve been through the last couple of days, what was going on…but I just have to let you know right now, that you were right. When we were fighting, in your motel room. I wanted you. I wanted you so bad it scared me, because I didn’t know the truth then. Fuck, we have a lot to talk about. A lot to get through, and over, but I meant it when I asked you to never leave me. I don’t wanna lose you again, Faith. I don’t want anything to come between us again. Ever.” She brushed a thick dark lock of Faith’s hair out of the way before leaning in to kiss her.

Faith closed her eyes, feeling more than the kiss. More than hope and reassurance in the sweet smell of sex lingering on her fingers, the memory of Buffy’s eyes as she came, and the words of love that were knocking on the walls around her heart, seeking entry. Gaining entry, despite the distant voice in the back of her mind telling her how much of a fool she was. How dirty and disgusting, and unworthy she was.

For now, Faith wasn’t listening. All she could hear were the soft breaths of the girl in her arms. That, and the sound of footsteps rushing down the hall outside her room.

PART SEVENTEEN: Saved

Before either girl had a chance to react, the door flew open. Buffy gasped as she tugged the sheet up around them, and Faith awaited whatever yelling was going to come next. She watched as Joyce rushed into the room.

“Buffy, are you ok? I came as soon as Willow told me you were in danger.” Joyce explained as she came to a halt at the bottom of the bed, her face a mask of confusion.

The chosen two didn’t have the time to explain that Buffy wasn’t in danger, their shocked expressions the only sign of them not knowing what the hell was going on, as Willow also charged into the room.

“Faith, get away from her.” Willow screamed, pointing at the brunette.

A bolt of energy sparked across the short distance between Willow and Faith, hitting the dark Slayer solidly in the chest. Faith called out in distress, as she tumbled from the bed with the force of the bolt.

She crashed to the floor in a heap, her lungs refusing to pull enough air in, her body shaking from the force of the blow. She lay immobile, not knowing which way was up, feeling the pain in her hand where the drip had been ripped from her as she fell, the floor bruising her already delicate skin.

“Faith.” Buffy was instantly beside the downed Slayer, her hands reaching, her eyes wet with tears.

The blonde girl held the bed sheet around herself, covering the evidence of her joining with Faith as she knelt beside her, checking for injuries, wiping her own eyes as she shuddered with the knowledge that Faith had been hurt, again.

“Faith, are you ok? Are you hurt?” Buffy asked, with no attempt to hide the distress, tenderness, and love in her voice.

The groggy Slayer nodded, not knowing if she herself meant she was ok, or if she was hurt. All she was really sure of was the presence of the two other people in the room. One of them looking like she was about to end her life. To extinguish any remnant of her pitiful existence.

Faith’s arms refused to move as she tried to pull herself up with the help of the other Slayer. Her body was weak. Weaker than she had expected, or hoped it would be. Whatever it was that Willow had hit her with, had been powerful. She decided to remain on the floor, feeling defeated. She could see that Buffy realised how she felt. That she felt more than physically defeated, but also emotionally and mentally too.

She had had enough. Faith couldn’t take any more. She couldn’t fight. The wiccan moved towards them then, looking like she was about to do more damage.

“Willow, stop.” Buffy shouted, turning to face her mother and her friend. “Stop this. You’ve got it all wrong, Faith doesn’t want to hurt me, and she never did. She loves me.” She stated forcefully, causing both the red head and her mother to look a little stunned.

“Buffy, maybe you should come over here.” Joyce said in an almost patronising tone, as she lifted her arm in encouragement for Buffy to move away from her position on the floor where she was busy cradling Faith.

Joyce obviously didn’t believe that Faith wouldn’t harm her daughter, and from her tone, she sounded unsure if Buffy could actually see the possibility, as if Faith had put her under some kind of spell.

“What has Willow been filling your head with? The same things she did me? I don’t need to come over there, mom, I love Faith too.” She squeezed the dark Slayer’s hand.

Faith couldn’t quite believe what Buffy had just said. She hadn’t expected a complete show of alliance with her. The admittance to having feelings for a bad girl. The mistake Slayer. Her.

It was too much, and her dark sorrowful eyes filled with tears. Filled with hope and need, and love for her little blonde Slayer. She had never had anybody risk anything for her before, but Faith knew, without a doubt, saying what she just had would risk Buffy’s friendships, and her relationship with her mother.

Faith felt overwhelmed. She could finally feel the pure and consuming love flooding through her, seeping into her veins, into her heart from Buffy. Filling her, in a reverse of the sensation she had that day in the Magic shop, when Buffy had regained her memory, and forgot all about her time with Faith.

The brunette sank into Buffy’s arms, relief washing out some of the loneliness and pain of only ever having herself to rely on. To keep her safe. To, ineffectively at times, keep the black sadness and anger at bay. She knew right then, she was Buffy’s completely. There was no hope in walking away, for Buffy’s sake, for her own sake. For the sake of never having to feel so utterly devastated again if things went wrong.

There could be no walking away. Ever. She knew she would only slip back into the darkness without the love she could feel from the other girl, as much as that made her feel weak, and vulnerable, and to some extent, sick at herself for being so needy. It was clear to her. It was real, and alive, and crawling around inside her, possessing her, giving her no choice but to give her heart and soul completely to Buffy.

Joyce just watched as Buffy clearly felt the wave of emotion coming from Faith, giving her no choice but to hold the dark girl to her even more tightly, to wrap her in her strong arms, stroke her lush brown hair, whisper her love for her in the stunned silence of the small, sparse room.

The only other sound was a sob emanating from Willow as she rushed back out of the room, the crackle of anger and betrayal leaving with her.

Buffy frowned, looking worried for her friend, but also worried for the girl in her arms. She turned her attention to Faith, attempting to lift the younger girl back onto the bed. The dark Slayer felt her limbs unable to respond, to help Buffy lift her. Her dead weight was causing Buffy problems in picking her up, and Faith had the impression the blonde was holding back her strength, in order not to hurt her with the tugging.

Faith winced in pain as her leg bent at a funny angle, she grabbed hold of the smaller girl’s shoulders, but they didn’t seem to be getting anywhere fast, until Joyce moved towards them. The brunette wasn’t sure what Buffy’s mother was going to do at first, at this point, nothing would have surprised her, but she relaxed as Joyce bent down to her left side, helping her daughter lift her back onto the bed.

Buffy smiled softly at her mother, then she made her way around to the other side of the bed, retrieving her clothes, hurriedly putting them on with a blush as Joyce tucked Faith back under the sheet.

“I’m sorry, Buffy, I just thought…Willow seemed to think that Faith would hurt you in some way.” Joyce looked down apologetically at Faith as much as at Buffy. “I didn’t realise…” She didn’t have to finish her sentence, the red tint to her cheeks clearly expressed what she meant.

Faith didn’t want to say anything herself. She was too busy trying to breathe without wincing, and hope that she wasn’t about to get any more abuse from people. She was sick of always being the bad guy. She was well aware of all the mistakes she had made, threatening Willow being a major one, but she couldn’t find the strength right now to speak, to make sure Joyce knew she would never do anything to risk Buffy’s love for her again.

“Mom, this is a little complicated, but Faith hasn’t hurt me. If anything, I hurt Faith. She’s made some pretty dumb choices lately, and we need to deal with those, but I did and said things I never should have.” Buffy caught the weakened Slayer’s eyes with her own. “Even though I didn’t remember everything, I should never have said those things. Mom, can you give us a minute?” She looked back up at her mother, pleading with her green pools for Joyce to trust that she knew Faith wouldn’t harm her.

“Of course, Buffy. But if…I’ll be right outside.” Joyce slowly left the room, her eyes sad and concerned, but her obvious feelings of loyalty towards Buffy, and of the confusion about the situation, didn‘t cause her to overreact, like Willow had.

*****

As soon as the door closed, Buffy pulled Faith into a hug, almost squeezing all the air out of her already jarred lungs, as she cried over the prone Slayer.

“Hey, it’s ok.” Faith soothed, running her hands over Buffy’s back.

“No, it’s not. I nearly lost you because, instead of listening to what was in my heart, I listened to my own fear, and Willow. I should never have doubted what I sensed you felt for me, and what I knew deep inside, I felt for you.” Buffy pulled away from Faith a little, looking deep into the dark pools sparkling up at her.

Faith wasn’t sure she could deal with so much emotion. She had never felt somebody’s passionate and all consuming love before. She had never known anything but disillusion, so despite her feelings for Buffy, and despite the fact she could literally feel the texture of Buffy’s love for her, she was still worried that it would all be pulled out from under her again.

After all, that’s what had happened the first time, and then, she hadn’t fully immersed herself in the enveloping embrace of Buffy’s confessions of how much she wanted, and cared for her. Faith was scared. Petrified of it all going wrong and leaving her even emptier than she was before, to the point she would never escape the grasp of her dark side.

“I know what you’re thinking, Faith. I know I told you I loved you before, and that I wouldn’t forget. I know I let you down, and you know you should never have done what you did to Willow. We both messed up.” She took a deep breath. “I didn’t mean for things to get so out of hand. I was so confused. That night, when I gave you the knife…I had a flashback. I saw you, me…we were kissing and I felt so much desire there, it scared the hell outta me. I didn’t understand what it was about. Then I had a dream, and we were in bed, but it was hazy and I woke up before I could tell what was going on.”

Faith shifted slightly as Buffy sat next to her on the bed, facing her, green eyes pleading with the dark beauty to understand why things had gotten so fucked up. Faith didn’t attempt to butt in, she needed to hear what had been going through Buffy’s head at the time Faith herself had been falling apart.

“I told Willow about it, she jumped to conclusions, said you must have taken advantage of me, and I was so mixed up, and scared of how I felt, that I believed it. I know I should never have thought for a second you could do that to me, but it was easier than looking inside myself. I’m so sorry, but the flashbacks didn’t help. They were unclear, misleading, and I stupidly listened to Willow as she tried to convince me of things I knew you wouldn’t do.” A tear fell from Buffy’s eye, rolling silently down her cheek.

The brunette reached out and brushed the tear away, lowering her hand to rest in Buffy’s. “Go on. Just tell me why…” Faith waved her other hand, indicating her current position, and the general absurdity of the situation. “this happened.”

“Because I’m stupid for denying my feelings for you, and you’re stupid for giving in to your anger and threatening Willow. Once you did that, I couldn’t help but think what Willow was saying was true. As much as it hurt, as much as I didn’t want it to be true. I couldn’t get past it. When I came to question you, I was so mixed up, I fell back on my Slayer instincts and just hit out. I didn’t mean to, but it seemed easier than listening, than attempting to figure out what was really going on. I was so angry, but so hurt to think you could have…” Buffy began to sob, her lungs taking short painful breaths with the weight of her emotion.

“Shh, it’s ok, I know what’s it like to make mistakes. It hurt that you thought I could do that to you though. I’d never do anything like that to you, Buffy. It would kill me. The knowledge that you actually believed that, almost did kill me.” Faith could feel her own tears now. Tears of pain, of exhaustion, of the memory of what had transpired because of her own helpless feelings.

“Faith, please, can you forgive me?” She didn’t stop for Faith’s answer just yet. “I got lost in all the confusion, in the mixed messages and memories. Then you said you loved me. I was floored, but still I didn’t see it within myself because I refused to look. I retreated inside my little haven of ignorance then. Willow was saying things I didn’t wanna hear, I was seeing things in my head that didn’t make sense. Then I saw you in the Bronze, with Spike. It made my blood boil, but not for the reasons it should have if I’d truly believed everything Willow had said you’d done. I was jealous. I couldn’t take my eyes off you. You looked so lost and I wanted to run over to you and hold you, and that got me angry, cos I was no longer in control of what I felt, what I wanted.” She sighed as Faith closed her eyes with the pain of both their mistakes.

The room held still and silent, the air coming to a halt in its breezy path. Waiting. Tiny specks of dust filtering through the blinds to fall to the floor in the oppressive atmosphere. Shuffling outside stopping, or feeling like it had with the endless possibilities of what could be said, what could happen. What was meant to happen next.

“I’d lost control then too, B. I was lost. I was on a downward slide to nothing. I needed you, but I was forcing myself to ignore it cos it hurt. It hurt to feel rejected by you. To think that you thought I was scum. I acted like it, B. I acted exactly the way you thought I was. The way I am.” Her dark eyes grew darker with her own self hatred at what she knew she was capable of, how far she knew she could allow herself to fall.

“You’re not scum, Faith, you’re everything to me.” It sounded like Buffy’s heart was breaking with the knowledge of what Faith had believed, and what she had put herself through because of her own, and the blonde girl’s actions.

She pushed her hand through Faith’s dark hair, the small amount of contact, of simple intimacy, establishing some kind of calm again.

“I wanted to stop you leaving with him, Faith. I really did, cos I was beginning to see the truth. I knew it was there somewhere inside me, but I was still terrified of letting it out, because then it meant giving in to what I’d been denying for so long. It meant knowing that Willow had done her best to keep us apart. It meant I had to deal with you being the way you were right then, all hurt, and angry, and more than likely wanting me to get out of your life. I couldn’t just let you leave though, so I followed you, out into the alley. I heard what you said to Spike, about what you’d done with him. I knew then, I couldn’t let things go on the way they were. That I had to look within myself to find the truth. That I had to trust my heart. Your heart.” She placed her hand, the one that had been gently playing with Faith’s hair, over the younger girl’s heart.

Faith instantly felt the heat through the thin material of her gown. She was temporarily out of commission right now. Unable to ask the questions she wanted to. Unwilling maybe to hear some of the answers. All she could really do was listen to Buffy, and learn her side of the whole disaster.

“You ran off, and I couldn’t find you, so I went home. I cried as I began to remember, everything. It hurt so much to know that I’d pushed you to…to go to Spike.” Buffy’s tears were flowing again, her small frame shaking with the memory, no doubt, of the pain of discovering just what Faith had been through. “I guessed, maybe you’d be there, with Spike. So I went to find you, to tell you that I was sorry. That I’d remembered. That I love you. God Faith, I’m so sorry I didn’t get there sooner. I hate myself knowing you went through that. That you put yourself in that position because of how lost you felt. How I made you feel.”

Faith sat up, wrapping her weary arms around Buffy. She felt utterly stripped of everything but love for the small Slayer. She couldn’t think about what had happened between her and Spike. Not yet anyway. It was just another thing to hide within herself for fear of what the emotions would bring about. She realised that bottling things up would only lead to more heartache, but there was no way she wanted to get the hopelessness and her own lack of self worth out in the open until she was sure she could deal with it. That they both could.

“I know. I know you’re sorry. I’m sorry too, B. I’m sorry you had to see that. That you had to know what I’d done.” They clung to one another, foreheads resting against each other, tears and pain washing out of them. “You stopped it though, and I’ll never be able to thank you enough. I didn’t really wanna die. I just didn’t know what else to do.”

“Oh, baby, I wish I’d had the courage to know for sure I loved you. None of this would have happened. I’ll never forgive myself. How can I even ask you to forgive me, when I can’t?” Buffy pulled back slightly, looking so far into Faith’s eyes she could feel her soul being bared.

She resisted the urge to look away, and to close off, like she knew she was so skilled at doing. Faith realised, she couldn’t do that, if they were going to get through what had happened. If they were going to attempt to patch up the crumbling mess of both their hearts, then she needed to open up completely to Buffy. She had to bare her soul.

“I forgive you. If you can forgive me. If you can let me show you how much I love you. How much I wanna stop being so stupid, allowing myself to be lead by my anger, by all the pain inside me. I need you, Buffy. I need your help to be a better person. To be the kinda person good enough to deserve you, your love. Please, let me show you. Let me prove how sorry I am about what I did to Willow, about how I dealt with this whole thing. Buffy, help me deserve you.” Faith knew she sounded pathetic. She felt it, but was powerless to hold back how she felt any longer.

“You do deserve me, Faith. We belong together. We just need to accept that we’re both needy when it comes to each other, cos I need you to. I need you so much, so please, tell me again that you’ll never leave me.” Buffy pleaded.

The blonde Slayer’s green eyes sliced through any doubt Faith may have had about giving in to every emotion she felt. She could see it clearly still. There would never be any walking away, no matter how much they could, and probably would continue to hurt each other. They were stuck, revolving around each other, gravity holding them fast in a constant twisting and turning storm of emotion, desire, and need.

Faith placed a shaky hand on the smaller girl’s cheek, gently brushing her thumb over the lips she had so recently been kissing, knowing she could continue kissing them. Knowing now that Buffy wanted her to continue.

“I’ll never leave you. Just as long as you promise…never to leave me again.” She whispered her lips over Buffy’s, tasting the love on them, swallowing it down as Buffy spoke.

“I promise, I’ll never leave you, and that I’ll never forget again that you have my heart. Faith, I love you with everything I am. Good and bad. I’m yours.” She pressed her lips back to Faith's.

Everywhere they touched Faith tingled, her skin reacting, warming, smouldering with devotion. She fell into the slow burning inferno of their love and desire for one another, her craving heart swept up with Buffy’s as they clung to the hope of a future with less pain. Less loneliness. Less of the things that tried to tear them apart.

Everything that was unresolved, she knew, they would work through together. Every pain, every mistake, every mixed message, emotion, all the fear and the anger. They would both work through it, for one another.

Faith relaxed within the older Slayer’s embrace, and did her best to hold nothing back, and trusted, maybe foolishly, that she would be able to live her life out of the dark, and away from the torture of her past mistakes. There was only this left now. Buffy and her. Their shared destiny, their shared love. Anything less, and Faith knew, she’d be lost forver. No going back.

Buffy was her light, and she prayed to anybody that cared to listen, that she would never have that light taken away so cruelly again. She wouldn’t survive the black depths within herself without it. Without Buffy.

Faith didn’t even need to imagine where she would end up without Buffy. She had seen a glimpse of it already, and she didn’t want to go back and see more. There would be no second chances if she fell into that particular abyss again.

“I love you, Buffy. I’ve searched for you my whole life, and I’m never letting you go again. Never.” She poured her heart out into Buffy, and crossed her fingers.

Faith made a silent promise never to let Buffy, or herself down again, and she let go. She let go knowing Buffy was there to save her.

She felt the strong arms around her. Buffy’s strong arms. And she was saved.

The End

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