What We Got (Is Everything)
Buffy has a short temper.
She's known that for a while, of course. Back in the days pre-jail she used to push, goad, punch, tear - trying every trick she knew to see how far she had to go to make B snap, tear back into her, lose it completely.
Nowadays, it's a little different.
For one, they're not actually trying to kill each other.
But she's just got out of a place filled to the brim with bored-and-irritated women, and now she's stuck in the teenage version of it all over again - if she doesn't have some kinda entertainment she'll go nuts.
So she plays.
She puts her feet up on the table, she uses up the milk and puts the empty carton straight back in the fridge, she "accidentally" spills her drink, she swears… and she watches Buffy's face.
B's clearly trying to be polite, trying not to push it, but her mouth is tightening, her whole body's getting tense, and if Faith's any judge she's only an inch away from rolling her eyes.
She's so sensitive, so uptight, so…
…irritating! incredibly irritating! and Faith just wants to grab her and slap, punch, scream, kiss some sense into her! cos, really, it's just an empty milk carton! it's the end of the world and Little Miss Perfect's about to snap - all over proper housekeeping! what is that?!
B's so very sensitive - annoyingly so - but she still has no idea how closely her every expression is being watched.
* * * * *
B's got a sweet tooth.
It's funny - it always used to be her chowing down on donuts while Buffy self-consciously picked away at something low fat.
But on night two, when it all starts sinking in, and Willow's trying to be comforting and not knowing what to say, Xander's torn between being comforting, being relieved that Spike's gone, and being upset over Anya, and Giles is too busy organising Slayers to even notice, she walks straight up to them, grabs Buffy's hand, and announces loudly that they're going out for some ice-cream sundaes - and possibly a huge amount of tequila - and Buffy doesn't even hesitate.
They end up sitting in a place with bright orange walls and outdated music, with a booth to themselves - and all she can do is watch, impressed, as B downs the first bowl of ice-cream and starts on a second while she's still only two scoops in.
At first it's pretty silent - just lots and lots of very focused eating - but then Faith says "Man, this syrup - I'm telling you, this is complete shit. This is worse than prison syrup." …and suddenly they're discussing ice-cream, jail, slaying, vamps, guys, dreams, weapons, movies, clothes, books - all that deeply personal crap she never tells anyone.
For some reason, it's easy to tell B.
They finish the night by getting off their faces on something Italian, expensive, and very strong, and collapsing in a heap of can't-get-'em-working-again limbs, in the doorway of her motel room.
And that's where Xander finds them, the next morning.
* * * * *
B's smart. She's always been smart.
They'll sit down and plan some new training idea together, and Buffy'll be really into it, discussing all the different strategies Giles used and why they worked, with her eyes lighting up with enthusiasm every time she thinks of something else, and her hands waving around every which-way, once getting so animated she nearly smacks Faith right in the face while talking about crossbows.
She's thought up recruitment strategies, patrolling schedules, and wants Willow to do some "psychological profiling" stuff to decide on good team dynamics.
Every time they go out for a drink together, B's thought up something new to talk her ear off about.
And every time they stay up watching some movie, B will start discussing something interesting right over the top of it, so they end up missing half the dialogue.
She's got brains. And she uses them.
That's why it's kinda weird that she hasn't figured it out yet.
* * * * *
B's completely clueless. And never going to make the first move.
So in the end, she grabs Dawn and talks it out with her, and after looking ridiculously smug and saying "I knew it!" a whole bunch of times, Dawn tells her that Buffy's still all freaked out after her last few relationships - well, duh - and plus she's "just hopeless, generally", and concludes that Faith's going to have to take her by surprise.
Three rescheduled patrols, one fake emergency, two cab rides, and one pink teddy bear later, she pulls her mouth away from Buffy's, watching the colour rise in her cheeks, tucks a stray piece of hair behind Buffy's ear, and says bluntly "See, B, this stuff I've just been doing - all the frenching? Yeah - that's what we'd call a pretty major clue that I like you. Got that? Clear enough?"
And B looks completely stunned, and just stands there, hand on her lips, staring at Faith like she's been shot - and then she shakes her head and starts wandering the room, muttering stuff under her breath as if she's trying to figure out a really complex math problem or something… for, like, three minutes.
And just when Faith's starting to get real uncomfortable, and thinking that, actually, this was a crap idea and she's just messed everything up, Buffy turns around, looks at her thoughtfully, says "You know what?", and jumps her.
So that works out pretty well.
* * * * *
Buffy has this thing she does, where she tilts up one corner of her mouth, lowers her eyebrows, and looks at Faith as if one of them, clearly, has gone insane, and it's almost certainly not her.
It comes out a lot.
Especially because Faith steals her underwear, keeps her up late to watch the sunrise from the wrong side, puts ice down her back, pulls her hair, cooks her pancakes, discusses their sex life in public, makes her miss meetings, hides her stakes, short-sheets her bed, buys her flowers, and basically does everything she can think of to keep that slightly-exasperated-slightly-paranoid-slightly-resigned look on B's face as often as possible.
Cos it's kinda adorable, actually.
And then there are the times when one of the Slayers, or Watchers, is doing something frustrating and stupid, and B reaches out under the table and squeezes her hand gently - and they both know that they'd really love to punch someone out right about now, and kinda can't, being the good guys, but at least they can be frustrated together.
Then there's now.
Now is just shiny, and perfect, and everything.
Because Buffy woke up and saw her lying on the next pillow and smiled, so completely, like every part of her lit up from the inside the moment she saw that Faith was there.
In a moment, she's going to hit B with one of the pillows and see if she can get the are-you-insane look again - but, for the moment, this is enough.