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He tried not to be jealous when he saw them together in public, able to be together without comment or criticism. Leaning in to each other, shoulders touching and eyes meeting without having to hide their feelings. He hated them a little then, having what he could never have.

It hadn’t taken long for them to relax in public the way he and Faith never could, until it was obvious to even Buffy that something was going on. Then there was nothing to stop them letting everyone know.

Nobody had expected Faith and Willow to click the way they had and nobody knew it was because Faith had brought Willow to their bed. Nobody knew because they’d been oh so careful to make sure nobody knew. Faith had suggested it might be fun and he hadn’t been willing to deny her, or deny his own curiosity.

Watching them together had been beautiful at first until he noticed how they looked over and past him how touching him seemed only to be a transit moment till they found each other again. Even when he was deep inside Faith, knowing every thrust and angle to make her writhe with pleasure it felt like he was losing her.

* * * * *

She loved the time she spent with Spike; he was a considerate and enthusiastic lover willing to let her take the lead. They laughed together and she never had to hide her dark side with him, but that was the problem, with him her dark side was always there it was impossible to suppress it. She knew she should be able to accept it the way Buffy had but it just made her feel dirty and wrong. She didn’t want to feel that way, didn’t want Spike to feel that way but it sucked her down.

When Willow looked at her it was like a baptism. Willow was fighting her darkness and winning, travelling the same journey as Faith wished to. She knew Willow was attracted to her and was curious about Spike so she took the risk and admitted over a bottle of tequila that she and Spike were bumping uglies. Willow had been shocked but Faith had seen the arousal and interest in her eyes.

Willow had agreed not to tell anyone, understanding their reasons for keeping it quiet and when she joined them it was like finding the missing piece. Faith was soon finding ways to be close to Willow outside of the bedroom. Even when she could see the pain in Spike’s eyes at not being able to be a part of that (and the dark part of her revelled in the power it gave her) she couldn’t stop herself, drawn to Willow’s flame.

She felt the shift in Willow’s attention more than saw it, years of slayer instincts feeding her insecurities and paranoia. When Willow would arch up in orgasm it was Spike’s hand she would reach for if Faith didn’t intercept it. It was Willow who would make sure Spike was included in team events and stop Angel or Xander from dismissing his contributions and Faith knew, knew she would lose again.

They were beautiful together, pale and lithe, the magic innate to Willow responding to Spike’s demon so that Faith could almost see sparks dancing across their skin when they touched.

* * * * *

She had been shocked at Faith’s drunken confession and then intrigued, and then a little hurt. Spike was drawn to slayers, drawn to their strength and power leaving Willow feeling inadequate somehow.

She’d always wondered about Faith, how that strength would feel holding her (she knew how slayers tasted but was curious what flavour Faith’s darkness would add) and what Faith would look like taken apart by her fingers and tongue.

But she’d always wondered about Spike as well, for much longer than Faith. Since Spike had swaggered into Sunnydale with Drusilla on his arm Willow had buried a dark fantasy of dying under their hands and fangs. Back then she’d told herself it was only Spike she was dreaming of but later she’d admitted it was the beautiful danger they both presented that drew her.

So with Spike and Faith she had the chance to experience a small amount of that desire without the death, and that meant that yet again she had to see Spike’s adoration turned on someone else.

He never ignored her, was studious at bringing her pleasure as well as Faith and seemed to enjoy the sight of her and Faith entwined together skin flushed with arousal, but she could tell it was Faith that held his attention no matter where he looked.

She didn’t mean to fall in love with Spike but she didn’t realise until it was too late to break free. If she could only have him as a package deal that was the price to pay but as she leaned into Faith as they sat on the sofa she wished that Spike could be on her other side showing everyone that he loved and was loved.

* * * *

And so the circle ran, three souls longing for something they couldn’t have even though it was waiting there for them. Three sets of eyes only looking in one direction, never looking behind to understand the chance they had for happiness. Falling into the trap of thinking that only a duo would work, never thinking of a trio, never imagining the strength of three could bring. Unwilling to give up what little they thought they deserved, happy to take the reflected love that spun around their circle, slowing breaking inside thinking they were gifting the other what they wanted with their sacrifice.

And it hurt, oh how it hurt.