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She Who Makes Out in Cemeteries

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You noticed things with superhuman eyesight.  While out patrolling on a moonless night as a slayer, you didn’t have to worry about falling into an open grave, or tripping over roots, or, most importantly in her line of work, getting ambushed by a vampire hiding among the bushes.

A useful skill to have, and just as with her enhanced strength and better than average hearing, there were other uses for it, most of which involved sneaking in and out of her mom’s house without making a sound.

The thing was, more recently, she'd found another use, the kind of use a person generally keeps to themselves.  Unconsciously, her head slowly canted, eyes following the curve of Faith’s backside as her fellow slayer peered into a low crypt.

Yeah, it sure was, um, useful, having a slayer’s eyesight.  Very *cough* useful.

Buffy swallowed.

This particular use of her powers definitely wasn’t covered in the slayer’s handbook, and yes, she’d checked.  At least Giles hadn’t asked questions when he caught her looking at it last week.  The awkwardness created by that conversation would’ve probably opened the Hellmouth beneath their feet.

What do you do when you’re a slayer and another very attractive slayer comes along and makes you question your sexuality?

Unfortunately, the book hadn’t been much help.  Issue one: the existence of two slayers simultaneously was not something the stuffy British guys who wrote that book had ever considered.  And issue two: slayers weren’t supposed to even have sexualities.  Apparently, they were supposed to spend all their days training with the watchers, and all their nights alone stalking through the gloom to kill the evil things of the world.

But then Buffy had always been a rebel.

But, hey, why shouldn’t she be allowed to look?  What was the harm in that?

'Keep your slayer away from boys' was all the book had suggested as far as relationships were concerned.  And, yeah, technically, Buffy was doing great on that front.  No boys here, not since Parker had turned out to be a first class butthead, and not since Riley had almost put her into a dullness-induced coma.

She deserved some kind of reward for that, right?  Yeah, sure, she was only avoiding boys because the eligible men of Sunnydale only grew more disappointing the older she got, but she was only writing book reports to get an A in English, not for her love of the written word.  Didn’t mean she didn’t deserve that A.

This was flawless logic, Buffy told herself.

So, she’d just hang back and observe while Faith peered into the various crypts.  Buffy was supposed to be checking the other side of the walk, but, eh, it was probably fine.  She didn’t sense any vampires; spring was in the air, the days were growing longer, and things had been getting quiet lately.

Almost suspiciously so, to be honest, but Buffy wasn’t about to complain.

She would appreciate this rare bout of inactivity and allow her mind to wander. 

And her eyes.

Buffy let her head fall, hair falling in front of her eyes as she unconsciously hugged herself.  Ugh.

At least it was dark enough that Faith didn’t seem to be noticing her incredibly sexual sexuality crisis.  Or Buffy was just that damn good at the whole poker-face thing.  Years of lying to your mom would probably do that for you.

She could totally have all the gay fantasies about her friend she wanted, and no one would ever know.  Especially not Faith.  She let out a long breath. Unfortunately, Faith never finding out wasn't as comforting a thought as it should have been.  There was a part of her - a part she wouldn't name - that kind of wanted Faith to find out... just to see what would happen.

But it would probably all go horribly wrong.  Such was her life.

Hmmph.  The outlet was appreciated at least.

The only problem was the increasingly elaborate images her mind was coming up with; acts that Buffy honestly had no name for.  They were the kind of acts that left her waking up in a not so cold sweat with jumbled memories of entwining limbs, heavy panting breaths, eyes rolling into the back of her head, and always a mane of long, dark hair, a husky voice, and dangerous, soulful eyes.

If her subconscious wanted to tone it down a few notches before it got her in trouble, that’d be great.

She tensed when Faith grunted.  “Something on your mind, B?” she asked, standing and brushing the dirt off tight leather pants, before casually tugging her shirt back down.

Buffy’s gaze lingered on the flash of exposed skin.  In another few seconds it’d be back, tempting her like ice cream on a hot day.  ‘Yeah,’ she thought, something was most certainly on her mind, and she could only imagine how Faith would react to the truth, not that she’d ever wring it out of her.  Buffy’s poker-face remained perfect. 

Well, almost perfect.

Faith’s smile faded into something approaching concern.  “You alright?”  She looked around, as if a demon was about to jump out from behind the nearest tombstone.

Buffy tried to pretend like she had just been sweeping the cemetery with her eyes, instead of, you know, mapping the contours of Faith's butt in sub-millimeter detail like a total perv.  “Oh, sure.  I’m okay.  Everything’s okay," she mumbled, faking distraction, "Why wouldn’t it be?”

Nobody would’ve bought that, not even in Sunnydale.

“You’re not still upset about that asshole, are you?”

Buffy breathed a sigh of relief at living to perv another day, but she wasn’t completely sure which ‘asshole’ Faith was referring to.  It wasn’t exactly an epithet she doled out sparingly.  According to Faith, every vampire they ran across was an asshole.  Half the guys they danced with at the Bronze also qualified, as well as at least three-quarters of the Sunnydale Campus’ male population.  Still, it was most likely Parker she meant.  He was truly an asshole amongst assholes; top shelf, with a picture of his smirking face residing in a place of honor at the Asshole Hall of Fame.  In the middle-ages, they would’ve sung ballads about his assholeishness.  Knights would’ve come to Buffy’s court, kissed her hand, and vowed to slay this foul creature for… uh… well, you get the idea.

Asshole.

She knew it.  Faith knew it.  The American people knew it.

“That was months ago.  I’m over it.”  Sucked that she still had to see him in the halls from time to time – and it also sucked that he was like, still breathing and all that, but whatever - Parker was honestly the last thing on her mind these days, not when her subconscious had apparently moved on to much better things.

Firmer too.

A sudden rustle of leaves had Faith turning sharply, but it was just a squirrel.

Buffy’s attention remained fixated on tonight’s favorite subject.  Like.  Wow.  Also, that shirt was riding up again.

A moment later Faith was tugging it down, oblivious.  “Oh.  Uh.  Cool.”  Their eyes met again as Buffy walked with her nonchalantly down the pathway.  “What about What’s-his-face though, Raymond?  Randy?”

She sighed.

“Rodney?”

Riley.”  Dammit, Faith knew his stupid name, she was just being an ass.

Faith feigned a yawn, which, yeah, also really subtle.  “Right, that guy.”

Buffy shrugged.  “I got bored with him.”  She rolled her eyes as her shoulder was bumped. 

“Stick to guys who can keep up with you, B.”

That excluded anyone human, she supposed.  Unconsciously, her hand rubbed her shoulder, “I’ll settle for a guy who doesn’t get upset that I can beat him in an arm-wrestling contest.”  Also, she was so done with the frat-boy scene; the drinking, the lewd comments her date’s friends made in the halls when they thought she couldn’t hear… like, god, did guys ever grow up?

And then, yeah, it turned out Riley’s whole house had been working for a secret military program.  That was the kind of bombshell that really should’ve been brought up on a first-date.

Like hell if she was trusting any guy she met on campus from now on.

“That’s your problem, right there,” Faith continued, “Settling.  Chick like you shouldn’t have to settle for anything.” 

“A chick like me…” Buffy repeated, shaking her head, even as she couldn’t stop the growing smile on her lips.

“Yeah.  Take what you want, B.”  She smacked her fists together for emphasis, “Show the world who’s boss.”

Yes, Buffy remembered the last time she indulged in that mentality.  She’d rather not end up handcuffed in the back of a police car like last time, thank you very much.  “I don’t think I can really apply that advice to boys, Faith.”

She frowned, and they stopped as they entered the middle of the cemetery, a wide circle of crumbling mausoleums with paths radiating out from an ancient oak tree in the center.

“I should probably just give up on them.”

Faith nodded as she began to pace the grassy yard.  “Dude wasn’t good enough for you, anyway.” 

Maybe Buffy was only imagining the jealousy laced in those words, but the complement made her perk up regardless.  Faith’s compliments were rare things indeed.  Worthy of notice.  “You think so, huh?”

The pacing stopped.  “Uh, yeah, B.  Duh.”  She looked surprisingly uncomfortable at having to say it out loud. 

“Duh?” Buffy repeated, amused.

She sighed and slumped against a tall tombstone.  “Please.  Like you don’t know you’ve got it going on.”  Faith gestured vaguely at her, as if a single hand gesture spoke volumes.

Buffy continued to smile.  She needed this.  Ex-boyfriend issues coupled with the general horrors associated with being a college freshman had led to some serious knocks to her self-esteem lately.  “It’s easy to forget sometimes.  Back in high-school, a lot of boys thought I was a freak.”  Perhaps she solved one too many problems with her fists, but that was a little hard to avoid.  High-school boys just had very naturally punchable faces.

“They were all idiots, B,” Faith replied, hands falling to her sides. 

“Uh huh.”

"And just because they've gone off to college, doesn't mean they're any less idiotic now.  Honestly, they’ll graduate and probably be just as annoying as they were their freshman year."

Jeez, Faith’s outlook was decidedly more pessimistic than her own.  "Some people do change, Faith."  Okay, maybe she wasn’t seeing so much of that change in the local fratboy population, but her friends were changing, even as the boys who routinely flirted with her between classes remained exactly the same… bland, boring, utterly predictable, and only interested in one thing; a thing that, by the way, tended to be over in roughly five to ten minutes if Parker was any indication.  "You've changed."

Faith snorted, as if all the ways she’d changed weren’t a big deal, when honestly, Buffy was actually really proud of her.  "Was talkin' about guys, B.  Trying to stay applicable to your situation, you know?”

Buffy blinked, reasonably sure she’d never heard Faith use the word ‘applicable’ in her entire life.  "Oh,” and then the words fumbled out of her mouth, as they tended to do whenever the subject of Faith’s non-platonic interest in women was brought up.  “Are, um, girls any different?”  She knew that gender seemed to not be a factor in Faith’s own carnal exploits.  That was part of the problem.  It had been a lot easier on Buffy’s apparently fragile mind to fantasize about Faith when Faith wasn’t actually an option.

The innuendoes, the flirting… all of that she used to attribute to some weird quirk of Faith’s personality, an obsessive need to flirt with anything that had a pulse, man or woman.  Then one night she’d caught the object of her current fantasies making out with some random blonde next to the bathroom stalls.

Okay, so maybe that’s when Buffy’s little problem truly started.

Faith looked nearly as uncomfortable as Buffy felt.  This might have been the first time they’d spoken about the women in her life.  Not that Buffy was anything but supportive - well, supportive and secretly jealous - but still supportive.  It was just weird to talk about it.

Between them, a lot of subjects went unspoken.

And normally, if Faith was talking about women, it was because Xander had brought it up, because he was a teenage boy, and teenage boys were embarrassing.

It always made Buffy want to change the subject.

“Eh… well, I’m not the best person to ask, B.  I haven’t exactly dated anyone since I came to Sunnyhell.  You don’t see me bringing people over for movie nights, do you?”

Buffy nodded.  And that was appreciated.  It was more enjoyable when it was just her and Faith, and sometimes Willow and Tara too.  What kind of people would Faith even bring over anyway?  “But you have dated people before you left Boston, right?”

Faith just laughed.  “What?  Are you writing a report or something?”

She blanched.  “Well, I mean, there’s still a lot I don’t know about you,” she said, sighing and looking away.  Dammit.  Asking Faith about herself was like pulling your own teeth out... through your nose.

“Only got to ask, B.”

Buffy rolled her eyes, turning away.  “Oh, it’s that easy, huh?”

The sound of heavy boots on the paving stones got Buffy’s attention.  She turned to see Faith standing in front of her, chin risen in challenge.  “Yeah,” she replied.  “It is.”

Her seriousness caught Buffy off-guard.  Had it really been that easy this whole time, and Buffy didn’t know it?  Then roughly a thousand memories of Faith clamming up after her past was brought up surfaced and Buffy’s eyes narrowed.  “Since when?”

The bravado dropped and Faith sighed.  “Okay, fine, it’s not that easy.  But hey, I need to keep my mysterious air, yunno?  It’s like with Angel.”

Buffy wasn’t following this train of thought at all, her raised eyebrow asked the question.

Faith sighed.  “Like, he had this whole shady past that you didn’t know about.  Wasn’t that part of his charm?”

Buffy was about one-hundred and five percent sure she didn’t want to talk about any of her exes right now, Angel included.  She frowned.

“See?” Faith exclaimed.  “It’s not like it’s easy to get you to talk about yourself either.”

Touché.  If this had been a sparring session, Buffy would be on her back right now, and that was most certainly not a mental image she needed right now.  She sighed, mimicking Faith’s posture by finding her own stone to lean against and hooking her thumbs through the belt loops of her pants.

“I guess everyone’s got secrets,” Buffy admitted.  “Me, you,” she sighed, “everyone I’ve ever dated.  I wish there was someone out there I could trust.  I’m tired of going out with someone only to find out some horrific secret they’ve been carrying this whole time.”

Faith was frowning at the ground in thought.

Buffy blanched.  “Not that I don’t trust you,” she quickly added, relieved when a slight smile graced Faith’s lip in response.

“Yeah,” she replied, tone strangely subdued.  “I hope you don’t think I’m like that.  Not gonna drop that kind of shit on you, you know?”

“I know.  But you’re still going to keep your mysterious air?”

She looked away into the dark night for a long moment, still frowning.  "Tell you what," Faith began.  "I'll make you a trade.  I'll answer any question you want to ask about me, as long as you answer mine in turn.  Tit for tat.  What do you say?"

Buffy swallowed.  Half of that sounded good.  The other half?  Not so much.  And yes, she was a coward, thank you very much.

Oh, and a hypocrite. 

All her boyfriends had kept secrets from her, but she’d kept plenty of her own.

When Buffy didn't answer, Faith pushed herself up, sauntered over and bumped their shoulders together again, misinterpreting her silence.  "Don’t waste another second of your life thinking about those guys, B.  Anyone who wants to see other people after getting with you should have his head checked.”

She chuckled.  Either checked or pounded-in, whichever.  “Thanks.”

Faith grinned, and Buffy felt her heart begin to race at her proximity.

The telling of secrets.  It wasn’t exactly something Buffy was good at.  She’d kept a lot of them in her time - so had Faith - and those secrets tended to come out at exactly the worst moments.

Maybe that sort of thing happened on purpose, she thought.  Maybe the hellmouth was somehow responsible for it all?  Maybe there was a malevolent intelligence watching them from some hell dimension intent on screwing up their lives?

Or maybe the universe was punishing her for keeping so much from everyone.

Or maybe she was just being a paranoid weirdo.

“You'd really tell me anything I want to know?”

Faith seemed a little surprised that Buffy wasn't just blowing her off, but she was all confidence again soon enough.  “I’ll even tell you about the time Parker Abrams’ face accidentally got in the way of my fist, if you really want the specifics.”

Buffy shook her head.  She knew Faith had something to do with his mysterious week-long absence.  “You swear?”

With a sigh, Faith stood straight and put a hand over her heart.  Buffy forced herself not to stare.  The white shirt she was wearing under her leather jacket?  Also a snug fit.  "I, Faith," she paused dramatically, "Stallone, do solemnly-"

Buffy laughed and shoved her.  "I know your last name, Faith."  Jeez, give her some credit.

She grinned.  "Hey, just making sure you've been paying attention."  Straightening again, Faith’s hand was back in place, and again Buffy tried not to stare.  "I, Faith Lehane, do solemnly swear to tell B the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me," she paused again, frowning, "so help me, insert name of appropriate deity here.  Don't want to offend any other gods or demons or whatever that might be watching..."  Her hand dropped.  "Good enough?"

"I want you to promise that you won't tell anybody about anything I say tonight."  Knowing Faith, she’d latch onto the sex questions and never look back.  It was important that this not get out.

Faith raised her head in challenge.  "Is this gonna work both ways?  You’re not going to go blabbing all my boring secrets to Willow and Tara?"

Buffy put her hand over her heart.  "I promise."  She couldn’t imagine what stories Faith might have left that she hadn’t already told half of Sunnydale.  Was there something to top the naked nun/alligator-wrestling story?  Did Buffy even want to know?

"Fine," Faith replied, mimicking Buffy's move.  "Then I promise I won't repeat anything you tell me tonight."  She watched her expectantly.

Trust.  She could do this.  It was what normal people did with their friends, right?  Faith was a friend now.  Sure, it had taken a long while to get to that point, but somehow it had still happened.  Keeping secrets had created so many problems, had almost kept them from getting to where they were now, had almost kept Buffy from a friendship she unexpectedly found herself cherishing.

It was time open up.

Just a little, at least.

Buffy sighed.  "Okay."

"Okay?" Faith repeated, evidently surprised.

"Okay," Buffy said, with actual conviction this time.  At least this wasn’t truth or dare.

"Awesome."  Her brow furrowed for a second, and Buffy immediately braced herself for the most awkward and/or embarrassing question ever, but Faith shook her head.  "Actually, you go first."

"Uh."  That was unexpected. Faith and restraint didn’t tend to go together, like ever.

Leaning back against the tombstone, Faith crossed her arms and watched her expectantly.

Buffy swallowed.

Despite her initial efforts, in the past year and a half she'd only managed to learn a little about Faith's past.  Her mom had died years ago.  Her father was out of the picture, and also an asshole, if Faith was to be believed.  Buffy kind of didn't want to get that serious.  She knew how she got when people asked questions about her own father.  Fifteen years of doing the family thing and now he was living in Spain and showing no interest in what his daughter was doing with her life.

Every minute he was gone was a like a big fuck you to those happier times.

And Faith's dad sounded a lot worse than that.

So, right, parents were off-limits, she decided. 

At the same time though, it was easy enough to picture Faith’s reaction to questions about her life in Boston, or even her time as a potential before her powers activated.  One word: bo-ring.

None of that mattered though, because none of those subjects were really on Buffy’s mind.  Before she could think better of it, her mouth ran away with her, "Did you, um, leave anyone behind in Boston?  Like… anyone special?"  Ugh.  If Buffy's libido wanted to take physical form so she could dropkick it into the next zip code, that would be really convenient right now.

As she should have expected, Faith grinned wolfishly, leaving Buffy regretting every decision that had led her to this moment.  “Not really, B.  Hard to find someone who didn’t get boring after a week or two.  People in Boston aren’t much different than the ones here."

“Oh.  I, uh, see.”  Well, so much for that.

Could she have some time to come up with better questions?  Preferably several days so she’d have time to run those questions by her brain instead of just her overly anxious libido?

Faith was laughing.  “My relationships are just like yours, but on steroids.”

“Ha,” Buffy grunted, but her gut was clenching; not because of anything Faith had just said, but because of what she might ask.

Unknowingly, or not, she drew this feeling out, casually investigating one of the crypts with the slightest of smiles on her face, peeking in through the grimy windows and missing the long string of expressions playing across Buffy’s face, chief among them annoyance.

Then a thought had struck her about Faith's answer; they’d known each other for over a year, and yet, she had stuck around.  Faith was still here.

Wow.  There was the self-esteem boost Buffy been craving.

She felt almost giddy.  It was enough to make her forget about how nervous she should be.  “So, when am I getting a question?”

“Hold your horses,” Faith said, then grunted, perhaps dissatisfied to find nothing inside the crypt except the usual spider webs and rotting leaves.  “Gotta think of a good one.”

“You’re not going to ask about Angel, are you?”

“That’s a question, B.  And besides, you kind of already spilled the beans on that one."

Buffy blanched.  Everyone knew plenty about Buffy’s relationship with Angel by this point.  It had all come out in typically explosive Sunnydale fashion.

"And hey, sensitive topic, I get it.  It's cool."

"Cool," Buffy repeated to herself.  Some of the tension she'd been feeling started to evaporate.  For once it didn't seem like Faith was deliberately needling her like a kid on the playground during recess.  It was nice to see that she actually had some tact.

"So," Faith finally asked.  "Since you want a question so badly: if you had to choose between any of the Scoobies, who’d you rather go out with?"

Buffy swallowed.  If this was question one, what the hell was question two going to be?

“Come on, B.  I made it easy.  Not taking about sex here.  Besides, this is just between you and me.  No one’s gonna hear from me that you’re crushing on Xander.”

The horrified face Buffy made had Faith laughing out loud.

“Fine, not Xander.  Then who?”

“Uh…”  Well, uh, Oz was nice, she supposed, though he was kind of gone now which meant he didn’t really count.  She didn’t feel anything when she thought about him though, not like she had with Angel.

Or, um… with Faith.

Shut up, libido.

“Remember, B?  The truth?”

Shit.  "Are we talking about guys?"  Faith canted her head.  ‘God, why did I ask that?

"Don’t believe I specified.”

Buffy scratched the back of her neck.  “I’ve just never really thought about it.”  Okay, yes, this was a lie.  And yes, she felt bad about it.  Kind of.  But to be completely honest, Buffy still wasn’t sure if she wanted to go out with Faith or if she just wanted to… well, you know.

Besides, Faith didn’t seem like the kind of girl who went on dates.

So technically it wasn't a lie, right?

“I’ve got nothing.”

Mercifully, Faith didn’t push matters, though her narrowed gaze made it apparent that she didn’t completely believe what she’d heard.  "Who's your ideal guy then?"

"Hey, don't I get a question now?"

Faith shook her head, "Not really, since that wasn’t really an answer, but fine, go ahead."

“Uh, well, if you were going to date someone, like really date them, what would you look for?”

Faith yawned.  “Whether they’re hot or not, I guess.”

Buffy pinched the bridge of her nose in response.

“Fine,” she grumbled.  “They’ve got to be interesting, B.  That’s all.  If I can’t stand to be in their presence for more than ten minutes, it probably isn’t going to work.  And if their idea of an ideal first date is going out for coffee like your old friend Reginald," - Buffy snorted - "then I'm gonna be bored to tears, you know?”

“Right.”  Well, that made sense.

“How long have we been out here, anyway?” Faith continued, looking around, “I haven't seen shit all night.”

“Um,” she glanced at her watch, “Thirty-five minutes.”  Then a wicked grin crossed Buffy’s lips, and Faith’s expression fell.

“Fuck, that was a question.”  Buffy giggled as Faith cursed and threw up her hands.  “Fuck.  Fine, go on then.”

“Is it different… dating girls?”

And just as quickly it was Faith who was grinning.  “Why, thinking of branching out?”

Buffy blushed, grumbled, and looked away again.  “Just answer the stupid question.”

“Well, girls are usually hotter, for one thing.”

She waited expectantly for more.  "That's it?"

"Technically that's another question, but yeah, fine, it's just hard to explain.  Like I said, girls aren't all the same, B.  But the one thing they all have in common is they have no idea what I can do for them," she added with a waggle of her eyebrows.

"Huh?"

Faith made a vague gesture with her hands.  When Buffy still didn't get it, she rolled her eyes, "Sex, B.  Duh."

"Duh," Buffy grumbled.  Of course.  Ugh, she was an adult now, but one mention of sex from Faith Lehane and her stomach was clenching.

And, even worse, she was again left waiting for whatever horrible question Faith could think up.

Still no vampires to distract them either.  It was like they knew only to burst in at the worst possible moments.

Faith was watching her closely, brow furrowed in thought.  This time her voice was strangely quiet.  "You ever thought about it?"

“Huh?”

“Girls, B.  Ever thought about it,” she shrugged, “cuz’ it sounds like maybe you have?”

She could lie again, she supposed.  How many obvious lies would Faith let slide?  Probably not that many.  They were supposed to be telling each other the truth, and every time Buffy lied, she’d think back to the expression on Faith’s face when she found out about Angel…

It made her feel kind of shitty.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, Buffy nodded.

She might as well have told Faith she'd scored two backstage passes to a Rob Zombie concert for how wide her eyes went at that revelation.  "Shit, who?  Was it Cordelia?  I bet it was Cordelia.  Damn.  She was a fox."

Her mouth was so dry at this point, it was hard to form words.  Faith’s mind was obviously going places - scary, distant places - and the second she tried to form an image of what those places might look like, Buffy stamped the thoughts down hard.  Her imagination did not need more material to work with.  And with the incredibly amused look in Faith’s eyes, she kind of wanted to reach into her head and free imaginary-Buffy from the dark recesses of Faith’s perverted mind.  "My turn,” she croaked, “remember?"

Even as she nodded, Faith's boot tapped the ground anxiously, like it was a struggle to keep from asking more.

It was going to bite her in the ass, but the question came out regardless, “Have you ever thought about it?”

“B?  When am I not thinking about it?”

She coughed, because, yeah, good point.  “I meant about me, specifically.” 

Her foot stopped, eyes widening again like she couldn’t believe the words coming out of Buffy’s mouth.  Then her own mouth opened and closed a few times.  “You, uh, sure you want to know this shit?”

Again, Buffy nodded.

“I mean, yeah, of course.  Who hasn’t, B?  You’ve got it all.  You could have a different guy every night if you wanted.  Or girl, if you swung that way.”

“You included?”

Faith swallowed.  “Uh, yeah,” she said, voice losing all bravado.  “If you really got to know.  I mean, if this was some bizarre alternate universe where you wanted to do something like that, sure.”  She looked away again.  “But, yunno,” she added quickly, “you shouldn’t let a couple of shitty experiences get you down.  I’m sure there’s a guy out there, or whatever…”

If even Faith was uncomfortable, then holy crap must this situation ever be awkward.  Buffy put her head in her hands.  She could not believe she had just asked that.  Blame the heat.  Blame Faith for being all... Faith.

Ugh.

"You alright, B?"

At least she was still talking to her.

Buffy sat on the grass, fiddling with the end of her pant-leg, hair thankfully obscuring her no doubt beet-red face.  “I- Isn’t it kind of scary though?”

Faith knelt on the stone paved path beside her, but kept her distance.  "Scary?  In what way?”

“It’s different, isn’t it?" she asked, finally looking up.  "Being with girls?”

Faith shrugged.  “A little, I guess?  Depends on the girl, B.  Like I said, they’re not all the same, you know?”

That, Buffy knew.  Even in her embarrassment, the urge for her eyes to linger on Faith’s body was still hard to fight.  And even now, looking away didn’t exactly do a lot to keep Faith from her mind.  Girls weren’t all the same.  Duh.  Most girls couldn’t toss a two by four through the air like a javelin and impale a vampire with it. 

Most girls didn't have such wonderfully expressive faces.

And for sure none of them had dimples quite like that…

Buffy was fairly certain about that one.  She'd looked around.

“I think it’s all in your head, B.  I’d bet you ten bucks that if you found some random college girl to hook up with they’d be way too busy being all like, ‘damn, this hot chick is making out with me,’ to even notice that you’ve never done it before.”

Buffy coughed.

“Plenty of girls out there willing to teach you the ropes," Faith said, offering a hand up, which Buffy eventually accepted.  "I could pass out flyers around campus if you want,” she added, grinning.  "Hot chick with superpowers looking for hot girl for extended make-out session.  What do you think?”

Buffy blushed straight to her ears, then shoved Faith hard enough to knock her to the ground.

She bounced right back up, “Aww, come on, B.  Flyers won’t even be necessary.  You’re smokin’.  I’d just have to hold up your picture and the girls would come running.”

“But how would I?  If I even wanted to… ugh.  How can even tell when a girl is…”  She stood and stepped away, because god.  Faith wasn’t dumb, if Buffy was asking questions like these, then she had to know, right?

“You just asked like five different questions in a row there, Twinkie.”

She slumped headfirst against the nearest tombstone and rubbed her face with her hands.   Where was a demon invasion when you needed one?

All she was getting was awkward silence, the exact opposite of a demon invasion.  Come on, at least meet her halfway here, universe.

“Hey, B?”

Buffy grunted in lieu of a response, refusing to meet Faith’s gaze.

“What if I offered to let you kiss me?”

That got her to turn around.  “What?”

Faith held up her hands as if she was expecting a blow.  “I’m just sayin’, you know I won’t judge you.  And I’m not going to tell anyone.  I promised, remember?”

Again, the cemetery went as quiet as… well, the grave.  And yeah, she remembered, Faith had plenty to blackmail her with already, that much was certain.

“This way, you’ll have some experience, if, yunno, you ever wanna go out there and really try it.”

"Uh huh," Buffy replied cautiously.

“And hey, if you’re gonna kiss your first girl…” Faith gestured at herself, a slow sweep from her chest to her abdomen, “I mean.  Not a bad specimen, am I right?”

No, not bad at all, the darker regions of Buffy’s mind replied.  Her shirt was still riding up, by the way.  Thanks for noticing that, eyeballs.

Faith didn’t miss where Buffy’s gaze had lingered.  She patted her firm stomach, amused when Buffy swallowed.  “Not to toot my own horn.”

“Perish the thought,” Buffy said with a forced laugh.  The silence that followed was suitably awkward.  Over the chirping crickets, Buffy was pretty sure could hear a coyote howl and might’ve seen a tumbleweed or two roll by.  Faith had just offered to 'let' Buffy kiss her, whatever that was supposed to mean. 

There was no need to pinch herself.  If this were a dream, her palms wouldn't be so clammy and her heart wouldn't feel like it was about to burst out of her chest.  “But wouldn’t that be… kind of weird?  We’re friends.”

Faith made a face as she inched closer.  Her voice was low, and in a strange way it was rather comforting, like she was treating this situation as if it were as big a deal as Buffy thought it was.  “You wanna know what’s really weird, B?  Slaying vampires.  Hunting down demons.  Watching the mayor turn into a giant snake and then exploding him along with the whole fucking school.  That shit’s weird.  Making out with a girl is positively ordinary.  And like I said,” she quickly added.  “I look good.”

Buffy snorted.  Following Faith’s logic wasn’t easy at the best of times, and in her heart, she knew that this proposal was just a teensy bit self-serving on Faith’s part, but at the same time she couldn’t help herself.  It was a very tempting offer.

“I mean,” Faith continued, “if I were you, I’d make out with me.”

“Uh huh,” Buffy replied dryly.  Faith had better be careful what she said.  In the hellmouth, anything could happen, and sooner or later probably did.

Also, the world could so not survive the existence of multiple Faiths.

“Not tryin’ to force you, B.  Just figured it could help.  You kiss me, and you’ll see how kissin’ girls isn’t weird.  Then you can find some chick who’s more your type.”  Faith’s brow furrowed in thought, distracting Buffy with its’ cuteness, “One of those sorority chicks with the letterman jackets or something.”

Buffy gaped.  “You think that’s my type?”

Again with the defensive hand-raising.  “I don’t fucking know!  Haven’t really been able to peg your type, B.  You’re kind of all over the place in the boyfriend department.”

She frowned, unsure if she was being insulted or not.

“Besides,” Faith continued.  “You might discover your type of guy isn’t the same as your type of girl.”

“Is that how it is with you?”

Faith smiled, but there was something undefinable in her expression.  “You still haven’t answered my question, B.”

She sighed.  Were they even still playing this stupid game?

“I’ll be on my best behavior.”

“I’ve seen your best behavior, Faith.  That’s not a comfort.”

Faith narrowed her eyes.  “Fine.”  She placed her hand over heart again.  “If the stunning Ms. Summers deigns to kiss me, I promise not to grope her, or make her uncomfortable in any way.”

“Deigns?” Buffy repeated.

“Tara’s been helping me study for my G.E.D.  It was on last night’s vocabulary flashcard.”

She couldn’t hide the look of shock on her face.  “I didn’t know you were getting your High School equivalency.”

“You didn’t ask, B,” Faith said, grinning.  “You sorta went straight for the sex questions, if you recall.”

“Right,” Buffy replied, blushing again as she stepped forward.  Just the act of moving a foot closer had her stomach twisting again.

Faith nudged Buffy’s shoe with the toe of her boot.  “Now, about my offer…”  God, Faith was relentless when she wanted to be.  “I’ll let you do whatever you want with me, no questions asked.”

Just that tiny bit of contact had Buffy forgetting all the mounting questions she suddenly had about Faith’s studies.  There were other, more pressing matters. 

“I can do what I want?” Buffy said to herself, finally meeting Faith’s gaze again through long lashes.  She looked so serious, not at all the expression she’d imagine Faith would have in a situation involving impending kissing.  “And you won’t make it weird?”

“As I promised.”

Buffy licked her lips.  “And you’ll keep your hands to yourself?”

Faith was eyeing her closely, sizing her up, Buffy thought.  “If it helps you, B, ‘s no problem.”  For emphasis, she clapped her hands behind her back.

Buffy just didn’t want things to escalate.  Things had already escalated far enough.

No one moved.  If Buffy had been hoping to not make things awkward between herself and Faith, then wow had she ever failed spectacularly.

Amazing.

Like, way to go.

Still didn’t want to stop though.

And there was only so much Faith could do with just her lips, right?  Buffy tried not to think about it, which meant that half a second into not thinking about it she was thinking about it in intricate detail.  “Okay,” she breathed, shaking her head.

Amazingly, it was Faith who seemed the more nervous out of the two of them.  “Okay?” she asked in seeming disbelief.

"Yeah," Buffy said, steeling herself.  "Okay.  Let me kiss you."

Faith didn't move an inch.

Maybe she was worried Buffy would freak.

Buffy was worried she would freak.

It was a valid concern.

So it was left to Buffy to draw closer, watching Faith’s eyes intently as she gently placed hands on her strong shoulders.  It was important to remind herself that she was the one in control of this situation.  They were going to kiss - once - and that was it.

For her part, Faith remained perfectly still, hands at her sides, watching Buffy with a keen wide-eyed interest.

But then Buffy’s fingers were enjoying the feeling of Faith's strong shoulders.  Short of extremely rare bouts of hand-holding – generally lasting just long enough to pull one another out of danger - and the slightly less rare shove out of the way of said danger, Buffy had never really had the opportunity to feel Faith’s body like this.

It felt good just to be able to touch someone… someone she trusted with all - okay, most – of her secrets.  She hadn’t even done anything, not really, yet it felt so incredibly intimate to have her hands on Faith like this.

Faith, for her part, continued to stand there, evidently very confused by what was happening.  She tilted her head.   "B?"

"You're warm," was all she could think to say.  Also hot, she added mentally.

“Erm, thanks?”

No, thank you,’ she thought, vaguely aware that these were not the thoughts and actions of a straight person, and more than vaguely aware that there was no turning back now.  Faith was as unlikely to forget this night as Buffy was.  You couldn’t just explain away how Buffy’s eyes were burning in her head, or the way her hands kept kneading the muscles of Faith’s shoulders.

And finally she did it.  Stealing herself, Buffy took a breath, closed in, and their lips met.

She had no idea what to expect.  To be honest, until that moment the most likely outcome should’ve been a brief peck followed by hurried apologies, and then a prompt fleeing in the direction of anywhere else but here, because running she could do.

She should major in it.

Only, Buffy didn’t run, instead her body thrilled, like a more intense version of the tingles that ran up her spine after a slay.  Faith’s breath hitched when Buffy's right arm slid down her back and yanked their bodies together.

Without meaning to, the kiss deepened, which Faith seemed only too happy to go along with.  She made these adorable noises as it went past five seconds, then ten, then thirty…

Judging by her moans, it was clear Faith certainly had no objection to her continuing, but finally Buffy forced herself back, and to her amusement, Faith arched forward, trying to prolong the kiss for as long as possible.

Fuck, B.” 

Buffy nodded emphatically, hands back on her partner's shoulders, holding Faith place, or maybe she was holding herself in place.  Her knees did feel a little wobbly.  “Yeah, that was…”  She swallowed and let go, stepping back just as Faith did.

“I mean… fuck," Faith said again.  "Yeah, just… uh… yeah, walk up to any girl, kiss them like that, and, uh,” she swallowed, inching back a little further, “I’ll think you’ll be fine.”

The mental image of her doing that was weirdly terrifying, like an out of body experience.  Yet for some reason, making out with Faith in the middle of a cemetery hadn’t felt that way.  Buffy wasn’t so far in denial that she didn’t know why.  She knew which particular girl she wanted to be kissing.

“Okay,” she breathed, still a little shell-shocked herself.

Faith smiled, and it wasn’t an aww-yeah-that-was-so-fucking-sweet sort of smile, it was more of a holy-shit-did-that-just-happen sort of smile.  Buffy remembered that smile.  It was the same one she’d had on her face Christmas Eve when Buffy invited her into the house.  She took a steadying breath, her voice scarcely above a whisper.  “So, how’s your self-esteem now, B?”

Buffy had her eyes on Faith’s lips.  “Getting better.”  There was something comforting in Faith’s nervous look.  “This isn’t how I imagined it.”

Faith blinked, smile faltering.

“I've seen you at the Bronze, Faith."  Buffy had seen her with both boys and girls, and it always went the same way.  "I always imagined that if we kissed, I’d find myself against a wall.  You’d be in control.  It would be intense… and over before I knew it, like getting hit by a tidal wave, I guess.”  Yet for some reason, that wasn’t happening.  Faith was stayed true to her word, letting Buffy do as she wished.  It was surprisingly reassuring.

“I gave you my word.  That’s a thing I do now,” she said, appearing just a little offended, “keeping my word.”

Buffy nodded.  “Good.”

“And hey, wait a minute.  ‘Over before you knew it,’ seriously, B?”

She grimaced.  “I’m just, you know… comparing from experience.”

"Yours or mine?"

"Mine," Buffy admitted with a sigh.  Her heartbeat was only just beginning to settle itself again.

Faith’s mouth opened, closed, then open and closed again.  About a hundred expressions crossed her face in roughly ten seconds.  None of them were exactly saying, ‘Wow, Buffy, you’ve sure had a long string of enviable sexual relationships.  Nice going.’

Honestly, the only good experience had been with Angel, and well, that night had been well and truly tarnished by subsequent events.

Another half-minute of being gawked at and Buffy blurted out, “What?”

It looked like Faith was biting her tongue so hard she might draw blood.  “You clearly aren’t getting with the right people.” 

Then her eyes widened when Buffy straightened and began closing the distance between them.

And again, hands returned to Faith's shoulders, before moving down to her biceps - fingers and thumbs trailing gently up flesh that was soft, yet firm at the same time, hands tracing every inch, as if to sear the memory into her brain.  She felt those muscles flexing, her brain helpfully recalling a hundred memories of Faith using that strength on the demons of Sunnydale.  All that power was at her mercy now.  Faith had given up control because Buffy had asked her too, and, apparently, it was like pouring gasoline on a raging fire.

She searched Faith's wide eyes.  “Maybe I am getting with the right people… now.”

This time, Faith strained against Buffy’s firm grip, surging forward and trying to capture her lips again.  Buffy used her slayer strength to keep her back, meeting her obvious desperation with a raised eyebrow.  “Shit.  Sorry, B.  I’m not used to this.”

At that, she grinned.  “My self-esteem is through the roof right now.”

Despite her obvious desperation, Faith rolled her eyes.

Slowly - agonizingly slowly if Faith’s expression and sharp breathes were anything to go by - Buffy pushed her leather jacket open, down one arm and then the other until it dropped to the damp grass behind her.

Just a plain white tanktop, with the straps of a black bra showing, but as always, Faith made it look so very good.

“Why do you always wear that jacket when it’s so hot out?”

“Got an image to maintain,” she said with a shaky smile.

Buffy leaned closer.  “I think I like this image better.”  She wasn’t being shy about looking Faith over anymore.

Faith swallowed, and if Buffy had to guess, she was probably wondering where this Buffy Summers had been hiding all her life.

No longer was Faith this image she couldn’t let herself touch.

She could touch all she wanted.

And Buffy found herself wanting quite a lot.

The reality of feeling Faith’s skin, of kissing her, was a lot different than she expected.  Sure, Faith was holding herself back, letting Buffy take the lead, but the very fact that Faith was doing that said a lot about how much she had changed since the night they met.

After a year, Faith wasn’t so scary anymore.

But she was more attractive than ever.

And a sense of vulnerability was there, something she hadn’t seen from Faith since Kakistos.  Faith just stood there, breath slowly calming, watching Buffy like a hawk.

She seemed completely unsure of what to do when Buffy wrapped her arms around her body and breathe in the lingering scent of her shampoo.  “B?” she croaked.

“You smell good.”

“Erm, thanks?”  Her breath hitched again when Buffy’s lips brushed her neck. 

Mmm, she could really get used to catching Faith off guard like this.  "Hands," she chided.

Faith’s head fell back even as she reluctantly complied.  It seemed like she was about to lose it, but somehow she mustered up the resolve to clasp her hands behind her back.

Admittedly, winding Faith up like this was a whole new level of fun, and her imagination must’ve been slacking if the reality was this good.  Buffy’s lips lingered by Faith’s ear, smiling at the whispered string of curses the light pressure provoked.

She pulled back, both women breathing heavily.  “B?  What are y-“

Gently, she ran a hand through dark silky hair, ignoring her.  “This is a lot more than I imagined it would be,” she finished for her.  Faith’s eyes went wide, processing the meaning of those words - the fact that Buffy had been imagining this - and just as her mouth opened to reply, Buffy stopped her with another, deeper kiss.

This second kiss was much less chaste.  With her slayer strength, Buffy pinned Faith against the trunk of the tall, ancient oak which shook when their bodies collided with it.

Oops.

"I didn't hurt you, did I?" Buffy asked, pulling back sharply.

Faith just about managed to look indignant, though this was offset a bit by her rapidly rising and falling chest and the wild look in her dark eyes.  "As if, B."

"Cool.”

Whatever she might’ve said next instead escaped her lips in a heavy grunt as Buffy shoved her back against the tree and their lips met a third time.

She bit back on the urge to ask if Faith was okay again.  Faith certainly seemed okay.  Granted, Buffy didn’t have a lot of experience – Angel had always been gentle with her, and everyone else she’d ever kissed she’d been gentle with - but it was nice not to have to hold herself back for once.

More than nice, really.  It was amazing.

Buffy would later swear it was unconscious, but at some point, the hands she'd had on Faith's biceps had trailed down her arms, entwined with her fingers, and then forced them behind her back again.  Left hand free, Buffy found herself kneading the soft skin at Faith’s side, reveling in every new sensation she could find.  Her leg pried Faith's apart and they both gasped.  The sensation of such a powerful body undulating against her… she could really, really get used to this.

Not that she could imagine herself normally making out with a girl in the middle of a cemetery at one in the morning.

Oh, no.  Absolutely not.

Wouldn’t even dream of it.

Cough.

With a hand still clutching Faith's wrists, she drew her forward, while simultaneously pushing her back into the tree with the rest of her body.  At some other unknown point, Buffy's free hand managed to snake its way under Faith's top.  Slowly, her nails dragged themselves up and down the woman's spine, again completely unconsciously.

And every time she did it, Faith shivered.

She could tell it was all blowing her mind.  There was an image inside Faith's head of Buffy Summers that had just been shattered into a million tiny pieces.  Faith groaned and squirmed under her grasp, but didn’t try to take the lead.

Finally, they broke apart, Faith gasping for breath while Buffy turned her attention to her neck, nibbling at the skin.  Faith swore – okay, maybe Buffy was biting just a little too hard, but that was alright - Faith was a slayer, she'd heal quickly enough.

"Fuck, B,” she gasped out, unfocused eyes staring at the gently swaying leaves over her head.  “You're a natural.  Any girl’d be lucky to have you.”

“You think so?” Buffy asked in between bites.

She let out a ragged laugh.  “You sure you weren’t bitten by a sex demon when I wasn’t lookin’ or something?”  Buffy grinned, and when Faith tried wriggling out of her grasp again, she bit harder.  “Fuck!”

Hands.”

“Sorry.”  She stilled herself.

Wow, Buffy thought, having Faith at her mercy, she could enjoy something like this all night; feeling the flex of Faith’s muscles, listening to the sound of her labored breathing and soft curses –

“B?”

She was tensing again.  Buffy was really beginning to like that too.

“B!”

Suddenly, the hands she’d been holding back thrust out, shoving Buffy backwards just as a gust of air and the stench of death hit her simultaneously.  Considering her distraction, Buffy reacted quickly.  Rolling onto the grass, she was up in an instant, stake already in hand, just in time to see Faith trading blows with a vampire in a leather coat.

“What’s wrong, Dusty?” she asked, eyes flashing, “Jealous?”

The vampire, a woman, snarled at Faith, baring sharp fangs that glinted in the moonlight.

Buffy kept a hand on her stake, but didn’t move to intervene.  There was an unspoken rule they had about kill-stealing.  Besides, even a year after coming to Sunnydale and beginning her training under Giles, Faith still fought like Faith; all power and fury, holding nothing back.  It was safer just to watch.

Easier on the eyes too.

She cringed when Faith took a glancing shot to the shoulder.

It had always been a bit distracting; when Faith fought she put everything into the offense, even if it left her open for a counter-attack.  Getting punched by Faith was like getting hit by a truck, or to reference something in Buffy’s actual experience, it was like getting thrown against a concrete wall by a giant demon-snake.

When sparring with Faith, it was best to deflect and avoid.  Good thing Buffy was an expert at both.

At least, up until a few minutes ago.

Now Faith’s style of combat was distracting in all sorts of new ways: breathing hard, hair falling over her face, and eyes wild in a way only vampires had seen before, and that only because it was the last thing they ever saw before being stabbed through the heart.

She pictured Faith on top of her while wearing such an expression, and yeah, Buffy was so going to lose that next sparring session, no question about it.

The vampire didn’t last long.  A few more ineffectual swings from it and Faith finally knocked the woman against the oak tree, twirled a stake in the air just to show off, then pierced its' heart with it.

And just as quickly as it began, all was quiet again.  Faith stood there, unfocused eyes watching the dust flitter away in the breeze before she caught Buffy’s gaze.  She swallowed.  "Shit.  I guess that ruined the moment, didn’t i-"

She was unprepared for Buffy to tackle her to the ground, only managing to grunt out a, "Shi-" before her words were cut off by insistent lips once again.  Buffy should've felt bad, but then again, Faith had taken worse falls – plus, she seemed to still be enjoying it.  With slayer strength of her own, her hips were soon lifting Buffy off the ground, and though Faith was certainly capable of bucking her off, she made no real attempt to do so.  Buffy smiled into her soft lips.

Kissing had never felt so good.  Faith was so warm, so strong, yet also somehow so soft.  It felt like she was riding a wave, at the mercy of forces she couldn't match.  And she didn't want to stop.

It struck her that she didn’t have to stop.

With decisive pressure, Buffy kept Faith's shoulders pinned to the ground, stymieing any attempts to reach her lips again.   Faith craned her neck one last time, then dropped her head back to the soft grass, grunting in defeat.  They remained like that for a minute or so, chests rising and falling.  ‘I win,’ Buffy thought.

"Another question, B,” Faith asked, looking away, cheeks pink.  “Have you ever thought about doing this?"

"Making out?" Buffy asked.  "Sure.  I've thought about that plenty of times."

Faith grumbled at her evasiveness.  "I meant with me."

Buffy grinned.  "That's two questions."

"Dammit."

To be honest, Buffy was pretty sure the count on the questions front was all screwed up by this point.  Needling Faith was fun though.  She was beginning to see why Faith enjoyed doing it to everyone else so much.  “Yeah,” she continued.  ”I’ve thought about it.”

Their eyes met.  "You could’ve said something, yunno?"

Maybe things would’ve been better if she had.  Or, considering how things were like last year, Faith's flirtation with the side of evil, maybe they’d have been way worse.  It hardly mattered now.  “I was scared.”

Buffy was a little surprised when Faith only nodded in response, her expression soft, almost like she could relate.  “Are you scared now?”

Buffy shook her head.  Her heart was still pounding, but ‘scared’ wasn’t the right word for how she felt at this moment.  “I feel good.”  A little overwhelmed, but good.

“I bet you do,” Faith smirked, lifting her hips just a little.

Buffy grinned back.  "Are we cool?" she asked.

Faith was still breathing hard, and watching the rhythmic rising and falling of her chest only keyed Buffy up more.  She had made Faith react like this, and damn, she’d never have low self-esteem again.

Faith, the slayer who would never put down roots, never did the relationship thing, never opened up to anyone… Faith was lying underneath her, literally pinned down, and desperate for Buffy to go on.

There had always been a feeling that she could run at any moment, like she had done all those times last year.  Even now Faith could run if she wanted and Buffy wouldn’t try to stop her.  But she wasn't running.  She lay still under Buffy's weight.  The emotions between them were strong, but none of them said she wanted to be anywhere else.

Faith wet her lips.  "If we're cool, does that mean you'll start kissing me again?"

Buffy smiled softly.  "Answer my question first."

Faith banged her head back against the soft grass while Buffy squirmed a little in her lap, just to exasperate things a little more.  "We are definitely cool in at least one sense of the word."

Buffy lowered her lips, inch by inch.  "Good," she breathed.  "Then my answer is yes."

Remarkably, Faith didn’t close the distance.  "You know, I knew you'd be like this."

Buffy tilted her head.  "Like what?"

Faith sighed as she seemed to realize she was going to be forced to spit it out.  "All bossy and shit."

A grin spread across her face.   Faith's hips were still trying to generate some kind of friction with her.  Buffy knew from sparring that they were more than capable of bucking her off.  It was why grappling had become verboten during their training sessions: too many knocked over bookshelves.

Faith was letting her lead but trying to be act like she wasn't.  It was an intriguing new experience.  Gently, Buffy stroked her chin.  As she expected, when she drew closer, Faith finally tried to meet her lips, but Buffy kept her still as she brushed a cheek against Faith's and whispered in her ear.  "You like it though."

Fuck, B.”  That was definitely a whine.

She pulled back.  “We never settled on how long this agreement would last.  Ten minutes?  Thirty?  How long do you want it, Faith?”

“I could go all night,” Faith replied, voice raw, her teasing tone sounding just a little forced.

“But did you want to?”  She had just basically manhandled Faith to the ground, after all.  How much did the girl underneath her really want it?

Her eyes were wide, and for some reason, it brought to mind the memory of Buffy being taken to the toy store as a child and having the freedom to select anything she wanted.  “Seriously?”

Buffy nodded.  “All I want tonight,” she slid her hands up and down the length of Faith’s biceps, “is this.”

“I think what you’re looking for has a name, B.”

She rolled her eyes, “Actually, I’m not sure if there’s a name for all the things what I want to do.”  A word like ‘sex’ didn’t quite cover it, she thought.

Faith swallowed, and her voice was a rough whisper.  "Well, whatever’s going on in that head of yours, I’m up for it.  For tonight… for as long as you want."

Buffy smiled.  In this respect, she was certain that her interests and Faith's lined up precisely.  Still, she didn’t move, and Faith tilted her head in confusion.  "This is all new to me," Buffy said after a long silent moment.

"You could've fooled me," she laughed

"Thought about it though."

Faith's eyes sparkled as a smile crossed her lips.  "Which part?"

“All of it.  More too.”  Then she frowned.  "I’m sorry about your pants though."  Grass stains were a pain.  She was really feeling that now that she had to do her own laundry.

"Kind of don't give a shit about my wardrobe right now, B."

Eyes glinting, Buffy grabbed the middle of Faith’s tank top and jerked it hard until the fabric ripped in two.

“Hey!”

Mmm, this view was even better than she imagined.  She flashed an innocent smile.  “I’ll let you have one of mine.”

“All of yours would be tight on me, B.”

The smile on Buffy’s lips only grew as the mental image firmly planted itself.

“You know,” Faith began with a laugh, “it’s getting harder and harder for me to believe you’re straight.”

“Yeah,” Buffy breathed, allowing her eyes to take in Faith’s nearly naked form, her disheveled hair, her kiss swollen lips, her rising and falling chest, all while she continued to straddle her in a very unheterosexual manner.  “I’m finding it a little hard to believe that myself right about now.”

It didn’t take much more convincing from Faith to move this whole experience, as fun as it was, to somewhere safer and less prone to being stalked by jealous vampires.

Fortunately, the streets of Sunnydale were vacant at this time of night.  It was probably the proximity of the hellmouth that gave people a sense about these things; don’t leave your house after dark or you’ll end up donating blood to the undead.

Tonight, for the first time ever, it also meant that everyone missed the slayer, the vanguard of the world, and savior of humanity, rushing down a street, stealing kisses from another slayer who curiously enough wasn’t wearing a shirt under her jacket.

People certainly would’ve noticed during the day-time.  Sucked to be them, Faith would probably say, were she not so distracted.

It didn’t suck to be Buffy right now though, absolutely not.

Fortunately, the distance to Faith’s place wasn’t too far.  Thanks to Giles’ efforts, she had a home of her own now, a real one.  Small as apartments went, but Faith wasn’t really an indoor sort of person, wasn’t the sort to hang around by herself when there were things to do.  Still, it was a home, a refuge from vampires, a place she could really call her own.  Buffy was glad for it.  The longer Faith stayed, the more likely she would be to keep staying.

Faith’s back collided with the front door.  “Shit.  You’re driving me crazy here, B.”

It was amazing how long this tension continued to build.  Until tonight, Buffy never would’ve thought it possible.  “You’ve always driven me crazy, Faith,” she replied, in between kisses to her neck.  “This is the natural culmination of our relationship.”

Shit.”

“You said that already.”  Without bothering to ask, Buffy reached into Faith’s pocket for the keys, and even that had Faith taking a sharp breath and cursing to herself.  “Want to invite me in?”

Faith looked away sharply, like she was trying to compose herself, so Buffy dragged the key lightly up her back.  Her eyes rolled up into her head, all composure destroyed.  “No offense, B.  But you don’t seem like to type to… you know… do this on a first date.”

Buffy smiled.  “Maybe we’ve already been on lots of dates and never realized it?”

Her brow furrowed.

“I mean, you know all my favorite foods, all my favorite movies.  That’s further than most boys have ever gotten.”

She laughed softly.  “What can I say, B?  I’m a real catch.”  Her expression turned to shock when the door finally clicked open and they fell through the threshold together.  The door slammed into the wall and plaster could be heard cracking and falling to the floor behind them.

Buffy cringed.  Oops.

Faith cursed, laid out on her back again, and again with Buffy straddling her.  This was becoming a theme.  “You’re paying for that.”

“I’ll make it up to you.”

And just like that, Faith forgot all about the wall.

“So,” she drawled, so clearly pleased with herself that it was a struggle not to knock that smile off her face with a well-aimed pillow, “Obviously you’ve never had someone go down on you before.”

Despite the impulse to lie, because really, if Faith’s ego grew any bigger she might explode, Buffy wasn’t exactly able to discount the feeling as though all the bones in her body had simultaneously checked out.  “Can’t say that I have.”

“Like I said, B.  College boys are useless.”

Buffy still wasn’t really thinking about guys.  She had a very naked Faith Lehane draped over her, with those muscular arms, her dark disheveled hair, and that knowing smirk.  It was hard to think about much beyond that.

“I’m still offering to hand out flyers for you, you know?  Maybe a quiz?  Fifty questions, multiple choice.  Reading body language, understanding the noises your partner is making, how to use your hands in any given situation, that sort of thing.  Narrow the field down for you.”

“Uh… no thanks.”

“Nothing wrong with playing the field, B.  It’s good to be thorough.”

Yeah, Buffy thought, sidetracked by Faith's nakedness.  Thorough she could agree with.  Thorough was good.

“Just need a good picture of you, and you’re gold.”

The scary thing was she could actually picture Faith doing that.  She’d have a big smile on her face, handing out fliers to random people, ‘Hey, you, you’re hot.  So, I’ve got this friend who’s looking for someone to go down on her.  You interested?’

God.  She’d have to change schools.  Or move to Siberia.  Or one of those alternate Earth’s, the one that was just shrimp.

Faith continued, “Or, since the rest of the world’s dateable population is so dumb, maybe I should keep you all to myself?”

Buffy laughed.  “How are you so good at that?”

“Practice makes perfect, B,” she said, waggling her eyebrows.

“No…” Buffy looked away, shaking her head and smiling, “I mean, yeah, that too, but how are you so good at making me feel better about myself?”

Faith shrugged, confused.

“Kind of wondering how you don’t have girls lined up around the block.”

“Only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, B,” Faith said with a roll of her eyes.  Her expression became more serious.  “There are way too many straight girls in Sunnyhell.”

Buffy laughed.  “Some of them probably aren’t as straight as you think.”

“Yeah, you might be on to something there,” she replied, swallowing.  “We should probably make sure though.”

Buffy pulled her close, a wicked grin crossing her lips.  “Yes, let’s be thorough.”

Faith slept pretty much exactly how Buffy imagined she would, all stretched out and taking up as much space on the bed as one person possibly could.  Some of that space was also occupied by Buffy.

Not that she minded.

As far as mornings-after were concerned, this one was no contest.  She’d never seen anyone look so peaceful, or so naked.

Groaning softly, Faith’s arm slid across Buffy’s body as she stretched.  Then she stiffened, head turning and groggy eyes going wide to find a very naked Buffy Summers in her bed.  “B,” she rasped, voice rough with sleep.  “You’re still here?”

Corner of her lip quirking, Buffy nodded ever so slightly.  Here she was indeed, all naked and everything.

Relief swept over her when Faith slid closer and brought their heads together.  Hands twined their way through Buffy’s hair.  Even after the surprises of last night, and there had been quite a few of them, it wasn’t the kind of softness she would expect from Faith.  “Damn.  I could get used to this, you know?”

Well, the butterflies were back: they spoke to her now, saying something along the lines of, ‘she’s not out of your system yet,’ in a multitude of tiny insect voices.  Stupid know-it-all butterflies.  “Yeah, me too.”

Her eyes grew wider, asking the question, ‘Really?’

Buffy reached over and brushed the hair out of her eyes for her, soft smile on her lips.  “I mean, I guess we could… if you want.”

Faith smirked.  “Could what?”

Buffy rolled her eyes at the unspoken innuendo.  “Have more sex, duh.”

More sex?” Faith repeated, voice hitching.

Buffy shoved her.  They’d already had more sex in the last few hours than was probably considered healthy by the Surgeon General.  “The dating thing, we could do that.”

Faith blinked.  “Really?” she asked, feigning nonchalantness if Buffy was any judge.

“Yeah.  Telling everyone is going to be awkward though.”  Faith didn’t appear put off by that, but Buffy felt bad about her choice of words regardless.  The last thing she wanted was for her to think she was embarrassed for everyone else to know.

Faith was worth the embarrassment.

Besides, she’d had plenty of practice when it came to being embarrassed in Faith’s presence.

It was just… the coming out part would be awkward, right? - coming out as a slayer had been awkward enough – and her dating life in high-school could probably charitably be described as ‘aggressively heterosexual.’

Surely no one would believe her.

But whatever, Buffy was comfortable with what she had recently learned about herself – in fact, comfortable didn’t quite cover the boneless feeling she had at the moment - and her friends would just have to deal.  She just hoped that Xander could avoid making an ass out of himself about it.

For a change.

“It won’t be that bad,” Faith said, straddling her.  “Willow broke the ground for you there already… besides, everyone already knows you’ve got the hots for me.”  Buffy made a face, which Faith dutifully ignored.  “I mean, you’re only human, well… a super-powered human, but still, you have eyes.”  Deliberately, Faith arched her back, and watched with amusement as green eyes raked over her exposed flesh, which was, well, all of it.

Buffy coughed.  “Guess I’m just a lucky girl, huh?”

Faith nodded, “Haven’t kicked you out of my bed, have I?”

“Well, that would be a pretty stupid thing for you to do.”

There was something in her amused expression.  “Ain’t gonna kick you out, B.  Might not be going to college, but I still think I’m smarter than your average frat-boy.”

“Prettier too.”

“And better in bed, for sure.”

Again, Buffy shoved her.  “You’re so full of yourself.”

“Not always,” she replied easily, looking down from her perch on Buffy’s lap.  “Last night I was full of you, if I remember correctly.  Fingers and tongue, specifically.”

Finally, Buffy nailed her with a pillow, hard enough to knock Faith back and fill the air with a dense shower of feathers. 

“Oww!”  

Shit.  Sometimes she forgot her own strength.  “Sorry!”

Faith fell onto her back with a huff, pillow innards raining down upon her.  “At this rate, this thing we’ve got going on is going to end up costing me a lot of money, B.”

“I’ll make it up to you.” 

Faith sighed, since, yeah, it was hardly the first time she’d said that tonight, but there was no complaint when Buffy crawled on top of her and gamely attempted to brush the feathers away.

“How?” Faith asked, wry grin back in place.

Buffy drew closer.  “I’ve got a list two miles long.”

She swallowed.  “Um.  Can I see it?”

Buffy groaned into Faith’s disheveled hair, making a noise of displeasure when some strands of it ended up her in mouth.  Her throat was dry and her stomach grumbled.  “Ugh, what time is it?”

“Um,” Faith had to slide across the bed to find the alarm clock, which was now resting upside-down on the floor.  Surely, having Buffy clinging to her back didn’t make the search any easier, but Buffy wasn’t about to let go, not when she could feel the flex of Faith’s muscles as she struggled to peer over the side.  “51:21.  No, wait, 12:15.”

Buffy chuckled, and squeezed a little tighter.  “I meant which day?”

Faith sighed, relaxing again.  “Couldn’t even tell ya what year it is, B.  Could be 2018 for all I know.”

She looked up over to the window, groaned, then buried her face back in Faith’s hair.  “The sun’s shining, so there hasn’t been an apocalypse.”

“Oh, awesome,” Faith chuckled, but she tensed when Buffy kissed the back of her neck.  “B?”

A long purr of contentment was the only reply Buffy wanted to give.

“You’re going to kill me.”

She giggled when Faith shivered beneath her touch.  For someone with so much… experience… Faith’s body was remarkably sensitive to the most subtle of touches.  And to think, she’d worried that Faith would find her boring.

Seemed like ages ago now.  She’d just had more sex in one night than she’d had in her entire life.

And then some.

“You know, I think I’m beginning to understand the real reason why there’s supposed to only be one slayer at a time.”

Buffy propped herself on an elbow to get a look at Faith’s face.  “And what’s that?”

“Well, if there were two slayers they’d be too busy sexing each other up to ever save the world.”

She sighed, giving her a shove.

“Come on, B,” Faith said, rolling onto her back.  “Two hot chicks with superpowers.  It’s inevitable.”

They shared a laugh.  God, Buffy was only nineteen and yet Faith made her feel like a kid again, made her forget all the shit the world had dumped on her in the past few years.

Then she shoved her, because that was how she expressed her love now apparently, only this time Faith grabbed her arm and Buffy squeaked when she was rolled onto her back, Faith planting her hands on either side of her, and looking upon her with an expression of triumph.  “I can be bossy too, you know?” she grinned, eyes promising all sorts of very non-G-rated activities in their near future.

Smiling softly in reply, Buffy raised her free hand, brushing it through the falling strands of Faith’s hair before stroking her cheek.  She loved this; loved being able to touch every part of Faith whenever she wished.  All without worry. 

Faith swallowed.  “B?” she asked, voice barely a whisper.  “What are you doing?”

“You’re so beautiful.”

Faith blinked, and all that easy confidence went right up in smoke, like a dusted vampire.  She watched Buffy cautiously with dark, expression-filled eyes.

When Buffy’s fingers brushed against her lips, Faith kissed them without a word.  Buffy smiled.  This had been the right decision.  “I was thinking of telling Willow tonight.”  It seemed like the ideal plan.  Start with the gay best-friend first.

Faith swallowed.  “Cool,” was all she said to that, though her eyes suggested the idea was not as cool as implied.

“Worried?”

There was an almost imperceptible nod of her head, and if Buffy hadn’t had that super-powered eyesight, she might’ve missed it.  That tiny admission alone said volumes about how far Faith had come since the night they first met.  Buffy kept her hands against Faith’s cheek, and Faith leaned into the touch.

“Tell you what; if you come with me when I tell her, I’ll let you be on top tonight.”

At first, Faith nodded in agreement, then her expression soured.  “What do you mean let me?” she demanded, eyes narrowing, but there was no malice in them at all.  “I’m on top now.”

Buffy only grinned.

“God.  You’re such a…”

Her head tilted in question, waiting for Faith to go on, but Faith just sighed.  “I am interested in seeing what you’d do if I were at your mercy.”

Faith’s eyes turned a shade darker as she drew closer, a few free tendrils of hair brushing against Buffy's skin.  “I’ve got a list of things about five miles long, B,” she sighed, “Provided Red doesn’t kill me before I get to all of them.”

“Don’t worry.  If she wigs, I’ll protect you.”  Buffy was pretty sure Willow wouldn’t wig.  She’d tried picturing it, and honestly, Willow would probably just laugh, then her eyes would go wide when Buffy didn’t laugh along, and then she’d probably faint.  Buffy wasn’t going to hope for much more than that.

She’d make sure Tara was nearby though, just in case some wigging occurred.

“You going to stop her from turning me into a frog?” Faith asked, rolling her eyes.

“If she turns you into a frog, I’ll get you a nice terrarium and all the flies you can eat.”

“Hah.  Comforting.”

“Come on,” Buffy drawled, running hands up each of Faith’s arms, “don’t you want me at your mercy tonight?”

She gave a soft laugh.  “You don’t have to sweeten the deal, B.  Deal’s sweet enough as it is.”

Oh, so that’s what it felt like to have your stomach flip itself inside out.  “Wow.”  That was really romantic, Faith.  “I didn’t know you had it in you.”

A flash of self-consciousness passed over her face, just long enough for Buffy to commit it to memory before the look morphed into a much more familiar smirk.  “Considering all the places your hands have been lately, I’m surprised you don’t know exactly what I’ve got in me by this point.”

Giggling, Buffy shoved her, but barely hard enough to knock Faith onto her side this time.  She still felt a little bad about the pillow, the feathers of which were all over the room now along with their clothes and most of the bed sheets.  

Last night, and the following morning, had been… strenuous.

On her side, Faith pulled Buffy close enough that she could feel the warmth of her breath.  For a long while, they lay like that with nothing but the sounds of birds chirping outside and the gentle hum of the AC.  She watched Faith closely as her fingers drew random little shapes over Buffy’s stomach.

Her tone grew serious, “Anything else you wanted to know about me, B?”

Buffy gave a little shrug.  So many questions had already been asked and answered, even after they landed on this bed.  It was amazing what Faith could convey with just a look.  The slightest quirk of her lips could speak volumes now that she knew how to read them.  She thought she might stay here forever if it meant learning everything there was to know about Faith Lehane.  “Well, I’d ask you how you feel about me, but I think I already know the answer to that one.”

With the tip of her finger, Faith drew a heart across her abdomen.  When she smiled softly to herself, Buffy thought it had to be the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.  “Yeah.”