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Epiphany

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“Yo, B, you ready?” Faith tapped on the partially open door and cautiously stuck her head inside. She needn’t have been so careful. Buffy wasn’t in the room. Her clothes were, though – in large, rumpled piles strewn from the bed to the closet and back. “B?” Hesitating on the threshold, Faith considered her options. She could stand in the hallway and wait for Buffy to finally come out of the bathroom. Or she could stop being a coward…

The choice wasn’t easy.

Faith grimaced and shoved the door completely open. “B, I’m comin’ in. Hope you got a robe or somethin’ with you.” She skirted a pair of jeans and one lonely sandal and then stopped abruptly. “Oh, fuck!” Coming inside had been a bad idea. So very bad. Draped over the edge of the rumpled bed was a bra. Buffy’s bra. Warm brown silk edged with lace. And next to it? A matching g-string. Faith vainly tried to stop the erotic images of Buffy in the lingerie.

Buffy smiled as she heard Faith come into her room. She couldn’t believe they were finally going to the club Faith mentioned last week while they were patrolling. And they didn’t have to take any of the (annoying) new Slayers. Buffy walked out of the bathroom wearing her new pair of black jeans along with a maroon demi-cup bra. “Which shade of lipstick should I use, Faith? Sweet Nectar or Berry Kiss?”

Turning away from the bed, Faith felt relieved. Until she realized the abandoned lingerie wasn’t the worst threat. Desperately keeping her eyes above chest level, she tried to remember the question. Something about... “Kiss,” she mumbled. Pleaded, really. Buffy’s lips lifted in a smile. Faith’s mimicked the movement and she took a step forward to help bridge the distance.

That’s when Buffy turned away and walked – or pranced – to the dresser and picked up a tube of lipstick.

Faith gathered the edges of her tattered self control in trembling hands. This had been a stupid idea. Take Buffy to a club? She was out of her fucking mind. “Hey, I was thinkin’. How about taking a pass on the boozin’? Didn’t Red mention a new Big Bad on the way?”

“She did.” Buffy let Faith stew for a bit as she put on the Berry Kiss shade. “But apparently Kennedy and Satsu are heading up teams to take care of it. It seems we’re being shown the pasture, Faith, and I for one am glad. Now I can find me some sun and sand to get color back in my skin.” Buffy walked over to her closet and pulled out the blouse she had chosen earlier and undid her pants to tuck it in. If she was lucky, Faith would notice she wasn’t wearing any underwear. “What about you, Faith? Want to find some clothing optional beaches to tan our tight bodies on?”

“Nah.” Either Faith was getting numb to the continued fantasies, or this was all a dream. She somehow managed to respond to Buffy without drooling noticeably. “Me and Dawn were watching TV last week. One of those History Channel things she likes, you know?” Walking away from Buffy, Faith sucked in a deep breath. Control. Control, she chanted silently. “Them nude beaches is full of old, fat people, B. Can you see us hanging out with them?” She shuddered for dramatic effect. “Better plan’s to hit the road when the weather don’t suck.”

“Okay, we’ll find ourselves a nice beach house in Florida that we can tan nude in then.” Faith must be losing her edge. Buffy had tried everything to get a response from her Chosen Two partner. If she kept striking out, she’d have to get a little tipsy and try something more direct, more… physical. On the way to the door, Buffy made sure to undo enough buttons on her blouse to frame her cleavage. If Faith turned out to be a bust, it might help entice other possible dancing partners. “Ready when you are.”

“Let’s motor.” Faith stalked to the door. This was such a bad idea. At least Buffy stayed quiet as they left the apartment and made their way down the long staircase to the Grand Hall. The massive open-air room was strangely empty. It was odd enough that Faith commented. “We miss a party, B? There’s usually a herd of Juniors down here.”

As if conjured by her words, a trio of Junior Slayers burst through a side door. “I did not steal your Shakira CD! You told me I could borrow it, remember?” The loud, strident voice of Faith’s least favorite Junior Slayer echoed through the Hall. “It’s not my fault you suddenly decided you wanted to listen to it.”

“That’s not the point, you bitch!” Sandra grabbed Paula by the shirt collar, hauling her off the floor.

This was another reason Buffy wanted to get away. The new kids were driving her crazy. And the Council was now big enough that she (and Faith) weren’t really needed. Buffy grabbed Sandra by the collar and removed her hands from Paula’s shirt. “Since you have so much extra energy, Sandra, go help Tory with the laundry.  Paula, go have Dawn burn you a copy so you can give the CD back.”

Paula took the window of opportunity to run up upstairs while Sandra swore at Buffy under her breath. Buffy tensed for a moment, but the younger girl finally backed down. Back stiff, she stomped out of the Hall.

“Let’s get out of here before something else happens.” Buffy’s pronouncement would have been perfect, but she forgot the final member of the Junior crew.

“You’re leaving?” Eyes wide, Caroline gazed at Buffy with such awe and hero worship that Faith wanted to puke. “Do you need help? I overheard Willow and Mr. Giles talking about a new vampire last night.”

“Thanks, kid, but me and B are professionals,” Faith interrupted before Caroline could get too wound up. “If we need ya’, we’ll call.” Like that would ever happen.

Her interference didn’t go unnoticed. All traces of friendly emotion disappeared as Caroline glared at Faith. “I can go with Buffy. I’m sure you’d rather be at a bar or something.” She inched a step closer to Buffy and lightly touched her arm. “We could meet you wherever after we dust this vamp.”

Crap. Buffy should have listened to Willow’s advice about Caroline. Buffy had thought she could handle it herself; obviously, she’d been wrong. The situation had gotten worse. “Caroline, we talked about this,” Buffy said as gently and patiently as possible. “You are not allowed to actively train until you are fifteen or patrol until you are sixteen. Faith and I appreciate the offer, though. Why don’t you see what Andrew is making for dinner? He probably needs a hand.”

The hurt in Caroline’s eyes was clear; thankfully, she didn’t say anything and simply nodded before heading toward the kitchen.

Buffy didn’t say anything more until she and Faith were outside. “How pissed do you think Willow would be if you and I got a hotel room tonight instead of coming home?”

“You’re gonna let that kid scare you off?” Faith couldn’t believe it. Buffy had to be joking. “B, deal and move on. In case you ain’t noticed, all the Juniors think they love you. You’re hot; you’re Slayer Numero Uno; and you don’t treat ‘em like tools.” Now that Faith thought about it, those were the same reasons she’d first fallen for Buffy. It made her next piece of advice hard to say. “Don’t make a big deal and the kid’ll grow out of it.” Tossing an arm around Buffy, Faith hurried their pace to the car. She suddenly needed a drink - or ten.

The cold eating its way through her coat was one of the many reasons Buffy hated Cleveland weather. It meant they’d have to take a car instead of Faith’s motorcycle. That would have been one way to get her arms around Faith.“I’m not afraid of her, Faith. I just don’t see what the draw about me is. I’m a twenty-five year old college dropout who died twice. I get that I’m the oldest living Slayer ever, but...” Buffy couldn’t think of anything else as she opened the passenger door. Dropping into the passenger seat, she decided to get nicely liquored up tonight.

Putting the car in gear, Faith drove away from The Academy. With every intersection, she felt better. Muscles in her neck and shoulders relaxed and her thirst for a row of Jack and Cokes eased. “Hey, B?” she asked sheepishly. “You still wantin’ to crash at a hotel?” Suddenly, Buffy’s idea didn’t sound so bad. A night away with no bickering Juniors or Willow and her inevitable discovery of another nest…

“Hell, yeah. That way, if we close the club down, we won’t have any of the Slayers disturbing our sleep.” Not to mention Buffy hoped to convince Faith to at least kiss her tonight. “Do you want to get one room or two?” Buffy asked, needing to know if she might need to find someone other than Faith to scratch her itch.

Hands tightening on the steering wheel, most of Faith’s new relaxation fled. “Let’s wait and see, B,” she said, knowing there was no way in Hell she could share a bed with Buffy unless they were doing something far more athletic than sleeping. “If there ain’t nobody good enough for us at the club, we’ll save some money. Red’s worse than Giles about the cash.”

She saw Buffy’s shoulders drop. What was that all about? Faith hit the turn signal, the dull clicking filling the car. The need for a drink reappeared. It was time to give up and move on. Being with Buffy, even as friends, was too hard. Faith felt as if all of their conversations were filled with verbal landmines, and she had obviously stepped on one.

The silence continued until they pulled into the lot across from the club, and, since it was obvious that Faith wasn’t interested in doing anything with her, Buffy hopped out and was inside before Faith even got out of the car. She walked directly to the bar and ordered a line of tequila shots, straight up.

Faith gave Buffy the space she seemed to need and found a small corner table with a clear view of the bar. With the way Buffy was downing the booze, Faith would have to be sober enough to call a cab. That didn’t keep her from flagging down a barback and ordering a drink. She was a Slayer, after all. It would take more than one to get her buzzed.

The drink arrived quickly despite the crowd, and Faith hunched over the glass. Staring moodily into the amber liquid at the bottom, she wondered how things had gone so wrong. Again. Buffy had seemed fine in her apartment. She took a drink and savored the burn in her throat. It was that damned Junior. Caroline and her stupid crush. The next sip didn’t hurt so much and Faith ordered a refill only minutes later.

After downing enough tequila to make her feel good again, Buffy strolled onto the dance floor. A shapely brunette greeted her and quickly placed her hands on Buffy’s hips. They moved together to the pounding beat of the music. Buffy enjoyed the dance. Her partner wasn’t setting off her Slayer senses so, unless the woman tried something Buffy didn’t want, there would be no need for violence. Leaning closer, Buffy wrapped her arms around the woman’s waist and let go.

Faith noticed Buffy leave the bar and watched in almost physical pain as the other Slayer shared a dance…and then two with a woman. Once upon a time, that woman had been her. Faith remembered that dance. Their one and only.

“Hey, is this seat taken?” A man appeared at Faith’s elbow, his head tilted in the direction of the empty chair on the other side of the table.

Without saying anything, Faith met his eyes and slung one booted foot into the now-unavailable seat. She didn’t wait for her Romeo to walk away. Her attention went back to Buffy who was now twined like an octopus around her dance partner.

After the third song, Buffy dropped her arms and stepped away. She started to thank her partner for the dances when the woman’s hand drifted up and cupped her breast. Buffy politely removed it. “Thanks for dance, but I need another drink.” She turned and began to walk away - until the woman roughly grabbed her ass.

“Come on, baby; we both know what you really need,” the woman breathed into Buffy’s ear.

Holding back a growl, Buffy faced her would-be lover. “I suggest you walk away before I make you.” Buffy wasn’t looking for a fight, but she wasn’t letting this woman grope her, either.

Watching Buffy dance had convinced Faith to give up on staying sober. Drunk was the way to go, and the host of empty glasses on the table marked her progress. The sounds in the bar muted more with every sip. Perfect. Faith threw back her head and finished off one more round. That’s when she realized it was the last full glass. She needed a refill. Raising her head made the room spin and her stomach whirl. Waiting for a barback was a better plan. Faith resettled in her chair, eyes slitted against the still spinning bar.

Wait. That wasn’t spinning.

Faith shot up in her chair, not noticing the effects of the alcohol any longer. All the movement was people rushing closer to the dance floor and the two tense figures squared off. Buffy and her partner, definitely not interested in cozying up. She had to stop this. Buffy would never forgive herself if she really hurt the bitch in a drunken brawl. Faith leapt from her chair and shoved her way through the growing throng of bodies.

“You were all over me a minute ago. What happened? Are you some kind of clit teaser?” The woman’s questions somehow drowned out the thumping music.

“Clit teaser?” Buffy’s question was rhetorical. She didn’t need an answer; she only wanted to distract the woman. Rearing back, Buffy punched the woman in the face (easing off the Slayer strength, of course). The woman went down with a thud, and Buffy loomed over her. “I only ever teased Faith’s clit, but that was before I figured out she wasn’t interested.” Buffy finished off her speech and left the woman sprawled on the floor, heading back to the bar.

Faith heard every word. They pounded at her over and over. Buffy had been purposely flirting. Teasing. Leading her on. As Buffy fled the scene, Faith used every dirty trick she knew to clear a path. She was only a step behind Buffy when the other Slayer dropped onto a bar stool. “What the fuck was that, B?” She gripped Buffy’s arm and pulled her upright until they were nose to nose. “You’ve been playin’ me? Why?

It was all too much. Faith stared at Buffy in shock and disbelief, and then the pain hit. Buffy had been using her.

She had to leave. Now. Stumbling away, she ran for the door. The bitter cold slapped her face, denting the alcohol haze and leaving nothing but agony behind. It took three tries to get the keys out of her pocket. Another two to actually open the car door. Tears she refused to shed blurred the road as she rocketed out of the parking lot and headed for home.

Now Buffy felt like crap. Faith thought there were no feelings behind Buffy’s flirting. She chased after Faith only to see her drive off. Staring after the quickly disappearing car, Buffy knew she had a long, sobering walk back to The Academy. She jammed her hands into her pockets and got started. Maybe, if she was lucky, she’d run into some vampires. There was a lot of aggression for Buffy to work through before confronting Faith.

For once, her luck was good. Two blocks from the club, a trio of vampires encircled Buffy. Even though she wasn’t carrying any weapons, Buffy smiled.

“If you knew what was going to happen to you, girly, you wouldn’t be smiling.” Vampires never made original threats.

“If you knew who I was, you’d be screaming.” Buffy dropped to the ground and swept the legs from under each of the vampires. Hopping up, she snapped off a piece of wood from a nearby fencepost. “Recognize me now?” she punned before staking two of the vampires quickly.

The vampire with the smart mouth stood up. He tried to punch her, but Buffy ducked and plunged the stake through his heart, too.

Great, she thought as she tucked her new weapon into her belt. Just what she needed, a case of the HHs while trying to apologize to Faith.

***

Faith’s anger lasted until she saw the bright lights of The Academy ahead. Then reality set in. She’d known for years that Buffy was out of reach. For one thing, Buffy had always been straight - and dating a string of losers. For another… Making an illegal u-turn in the middle of the block, Faith stepped on the gas and headed back toward the bar.

She owed Buffy an apology. Whatever Buffy had been thinking when they flirted, she couldn’t have known about Faith’s feelings. Faith had gone out of her way since the early days in Sunnydale to hide the depth of her emotions from everyone. And she’d been so busy being “just friends” that she’d missed all the signs Buffy had given her. Maybe, if she groveled enough, Buffy would give her one more chance.

The headlights illuminated a lone figure walking down the sidewalk.

Faith hit the brakes so hard the car fishtailed. She fought the steering and the icy slush on the roads, managing to stop with only one tire on the curb. “B!” Climbing out the car, Faith rushed for Buffy. “I’m a fucking idiot. You know that, right? I do want you. Always have. Always will,” she announced.

“I want to kiss you.” And before Faith could argue, Buffy slammed Faith into the side of the car and kissed her hungrily. Faith must have been fine with it since she yanked Buffy’s blouse open and ripped her bra apart. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, Buffy shoved her hands down the front of Faith’s pants, glad to feel that Faith still didn’t wear panties.

The dim light of a street lamp cast a glow over Buffy’s body. Faith loved it. Her Golden Girl. Kissing Buffy again, softer this time, she grappled behind her. They were in the middle of the sidewalk, and that wouldn’t do. Not for what Faith wanted.

She wanted it all. All of Buffy.

Grunting with effort, Faith got the rear passenger door open and dragged Buffy inside the car. “You’re beautiful, B.” Stretched out across the bench seat, Buffy’s breasts rose and fell rapidly and her hands gripped Faith’s hips with Slayer strength.

Buffy’s brief fight with the vampires ramped up her reaction to Faith. Wiggling to create a little space between them, she roughly pulled open her own pants and shoved them over her hips. Legs bent at the knees and held awkwardly open, she begged, “Inside me, Faith; please.” Buffy barely got the words out before Faith shoved two fingers deep inside her, her Buffy to arch off the back seat.

This wasn’t how Faith had planned her first encounter with Buffy. She’d wanted to show Buffy she’d changed. That she wasn’t all about a quick fuck. In the back seat of the Council car, though, Faith stopped caring about the new softer, gentler Faith. Pinning Buffy to the seat with her greater weight, Faith gave in to primal need. Her fingers probed inside Buffy’s slick and gripping core. She smiled in satisfaction as Buffy’s head tipped back and a groan reverberated through the car’s interior.

“Good plan, B.” Taking what Buffy offered, Faith latched onto Buffy’s throat with her lips and teeth. The skin was soft and slightly salty, scented faintly by the smoke from the bar. There would be a mark (or two) marring Buffy’s perfect skin tomorrow, Faith vowed.

Buffy wanted to give Faith some pleasure, too, but Faith’s position and control of her body wouldn’t allow it. Instead, Buffy humped Faith’s fingers rhythmically every time they pumped inside her. She clawed at Faith’s back, feeling the climax building.

Almost there. Faith felt Buffy stiffen and tremble. “Come on, B. Don’t hold nothin’ back,” she encouraged. One thrust. Two… Buffy nearly bucked her off as she jerked and shuddered violently.

“Oh my God!” For a second, Faith thought the voice was Buffy’s. “Is that… Faith? What are you doing?”

Definitely not Buffy. Faith verified that terrible realization by watching Buffy suck in deep, labored breaths and collapse in a heap on the car seat. Very slowly, she turned her head and peered through the still-open door.

Eyes wide and shocked, Willow stood on the sidewalk. Flanking her was a group of equally stunned Junior Slayers and a smirking Kennedy. Faith rolled until she mostly shielded Buffy from their audience. “If you don’t know what me and B are up to, Red, Junior ain’t doin’ it right.”