Buffy and Faith, from day one, are the very definition of an unstable, incomplete Triad. The two of them alone do not work. See: chaos, murder, comas. Opening the Hellmouth, leading and fighting together to close it, strengthens them, strengthens their bond, but it doesn’t take long for them to start fighting again. Eventually, they find a system that works well enough. An apocalypse usually means they manage to get along as long as it takes to win. Anything else has to be limited to a week max before they go their separate ways again. Both desperately search for their Third everywhere they go.
Faith has just finished dispatching a minor nest o f vampires in a seedy part of New York - she thinks they call it Hell’s Kitchen - when a guy in red leather descends from the rafters. Faith mentally cheers. She saw him fight a group of demons the other night, and has been hoping to meet him since.
“Not that I’m not grateful,” his voice rumbles, gravel rough, but in a way that makes her skin prickle pleasantly, “but who are you and what are you doing in my neighborhood?”
Faith grins, slow and sensual. “My dude, you just earned me bragging rights forever.”
He goes still in a way that Faith has learned over the years rarely bodes well. “What?”
“Guessing that’s somewhere on those nicely sculpted muscles of yours,” Faith purrs, taking the risk of stepping into his space.
“I… they used to be at least.”
Faith cocks her head curiously.
He tilts his head, seems to take in their surroundings, hesitates briefly, then reaches up and removes his mask. He’s handsome, in a sort of rugged-boy-next-door way. Then she notices his eyes. Her hand goes up, automatically, before she catches the action and draws back. He catches her wrist and brings her hand to his face. “It’s okay. I still had my Marks last time I could see.”
She runs her thumb gently down across the corner of his eye. “When was that?”
“I was twelve.”
“How the hell do you fight like you do?”
He shrugs. “The way I lost my sight… it enhanced some of my other senses.”
“You’re taking this rather well.”
She laughs, low and throaty. “Dude, trust me when I tell you that you hit the jackpot in Soulmates who can deal with weird.”
“You know our Third?”
Faith feels her smile turn a little brittle. “Yeah. Me and B… ya know those textbooks they make you read in high school about worst case scenarios where two thirds of a Triad are hella unstable? They could basically put mine and B’s pictures in one of those.”
He winces sympathetically, then grimaces. “No pressure there.”
“Right, uh, it’s not as bad as it sounds. We’re just… we’re too… we can’t… fuck, we just need you, man. Explaining shit is not my strong suit. Your day job the kinda thing you can take vacation from or should I have her come here?” She drops her hand from his face toward his hip and belatedly registers something wet on the way down and sees blood when she looks. “Shit! You’re hurt.”
He shrugs. “It’s not that bad.”
Faith, a bit ruthlessly, jabs him in the ribs. He almost collapses. She catches him.
“Ow,” he grunts. “You’re strong.”
Faith smirks. “Yeah, I am. Where do I need to take you?”
“I am not leaving you by yourself. How do I know I’ll find you again?”
Eventually, she coaxes an address out of him.
She whistles when she shoulders the door open. “Nice place.”
She elbows him in the side that doesn’t have a stab wound, then dumps him on the couch. “First aid kit?”
He gestures down the hall. “Bathroom.”
Faith tries not to drool when she peels him out of his suit and down to his boxers, but the boy is built and it’s hard not to stare. She surprises herself with how gentle she is, or at least tries to be, patching up the cut to his ribs.
“You’re good at that,” he remarks.
Faith huffs out something that’s not quite a laugh. “Lots of practice.”
“What’s your name?”
She starts. “Huh… guess we hadn’t gotten there yet, had we?”
He almost smiles. “Not quite.”
“Matt. Our Third, you called her Bea?”
“Eh, Buffy, actually. Drives her fuckin’ crazy when I call her B.”
“You antagonize each other a lot?”
“You could say that.”
“Where are you staying?”
Faith shrugs. “Some shitty hotel a few blocks from here.”
“Oh, it’s not that bad. I only had to kill a couple rats and the biggest cockroach was smaller than my boot.”
Matt laughs, then flinches. “Shit, please don’t make me laugh.”
“Yeah, stay here, with me, please.”
Faith smiles. “Well, since you asked so nice…”
He lifts his good arm and Faith kicks her boots off before foregoing settling under his arm and straddling his lap instead. “I have a better idea.”
Matt walks into the office whistling.
Foggy does a double take. “Matty.”
“Did you get laid?”
Matt freezes, and doesn’t quite control his blush. He clears his throat. “Uh, why do you-”
Foggy snickers. “Hickey.”
Matt curses. “Damin it, Faith.”
Matt blushes again, but doesn't answer, muttering incomprehensibly under his breath and digging his phone out. "A hickey, really?"
Whatever the person on the other end of the phone says makes Matt blush again.
Foggy decides he needs to meet the person that can make Matt turn that color. He raises his voice. "Whoever Matt is talking to, come by the office and meet the best friend!"
"Shut up, Foggy," Matt mumbles. "Besides, she has to go to the airport."
Foggy frowns. "Run her off already?"
Matt groans. "I have to go. Yeah, see you both tonight. Sure, bells and all. Yes, I know you didn't say bells. Goodbye, Faith."
Buffy teeters between humor and irritation when she walks into the airport terminal and finds Faith holding a poster board sign that reads Waiting for my HOT Soulmate in red glitter gel. She's still riding on the high of 'about to meet my other Soulmate', so she settles on humor and just rolls her eyes at her fellow Slayer.
Faith gives her a slow once over. "Lookin' good, B."
Buffy returns the perusal then hauls Faith in by her sleeve. "Not bad yourself, F."
Faith grins. "Wait until you see Matt. His entire body is… mmm."
Buffy grins back.
Faith slings an arm around her shoulder. “Not that I don’t love your boobs, B, but, Powers I missed-”
Buffy elbows her in the ribs. “We’re in public.”
Faith shrugs, unrepentant. “Come on. We gotta get my shit from black hole of a hotel I was staying in, then hit a grocery store. Matt is apparently incapable of keeping his kitchen stocked.”
Buffy bites her lip. “You’re sure he’s okay with us staying with him?”
“He insisted. Even taking the weekend off work, which I get the impression is not a thing he does.”
Buffy’s eyes twinkle. “Do we need to teach him how to relax?”
Faith smirks back. “We just might.”
Matt takes his time walking home. It’s not that he isn’t looking forward to meeting his other Soulmate, it’s just… well, he’s fucking terrified. He can barely take care of himself, and now he’s supposed to be responsible for two other people?
He makes it to his building before the panic attack strikes and he finds himself hyperventilating against the alley wall.
A gentle, calloused hand stroking his temple starts bringing him down. “Can you hear me?”
Matt chokes on something like a sob. “I’m sorry. I wish I could say I’m usually more together than this.”
The hand stills briefly then resumes. “You must be Matt.”
He nods. “Buffy?”
“Buffy,” she confirms, then steps into his space and tucks herself under his arm like she belongs there. “Faith was right about one thing. You are salty goodness.”
“Yummy?” She offers hesitantly.
She fits perfectly under his arm, and he has an idle thought that she does belong there.
“Wanna tell me what that was all about?”
He chuckles, more bitterness than humor. “Epiphany, I guess. I can barely take care of myself. And now there’s you two and-”
“And we can take care of ourselves. We’ve both been doing it for a long time, Matt.”
“But, I want-”
“Want to take care of us? Yeah. It’s a Thing. But we can take care of each other. You don’t have to take care of all of us by yourself, handsome.”
Despite the fact that Matt said he wasn’t coming in that weekend, Foggy doesn’t actually believe it until the whole day passes without so much as a text from his partner.
Monday morning dawns bright and early, and Matt seriously contemplates smashing his alarm clock against the wall instead of disentangling himself from Faith and Buffy. He must think about it for too long, because approximately two seconds later, Faith reaches blindly for the side table until she finds the alarm and does just that.
Matt is late Monday morning.
Foggy raises an eyebrow, despite the fact that he knows his partner can’t see it. “You’re late.”
Matt shrugs. “Faith slayed my alarm clock. Then they demanded cuddl- er, wouldn’t let me out of bed.”
“Okay, seriously, man? Hickeys, plural now, by the way, are you dating a vampire?”
Matt chokes on, and almost spews, his coffee.
“Took the weekend off,” Foggy continues. “Late for work. I have to meet this woman. Wait, they?”
“Don’t we have work to do?”’
Matt has his stubborn look on, so Foggy lets it drop. Until lunch. Because at lunch, two women - both petite, one blonde, one brunette, both in tight denim and leather, both stunning, both with an edge of ‘can and will kick your ass’ - walk through their front door.
Foggy put on his best smile. “Welcome to Nelson and Murdock, ladies! How can we be of assistance?”
The brunette rolls her eyes. “You can’t.”
The blonde makes a beeline for Matt, and plops herself right into his lap. “Be nice, Faith.”
“Bite me, B.” Faith rolls her eyes, then plants her ass right on top of Matt’s desk and faces Foggy. “Fine… assistance, huh? Got any embarrassing stories about Matty?”
Matt groans and drops his head back. “Please, no. Buffy, help me.”
The blonde, Buffy, presumably, pecks him on the cheek. “No such luck. I wanna hear this too.”
Foggy’s sure his confusion shows on his face. “Matt?”
Matt takes a deep breath, then straightens, casually wrapping an arm around Buffy. “Foggy, meet Faith and Buffy, my Soulmates.”
Foggy looks back and forth between the women, both wearing shit eating grins, then shakes his head. “The universe is not fair. How do you do it?”
Faith cocks her head curiously. “Do what?”
“This asshole,” he points to Matt, “without fail, manages to pick out the hottest women in any vicinity and he can’t even fucking see.”
All three of them laugh at him.
Foggy just buries his head in his arms, and decides the universe must hate him, because these three? So much more trouble than Matt alone.