Disclaimer: The characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer do not belong to me. Wish they did. That creation credit belongs to Joss Whedon.
Distribution: The Mystic Muse http://mysticmuse.net
Feedback: Yes, please
Author's Notes: We're in my world. There are never any men-type romantic relationships for anyone except that one night long ago between Buffy and Angel. Buffy and Faith are naturally and purely F/F.
Summary: A mystical death threat forces Buffy to extradite Faith from prison to Sunnydale and to put her life in the reluctant felon's hands. But after all they've been through, can Buffy forgive her and can she trust Faith to protect her?
The sing-song melody resounded in her head like a demented children's rhyme.
The Slayer will die when she turns 25 Only a Slayer can keep her alive
The Slayer will die when she turns 25 Only a Slayer can keep her alive
The Slayer will die when she turns 25 Only a Slayer can keep her alive…
Buffy awoke with a start, sitting straight up in bed. Her heart was threatening to beat its way out of her chest. She'd been sweating and was now chilled. The same recurring dream had been plaguing her for three months now. An old woman sitting in a cemetery, rocking herself, singing that phrase over and over. The feeling of dread was getting stronger every time she heard the old woman chant. She got up and went downstairs.
Willow came into the living room as Buffy sat on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate.
"You had the nightmare again." She stated.
"Yeah." Buffy confirmed. "I don't know why it scares me so, Wil." The slayer was still visibly shaken. "I've been staring death in the eye for years."
Willow sat with her friend. "But the thought of having an actual predestined date with death has got to be disturbing at best." The witch put her hand on Buffy's shoulder. "I have all my connections working on it. Is there anything else I can do?"
"I'm going to be 25 in three months, Wil. There's really only one thing I can do."
"What do you mean she won't come out?" Buffy practically shouted into the phone at Angel.
Through the line, she could hear him sigh. "Buffy, Faith was offered parole last year and she refused it. She's going to do the same thing when it's offered again in two weeks. She wants to serve out her sentence."
"But she can't! I need her here!" Buffy hated hearing the desperation in her own voice. "I know you can arrange it, Angel. Wolfram and Hart have the resources to force the issue."
"I can't do that to her, Buffy." Angel pleaded. "She's changed so much. And she's worked so hard to get to where she is now." There was reluctance in Angel's voice as he added. "She'll think I betrayed her."
"Oh, I see. So you care more about what she thinks of you than if I live or die, is that it?"
There was silence on the other end of the phone line. Angel wanted to believe that there was some other choice then to send Faith back to Sunnydale. He was well aware that it was the last place on earth she wanted to be. "You've had no contact at all with her for five years, Buffy. You have no idea who she is anymore."
"I know that she's a slayer." Buffy replied sharply. "And that she has a responsibility. If not to me, then to her calling." Her voice softened slightly. "Do it, Angel. You know I wouldn't ask if there was any other way."
Sitting in her cell, Faith finished the latest textbook Fred had sent her. She was constantly amazed at the wealth of knowledge that was out there. When she'd first arrived in prison, all she could do to pass the time was think. Sometimes that was a good thing. More often, it was not. So she'd asked Fred to send her some books to read. Always a comic book fan, Faith had not read much of anything else. But Fred sent her fascinating books full of adventure and mystery. She eventually sent over books on science and philosophy. She even included instructional books on things like computers and the Harleys that Faith loved so much. Soon Faith was addicted. For the first time in her life, she set aside her hands-on approach to life and began to enrich her mind.
After she'd been behind bars for a year, Faith had decided to try to make amends for her horrid behavior to people who had been initially kind. Using the supplies that Fred had sent, she wrote Tara a letter. She was hoping that since she had caused the gentle witch the least harm, that she might be the most willing to accept her apology. Tara had indeed responded favorably. And Faith continued down the line, writing to Willow, Xander, Giles, Wesley, and Cordelia. Heartfelt, if not eloquent, letters of remorse. Now after serving five years of her seven year sentence, she'd made peace on some level with all of them; though she only remained close to Tara, Willow, Fred and Angel.
One person she'd never attempted to communicate with was Buffy. She remembered quite clearly the slayer's threat to beat her to death should she ever apologize. She figured that Buffy was happier hating her for all eternity. And though it hurt, she let it be. Only at night, when the prison was dark and she was alone in her cell did she allow her passion for Buffy to run rampant. Then, like a vampire at dawn, Faith's emotions would be hidden away from the waking world. And of course, the ultimate punishment was that even though the slayer was miles away, Faith could still feel her. Just knowing that Buffy was in this world was the only real comfort Faith was sure Buffy would ever allow her.
But if one Summers woman wouldn't acknowledge her, another one did. The correspondence that had most surprised her were the letters Dawn had covertly written. Faith didn't really know the teenager well. She'd already been incarcerated when Dawn arrived. So her infused memories were sketchy at best. But the kid knew who she was. Dawn hung on every word that Willow and Tara uttered concerning Faith. She was intrigued by the mysterious woman whom her friends were clearly fond of, but her sister never mentioned. Curiosity had motivated her at first. But Faith's personality and irreverent humor made for a fast friendship between the repentant criminal and the impressionable teen.
Another surprise aspect of Faith was her financial portfolio. Two years into her sentence, she was stunned when a lawyer for the late Mayor's estate contacted her. Though Faith knew that the Mayor had millions invested in evil ventures and under the table dealings, he had apparently made an exception. He had one legitimate account in an honest and upstanding bank. Everything had been done down to the letter of the law, taxes paid and loophole free. It was a trust fund in Faith's name for one million dollars.
When the shock wore off, Faith had laughed at the irony of it all. The Mayor had gone to great length to take care of her. But through her own doing, she was in the one place where such a large inheritance was useless. Her needs were few, but the Mayor had always tried to make her happy. Odd sonofabitch.
So the money remained untouched. Faith read everything she could get her hands on. And she schooled herself as much as daylight hours would allow. The gradual change in her was evident to anyone who knew her.
"You wanted to see me, Warden?" Faith asked as she opened the door to the warden's office.
"Yes, Faith. Please come in."
As the brunette sat down, the warden marveled, as she often had, at the complete change in the inmate in front of her. Faith had arrived sullen, depressed and prone to sudden fits of violence. But during her five-year confinement, she'd totally transformed herself. She was a model prisoner with no trace of the anxiety that she'd arrived with. She had gotten her GED and was at work earning a college degree. Though she didn't fight anymore, there was less violence and abuse amongst the inmates whenever Faith was around. She had earned the respect of both the guards and the prisoners. Normally, what the prison official was about to say would be a good thing. But the warden knew that serving out her sentence for involuntary manslaughter was important to Faith. So she felt that her news was not going to be well received.
"Your parole hearing is Monday."
Yes, Ma'am, I know." Faith replied. "I'm going to turn it down again."
The warden sighed. "I'm afraid that won't be possible this time, Faith."
There was no easy way to say this. "A court order has been issued transferring you to Sunnydale for a six month probationary period. You're being remanded into the custody of one Buffy Summers."
"What?!" Faith stood up abruptly. "You can't do that!"
"It's over my head, Faith. And yes they can." The warden was distressed to see Faith almost as agitated as she'd been on the day she arrived. "I'm sorry."
Faith sat down again. She knew that the warden was not at fault here. The prison official had always been supportive and fair to her. She concentrated on the techniques she'd learned to control her temper.
"You'll be leaving Saturday."
Faith merely nodded and stood to go. "You can do this, Faith. You've come so far." The warden's last comment stopped her. "Don't let these next six months derail you for the rest of your life."
Faith had no response. Going back to the slayer who hated her and back to a place where she'd hated herself had to be a bad thing. It was not what she'd envisioned once she was free. She was different now. And she had a chance to make something of herself. But if Buffy became a part of her life again, she just knew she was bound to fail.
Buffy was leaning against her car when the prison gate opened. She righted herself as the brunette emerged from the secured grounds. She hadn't seen Faith in five years. The felon was dressed in jeans and a white tank top and carried a small duffel bag. She was just as striking as she'd always been. Lean and curvaceous, with only her paleness to indicate the years she'd spent incarcerated. She met Faith halfway across the parking lot.
Faith walked up to the slayer and stopped. She had always loved seeing the gorgeous blonde bathed in sunlight. It radiated off the highlights in her hair, made her skin glow and her eyes sparkle. But Faith had learned well how to hide her feelings for Buffy. On the surface, Faith was impassive.
Buffy searched the dark eyes for some clue as to what Faith was feeling. The slayer knew that at one time Faith had been fiercely devoted to her and then had hated her with equal intensity. Looking into the dark eyes, Buffy couldn't detect any emotion. It was as if Faith felt nothing at all. For all the scenarios Buffy had envisioned in her mind, Faith's apathy was not one she had anticipated or was prepared for. Her anxiety over the last few months, her extreme reluctance to be here at all, and Faith's unresponsiveness, made her angry. She reacted poorly.
Buffy hit her.
Anyone else would have been floored by the punch. Faith dropped her duffel bag, but didn't go down.
"Hey!" The guard at the gate shouted at Buffy as he started toward them.
"It's ok, John." Faith held out a hand to stop him and then turned back to Buffy. "I'll give you that one, B." She said calmly. "But it's the last free one you'll get."
Picking up her bag, Faith walked past the slayer toward Buffy's car.
They didn't speak at all on the way to Sunnydale. When they arrived ninety minutes later, the bruise under Faith's left eye was quite vivid. Tara and Willow came out of the house to meet them as Faith emerged from the car. Tara looked at Faith briefly before pulling her into a hug. Willow followed suit as soon as Tara released her. Neither witch questioned the black eye, nor did Faith offer any explanation. But they gave Buffy a furtive look as she slammed the car door shut. Looking up at the porch, Faith saw Dawn standing there tentatively. "Hey, Squirt." She called to her affectionately. "How're ya?" The young woman gave the infamous and stunning bad girl a big smile. "Hi, Faith."
Buffy avoided the accusation in the eyes of her friends as she got Faith's bag out of the car. She passed them and went into the house, down to the basement room and dropped the duffel onto the bed. When she turned, she was surprised to find Faith standing at the base of the stairs. When had she lost her ability to detect Faith's presence? She realized then that the woman standing in front of her was a complete stranger. Angel had been right about one thing. She didn't know Faith at all.
"Look, I'm sor…"
Buffy stared at Faith. "What?"
Faith sighed. "Don't lie, B. It doesn't suit you." She circled around Buffy and sat on the bed. "Now, you arranged for me to be here for six months. And you'd have to have a pretty desperate reason to do that." When Buffy didn't answer, she continued. "Wanna tell me why I'm here? Cuz I know it's not because you're dying to be my parole officer."
Buffy crossed the room in what would be the start of nervous pacing. "I've been having a premonition for the last four months." Buffy glanced at Faith to see if she was going to make fun of her. But Faith's face remained expressionless. "It's about an old woman in a cemetery telling me that I'm going to die when I turn 25." When Faith said nothing, Buffy continued. "She says that only a slayer can prevent my death."
"That's it?" Faith asked incredulously. "You have a bad dream about dying and my ass gets drug back to Sunnydale?"
"It's more than a bad dream, dammit!" Buffy argued. "This is different. Even the psychic in Willow and Tara's coven has seen it." Buffy struggled for a way to make Faith understand. "It makes it more real somehow." Still seeing skepticism in Faith's eyes, she added. "Believe me, if there was any other way to fight this thing… Having you here doesn't exactly thrill me either, ya know."
Faith studied Buffy for a moment. "You don't think I'll protect you, do you?"
Buffy tried again to find a flicker of emotion in Faith's eyes. "If I didn't think you'd protect me, you wouldn't be here."
The first week passed with subtle animosity between the parolee and her guardian. Or on a different day, between the target and her protector. Faith did try not to further antagonize the irritated slayer. In all the time she'd known Buffy, she had never seen her so stressed or freaked out. Since she was stuck here, Faith decided she would at least try to help out. Buffy was at the dining room table one evening trying to figure out a way to make ends meet. There were still outstanding bills from her mother's illness. And because of intermittent employment on her part, there was just never as much money coming in as was going out. Faith came in and laid three hundred-dollar bills on the table.
"What's this?" Buffy asked.
"Room and board." Faith shrugged. "I'd have to pay rent somewhere, no matter where I was."
Though Faith's words were not intended to sting Buffy, it upset her to think that Faith could indeed be anywhere else if not for her. Damn if Faith couldn't still piss her off without even meaning to.
"Give it to Willow." She answered coldly. "She takes care of the daily accounts."
Faith was about to make a retort, but thought better of it. As she picked up the cash and left, Buffy put her face in her hands. Somehow she had to find a way to let the past go. Faith was here to help her whether she wanted to be or not. She believed that Faith might actually have loved her once. But then Faith had hurt her terribly. And while Buffy had held on to her misery and pain, Faith had gone and put the past behind her. And she had changed into a better person. 'I've just got to let it go.'
During week two, Faith surreptitiously took note of all the bills that were pending for the Summers' household. Two mortgages, three outstanding loans and numerous credit debts. She carefully copied account numbers and addresses for the financial institutions. Then one by one she contacted the businesses and settled all the accounts.
By the end of Faith's first month in Sunnydale, Buffy started to receive "paid in full" notices on the bills that had been worrying her so. Mortgages paid with the deeds released, loans forgiven and credit accounts completely cleared. Buffy had no idea what had happened and made inquiries to her creditors. But none of them were forthcoming as to how or why her debts had been dismissed.
Faith was lying on her bed reading when Willow came down the basement stairs.
"Are you going to tell her or shall I?" She asked, folding her arms over her chest.
Faith didn't look at her. "She doesn't need to know, Wil. Besides, what difference would it make?"
"Ok, then I'll tell her." The Wiccan turned and started back up the stairs.
Faith dropped her book and jumped off the bed. "No!" Then in a softer voice Faith implored her. "Please, Wil. B's got enough on her mind thinkin' she's gonna die in month. And even though I'm here to prevent it, I can't make her feel any better about that." Faith's eyes pleaded with her friend. "Just let me do this one thing for her. Please…."
"All right." Willow relented. "But you have to promise me that you'll tell her when this is all over."
"I will." Faith promised.
Gradually Buffy and Faith seem to arrive at some kind of understanding. Faith knew that she would be gone in five months. And Buffy began to believe that if Faith just stayed with her until she turned 25, then she would be free as well. They both started to try to not get on each other's nerves. Not an easy task as they spent a good portion of every day together. They trained, patrolled, and ate practically all their meals together. Most of their free time was spent with Willow, Tara and Dawn. If Buffy had been her usual observant self, she would have noticed that despite her death date being a month away, Faith was vigilant in her task to protect her. She was ever watchful and constantly alert for any danger that might befall Buffy. Willow and Tara were aware of Faith's acute attention to everything that happened around Buffy. Even Dawn noticed that Faith constantly watched out for her sister. She was slightly jealous, but more annoyed that Buffy wasn't friendlier toward the woman she had grown to admire so.
But Buffy did try to find out more about Faith. She learned from Willow everything Faith had accomplished while she was in prison. Now that she was a self taught high school graduate and college student, there was seemingly nothing Faith didn't know something about. Well read in a variety of subjects ranging from Shakespeare to auto mechanics, Buffy was amazed at how bright her bodyguard was. She was ashamed to admit that while she had not thought of Faith as stupid, she had at least thought her ignorant. She had conveniently forgotten that Faith had been afforded little opportunity to be anything else.
Three weeks before her birthday, Buffy tried in vain to start her car. It had been increasingly harder to start these past mornings. As the engine refused to catch, Buffy pounded her fists against the steering wheel in frustration.
"Sounds like you need a tune up." Buffy jumped at the sound of Faith's voice at her window. "I can fix that if ya want."
"You can?" The slayer asked in surprise.
Yeah, I can." Faith opened Buffy's door. "Why don't you catch a ride with Red and I'll have it running when you get back."
When Willow and Buffy returned a few hours later, Faith was on the couch watching cartoons with Dawn. Faith got up and tossed Buffy her car keys.
"Purrs like a new lover."
"Lovers don't purr." Buffy replied stubbornly.
"Mine do." Faith whispered to her as she walked out of the room.
That night while they were patrolling, Faith turned to Buffy and asked. "Why does this whole premonition thing have you so freaked, B?" Of all the emotions she'd seen Buffy experience over the years, fear had not been one of them. "I mean, you fight vampires and demons everyday. No offense, but any night might be your last."
Buffy thought for a moment. "There's something terrifying in knowing that there is a set time and place where you're going to cease to exist." She smiled at Faith. "I guess at least living on the Hellmouth, I'm usually surprised."
"Well, you got a point there, B." Faith confirmed with a smile of her own. "Life here is certainly full of surprises."
Almost two months after Faith had returned, Buffy was sitting at the dining room table as Dawn came in and got her jacket. Faith had acquired a used Harley and she had offered to take Dawn out on it. Suddenly Buffy got a tingling sensation in the back of her neck. A few moments later, Faith walked into the room. "Hey, Squirt. Ya ready for that ride?" Turning to Buffy, she added. "We'll be back in an hour."
As Dawn left and Faith turned to follow her, Buffy said. "I can feel you."
"Our connection," she clarified, "I can sense you again." She watched Faith for a reaction. "Can you feel me too?"
Faith smiled softly. "I never stopped feeling you, B."
That evening when dinner was almost ready, Buffy descended the basement stairs to get Faith. She knew that her bodyguard had a workout regimen that put hers to shame. When she got to the bottom of the stairs, she watched Faith going through the last part of her routine. The brunette was working over the heavy bag. Her punches were crisp and sharp, her kicks clean and precise. Each blow designed to be brutal and deadly. Buffy had noticed that Faith's fighting was much more disciplined now than it had ever been before. She also became acutely aware of how Faith's body moved in the tight shorts and the sweat dampened tank top that clung to her upper body. When Faith finished, she leaned down and braced her hands on her thighs. Still breathing hard, she looked up at Buffy.
"If you keep working this hard, I'm going to have to enter you in the Olympics." Buffy teased.
"I just wanna be ready, B." Faith answered seriously through labored breath. She straightened up as the slayer approached her.
"You are." Buffy reassured her. "I've never seen you more focused, or more powerful, or more beautiful…"
Faith raised her eyebrows in mild surprise.
"Well now." Buffy knew she was blushing "That was a bit more than I meant to say." Unable to resist Faith's growing grin, she smiled in return, taking her verbal slip good-naturedly. "And by the way, dinner's ready."
A week before her birthday, Willow and Tara wanted to take Buffy to the Bronze. The witches decided that Buffy needed a break from the pressure she'd been under. And with one week to go, Faith went wherever Buffy went. The slayer had grown accustomed to Faith being by her side. It didn't seem much of a stretch for them to dance and have a few drinks together. The night was more relaxing for Buffy than she would have expected. The music was good, the company was great. When Buffy went to the bar to get a last round of drinks, Faith followed. She was standing behind Buffy when an inebriated man hit on her.
"Hey baby." He slurred, looking Faith up and down. "You look like you need something I got."
Faith barely glanced at the drunk. "No thanks, I got everything I need right here."
Buffy turned to Faith when she heard her comment. The man noticed the pretty blonde and jumped to a conclusion made of his own fantasy. "Oh, I get it… girl on girl…" He pressed on dangerously as another thought occurred to him. "Hey, can I watch you two fuck?"
The poor slob never saw the punch that set him down on the floor. Faith could have put a serious hurt on the guy. But she hit him only hard enough to get his undivided attention. She looked down at him with disdain.
"When we fuck, nobody gets to watch."
Dropping some bills on the bar, Faith gathered their drinks and turned back toward their table. Buffy just stared after her. When Faith noticed Buffy's stupor, she grinned and asked, "Comin', B?"
The slayer felt flushed as she stepped around the man and followed Faith to their table. The rest of the evening was uneventful. But that night in her bed, Buffy couldn't get Faith's comment out of her mind. She kept hearing Faith say "when we fuck" in her head. It almost sounded like another premonition. With that preferable thought soothing her, she fell asleep.
The Slayer will die…
Buffy tossed and turned, crying out softly in her sleep as she heard the wicked chant in her head for the first time since Faith had arrived. Before she could fully awaken, Faith burst through her door. As Buffy sat up, she was engulfed in strong arms. Faith held her tight and rocked her gently. "It's ok, B." She caressed the agitated slayer. "I'm here. Nothin's gonna happen, B. I promise." Buffy wrapped her arms around Faith, calming considerably. Faith continued comforting her. "There's no way I'll ever let anything hurt you again."
In the hours before Buffy was to turn 25, Willow debated with the slayer about leaving the house.
"Why would you want to be in a cemetery patrolling at midnight?" The worried Wiccan asked. "You could stay here where we can all look out for you. Or we can go with you."
"I can't explain it, Wil. I'd just feel better if whatever it is doesn't happen here." Buffy answered. "And I need for you and Tara to stay and watch out for Dawn."
"Willow." Tara put a gentle hand on her apprehensive lover. "Buffy will have the only protection she'll need tonight." Both witches looked at Faith. Buffy looked over at her as well. "She'll have Faith."
Buffy and Faith arrived at the town's main cemetery. They walked the quiet lanes that ran between the gravesites. The night was still warm and the sky looked flooded with stars. If not for the ominous premonition possibly coming true soon, it might have just as easily been a nice night for a date.
Buffy could feel Faith's tension increase as the minutes ticked ever closer to midnight. Yet she herself felt oddly calm. Anything was preferable to the anxious months of waiting she'd had to endure. Turning to look at her bodyguard, she sighed in relief. She trusted Faith.
In the distance, both women heard a church tower toll the bells signifying midnight. Buffy had just turned 25 years old. Faith scanned every direction, trying to see past the darkness for any sudden attack. She listened to every sound, used all her senses to detect anything unnatural or unusual.
They waited for several minutes after the bells stopped chiming.
With Faith in full alert mode, they walked the warm night for over an hour. Buffy had called Willow to report the extreme non-activity. Another hour passed before they decided to return home. Faith was still in more-than-moderate alert mode. Buffy put her hand on Faith's arm. "I think you can relax now." She said. "Seems my big strong bodyguard must have scared off whatever it was." Faith visibly loosened up a little, but still kept a watchful eye on their surroundings.
When they got home, both witches and Dawn were thrilled that the premonition had either been false, or thwarted by Faith's presence. They didn't care either way as long as Buffy was safe. Now that the imminent danger had passed, Buffy suddenly found that she was very tired. Excusing herself, she headed up the stairs. When Faith followed right behind her, she asked. "What are you doing?"
"I'm not leaving you." Faith insisted. "Not until I'm sure that nothin's gonna happen."
"I just need a shower and some sleep."
"Go ahead." Faith gave her a mischievous smile. "I don't mind."
Faith did let Buffy shower alone. But she stayed right outside the bathroom door insisting that it be left partially open. Every now and then she'd glance at the steamed up mirror reflecting Buffy's enticing form behind the shaded shower door. As the water stopped, she forced herself to look away as Buffy stepped out to dry off. In her mind, Faith envisioned herself waiting with a towel to wrap around Buffy's body. Her imaginings let her sensuously pat Buffy dry and then use her tongue to catch any errant drops of water that remained on Buffy skin.
Faith jumped as Buffy's voice broke her reverie. The slayer was standing there dressed in a tank top and thin sweatpants. "Are you sure you don't want to go to bed? I really think I'll be fine."
"No, it's ok, B." Faith smiled, hoping Buffy couldn't sense her wanton desires. "I'm good."
As Buffy settled into bed, Faith sat in a chair across the room. It took only moments for the exhausted and relieved slayer to fall into a deep sleep. She was more at peace than she'd been in months.
Faith stood up and walked over to the bed. She looked down at the beauty she would have given her life for tonight. 'Hell,' she thought. 'I'd give my life for her any night.'
When Buffy awoke the next morning, she found Faith asleep in a chair that she'd pulled up close to the bed. Her arms were folded over her chest and there were faint dark circles under her eyes. Buffy guessed that Faith had probably been awake until dawn watching over her. She leaned over and lightly kissed Faith's forehead. Despite the uneventful night, she was certain that somehow Faith had been the difference between the premonition coming true today or not. She was finally free to celebrate being twenty-five years old.
That night there was a party at the Summers' home for friends to celebrate Buffy being a twenty-five year old as well. The old Scooby gang came, as did the group from Angel Inc. Some of Dawn's friends, and witches from Willow and Tara's Wicca group rounded out the guest list. It was a nice blend of new and old friends, good food and music. Buffy was relaxed and happy. Though a little more reserved, Faith seemed to enjoy the festivities that centered on the guest of honor. Faith wasn't obvious about watching Buffy, but the slayer could feel her close all night.
Close to midnight, when the last of the revelers had left, Buffy realized that she hadn't actually seen Faith for a while. Following her senses, Buffy found Faith out on the back porch sitting on the steps. "There you are."
"Hey." Faith answered.
"What're you doing out here?"
"Just needed a little air." Faith smiled as Buffy sat down on the step above her. "Did you have a good birthday?"
"The best." Buffy said. Faith handed her a long wrapped package. "What's this?"
"Your birthday gift." Faith answered.
"But you're my birthday gift." Buffy eyes grew wide when she realized how the comment could be taken. "I mean, you being here protecting me is a gift…"
"I know what you meant." Faith said, laughing at Buffy's discomfort. "Open it."
Buffy tore off the wrapping and opened a long, slender gift box. Inside, nestled in red tissue paper, was a beautifully carved stake made of polished oak. It was intricately carved with moons, stars, good luck charms and blessed Wiccan symbols. Buffy picked it up. It was perfectly balanced and the carvings also served to increase the user's grip. The business end of it was sharply refined. The slayer looked down at Faith. "It's beautiful. Thank you."
Before Faith could explain anything about the ornate weapon she'd had made, Buffy leaned down and kissed her. It was meant as a gesture of appreciation. But as she pulled away, Faith reached up, put her hand behind Buffy's neck and brought her back down. She kissed Buffy with more than friendly intent, though it was still soft and sensual. All the nerves in Buffy's body came alive at the connection; with a special tingling between her legs. She couldn't help but moan as Faith increased the pressure and slipped the tip of her tongue up against Buffy's lips. With one hand bracing herself on the step, she opened her mouth and let Faith explore her. Without even realizing it, her other hand came up and cupped Faith's left breast. Buffy suddenly broke off the kiss and stared at Faith. She could hear Faith's increased breathing and see the hunger in her eyes. She looked down to where her hand was still fondling Faith's breast, seemingly of its own accord. She left her hand where it was and searched the dark eyes again. "Do you want to?"
"Only since the day I met you."
Buffy pulled Faith up and they went through the kitchen where Tara was cleaning up. The witch looked up in surprise as Buffy led Faith down the basement stairs without a word. After they had disappeared behind closed doors, Willow came into the kitchen. "Have you seen Buffy?"
"She just went downstairs with Faith." Tara answered. "And from the sexual energy they were emitting, I don't think they're going to play cards."
Willow laughed. "Well, after dancing around each other all these years, it's about time."
As they landed at the bottom of the stairs, Buffy immediately pulled Faith's tank top up over her head. She kissed Faith hard as she reached around to unclasp her bra. Meanwhile, Faith was not idle. Her eager hands unbuttoned Buffy's jeans and unzipped her fly. As Faith's bra came off, Buffy filled both her hands with the heavy pliant flesh. Faith loosened Buffy's pants and slipped her hand inside the cotton lace panties that Buffy wore. Her fingers found the slayer's smooth skin already soaked with her readiness.
"Oh right." Buffy countered. "Like you're not just as wet from thinking about this."
"Only one way to find out…."
Buffy kissed Faith again while allowing her bodyguard's fingers to continue their exploration. Her own hands unbuttoned Faith's leathers and lowered them down her hips. Without any underwear to impede her, Buffy also got to satisfy her curiosity about Faith's sexual readiness. She confirmed that Faith had indeed gotten very aroused from their touching.
"Looks like my protector could use a little lovin'."
Faith leaned back from Buffy. "Who says you get to play first?"
Both slayers stared into each other's eyes as their fingers gently slid over smooth skin without actually entering.
"C'mon', B." Faith cajoled. "How long has it been since a woman tagged your G-spot?"
"That's none of your business." Buffy smirked.
"Ever since you brought me here to guard that sexy body of yours…" Faith's eyes raked over the body in question, lingering on where her hand was still inside Buffy's panties. "Everything about it is my business."
In response, Buffy pulled her hand out from between Faith's legs. She brought her fingers, soaked with Faith's essence, to her lips. She slowly ran her tongue up the digits covered with the sexy slickness. Faith froze as her eyes were riveted to the decadent exhibition of the blonde cleaning her fingers completely. Buffy smiled at the bodyguard's inability to hide her lust.
"It is not." Buffy insisted. "You've been incarcerated for five years." Stepping closer to Faith, she leaned up and gently nipped her ear. "I think that takes precedence." Feeling Faith shudder at the soft bite, Buffy nibbled the sensitive earlobe with her lips as she whispered. "And it's still my birthday, so I should get what I want." Buffy's warm breath caressed Faith's ear. "Don't ya think?"
Faith didn't answer. A surge of eroticism was shooting through her entire body. Buffy gathered Faith's hands and held them in her own. She kissed Faith again, making sure that her tongue slipped inside her soon-to-be lover's mouth. Faith could just barely taste herself on Buffy's tongue. When Buffy finished tantalizing her, the parolee was too far gone to argue anymore.
Buffy pulled Faith toward her bed. "And besides, I've seen that look before…"
"Yeah? And what look is that?"
"The one you'd get after we'd been slaying." Buffy answered. "The look that should've told me how much you needed me. But I wasn't brave enough to do anything about it then." Buffy turned her so that Faith's legs where pressed against the bed. "I am now."
Buffy knelt down and untied Faith's boots. One by one she divested her of her boots and socks. Then she reached up and slowly pulled the leather pants down Faith's legs, allowing her to step out of them as well. Her eyes swept up the incredible expanse of satin skin. Faith's workouts had left her incredibly fit. Buffy smoothed her hands up the taut calves, the tight hamstrings, over sensuous hips and a shapely ass. Rising up on her knees, she pulled Faith's hips to her and placed kisses in the soft hair covering Faith's treasures.
'Damn.' Faith's mind couldn't quite grasp the reality of what was happening. Looking down her body, her legs threatened to give out on her. 'Buffy Summers… on her knees… kissing my… Oh fuck, I gotta be dreamin'…' Any minute Faith thought she would awaken in her prison cell, hot and wet again from mental images just like the one she was watching now.
Buffy loved the scent and the denseness of Faith's damp curls. She stood and brushed her hands up over toned abs, solid ribs and full breasts. Then she leaned down and alternately kissed soft, relaxed nipples. It wasn't long before they reacted and she was sucking on tightened buds.
The golden slayer straightened and looked into Faith's eyes. 'God,' she thought to herself, 'has she always looked at me with such longing? How could I have not known?'
With continuous insistent kisses, Buffy lowered Faith down on her back. She sat on the edge of the bed to remove her own shoes and socks, leaving her shirt and her unzipped jeans on. She climbed on top of Faith, straddling her waist.
"Hey, I'm all naked here and you're… not." Faith complained. "When do I get to see something good?"
Buffy laughed and pulled her shirt up over her head revealing a sexy, raspberry colored bra. Faith cocked an eyebrow, momentarily appreciating the garment. Then her hands reached up and stroked the satiny, lace covered material, unerringly finding the exact location of the slayer's nipples. Faith caressed them lightly with her thumbs. "Very nice, B." She murmured approvingly. Buffy grinned and slipped her bra straps off her shoulders. When she reached around her back and popped the hook holding the bra in place, Faith eagerly pulled it off and tossed it aside. She immediately filled her hands with the modest, yet flawless breasts she'd dreamed about for years. Buffy continued to smile down at Faith, letting the horny brunette play.
When Buffy thought Faith's need for her nakedness had somewhat abated, she entwined her fingers with Faith's and stretched their hands up over Faith's head.
"Aren't ya gonna take those jeans off?" Faith asked hopefully.
"No." Buffy answered. "You're gonna have to wait for that."
Buffy laid her body down on top of Faith, sliding her jeans-clad legs in-between Faith's naked ones. The brunette could feel the denim seductively scratching against the soft sensitive skin of her inner thighs. The open zipper on the jeans was coldly erotic against her stomach while Buffy's lips were scorching her own. Approaching sensual overload, Faith moaned.
"Can't wait anymore, B."
The slayer paused her assault, delighted by the sound of her lover's sweet surrender. Faith watched Buffy slide down beside her. Buffy's eyes followed her hand as it stroked over Faith's body. "Ya know… years ago, I could feel your heat." She admitted. "That fire you always had after slaying." She looked back up into Faith's eyes. "But I was too afraid to be a part of it. Afraid that you'd consume me." Buffy's hand continued to roam seductively over Faith's body. "There were so many times I wanted to take you back to my house, drag you into my bed and rock your world."
Faith watched Buffy's face, trying to focus on her words despite her raging libido. She'd had no idea that Buffy had had such intense desires. Of course, she'd felt the post slaying lust. And she had often wondered if it had existed for her partner as much as it did for herself. She'd given into it. And she had assumed that Buffy just… didn't. 'Damn…' she thought, 'what an incredible waste of time…'
"I'm right here, B. You can rock my world now…"
Buffy leaned over and kissed Faith hard. Her right hand briefly played with Faith's left breast before it smoothed its way down her torso and over her hips. She spread Faith legs open and slipped her fingers into the dark curls. Exploring a little more, she let her fingers surround the shaft; stroking it and spreading Faith's wetness around it. Suddenly Faith grabbed her wrist making Buffy stop kissing her and stare down into her eyes.
"Tease me later, B." She whispered urgently. "Love me now…"
Buffy's expression softened at the plea and she immediately stroked her fingers over Faith's clit. Faith closed her eyes and her hips jumped up slightly. She began to thrust rhythmically, coinciding with Buffy's movements. Already well on her way to climaxing just from the situation, Faith moaned for more of her lover's touch. Buffy dropped her hand lower and slipped two fingers inside Faith's warmth. Pumping slowly at first, Buffy heard Faith's involuntary murmuring, "Fuck, B…. so good, baby… waited so long…."
Moving her fingers faster, Buffy pulled out enough to brush over Faith's clit before plunging back into her depths. They were in total sync now as Faith drew ever closer to climaxing. Buffy's multi-tasking skills kicked in as she leaned over and covered Faith's right nipple with her mouth. She flicked her tongue briefly over the soft areola before sucking it into a hardened peak. Faith responded with an explosive orgasm that sent tremors though her entire body. She groaned out expletives liberally punctuated with Buffy's name.
As Faith calmed, Buffy stopped her thrusts, but kept her fingers resting inside her lover. She reached up and placed small kisses on Faith's lips, her jaw, her neck, and ears. Faith brought both hands up and captured Buffy's head and made her meet her eyes. "My turn?" She asked optimistically.
Buffy leaned down again and whispered against Faith's lips, "Not by a long shot…"
Buffy's tongue, teeth, lips, hands, indecent suggestions, nasty words and more had taken Faith to her limit. The slayer had used everything in her arsenal to satisfy her prisoner. Buffy lay on top of Faith just watching her beautiful face as peaceful as she'd ever seen it. Her eyes were closed and Buffy thought this is how Faith would look sleeping next to her at night. Faith finally opened her eyes and stared at her lover. She brought a hand up and brushed back a lock of blonde hair from Buffy's face. "That was worth every minute I waited for you…." She gazed at Buffy's features, still experiencing a touch of disbelief. "And so much better than any dream I've ever had." After Buffy leaned down to kiss her, Faith asked one more time. "Now is it my turn?"
Buffy looked down at her tenderly. "Yeah." She said softly before kissing Faith again. "It is."
Faith immediately returned Buffy's kiss, deepening it with her own desires. She quickly rolled her slayer onto her back and swept her left hand over Buffy's breasts and down to her hips. Stopping her oral assault for a moment she griped, "Now about those jeans…"
"Might as well take them off now." Buffy agreed. "They're in serious need of laundering."
"Soaked through, huh?"
"Poor baby. I hope you got some left." Faith teased. "Cuz I've been lookin' to get me a taste of that sweetness for a long time."
"Try me." Buffy smirked back.
Faith needed no further encouragement to scramble down Buffy's body and tug on her jeans. The slayer lifted her hips and the tight pants came off easily. Faith tossed them away and smoothed her hands up Buffy's thighs. She reached for the soft cotton panties and noticed that they were a lighter shade of the sexy bra Buffy had worn. 'Pastel girl.' She thought. 'Some things never change.' Faith stroked her knuckles over the lace covering Buffy's crotch. Soaked and slick, she looked back up at Buffy whose eyes were beginning to glaze over slightly. Faith held her gaze as she tucked her fingers gently under the elastic bands. She didn't even have to separate the soft folds for her fingers to gather up some of the sexy lubrication.
Buffy gasped quietly as Faith brought her fingers out and one at a time slowly sucked them clean. Buffy could hardly object to the similar erotic display that she had performed earlier to seduce Faith. 'Damn, that's hot,' she realized. 'No wonder she gave in…'
Her analyzing stopped when she felt Faith pulling on her panties. She again lifted her hips slightly and was soon as naked as Faith had wanted her to be. Sitting on her haunches, between Buffy's legs, Faith bent the slayer's knees up and captured her thighs under each arm. Rubbing her hands slowly up and down Buffy's thighs, she sat there for a several moments just letting her eyes memorize Buffy's body before finally returning to focus on her face. "I thought I had imagined just how beautiful you'd be." Her eyes swept over the lithe body again. A small sigh escaped Faith as she confessed. "I didn't even come close."
Grasping Buffy's hands, Faith pulled them up and interlaced their fingers on either side of the slayer's head. As she lay down on top of Buffy, their mons met and both women inhaled sharply at the connection. Faith kissed Buffy soundly as she felt the satin expanse of Buffy's skin against her own. Naked breasts, stomach, pelvis and thighs created sparkage wherever they came in contact with each other. Without realizing it, Faith began to thrust her hips against Buffy's mons. The steady friction pulled on Buffy's clit just enough to start the slayer's climb toward orgasm, which was a fairly short trip by now. Faith was completely engrossed with worshipping her lover's breasts when Buffy finally said something.
"Uh…Faith." Faith didn't hear the slayer call her name as she swirled her tongue around one of Buffy's nipples while rolling the other one between her fingers.
"Faith." Louder this time. Faith finally lifted her head and looked up at Buffy. "Tease me later." Indicating where Faith was between her legs still thrusting against her, she repeated Faith's earlier plea. "Love me now."
Faith wasted no time in slipping the rest of her body down between Buffy's legs. She barely noticed how slick her own crotch was with both their essences. She showered the wet hair and skin with short, yet strong kisses. Buffy moaned as her needs became more fervid. Faith fastened her mouth over the bundle of charged nerves and lavished long licks, short flicks, and quick sucking on Buffy's clit. The slayer's passion shot to an excruciating level when she felt Faith enter her with two fingers. A few penetrations and Buffy climaxed with a magnitude of intensity that bordered on violence.
Buffy might have thought herself to be content with the monster orgasm. But Faith was just getting started. "Hold on, B." Faith murmured over Buffy's clit. "Not done here." She had not come out of the deep warmth where her fingers were buried up against Buffy's G-spot. She started to move slowly in and out of her lover, now planting less subtle kisses on Buffy's clit. The tiny organ responded and Buffy found herself returning to that sweet spot. Faith reached up and brushed her fingers over each of Buffy's nipples until they hardened again under her touch. Faith tweaked and played with them sending even more erotic sensations throughout Buffy's body. When she climaxed again, it was not quite as intense as the first one. But the third and fourth orgasms Faith coaxed out of her were almost as powerful.
"Oh god… I am gonna die tonight…"
Faith looked up from where she was now gently sucking on Buffy's neck. "Sex won't kill ya, B." She declared. "You'll just sleep like the dead."
"Well then…" Buffy turned Faith over onto her back. "I'd better make sure you're gonna crash as hard as I do."
A little while later, Faith was lying on her stomach finally sated. Buffy lay by her side using her nails to make little scratches up and down the smoothly muscular back. "Mmmm… that feels so good, B."
The ex-felon had been sexually voracious for hours. It almost seemed like Faith couldn't get enough of making love with her. Buffy wondered how long it had been since her normally lustful partner had actually gotten any sexual release. She ventured to ask.
"So you didn't have sex in prison?"
Faith opened her eyes and looked at Buffy. "No." She answered. "I didn't want to hurt anyone. And I didn't wanna leave that part of me in there."
But Buffy knew Faith too well. She would've had to have some sexual outlet. "You must have handled your "needs" somehow."
The smirk on Faith's face was expected. "Buffy Summers. Are you askin' me if I masturbated in prison?"
Buffy blushed slightly. "Well, did you?"
The laugh that followed her question tickled Buffy's face. "All the time."
"Yup." Faith closed her eyes again. "And thought of you every time I did it."
Faith merely smiled in response.
Buffy leaned over and kissed Faith lightly on the lips. "Did ya think of me doing that?"
Propping herself up on her elbow, Buffy planted a kiss between Faith's shoulder blades. "How about that?"
The petite blonde crawled on top of Faith rubbing the front of her body slowly up and down Faith's back. "Did ya think about me doin' this to you?"
Kissing her way from Faith's shoulders down her back to the solid mounds at her hips, Buffy gently pushed Faith's legs apart to accommodate her descending body. She caressed Faith's ass with her lips. "Did you think about me doin' this too?"
There was a slight hitch in Faith's voice as she replied. "Thought about it."
Buffy grinned mischievously as she took the delectable flesh in her hands and spread Faith's cheeks to reveal the intimate puckered opening. "How about this?" She lowered herself and gave the private crevice a long lick of her tongue. Faith gasped and felt her body shudder at the delicate rimming.
"Uh… no…" She managed to get out. "Somehow that didn't cross my mind."
"Do you like it?" Buffy asked between licks that were getting stronger.
"I like everything." Faith moaned. "As long as I'm doin' it with you."
While she continued to stimulate Faith, Buffy reached under her with one hand so she could stoke the hungry little node that was getting bathed again in Faith's sweet juices. Her lover groaned at the contact, her climax rapidly approaching from the unexpected exploration. As Faith started to cry out for her, Buffy rose up and plunged two fingers into Faith's soaked channel. She synchronized filling Faith deeply with the stroking of her clit. With a string of explosive four-letter words, Faith came long and hard. She collapsed back onto the bed when she was finished, trying to breathe. Buffy climbed back onto her back and rested her head near Faith's shoulders. When Faith was peaceful and serene again, Buffy whispered. "So you think that reality can be as good as fantasy?"
Faith turned and flipped Buffy onto her back. Leaning over her, she said. "I think, since I've had years of fantasizing about you, that it's gonna take reality a very long time to catch up. So that slayer stamina thing better not be a myth…"
And she proceeded to continue to show Buffy more of what she'd imagined doing to the blonde beauty for years.
The last four months of Faith's parole went smoothly. After Buffy's birthday, Faith moved into the slayer's room and into her bed. Willow didn't have to remind Faith that she still had a confession to make.
Buffy was in the kitchen putting away some groceries she'd bought. She was reaching up to a top shelf when she felt the familiar tingling. Faith leaned against the door appreciating the smooth expanse of silky skin showing between Buffy's pants and her shirt as she stretched.
"I didn't know putting away groceries could be so sexy." Faith observed as she wrapped her arms around her lover and nuzzled her neck. Buffy leaned back into the embrace and then slightly turned her head to give Faith a lingering kiss. When they separated, Faith took her hand and said. "Come sit down. I have to tell you something."
Buffy followed Faith's lead into the living room. She was about to sit down when she noticed that Faith's motorcycle bags were laying packed near the front door.
"Oh my god…" She looked at Faith with a stricken expression. "You're leaving?"
"What?" Faith glanced at the bags at the door. "No… No, B. That's not what I was gonna say." She sat the worried slayer down on the chair and knelt down in front of her. Taking Buffy's hands in hers, she said. "Remember when your debts were cleared?"
"Well, that was me." Faith admitted. "I did that."
"You?" Buffy didn't understand. "But.. how…"
"When I got here, you were so upset." Faith tried to explain. "There was nothing I could do about the death threat. But I have a small inheritance. Taking care of the bills was the only thing I could think of that would make you feel better. I was only trying to help."
Buffy searched Faith's eyes. "You did that for me? When you first got here? And I was still treating you so…."
"Hey. That's all behind us now." Faith reassured her. "The only reason Willow didn't say anything to you before was that I promised to tell you when all of this was over. And since my parole is up today, I'm tellin' you now."
Buffy cocked her head and appraised her for a moment. "So how rich are you?"
Faith grinned. "Rich enough to take you away for the weekend."
"Willow and Tara have everything under control here. No excuses." She saw Buffy waver. "C'mon, B." Faith said, as she brushed back a stray strand of blonde hair that had escaped from Buffy's ponytail. "You're alive and I'm finally free. It doesn't get much better than that." Buffy let out a contented sigh and studied her lover's gorgeous face.
"Whadda ya say? Come jump with me for once."
"Hey! I jumped with you once." Buffy suddenly became animated. "Into a giant manhole as I recall. You jumped in, I followed, massive demon fighting ensued, I got drowned… again…."
Buffy's rant might have continued unabated, but Faith reached up and kissed her into silence.
When Faith's lips finally released her, Buffy half-heartedly complained. "You always do that when you want to shut me up."
"That's cuz it always works." Faith grinned smugly.
They spent the weekend in a house on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. There were motorcycle rides along the coastline and romantic sunset dinners with the sound of waves crashing in the distance. They made love all night long and during the lazy afternoons just in from the beach. It would be one of many short respites they would take from the responsibilities of their ongoing fight against evil.
Almost a year after Faith had first arrived back in Sunnydale, life at the Summers' home had become familiar. Dawn was a college freshman in LA. Buffy, Faith, Willow and Tara enjoyed a comfortable home life. Though the witches still had an interest in the Magic Shop with Anya, Faith's money enabled them all to concentrate more on their true calling.
Faith had just finished cleaning up the kitchen when Buffy came in with several big bags. They were full of streamers, balloons, and other party paraphernalia. Setting everything down on the counter, she asked. "Are you done?"
Faith let out an exaggerated sigh. "Yes. Can I go now?"
"Go on." Buffy shook her head at the petulant tone in Faith's voice. "Since it's your party, I won't make you hang streamers."
Grinning, Faith gave Buffy a big kiss. "Thanks Mom!" She headed out of the kitchen, almost colliding with Tara. Giving her a quick kiss as well, she said. "Mom says that since my chores are all done, I can go outside and play!" Faith ducked just in time to miss a streamer roll that Buffy launched at her head.
Tara gave her a playful push toward the front door. "Well then you'd better hurry, before she thinks of something else for you to do."
Before either of them could say anything more, Faith was off like a shot. Tara turned to Buffy. "Now there's a happy girl."
"Yeah, she is."
Willow, Tara and Buffy had planned to make the next day's party really special. Buffy had the feeling that celebrations for birthdays or any other occasions hadn't existed for Faith while she was growing up. Angel, Fred and Dawn were coming from LA. All the Sunnydale gang would be in attendance. It was going to be great.
By early evening Buffy was beat. Faith, Willow and Tara were watching a movie on the couch when she came in. "I'm toast. I'm gonna go lay down." Looking at Faith she added. "Wake me when you come up?"
Faith smiled up at her. "Ok."
After the movie was over, Willow and Tara headed up to bed. Tara stopped on the stairs, looking back at Faith. "Aren't you coming up?"
"No. Not yet." Faith answered. "I'm kinda restless. I thought I'd go do a quick patrol." Faith looked sheepishly up at Tara. "I won't be gone long…"
"Shame on you, Faith." Tara scolded. "That's just an excuse to ride that new bike that you're not even supposed to have until tomorrow." When Faith gave her an exaggerated pout, Tara laughed. "Ok, I won't tell Buffy. But if she finds out, you are so gonna owe me."
Faith was out the door with her jacket and helmet before Tara could change her mind.
The Slayer will die when she turns 25
Only a Slayer can keep her alive
Buffy's eyes flew open as the long forgotten chant entered her brain for the first time in ten months. "Oh my god!" She exclaimed as the realization hit her. She sensed immediately that Faith was not in the house. She flew off the bed and rushed into Willow and Tara's room. "She meant Faith!" She shouted as the witches stirred. "The warning wasn't about me!" Buffy cried. "It was about Faith! Where is she?!"
"Oh my goddess…" whispered Tara. "She said she was restless, so she went out for a quick patrol…"
Buffy grabbed her jacket and her keys and was out the door before Tara could even finish.
Faith rode out to the town's main cemetery. She thought she should at least do a drive-by so as not to have totally lied about why she wanted to go out. But as she got off her new Harley, she felt an unnatural presence. She concentrated for a moment but was unable to decide if it was evil or not.
Passing through the gates, she noticed a figure sitting on one of the benches a short distance away. When Faith got closer, she realized it was an old woman dressed in worn clothing, rocking back and forth, softly chanting something that Faith couldn't quite understand. The slayer knelt down beside her. "Are you alright?" She asked.
The old woman stopped rocking and chanting. She looked down at Faith. "I warned you…" She whispered worriedly.
At that moment, Faith heard two distinct sounds; the church clock tower chiming midnight and footsteps approaching. The bells didn't register as she sensed that the oncoming presence was not a benign one. She stood up as a tall man sauntered out from the shadows. He was dressed in black leather pants and a vivid red shirt with images of fire splashed across it. Faith couldn't tell if the shirt moved with the man or if the flames were moving on the shirt. As he stopped a short distance from them, Faith put herself between him and the old woman on the bench.
When the slayer said nothing, he spoke. "Aren't you going to ask who I am?"
"Doesn't matter to me." Faith answered. "You'll soon be just another dead demon."
"Ah yes… I forgot. You're the arrogant one." He paused to appraise her. "No wonder the Mayor is still so taken with you."
"The Mayor's dead." Faith replied coldly.
"In this world, perhaps…" He continued as the flames on his shirt flickered. "But his soul is in my world. And he wants his girl back."
Faith scowled at the creature. "I'm not that girl anymore."
"Pity." He taunted. "You were so good at it." Looking around the cemetery, he observed, "I see you're here alone."
"I can take care of myself."
"Oh, usually I would agree with you." The demon confirmed. "But this time your fighting skills will not help you." His smile was wicked as his voiced changed. His words dripped with malice as he continued. "You do not possess the weapons to win this particular battle. A slayer was your only salvation. But here you are. Alone. You don't have her protection… and you don't have her forgiveness…" He smirked at Faith. "You are, in fact… defenseless." The demon emitted a chilling, yet mirthful laugh.
"She has my protection."
Immediately the evil laughing stopped. Faith turned to see Buffy emerge from the darkness and walk deliberately toward them.
"She has my forgiveness."
The fiend glared at the petite slayer as she walked up to him. Her eyes burned into his with equal intensity.
"She has my love."
Buffy positioned herself in front of Faith, in a direct challenge to the demon.
"She has everything that is in my power to give."
Before anyone could react, a bright glimmer of light appeared near the confrontation. It shimmered for a moment and then solidified into a lovely female being. A glow remained in the flowing white gown she wore. Her hair was as black as the surrounding night and she had sparkling green eyes and a gracious smile.
"I told you so." She said to the demon.
The evil man didn't reply, but simply glowered at the vision. Then suddenly the flames on his shirt flared and encompassed him completely until he disappeared. Both slayers turned to the new newcomer.
"Who are you?" Buffy asked.
"I'm one of what you all commonly refer to as "The Powers That Be." She replied. "I apologize for having to put you through all this angst. Normally I'm not a big fan of angst…"
"What just happened here?" Buffy demanded, wanting an explanation.
"It's complicated." The Power replied. "But if you must know, it began with the two of you."
"What?" Faith asked.
"The Slayer has always been an intricate part of the balance between good and evil. But with the rift between the both of you, things changed. The division between the Chosen Two tipped the scales. It gave the Evil Powers That Be a slight advantage. As the slayers grew further apart, Evil gathered more strength. Eventually they would have had enough dominance to take at least one slayer down." The Power glanced at Faith. "But that might have taken a while. And Evil couldn't wait."
"You see, Evil has a very powerful soul trapped in its most horrid dimension." Again she eyed Faith briefly. "And that soul put immense pressure on Evil to bring him a slayer." Buffy instinctively stepped closer to Faith.
"So Evil had an idea." She continued. "A wager, if you will. Without any interference or observation from either side, you would be given the opportunity to resolve your conflict by the time you each turned 25. If you were successful, the scales between the Powers would be balanced again. If you were unable to restore your connection, if either of you had failed to protect the other at that time, then we would have had to release one of you to Evil." She paused looking pointedly at Faith, leaving no doubt that the rogue slayer was the one who would have been sacrificed. "Then we could only hope that the next slayer to be called might prove to be more…. compatible." She noticed Buffy take Faith's hand and intertwine their fingers. "But it's quite obvious that won't be necessary now."
"How could you toy with our lives like that?" Buffy questioned sharply.
"It's not the first time that Evil has turned a Slayer." The Power responded calmly as she walked over to the old woman who had remained silent and unmoving. "We did what we had to do."
"But you said couldn't interfere." Faith argued. "What about the warning?"
"Evil put you in prison in the first place." She explained. "It was part of the agreement to get you out." Looking back at Buffy she said. "The warning was to force you to free her. The rest was up to the two of you."
The Power leaned down and kissed the gray head of the stranger on the bench. The moment she touched the old woman, the crone stood up, stretched, and morphed into an absolutely gorgeous woman. Flowing blonde hair, sparkling dark gray eyes and dressed in an identical glowing gown. The first Power was stunning, but second one was heart stopping.
"God! It's good to be free from that guise." Pouting at her companion, she declared. "Next time you get to be the hag."
Faith swept her eyes over the vision before her. "Wow…"
"Faith!" Buffy scolded under her breath.
"What?" Faith looked at her lover and saw that she was frowning. "Oh, sorry."
The second Power regarded the slayers. "I did all I could to warn you." Then addressing Faith, she said. "But after you were free, Evil was watching us constantly; though I did manage to slip in a few more chants." Then she put her hand briefly on Faith's cheek. Faith knew she'd been touched, yet the contact was too light to actually feel. "We knew that you had never stopped loving her. So there was never any doubt that you would give your life to protect her." Shifting her gaze to Buffy, she hesitated. "But we were less confident that when the time came, you would find it in your heart to do the same." The Power then smiled at her. "I'm relieved that you proved us wrong." Then directing her sparkling eyes back at Faith again she said softly. "It would have been such a shame to lose you. You are quite unique. A slayer for a slayer." She marveled. "Strange as that is."
"Yeah? And why not more than one at a time?" Faith asked. "I mean, if slayers are such a big part of the grand scheme and all."
The blonde Power shrugged as she took her partner's hand. "Frankly, it just never occurred to us before."
As she was led into the darkness, the first Power added one last comment to Buffy. "You have been more favored than any slayer who has come before you. Do not depend on it. But do not take it lightly."
Then the Powers disappeared into the night, leaving Buffy and Faith alone in the cemetery.
As Buffy stared after them, Faith cracked. "I hate that cryptic shit." When Buffy didn't answer, Faith nudged her. "Hey."
Buffy turned to Faith. "They believed in you." Then she murmured painfully. "But they doubted me."
Faith put her hands gently on Buffy's arms. "I believe in you. And I know for a fact that you would've always put your life on the line for me, no matter how you felt." Faith moved her hands up to Buffy's shoulders. "It's what's inside your heart, B. It's who you are." Reaching over, Faith kissed Buffy lightly. "C'mon. Let's go home."
Walking out of the cemetery, Faith commented. "Still, it was kind of a kick to meet The Powers That Be."
"Yeah." Buffy answered before she remembered. "Oh and by the way, what was that 'Wow' thing you had goin' on with that blonde Power. I mean, really, Faith. You were practically drooling and…"
The Chosen one was about to rave on, but the rogue slayer grabbed her and kissed her hard. As always, Buffy momentarily forgot her rant, nearly forgot her name, in the obvious distraction ploy. She continuously allowed Faith the simple ruse because her kiss was so marvelous; Faith's lips were so sensual and her tongue so very talented. Buffy unthinkingly slipped her arms around Faith's neck.
After several stimulating moments, Faith released Buffy but didn't let her go. "Now I just turned 25. So let's not start another rift that we'll have to fix before we're thirty, ok? Why don't we just go home now and you can show me again why I saved your butt on your birthday."
Instead of the smart retort Faith expected, Buffy just agreed with her lover.
As Buffy started her car, she adjusted her rearview mirror to watch Faith mount her new Harley. She had planned a number of inventive sexual pleasures for her slayer's birthday enjoyment. And she knew that any number of them would wipe that blonde Power clean out of Faith's mind. She headed her car toward home with Faith following close behind.
'Oh yeah,' Buffy grinned as wondrously erotic images flashed in her mind, 'that girl is definitely goin' down….'
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