DISCLAIMER: Definitely no money being made. All characters belong to Joss Whedon and ME. I own nothing except whatever characters I may make up for this story along with the storyline. I just like to play with them - I promise to put them back after I'm done!!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To kinetic-kid[at]earthlink.net

Chasing Daylight
By Kinetic-Kid


Chapter 21

Tara sniggers quietly as they make their way towards LA and the women's correctional facility to pick up Faith. Ten days after Willow had arrived back in Sunnydale they got word from the Council that the slayer would be released the following Friday. Now, she's driving with Willow to pick up the rogue slayer while Willow rambles on non-stop about Kennedy not leaving her alone.

"I don't know what it is with that girl! Though I have to admit when she turned her gaze on you that once and Buffy snarled at her it was funny as hell." Willow finally laughs at the smirk on Tara's face.

"What, you don't want the spoiled little mini-slayer for a girlfriend?" Tara laughs at the loud groan and the smack she gets on the shoulder from Willow.

"NO! Though she has gotten better, and actually has been helping around the house for the last week or so, but I am so NOT attracted to her. She still seems like a kid, you know?" Willow answers seriously, looking at Tara for a few moments, watching as the smirk turns into a soft smile on the blonde's lips.

"She still has a lot of growing up to do." Tara nods in agreement, darting a glance to Willow. "How are you doing, honestly?" Tara questions softly.

"Actually good." Willow admits. "You helping me with the exercises the Coven wants me to do is a major contributor."

"I'm always willing to help you in whatever way I can, Willow." Tara reaches over and gently pats Willow's knee before putting her hand back on the steering wheel. "You're not feeling any weirdness about me and Buffy?"

Willow purses her lips and thinks about the question and the two women for a few minutes before finally answering. "Honestly, I thought I might have some residual feelings left over, but I don't." Willow smiles softly at Tara, having to admit that she still loves the witch and probably always will, but understands that they're never going to be a couple again, and truthfully they'd both changed since they'd broken up and they weren't the same people they were. Willow admits to herself that Tara seems to have grown emotionally more since hooking up with Buffy, whereas before she would keep most of her thoughts and comments to herself, she's now one of the first people to make comments and give her opinion on whatever subject is being discussed. "Buffy's been good for you, Tara. And you have definitely been good for her."

Tara blushes lightly as a small smile crosses her face. "I love her, Willow. Sometimes my breath gets caught in my chest when I see her looking at me, you know? Her love is almost a physical presence, and to see it pointed at me is almost unbelievable."

"That's something that's changed since you two got together, also." Willow comments softly. Seeing Tara look at her questioningly, Willow smiles at the witch. "Buffy showing her emotions, instead of keeping them locked inside. I've noticed since you two got together that she's slowly opened up more over time, and now it's almost like night and day as to what she used to be like. If she's angry about something, she lets the person know instead of keeping it locked away, and what's even more surprising is how much more demonstrative she is physically. I swear I've received more hugs from her in the last week than the first couple years we were friends."

Tara chuckles and nods her head. "If we're in the house, I honestly don't think we go more than ten or fifteen minutes without touching. I think it helps ground her and fills something she needs from all those years of distancing herself from everyone."

Willow looks at the map, knowing they're coming up on the road the Correctional facility is on. "It should be the next road."

"Right?" Tara questions, checking her rear view mirror as she slows down so they can make out the road name.

"Yep, and this is it." Willow confirms as they slow down more and Tara turns on the signal before turning down the road.

"I honestly think Buffy's looking forward to Faith coming back with us. Of course, having someone else to help babysit and train the baby-slayers might have something to do with it." Tara grins crookedly as Willow giggles.

"She's already threatened the couple slayers in training that are being especially difficult, with Faith. She left it to me to tell Faith that she gets to be a royal bitch to them, since they're already afraid of her. They were in awe of Buffy until they saw how tiny she was, and how whipped she is around you." Willow gets a dig in, laughing as Tara growls and half-heartedly smacks her on the leg.

"I don't want her to change, though." Tara admits the now caring and loving slayer is something she'd never want to change, though Buffy does rip into the girls occasionally, and Goddess knows that she takes out her frustrations and anger on the demons in Sunnydale.

"No. Neither would I." Willow admits as Tara pulls the Jeep into the parking space. Grabbing the paperwork with Faith's release orders, Willow meets Tara at the front of the Jeep as the two women walk companionably up the steps and in the front door.

Faith shifts in the seat looking from Tara to Willow and back again. "How come I'm up here, instead of in the back?"

"Why would we put you in the back seat?" Tara questions softly, frowning as she starts the vehicle, Faith having been somewhat shocked at being released from jail. The two women having found out that the Council had kept the slayer in the dark as to what they were doing. Now they're going to have to explain everything to the slayer, thankfully it was a decent drive back to Sunnydale.

"Well, you two were datin', right?" Faith looks at Tara before turning back to a quietly giggling Willow.

"Until roughly a year ago, we were, yes." Tara answers, relaxing as she realizes what Faith was getting at. Backing the Jeep up, she puts it in gear and starts driving back towards Sunnydale, planning on stopping somewhere for them all to eat. Having a feeling Faith would love to have some regular food instead of the jail food.

"Long story." Willow blushes, her eyes wide as Faith turns her dark brown eyes on her curiously.

"We got a long drive." Faith comments, waving a hand towards the front of the vehicle. "And not that I'm really bitchin', but why am I outta jail and you guys pickin' me up?"

"Another long story." Tara murmurs, chuckling softly as Faith growls. "Growling at me doesn't do anything, Faith. I'm used to it." Tara laughs at the confused look on Faith's face.

"Okay, I'll start with Tara and I." Willow sighs and eases back against the back of the seat, slowly giving Faith the Reader's Digest version of her and Tara's relationship, all the way through what she did to Tara without cutting herself any slack on exactly what she did, watching the shocked look come across Faith's face with her admittance, before she sees a quick look of sorrow as she realizes that she'd lost Tara because of what she'd done. "It may seem weird for me to say this, but even though I love Tara and always will, it was a good thing for all concerned that we broke up."

Tara blushes lightly as she glances up into the rearview mirror when she sees the smirk on Willow's face. "Oh, look. An exit with food, and we need to fill up also. Do you mind fast food?" Tara questions softly, looking at a curious Faith.

"Nah. Sounds like heaven, ta tell you the truth. A dozen Big Mac's, fries and an apple pie or two sounds great." Faith tilts her head as Tara blush darkens even more with her staring at her.

"Hmmm… to tell Faith, or to let her just be shocked when you're greeted when we get back to Sunnydale." Willow taps her finger against her chin, chuckling at the squeak coming from Tara.

"Surely it wouldn't be that much of a shock?" Tara's eyes widen and look at Willow before shifting her gaze back to the road as she slows down on the exit ramp, turning towards the fast food restaurant, happy to see that the gas station is just a little further down the road.

"Hello! Look at who we're talking about here!!" Willow starts to laugh loudly at the confused look on Faith's face and the slow, knowing grin finally crossing Tara's.

"You have a point. I guess I was more than a little surprised myself." Tara agrees, pulling the vehicle into the parking lot.

"Fuck, guys!! Come on, what the hell are ya' talkin' about?" Faith finally growls loudly as she steps out of the Jeep shutting the door to glare from Willow to Tara and back again when neither seems willing to say anything. Deciding to give up on that line of questioning, Faith shifts gears. "Red, I have ta' admit, I'm happy you ain't pissed at me and threatening to skin me alive… but why ain't ya'?"

"You were listening to me tell you what I did, weren't you?" Willow looks sadly at the slayer, her eyes darting to Tara before coming back. "I've had a while to come to terms with things, and I have absolutely no right to throw stones. Plus a few things became a lot clearer while I was doing the introspective Willow thing. I realized I never gave you a chance when you were in Sunnydale, and if anything, I owe you an apology for treating you like shit."

Faith snorts and shakes her head. "I hold a fuckin' knife to your throat, and you're apologizin'? Red, I'm the one that's got some serious apologizin', beggin' and all kinds of shit to make up for." Faith rubs a hand roughly over the back of her neck in nervousness, feeling uncomfortable, but knowing she needs to do things right this time. "I'm sorry for the shit I pulled, Red. I was in a pretty fucked up place at the time, and I never, ever shoulda done the things I did. Hopefully one day you can maybe forgive me, even if we can't ever be buds."

Tara eases closer to the door, giving the two women some privacy as she watches Willow fidget slightly even as she reaches out to stop the dark-haired slayer.

Looking intently into honest brown eyes, seeing more emotions than she can ever remember seeing in Faith before, wondering if she'd never bothered to look, or if everything that's happened to the slayer including spending the last two years in jail had changed her so much. "You're forgiven, Faith. And I'd like to give the friendship a real try this time, if you're interested." Willow offers softly.

Faith blinks in shock and surprise staring at the redhead, before slowly nodding her head. "I am." Faith slowly relaxes as a beautiful smile crosses Willow's face. Chuckling at the sight, Faith nods her head towards the fast food restaurant. "Come on, I could eat a whole cow myself. You know, all you get for burgers in the joint is fuckin' soy burgers? They can't even give ya' real meat."

"I'm not so sure this is real meat, either." Tara jokes softly as the two women make their way towards the door, Tara opens it to let them go by her, chuckling softly behind the two laughing women. Happy to feel the lessening of the tension between the small group, hoping that things continue to go well, since they all need to pull together to take out the newest big bad, because from the sounds of it, he's making Glory seem like a flea on a dog in comparison.

"Fuck me." Faith blinks in shock as Willow finishes telling her about the First and his plans to obliterate the slayer line. "And they're thinkin' me and B are the best protection?"

"Yes. We already have eight SIT's, a couple of Watchers and witches that are staying at my parents' house since it's getting crowded, but they stay at the house or do shopping until it's time to try and get some sleep." Willow explains quietly. "Also, I don't know how you'll react to this, but Buffy was kind of hoping you'd come in with your normal bad ass attitude and use it to help keep the SIT's in line. They have a tendency to kind of blow her off."

Faith quirks an eyebrow as she sees the smirk on Tara's face, and the quiet laughter coming from Willow as they enter Sunnydale city limits. Knowing there's something else to the comments, but the two women still hadn't explained their earlier comments, and she has a gut feeling it all ties in together.

"Do you think Buffy had any luck trying to talk Dawnie into either heading to LA or to her dad's?" Willow questions curiously looking at Tara.

"Doubtful." Tara sighs quietly at the thought. "I wish Dawnie would go. Her being out of here and somewhere safe would make Buffy a little less tense… hell probably all of us." Tara admits quietly. "Maybe I'll try talking to her again."

"She's stubborn like her sister." Willow smirks at the thought. Watching as Tara turns down Revello Drive, Willow starts chuckling, before the chuckles turn to full fledged laughter at the sight of Buffy pacing back and forth in front of the house.

"Oh, Goddess." Tara murmurs softly at the sight of her lover turning to watch the Jeep pull into the driveway, her fists on her hips and her eyes narrowed.

"Hmmm… What's going to happen here?" Willow chortles at the thought.

"We're not that late." Tara mumbles under her breath. "I mean, yes we had that flat tire, but she knew we were going to stop and get something to eat."

Faith frowns as she listens then watches as Tara hurriedly opens her door. "What the hell?" Faith questions, turning her gaze on Willow, Willow just points out the Jeep towards Tara and Buffy before she laughs and climbs out of the vehicle.

Faith turns back and her eyes open wide as she watches Buffy stride towards Tara until she's invading her personal space.

"You better have a good reason for being late. You should have been here at least an hour ago." Buffy growls softly, her eyes caressing over Tara's body, looking for anything out of the ordinary.

"Flat tire and the spare was dry rotted." Tara offers, wincing slightly.

Buffy exhales quietly. "We are going to spend money on damn cell phones." Buffy wraps her arms around Tara's neck and pulls her down the short distance for what she was planning on being a brief, loving kiss that slowly turns into a deep, heated kiss leaving both women wanting more. "I missed you and was worried." Buffy finally whispers, resting her forehead against Tara's.

"I missed you, too, my sweet one." Tara hugs Buffy tightly, before nipping gently on the end of Buffy's nose. "I promise to make it up to you." Tara grins crookedly at her lover.

"Oooh. I like that idea." Buffy smirks and presses a hard, quick kiss to Tara's lips. "How was the trip?" Buffy steps back and frowns as she hears a thud, looking around to see Faith on her ass with a stunned expression on her face. "I assume you didn't give Faith a rundown of what's been happening?"

"Ummm. The majority of what's happening, like the fact that The First is trying to eradicate the slayer line, we have mini-slayers staying here, along with Watchers and witches coming to visit frequently and often." Tara taps her chin in thought. "She does know that Willow and I are broken up, but that's about it."

Buffy snorts as Faith looks from her to Tara, to Willow and back again. "Welcome to Sunnyhell, where it makes Passions pale in comparison." Buffy laughs and steps over to Faith, offering her hand to the slayer. "Wait! Does she know about Xander?"

"Nope." Willow answers, giggling madly.

"So help me, if ya' try to fuckin' tell me he's decided to jump the fence, too I'm gonna go back to fuckin' jail." Faith growls as she takes Buffy's hand and hops up.

"Get back in the Jeep, then." Tara looks seriously at the dark-haired slayer, though there's a smile trying to break across her face as the slayer jerks around to stare in disbelief at her. Shrugging, Tara lets the huge smile cross her lips.

"You're just fuckin' with me." Faith growls, her eyes narrowed. "What happened to the shy stutterin' witch?"

Tara shrugged. "She grew up and grew into her own." Tara laughs at the slight head nod she gets from Faith in agreement, the slayer having already apologized profusely for being a bitch to her their one and only meeting to be forgiven and told not to worry about it.

"She thinks you're kidding." Buffy whispers softly into Tara's ear as Faith grabs her gear out of the back of the Jeep.

"Uh, huh." Tara giggles at the thought. "Are Xander and Jason here?"

"In the back working on the two grills with the other Watchers helping them fix burgers and hot dogs." Buffy wraps her arm around Tara's waist. "Willow? I hate to tell you, but there was a little re-arranging of the sleeping arrangements while you were gone and somehow or another Kennedy got herself put in the same room with you."

"NO, NO, NO, NO!!!" Willow yells, spinning around to stare in disbelief at Buffy. "I am NOT sharing a room with that, that, that…"

"Spoiled rich bitch?" Buffy offers, grinning at Willow. "That has the major hots for you?"

"Why was there a re-arrange?" Willow growls at Buffy, her eyes narrowed.

"We had two more SIT's show up. Xander and Jason took the small room in the basement, and I thought you would like to have your old room back, but of course with it being the master bedroom, with all the extra space in it, you get bunkmates. Four of them." Buffy shifts and wraps her arms around Tara's waist from behind, effectively putting her lover between her and Willow.

Faith snorts as she listens to the group, shutting the back of the Jeep as she slings her duffel bag over her shoulder. It not really clicking in her head that Buffy said Xander and Jason, as she looks at Willow. "Do I get ta' start being a hard ass now? What'cha want me to do?"

"Sleep with me." Willow jumps in hurriedly, her eyes widening, as she blushes at what she said. "Uh, uh…"

"Really, Red?" Faith purrs as she walks by the redhead, leaning towards her. "You don't say? Your wish is my command." Faith chuckles wickedly as she trots towards the house.

"I… I…" Willow whimpers. "I didn't mean it like that."

Tara giggles and turns around to bury her face in Buffy's neck as Buffy laughs at the look on Willow's face. "Looks like Willow's got a new bedmate."

"You two!!" Willow sends them a dirty look as she stomps towards the house, ignoring the laughter coming from behind her.


Chapter 22

"Think she's pissed at me?" Tara questions between giggles as Faith glares at her from across the yard. Tara's sitting on the ground with Buffy's back resting against her front as she relaxes while Buffy continues to eat.

"What would give you that idea?" Buffy snorts as she works her way through another double cheeseburger.

"It isn't my fault she thought I was kidding about Xander." Tara buries her face in Buffy's neck hugging her lover against her tightly, laughing as she remembers the dark-haired slayer coming after her, stating there was no way those two were together, that she had to have the two men acting like a couple just to fuck with her. Of course when Xander laid a huge kiss on Jason to prove to Faith that they were serious, it was obvious in more ways than just the kiss that they were together. Now Faith keeps glaring at her.

"I want to take half the SIT's with us on patrol tonight. They need some real experience, and I feel better with both Faith and I being with them." Buffy murmurs a little while later after she finished eating dinner and was relaxing back against Tara, letting her fingers trail over her lover's legs as she watches the rest of the group.

"Any in particular?" Tara questions curiously, looking at the group of SIT's spread out around the yard. Chuckling as she notices the Watchers and the witches from the coven conversing in one area while Faith is leaning against the house looking half asleep now that she isn't glaring at her anymore, though she has a feeling the slayer is watching and listening to everything. Willow is just close enough to the dark-haired slayer to keep Kennedy away from her, snorting as she remembers Kennedy's stuff flying down the stairs after Faith had gone up there when they got home, with Kennedy running down a few seconds later.

"I figured to split them up. One that's at the low end another one or two in the middle and one of the better trained ones." Buffy admits, looking at the group of girls.

"One of the better ones will be either Kennedy or Joanna." Tara purses her lips as she looks at the two girls. "Rona, Vi, Chloe, and Eve I would consider more or less the middle ground. With Amanda and Molly being on the lower end."

"Been paying attention, have you?" Buffy chuckles as Tara nips gently at her ear. "Maybe I'll give Faith a chance to irritate Kennedy a little more and take her tonight. Amanda, though on the whiny side gets along pretty much with everyone, so I'll grab her also." Buffy tilts her head as she thinks about the other girls.

"How about Rona and Eve? Rona's been doing well and I would consider her at the higher end of the middle group, so taking her tonight in the first group might be a better idea, then next time take the last four." Tara suggests, shrugging. "I would say ask Faith who she thinks, but she hasn't seen them working out yet, and tonight might give her a better idea of what they can and can't do, before putting them all through their paces tomorrow."

Buffy whistles sharply, smirking as Faith shifts from where she was leaning negligently against the side of the house and strides towards them, Willow following quickly behind. "Faith and her shadow." Buffy sniggers softly.

"Don't pick too much, maybe Willow does like her." Tara whispers softly in Buffy's ear.

Buffy starts to chuckle, before stopping and blinking at the thought. "Huh."

"Didn't think of that, did you?" Tara grins crookedly as Buffy turns and looks at her curiously as Faith and Willow stand at the edge of the blanket they're spread out on. "Let's scoot back and give them room, honey." Tara shifts more up from where she was half reclined back.

"Sit." Buffy orders softly as she maneuvers to sit beside Tara instead of practically on her. "I want to make sure this is okay with you, Faith…" Buffy explains what she has planned for that night's patrol.

"Whatever ya' think, B. I don't know what they got going for 'em until I see 'em in action." Faith shrugs, shifting her head to look at the group of SIT's. "Hell, the only one I'm sure of is rich bitch. I don't know who the other ones are, tell ya' the truth."

Tara chuckles quietly. "Trust me, if they hadn't arrived separately and I had to learn who they were all at the same time, I'd probably be confused, too. Darn, I didn't think about Janie and Debbie." Tara looks at the two newest girls that had arrived together with another Watcher.

"I need to put them through their paces before I figure out what group they belong in. At least they have some training, so they should be at least in the 'know just enough to get into trouble', but not the 'know so much that they're cocky' group." Buffy smirks as she hears the snort from Faith.

"Are you going to want some kind of witch-y back up?" Willow questions curiously, as she glances at Tara before looking back at the rest of the group.

Buffy quirks an eyebrow as she looks at her lover. "What do you think?"

"The children have their glamour spells that should confuse anyone that would do a locator spell on them, so the main reason to need one of us with you, besides another adult to even things out somewhat, would be for protection spells." Tara purses her lips in consideration. "Anna is the best in that particular instance."

"I'll run it by her." Buffy tilts her head as she looks at Faith. "I'm sorry for dropping you into the middle of all this, Faith. But we really need your help, and you being a hard ass to the girls. I think some good old fashioned fear will do wonders with some of them." Buffy smirks a she thinks about Kennedy.

"And here I've been tryin' to be on my best behavior, and you're tellin' me to be a bitch." Faith smirks as she scratches her head in contemplation. "How tough are ya' wantin' me to go with 'em, B?" Faith finally questions after a few moments.

Buffy sighs and leans forward, seeing the serious and somewhat wary look in Faith's eyes. Both emotions something she really wouldn't have used to describe the 'old Faith', but having noticed the way the woman stayed back and actually seemed to be watching everything around her intently, judging and coming to her own conclusions about the different people here she realizes Faith had done some serious growing up while in jail. "Nothing you would feel uncomfortable with, Faith. But I would like you to use your attitude, your intimidation factor and possibly be something of an ungiving hard ass."

"Good cop, bad cop." Tara murmurs quietly under her breath looking at the dark-haired slayer with a somewhat guilty look on her face. "I'm sorry, but between what you've been through and the majority of the girls not being afraid of Buffy, this would probably work out the best."

Faith stares at Tara for a few minutes, her emotions locked down tight as she notices the actual guilty and sorrowful look crossing the witch's face, realizing Tara really is sorry for her being in this position even though she had nothing to do with it. "B?"

"Yeah?" Buffy answers immediately, her eyes serious and a hint of sadness even in their depths.

"You're damned lucky ta' have her, B. It ain't your fault, Blondie. I pretty much fucked up my own life. I'll just be thanking whatever PTB that's given me a chance to do things right this time." Faith turns her gaze back to Buffy, talking softly and deadly serious. "I am gonna do things right this time, B. If ya' see me fuckin' up, knock me upside the head."

"That won't be necessary." Willow comments softly, looking at the dark-haired slayer.

Faith's eyes widen slightly at the softly spoken words, wondering exactly what Willow means as she makes contact with green eyes watching her intently, with understanding and some other emotion she's not sure of at the forefront.

"I'm going to start gathering the weapons and let the baby slayers know." Buffy presses a quick kiss to Tara's cheek. "Make sure we have the room to ourselves tonight." Buffy warns as she stands, grinning down at Tara as she wiggles her eyebrows.

"Was planning on it anyway." Tara chuckles as Buffy laughs and takes off towards the house.

"I, I think I'll help." Faith hops up and takes after Buffy hurriedly.

Tara looks questioningly at Willow as the redhead shifts to sit beside her and watches Buffy and Faith disappear into the house after telling the girls to gather together. "Can I ask you something, Willow?" Tara questions curiously.

"Sure." Willow turns to look at Tara, blinking at the serious light in Tara's eyes.

"Do you like Faith?" Tara speaks softly to be sure she isn't overheard.

"What?" Willow's eyes widen in shock, shaking her head in the negative even with her question.

"Willow, sweetie, I'm just curious." Tara gently pats Willow's arm to calm the woman as she notices her starting to hyperventilate somewhat. "It was just a question. I mean, a lot of time people say they don't like someone or do hurtful things to them when they actually like them, especially when they're younger." Tara remembers all the times Willow had went off about the 'evil, skanky, cleavage-y, slut bomb', silently wondering if Willow might have had a crush on Faith when she was a teenager but didn't know how to express it, or more like afraid to express it. Then when she made the comment for Faith to sleep with her earlier that day, Tara silently wonders if it wasn't a Freudian slip.

"We hardly know each other, and she's like just gotten out of prison, and, and, and like she's into the guys…" Willow starts to ramble, continuing on for a few minutes until she finally snaps her mouth shut at the half smirk and quirked eyebrow on her ex-lover's face. "Shut up." Willow grumbles as she hops up and strides away, doing her best to ignore the quiet laughter coming from Tara.

"Thou doth protest too much." Tara giggles quietly to herself as she stands, folding up the blanket to take back inside as the rest of the group gathers for the meeting Buffy called.

"Okay, we're going to take some of you on patrol tonight to see how you do in a real situation." Buffy looks over the girls, noticing who seems a little nervous, extremely nervous and of course Kennedy's the only one that seems cocky and at ease. Snorting internally at the thought of the young woman getting knocked down a peg or two, Buffy starts listing the girls that she and Tara had discussed. When they step up, Buffy winks at Faith and nods her head towards the other slayer.

"Here's the tools of the trade." Faith steps up, dumping the weapons on the ground. "Grab a couple stakes a piece, and whatever other weapon you're comfortable with. If you ain't comfortable with it, it's going to be more of a hindrance than a help." Faith steps back watching as the girls grabs the weapons, smirking as Kennedy goes for the biggest sword that was too heavy and long for the short woman.

Buffy sees the smirk on Faith's face as the dark-haired slayer darts her a knowing glance, the two of them having discussed the fact that the SIT would probably grab it, even though it was way too heavy and awkward for her. The only reason Buffy had it, is because of her slayer strength, or there would be no way she could handle it properly.

Faith shakes her head and turns back, nodding her head as the other girls slide the stakes into their jeans or pockets and they grab either short swords, crossbows or knives, depending on the girl. "Good. I don't know how well ya' work with the items ya' picked and that's something we'll figure out as we go. There's only one of ya' that I know bit off more than you can chew."

Buffy shifts back as she watches Faith grab one of the hardwood practice swords that the council had sent for the girls to use.

"Attack me." Faith snarls, dropping down into a defensive posture as she faces Kennedy.

Kennedy smirks as she settles her hands on the handle and starts to swing at the slayer, showing that she does have experience with a sword, but in no time Faith's parried every one of her strikes and has knocked the sword out of Kennedy's hand up into the air to catch it with her hand.

Holding the point against Kennedy's neck, Faith narrows her gaze on the angry SIT, watching as the woman pales but doesn't look away. "I suggest ya' pick somethin' a little more within your means. You overextend yourself and you'll be worn out in no time by using somethin' like this." Faith moves the blade away from the girl and leans down to pick up the scabbard to put the sword in, snorting as she quickly spins around and kicks the SIT back on her ass.

"And that shows that you always want to pay attention to what's going on around you, because if Kennedy had been able to make contact with Faith, she could have hurt her." Buffy crosses her arms over her chest as she looks at the girls, watching as they all look shocked at how quickly Faith had knocked Kennedy back from what looked like a seriously off-balanced position when Kennedy had started to pounce angrily on the slayer.

Sliding the sword into the scabbard and threading it over her chest before leaning down and picking up a couple additional stakes and another knife quickly tucking the items away, Faith looks at the girls. "We're leavin' in ten minutes, be ready."

"I think this is more your size." Buffy kicks a short sword towards Kennedy with a warning glance before following Faith around the house to wait out front.

"Well, there's wake-up call number one for the group." Tara comments as the girls all scramble towards the house.

"They can't afford to use kid gloves on them, or they'll end up dead like the other girls and Watchers." Xander steps up beside Tara and Willow, sighing quietly. "I think they still believe this is a game."

"They'll learn. If they don't…" Tara shakes her head sadly at the thought before sighing heavily. Looking towards a couple of the Watchers and witches as they step up beside them, Tara tilts her head curiously at them.

"They do have to learn. You can't treat these girls like kids. Their lives are literally on the line." Greg speaks for all the Watchers having watched the display.

Anna pats Tara gently on the shoulder. "We're doing everything we can to protect these young girls, but you have to remember, if they weren't here and being protected they could very well already be dead."

"I know." Tara whispers, her eyes sad. "They're still kids and deserve to be having fun, instead of worrying about being killed."

Willow watches as Tara walks away, heading towards the front of the house. "I guess those of you staying here for a while can go in and make yourselves at home. Those heading back to my house can be walked over there by Buffy and Faith." Willow works her way out front to see the group off.

"Was I too rough?" Faith runs a hand roughly through her hair as she glances at Buffy.

"No, I think you did just right, though you might want to keep an eye on Kennedy. I didn't think she'd have balls enough to try and go after you with your back turned." Buffy watches Faith for a few minutes.

"She's a spoiled angry little girl that's used to gettin' her way. She's pissed at me for tossin' her shit down the stairs and tellin' her in no uncertain terms that Red wasn't interested in her." Faith's eyes twinkle as she looks over at Buffy. "I kinda pushed her buttons. I told her why would Red wanna have a baby slayer when she can have the real thing."

Buffy snorts and smacks Faith on the shoulder. "You're bad. Though you know, you two do look physically quite a bit alike."

Faith snarls her nose at the blonde slayer.

"Hey, hey! I just mean, you both have dark hair and dark eyes. Admittedly you're quite a bit taller than her." Buffy dodges the smack coming from Faith.

"And I'm better lookin'. Hell, I ain't better lookin', I'm fuckin' sexy." Faith smirks as Buffy rolls her eyes at her.

"Not shy or lacking in self-esteem, either." Buffy snorts at the slayer before they both start chuckling and laughing.

"That worries me." Tara comments as she rounds the house as the two slayers laugh and bounce off each other, smiling lovingly at Buffy as she trots over to her.

"We're just picking on each other." Buffy wraps her arms around Tara's neck and pulls her down for a deep kiss. Panting quietly as she ends the kiss, she places a soft kiss on top of Tara's nose. "I'm going to miss you while I'm out on patrol."

"You'll be too busy irritating the children." Tara rubs her hands up and down Buffy's sides before leaning in to kiss her softly on the forehead. "Be careful, my sweet one." Tara's eyes glance towards the door as the SIT's that are going on patrol come running out. "Bring yourselves back safe and sound, ladies."

"You heard the boss." Buffy looks at the Watchers and witches that normally crash at Willow's house. "You want to lead?" Buffy looks at Faith, smiling as Faith just shrugs and heads to the front of the group. "Do you know where Willow's house is? That's our first stop."

"Yeah." Faith unconsciously looks at the redhead for a moment before turning to look at the girls. "Loose grouping around the Watchers and witches. As far as you're concerned, they need you to protect 'em and are civilians. Keep your eyes and ears open for anything and everything."

Tara grins crookedly at her lover as Buffy winks and grins at her. "I guess I should work on cleaning up."

"I already have the other mini-slayers working on that. They should be pulling their weight around here, too." Jason leans against Xander, smiling at Tara. "Come on, girls. I rented a couple movies to pass the time while they're out on patrol."

"Bless you." Tara laughs and accepts the man's arm around her shoulder, having to admit that he fit into the group quite well. And she doesn't remember ever seeing Xander as happy as he's been since they showed back up in Sunnydale.

"Well, be that way." Xander holds his arm out to Willow, grinning at his old friend as she accepts and wraps her arm around his waist as they make their way into the house. "Sooo… What's going on between you and Faith?"

"XANDER!" Willow bounces into his side and whimpers quietly as the rest of the group busts out laughing, blushing a dark red even as her eyes dart back to where the large group starts to turn down the block. Not knowing why, but realizing she's been seeking the slayer out the majority of the day, just to be close but not right there invading her space.


Chapter 23

"What the hell was that?" Vi finally shifts closer to Buffy and Faith as the two slayers look at each other after taking out the Uber Vamp.

"That was a vampire… but not the normal vampires we usually deal with." Buffy finally answers, frowning as she looks at the group of girls. "Something's going on, and we have to find out what. He was like ten times stronger than the Master was when I fought him."

"Yeah, Kakistos was nothin' compared to him." Faith shivers slightly while wiping some blood off her cheek where the vampire had made contact and split the skin. "You okay, B?"

"More or less." Buffy rubs her side where she knows her ribs are bruised, and possibly cracked. "Come on, ladies we need to finish patrol."

"And pray like fuckin' hell we don't run into another one of them tonight." Faith grumbles softly, so only Buffy would catch what she said.

"I agree with that." Buffy blinks at the thought, knowing if she had been by herself she would have ended up in worse shape, but with her and Faith tag-teaming the vampire they'd been able to take him out with little fuss. A few bruises and cuts nothing compared to how bad they could have gotten hurt.

"Did you see how the cross bolt that I shot at it, just bounced off his chest?" Rona frowns heavily at the thought. "I mean, even Buffy when she kept trying to get the stake to go into its chest, it looked like it took everything in her to just barely pierce his chest."

Faith shakes her aching hand, having slammed it into the vampire's jaw to only hurt herself and do absolutely nothing to the vampire. "It's like he had some kinda coating over his chest or somethin'. We gotta get harder wood, or somethin', B. We wasted four stakes before I was able to finally take his head while he was distracted fightin' you."

"Anna?" Buffy turns questioning to the witch wondering if she knows of anything that might help.

"We'll have to research. I'll have one of the Watcher's contact the Council and see if there are any special hardwood stakes that might be of better use against whatever kind of vampire he was." Anna shrugs, a look of irritation and sorrow on her face that she couldn't be of better help.

Faith sidles up beside Buffy and leans down to whisper in her ear. "Do ya' think we should finish patrol, or get back to the house? The kiddies have only fought two vamps so far tonight, and honestly they need work."

"I know." Buffy sighs and looks at the girls, most of them having an almost fearful look on their face as they look around while Rona keeps looking at the crossbow in her hands, obviously still in shock that the bolt that should have dusted the Uber vamp just bounced harmlessly off his chest. Kennedy worries her, though the young SIT had lost her cockiness, she wasn't showing any fear about what happened. And honestly, even she and if she isn't mistaken, Faith were worried about that vampire. "Let's get them home, cleaned up and put to bed, then maybe have a little powwow with the grown-ups."

"'Kay." Faith looks at the girls. "Pack it up and head it out, girls. We've done a good enough job for tonight."

Buffy leads the way, using every sense at her disposal to watch, listen and feel for anything out of the ordinary, occasionally darting a look back over the group, watching as Faith seems to be keeping a serious eye out, too. Nodding as Faith catches her eye for a moment, seeing the worry in the brown depths. Whatever misgivings she had about Faith put to rest in that moment. Knowing the slayer was in for the long haul and wasn't going to screw up this time.

Faith keeps her eyes open as she looks at anything and everything around them as they double-time it back towards the house, ignoring the quiet grumbling from some of the SIT's about jogging. A slow smirk crossing her face at the thought that she'll get with Buffy and make sure the girls run at least five miles a day from now on. Knowing Buffy was working and not able to work with the girls as much as she wants to, and was leaving a lot to the Watchers to pick up the slack. Learning from a Watcher was all well and good, but they haven't been in the line of fire and won't necessarily teach the girls to fight with everything in them to stay alive. That's something both her and Buffy needs to get through to these girls. That it's not a game and they could die at any moment. Something she herself had forgotten for a time and was finally brought home to her.

Buffy opens the door and lets the girls precede her in before turning back to Anna. "You want to stay here tonight, or do you want one of us to take you to Willow's?"

Anna looks from Buffy to Faith and winces. "I'd rather not have to crash on the floor."

"I'll take ya'." Faith offers nodding towards Buffy as she sees Tara step out to see what was taking them so long. "I'll be back in fifteen."

"Do you want to take the Jeep?" Tara offers softly looking at the women, holding up the keys.

"I ain't got a license." Faith smirks as she looks at the keys.

"Do you know how to drive?" Buffy laughs softly at Faith nodding her head. "Get a license soon." Buffy eases the keys from Tara's hands and tosses them to Faith. "We can use as many people with a license as possible."

"Be back in a few." Faith smiles at the sight of the keys in her hand, some of the tension she'd unconsciously been holding within her releasing at this additional show of trust.

Tara rubs Buffy's shoulder as Faith and Anna hurry to the Jeep. "Are you okay?"

"Pretty much. Bruised ribs, maybe a little worse than that but nothing that won't be better in a couple days. We might have a problem and I want to gather the adults in the house where the kiddies won't overhear us." Buffy admits softly, leaning back into Tara's caress as the witch starts to rub both hands gently over her neck and shoulders.

"I came across a temporary sound blocking spell in my research and made a note of it. We just need an enclosed room to use it in." Tara offers, a small grin on her lips as she hears the quiet chuckle coming from her lover.

"We can use our room…" Buffy turns and wiggles her eyebrows at her lover, before placing a soft kiss on Tara's lips. "Then it won't go to waste later on."

"Rotten." Tara rubs her nose against Buffy's and hugs her gently. "Let's get your ribs iced and wrapped."

"Yes, dear." Buffy snorts quietly at the narrow-eyed look she gets from Tara. "I'm surprised Willow isn't down here worried about… us."

Tara giggles quietly at the hesitation. "She was up in her room getting Faith's stuff put away for her and letting the couple girls that were here that are staying in the room with her and Faith know that the bed was not available."

Buffy laughs softly as she steps into the kitchen, smiling at the sight of leftover burgers and hot dogs along with all the fixings obviously having just been pulled out of the refrigerator.

"Lift your shirt, sweet one." Tara orders softly as she pulls out the first aid kit. "How badly was Faith hurt?"

"I think just the cut on the cheek." Buffy pulls her shirt up and winces a little as Tara prods her ribs.

"I think you cracked a couple ribs." Tara shakes her head as she pulls out one of the ace wraps and wraps her lover's ribs. Stepping over to the freezer, she pulls down an ice pack and places it gently against Buffy's ribs while using another wrap to hold it in place. "What happened?" Having gotten somewhat used to bandaging and fixing her lover's wounds, but still not liking when she gets hurt.

Buffy sighs quietly as she looks at Tara. "We ran into a vampire that was SUPER strong… I mean between Faith and I tag teaming him, we wasted three stakes on him before the fourth one finally made it past this tough outer shell that seems to coat his body, and even then I couldn't hit his heart. And it honestly probably took us fifteen or twenty minutes to take him out."

Tara blinks in shock at Buffy. "Both of you?" Swallowing at the thought, she shakes her head and looks out the window. "That was one vampire… if there are more than that one…"

"I know. Anna's going to speak with the Watchers and see what they can find out, along with getting us some kind of wood that's a little more sturdy." Buffy runs a hand through her hair as she thinks about the vampire, silently wondering what they can do to breach that impenetrable shell.

"We'll figure it out, love." Tara turns and smiles gently at her lover. "Faith just pulled up." Tara smiles as she listens to the slayer come into the house growling at someone to get out of her way. "Come into the kitchen, Faith so I can look at your cheek."

"It ain't nothin', Blondie." Faith steps into the kitchen, heading for the refrigerator.

"Let her look at it, Faith. If you don't she'll get upset with you and it's not a pretty sight." Buffy smirks and wiggles her eyebrows at her lover. "Trust me, I've been on the receiving end of a pissed off Tara, and I don't like being there… though the sex afterwards…"

"BUFFY!" Tara yells and tosses a hand towel at the slayer, blushing darkly at her lover's comments.

"I somehow don't think I'll be gettin' any of the lovin's." Faith comments, chuckling at the two as she pulls out a bottle of water. Shaking her head, she steps over to the witch and tilts her head as Tara gently grasps her chin and urges her to move her head so she can look at the wound.

"What do you need?" Buffy questions already pulling out the antiseptic wipes and a small bandage.

Tara looks down at what Buffy pulled out and smiles softly. "You have it. Sit down, Faith." Tara orders as she opens the package containing the antiseptic wipe and gently cleans the wound. "I didn't notice any of the girls hurt, were all of them okay?"

"Yeah, not even a hair on any of their heads was harmed." Faith smirks at the thought.

"Hmmm… You didn't kick anyone's butt while you were out there?" Tara chuckles at the wicked gleam in Faith's eyes.

"Nope. Don't mean I didn't want to, though. She ain't afraid of nothin'." Faith shakes her head in disgust.

"I remember someone else that put on a pretty good show of acting like she wasn't afraid of anything." Buffy comments softly, her eyes on Faith. "And I believed it."

Faith darts a guilty look at Buffy before looking down at her hands where she's playing with the bottle of water. "Yeah, well, look at what happened to her." Faith mutters.

Tara finishes bandaging Faith's cheek while listening to the two women before stepping back to look into sad brown eyes. "Are you hurt anywhere else?"

"Nah, I'm good. Thanks, Blondie." Faith smiles half-heartedly at the blonde.

"Everything works out for the best usually, Faith. Just keep that in mind." Tara offers as she puts away the items in the first aid kit. "Honey, want to let Xander and Jason know that we're planning on having a meeting up in our room? We can grab Willow on our way by."

"But I was gonna…" Buffy pouts as she looks at the food having grabbed a hamburger bun.

"Faith and I'll throw together a bunch of hamburgers and hot dogs for you two to eat, now go." Tara smiles lovingly at Buffy as the slayer pouts even more before nodding and heading out of the room.

Faith snorts at the sight. "Now it makes more sense why the kiddies don't wanna listen to her. You got her whipped."

"And she loves every minute of it, too." Tara grins crookedly at the slayer. "Come on, help me throw together some hamburgers and hot dogs for you two to eat." As they start throwing together the sandwiches, Tara watches Faith for a few moments. "Are you settling okay, or are you still feeling off-centered?" Tara finally questions softly.

Faith's hands still where she was throwing lettuce and tomatoes on a hamburger. "How did ya'…"

"No special powers used this time, Faith. I just knew that you were uncomfortable on the ride back here and grew quieter with only occasionally saying something. Then when you got here other than when you were pretty much directly questioned or asked for your input, you kept to yourself." Tara offers softly as she doesn't look at the slayer but continues to make the sandwiches. "My personal opinion…" Now Tara looks up into wary brown eyes. "Everyone's happy you're here. And though there might be some comments from the younger crowd, the ones that know what happened then aren't holding any grudges or bad feelings toward you, Faith. I'm sure there might be the occasional tense moments and some people being uncomfortable, but eventually even that will lessen. Just give it time."

"How can ya' be so sure? I mean… I tried to kill two of 'em, pushed Buffy to the edge and even was a bitch towards you. Fuck! If it'd been me that B had done that to, there wouldn't be another chance, because she would have never made it off that roof alive." Faith admits, taking a deep breath as she stares into sad blue eyes.

"This group is a pretty forgiving group, Faith. With what they do and see on a daily basis, they have to be. Just accept it and try not to let it get you down. We all need to draw together to defeat this newest enemy, and we have to trust each other. Our lives could depend on it." Tara starts piling the food on a large plate before opening the refrigerator and pulling out a couple handfuls of waters and sodas for everyone.

Exhaling loudly, Faith shakes her head at the thought that everyone could so easily forgive her but decides to let it go for now and think about it more later. Helping Tara carry the food and drinks up the stairs for the meeting, she looks over the SIT's talking quietly amongst themselves and getting comfortable on the floor with the television playing some movie. Silently wondering if she was ever that young, Faith looks back up the stairs and climbs them hoping that she doesn't fuck things up this time.


Chapter 24

Tara gently runs her fingers through Buffy's hair as the group tosses ideas back and forth on what to do, smiling at Xander thinking of using metal for the tip of the cross bolts and stakes to see it that would help pierce the armor-like outer casing of the uber vamp. The two men were already in the corner discussing how it would be best to make the items.

"What do you think? You've been quiet." Buffy turns to look curiously at her lover.

"I'm thinking some flamethrowers would be perfect, it's just getting our hands on some." Tara admits, shrugging.

Buffy's lips curl up in a mischief-filled smile. "Great thought." Pressing a firm kiss to Tara's lips, she reaches over to the nightstand and pulls out a card and grabs the phone.

Tara frowns in confusion as Buffy makes a phone call leaving her name and phone number after hesitating for a moment.

"I'll explain later." Buffy shrugs. "Hopefully we might end up with a few more weapons to help us out." Buffy shifts back and wiggles against Tara's chest, smiling as Tara wraps her arms around her waist and rests her chin on her shoulder.

"Do ya' think we should continue takin' the kids out before we get something we're sure will take out those super-charged vamps?" Faith fights the smile crossing her face at the sight of Buffy cocooned against Tara's body, the witch's arms wrapped around her and her legs outside Buffy's.

Buffy sighs and looks at Faith before darting a glance at Willow, Xander and Jason before turning her head to look at Tara. Not getting any help from any other quadrant, she grunts quietly. "Maybe I can do a compromise. How about you and I go out looking for regular vampires and incapacitate them until we can have the children fight them?"

"We gonna chain 'em up and leave 'em in a mausoleum or somethin'?" Faith blinks before chuckling at the thought.

"I do have the chains and manacles. I know the perfect mausoleum to keep them in, too." Buffy smirks at the thought of using Spike's crypt to keep the vampires in.

"I'm game." Faith shakes her head before her eyes dart towards Willow as the redhead shifts but doesn't say anything. Faith frowns slightly at the thought that the Willow she remembered would talk almost non-stop, this quiet Willow makes her feel a little unsettled. "Well, if that's it, I guess I'll head out." Faith moves towards the door.

"I'm just going to gather this stuff and follow you." Willow comments softly, gathering the dirty dishes and placing them on the trays, her eyes darting up in surprise as Faith steps over to help her. Blushing lightly Willow turns back to gather the empty soda cans, placing them on the tray as Faith carries everything out of the room.

"Us, too. We'll work tomorrow on trying different things out to see what we can come up with." Xander offers, moving to follow Faith out of the room with Jason following him.

"And I have to work." Buffy pouts at the thought even as Tara chuckles softly in her ear.

"I'm sorry, love. If it makes you feel any better, I have to be at the school's temporary office to fill out paperwork for a job at ten." Tara grins crookedly as Buffy's eyes light up.

"How long have you known?" Buffy shifts around to face Tara as Willow quietly follows Jason out of the room, shutting the door behind her with a soft smile on her lips.

"Remember the phone ringing first thing this morning before Willow and I left to pick up Faith?" Tara tilts her head and squeaks quietly as Buffy grabs her waist and slides her further down in the bed before lying on top of her.

"And you didn't tell me?" Buffy narrows her gaze on her lover.

"You were in commander mode yelling at the children." Tara giggles as Buffy starts to nip playfully along her neck and jaw.

"At least with Faith here, she can do some of the yelling…" Buffy smirks even as she wiggles her hands under her lover's top.

"Let her do all the yelling, I think she'll like it." Tara arches into Buffy's nails scraping gently along her sides.

"I should lock the door." Buffy growls softly as Tara's hands grasp her butt cheeks and pull her tighter against her apex.

"Live dangerously." Tara nips firmly on Buffy's bottom lip before sliding her hands under her top pushing it upwards.

Buffy arches and helps Tara take off her top before helping take Tara's top off, unhooking the witch's front clasp bra and pushing the cups aside to nip and suckle on the flesh almost feverishly. "Been too long." Buffy mumbles before working her way up Tara's throat to kiss her heatedly.

When Buffy finally breaks away and slides the straps of her bra down her shoulders and arms, Tara unhooks the back of Buffy's bra and divests the slayer of the cloth. "It's been two days." Tara chuckles softly at the grunt she gets.

"Two days too long. And the day before it was hurried and quick… and though satisfying, not satisfying enough." Buffy rumbles against Tara's skin as she works her way down her lover's body, unbuttoning and unzipping Tara's pants.

"Strip." Tara finally growls taking over and pushing her pants and panties down her legs as Buffy rolls over and hurriedly strips her clothes off. "Plan on being tired at work tomorrow."

"Goody." Buffy slides against Tara, straddling one of her lover's thighs as she presses against her lover's apex, her own body pulsing and aching with desire. "First time's going to be quick." Buffy warns.

"Maybe second time, too." Tara hooks her leg around Buffy's and arches against the strong thigh pressing against her, digging her fingers firmly into Buffy's ass as it flinches. "Goddess, you're so wet." Tara moans as Buffy buries her face in her neck, nodding even as her body rocks quickly against hers.

"I wanted to pounce on you since dinner tonight." Buffy pants out the words, whimpering as she feels her body starting to quiver and throb uncontrollably. "Shit…"

Tara half chuckles, half groans as she feels Buffy's release easing onto her leg even as she jerks and quickly follows Buffy over the edge. Grunting quietly, Tara shifts and rolls them over.

"Too damn quick." Buffy threads her fingers through Tara's hair and looks into beautiful blue eyes as she tugs gently. "I am completely and hopelessly in love with you, Miss Tara Maclay."

"And I love you, Miss Buffy Anne Summers." Tara relaxes her body into Buffy's, shifting her elbows down so she can capture Buffy's lips in a hard, invading kiss. The desire in Buffy's eyes giving her a clue to the fact that her lover wasn't ready for soft and gentle just yet.

"Would you mind…?" Buffy's eyes dart towards their 'toy' drawer after Tara releases her lips.

"You want to be ridden, Slayer?" Tara questions, nipping roughly on the slayer's chin and grins at the grunt of approval coming from her lover.

"Ridden hard and put up wet." Buffy groans loudly as Tara shifts her body and her hip grinds into her apex.

"Did that Uber Vamp do a number on you?" Tara nips her way down Buffy's neck before biting firmly on her shoulder and suckling on the flesh. "Did he get you all worked up?"

"Yessss…" Buffy growls as Tara's teeth sink more firmly into her shoulder and the witch worries the flesh while her hipbone hits the perfect spot as they grind against each other, it only taking a few minutes to send her over the edge again. "Faith got the kill." Buffy pants as she pulls Tara up for another hungry, hard kiss.

Tara chuckles wickedly as they end the kiss. "So you were left high and dry… Poor baby."

Buffy pulls Tara down, smothering her lover's laughter as she kisses her again, sliding her hands down her lover's back to knead her ass gently. Growling softly as she finally releases Tara, she glares at her as Tara starts giggling. "It isn't funny." Buffy grumbles.

"I'm sorry, honey." Tara tries to fight the laughter, easing away from her lover as she heads towards their toy drawer.

"No you're not." Buffy grumbles shifting around onto her stomach, watching her lover intently. "You get a perverse kick out of me being horny."

"I've noticed that you're exceptionally horny when you don't get closure. Not that you're not normally…" Tara smirks over her shoulder as she slides on the harness. Holding up two of the dildo's she quirks an eyebrow at her lover. "Which one?"

Buffy's eyes dart to the thick dildo, smiling as Tara drops the other one back in the drawer and squirts a dusting of the lubricating powder on the vac-u-lock dildo. Glad her lover is wearing this harness, as it leaves her sex accessible to her. After the first couple times using the original harness she'd bought, she'd almost ripped it off Tara when she couldn't get to her lover. Now with this set-up she can touch, stroke and play over her lover without having to take the harness off. Of course, getting hit in the noggin with the dildo didn't feel that good. Buffy smirks at the remembrance of Tara trying to disconnect the dildo while she'd been more intent on burying her tongue as deeply inside her lover as she could.

Connecting the dildo, Tara quirks an eyebrow at her lover. "You staying like that, or are you wanting to shift around?"

Buffy shifts back on the bed and onto her side, patting the bed beside her with a glimmer in her eye.

"I thought you wanted to be ridden…" Tara murmurs softly as she settles in the middle of the bed on her back, chuckling as Buffy just grunts quietly and starts to lick and nip slowly across her chest.

"I'd probably wear you out." Buffy admits before capturing a turgid nipple between her lips laving it with her tongue for a few moments before nipping gently as she releases the flesh. Smiling at the low groan she gets from her lover at her actions.

Tara arches as Buffy starts to nibble her way down her abdomen. Burying her hands in her lover's hair, Tara growls softly as Buffy nips firmly on the inside of her thigh, making her jerk uncontrollably. "Buffy…" Tara warns when she feels teeth on the other inner thigh. Whimpering and jumping uncontrollably at the teeth scrape along the flesh, causing the desire to flow from her even heavier than it already was.

Buffy grins at the response she gets, having learned over the months how much her lover enjoys the feel of fingernails scraping over flesh, and in turn teeth nipping sharply or scraping also. Nose twitching at the smell of arousal, Buffy shifts her hand up to hold the heavy, thick dildo as she delves between her lover's coated lips.

Tara tugs on Buffy's hair as the slayer laps hungrily up her slit, delving inside her for a few moments before flicking her tongue teasingly over her aching clit. Digging her heels into the bed, Tara bucks uncontrollably as teeth start to nibble along her flesh with Buffy's tongue coming out to lave over the flesh a few moments later. "Goddess, Buffy…" Tara whimpers almost yanking the slayer's hair out of her head as she nips softly at her clit, a barely there pressure that's just enough to cause her to climax.

Buffy laps lovingly over her lover's body, gathering the abundance of fluid, trailing down her lover's body to circle teasingly around her lover's rosebud, whimpering herself when Tara's hands tug even harder at her hair, pulling her closer to Tara's body. Having only teased her lover a couple times in past lovemaking sessions, they still hadn't talked about going any further than the soft touches of fingers or tongues in that area for either of them. Growling softly, Buffy presses a little firmer with her tongue as she circles the opening without actually trying to enter her lover. Sliding a finger up to gently glide inside Tara's slick center before replacing her tongue with her finger, continuing to stroke lovingly over the puckered hole while slowly kissing her way up her lover's body. "We're going to need to discuss this…" Buffy mumbles as she suckles on her lover's pulse point, pressing softly at the opening with her index finger without entering her lover to let Tara know what she's talking about.

"Uh, huh…" Tara pants heavily.

Buffy growls at the desire in her lover's voice as she quickly enters her lover's center with her two middle fingers, curling and stroking firmly over her g-spot, capturing the cry with a kiss as Tara screams out her release, continuing to stroke for a few moments until Tara's body falls back to the bed with the occasional flinching aftershock. Gently easing her fingers from her lover, she slowly maneuvers above Tara, smiling down into hazy blue eyes. "God, I love you." Buffy whispers, knowing there is no more beautiful sight than Tara when she's flushed and half out of it from being made love to. Pressing a soft kiss on Tara's lips, Buffy closes her eyes as she feels the pressure of the head of the dildo at her entrance. Knowing that the way she's feeling, she very well can still be riding her lover when the sun's rising in the sky. Finally sliding down on the thick dildo, Buffy groans at the feeling of being filled and stretched.

Tara blinks as she starts to come back to herself as Buffy leans above her and starts a slow rocking motion, letting the dildo move in and out of her to where it almost comes out. Knowing it won't be long before Buffy starts to build up speed and power. Untangling her hands from her lover's hair, Tara plucks lovingly at the slayer's nipples, smiling at the groans coming from her even as she starts to rock faster. Chuckling softly, Tara pushes up and nips and suckles at one nipple as Buffy growls loudly.

Buffy jerks and climaxes as Tara's free hand wiggles between their bodies to stroke firmly over her clit at the same time her lover sucks as much of her breast into her mouth as she can.

"Beautiful." Tara whispers at the sight of her flushed, perspiration coated lover as she continues to ride above her, stroking tenderly over Buffy's swollen clit as she lies back on the bed, bracing her feet into the mattress to start counter thrusting hard into her lover, knowing it's going to be a long, but ultimately extremely satisfying night, realizing she's going to have to figure out something for them to be able to make love even if it's just sneaking away for an hour occasionally.

Crying out loudly as another climax works it's way through her, Buffy slams down hard, burying the dildo deeply within her as she takes a few minutes to recover from the explosion, flinching slightly as Tara squeezes her clit hard between her finger and thumb, another orgasm coming through her. "You're going to pay for that…" Buffy pants out between each word, opening her eyes to glare at her lover.

"I hope so." Tara murmurs, grinning crookedly as Buffy already starts to rock again. Settling in for a long night, Tara plans on pacing herself so she'll still be semi-conscious when Buffy finally collapses so she can partially clean her lover.

Faith looks at Willow and rubs a hand roughly over the back of her neck as they get ready to walk into her… their bedroom. "Ummm… I ain't exactly used ta actually sleepin' with someone, Red. I ain't sure this is a good idea."

Willow blinks in surprise as Faith actually fidgets nervously. "You've never actually spent the night with someone, or someone stayed with you the night?"

"No." Faith shakes her head and looks nervously at the door to the bedroom. "Red, ya' know what I was like. Get some, get gone. If it was at my place, their ass was kicked out after I got off. Sharin' the bed for anythin' else ain't somethin' I've ever done."

Willow feels an imp of mischief trying to make an appearance, thinking about teasing the slayer, but Faith's obvious worry and nervousness makes her re-think teasing her. "Relax, Faith. If it makes you feel any better, I promise not to take advantage of you as you sleep." Willow grins as Faith snarls her lip at her. "Come on, Faith. You get to play general tomorrow and I can play your good little soldier while you piss off the SIT's."

Faith groans and finally follows Willow into the room, carefully stepping over the girls that are crashed around the floor. "Where's my stuff?"

"Left side of the dresser." Willow answers softly as she opens her side of the drawers, pulling out an oversized t-shirt and shorts to wear to bed.

Faith steps over beside Willow and sorts through the drawers until she finds her worn out tank top and old sweat shorts, figuring it might be best to wear somethin' to bed since she'll be sharing it in a non-sexual way with the redhead. Seeing her shower kit tucked away in the corner, she snatches it out. "You wanna use the bathroom first?"

"If you don't mind?" Willow smiles as Faith shakes her head. "Thanks, I'll only be a few minutes."

Faith's eyes follow Willow out of the room, sighing quietly at the thought that it's been a long two years and the redhead was looking damn fine, but there was no way in hell she'd ever go there. Not only would Willow not want to have anything to do with her, but she figures that'll be the quickest way to piss everyone off, by going after Willow. The rest of the girls in the house are just that, girls. And the only two men were into each other. Faith smirks at that thought. Resigning herself to visiting Mrs. Palm and her five daughters when the need arises, Faith mumbles softly. "Just like fuckin' prison." Snorting in disgust, she maneuvers her way out to the hallway waiting for Willow to finish in the bathroom.


Chapter 25

Willow smiles as she slowly wakes, being snuggled up against a warm body something she's missed immensely since she and Tara had broken up. Brows furrowing as she wonders exactly who she's curled up against. When a soft snore and strong arms clench convulsively around her, Willow's eyes widen in shock. "Faith." Willow whimpers as she says the slayer's name. The strong, warm body that she's half lying on feeling better than she could have ever imagined. 'Oh, this is sooo not of the good.' Willow mumbles internally as she tries to extract herself from the slayer's arms without waking her. Whimpering as Faith pulls her even more firmly against her, literally dragging her body fully onto her as the slayer's breathing deepens and hands clasp her butt cheeks.

"Oh, hell." Willow groans and drops her face down to Faith's shoulder. Not knowing what to do as strong hands seem to almost knead her ass. Her body responding to the slayer's touch, Willow bites her bottom lip in confusion and worry. Confusion at the fact that she's being turned on by a woman that she's talked herself into believing she's pretty much hated since the moment she first laid eyes on her, and worry that maybe it was never hatred but being attracted to her and not admitting it to herself when she was younger and afraid of what people would think about her.

Slowly relaxing into the slayer's body, Willow gives into the tiredness working through her from the long, draining day and falls back asleep with thoughts of the dark-haired slayer featuring prominently in her dreams.

Faith stiffens uncontrollably as she realizes there's an unusual warmth and weight on her body, barely stopping in time from shoving Willow bodily off her. Carefully easing Willow off her body, Faith shifts her legs over the edge of the bed and glares at the clock. "Can't even fuckin' sleep in when I ain't in jail no more." She growls softly before carefully stepping over the mini-slayers and makes her way to the door, her eyes unconsciously looking back to the redhead that had been using her as a body pillow. "Shit." Faith grumbles and darts out of the room deciding a cold shower and then some hot and extremely strong coffee would be for the best.

"Who the hell is awake this early?" Tara groans rolling over onto Buffy's body as she hears the door shut a little more forcefully than necessary to the bathroom across the hall.

Buffy grunts softly at the weight of Tara landing on her aching body, smirking at the thought of their night of decadent fun. Listening to the quiet grumbling coming from the bathroom Buffy chuckles as she figures out who it is. "Faith." She wraps her arms around Tara's back and closes her eyes.

"Remind me to kick her ass when I'm awake." Tara mumbles into her lover's neck even as she falls back asleep.

"Uh, huh." Buffy smiles as she follows quickly behind Tara.

"TWENTY MORE PUSH-UPS!" Faith yells as the potentials groan but keep going. Turning a glare on Kennedy as the woman snarls at her, Faith takes a step towards her until the potential looks away and concentrates on doing her pushups.

"I have to go to work. Tara's leaving to fill out paperwork at the temporary school offices. You okay here?" Buffy questions curiously as she looks at the potentials already sweating and obviously the worse for wear.

"Yep. We're gonna go for a little run this afternoon after lunch. Wanna make sure they have somethin' to puke up." Faith growls, fighting the smirk that wants to cross her face as she hears a couple whimpers coming from the girls.

Buffy snorts and looks away from the girls. "I should be home around four. Tara will probably be back before noon. Be warned, Tara was threatening to kick your ass for waking us up this morning." Buffy chuckles as Faith growls quietly at her. "By the way…" Buffy hesitates until she has Faith's full attention. "If you like her, tell her." Buffy nods towards Willow who's in a lawn chair researching and making notes. Having heard her best friend's name mentioned earlier that morning when Faith was grumbling while she showered. As Faith's eyes widen in shock and her mouth drops open, Buffy smirks. "Teach you to keep your mouth shut, won't it?"

Faith actually feels her face heat with embarrassment as Buffy laughs and jogs out of the back yard. "Damn it." Faith rubs a hand over the back of her neck. "Ten minute break. Get yourselves somethin' to drink." Faith orders the girls as they finally finish the push-ups, unconsciously looking towards Willow before shaking her head and sighing. "Why ain't she threatenin' to kick my ass?" Faith wonders softly, unconsciously looking towards where Buffy had disappeared to go to work. Taking a deep breath, Faith slowly makes her way over to Willow.

Willow purses her lips as she re-checks the spell she's working on, hoping it might work if Xander and Jason can't figure out a different way to reinforce the stakes so they can pierce the Uber vamp's chest. Glancing up as a shadow crosses her book.

"I, uh, was gonna get somethin' to drink and wondered if you wanted somethin'." Faith offers, grasping her hands behind her back as she tries to keep from shifting nervously from foot to foot as she looks down into brilliant green eyes.

Willow blinks before looking at her watch, surprised that she's been sitting outside researching and working on the spell for almost two hours. "Some tea sounds wonderful." Willow admits, marking her place and uncurling her leg from under her to stand, groaning as she stretches her back. "Have to remember to not stay in that position for that long again." Willow winces as she gets a twinge in her lower back, reaching back to try and rub the stiffened muscle.

"I could, uh, if you want…" Faith points to Willow's back, blushing lightly as Willow looks at her in surprise. "I mean, I ain't a professional or nothin', but I can probably loosen it up for ya'." Faith smiles uncertainly at the redhead. Watching as Willow seems to hesitate, Faith shrugs and turns away. "Sorry if I overstepped the boundaries, I thought maybe that's what one friend would do for another or somethin'."

"No, Faith!" Willow hurriedly reaches out to grasp the slayer's arm. "It is something a friend would offer for another friend. It just kind of shocked me that you were the one offering." Willow admits softly as Faith turns around to look at her, the wariness in the brown eyes obvious. "You've never came across as much of a… touchy-feely type person and I just didn't expect it." Willow tries to explain, watching as the wariness slowly lessens and Faith nods her head.

"Well, ya' got that right." Faith smirks at the redhead. "If we were dancin' or something, then I'm definitely a touchy-feely type of person, but everyday contact I ain't much for it." Faith admits quietly.

"You're going to have to get used to it around here." Willow nods her head as Tara comes jogging out of the house. "Tara's very much a touchy-feely person, if you haven't figured it out already. Plus she gives great backrubs, but that's something I don't think I can ask her for anymore." Willow smiles sadly as the blonde closes the distance between them.

Tara blushes as both women look at her. "Hope I'm not interrupting, but I was getting ready to leave to fill out the paperwork and was wondering if you two needed anything from anywhere."

"I don't need anything, thanks." Willow chuckles and shakes her head at the blonde.

"Umm…" Faith rubs her neck as she hesitates as she thinks about asking Tara to pick up something for her.

"What is it you need, Faith?" Tara reaches out and gently rubs the slayer's shoulder, frowning as Faith darts a quick knowing smirk towards Willow, and Willow giggles in response.

"Ummm… I don't have no razors or anythin' to use." Faith shuffles slightly, uncomfortable.

"Do you prefer to use razors, Nair or wax?" Tara grins crookedly as Faith's eyes dart to her in surprise. "We all do a little bit of the above. I can't use Nair, it breaks me out… and well Buffy and I use wax." Tara blushes darker as she remembers how Buffy insists on helping her with her 'bikini waxing'.

Faith snorts out a laugh, seeing the tell-tale blush on the blonde's face. "I prefer ta wax myself. But I've been using the razors for the last couple years and unless people can deal with my stubby hairs until they grow out far enough, I probably should stick with the razors."

"It won't bother me, if you're worried about me feeling the stubble in the bed…" Willow blushes at her forwardness and waves as she darts towards the house in embarrassment.

Faith quirks her lips in bemusement at the sight of the redhead's face matching her hair as Willow darts towards the house.

"I'll pick up a good razor and a waxing kit for you, also. Anything else, sweetie?" Tara chuckles as she turns her gaze back to Faith.

"Nah, I think that'll do it for now. Unless ya' wanna pick up some more lunchmeat or somethin' for lunch today." Faith shrugs as she walks with Tara back towards the house as the potentials start to stream out of the house.

"I'll do that. Feeding the hungry horde has a tendency to empty the refrigerator quickly. Now with two slayers we'll go through the food even quicker. I need to see about getting another refrigerator or chest freezer here in the house. We could use it." Tara sighs before grinning at the slayer. "I'll be back in a few hours." Tara waves as she grabs the keys to the Jeep and her purse striding through the kitchen.

Faith chuckles softly at the quickly departing blonde. Knowing Xander was at work and Jason was out getting supplies for them to use trying to figure out the best way to help with the Uber vamps, in case there's more than just the one. Reaching into the refrigerator, Faith notices the kettle of water on the stove, chuckling at the thought of Willow hightailing it out of the backyard in embarrassment. "Guess ya' didn't need that backrub that badly. Then again, I might offer later tonight anyway, just to see what kinda response I get." Faith snorts and sips on her water as she heads to the back yard, yelling at the girls to pair up for some hand to hand combat. Chuckling softly as the potentials perk up.

"Here're the different prototypes we came up with." Xander sets down three different stakes, sighing quietly. "This one, as you can tell, we just melted down some metal and basically dipped the tip of the stake in it to coat the end." The men had been working on the stakes the last few days.

Faith picks it up and plays with the end, silently wondering if the metal coating will end up falling off when it's used, but deciding to wait and see what happens.

"This one we actually cut grooves into and filled them with the metal, hoping to strengthen the wood so it'll pierce the vampire." Jason picks up the other one, tossing it to Buffy who's leaning back against Tara.

Buffy catches the stake, turning it over as she runs her fingers over the outside of it. "Do you think we'll have a problem with the metal popping off or out of the grooves?"

"That's our biggest worry with the stakes." Xander admits, frowning as he looks at them. "This last one Willow added a little something to."

Willow blushes lightly as everyone looks at her. "It was a relatively simple spell to do, it was actually figuring out the spell that was difficult." Willow admits, handing the piece of paper to Tara so she can read the spell that had taken her a couple days to work out. "It actually petrifies the wood."

"Petrified wood is of the good, right?" Faith questions curiously, as she looks at everyone. "Ain't that like super hard and strong?" Faith's eyes finally land on Willow, watching as the redhead nods excitedly.

"It's like rock, and if it works, a simple incantation will petrify the wood and we can do it on all the stakes." Willow rambles quickly and excitedly watching as Xander tosses the stake to Faith.

Faith scratches her head as she looks at the item for a few moments. "B?" Looking up at Buffy who looks at her curiously, she tosses the stake to the blonde slayer. "Should we test it on a tree or somethin' first? Or wait and try it on the real thing if another one of those fuckers show up?"

"Please." Willow nods at the thought. "See if it'll hold up to going into something tough. I would rather it be tested first, before you actually need it for real." Willow nibbles on her bottom lip, smiling at Faith who was looking at her somewhat worriedly. "It's a good idea, Faith."

"Well, I don't wanna kill one of your trees, B. So…" Faith smirks at the slayer as Buffy rolls her eyes at her.

"Fine, I'll go outside and see if it'll hold up." Buffy furrows her brows as Tara hands her the other stake.

"Might as well try all of them to see how they hold up." Tara shrugs and grins crookedly at her lover. "So both of you can go kill ONE tree. No sense in staking more than one." Tara narrows her gaze on her grinning lover.

"Party pooper." Buffy chuckles and winks at Tara before striding towards the front door, Faith gathering the last stake as the whole group follows them.

Buffy tucks the petrified stake in her back pocket and looks at Faith questioningly as she comes to a halt beside the largest tree that would hopefully live through the experience. Swapping the metal tipped stake for the one with the strips on it with Faith.

"Age before beauty." Faith smirks and crosses her arms over her chest, holding onto the stake with the metal strips.

"Bitch." Buffy growls at the slayer, the grin letting Faith know she didn't mean it. Flipping the stake in her hand, Buffy quickly and forcefully slams it into the trunk of the tree. "Shit." Buffy shakes her hand as she releases the stake, the sting somewhat painful. "That was pretty tough to penetrate." Buffy admits, looking at the tree trunk and the stake she'd managed to slam about two inches into the tree.

"And the moment of truth." Faith gently urges Buffy aside as she grabs the stake with both hands and yanks it out of the tree. Sighing as the metal tip obviously stayed behind in the tree. "Well, the stake stayed whole. It may be only good for one use, but it only takes once to get the job done." Faith tosses the stake to Xander who catches it and inspects the stake.

"Your turn." Buffy waves to the slayer, laughing at the glare she gets from Faith.

"Hand still hurtin', B?" Faith comments as she steps up to the tree.

"You're about to find out how much it hurts." Buffy sniggers, then yelps as Tara smacks her hard on the ass.

"Behave." Tara murmurs softly in her lover's ear.

"Can't help it. Pushing each others' buttons is like second nature." Buffy pouts even as she leans into her lover's arms as Tara pulls her back into her.

"And that's probably one of the reasons you two butted heads so much." Tara points out softly into her lover's ear, watching as Faith darts her a quick glance, seeing the seriousness in the brown eyes. Knowing her lover and Faith are the only ones that can hear her. "So I want your promise to not push so much. Joking is one thing just don't let it get nasty. Work on communication between you two, also. That way each of you can know when you're close to the line or have crossed it." Tara warns, keeping eye contact with Faith to let her know she's talking to her, too.

Faith slowly nods her head slightly as she shifts her eyes to hazel eyes looking at her seriously.

"That's fair." Buffy nods towards Faith, smiling softly as the other slayer grins at her and relaxes. "Are you going to stake that tree sometime today, or are you afraid of it hurting your sensitive hands?"

"Kiss it, B." Faith smirks knowingly at the slayer before adjusting her grip on the stake and slamming it into the tree so quickly it's a blur to everyone watching as she grunts loudly with the sting going up her arm.

Buffy chuckles at the quick flash of pain crossing Faith's face before she schools her features. Turning her head, Buffy brushes her lips over Tara's jaw before stepping away from her lover and grasping the stake. "Show off." Buffy growls at the stake that had to be buried about four inches into the tree, just enough room to grasp it with one hand. Wrapping her other hand overtop of her right hand, she braces her feet and yanks back hard, backpedaling a couple steps as the stake finally breaks loose. Running her fingers over the metal imbedded into the stake, she notices one of the pieces is loose, but the other ones seem pretty sturdy. Tossing that stake to Jason, she nods her head. "That's better, one of the strips is loose, but the others look pretty good."

Faith turns around, looking at the potentials that had been murmuring excitedly behind them. Noticing Kennedy inching her way closer to Willow, Faith unconsciously growls at the potential. Taking the quick two steps towards Willow, she urges the woman over, so she's standing between her and Tara as Buffy prepares to send the last stake into the tree. "This one's your baby you need a front row seat." Faith tries to explain herself to Willow as the redhead looks at her in surprise.

"Thank you." Willow blushes lightly as she can almost feel everyone's eyes on her, before she tears her eyes away from warm brown eyes, silently wondering if Faith had ever looked at her like that before.

Buffy snorts at Faith's machinations, though she is surprised at Willow's obvious attraction to the dark-haired slayer, turning her gaze on Tara, Buffy shakes her head at the knowing smirk pointed towards her. "Yeah, yeah." Buffy grumbles as she flips the stake a couple times as she maneuvers to another spot on the tree.

Willow unconsciously reaches over and grasps Faith's hand, squeezing it tightly with both of hers as she waits excitedly to see if her stake holds up.

Faith's eyes widen as she looks down at her hand being held tightly by Willow's. Swallowing back the quiet squeak that wants to escape her lips, she bites her bottom lip roughly as she concentrates on watching Buffy instead of the small cool hands squeezing hers excitedly. 'Squeaking is NOT something I will ever do.' Faith grows internally, her eyes drawn once more to the small freckled hands holding hers. This time fighting a groan that works through her at the thought of those freckled hands caressing her body, she clenches her teeth and glares at the tree, silently wondering if she can shoot holes through the tree with her eyes.

Tara darts a quick glance at Faith and Willow, her lips curling up into a fuller smile at the sight of Willow grasping the slayer's hand tightly between hers. Glancing up at the almost fearful look leaving Faith's face and her eyes narrowing on the tree as she obviously is fighting some internal battle, Tara can't help the quiet chuckle that escapes her lips, quickly looking away as brown eyes turn to glare at her. Whistling softly under her breath she watches as Buffy finally sends the stake home into the tree. Tara even noticed that it seemed to enter the tree a little easier than the other two stakes.

Buffy tilts her head at the stake and smiles before wrapping both hands around it to yank it out to look intently down at the item. "I think we have a winner." Buffy grins as she looks at Willow.

"YES!" Willow jumps up and down excitedly as she releases Faith's hand, she still wasn't aware of holding as she launches herself at the dark-haired slayer, hugging her tightly. "It works!!" She exclaims loudly.

Faith coughs slightly as Willow almost strangles her in her excitement. "Yeah, Red, you did good." Faith somewhat uncomfortably pats the woman on the back with her hands as she looks wide-eyed at Buffy and Tara who are giggling at them. "Maybe ya' can do up a dozen of 'em for us to have with us on patrol when we go out?"

"I'll do that right now." Willow releases Faith and darts into the house.

Faith finally glares, then growls at Buffy and Tara as she strides past them towards the back yard.

Xander scratches his head as he looks from Buffy and Tara who are now laughing and leaning against each other to his lover as Jason chuckles softly under his breath. "Did I miss something?"

"Yes!" Kennedy snarls as she strides down the street angrily.

Jason groans at his clueless lover and shakes his head. "I'll explain it to you." Jason wraps an arm around Xander's shoulders.

Tara sighs quietly as she looks down the sidewalk and the stiff form of Kennedy stalking away. "Should I…?"

"No. Let her walk it off. Even she isn't dumb enough to stay out after it gets dark." Buffy snorts at the thought. "That's one way to get rid of her annoying…" Trailing off at the look she gets from Tara, Buffy smiles embarrassedly.

"Not nice, honey." Tara admonishes softly before placing a quick kiss on her lover's forehead. "Let me get dinner started, you go play nice with Faith."

"Yes, dear." Buffy rolls her eyes and smacks her lover on the ass as Tara walks towards the house, smirking at the narrow-eyed look she gets in response. "Go relax before we go on patrol tonight." Buffy shoos the potentials that are still lingering around the front yard before she spins around and heads to the back yard and Faith.


Chapter 26

Faith groans softly as once again she wakes up with Willow using her as a body pillow. Two weeks the same thing happens every morning. She wakes up before dawn with Willow curled up on top of her asleep. Not knowing how the redhead does it without waking her, but it never fails. Of course, more often than not she finds her hands grasping the redhead's ass firmly. Growling as she realizes that's where her hands are right now she's half tempted to say fuck it, roll the redhead over and do what comes naturally.

Finally easing Willow off her body and shoving a pillow in her arms, Faith growls at the potential on the floor by her side of the bed, half tempted to kick whichever one it was that was sleeping there this time. Mentally berating herself, Faith steps over the young woman and pulls out a pair of sweat pants, t-shirt and underwear before snagging her running shoes.

Doing her morning duties while she gets ready to go on an early morning run to clear her mind and get her body off the fact that it really, really wants to get to know the quirky redhead in the biblical sense. Sighing softly at the thought of the redhead and how one moment she seemed to be flirting with her and the next running away embarrassed. Not knowing if she's comin' or going half the time with the redhead, just knowing that she won't be able to take much more of the indecision and the nightly snuggle fests.

Stepping out of the bathroom, Faith growls at the closed door to Buffy and Tara's room. "Like you two are a fuckin' help." Faith snarls softly, even though the two women tried to be quiet when they were able to have alone time. Her slayer hearing usually made every whisper, moan, groan, muffled cry and comment the two women made like she was in the room right there with them. Having to admit the first time she'd heard them, after she'd gotten over the shock of the obviously more than 'vanilla' sex session, she'd wanted to laugh her ass off at the thought of Buffy, the original no fun, stick up the ass slayer, obviously getting up to some serious bedroom slayage. Of course seeing the innocent looking Tara and thinking about what the woman obviously does to Buffy and the comments the two women make just about made her want to double-check that Tara hadn't been taken over by a demon.

Snorting at that thought, Faith unlocks the door as she looks at the group of potentials crashed on the floor of the living room and dining room, most of the furniture having been taken out of the rooms and put in storage to leave room for everyone to sleep. Willow's house was overflowing with witches and Watchers, too. Though between the protection spells around the houses and the individual anti-detection spells on the potentials seem to be helping to keep them safe from magical detection, she and Buffy had discussed it wouldn't help much if they came after them in person, it would be kind of obvious with all the younger girls staying with them what they are to The First or his disciples if they came a knockin'.

Shaking her head at her mind's wandering, she stretches quickly looking around the quiet streets as the sky slowly lightens. Flashes of red hair, brilliant green eyes and an impish smile accompanying her on her run.

"Where are you going?" Buffy looks curiously at Willow as she grabs her backpack and starts to make her way through the sea of people. Buffy growls at someone who bounces into her, smirking as she hears a scared 'sorry' and whoever it was disappears into the throng of people lining up for food.

"I need to pick up a few things to do more stakes for you guys." Willow grins at Buffy as they dodge their way towards the door.

"Not by yourself. Grab someone to go with you." Buffy orders, seeing the look on Willow's face, Buffy rolls her eyes. "It's a precaution, Wills. Just someone, it doesn't matter who. Preferably someone that's halfway decent with a weapon. Sunnydale is slowly becoming a ghost town people wise, but demons, it seems to be picking up. I know you can protect yourself to a certain degree, but an extra set of hands and eyes is of the good."

"I'll go." Kennedy pops up, having already grabbed something to eat.

Willow tries not to sigh at who offers, though the dark-haired potential had let up on the attitude somewhat over the past couple weeks. Seeing the questioning look cross Buffy's face, Willow shrugs.

"Fine. Grab a short sword and jacket to hide it with, along with a knife and a couple stakes. Be careful and keep your eyes peeled. Bringers have been popping up more and more in town along with the different demons, it almost seems like three come to take the place of every one we kill." Buffy looks around at the people, still not having found Faith, though the slayer usually took off in the early mornings anymore for a long run and usually didn't get back until nine or ten, knowing Buffy didn't start the training until 10:30 to give everyone a chance to wake up, get fed and organized.

"Get something to eat, Buffy. I'm sure Tara snuck you a full plate away somewhere." Willow pushes against Buffy as they step out on the porch.

"Of course she did." Buffy grins and strides across the porch and pokes her head into the open window.

Willow chuckles as a few minutes later, Buffy pulls out of the window with a plate filled with food. "You are loved."

"And don't I know it." Buffy grins at Willow as she settles down on the swing and watches as Kennedy finally steps out of the house. "Please be careful, there hasn't been many things happening during the daytime, but I don't want you to take any chances."

"Yes, boss." Willow grins back as she lightly trots down the stairs. "We'll be back in a little while. I might have to try and dig through the basement for a few things." Willow warns as she waves at Buffy.

"Check, no worrying for a couple hours." Buffy smiles at the quiet laughter coming from her friend as Willow and Kennedy stride down the sidewalk. Listening to the group of potentials and the Watchers and witches that show up early as they research whatever books the new influx had brought with them, hoping for something that might help in the fight against The First, and hopefully a way to ward off him being able to get a foothold on earth.

Smiling softly as Tara settles on the swing beside her, Buffy leans into the soft kiss she gets from her lover.

"Did you get enough to eat, sweet one?" Tara looks at the almost decimated plate. "I hid away a few extra links and eggs for you with Faith's plate."

"I'm fine. Faith will probably eat the extra when she gets back." Buffy finishes what little bit of food is on her plate before frowning. "You did fix yourself something, didn't you?"

Tara chuckles and runs her fingers through Buffy's hair. "Yes, I did. I don't want a certain slayer angry at me."

"Good." Buffy sets the plate down and wraps her arms around Tara, smiling as her lover snuggles against her. "Faith's going to blow here soon. What exactly is going on between her and Willow?"

Tara giggles softly and rubs her cheek against Buffy's shoulder. "Willow is something of a snuggler, sooooo…."

"Oh, God. Faith's probably in hell right now." Buffy laughs at the thought. "Why in the world isn't Willow saying anything to Faith? I mean, even I can see that she likes Faith."

"Willow's grown up a lot over the years, but she's still shy, honey. Plus, now with the way she's acting around Faith, I can guarantee you that she was attracted to her when she was in high school." Tara smiles at the low grunt she gets from her lover.

"Okay, I guess I can see it." Buffy finally admits. "She's got the whole sexy, bad girl image thing going on."

Tara smirks at her lover's comments before nuzzling against her ear. "The sexy, bad girl image, huh? The dark hair, dark eyes, leather, cleavage being flaunted…"

Buffy growls and turns her head to glare into her lover's mischief-filled blue eyes. "You trying to get me riled?"

"Like you haven't noticed." Tara taps her lover's nose, grinning crookedly at the light blush that comes up on Buffy's face. "I've noticed you have more of an appreciation for the female form than you used to, sweet one. And that is allowed… as long as it doesn't become more than that." Tara warns playfully.

"Never." Buffy becomes serious at the thought. "That's something I'd never do… and especially to you."

"I know, Buffy." Tara cups her lover's cheek and brushes her lips lovingly over Buffy's. "That's one thing that I would never think that you would. Still might tease you about checking other women out, though."

"Only if I get to tease you back. Obviously you've been paying attention." Buffy laughs softly at the quiet groan coming from Tara. "Giles out back doing the Watcher-dude thing?"

"Yes." Tara drops her head and shakes it softly. "Not even here two hours and he's in the thick of things with more books and research. Speaking of which…" Tara sighs heavily at the thought.

"Take a break today. Let the Watchers and other witches do the research. Grab one of those romantic smut books you like to read when you get a spare chance, go upstairs to the bedroom, shut and lock the door and read." Buffy smirks at the light blush that comes up on her lover's face, loving to tease the witch after she'd found her little stash of lesbian romance novels. Leaning in, Buffy whispers softly into her lover's ear. "I picked you up a couple more a few days ago and added them to your stash. Maybe one will catch your eye."

"You're too good to me." Tara places a quick, hard kiss to Buffy's lips before grinning happily.

"You deserve the best. Now go, read, have fun. I'm going to go play with the kiddies." Buffy smiles softly as she watches Tara hop up and excitedly stride into the house, loving the sight of Tara being happy and carefree.

"She's got ya' fuckin' whipped." Faith comments as she makes her way up the walk.

"Your point?" Buffy quirks an eyebrow at the slayer as she turns and looks at Faith.

Faith searches hazel eyes and sighs quietly. "You're happy, ain't ya'?" Faith wipes a hand over her forehead to wipe some of the sweat away before continuing. "What's it like, B? What's it like ta' be happy and with someone that loves ya'?"

Buffy searches brown eyes that look at her wanting to understand. "It's the most wonderful, exhilarating thing in the world. It's also one of the most scary, worrisome things in the world." Buffy finally admits after a few minutes. "Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith… Faith." Buffy barely keeps from smirking as Faith glares at her. "As Tara once told me, love isn't a bad thing, whether it's for a day, a week, a year or a lifetime. Enjoy it to the fullest while it's available to you, because life's too short not to." Standing, Buffy gathers her dirty dishes and looks at Faith who seems to be thinking heavily. "Time to go irritate the children."

"Yeah." Faith answers, though her heart isn't in it as she thinks about the redhead that she'd held at knifepoint and threatened to kill, silently wondering if there would be a chance to have any kind of relationship with Willow. Sighing heavily at the thought, she knows there's only one way to find that out, and that is going to take her some time to get the cojones up to ask. "Fuck me." Faith slowly moves around to the back yard, planning on grabbing half the potentials and bringing them out front to work with them, since the neighborhood's empty.

"I'm ready." Rack rubs his hands together as he looks at the last of the harnessing crystals he'd been waiting on is empty and ready for Strawberry's power. "Now, where are you my lovely, tasty girl?" Rack starts a locator spell to get the area Willow's in, ignoring the four Bringers that he'll send out to capture her, thanks to The First and Caleb.

"Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes." Rack crows delightedly. "Making things easier for me, aren't you Strawberry?" Laughing he grabs the four amulets, tossing them to the Bringers. "That will keep her magic from harming you, and actually absorb it. No sense in wasting any." Striding around to settle in his chair, he purses his lips and presses his fingertips together as he considers the Bringers. "If she's by herself or with just one or two other people, make a grab. If she has more people around her, or if one of the slayers is there leave her be and get back here without being detected. It's going to take some time to fill the crystals with enough power to give your boss what he wants. She's at the Magic Box right now, I'd suggest waiting outside and checking out the situation first, before going after her. Now, have a wonderful time." Rack waves the Bringers out of the room as he spins around in his chair and looks at the array of crystals, having had to call in quite a few markers and favors to get what he needed.

"Strawberry, you will be mine once more. And once I finish draining the majority of your powers into the crystals, you will be again." Rack chuckles at the thought of having the redhead at his disposal once again. Trailing his finger over his lips he leans back as he continues to think. The lack of junkies coming to him with everyone leaving Sunnydale has weakened him somewhat, not being able to feed his own powers with theirs. If he hadn't made and keyed the amulets before everyone had started to leave, he probably wouldn't be able to control Willow as he'd planned. "Ahhh, to think ahead and not put off 'til tomorrow."


Chapter 27

"Come on! You can't really be attracted to that, that, that murdering slut?" Kennedy waves her hands around, as Willow ignores her and continues to search and collect different items.

Willow barely keeps from biting out an angry retort to the potential before tearing into another box and searching through it, setting out a couple packages to add to the booty she's taking back to the house with them. Kennedy having started questioning her about Faith a couple blocks from the house. Finally breaking down that yes, she was attracted to Faith. That comment having actually shut the young woman up for a little while. Now she started again with this outburst. Silently Willow counts to ten then twenty to keep from grabbing something and shoving it into the woman's mouth to shut her up.

"I mean, I'm nineteen, I'm rich, I'm in excellent shape, I'm pretty, I'm an excellent lover and I don't sleep with any Tom, Dick or Harry. Hell! I don't sleep with men period. I play on your side of the fence, and have you ever known Faith to? Then the biggie, I have NEVER KILLED ANYONE!" Kennedy finally yells, tired of being ignored.

Willow clenches her jaw and her hands, turning to glare at the rich potential. "And you're a spoiled fucking brat that's used to crooking her finger and getting everything you want! You didn't practically grow up on the streets scraping and fighting for every bite of food. Finding some cold corner of a warehouse or alleyway to try and sleep in without being attacked by whatever jacked up, drugged out asshole that comes by. Have you ever even gone to bed hungry?" Willow snarls at the potential, having had enough of the whiny little bitch. "Get out of my sight. I'm not in the mood to see or hear anything from you right now, because you don't know how close I am to zipping your mouth closed permanently!" Willow dismisses Kennedy as she jerkily goes back to sorting through the ingredients.

Kennedy stares in shocked surprise at the redhead before spinning angrily around and striding up the stairs to the main part of the shop. Pacing back and forth as she thinks about Willow defending that… that… Kennedy growls as she can't think of a bad enough word for that murdering bitch of a slut. "Fine! You don't want to see or hear me, you won't!" Kennedy finally strides towards the front door, unlocking it and striding down the sidewalk without a second thought.

Faith groans and strides away from the idiot potentials that she's trying to teach how to hold a sword, silently wondering what their Watchers were thinking. "Want a water, B?"

"Sure, check the time while you're in there." Buffy knows it has to be about time for Willow to be coming back and wants to double-check.

"'Kay." Faith jogs towards the back door, knowing Buffy is trying to figure out when Red is going to be back, having already asked her where the redhead was, and honestly not too happy at the thought of Kennedy going with Willow, but since Willow was okay with it she figured she couldn't argue too much, looking at the clock before going out to the garage and grabbing two cases of water to take out for the potentials. "It's almost 12:30, B."

Buffy frowns. "She should have been back by now."

"Fuck, don't tell me that, B." Faith doesn't think she just grabs a couple swords, spinning around to dart out of the back yard, literally plowing over Kennedy. Stopping and spinning around, Faith barks at the potential. "Where's Red?"

"I don't know." Kennedy snarls at the dark slayer as she carefully stands, rubbing her chest from where Faith had slammed into her. "Why the hell should I know? I'm not her fucking keeper."

Faith drops the swords and grabs the potential picking her up and shaking her violently. "WHERE THE FUCK IS SHE? DID SHE COME BACK WITH YOU, YOU STUPID FUCKIN' IDIOT? YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHIN' HER!!!"

"FAITH!" Buffy cries out the slayer name as she hears and sees the other slayer shaking Kennedy like a rag doll. Jerking the potential from the other slayer's hands she watches as Tara comes flying from the front door and the rest of the Watchers and witches gather behind her. "Where is she, Kennedy?" Buffy glares at the potential, her eyes showing how angry she is, her tones cold.

"Last I saw her she was at the Magic Box." Kennedy curls her lip up in disgust. "She said she didn't want me around, so I left!" Kennedy yelps as she goes flying backwards, landing hard on the ground knocking the air from her lungs.

"I'm gonna fuckin' kill her when I get back." Faith warns, her tones deadly as she glares at the potential even as she picks up the swords again, taking off running as fast as her legs will carry her.

"Double-check to make sure she isn't in the house." Buffy looks imploringly at her lover.

"She isn't." Tara admits softly. "I can do a tracking spell like I did…" Tara trails off blinking, realizing Buffy probably doesn't know about that, since the last time she'd used the spell was when they'd brought her lover back. "Follow the light. I'll explain later." Tara states simply seeing the questioning look on Buffy's face. Collapsing down to the ground and concentrating, Tara does the spell to send the light after Willow, whispering the soft chant, before frowning heavily. Concentrating harder, she growls and snaps her eyes open to look at her lover. "Something's blocking me from locating her."

"I want everyone to grab whatever weapons are at hand and get to the Magic Box, since that's the last place we know for a fact that Willow was at. We'll spread out in groups of four to five people with a couple potentials, a Watcher and a witch comprising each group." Buffy snaps out quickly in a no nonsense tone even as she strides towards Kennedy, the potential slowly gaining her feet.

"Buffy…" Tara starts to only stop as her lover glares at her angrily.

"She had one thing to do, Tara. To stay with Willow and help protect her. She couldn't do it." Buffy snaps her head back to Kennedy as she reaches out for the potential. "You're a fucking idiot, but you're going to be with me and Tara to find Willow. Because I'm not going to have your death on Faith's conscience, even though I don't much blame her, because God knows I'd be happy to tear you limb from limb. I'm going to save that to see if Willow's okay. If not, then you're going to pay for your stupidity."

"You can't touch me." Kennedy snaps at the slayer, yelping loudly as Buffy backhands her, her head snapping to the side with the power of the hit, feeling the blood fill her mouth, she spits it out to the side.

"That's a love tap to what I can do to you Kennedy." Buffy warns, deadly serious. "If anything and I mean anything happens to Willow, you will be sorry."

"Buffy, I don't think…" Giles snaps his mouth shut as Buffy growls angrily at him.

"Tara, can you get my sword and some of the stakes in our room?" Buffy keeps a tight grip on Kennedy as she looks at Tara.

"Of course." Tara murmurs, honestly having only seen her lover this angry twice before, and somewhat fearful for what she'll do to Kennedy if something has happened to Willow.

"Stop here." Tara orders everyone as they look at the Electronics store as she magically unlocks the door and disappears inside.

Buffy furrows her brows as she wonders what her lover's up to until Tara comes out pushing a small cart loaded down with walkie-talkies and batteries. Pressing a quick kiss to her temple, Buffy murmurs softly. "Good idea."

"I have my moments." Tara admits, as she starts tossing the items out to everyone with Buffy ripping into the batteries to hand out to put in the walkie-talkies. "The packages say they're good up to five miles, but I'm not positive about that. But we should be able to get into contact with someone if you have any problems or find something and they'll be able to get to the rest of us."

"And if you come across Faith, contact us." Buffy looks at the group of people, everyone somber and worried. With the notable exception of one potential that was surly and aggravating until Tara had gagged her and basically put her on a leash.

"What channel?" Giles questions as he finishes putting the batteries in the one he'd grabbed.

"Doesn't matter, just make sure they're all on the same one and they work." Buffy grunts out softly.

"Channel one." Giles offers, as he puts his on channel one. Everyone checking to make sure theirs works. "Grab extra batteries while you're at it, just to be on the safe side."

"Let's go." Buffy orders as she snatches Kennedy forcing her towards the Magic Box, her anger a cold ball in her gut mixed with fear for Willow. The closer they get to the store, without coming across Willow or Faith worrying her deeply. Sparing a glance for the rest of the group, fear and worry is at the forefront with a couple with determination and anger obvious on their faces. Remembering the worry and anger combating the most on Xander's face, seeing him dart a disgusted glare at Kennedy before she'd finally talked him into staying at the house in case Willow showed up, she silently wonders if they'll have to fight him for first dibs on the potential if something's happened to the redhead.

Tara unconsciously rubs her lover's lower back as they make their way quickly to the Magic Box. "We'll find her." Tara whispers softly, planning on trying a couple different spells when she gets there to at least try and trace which direction she went in, if they didn't find her at the shop.

Buffy reaches back and threads her fingers with Tara's, squeezing gently as she looks worriedly at her lover.

Willow groans softly as she raises a hand to her head, wincing at the tenderness of her scalp and the huge bump. Pulling her hand away she looks at the small amount of blood. "Great, I probably have a concussion." Willow grumbles, looking around at the small room. "Where the hell am I? And what the hell happened? Last thing I remember is bitching about Kennedy disappearing and leaving the shop. Everything else is a mystery." Willow carefully pushes herself up and investigates the room. "Great, no visible doors…" Willow trails off frowning at the thought, trying to get the elusive thought of why that rings a bell. Concentrating on the immediate problem, she groans loudly as she realizes she's in a magically protected room that won't allow her to penetrate the invisible protection spell around it.

Sighing heavily, she makes her way slowly back to the cot and collapses onto it, throwing her arm over her eyes silently wondering what she's gotten herself into this time, and if something happened to Kennedy and that's why she wasn't at the Magic Box. Starting to feel bad about how she went off on the potential, Willow groans. "I hope you can find me, because I sure the hell don't know where I am and I can't get out of here." Willow admits, knowing it's useless to even try with the protection spells around the room.

Part 28

Return to Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fiction

Return to Main Page