DISCLAIMER: Characters belong to the show's creators; I own nothing
but my interpretation of them.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Note: This piece was written in response to Eliza Lover's birthday challenge, as posted on BuffyNFaith@yahoogroups.com.
PAIRING: Buffy/Faith - established
DATE: April 2002
Slayer Dreams and Wicked Things
"I'm telling you, Angelina Jolie would make a kick-ass Slayer. She's wicked!"
The Scoobies were gathered around the Bronze, enjoying a lull in Sunnydale's vampiric activity. Currently, they were listening to Faith rave over her latest obsession.
"She's so hot, she smokes the screen! C'mon, we all saw Tomb Raider in the theatre together...did she, or did she not, have _great_ moves?" Faith challenged the others to contradict her.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Faith, of course she had good moves...it's Hollywood, there's no way they'd spend so much time and money promoting her character, only to have her be a klutz."
"Yeah, but you gotta admit, she was made for Lara Croft's role. She had the attitude, the sex appeal, the body...the wicked, wicked hot body..."
"Faith..." Buffy warned, letting her know that she was on dangerous ground with that line of thinking.
"What? Oh, c'mon B, you know I'm right," Faith continued, "What do you think, Xan-man?"
"Yeah, you could be..." Xander waffled under Anya's glare.
"...and she's a brunette!" Faith continued, undeterred by his failed endorsement.
"Faith, what does hair colour have anything to do with qualifications, or lack thereof, for being a Slayer? I mean, Buffy's blonde, and she's been slaying for years. And quite expertly, as we all know," Willow argued reasonably, while smiling towards her best friend.
"Sure, Red," Faith agreed easily, "But B's a special case. She does _everything_ expertly." Faith ran a slow eye down the blonde Slayer, leaving no doubt as to what she was thinking.
"Faith!" Buffy flushed. She glared at the dark Slayer.
The others grinned, enjoying the moment -- even in the Bronze's low lighting, they could easily make out Buffy's blush. They had long become used to Faith's unique manner of teasing the other Slayer, and accepted it as part of their relationship.
"Aw, c'mon, B," Faith pulled Buffy into her lap, then whispered for her ears only, "You know I think you're the hottest Slayer I've ever met."
Buffy shivered as Faith's breath tickled her ear. "Goes without saying, doesn't it? I mean, it's not like you've met any others," she whispered back. She moaned softly as Faith ran her hands up her back, pulling her closer.
"Doesn't matter...you'd still make me burn the most." Faith proceeded to plant moist kisses along Buffy's neck, making her squirm with pleasure.
"Faith...Faith, we have to stop. Ohh...you're going to cause a scene, and get us kicked out of here," Buffy breathed.
"You really want to stop, B?" The question was accompanied by Faith's nibbling along Buffy's sensitive earlobe.
"No...yes...no...yes!" Buffy was panting.
"Well, if that's what you really want..." Faith kissed her deeply, tongue swirling in the warm cavern of Buffy's mouth, "That's what we'll do." She grinned and pulled away, leaving a flustered Buffy staring at her with desire-laden eyes.
"You, Faith, are a wicked thing," Buffy said when she'd recovered sufficiently to talk.
"That I am, girlfriend." They looked around and saw that the Scoobies had abandoned them during their...play...choosing instead to burn off their energy to the pulsating beat of the Bronze's music. "C'mon, let's dance."
Hands linked, they went to join their friends on the dance floor.
"So, Dawn's away for another week?" Xander was trying to recover from the frenetic pace of the dancing. Keeping up with the Slayers was impossible. After only twenty minutes, they'd had to return to their table and recuperate. Willow and Tara looked just as tired, though he suspected they were leaning together for more than just strength. Unsurprisingly, Anya seemed completely unfazed by the strenuous dancing, and he knew he still had a long night ahead of him.
"Yeah. I wasn't sure if she'd like the realities of camping, but she called and she's having a great time," Buffy replied. "All of her friends are there, and there's plenty of parental supervision -- there's no way she can get into trouble. It's good for her to get away from life on the hellmouth, and learn more about the real world, too."
"Too bad. Anya and I wanted to take her to see that new movie, 'The New Guy'. You know, the one with the hot brunette," Xander blurted out before he could stop himself. Warily, he looked towards his girlfriend, and was relieved to find her engrossed in an argument occurring across the room from them...some woman was yelling at her boyfriend.
Faith laughed. "I told you that chick was hot, B!"
Buffy snorted in exasperation. "Actually Faith, what you said was, 'brunettes are hotties, check me out', and that, 'the lame-ass promoters are stupid not to capitalize on her obvious talents'."
"Well, I _am_ a hottie, aren't I?" Faith asked with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
"You know you are, baby," Buffy said, before kissing her.
This time, it was Faith's turn to moan.
The Scoobies spent hours dancing and catching up with each other, before heading for their homes. All of them enjoyed spending time together as a group, but the new responsibilities of adulthood meant they had fewer opportunities to do so.
Xander's construction job took up much of his time, and while it gave him the resources to move away from his family and to support himself and Anya, it meant he had less time to socialize with his old high school friends. Even still, he was always there when they needed him, whether it be in fighting evil, or for moral support.
Willow and Tara, too, were busy making a life for themselves independent of the others. They, along with Anya, worked at the Magic Shop, making a successful business of it by developing ties within the Wicca community. It was a wonderful network of supportive, like-minded individuals that neither woman had ever known before, and they loved the connections they made. They never neglected their oldest friends, but the business aspect of the Magic Shop consumed so much time, it was difficult to get away.
All of this resulted in it being some time since the Scoobies had last enjoyed a simple night out together as friends, without the pressure of vampire slaying, or demon hunting interfering with their fun.
Fortunately, it was the beginning of the summer season, and as was typical for Sunnydale, undead activity was slowing down. Big Bads intent on ending the world were minimal, and this allowed all of them a chance to relax.
Despite this, Buffy and Faith made a last round of patrol after bidding farewell to their friends. Of all their small group, they alone couldn't afford to take a night off, knowing that if they forfeited their duty, an innocent person might die. Perhaps there were fewer vampires lurking in the night, but even one could make a difference.
It was a huge responsibility, a burden, but one made lighter now that they shared it. Since becoming lovers, night patrols were a time they could share with each other, as much as it was a time for fighting the undead. Their easy banter mingled with deeper, meaningful talks of love and life, goals and dreams...slaying time was also Buffy and Faith time, and they made the most of it, no matter the circumstances.
That night it was quiet and they went home early. The next few days also passed uneventfully, giving them a chance to catch up with the day-to-day aspects of living. They spent the time together, enjoying the relative peace, loving the other. They still trained regularly, though, each knowing the importance of staying in peak condition.
"Missed me again, B!"
Buffy merely grunted in response. They were sparring in the basement, taking advantage of Dawn's absence to train uninterrupted from the comforts of home. Neither was tired, though they had been going steady for a solid hour. A faint sheen of perspiration was the only evidence of their exertions.
"Like I say, F, you've got to keep your focus on the whole picture." Buffy feinted again, and as Faith ducked her kick, she lashed out with an uppercut that caught Faith just below the chin.
"Why, you sneaky --" Faith flung herself at Buffy, launching a series of kicks and blows that had the blonde on the defensive. A leg sweep landed Buffy flat on her butt on the exercise mat, driving the breath from her. Before she could recover, Faith had straddled her and was holding her down. Faith grinned saucily, "Who wins now, B?"
"I do," Buffy replied, leaning up to capture Faith's lips with her own.
Minutes passed before Faith broke the kiss. "So, Dawn's gonna be back in a couple of days?" She was breathing heavily, one kiss from Buffy having done more damage to her equilibrium than the hour's workout. Their thighs pressed into each other.
"Yep." Buffy nuzzled Faith's neck.
"Guess we should make the most of our time then."
"Mmmhmm." Buffy mumbled in agreement, before pulling the dark Slayer down for another searing kiss. Her hands tangled in Faith's hair and she moaned as she felt Faith trace her fingers up under her shirt, along her stomach, before cupping her breasts.
Their training session was soon forgotten as they engaged in another form of vigorous, far more pleasant, exercise.
The next morning, Buffy woke up feeling incredibly refreshed. A wonderful mixture of laziness and complete relaxation suffused her body, and she sighed in contentment. As memories of the previous night came to her, a gentle warmth spread throughout, feeding her soul, and invigorating her. She turned to Faith, wanting to see the woman she loved, wanting to share these feelings with her.
Only, Faith wasn't in bed with her.
That, in itself, was a surprise. Often, Faith would wake before she did, the years in jail having given her the habit of early rising, but usually she waited for Buffy to wake up before they left to start the new day together.
Focusing her Slayer hearing, Buffy listened for sounds of Faith and heard the downstairs kitchen radio playing. She could just make out the lyrics of the song playing...'Underneath it All', by _No Doubt_, one of Faith's favourites.
//You know some real bad tricks
And you need some discipline
But lately you've been trying real hard
And giving me your best//
Buffy smiled at the words, thinking of how appropriate they were for Faith and her. When Faith had been released from prison, the two of them had patched up their relationship, something she'd never imagined possible when she was younger.
She still couldn't believe how far they had both come, to be able to let each other in, to love the other as much as they did...to accept each other's mistakes and move forward, not allowing their past to dictate their future. It had required the best from both of them.
And because of all that history they had to overcome, their triumph in reaching out to the other -- their love, their life together -- was so much sweeter, so much more cherished. Far more than anything she had ever known before.
Grabbing her robe, Buffy left their bed and went to join her mate.
//And you give me the most gorgeous sleep That I've ever had And when it's really bad I guess it's not that bad//
The scene that greeted Buffy was one she was completely unprepared for. There were papers all over the kitchen table, and Faith was nose deep in the midst of them.
"Hey, baby," Buffy smiled lazily at Faith, "What are you up to?"
Faith started in surprise at the unexpected voice. Looking up, she saw Buffy watching her from the doorway. "B! You're up early. I didn't want to wake you."
"Nah, I woke up on my own. I missed my favourite pillow." Buffy grinned naughtily.
Faith smirked. "Yeah, well, your 'pillow' woke up with a serious case of the munchies, and came down for some food. Must have built up quite the appetite, yesterday."
"Mmm," Buffy wrapped her arms around Faith, giving her a morning kiss. "I don't know what could have happened," she teased, "but I'm feeling a little peckish myself...is there any more food left, or did feeding your monster empty the cupboards?"
"Funny, B. There's tons of food, I made extra. Help yourself to bacon, eggs, waffles and home fries."
"God, I love you, Faith."
"You say that whenever I feed you." Faith's eyes rolled, but her lips curved upwards, betraying the happiness she felt when Buffy said those words.
Buffy shrugged, but her own eyes danced, "Can I help it if you're so good at...feeding?"
Buffy laughed. She always enjoyed their morning banter, their first bit of alone time before they left for their respective days...her, back to college, and Faith to the job she'd found. As she helped herself to breakfast, she asked, "So, tell me, what are all these papers?"
"Oh...um," Faith was uncharacteristically at a loss for words. "Well, you know...um, well, when your Mom passed away..." Faith paused as Buffy looked up at that, her expression becoming serious, "Uh, you know there are some debts that have built up."
"Yeah, I know," Buffy sighed. "I'm working them off, it's just gonna take a while, especially since I'm back part-time in college. I know I should probably skip school until I pay them off, but if I get a degree, I could earn a better salary with a better job..."
Faith interrupted, "College is important, B, and you've got the smarts for it, you should definitely go. We've talked about this, you know I support you.
"As far as the money issue goes..." Faith trailed off, fidgeting.
Buffy waited patiently.
"Uh, well...I've been looking into some things. You know when I got out of jail and came back to Sunnydale, I didn't know what I was going to do, except try my best to make up for all the bad stuff I did. I didn't have any plans except try to make things right with you and the Scoobies. Hell, I didn't even have a place to stay.
"And, you know, when I got into town one of...the Mayor's assistants recognized me, right off..."
Buffy tensed the minute Faith mentioned the Mayor.
"...set me up in my old apartment again. He gave me a bunch of papers, said the Boss had signed a lifetime lease to the apartment under my name, that it was mine for as long as I lived.
"I didn't have anywhere better to go, so I moved in. All my stuff was still there, too," Faith continued, looking nervous. Neither of them enjoyed talking of the time they were enemies, of when they had both made mistakes with each other that had nearly caused the other's death. "I didn't pay much attention to the guy, I was just glad to have a decent place to stay, without having to worry about how to foot the bills.
"Since then, I've made up with you, and the Scoobies. I have a steady job, and you've given me a place to stay in your home. I feel like I'm really settled. As settled as I've ever been. Living with you and Dawn has grounded me, and I feel good about myself. The first time I've felt that way in ages."
Faith took a deep breath.
"So, I was thinking about all the money problems -- you know, paying the taxes, and the electricity, and stuff. Dawn'll probably want to go to college, too, one day...and something occurred to me.
"I dug out the papers I got from the Boss' assistant. I've been looking over them the last few weeks. I even got a legal aid to give me some help going through them. The papers...well, they say I was the sole beneficiary of the Boss' estate."
Faith paused, letting that sink in.
"He set things up so that I'd have everything he had, 'cause he wouldn't need it after the Ascension. The Boss always was a thorough guy," Faith mused.
Buffy was still silent, trying to understand the implications of what Faith was telling her. Faith had inherited the Mayor's estate. Faith was...rich? Buffy was overwhelmed with the new information. She was reeling, mentally. She needed more coffee.
Faith waited, but Buffy was still not saying a word; she looked a bit stunned, but Faith couldn't tell if that was because of what she was saying, or because the caffeine hadn't kicked in yet. Damn it. She knew it wasn't a good idea to discuss this first thing in the morning, but Buffy had snuck up on her, and before she could stop herself, she'd started spilling everything before having the chance to think it through. All she could do now was plough forward, and hope it didn't blow up in her face.
"B, there's a lot of money. And I wouldn't touch it, if I thought it'd lead me bad again. But I can't go wrong with you, B. I've been thinking...we can use that money to pay off the debts left over from your Mom's death. Maybe set up a trust fund for Dawnie. I'd want her to be okay if anything ever happened to us."
"I mean, I like my job, and I do okay by it...but you know slaying doesn't make it easy to keep a job an' all, especially when we get hurt -- no employer would keep someone on the payroll that's always calling in sick, or getting banged up so they can't work.
"Having the Mayor's money available would be like a back-up fund, just-in-case money. Not something we'd take advantage of, but there if we need it."
//You're really lovely underneath it all
You want to love me underneath it all
I'm really lucky underneath it all
You're really lovely//
"Uh, B? Say something."
Silence. Faith was completely unnerved. Almost terrified. When was the last time Buffy had remained silent for more than ten minutes? The seconds ticked by slowly. Faith fidgeted nervously in her seat.
"God, Faith." Finally Buffy spoke, and Faith flinched slightly in surprise.
Buffy was stunned. Faith had inherited Richard Wilkins III's estate. Faith's father figure, the one that had caused them to become enemies, the man/big-snake-thing Buffy had killed on graduation day...had left her his earthly goods.
And Faith hadn't even considered just taking the Mayor's money and running, or living it up. Instead, she had carefully thought it over and was offering to share the dead demon's wealth, use it to pay off her accumulated debts, ease the financial burdens of the Summers family. No more running from bankers.
"Faith...this is...you did this...decided this on your own...it's...wow...." Buffy was still in shock. "I love you for this."
Faith nearly passed out in relief over Buffy's reaction.
"...how did...are you sure you want to..." Buffy continued randomly, speaking the words running through her head, "...it's a lot of money."
"Yeah, but I want you to have it. Us to have it. It makes sense. As Slayers, with our wicked hours, it's tough to earn a living. This way, if nothing else works out, we're not stuck."
"I love you..."
"B?" Faith was thrown. "Wh--what?"
Buffy was surprised, herself, but the words had just come out. And they felt right, to her. Everything Faith had said, all that was happening, was reverberating in her heart. She wasn't sure of anything, her thoughts were a maelstrom, but it felt right. "I mean it, Faith...I love you. I want to marry you."
Faith found herself at a loss for words, again. Twice, in under half and hour. It had to be a first.
"B...you don't have to...y'know, say that, ask me to marry you because of this. I want you to have the money, no strings, or nothin'...just because."
"Faith, it's not about your inheritance, I wouldn't marry you for that. God, Faith, it's about _us_. I love you. This money stuff...it just shows me how much I love you. Not because of the money, but because of _you_."
Buffy was searching her soul to find the right words, talking to herself as much as Faith, needing for them both to hear and understand why she'd proposed.
"Faith, you could go anywhere with the Mayor's money, could have anything you wanted. But you haven't even thought of that. Instead, you're offering to use it to make our lives better, me and Dawn's. You're thinking of how to use it to make the responsibility we share, slaying, easier.
"Not that long ago, you might have just taken the money and run. But you're not that woman anymore, the one that'd only look out for herself -- instead, your first thoughts are of others. You've changed so much. And I love the woman you are now -- I want to share the rest of my life with you. I don't ever want us to be apart.
"I mean it when I say I want to marry you. Please say 'yes'."
"B...I...I..." Faith stammered. The old doubts were creeping in. She loved Buffy, there was no doubt of that, but her track record was abysmal. She was an ex-con, had a prison a record...hardly someone to be proud of. She didn't deserve marriage with the golden Slayer. "I'm...not good for the long run. You deserve someone who can make you happy, be good to you, share your dreams and make them come true."
"No, B. You know I love you, love everything about you...but marriage...that's something you should save for someone who deserves you. Someone who won't make you cry. Someone who hasn't tried to screw over. God, Buffy, I'm an ex-con, I've killed people!"
"And you've paid for those crimes. You did everything I asked of you back then...even though I had no right to demand it of you, not when I never gave you a real chance in the first place.
"I know jail was rough on you. I know it's changed you." Buffy paused, unsure of the reaction her next words would generate. "I hear you whimpering at night, I hear you murmur in your sleep about the guards, the other prisoners."
Faith tensed, but Buffy went on speaking. Every word Faith had uttered to dissuade her just convinced Buffy more and more of how much she was sure she wanted her.
"Faith, do you know what I dream of?"
Faith shook her head.
"Let me tell you what I dream of. I dream of the two of us living together happily. Sharing our lives and our love. The Chosen Two. Us. Forever.
"I dream of waking in your arms, of holding you in bed, of making love with you until we both collapse from exhaustion. And then loving just a little bit more.
"I dream of having you by my side when I win, of sharing my joy with the one I love the most...I dream of leaning on your strength when I lose, and the world gets me down."
Buffy paused, making sure Faith was looking at her. She needn't have worried -- Faith couldn't look away.
"Faith, I dream of us." Taking the brunette's hands in her own, she continued softly, "I want there to always be an 'us'. Please, say 'yes'. Say you'll marry me."
Faith looked away from Buffy's eyes, torn. She wanted Buffy so much, wanted everything Buffy did, but she was so afraid...she didn't want to screw up the blonde's life, the way she had her own. She'd messed up so many times. Faith's thoughts were racing and she didn't know what to do.
She closed her eyes as Buffy's fingers came up to trace her cheek, calming her. Faith took a deep breath and listened to her heart. Feeling Buffy's touch upon her, the answer came to her like an epiphany, and it was one that warmed her soul. It wasn't so hard after all.
Faith opened her eyes, looking deep into the hazel eyes of her lover. There was nothing to be afraid of.
"Yes," Faith said, "I love you, B. Yes."
Buffy's smile lit up her face as she gazed at Faith. Her life partner. Her dark Slayer. Her everything.
They stood together, smiles on both their faces. Holding hands, gazing into the other's eyes, they knew their lives were just beginning.
And it would be good. No, not simply good...it would be wonderful.
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