"You're not going to tell Buffy are you?"
Faith laughed at the question and nearly didn't bother answering. It wasn't her problem the chick fucked before she thought. Satsu looked so scared though it almost broke her heart, yunno, if her heart could still be broken with all the sticky-tape holding it together.
"You think I want my ass a brand new shape?"
"Is she stronger than you then?" The young slayer asked as she zipped up her hoody and slipped into her sneakers. "Like you're stronger than me?"
"Hell no!" But then Faith thought about it and shrugged. "She can't take me on a usual day but let's just say I've seen first hand the edge rage gives her and I've learned to respect it."
Satsu smiled and it was full of love-sick hope. "So you really think she'd be angry about this?"
Faith gave her the look she reserved for idiots. "Yeah, I do."
The smile grew.
"Don't let that get your hopes up though."
"Just means the bitch is possessive, nothing else."
"I said okay."
"You did." Faith looked around and then down, running her hands down her sides as she checked that she'd dressed herself properly and hadn't left her panties lying on the floor or something. She was good. "Okay, catch ya later, babe."
She left without looking back.
With any luck Satsu would have the sense to keep practising her apple slicing skills - she sure as hell needed to - for a while so they wouldn't arrive downstairs at the same time. She was probably just being paranoid, the castle was teeming with newbies after all and she didn't know for sure if Buffy would notice one missing.
She didn't want to play those odds though. Not when she was totally aware of just how royally she'd screwed the pooch. She hadn't been lying about how Buffy would react but she'd been scaring Satsu unnecessarily, because if the blonde found out about them the worse she could expect, probably, was more of the cold shoulder she was already getting. Faith would be the one taking all the heat.
"I really didn't think that one through," she muttered as she went down some dimly lit steps that led to the Great Hall.
But then did she ever? She'd vowed to stay off of Buffy's radar while she was stuck in Scotland, and then what? She'd screwed her ex the first chance she got. She stifled a laugh as she passed a couple of witches in the passage. It was kinda funny but not what even she'd call sensible.
It was Giles' fault! She'd come up with every reason she could think of not to come to this stupid Slayer Assessment week, to the point of practically begging, but he'd insisted. And because she trusted him now in a way she'd rarely trusted anyone before, she'd let herself be talked into it.
"You're a slayer, you deserve to be there," he'd said.
Why? She didn't need any assessing, especially not from Buffy of all people.
"You're needed there, to help with the assessment, and to help keep the hundreds of girls in line," he'd said next.
Why? She already had her work cut out bringing all the less than people-friendly slayers into line.
"It will show you are willing to extend an olive branch to Buffy."
Why would she want to do that? Okay, so Faith had done the strangling and the nearly drowning the last time they'd met, but Buffy had started it with all her name calling and the nearly fucking up her mission!
"Buffy personally requested that I find some way of convincing you to attend."
Eventually he'd shown her the email: 'We're having a Slayer Assessment Week. It's kind of a big deal. Please come. Bring Faith. She should be here.'
It wasn't quite the hearts and flowers Giles had made it out to be but it had been enough to get her on board.
She was starting to think Giles had added the last couple of sentences himself though seeing as Buffy had barely looked her way since they'd arrived. She'd had this big tearful reunion with Giles and afterwards Faith had gotten a curt nod.
For that reason she'd been keeping out of Buffy's way, and why she'd been wandering around alone upstairs when she'd happened upon Satsu. So really . . . it was Buffy's fault Faith had screwed her chick.
Faith was chuckling again as she entered the Great Hall, she could just imagine B's response to that argument.
"Oh, I'm sorry I made you boink my girlfriend. Let me just punch your nose inside out as an apology."
Faith knew it didn't matter that Satsu wasn't actually her girlfriend anymore. She was still Buffy's and that meant she should have known better than to touch. Buffy probably would have gone ape-shit just to learn they'd been talking, let alone getting naked with each other.
Too late to worry about it now though. The deed was done, and it had been worth the risk. As long as it stayed quiet Faith didn't have any regrets. It was kinda pathetic but doing Buffy's ex . . . well, same as all the other times she'd done it, or tried to do it, it was a connection to B herself, and the closest she would ever get to . . . yeah, okay, kinda pathetic didn't cover just how pitiable it was. Still, in a moment of truth, the need in Satsu had called out to the need in her, even if it was someone else they both actually wanted.
The Great Hall was chaos as usual. There must have been two hundred girls in there having some kind of gymnastics tournament - there was a lot of cart-wheeling and twirling going on anyway.
Faith stood by the edge pretending to be interested. After all, she was supposed to be assessing these girls too, right? They all looked clumsy to her. She knew they were slayers, and trained ones at that, but she also knew she could cartwheel rings around them. If she was the kinda chick who cart-wheeled just for fun. Buffy was that kinda chick.
She wondered if Satsu was. She'd been really intent on training herself with the sword upstairs, where as most of these girls seemed happier to hang out and mess around while they were here. Like it was a vacation and not a serious learning opportunity. Faith didn't know where Satsu was on the slayer ladder so far - working with just Giles, that hierarchy stuff didn't interest her - but if she was asked to score these newbies later just on what she'd seen so far, Satsu would be getting the highest one.
Faith barked out another laugh. Satsu had already scored with the two highest ranking chicks here. The only way to get a higher grade would be to do both of them at once! The laughter died out but the smile remained as that thought took her to a good place.
"What's funny? Did one of them fall?"
The sound of Buffy's voice just inches from her ear made Faith's eyes go wide and she tensed up all over. It was the first time Buffy had spoken to her since she'd arrived and why did it have to be while she was in the middle of an extremely dirty fantasy about her and her ex-girlfriend?
"Uh, no. Just . . ." She was too on edge to come up with a suitable lie to explain her laughter. ". . . you know?"
Somehow that worked. "Yeah. Can you imagine us doing this at their age?"
Faith was still staring blindly at the middle of the room but when it was clear Buffy wasn't going away, she turned her body slightly towards her.
"So I wanted to say thanks for coming."
"I didn't think you would," Buffy admitted. "Not with the way things were left between us."
"You mean after you called me a murderer and accused me of betraying you and then I tried to drown you in a swimming pool?"
"Uh, yes, after that."
Faith shrugged, "Who even knew they had swimming pools in England, huh?"
Buffy smiled cautiously, "It was definitely my first experience of them."
Faith looked back out at the girls, not that she was really seeing them, they were just a blur of colour in front of her eyes. "You know I wasn't actually trying to drown you."
"You weren't?" Buffy's voice sounded so hopeful that Faith had to give up her pretence of nonchalance.
"They were trying to kill you, B! That's why they magicked you there. I was just trying to come up with a plan on the spur of the moment to keep ya safe."
"And drowning me was that plan?"
Faith shrugged, "I admit it ain't the best one I've ever had."
Buffy laughed softly.
"Plus you were being a fucking bitch at the time which made it seem like a good plan."
She'd expected the comment to make Buffy angry. In fact she'd kinda been counting on it. She wanted her to storm off in a huff because her being so close and talking amicably was driving Faith nuts.
Surprisingly, Buffy just chuckled again. "Yeah, I leapt on the wrong conclusion and hung on tight. Nothing new there."
Faith just nodded because her attention was suddenly elsewhere. Satsu had just slipped into the room right behind Buffy. The girl had done good, left it half an hour before making an appearance, and it wasn't her fault that Faith was still standing just a foot from the door. It also wasn't her fault that Buffy had decided that moment to come over and make peace. And it definitely wasn't her fault that Faith saw her arriving and couldn't stop herself from watching her walk around the edge of the hall.
Even though none of that was Satsu's fault, Faith still wanted to kick her ass for it. Especially when Buffy noticed her fixed gaze and followed it.
They weren't touching but she still felt Buffy stiffen when she spotted Satsu, like it was an extension of her own uneasiness. Buffy quickly jerked her eyes from the girl and now she was doing Faith's trick of staring ahead at nothing.
Faith just couldn't help herself. "Everything okay? You look like you just saw a ghost, or yunno, something scarier than a ghost. Like a mortgage bill or something."
"No, neither of those."
Tight-lipped, Buffy muttered, "Just an ex."
Faith looked over to where Satsu had found her own spot to lean against the wall. There was only one man over there . . . and she was using that term very loosely.
"You fucked Andrew?"
"No!" Buffy shouted, before looking around in embarrassment and lowering her voice. "Of course not!"
"Then who?" Faith knew she was walking a dangerous line, but it was fun to see Buffy squirm like this.
The blonde sighed, "Oh, God! But you're gonna hear it from somebody else anyway, right? I had a, uh, fling, sort of, with, um, one of the . . . the slayers."
"You used one of the slayers to scratch an itch?" Faith pretended to be shocked. "B! You little ho!"
"It wasn't like that!" Buffy insisted strongly, making Faith think she'd had this argument before. "I had feelings for her! Just because I didn't fall madly in love with her doesn't mean I used her."
"Hey, ya don't have to explain yourself to me."
"No, I don't," Buffy answered hotly before letting the attitude go. "I guess I'm just used to everyone else expecting me to."
"So which one?" Faith asked; although it was pointless because Satsu was staring hard at them now, looking worried.
Buffy had noticed the staring too and was deliberately keeping her face turned away. "The hot one with the awesome hair . . ." she stabbed a finger subtly towards the staring girl. ". . . over there."
When Faith grinned, Buffy did too, although she also went pink to the tips of her ears.
"I know, right? But I had to end it."
Genuinely curious, she asked, "Why?"
"Satsu, that's her name by the way, was in love with me and . . . I didn't know if I'd ever feel the same. I couldn't lead her on so I had to let her go. It all worked out for the best. She's leading the Tokyo squad now." Buffy ducked her head as she muttered, "So her getting over me is obviously a good thing."
So Satsu was already a squad leader, proving that Faith's assessment of these girls so far was spot on. She was better at this than she'd thought she would be. Her guess at Buffy's feelings though, not so much. There was definitely more playing beneath the surface than she'd figured from Satsu's account of their relationship.
She looked over at the Satsu again, feeling safe to be brazen about it now that Buffy had given her reason to, and found the girl staring straight back at her. It was possible that the younger slayer was just trying to guess what she was saying to the love of her life, but to Faith it looked like something more. With her dark eyes focused intently on them, Satsu looked hungry, but Faith didn't have a clue right now which one of them she was thinking about eating.
Faith turned her gaze back to the middle of the hall, a slight smirk on her lips and a knot of desire forming low in her body once more as she wondered just how much trouble this situation could get her into.
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