PART ONE: 25th December 2003
Chapter One: Waking Up Is Hard To Do
Buffy stared at the ceiling as she heard the house wake up around her. She hadn't done the clichéd thing and stayed awake all night berating herself over the distress she'd caused her dark counter-part and pining for her return. She'd wanted to, but the day before had been a long one with much exercise and she'd been asleep before she could get started on a good brood.
She had woken up while it was still dark out though, which showed she cared, surely.
Normally she liked being up early to get the breakfast started and grab a hot shower and, when the world wasn't buried under a blanket of white, to go for a run.
She couldn't be bothered this morning. What was the point? She really didn't want to spend her Christmas day getting looked at funny by the rest of the house. Not that she could blame them. If she was one of them, she'd be looking at her funny too. Last nights shambles must have really spun they're heads. Finding out about her and Faith like that. At all. She hadn't exactly helped them by running up the stairs when she should have stayed to explain.
There was nothing to explain any more. She'd made sure of that. Faith could be anywhere by now and Buffy was pretty sure she wouldn't be coming back in any kind of a hurry.
Faith had trusted her with her feelings, something the blonde knew was impossibly hard for the brunette, and Buffy had offered hers in return, only to snatch them back at the first hurdle.
She hadn't meant to imply that what she was doing with Faith was a mistake, because she didn't think it was. It was just that she didn't want her friends standing around discussing what she was doing, or had been doing seconds before, with Faith. She'd been embarrassed at being caught with her pants down, literally. It had taken her so long to work up the courage to act on her feelings for the younger woman; she hadn't been ready for the next leap of telling her friends.
She sighed and rolled over in bed.
It was all over now anyway. Another failed relationship under her belt. This one before it even got started. She was good, you couldn't deny that.
Maybe Faith being gone was for the best. Maybe the idea of them being together was better off just staying an idea. Buffy didn't have the first clue of being with another woman, and not just the sex stuff either. Although that was pretty daunting, seeing as how it would undoubtedly have involved Buffy doing more than laying back and enjoying Faith's fingers and ...oh God, that tongue!
What about dating? She'd been on plenty of dates, she knew how the rituals went, but was dating a girl different? Who pulled out whose chair? ‘Cause if you did it for each other that would just be weird.
Who paid for dinner? Who opened car doors? Who kissed who goodnight on the step? She figured it would be Faith, but what if Faith figured it would be her.
Maybe these things would happen naturally, but what if they didn't? What if Buffy broke some big, lesbian etiquette rule and got kicked out of the club before her membership even went through?
Buffy rolled onto her other side and huffed: "Why am I feeling so bad anyway? Faith's the one who ran off like a big baby without even waiting for me to finish what I was saying." And did she want to apply for membership? Well she supposed she already had. Wasn't there just a Faith club? It was Faith she was interested in, not lesbians.
Her logic was starting to resemble Xander's.
Maybe it would be better if Faith just stayed gone. She could start a new life somewhere. Buffy had always thought it was a little strange that the brunette had willingly chosen to live with them all once they settled in Cleveland. Of course, it seemed less strange to her now she was in possession of all the facts.
Her friends would forget about all this in a day or two and put it down to another Buffy-breakdown. She wouldn't correct them and they could all move on with their lives again and Buffy was sure she would eventually forget just how good Faith could make her feel. Not everyone could make you feel horny and special at the same time. This was a shame because it meant Buffy would probably have to wait a long time for someone else with those abilities to come along.
"Well, until that day, I'm staying right here." She decided, burrowing further into her blankets and duvets.
A few loud thumps came from her bedroom door.
"Buffy's not here!" She yelled from beneath her covers.
The door opened and she poked her head out.
"I know I heard you." Dawn bounced in the doorway. "Come on, it's present time and Giles said I can't open any until you get down there."
"Go ahead and start without me." Buffy went under again; it was cold with the door open. "I'll be down for New Year."
"Buffy come on, it's Christmas. You can't stay in bed all day." Dawn whined.
"Yes I can, watch me. In fact don't watch me, just go and enjoy the day, I'm fine."
"Look if this is about last night, everyone's over it, so just get up already."
"Well good for everyone, but I'm still not getting up yet."
It was supposed to be that easy, was it? Faith was the first person she'd liked since Sp...Sunnydale and now she was gone, just like that, and everyone else was over it so she had to be too. Thanks a lot guys. Couldn't they even give her one day to mope and sulk and eat ice-cream? Shit, they didn't have any ice-cream. Buffy peeked out of the covers enough to see the window. Maybe she could pour chocolate sauce over the snow and eat that.
"Okay, well you leave me no choice," Dawn came fully into the room and jumped onto the bed, "and just you remember that when the Slayer tries to take over."
"What?" Buffy's head popped back into view turtle-like and she frowned at her younger sister standing on the end of her bed.
Dawn began jumping up and down by Buffy's feet making the bed bounce continuously.
"Dawn! Get off!"
"Nope, not until you get up."
The teenager kept up the bouncing for about five minutes, until she was breathless and panting and Buffy finally gave a yell of defeat and leapt out of the bed to tackle Dawn and tickle her mercilessly.
"I'm gonna make you regret that." Buffy promised as she dug her sharp fingers into her sister's sides.
"At least you're out of bed." Dawn yelped between giggling fits and trying to wriggle away.
Buffy let her go and got up to pull on her robe. "Fine. I'll come down, have breakfast, scowl at everyone, open presents and put the dinner on. Then I'm coming back to bed."
Dawn followed her out of the room. "As long as you don't forget the dinner part then that suits me."
She wandered down the stairs grumpily, really not wanting to face everyone just yet and see the questions in their eyes. What did you do to make Faith run off? Or what did Faith do to make her run off? Either one she wasn't up to answering.
"Morning guys." Buffy greeted everyone as she walked into the kitchen and looked around at them all. She stopped on her way to the refrigerator, her eyes opening wide as she took in an unexpected face at the table. "Faith!"
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