Damned If I Don't, Damned If I Do
Part Three of The Damned Series


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PART ELEVEN: 2nd to 5th October 2004
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Chapter Two: Take Your Pleasure From My Pain

Buffy was leaning against the doorframe, facing into their dark bedroom with a fresh beer in her hand and when Toni came quickly into the villa, shutting the door behind her.

"Are you okay?"

Buffy shook her head. She hadn't meant to hit her like that, yet she couldn't deny it had felt great to let some of her anger out through her fist; and the look of surprise on Faith's face had felt even better.

She glanced over her shoulder before Toni could fully close the door. "You might as well leave that open."

"Why?" Toni came to stand behind her, arms slipping around her waist.

Buffy laid her head back on her shoulder. "You'll see."

Almost at once Faith appeared in the doorway behind them. Buffy tilted her head up to catch Toni's eye with an 'I-told-you-so' look but otherwise didn't move from the comforting embrace. She would have to soon enough but she wasn't going to jump to attention just because Faith had showed up. No way. Perhaps this was just another round of their 'game' but if so, they were playing by her rules now.

Toni sighed, whispering, "I should have closed and locked the door."

"She'd have just come through the window," she whispered back, smiling.

Faith didn't wait to be invited in. She stood in the middle of the room, waiting for Buffy to say something or at least acknowledge that she was there. When Buffy didn't do either she slammed the door shut to get their attention.

"What the fuck was that about?"

"You know exactly what it was about."

"Couldn't you have waited until we were at least in fuckin' private?"

Buffy finally moved from Toni's arms and faced Faith in the living room. "No, Faith, I couldn't. I was in the moment. This bad, horrible moment that seeing you took me back to!"

"Oh, come on," Faith sighed, way too casually. "It's not like I fuckin' dumped you or anything!"

Buffy lunged violently for Faith without warning. Luckily Toni was still standing close enough to feel her tense and was quick enough and strong enough to hold her back.

"No, you didn't dump me. You just left me!" Her voice came out strangled in her effort to keep her emotions in check. "And now you want to go back to me being your dirty little secret!"

Faith backed off with her hands up. "Chill the hell out, B."

"Chill out?" She tried to lunge again but Toni had a good grip on her.

"Perhaps, Faith, you should go for a while."

"No," Faith said defiantly.

And Buffy snapped, "She's not going anywhere!"

Toni sighed and shrugged before releasing Buffy's arms into the wild. She took the bottle of beer from her too - either for Faith's safety or maybe just because she was thirsty - and then sat down on the couch watching them.

Buffy rolled her shoulders, forcing herself to calm down as she glared at Faith.

Faith stared warily back, shrugging in confusion. "What the hell, B?"

"What the hell? What the hell did you think was gonna happen when you arrived, Faith?"

"I, uh..." Faith hesitated, before angrily whispering. "You know exactly what I thought was gonna happen!"

"What? That I was going to fuck you the second you walked in the door?"

Faith's eyes darted past her to Toni for a split second in warning. "Buffy!"

Buffy suddenly felt really tired; and cheated out of time with her friends. They should never have tried to deal with this tonight. Mind you, they wouldn't have had to if she hadn't punched Faith in the face. Then again, they also wouldn't have had to if Faith had just waited to speak to her on the phone when she arrived, like Buffy had explicitly asked her to.

"Toni knows," she said, in no mood to complicate her night with more lies.

"What?"

"Toni knows all about our two-day deal."

"What?" Faith said again, louder. "This is you being fuckin' discreet?"

Buffy shrugged. "I told her as soon as I got off the phone from you. Toni's my girlfriend, I love her." Seeing the hurt flash in Faith's eyes didn't mean a whole lot right now. "And I'm not going to keep a secret like that from her."

"But you agreed to it," Faith said quickly as if that would get her back the upper hand.

"I know she did," Toni gave the power back to Team: Buffy.

"And you're okay with that?" Faith sounded caught between surprised and completely lost.

"No." Toni stood and joined them again. "But it is only two days, si? I can put aside my own feelings for that time if it is important to Buffy."

"Really?"

"Yeah, Faith, some people can actually act mature, you know?"

"What like you did out there, ya mean?" Faith snapped, rubbing her bruised jaw.

"I was..." Buffy hesitated, rubbing her fingers over her brow a few times to force the ranting and raving back inside before continuing. "You really hurt me, Faith."

"I know that!" Faith half-shouted at her. "I know I did. I'm sorry I did. But..." she shook her head resignedly. "... that doesn't mean I didn't make the right call."

"You didn't make the right call!"

"Really?" Faith sneered in Toni's direction. "Only you don't seem all that heartbroken with my decision."

Buffy just shrugged again; not prepared to give her the satisfaction or Toni the pain of admitting just how heartbroken she actually was and glad Faith hadn't seen her those first few days when she hadn't been able to stop crying.

Silence stretched between them, getting more uncomfortable by the second. Faith seemed about to speak several times but never quite got a word out. Buffy went from looking everywhere but at her to finding her eyes drawn to Faith's over and over, no matter how hard she tried to fight the impulse; knowing her eyes were probably saying more than she wanted them to right now.

Toni softly broke the silence. "I think I will give the two of you some time alone to talk."

Buffy nodded, barely registering the words. Her gaze was caught in Faith's now, like a fish hook in her eyeball, and she was being reeled inexorably closer. She was hardly aware of her feet moving - or of Faith stepping closer too although she obviously was - and she knew she still looked angry but as her breathing picked up and she swallowed against sudden nervous dryness in her mouth, Faith was only a couple of dangerous inches away.

Toni had been halfway to the bedroom but reading their body language, or more likely sensing the arousal suddenly thickening the air between them, she turned smartly on her heel and went back to the couch with a cheerfully brittle smile.

"Actually, I think will stay."

Buffy turned her head enough to offer a wry grin, Toni answered it with a smirk. Faith just sighed in frustration.

Buffy tried to keep it business-like as she reached up and touched the small bruise on Faith's chin. "Does it hurt?"

"Not really."

"Pity."

Her fingertips were lingering on Faith's face; Faith's hands had inched forward to rest on her stomach. They were drawing closer without even realizing it, and then even when they did realize it, stopping seemed to be impossible. Faith was Elmer Fudd with an industrial strength horseshoe magnet and she was Bugs Bunny in a full suit of armour. The laws of physics weren't going to be happy until they were connected all down one side. Buffy was opting for frontside to frontside, or at least some part of her obviously was.

Another part of her kicked in when there was barely breathing space between them and she forced herself to hold still, trying out the thinking before acting thing that other people swore by. Couldn't be done, not with Faith so close, the look in her eyes rapidly melting the icy core of Buffy's broken-hearted wrath. She was about to lean that extra little distance when she realized what she was doing, or rather who she was doing it in front of. Alarmed, she turned to Toni so suddenly that Faith actually jumped in surprise.

Toni was already staring at her and not looking impressed. She didn't say a word, waiting for Buffy to speak first.

Buffy's hesitant words came out clumsily. "I, uh... um... do you...damn...uh, do you mind?"

Toni held her gaze and said softly, "Yes I mind. How could I not mind?"

Buffy nodded and then did the hardest thing she could remember doing in a while. She stepped back from Faith and slipped her hands into her pants' pockets to keep them from misbehaving. For a moment she couldn't look up from the floor. Meeting Faith's eyes might mean giving in, regardless of Toni, and looking at Toni - well, she didn't want Toni to see exactly what she was feeling right then.

"What about if we went for a walk?" Faith said, thinking on her feet.

Buffy shook her head. "It's after ten."

"So? You gotta curfew now?"

Buffy grinned suddenly. "Yes, actually."

"Huh." Faith didn't ask about it. "So what then? We all gonna sit and have a nice cup of tea together, or should I just go?"

"Not tea, but maybe a beer?" Buffy didn't want her to leave right away no matter how weird things were.

The only alcoholic drink in the room was her beer from before. Toni was still holding it and as soon as Buffy spoke, she lifted it to her lips and downed the contents in one. Buffy sighed silently, figuring that was Toni's cue she didn't want Faith staying for a drink. She couldn't exactly blame her or fault her for her attitude even if it was annoying.

So she was surprised when Toni stood and said, "I will fetch us some bottles from Xander and Willow's villa." As she came closer, Buffy stepped automatically into her arms. "I will probably be gone five minutes, but only five minutes."

Buffy nodded, smiling gratefully as she placed a gentle kiss on Toni's lips. "Okay."

Buffy waited until Toni had shut the door behind her before running a hand through her hair and turning to Faith.

"What did all that mean?" Faith asked, not having heard Toni's whispers properly.

"It means we have five minutes," she said, wrapping her arms around Faith's waist and kissing her before any more time was wasted asking questions.

Oh, God, and it felt as good as ever. Why did it have to? She hated that! Okay, she loved it too, but right now she hated it. A bad kiss would have been a good sign that they were over. A good kiss... this kiss... just made that hard to believe, which wasn't gonna help two days from now.

It felt like it had been way longer than a week and a half since they'd last been this close. It was, as cliched as it sounded, like coming home. Like tasting water after a long drought. Like kissing the person she was supposed to kiss forever. And she didn't want to stop. She wanted to push Faith through bedroom door and take her on the hard mattress without any thought or foreplay. Two days was never gonna be enough time to say goodbye, because she never wanted to say goodbye to this. Never.

Without breaking their lip-lock she pulled Faith forward instead, walking backwards herself until she felt the edge of the couch against her legs. She sat down, pulling Faith next to her. They parted then, just for one deep breath as they adjusted themselves more comfortably and then she dived back in. Her tongue slid into Faith's mouth as she dragged a hand slowly from Faith's waist up her body, over a breast without lingering and up to her neck before pushing it into Faith's hair.

As her tongue flicked over Faith's, feeling Faith's hands dig into her back as she tried to pull her even closer, her brain started an unconscious countdown in her head. By the time she heard footsteps on the path outside, her lips were already inching reluctantly away.

Toni actually knocked once, hard, before opening the door. She stopped on the threshold for a moment watching them. Buffy shifted on the couch away from Faith, surreptitiously wiping her lips. Faith was staring hard at the far wall, hardly even noticing her entrance. Seeming happy that no items of clothing were missing or loosened, Toni came deeper into the room.

"So," she began, holding two open bottles out to them. "Your friends are very curious as to what is happening in here."

"You didn't tell them?" Buffy checked quickly.

"What would I have said? That my girlfriend is kissing another woman while I fetch them both drinks?" As Buffy looked away, she added, "Be thankful that might be more than my pride can take."

When Buffy didn't say anything, Faith gave a shrug and said, "Thanks, then, I guess."

Toni gave a soft, scornful laugh and drank half of her own bottle down in one. Buffy watched her, concerned. Toni could handle her drink no problem but she wasn't usually a guzzler. It would probably be a good idea to go to her, show a little girlfriend solidarity, but she wasn't ready to leave the excited tension radiating from Faith yet. Besides, Toni didn't exactly look like she really wanted to be approached.

She had to say something, though. "So what did you tell them?"

"That you were arguing. They believed that readily enough. They also had no difficulty believing that I did not know what was going on. In fact they were quick to assure me that it was about something trivial, something I should not worry about it. It is strange, do you not think, that they should be so sure of the details of an argument that I invented? I wonder what it is they felt they needed to protect me from, hmm?"

"You really gotta wonder that, you're more stupid than B gives you credit for, Tone."

"Faith! Don't make this more awkward than it already is."

Toni gave that little laugh again and finished her bottle. When it was empty she looked like she wanted to hurl it at the wall, or at Faith, or maybe at her, but she kept hold of it, her knuckles going white as she gripped the glass.

"I'm not the one being all sarcastic!" A look from Buffy made Faith sit heavily back on the couch with a frustrated sigh.

"Look, this is a weird sitch and we're all a little mad at each other right now, but can we please just not deal with it tonight? I'm already beyond tired but despite that I'd really like to spend another hour or so with my friends before we all go to bed."

Toni and Faith stared at her wide-eyed.

"Before Toni and I go to bed," she clarified. "And before you go to wherever your bed is, Faith."

"Fine. I came here to get married anyway, not bitch with you two."

Buffy ignored the comeback and looked hopefully at Toni.

She gave a tiny shrug and nodded. "As you wish."

"No, not as I wish. You have to be okay with it too. Or else..." she stopped herself from glancing at Faith in case she lost her resolve. "... we'll just go to bed right now and I'll see my friends in the morning."

Toni was about to retort something less than friendly until she really saw the look in Buffy's eyes. She set her bottle on the side and ran a hand through her hair as she took a calming breath, and then nodded again.

"I am okay with it." She turned her attention to Faith again. "Your friends are anxious to see you. They are upset they didn't even get a chance to say hello properly."

Faith smirked, "Yeah, well they can blame B's fist for that one. Should we all go back to the party then?"

Buffy slumped against the back the couch. "I can't be bothered to move. Make them come to us."

"They all just had ten hour flights but you're the one who can't be bothered to move?" Faith asked, laughing lightly.

Even Toni grinned.

"They're all out of whack with the time zones. They'll have energy for hours!" When that didn't seem to sway either of them, she pouted instead.

"Jeez," Faith groaned but started to get up. "I'll go get 'em."

Toni caught the spilt second where Buffy's pout got unwittingly poutier and groaned herself.

"I will go. The next two days are going to be worse than Hades," she added to no one in particular. At the door she turned to look Buffy in the eye. "Five minutes."

Buffy nodded, hopefully not too eagerly.

"Grab some beer too," Faith called out as the door was shutting. "Your girlfriend's so cool, B," she added in a sarcastic gush.

"Don't mock it," Buffy warned as she scooted closer to her. "Anyway, where's your fiance?"

"I'll tell you in five minutes," Faith promised as Buffy began teasing her with feather light kisses.

Faith wound an arm around her neck so she could hold her still and kiss her properly.

"All of this... doesn't mean I'm not still mad at you." Buffy told her between kisses as she turned a little, resting a leg over Faith's knee.

"In that case..." Faith pulled her leg a little higher so she could slide both hands around to her ass. "...I hope you stay mad at me for a real long time."

Buffy got lost in the way Faith's tongue was fluttering over hers for a moment and in response she swung her leg completely over Faith until she was straddling her thighs.

"It doesn't mean I've forgiven you," she said when she could think once more. "At all."

"Who cares," Faith mumbled, capturing her lips again.

Buffy pulled back to look at her with a frown.

Faith shrugged. "It's just two days, B."

"Yeah, but..."

"So you haven't forgiven me. You're still prepared to do this for the next two days. After that you're never planning on seeing me again anyway, right? So it doesn't really matter if you forgive me or not."

Buffy continued to frown at her. Everything she'd said made sense, but that didn't make it right! Faith should want her forgiveness. Wasn't that her big thing these days? Working towards absolution. Obviously breaking her heart didn't rate as high on the bad things she'd done scale as Buffy would have thought.

"B, we have like two minutes and counting here. So are you gonna spend them staring at me or are we gonna..."

Buffy kissed her with so much angry force she nearly knocked them both out when their foreheads banged together. Faith didn't complain about the furious lips and fierce tongue not even when Buffy deliberately caught her bottom lip between her teeth and drew a little blood. Her hands squeezed Buffy's ass as she held the back of Faith's neck almost painfully tight.

"Yeah," Faith drawled as she pulled Buffy hard against her tensed stomach.

It obviously wasn't the punishment she had intended it to be for Faith, but that annoyance just revved Buffy up further and drove her on. Buffy pressed against her, tongue deep and demanding in Faith's mouth. Desire welled up inside her, hotter than ever.

Faith must have been feeling the same. "Think we have time to...?" she asked breathlessly when Buffy gave her half a second reprieve.

"Us? No. But I might."

Buffy plunged into her mouth again, rubbing against her harder and faster, feeling the seam of her jeans against her clit through her underwear. Faith shrugged and helped her along, the hands on her ass grinding her closer, tighter until she was making soft noises into Faith's mouth.

The single knock at the door came as harsh surprise. Buffy literally leapt away from Faith, backwards off the couch to land on her feet, legs shaky with adrenaline and arousal. She was breathing hard too, probably no way to disguise that.

Luckily, Toni came in alone. Buffy gave herself a mental 'get it together' shake before turning to her. Toni took in the scene - both of them flustered, flushed and breathing too fast, and the guilty look on Buffy's face - and looked like she was going to make a cutting remark. Remembering their pact though, she merely gave a strained smile instead.

"They are on their way. I thought I should get here first."

"Thanks," Faith actually sounded like she meant it.

"Yeah, thanks." Buffy nodded too many times and then ran both hands through her hair. "Sorry," she added for good measure.

"I am going to pretend I do not know what you are apologizing for," Toni said casually. She came into the room and set a six pack of beer in Faith's lap. "And now, if it is okay with the two of you, I would like my girlfriend back."

Without waiting for an answer, she wrapped an arm around Buffy's waist before falling onto the other end of the couch, pulling Buffy down onto her lap.

Buffy answered her anyway. "Very okay."

She snuggled comfortably into Toni's loose embrace, trying to ignore the slick wetness in her panties, and pulled her feet up onto the square of space between Toni and Faith. Faith glanced over but said nothing as she started pulling bottles free from the cardboard holder. Accepting a cold beer from Faith, Buffy stopped Toni from taking hers until she had given her a nice, long kiss.

Toni pulled back unhurriedly, licking her lips. "Hmm, I do not know if I like the taste of Faith's lipstick."

As Buffy cringed and went red, Faith thrust a beer at her, saying amiably, "Then you got two days of tough shit, ain't ya?"

Toni smiled wryly, accepting the jibe as well as the beer. Everyone else came through the doorway then, cutting off anything else that might have been said.

"Hey guys," Buffy said happily as all ten of them traipsed in. "Finally joining the party?"

She blushed again a little at what seemed to her to be an accidental innuendo but nobody else took any notice and she sank deeper into Toni's arms to get over it.

"Hey, Faith," Willow said first.

"Hey, Red."

Willow walked right up to the couch and Buffy saw the flash of discomfort flit across Faith's face as she realized what was expected. Would she do it? Buffy had her doubts.

With an embarrassed sigh, Faith set the rest of the beers on the floor and stood up.

"So what?" she asked, a little color rising in her cheeks. "We hug now?"

Willow grinned at her. "That's usually how it goes, yeah."

Faith gave her a stiff, but serviceable hug back, making Buffy smile. Almost before Willow had let her go, Xander was there with his own enveloping hug.

"Okay, big guy, we don't know each other well enough for this."

Xander pulled his head back without removing his arms. "I think you know me better than Will. Or so I assume. Did you two..."

"No!" Faith laughed and actually relaxed enough to hug him back for a second.

Dawn took next go.

"We saw each other two weeks ago, D!" Faith sounded exasperated but Buffy could see in her eyes that she wasn't hating it.

Faith had wanted real friends and now she was getting them, it was interesting watching her deal with it.

"I know, but you're not exactly a cuddly person, so this is...well, just funny." Faith pushed her away with a laugh.

Kennedy stepped up. "I'm not gonna hug you, but..."

"Good, means I don't have to wipe the floor with you."

"But..." Kennedy held out her hand. "It's good to see you again.

Faith looked at her hand before eventually taking it. Smirking, she said, "Glad you could make it, L'il fish."

Kennedy rolled her eyes, gave Buffy a pained look, and grabbed one of the beers from the foot of the couch before walking away.

Andrew was suddenly in Faith's personal space.

"Don't even think about it."

"But..."

"Don't even think about it," Faith repeated.

"But everyone else got to..."

"Fine!" Faith grabbed his face and gave him a brief, hard kiss on the lips. Pushing him away, she added, "Now don't bother me for another year."

Andrew staggered back, looking about to fall over... happily.

"Oh, typical. Faith's dismissive lips get this reaction, but me in my underwear, nothing," Buffy griped. Everyone's eyes were on her, except Andrew's, who's were too glazed to focus right now anyway. "Which is a good thing, obviously," she added uncomfortably.

"Hey that's not fair," Xander said. "I only got the hug deal. Why didn't I get the smackaroo deal?"

Seeing Melissa's reaction to that behind him, Buffy gave him a pointed glare. He read it perfectly and spun to his girlfriend. "Not that I need that deal. Ever. I like your deal."

Buffy tuned him out as Giles came over. "It's good to see you again, Faith." He shook her hand. "How are you?"

"Uh, gotta admit, a little overwhelmed right now."

He looked around at everyone with a smile. "Well, that's to be expected, but I meant in general."

"Uh, okay, I guess. Uh, how are you?" she asked politely.

"Glad to finally be here. When we return to the States, I'll be taking a different flight than Xander."

"Did he get scared and freak out?" Faith asked with a grin.

"Oh no, he was just very, very talkative."

"That's okay, Giles," Buffy spoke up, feeling a little left out. "If we all fly home together you can sit with us."

"Us?" Giles asked, glancing at Faith as she dropped back onto the couch, looking exhausted after all the welcoming.

"Toni and I. We're coming back with you."

"Yeah, you don't have to worry about Buffy being talkative on the plane," Dawn piped up. "She'll be quiet. Deathly silent, in fact."

Faith rolled her head along the back of the couch to look at her. "Do you get scared and freak out, B?" she asked with a grin.

"I don't like flying! It's not a crime."

"I will look after you," Toni promised, smiling and holding her a little tighter.

She saw Faith sneering and decided to helpfully put the pressure on her again to take her mind off of it.

"So, Faith, where did you say Troy was?"

Faith blinked, forcing her sneer into a smile quickly when everyone suddenly turned to her again.

"I, uh," she waved her hand around vaguely. "Think he said he was going to the mountain top to meet his fam."

"Is that like the local tavern? Do they call them taverns here? Or taverna maybe? What's it like?" Willow had her eager tourist hat on now. "What's the food like? Is it all authentic Greek?"

"You've been here longer than me, dude, you tell me. Besides, I'm pretty sure when he said mountain top he meant..." she pointed her finger towards the ceiling.

"The summit?" Melissa asked in astonishment. "People actually live up there?"

"Kinda," Faith hedged. "Anyways, he told me not to wait up for him, so I'm not."

"But you are up," Dawn pointed out the obvious.

"Yeah, but I ain't waiting for him."

"Ooh a TV!" Xander found the remote for the old box in the corner. "Does it work?"

"Si."

"Cool. Let's see what Greek TV is like."

"There's a music channel on there somewhere," Buffy said and then watched as he flicked through trying to find it.

"So, Faith," Kennedy began. "Getting nervous about the big day?"

Faith shrugged. "Yes and no. Nervous that I'm gonna make an ass of myself in front of everyone in the temple but not about the actual being married part..."

Buffy did her best to tune her out then, not wanting to listen as the conversation grew more and more wedding-y. She twisted a little on Toni's lap so that she could see her better and entwined the fingers of their free hands together.

"Sorry about earlier," she said, quietly enough that she was confident it wouldn't carry over the music and chatter even as far as Faith.

Smiling, Toni shook her head, indicating Buffy shouldn't worry about it. "You will make it up to me later, si?"

"I'll make it up to you now."

Buffy kissed her, nice and slow. Letting go of Toni's hand, she cupped her face, thumb brushing softly across her cheek as they parted.

"Very nice but not quite what I was thinking of," Toni admitted.

She moved her lips up to Toni's ear. "Oh, really, so what were you thinking of?"

Buffy buried her blushing face in Toni's neck, trying to hide her very obvious smile from everyone else as Toni whispered in great detail what she had been thinking of.

"Sounds energetic."

Toni pulled back just enough to look at her curiously. "Is that a problem?"

"No, it's just..." When Toni's eyes flicked past her to Faith, she stressed. "Not that! I'm just tired." She grinned. "I'm not sure I have it in me for wild monkey lovin' tonight, that's all."

"But, ah, you," Toni struggled for a second to find the right words. "Earlier, with her, when I walked in, I can tell you did not, ah... finish?"

The blush came back to Buffy's cheeks. "No. I mean... no. You can really tell that?"

"Sexual essence alters after completion and right now," Toni paused to drop a kiss on the side of her neck. "I can still feel your desire pouring from you."

"What? Ew!" Pulling a face, Buffy looked down between her legs automatically and tried to raise her butt from Toni's lap.

As everyone looked over at her outburst, Toni pulled her back down against her, laughing softly, and once the bemused looks had been replaced with conversation again, she whispered in Buffy's ear.

"From your soul, not your figa, sciocco."

"Oh," Buffy grinned. "Well that's less embarrassing, but more weird."

"I have explained to you how I can feel your essence, no?"

Buffy nodded, resting against her again. Toni could sense romantic and sexual vibes in others, anyone really, but Buffy especially because they were already intimately linked with one another. It was all a little fantastical, but what it boiled down to was that any emotion brought on by love or sex pinged Toni's internal radar. Like when Buffy was feeling especially in love with Faith, Toni felt it as well, which explained her jealousy issues. It worked the other way too, though, and when she was feeling especially in love with Toni, that also came through loud and clear and was probably the only reason she hadn't been dumped the minute she had mentioned the two-day deal.

More than that, though, if the feelings were powerful enough they provoked a symbiotic reaction in Toni and things got really interesting when that feeling was desire. She didn't know if Toni could sense when everyone was horny - and she kinda hoped not - but when Buffy was horny, Toni not only knew about it, but it triggered her own mystical hormones until she was as horny as Buffy.

So the long and short of it was, Toni knew exactly how hot Faith had made her in their five minutes of making out and now she was also feeling the effects herself whether she wanted to or not. Considering it was Faith who had drenched her physically and metaphysically in arousal there was a very good chance she didn't want to be sharing this experience. At least not if she couldn't turn it to her own advantage.

"You would rather be with Faith?" she whispered.

"If I wanted to be with Faith we'd have taken that walk even if it was past my curfew." Buffy grinned at her again. "And instead of sitting on your lap talking dirty to you, Faith and I would be out there doing it in the bushes."

"You do not want to go into the bushes at night. You would be eaten alive."

"Yeah, well," Buffy began mischievously. "That'd be kinda the point."

With a scary half-smirk, half-frown combo going on, Toni dug her fingers into Buffy's sides in a merciless tickle. She squirmed about, trying to get away and not get away at the same time, laughing loud enough that everyone looked over again.

"Sorry, she tickled me," she said, grinning broadly.

"Why don't ya sit on the couch like a normal person, then?" Faith waved at the spare cushion between them, obviously trying hard not to show how irritated she was feeling.

"I'm good here, thanks," Buffy gave her a fleeting sweet smile as she settled deeper into Toni's lap.

Toni twisted sideways a little to accommodate her comfortably. Bringing one leg out from under Buffy, she rested her bent knee against the back of the couch, taking up more space for the two of them and ignoring Faith's displeased glance.

She pulled Buffy firmly back between her legs so that they were flush against one another. "Better?"

Buffy tilted her head, smirking as she whispered, "Don't pretend you did that just for me."

Toni's eyebrows jumped once suggestively as she leaned down to kiss her. Afterwards Buffy laid her head back on her shoulder, following the conversation everyone else was having, or at least pretending to until she was sure everyone had grown bored of paying attention to them.

Then her thoughts turned a little less innocent again. Her legs were bent, bare feet planted firmly on the middle couch cushion so she wouldn't start accidentally fondling Faith with them. Toni's arms were around her, resting in the valleys between her hips and thighs, beer held loosely in both hands. Buffy trailed fingertips in light, almost tickling strokes over a wrist, a hand, a thumb and then back up the inside of her wrist all the way to the sensitive crook of her elbow.

Toni whispered, "Stop it."

Buffy turned a little in her arms, fingertips still skating teasingly over Toni's skin and rolled her head back until she could breathe directly into Toni's ear. "Stop what? I'm not doing anything."

"You know what you are doing!"

"It's just an arm!"

"It's not just an arm. I mean, it is just an arm, but it is not just my arm that you are thinking of."

"Then what am I thinking of?" she breathed, giving it away a little as she stroked up and down Toni's fingers where they were clutching the bottle tighter and tighter.

Before Toni could answer, Dawn jumped up dramatically from her seat on the floor. "Okay, public displays of affection are one thing, but now you have your tongue in her ear!"

"I do not!" Buffy lied, going red again. "I was just...kissing it."

"Yeah, with tongue!" Dawn said in distressed amusement. She took Christian's hand, pulling him up from the floor too. "We're going to my room to help me settle in."

"Leave the door open," Buffy said as they disappeared through it.

Dawn ignored her, pushing the door all the way up and only stopping shy of actually clicking it shut. She should probably make a thing out of it, but she couldn't really be bothered to move.

Giles stood as well, stretching after sitting on the floor for half an hour. "I have a couple of calls to make before I go to bed so I must go before I'm too tired to dial."

"You're on vacation, G," Faith reminded him.

"Yes, but the Council doesn't stop causing itself problems just because I'm away from my desk. I'll see you all in the morning." He smiled fondly at Buffy for a moment. "You know, I can't remember the last time I saw you looking this happy and relaxed."

"Try never," Xander put in.

Smiling, Buffy turned towards a vigorously nodding Willow and caught Faith's eye on the way. Girl didn't look happy. Or relaxed for that matter. For a second, she didn't know what to do. She didn't like seeing Faith so tense and miserable even if only for a split second, but what was she supposed to do about it? Comfort her? Tell her it wasn't true? Or that even if it was true that she'd be even happier with her? Why should she? What had Faith done to deserve that kind of reassurance? If it wasn't for her stupid decision it would be the two of them curled up blissfully together somewhere.

So in the end, after holding Faith's eyes for a moment, she let hers slide away, forcing a grin back onto her face as Willow commented on her and Toni's couplyness.

After Giles had said goodnight and left the villa, Buffy tried a big, only-fake-at-the-beginning yawn, hoping it would get everyone else moving too. It didn't work. Faith looked entrenched for life with the way she was slumped on the other end of the couch, as if she couldn't pull herself away from candy-coated sweetness that was Buffy and Toni tonight even though it was giving her a toothache like she'd never had before.

The others seemed equally happy to stay up and party - she'd known it was a bad idea to pick up that much alcohol on the way back from the airport. The television was still loudly tuned to the music channel and Willow, Melissa and Andrew were singing along to all the songs they knew in English while Xander, Kennedy and Faith made fun of the Greek music videos. They were still chattering madly about Faith's stay in Italy, Troy's castle, Troy, the wedding, the honeymoon... Sometimes the questions were coming from so many sides at once Faith couldn't get an answer in edgewise. And when Andrew found the pack of playing cards in the magazine rack beneath the coffee table and even Faith looked excited - or maybe just glad of proper distraction from her and Toni's increasing cosiness - Buffy knew getting to bed anytime soon was a lost cause.

"So, poker?" Kennedy asked, shuffling the deck.

"You wanna play, Buff?" Willow asked.

Buffy glanced at Toni who smiled and gave a tiny shake of her head.

"No, we'll just watch. Too comfy to move, ya know."

"Yeah, I'm too comfy to move too," Faith mocked. "Drag that table over here, Andy, so I don't hafta."

As Andrew pulled the low coffee table up to her knees, Faith shot her a triumphant smirk, as if she had just foiled their big plan. Buffy rolled her eyes. What did she think they were going to do? It had only been an arm! Okay, and an ear.

"I've never played poker," Melissa admitted.

""No worries," Xander assured her. "I am a master poker-er, I'll teach you."

"You never managed to teach Anya," Willow reminded him.

"Well, no, but..." Xander deflated.

"Maybe I should sit the game out?"

"No, Faith will teach you!" Buffy blurted out in a moment of dastardliness. "She's a great teacher, right, Faith?"

Faith eyed her suspiciously, obviously not sure how to take the compliment. "I can hold my own," she finally said.

"See, what more do you want? Come sit in front of the couch, Melissa, just here." Buffy patted the exact spot she meant. "So only Faith can see your cards."

Melissa moved readily enough as Kennedy began to deal. Toni obligingly lifted her leg up along side Buffy's so that the carpenter could sit against the base of the couch, partially blocking every view of them except for Faith's. Buffy volleyed Faith's triumphant smirk back with a little extra pep before giving her undivided - sort of - attention back to Toni.

Bemused, Toni asked, "What are you doing?"

"Just giving us a little more privacy," Buffy whispered.

Toni grinned. "And what do we need that for?"

"Just this."

Buffy tilted her head back to kiss Toni again. It was chaste at first but as the small argument about what kind of poker they were actually playing faded into white noise, she let the kiss deepen naturally as Toni's tongue flicked across her lips.

"I wish we were alone," Toni said softly when they took a break.

"Me too."

"Perhaps we can go into the bedroom?"

Buffy smiled dubiously. "Okay, let's try that." She made as if she was going to move off of Toni's lap. "Hey, guys, we're just going to go to bed. Long day, ya know."

"Go to bed!" Willow sounded distraught at the very notion, as if 'bed' was another word for 'full of frogs'.

"You can't go to bed!" Xander backed her up. "We're in the middle of our big reunion tour here."

"You ain't seen your friends for three months, B, and you'd rather sleep?" Faith managed to make the word 'sleep' sound dirty.

Out of the corner of her she saw Kennedy smirk before quickly straightening out her face and concentrating on her hand of cards.

"Fine," she said lightly, leaning back against Toni again. "We'll stay, but you're not allowed to complain about the PDA. I'm feeling tired and snuggily."

"Snuggily, right," Faith drawled, eyes on her cards.

"Complain? Who in their right mind would comp...?" Xander started laughing until he caught his girlfriend's eye. "Um, do you want me to complain?"

"Told you," Buffy whispered after another quick kiss. "And chances are high that by the time we actually get to bed tonight I'm going to be too wiped to do anything but sleep."

"Noooo!" She felt Toni's smile against her ear. "Tonight will be the last chance we have to be intimate until after the wedding."

"What makes you say that?"

"Because from tomorrow morning you will be sleeping with Faith, no?" Toni purred in her ear.

Buffy swallowed, hoping it would keep the fresh burst of arousal from showing in her voice and then realized the precaution was a waste of time anyway. As she felt Toni arch into her ever so subtly, she couldn't help wondering if Toni had said that deliberately to get exactly that reaction.

"What? And you're cutting me off for the duration? Making naked time with Faith means I can't get naked with you too?"

Toni chuckled. "Uh huh."

"But, but what if it's just you and me here, say tomorrow afternoon, and you're in the shower and you're rubbing that slippery passion fruit shower gel all over your..."

Toni dipped her head, biting and sucking gently at Buffy's neck as her thighs squeezed Buffy's hips. Buffy did her best not to let her head loll to one side and start panting. It wasn't as easy as you'd think.

"You do not think that is a little greedy?" Toni whispered eventually. "To have both of us?"

The way the words were purred in her ear had Buffy unintentionally squirming in her seat. Toni chuckled huskily in her ear and Buffy grinned.

Managing to keep her voice casual, she said, "At the same time, sure."

Toni butted her playfully on the side of the head before tilting Buffy's face up for another passionate kiss.

"But the choice is yours," Buffy began when her lips were available for talking once more. "You wanna put a block on us getting it on for the next two days, I can respect that." Her tongue flicked teasingly into Toni's ear again. "It won't change the way I feel about you. It just means I'm gonna have to spend a lot of the time I'm not with her, fantasizing about you. But no biggie."

She did the flicky thing with her tongue again and her fingers were back to trailing over Toni's wrist and the inside of her arm.

"I can picture you naked, no problem," she went on. "Plus I have all those naughty pictures of you still on my phone and nearly two years of celibacy gave me an awesomely overactive imagination when it comes to sex and those last few months talking on the phone with you have honed my solo skills like you wouldn't believe. Why, some days, just hearing you say 'Buongiorno, Toni Mancini speaking.' is enough to have me reaching for my fly..."

"Stop it!" Toni's whispered chuckle faded away as their eyes met. "Buffy..."

"Yes, baby?"

Toni's answer was another fast, breath-stealing kiss and then she dragged her lips over Buffy's cheek, until they were against the shell of her ear once more.

"I want you," Toni's whisper was rough with need, sending delicious shivers through her.

Faith half-glanced over, as if sensing a shift in the atmosphere, but everyone else was completely absorbed in the game. Buffy refused to look at her, and eventually Faith went back to what she was doing.

"I need to touch you," Toni whispered next.

Buffy nodded, murmuring, "With you so far."

"I am taking you to bed now."

Buffy glanced at her friends with a heavy, shaky sigh. They were all enjoying themselves immensely. She could kick them out; it wasn't like they would hate her for it, but the fact that she wanted to kick them out after not seeing them for ages
made her feel guilty. Then there was Faith. Troy probably wasn't back yet, and sure she had made her bed and now she should have to go and lie in it alone, but it seemed a little cold. And Buffy couldn't deny that being a few feet away, getting to hear her voice and actually see her just didn't suck.

So as she focused on Toni again, she muttered regretfully, "I can't."

"But I need you now, cara!"

Buffy's brief foray into Faith-thoughts seemed to have amped Toni up even more. She smirked; that was one freaky-ass power.

"You had me earlier. More than once, in fact."

"Hours ago. I really..." Toni dropped a kiss on to her shoulder. "...really..." soft lips grazed up the curve of her neck. "...need to..." the last words were breathed hotly into her ear. "...touch you."

Buffy just breathed for a moment, looking at her, and then took a subtle look around before kissing her again.

Their lips barely apart, she swallowed hard before murmuring, "So, touch me."

"I cannot here!" Toni sounded comically scandalized.

Buffy grinned, feeling breathless and a little giddy. "Why not? You've been practically getting me off with your beer for the last few minutes anyway."

"What?" Toni looked over Buffy's shoulder to see that she had been subtly but insistently rubbing the base of her bottle along the seam of Buffy's jeans. "Ah, merda!"

She jerked the bottle away so fast that some spilled as Buffy giggled uncontrollably. Unfortunately their double-act drew everyone's eyes over to them again.

"Nothing to see here," she promised, still laughing. "Just a little spillage."

"Want a towel?" Faith asked, not looking over as she took her turn dealing the cards. "Or a box of tissues? A shower? A cigarette?"

Buffy kicked her in the thigh and Faith gave a dark grin. The others were the ones now trying to studiously ignore her, not wanting to be involved in any potential fight between her and Faith. They were playing and talking harder than ever to push through the awkwardness.

Happy with that, she shot Faith one last glare of warning. She giggled again when she realized Toni was ducking her head, still looking mildly mortified.

"Come here, ya goof," she said in a normal voice before pulling her in for a calming kiss. By the time they broke apart she was back to barely audible whispering. "I thought you knew you were doing it."

Toni shook her head. "I was carried away."

"I like you carried away." Buffy gave her a naughty smile.

Toni's eyebrows rose as she gave a little suggestive smile herself. "Really?"

Buffy nodded.

"Is... ah... anyone watching us?"

Buffy's eyes darted around. "Nope. Why?"

Toni let her left hand fall casually from her bottle to lay unmoving between Buffy's legs.

"What, really?" Buffy whispered, although it wasn't really a question so much as a verbal expression of her sudden nervous anticipation. She took a sip from her own practically forgotten bottle before switching it to her other hand to act as extra cover. "Now?"

"Now," Toni purred in her ear. "Unless you tell me no."

"Faith will see." Buffy couldn't deny that that was more of a turn on than a turn off for her but she felt honor-bound to point it out.

"So?"

"So?!" Toni's fingertips began moving enticingly over her jeans, causing way more delicious friction than the bottle had managed. "Oh God."

"Shhh," Toni murmured in her ear although it was a fair bet that even if Buffy had said it out loud she wouldn't have been heard over the music and the loud conversation.

Buffy nodded anyway and did her best not to let her eyes flit nervously around and give them away. She was feeling horny enough right now to nullify the risk factors, but if anyone other than Faith did happen to see, or if Faith retaliated by calling attention to them, Buffy would be embarrassed for life; she'd certainly never be able to look Xander's girlfriend in the eye again.

"Is just here... good?" Toni breathed in her ear.

Buffy nodded, but murmured, "Maybe up a... urk!" She raised her bottle to her lips to hide her sudden grunt as Toni pressed directly over her clit and then squeaked, "Yep, there."

Toni grinned against her neck. Buffy held her breath and did her best not to fidget.

"Open your eyes."

Buffy hadn't even realized she'd closed them, but now she said with great conviction, "You don't want me to open my eyes."

"You need to open your eyes," Toni insisted, fingertips never slowing.

"Baby, you're behind me," Buffy pointed out, struggling to stop her words from coming out laboured. "So if I open my eyes there's only one person I'm going to see."

"You are supposed to be ensuring we are not detected!"

"Get someone else to do it," Buffy murmured, too far down the road to care much now, aware that any second now she was probably going to give them away by coming anyway.

Toni giggled in her ear before demanding, "Open them!"

Buffy did so, just as Faith glanced over, and then down, and then up again with wild eyes.

"No, close them!" Toni snapped when she realized what was happening.

It was too late. Her eyes locked with Faith's and tipped her over the edge. Her own eyes went wide, breath catching in her throat as she did her best to keep her body under control. For the most part, she managed; a low groan escaped through her gritted teeth and her left leg thrust out straight, toes curling into Faith's hip.

The move would have attracted everyone's attention if Faith hadn't sat forward herself, accidentally-on-purpose bashing her leg into the coffee table, upsetting drinks and scattering cards over everyone.

"Faith!" Kennedy snapped as they all moved quick to clear up the mess she had created.

"Damn you both," Toni growled in her ear, the commotion allowing her to raise her voice a little, as she experienced Buffy's orgasm for herself but without the satisfaction of her own tension being relieved.

"Sorry, baby, my bad," Buffy murmured, unable to help the dopey smile on her face even if she was in trouble. "I'll make it up to you later," she promised, resting her head back on Toni's shoulder and closing her eyes again.

"You'll be asleep later!"

"Nuh-uh, raring to go," Buffy promised, right before zonking out.


*****

Sometimes life was exactly how it was supposed to be. Right now it was better than that by a long shot. The others must have finally cleared out although she didn't remember them going. Someone must have carried her through to the bedroom too. She wondered whether it had been Toni or Faith; either of them had sufficient strength to do it. It didn't really matter, she supposed, as long as they were both here now.

She stretched her arms and legs out against the sheets - naked already, good - feeling Toni behind her, hands moving proprietarily over her body. Faith was in front of her, above her even, eyes gleaming with wicked intent, her grin feral, making her insides go giddy.

This wasn't her bed. The realization was boring and unimportant considering the situation she was in, but insistent all the same. It was narrow, like the cot in her basement, and the sheets were scratchy against her legs. Had they taken her to Faith and Troy's villa? That was risky, but if they didn't mind... As long as Troy wasn't here.

In the same instant she saw him over Faith's shoulder, shadowy and indistinct in a doorway. She blinked, opened her eyes, he was gone and Faith had taken off her clothes. Yay for blinking. Toni distracted her from Faith, kissing her deeply, whispering, reminding her who she belonged to.

She nodded, "I won't forget."

Faith growled at Toni exactly like a possessive dog and Buffy giggled. She concentrated on pulling Faith closer to her. Troy was by the bed, leaning over Faith to stare at her, a long, sharp Harbingers dagger in his hand.

"No!"

She didn't know whether to push Faith away from harm or pull her closer as protection. Why wasn't Toni saying anything? The dagger flickered into red and silver. Troy held it over them and the Scythe sent a baby blue glow through the room.

"We should probably go to bed," he said.

"No, three's company, four's a crowd!"

"Buffy is the last sheep," Toni said.

What? She wasn't a sheep. Wait, was this another prophecy? Please, no more prophecies; she just wanted to have morally questionable sexy fun with her girlfriends.

"I will ache for her," Faith said.

"I know, baby," she murmured.

Faith moved down her body and picked up her foot and licked it. Buffy smiled until she did it again...

*****

She jerked upright on the couch. "The threesome wasn't my idea!"

There were a lot of people staring at her, chuckling awkwardly. It was no relief that she knew all of them. She had a quick look down, just to make sure she definitely was in no way naked, and then pulled her foot away irritably from Faith's tickling finger.

"I was asleep!" she said, just to make sure everyone had got that.

"We figured." Kennedy was smirking. "So who was the threesome with exactly?"

Buffy shot her a look, "Toni and you."

Kennedy chuckled as Willow said, "Hey!"

"I'm kidding, Will."

"So it was you, Toni and..." Faith pushed, grinning like a fiend.

Buffy said the first name that came into her head, "Dame Judi Dench."

Toni said the Italian equivalent of, "Ew!" as Faith laughed.

"So we were all just gonna head off to bed," Xander said, getting Buffy off the hook she'd hung herself on. "We woke you up to say goodnight, but if you wanna get back to Judi we can just leave quietly."

Standing, Buffy pushed his shoulder. "Night, guys. Andrew, can you tell Christian it's time to go?"

"He already left. Dawn fell asleep."

"Okay." She gave Xander and Willow a quick hug and then saw them out the door. "I'll see you all in the morning."

When she turned around, Toni and Faith were still sat at opposite ends of the couch.

"So...?" she began.

"No!" Toni said firmly and stood up.

"I didn't mean..." Toni stalked into their bedroom. Buffy shook her head, chuckling tiredly. "Shit."

She went to check on Dawn, who was fast asleep on top of her bedcovers. She dropped a kiss onto her cheek and left her as she was.

In the living room, Faith was still on the couch.

"You staying there all night?"

"Gonna stay here all night with me?"

"No, I'm going to bed with Toni."

"We need to talk."

"Nothing left to talk about, Effie," Buffy said as lightly as she could. "Come on."

"What you did on here earlier..."

"Was none of your business."

"I saved your ass!"

"You saved my modesty. Thanks for that, but it's not that big a deal," Buffy lied.

As she went to open the main door, she heard the shower turn on in the bathroom. Faith sighed and heaved herself off the low couch.

Stopping in the doorway, she said, "We still need to talk."

Buffy shrugged. "We have all day tomorrow to do that."

Faith nodded, resigned to leaving now. Still she lingered, looking at Buffy.

Buffy checked outside the door to make sure her friends had already disappeared into their villas and then over her shoulder to make sure Dawn's door was still firmly shut. Happy there were no witnesses she pushed Faith back against the wall and kissed her.

When she released her a minute later something caught the corner of her eye. Toni had come to lean in the doorway of the bathroom, watching, her expression unreadable.

Buffy nodded slightly, licking her lips. "Goodnight, Faith."

"Night, B. Night, Tone." Faith slipped out the door.

Buffy shut it, leaning against it for a second. When she turned, she walked across the room and into the bathroom, past Toni without a word, not sure what to say for the best. She hadn't meant for Toni to see that, but she didn't want to apologize for it either. She'd kicked Faith out, hadn't gone with her like she so easily could have done; that would have to be enough for now.

In the end, when Toni didn't move away from the doorway or say anything either, Buffy settled for stripping off her clothes.

"Ready to take that shower."

*****

The shower had started cold, despite the warm water, but had grown more amiable the longer they were in there together. Despite that, Buffy was way too tired for standing-up sex so it hadn't gone beyond a little foreplay with the passion fruit shower gel.

Once out of the shower, the air was still warm enough even at this time of the night to dry them quickly. Buffy finished combing her hair and slipped naked beneath the thin sheets. Toni wasn't quite ready yet, and Buffy watched, lounging comfortably back against the pillows, as she rubbed bright white, coconut-scented moisturizer into every inch of her skin.

"You're a Goddess. Shouldn't your skin be naturally smooth and supple?"

"I'm half-human, and that half of me is over two and a half thousand years old."

"Fair enough. How old's the other half of you?"

Toni smirked at her. "The same, but it ages better."

Buffy grinned and lifted the sheet up as Toni finally capped the bottle and came to join her.

"So, what's the difference between a full Goddess of Love and a Demi-Goddess of Love?" she asked as Toni moved across the bed to lie close to her. "What do they have that you don't?"

"They are immortal, for one."

"I thought you were immortal? I mean, you don't get to be over two thousand years old if you can die from the measles, right?"

Toni smiled. "I can not die from human diseases, and I will never die from old age, but I can die."

Buffy rolled so that she was lying on her side facing Toni. "Like a vampire?"

Toni pulled a face. "Vampires are base, soulless creatures. I have a soul just like you. Fire will cause me great pain but will not kill me. Religious symbols merely irritate me on a rational level. And I pee holy water."

Buffy sat up a little, grinning. "Really?"

Toni grinned too. "Metaphorically, si."

They were a few minutes into a little light fooling around when Buffy asked, "So, your powers, they're the same as full on love-goddess's?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Just curious?"

"Now?" Toni smiled.

Faith could make casual conversation while in the middle of a force ten orgasm. True, the words might have come out a little guttural, but still. Buffy had obviously grown used to that recently without realizing.

"Doesn't matter," she murmured.

"Our powers are basically the same but true love goddesses have power over people's emotions and I do not."

"Is that what Troy has?"

"Troy is not a Love God."

"Could have fooled everyone but me... and Kennedy."

Toni laughed. "Troy is the God of Unfound Knowledge."

"Unfound knowledge?"

"Knowledge that cannot be found or has no known use."

Buffy paused in kissing the side of Toni's neck to lean up on her elbow. "So he's basically the God of Useless Information?"

Toni sighed, realizing she had said either the wrong thing or too much. "There is more to it than that, but essentially..."

Buffy rolled onto her back, laughing delightedly. "You have no idea how happy that makes me."

"I have a very good idea," Toni said dryly.

Buffy rolled her head to the side to grin at her and then moved back onto her side. "Sorry, talking about Troy, big mood killer. Shouldn't have done that."

"I'll get you back in the mood," Toni promised.

After a few more minutes, Buffy asked, "Are your powers as strong now as they were before?"

Toni looked up from her breasts and raised an eyebrow. "Are they not strong enough for you?"

"You were good without the powers."

Toni smiled knowingly and went back to what she had been doing, between licks and kisses, she said, "No, not yet, but they grow stronger with every day."

Buffy had been able to tell that, but she wasn't going to say it. Every time they made love was a little better than the time before, and she hadn't been lying, Toni had never been shabby in the bedroom department; just not as good as Faith. And truthfully, her powers could be magnified ten times what they were now and she probably still wouldn't be able to hold a candle to Faith. It was just the way it was. Maybe it was a Slayer thing, or just a 'her and Faith' thing. Either way, however phenomenal Toni got in the sack, Faith would undoubtedly be phenomenal-er.

It didn't matter though, did it? Her time with Faith was done, or at least it would be in a couple of days. So why was she even thinking about this? Especially now. She'd take Toni over Faith any day, powers or no powers.

She shook her head, dislodging the thoughts.

"What?" Toni asked.

"Nothing."

Toni's tongue went limp over her nipple, then she swallowed uncomfortably and moved her mouth to between Buffy's breasts. "You are thinking about her."

"No I'm not." Toni just cocked an eyebrow and Buffy relented, smiling sheepishly. "It's just hard not to. What with her being here, and seeing her for the first time since... and, you know..." Buffy trailed off, not sure what else to say.

"Kissing her?" Toni asked, her tone suspiciously mild.

"Yeah, that probably didn't help. It's not on purpose though! Not the kiss, that was on purpose, but I mean the thinking about her now. I'm not doing it deliberately."

Toni smiled against her skin but didn't say anything. Buffy gently pulled her up until Toni was lying over her and they were face to face again.

"I don't want to be thinking about her."

"I know," Toni said softly.

"And just because I am, it doesn't mean anything."

Toni rolled to the side dolefully. "We both know it means a great deal."

Buffy moved to her side as well and wriggled closer, wrapping her arm around Toni's waist, palm sliding up the centre of her back and down again. "Not right here and now it doesn't."

"And tomorrow?"

"Don't worry about tomorrow. Don't even think about tomorrow."

"How can I not? All day I will be here alone and you will be..."

Buffy kissed her words away. "We'll have breakfast together. Then you're going shopping. We can all meet for lunch. And then, in the evening, you're going to be my date for the rehearsal dinner, right?"

"Are you sure you would not rather take Faith?" Toni asked, voice deadpan but an unmistakable glint of amusement in her eyes.

Buffy pretended to think about it. "Well, I would, but traditionally the Maid of Honor is supposed to hook up with the Best Man at these things; and as Faith once told me, you can't fuck with tradition."

Toni nodded, smiling gently. "In that case, I would love to be your date."

"Cool. Now, I might not be able to take my mind off her but I bet I know a way to make you stop thinking about her."

Toni allowed herself to be pushed onto her back as she said, "It is not me thinking about her that I mind."

Buffy moved on top of her, skin sliding against skin, pinning Toni against the sheet with her hips. Pulling back from a deep kiss, grinning, she murmured, "Better start doing something about that then, don't ya think?"


Chapter Three

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