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


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PART FIVE: 17th March 2004
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Chapter Six: In The Eye of the Storm

Dawn, Willow and Kennedy came back to the table Buffy and Faith had designated as the supernatural-FEMA headquarters.

"Okay, I got through to Giles on the phone in the managers office, but we got cut off again. The telephone wires must have been struck." Dawn pulled up a chair and sank gratefully into it. "My feet are killing me; these shoes were not made for panic situations."

"The lines might have blown down, the wind's getting pretty rough out there now too." Xander came back from looking out of the windows. "Did Giles have any answers this time?"

"It's localized. Just the city from what Giles can tell, our place is only getting rained on. Heavy rain apparently, but still just rain - nothing 'War of the Worlds'-y."

"I used the computer in there to check all the occult sites I could think of, but I kept losing the internet connection before any of the pages would load." Willow added her information. She sounded tired, but it was almost midnight.

"Anything else?" Buffy asked. "I mean, if it's supernatural, can you feel anything?"

"Yep, I can feel lots. Lots of magical tinglies, but that's all I can tell you. I've no way here of finding out anything and we can't get back to the camp to get the supplies I'd need to do so." Willow apologized.

"So we know nothing and can do nothing." Faith sighed, throwing herself back in her chair obviously exasperated.

Buffy knew exactly how she felt. It was frustrating not even being able to leave the building. Toni was sitting on a couch across the room, chatting with Troy and a couple of young men who had joined them; occasionally she'd smile Buffy's way. As she did so now, Buffy gave a little wave and mouthed "I'll be over soon." Toni nodded in reply. It was Buffy's turn to throw herself back in her chair. Oh yeah, not being able to leave the building was really frustrating.

No one had responded to Faith, and so she answered herself, standing up in the process: "Fine, in that case I say we party like it's 1999. Who's with me?"

"Well I think we've certainly earned the right to party our way through the end of the world just this once." Xander agreed.

"There's plenty of slayers back at the house with Giles. They'll figure something out between them." Willow looked to Buffy.

Buffy looked around at her friends, all looked tired, but with a certain amount of excitement in their eyes. It was the adrenaline rush brought on by the confusion and panic beforehand and maybe it wouldn't hurt to burn it off this time by dancing and drinking, instead of by fighting to stay alive like they normally did.

"Well then, I say we party." Buffy finally said.

Everyone continued to look at her.

"What? That wasn't sarcasm. I mean it, let's party." Standing, she gave Dawn's shoulders a quick one-armed hug. "Let's all be alert though, we don't know if it's going to get any worse or not. Anyone with new info calls a meeting?" Everyone nodded. "Right, I'm going back to Toni."

Walking across the room, Buffy had several people stop her and ask what was going on. She told them all the same thing that Faith had told them earlier. Just as she reached Toni and Troy, the music came to life again and she heard Faith shout over the microphone that the party was back on.

"Do you know any more?" Troy asked, as soon as Buffy approached. She couldn't tell if he was panicking or just plain irritated.

"No, I'm afraid not. The telephone lines must be down and Will can't get on the internet to check the weather sites. I'm sure it'll pass soon though, a storm this wild can't keep up its strength forever, right?" She tried to reassure him.

"You had better hope you are right! I am going to find Fai." He stormed off.

Buffy stared after him. "What's his problem? Did he leave the oven on or something?" She asked Toni.

"Do not mind him; he just does not like the feeling of being out of control." Toni explained.

'Well that makes two of us.' Buffy thought. She didn't really like thinking of her and Troy as similar so she shook it away and concentrated on Toni.

"Faith and my friends seem to think we should party the night away in the hope that the sun will rise in the morning just like it always does, and as I don't see a lot of other options, I'm agreeing. How about you?"

"I will trust your optimism."

"Good. So as we can't leave yet, how about another drink and another dance?"

"What would you like to drink?" Toni asked.

"Come on, we'll go together and I'll decide at the bar."

*****

"Didn't we dance to this song once already?" Buffy giggled at Willow as they boogied to Prince together.

Kennedy, Toni, Dawn and Xander were all dancing too. In fact the dance floor was every bit as packed as it had been earlier and most of the clubbers had now found their second wind and were making the most of the extended opening hours of Matrix, mindless of the chaos the storm was causing outside.

"I think the DJ took Faith's last speech a little too seriously." Willow giggled back.

The chaos couldn't be heard over the loud music, but you only had to look out of a window to see the rain still pouring hard and the almost constant flashes of lightning. Occasionally an exceptionally loud burst of thunder made itself known over the pounding pop inside the club, and people just cheered it on. It was all very bizarre to Buffy, especially when one time she found herself cheering too.

Maybe she shouldn't have stopped being cautious about her drinks, but damn it, she wanted to party like it was 1999 too. She'd only been eighteen in 1999 and things had been so much better back then.

Actually that wasn't true and she knew it, but some things had been. Faith had been in love with her in 1999. She smiled a little wistfully, until she remembered the next part of that sentence: "And then we tried to kill each other." She took it back; it had been a bad, bad year!

The song changed and Buffy realized that she hadn't seen Faith for a little while. She'd been dancing with them until about ten minutes ago and then she'd disappeared and not come back.

Toni's arms slipped around her waist from behind and Buffy spent an indulgent minute leaning back against her as Toni's hips swayed against her ass. 2004 wasn't so bad. Reaching one arm up, she wrapped it around Toni's neck and pulled her down so their lips met.

Buffy's toes curled as Toni's tongue dipped into her mouth and as she pressed her own up to meet it, she was gracefully twirled around so they were toe to toe and, consequentially, breast to breast too. Well not quite, because Toni was taller than her by a good three or four inches, but lying down would make that difference go away. And the way she was leaning back and up to better capture her girlfriend's lips meant that her nipples were brushing the swell of Toni's breasts and exciting them which in turn excited her and hello baby!

She was so deep into the hottest kiss of the night so far, Buffy nearly threw an elbow into Willow's face when they were disturbed yet again by a clumsy hand on her shoulder.

"You two should get a room!" Willow slurred, giggling.

Shaking her head at her best friend and pushing her gently in the direction of an amused Kennedy, Buffy turned back to Toni, slipping her arms around her waist.

"If only we could." She said, feeling a little shy at being up-front about it.

"It would seem the Gods of Thunder have cursed us." Toni chuckled lightly, leaning down to peck Buffy on the lips.

They started to dance together again. Close, but not as close as before.

"Well I'm gonna curse them right back, I know people who can do that, you know."

"Really?"

"Well no, not really." Buffy back-tracked. "But wouldn't it be cool if I did?"

"Si."

Thunder could be heard over the music and some of the crowd cheered.

Buffy and Toni smiled at each other.

Another hand on her shoulder had Buffy turning her head again. "Will, there are no rooms!"

"How many drinks have you had tonight, Buff? I'm Xander." He pointed to his chest as he repeated: "Xander" nice and slowly for the English-impaired or the very drunk.

"Sorry Xan, what's up?" She wondered if there was any new information. Surely someone had something by now. It had been a couple of hours since the storm had started, or at least since the people in Matrix had been aware of it.

"Well I promised myself I would dance with at least one beautiful woman tonight and, seeing as that Melissa couldn't make it, I thought I'd ask if I could cut in?"

"Of course." Toni at once smiled and stepped away.

Buffy wasn't so pleased. Not that dancing with Xander was bad, but it wasn't as good as dancing with Toni. Not wanting to be rude though, she moved closer to her friend.

"Actually, I was kinda hoping to dance with you." Xander completely ignored Buffy, who was now even less pleased. "I haven't had much of a chance to get to know you yet, what with Buffy hiding you away all the time. So will you dance with me?" He grinned playfully at her.

"Of course, it would be a pleasure, Xander." Toni took the hand he offered her and stepped in closer to him.

"Ooh, can you teach my girlfriend to say my name like that?"

"So I'll just what...stand here?" Buffy asked, her arms folded. They'd already danced off, still talking. "I'll be at the bar!" She called to them, but they probably didn't hear her above the music.

The bar was a little quieter now and Buffy immediately saw where Faith had disappeared to. She was sat alone, her head propped up with one elbow on the bar-top as she sipped from a bottle of beer.

Buffy stood at her side and ordered a beer of her own. Faith looked up with an acknowledging smile, but it faded as she looked back down again.

"Anything new?"

Buffy sipped from her bottle before answering. "Nope, or at least not that I've been told."

"So what happened to break up the dancing? You and your girl looked pretty tight out there."

"Xander decided to cut in."

Faith chuckled. "You're not catching many breaks tonight are you?"

"Faith, I'm not catching any breaks!" Buffy moaned, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth despite the annoying truth of the statement. She changed the subject. "So how come you're not with Troy? Or did Xander cut in there too?"

"I have no fuckin' idea." Faith's bottle hit the bar quite hard when she set it down. "He kept ranting and raving at me in Greek or somethin', so I told him to go sit and chill somewhere. I ain't seen him since." Her shoulders slumped again. "For all I know he stomped outside and got fried." Faith drained the last of the bottle and pushed it away from her. She signaled for another with the hand that wasn't busy holding her head up.

"He's over at the front staring at the window like it struck him with lightning or something." Buffy helpfully supplied. She'd seen him on her way to the bar but she hadn't stopped to talk to him; that wasn't something she did.

Faith shrugged. "As long as he ain't screaming gibberish at me, no problem, I guess." She turned her head more towards Buffy, looking her up and down silently before raising her chin and meeting Buffy's eyes. "We'll just have to entertain each other in the meantime." Her smile was stronger now, with dimples.

"I don't know, that never really ends well for...well anyone." Buffy smiled quickly at her before lifting her bottle back to her lips.

"Well B, I'm sure I don't have to worry about you doing anything you shouldn't tonight, what with you not being easily distracted from your goal."

"You better believe it baby!" Buffy tapped the neck of her bottle against Faith's.

"Baby?" Faith raised an eyebrow.

No, she might be drunk and she might be horny, but Buffy wasn't gonna get beaten by Faith that easy. What she meant of course was that she wasn't going to get beaten by Faith at all.

"It was a playful baby," she clarified, "not a sexy baby. I am totally focused."

"Yeah," Faith's eyebrow had remained raised, it was cute. "There's a couch in the back room with burn holes from your eyes that says different."

"I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about." Buffy lied easily, looking Faith dead in the eye.

"Well how about we grab a bottle of JD and then we can take a walk around there and refresh your memory?"

"How 'bout we don't?"

"Well as long as you're okay living with that kind of blind spot in your memories."

"I am."

"You ever still think about it? That first night I mean."

Buffy fidgeted. "No. You?"

"Nah."

"Really?" Buffy looked directly at her again, deciding that the truth to that question was something she needed more than her dignity.

Faith laughed. "What, did you expect me to say yes after you said no?"

"No, of cou..."

"You just wish I did."

"Shut up!" Buffy watched as Faith pulled her cell-phone out of her pocket. "There's still no signal."

Faith ignored her, opening her phone and pressing buttons with speed, eventually she found what she was looking for and leered. "I don't need memories when I got this." She turned the phone around.

Buffy, not understanding at all to begin with, leaned forward to see the little picture better.

It was her; naked except for a pair of panties! One tit was on show from where Buffy was already lunging towards Faith as the picture was taken.

Mortified, Buffy tried to snatch the phone out of Faith's hand, but the other Slayer was expecting it and pulled her arm in quick, snapping it closed.

Not giving up, Buffy's arms waved in the air as she tried to grab it and Faith swayed wildly on her barstool keeping it just out of reach.

"Give it to me!"

"No chance, Blondie. This is my retirement plan." Faith, not often one for giggles, was totally ruining that reputation now as she fell backwards off the stool, only just managing to stay on her feet and squirm out of Buffy's range.

Buffy falling over the stool helped her a lot...not! Disentangling herself, she jumped back up and began advancing on Faith again. People were watching them and clearly enjoying the amusing show without needing to know what was actually going on. Faith went around in circles, also clearly enjoying herself as she stayed just out of arms-length.

"Faith," Buffy growled, still circling. "You have two choices. You can either give me the phone and let me erase it sensibly or I will take the phone and smash the thing to pieces."

"Really?" Faith piled the disbelief into her tone, winding Buffy up further.

"Damn straight, really!" Buffy, doing her best to control herself and not resort to what might be seen as a disproportionate response by the barfly spectators, jumped to grab the phone. Her fingers brushed the plastic, but Faith was just a little to fast to lose her claim on it.

"Faith, I am so warning you."

Faith's answer was to smile brightly back.

"Right, that's it! This morning is going to feel like a love tap compared to the damage I am about to do!" Buffy, tired of chasing Faith in circles, kicked out at her hand hard.

"Ow! Fuck, that stung!" The phone flew from Faith's hand into the air as she cursed, but her other hand was coming up to snatch it out of the air just as Buffy's fingers touched it...again.

"Ha!" Faith crowed, holding it up high.

"No!" Buffy whined, staring upwards.

Faith, phone safely in her left hand now and above her head, turned her back towards Buffy, but that didn't stop Buffy from tackling her.

As Faith was sticking her right hand under her left arm to lessen the stinging of her fingers, she was caught completely surprised by Buffy's sudden weight on her back.

"Give. Me. The. Phone!" She grunted.

"Okay, this is more than violating the 'No touching' rule, B. You're practically humping me from behind now!"

"Yeah, well enjoy it while it lasts, 'cause you're gonna be dead soon." Buffy promised through gritted teeth.

Faith tried to shake her off, but Buffy had jumped onto her, riding her in a half-piggyback as she tried to reach over her shoulders now to get at the goddamned phone.

"I didn't want to have to do this, B, but you're leaving me no choice." Faith held the phone out in front of her and started pressing buttons with her thumb. "Get off and back away nicely or I'm sending this to everyone in my phone book, which incidentally, is pretty much the same people in your phone book."

"You wouldn't dare!" Buffy screeched, doubling her already extensive efforts.

"Aw, B, you know better."

Seeing the blue send box come up on the small screen, Buffy started climbing Faith's back trying to gain the inch she needed to slap the phone out of her infuriating hand.

"Ready B? Angel's gonna send me the biggest fruit basket," Faith joked. "Assuming he doesn't lose the soul over it."

The weight of Buffy was enough to make Faith bend over forward, and she did so quickly, deliberately, or so it seemed to Buffy when she suddenly felt herself falling to the floor face first.

As she fell, Buffy did the only thing that mattered; she reached beneath Faith's hanging hair and seized the phone in her tight little grip. She ducked her head too, just to save the broken neck and rolled expertly, coming back up to face Faith, laughing delightedly as she fiddled with the buttons trying to erase the image still sitting on the screen.

"Ha, ha, ha...Hey!"

Faith had taken the phone back so fast that Buffy's thumb was left tapping empty air. As she lunged, ready to begin all over again, Faith did the unthinkable and shoved it down the front of her pants.

Buffy stopped dead and stared at the small rectangular bulge in the crotch of Faith's jeans. "Take it back out." She demanded.

"That would be a no." Faith grinned.

"But..."

Faith waved at the front of her jeans. "Go ahead, I won't stop you."

Buffy looked at the bulge again and then at the people still enjoying the joke at her expense. It was mostly guys that were watching them and they all had suddenly grown more seriously attentive to the situation.

If they had been standing in the corridor alone and Faith pulled this stunt, then Buffy would have delved right in just for the sheer look of aroused horror she knew would be on Faith's face if she did, but they weren't in a nice, quiet corridor they were in a loud bar surrounded by practical strangers and Buffy just knew that the second she inched her hand past the waist band of Faith's jeans, her very own girlfriend would finally decide to come and find her.

So if it was out of the question, why was she surreptitiously checking over her shoulders before glancing back at that inviting rectangular bulge?

"You realise you could have gotten it by now, right?" Faith asked, smug as you like.

"Are you wearing any underwear?"

"That would be another no."

Buffy shook her head with a smile, admitting a stalemate. "Well as long as it's in there, you're not sending it to anyone."

"So are you going to stick to me like glue all evening? Come in the stall when I need to pee?"

"If that's what it takes, F."

"Well gee, Buffy, that sounds pretty distracting to me."

Buffy's eyes narrowed, but the pair were joined by Xander, Willow and Kennedy before she could say anything.

"Hey ladies, what's the what?" Xander asked jovially, inserting himself between the two Slayers and flinging an arm around both of them. "Anything new on the storm front?"

"Not that I'm aware of, Xan. Do you three have anything?" Buffy asked, using him as a shield to hide the fact that her hand was sliding into her pocket. She knew Faith pretty well now, like how she always kept her phone on vibrate so that she could switch the tune off and not draw attention to herself when out slaying.

"Nope, except it's still raining lightning bolts out there and the winds strong enough to blow down trees."

"How do we know that?" Buffy carefully slid her cell phone out of her tight pants pocket and silently flipped it open to check the signal. "Cool I have one bar." She muttered to herself.

"Someone just saw a tree blow past the window, that's how." Kennedy explained. "One bar of what?"

"Oh nothing, just talking nonsense." She slid the phone back into her pocket, squeezed her own fingers in after, and pressed the button for speed-dial one.

Faith had shrugged out from under Xander's arm, but still stood close, leaning back against the bar as she scanned the crowd, most likely for Troy. Her face registered surprise and her hips jerked forwards ever so slightly, a second before Nelly's 'It's Getting Hot In Here!' came, muffled, from somewhere about her person.

Buffy, the picture of innocence, looked out over the sea of clubbers on the nearby dance floor, while her friends all looked at Faith.

"What?" The other Slayer snapped mildly as she fidgeted on the spot, looking like she was trying to distance herself from the vibrating Buffy knew was going on inside her pants as the tinny little tune continued to play.

"Uh, your uh, you...you seem to be ringing." Willow looked more flustered than Faith, but not by much.

"So?"

Buffy choked on a giggle.

Now everyone was looking at Faith's weirdly bulging crotch.

"Uh Faith, just how deep are your pockets?" Xander asked.

"I'm pretty sure they're not that deep." Kennedy answered for her.

Buffy bit her lip to try and hold in her laughter, but seeing Faith turn to mush in front of everyone, just because her cell-phone was ringing, was too much. Faith had her fists clenched now and her lower lip was trembling and if the signal hadn't chosen that moment to die again, Buffy was pretty sure she would have just made Faith come without so much as touching her.

As soon as the ringing, and subsequent torture, stopped, Faith regained her composure immediately. Cocking an eyebrow at Buffy, she gave an almost impressed smile. "You didn't think you should use the signal for something important, then? Like phoning Giles and seeing if he has any answers yet."

Their three friends were looking between the two of them, clearly aware that something a little weird was going on that involved Faith's crotch playing polyphonic pop tunes.

"What gives guys?" Xander asked first.

"Who knows, maybe Troy's not all that in the bedroom, so Faith has to rely on outside stimulation to get..?" Buffy started to lie in an off-hand fashion, loving the expressions that crossed Faith's face as she did so.

Until...

"Or how about because Buffy doesn't like my cell phone wallpaper and so I had to hide it to stop her from erasing it. And she thought she'd pull a dirty trick like that one to get back at me."

"Dirty tricks? Like you can talk."

"So what's the wallpaper that Buffy doesn't like?" Asked Kennedy.

"Here, I'll show you and you can see what you think." Faith slid her hand down the front of her jeans.

"No!" Buffy jumped into action, grabbing Faith's arm. "Let's forget that idea. I think it's time I gave you that dance you've been harping on about all night." She dragged a cackling Faith to the dance floor, leaving the bemused trio behind.

Weaving her way between a number of people dancing the night away, until she and Faith were smack bang in the middle of the floor, Buffy dropped the other Slayer's wrist and started dancing, her eyes darting around the crowds as she scanned for Toni.

"I don't remember asking you for a dance." Faith's hips began to sway confidently to the music as she made her point. "Let alone harping on about it. That sounds more like your style."

"It was the first idea I came up with. The second was tying you up and gagging you, but I thought that might just raise more questions." Buffy let her own hips settle into rhythm of the fast paced track and decided to give herself five, no make that ten minutes of dancing with Faith and then she was going to find Toni and she wasn't leaving her side for the rest of the night.

Ten minutes wouldn't hurt, considering it was Toni that had made herself scarce anyway, and it wasn't like Faith was dancing suggestively with her. Anyone looking would be able to see the twelve inches of space between them and wouldn't think anything untoward was going on.

Buffy looked over her shoulder anyway, to see if Toni was anywhere around. She wasn't.

"Scared your girlfriend might see us dancing and get the wrong impression?"

Buffy faced front again quickly. "No."

The twelve inch gap had been reduced to about three inches and Buffy could feel hands lightly gripping her leather-clad hips. She had to lean back to avoid accidental kissing.

"How about now?"

"No." Buffy wasn't so sure she was telling the truth this time though and from the expression on Faith's face, she didn't believe her either. Buffy stepped back, feeling the hands fall away from her hips. "There is no wrong impression."

Faith stayed with her, the hands sliding back into place again. "So she's gonna get the right impression then? You sure that's a good thing?"

Buffy back-stepped again. "There is no right impression, there is no wrong impression, there is just dancing."

"Fox-trotting to be exact." Said Faith as she stepped in closer again.

"What?"

"Never mind. Look, it doesn't look like you and Tone are going to get to do the deed tonight anyway, so I guess you can allow yourself to be distracted."

"Don't call her Tone, and the night's not over yet." Despite Buffy's reprimand, she gave up on stepping away from the brunette. There was no point if Faith was just going to follow her around the floor.

"Well this storm doesn't look like it's letting up anytime soon, so unless you're planning on taking your girl through to the chill-out room and picking a couch, then it's not gonna happen."

"Maybe I will."

"Well you better make it quick before they all get picked already."

"What about you and Troy?" Buffy turned the question around, not quite ready to leave the position in Faith's arms she'd somehow ended up in, she must have at least four or five minutes of her designated time left.

"For one, it's not mine and Troy's special night, for two, the guy's going crazy over something and for three," Faith licked her lips suggestively as she grinned. "I already got it covered."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean I've scored a room for us to sleep in, or not sleep in, if we want to crash. Reward for giving this place its busiest night since New Year." Faith explained.

Buffy simply smiled and carried on dancing.

So she was dancing with Faith, and she'd been right, there wasn't much space between them, but her uneasiness earlier in the night had been fought off by the alcohol and the closeness she'd already shared with Toni and Buffy was perfectly happy to be dancing the way she was dancing with another woman.

Even when the track changed to some slow bump'n'grindy R&B and Faith's hand, calculatingly moved from her hip to her ass.

The ten minutes were probably up by now.

Buffy put her arms over Faith's shoulders, letting her control the dance, and leaned up slightly to speak into her ear.

"I know what you're doing."

"Dancing?"

"You're trying to prove you can distract me."

"I already did that." Faith chuckled into her ear...

Buffy leaned away so that the little shiver that ran through her wouldn't be detected. "No you didn't."

"You've spent a pretty damn good portion of your special night hanging off'a me. I'd say you were pretty well distracted." Buffy tried to step away, but Faith kept a firm grip on her. "Don't."

"I should find Toni."

The disco lights flickered for several seconds causing Buffy and Faith to slow their dance and look up. When the lights were fully on again, Faith ran a hand up Buffy's back, bringing them a lot closer.

"Let her find you."

"Probably not a good idea, what with the way you're humping me now."

Faith chuckled again. "I can blame it on the music, what was your excuse?"

Buffy chose to let Faith have control rather than answer her question. Instead she said: "So if you're not trying to prove anything, what's with the sudden urge for up close and personal."

"Can't I want to just dance with my best friend?"

Faith's hand was still on her ass; Buffy was trying not to think about it.

"Well not usually like this, no, and we haven't been much with the BFF just recently."

The lights flickered again and the music skipped a couple of times.

"Sorry B, I missed the last few eps of Sweet Valley High. What the fuck is BFF?"

Buffy lifted her hand and brought it back down hard on Faith's butt, before moving it to her lower back. "I don't watch Sweet Valley High!"

"Whoa, you keep spanking me like that; I might not let Tone have you tonight." Faith's eyebrows did their thing. "I'll just take care of that Sweet V myself."

Another flickering of the lights hid the blush that was spreading. Faith was just trying to play her, Buffy had to remember that and everything would be cool.

"What makes you think you have any influence over the decision?"

Now there were two hands on her butt, grasping her cheeks through the black leather and drawing her in.

Their breath mingled and Buffy blurted out the only thing she could think of.

"I have a Toni!"

"Is that supposed to stop me?" Faith asked, her voice as hushed as the loud music would allow. "Me being with Troy never slowed you down."

"And that was wrong!" Buffy tried to point out even as her mouth tried to meet Faith's. "Are you saying now that neither of us is single, it's okay to cheat?"

The back of Buffy's brain was begging Faith to say just that, while the front of her brain was just screaming "Toni!" at her over and over again.

Faith held Buffy's eyes for a long burning moment before laughing at her. She withdrew from the intensity of the moment, her hands relaxing but not actually leaving Buffy's ass. Their mouths were a decent distance apart once more.

Buffy realised she could breathe again and took advantage of it, pulling in a deep lungful of Faith's scent before sighing it back out.

"So that was just a little game?" Buffy's hands slid around to Faith's stomach. "Did you have fun?"

If Buffy was Faith then she wouldn't have ignored the glint in her eyes, but Faith was too used to winning these little playoffs to care. Something Buffy was more than happy to use to her advantage.

"Hell yeah I did, B - your face was classic, I thought you were going to drown us all in drool." Faith was still chuckling as they continued to dance to the music.

"I was not..." Buffy bit her lip, not wanting to go down that path again. She ground her teeth together for a second instead, her hands moving subtlety over Faith's stomach. If the action made Faith uncomfortable, she didn't show it, or maybe, considering where her own hands were still placed, she just knew she'd look like a hypocrite.

"I couldn't help it, F." Both of her thumbs brushed lower, touching the top of the other woman's jeans. "You know what you do to me."

She would have felt more comfortable if there wasn't so much truth in her words, it was hard trying to get the upper hand when she really didn't have the upper hand, but her words had Faith leaning in, licking her lips subconsciously as she smiled.

"Buffy, I was just playing." Faith explained softly, sounding a little guilty.

Buffy had already worked that one out, so she ignored it. "And now it's my turn." She responded only just above the level of the music, meaning Faith had to lean even closer to catch it.

The crush of dancers on the over-packed dance floor acted like a wall around the two Slayers and Buffy was hoping to use that wall as shield for what she was about to do.

Faith opened her mouth to say something, but before she could Buffy pushed her hand forcefully into the brunette's jeans and down between her legs with a triumphant shout of: "Aha!"

"B, what the fuck...?" Faith started, her expression beyond shocked.

Buffy patted over and around Faith's pussy a few times, demanding: "Where is it!"

Faith stepped away from Buffy but the hand down her pants meant she couldn't go very far without Buffy being towed along after her. "What exactly were you expecting to find down there?"

"Where the fuck is the phone?" Buffy grit her teeth, her hand still groping Faith's crotch, although not for pleasure. The pleasure was just a fortunate by-product, but right now she couldn't enjoy because all she could think about was the damn phone. "And why the hell can't you wear underwear like a normal person?"

"Hey, it's my right to not wear underwear. I don't have to justify going commando to you; you have to justify why you just stuck your hand down the front of my pants!" Faith yelled back although it was fair bet that no one but Buffy heard her.

"I'm looking for your fucking phone because you have a naked picture of me" Buffy shot back, trying not to notice her hand was getting a little damp from her continuous searching.

"Well it could have slipped anywhere Buffy; maybe you should give me an internal just to check." The daring look was back in Faith's eyes and she pushed herself into Buffy's hand.

"Maybe you should just give me the phone, before I use my time down here to rip you a new one...literally!" Buffy wasn't giving in to the almost overpowering urge to follow through on Faith's suggestion. She really did have a Toni somewhere and she wasn't a cheater. Having her hand down the front of Faith's jeans might look a bit suspicious, but there was a perfectly good reason for it.

Faith, grinning, dug her hand into the left pocket of her jeans and pulled out...the phone!

'Huh...Wha?' Buffy finally put sound to her confusion: "How?"

"Hands faster than the eye, B, here have it." She waved it around in front of Buffy's face and Buffy took it numbly with her free hand. "I already saved it to; oh what's it called... photo pocket or something."

Buffy stared at the phone and then stared at Faith. "Photobucket?" On Faith's nod she screamed at her: "WHAT!?"

Faith shrugged, accidentally moving against Buffy's hand again. "It's password protected; what's the big deal?" Something caught Faith's eye over Buffy's shoulder. "Buffy...Hand...Now!"

"I...Oh..." Buffy quickly pulled her hand free, recognizing that the urgency in Faith's tone could mean only one thing.

"Buffy?"

Oh great, Buffy turned around, it had to be her significant other didn't it. She wouldn't have cared if it had been Troy.

"Toni, hey, I was just coming to look for you."

"Really?" Toni's expression was not a happy one. "Because you looked like you were molto felice with her. I almost didn't want to interrupt."

Buffy glanced over at her friend, who gave her a subtle shrug.

She looked back at her girlfriend, a nervous smile playing on her lips. "Well I'm glad you did. Do you wanna dance now? I love this song."

Buffy didn't even know the song, but she knew she had to get Toni back to a happy place if the night wasn't going to end in total disaster.

As Toni stepped away from her, one hand clasped to her chest and the other pointing straight at Buffy, the Slayer had a feeling it might be a little late to worry.

"L'oh il mio fratello! Non posso crederlo! Pensate che abbia desiderato ballare con voi dopo che siate stati con lei? Lo slut!"* Toni finished her stream of Italian with a wave at Faith

"Did she just call me a slut?" Asked Faith. "You were the one..."

"Faith, shut up!" Buffy stepped towards Toni again, her hands out to touch her arm. "I don't know what you saw, but it's not what you think." She promised truthfully.

That set her off again, accompanied by much hand waving at Buffy, Faith and, lastly, at herself. "Che cosa penso? Penso che stiate truffando dietro la mia parte posteriore con questo skank e siete semplicemente implicando io sono stupidi se rifiutate di ammetterli!"**

"Okay, I heard the word skank in there, and as far as I know, that ain't Italian..." Faith took a step closer to Toni and Buffy's arm shot out to hold her in place.

"Toni, please?" Buffy was mostly just pleading with her to stop speaking Italian. She quite liked it normally, but then normally when Toni spoke in her native tongue to Buffy, she wasn't hurling incomprehensible insults.

Toni shot Buffy a dangerous look, one that was hard to misunderstand, and then with a sniff in Faith's direction, she spun around and stormed off.

"Toni, please." Buffy repeated, going after her and reaching for her arm again.

Toni turned her head fast to scream over her shoulder. "Ottenere via da me!"*** Buffy didn't understand a word, but the tone was pretty clear and she stopped, letting her girlfriend walk away from her.

Faith came to stand next to her. "Sucks when that special someone starts yelling gibberish at you, huh?"

Buffy felt like a giant had just squashed her underfoot like a bug, and worse than that was knowing that she should be squashed because she was a bug!

"Just leave me alone." She said wearily before walking away in the opposite direction.

"What the hell did I do?" She heard Faith call after her, but she didn't stop to answer.

*****

Buffy didn't know how long she'd been standing behind the stage, staring out at the lightening-lit rain through the open fire door. Long enough to be shivering slightly, despite her arms hugging her body. Not long enough to stop feeling like crap.

She hadn't gone looking for Toni even though she'd wanted to. Getting shouted at in Italian wouldn't make her feel any better after all. So she'd wandered without destination for a little while, trying to find somewhere to sit and mope until morning came. Maybe a day or two apart and Toni would have calmed down enough to listen to reason.

Buffy huffed, running a hand through her hair. Reason? What reason was there for Buffy to be in the position she'd been caught in? Well there was the truth of course, but Buffy would never believe it so why should she expect her girlfriend to?

Because it was the truth, dammit.

Buffy sighed, leaning against the door frame and looking out at the storm. So caught up in her dismal thoughts that she barely noticed the raindrops that hit her when the strong wind blew in her direction and she certainly didn't care.

There were worse things than being wet. Like being alone for the rest of her life. It was an even more depressing thought than usual, now that her life-expectancy had possibly just been extended by a few decades.

A crashing of thunder hid the footsteps approaching. The first Buffy knew she wasn't alone, was when Faith's voice came from behind her.

"Buffy, I've been looking for you for ages. What are you doing back here?"

She didn't jump or flinch at the unexpected voice, but she did hug herself just a little bit tighter.

"Yo, B!" Faith was closer to her, close enough to snap her fingers next to Buffy's ear.

Buffy jerked her head away irritably. "Leave me alone, Faith."

Faith stepped around to her side. "I'm getting the unfair impression that you think this is somehow all my fault." She leaned against the opposite side of the door-frame, mirroring Buffy's position.

"I don't..." Buffy finally turned her head to the brunette. "I don't think it's your fault. This is all me. I just want to be left alone."

If by some miracle Toni did get over this really quickly and come looking for her, the last thing Buffy wanted was to be found with Faith again.

"Yeah, well no can do Blondie. Turns out you're not the only one who blames me." Faith shrugged. "The Scoobs have designated me as Slayer-sitter for the night. Haf'ta make sure you don't decide to end it all, by going all 'singing in the rain' or something." Faith gestured to the lightning still flashing like a strobe outside just as a particularly strong gust of wind flung a bucket's worth of rain at her face. She fell back a step spluttering and wiping her face dry with her sleeve. "God damn, that was cold!"

The corner of Buffy's mouth turned up, but the smile didn't grow.

"B, get back in here before you catch your death."

She was pulled backwards by Faith's hand on her shoulder. "A little bit of water isn't going to hurt me, Faith."

"No, but dying of hypothermia might." Faith had switched to pushing Buffy more fully into the area behind the stage before she pulled the fire door shut with a slam.

"Hey, I was enjoying the atmospheric melancholy." Buffy blurted.

Faith started to guide her towards the edge of the stage. "Yeah and I'm sure you had a blast, now you're going to enjoy the atmospheric...I don't know, something or other, of getting warm upstairs."

"Upstairs?" Buffy asked suspiciously. She hadn't even known the place had an upstairs. "What's upstairs?"

"A room where you can dry off in private."

"It's not going to be very private if you're there too."

They had avoided the front of the stage by heading down a side corridor that ran the length of the main body of the club. They passed doors leading out to the dance floor, another to the bar which read 'Staff Only' in big red letters. The same message was written on a door far along the corridor and this was the one Faith led Buffy through. The music sounded muted back here and in contrast the storm sounded a lot louder.

After Faith had shut the door behind her, she answered Buffy:

"Tell you what - if you wanna be alone when we get up to the room, all you gotta do is say. You can dry off and mope at the same time."

Faith sounded sincere and it looked as if doing as she asked was going to be the only way Buffy got to be alone, so she nodded her compliance to Faith and then followed her up the narrow staircase.

At the top the corridor went to the left and the right, Faith went left with Buffy right behind.

Buffy remembered something about Faith having scored a private space for her and Troy to be alone in. "This isn't your special room you're taking me to, is it?"

"Don't worry about it. S'not like Troy's getting' any of the good stuff after acting like a dick all night." Faith assured her.

"Trouble in paradise?" Buffy asked.

"You wish." Faith didn't look at Buffy as she pointed to a door on the right. "Bathroom's in there if you need it."

"Thanks. Look, Faith," Buffy stopped and waited for Faith to do the same, but the brunette kept walking obliviously. "Faith I need to say something and I'd rather say it to your face than your back."

Faith stopped, turning slowly and gestured for Buffy to speak. "Go for it."

Buffy looked at her feet, turned out she didn't rather say it to Faith's face. "I want to say I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"I know you're gonna think I'm only apologizing because, well, because the shit hit my fan and not yours, and, well, that is the only reason I suppose..."

Faith chuckled quietly. "Nice apology, B; really, you should do it more often."

Buffy held up a hand. "Just let me finish, please? I'm sorry for trying to come between you and Troy. Not that I ever intentionally did . . . well except the times it was intentional. But my point is, I'm sorry about it. It was wrong, very, and I was selfish, also very, and I feel terrible about it now and I forgive you for telling Troy I was lonely. And if you need to make up other stuff to cover for my crazy behavior, then you have my full permission. Past crazy behavior! There won't be any more, I promise. No more pushing you into situations you'd rather not be in." Buffy looked up at Faith with big eyes, begging to be believed.

"And if Toni doesn't ever get over this, does all that still stand?" Faith asked, regarding her closely.

"Well, I'll have to kick you in the face again for putting the phone down your pants in the first place," Buffy smiled. "But then clean slate, I promise. And no more naughty Buffy."

"You really like her, don't you?" Faith sounded quietly surprised.

Buffy ducked her head with a smile, feeling younger than her twenty-three years. "Yeah, well, out of the top two people I'm heavily into at the moment, she's right up there."

Faith nodded, smiling complacently.

They stood like that for a minute, with Buffy wondering if Faith was getting more from her eyes, than she was getting from Faith's.

It was broken when Faith reached out and rapped her knuckles against a door. "Kitchen." Was all she said before turning around and walking off again.

At the end of the corridor were another three steps up to a door. Faith grabbed the door handle, but looked over her shoulder at Buffy before she opened it, to say:

"Just remember: sometimes honesty really is the best policy, but graphic descriptions just get your ass kicked."

She twisted the doorknob enough to release the catch and then pushed it gently until it opened a couple of inches before flattening herself against the wall and allowing Buffy to pass her.

"Oh, and the dishes are yours for a month, at least..." Faith mulled something over, her head tilted to one side. "Maybe six weeks..."

"What are you going on about, F?" Buffy was still standing on the step above Faith, one hand resting on the door to push it open. "I'm not doing your chores for..."

Faith put her own hand out and pushed the door firmly so that it creaked open, cutting Buffy off mid-sentence.

Inside was an office roughly the size of her bedroom with a desk and chair pushed to one side so that the middle of the floor was clear save for the blow up mattress, complete with quilt and pillows, and dozens of tea-lite candles. The candles were also the only form of illumination and it took even Buffy's keen eyesight a moment to realise who was sitting on the mattress waiting for her.

"Hey." She said softly, entering the room slightly apprehensive.

"Have fun kiddies." Faith was about to pull the door shut, but she poked her head back through the gap first causing Buffy to glance her way. "And don't roll into any of the candles and set yourselves on fire or nothing."

The door closed.

Buffy looked back at Toni. "What are you doing here?"

Toni had stood up next to the mattress.

"Would you prefer that I were not?" She asked, her tone almost as soft as Buffy's and almost drowned out by the sound of the rain hammering on the roof not far above them.

"No!" Buffy couldn't have made the objection any clearer. "That is definitely not what I would prefer. I just...I thought you were mad at me."

"I am." Buffy's face dropped and so the other woman continued. "I was. Buffy, I know what I saw, but Faith insists that I did not see what I saw."

Buffy just looked back at her, her heart in her throat, almost as confused now as she had been with the rapid flow of Italian earlier. Toni steppe

d closer, mindful of the candles. "Tell me what I saw, Buffy?"

"You saw..." Buffy had to clear her throat in order to continue. "You saw Faith and I at our competitive worst. She had something on her phone that I wanted to get rid of and she hid it someplace that she never thought I'd go and so, of course, I went there."

Toni nodded slightly. "What was on the phone that you had to have it so badly?"

Faith's warning came back to her: Graphic descriptions will get your ass kicked!

"She took an unflattering picture of me as a joke and I didn't find the funny."

Toni nodded again, stronger this time. "That is exactly what Faith said."

"Exactly?"

"Well not exactly, for then I would be further suspicious, but very close."

"So you believe me?" Buffy asked hopefully. "Am I forgiven?"

Toni held out her hand and it was then Buffy's turn to pick her way through the multitude of candles until she was standing at the foot of the blow up mattress in front of her girlfriend.

"I believe you..." Buffy sighed with relief, her heart lifting slightly, but Toni wasn't done. "But I don't know if I forgive you yet."

"But it really was just a stupid..."

"I believe that Buffy, but I don't understand why you still play these kind of games with Faith. I understand you still have feelings for her, I did not expect those to go away just because you gave us a chance. But I had hoped at least that you would no longer be led by them. How did you think I would feel to see you in that position?"

"I never thought..."

Judging by the look on her face, that had clearly been the wrong answer. But before Buffy could put it right, or make it worse, Toni went on:

"And if I hadn't seen you - would it have remained just a game, just a competition?"

"Yes."

Buffy's chin was gently lifted so that her eyes met Toni's.

"Really?"

"Yes! I know you have no reason to believe me, but I really was thinking about you just before you saw us and I was planning to come find you just as soon as..."

Toni took a step backwards, grimacing a little. "Buffy, you're wet!"

"Yeah, but that's all you, not Faith...oh ... I mean...what?" Hopefully the blush looked flattering in the glow of the candles.

Toni giggled, but quickly smothered it with a serious face. "You are wet," she said again, running a hand over Buffy's shoulder and wiping away some still lingering raindrops.

"Oh yeah...I was watching the rain when Faith found me. I'm supposed to be drying off." Buffy watched as Toni smoothed her knuckles over the front of her tank top just beneath her breasts. The material was filled with moisture, but her shiver didn't stem from being cold.

Toni obviously didn't realise this. "You will catch your death, dovreste togliere i vostri vestiti."

"I'm sorry?" Buffy looked up into Toni's dark eyes, not understanding a word, but being sucked in by them all the same.

"Your clothes, Buffy, take them off before you freeze." Toni's fingers caught the bottom of her top and started to pull the soggy material upwards.

"Okay." So did this mean she was forgiven? She raised her arms without question, not wanting to voice anything that might make Toni remember she was supposed to be pissed off.

Toni removed her top with exquisite gentleness and Buffy fidgeted slightly under her touch, not knowing if this was going where she thought it was, or whether the other woman really was just concerned for her health.

Once her top was removed, the cold air in the office hit her wet bra and now she was shivering from the cold. Toni reached around quickly to unclasp it, and Buffy leaned into the heat of her neck, softly kissing the hot skin just as Toni leaned away again.

The Italian stopped at the kiss and Buffy thought she had misread the situation, but then the brunette pulled back enough to pull the bra down the Slayer's arms and chucked it inelegantly after her top, which had landed over the desk.

When Toni moved to undo her pants, Buffy gulped hard, causing Toni to stop and look her in the eyes again.

"Do you want to leave your pantaloni on?"

And this was where not knowing the exact situation made things difficult, but her pants, being leather, weren't wet and even if they were a little damp that had stayed on the outside, but then Toni must know that, so...

"No, I don't." Wow, she hadn't expected her voice to come out quite so trembly either.

Toni, nodded, and was she holding her breath as she undid the zipper and gently pushed the leather down Buffy's legs? The pants were tight and as Buffy's underwear was dragged with them, Toni's breath came back in a harsh exhale, which would have made Buffy giggle if she hadn't been so overwhelmed herself.

Buffy stepped out of her pants and panties when they hit the floor and Toni stepped away, leaving her standing there naked, feeling highly vulnerable and more than a little turned on.

"Get under the quilt and warm up." Toni instructed as she bent to pick up the last of Buffy's clothes and carried them to the desk.

Buffy hurriedly did as she was told, the warmth of the quilt instantly reducing the shivers caused by the cold until all that was left were the shivers of anticipation.

Toni didn't come back straight away and her back was to Buffy, meaning she couldn't see what she was doing. As she waited, snuggled up in a very unsexy fashion beneath the king sized quilt, Buffy's eyes wandered around the room.

"Did you do all this?" She asked.

"All of what?"

"The candles."

"No, it was like this when Faith brought me here."

Toni was taking off her dress on the other side of the room, Buffy sat up a little more to watch. Her heart was thumping inside her chest now as she realised this was it.

As in... IT!

Buffy tried to focus on something mundane lest she suddenly pass out from the powerful cocktail of nerves and excitement.

"So Faith did all this? I didn't think she was a candles sort of girl. Well, unless you count dripping the hot wax over..." Buffy shut up as Toni turned and made her way back to the mattress through the candles.

She was wearing just peach-coloured lingerie which melted into the olive tones of her smooth skin. Buffy closed her mouth to stop her tongue from lolling out and idly wondered when the last time had been that she'd felt this turned on with a guy. She couldn't remember, which might have been lack of blood in her brain, but more importantly... she so didn't care.

This was it!

Toni knelt on the edge of the mattress, depressing it enough to have Buffy roll a little towards her. She handed her one of the bottles she was holding before leaning in to kiss Buffy.

When the kiss ended, Buffy remained with eyes closed, her face tilted up and a dizzy smile on her face. "Mmmm." Was all she said.

"Are you warmer now?"

Buffy slowly opened her eyes, still smiling. "Suddenly very hot."

Toni was smiling too now. "Have a sip of your drink, it will cool you down."

"I seriously doubt that." Buffy smirked, looking at the bottle. "Wine Cooler?"

"Apparently it was all Faith could find. She thought we would prefer these to the beer she had hidden for her and Troy." Toni explained as she lifted the quilt and settled on the mattress next to Buffy.

"I can't believe she did all this." Buffy said, after sipping from her drink.

"Well try not to dwell on it," Toni said casually. "You can always thank her in the morning."

"I'm not dwelling," Buffy insisted. "I just...I mean why? And how did she get you to listen to her? You were pretty angry."

Toni shrugged. "She told me about the picture and she told me that she dared you over and over to try and take it and that you wouldn't, and that she wouldn't let it alone. She told me that several times you were going to come looking for me and that every time she said something to incite you and make you stay with her. She said that eventually she pushed you so hard that you snapped and did just as she had hoped you would."

Buffy listened to everything that Faith had supposedly done, knowing full well that it painted her in a much more favorable light than she deserved to be in and tried desperately not to fall a little bit more in love with the other Slayer because of it.

Toni looked like there was more, but she wasn't saying anything.

"What else?" Buffy asked, sipping some more from her drink.

"I don't know whether I should..." Toni began.

"Come on, tell me." She reached out and stroked her fingers down the other woman's arm until she was holding her hand. "I'm not going anywhere, this is exactly where I want to be," she promised. "I'm just interested."

Toni took a deep breath before meeting Buffy's eyes squarely, obviously preparing herself for any reaction. Buffy wondered what the hell she was going to say.

"Faith also told me she was jealous."

Buffy's eyes widened, but she said nothing.

"She told me you two are not together and that there is probably no chance of you ever being together again in the future, but that she still is attracted to you and finds it difficult to see you with anyone else. That this was the reason for her behavior tonight and on the night we first met."

Toni looked down at her bottle, avoiding Buffy's eyes now. Maybe she'd seen the tears that wanted to form there. Or maybe she'd noticed the spark of hope in them when she'd said: 'probably no chance'.

Buffy sighed deeply, set her bottle down above the pillows and rolled onto her back.

"This was a really bad time to have this conversation." She finally said, only half joking.

"Si." Toni sounded a little amused herself.

"Do you think we could just forget we had it?" She rolled back to the Italian, her eyes and voice hopeful.

"We could try."

Buffy nodded, determined to, as she put her arm around the other woman and ran her hand up and down the length of Toni's silky-smooth back as they kissed again. On the third sweep up, Buffy's fingers caught the clasp of the Toni's soft, peach-coloured bra and fiddled with it, trying to get it undone.'These tiny things are much more fiddly when they're not your own', Buffy finally decided after the fourth or fifth attempt.

She stopped kissing Toni with a muttered: "Hang on." and wiggled down until she could poke her head under an arm and actually see the damn clasp. 'There, done!'

She lifted her head again, smiling sheepishly as she pulled the bra away from her girlfriend's chest and went to throw it carelessly to the side.

"No Buffy!" Toni quickly grabbed it. "The candles." She dropped it onto the quilt instead.

Buffy looked down at the newly bared skin of Toni's breasts as she casually replied: "Just like Faith, top marks for effort, but with zero thought to the safety aspect...whoa!"

Buffy was suddenly on her back, arms pinned above her head and a fiery Italian straddling her waist. "Hello." She gulped.

"Buffy, for the love of the Gods - mention Faith one more time while we are on this mattress and I am leaving - storm or no storm."

"S...sorry." Buffy spluttered, looking up at the dominating brunette. "Won't happen again, promise."

"Good." Toni gracefully got to her feet on the spongy mattress. "Sit up." Buffy did so. "I am overdressed, si?"

Getting the message immediately, Buffy hooked her fingers into Toni's panties and pulled them swiftly down her long legs.

"Okay." Buffy said at the sight of her girlfriend's bare sex inches from her nose. It wasn't anywhere near adequate, but it was all she could manage.

Toni stepped out of the material and straddled Buffy once more. "Much better." And Buffy agreed with a moan as their bodies came together.

They stayed in this position, Buffy sitting up with a lapful of Toni as they kissed again. Harder and deeper this time.

Toni was gradually pushing herself into Buffy with more urgency, her hands on Buffy's breasts, pulling lightly on her nipples and fanning the flames between the blonde's legs. In return, Buffy's hands had found there way to Toni's ass, gripping the firm cheeks encouragingly as she arched her hips forward, pushing back.

This was so it...and she was so darn ready for it!

The blonde tried to spread her legs, wanting to feel Toni pushing against her more intimately, but it wasn't easy the way they were positioned. She let out a frustrated moan, before surging forwards and pitching Toni on to her back.

The kiss broken, they lay there, with Buffy's body hovering inches above Toni's as they took a second to catch their breath.

When they came back together, with Buffy's body almost falling onto Toni's and the Italian's hands now seeking Buffy's ass, helping her to thrust against her harder.

Their tongues rolled together in a demanding kiss as they continued to writhe against each other on the blow-up mattress, their passion rising quickly.

When Buffy slid her hand between their bodies and down, Toni stopped her. "No, like this."

Confused, but horny enough to try just about anything at that point, Buffy let Toni roll them over again. She felt fingers touch between her legs and gasped. "I wanna touch you too."

"You will be." Toni promised, dipping her head to suck at Buffy's neck and she balanced on her knees, her other hand disappearing between them as well.

Buffy arched her neck, shivers running over her sensitive skin as the sucking increased and she felt her lower-lips being spread apart. A thumb or something flicked her clit and her hips bucked in response. The thumb went away but was replaced immediately with something soft and hot and wet.

"Oh God." Buffy squeaked out as Toni settled her weight back down, covering her very open pussy with her own and began thrusting against her again, this time much more deliberately.

Buffy looked up at Toni, who was now using an elbow to prop herself up while the other was sinking into the skin of her left hip. The blonde's breath came in shallow pants as her own body rocked to the fast rhythm Toni was setting. She wrapped her legs around Toni, gasping again as this brought them even more intimately together. Sinking her hands into the dark waves of hair hanging down her lovers back, she arched up to nip and lick at her throat.

Toni drew her hand up from Buffy's hip to pinch at her nipple rougher than she had been earlier. She was muttering something over and over again in Italian, but even if Buffy had understood the words she would have been barely able to hear it over the rumbles of thunder that sounded continuously from outside and her own heavy breathing. Scratching her short nails down Toni's back to her ass, she thrust upwards, grinding her tense clit into Toni's own hard little one. Toni pressed back, pulling on Buffy's nipple as her thrusts became short and hard and unrelenting.

"Oh fuck I'm gonna..." The rest of Buffy's surprised shout was lost in an especially loud clap of thunder as was Toni's answering Italian babble.

*****

As the thunder died away Buffy and Toni lay together, sweat-drenched and panting hard. Their bodies still pressing together as they fought to get their breathing down to less heart-attack inducing levels.

"Scopata!" Toni muttered after a while.

"What does that mean?" Buffy asked, her voice still a little croaky.

Toni had to think about it for a second. "I think...Fuck?!"

Buffy considered this. "Then I second your scopata."

Toni raised her head enough to smile down at her.

"What? it sounds prettier in Italian."

Toni nodded, before collapsing back down.

Buffy, slayer recovery and all that, was feeling almost back to normal. Her heartbeat was still far too fast to be healthy, which was making her a little light-headed, and she probably wouldn't be walking anywhere for a while longer, which was fine by her, but all in all...

She kissed the side of Toni's head before gently rolling them over.

Toni's eyes opened drowsily, a content smile on her pretty face. She didn't say anything as Buffy kissed her quickly on the lips before moving down to suckle the skin of her throat.

"I don't think I have enough energy to..."

Buffy cut her off with another quick kiss on the lips. "Shhh, its okay - just relax. Close your eyes."

Toni, still smiling, did so and Buffy pushed the quilt completely out of the way, mindful of the candles near the foot of the mattress, so that she could look at her lover without interruption.

The flickering of the candles played over Toni's seemingly flawless olive-toned skin as Buffy's eyes swept slowly up and down her body, taking in everything. They finally came to rest on her breasts, bigger than her own, maybe even a little bigger than... Buffy shook her head to will that thought away and strengthened her resolve by leaning down and taking one dark nipple into her mouth, her tongue flicking over the hardening nub.

Toni gasped, but didn't open her eyes.

Buffy sucked lightly on the nipple, not wanting to be too forceful because she knew how sensitive she could be after climax, but hoping to gently entice her lover into more action.

As she swept her palm down Toni's stomach and lower, her plan worked.

She was grabbed under the arms and dragged upwards, the squishy plastic mattress emitting a rude noise in accompaniment, until she was eye to sleepy eye with her girlfriend.

Buffy grinned in anticipation but Toni merely smiled unfocusedly, stroking her cheek as she murmured:

"It is 3am, il mio amore, we should sleep."

"But I'm not tired." Buffy playfully pointed out, emphasizing her words by leaning in to kiss her.

Toni let herself be kissed, but didn't make much effort back. When Buffy pulled away to look at her, the Italian's eyes remained closed.

"Toni?"

"Mmmhmm."

"Toni?"

Toni's eyes opened. "Bella Buffy, rest now. We have all the time we want to enjoy each other; we do not need to rush."

It wasn't about rushing; it was about still being horny. Buffy pouted, but her girlfriend's eyes had already slid closed again.

Sliding her leg between the Italian's and reaching around to caress her butt, Buffy leaned in to whisper huskily in her ear. "Are you sure I can't tempt you?"

Toni snuggled in closer, her head resting in the crook of Buffy's neck. "I am sure you can tempt me to do almost anything, but I would rather be awake to enjoy the experience."

"I could go get you a cup of coffee?" Buffy offered hopefully, but she wasn't surprised when all she received in reply was a small chuckle.

A few minutes of silence later and Toni had fallen fast asleep in her arms.

After a few more minutes, Buffy slowly inched herself up enough to be able to lean down and grip the discarded quilt between her fingers and carefully, because of the candles, pulled it up and over the two of them again. Now that the immediate passion had subsided, the air in the office felt cold. She tucked the quilt carefully around Toni's shoulders before she snuggled back down herself, facing away from the brunette.

She wasn't tired yet, not enough to sleep with the arousal still coursing through her. And if she remained curled up to Toni with their legs tangled together and their bodies smooshed so intimately, she wouldn't be getting any sleep. Neither would Toni for that matter. So she faced away from her girlfriend as she snuggled under the quilt for both theirs sakes and couldn't help the smile as an arm snaked around her waist, holding her tight.

So...that was that then, so to speak. The deed had been done and fun had been had. She, Buffy Anne Summers, had made love to a woman for the first time.

Sure she'd done stuff with Faith, and to Faith, but that didn't count for anything. Firstly because, well it didn't count for anything - Faith had made that clear enough to her, and secondly because, well it had just been screwing. Not planned or expected - just out of the blue pinned-to-the-snow, back-against-the-wall sizzling hot screwing.

Making love consisted of more than that; it had to. It had to have romance and tenderness and desire for something other than immediate physical satisfaction, and that had never been there with her and Faith except for one fleeting moment three months ago.

Buffy clenched her eyes tight in a bid to change her line of thought. She shouldn't be thinking about Faith, not here in this situation. She couldn't think about what Faith had said to Toni to get her into the room. She probably hadn't even meant it anyway. It was more than likely that Faith had just said whatever it took to get Toni into the room and waiting for Buffy and didn't even hear the words coming out of her own mouth. That was sweet all on its own, but it was best-friend sweet, not 'I-secretly-love-you' sweet.

She concentrated on the feel of her girlfriend's arm around her stomach, and the warmth of her body leaning heavily into Buffy's back as she slept. This was real. Maybe not love, not yet at least, but it was real. It was something she could reach out, touch, and know was genuine. She didn't need to be playing mind-games to know how Toni felt about her, she just had to ask. She didn't have to be scared to say how she felt for fear of being ridiculed, however playfully, or rejected, however casually.

It wasn't hard to be with Toni. This must be how Faith felt with Troy.

It was possible that things were exactly as they were supposed to be for once in her life and Buffy was so unused to the feeling that she still felt the need to push against it for all her worth, trying to change it and control it rather than let it be and accept that happiness just might be on the cards for her after all.

It had been a long time since Buffy had considered the possibility of happiness beyond the little things: the sugar-filled mocha after work or the hot bubble bath of relaxing goodness. And as for heart-related happiness, well Buffy had pretty much given up on that the night she'd watched Riley fly away. She'd resigned herself to a life of heart-related mediocrity until Faith had rocked her world, in every sense, in this very club. And in the months since the world rocking, she'd been further resigned to a life of unrequited sappiness and incurable horniness.

And now she had a girlfriend, one who she'd just made love to for the first time and who was now sleeping peacefully beside her.

That hadn't been part of tonight's plan - the sleeping. Okay so they'd gotten to bed a lot later than Buffy had imagined and there had been a hundred little difficulties that she hadn't been prepared for, but...

She'd expected a little more than...

Not that it hadn't been nice. It had been very nice, and hot and...and she hadn't even known it, as in lesbian sex, could be done like that, with the thrusting and...and...

Thrusting had always seemed like such a penis-related verb.

Buffy smiled to herself.

Well now she knew better, didn't she? And she was more than happy to learn whatever other lesbian sex stuff Toni wanted to teach her. The only flaw in that was that Toni would rather be asleep than playing teacher.

Buffy had accepted long ago that human men just didn't have all that much stamina in the bedroom. Riley had been great and he'd nearly always made her come, but more often than not he'd fallen asleep blissfully unaware that she was still itching for more. Or maybe he hadn't been that unaware; maybe that had been another reason for his departure? She'd secretly hoped that women, even completely human ones like Toni, were different. Men were expected to conk out after having an orgasm, women weren't. Unless Cosmo had been lying to her all these years.

Buffy parted her legs a little and slipped a hand between them, her palm getting an instant reminder of how aroused she still was. Cupping herself firmly, she closed her eyes and concentrated on the feel of Toni's body pressing into her back. Focusing on the large, firm tits pushing into her either side of her spine and the soft tuft of wiry hair brushing her bare ass if she wiggled back just so. Keeping her movements small so as not to disturb Toni, in case she wasn't as sound a sleeper as Riley had been, Buffy worked her middle finger over and over her clit.

Biting her lip now, the fantasy of Toni waking up and catching her out followed by the brunette roughly taking control of the situation, brought Buffy closer to her second peak of the night. With a little escaped whimper, she squeezed her legs together and pressed her clit hard as her hips made tiny jerks on the blow up mattress.

She rolled back into Toni a little more as her breaths became less labored, and entwined her fingers with her girlfriend's as she was squeezed a little tighter around her middle.

That hadn't been anywhere near as intense as the first time, but it had been enough to relax the tightness coiled between her legs and therefore the rest of her, too. She hadn't woken up Toni in the process either, so everyone was happy.

The unlooked for image of the Faith-leprechaun dancing sexily before her eyes right before her body had leaped over the edge into ecstasy was probably just some kind of Freudian thing best left alone.

Snuggling more into Toni's one armed embrace, Buffy's eyes closed and the drumming of the rain on the roof and the low rumbles of thunder seemed more peaceful now than they had earlier.

Her mind was full of conflicting thoughts as she slowly but surely drifted into sleep. Was it possible to make love to someone you weren't actually in love with, or was it just screwing all prettied up? And could sex, however unexpected, ever just be screwing around if you were in love with the person you were doing it with?

*****

The singing of birds awoke Buffy the next morning, or at least it was the first thing she heard as her eyes fluttered open and she lifted a hand to cover the huge yawn she could feel coming on.

Bright sunshine filtered through the dirty office window meaning Cleveland, or at the very least - Matrix, had survived the freak storm of the night before. It was possible she'd look out the window and find out the club had become its very own island over night, but that was deal-able. If push came to shove she could swim back to their camp a lot easier than she could have run back dodging lightening bolts the night before.

Buffy turned over on the squishy mattress, which was way more comfortable than any blow-up thing should be, and saw Toni was still fast asleep curled on her side facing away from her. As long as she was still in the same bed and not off being evil or a jerk or an evil jerk, Buffy was happy. She stroked a hand down Toni's curved spine, causing the Italian to mutter something in her native language and snuggle her head further into the pillow.

Buffy kissed her shoulder. "Toni."

No answer.

Buffy kissed a little further up her neck. "Toni."

This time she received a sleepy response. "Si?"

Curling a hand around her girlfriend's bare hip, Buffy spoke into her ear. "Are you feeling refreshed now?"

Quiet chuckling. Toni rolled onto her back so she could look up. "Buona mattina Buffy. Sė molto cosė." She raised an arm, stretching it before hooking her hand behind Buffy's head and pulling her down for a kiss.

Buffy had a panic attack before their lips got close. 'Shit, no, need to brush my teeth...or swallow some toothpaste at least!'

Not wanting to put her new lover off with morning breath she improvised quickly.

Pulling back, she kissed Toni on the forehead and got to her knees on the wobbly bed. "I'll go grab us some coffee while I let you wake up some more."

"Okay." Toni nodded, her eyes sliding closed again.

Disaster averted, Buffy crawled off the bed and jumped to her feet, wondering what she could find to use in the absence of toothpaste. She headed for the door of the office just as her brain caught up with her. Clothes would probably be a good idea.

Hurriedly dressing, she dashed for the door, not wanting to leave Toni alone for too long. "Don't go anywhere; I'll be right back." She called over her shoulder as she left.

The corridors were deserted as Buffy made her way first to the bathroom that Faith had pointed out on the night before. There wasn't any toothpaste in the tiny room, just a toilet and a sink. Quickly using the toilet, she flushed and washed her hands before lifting a palmful of water to her mouth.

"Eww!"

The water tasted worse than her mouth did. Spitting into the sink, she used a hand towel to wipe her face and left. She tried the kitchen cubicle next, but there was nothing in there that would serve as a mouthwash either or anything she could take back as a drink for Toni.

She'd have to go downstairs and find something, and it couldn't hurt to get a progress report on the current sitch either.

She retraced her steps down to the ground floor passing the door to the bar marked private and exiting through one of the doors leading to the dance floor. It was a totally different sight to what she'd left behind the night before.

Sunlight streamed through the windows and the main door that had been thrown open wide to let some air into the stuffy, smelly interior of the club. A lot of people must have already left but out of those that hadn't well over half were fast asleep. There was no music, just soft chatter and the sounds of a big clean up getting underway.

Buffy picked her way through the sleeping clubbers, heading for the bar - hoping she could get a mint-flavored tea or something, but there was no one around that looked like they worked there. She didn't want to just go behind and help herself so she switched plans again. Someone somewhere would have a mint or a stick of gum.

She started to look around for her friends, finally ending up in the chill-out area near the back of the club.

Every single couch and chair was filled with at least one sound asleep body. Much of the floor was covered with the same, bringing home how lucky she and Toni had been to have their nice cosy office all to themselves.

Willow and Kennedy were curled up together on one couch, with Dawn curled up at the other end. They all looked so cute that Buffy wished she had a camera with her, or Faith's damn phone.

Speaking of the devil, Faith was sprawled alone on one couch. Not just any couch, the couch. She was dead to the world with a whiskey bottle cradled tight to her chest. There was inch or two left in the bottom and Buffy tried to take it from the brunette so she wouldn't spill it over herself if she rolled over.

"Ner, s'mine," Faith mumbled as she tried to do just that.

"Faith, just let me put it on the floor next to you." She couldn't help herself from brushing some stray strands of hair from Faith's beautiful, scrunched-up face as she spoke.

"Leave me alone." Came the slurred reply.

"Faith, it's me." Buffy tried.

"I know who the fuck it is, leave me the alone, B." She rolled away from Buffy's touch, the whiskey spilling onto her shoulder and the back of the couch.

Buffy stepped back as if struck.

"She's been like that all night. Well until she passed out, anyway."

Buffy turned at the sound of Xander's sleepy voice. He was on the couch opposite, his head raised from the cushion so he could see her with his eye.

"Why?"

"Dunno, we assumed it was something to do with you and Toni disappearing."

"Fuck you, Xan."

Buffy turned back to the other Slayer at her slurred growl, but after a second or two it was obvious she was fast asleep again.

She turned to her best friend again, repeating: "Why?"

It didn't make any sense for Faith to be pissed off with her; she had been the one to take Buffy to Toni in the first place.

Xander, still lying down, shrugged. "Dunno then. Maybe it's a Troy thing then. Where is the delightful Toni anyway? She didn't leave, did she?"

"She's upstairs waiting for me; I needed gum." She explained.

On the other couch Faith covered her head with an arm.

Xander dug into a pocket of his jeans, producing a pack of gum he chucked it awkwardly to Buffy.

"Thanks."

"S'okay." He rolled over on the couch, getting comfortable again. "Storms over by the way, cleared up about an hour ago."

She chose to stare at the back of Faith's head instead of answering. What was wrong and where was Troy? According to the other Slayer he'd been acting weird ever since the storm had broken the night before. Had he and Faith had a fight after she'd gone upstairs? Did he know about the phone thing too and was being less forgiving than Toni?

Popping a stick of gum in her mouth Buffy walked away from the chill-out room looking around for the Greek. She didn't want to stay away from the beautiful and not to mention naked Italian upstairs any longer than she had too, but she also had to at least try and do for Faith what the other woman had done for her.

If she could find Troy and explain what ever he thought had happened was all Buffy's fault - something he probably would be quite happy to believe - then she could get the two of them reconciled and all would be right with the world. Sort of. And she owed Troy as much for the night before as she did Faith. If he had never introduced her to Toni in the first place then Buffy would still be single and pining for her sister-Slayer.

See, he had some good qualities and Buffy was finally ready to accept that and drop her silent hate campaign against him. Now she just had to find him...

She searched everywhere she could think of and was almost ready to give up on the idea of playing relationship doctor and head back to Toni when she thought to try the men's room.

Hearing his heavily accented voice coming through the thin wooden door, she stopped outside to wait for him to finish whatever he was doing and emerge, trying not to listen to the one-sided conversation she could hear. He was obviously on the phone to someone and it was clear he was more than a little pissed off as his voice began to rise.

"I do not care for that Marco, you had instructions from me and you went ahead with your foolish attempt to best Quantiaro anyway... Do not lie to me! It did not require testing and I have been stuck here with these...people, all night! My time is more invaluable than ever in this year and you have wasted many hours of it!"

Buffy frowned at the wooden door. Wow, Troy really wasn't happy about being stuck at the club. No wonder Faith was a bit fed up with him if this was how he'd been acting all night. She felt sorry for Marco, whoever he was, it wasn't fair to blame the weather conditions on him. Unless maybe he was a weather-man or something and had promised Troy it would be a clear night.

She tipped her head towards the door as Troy began to rant on the other side of it.

"I knew it would work, that is enough. And now, thanks to your over-eager stupidity, Quantiaro knows what we have planned!... Of course he will know this is what we are planning, and now he will cover his tracks more thoroughly than before and we may never know when he is about to strike."

Who was planning what? This didn't sound particularly archaeology related. Too curious to stop herself, Buffy moved even closer to the door.

"Marco you imbecile!" Troy shouted in frustration, causing Buffy to jerk her head away from the wood. "Do not concern yourself with matters too complex for you to understand. All you have to do is follow my every instruction, am I clear? Now you have wasted Montevorte's Storm with a total disregard for the fear and danger it would cause and I must come up with another plan to thwart Quantiaro. And you would do well to pray that we get the chance to use it before he succeeds. I'm sure I do not need to tell you that the consequences will be dire if he does - the death I should visit upon you for your petty defiance would seem like a friendly gesture in comparison..."

Montevorte's Storm? Was that the name for the freakish weather? All of this was certainly pointing towards something of the supernatural persuasion, something that Troy's friend had started; but why would this guy want to set crazy storms on Cleveland?

And just what did Quanti...the other guy have in mind that was so bad? Troy had just threatened to kill Marco over it, whatever it was, which definitely implied something a little weird was going on. Just what had Faith's boyfriend gotten himself mixed up in?

Before Buffy could barge in and demand some answers, Troy spoke again.

"If it is not stopped before it can come to pass then Quantiaro will have his day and I will never see that happen, do you understand? I will wipe out this whole sorry world before I let that happen!"

Okay, either Troy really liked to exaggerate when he was angry or there was a lot more to him than bulging biceps and sweet talk.

"Fai is not a problem, she will comply with my wishes...

What!? Buffy's hand was on the door now, but again she halted in surprise.

"It is the other one..."

Other one? Did he mean her? Or did he mean he had another girlfriend stashed somewhere that might cause problems for his great and mysterious plan.

"Yes, Buffy!"

Her then.

How the hell dare he refer to her as the other one...and she didn't care at all for the way he'd just said her name.

Buffy chewed hard on her gum, common sense over-ruling her anger, she stopped herself from crashing through the door to teach him a lesson about manners. She'd learn more by eavesdropping than she would by beating him to a pulp. She had to know what he wanted Faith to do and how it related to this Quantiaro.

"The Summers woman is a most difficult person; I do not understand what Faith would see in her, Marco. If it were not for the credibility of the source then I would believe my time in Cleveland to be most unnecessary. Alas, we cannot take that risk and so I am forced to suffer her presence..."

Okay, that was it! Who cared about information or what Faith might think about Buffy whaling on her boyfriend, this guy was getting every square inch of his tight little butt kicked into next year. How dare he talk about her like that. Did Toni know what an insensitive jerk she was friends with...

"No Marco, she is merely enjoying her work...believe me, there is no chance of love clouding her judgment - Antonella's taste is far too refined to fall for..."

Buffy didn't hear any more as she choked on her gum.


Continue to Part Six

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