No Time To Choose
Prequel to the House of the Setting Sun Series


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PART THREE
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Chapter Eight: Misconception

Buffy walked up the stairs slowly. The battering she had taken had made her achy, coupled with the sweet wine the idea of snuggling up in her own warm bed was very inviting. She even considered the possibility of leaving her confession for Faith until the morning so she wouldn't have to deal with the aftermath, good or bad until she'd had some sleep. She didn't think she'd be able to lay next to Faith all night though without saying something. So she would, even if it meant waking her up.

It crossed her mind that if Faith didn't in fact feel the same way then sleeping in the same bed would be really, really awkward. Buffy wouldn't be able to kick her counterpart out of bed just because she wasn't attracted to her, so Buffy would just have to go and bunk with Dawn. She'd tell her Faith snored or something. That obstacle worked around, Buffy stopped outside her bedroom door and took a deep breath. The two glasses of wine she'd drunk were sending warm fuzzy feelings though her body and not a small amount of dutch courage. She didn't give herself time to worry how she would feel if Faith wasn't interested, that would just lead to unhappy thoughts and Buffy chickening out.

She knocked. There was no answer, but that was okay, Faith was probably asleep. Buffy eased the door open slowly, her heart was beating rapidly and she felt like she was sixteen again.

As soon as the door was open she could hear noises, distinctly unsleepy noises. Either Faith was having a really good dream or she was...touching herself in Buffy's bed. At first Buffy was annoyed at the audacity, but then a wave of arousal hit her that nearly knocked her backwards.

Buffy reached for the lightswitch, deciding to catch the brunette out and tell her how she felt; it really couldn't wait a second longer. Her fingers skimmed the switch and froze as she heard a voice.

"Ohh Faith!"

"Okay I knew Faith was full of herself, but to the point of moaning her own name in bed, I don't think so." Buffy threw the door the rest of the way open and slammed her hand down on the light switch.

The door bounced loudly against her dressing table chair, but it was the sudden light that alerted the two bed fellows to the intrusion.

"Buffy!" Robin was the first to speak, he actually had the nerve to sound annoyed.

Buffy stood in the door way, the color draining from her face as she took in the scene.

"Buffy." It was Faith who said her name this time, softly. She sounded almost scared.

Buffy couldn't answer, she just stared. She didn't even see Robin, her tunnel of vision was focused solely on the other Slayer's face. She thought back to seeing Spike and Anya on the webcam. That had hurt so much and she'd never understood why. So what if Spike was boinking Anya, they were both free agents. Buffy had cut him loose and she had no right to be angry with him, but she had been just the same.

This mirrored that situation so closely, what was it - near enough a year to the day. Maybe Spike and Angel were both right about this being a spell at work. She was doomed to repeat the same crappy relationship crap, over and over. The spell must be getting stronger too, 'cause her and Faith hadn't even got to the relationship bit.

She watched in a daze as Robin tried to use his naked body to cover Faith's modesty. The thought nearly made her chuckle. Didn't he know Faith had no modesty? Of course not, he didn't know the first thing about Faith, they'd barely even met and now here they were in her bed.

How could she ever have thought her and Faith might have a shot? She didn't mean anything to this girl, obviously. Last night really had been about the fight, Faith had just needed to get off and Buffy had been conveniently there. It could have been anyone. Buffy didn't know why she was surprised, this was what Faith was all about. Just because her own feelings had begun to change for the dark Slayer never meant that Faith was feeling all loved up back. Buffy had expended all this energy on trying to figure out how she was feeling, not wanting to make a move just for the sake of it, not wanting to hurt anyone and Faith, noticeably, hadn't given it a second thought.

All of Faith's talk about coming back and being the Chosen Two again had been all about the Slaying, and her protective clingyness which had bordered on annoying to begin with, but now Buffy viewed as sweet, was just about the guilt she felt for her past and her desire to make up for it. Just because Faith had changed, and Buffy did now feel as though she could trust her, that clearly only applied to battle and not matters of the heart.

She came out of her thoughts to Faith saying her name over and over. She shook herself and realized she'd walked to the foot of the bed and she was staring at the two of them like a pervert. She let out a strangled cry and turned to bolt from the room.

Her feet became tangled in something and with a shriek she fell to her knees. Quickly fumbling with the boxers that had wound around her ankles she willed herself not to cry, not until she made it out of the house.

She could hear Faith moving on the bed behind her.

"Get offa me." Faith pushed gently at Robin's chest, she'd seen the distraught look on Buffy's face and knew she had to make it better. She didn't now how, but she had to try and she couldn't do that with Robin laying on top of her.

When he didn't get the hint quick enough and she realized Buffy was already up again and on her way to the door, she gave up on gentle and shoved him hard, sending him flying off of the edge of the bed.

He hit the floor with a grunt. "Sorry, but I told you I like it rough," she told him before running to the door.

She got to it just as Buffy was about to make a break for the stairs. Lunging forward, Faith caught her shoulder and pulled her back. Buffy winced with pain from her bruises and didn't have it in her to fight Faith off. She allowed the brunette to pull her back onto the landing and turn her round. She wouldn't lift her head up though, instead she stared at Faith's bare feet.

"Buffy, Buffy look at me."

Buffy refused to lift her head. When Faith placed a finger under her chin and tried to make her, she snapped her head back and moved away. "Don't touch me!"

Faith let her hand drop. "B, I'm real sorry. That was bang out of order, we shouldn't have been doing that in your bed. It just happened."

"Yeah a lot of things seem to just happen when you're around," Buffy spat.

Faith looked perplexed. "Yeah okay, so that's a poor excuse, but I didn't expect you back so soon and okay that's a poorer one but, jeez B, it's just a bed."

"It's not about the stupid bed!" Buffy shouted at her feet.

"Then what is it about? Do you like Robin, is that it? Cause if I'd known I never would've...B tell me, look at me, damn it."

"Faith, you're naked," Buffy told her, embarrassment tingeing her cheeks.

"Huh, oh!" Faith looked down at herself. "I guess this conversation might go better if I put some clothes on huh."

"This conversation might go better if we didn't have it," Buffy answered and turned to walk away.

"No Buffy, no. Wait there, I won't be a sec." Faith darted back into Buffy's bedroom. Robin was sat on the bed, he watched as she dashed in, grabbed the sheet off of the floor and dashed back out again.

Buffy hadn't moved, she was slumped against the wall, looking worn out. Faith walked towards her as she wrapped the sheet around her body, toga style.

"That better?" She asked the blonde.

Buffy just shook her head.

"Look, I know what it must look like, but I never knew you and Rob had a thing . . ."

Buffy cut her off. "We never had a thing! For Gods sake Faith, this has nothing to do with anything but you." 'And me,' she continued in her mind.

Faith's voice began to rise. "Well if this is just an easy excuse to have another pop at me, save it B. All we did was get a little physical, a bit of relief from the constant tension around here, y'know. I'm thinking you know all about that."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Buffy asked coldly.

"You and the bleach commercial. You told me you don't love him so I'm assuming the heavy breathing and smudged lipstick was all just the result of a little diversion from the crap we're living."

The reminder of her brief foray back into the land of Spike's lips gave Buffy a twinge of guilt, but that was different. She hadn't gone looking for it, it had just happened. Plus she had a history with Spike. Granted, for the most part it was a dark and violent history, but it still meant a hell of a lot more than knowing someone for a day or two.

"That's different," she told the brunette. "Spike and I are...We have stuff between us. You've spoken to Robin what, like twice?"

"So you're telling me it's better to use a friend than a stranger for these things. Jeez B, you were right, you have changed."

"I wasn't using Spike. I care about Spike."

Faith's shoulders slumped. Okay so she knew it already, but that didn't make hearing it any easier. She was ready to finish the conversation now. However, Buffy kept on talking.

"When we kissed it was great and I didn't want to stop." 'Okay brain, where are you going with this? You're supposed to be telling Faith you like her, not telling her how much you like Spike. Did what you just witness really blow you apart that much?' "It reminded me of how good we were together - physically I mean . . ."

"Yeah that's great Buff, but do you think you could recite your 'Ode to Spike' to someone else? I couldn't give a damn about how he made you feel." Faith turned to go back into Buffy's bedroom, then decided she couldn't face Robin and headed for the bathroom instead, leaving Buffy with her mouth open.

Buffy couldn't believe Faith had just cut her dead. She was just getting to the good part too. Childish anger at how hard this was replaced her surprise and she grabbed hold of the end of the sheet wrapped around Faith.

"Rude much," she sniped, feeling all of thirteen now.

Faith had two choices. Stay and listen to her prattle on about Spike for longer, or keep walking and lose the sheet. With a shrug she kept walking. She'd just spent three years in prison showering in front of thirty or forty strange women. Showing Buffy her goods really didn't faze her.

"Faith!" She heard Buffy squeal behind her and she wiggled her ass a little for affect as she strolled through the bathroom door. She kicked it shut with her heel, not wanting Buffy to see her cocky attitude didn't match the look on her face.

Before the door clicked shut, it was shoved open again, smacking Faith on the butt. She gave a little cry as the smooth, cold wood slapped against her bare skin and she stumbled a little in shock.

Before she'd completely recovered Buffy was in there spinning her around. The blonde thrust the sheet at her. When Faith didn't immediately take it, she shook it out and draped it over Faith's head. The double sheet hung to either side of Faith, making her look like Willow's Halloween ghost. Faith was highly not amused. She tried to tug the covering off of her head, but Buffy grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her back against the closed shower door.

"What the hell is your problem Buffy, get the hell off a me," Faith snarled. The sound was muffled but Buffy could tell how pissed she was.

"No," she replied, equally annoyed, "not until you learn some manners. I was trying to have a conversation with you."

"Well I don't want to hear it." Faith was struggling big time. Buffy was holding onto the sheet more than Faith, using her lesser weight to keep Faith flush with the shower door was only going to work for so long.

"Why Faith? What are you afraid I'm going to say?"

Faith stopped struggling so abruptly that Buffy fell against her. Quickly, embarrassed, she back stepped, letting go of the younger Slayer completely.

"I'm not afraid." Faith stood very still, aware the tremble in her voice may have given the game away. 'I'm so sick of playing games with Buffy,' she thought, but there was too much at stake to stop playing.

Buffy caught the tremor in Faith's voice and realized she'd inadvertently hit the nail on the head. She desperately wanted to get through this conversation and out the other side, where hopefully things would be clearer. She knew the only chance she had of doing that would be to make Faith feel more comfortable. A little humor was called for.

"So why are you hiding underneath the sheets?" She asked with a light chuckle.

"Har dee har," was Faith's only reply. She didn't attempt to remove the sheet, she just stood there.

Buffy, only too aware that Faith was very naked underneath there, didn't try to remove it for her. Instead she spoke softly.

"I thought we were making progress, becoming friends."

"We were, we are," came Faith's voice from under her sheet.

"Then what the hell just happened out there?"

"You're the one that went all weird when you walked in on me and Robin. I was just fine and dandy until then." The sheet drifted out from her mouth when she spoke.

Buffy really wanted to kiss that bit of sheet. "So why didn't you stay and finish what you were doing? I didn't ask you to chase after me, buck naked."

"You looked freaked, I wanted to know why."

"Why?"

"Because I did."

"So why did you bolt when I tried to explain?" Buffy asked.

"I don't see what you falling for Little Willie has to do with what you saw."

"I was gonna get to that part."

"Go on then." Faith crossed her arms and started tapping her foot.

Buffy smiled at Faith's confident display of body language while still looking like she was hiding from the boogey man. She felt the smile lose its edge as the challenge Faith had just uttered sunk in.

Now or never, and suddenly never was looking attractive again. She counted her blessings for the sheet though, that made true confessions that much easier.

"I'm not falling for Spike."

Faith shook her head, dismissively. "You looked pretty close earlier."

"It was just a kiss."

"Well I admit I only caught the tail end of it, but from the look you were givin' each other, it was more than just a kiss."

It was Buffy's turn to shake her head. "Spike said the same thing about when we kissed."

Now Faith ripped the sheet off her head. "What?"

"Uh Faith." Buffy waved her hands in front of the younger Slayer. Faith gave a strangled growl deep in her throat, but wrapped the sheet around her like a cloak.

Buffy opened her eyes again. "When he caught us er . . .kissing, he um said it looked like more." She realized this was her opening. Now just to wait and see how Faith reacted to it.

"Great, now I'm being compared to the damn vamp. Could this get any worse?" Faith started pacing around the small bathroom. What was Buffy going on about? Hadn't she made it clear she didn't want to chat about Spike? She obviously had the bloodsucker on the brain at the moment, so why didn't she get gone and hassle him.

"Okay, not the reaction I was looking for," Buffy had to concede. Best just to press on.

"Well it is the same, isn't it? We just kissed and me and Spike just kissed or...or it was more than a kiss, if you go by how it looked."

"Okay B, you lost me again. I have no idea if you like Spike or not now. I've never done this girly talk stuff before, maybe you should speak to Red." 'Before I explode.'

"What? Why would I want to talk to Will? It's you I need to say this to," Buffy told her. She was losing herself, every time she was about to come out and say it, Faith changed the subject.

"But Buffy, I don't care. I'm sorry, but I don't. I like you and I wanna be friends but not this, it's too much. I'd rather just get back to Rob and apologize for leaving him high and dry." She winked at Buffy and patted her arm as she walked past out the door.

Buffy's mouth was open in shock, again. This girl was too much, she even had the effrontery to wink at her. Oh by everything honest and just in this world they were gonna rumble now.

"So that's it, you don't even want to talk about it?" Buffy shouted after her retreating back.

Faith turned back to her. "Jeez B, keep it down, people are trying to sleep y'know."

"No I will not keep it down, answer the question."

"No I don't want to talk about it, I said that. Nothing against you, but I don't want a friendship where we share everything if you know what I mean. Let's just keep it casual, you've got other friends for the heavy stuff." Faith stood looking at her. That had been totally honest, Buffy couldn't fault her on a thing she'd said, so why was B still glaring at her. Her lower lip trembling slightly in contrast with the laser beams about to shoot from her eyes.

"You really are a piece of work, aren't you? You want to keep it so casual you won't even discuss it. Just a good time girl to the end, huh Faith," Buffy hissed. Without another glance at Faith she started down the stairs.

"What is wrong with you Buffy?" Faith called after her.

"Nothing to do with you," Buffy snapped, still descending.

'It never is,' thought Faith sadly. 'It's always Angel or Riley or Spike. I'm just the one who chucks myself in front of the crossfire.'

She entered Buffy's bedroom to find Robin and his clothes gone. Half relieved but feeling even more alone, she sank down onto the bed, pulled the sheet over her head once more and cried.


Chapter Nine

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Part Three Quick Jump:

Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen || Chapter Fourteen || Chapter Fifteen || Chapter Sixteen


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