PART FOUR: 14th February 2004
Chapter Six: Holding On With Fingers and Feelings Alike
Five minutes into what could have been the make-out session of the century, Buffy heard the patio door slide open.
She pulled away instantly, embarrassed at having been caught kissing the stunning Italian woman. A second later, she snatched her hand away from Toni's breast too, but realised it was a futile gesture. Faith would have seen everything as soon as she went to open the big glass door.
"You guys having fun?" Faith's voice probably sounded pleasant enough to Toni, but Buffy knew her well enough to detect the icy undertones. Back in the old days, this would have been about the time when Faith started priming her long-bow.
The Slayers' eyes caught and held.
"Fai, can I come in?" Troy was still out on the balcony, Faith's body blocking the door. She moved silently to one side.
Buffy nodded in answer to Faith's question, the alcohol making her brazen. "Uh-huh. You?"
"Always do; you know that." Faith crossed her arms.
Toni had shifted to give Buffy more space, but she hadn't moved far. The arm that had been tightly wrapped around Buffy a second ago now rested casually on the back of the small couch.
Buffy needed something to busy herself with. She looked about her for her drink, but wasn't surprised to discoverer she'd already finished it.
Faith's eyes were still on Buffy. Troy was looking at her too, probably just pissed off at her because she'd disrupted his date again. Toni was studying Faith's face like she was daring her to say something. Maybe she had gone through this same thing with Helena.
Buffy didn't want to look at anyone in case they spotted just how raw she suddenly felt. She got to her feet and walked as steadily as she could across the room.
"Who wants to raid the mini-bar?" She called out cheerfully as she pulled several miniature bottles of liquor from the small refrigerator. "Or do you forfeit?" She asked Faith directly.
"They got J.D?" Faith lifted her chin to regard Buffy through narrowed eyes.
Buffy nodded. "They've got everything you can imagine."
"Then chuck one over here."
Buffy did so, then looked to Troy. "I will forfeit. I have an early start in the morning." He shot a meaningful glance in Faith's direction, but she was too busy staring at Buffy to notice it.
"I'll take a vodka?" Said Toni.
"Gotcha." Buffy grabbed a bottle of Absolut and another J.D out of the tiny chiller and walked back across the room to sit next to Toni again. Using the 'one foot in front of the other' trick she'd been taught at twelve months old, she made it all the way back without staggering once. She wobbled a little on descent though and the hand she shot out to balance herself landed on Toni's thigh.
An accident, but seemingly of the good kind.
Buffy didn't snatch her hand away like she would have a few drinks ago. She already felt bad for pulling away so fast when they'd been caught kissing; that was the same kind of thing that caused Buffy to lose Faith in the first place. So she kept her hand on Toni's thigh, sliding it down a little so it didn't look like she was trying to cop a feel in front of the other two. She'd leave that to the Europeans, thank you very much.
Toni gave her a beautiful smile as she accepted the tiny bottle of Vodka from her.
Faith finally moved from the door and came back to her couch. "Sit." She demanded of Troy. He did so, glaring at Buffy.
Buffy pretended not to notice and looked to Faith instead. The stony eyes and bright smile didn't fit together at all. Now what was her deal?
"So Faith, was the view from the balcony everything Troy promised?"
Faith sneered. "Dunno B, didn't do much looking, if you know what I mean."
Buffy ignored the knots twisting up her stomach. "Yeah, well, it is Valentine's Day, right? If there was ever a Saint's day that allowed for more than just looking, I guess this would be the perfect one."
"That's right Buffy; we can be sluts for the day and blame it on some dude called Val who's been dead a thousand years when we wake up feeling all shameful tomorrow." Faith unscrewed the tiny cap on her bottle and threw the contents down her throat.
Buffy frowned. "I wouldn't go that far."
"Really? Why? You need another drink first?" Faith held Buffy's eyes seriously for a beat as the colour drained from the blonde's face, then laughed. "Lighten up B, I'm just playing." Her eyes still didn't quite match her lightness of tone.
"Yeah, well maybe you need to play a different game."
The two Slayers went back to staring at each other in silence. When it was clear neither was going to break it this time, Toni started up a conversation with Troy.
"So what are you doing so early tomorrow?"
"I am meeting with Signor Pattelli. He has found a tin full of papers amongst the artefacts he uncovered from McCormick Place. He thinks they may be useful to my research."
"But weren't you in Illinois last week? Why didn't he hand them over then?" Almost absentmindedly, Toni took and held the hand that was on her knee. Buffy's lips twitched upwards but she didn't take her eyes from Faith's.
"I did not get a chance to speak with him last week. After a quick visit to the site, Fai and I spent the rest of the weekend enjoying ourselves. It is lucky for me Signor Pattelli is in Cleveland this week for a lecture."
"Did you enjoy Chicago, Faith?" Toni tried to break the staring match.
Buffy felt something twitch at the back of her brain, but she couldn't put her finger on why. She was more concerned with the way Faith was looking at her. Her expression seemed darker since the Italian had taken her hand.
"What's wrong, Faith?" She asked quietly. She knew the others would hear her, but right now all she cared about was Faith.
"Five by five." Faith muttered back.
That was so obviously a lie, but Buffy didn't press it. She'd started something here tonight, with Toni that may or may not last beyond the date. Either way she wasn't going to let Faith's mood swings distract her from that for too long. Otherwise, nothing had changed and she was still just hanging on Faith's every whim.
Whatever had happened out on the balcony, or whether Faith had just decided that second she wasn't as ready for Buffy to move on as she had been, couldn't factor in to how Buffy conducted herself in the future. Whatever had caused this sudden stormy patch would resolve itself, providing Buffy could hang on to her own resolve.
Maybe Faith felt the same for halfway through a sentence, Troy was shut up by Faith's mouth on his.
Buffy almost jumped at the rapid change, from staring into one another's eyes to her staring at the two of them going for the Olympic gold in tongue wrestling. She coughed to hide her discomfort and Toni gently squeezed her hand.
Toni leaned in and gave her a small kiss when Buffy turned to face her. Buffy smiled in response, provoking Toni to lean in for a more lingering kiss this time.
As Buffy's eyes fluttered open again the first thing that came into focus was Faith's face, her eyes straining in their sockets to see past Troy's nose. She was trying so hard to see what Buffy and Toni were up to that her eyes were watering.
'Pervert' Buffy thought with a mental chuckle. 'No free shows tonight, Faith.'
"I guess it's time we left," she said aloud, "before this really gets orgy-rific."
Faith pulled away from Troy so fast that he almost ended up face first in her lap. "You don't have to go."
"Yeah, we really do. It's late, and I'm sure you and Troy have things you want to do without an audience and . . . well, so do we." Buffy smiled at Toni, whose own smile couldn't have gotten any bigger if she'd tried. It was flattering to say the least.
Faith was on her feet in the blink of an eye. "Well don't let us stop you." She easily hauled Troy up after her. "See you tomorrow." She dragged her boyfriend towards the bedroom.
"Buona notte, signore." Troy called over his shoulder.
The door shut behind them.
Silence descended on the living room as Buffy stared at the closed bedroom door. Shaking her head, she turned to Toni.
"Abrupt, isn't she?"
Toni smiled. "Si. Are you okay?"
"I think so."
"Good." Toni stood up and Buffy followed suit. "So shall we go and check out our own room, or would you prefer to take a taxi-cab home?"
"Well it seems a shame to go home before we've tried the $200 champagne."
Toni looked a little uncomfortable. "Ah, Buffy, our room is not quite as lavish as this one. There may not be..."
Buffy grinned at her. "Oh, I think there will be." Leaving Toni's side she walked across to the bar again. Sitting on top in a bucket of ice was a bottle of $200 champagne. She picked it up, bucket and all, and gestured for the exit door. "Shall we?"
They giggled all the way to their own room, which was on the same landing but a few doors down. Toni quickly flicked her key-card through the electronic lock and pushed open the heavy door.
Greeting them was a living space smaller than the one in Troy's suite, but equally as nice. Buffy placed the bucket on the coffee table as she looked around. There was no bar there, just a mini-fridge set back against the wall.
"You open the champagne," said Buffy. "I'm just going to use the bathroom."
She left Toni fiddling with the gold foil and walked through one of the doors leading from the main room. It was the bedroom. Noticing that the bed was the same size as the one Faith and Troy were no doubt making use of right now, a few nerves come back.
She quashed them and walked through to the bathroom. The shower wasn't as big and neither was the spa-bath, but both were plenty big enough for her and Toni. Again the nerves came, and this time they wouldn't be quashed quite so easily.
She looked into the mirror above the sink.
Was she really going to go through with this? Why? Just to prove that she could? Maybe. But did she have to prove that to herself, and was that a good enough reason to sleep with someone she'd only known for about four hours? Would Toni be able to tell she was a complete virgin at this, or would two months of pornographic dreams about Faith give her enough experience to fake it like a pro?
Maybe that was the wrong choice of words.
"Oh get over it!" She muttered to herself. Why shouldn't she have fun with the beautiful woman who was so visibly into her? Where was the harm? So she didn't love Toni, but hadn't Toni said that her first fling after Helena had been with someone she didn't love?
And love was over-rated anyway. She'd loved Angel and look where that had gotten her. She'd loved Riley and that had all gone south too. Spike had loved her and all that had gotten him was sun-fried.
And...and she didn't think she was in love with Faith, but that didn't stop her wanting the deeply confusing Slayer in every way possible.
So conclusion: Love was over-rated. Hot Italian babes bearing champagne - were not.
Buffy finished up in the bathroom and headed back out to her date. Going through to the living room using the connecting door she found no Toni and no champagne. Had she misjudged the other woman? Had she left and taken the pilfered bubbly with her?
"I'm through here, Buffy." The Italian accent floated through from the bedroom.
Buffy stopped just outside the door and took a deep breath. "Okay, here goes." She murmured before walking through.
The glasses of champagne Toni had poured were barely touched, forgotten as soon as they had kissed again.
It had all started off playfully, and Buffy was more relaxed than she would have believed she could be while rolling around on the king-size bed with Toni, hands wandering freely over loosening clothes and already bared skin. It was getting pretty hot and heavy however, when something kicked the back of Buffy's brain.
Something about a trip?
She ignored the nagging thought and let her hands slide up the back of Toni's dress. Her fingertips grazed over the tiny hooks at the top and she tried to get them undone. They were fiddly though, and the alcohol was still in her system, making her usually agile fingers fumble in their task. She stopped before she ripped the dress and completely embarrassed herself.
"Caduta sopra!" Toni reached around her back and, after making one attempt to undo the hooks, gave up and used force to rip them apart.
"Toni!" Buffy sat up a little with a shocked laugh.
"It is okay. It is just a copy." Toni, who was on top now, pushed Buffy back to the bed.
Buffy settled onto the covers again. Her hands went to the newly exposed olive skin of Toni's back. "A fake?"
"I am a student, Buffy. I can not afford $400 on a dress. A friend of my Grandmother's made this while I was in Italy. It was very pleasing for me when you mistook it for such a designer label." She chuckled. "Sorry if I have disappointed you."
Buffy wondered if the Grandmother's friend would make one for her too. She didn't mind having to trek to Italy for it. She grinned.
"Nope, I forgive you for fibbing to me. Plus it means I can do this, right?" She ripped it just a tiny bit more, letting her fingers slide further under the material over smooth skin.
"Si, but not too much. I only have so many safety pins in my handbag."
Toni kissed her again, but Buffy had to pull away to laugh. "Sorry, that's just..." Buffy stared at the other woman, eyes sparkling. "It's just when I came out tonight I wasn't even expecting to enjoy myself, you know, and now..."
And now she was, and had been for most of the night. She really did like Toni and she wasn't doing this to prove anything to herself or to anyone else. Weirdly, that made things more complicated.
Kissing Toni again, Buffy had another argument in her head which she lost. Just once, she'd like to give herself over to reckless abandon without the moral debate between angel-Buffy and devil-Buffy first.
"I have to stop." She said quietly.
"Okay." Toni looked worried. "Can I ask why?"
"It's not what you think." Buffy hurriedly assured her. "A part of me really wants to carry on and see how good this will be, but ...that part of me usually lands my butt in trouble." She slid her hand up to Toni's shoulder and let her fingers play in the long brunette strands of hair hanging over it. "I want to try and avoid that this time."
"What trouble are you expecting?" Toni's hand slid up and down Buffy's bare stomach, gently reassuring her.
"It could be anything; my life is full of variety." Buffy chuckled. "Can we just press pause for now and, I don't know, maybe go out sometime next week, just the two of us, and get to know each other without the weirdness that was tonight?"
Toni nodded. "I understand. You do not want to do anything you might wake up to regret."
Buffy shook her head. "No, that's not it. I don't want to wake up tomorrow and realise I have done something you might regret."
"Then you are worrying needlessly. I knew I wanted to be with you before we started drinking." Tony assured her by taking her hand and kissing the knuckles. "I liked you from the moment that you hid behind your friend and blushed."
"Oh, yeah." Buffy put a hand over her eyes, but she was smiling. "I always make the best first impressions." She uncovered her eyes and looked at Toni seriously again. "But this is still too soon for me. I like you and..."
Toni kissed her into silence. Buffy's eyes slid closed despite her best intentions.
As they gently pulled apart, Buffy's eyes remained closed while she fought the will of her body. She hadn't been kidding when she'd said she wanted this. Alcohol and the absence of intimacy for so long made her body quiver with want, but she knew that Faith had played too big a part in her decisions tonight to be fair to any of them.
When she felt a soft kiss on her brow, she opened her eyes again.
Toni was smiling at her. "You don't have to go, but if you insist I thought you might need this." She held Buffy's black top in her hand.
"Thanks." Buffy sat up and took the clothes. "People will worry if I don't go home."
"Will they not worry about Faith?" Toni asked.
Buffy pulled her top over her head, not too worried about her hair now. "No, she stays out a lot." Like all last weekend, which Buffy had totally forgotten about. "So, what night would you like to meet?"
"Are you sure you want to? You do not..."
"I want to." Buffy insisted, pecking her on the lips.
Toni smiled. "In that case, I am free Wednesday."
"Me too. I'll buy you dinner."
Toni rose from the bed. "I'll give you my number."
Buffy jumped up too and went to fetch her bag. She readied her cell phone for keying in Toni's number. Once it was safely stored, she put it away and went to the Italian for another kiss. "I'll call you tomorrow."
"I hope you do." Toni touched Buffy's hand before moving away to open the door.
"Count on it."
Buffy smiled and left the room. She knew she was doing the right thing, but why did it have to be so hard! Sometimes she could see why people took the evil way out: less stress.
She felt Toni's door shut softly behind her.
It was late, but in a place as international as this, the reception should still be open. Or at least she hoped so. They'd be able to call her a cab, and if not, it wouldn't take her long to pick one up on the street. It wasn't that late, barely past twelve-thirty. She still had time to do a sweep in fact, before anyone started missing her at home. If the alcohol didn't get her killed, battling something unpleasant might be the best way to get rid of all the tension riding the waves inside her.
She was almost at the elevator when she heard the quiet click of another door shutting behind her.
"Was she good?" Faith's voice was menacingly hushed.
"Always is. So come on, tell me: Did she do it for you? Are you all in love now?"
Buffy shook her head and turned to face the other Slayer. "Why are you doing this?"
Faith looked at the wall, apparently having no answer.
Buffy raised her eyes to the low ceiling in supplication and went to press the button to call the elevator. She couldn't handle this right now.
Faith slapped her hand away and Buffy snapped out a: "Don't."
"You're drunk!" It wasn't her best argument ever, Buffy had to admit.
"So are you, obviously. The only time you get horny is when you're drunk on something."
"What?" Buffy spluttered. "How would you even know? More importantly, why would you even care?"
"I don't. I just think it's wrong, trying to make me jealous by screwing Troy's friend. I thought you were better than that."
Buffy bristled. "Then you obviously think too much of me, which I've gotta say is a surprise." She lifted her finger to push the button again. If she didn't leave now, all the hard work they had already put into their friendship was going to be lost.
This time Faith didn't just slap her hand; she grabbed her whole arm and shoved her away from the elevator. Buffy stumbled backwards and Faith moved between her and the doors.
"I know you've spent the whole night trying to make me jealous Buffy." Faith spat. "Now it's worked you just want to run away? I don't think so Blondie..."
Buffy recovered from her shock at Faith's hostility and took a step forward.
"Firstly, you were the one trying to make me jealous..." She shoved Faith's chest hard, making her back up a step or two. "... Secondly, don't ever call me Blondie again!"
"I wasn't..." Faith began, but Buffy waved a hand and cut her off.
"Don't even bother. You were all over Troy as soon as you saw that Toni and I were getting along together. Whatever Giles may say, I find it hard to believe in coincidences." She stepped back even though her hackles were raised. "So go back to him."
Faith didn't answer straight away and for the longest minute the two slayers stared each other down. Eventually, Faith shook her head and asked: "How can you do this to me? This shit is insane!"
"How can you do this to me?" Buffy stormed. "You've been prancing around with him for the past six weeks without a second thought for my feelings. You kiss me one minute and push me away the next and I've let you and...and maybe that makes me a fool, but it makes you something a lot worse."
"You made me kiss you! I wouldn't have done it otherwise. Hell, I wouldn't have done it anyway if I'd known you were gonna go back on your promise. You said it was a one-off, I thought that would be the end of it, but no..."
"Are you stupid?" asked Buffy incredulously.
"Apparently yeah, nothing else explains why the hell I got so hung up on you!" Faith's voice was acidic.
Buffy stepped back, fists balling. "Yeah, well, the feelings mutual."
Faith mocked her with a laugh. "Give me a break B. The only person you've ever been hung up on is yourself. You like to bring us in as characters in your little play, sure, but we never really matter to Princess Buffy, do we? As soon as it gets too hard or too embarrassing, you bale faster than a sinking sailor. No one is allowed to get too close, right? As soon as it all becomes a little too real, Buffy officially leaves the building."
Buffy shook her head and backed up another step. She didn't want to lash out at Faith; she so didn't want things to go that way. She tried to block out the harsh words assaulting her ears, but the other slayer just kept stalking closer. "That's not how it is."
"Yes it is!" Faith was grinning and Buffy wanted to wipe it off with her fist. "The only reason you're still after me is because I walked away first and you can't stand that, can you? That's why you've been giving me head trips ever since. I bet you were over the fucking moon on your birthday when you pulled that shit with me. I should have punched you, not kissed you." Faith stopped abruptly and paced back the other way, with arms outstretched, imploring the corridor walls for help. "And you'd have thought I woulda learned by now, but here I am letting you do it all over again."
Buffy took a step towards Faith's back. When she spoke, her voice was high with emotion.
"You were the one that invited me out tonight! You set this date up and organized for me to meet Troy's friend! So how am I doing anything to you, Faith? You told me I had to pretend to like the guy even if I didn't; surely you knew there was a chance that I might actually like him for real. I mean, wasn't that the point? Or was I supposed to hate my date and spend the whole night jealous over you and that bastard? Was that the plan?"
Faith turned back to her. "Of course not, but I didn't expect you to jump straight into fucking bed with her, Buffy! I thought sex was a big deal to you, or was that just more bullshit designed to drive me crazy? Come to think of it, it musta been. After all, you gave it up for Angel, Riley and Spike fast enough, and now Toni?" Faith ran a hand through her hair, chuckling. "Man you were right: I am stupid! I believed all that crap about taking it slow; about romance and shit. That's why..." she cut herself off, biting gently on her tongue and shaking her head slowly. "And you really were just playing me from the start. It must have been a blast for you - having a walking, talking sex toy you could just use when you felt like it and ignore when you didn't. No wonder you didn't want your friends to know about us. That would have really toppled your pedestal wouldn't it?"
Buffy's nails dug into her palms as she fought the red mist that was trying to descend. She had done nothing wrong, nothing at all, and she was now officially to the point where she was through. Through with Faith's venomous attack, through with Faith altogether. No more busting her ass trying to make the bitch happy when she was obviously just making things worse.
"So come on then, Buffy, say something scathing to put me in my place." Faith taunted, stepping closer.
"I can't believe that even after all this time you still don't know me at all." Buffy closed her throat to the sobs that wanted to escape.
"I think I just proved that..." Faith started.
"No, all you proved is that you're full of shit!" Buffy shouted over her, voice trembling with anger. "You're just..." Unable to finish, Buffy backed a step away before turning and running for the stairwell at the end of the corridor.
"You're the one full of shit, B." Faith gave chase. Two sets of Slayer feet made muffled thuds on the thick, one-style-suits-all hotel carpet. "You used me! You knew how I felt about you and you used me anyway..."
Buffy slammed through the heavy fire doors and jumped the first set of eight steps without slowing. She stumbled a little but kept her footing. She heard Faith hit the doors and as she swiveled and jumped the next eight steps, the brunette was only eight steps behind.
"...And then when you don't get your own way for once, you just push me and push me. Why B? Do you need to break me again to feel good about yourself? Do you still hate me that much?"
Buffy's feet barely touched down on the next landing when Faith landed on her back and knocked her flying. The two slayers rolled down the next eight steps together, ending up in a heap on the twelfth floor.
"Take a look at yourself F; you're the one with the anger issues." Buffy pointed out as they struggled with each other. "Maybe you're the one with the problem."
"Maybe you're right and you're the fuckin' problem!" Faith bit out as she tried to pin the wriggling Buffy down.
"Then maybe you should deal with it instead of hiding all the time." Buffy squirmed out from under her, planted both feet on Faith's hips and shoved the brunette away.
Faith caught Buffy's ankles and dragged her closer again. "I thought I had dealt with it, but you keep raising the bar." She punched Buffy's thigh hard.
Buffy retaliated to the painful punch by back-handing Faith's chest.
"When are you going to stop blaming me for everything and start taking responsibility for yourself, F?"
Faith twisted onto her side and kicked Buffy in the ass. "As soon as you stop being to blame for this mess."
Buffy rubbed her stinging ass and launched herself on top of the other slayer; they rolled over a few times, coming precariously close to the edge of the landing.
"Me? There wouldn't even be a mess if you could just admit you were wrong for once." Buffy grunted.
"But I'm not wrong, you are! You used me, remember?" Bringing a knee up into Buffy's side, Faith used the second it gave her to try and flip the blonde off of her.
Buffy stuck like glue. "I never used you! NEVER! That's all just some fantasy you've come up with to make you feel better about giving up. You accused me of never sticking around, never letting anyone get close, of always backing away when it got too hard, and yet that's exactly what you did. What you've always done."
At that, Faith stopped wrestling and Buffy took a chance and sat up a little.
"I was scared at Christmas, I admit that, but you were way more scared than me."
"I wasn't scared of anything; I just wised up."
"That's not true and you know it. You are terrified of something, and that's why you've been pushing me away ever since Christmas day."
"You don't know what you're talking about. Get off me." Faith pushed at Buffy's chest.
Buffy stayed glue-like. "Why? So you can run and hide again? What is it Faith, tell me? Why will you refuse to believe that I am falling..?"
"I said GET OFF!" Faith cut her off.
Faith used brute force to get up from the floor, but Buffy pushed forward to keep her pinned down. One of Faith's hands slipped from the safety of the landing onto the top step. Normally that wouldn't have caused any balance problems for a slayer, but Buffy's hands were pressing on Faith's shoulders and the blonde realised what the result was going to be only a heartbeat before it happened.
They cart-wheeled down the stairs, which were much harder and bumpier than snow-drifts. Buffy's eyes were wide open and her fast reflexes brought her hand up behind Faith's head before it could smack solidly into the wall. It sure as hell made her knuckles sting, but at least no one was concussed.
Faith's breathing was ragged, but she managed to pant weakly: "You're not."
Buffy's breathing was ragged too. "I'm really starting to think that I might be." she licked her lips. "If, you know, I'm not already."
"I...then...no." Maybe Faith was a little concussed. Buffy pressed down the urge to hold fingers up in front of her face. "You can't just suddenly decide something like that..." Faith shook her head fast. "No, you're just...You don't know what you're saying. You're drunk, wicked drunk and this is all just bullshit..."
Buffy didn't think before kissing Faith hard on the mouth. The dull thud of Faith's head hitting the wall didn't even register as Buffy cupped the brunette's cheeks with her palms and pushed her tongue between those soft, lovely lips.
Thirty seconds must have passed before Faith pushed her away. "Buffy..?"
Faith looked like someone had just handed her a big bomb wrapped in a pretty bow.
Buffy leaned in and kissed her again.
It could have been a full minute this time before Faith pushed her away again and groaned: "Will you stop doing that?" This time she scrambled up, making Buffy jump to her feet or slide off.
Buffy straightened up in front of her.
"That's what I was going to say." The blonde stepped forward, tilting her head to kiss Faith again. She gripped Faith's upper-arms lightly, feeling the tense muscles.
This time their lips had barely touched when Faith pulled away. "What are you trying to prove, B?"
"What do you think?"
"I have no fucking idea. 'Cept maybe that you're crazy, but then I knew that already." Faith backed towards the wall, rubbing the back of her head.
"Why won't you believe me?" Buffy followed her, ignoring the hand Faith raised between them.
"Hell if I know. Sure can't be because you were just screwing some other chick ten minutes ago."
Buffy walked into Faith's open palm. The heat of it burned through her thin tank top and she placed her own hand over the top, pressing it to the centre of her chest.
"I didn't sleep with her. We just kissed and, well that was all really..."
"What, so she got you all worked up and now you've come to me to finish what she started?"
"You started it." Buffy said quietly, closing the distance between them again.
"So you're back to blaming me." Faith retorted with an attempt at a sneer.
"That's not what I meant."
In a move quick enough to take Faith by surprise, Buffy pushed her backwards, pinned her wrists to the wall, and kissed her. Faith struggled, forcing Buffy to use the length of her body to keep her still.
Cheers of approval went up inside Buffy's brain as she felt Faith finally succumb to the kiss.
At the first feel of Faith's tongue sliding past her lips, Buffy's knees went weak and she had to lean even more fully into Faith to stop herself from hitting the floor in a gooey pile. As muscle by muscle she felt Faith's body sink into hers, she risked releasing the other Slayer's wrists to wrap her own arms around Faith's neck.
Buffy was pretty sure it was just the need for oxygen that eventually made Faith pull away to rest her head back against the wall.
"We shouldn't...this isn't right." Faith's eyes slid closed as she caught her breath.
Buffy was drawn to the soft pale skin of Faith's neck. Her lips pressed a line of kisses from throat up to ear, tongue lightly flicking an earlobe before sucking gently where Faith's pulse beat wildly just below the surface.
"I know you want me tonight." Buffy murmured against Faith's throat, causing the brunette to gulp. "I want you too." She licked back up to Faith's ear. "So bad it's killing me." She whispered.
"I hate you." Faith whispered back, quite possibly to the ceiling that she had her eyes fixated upon.
"No you don't." Buffy felt Faith's hands on her waist, edging almost reluctantly under the material of her tank top. It gave her all kinds of confidence.
"I do." Faith closed her eyes tightly.
"Then you should probably stop me from doing this."
She drew both of her hands down from Faith's shoulders to caress the other woman's breasts. She could feel Faith's slightly hardened nipples through the red silk shirt she wore, but no bra. Almost groaning, she leaned forward and kissed Faith again on the lips.
Buffy was done with being restrained; too many fantasies spanning too many nights had led her to this point and she wasn't turning back now. Unless, of course, Faith physically forced her off and threw her down the rest of the stairs.
She dropped her hands to the bottom of Faith's shirt and pushed them up and under the tight material, grazing over a toned stomach before reaching the under-swell of her breasts. Buffy's fingertips crept up and over the hot curve of flesh and rubbed over Faith's nipples, loving the way they came to life at her touch.
"Fuck." Faith dragged her mouth away, arching into Buffy's hands.
Buffy's felt Faith's hands on her ass, pulling her as close as possible. And then Faith was kissing her . It wasn't the other way around this time; Faith had definitely made the first move, her lips crashing into Buffy's hungrily.
Buffy was hitting an all new lust high as she massaged the breasts laying heavy in her palms, and she couldn't help the gentle roll of her hips as desire surged through her. She moaned aloud as she felt Faith get a tighter grip on her ass and thrust back.
"Okay," Buffy barely stopped kissing long enough to murmur. "Need you now!"
Buffy untangled a hand from Faith's shirt and let it slide down her side to her hip, then lower to the edge of the black skirt. Her fingertips flirted at the bottom for a few seconds before making a slow journey back up along Faith's inner thigh.
Hitting panties, Buffy had to break the kiss to gasp. Shit, this was previously uncharted territory. Tits were one thing; you couldn't really do a lot wrong with them, but down there... The worse thing she could do now was think about what she was doing. She concentrated on the feel of Faith's lips on hers, their tongues weaving together, and let her fingertips stroke over the lacy underwear, red lace more than likely.
Faith jerked back, head bouncing off the wall again. "B, what are you doing?"
Oh great, so she was messing it up already and she hadn't even properly started yet. "I thought that would have been pretty obvious." She replied demurely, her fingers stopping.
"But we've never...I mean you've never..." Faith panted. She was ever so slightly moving against Buffy's stilled fingers.
Buffy grinned and her fingers began moving again, stroking up and down the lacy crotch until Faith's hips were moving softly in time. The brunette put a hand behind Buffy's head and pulled her in for another searing kiss and Buffy relaxed further when she realised she wasn't going to have to fight for this. She slipped her hand into Faith's panties and ran her fingers down through the trimmed curls, causing Faith to break the kiss with a moan.
This was a little weird, she had to admit. Not in a bad-way weird, just in a 'Wow-I haven't-done-this-before'-way weird. As Faith's wetness coated her fingertips, Buffy marveled at how much it turned her on as she let her middle finger play in the liquid heat.
"You've got a funny way of showing you hate me." Buffy breathed, her fingers skating around in the slippery fluid as she mapped out all the softness between Faith's legs.
"Yeah," Faith breathed back, shifting her legs further apart and leaning more bodily into the wall. "Same funny way you had of saying no."
Buffy giggled softly, stroking over and around Faith's tense clit. Faith's head was back against the wall again, her eyes closed and her hips pressing forward trying to get more pressure where she wanted it.
Buffy looked at her and her own breathing picked up another couple of notches. Okay, so she knew what she wanted to do right now, and her fingers knew what they wanted to do right now, so all that was left was to do it.
Her middle finger fit snugly inside Faith, convincing Buffy further that that was where it was supposed to be. Faith bit her lip and kept her eyes closed as Buffy slowly began to ease it in and out. She kept her eyes firmly on Faith's face, wanting to see every reaction that crossed it.
Faith's eyes opened, all hot and dark. "Stop teasing me!"
"You want more?" Buffy purred, wondering if she could get Faith to beg for it, but decided she didn't want to waste the time. In fact, she didn't even wait for an answer before pushing a second finger in to join the first and upping her pace.
Faith grunted her approval, making Buffy smile and kiss her again. Faith kissed back sloppily, panting hard now to match the thrust of Buffy's fingers.
Pulling back to watch Faith's beautiful features once more, Buffy added a third finger to the party.
Faith's eyes opened in response and she looked surprised as she held Buffy's gaze. Buffy's eyes were filled with an equal wonder. Without looking away, Faith finally came.
Grunting quietly, her hips jerked against Buffy's. Buffy wiggled her fingers a little and pressed back, her own hips rolling in response. Their eyes didn't waver until Faith relaxed, making a satisfied sound low in her throat, slumping back against the wall once more and breathing heavy.
Buffy pulled her fingers out of Faith, instantly missing the heat they had been enveloped with, and wiped them on her pants absentmindedly. "Can I kiss you?" She asked, running her fingertips over Faith's flushed cheek and brushing back perspiration-damp strands of hair.
Faith didn't change her position against the wall or open her eyes. "Now you ask?"
Buffy smiled and kissed her lightly on the lips. Faith's lips puckered in reply, but she seemed pretty wiped still. Buffy's smile got bigger. Stepping back, she straightened her tank that had gotten a little rucked up and looked about her. Nope, there hadn't been any Oz type teleportation mojo - they were still in the hotel stairwell. She chuckled.
"Just thinking that we're in a hotel and yet we still didn't get a room. Do you think we'll ever get a room?"
Faith started looking uncomfortable.
Oh crap, now what did she do wrong? "It was a joke - we don't have to get a room, I like this stairwell," Buffy looked about her again. "It's a nice stairwell. It has stairs and everything."
"No...no, don't B me. You don't need to B me. This is all good..."
"That Buffy is going the same way the B was, isn't it?" The blonde asked with a sigh. "What can possibly be wrong now?"
Faith let herself slide down the wall until she landed on the floor looking up at Buffy. "Fucking me, no wait...I mean screwin...look, what you just did..."
"What was wrong with it?" Buffy asked quickly, cutting her off. "You seemed pretty okay with it a minute ago."
"Nothing. Nothing was wrong with it, but it doesn't change anything."
"What do you mean?" Buffy frowned. It should have changed everything; it did for her.
Faith shrugged. "You were drunk..."
"But I'm not now!"
"That's why I said you were drunk and we fought and it...it happened, it's just like always, nothing has changed..."
Buffy dropped to her knees between the brunette's legs. "Faith, tell me you're joking! Tell me you heard me say I'm falling in love with you!" She rested her hands on Faith's knees. "Please tell me at least one of those things."
Faith rested her head back and looked up at the ceiling again with a heavy sigh. "I heard you."
"And?" Buffy demanded.
Faith remained silent.
"Do you believe me?"
Faith looked like she still wasn't going to answer.
"I don't know, B." Faith looked her in the eye again. "I'm just not sure what I believe any more."
"Believe this." Buffy leaned forward to kiss her again, but Faith put a hand on her chest, preventing her.
"I should get back."
"Get back? Get back where? You don't mean...you're going back to... as in..." Buffy pointed weakly back up the stairs.
"I can't just not be there in the morning, Buffy. Besides, he's a good guy, ya know? Funny and sweet, good in bed..."
How had her life ended up like this? Her relationship with Spike had been healthier!
"Sorry, I didn't mean to add that bit." Faith bit her lip to hide her grin, but Buffy could see it all the same.
Faith had already fallen straight back into the easy-going friend groove they'd made. She'd probably forgotten all about Buffy's fingers inside her the second her legs stopped quivering. It was going to be a long time before Buffy forgot about it.
Buffy sat back on her heels. "And that's it - he's not bad in bed?"
Faith clambered back to her feet again. "I like him and I'm having fun, and it's not hard all the time like it used to be with ..." She left the sentence hanging, but Buffy knew it was her name that filled in the blank.
She got to her feet as well. "You never gave me much of a chance to change that."
"You never gave me much of a chance either." Faith shrugged.
They looked at each other for a long time, but there was nothing left for Buffy to say, except: "Thanks for the card."
Faith's dimples made a quick appearance as she smiled big at being found out, it turned sheepish fast and she looked away again. "Yeah, well, Happy Valentine's an' all that - I guess I got caught up in the hype. Weird, huh?"
"Yeah, well thanks anyway."
Buffy wanted to say more. She wanted to ask how Faith could accuse her of pushing things between them when she was obviously doing the exact same thing. She didn't have the energy for that conversation tonight though.
Taking a deep breath, she said honestly: "I don't know if we're going to be okay in the morning, Faith."
She couldn't see how she was going to handle this yet. She would, of course, but right now it seemed like one hell of a mission.
Looking back at her, Faith responded confidently: "We will be."
Buffy nodded. She didn't believe it, but there was no point arguing about it here. "Bye then."
Walking down to the next floor, Buffy left the stairwell and walked to the elevator on autopilot. The doors slid open silently for her. Inside she sagged against the cold metal wall, hit the button for the lobby, and ran a hand through her hair.
'Crap!' She thought.
That had been really, really stupid. Why was it that Faith was the only person that angel-Buffy and devil-Buffy could agree on? Where was the interference of her conscience when she actually needed it?
She'd done it, though! She'd actually touched Faith where she had been dying to for so long now. Buffy didn't know if it was the motion of the elevator or the memory of touching Faith...'down there' which caused the pleasant roll in her stomach. It was a nice memory; nice equaling hot, naturally.
Buffy sighed. This was hardly the time to remember the good stuff, she could do that when she was old. Right now she wanted to be mad.
Very, very mad in fact.
She had a feeling it wasn't going to be something she had to work very hard for.
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