PART NINE: 5th July to 23rd September 2004
Chapter Twenty Five: The Things We Do For Love - 2
Buffy hadn't even finished locking the stall door before Faith was on her. One hand pulling her hair aside, one hand sliding around her waist and up under her tank top as soft lips scorched across the back of her neck.
"So this is what it would have been like to date you in high school?" she asked, both hands braced against the door as she pushed her ass back into Faith.
"Huh?" Faith squeezed her over her bra as her other hand slid over the front of her shorts and squeezed between her legs in sync.
"Fast sex in public restrooms," Buffy clarified breathlessly, trying to breathe in Faith instead of the stale aroma that loitered around, shifting her legs further apart before they buckled.
"You're forgetting." Faith spun her around in the small stall and pressed her back against the door. "I had a motel room of my very own when you were in high school. And a swanky apartment. You missed out."
"In more ways than one," Buffy agreed.
A hand slid inside her shorts and Faith raised an eyebrow. "Commando?"
Buffy blushed lightly. "Laundry day."
She pulled Faith in for a kiss to shut her up as she pushed herself against the fingers between her legs. Truth was, she'd been ready for this since before Faith had even called and the idea of not wearing panties to meet her had probably turned her on even more than it did Faith.
They'd been back from Bracciano for a day and a half, but Faith had made herself scarce until an hour previously. Buffy had been starting to think she had changed her mind again, decided she didn't want any kind of relationship with her after all. Hell, Buffy had changed her mind about two hundred and thirty times since Faith had dropped her off outside Toni's apartment block with nothing more than a cheery wave the morning before.
Then Faith had called and asked if they could meet up as soon as possible to go over some last minute wedding shit and Buffy had seriously believed that that was code for 'I freaked out and did a stupid thing and let's not forget I'm getting MARRIED in THREE WEEKS, Dumbass!'
However, the wedding folder was still only opened to page one and their coffees had yet to be touched, and thank God the restaurant restrooms had been empty when they'd stumbled their way through the doors and into the nearest stall already kissing.
She pulled at the drawstring of Faith's cotton pants - quick access; good thinking - pushing her hand in to rub over Faith's clit as she moved in time with the fast pace of Faith's fingers inside of her.
She still didn't know what she was doing - overall, not right this second - but she knew why she was doing it and was making herself be content with that for the time being.
Toni had called the day before but had spent the whole thirty minute conversation gushing about how much her family had liked her. She hadn't mentioned Faith, the impromptu stay in Bracciano or even the dresses and if she'd noticed how uncomfortable Buffy was feeling, she didn't let on.
It had been easy, in fact. Easy enough that she felt even more guilty for cheating on her girlfriend, and easy enough that she had less qualms about staying with them both. She had taken the plunge now, and if the only way for this to end was in smiting, she might as well make sure she enjoyed the time she had left - be that three weeks or thirty years.
She didn't know how things would change when Toni was back. Obviously change would happen, but then change was inevitable anyway seeing as she was due back just in time for the wedding and Faith getting married would throw a spanner or two in the works however much the other Slayer denied it.
Still, if Toni could just continue to avoid the subject of Faith until she got home, then that still gave them three whole weeks to have sex in public restrooms whenever they wanted.
This is the life, she thought wryly, grinning and then grunting softly against Faith's lips as she started to come.
Faith kissed her through it and out the other side, only relenting when Buffy had to let her head flop back against the stall door to take a deep lungful of the nasty air. Regretting it, she buried her face into Faith's neck and took another deep lungful of her fresher - and much much nicer - scent.
With one arm around her neck and one hand still in Faith's pants, she twirled them around so she could back Faith against the door, giving her something to lean against as she pushed deep into her.
"Oh yeah," Faith drawled, closing her eyes for a moment as she found a good rhythm against her. "Could do this all day."
"Our latte's might get cold."
"Someone might come in," Faith added.
"We might suffocate on the heady perfume of recycled cappuccinos and lasagna gently blended with bleach and the subtle yet noticeable tang of week old granny armpit."
Faith stopped moving against her to stare disapprovingly.
"I'm trying to come here."
"Sorry, I didn't know you were so easily turned off." Buffy grinned slightly, using her knees to open Faith's legs a little more.
"I'm not. Just trying to keep your mind in the game." Faith gripped the top of the door with one hand for balance as Buffy started banging her harder. "Anyway, s'not that bad."
"S'not that good either," Buffy countered.
Faith's head lolled from one side to the other as her breath quickened. "I don't know. A few arty black and white prints on the partitions. A few scented candles on the cistern. Maybe... some red heart shaped pillows to cover the floor tiles and... we've got ourselves a nice little... love-nest with... ensuite toilet."
"I suppose I better get used to this kind of luxury."
"Yeah," Faith grunted. "Yeah. Oh yeah."
Buffy hoped she was too close to coming now to be seriously talking about this toilet stall as luxury. If it was what they had to make do with to be together, so be it, but she didn't want Faith actively seeking out places like this because she thought Buffy liked it. Troy got four-poster beds and she got... this.
"You like us doing this in here, don't you?" she realized; her free hand following its buddy into Faith's pants to seek out her clit again. "You like that it's seedy and fast and desperate and that I want you enough to like it too."
"Yeah. Yeah. That's it. Want you too... fuck!" The stall door rattled on its hinges as Faith climaxed.
She kept her eyes shut as Buffy continued to move her hands, gradually sliding her fingers out, but not removing them from her pants altogether yet. As soon as she did they would go back to their table and just be friends again.
Faith wrapped her arms around Buffy's neck, holding her close as Buffy let her fingertips play around down there; getting properly acquainted and still amazed that she was actually allowed to.
"Hey, ya know what we should do?"
"Get a house, or an apartment, something, a real little love nest." Faith made her eyebrows jump playfully. "Somewhere we can meet up where we don't have to be looking over our shoulders all the time."
"You really want to get a place with me?" Buffy asked in surprise, drawing back now so that she could guess how serious Faith was. "That's a pretty big step."
"Well, you were right. This is fun for a quickie." Faith gestured around the stall. "But you deserve better. We deserve better if we're gonna do this right. You're making a big sacrifice here to be with me, figured least I could do was meet ya half way."
"Don't mention it. You're gonna need a place to live anyway, right? Or were you planning on shacking up with Tone when she gets back?"
Buffy grabbed some tissue from the holder to buy time. She'd been thinking a lot about this it was true, but not nearly that far ahead. She should be pleased that Faith seemed so committed, but really, it just kind of freaked her out a little.
"I don't know; I haven't had time to think about it. I sorta assumed we'd all be moving back to Cleveland after the wedding."
"Well that'd be convenient. I'd always have an excuse to come over to the house, but I know Troy's gotta lot of balls in the air here right now. Dunno if he'd be happy with coming straight back to the States."
"I couldn't afford a place of my own in Rome." Buffy finished wiping her hands and dropped the tissue into the toilet behind her. "And I'm not happy about living with Toni just so I can be close to you."
That was taking reckless abandonment of her integrity too far.
Buffy interrupted her. "What? Pays for my accommodation for the rest of our lives? 'Cause that won't look suspicious."
"Well, we'll figure it out," Faith said, with same optimism as before. "And until then..."
Faith pulled her closer again and Buffy kissed her freely, but the back of her mind was now stuck on Faith's suggestion. Could she get a place here? Was it at all feasible? Did she want to live in Italy for the foreseeable future considering how much she already missed her friends in Cleveland? How would Faith take it if she said she was going back to Cleveland regardless? Smash her car up again? Not that it was much of a problem when Troy's demons could get it looking as good as new again in one night.
Toni still had college to attend in Cleveland as well as soon as she'd finished her internship in Japan. That was a good reason for her to go back too, but would Faith take it to mean Buffy was leaving her to be with Toni when really it was just a lucky coincidence?
Not able to fully get into the kissing with the way her mind was racing, she pulled away, ignoring Faith's protesting, "Nooo!"
"Until then we should go drink our coffee," she said resolutely.
"They'll be cold."
"Then we should get fresh ones."
"Don't you want to?" Faith coaxed, trying to pull her shorts down.
Buffy wriggled away giggling. "We've already been in here ages. Any second now someone's gonna come in and catch us."
Faith pulled her close again. "I bet we got time for one more..."
Buffy interrupted her quickly before whatever Faith said next broke her resolve. "Someone might steal the wedding folder."
Faith dropped her like a wriggling Suvolte egg. It wasn't flattering, but it was kinda funny.
"You play dirty, Summers."
Buffy nearly fell into the toilet as the stall door was yanked open and Faith rushed from the room. With a deep sigh, she followed at a more sedate pace.
Toni paced back and forth around the washitsu - the only room in her modest house that was large enough for pacing - with the portable phone in her hand. She had been doing this for so many hours now that it was a wonder there was no groove worn into the tatami floor.
She had already rang Buffy but had rambled endlessly about her family instead of telling the real reason for her call. If Buffy had noticed she was acting strange, she hadn't mentioned it. She was pleased for this, but in truth it only indulged her cowardice and gave more time to her fear.
Deep down, she knew Buffy should not be the person she called anyway. It would only put the blonde in more danger than she was already in. She had to call someone though, and so she paced, occasionally biting on the end of the phone's aerial as her frustration increased.
Willow's girlfriend was a Slayer; she was sure of it. She remembered the way Kennedy had tried to fight the demons Quantiaro had sent to attack her on the night of La Festa della Republica and the way she had looked at their dead bodies with no hint of bewilderment as to their nature.
She started to dial the number for Buffy's house in America. If she called Willow perhaps they would be able to help... but they would ask questions. Kennedy would most certainly want to know everything and the girl was annoyingly persistent.
Thanks the Gods, she had never held the Sagaris. Toni allowed herself a little smile as she imagined Troy trying to seduce the astute Latina.
She canceled the call and went back to pacing. Even though she was sure they would do everything in their power to help, she could not risk telling everything, and even the little she could spare them Buffy would be informed of within minutes.
Not for the first time she wished she had never become involved with this mess. She still believed in the cause - if she did not, she would have bowed out months ago - the prophecy should come to pass. Even if the old ones did not care to see it, it was time for a change. The world needed it before humanity blew it up with atomic bombs or left it open to be scorched by the unfiltered rays of the sun. If she had realized just how convoluted the plan to see it though would be though, she would have stayed clear of it.
Buffy had been the one silver lining in the past few months, but even that was only going to end in heartache for her, she was sure. Of course, if Troy got wind of the thoughts she had been having for the past two days, she would not be in a position to enjoy the results of her labors. So perhaps Buffy wasn't such a silver lining after all.
She did not have to do this; did not have to meddle. She could try to forget about it. Buffy would never know that she had known. But if she called any one of the Slayer's friends and they were successful, Troy would most certainly know that it was down to her.
Toni paced faster as her fear increased. Troy would not be able to kill her, but there were many other things that he could do that would be far more unpleasant than death. Their long years of friendship would not give him pause, not for disloyalty of this stature. He would consider it a grave betrayal and she would be inclined to agree.
Still, she could not sit by and do nothing, because at this moment, the thought of betraying Buffy was a significantly more distressing one.
Sighing heavily she sat down cross-legged next to the low table and stared at the phone for several minutes before taking a deep breath and dialing a number from memory that she had never used before. Her hands started to sweat in the cool room as she waited.
His calm distinguished voice when she was feeling so fraught made her hate him all the more. Was she really doing this?
"It is Antonella," she said through gritted teeth.
There was a pause and then she could hear the smugness in his voice as he asked,
"You know who. Are you alone?"
"What business is that of yours?"
She nearly hung up then and had to remind herself why she was doing this.
"I have information for you."
"Really." He paused for longer this time. "I always knew you would be the first to defect when you realized you couldn't win this. After all, your family have hardly been kind to you."
"I am not defecting, you self-righteous up-start, and you will not win. You had your chance and you squandered it. Your day is done and the sooner you realize this, the sooner this world will have a chance again."
"The world is as it should be, Antonella. It belongs to the humans and they have shaped it as they see fit. You and your master are simply chasing delusions of grandeur for a time that passed long ago for a reason."
"Troy is not my master!"
"You call him Troy too? How sweet."
"Do not mock me, Quantiaro!" Toni was up and pacing again. "Do you not see what your rule has done to the people of this planet? Do you have no concern for what they are doing to each other?"
"Do you have a problem with free will?" He countered. "Because that is all they are exercising."
"Free will is not the problem. Humans thinking they are Gods is the problem. Humans killing thousands of their own species in the name of glory is the problem. Your Lord letting it happen under his own nose is the problem!"
"You think it was better when Gods killed humans, hmm?" he asked conversationally.
Toni bit her lip until she could answer without shouting. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction of hearing her angry.
"I think it was better when humans did not murder humans because they feared the wrath of the Gods. I think it was better before the phrase 'Holy War' was ever invented..."
"There were still wars then, Antonella. Or have you forgotten the one your master has taken his name from? Wasn't he one of the champions of that war? Do you really think someone like that is a good role model for the world now?"
She let the master comment go this time. "Troy was a good role model then and he will be again, but you know this is not about him..."
"No, it is about the boy, and I'm sorry, but I respectfully disagree. Troy is nothing but the epitome of all that is idolatrous in the world today and he will not make a good role model."
Toni had to admit to doubts about that herself, but not out loud and not to Quantiaro. She also realized that she had spent ten minutes of time that could not be wasted arguing.
"We shall see in time to come, shall we not? And I did not contact you to discuss theology. Now, do you wish the information I have or not?"
"What is it pertaining to?"
"You are in Tunis right now, correct?" He didn't answer so she continued as if he had said yes. "There is someone there, an innocent by all accounts, and he is in grave danger. I wish for you to save him."
"It sounds as though you are asking for a favor, not giving me any information of value."
"You could consider him an ally. I believe he is trying to prevent Troy from obtaining the Dove."
Quantiaro suddenly laughed loudly. "Trying? Antonella, he has."
"It is of Alexander Harris that you speak, is that so?"
"Yes, but how do you know..."
"I met him once when I visited with Buffy."
Toni seethed at the thought of him being anywhere near Buffy, but she kept quiet.
Quantiaro had paused again, obviously expecting her to make a fuss. When she didn't he continued speaking.
"I have not spoken with him since I arrived, but when I made inquiries about the Dove I was informed that the bird had already been moved to the museum in Ez-Zitouna on the ornithological advice of the curator of the British Museum in America."
Toni stopped pacing as she frowned. "I don't understand."
"Neither do I," he assured her. "But the man they were referring to was supposedly called Alex McHarris and their description matches what I remember of Buffy's friend. I am very thankful. He has done my work for me, and now I can merely sit around watching Troy suffer."
"Troy knows he is there!"
"Ah." For the first time Quantiaro didn't sound smug.
"Troy does not know he is responsible for securing the bird and is intent on having him run out of the country before he can make any trouble. If Troy finds out the truth, Xander will be dead before he can blink again."
"And you wish me to save the boy why?"
"He believes he is doing the right thing, but he has no idea what he has become involved in. I do not wish to see him harmed when it can so easily be avoided. Troy already believes that you have hidden the bird; if you can get Xander out of the country without delay he need never be the wiser."
"If you truly wish me to help you, I believe you will tell me the truth, Antonella. What does this mortal mean to you?"
"Nothing," she said quickly, suddenly worried that he might use any connection between them for ill.
"Then if he means nothing to you, I do not know why you are risking everything to ask for my help. I believe this is a trap and it would be foolish of me to walk willingly into it. Goodbye, Antonella."
"It would break Buffy's heart," Toni blurted out, afraid that he was going to hang up on her. "She would feel his loss very deeply and I do not wish her to have that kind of pain."
"And also if she found out that you knew of the danger he was in and did nothing to prevent it you would lose her for sure."
"That doesn't matter," Toni said sadly. "As soon as the truth of all of this comes to light I will lose her anyway. My only solace is that I will have saved her as much grief as possible."
"You must care for this girl greatly, Antonella, to risk your safety and well-being to save her sadness. And to contact me, no less. That can not be sitting well with you. If Troy finds out you have spoken to me, well, I cannot imagine he will even give you time to say farewell to your dear Miss Summers."
"That is not for you to worry about," Toni said firmly, although she most certainly would be. "Will you do it?"
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Part Nine Quick-Jump:
Chapter One ||
Chapter Two ||
Chapter Three ||
Chapter Four ||
Chapter Five ||
Chapter Six ||
Chapter Eight ||
Chapter Nine ||
Chapter Ten ||
Chapter Eleven ||
Chapter Twelve ||
Chapter Thirteen ||
Chapter Fourteen ||
Chapter Fifteen ||
Chapter Sixteen ||
Chapter Seventeen ||
Chapter Eighteen ||
Chapter Nineteen ||
Chapter Twenty ||
Chapter Twenty One ||
Chapter Twenty Two ||
Chapter Twenty Three ||
Chapter Twenty Four ||
Chapter Twenty Five ||
Chapter Twenty Six ||
Chapter Twenty Seven ||
Chapter Twenty Eight ||
Chapter Twenty Nine ||
Chapter Thirty ||
Chapter Thirty One
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Part Nine 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 || Chapter Seventeen || Chapter Eighteen || Chapter Nineteen || Chapter Twenty || Chapter Twenty One || Chapter Twenty Two || Chapter Twenty Three || Chapter Twenty Four || Chapter Twenty Five || Chapter Twenty Six || Chapter Twenty Seven || Chapter Twenty Eight || Chapter Twenty Nine || Chapter Thirty || Chapter Thirty One