Faith's POV

Have you ever stared at yourself in the mirror so fucking long you can't even recognize yourself? It takes a while. You start to see things, things you never noticed before: random bits of color in your eyes, the dent in your lip, and how pale you are. Just stupid things that don't matter, but they pile up. Changes your face so much that it doesn't even look like you. Makes you want to feel the skin, just to make sure it is still the same person. I wonder if this is what other people see, y'know, like maybe I think a look a certain way, but I don't. 

I always liked mirrors, since I was a kid.  For some reason they stick 'em all around Chinese restaurants. It makes the place look so much bigger, y'know like there's this whole other room, but you know there isn't cause you can see yourself standing in it. It always took me awhile to realize it was me. I was never big on the whole deep thoughts deal, but I'm pretty sure all that shit means something.

Anyway, that's what I been doing for the past hour, just looking at myself. I don't know why, just saw myself out of the corner of my eye and felt like I needed to look. Maybe it's overexposure or something, just too much, but I still feel like staring. I think it's my eyes-- they're not like hers. They are so fucking dark, damn. There's not that much light in this room, but still. It's like looking into the ocean at night.  The water is black, but it moves and the moon flickers on it. Like fucking black water.

Her eyes are like the ocean, too. Not black, but a calm green. They aren't so dark; they are clear and clean.  I think I read in a fortune cookie or on some cracker box that your eyes, they're supposed to be the door to your soul, maybe the window, does really matter 'cause you get the basic idea either way.

A noise catches my attention. A piece of the ceiling just fell, the fan is swinging so much.  That fucking ceiling fan is just hanging on by a thread, I swear to god one of these times it's just gonna fall. I'd rip it down, but part of me wants to see it come crashing to the ground.  Piece of shit motel room, she deserves better than this. I turn to look back at the mirror and my head is just a black blur.  Kind of like a smudge, like what gets on your fingers when you pick up charred wood and I'm fucking depressing myself.

My life is so fucking cliché. I mean first of all, I got the whole 'white trash' thing going for me. I grew up in a shit neighborhood where no one expects you to be anything. You know, they fucking paint them on TV all the time, the kind where your lucky if ya' die.  I look at myself and I'm not one for the self-examination as I said, but I know I ain't got a future.  I didn't finish High School. I have no connections and no money. I would be a fucking nobody except I was chosen.  Out of like a zillion and a half other people I was chosen. I have no fucking idea why.  I'm just skinny white trash, with an attitude to boot. It's like what I was saying before about my life being cliché; it's a fucking lifetime original movie over here. I mean I can hear the teaser… "A young girl from the wrong side of the tracks, given a second chance to make something of herself, working for the good of…" Fucking cliché.  On top of that I got the typical bad girl thing going for me…leather, trashy makeup, dark. See it's that darkness, makes me look fucking bad-ass.  The dark hair, the dark eyes, dark makeup, dark past.  I do play the part, but shit I just want someone to see past that. I am so fucking depressing.

She's the opposite, but her life has the clichés as too. We both got the lifetime original feel, 'cept hers would be something a little different like "A normal girl, torn from her perfect life, and forced to blah blah blah…." You know how it goes.  Shit, she's got the typical good girl thing going too.  Beautiful blond hair and light friendly eyes, natural makeup, normal clothes, and a family. Shit, I'm so jealous of her, but at the same time I want her to have all of it and more. God, we are so fucking different. I just stare at myself in the mirror and the reflection just keeps getting darker and more distorted. I can't help the feeling that this is me what I'm seeing now, the darkness. How can she…

"Hey…what are looking at baby?" Her arms wrap around me and her chin rests on my bare shoulder.  I can feel her against my back.  I love her so fucking much it scares me sometimes.  I can't believe the image in the mirror, the darkness in me seems to have gone.  If it weren't scientifically impossible I'd swear the girl was glowing. My eyes and my hair, have fucking changed to a warm brown which looks so absurdly right against her golden hair and skin. The cliché is back, she lights up my life and I have to push back the song that's playin' in my head.

"Nothing B, go back to bed."  I kiss her head and practically melt into her.  God, I am such a fucking sap.  Love does that to you.  Every time she touches me, just everything. 

"Doesn't look like nothing." She says it with this cute little authoritative tone, smiling at me in the mirror. I'm feeling my depression kinda floating away. I'm not normally the one who gets held, ya know. I think people are afraid of me, I guess I don't usually stay with them long enough to find out.  I love it though, her arms around me. I'd never admit it but it makes me feel I don't even fucking know…I guess safe, together, and… … loved.

"Oh yeah? What do ya' see B?" I ask.

"My world." The moment is so freaking sappy I feel like calling hallmark, but I can still feel the tears of joy stinging my eyes and the embarrassed smile that somehow makes its way to my face.  She smiles, kind of nuzzling my ear. "Mm…Faith? You know I love you… right?" She squeezes me a bit when she says it and fuck me if I don't let the tears fall. I feel like asking why? How? But I know I shouldn't.  I just, I can't believe that I am getting this fucking lucky.  I'm so afraid it is going to go away. 

"It's not going away." Ok, fuck, how much of that did I just say out loud? "I'm not going away."

"I…" Can't speak as she turns me around and kisses me. She has these amazing little kisses; soft, sweet kisses that make my lips tingle afterward. Shit, she's beautiful.

She takes me to the bed she has been sleeping in for the past hour, the bed we just…fuck I made love…I… made…love with Buffy. Not only that, but god it was so fucking amazing. She pulls me into her arms and kisses me so softly, gently, and sweetly.  Never, it's never been like this for me and I realize how long I've fucking needed something like this, how much I've wanted it. We lay down in the bed and she puts her arms around me, and God I can't even believe I feel like this. She whispers to me and touches me and I can feel how much she loves me, and I don't want to screw this up, I won't, and I can't. I need this, I…fuck, I need her. She looks down at me, smiling and I can't help but smile back and I feel myself softly kissing her shoulder.

"I love you, Faith" And there are the words. No one has ever…why does it mean so fucking much to me?

"I…" Stutter like a moron, but she knows this is hard for me. I get myself together enough to whisper softly. "I love you too."

Maybe, I'm not that dark, y'know? Maybe what I saw tonight was what I wanted others to see.  I push people away deliberately and I fucking know it.  I try to scare them off, because I'm so fucking scared myself. I've been hiding for so long, but maybe tonight what I saw with Buffy, there was the real me.

Buffy's POV

There is something about her that worries me, a part of her that she gets lost in. It's the part of her that is sure that everything we have is going to come crashing down around us and tear us both into pieces. I think we all have that little voice, the one that tells us that it's all going to go wrong in the end. Hers is just a bit louder than everyone else's, harder to ignore. She doesn't like to talk about things like that though and she only ever gets that look when she's had time alone to think, like she did tonight.

Tonight, mm tonight. We made love, for the first time. I could tell she was worried about the motel room… that she wished she had more to give me. I tried to reassure her in my usual way, with kisses. It seems to calm her down. She was so… amazing. I've never had someone touch me like she did, not even Angel was that focused and reverent. I've never had anyone make love to me the way that she did, when it felt like more than I could possibly want or even think to want…playful, intense, soft, hard, fast, slow… it was everything at the same time till I just… god.

I think the thing that sticks out in my mind the most is her face though, when I touched her.  There was just this tiny fear that I could see at the back of her eyes. I felt a need to protect her stronger than anything I've ever felt before, stronger than even those that relate to my sacred duty. It was so slow… I spent so long just touching, kissing, stroking her… trying to draw the fear out of her body. I don't think she could have stood it if she wasn't a slayer, as it was it got the point where she didn't know what to do with herself. And the sounds she made… but I'm getting a bit off track.

She left the bed about an hour after… I think she thought I was asleep. I watched her from the bed as she paced a bit. She's so beautiful… her body is incredible and I would be tempted to show her just how incredible I thought it was if she didn't look so worried. Suddenly she stops her walking and looks in the mirror that's mounted on the wall in the corner of the room and she just stares.   

  I turn a bit and just watch her watch herself. She looks like she's about to cry or punch the mirror. I wish to god I could read her mind sometimes. I can only guess at what she is thinking, probably that she doesn't deserve this, that she's worthless. She's starting to shake a bit, as she stares even harder, with that same fear in her eyes as before. The fear that she's looking at a monster. I'd like to kill or at least severely maim whoever convinced her that was true because she clings to that belief like a life line. I'm no psychologist, but I'd say it's because if she admits to herself that she isn't a horrible person, that she didn't deserve everything that happened to her then she can no longer blame it all on herself and then she'll actually have to deal with it. She's a lot more complex than she likes to think.

I watch till I can't stand it anymore and then I get up. I come up behind her and wrap my arms around her. Her skin is always so warm and soft. You wouldn't get that impression from looking at her, but it is. I rest my chin on her shoulder and look at us in the mirror. We've been told we look good together, I'd have to agree. Her skin and mine, her hair and mine, her eyes and mine all seem to complement each other.

"Hey…what are you looking at baby?" I say it as soothing as possible and glance at her through the mirror.

"Nothing B, go back to bed." She says it almost apologetically and kisses my head, I have to smile at that, but nothing doing. I'm not going back to bed unless she comes with me.

"Doesn't look like nothing." I argue playfully, but I'm serious. It's not nothing, I don't want her to think she is. I can feel her lean into my arms a bit, getting comfortable. She would never ask me to, but I can tell she likes being held. The way she kind of sinks into me and relaxes almost immediately.

"Oh yeah?" She raises her eyebrow in that smart aleck way of hers. "What do ya see B?"

My life, my love. "My world." It sounds kind of cheesy I'm sure, straight out of a romance novel, but I mean it. She is everything to me, she means the world to me. I'm not sure how she'll react, until I see tears forming. I'm worried till she smiles, clearly a bit embarrassed. I smile back at her through the mirror and nuzzle her neck, holding her tighter.  "Mm…Faith? You know I love you… right?" I need her know it, I need her to believe it. She looks like she's about to cry again and I can hear her mumbling to herself in a whisper.

All I can make out is a shuddery whisper of  "I'm so afraid it's going to go away."

You don't have to be baby. "It's not going away" I whisper it in her ear, she looks shocked that I heard her. I don't think she realized she was mumbling. "I'm not going away." I promise.

"I…" She's stuttering and nervous and I suddenly feel the need to kiss her. I turn her around. Please, I kiss her softly, please believe me, another, I'm not leaving, and another kiss. I take her hands and I lead her to the bed and away from whatever she saw in that mirror. I haven't stop kissing her and whispering reassurances of love, of beauty, of trust, of companionship. I take her in my arms and just touch her and kiss her and comfort her. It's all I can do.

When I feel her body relax in my arms, I lean over her and kiss her lips one more time and she kisses my shoulder. "I love you, Faith." I love you so much.

"I…" she stutters again. She takes a deep breath and says the words that she has been trying to say for sometime. "I love you too."  A soft whisper, but music to my ears.

Sometimes I think that I haven't helped her at all… that I could never help her with any of this, but when she smiles at me I know that's not true.