So Close

Summary: When Dawn gives Faith a letter from Buffy she wasn't meant to read, Buffy will do anything to get it back before she opens it! F/B

Rating: T

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all characters and ideas related to the show are property of Joss Whedon and others. I own nothing, nada, zilch, zippo… you get the idea.

Chapter One

Dear Diary,

Buffy will say that it's all my fault. (I have the grounded time to prove it. Little sisters always get the blame, have you noticed that?) But in reality, it would have happened anyway, sooner or later. Fate would have made sure of that. I just helped Fate move things along a little – gave it a little push in the right direction. But do I get thanked for my efforts? Of course not! Sure it was more like an accident than an effort, but who's being particular? Anyway, she sure as hell owes me and as soon as my 'grounded till infinity' sentence is over, I'm going to collect.

Let me tell you exactly what happened…

"Dawn!" Buffy yelled from the top of the stairs, but it sounded more like a ferocious bellow from where Dawn was seated in front of the television in the living room

"What!" Dawn responded without so much as looking away from the glowing screen. She sat leaning against the armrest of the couch with her best friends Katie and Laurie seated with her for their Friday night movie-thon. The teen horror flick on the television cast eerie glows across their focused features as they watched the stupid high school students get massacred across the empty campus.

"Dawn?" Buffy asked again as she descended the stairway, hands on hips.

"What," was the noncommittal reply.

"Did you finish your list of chores?"

"I'm right on that, sis,"

"You might have to clarify, Dawnie because it appears as though your definition of 'right on that' includes being pasted to the television while mine doesn't," she spat at the younger girl.

"Don't worry, Buff, I'll get you a dictionary for your birthday this year so we can clear that right up,"

"Dawn…" Buffy said menacingly. "You know you need to get the dusting, the vacuuming, the laundry, and the dishes done before tomorrow. I suggest you get a move on it,"

"Of course, sis" Dawn said as she grabbed the feather duster that was laying on the end table and started dusting half-heartedly the lamp nearest her. "See? Multi-tasking,"

"I'll show you multi-tasking…" Buffy mumbled as she left the teenaged girls to their movie. "As I simultaneously kick vamp ass and yours."

Willow stood in the kitchen nursing a cup of warm tea in both her hands and staring out of the window.

"Buffy," she said. "Full-time superhero and part-time baby sitter."

"Very funny, Will," Buffy answered with a wry smile. "More like full-time babysitter – between Dawn, you, and Tara, I have my hands full."

"Hey," Willow pouted. "I am no baby and therefore need no sitting."

"Can we get a second opinion, baby?" a warm, innuendo-tinged voice called as Tara entered the room.

Willow was at a loss for words as her girlfriend wrapped her arms around her slender waist. Buffy just smiled at the two.

Then the phone rang.

Buffy moved to pick it up.

"I'll get that. Not like either of you were going to move anyway," she said with roll of her eyes. "Hello?"

"Hey B," called the voice across the line. Buffy cringed inwardly. She hated that voice. Hated that nickname. Hated that person. "Gotta sec?"

"What is it Faith?"

"Well, ya see, I was wondering if you could let me borrow the notes from the Scoob meeting today seeing as how I was catching up on some much needed Z's as the G-man was spitting off something or other about the Order of Whatchamacallit and the Ritual of Shumtingelse."

"You mean the Order of Wemkaluch and the Ritual of Shinsei?"

"Yeah that's the one, girlfriend! So what do ya say? Mind if I swing by yours and copy your homework?"

Buffy shrugged and sighed. She rolled her eyes and Willow and Tara could feel the irritation as it emanated from the Slayer.

"Sure, whatever," she said finally and a brief smile played on Willow's lips as she heard the exasperation in her friend's voice.

"Thanks a bunch, B. I owe ya big time and I promise to pay back with interest," Buffy could almost hear the suggestive eyebrow wriggling across the phone line. Then the line cut off as Faith hung-up the phone.

Slowly, Buffy put the receiver down.

"Why do you do that?" Willow asked, shaking her head.

"Do what?"

"Let her get to you like that,"

"I don't know, Will," Buffy said truthfully. "She's just so… infuriating. I can't stand her! I can always count on her to screw up and need my help. Or to ruin a perfectly perfect day. Or…"

"Easy, Buffy," Willow said trying to still the insults as they came pouring from Buffy's mouth.

"Just call her 'Ol' Reliable'"

"I thought I was 'Ol' Reliable'" Willow said with a mock pout.

"You were… but then you got laid. Now the only things I can count on you for are the headboard knocking and the screa…"

"Okay, okay, okay! I get it!"

"Sorry,"

"Hey, I heard once on an afternoon television show that if you really feel so strongly about someone that you should write down exactly how you feel in a letter to them," Tara chimed in.

"How is telling Faith that I think she's a waste of perfectly good space going to solve anything?"

"Well, that's the point. You tell her everything you've ever wanted to say, in all its gruesome glory, then you trash the letter. You never send it, she never gets it. But all that pent up frustration is out of your system, you see?"

"Tara, I think I love you," Buffy said.

"Hey," Willow countered seriously. "Wait in line,"

Buffy sat down at the desk in her bedroom and began to write.

Dear Faith,

We haven't known each other for very long, but this letter has been coming for a long time. I know you must feel it. We're near each other at least everyday – sometimes two and three times a day. It has to have been radiating from me and you're a smart girl, sort of, so you must have picked up on it.

I hate you.

I can't stand you. I can't stand being around you.

You waltz in here and think that you can just impose yourself on my life, but in reality, I know that you're just stealing my life because you hate yours. And you know what? I don't care about your life. I don't care about your sob story of a past. Write a book already or go on Oprah, but just deal with it and move on.

I hate you so much it hurts me to think about you. I hate your carefree swagger and that shit-eating grin that you have. I hate the way you flash that grin at me whenever you know I'm looking. I hate your voice and the way you think that you're so damn hot – that deep, sensual tone you get whenever you're making one of your indecent suggestions. I hate it that you can freely invite me into your arms and I have to say no. I hate that no one has expectations for you, but they all funnel them to me. I hate the way you touch me lightly on the arm and I have to pretend I didn't feel it. I hate that we have to work together side-by-side and I never get to know you. I hate that I have to look at you everyday and I have to share the view with everyone else. I hate that no one can see you the way I do. I hate that I have to play the part and put up this façade and you can be yourself. I hate that slaying together makes us that much closer when all I want to do is run away. I hate that I never get the nerve to tell you what I really think about you.

I love you.

And I hate myself because I can't tell you the truth.

I hate that I had to write all this down in a letter that you'll never see in order for me to realize it.

I hate that tomorrow I'll have to go right back to hating you.

But for tonight, for now, I can pretend.

-Buffy

The blonde Slayer folded the note and placed it in an envelope. She licked the seal and closed the flap and placed the letter on the pillow on her bed. She would dispose of it of course, but for now, just having it there made her feel better.

Then she searched her things for the Scooby notes from earlier that day and placed them in a large manila envelope.

"Buffy!"

She closed the clasp then set the envelope on the edge of her desk as she went to find out what the trouble was downstairs.

"Yeah? What's going on?"

"Xander just called," Willow said in a rush as she ran around the kitchen grabbing up her jacket and purse.

"And?"

"He's having a little demon trouble at his house,"

"Demon trouble…?"

"Spell gone wrong or something. Come on we have to go. He sounded pretty wigged, if you know what I mean,"

"Alright, let's go," Buffy said as she moved past Willow and Tara and threw the kitchen door open for them.

"Faith!" she thought aloud as she suddenly remembered that the dark Slayer was going to meet her at her house to pick up the notes. She ran from the kitchen into the living room where Dawn and her friends were holding tightly to each other and the blanket as the masked man on the television slaughtered yet another hopeless victim.

"Dawn!"

"Yuh-huh…"

"Dawn, listen to me very carefully. Faith is coming over right now and I need you to give her the envelope that's on the corner of my desk. You got that?"

"Yuh-huh,"

"Don't forget Dawn. We'll be right back," Buffy said as she raced to join Willow and Tara.

The kitchen door shut.

Moments later, a knock came from the front door.

"AH!" all three girls jumped in terror.

"Geez, guys, it's just the front door. Don't be so jumpy," Dawn explained. She got up to answer it while still managing to watch the television.

"Hey lil'D," Faith greeted. "Where's your sis, I…"

"Shh… Buffy's gone. Left an envelope…"

A faint glimmer of disappointment crossed the dark Slayer's face at the received information that Buffy had left. But she shrugged it off casually and continued,

"Gotta say Dawnie, your vocabulary repertoire is even less impressive than mine,"

Dawn stopped for a moment to admire the older girl's use of the word "repertoire"…

"Hang on, Faith, I'll get it,"

"No prob, D. Is this 'Night of the Living Dead Guy Part 32'? I love this flick," she said as she pulled up a chair and sat.

In Buffy's bedroom, Dawn saw the envelope on the bed and grabbed it, and then she zoomed down the stairs and handed it to Faith. Then she returned to her movie.

"Thanks Dawnie. I'll see you guys later, okay?"

"Yuh-huh," was, again, the noncommittal reply.

Folding the envelope and placing it in the back pocket of her black jeans, Faith left the Summers' house to study… or something like it.

"Dawnie, we're back," Buffy called from the kitchen door. She took off her jacket and headed for her bedroom shaking her head as she thought about poor Xander's predicament. But at least he was okay.

Dawn extricated herself from the couch and made her way into the kitchen for some post-movie snacks for herself and her friends. She had just piled a large plate full of goodies when she heard the high pitched, frantic scream from the direction of her sister's bedroom.

"Buffy!" Dawn dropped the plate, grabbed the nearest kitchen knife and a wooden stake that was hidden in the fruit bowl, and bounded up the stairs.

"Buffy! What is it?" she asked as she charged into the room, ready to defend the Slayer.

"Dawn…" Buffy said slowly, on the verge of a mental breakdown.

"What?"

"Did Faith come by the house tonight?"

"Well, yeah," Dawn replied wondering why the dark Slayer had gotten such a reaction of horror out of her sister.

"Did you give her the envelope I told you to?"

"Yeah, Buff, of course I did – just like you said," Dawn walked over to the edge of the bed and pointed. "The envelope that was lying right here…"

"Dawn," she said very slowly like she was talking to a child. "I told you to give her the one on the corner of my desk. Not the corner of my bed,"

"But I… oops."

"No, not 'oops'. More like 'oh shit, please, please oh generous Slayer don't kill me!'" Buffy lunged at her sister but Dawn escaped her death-dealing grasp just in time.

"Buffy! Buffy, wait!" Dawn pleaded as she was chased around the room by the infuriated Slayer.

A/N: Hey, thought I'd take a break from the serious romance/drama and so I wrote this funny fluffy piece! Hope you like it. Reviews appreciated and thrived upon.