One-shot. Messed around with the timeline a little. Among other things.
Keeping away from her had been hard. From that endless car ride to Sunnydale, to the cramped quarters in the house. Willow had been in her face all the time.
Faith had watched, watched Kennedy, the potential, keep trying to seduce the shy witch. Watched it not work. Watched Willow reject the little girl, who stormed away and kept coming back. Faith wasn't a hundred percent sure why it didn't work, not until now. Staring down the barrel of a gun, watching Red tear herself apart. She'd guessed Willow was trying to protect herself, but her words said otherwise.
"Tara, Tara please, please come back. I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
Faith stepped forward. Part of her didn't know why she'd sent Kennedy away, why she'd kissed Willow in the darkened bedroom, and she wasn't sure what she was hoping to achieve.
Uneasily, glancing around, she kneeled. Buffy would probably kill her on sight if she happened to notice Willow crying on their lawn.
"Willow." She said firmly. "I don't think you did anything wrong."
Willow shook her head. "I let her go! I let her die! She was always here with me and I let her go…"
Faith shook her head, but Warren/Willow wasn't looking at her.
The gun was still held loosely in her hand, she raised it up and Faith snatched it.
"Willow. You didn't do anything wrong," she hesitated, unsure of what to say, "This, this guy, it's just magic. It's not a punishment. Tara loves you."
Willow looked up. Faith stared into her eyes. Not Warren. This is Willow. This is Willow.
"Even I know how fairytales work."
"What are you doing?"
Faith kept looking, a part of her still screaming 'don't!' but a louder voice; coming from somewhere in her chest said 'do.'
So she kissed Willow in Warren, and felt his rough lips change, even as her eyes stayed closed she could feel the difference, smell the caramel scent of Willow's hair, and felt the voice screaming 'don't' disappear.
Faith opened her eyes. Willow stared into them, tears still in the corners of her eyes. "Am I back? Am I me?"
"Why did you do that?" Willow asked quietly.
"You know why." Faith hissed.
"How did you know, how do you know Tara loved me?"
Faith smiled. "How could she not? I mean, I'm just Faith, I'm not supposed to like anyone, and I…"
Willow stood up, stumbled, Faith caught her. Carefully leaning on Faith's arm, the two headed indoors.
Inside, Faith felt awkward for a moment, but her eyes turned back to Willow and she felt at peace. "Come on, upstairs."
Willow followed meekly, until they entered her bedroom. Her eyes widened. "I…I'll be fine. I…"
"Calm down Red." Faith smiled. "Just have a seat. You want a coke?"
"No." the witch shook her head.
Faith left her there and went downstairs, mind racing. Buffy wandered into the kitchen as she stood, filling a class from the cool steel tap. Faith drank, avoiding Buffy's eyes as she gulped the water down, and then refilled the glass.
She headed to the door. "Have you seen Willow?"
Buffy's question stopped her flight; she turned her head slightly an answered. "She's upstairs. I think she's got a headache, seems to want to be alone."
"Okay." Buffy nodded.
"Not that I'm gunna let her." Faith muttered under her breath as she went up the stairs.
"Here- what are you doing?"
Willow turned around, blushing. The mirror she'd been staring into shook.
"I just…I wanted to see."
"See what? Yes Red, your haircut looks good. No-one was gunna tell you 'cause Buffy is insanely jealous."
Willow smiled. "No. I just wanted to see if it was really me."
"You think I'd be fetching drinks for Warren? I don't think so."
Willow took the proffered water gratefully and drank it. "Thanks."
An awkward silence.
Faith sat down, perching uncomfortably on the bed, half expecting to be kicked off. She glanced around. "Do you like being in here?"
Willow half smiled. "It's better than being in my old room. I walk in there…all I can hear is…that gun. All I can see is her eyes staring at me. Her blood on my shirt." Her voice lowered as she went on, tears threatened and her voice shook. Faith just looked on, not sure what to do, guessing that reassurance would only provoke the smaller girl into more exclamations of guilt.
"Where's Kennedy?" Willow asked.
"Why?" Faith said warily.
"She, I feel bad. She's just a kid really."
"She's not that much younger than you Red." Faith said, slightly miffed. "I'm younger than you, strictly speaking."
"How old are you Faith? I know Kennedy is 17…"
"Never you mind. Old enough." Said Faith curtly.
The witch and the slayer sat in the darkened room, almost silently.
Willow dried her tears.
Faith waited with new patience.
A crack of light through the bottom of the curtains played over their interlocked hands. A warm hush descended as the afternoon faded.
"Thanks for everything."
"Five by five, Red."
Willow hesitated, standing before the other girl. "I…"
And she kissed her.
"Am I still me?"
"Yes." Faith smiled.
And Faith kissed her back.
"Am I still me?" she teased gently.
Just before leaving the room, Willow stopped. "So what are we, exactly?"
Faith looked troubled. "You many find this hard to believe, but I…well I want to see you. I want to know you."
Willow smiled sadly. "Tara…I will never stop loving her, you know that, right? But maybe…maybe that doesn't have to interfere with what you want. I want to let you know me."
Faith grimaced, turned on her heel and left. And then she was back. The door hardly swung closed before it opened again and Faith pulled the little witch into her arms, kissing her fiercely, feeling their teeth clash together.
"We'll go slowly. I'll wait for you."
Buffy didn't take it too well. Weeks of simmering tension passed before she decided to forgive and forget. Xander took it worse, flinging hurtful words about Tara until Faith lost it. When his broken nose healed, so did his hurt, and his sense of humour intact, he proceeded to make drop as many innuendo's into conversation with the couple as he could.
The final battle against the Bringers. Faith fought at Buffy's side, Kennedy, who still simmered with resentment towards her, stayed at Willow's side as she enacted the spell. "Goddess…" she breathed, as the new power surged through her.
The two best sights Willow believed she'd ever seen happened that afternoon.
Buffy, leaping onto the roof of the bus and escaping the collapsing town. And Faith, emerging from the smoke, running full tilt onto the bus and sinking down in the seat next to her, breath coming in pants.
"Wild, huh?" she'd commented, standing on the edge of oblivion. Willow had looked around, looked away from the gaping hole where Tara's grave (not to mention her hometown) had been.
Faith stood silhouetted, a serious expression on her face. Her clothes covered in dust, she was relatively unharmed. Willow looked back. The welcome to Sunnydale sign fell with a creak into the abyss. It was a sign, in more ways than one. Maybe Faith really loved her.
If I could find the words I would speak them
Then I wouldn't be tongue-tied
When I looked into your eyes
We would never say goodbye
It was time. Slowly, Willow approached the slayer, eyes intent.
"You okay?" Faith asked.
I love you. She thought, and watched as Faith read that message in her eyes. Then Willow considered her reply,
"Five by Five."
Later, much later.
A gravestone darkly lettered.
Beloved. Rest in Peace.
Je veux juste une dernière danse
A private joke, on a tombstone. No dancing. No partner dancing but the dancing we do in our room. Or in the back of my car. Or that time in that field. Or…
That's what Faith had said.
They'd written wills. Sensible, modern girls.
The risks of their professions demanded it. Their shared work.
Fingers traced the writing.
After so many years, that faint trace of insecurity must be gone. If she wanted me old and wrinkled and faded, then she must really love me.
How much can you love someone? They'd discussed it, on the anniversary of Tara's death. They kept it a day for quiet. A day to be alone.
They kept in touch with Buffy. She and Angel continued their relationship until Buffy was 40. Her insecurity drove him away. He was forever young, and she getting older. Xander married a slayer, a pretty young thing who looked nothing like Buffy. Giles stayed in Buffy's life, a steadying presence. He and Olivia lived together until the day he died.
She glanced around. There was his stone, beside Buffy's. Rupert Giles.
The Scooby yard was almost full. Xander called it that when he came to Buffy's funeral, his wife by his side. He filled the space on her other side within months.
That night, fueled by a lot of alcohol and a feeling of immense sadness Faith asked where Willow would bury her. Brushing aside her protestations of long life, she awaited an answer.
In the Scooby yard. Right next to me.
Her eyes traced other names. Anya, Dawn Summers, and Tara Maclay- underneath her stone the grass grew over an empty space.
And there it was.
Beloved. Rest in Peace.
Je veux juste une dernière danse
The grass grew green on her left side. An empty space.
Faith never guessed she'd be the last one left.