Disclaimer: I do not own the characters. I wish...

Author notes: This takes place sometime before "The Zeppo" in the third season and after "Homecoming".

The two teenaged girls lay side by side in the comfortable, pillow-bedecked queen sized bed, hips lightly touching, shoulder to shoulder, strands of blonde hair slightly overlapping with long dark curls. They were not exactly cuddling each other, nor did their limbs intertwine or overlap, but they lay comfortably close, their bodies limp and relaxed. Clearly they were quite at ease in each other's presence, even as they swapped sarcasms back and forth.

"So B, explain to me again why we can't get under your freakin' blankets," the younger of the two griped, her darker features grimacing in exaggerated annoyance.

"Because you'd hog all the covers, Faith," her blonde counterpart replied, her voice equally exaggerated in its long-suffering patience. The dark-haired girl beside her rolled her eyes.

"Yeah, that's your excuse. What I'm thinking is Little Miss Control Freak doesn't like the idea of Little Miss Faith the Fornicator in her sheets," Faith remarked playfully, but something about her eyes, the way she watched the other girl, made it seem that she might mean and be hurt by her own levelment. "The thought of me in your bed skeeve you out, B? Afraid I might give you cooties a la STD?"

"No," Buffy told her, giving her shoulder a little shove with her hand that was further away. "I'm serious. This way it's fair. If I can't have covers, then neither can you."

"Whatever, B, but your scrawny ass is gonna get cold after a few hours," Faith smirked. "See if you change your mind then, eh?"

Buffy rolled over onto her side, facing the younger girl and looking at her with a secretive little grin.

"Oh don't worry, Faith… I'll find a way to keep myself warm."

Faith stared, blinking and recoiling inwardly at Buffy's words, but outwardly holding herself very still. Had the other Slayer just said what she thought she had said? If she had- had she meant for it to sound so insinuating… so sexy?

She couldn't have- this was Buffy. But still… Faith scarcely dared to let herself think anything else, to hope anything else. Better to treat it as a joke, a mistake- which is surely what it was, after all.

"Oh yeah?" she said playfully, deliberately lightening her tone, trying to put her usual smirk on her face. "You think you can take me on, B? I ain't usually much into swinging that way, but I might make an exception for you, seeing as you're so eager."

But Buffy didn't blush or sputter, as Faith had expected, didn't ramble on immediately about what it was she had really meant to say. She just continued to regard Faith with that little smile, her eyes serious… challenging.

Faith felt her breath catch, and her stomach dropped. Suddenly she was too cold, and nothing, absolutely nothing made sense to her. Buffy had meant it… she really seemed to have meant it.

"I- Buffy, what are you-" she began thickly, her words suddenly awkward and uncertain. This couldn't be right- it couldn't-

"I'm saying what you're thinking, Faith," Buffy interrupted, her words soft… sensual. "What you've always been thinking. But don't worry, Faith… I'm thinking the same thing."

She seemed suddenly closer to Faith now- when had she moved? Faith could feel Buff''s legs pressed to hers, the blonde's flat stomach against her hip, her small breasts against her shoulder… Faith could hear her own breathing quickening, too loud, too erratic, and her heart soon matched it.

Buffy touched Faith's cheek, then stroked it gently, and Faith's heartbeat accelerated even further. The smaller girl's arms were sliding around her, she was stroking her back in circles with one hand; and Faith couldn't move, couldn't reciprocate. It was as if she were afraid that should she do or say anything, it would break the fragile spell, the not-quite-reality of the moment.

When Buffy's lips met Faith's, gentle, yet firm, probing, Faith froze, her mind shooting off conflicting sparks of both warning and intense pleasure. How could something she had wanted for so long- wished for and thought about for so long- terrify her so much?

But then Buffy was kissing her again, persistent, hungry, and Faith couldn't stop herself from reacting. She kissed the older girl back, and her arms began to creep around her slowly, hesitantly. She could feel through the thin fabric of Buffy's tank top that she wasn't wearing a bra…

"You never told me your last name," Buffy gasped, briefly pulling away to look into Faith's eyes.

"Lehane," Faith told her breathlessly, trusting her instinctively with what she had no one else in Sunnydale. "I'm Faith Lehane."

"Nice to meet you," Buffy breathed.

And then their lips met again.

Faith's eyes slitted as she gradually became more aware of her surroundings. Everything seemed blurry at first, fuzzy and unreal, and she tried to cling to her dream, to the vivid visuals she was fast leaving behind as she returned to wakefulness. No… she didn't want to wake up, she didn't want to know, didn't' want to realize…

Too late. Already too many sensations had come back to her… the bright sunlight streaming in through cheap broken blinds had already entered even her tightly closed eyes. She could already feel the hard lumpy mattress of her cheap motel bed under her body… and she could already hear the uneven snores of someone beside her.

For a moment Faith's heart lifted, scarcely daring to hope. Maybe it had been a dream- but one based on reality. So maybe she was at her motel room, and not with Buffy in Buffy's bed. But someone was here in bed with her… and maybe…

She opened her eyes quickly, rolling over to face her bed companion. But as quickly as it had risen, her hope sank once more, and her stomach twisted in bitter disappointment. It was a guy in bed with her… not Buffy, not her blonde sister-slayer at all, but some guy. She couldn't even remember his name…

Sudden anger flared in her; anger at him, yes, for not being who she'd wanted, who she'd needed, but also anger at herself, for being stupid enough to think that he ever could have been. Faith prodded the guy's shoulder roughly.

"Hey, get up," she called loudly, her voice harsh, uneven. "Get out!"

The guy dragged his eyes open, cutting his snores off abruptly, and blinked at her rather stupidly, only increasing her fierce dislike of him.

"What…" he said groggily, "hey… what you want…"

He reached for her sleepily, and Faith recoiled, self-disgust and panic rising at the thought of this guy- this kid who was only a kid, and not Buffy, not her B, touching her again.

"Do you hear me?! Get the fuck out!" she yelled, shoving him away. But she had been too hasty, too rough, and the guy tumbled hard off the side of the bed, yelping in shock and pain. Faith just sat there, breathing harshly, unable to make herself help him up or apologize, or even feel any remorse.

"You crazy bitch," the guy mumbled at last, more astonished than angry, before finally getting unsteadily to his feet and stumbling through the door, letting it slam behind him as he muttered curses under his breath.

Faith didn't look up, didn't move from where she sat slump-shouldered and rigid on the edge of the motel bed. She gritted her teeth, fiercely trying to fight down the sharp wave of pain rising in her chest.

She should have known better than to be fooled by such a stupid fucking dream.