Disclaimer: Just playing, folks, no ownership on my part here.

Author notes: This is a sequel to "Hell on Wheels." Takes place the next day after it, still third season, pre-return of Angel/ in place of return of Angel. I know it's really short, slow, and unsatisfying for the first chapter... will get more up very soon, and I already have a lot more written. No title as of yet.

Buffy's eyes roamed about the room somewhat restlessly, looking from one friend to another from her seated position at the school's library's long table- the table that had unofficially become the Scooby gang's vampire-and-demon-talk meeting place. School had let out around fifteen minutes ago, and as usual, she and her friends had gone to meet up with Giles afterward in the library.

For once, nothing particularly out of ordinary had happened today or the night before in Sunnydale. At least, nothing more than usual- just a few fledgling vampires that Buffy and Faith had handled easily. No need to bring those up.

Faith… no need to bring that up again. Dangerous to bring that up again… but how many times since yesterday at the skating place had the other Slayer made her way into Buffy's thoughts? How many times had Buffy's head been flooded with visualizations of Faith's face in various facial expressions? How many times had her thoughts flashed back to memories of Faith's hand in hers, her waist beneath Buffy's arm, her lips meeting Buffy's with a hesitance and sweetness Buffy would have thought to be beyond her…

No. No, not going there. So not going there… especially now.

Still… Buffy couldn't help stealing a glance at Faith as she moved her fingers in a staccato beat on her thigh. The other Slayer was right there, after all, sprawled in her usual Faith-like manner in the chair beside her. She had started dropping by the library after school to meet with them for the past week or so, so Buffy knew that today shouldn't have been any different. It would be stranger for her to stop doing that- like proof that things weren't okay between them, that things had changed. It was okay that Faith was there as usual- or it should be.

But the thing was that things had changed between them… for Buffy, at least, and she suspected for Faith as well, though the girl didn't seem to show it. And Buffy wasn't sure things were okay…

Of course, both had told the other that is was, had given off every impression that it was. After they had finished skating- something that ended much more quickly than Buffy would have originally wanted- they had gone patrolling together. Faith had been as casual and seemingly confident as usual in her mannerisms, speech, and expressions, even in her fighting and staking. It was almost as if she really had forgotten what had occurred between her and Buffy, or she really could shrug it off as nothing so easily.

But Buffy suspected that this was only a bluff. For she had seen the look in Faith's eyes, felt the hesitance and fear in her touch before and after they kissed… accidentally kissed. The younger girl was good at covering her tracks, concealing her true thoughts behind a cocky grin and jabbing words. Buffy nearly would have believed her, that she really hadn't meant anything by what had happened, that she had already forgotten it… had she not seen the few times Faith had glanced at her during their patrolling, when she thought the blonde Slayer did not see. The other girl's eyes held a brief but clear storing of emotions too strong for Faith to ever wish to let slip for longer than an instant… emotions she might not even fully realize or understand that she felt.

And throughout the entire patrol, Buffy had been painfully aware of how both she and Faith kept an obvious physical distance between them, not standing or walking close enough to even accidentally brush one another. This was definitely unusual. Had things been okay between them- had Faith, at least, considered things okay between them- the girls would have walked close as usual, if not actively touching, at least occasionally brushing against each other without feeling the need to apologize or jump away. Faith might even have tried to make Buffy uncomfortable after their kiss- accidental kiss- by being more physically tactile than usual, hugging or putting an arm around her… if Faith had been okay with it.

But she hadn't, and she didn't, and the distance between them had seemed obvious to Buffy… even Faith's unusual quiet did now, as they sat with the others in the school library.