Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, nor do I profit from writing this story.

Pairing: Buffy/Faith

Rating: R for language.

Timeline/Spoilers: Post-Chosen. Takes place shortly after the Season 8 comic issue #12, Wolves at the Gate, and contains spoilers up to then.

Author's Note: This is my entry for the "Faith Finds Out" challenge on Oralfxatn's yahoo group. The premise was to write about Faith finding about about the Buffy/Satsu romance. I hope you enjoy it, and I'd love to hear your thoughts if you can spare the time. :)

It's amazing how often I find myself on this same stretch of beach, looking up to the stars for answers that I know they can't give me. Doesn't matter I guess; no one but me has answers about my life. Still, I keep coming back here, hoping to find some profound explanation of my life and its purpose and why I often do the things I do.

God, it was so much easier back in high school when all I had to do when I needed answers was borrow Willow's homework.

When we left California and life picked up in Scotland, I pretty much figured I was saying goodbye to beautiful beaches and shores forever. Guess I should've paid attention in Geography though. Scotland is apparently home to some of the most beautiful beaches and shores in the world. Go figure. Up until we arrived, the only thing I knew about Scotland was that men played bagpipes while wearing little skirts and that haggis was the local version of a hot dog.

Uncultured? Me? Never.

Despite the uncertainty at first about what we were doing and where we were going, things have turned out pretty well. We've got a great operation running. Girls are being trained, lives are being saved, butts are getting kicked. Occasionally mine, but that's beside the point.

Lately though, things around the castle have been interesting, to say the least. I'm in this weird place with Giles. Willow and I rarely get to spend the high quality friend time together. It can be lonely when people grow into new responsibilities.

I think maybe that's why I caved. I knew that Satsu loved me. I mean, hello . . . have you noticed the mystical coma that I'm totally not in anymore? But she's a sweet girl, and a great fighter – one of our best. It's easy to talk to her. To spend time with her.

Even naked time. It was easy to spend naked time with her, and . . . wow. I had no idea what I was missing out on with the whole sex with girls thing.

Still, none of that changes the fact that I've got a million questions going around in my head now. I don't know what the answers are. Guess that's why I'm walking alone on my private little beach again, shoes in my hands as my toes dig into the cool sand. The wind blows gently through my hair, sending a shiver throughout me. It's more refreshing than it is cold.

Maybe the stars will cooperate tonight. Maybe they'll tell me what I'm looking for, or what I want.

The waves are rolling further and further onto the shore as the moon shines brightly in the night sky. There are about a million stars out tonight; I'm hoping that at least one of them might be willing to share a little insight.

When I reach my favorite spot on the beach, I take the blanket that I had resting over my arm and shake it out, letting it float down to the sand below. I toss my shoes and cell phone down onto the blanket and then take a moment to tug on the corners and straighten it out before finally sitting down.

The wind picks up just a bit and I lay back and close my eyes, inhaling deeply. I can't help but smile. No matter the amount of badness in my life, I can't help but feel happy, almost at peace, when I'm here.

It's crazy right? I come to a place as beautiful as this and I close my eyes. I don't know . . . I guess that I don't need to see it. I can feel it all around me. The air, the waves, the sand, the . . . faerie dust? What?

I open my eyes to see about five or six little faeries flying around me, sprinkling me with their faerie dust as they play what looks like a game of tag. They're really not even taking notice of me.

Scotland. Also home to mythical and magical creatures aplenty. They really need to advertise better.

I laugh a little bit to myself and hold up one of my hands.

"Come here, Tinkerbell," I say, and surprisingly one of the faeries flitters over and lands on my opened palm. "Hey there little faerie."

I learn the hard way that faeries don't like being called little. She gives me what can best be described as a pout – complete with her tiny little hands on her tiny little hips – before she flies off in a tizzy. When I laugh at the little display, I inhale some of that damn faerie dust she left behind.

"Oh gross," I say to no one in particular. "I hope that's like the stuff in pixie sticks and not like . . . faerie dandruff."

I'm pretty sure they're laughing at me now. Guess I deserve that.

A few minutes pass and they're still flying around me, doing their little faerie thing. Giles is never gonna believe me when I tell him that I got to play with faeries. Just as I think that, an idea hits me. I reach over on the blanket and grab my phone. Giles thought it would be handy for us to have camera phones in case we needed to send important images to one another.

We mostly just take pictures of funny signs or of ourselves making funny faces and send them to each other.

I'd say that's money well spent.

I hold out my hand again and luckily, another faerie swoops down and lands on it. I hold up the phone and she flinches back a little, but I whisper a soothing 'shhh' to her and smile. Pretty sure she started striking poses then, cos I got about four good pictures of her before she flittered off into the air.

I scroll through the contact list on my phone . . . C, D, E, F, G . . . Giles, there you are. The push of a button later and the picture of the photogenic faerie is on its ways to Giles' phone.

Let's just hope he remembers how to use it this time. The man can tell you hundreds of what he thinks are amazing facts about demons, tea, the Dewey Decimal System and book cataloguing, but he can't figure out his new phone for the life of him.

When I hear the little 'beep' that the text message has been successfully sent, I toss the phone back on the blanket and lay back down. The faeries are still flittering around, getting a bit more confident now as they get closer and closer to me.

I can't help but just sit here and watch with a small smile. How can I stress about awkward lifestuff when I'm here like this? Before I know it, my eyes have drifted shut and I find myself in a shallow sleep. I can still hear the sound of the ocean around me and the faeries flittering around, giggling and playing.

Ten minutes can't have even passed yet when I hear a beep from my cell phone. A new text message. Look at Giles, being all modern. I bet his old tweed suit is sighing in defeat right now from its place at the back of the closet.

Not bothering to open my eyes, I reach my hand out to grab my phone. Needless to say, I nearly jump out of my skin when my hand finds what appears to be a leg next to me instead.

I quickly sit up and open my eyes to come face to face with a grinning Faith.

"Morning sunshine, this is your wake-up call."

I groan internally. Why does my secret place have to have water?

"One, notice the lack of sun. No sun, no morning. Two . . . should I be scrambling to find a snorkel or a life-jacket? Given our proximity to very drownable water, I'm not sure that I'm feeling exactly happy about your sudden and unexpected visit."

"Save it," she says, looking out at the water. "This is your dream, not mine. You brought me here."

"This is a dream?" I ask, looking around. I'm still on the beach. Everything is the same except that Faith is here now.

"Yep, and it's all you, B. I was having a kickass little dream, too. Was playin strip poker with Lara Croft and she was down to her bikini. I won another hand and she was gonna strip, then I was gonna poke her."

"Bit more than I needed to know," I say, holding up my hands. "Well . . . feel free to leave or whatever. I didn't want you here, so . . . you can go."

There, easy enough. I wasn't thinking about Faith. I don't know why the Powers are making us share a slayer dream.

Faith sighs and reaches her hand out, running it through the sand and leaving little impressions in it.

"What else is new?" she asks, bitterly. "Listen, I'd love to be on my merry way and all, but you know that's not how this shit works. We're here til something gets resolved, no matter if we like it or not."

"Of course I don't like it; you tried to kill me a few months ago, in case you forgot. What's there for you to not like about it?"

Faith looks at me then, a look of disbelief on her face.

"Are you being for real right now?" she asks, and I nod as though it's completely obvious. "Yeah, of course. What's not to like about sitting here with Buffy Summers. The same Buffy Summers that told me we were five by five when we left Cali, but had no problem thinkin I was the big bad again first time she came face to face with me, despite the fact that I was trying to save her life from the crazed and mentally fucked slayer."

"Let's not forget that it wasn't the first time that you changed sides, Faith," I say angrily.

She stands up and moves from the blanket, pacing around in her white tank-top and black boyshorts.

"I was tryin to fucking do something good, B, cos Giles asked me to!" she spits out, stopping to stare at me again. "You think I wanna play superhero? Fuck no. But I'm trying to do the right thing. Doesn't help when you keep coming around and telling me how fucking horrible I am every time we see each other."

What? I never tell her she's horrible. Skanky, evil . . . sure. Never horrible.

"I never said you were horrible, Faith," I say quietly, trying to calm down a bit. This slayer dream will never end if we can't find some kind of resolution.

Faith is standing in front of the blanket with her back towards me, staring out at the ocean. The faeries are still flittering around, though they're keeping a safer distance now.

I wish I could see her face. I wish she knew that it's not my sole purpose in life to make her miserable. I wish it could be easier.

After a few minutes of really awkward quiet, I finally break the silence.

"I wish that we could be together in the same place for ten minutes without fighting or trying to kill each other." I chuckle sadly after I say it, staring down at the sand. "I don't want to fight with you. I never wanted to fight with you."

As if on cue, one of the little faeries swoops down, covering Faith and I with a thin shimmer of her faerie dust.

"Oh sick," Faith says, looking down at her slightly shimmering arm. "I think that thing just shit on me."

I can't help but laugh.

"I think it's faerie dandruff. I'm just gonna keep pretending that it's that stuff in pixie sticks though. Makes it seem less icky."

"Hey," Faith says as she casually sits back on the blanket next to me, trying to get the giggling faerie's attention as it flitters by again. "Head and Shoulders, kid. They sell it at Rite Aid, CVS . . . damn near anywhere they sell shampoo. Check it out sometime, yeah?"

There are things that should probably be said. Bad stuff that should be talked about. But the air around us isn't tense any more. It's almost passive and comfortable. I don't know what changed in the last few minutes, but we're just sat here quietly now, looking out at the ocean and the stars.

"Think those faeries worked some kinda mojo on us," Faith says quietly, not looking at me. "Never been around you this long without getting smacked around or wanting to smack ya around."

The corners of my lips crack up in a small smile.

"Likewise," I say, and then pause for a few moments before continuing. "Well, they are faeries. Maybe their dust made us all passive."

"Whatever it was, it's cool. I can deal without the frustration and anger."

"Yeah," I answer.

A few minutes pass by before either of us speak again. It's Faith who finally breaks the silence.

"So can I ask you something?"

This can turn out bad. Giving someone like Faith free reign with a question can turn into something all sorts of embarrassing and awkward. But for the sake of trying to keep up this whole friendly air, I decide to go for it.


She gets a really mischievous grin on her face.

"Word on the street is that you're a Birkenstock wearing, Lillith Fairing, sushi-eating, genuine certified lesbian."

"Oh god," I say and close my eyes, hoping that maybe the question will just go away.

"Any truth to the rumor?" she asks casually, but I can feel the effort behind her words.

I shrug, trying to be as nonchalant as possible, but I know there's no way in hell that Faith is gonna let me get away with it.

"You heard about that?"

Faith nods, "Gay news travels fast."

"Well," I begin after a moment, trying not to give away too much, "I don't know about genuine and certified. I'd say bi-curious at best, and still very much with only a learner's permit."

She grins all big and looks over at me. "So it's true then?"

"No sense in denying it if you already know it's true," I answer evenly. I'm trying my best not to laugh or smile, but I fail miserably when I notice the excited look on her face. "What?"

"Nothing," Faith answers. "Cept for the fact that you're a big ol' rug muncher now. Shit, this is big, B! We should have a parade or something."

"They already have gay parades. Besides, I'm not a . . . a . . ." I say, trying to copy her words, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

"Rug muncher?" she offers, and I nod distastefully. "What's the what? Girl went downtown but you couldn't do the same? That's cold, B."

"Hey, it's not exactly something I planned. She loves me. We got hurt and spent some bonding time in the hospital. We were bored one night, one thing led to another, and why am I telling you this?"

"Cos I'm a perv and you know it," she answers quickly. "Then what?"

"Then . . . wow. That's all I can say. It was nice."

"Just nice?"

"It was wow," I say and shrug. "She did more, but she didn't complain." I get lost in my thoughts for a minute and I don't even realize I'm speaking again, "I guess it's just not how I imagined my first time with a . . . "

I trail off as soon as I realize what I let slip out. Stealing a glance over at Faith, I see that her features have changed. She's smiling less, but she's still looking at me. Looking into me. She doesn't look cocky or smug anymore.

A few minutes pass by again, but the silence isn't awkward. Those faeries definitely put some kind of shebang on us.

"So, what did you imagine it would be like? If it wasn't like that then, I mean," Faith asks, trying her hardest to pretend that she's found something really interesting in the sand to look at.

Suddenly, I feel like I don't want to talk about this anymore. There's too much of me being laid open, and that's a guaranteed way to find myself hurt.

Still, the words just come pouring out of me. I can't stop them. There's some force inside of me, around me, and it's making me tell the truth.

"A beach. A blanket. A really big moon and lots of stars in the sky," I say and then I laugh at myself. "Totally cliché, right?"

Faith finally looks up from the sand and over at me, a soft look on her face.

"No," she answers quietly. "Keep going."

The cloud that had made its way in front of the moon finally drifts out of the way and the silver light of the moon illuminates the water, sending shimmers dancing across the beach. When I look back at Faith, I notice that we're bathed in a perfect, soft-glowing light. I can see her eyes, so brown and full of wonder, and I realize that this was the moment that I'd always dreamed of. The perfect beach, the perfect moment . . . and oddly enough, the only girl that has ever made her way into my beach fantasy.

As I look into her eyes, I don't want to talk about it anymore. I don't want to think about it anymore.

I want to feel it. I don't want it to be some far off fantasy anymore.

Without even realizing I'm doing it, I raise my left hand to her hair, brushing a few strands back that the gentle breeze had blown into her face.

"What are you . . ." she starts, but I interrupt her with a simple 'shhhhh'.

I lean in closer, looking down at her lips which she licks nervously, then back up at her eyes. She looks like she can't believe this is happening – and honestly, I can't believe it is either. It's like my body is moving on its own.

Once again, Buffy isn't behind the wheel.

I don't know whether I want to hunt down the faeries or buy them little faerie condos as my lips brush softly over Faith's. She's trying not to move, doing her best to resist, but I feel her start to respond when I press my lips to her a little more fully.

My fingers brush back into her hair, keeping her lips pressed against mine. She's becoming more confident with every passing second, kissing me longer and deeper but still oh so softly. I feel her arm wrap around my back, and then she breaks away from my lips, looking deep into my eyes.

"Don't wake up, B," she says as she lays me down and moves so that she's laying half on me, half to my side. "Stay with me."

And then she's kissing me again, harder, faster, her hands all over me as I do my best to keep up. I don't want to leave. I don't want to wake up. Whatever's happening between us now, for whatever reason it's happening . . . I don't want it to end. I don't want to go back to the bad and the awkward.

I wrap my arms tightly around Faith, running my hands up and down her back as I feel the edge of the dream start to blur.

"Wait," Faith murmur's against my lips.

But it's too late. I hear the telltale beep of a text message alert on my cell phone, and when I open my eyes, I'm alone.

I sit up and bring my hand up to my lips and gently caress them with my fingertips. It's fading, but the distinct taste of Faith's lip gloss is still there.

With a sigh, I flop back onto the blanket. The faeries are flittering around still, giggling quietly.

"Did you guys do that to me?" I ask them, not actually expecting an answer, but a faerie comes swooping down and perches on my shoulder. She moves back my hair and whispers into my ear. Her words are too fast and too quiet, but I can make a few out. Call, true, fear . . . love.

In the blink of an eye, she's back in the air, gathering up her faerie friends and finally moving down along the beach. There's no magic pixie dust this time to take away the awkward and make everything all nice and perfect, but it doesn't stop me from reaching out and grabbing my phone.

Maybe – for once – there doesn't need to be magic for things to work out in the end.

Ignoring the new text message from Giles, I scroll through my contact list until I find Faith's name. I think about closing my phone and just ignoring it all for a brief moment, but then I notice the slightest indent in the blanket next to me. It's where Faith was laying in the dream.

I reach out and touch the blanket, watching as the indent smoothes out and fades away.

The crazy thing? I don't want this all to just smooth out and fade away.

With a new resolve that I haven't felt in a long time, I press the send button and bring the phone up to my ear, listening as the phone rings one, two, three, four times. And then . . .

"Hello?" Faith answers, her voice tired with sleep and tinged with hint of sadness. It's the first time that I've heard her actual voice in months. I've missed it.

"Hey," I say.

That's it. The best I could come up with. I guess it's better than panicking and hanging up.

"Hey," she answers back sleepily, though I can tell she's surprised that it's me.

"I had this crazy dream," I tell her, a small smile on my face cos I know that she's perfectly aware of how crazy it is.

"Yeah," she says. "Still got sand in my socks."

I chuckle softly, sitting up so that I can watch the waves roll onto the beach. We sit in silence for several minutes. It could be awkward, but again, it's just not. I think that maybe we've finally made our peace with one another.

A shooting star crosses the sky and I wonder if Faith can see it too from wherever she's at.

"Wish you were here," I tell her, and I mean it.

"Maybe when the time's right."

And with all of the things I'm unsure of in my life right now, the one thing that I can say I know for certain is that time is coming soon.

The End