Late night musings

Author notes: Post Chosen. This one was a bit of a challenge…if you'll notice, it's an ABC fic. Which means the first letter of the first word of each sentence starts with the next letter of the alphabet in order. For example, first word of first sentence starts with A, first word of second sentence starts with B, and so on down to Z. So exactly 26 sentences long.

All Buffy could think of as she lay awake, staring at the girl curled up in bed beside her, was how very much things had changed…

Breathing out slowly in long, even exhalations, her chest rising and falling in sleep, Faith looked so peaceful, as if she were a very young child rather than the Slayer who had seen and done so much more than one girl should have to in a lifetime- let alone only twenty-one years. Cuddled close to her, soaking up the feel of her warm skin against her, Buffy sighed softly. Despite all their history…despite the craziness of their past, and all the hurts they had inflicted upon each other…everything had worked out. Everything was okay… or as okay as the lives of two Slayers could get.

Faith had always wanted her, always loved her, in her way, always strived to receive Buffy's attention and approval…it had taken Buffy so long to see this, let alone to allow herself to accept it and eventually reciprocate it. Gone now were the days of denial and anger, of self-righteous declarations of her own virtue and Faith's sins. How could she have continued to cling to that as the one barrier keeping her from loving her, when Faith had more than proved her redemption?

If it hadn't been for me, she wouldn't have needed it in the first place, Buffy thought with a flicker of the guilt she was not quite able to forget, even after all had been forgiven between them. Just because I didn't talk to her, didn't' relate to her in the way she'd needed… just because I did it all wrong… that's the only reason she ever…

Keep cool, Buffy, she interrupted herself, taking a slow breath. Let's not go down that path of thought now, okay? Maybe things were bad then, maybe you both were stupid…but what's the point of thinking about all that now? Now, everything's different, everything's better… now, she's right here, sleeping in your arms…and who would've ever thought Faith could be the cuddly type? Of course, who ever bothered to ask her back then?

Petting Faith's head slowly, smoothing back the unruly waves from her face, Buffy smiled over at her gently. Quiet continued to surround them, broken only by the rhythmic sound of Faith's sleeping breaths. Right then, between the steady noise of Faith's respiration, her warmth pressed so close to her, and the utter calmness coming over her, Buffy was close to sleep herself.

Stroking a hand slowly up and down Faith's bare arm, Buffy snuggled even closer to her, nestling her head against Faith's shoulder. Tucking one of Faith's legs over top her own, Buffy wrapped an arm more snugly around the brunette's slim back, closing her eyes.

Undoubtedly, Buffy knew, she had a lot to be grateful for now, a lot that gave her life meaning. Vamp-killing and world-saving were only a small part of it when there were so many things she loved, so many people. Willow, of course, and Dawn and Giles. Xander, the new Slayers, even Andrew, god forbid…and Angel, no matter what, she would always love Angel.

Yet even so…and even with all the new Slayers, too many to count at once…even so, not a single one of them made her feel what Faith did, shared anywhere near the bond that had always existed between them.

Zero.