"She ain't a nutball, B." Faith pushed the jealousy back and concentrated getting back to normal. "She's just like you." Then, with a wicked grin, she added, "Fuck. OK, maybe she is a nutball." Like a shot, she was out the door and running for her life.
"What's with the Faith rocket?" Willow asked, watching Faith streak away from the house.
Buffy shrugged and did some watching of her own. "I think she thought I was going to retaliate for calling me a nutball."
"You are a bit of a nutball," Willow commented. All three of them leaned against the doorframe and continued to watch Faith as she ran down the sidewalk. "I've known that for years."
"Yeah, yeah." Despite the dry tone, Buffy wasn't offended. "Poor Faith. She must not realize I've infected her. She's as much of a nutball as I am." Faith had noticed Buffy wasn't chasing her. With a grin, Buffy saw Faith trotted back to the house and skipped over to meet her half-way - kissing Faith's lips when she was close enough.
"Ah!" Faith scrubbed her lips. "You mean I got your cooties, B? Fuck."
Tara and Willow giggled. "Like you didn't want those a long time ago," Willow said between bouts of laughter. "You were drooling over Buffy that first night you were in Sunnydale. 'Can I borrow your stake?'" Faith rolled her eyes as Willow tried to imitate her Boston accent. "You wanted to do more than just borrow that stake. Admit it."
"Yeah, she wanted to show me a new place to store it," Buffy added. "Luckily we have softer stakes to fill me up now."
"Eww! Buffy, I don't need to hear about my best friend's sex life," Willow squealed, putting her hands over her ears as Buffy turned around and wrapped Faith's arms around her.
Payback was so much fun. "Oh goddess, Tara." Buffy mocked in a husky imitation of Willow's voice. " Yes, right there…harder." She could almost feel Willow's and Tara's blushed. "Always remember, I have great hearing. You two have quite the nighttime melody." Then, having pity on her friends she turned back to Faith. "Ready, babe?"
"You got any doubts, B?" Faith made it as suggestive as possible and stepped out of the house. Of course, Buffy went with her since Faith's arms were still around her. "One munchkin, one house, and maybe a big party when we get back. Let's do this thing, B, before I start thinkin' or something and freak." Faith grinned and winked to let Buffy know she was only teasing. Somehow, Buffy and Tory didn't get the old running genes powered up.
Waiting while Faith opened the car door for her, Buffy said quietly, "If I see that freak look in your eyes, I'll just flash the Girls. I bet they'll get you back on track." She hopped into the car and buckled her seat belt.
"That might do it." Faith's agreement might have been better if her voice hadn't been so husky. She started the car and peeled out of the driveway. Thanks to her lead foot, it didn't take long to get the slumber party address. "You wanna go get her, B?" Faith was jonesing for a Tory hug, but she didn't want to get Buffy or Tory in trouble because of their relationship.
"Come with me. The girls have probably talked you up enough that Carol and Tony will want to meet you." Not giving Faith a chance to refuse, Buffy hopped out of the car and waited for Faith to come around to take her hand.
Climbing out, Faith smoothed a hand over her shirt as she walked over to Buffy. "They may just want to call the cops, B. You know everybody ain't happy about girl on girl lovin'." Buffy ignored her and dragged FAith up the sidewalk. Avoiding Buffy's mini-glare, she jabbed her finger onto the doorbell. That's when it hit her. "Fuck, B. You ain't wearing any underwear."
Buffy bit Faith's shoulder. "That doesn't make me a bad mother, just a lousy dresser." The front door, and Buffy smiled. "Hey, Tony, this is Faith, my soon-to-be wife. Where's Carol?"
"She's channeling her inner teacher and trying to get the kids to learn on a weekend," Tony said, opening the door wider to let them in. "I don't think she's having much luck."
"'Course not." Faith held up her right hand. "Stayin' up late, eatin' junk food, and havin' fun." The other hand rose. "Doing school sh…stuff on the weekend. What do you think?"
Tony smirked. "I like her Buffy, but she isn't anything like Tory said. After the wild tales all night long, I was sure Faith wore knives strapped to each thigh and had guns holstered on both hips."
Buffy laughed at the description. "She only wears those for my birthday." Reaching back for Faith's, she followed Tony into the kitchen. Carol must have given up on the lessons. She was busy pouring soft drinks. "Hey, Carol," Buffy announced, pulling Faith in front of her. "This is the famous, Faith."
Nearly groaning at the comment, Faith kind of waved at the short blonde woman across the room. "Hey."
That's when the Tory Missile streaked across the room and knocked her flat – for the second time in two days. Her ribs creaked in protest, and Faith bit her lip and held very still until the pretty little black flashes in front of her eyes went away.
"Glad to see me, T?" she asked with only a slightly noticeable wheeze.
"We're going to have to teach you to prepare for that, Faith. We can't let Tory keep putting you on the ground. You'll lose that tough girl persona." Buffy bent down and picked up her girls. "Thanks for letting her stay over, last night, and when we move, we'll invite you over for a house warming."
"Sounds good, Buffy, and you know we love having Tory over," Carol added as Buffy led her family back outside.
Faith ignored the ache in her head and tossed Tory over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes. "Listen up, kid. I'm gonna forget about the way you made the big, bad Slayer look like a chump. This one time," Faith said, dragging the words out. "But only because me and your mom are looking forward to checkin' out the new house."
"She's all talk, Tor, but you kind of know that already. You've turned the Dark Slayer into a big softie," Buffy informed Tory with a wink.
"Yeah, I know, Mom. Faith may be a tough girl, but she isn't with us. The best part is the smile now that she's here." Tory was still draped over Faith's shoulder when Buffy ran over and kissed her forehead.
Faith tossed Tory into the car and buckled her in. "Big softie, huh? You watch out, Little T. I'll show you soft. I will." With an evil smile, she stalked around to the driver's side and got them on the road. Buffy was terrible with directions. They got lost twice and Faith threatened to stop at a gas station and ask somebody to help before Buffy managed to get it right. Finally, they pulled up in front of a huge house surrounded by big fields and fences.
Before either Faith or Buffy got a chance to stop her, Tory was out of the car and leaping the fence. "I guess she wants to check the place out. Come on, sweetie." Buffy climbed out of the car. She took Faith's hand, opened the gate, and headed straight for the stables where Tory was standing. "Couldn't jump in, Tor?"
"Ha, ha, Mom. I wanted to wait for you guys." Tory frowned fiercely for a second. "Can we go in now?"
"Sure, T. Let's go." Faith maneuvered Buffy toward the barn. "Them Slayer genes are wicked, B. Did you see how high she got? Put her in a cap and blue tights and Supergirl'd have competition." She bumped Tory's hip as they entered the stables. The building was big and smelled like manure. Sometimes, the enhanced senses sucked. Trying to breathe through her mouth, Faith said, "It's empty, Little T. What are we looking at?"
Tory pointed and counted. "One, two, three, four. There are four stables here, Faith. I have three horses, and we can put my saddle and stuff in that last one."
Buffy scooped Tory up. "If the house isn't any good, you'll have to sleep in here." The look on her face told Buffy they'd be camping out in her. Tory had already mentally moved in.
"I'm tellin' you right now, Little T, Faith don't sleep in stalls. Too much like Ma's old apartment." Faith didn't mention prison because it usually pissed Buffy off. "If the house don't win a 'yes' you'll be sleeping here alone and I'll be out in the car. Least it's padded."
Buffy kissed Faith's cheek. "We could camp out in the yard, babe. Tents, air mattresses, hibachi, the whole nine yards." She punched in the numbers on the key lockbox before opening the door. "Go check the rooms upstairs, Tor," Buffy ordered, patting her butt and sending her on her way. "I already like the floor space. It'll mean a shopping trip, though. We don't have nearly enough furniture to fill it."
Rolling her eyes, Faith poked Buffy's stomach. "Please, B. We could be looking at a closet and you'd think shopping trip." She jumped out of the way of the elbow Buffy tried to jab into her side. "And on that note, I'm joining the munchkin upstairs." She took the steps three at a time and stuck her head into each room until she found Tory.
"Faith! Look!" Tory spun around in a circle and Faith grinned.
"What am I supposed to see except a Smurf Top?" Faith walked in and looked around. It was a decent room, but she didn't see what had Tory all wound up.
"The light. Geeze, Faith. I could paint in here!" She added jumping up and down to her spinning.
Buffy laughed as Tory and Faith's conversation drifted downstairs. Her daughter would have Faith a devoted family woman before she knew it. Taking a last look around, she decided the living room and den were nice. So was the dining room.
Leaving the two girls upstairs to finish their conversation alone, she wandered off to check out the kitchen.
"Well, then it wins points, T. But I ain't giving it a thumbs up until we check out the rest of the house." Faith held out her hand and Tory stopped spinning to take it. "We got more rooms up here, and I bet your mom is lost downstairs staring into some closet."
Tory giggled. "Did she really have a lot of clothes when you knew her before?"
Grinning, Faith leaned down and said softly, "Her room was like a department store, Little T."
They giggled and checked out the rest of the rooms. Well, Faith stood in the doorway while Tory bounced in and out and examined everything. Finally, though, she dragged Faith all the way into one room and showed her the attached bathroom. "This the one you want?"
Tory nodded so hard Faith thought her head would pop off.
"I'll getcha a name tag for the door, Little T. Come on. We need to find your mom. I don't want her to feel too lonely." Faith spotted the master bedroom at the end of the hallway. "Let's see what goodies are in here then we can go downstairs."
There were lots of goodies. A whole body full of them.
Buffy looked up from her spot on the carpet and continued sliding her arms and legs over the Berber.
"Hey, B? You getting busy without me?" Faith completely forgot Tory was with her as she watched Buffy writhe on the carpet.
"Come here, Tor," Buffy said, patting a spot beside her. "Come on, Faith. You're from Boston. You have to know the land version: snow angels. Come on." She and Tory started making patterns on the carpet again.
Snow angels? "Um, I hate to break it to you, B, but… I lived in Southie. The thing you're doing required a yard, not a tiny piece of snow-covered concrete." She did lie down, though, and watch the two of them giggle and play.
Buffy let Tory play while she angled in Faith's direction. "You are not going to believe the kitchen here. It has a table, but it also has a booth like you have in restaurants." Leaning forward, she gave Faith a kiss. "This place is a keeper."
She was the keeper, but Faith kept that mushy comment to herself. "I'll call Fang and let him know the deal's sealed. He gets a new employee and we get a huge ass house."
Tory squealed (it must be genetic because she sounded like Dawn). "Yes!" She was back to jumping and spinning.
Buffy smiled as she noticed Tory's antics. "You know you don't have to do that. I make enough with every book I write, but I understand the need to feel useful. Just make sure you don't work too hard; I have needs."
"I you guys are going to start kissing and stuff, I'm going to dance in my studio." Tory hopped out of the room, leaving Buffy and Faith alone.
"You know me, B. I ain't real good at sitting and doing nothing. I'll work while you write. If you need me here or Little T's got some school thing, I'll take the day off." Listen to her. It was like Faith had a clue if Angel would be OK with that. She kissed Buffy passionately. Who cared what Angel thought? If he didn't like it, Faith would quit and burn off her excess energy running around our property.
"I hope you don't know how to ride horses because I'm going to love teaching you." Buffy slid her hand between Faith's legs. "The feel of the horse between your legs while he gallops below, not to mention the friction on your clit in those tight pants."
"The only thing I know how to ride is you, B." Faith's mouth went dry as all the moisture in her body gathered under Buffy's hands. She stiffened. Tory was just down the hall and Faith didn't want her walking in on them. "Easy, B. We can play later. We got a house to by and a wired kid to calm down."
"Just stirring the pot, baby. No Buffy or Faith riding while we have a human top in the other room. You have to see her on her horse, though. She looks beautiful." Buffy sat up, pulling Faith with her.
"Of course she is, baby. She's your kid." Taking a deep breath, Faith stood up and held out my hand. "Come on. You go play with the top while I make a phone call." They walked down the hallway. "Be good, girls. I don't want to have to spank you both when I get back."
Walking back downstairs, Faith flipped open her cell phone and dialed Angel. "Hey, Big Guy. The house is a go. B and Little T are already planning the shopping trip."
He laughed. "I thought they'd like it as soon as she mailed me the link. The money's already in your account and I've got the firm's real estate department standing by to take care of the details. I can have the keys and the deed to you first thing in the morning."
"Wicked." Faith didn't know what else to say. "I…Uh…"
"You're welcome, Faith," Angel said softly. "And goodbye. Go be with your family and I'll see you here on Monday morning."
While Faith made the arrangements with Angel, Buffy and Tory left the sunny confines of the Studio. They headed outside and walked the full length of the fence. "We'll certainly have plenty of room to run our girls." She picked Tory up and placed her on the top of the fence.
"I can't wait, Mom. I miss riding every day." Tory looked back toward the house. "Aunt Faith's off the phone now. We should yell so she knows where we are," she said.
Buffy stared at Tory. Damn it. She kept forgetting how strong Tory's Slayer abilities were.
Slayer abilities. Faith deserved to know the whole truth about Tory. Buffy prayed the news didn't cause Faith to bolt.
Faith heard the shouts the second she stepped out of the house. Hand over her eyes to shade against the sun, she peered in that direction and caught two madly waving hands. She waved back and then hit full Slayer speed as she went to tell them the news. Even though Faith kept expecting the Bionic Woman sound effects, the only thing she heard was her own breathing and footfalls. A little disappointed, Faith skidded to a halt next to her girls. "Looks like we got a house, ladies."
Buffy saw the smile on Faith's face and knew she was going to tell her something that could cause it to go away. Why had she waited? Why hadn't she told Faith the truth from the beginning? She risked losing her with the information Buffy had withheld. "Tory, could you make sure the fence doesn't need mending at any point?" she asked, getting a nod and a kiss in before Tory took off.
Knowing Tory could hear them, Buffy waited until she sensed Tory was at the far end of the property. Then she turned to Faith with her eyes suddenly brimming with tears. "Faith, there is something you need to know about Tory."
Faith was on full alert instantly. "B?" Scanning the area, she noticed Tory at the end of the fencerow. She waved a little. Not wanting to scare her, Faith waved back. "What's wrong with T? She ain't sick or something?" She'd have Angel and Fred turning the world upside down to find a cure if she was.
Buffy shook her head. "No, nothing like that. There was another reason I left Cleveland as fast as I did: Will's spell to activate all Slayers. It activated Tory, too. I wanted to be here for Tory. I want her to have a chance to be a kid and have friends." She looked down to avoid seeing the disappointment on Faith's face. "I'm going to train her myself; I don't want her to have to deal with the stuff that I...we had to deal with. I'm sorry for hiding this from you and I'll understand if you need time."
"You're kidding, right?" Time? Why the fuck would Faith need time. "Babe, I love you and Little T. She could be your and Angel's kid and I'd still love her." She gripped Buffy's chin and made her look up. "I'd be the one volunteering to hit the butcher shop for her midnight snack. Get that frown off your face, B. You and the kid are stuck with me – and this house since Fang's already got it paid for." Kissing Buffy softly, she mumbled for their audience, "And you, Little T, will be getting your training from me when you're ready. Mom here won't kick your butt the way it should be."
Buffy jumped into Faith arms, knocking her down and kissing her with everything that she had. When they pulled apart, she perched on Faith's stomach. "What did I do to deserve you?" She lay down with her head on Faith's chest.
"Guess you missed the memo, B. I'm the one who should be askin' that." Faith stroked Buffy's hair. It was warm from the sun and seemed to cling to her fingers. "You're the Grand Prize, babe. Ain't nothin' or no one better."