The sun was high up in the sky when Faith walked the remaining distance to the blonde's porch, climbing up the tree and knocking on Buffy's bedroom window.
Buffy stopped brushing her hair and turned around confused to find a grinning Faith outside her window. She smiled back at her, standing up and walking to the window to let the woman in.
"What's gotten into you? You do know you can come in through the door."
Faith shrugged. "Neh, this way is more fun."
"Well, come in." Buffy sat down on the bed.
"Actually, I wanted to take you somewhere."
"Really?" Buffy smiled. "Where? Oooh, am I gonna like it? Should I get changed?"
"No, no." Faith reached in and grabbed Buffy's arm. "You are fine."
"So, ready?" Faith started to climb out the window.
"Wait, right now?"
"Yeah, blondie. C'mon."
"No, buts come on."
"Let me put on my shoes then."
"Okay, put on some sneakers."
"We are walking?"
"Yeah, oh and bring a sweater or something."
Buffy nodded reaching for Faith's hoodie. "Is this okay?"
"Am I ever gonna get that back?"
Buffy smiled bashfully. "Probably not. It's comfy."
"And yours." She made a face, "And mine"
Faith chuckled, "Whatever, c'mon."
"Through the window?"
Faith helped Buffy out of the window and down to the ground. Not that she needed to.
"So where are we going?"
Faith shrugged. "Surprise."
Buffy shook her head and she paused when she noticed Giles' car a few feet away from her house.
"Wait, I didn't know Giles was here."
"He isn't." Faith took out the car's keys out of her pocket. She walked to it and opened the passengers door. "C'mon."
"Giles lent you his car! Are you kidding me?"
"I wouldn't exactly call it lending but…"
"Whoa, you stole Giles car?"
"I borrowed it." Faith chuckled at Buffy's expression. "Now get in."
Buffy did as she was told and soon Faith joined her in the car.
"I can't believe you. I don't know how I feel about this. I'm undecided between disappointment and amusement."
"Relax, blondie." Faith started the engine pulling away from Revello drive. "Giles let me borrow it."
"Well that's really nice of him. Considering he doesn't ever let me drive it." The blonde added drolly.
"With good reason."
"I can drive just fine. And you don't even have a license."
"And yet I drive better than you do."
"What if the cops pull us over?"
"I have a fake."
"I'm sure the officer will like that."
"It's a very convincing one. It's in the system. I just never took the driving test and shit."
"How do you know how to drive by the way?"
"Figured it out blondie. It's pretty simple, plus slayer reflexes and all, help a lot."
"Does Giles know you don't actually have a license?"
Faith turned to Buffy. "Nope."
Buffy laughed. "He'll never let you borrow it again."
"I won't tell, if you don't tell."
Buffy closed her eyes, tilting her head back enjoying the breeze and sun on her face. Moments like this were hard to come by. and even if it lasted a few minutes, she would make the most of it.
"You okay?" Faith asked after a while.
Buffy smiled putting her hand out and surfing in the wind with it.
"Yep." She smiled again. "So, where are we going, lover?"
"You'll see when we get there."
"Is it somewhere scary? Will there be a lot of demons? Cuz I only brought a stake."
"B, it's just past midday. And no, there will be no demos."
Faith parked the car under some trees deep in the woods.
"B?" The brunette shook the blonde. "Wake up, we are here."
Buffy took a deep breath opening her eyes.
Faith chuckled. "Yes B, trees. As you'll notice in a sec, we are deep in the woods."
"Oh, sorry. I must have dozed off." Buffy yawned. "Oh, pretty."
"Yes, pretty. C'mon, let's go,"
Buffy nodded and got out of the car, taking the opportunity to stretch out and look around.
"Where are we, anyway?"
"Just a few miles away from Sunny D." Faith answered leading the way, "Didn't get much sleep?"
"Nah, had a thing at Dawn's school. And you know how everything school related has to be early." Buffy slowed down, "Will Giles car be alright out here?"
"Do you see anybody around here? Don't worry. I doubt anybody even knows this place is here. Case in point: you."
"Well you are right. Never seen this place before."
"It gets better."
Buffy smiled and took a deep breath.
"Is that," She sniffed the air. "Is that water I smell?" She scrunched up her face. "If that made any sense…"
Faith smirked, "Yep. You gonna love it. It just a few miles up ahead."
"Wow…" Buffy breathed out admiring the lake, the surrounding forest and hills. "Wow. How- when?"
"I know right?"
"It's so beautiful."
Faith nodded setting down the blanket she had brought with herself. It was only then that Buffy realized the brunette was holding a white rose in her left hand.
"Um yeah," Buffy answered a little distracted. "Uh," She pointed at the rose. "Is that for me?"
"What?" Faith looked down at her hand. "Oh, uh, no."
Faith approached the shore and gently placed the rose on the water.
"It's, uh, it's for my watcher. Dunno, kinda got used to it. Yunno, with no tomb or anything. Or actual body to bury," Faith shrugged. "It's silly, I know. But she loved roses, so…"
"Faith, it's not silly."
Faith cleared her throat. "Whatever. So, what do you think? Pretty neat, huh? Wait till you going in the water."
"It's you." Buffy muttered.
Buffy smiled broadly, approaching the edgy brunette.
"All this time I've been wondering who's been leaving a single white rose on my mother's grave." Buffy's eyes got teary. "It's you. You are the one."
"Please, don't cry." Faith shifted her weight from one foot to the other. "I-I should have asked you first. It's just, well you know, your mom was always pretty nice to me, so… and, well-"
"It's fine Faith. In fact is really sweet. What you are doing for both of them, it's- amazing really." Buffy stared at Faith with admiration. "You just keep surprising me every day."
"Well, you know me," Faith fidgeted. "I'm full of surprises and all that shit."
Buffy chuckled. "I'll stop with the soppiness cuz, even though you look really cute, I know I'm making you uncomfortable."
Faith gave her a curt nod. "Thanks."
"Tell me about this place,"
Faith smirked. "I think it's meant for us. Or well, people like us."
"What do you mean?"
"Why would you think so?"
"For starters… it is not in any map. And, it feels-"
"Yeah. You feel it too don't ya?"
"Yeah," Buffy played with the air. "I just thought it was you."
"It's also guarded by spirits."
"I've only seen a few but they are not on the creepy side."
"So," Buffy explored the forest. "What do you have planned for today, spidey?"
"Well," Faith ignored the nickname. "Since you are always so stressed out, thought I bring you here so you can relax a little. Plus, I hadn't come in a while. So, whaddya say, blondie? Up for some skinny dipping?"
"Are you crazy? It's cold!"
Faith started taking off her clothes.
"Oh c'mon, B! You'll love it! Is either that, or fully clothed. Then you would be really cold." Faith pointed down at herself. "And we both know, you wouldn't miss a chance to grope this,"
"You had this all planned out, didn't ya?" Buffy asked roaming her eyes over Faith's figure.
"I know how much of a pervert you are. Gotcha all figured out, blondie." Faith said smiling. "Now, c'mon, you are wearing way too many clothes,"
"We'll dry out in the sun and tan, c'mon."
Buffy cursed her inability to maintain her distance when the brunette's naked body was fully exposed.
"I hate you," She said following the grinning brunette to the water. "Really hate you and your evil plans."
"What if there's a monster or something down there?" Buffy asked keeping herself afloat.
Faith circled the blonde like a shark. "B, I've done it like hundredth times and so far I have avoided the very sharp teeth,"
"Faith!" Buffy exclaimed petrified trying to get to shore.
"B," Faith chuckled reaching out for the escaping blonde. "I'm joking. Look, you'll love it. Let's swim for a while. And this time open your eyes underwater. It's not as murky as you think it is."
It took a little more of coxing but, as was becoming disturbingly more and more frequent, she did as she was told.
And she was surprised to find she didn't regret it at all.
"Only thing I'm missing is leaving my mouth open while sunbathing and then I'm the perfect croc," Faith mumbled. "And hey, free leather!"
"Great," Buffy grunted in response from her place on the blanket. "I could wear you on my arm."
"I won't be your purse."
"You'll be whatever I'll want you to be."
Faith raised her head from its place on her arms.
"Is that so?"
"If I weren't ridiculously comfortable, I'd pounce on you."
Buffy smirked. "Oh no! God knows I wouldn't want that."
"That's right, cuz I make you mega horny."
Buffy's way of answer was to chuck some pebbles Faith's way.
Buffy began pulling on her pants, stopping dead on her tracks when she saw a panther approach the lake to get a drink a few miles away from the slayers.
"Um… Faith! Faith there's a panther over there!"
Faith shook her hair free from her tank top. "Oh yeah, relax."
"It's not really a panther."
The brunette sat back down on the blanket.
"Yeah, it's a spirit."
Buffy neared Faith sitting cowardly behind her. "So it won't come and, you know, try to eat us?"
"Looks to me she is just thirsty."
"Good. Cuz I don't wanna be cat food." The blonde rested her head on Faith's shoulder as she watched the creature. "So, can it hurt us? Or is it going to go right through us?"
"Well, if I'm right, and I think I am – when am I not right? – if it's purpose is to guard this place then, yes it can hurt us." She turned her head to Buffy. "But don't worry; she'll let you pet her once she's comfortable around you."
"Are you serious?"
"Yep, and well, you are here with me. If the PTB or whoever grants entrance to this place or whatever didn't want you here, then you wouldn't be here."
Buffy hummed. "You think is the PTB? cuz I don't know if you noticed or not, they don't like us much. We are just tools."
"True. I think maybe it's you know, one of Red's goddesses or something that made this place."
"Like Mother Earth? Or... uh, Hecate?"
"Yeah. You know the lack of evil in here could clue you in." Faith spotted something in the distance. "See that?" Buffy nodded in response. "That's a demon."
"I thought you said there weren't going to be any demons here."
"Of the evil kind I meant. That guy just eats animals and such. It is not harming anyone. It's like another animal but yunno, more like what we would consider a demon."
Faith turned around to face the blonde.
"I'm serious B. That's a good demon."
"If you say so. You've been here several times so," Buffy kissed Faith's cheek, "I believe you. Though you did say there wasn't going to be any monsters down there and I'm sure that thing wasn't a manatee."
Faith laughed. "Alright. That was another demon."
Buffy slapped Faith's thigh. "Liar."
"Though I could be wrong and they could all gang up on us."
Faith's nose twitched when something tickled it and the brunette rolled on her side to avoid whatever was getting touchy with her nose.
Buffy chuckled lightly, running the tip of a feather she had found by a tree and trailed it lightly down Faith's cheek. She watched as Faith sleepily fought off the offending object. She chuckled again and went after the brunette's nose.
"Damn bug." Faith growled rolling on her stomach.
Buffy chuckled out loud. "C'mon Faith, wake up."
Buffy brushed away Faith's hair from her neck, nuzzling her nose into it.
Faith jumped slightly squirming away from Buffy.
"Oh, go figure! You are ticklish."
"You're nose it's cold, Rudolph."
Buffy paid no heed, and kissed the brunette's nape.
"C'mon up, it's almost dusk."
Faith turned around. "So?"
"So? Are still in dreamland, Fai?"
"We could stay here. You should see the moonlight here. You can actually see the stars."
Buffy smiled. "My, my, another romantic night?"
Faith huffed sitting up. "We are leaving."
"No, c'mon. I'll shut up."
"Good, can I sleep now?"
"Nobody knows you kidnapped me."
"I'll send them a ransom note made out twigs and leaves tomorrow." Faith went back to her lying down position.
"Stay and enjoy the sunset. Slaying's been slow, girlfriend, no need to hurry."
"Okay," Buffy laid down next to Faith, sneaking an arm around the brunette's torso.
"What are you doing?"
"B-" Faith protested.
"Don't pretend you don't like it. And in case you haven't noticed, there aren't any pillows around here so you'll have to do."
"Whatever, just let me sleep. And don't blame me again if I kick you in my sleep."
Buffy smiled happily, stealing a kiss from the pouty brunette.
"Yes, B. You already said that like a hundred times. Are you high?"
"No, it's just... surreal."
They were lying down by the lake watching the stars.
Buffy closed her eyes again, feeling the earth's energy run through her. In the distance, they had already witnessed the panther prowling around looking for prey. Needless to say, the blonde was mesmerized by the gracefulness with which the big cat treaded through the woods without making a noise.
"I know," Faith said. "The same thing happened to me the first few times. I thought I had indigestion."
"Mmm... yes, it feels... weird but nice." Buffy opened her eyes, turning her head to look at Faith. "Tell me."
"Why did you really bring me out here?"
Faith trailed her hand down Buffy's right arm, to finally tangle their fingers together. The brunette turned to the blonde before looking away and playing with the blonde's rings.
"I'm taking off for a few days..." She said softly.
Buffy hummed closing her eyes. Faith felt her stiffen besides her.
"I just... I need some time to clear my head. I need to be by myself for a while." Faith released Buffy's hand and tapped her own temple. "Just get away from this. From my head. I just never thought things would go like this when I came back."
Faith turned on her side. "It's just for a few days."
"Where will you go?"
Faith smiled softly raising her right thumb. "Wherever this guy gets me."
Faith sighed. "I brought you here because I know you don't get to do what I'm about to do. And I know you won't just up and leave. And this place always helped me calm down for a while. But I need to get away from the hellmouth."
"So, you're not going to L.A?"
"Nah, don't think so. Maybe I'll go hiking or some shit like that and join a cult."
Buffy chuckled. "Right."
"So, are you mad at me?"
Buffy opened her eyes. "What for?"
"Dunno, disappearing again?"
"This time you are letting me know. And it's your life Faith, you can do as you please."
"I'm not leaving forever."
"You already said that."
"Yes, but I feel like you don't believe me."
Buffy kept quiet for a while. "Faith, I'm not mad at you. I get why you need some space. I really do. Like you said, if I could, I would but..."
"I can cover for you, you know that right?"
"So, how about I get you home? We can stop on the way and get something to eat." Faith said getting up dusting off her pants.
"Sure," Buffy said sitting up.
The brunette gathered up the blanket and helped Buffy up. She pulled her close once the blonde had gained some balance.
"I can stay if you want..." She offered.
Buffy smiled at her, leaning in to steal a kiss. "It's fine Faith. I also need some time to think things over."
Faith smirked. "Am I making it hard for you to think?"
"Oh, you wish." Buffy chuckled. "Now, come on! I'm starving."
"Giles' car better be where we left it..."
The brunette chuckled.