Chapter Five

As they lay entwined on top of Faith's rumpled comforter - skin hot and sticky, hair mingling messily on the pillow - their bodies grew tense with an obvious need to continue, the atmosphere getting slightly awkward.

Neither of them had spoken in the several minutes they'd laid together – Buffy draped languidly over Faith as Faith's fingernails scratched faint patterns over her lower back. Buffy wondered why Faith wasn't pushing her off, or turning to her usual routine of gratuitous language and mocking catchphrases. She'd never known Faith to be so quiet. Buffy would have come to the conclusion that Faith had fallen asleep if it wasn't for the soft touches to her back where Faith's hands rested on her.

No, Faith wasn't asleep, and if one of them didn't speak soon then things could very easily take a turn for the worse. There was obviously something different about this for Faith. In all the stories she'd told of her conquests, Buffy couldn't ever recall Faith telling her about how she'd snuggle afterwards. This wasn't usual, and Buffy had to tread very carefully if she wanted to avoid an explosion of Faith-rage for having been caught enjoying something rather sweet.

"That was. . .so good," Buffy mumbled into Faith's neck, adjusting her weight slightly so she slipped to her side.

She kept her leg thrown over Faith, needing to keep as much contact as possible. Faith thankfully didn't let her go too far either, keeping her hands on Buffy as she took a calming breath.

"I mean, I've never. . .yunno, before," Buffy continued, not quite making much sense as her mind tried to unscramble along with her body. "But that was. . .wow."

Buffy nuzzled her nose into Faith's neck, smiling because of the way she smelled – which was a little strange but completely involuntary. Faith smelled of all those things that seemed exotic to Buffy. She didn't smell like cherries or vanilla, or cheap soap. She smelled like the wind, like heat, fresh sweat and some kind of aromatic oil that she probably got from the kind of shop that Buffy would never go in to. There was something raw and sensual about Faith's scent. Angel had never smelled of anything. He was like a hard slab of stone – lifeless, cold and scentless. Faith wasn't any of those things.

"God you smell good," Buffy blurted out after taking a deep breath.

She felt instantly embarrassed when Faith chuckled, but Faith obviously had something else on her mind that impeded her normal desire to mock.

"You do too," Faith said softly, turning her face towards Buffy and nudging her nose against her forehead. "But you can't go breezin' past that little piece of info you just dropped."

Buffy scrunched her brow and lifted her head to look into Faith's eyes.


"I thought you an' Angel had bumped uglies before," Faith continued.

Her brown eyes completely captivated Buffy in their sex-haze sultriness, temporarily dazing her and leaving her wondering what the hell Faith was getting at. Then she realized.

"Oh," Buffy mumbled, feeling rather pointlessly red faced. "Yeah, we did, but I never. . ." She didn't continue.

"He didn't make you come?" Faith asked, sounding trapped between wanting to gloat and feeling sorry for Buffy.

"Yeah, it's. . .unimportant," Buffy said, not wanting to think or talk about Angel, especially when she was still very much naked with Faith. "What is important is that you totally did make me come."

Faith grinned at that, looking smug and adorable all at once. "And it was totally hot, B," she said encouragingly. "Kinda wanna do it all again."

Buffy smiled at that, happy to note that she agreed; there was no way she could just go pick up her clothes and leave now.

Hoping the night had only just begun, Buffy trailed her fingers over Faith's stomach and side, letting her gaze travel across exposed breasts and downwards to where her leg obstructed further viewing as it rested on Faith. She made a mental note of every mole and beauty mark, every small scar – and there were definitely a few of those – and every place she'd like to get to know more intimately.

A little breathlessly as she let her imagination wander, Buffy spoke freely, without worrying - for once – about how she would be perceived, or how Faith might react. They both wanted this so there was no need to continue being coy about it.

"Is it normal to want to just do this all night?" Buffy asked, licking her lips and letting her fingertips circle around one of Faith's taut nipples.

"Fuck you mean?" Faith questioned, her brown eyes almost too intense.


"Honestly? No," Faith answered candidly. "If you were anybody else you'd be pickin' your shoes off the stairs outside right about now, after I threw you out after them."

There was a hint of a smirk on Faith's lips but Buffy didn't doubt that many of Faith's lovers had experienced just that event.

"You're not gonna throw me out," Buffy said confidently, pushing herself up and over Faith so that her leg slipped between Faith's thighs.

She held herself still, their bodies fitting like they were meant to fit, eyes trying to delve deep into each other as if they could find treasures inside that would fulfil their every dream. It almost felt possible.

"No, I'm not gonna throw you out," Faith conceded. "But I am done being the bottom."

Before Buffy knew what was happening she found herself rolling onto her back, with Faith sliding between her legs. She let out an overly girly squeak and narrowed her eyes at Faith's mocking grin. With Faith now holding her arms above her head and pressing down into her, Buffy was completely at her mercy. Not that she couldn't have struggled easily out of Faith's grip if she'd wanted to try.

She didn't want to try.

"So what're you gonna do with me?" Buffy asked, surprised at how sexy her own voice sounded.

Faith's grin only got bigger as she tripped a hand down Buffy's side, causing her to squirm a little where it tickled.

"Gonna do all the things I've thought about," she answered, placing kisses down Buffy's throat towards her chest.

A hand slipped between them, gliding over Buffy's stomach and down towards her already dripping pussy.

"Tell me," Buffy pressed, closing her eyes as Faith's fingers once again slid between her folds.

Between each kiss placed over Buffy's breasts Faith answered, "First off, I gotta taste ya."

Buffy shivered in anticipation, her legs opening involuntarily as she felt Faith's lips pulling at her taut nipple.

"That. . .sounds perfect," Buffy mumbled, feeling Faith's smile before she continued downwards.

It was the first time Buffy had experienced oral sex, but it wasn't the last that night. She gave and took and came more times than she'd thought possible, and by the end of the night they were both covered in each other's heat and arousal, and grinning like lovesick crazy people.

It had been perfect. It had been intense, and satisfying and. . .all the things that had Buffy in a panic the next morning.

Looking over at Faith as she lay sleeping, the sheet coiled around them both so that it left Faith's breasts bare, Buffy tried to ignore the conflict emanating from the pit of her stomach. A quick glance towards the clock told Buffy how early it still was. They'd only just finished having sex a few short hours before, and though Buffy still felt the soft hum of pleasure buzzing through her, she could also feel fear. And guilt.

Faith was dead to the world, a soft snore coming from the back of her throat as Buffy watched her. She looked peaceful and young. She looked happy.

Buffy wanted to lean over and place a soft kiss on Faith's lips, just because. For no reason other than she knew it would give her a tingle in her stomach and a warmth in her chest that she'd been feeling all night.

But Buffy didn't lean; she didn't dare indulge, or do anything to wake Faith up. That feeling of panic was rising. Everything they'd shared seemed on the knife edge of something deeper and Buffy wasn't ready to know what it was. She wasn't ready to feel it. She was confused and worried about what Faith felt, or didn't feel to be more exact.

"Shit," Buffy mumbled under her breath, sliding her leg out from under Faith's. "What have I done?"

Faith stirred, muttering in her sleep, silky skin looking far to tempting as Buffy watched her shift closer. Everything about Faith made Buffy want to pull her into her arms and never let go. She wanted to shower her with kisses and pour herself into her, but she knew that Faith probably wouldn't want that. Wouldn't want more than what they'd had. Faith was a lover of sex, not a girl who would pander to Buffy's need for attention or desire to be coddled now and then. This had been fun for Faith, but Buffy knew it wouldn't go further if she believed everything Faith had ever said. Hell, Buffy wasn't even sure if she wanted more. Everything was in a bit of a mess.

She wasn't single. She wasn't gay – or at least she didn't feel any different than she had done. She wasn't ready for things to change or to challenge her.

"Oh, this was a big mistake," Buffy said to herself, a little louder than she'd meant as she pushed a hand into her hair and took a deep breath.

"Mistake?" Faith mumbled beside her, her eyes slowly fighting their way open.

Buffy held her breath and snapped her eyes to Faith, wishing she'd slipped out before Faith had woken up. Though that sounded incredibly cold in her mind and she doubted she could have managed it anyway.

"I. . .I didn't. . ."

"Didn't mean it?" Faith interrupted, guessing Buffy's direction. "Sounded pretty sure to me."

Buffy looked into Faith's now open eyes, seeing something there that she didn't think she'd seen before. Faith seemed hurt, or maybe it was just the beginning of anger licking at the edges of her sleepy brain.

"No, I. . ." Buffy stuttered, unable to find any words she wanted to share with Faith at that moment.

Her mind was reeling; a commotion of conflicting thoughts and feelings pushing and pulling at her as she found herself edging away from Faith in the small bed.

"I have to go," Buffy finally said in a rush, pushing away the covers and frantically searching for her clothes as she tried her best to cover herself.

Faith sat up, eyes blinking as her messy hair tumbled over her face and shoulders. She looked amazing; a night of sex making her glow in a way that made Buffy want to run from the building as if it was on fire. No way could she keep looking at Faith, it was just throwing fuel onto her own fire.

"I just. . .I just have to go," Buffy mumbled, pulling on her clothes in a haze and stumbling towards the door.

She glanced back at Faith, clearly seeing the confusion and sadness in her brown eyes and feeling guiltier than ever. How could she have cheated on Angel? How could she feel what she was feeling about Faith? Her mind, her heart, couldn't cope with the sudden rush of questions she was asking herself.

In fear, she ran.

The present, back in the library. . .

"So you want us to. . .be. . ."

Faith was having a difficult time forming words and Buffy almost laughed right out loud about it, but she guessed that would be a little tactless. It certainly wouldn't have made Faith answer in the way she wanted her to.

"Together," Buffy clarified.

"In one of those relationship type things, after you kick Angel to the curb for real," Faith said, appearing like she was tasting the words as much as the idea.

"That's the idea."

"So we'd be like. . .exclusive?"

"Definitely," Buffy confirmed firmly, hoping Faith was capable of understanding such a concept.

Faith tucked her hands into the pockets of her jeans, an air of uncomfortable silence drifting between them as they stood behind the shelves. For a moment Buffy thought Faith wasn't going to answer, but just as she went to press Faith, the other girl stepped towards her, hands quickly moving from pockets to Buffy's hips to pull her closer. She practically fell onto Faith's lips, happily accepting the kiss that followed. Buffy lifted her hands up to Faith's hair, letting the lush textures trickle over her fingers as she lost herself easily to mouth and tongue.

The eagerness between them quickly intensified until Buffy felt herself become light-headed through lack of oxygen. It was also becoming obvious that somebody was snooping nearby. Using her hands on Faith's chest to push lightly, Buffy moved them apart just enough to break their lips from one another.

"Your lips are far too distracting," Buffy said dreamily, looking up into Faith's eyes. "But I need to know. . ."

"Yeah," Faith interrupted quietly, looking almost shy.

"Yeah?" Buffy questioned, not sure what Faith meant exactly.

"Yes," Faith said again, nodding but looking away from Buffy's eyes.

The fact Faith was being all coy and shy only made Buffy want her more. She'd never really seen this side of the other girl at all.

"Yes as in you'll be. . ."

"Yeah, I'll be your girlfriend," Faith cut in, speaking quickly as if the words might burn on the way out.

Faith took a shaky breath and Buffy almost chuckled. Here she was thinking she was the inexperienced one, the one who should be feeling more nervous, yet it was Faith who was a bag of nerves about this. With a big smile Buffy felt everything slotting into place, where it should be. Faith smiled right along with her, a nervous chuckle escaping as Buffy grabbed her hands and gave them a squeeze.

"You're being so c. . ."

"Don't call me the C word, B," Faith warned.

Slyly nodding, but biting her lip, Buffy couldn't resist.

"You're being cute and I love it," Buffy informed her, bracing herself for a dose of Faith-rage.

She only just realised the L word had slipped out after Faith's eyes went a little wide. So it hadn't been said in the way it would if she meant it in the way she was possibly beginning to feel, but it certainly gave them both enough of a shock to pause for thought.

"I didn't. . .I mean, I wasn't," Buffy stammered. "Not that I don't think. . ."

"Hey, dork," Faith interrupted, "One step at a time, I'm already pretty freaked out here."

Buffy nodded and felt her heartbeat attempting to return to a normal pace after it had nearly leapt from her chest.

"Ok," she agreed, trusting in Faith's small smile.

She knew there was something between them that went deeper than the obvious, but now wasn't the time to go into it. Now wasn't the time for deep revelations when they'd only just arrived at the common ground they were finding their feet on.

Just as Buffy was about to lean in to kiss Faith and seal the deal, a call from beyond the shelves informed them that they were needed.

"Buffy?" Giles called. "Could I have a moment?"

Buffy rolled her eyes and moved to let go of Faith's hands, only to find Faith pulling her in for a quick kiss.

"Gotta get my kicks where I can before you run off. . .again," Faith pointed out when they broke apart.

"Hey, I thought you were going to forgive me for that."

"Who said anything about forgiving you?" Faith asked, an evil grin making her look every bit as wicked as she could be. "Just 'cause I'm your girlfriend now it doesn't mean I'm a pushover. You got some making up to do."

She gave Buffy a wink and a playful slap on the ass before making her way towards the steps and back to the centre of the room. Buffy worried what that might entail for exactly half a second before she let her mind wander and play with the fact that Faith – uber hot and oh so bad-ass Faith – was now her girlfriend.

Life felt pretty good. Of course, there would be further awkwardness, and she wasn't looking forward to telling people who would judge her about it or try to convince her it was a bad idea, but she was trying to keep positive. She liked Faith – really liked her – and no amount of fear was going to make her run this time. Life was too short.

"Ah, Buffy," Giles murmured as Buffy followed Faith back towards her friends. "I've found something rather interesting."

His nose was still buried in a book as he spoke, glasses almost slipping from the end.

"Interesting as in we get to slay a buncha demons later?" Faith asked excitedly as Buffy moved to stand beside her.

"Not quite," he said with a shake of his head. "It is about slaying, however. Or Slayers to be more exact."

Buffy and Faith both looked at each other and a small giggle to her left caught Buffy's attention. Willow quickly turned her head away as if to prove she wasn't just staring at them both, but she knew she had been as Xander was being far less subtle. No doubt one of them had caught some of the conversation the slayers had just had.

She narrowed her eyes at her friends, but she couldn't be mad. They had always been supportive of her and she knew she wouldn't keep them in the dark for long anyway. Pretty soon they'd know that Faith was now with her as more than just a slaying partner or friend. She hoped they'd be happy for her, but she knew she had to prepare herself a little for any negative reactions – even if they were only small.

"So, what's up?" Buffy asked, taking a seat as Faith lingered close by.

Only just realising that she'd always done it, Buffy was completely aware of where Faith was at all times as she shuffled around in her large boots beside her chair. She was super aware now, noticing every expression, and every gesture and action – like the cracking of her knuckles as Giles flicked further through his book as he stood at the head of the table.

"Well I'm not quite sure how to put this," Giles began, his voice almost drowned out in Buffy's mind by thoughts of Faith and what they now were. "But it seems you're not quite the first two slayers who have existed at the same time."

Buffy watched as Faith raised an eyebrow.

"Ooh, that does sound interesting," Willow chimed in, leaning forward onto her elbows on the table.

"Yeah, also sounds like there's something you're not telling us," Faith added, standing right next to Buffy now and resting a hand on the back of her chair.

"I was just getting to that part," Giles assured, pushing his glasses further up his nose. "Apparently this situation has happened twice before, and both times. . ." He tipped his little book sideways as if he were looking at a large picture spanning two pages, "The slayers have been. . .involved."

The library went quiet as Giles continued to study the book at an angle, a strange expression on his rather flushed face.

"Ok, am I the only one here wondering what he's looking at and if it's an NC17 rated book?" Xander asked, lifting his chin and pushing a little way off his chair in the hopes of catching a glimpse.

Giles slammed the book closed, a definite flush to his cheeks now, and placed it down on the table. He gave Xander a warning glance before the poor boy could even think about stretching his arm out to grab it.

"It was just an illustration. . .of demons," Giles explained hurriedly, clearly lying.

Though Buffy was intrigued about what was in the book, she was more intrigued about what Giles had said, and what it meant for her and Faith. She hoped they hadn't gravitated towards each other just because of the 'slayer thing'.

Faith shuffled away from Buffy's chair. She was tense – Buffy could sense as much and guessed that she must be thinking along the same lines.

"So they were screwin'?" Faith asked abruptly when it seemed nobody else was going to talk again. "Because of the slayer connection dealy?"

Giles furrowed his brow and slid his glasses from his face, placing them on top of the old book his information had come from. Buffy wasn't sure she wanted to hear the answer. She wasn't even sure if it mattered, but she wasn't about to interrupt.

"From what it appears, the life of a slayer – as you both know – is not an easy one," he began. "This information seems to suggest that the slayers, who existed together, naturally formed a bond that transcended any outside influence that would normally have them coexist as nothing more than. . .friends."

"In English that means?" Faith prompted.

"They were screwing," Buffy explained a little more simply. She held her tongue briefly before turning to Giles and pushing him further. "Was it a magic thing? I mean, a slayer-bond, or something they had no choice in?"

Her voice trembled slightly and she hated the fact she was questioning her own feelings – worried that they were manufactured from the slayer within her. She stood, scraping the chair back in order to cover the quake in her words, and started pacing behind Faith. She really didn't like where this was going, and she could see that Faith felt the same as she stood rigidly, her arms tight as they crossed over her chest.

"As far as I can tell their feelings, and actions, were. . .real. To put it plainly," Giles said softly as his gaze followed Buffy.

Buffy stopped moving, finding herself stood beside Faith as if on instinct. She glanced at her friends; they looked sympathetic, and almost hopeful for her, for them – Faith and Buffy. She knew they'd guess where her mind was leading her. Where her fears were taking her. She knew they'd be asking the same questions she was.

And she hated that. She hated that they – that she – had to question if her actions had been her own.

The place inside her still harbouring her fear crept up a little to mock her; taunting her for having wanted Faith, and for having cheated so easily on the man she had professed to love. And for what? Just to learn that the desire she'd felt all along for Faith had been a symptom of them both being slayers?

She couldn't believe that to be the case, and she needed further clarification from Giles in order to be sure.

"So they definitely weren't together just because they were slayers?" Buffy asked.

"Yes and no, Buffy," Giles replied.

Buffy was beginning to reach the point of exasperation. She didn't like not feeling in control and though everything she'd done with Faith had felt real, had felt like a breath of fresh air into her greying world, she had to know without a doubt that she'd chosen – that they'd both chosen – to be together because of something other than just the bond they shared through the slayer line.

"Is it yes or is it no?" Buffy pushed, her muscles tensing and stomach preparing for a drop.

Giles scratched at his forehead, looking a little worried at his slayer's reaction.

"Buffy, I really don't think you need to worry about this," he told her. "The previous cases were both completely dissimilar to your situations now. You have friends and allies those slayers didn't have, so I don't think you need worry that you'll suddenly develop feelings for Faith all willy nilly, or visa versa."

He chuckled a little, trying to make light of an obviously uptight situation because he didn't have the full facts yet.

"That's just it," Buffy said, hearing the quake in her voice yet again. She glanced over at Faith and received a shrug, but she saw that Faith was relaxing – her defences falling – making Buffy feel a little more confident. "We're. . .me and Faith we're. . ."

"Screwin'," Faith said when Buffy failed to continue.

Giles' eyes went wide and he reached up to his face for the glasses that were no longer there.

"Oh!" he squeaked. "You're. . .involved?"

Another excited giggle came from Willow and both Buffy and Faith shot her a death-glare.

Taking a deep breath, Buffy puffed up her chest and stood as tall as she could. There was no way she wanted this to turn into a bad thing. There was no way she wanted to let go of what she already had with Faith.

With another quick glance Faith's way, Buffy nodded and moved closer to the other slayer. "We're together."

Willow gave a silent clap of approval and a little "yay!" slipped from her lips, accompanied by a proud smile from Xander.

"Which is why I need to know that we chose this," Buffy said, indicating both her and Faith. "And that it's not just because we're slayers."

Faith ran a hand through her hair and Buffy watched as Giles gave it some thought.

"There's nothing I read that would indicate that the slayer within you has influence over those choices, Buffy," he said gently, walking towards them both with an almost fatherly expression. "The only influence could be due to the fact that slaying gives you similar lives – as was the case with the other slayers, as well as their relative isolation of course."

"Cool, so we're not just horny for each other 'cause we're freaky slayer types," Faith said, smiling and making Buffy smile slightly apprehensively with her. "I can deal with that."

"I really had no idea you were both. . .so close," Giles said a little awkwardly.

"Buffy and Faith, sitting in a tree, K, I, S. . ."

"If you finish that, Xander," Faith cut in, "you're gonna be wearing your underpants as a hat, without taking them off first."

He closed his mouth but continued to grin all happily. As much as Buffy really wasn't looking forward to the way he would want every detail of their relationship, she was happy that her friends seemed supportive. And Giles hadn't freaked out so that was a bunch of bonus points she hadn't expected.

"I know it's probably not something you'll approve of but. . .I can't help the way I feel about Faith," Buffy said to Giles, feeling her cheeks flush as Faith gave her a small smile.

"Ditto," Faith added as Buffy smiled back.

They just stood and smiled at each other for a moment, only aware that it was starting to drag on when Giles cleared his throat and Willow giggled yet again.

"Well," Giles anxiously interrupted, "I don't think there's anything more to discuss; I just thought you'd be interested in my findings. If there's nothing more you'd like to add I think we're done for the day – with the exception of your patrol later of course."

Buffy could tell he was a little flustered; probably thinking thoughts he really didn't want to think. Leaving would give him time to come to terms with things, and also give her time to go and spend with Faith – presuming she could shake off her friends for a little while at least.

"Yeah, we should get home," Buffy agreed. "I've got homework and. . .stuff."

A knowing grin graced Faith's lips and Buffy was glad she wasn't alone in her pervy thoughts.

"Indeed," Giles said hurriedly, scooping up the books from the table in front of him, just before Xander's hand crept close enough to snatch the one that was clearly still holding his interest. "If you have any more questions I'll be glad to do a little more research."

Buffy held Faith's eyes for a moment and shook her head no.

"I don't have any more questions," Buffy assured. "For whatever reasons the other slayers got together. . .I can't blame them, and as long as it's not some kinda mind trick, I'm happy."

Faith gave her a wonderfully dimpled smile that made Buffy's heart flutter.

"I totally agree, so let's go. . .do that stuff ya gotta do."

With a chuckle, Buffy rolled her eyes and took Faith's hand, happy that Faith allowed it. She waved goodbye to her friends and told them they'd catch up before patrol. She wanted to get out of there and get Faith alone for a little while. She had some making up to do to Faith, with Faith, under Faith.

When they reached the now mostly empty courtyard to the school, Faith gave Buffy's hand a little squeeze, making Buffy feel confident enough to keep hold of it, no matter if they gained a few awkward looks and whispers. None of that mattered when she felt this good, this alive, just being next to Faith. It was something she knew she would get used to, and could get used to.

"So, your place or mine?" Faith asked as they descended the steps.

Buffy gave Faith a sideward glance and couldn't help but smile. One-track-mind-Faith was also going to take some getting used to. Still, it wasn't exactly a bad thing.

"Yours," Buffy said without needing to think too long about it. "I don't think I'm ready to tell my mom about us yet."

Just the thought made Buffy's head hurt.

"Do you think you ever will?" Faith asked, sounding almost scared of the answer.

Thinking about it for a second so she could give Faith an honest and open answer, Buffy tried to ignore a small group of boys snickering behind their hands as they walked past them, still hand in hand. Though her fear prompted her to let go, her instincts, and her burgeoning feelings for Faith ensured her hand stayed tightly in Faith's.

"I definitely will," Buffy replied after taking a sense straightening breath. "If this is. . .yunno."

"If this is what?" Faith asked, slowing their pace a little as they strolled through the tree lined suburb.

"Real, and not the 'Slayer' making us have all the monkey sex."

"Does it really matter?"

Buffy once again took a short while to answer. It was important to her that she made no further mistakes. She didn't want to mess this up. It felt real to her – more real than it had felt with Angel in fact – and she knew she had to make sure that Faith didn't get spooked, or left with the impression she was an afterthought to Buffy.

Stopping and turning towards Faith, Buffy reached up and cupped the other girl's face with her free hand.

"I guess it doesn't really," she answered, not sure that she was certain. "I just want to know that it's me - that's it me you want to be with and not just because you're being tricked into it."

Faith smiled, her dark eyes picking up the dazzle of the low sun as it shone through the leafy trees around them. Each gold fleck in amongst the brown made Buffy turn to mush inside. If this wasn't real then it was one hell of a perfect illusion.

"Such as we are made of, such we be," Faith said softly, pushing a stray strand of blonde from Buffy's brow.

Buffy blinked, unsure if she'd heard correctly. Had Faith just quoted something at her?

"What was that and what does it mean?" Buffy asked with a chuckle. "And when the hell did you swallow one of Giles' books?"

"Hey, I did go to school at one point yunno," Faith responded with a wink. "Doesn't matter where it's from or what it means exactly. Just as long as you know that this feels totally real to me, and nothing to do with bein' a slayer. And even if it was. . .it's you. Just you."

A shaky breath made Buffy tremble as she listened to Faith's words. She leaned in and kissed the lips she longed to keep kissing. It's all she needed to hear as she felt the same. Whatever the cause, she was already happier than she'd been in a long time.

"So, how about dinner at mine tomorrow so we can tell my mom?" Buffy asked as they continued walking again, feeling suddenly confident in them and braver than she probably should have been.

"No way, twinkie," Faith replied without hesitation. "That's one bombshell moment I don't wanna be around to see."

"But Faith," Buffy whined. "You're my girlfriend now so you should support me and heed the pouty lip powers that I have."

She promptly pouted, which did nothing more than cause Faith to laugh.

"See, I knew this relationship stuff was gonna have you takin' advantage."

"Oh you have no idea," Buffy stated with a wicked grin, wiggling her eyebrows in a way that was more normal for Faith to do.

Without needing to ask, they both picked up the pace as they headed towards Faith's motel room. They weren't necessarily on their way to having more of the steamy sex that Buffy knew she'd quickly become addicted to, but she wanted to be close to Faith. She wanted to make up for the last few days, even if it just meant hanging out and talking, and possibly making out, with possible nakedness.

With a happy sigh, Buffy gripped tighter to Faith's hand, smiling at her as they ignored the rest of the world around them.

Faith was hers. All hers.

The mistakes that had lead them to where they were almost felt inevitable – like they'd been on a path they couldn't have strayed from even if they'd tried.

It was meant to be, no matter the reason.

The End