Title: Flying Without Wings (Alt Crash and Burn)

Series: Alternative ending to Just Good Friends

Dedication: To Rachel for all of her encouragement, Sway for dying dramatically, Kits for crying, Phoen for threatening to beat me up if I continued with the angst, and all the other people on BuffyNFaith.

Summary: Direct follow up to Dinner Date, but the HAPPY version.

Notes:  Since this is the alternative ending (have I stressed that enough?  Alternative ending *grins*) it's Buffy's POV.

     "So shall we go back to yours?"  I ask, inching closer to Faith, as our taxi driver finds the only traffic jam in Sunnydale and joins it.  "It's nearer, and you have a better video collection than me."

     "I dunno."  She replies.

     Something's up with Faith.  Ordinarily we'd be holding hands, or hugging or something, but she's made a conscious effort to put some space between us.  "You don't know?"  I take her hand, and squeeze gently.  With the mood she's in, I'm amazed she doesn't pull away.  There's something wrong, I can just tell.  "Faith, what's wrong?"

     "I'm ok."

     "No, something's been… I dunno, slightly off with you all night.  What's up?"

     She gives me this gentle smile.  "Yeah, come to mine.  We'll watch Tarzan or something."

     I smile back, but something's definitely wrong.  I mean, first off, Tarzan is our feel good movie, we put it on when we're not feeling happy.  And why is there a distance between us?  This has never happened before.

     We get back to Faith's apartment.  I put the kettle on to make us hot chocolate, and while it boils I get changed out of the very slinky evening dress I wore for dinner.  None of my T-shirts are clean, so I grab one of Faith's.  It's an enormous T-shirt with an exhausted-looking moon and the words "I want to stay in bed" on it.

     It's not very Faith-like, but I made her buy it.  Mainly so I could steal it when I stay over.

     As I hang up the dress I take a good look around the room.  For those who didn't know better, they'd think I lived here full time.

     I love this room as much as my room at home.  I'm not sure when it became partly my room too.  I have two drawers in Faith's chest of drawers.  My perfume is standing on the top of it.  There's a book, half read on the nightstand next to 'my' side of the bed.  I've left it open and face down.  Faith hates that.  She hates me breaking the spines of books, even if they're not hers.

     There's a million pictures of us.  Some framed, some just taped to the wall, some in a collage that I made for Faith.  I like to surprise her, and she was surprised when I turned up with that.

     There's a picture of us at Pride in a frame next to Faith's side of the bed.  I like that picture.  We look so happy.  Faintly in the background, you can see the guys who said that Faith and I make a beautiful couple.  I think maybe that was the start of it.  I yelled "Thanks".  Why?  Because I wanted them to think that Faith and I were a couple.  I like being asked if Faith's my girlfriend.  To strangers, I reply yes.

     There's a picture of us at Disney World, when Mom took us and Dawn.  I remember Faith made us spend the day hunting down the Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland, because she didn't want a clichéd picture of us with Mickey.  She really got a bee in her bonnet about it.  We only got to go on half the rides.  I didn't mind though.  And it's a really good picture.

     A picture of us at my Graduation.  The invite is in a frame next to it.

     A picture of us in the park.

     In fancy dress at Halloween.

     Curled up in my living room.  My Mom took that one.  She always asked when Faith and I were going to start dating.  I kept saying I'm straight, but that wasn't the real answer.

     The real answer is when she asks me.

*~*~*~*

     I finish making the hot chocolate and bring it into the living room, where Faith's playing with the cables of the VCR.  They're a bit delicate.  Pillow fight.  Faith said I had a fat ass.  I responded that her rack wasn't real.  Slayer strength is a dangerous thing.

     "I couldn't wear that dress any longer.  It was too constrictive."  I tell her with a grin, handing her a mug of chocolate.  I hunted around in her cupboards and found marshmallows.  I made sure I gave Faith more, she loves mallows.

     "Yeah, I'm gonna get changed too."  She replies, putting the mug down.  Again, there's weirdness.  A strange tone in her voice.  "Don't start the film without me."

     I take a seat and take small sips of my chocolate, trying not to get too much mallow fluff on my lips.  I light one of Faith's cigarettes and wonder what's taking so long.

     By the time I've finished my drink and cigarette, I know something's wrong.  I let myself into Faith's room.

     She's curled up on the floor, sobbing her heart out.

     I kneel down next to her, cradling her in my arms.  "Faith?  Faith, what's wrong?"

     She doesn't answer, just keeps on crying.  "Faith, talk to me, what's wrong?  I'll make it better, I promise."  And I mean it, I'd die for this girl.

     "You can't."  She says.

     "Why not?"

     "Because you're straight."  There's no bitterness in her voice, just sadness.

     My heart leaps, Faith is finally telling me how she feels.  I mean, I guess I knew, but I've found it so hard to try and tell her that I love her.  I mean, I made it very clear at the beginning that I was straight, and nothing was going to change that.

     I think I still might be.  I don't generally check out girls, but with Faith… It's hard to explain.

     When I was in love with Angel I used to get this feeling, like there were a couple of butterfly's in my stomach.  When I see Faith, it's like there are a thousand in there.  My heart does this crazy flip, and I start to tremble.  I close my eyes and see her face.  And I get the feeling that I want to give her the rest of the world.  I gave her a star, now I want to give her more.

     "Sorry, B."  She wipes her eyes and tries to pretend she wasn't crying.  "I shouldn't have said that."

     "Faith, don't be sorry."  I say, stroking her face.  "Because I –"

     "No, it's not fair, I shouldn't have said that.  It's not anyone's fault that…"

     "Faith, I do love you."

     "I know."  She says, biting my lip.  "But it's not enough.  For either of us."

     "What do you mean?"

     "B, when was the last time you went on a date?"

     "A couple of weeks ago, why?"

     "And what was the outcome?"

     "He thought I was a dyke because I talked about you a lot.  You know this, we had a good laugh about it."  I say with a grin, about to tell her that maybe he was right.

     "B, we're dragging each other down."

     "We're not!"  I protest quickly.  "We're good for each other, everyone says that–"

     "That we make a great couple."

     Damn it!  I'm gonna finish my sentence.  "So why aren't we?"

     "What?"

     "You heard."  I reply.  "Why aren't we a couple.  We're so good together."

     "As friends, B.  You're straight."

     "Would you stop telling me that!  Maybe I was, or something.  I don't know how this works.  But I have feelings for you, Faith."  Deep breath.  "I love you."

     She's got this bizarre look on her face, it's somewhere between heartbreak, abject panic and pure unadulterated joy.  Then her face hardens.  "Don't say that, B.  Not to make me feel better.  I'd rather not have you, than have you lie to me."

     "I'm not lying to you, Faith."  I reply, cupping her face is my hands.  "I could never lie to you."

     "But you're straight, B."  She says sadly.  "You said so yourself.  You told me that –"

     "Would you just stop telling me what I feel."  I snap.  "Maybe I am straight, but then why does my heart flutter every time I think about you?  Why do I have to be as close to you as possible, even if we're the only people in a room?  Why do I have dreams about you?  Why do I want to kiss you if I'm straight?"  I rage.  I didn't actually mean to be so melodramatic, but it seems to be getting through to her.

     "You love me?"  She asks.

     I roll my eyes playfully.  "YES!  Why do you think I'm yelling at you so much?"

     "You love me?  As in in love with me?  As in, you want to kiss me and stuff."

     "Yes.  Definitely the 'and stuff'."  I grin and lean forward to kiss her.

     She backs off slightly.  "B, this is a lot to take in."

     "You don't want me?"  I ask.  Somehow, this wasn't how I pictured this scene.  I pictured us just kissing one night, or maybe something madly romantic like us going out to dinner and Faith laying her feelings out for me… oh, hey, that's what's happening now.  Sort of.

     I just didn't picture this angst.  I… my lip starts to quiver.  Why can't this be easy?

     "B, it's not that I don't want you.  You know that.  You've always known.  It's just… I'm not the type of girl who gets her wish, ok?"  She looks at me.  Her eyes are pleading with me to reassure her that I'm not yanking her.

     "Faith," I stroke her cheekbones with my thumb.  "I don't know how this whole sexuality thing work.  I've never wanted a girl before, and I don't check out other girls, but I want you.  I love you.  I'm in love with you.  I would never lie to you."

     There, I think I covered everything.  Oh, god, I made her cry again.  There's tears in her eyes.

     "I love you, B.  I always have."  She finally makes a move towards me, one of her hands moves to my waist, the other tangles itself in my hair.

     She moves slowly towards me, I can feel the fear radiating off her.  "This is about where I wake up."  She whispers.

     "Me too."  I reply.

     That does it for her.  Her lips meet mine in possibly the most earth-shattering kiss I've ever had.  My hands are shaking as they run through her hair.

     We break apart at length.  I know I've got to make the first move.  I stand up and offer my hand to Faith, with a little nod towards the bed.

     "Are you scared?"  She asks.

     "No."  I tell her, knowing this is exactly where I want to be.

     "I am."  She confides.

     "Don't be.  I love you, Faith Winter."

     "I love you more, Buffy Summers."

     "Doubt it."  I reply.

     She opens her mouth to respond, but I kiss her before she can.

     Slowly we move towards the bed.

     I wake up to the sound of Faith's radio alarm.  Faith has me in a death grip.  I'm guessing she's still scared that I won't be here when she wakes.  She shouldn't worry, I'm not going anywhere.

     I almost snap off the radio, but a song comes on that I've never heard before.  I pause and listen to the lyrics.  Sappy stuff like that is beginning to make sense to me.

Everybody's looking for a something

One thing that makes it all complete

You'll find it in the strangest places

Places you never knew it could be

Some find it in the face of their children

Some find it in their lover's eyes

Who can deny the joy it brings

When you've found that special thing

You're flying without wings

Some find it sharing every morning

Some in their solitary lives

You'll find it in the words of others

A simple line can make you laugh or cry

You'll find it in the deepest friendship

The kind you cherish all your life

And when you know how much it means

You've found that special thing

You're flying without wings

So, impossible as it may seem

You've got to fight for every dream

Cos who's to know which one you let go

Would have made you complete

Well, for me it's waking up beside you

To watch the sunrise on your face

To know that I can say I love you

In any given time or place

It's little things that only I know

Those are the things that make you mine

And it's like flying without wings

Cos you're my special thing

I'm flying without wings

And in this place I long to be

You'll be where it ends

I'm flying without wings

And that's the joy you bring

I'm flying without wings

     Flying Without Wings – Westlife