Chapter 51

"Never."

"Come on."

"Really, I'm not lying. Never."

"Never?"

"Nope."

"Seriously, Faith? Not once?"

"Nope."

"You're twenty-one, how is that possible. You've really never-"

"Never."

"Really?"

"Sorry, B."

"I find that hard to believe."

"What, that I'm sorry? Or that I've never had ice cream cake before?"

"Faith, how can you go twenty years of your life without ever having ice cream cake? That's just, that's just unheard of."

Faith stopped walking fully, turning to look at Buffy. "Are we really having this conversation?"

"Ice cream cake, Faith. Ice cream cake," Buffy answered with all seriousness. She walked a few steps to her right, leaning against a headstone and crossing her arms as she looked at Faith. "It's like, every child's dream."

Faith huffed, "I don't see what the big deal is."

"You never once had ice cream cake for your birthday? There were two of you! How could you and Dani have never had ice cream cake for your birthday?"

"Birthday's weren't exactly big, celebrated things at our house, B. If our mother was on a good day, there might be presents and maybe a chocolate bar, or a special dinner. If it was a bad day, we'd be lucky to get dinner. That was just how it worked."

Buffy frowned, "What about friends? You never went to a birthday party where they served ice cream cake?"

"Buffy, I seriously don't see why this is such a big deal for you. I've never had ice cream cake. You've never had sex with someone who wasn't a vampire, aside from soldier boy, who, let's face it, was not exactly your Average Joe. We're just different people."

Buffy squeaked. "Okay, one, how are those two even the same thing? Like, where is that argument even coming from? Sex and ice cream are not the same thing."

"No, but sex and ice cream at the same time-"

"Must you be so crude?"

"It's me, B. What do you expect?"

Buffy made an exasperated noise, clearly not liking the conversation. She unfolded her arms and pushed off from the headstone, standing with her hands on her hips and glaring at Faith. "And two… well and two that isn't exactly true."

"You're shittin' me. You've bumped uglies with someone who wasn't somehow super-powered?"

Buffy glared. "Yes," she muttered.

"Come on, Grumpy," Faith chuckled, beginning to walk away, "We've still got a bit of ground to cover."

They were out for one last patrol before their big battle tomorrow. Everyone was trying to be optimistic, but no one knew how it would turn out. As a way to get away from the stress that was overtaking the house that evening after Buffy announced the plan to the Potentials, and as a way to simply relax as they knew best, Buffy and Faith had agreed to patrol the local cemeteries. Alone this time, without any Potentials tagging along.

There were no vamps still in town by this point. And they had yet to see any of The First's demons out lurking.

It wasn't much of a stress relief, seeing as there were no innocent vamps out to beat and mess around with before an easy dusting, but it was still better than staying in the house. The girls hadn't stopped talking since finding out the plan for tomorrow.

"So am I going to get to hear this story?" Faith asked, walking side by side with the blonde as they made their way through familiar grounds.

"No." Buffy grumbled. "Bitch."

Faith barked out a laugh, "Don't you know it."

After walking in silence for a while, Buffy spoke up, "Can I ask you a question?"

"Does it have to do with sex?" Faith asked cheekily.

"No. God, stop it, will you?"

"What did you want to know, B?"

"Where did you and Willow go today? You skipped out on the end of the training session with the girls. I didn't want to call Willow out in front of the others, but she was lying, wasn't she? When she said you two went to her parent's house?"

"Yeah."

"So?" Buffy asked, curiosity written across her face in the moonlight. "Where'd you two go?"

Faith gave a little sigh, but answered the other girl. This wasn't something worth lying to Buffy about. "The cemetery. Red went to visit Tara."

Faith felt a tug on her arm. She turned, finding Buffy standing still where she was, staring at Faith with an unreadable look on her face.

"What?" Faith cut out, growing uncomfortable. She pushed her hands deep into her pockets and hunched her shoulder's a little bit, not liking her sister Slayer's silence.

"You're not joking," Buffy stated.

"No."

"She, she went to go see…?" Buffy's face grew soft. "You went with her to go see Tara?"

Faith nodded and glanced away, not liking Buffy's direct attention.

"Faith," Buffy said gently, calling her back to look at her. "You… really?"

"Yeah."

"Why?" she asked. "I'm not… I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just, I mean, why though?"

"She asked me to go with her. Of course I went."

Buffy shook her head, "No. No, I meant, why did she want to go? Wouldn't that have been a little…"

She left the sentence hanging, but Faith knew what Buffy wasn't saying. Wouldn't that have been a little awkward, going to see Tara when she was with Faith now? Even if Buffy wasn't quite okay with their relationship, she could clearly see where something like this could go wrong.

"I was the one who suggested it." Buffy's eyes widened, clearly not expecting that, so Faith continued. "This morning, after you told Willow what you wanted her to do. B, you had her freaked. You were asking her to do a lot more than she thought she was ready for, than she thought she could control. Fuck, you had her shaking she was so freaked."

Faith sighed, shifting her weight from foot to foot. "I thought it would be a good idea for her. I got her to calm down, but there was no way she was mentally okay to do any kind of magic, especially not what you were asking. And I knew I couldn't help her, not the way she needed it. I figured, she learned a lot of her magic with T. She trusted and loved her, right? So who better to see when she needed advice. I thought Tara might be able to help her get her head on straight." She finished her words with a helpless shrug.

She watched as Buffy swallowed and blinked a few times, silently staring at Faith. Her face was relaxed, but Faith knew the wheels were turning inside the blonde's head. She could see it in her eyes as she regarded Faith with a quiet awe.

Eventually Buffy gave her head a little shake and began speaking, "What did you do with Faith?"

Faith blinked, "What?"

"Well you clearly aren't Dani, and you aren't at all the girl I remember. You… the girl I remember, I don't think I would have ever believed her if she tried to say something so sincere, so effortlessly truthful. You…" she stepped forward, hand slowly reaching forward to take Faith's. "Wow."

Faith squirmed, uncomfortable. "Whatever, B."

"No," Buffy said gingerly, holding tight to Faith and keeping her where she was. "You really have grown up, Faith. You aren't the same girl anymore, and I'm sorry I doubted that. You really do care about Willow, don't you?" Her words were asked with a gentle curiosity instead of harsh and mocking.

Faith didn't answer, couldn't. She wasn't good at any of this, still had no idea what was happening between her and the redheaded witch. So she settled for simply looking Buffy in the eyes, hoping her silence was enough.

"I'm sorry for this morning."

Faith's eyebrows drew in confusion, "What?"

"This morning," Buffy clarified, "when I found out about you and Willow. I'm sorry that I didn't think you were sincere, that I was a little scared for Willow and mad at you. I'm sorry that my first thought was that you were lying, that my second was remembering what you did to Xander, and that my third was being absolutely positive you would end up hurting her."

Faith sighed, tugging free of Buffy's hold and looking away, "I don't blame you for that, B."

"Faith," Buffy said softly, inching closer but careful not to touch again, "It's still going to take me some time to get used to this, to you and Willow being together. But what you just said about her and Tara," Buffy shook her head. "I can't keep comparing you to the old you, that isn't fair. Not to you, and not to Willow. You're not who you used to be, and… and I can see how much you care about her."

"She's hard not to like," Faith said, finally raising her eyes to look at Buffy.

The blonde smiled at her, and easy and carefree look. "I'm glad you're here, Faith. I'm glad Willow convinced you to come back, despite what you thought the welcome party was going to be like. Despite what the welcome party was like. I wouldn't be able to do this without you."

"Yeah you would, B."

"No," Buffy said, shaking her head, still smiling. "I wouldn't. I wouldn't want anyone else standing back to back with me, fighting down in that pit tomorrow. I trust you, Faith, and I wouldn't want to go into this fight without you."

Faith didn't really know what to make of the comment. She wasn't exactly one for sentimental moments, and had no idea what to say in response.

She'd waited a long time to hear Buffy say words like that, that she trusted her, and said in such a way that Faith truly believed her. She'd come to Sunnydale the first time around to try and impress Buffy, to make a friend and maybe meet someone who could understand what she was going through. Quite clearly, it had ended badly, with the two of them on opposite sides, both out for the other's blood.

It meant a lot, hearing Buffy say she trusted Faith, without pretense or prompt.

They started walking through the cemetery again, moving easily through the dark and quiet grounds. Buffy didn't push Faith to speak any further. She seemed content that she had said her part, and was now simply happy to enjoy the company as they went for one last roam in the darkness.

"For the record, I trust your scrawny ass too, B."

Buffy just shook her head. "Thanks, Faith."


She found Willow curled up with a blanket on the back porch, looking up at the dark sky.

"Whatcha doing?" she asked as she dropped down lightly next to the redhead.

"Waiting for you and Buffy to get back," Willow said, leaning into Faith's side and tugging the blanket to cover the both of them.

"Can't sleep?"

"Not really, no." Willow said honestly. "I'm not… I mean, okay, yes, a little freaked out about tomorrow. Mostly though? I'm too buzzed to sleep. I get like this any time we have a big battle looming."

"So it's not just that this big battle rests rather heavily on you?"

"A little," Willow admitted. "Mostly just the regular nerves though, not the oh-God-I'm-not-going-to-be-able-to-do-this-I'm-going-to-lose-control-and-end-up-killing-us-all nerves."

"I hear they have pills for that."

Willow giggled and leaned further into her touch, wriggling around until Faith wrapped and arm around her shoulder.

"You'll be great tomorrow."

"What if I lose it, though?" she asked, her voice soft and laced with fear.

Faith shook her head, "We all believe in you, Red. You have the power inside you. All you need is the confidence."

"Don't they make drinks for that?"

Faith laughed, "You want a beer? I could probably find you one."

"Mm, no, I'm good here."

They sat in silence for a long while, wrapped under the blanket and leaning into each other's warmth. Willow had her head resting against Faith's shoulder, dozing, but Faith was looking up at the sky. It was dark and cloudy, the moon and stars half hidden. Giles would probably think it was a bad omen, them not having a clear sky before their big day.

Faith didn't mind though, the clouds dulled everything, smoothed the edges. A clear night might make them feel over-confident, might make them rest a little too easy. They had to stay confident, but Faith knew they weren't facing very good odds. Even if they did manage to turn all the girls into Slayers, they'd still have to defeat The First and all its minions.

"Stop thinking your moody thoughts so loud," Willow muttered sleepily.

"Sorry," Faith laughed.

"How'd patrol with Buffy go?"

"Fine. Didn't see anything." She paused, her arm tightening around Willow before she continued, "I told her where we were today."

Willow lifted her head, looking openly at her. "Oh?" She didn't look scared or afraid, only curiosity.

"Yeah."

"And what'd she say?"

"That she trusts me," Faith said, eyes meeting Willow's. "That she'll still need some time to adjust, but she's okay with us. And that she trusts me to have her back tomorrow."

Willow gave a little giggle, "You two are so similar sometimes it scares me."

"What?"

"It's not a bad thing," Willow soothed, finding Faith's free hand under the blanket. "You two both just seem to want the other's approval, want the knowledge you can trust the other. You're both so stubborn and honest. And despite all the bad stuff, you both do want to trust and get along with the other." She shrugged, "You two are more similar than you think."

"That so?" Faith asked in mock-hurt. "So, what? If we're so similar, then you'd rather be with her?"

Willow shook her head quickly, "Goddess no." She leaned forward, brushing her lips against Faith's before breathing, "I only want you."

"Yeah?"

Willow nodded, nose touching Faith's as she kissed her again, her words soft against Faith's lips, "Yes."

"Well that's good," Faith smirked, lips lightly toying with Willow's.

"Enough talking, please," Willow insisted before kissing her harder, the hand gripping Faith's letting go to press against the Slayer's cheek.

Faith let herself be pushed backwards against the deck as the kiss deepened, Willow's tongue parting her lips and pressing inside. Her hand looped over Willow's shoulder and moved up into her hair, gripping the back of her neck and urging Willow closer. Her other hand gripped Willow's waist, pulling their bodies flush together.

Faith could feel Willow shiver against her, though not from the cold. The blanket remained twisted between them as the redhead ran her hands up and down Faith's sides, moaning as her fingers brushed the skin under the edges of Faith's shirt.

Breaking the kiss, Faith moved to kiss down Willow's throat and then up to her ear, breathing hotly and grinding their bodies together.

Willow shivered again, letting out a throaty gasp before pulling away and sitting upright.

Faith remained where she was, lying against the deck, and blinked up lazily at the witch.

"I think," Willow started, and Faith could hear her trying to get her heavy breathing under control, "it would be bad for us to stay out here any longer."

Faith didn't answer as Willow stood, but let herself be tugged to her feet by the redhead. Once they were standing she pushed Willow roughly against the back door and kissed her deeply. Her hands snaked around to Willow's back pockets, gripping Willow and tugging their bodies closer together, very much enjoying the moan the redhead let out. She kissed her a moment longer before growling out a, "Tease."

"Oh?" Willow asked innocently, batting her eyelashes. Her skin looked flush, even in the dim light, and Faith could feel the heat radiating off the other girl's body.

Faith nodded, repeating herself, "Tease."

Both of Willow's hands lifted to thread into Faith's hair. She tugged, pulling Faith closer so her lips brushed the Slayer's ear. "You know our room is empty, right?"

Faith pulled back immediately, "What?"

Willow smirked. "What, you thought I'd get you riled up and then leave you hanging? Especially after you just got back from patrol?" Her voice was innocent and bright.

"Willow," Faith warned, not sure if the witch was still teasing her or not.

Willow smirked again, eyes flashing as if to challenge her. "It's just one big sleepover in there. I think almost all the girls are sleeping downstairs. It's their last night together, I think they're all a little scared. And your sister's in Dawn's room."

"Those two became friends freakishly fast."

Willow nodded. "So, if we can get in and upstairs silently, then we have our room all to ourselves."

"You're wicked."

"The wickedest," Willow agreed, tugging her into another kiss.

"Upstairs, now," Faith insisted, biting her lip.

Willow managed to get the back door behind her open and the two stumbled inside without breaking the kiss. The sound of laughter from further inside the house made them both jump however, freezing in their movements.

It wasn't that late out yet; they could hear the television playing lowly in the front room, along with whispers and muffled giggles.

"If they stay up all night and are too tired to stand tomorrow I'm killing them myself," Faith growled into Willow's ear before tugging her along. They crept into the foyer and up the stairs, careful not the let the girls know they were there.

The second their bedroom door was closed Faith had Willow pinned against it, kissing her deeply and pressing her body into Willow's. Her hands roamed, pushing the witch's shirt up and out of her way as her hands began to palm Willow's breasts.

Willow moaned into her mouth and Faith smirked in satisfaction, enjoying how hot she was getting the other girl. She let her lips part from Willows and kissed wetly along her jaw until she reached her ear, kissing the lobe and then sliding lower to nip at the sensitive skin behind.

She pressed one of her legs in between Willows and felt the girl shudder at the sensation. Kissing her skin and kneading her flesh, Faith ground their bodies closer together, liking the way Willow's hips bucked helplessly against her, searching for more friction.

"Faith," Willow keeled, "Faith, please. I'm going to lose it before you even touch me if you," her breath hitched and she let out a soft cry as Faith pressed more roughly into her, "i-if you keep this up."

Faith let her tongue dip along the shell of the redhead's ear before pulling back slightly, "And that wouldn't be a good thing?"

Willow whimpered, her eyes squeezed shut as she tossed her head back and forth. "Please," she insisted, tugging insistently against the sides of Faith's shirt. Faith moved her hands to cover Willow's helping her to tug the shirt off before removing Willow's own.

The shirts dropped to the ground and Faith took a step backwards, sliding her pants down her legs. Willow remained rooted against the door, panting heavily and eyes wide with lust as she watched Faith step out of her pants.

Kneeling at Willow's feet, Faith kissed across Willow's stomach as her hands smoothed up and down along her ribs a moment before moving to tug Willow's pants down off her hips. Her lips followed her hands, moving down slowly as she kissed each new piece of milky skin revealed. Her touch travelled all the way down, helping Willow step from the clothes, and then back up, kissing the top of Willow's underwear before looking up at her, an easy grin on her face.

Willow had a soft smile on her face as one hand reached down to tug Faith to her feet. Once she was standing, Willow leaned forward to kiss her lightly. "For such a big, tough Slayer, you sure are a softie," she whispered, looping her arms around Faith's waist.

"For such a big book nerd, you do make some hot and sexy noises when you're enjoying yourself."

Willow blushed. "Only for you."

"My point exactly," Faith husked before leaning in again, kissing Willow deeply and leading her over to the bed.

The last of their clothes falling away, Faith straddled Willow where she lay in the middle of the bed, hands gripping tightly at the redhead's shoulders as she dipped her head down, tongue pressed deeply into Willow's mouth.

Pulling away after a long moment, Faith moved down to kiss and tease at Willow's pulse point, pressing herself roughly against Willow's stomach a few times. The contact made her hiss in pleasure and left Willow whimpering, hands gripping at Faith's back, trying to draw her in closer.

She could feel Willow trying to move underneath her, wanting to flip them so she was on top. Instead Faith pressed harder against the witch, grabbing her hands and pinning them down on the bedspread near her shoulders. She kissed each of Willow's wrists, smirking cockily, both of them knowing Faith was strong enough to hold Willow down fully if she wanted to.

She let go of Willow's hands and scooted down the bed, kissing along the redhead's neck and chest before reaching her breasts. Willow let out a moan of pleasure the moment Faith's lip's touched her sensitive skin, back arching and pressing herself further into Faith's touch. She kissed across both of them, tongue swirling and teeth toying, loving the breathy pants Willow was making in appreciation. Faith kissed her way back to Willow's lips, leaving a wet, hot trail in her wake. They came together again, kissing roughly with tongues and teeth, until the redhead broke away.

She rested her forehead against Faith's, letting out a breathless, "Faith, please," against her lips.

Faith watched the expressions play across the witch's face as her hand moved down, caressing skin until it reached where Willow needed her. Her face was damp, hair a tangled mane of red surrounded her face. Her lips were parted as she tried to catch her breath, and her eyes blinked open in surprise when Faith didn't hesitate in sliding her fingers inside.

Willow was hot and wet and Faith didn't hide her pleased smile as Willow's slick muscles clenched around her hand. Back arching and letting out a little cry, Willow's hands gripped at Faith's back, fingers digging into skin as Faith pushed deeper and began a rhythm.

As Willow's hips canted against her hand, Faith dipped her head again to kiss along Willow's jawline. With each stroke she could feel Willow climbing higher, breathing heavier and her body trembling beneath her. Her hands on Faith's back gripped tighter, curling her body into Faith, and she let out a muffled moan into Faith's shoulder.

Faith focused on keeping her pace steady, pushing Willow closer and closer, but her hands jerked and she gasped as one of Willow's hands slid down from her back to reach between Faith's legs.

"Oh fuck," Faith breathed out as they established a new rhythm, pushing and pulling against each other. She felt her own body begin to hum, everything inside her feeling full and vibrant and alive. Nothing about tomorrow, about the death they all would face, mattered. There was no terror or fear. All that mattered was Willow's writhing body beneath her, keeling little cries as Faith's thumb brushed against her clit.

She felt Willow's muscles begin to flutter against her fingers and knew the redhead was close. Her body pitched forward, grinding down hard on Willow's hand as she captured the other girl's lips with her own. Her free hand was gripping tightly at Willow's waist, while Willow's hand on her back had moved up to curl into her hair.

"Faith," Willow whimpered, her voice wavering.

"Let go, Red," Faith urged, pressing and curling her fingers as deep as she could while roughly pressing on the humming bundle of nerves under her thumb. Willow's back arched, head tipping back as her hips bucked up against Faith a few more times, gasping out Faith's name as she came undone.

Feeling Willow clamping down on her fingers, her whole body trembling with pleasure, Faith only needed to rock herself a few more times against Willow's fingers until she tumbled too, everything inside her catching fire.

Her body slumped and she collapsed, barely managing to catch herself before she landed on her back next to the witch. Willow hummed contentedly and curled her body around Faith's, sighing happily against her ear.

"You're still a tease," Faith said after a while of simply lying there, enjoying the feeling of Willow pressed against her, warm and sure. "Totally could have been up here sooner."

Willow purred and snuggled closer. "Sleep now, complain later."