Chapter Fifteen

Thunder rumbled outside, the rain pattering against the windows hard, the wind blowing fiercely and yet, it was nothing compared to the storm going on inside, building up between the two, slowly yet surely.

Faith could feel every inch of Buffy, their bodies pressed together, moving and writhing as hands explored without abandon. Everything outside of the room was forgotten and all Faith could feel, could see, could think about was the woman beneath her, grasping and moaning as they moved against each other. They stole lazy kisses as Faith rolled her hips down, feeling Buffy's wet pussy slide against her own.

In just an hour, Faith had explored every inch of Buffy's body, she found each of those spots that had Buffy crying out in pleasure. She had completely worshipped her and she wasn't even close to being done with her yet. Licking over the few love-bites on Buffy's neck, she trailed the tip of her tongue down her body, dipping it into her tiny bellybutton, unable to sate her craving for the taste of Buffy's skin.

"Oh, Faith," Buffy sighed as she ran her hands through her own hair.

Faith looked up at her and smiled before she trailed her tongue down further, spreading Buffy's legs as she settled down in between them. Faith felt more confident than ever, this being a first despite having spent the better part of an hour exploring every other inch of Buffy's body, teasing her, nipping at her skin and those spots that were more sensitive than others.

Using her index finger, she leaned back and watched as she slipped it over Buffy's wet folds. She was mesmerized by the sight and when she circled the tip of her finger over Buffy's clit, Buffy raised her hips off the bed, moaning as she sought out more. Faith had already had a little taste of her, off of her fingers after she'd fucked her hard with three fingers, burying them to the hilt every single time. But this was different, this was new and she wasn't going to hold back any longer. She had waited long enough as it was.

Dipping her head down, she swiped her tongue the length of Buffy's pussy, moaning as she tasted her fully. Buffy's hands found their wait to her head, threading her fingers through her dark hair as she licked her again, bolder and harder than that first tentative swipe.

Faith used her thumbs to spread her lips apart and she moved her tongue up to her throbbing clit, her thumbs dipping inside of Buffy's tight hole. The breathy moans and gasps coming from Buffy only made her want to keep going, to make her cum hard and fast as she had before. She flicked her tongue over Buffy's clit, finding what made her moan the loudest and she continue to do it, sucking on it in between sharp, quick flicks of her tongue.

Buffy's hands slipped out from her hair and she gripped at the mess of sheets around her, arching her back as her body trembled, her orgasm coming quick and hard, quaking through her body. Faith eased up the assault on her clit and licked over her quivering hole. She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath as she moved her lips to Buffy's inner thigh, kissing over the soft skin before she crawled her way back up Buffy's body.

Kissing her hard and deep, Faith arched her body into Buffy's, loving the way Buffy would scratch her short nails down the length of her back. She felt like she was floating, like she was high on one hell of an intoxicating drug and she was so into the kiss, she let out a girly squeal when Buffy suddenly flipped her over onto her back.

Laughing, Buffy leaned back so she could look into Faith's eyes. "I think it's my turn now, Faith."

"You-your turn?" Faith gasped as Buffy slid a hand between their bodies, her fingers playing with Faith's right nipple.

"Yeah, my turn," she replied breathily, smiling before she dipped her head down and wrapped her lips around Faith's other nipple. Faith wasn't exactly done with her yet and when she tried to flip Buffy back over on her back, she found her hands in a vice grip above her head. "Nuh uh. I told you, it's my turn now, Faith."

Groaning, Faith complied and laid there, allowing Buffy to have her way with her now. Buffy nipped at her nipple, eliciting a sharp, surprised gasp out of Faith. She could feel the vibrations from Buffy's mouth as she sucked her nipple between her lips and moaned. Focused of the feel of Buffy's lips, she hadn't even noticed that Buffy had let go of one of her hands and it was now trailing slowly down her stomach. Buffy showed no hesitation as she slipped her hand between Faith's partially spread legs, her fingers dripping over her aching pussy.

Even with this being a whole new experience for both of them, Buffy's actions were no longer hesitant. She licked and nipped her way down Faith's stomach, teasing her clit with her fingers as she made the slow descent to where Faith wanted her most.

"Buffy," Faith let out a breathy moan, her head thrown back against the mattress as Buffy slid her hands over her thighs slowly, spreading her legs as she settled down in between them.

Faith could only focus on the feel of Buffy's fingertips as they ghosted over her inner thighs, she could only focus on the shallow breaths Buffy's breathed out, feeling the small puffs of warm air hit her pussy, turning her on even more than she was already feeling. She'd been ready to pop for the last hour, but all her attention had been on Buffy and not herself. The slight feeling of feeling vulnerable crept over her, but it was quickly swept away as Buffy leaned forward and placed the softest of kisses just above the neatly trimmed patch of hair.

She'd never given anyone control over her like this, not even just to get her off. It'd always been a two-way street for her and she was never one just to lay back and take all that was being done to her without reciprocating.

Faith couldn't focus on anything else after Buffy's tongue swiped the length of her pussy. Her tongue was hot and sure, strong and gentle as she teased her aching clit. Faith struggled to keep still, but her body had a mind of its own, reacting to every little swipe of Buffy's tongue, every nip, every suck, and every teasing touch of her fingers.

To put it simply, Faith had never had it this good before, not ever.

Leaning up on her elbows, she looked down at Buffy between her legs and it was clear she was more than just enjoying herself. When Buffy glanced up at her, it was all it took and Faith could feel her orgasm thundering through her body hard and fast.

There was one thing she knew for certain as Buffy crawled up her body. She'd never get tired of the sight of her between her legs, nor would she ever get enough of feeling Buffy's naked body fully against her own. The thought of only staying in Scotland for a while was slowly turning into indefinitely. There was no way she could even think of leaving, not if this is what it was like to be with someone she was in love with.

"Hey," Buffy smiled down at her as she settled her body on top of Faith's. She raised a hand and gently caressed her face. "Did I do okay?"

"Okay?" Faith chuckled as she reached for Buffy's hand and pulled it away from her cheek. She intertwined their fingers as she tried to catch her breath. "B, it was more than okay. Nobody, and I mean nobody has ever made me feel as good as you just did."

Buffy blushed and tried to bury her face into Faith's neck, but she wouldn't let her and quickly captured her lips in a fiery kiss that had her whole body buzzing again. Thunder crashed loudly outside and Faith felt Buffy shudder against her.

"I want to do that again," Buffy whispered against her lips, smiling as Faith smoothed her hands down Buffy's back and came to rest on her ass. "I don't think I even want to get out of bed today."

"Then let's not," Faith whispered back. "Let's stay right here all day and all night. Just you and me."

Buffy groaned quietly, frowning as she leaned back to look down at Faith. Even Faith knew it was a far stretch, staying in bed all day. She tucked Buffy's hair behind her ears and just took a moment to bask.

"We can't though. Maybe for a little while longer, but not all day."

"I know, but we can dare to dream, right?" Faith winked. "B?" She asked after a moment, her body still buzzing as Buffy stroked her fingers up and down her arm. "Does it always feel like this? Is it always this intense?"

"Only when you're with someone you love, then yeah, it's always like this."

"Love, huh?"

Buffy nodded her head slowly, the blush creeping over her cheeks once again. She gasped as Faith shifted beneath her and wrapped a leg around her, pulling her close in all the right places. Even on the bottom, Faith was taking control and Buffy let her, moving her hips in time to Faith's, matching each of her thrusts as they found just the right angle.

Gasping as Buffy's gripped the back of her neck, their lips found each other's easily, kissing languidly as they moved against each other. The storm continued on outside, just as the storm between them continued with no end in sight, neither of them wanting this moment to ever end.

Buffy's smooth thrusts turned into sharp jerks as her body began to quake. Faith was so close and the feel of Buffy's small yet intense orgasm had her toppling over the edge just seconds later. They gripped on to each other, their lips just a breath apart. Faith felt like she was falling over the edge, but she knew she wasn't alone, she knew Buffy would hold on to her right until the very end.

After a while, Buffy's body became slack and she moved to lay at Faith's side, completely relaxed and she hummed softly as she laid her head on Faith's shoulder, her fingers tracing lazy circles over her stomach. Everything about that morning was new, not just because it was a lot of firsts for both of them, but because Faith hadn't once felt like she needed to leave. She was perfectly happy right where she was, all those old habits thrown right out the window because they simply didn't apply when it came to being with Buffy Summers.

Buffy let out a sharp gasp as Faith slipped a hand between her legs. Grinning, she felt Buffy roll her hips against her hand, seeking out more, whimpering softly as Faith teased her, dipping a single finger inside her quivering hole before slipping it right back out, letting it hover just above her hot, wet flesh.

"Faith," she gasped, gripping on to her shoulder tighter. "Please. Stop teasing me," she pleaded, her eyes sliding shut as Faith complied, easily sliding two fingers deep inside her.

Faith lunged forward, kissing her hard, fast, and deep as she thrust her fingers deep inside her. She nearly lost her focus, her rhythm as Buffy's hand found its way between her legs, her fingers slipping over her clit, teasing her for a moment before two fingers slipped inside her with ease.

Outside, the storm began to roll out, the pattering rain slowing down, but inside, the storm continued on, each of them bringing each other to and over the edge, over and over again, completely shutting out the rest of the world because as far as they were concerned, the only thing that mattered most in the world in that moment was each other and what they were sharing together. The rest of the world could wait, because all they could focus on was was happening between them.

That in itself was a world-shattering event, one that would change both of their lives forever.

So this is what it's like, Faith thought as she sat perched on the edge of the couch in one of the common room, her eyes never leaving Buffy as she quietly talked to Willow on the other side of the room. This is what it's like to be in love, to share something so intimate and intense. All I can see is her. All I can feel is her. All I can think about is her. All I want is to take her back to her room and spend the rest of the day locked up, naked in bed, just like she wanted to. Huh.

"Yo, what's with you?" Kennedy asked as she poked Faith in the shoulder, trying again for the third time to tear Faith's attention away from Buffy. "Yo, Faith? You in there or did fucking Buffy somehow make your brains dribble out of your ears?"


"That's what I thought."

"What you thought about what?" Faith asked, blinking as she turned her attention to Kennedy. "What's your deal? Quit bugging me."

"Ever since you came in here you haven't been able to take your eyes off her. Gonna take a wild guess and say it's because you two were fucking like rabbits for most of the morning."

"Shut up, Kennedy," Faith said lowly, dangerously, but the anger quickly faded as her eyes drifted back over to Buffy.

"Damn, you really got it bad for her, don't you?" Kennedy laughed as she poked Faith in the shoulder again. "Gotta say, never thought I'd see the day where I saw how Faith Lehane looked all loved up. It's kind of sweet, in a gross kind of way."

"What are they talking about anyway? Looks pretty heavy and serious."

"Satsu," Kennedy replied. "Willow made the decision earlier that we're gonna send her to some institution in a very remote part of Russia. Formerly run by the Council, I heard."

"Got all you needed out of her, huh?"

"Enough," Kennedy nodded in reply. "Come on, don't tell me you're not absolutely thrilled knowing she's gonna be out of the picture for good from here on out."


"Still pissed you didn't get a chance to beat her up a little more, huh?"

"More like a lot more," Faith replied lowly. "Probably better that I didn't though. Chick might have all her screws loose, but beating on her ain't gonna make it any better. What's done is done. All that's left is for all of us to move on and hope to hell the next thing is just a little bit less of the bad."

"You sticking around then?"

"Yeah," Faith smiled. "Looks like you're stuck with me, Ken."

"Good," Kennedy smiled right back at her. "Got a feeling things are gonna be a lot more interesting around here, with you and Buffy fucking like rabbits and, you know, whatever the next big crisis ends up being. At least we got you here and not half a world away."

Faith couldn't help but laugh. Kennedy had proven to be a friend, something that came easily even through everything they'd been through in the last two weeks. If things kept going smoothy, she knew she'd find a good friend in her and she'd have someone other than Buffy and Giles she could definitely count on when it came to absolutely anything. She playfully punched Kennedy in the shoulder and quickly shoved her hand into the pocket of her jeans as Buffy and Willow walked up to them.

Faith caught Buffy's eyes in an instant, both of them smiling yet refraining from standing to close together. That morning had been even better than the night before, it being, hands down, the best couple of hours of Faith's life. Her heart staring racing and her body started to react just remembering what every moment had felt like being with Buffy.

"Faith?" Willow said, biting back a laugh as Kennedy poked her hard in the shoulder, ensuring that she'd definitely have a few finger shaped bruises there later. "Are you going to help us secure Satsu for transport or do you have something else you were planning on doing?"

"I'll help," Faith said, blinking as she turned her attention to Willow. "What do you need me to do, Wil?"

Faith was the only one on the elevator and weaponless, convinced by Willow that Satsu was no longer a threat and that she didn't need anything but the keys to unlock the cell and the shackles that were on her legs. She scratched at her arm through her leather jacket as the elevator came to a slow stop. The doors opened and she stepped out into the room, staring right at Satsu inside the holding cell. It was damp and cool down there and the first thing Faith thought was good, she deserves to know what it was like for Buffy.

Pulling out the set of keys Willow had given her, she unlocked the cell, her eyes on Satsu even though she had her back to her as she sat on the small cot facing the wall.

"Well, well, look who it is. It's the god damn hero," Satsu spat, her voice full of venom as she turned around on the cot to look at Faith. "You've come to kill me? Do it. Do it!"

Faith chuckled dryly, keeping her distance as she eyed the shackles on both of her feet. The chain wasn't long enough for her to reach the door and it was attached to a hook in the floor.

"Looking for the easy way out, are ya, Sushi?" Faith asked, staying where she was as she pocketed the keys. "Not gonna give you that satisfaction. Unfortunately for you."

"Screw you."

"Not even in your wildest dreams," Faith laughed and she cracked her knuckles as Satsu leapt up from the cot and tried to lunge at her. "Don't make this any harder on yourself, yeah? The more you fight, the more it's gonna hurt, and believe me when I tell you that I am so looking forward to making you feel the very definition of pain for what you've put Buffy through."

Faith waited until Satsu had backed down, her shoulders slumped as she lowered her head. She could see the bruises on her face, some fading, some looking a little too fresh.

Pulling out the walkie from her pocket, she hit the red button. "Transport ready?"

"Chopper is still five minutes out," Xander replied, his voice choppy over the walkie, but it came in clear enough.

"Got ya."

"I'll call in when the chopper is about to land."

"Thanks, Xander."

"Look at you," Satsu chuckled lowly as she raised her head and stared hard at Faith. "You think you're one of them now, don't you?"

Faith didn't say a word, checking her watch while she tried to figure out how to pass the next five minutes without having to speak or kicking Satsu's ass for not being able to shut up.

"You think you're being the hero, don't you? You're just doing the last of their dirty work they didn't want to be bothered with."

"How about you shut up?"

"So, the hero speaks," Satsu laughed. "So, hero, where are they taking me?"

"Do I look like a man to you?"

"What?" Satsu looked confused. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"You keep calling me hero. That applies to males. Heroine, however, applies to us female types."

Chuckling, Satsu shook her head and pulled at her hair with her hands. She was slipping, fast, and being locked up hadn't helped her any. Faith didn't care, but a part of her did. She had to deal with girls like Satsu before, girls who were on the brink, either ready to fall into the oblivion of insanity, beyond help, beyond reason, or they were ready to reach for the hand that helped them climb out of the darkness their mind had been swallowed into.

"You are no hero, Faith."

"No, but I am a slayer and I don't go around getting witches to do my dirty work for me, raising demons, kidnapping Buffy, putting her friends, her family through hell because she was missing. You know, it's funny, cos I was thinking about that little conversation we had when I first got here."


"You lied to everyone and you did it flawlessly. Nobody had any idea, not one single clue that the one behind all of this was right under their noses the whole time. Props to you, Sushi."

"My name is Satsu."

"I don't give a flying fuck," Faith laughed bitterly. "You lied when you told them you saw Buffy last, that you two had an argument. She's been gone for what, two months? So, either that was all made up or the demon wearing Buffy's skin showed up here, maybe to make some kind of deal with you and you freaked, making it look like it was really Buffy you had that argument with and not the succubus."

"So what? One little lie. Bought me a little bit more time. I just want to say I really didn't think they'd call you in. They would've never found her if it wasn't for you."

"You were killing her!" Faith yelled and she had to clench her fists at her side and force herself from lunging at Satsu and beating her to death. "You were drugging her, poisoning her. She was on the brink of death when I found her, you fucking crazy psycho bitch."

"I-I was killing her?" Satsu's entire demeanor changed, like a switch had been flipped. "No, no I wasn't. I just wanted to make sure she wasn't at full strength. I didn't want her to fight back or to try to escape. I love her. Why would I kill her?"

"Like you didn't know."

"I swear," Satsu frowned and she fidgeted with the hem of her grey tattered sweatshirt. "I did the research. What I was giving her wasn't near as much as she'd been given during the cruciamentum. It wasn't killing her, was it?"

"Two months of it? Does more than just dull the power of the slayer," Faith replied and she shook her head before glancing at her watch again. It'd been a lot longer than five minutes and Xander still hadn't radioed her that the chopper was near or even there, waiting for her to bring Satsu to it.

"It should've been me," Satsu said, her eyes lingering on Faith for a moment before she laughed dryly. "It should've been me who saved her. That plan went right out the window as soon as you came into the picture. Also, I messed up and she saw me. She was never supposed to know it was me."

"And what? You save her and suddenly she decides she wants you?" Faith asked and she couldn't help but laugh loudly. "You really are crazy, aren't you, Sats?"

"You'd know all about being crazy though, wouldn't you, Faith?"

"Shut the hell up."

"It's hard to believe that Buffy and her friends even forgave you after what you did to them, what you put them through. Really, it's not a whole lot different than what I did."

"No, see that's where you're wrong," Faith said through gritted teeth. "I was young, stupid, angry and I made a lot of mistakes. Mistakes I'm still paying for, but hey the path of redemption isn't always easy. I wasn't actually crazy. You? I think they gotta rewrite the whole definition of psychotic and I'm pretty sure they will once they're done assessing you at the institution. You'll be right at home there, mark my words. Crazy little psycho bitch like you? Betting there are cute girls there that you can mess with and they wouldn't care. You know why? Cos they'll be playing the same game as you."

Satsu growled as she lunged at Faith again, this times the chains that bound her snapped free. Faith jumped back, surprised she was able to break through, but she didn't move fast enough and found herself being flung to the ground, hard. Satsu got in a few hard hits to the face, but Faith quickly got her bearings and she kicked Satsu off of her.

"The fuck?" Faith muttered as she wiped away a trickle of blood that seeped out from her split lip.

"Just a little tip, Faith," Satsu said as she brushed her hair out of her eyes, smirking as she winked at her. "Willow's spell didn't work. I just made them all believe it did. You want to know why it didn't work? It helps to have a few demons on my side, ones that gave me my own tools, my own spells to protect myself against anyone who threatened to make me less than what I am."

Chuckling, Faith clenched her fists tight. She was going to enjoy this. Satsu's confidence was misleading and she knew that she was the better slayer. She was stronger, faster and had a few years of experience on Satsu. She had a few tricks as well, a few moves that would give her the ultimate advantage.

Faith easily ducked and backed away from Satsu's predictable punches and kicks. She shot a quick glance at the only camera in the corner of the cell, knowing that Andrew and Xander were watching this unfold. It would only be a matter of minutes before there were a handful of other slayers down there. She only had a matter of minutes to put Satsu down.

Faith moved quickly, throwing a hard left hook to Satsu's face and following it up with a swift roundhouse kick that sent Satsu flying across the hold cell. She collided into the bars and slumped to the ground, winded but not out for the count just yet. Faith grabbed her by the front of her shirt and yanked her to her feet, their faces just inches apart.

"You're lucky I didn't kill you three days ago," Faith spat at her, struggling to hold her off. "You're lucky I don't kill you right now, right here. But you know why I won't?"

"Because you're the good slayer now?" Satsu mocked, head butting Faith before she could react. "Please, it's all an act when it comes to you. Am I the only one that sees that?"

Faith winced as she stumbled back, a hand flying to her aching forehead. It'd been a hard hit, but not hard enough to knock her out. Her anger was barreling through her, driving her, but she kept what she could of what was left of her cool. She could easily kill her, she wanted to, but she wouldn't. Satsu had done a lot of bad things, made a lot of bad choices, but the girl wasn't all there, wasn't all right in the head. She was just like the other slayers Faith had found over the years and she was still just on the brink, a part of her trying to climb out of the pit she'd fallen into.

Throwing another hard left hook at Satsu, she watched her eyes roll back in her head before she fell to the ground. Faith shook off her hand, the punch being harder than she intended it to be, but it'd done the job and Satsu was lying at her feet, out cold. Out for the count.

"Faith, what in the willy-nilly is going on down there?"

Groaning, she pulled the walkie out of her pocket. "Just taking care of things, Andrew."

"Why are you fighting her? The sound is muddled on our end. We saw but we couldn't hear a thing."

"She attacked me," Faith replied and she stared down at Satsu. Shaking her head she walked to the door of the cell and stepped out, closing it hard behind her. "What's the status on the chopper?"

"Xander is in contact. Chopper encountered rough winds a few miles out. New status is seven minutes and counting. Four slayers are on their way down to assist in securing the prisoner. ETA is less than ten seconds."

Placing the walkie back into her pocket, she stared through the bars down at Satsu. Willow's spell hadn't worked. From what Faith knew, Willow's spells never failed, at least not as of late. It was worrying that Satsu had been able to protect herself from someone as powerful as Willow.

"Faith!" Willow said breathlessly as she materialized behind her. "I saw what happened and I was on my way here, running, when I remembered I could just zap myself down here," she said, letting out a short laugh as she shook her head. "What happened?"

"Your spell that makes slayers, well, not slayers anymore? Didn't work."

"It didn't work? But it had to of worked!"

"Explain that to my face," Faith said as she pointed to the bruises already forming and her split lip. "Said she was given tools, spells by the demons to protect herself. That she played along, making you think it worked."

"Lucky for us, I can do the spell again. It's doubtful she'll be able to counter the spell, with being knocked out cold and all," Willow said and she moved to the cell door. "What else did she tell you, Faith?"

"Can we have this little chat after you've put the crazy psycho slayer down for good?"

"Right. Right," Willow said quickly and she strode into the cell quickly.

Faith watched as Willow performed the spell, feeling a chill run through her body as Satsu's body twisted, but she stayed unconscious throughout the entire ordeal. She stayed out of the way as four slayers came off the elevator, Gina being one of them and she was carrying a bag filled with, Faith had no doubt, supplies to check Satsu over before loading her up on the chopper.

"Sedatives are ready. Girls, get her to her feet and hold her while I administer the first dose."

"Sedating her?" Faith asked Willow as she joined Faith at her side.

"Just taking a little extra safety precautions after what we'd just seen happen down here between you two."

"Sorry I had to inconvenience the other girls," Faith said as she nodded towards the four slayers currently strapping Satsu securely to a gurney.

"No, you didn't inconvenience them, Faith."

"But I didn't do what you asked me to-"

"You did," Willow said with a soft smile. "You did everything exactly the way you were expected to. Granted, we had no idea Satsu was still all slayer, but that was just a little glitch. You got her to talk and from the looks of things, it was pretty interesting. I'm betting she told you things she didn't tell us."

"Maybe," Faith said with uncertainty. "So, I'm no longer accompanying her to the institution?"

"No, you're not. Gina and the girls can handle it from here."

Faith's shoulders slumped, a feeling that she'd been used, lied to, weighing heavily over her. "You should've told me the plan, Wil."

"I know," Willow said with a slight frown. "I know I should've. You're mad, aren't you?"

"Might've saved me from getting my face punched in," Faith muttered.

"If it helps, you're still pretty even all banged up."

"Pretty?" Faith laughed as she smoothed her hands down her body. "Better get your eyes checked, Wil, I'm hot."

"That you are."

Laughing, Willow grabbed on to Faith's hand and without giving her a moments notice, she teleported them out of the holding cell together.

Faith was alone in the courtyard, smoking her second cigarette in less than an hour. She'd gone out there after Willow had teleported them to the communications room and she told the others, almost word for word, everything that Satsu had said to her. Still, it left a few unanswered questions, mainly how Satsu even had the power to use a spell to protect herself against Willow, but Faith didn't care. All she wanted was to get out of there and she had, ignoring even Buffy as she stormed out of the communications room and ended up outside in the courtyard.

Satsu was no longer a threat, already well on her way to spend the rest of her days locked in what Faith hoped was a secure room. She didn't want to have to worry about Satsu anymore. She didn't want to even think of the extreme measures that Satsu had gone through, had put them all through, all because she was in love with Buffy and wanted to be with her.

"Faith?" Buffy's voice crackled over the walkie she still had in her pocket. Sighing, she took a long drag of her cigarette and stared up at the stars shining in the sky. "Faith, I know you can hear me. Where are you? I get that maybe you need some space right now, but I-god, this is stupid. Why do I get the feeling I'm talking to myself right now?"

Faith chuckled as she shook her head. She was still trying to wrap her head around last night and especially what had happened that morning between them. Hell, she was still trying to process everything that had happened in the last two weeks and how so much had changed that she barely even recognized her life anymore. What she did know what that nothing was ever going to be the same again and strangely, she was okay with that even if some of it still freaked her out a little.

"Faith, come on. Answer me, please? I just want to know you're okay."

Reluctantly, she pulled the walkie out of her pocket, her finger hovering over the button. "I'm five by five, B."

"Where are you?"

"Outside," Faith replied and she stared down at the walkie in her hand. "And I don't need space. I'm just having a smoke, B."

Faith pocketed the walkie again, but not after making sure she'd turned it off. She just needed a little bit of time to clear her head and she needed to do that on her own. Crushing out her cigarette on the ground with the heel of her boot, she rubbed her hands over her jeans and raised her fingers to the small bumps and bruises that covered her face. Satsu sure packed a hard punch, but not nearly as hard as Buffy did when she was pissed off. Faith chuckled at those memories, all the times they'd fought each other and for what? There'd always been a reason, but there was always something else, something just under the surface.

"Are you sure you just didn't need some space, Faith?" Buffy asked as she walked up behind her, her boots crunching along the gravel path. "Wait. Don't answer that," Buffy said before Faith could speak. "Are you okay?"

Buffy reached up and gently traced over some of the darker bruises. Faith shrugged it off, she hadn't really felt any pain since she'd been outside. Even in the dark courtyard, Faith could see that Buffy's eyes were red, puffy, as if she'd been crying.

"You're upset," Faith said, frowning as Buffy's hand dropped away. "Can't help but think it's cos of me."

"No, no, it's not because of you," Buffy said and she lowered her eyes. "It's stupid really. After hearing what Satsu had said to you, crazy and so far gone she is, I felt like I failed her because I never saw any signs. And right after that, I felt guilty for feeling that way because of what she did to me. Me and my emotions are kind of a big giant bubbling mess right now."

Faith nodded and turned away from her, ready to walk back inside the castle, but she stopped when she felt Buffy's hand rest on her shoulder.

"And then," Buffy continued, "I thought about this morning and I started crying again. Happy tears. Faith, you don't realize it, but I was fading away long before Satsu did what she did to me. I was fading away and I didn't know why, didn't know how to stop it, but do you know what I kept thinking about? What made me keep holding on even though it took me a long time to figure it out?"

"What's that, B?" Faith asked as she turned to face a smiling, teary-eyed Buffy.

"You. I kept holding on, kept fighting because of you. When you saved me, I knew how close to death I was, I knew that time wasn't on my side, but I knew you'd find me just in time. That's what that kiss was all about, me thanking you for what you did, for saving me."

Faith was smiling and speechless, not sure how to respond to any of that. Instead of trying to find a way to respond to Buffy, she easily slipped her hands over her hips as she stepped closer to her.

"You make me want to keep going, Faith. You make me want to not fade away. I-"

"If you're asking me if I'm planning on going anywhere, B, I'm not," Faith said with a smile so big she could feel her cheeks burning, lips straining. "I didn't expect this, any of this," Faith said softly as she stared into Buffy's eyes. "I'm starting to figure out that not everything is as it appears to be."

"There's always more some things than what meets the eye. It's knowing how to see what your heart is saying, then everything in your world changes."

"Just like that," Faith finished, still smiling at her. "And B? As long as I'm around, I'll never let you feel like your fading. Not ever. In fact, I know plenty of ways to make you feel alive more than you ever have and-"

"And I'm guessing that involves a bed?" Buffy chuckled and she playfully slapped Faith across the arm, her laughter dying down when a look of realization dawned over her features that Faith was being serious. "Your room or mine?"

"Well, I was thinking..." Faith trailed off as she shrugged nonchalantly. "I was thinking we could go for a ride." Faith pulled out the keys to her bike and smiled. "Giles had it shipped over. Got delayed by customs so it just arrived this afternoon. So," she said as she took Buffy's hand in hers. "What do you say?"

"I think I like the bedroom idea better."

Laughing, Faith led the way out of the courtyard to where her beloved bike was parked. She pulled on her black helmet and handed Buffy a matching one before she climbed on the bike. With some hesitation, Buffy climbed on the back of the bike and held on to Faith tight before she sped off into the night, no destination in mind and just the open road and a world of possibilities that lay out there right in front of them.

The End