Faith Gone Bad
They’d never really kissed like this. It was slow and soft and unguarded. And that was the thing that made it different. Buffy wasn’t trying to guard against feeling too much. She was trying to be honest. As honest as she could be without saying those words.
She felt Spike encircle her in his arms as the kiss deepened but the pace remained unhurried. There was usually a frenzy to their kisses; the intent had always been to lead up to something else, something more. Now, though, Buffy thought that she could do this – just this – forever.
Spike evidently had other ideas because he pulled away abruptly, eyes darting to the boarded up porch. “Buffy, your friends.”
“What about them?” She asked hazily, reaching forward to fist the material of his shirt in her hand intent on pulling him back in.
His face remained hesitant and she hated the implications of that. She hated that he was so concerned that she would be bothered if her friends were to see them. It wasn’t unjustified, she’d treated him like a guilty secret in the past after all, but it hurt her heart to see it manifesting itself so many years later.
“Spike,” she stepped back into him. “I don’t care. I don’t care what they think.”
Spike put a hesitant hand up to indicate her to stop; his eyes searched her face for a long moment before he nodded. “You actually mean that.”
“Yes, I actually do,” Buffy fought the urge to roll her eyes, instead ran a hand down his forearm casually. “Can we go back to the kissing part now?”
He smiled in a slightly smug way before shaking his head. “You might be alright with your mates knowing but I’ve got someone’s feelings to consider now too, Buffy.”
She tilted her head. “Mya? But she’s like the worlds biggest Buffy and Spike ‘shipper.”
He gave a soft laugh, glancing at the doors. “She acts like she’s alright with it and I don’t doubt she wants me happy. But I’d still rather her not find us snogging in the kitchen. She’s still just a girl, no matter how much she acts like my own personal bloody Yoda.”
Buffy nodded slowly. “I understand. No more kissing.”
“What? No! I never said that,” Spike took her hands in his own. “Sodding hell, I would never say that. Just…let’s be careful about all this. Whatever this is. What is this?”
She entwined her fingers with his. “This is us.”
He seemed satisfied with that answer rewarding her with a wide grin, something akin to excitement twinkling in his eyes. Buffy had always liked that about Spike – that even after over a hundred years of living, he could still get excited. She liked that she was the cause of that.
The porch doors started to swing open noisily and they separated, turning to face whoever was making their incredibly inconvenient entrance. It was Mya. Buffy had to figure that Spike had been right; Mya might like to play matchmaker between them but that didn’t mean that she was ready to see him kissing someone who was not her mother. Buffy turned back to the sink but there was nothing left to wash so she stood there stupidly.
The girl eyed them both for a moment. “Everything okay in here?”
“Everything is marvellous in here,” Spike folded his arms. “How about out there?”
Mya nodded, glancing back in the direction she had come from. “Xander is trying to get Willow to tell him how and when she saw Faith naked. Desperation is quite unattractive in a man his age. What’s the what in here, then?”
“Dishes.” Buffy explained.
“Fun times,” she smiled. “You two really should get out more.”
Buffy thought of a dozen smart replies to say but she did not voice any of them. Luckily for her Willow called to her from outside and she was able to make her excuses and leave. When she stepped back out onto the porch she felt oddly like they both knew exactly what she had been doing inside and with whom. Even more oddly, she had no shame. Buffy smiled to herself as she sat down to join her friends.
For the first time in a long time she felt okay about things. She didn’t want to get too jubilant – she still had a murder trial to win – but she felt like everything was falling into place.
“I spoke to Andrew earlier today,” Willow said. “He said he’ll send some tapes down to us. I thought it might be nice, if we’re on a nostalgia trip.”
Buffy nodded. “That does sound nice.”
“He has some stuff he shot from when you were gone, too. So, that might be cool for you to look at. Also, he told me to tell you he thinks your resurrection is ‘neat as long as you aren’t a flesh-eating zombie’.”
Xander snorted. “I think he didn’t quite grasp the situation.”
“Mmm, I draw the line at dying twice,” Buffy looked out into the night sky. “Of course, I might not have any choice in the matter soon enough.”
Willow’s brown wrinkled. “Don’t say that, Buffy.”
“Yeah, you’ve got Lucy Porter on the run.” Xander interjected.
“I’m just saying,” she shrugged casually. “This isn’t won yet. And you guys should be prepared that I might not win. The courtroom is not my thing.”
Spike stepped out onto the porch. “Good thing you can do anything then, isn’t it? ’Sides, you can hardly lose with us on your side, right?” He slung an arm around Mya’s shoulder.
Xander folded his arms. “For once, Spike is right.”
Buffy smiled. “Thank you. All of you.”
There was a pause.
“That’s okay,” Mya shrugged. “I’m always this awesome.”
+ + +
Faith was standing on the edge of the roof. She was smoking. The muscles across her shoulders and back seemed loose and her stance appeared to show she did not know she was being watched.
Buffy had come back a few hours ago and managed to get some sleep but when she’d woken up close to sunrise and Faith still wasn’t back she’d dressed and left the apartment to see if she could locate the vampire. She’d only come to the roof because she’d gone into the street to do a cursory sweep of the surrounding blocks and seen a solitary figure perched up there looking like some sort of romantic heroine.
Buffy folded her arms and padded up quietly behind the woman. She saw the moment Faith heard her arrival in the tightening of her body, the way her fist curled in readiness.
“It’s nearly sunrise,” Buffy said gently.
Faith’s tense manner melted away, she glanced over her shoulder. “I know. S’why I’m here.”
The Slayer stepped up beside her as close as she could without actually stepping up onto the ledge. “The vamp sun cream?”
“All lathered up,” Faith grinned but it was like a pale reflection of what it had once been. “Why? Worried about me? Think I was gonna throw myself off, burn to a crisp, or what?”
Buffy shrugged. “Maybe.”
“No need to fret about me, B. I’m a survivor.” She gestured to the air. “Wicked view, right?”
She gave it a perfunctory look but said nothing. It felt a little odd to be up on a rooftop with Faith of all people. The last time they’d been on a roof Faith had ended up stabbed and thrown off. Buffy looked at the other woman and wondered if she was remembering the same thing. Nothing showed on Faith’s face, no flicker of any kind of remaining hostility between them. She simply took a deep draw from her cigarette and then tossed it off the roof.
Buffy watched as she dropped down casually into a sitting position and leant back on her hands. She wondered if Faith did this a lot. It seemed a strange thing to do; Faith had never struck her as the kind of girl to appreciate sunrises. But then, she guessed, Faith had never been a vampire before.
“Does it worry you – the idea of prison?” Faith asked in an almost conciliatory manner, eyes all for the view.
Buffy shrugged indistinctly. “There are worse things. I got ripped out of heaven so prison should be a walk in the park, right?”
“Not really,” she replied. “I didn’t like it much.”
“What will be, will be.”
Faith smirked slightly. “Gotten philosophical in your old age.”
“Well, it’s no ‘want, take, have’ but it works for me.”
The smirk turned into a grin. “Good old days.”
“Mmm, yeah…murder and mayhem,” Buffy’s voice was laced with sarcasm. “How I miss them.”
“Wasn’t always like that. We had some alright days before…before.”
She looked at the vampire beside her. “We did.”
Faith glanced at her, giving her a once over. “You know, if I knew this might be one of my last sunrises on Earth I don’t think I’d choose to share it with you, B.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
Faith shrugged, turning back to the landscape. “Point remains. I’m sure there’s somewhere you’d rather be than here. If you don’t win, you might not get the opportunity again.”
Buffy glared at her. “What are you saying, Faith?”
“I think you know,” she smiled to herself. “Just a bit of friendly Chosen One to Chosen One advice.”
“You’re supposed to be my handler and you’re encouraging me to break my curfew?”
“I figure it’s time I stopped being such a stickler for the rules and be a bad girl for once,” Faith’s smile turned into a grin. “I’ll keep quiet. I owe you one.”
“More than one.” Buffy murmured.
“So, go. Frolic.” She closed her eyes and sighed. “I never saw you leave.”
Buffy shook her head. “Faith –”
“Things are complicated. I can’t just turn up and –”
“Go, B. Seriously, just go.”
Buffy opened her mouth to protest. She saw Faith sitting on the edge of the roof, legs swinging contentedly and eyes closed, and thought she’d like to look that unburdened. She’d like to feel that unburdened. That free. And Faith had a point; soon she might not be free at all. She’d said it herself earlier that day – soon she could be behind bars for the rest of her life or even dead. Neither sounded like an appealing prospect.
Buffy closed her mouth, nodded once to herself, and left Faith alone on the roof. She had other places to be.
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