image of woman sitting in armchair writing

Burning The Bridges series

1. Burning The Bridges

As soon as Joyce Summers drove past the 'You Are Leaving Sunnydale' sign, the dark clouds that had been hanging ominously in the sky burst. The rain was pounding five or six inches off the ground, violently ricocheting off the windscreen. Joyce disliked driving in the rain, it meant surrendering some of your control to the elements and Joyce liked to be in control of her life. Of course, when Buffy had revealed that she was the Slayer, the Chosen One to fight vampires, that hard-fought stability she'd managed to secure following her divorce from Buffy's father had gone straight out the proverbial window. She was only recently becoming accustomed to her daughter's calling but she certainly wasn't comfortable with the fact that Buffy's life was constantly in peril, that any night now, some demon or vampire, or even a rogue Slayer, might get the better of Buffy.

Joyce shuddered as she remembered Buffy's most recent brush with Faith. Really, she wasn't happy about going out of town on business in case Faith returned but there was no way around it. The gallery was her livelihood, and now that Buffy was at college, she found that she had a lot more time to devote to it. She hadn't told her daughter but she was taking self-defense lessons one evening a week. She didn't expect to be able to fight off someone like Faith but at least she would be able to defend herself against the dangers of the night. And she was even packing a stake in her handbag, just in case.

As Joyce was consumed by her thoughts the headlights lit upon a bedraggled figure at the side of the road, thumb aloft and arm outstretched. She briefly considered stopping but considering the proximity to the Hellmouth, it probably wasn't a good idea. When the hitchhiker saw that she wasn't slowing down to stop, they suddenly stepped out in front of the car. It seemed to happen at half-speed, the body rolling over the hood, impacting horribly with the windscreen. Joyce hit the brakes moments too late. The hitchhiker rolled off the hood again.

Joyce gripped the wheel, knuckles white from the pressure. She stared straight ahead, blinking. Her mind was racing, unable to comprehend how this had happened to her. Slowly, she peeled her fingers from the wheel and reached for the door handle. With dread heavy in her stomach she stepped out into rain, narrowing her eyes against it. She took a deep breath and walked around to the back of the car and was startled not to find the hitchhiker there. She glanced around herself in disbelief. She couldn't have imagined it, the proof was in the huge dent on the hood and the cracked windscreen. When she turned again, the hitchhiker was standing there in front of her.

"Faith?" Joyce said, her voice barely above a whisper.

The dark-haired girl was clutching her side, wincing, and a trail of blood trickled down her temple. She opened her mouth to make some smart-ass response but instead she fell to the ground, muttering "Shit."

Despite her better judgement, Joyce immediately went to the injured girl's aid. It wasn't in her nature to leave someone for dead, even if they had tried to kill her. She'd take Faith to a hospital, and after that it was up to the authorities. So she helped the girl to her feet and deposited her in the passenger seat. Once back in the driving seat she decided they were nearer the hospital in the next town than the one in Sunnydale. Frankly, it was a miracle she was being so rational at a time like this, her nerves were so frayed that she was operating on instinct alone. She glanced at Faith, dozing lightly, her face turned towards the older woman. She looked very young, like the sixteen or seventeen year-old girl that she was... not a killer. Joyce shook her head, silently reminding herself that she couldn't allow herself to forget what Faith was capable of. Yet she couldn't help but wonder what had driven Faith to murder, maybe it was something no one would ever know or comprehend.

She saw something of the true Faith when the rogue Slayer had come to her house to kill her. There was desperation there and a need for acceptance. Clearly, all of her life, Faith had been excluded, always on the outside looking in. She got the impression that's what it had been like with Faith and Buffy's circle of friends. Perhaps if they'd all been a little more perceptive, then it might not have ended up this way.

A small grunt of pain brought Joyce back from her thoughts. Faith looked very pale in the dim light of the moon, a shadow of herself. Silently making a decision, Joyce pulled up at the side of the road.

"What're you doing?" Faith asked, picking her head up off the headrest.

"I'm sure I have a little first aid kit in here somewhere." The older woman leaned over Faith towards the glove compartment and found the small green tub with a white cross on the front. She could see that Faith was tensed up, like a caged animal ready to pounce. "Don't worry, I won't hurt you," Joyce assured her, not a little irony in her tone.

The dark-haired girl visibly relaxed and nodded for Joyce to proceed. Joyce opened the tub and removed some cotton wool balls to wipe away the encrusted blood from Faith's face. The Slayer winced slightly and it brought a faint smile to the older woman's lips. It reminded her of when Buffy was a child, always coming home with grazed knees. She wondered if Faith's mother had ever done that; from what she'd heard from Buffy, that seemed highly unlikely. Joyce put the used cotton wool in a small disposable bag and reached for the ointment.

"This is going to sting," she warned.

Faith set her jaw and allowed the older woman to apply the ointment which she did in silence. Joyce was surprised by just how remarkably steady her hand was, given her unnerving proximity to the rogue Slayer. Dark eyes fixed on her, almost black like onyx and suddenly Joyce felt very aware of her own breathing. It seemed too loud, too heavy. When Faith stared like that, it was as if she took possession simply with her gaze and then devoured with those large dark eyes.

The older woman drew back abruptly, putting the ointment back in tub, carefully avoiding Faith's eyes. "You might have a few broken ribs, so we should go to a hospital."

Faith sighed. "You know, actually," she paused to stretch her arms in the cramped space, "I'm kinda feelin' five by five." Joyce looked at the girl and Faith broke into a Harlot-hued grin.

The older woman shook her head in dismay. Once again, she'd been taken in by Faith's act. She glared at the girl. "I should turn around and take you straight to the police."

"You won't." Faith leaned back in her seat, a self-satisfied smirk in residence on her face.

Joyce gave an incredulous laugh. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't."

"Well, aside from the fact that I could kill you..." Faith shifted in her seat so that she was facing Joyce. Those dark eyes were hooded now. The older woman swallowed nervously. "Because of this." Faith leaned forward and kissed Joyce hard on the mouth.

She merely sat there, frozen in her seat, as Faith continued to kiss her. In an involuntary reflex her lips parted and Faith seized the opportunity to deepen the kiss, tongue grazing Joyce's teeth fleetingly before dipping into the parted sweetness of her lips. This was so wrong, Joyce knew it, but she was enjoying it. She hadn't been kissed like this for a long time... Mr Giles, the former librarian and Buffy's Watcher had been the last, when they'd regressed to an adolescent state of mind. It wasn't something she was keen to remember, or the rest of what they'd done for that matter. To say it put them in awkward situation was an understatement. Well, this would put her in an even more difficult position…

A warm palm came to cup her breast and the jolt of sensation brought her out of her thoughts. Breaking the kiss, she pushed Faith away from her. Resting her hands on the steering wheel, she shook her head.

"I can't do this."

Faith narrowed her eyes as she stared out into the driving rain. "Because of Buffy."

Joyce looked at her sharply. "Yes, because of Buffy." She sighed. "Not just that. You're a wanted criminal, you're dangerous. Worrying about whether you're going to kill me or not is hardly conducive to a good fuck." Faith raised her eyebrows in amusement at Joyce's uncharacteristic use of colourful language. "Besides, I'm old enough to be your mother. I am someone's mother, someone who would never forgive me if she found out about this. And I can't believe I'm even contemplating it."

"I'm looking at you and I don't see a mother. All is see is one foxy lady who's as horny as I am."

The older woman was flattered; she hadn't been referred to as "foxy" for nigh on fifteen years, it wasn't something that tended to happen to a fortysomething. Joyce let her gaze roam over the dark haired girl sitting in the passenger seat. Her skin glistened still from the rain, damp hair hung around her face, and soaked clothes clung to youthful curves. It had to be said, Faith was stunning, if completely unsubtle in her sexuality. The older woman felt her pulse quicken as she watched a knowing smile cross those full lips. Faith knew the power she held, revelled in it and Joyce herself was excited by that sheer arrogance. What Faith promised were not gentle kisses and soft touches, it was sweaty, animal, sexual release and Joyce wanted nothing more at this moment. Right now, guilt didn't even come in to the equation, she would deal with that in the morning.

"Alright, let's go somewhere." The words were out of Joyce's mouth before she could stop herself. She turned the ignition, lifted the handbrake and put her foot down, her eyes never leaving Faith's.

They fell into silence again; there was nothing that need be said. There was only the waiting and the gradual building of anticipation as they passed the signs that read 'Motel 3 miles', 'Motel 2 miles', 'Motel 1 mile.' And then they were there, taking the turnoff and pulling up to the car park. Faith waited by the car while Joyce paid for a double room, ignoring the look that the fat, excessively made-up receptionist gave her. She took the keys with a muted "thank you" and found Faith leaning against the car. The older woman walked across the forecourt to their room and Faith followed right behind her. Joyce's hands were shaking as she grappled with the uncooperative lock until Faith intervened and got it first time.

"There’'s a knack," Faith shrugged, "I've seen enough of these places to know."

The door swung open and Joyce peered inside. The room was basic to say the least. It had a bed and that was about it. Still, it was all they needed. Faith brushed past her and plonked herself down on the bed, testing the mattress. It squeaked painfully and the dark haired girl smiled wolfishly. It occurred to Joyce that this was rapidly becoming a bad idea, but nevertheless she entered the room and closed the door behind her. She could feel Faith's eyes upon her as she shirked her beige raincoat, laying it on the nearest and only chair. She met the girl's eyes hesitantly, unsure how to even go about this.

The rogue Slayer stood and took slow, sensual steps toward Joyce, her hips swaying slightly as she walked. The older woman's mouth went dry as Faith neared. She lowered her eyes as Faith reached out and tucked a stray lock of Joyce's blonde hair behind her ear. Then Faith kissed her, forcefully at first, almost painfully attacking her lips but the kiss slowed as it deepened. Faith slipped her tongue gently into Joyce's mouth, cajoling the older woman's tongue and entwining with it. Surrendering to her desire, Joyce wrapped her arms around Faith, pulling the girl tight against her body, her hands roaming exquisite curves. Two warm hands came to her breasts, testing their fullness and Joyce murmured her appreciation into the kiss. The dark-haired Slayer broke the kiss to turn her attention to Joyce's neck as her fingers worked at the buttons of the older woman's business suit jacket. Soon she pushed the jacket off Joyce's shoulders, where it fell to a small heap on the floor, then she reached for the hem of Joyce's wool sweater and pulled it off over the older woman's head. Faith made no delay in unhooking Joyce's lacy bra and discarded it onto the steadily building pile on the floor.

Their mouths locked again and Joyce sunk her fingers into Faith's still damp hair. The dark haired girl was still fully clothed and the damp suede of Faith's jacket was soft against Joyce's bare skin. The rogue Slayer pushed Joyce's pants down over her hips and the older woman stepped out of them. She gasped as Faith's hands came to her buttocks, giving them a playful squeeze as their tongues danced. Joyce was only dimly aware that they were moving backwards until she felt the coolness of the wall against her back. Again, Faith's eager hands found her breasts, bringing sensitive nipples to their peaks with skilled fingers. Joyce arched towards the gentle torture. As she did so, Faith abandoned her ravishment of the older woman's mouth and bent her head to take a rosy nipple between her lips, grazing the hardened nub with her teeth. The moan that escaped from Joyce's lips was high and unlike herself. While Faith lavished attention on her breasts, Joyce tried to remove the Slayer's jacket but the girl pulled back abruptly.

Faith shook her head with a seductive smirk, dark eyes full of promise. "Oh no, not yet, Joyce."

"Faith?" the older woman said in confusion. But all doubts were driven from her mind when Faith pulled her head down for another searing kiss. As they kissed the dark-haired girl's fingertips travelled down Joyce's torso to the waistband of lace underwear and slipped underneath. "Faith," Joyce murmured against the girl's lips in encouragement, though really none was needed, as the Slayer's fingers found their quarry and slipped between moist folds. Faith's thumb brushed against the older woman's clitoris and the sensitive bud prung to life. As the dark-haired girl slowly pumped her fingers, Joyce matched her thrust for thrust and soon she was gasping for breath while Faith relentlessly fondled her engorged clit. Sensing that her climax was nearing, Joyce bucked her hips, forcing the Slayer to up the pace. Suddenly, Joyce arched, her entire body tensing, and squeezing her eyes shut tight, crushing Faith close to her, she came hard. She let go of Faith and leaned back against the wall for support as her breathing returned to normal.

Without a word, Faith withdrew her moisture-coated fingers and dropped to her knees, pulling Joyce's soaked underwear down as she went. The older woman gazed down at her through half-lidded eyes. She couldn't think, couldn't move. She thought her legs were going to buckle under her. Faith smiled faintly up at her, taking her fingers into her mouth and licking them clean. Then she grasped Joyce by the hips and kissed her way up the older woman's inner thigh. Joyce quivered with anticipation. Maybe Faith was going to kill her after all, through pleasure. The Slayer placed a few experimental kisses around the other woman's labia, catching Joyce's essence on her tongue before diligently lapping up every last drop that seeped from the older woman's sex. By this time Joyce was shivering with need again, a second climax threatening to engulf her. Faith pulled back momentarily to look up at the older woman.

"Don't stop," Joyce croaked and Faith grinned back in response, her lips glistening.

The Slayer leaned in and took Joyce's enflamed clit between her lips, laving it her with tongue. The older woman squirmed under this latest assault but Faith held her hips firmly. Joyce was perilously close to the edge now. "Faith," she pleaded, and the dark-haired girl showed pity on her. As she flicked the nub with her tongue, she slipped two fingers back into Joyce, curling her fingertips to reach the magic spot and moments later Joyce orgasmed, her hips bucking wildly. Again, Faith eagerly drank the essence of the older woman and this time Joyce's legs did give way from under her, her head slamming back against the wall. But she was beyond caring.

Faith stood slowly and took off her jacket, throwing it carelessly across the room. After wriggling out of her leather trousers, they soon followed the jacket along with her tank top. The black lingerie that the Slayer favoured left little to the imagination. Faith smiled sensually and wandered slowly backwards toward the bed. She beckoned Joyce with one finger. "Come to mama."

****

Faith leaned her on her elbow, trailing a lazy finger down the valley between Joyce’s breasts. The older woman was dozing lightly, not quite asleep. She shifted towards the gentle contact, exhaling softly. Eventually she opened her eyes, gazing at Faith in the half-light of the morning. The Slayer bent her head and kissed Joyce languorously. In one sinuous movement, Faith swung her leg over the other woman so that she was straddling Joyce’s hips. The older woman grunted at the weight on top of her, her muscles were still aching from the previous night’s exertions, muscles she hadn’t used in a while. The kiss broke and Faith nuzzled Joyce’s neck while busily grinding her slim hips into the older woman’s thigh. Distracting as it was, Joyce wasn’t keen to continue this.

"Faith, I really have to get going…" she began gently. This wasn’t going to be easy, one night stands never were.

The Slayer’s voice was muffled against Joyce’s throat. "One more for the road?" When the older woman didn’t respond, Faith stilled and drew back to sit on her heels. "Where you headed anyway?"

"Los Angeles. There’s been a mix up with one of the shipments for the gallery," Joyce sighed, recalling her anger at the sheer incompetence of the people delivering the latest artifacts she’d acquired.

"Oh, well, I’m headed that way too," Faith commented with a shrug.

Joyce stared at the dark-haired girl for a moment. She couldn’t hand Faith over to the police now, she couldn’t be that heartless. "I can drop you at the nearest bus station, if you like."

Faith nodded silently. She reached down and traced the older woman’s navel with her fingertips. Joyce forced herself not to react to the touch, despite the shiver that passed through her. "Maybe… after your gallery stuff… we could meet up in L.A.? Y’know," Faith wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, "a rematch."

"No. I don’t think that’s a good idea," Joyce sat up on the bed, displacing the dark-haired girl. She didn’t even want to contemplate what Faith was suggesting here. It was bad enough that they’d had sex once… well, more than once… but the thought of a repeat performance was completely unthinkable. She really didn’t know how she was going to look Buffy in the eye again after this. She was just going to have to repress all memory of it.

Joyce swung her legs over the side of the mattress and padded over to the heap of discarded clothing on the floor. She retrieved her things and quickly dressed. Meanwhile, Faith merely watched her from the bed. Joyce turned to look at her. "Are you coming with me or not?"

"Sure," Faith replied in an indifferent tone and pushed off the bed. She grabbed her clothes and Joyce had great difficulty averting her eyes as the girl dressed. If Faith was aware of the attention, she didn’t show it. The rogue Slayer was the first out the door and Joyce cast a look back at the rumpled sheets on the bed. Her mind taunted her with a barrage of memories of the previous night; Faith crouching over her, arching to her touch, as putty in Joyce’s hands as the older woman had been in the Slayer’s. She took a heavy breath, it was difficult to feel remorse over something that felt so good. But she couldn’t let it happen again. Composing herself, Joyce turned and closed the door behind her. After returning the keys to the room, she joined Faith in the car.

They drove in silence to the next town and Joyce pulled up outside the bus station. Joyce half-turned in her seat to look at Faith. The girl was staring down at her lap and for the briefest of moments looked incredibly vulnerable. "Can you pay for the ticket?" Joyce asked, absurdly overcome with motherly concern.

The cockiness returned in the stare that Faith gave her. "I don’t need your money."

The awkwardness of the moment was difficult to bear. "Well, goodbye then," Joyce managed to say.

"Yeah," Faith replied and opened the door, stepping out into the sunshine. She moved to walk away but instead rounded the car to the driver’s side. Joyce rolled down the window and Faith leaned in. She gave the older woman a peck on the cheek. "Be seeing you," the Slayer smiled.

"I doubt it," Joyce said with what she hoped was authority.

Faith stroked the other woman’s cheek tenderly. "Don’t count on it, Joyce." With that said the dark-haired girl winked at Joyce and turned. The older woman stared after Faith as she walked away, wondering whether that was a threat or a promise. She didn’t want to dwell on Faith’s words because either way there was no going back. With a sense of dread, Joyce started the car and continued on her journey.

Continued in My Favourite Game