Burning The Bridges series
3. The Flaw In The Plan
Faith sat on the edge of the mattress, tugging her tight leather pants up her thighs and over her hips. Goddamn, there was a downside to these pants. Yeah, they looked wicked sexy but it was one helluva battle to get them on. Still, no pain, no gain, right? She felt warm fingertips on her back, tracing the progress of her spine. She glanced over her shoulder at the other occupant of the bed, a slim blonde woman naked save for a pearl necklace. Faith smirked. For all her anger of last night, Joyce couldnt keep her hands off her.
"I gotta shoot," Faith said as she pulled a black sleeveless T-shirt over her head and reached for her boots.
The older womans fingers left her skin and Faith found that she missed the touch as soon as it was gone. Not that she ever wouldve said that out loud. "Are you meeting someone?" By that someone, they both knew what Joyce meant. There was an edge of accusation in the words and Faith resented it. So she and Joyce were screwing. Big fucking deal. This always happened why is it when you screw someone, they automatically think they own you? Thats all it was, mindless, no strings, want, take, have, fucking until something better comes along.
See, Faith had a plan here. She was going to win Buffy Summers. She was going to make Buffy want her, beg for her and then, when she did, that would be Faiths victory. But the best part was, she was going to shoot B down when that happened. Because last year Buffy had flirted and made eyes and said stuff, all of which had led Faith to believe that the blonde felt the same way she did. Just when Faith was falling for her, Buffy had screwed her over and abandoned her. In the end, Buffy chose that freak Angel over her. Well, guess what? Paybacks are a bitch and that bitch was after revenge of the sweetest kind.
At least, that had been the original plan. The one shed fantasised about on the bus back to Sunnydale. All shed been interested in was maximum emotional carnage. But, seeing B and how quick she was to forgive it was infectious. Buffy was so trusting, which made the plan seem so very easy and part of Faith was tempted just to follow it through it anyway. Just to see the sparks fly. The other part wanted to win Buffy for real, away from that fuck-wit Riley guy. It wasnt much of a challenge but she was competitive by nature so she wasnt going to stand down from this.
The dark-haired girl stood. "Not that its any of your goddamn business but, yeah, Im meeting B."
She saw the chill creep over Joyces face at the mere mention of her daughter. Faith wondered how someone like PTA supermom Joyce could cope with this deal, screwing her daughters former, no, still, enemy. Not that Faith really gave a flying fuck. "If you hurt her, I swear to God Ill kill you myself," the older woman said with quiet force.
Faith grabbed her jacket, slung it over her shoulder, and raised a sarcastic eyebrow. "Is that before or after I go down on you?"
Joyces lips twitched, her expression mostly unreadable now. "You know shes in love with that boy, dont you? Whats his name Riley?" she said lightly, almost as a taunt.
Faith stared at Joyce for a moment, wanting to claw those words out of the air between them. Fuck you. She opened her mouth to say it. Instead, without a word, she barged out the door.
The two slayers were strolling through the campus grounds, basking in the sunshine that streamed through the canopy of the tall trees. They kept to the outskirts, avoiding the busy parts on campus, just in case anyone recognised Faith. Buffy especially didnt want to run into Willow because she wasnt quite ready to do that whole explaining-why-her-once-sworn-enemy-was-hanging-out-with-her thing yet. Of course, Willow, Giles, and the rest of the gang would have to be told that Faith was back and she hoped to tell them sooner rather than later. She remembered how much grief theyd given her last year about not informing them that Angel was back. For now, she wanted to keep Faith a secret, because once everyone knew, thats when things would be beyond her control.
Theyd been walking for a while in silence and Faith noted that Buffy was stealing surreptitious glances at her. "Find something interesting, B?" she asked finally.
Busted, Buffy blushed, which made Faith want to just grab her and kiss her long and hard. Easy, tiger. Plenty of time for that later.
"Its just hard to believe that youre here and not " Buffy faltered.
"Psycho?" Faith finished for her and gave her most dazzling smile.
"Not my choice of word, but, yeah," the blonde admitted. "I keep needing to pinch myself."
Faith grinned. "I can do that for ya."
Buffy just gave her a look, her lips slightly pursed. Shit, for a moment there she looked just like Joyce. The blonde reached into her shoulder bag, rummaged for a moment, and produced sandwiches wrapped in cellophane. "I got this for you, from the canteen. Its not exactly full of nutritional goodness but it fills a gap."
Heh, you said it girlfriend. Faith took the proffered sandwiches. "Thanks, Im wicked hungry." She inspected the contents of one sandwich. "Cool, BLT, my favourite. Hey, lets sit on the grass."
"Were supposed to keep off the grass," the blonde replied.
Faith just gave her an incredulous look. God, B still needed to find the fun a whole lot. "I guess it couldnt do any harm," Buffy said, her expression a little pained. She glanced around them, making sure there was no one around to witness their heinous crime. Faith just strutted onto the grass, threw herself down, and began tearing into the sandwiches. The blonde sat down gingerly down beside her, ever vigilant for the college grounds staff.
Once Faith had finished her lunch, she screwed up the cellophane and threw it away, which nearly gave B a coronary. "I need to catch some rays, top up the tan," Faith said as she rolled onto her back, squinting up at the sky. "Eight months in ICU is seriously crappy for the complexion."
"Mm," Buffy agreed, only half-listening. She was worried about Faith. They hadnt really talked yet about any of the stuff that had happened before the coma. She wondered if it could all really be resolved. She just had to believe that it could. One thing was for sure; they couldnt go back to the way they were before Faith turned to the Mayors side. It just wasnt enough.
Faith looked at the other girl lost in her thoughts. She studied Buffys profile, long bleach blonde hair lit by the sun. Fuck. She was beautiful, drop-dead fucking beautiful. Even with that odd little snub nose of hers. Faith wanted to touch her, just to reach out and make this feeling real. "Hey, B."
Buffys green eyes turned to her and they blew Faith away. Shit, get a grip. I dont need this, she kept telling herself, dammit, I dont need it. "Lets say we find us some action tonight?"
She could see the indecision play across Buffys face. "I dont know ."
"Just the two us, the Scoobies can stay in their kennel." Buffy favoured her with a disapproving glare. Fuck, like mother like daughter "Joke, B. Chill."
"I have classes all day tomorrow."
Faith shrugged. "Its cool. I dont mind going out by myself." A lascivious grin slid across her full lips. "Find myself a coupla studs " She watched the blondes face carefully.
Buffy looked like someone had stuck a stake in her. Was that a flicker of jealousy? "Thats not a good idea, Faith. I mean, the cops "
"I can handle em." The Sunnydale cops were the fucking runts of the litter.
"Thats what Im worried about," Buffy replied with a rueful smile. She sighed in defeat. "Okay, Ill come with you. Just to keep you out of trouble."
"Ata girl," Faith reached across and nudged the blondes shoulder playfully. "But we need to get you out of those pastels and into something sexier." Buffy looked at her skeptically and Faith laughed. God, she loved it when a plan came together.
That night they decided to avoid the Bronze, not wanting to run into the Scoobies who occasionally still hung out there. So, at Faiths suggestion, they went to a club called the Viper, despite Buffys vocal reservations. As they waited in the queue, the blonde noted the clientele were a little rougher than what she was used to and she felt suddenly out of place in her strappy little violet dress. Shed managed to resist Faiths attempts to lure her into leather and now she was wishing that shed just surrendered. She clutched her little shiny handbag defensively as the bouncer, a seven foot gorilla of a man with multiple piercings on his face, gave her the once over. Just then, Faith slung her arm proprietarily around the blondes shoulder, glaring at the bouncer and he merely grunted, a nod of his head indicating that they could get in. She wasnt sure she wanted to know what that was all about.
"Maybe this wasnt such a good idea," Buffy shouted over the pounding music, glancing around the dingy club and its freaky-looking denizens.
"Relax, B," the dark-haired girl shouted back, obviously in her element here. "Lets get some drinks." Faith grabbed her by the hand and led the way through the heaving crowd towards the bar. She ordered a couple of shooters of tequilla. She poured a little salt on the back of her hand, licked it off and knocked it back before quickly biting down on a slice of lemon. Buffy watched her and reluctantly did the same. She nearly gagged. Yeuch. The other girl watched her in barely concealed amusement.
Faith winked. "Next time well do body slammers."
"What?" Buffy asked, perplexed but the other girl just grinned knowingly.
"Cmon, lets dance," Faith said as the next song began, a techno remix of Iggy Pops Lust For Life. The patrons of the club flocked to the already jumping dancefloor.
Here comes Johnny Yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And a flash machine
"Faith, I " the blonde began but Faith just seized her hand again and dragged her towards the dancefloor, cutting through the sweaty mass of tattooed bodies to a small space in the centre.
Hes gonna do another striptease
Hey man, whered you get that lotion
The other girl let go of Buffys hand and began to move her hips in time to the fast heavy beats, her hands coming up to run fingers through long, wavy dark hair. At first Buffy shuffled from foot to foot but soon she found her rhythm, matching her moves with Faiths. The dark-haired girl was a very good dancer, totally assured in that as she was in everything else. Buffy couldnt take her eyes off her. Their gazes caught and Faith smiled broadly and moved in closer so that they were now dancing together, with each other rather than in front of each other.
Ive been hurting since I bought the gimmick
About something called love
Yeah, something called love
Well, thats just like hypnotising chickens
The dancefloor surged and they found themselves pressed closer together, their hips brushing and bumping. Buffy vividly remembered the last time theyd gone dancing together, the night Faith had accidentally killed the deputy mayor. Theyd been the chief attraction at the Bronze that night, the boys circling them like vultures as theyd danced with each other. Shed noticed them, but only dimly, because Faith had had her full attention. Like she did now.
Im just a modern guy
Of course Ive had it in the ear before
Cause Ive lust for life
Lust for life
Lust for life
She remembered how closely theyd danced, with such abandon, flaunting everything they had, putting on a show. It was exciting and dangerous and they were two Slayers together, the Chosen Two and they had something that no one could touch. Not the high school boys with their sweaty palms and lustful stares. God, shed wanted Faith to touch her that night. If Angel hadnt turned up she didnt know what mightve happened
Im worth a million in prizes
Yeah, Im through sleeping on the sidewalk
No more beating my brains
No more beating my brains
The blonde closed her eyes, feeling the music pulsing through her and then Faiths hands on her hips. Hot breath on her cheek. This was what she wanted, what shed wanted that night at the Bronze, what shed always wanted. The other girls lips pressed against her own, Faiths tongue grazing her lips. She was hit by the realisation like a kick to her stomach and all of sudden she was having great difficulty drawing breath. Her eyes snapped open and she pulled abruptly away. Faith stared at her in confusion, eyes questioning. "B?" The blonde watched Faiths lips form the word but she didnt hear it.
She shook her head. "I I cant do this." With one last look at the other girl, Buffy fled from the crowded dancefloor.
What the fuck? This wasnt part of the plan. This wasnt supposed to happen. "Damnit," she cursed and started after Buffy, barging through the crowd, trying to keep the petite blonde in her sights.
"B, wait!" Faith caught up with Buffy outside, rapidly walking away from the club. She grabbed Buffy by the elbow, spinning her round to face her, immediately aware of soft skin slightly dewy with perspiration. "Cmon, dont play coy, it doesnt suit you."
"What?" Buffy stared at her in disbelief, throwing off the other girls light grip on her arm.
They stared at each other, neither willing to back down. Faith took a step closer, invading the blondes personal space. She noticed green eyes dilate instantly. "You know what I mean," Faith smiled and leaned in close only to be pushed away by the blonde.
"Faith, no!" Buffys hand came to massage her temple. "God, I have a boyfriend, that I happen to love. I mean, which part of that dont you understand?"
The dark-haired girl shook her head. "Then what was that all about back there?" Fuck, the way Buffy had looked at her, the signals couldnt have been any stronger. The want had been written all over her face. And when shed kissed the her, Buffy had responded. Obviously denial ran in the family.
"I was it I have a boyfriend," Buffy struggled to articulate. Her thoughts were spinning out of control. Thered always been an element of flirtation in her friendship with Faith but it was a game really. It was never something shed given much thought to. Not really. It was harmless. Mostly. But on the dancefloor, dancing so close to Faith, watching her move, so easy to lose her inhibitions just for a moment Theyd been so entirely focused on each other, that the rest of the people just seemed to fade away. She was like that a lot around Faith and it was equal parts disconcerting and compelling. But it kept coming back to Riley and her confusion over these new, well, not entirely new feelings for Faith.
"So you keep telling me," the other girl replied flatly. "And Im telling you, he aint all that. I should know."
The blonde shot a dangerous glare at Faith. She was painfully aware of the fact that Faith had slept with Riley while in possession of her body. It wasnt something that was easy to forget, she was reminded of it every time she looked at him. Which was why shed been avoiding him lately. "Is this why you came back?" Buffy demanded, "to play some sick little mind game? To take advantage? Were you planning on seducing me?"
Faith was silent for the longest time and just stared at the blonde, her expression unreadable. "Im sorry," she said finally and stared down at the ground. "I guess I misread the vibes." They both knew she hadnt. So the blonde had seen through her, just like Joyce said she would. But the problem was, it wasnt a game anymore. There was a flaw in her killer plan, she hadnt figured into the equation that her feelings for Buffy might become more important than the need for payback. She loved Buffy, for real, and the hate well, the hate just didnt seem to matter anymore. She wanted to let go, of all of it. The only thing was, she wasnt sure she could because sometimes the only way out is to go so far in.
Buffy felt her anger deflate almost immediately. But she wanted to hold onto it, keep it just that little bit longer because then she wouldnt have to think about the other, cloudy feelings that were making her uneasy. She knew how to deal with anger, not this uncertainty. "Yeah, well, Im not gonna be another one of your conquests."
She expected some smart-ass response but the other girl remained quiet. Faith lifted her dark eyes to bore into Buffys green ones. "Then dont tease me, B, cuz I cant take this crap anymore." With that the dark-haired girl turned and walked away. Buffy briefly considered going after her, partly because she was worried about Faith and what she might do in this mood but also because she wanted an explanation of what exactly Faith meant by that parting shot. Instead, she began the lonely walk back to campus, wondering where the hell she stood with the other girl.
Continued in Bittersweet Me