image of woman sitting in armchair writing

If I Told You That

"B, wait."

Buffy turned on the porch at the sound of the voice behind her. Faith stood in the doorway looking awkward, one hand hooked into the back pocket of her cut-off jeans. She shrugged apologetically. "I didn't mean to... you know." She'd been rather blunt in resisting Buffy's attempts to bond. She knew Buffy meant well, too well sometimes.

A faint smile crossed the blonde's lips. "It's okay. Maybe I shouldn't have..." she trailed off, uncertain what exactly she was apologising for.

"No. It's me," Faith interrupted. They stared at each other for a long moment, uncomfortable silence stretching between them, yet neither wanted to leave. "You wanna come inside?" Faith offered eventually.

"Sure," Buffy replied instantly, then tempered her words. "I mean, maybe just for a little while. I have to speak to Giles later." She didn't really have an appointment with the Watcher but for some reason she needed to provide herself with an escape clause.

The dark-haired girl nodded. "Cool." If she didn't believe Buffy, it didn't show. She stepped aside to allow the blonde past her and as she did so, Buffy's arm brushed against her. They both apologised needlessly. Once inside Buffy stood in the centre of the floor. There was no where to sit except the bed and, somehow, with the rumpled sheets, that didn't quite seem appropriate. Faith closed the door and hovered beside it restlessly.

"I'd, uh, offer you something to drink but I don't have anything."

"I don't need... I'm not thirsty right now anyway. But thanks," Buffy replied. She glanced around at the room, the peeling paint on the walls, the old black & white TV set, the door that led to the ensuite bathroom, anywhere except the other Slayer. Not for the first time she wondered what the hell she was doing here anyway. Extending the hand of friendship, she kept telling herself but there was more to it than that. She wanted Faith to like her, she wanted to know the other girl. They were poles apart but they had this fundamental thing in common; something no one else could understand. Not Willow, or Xander or even Giles. She'd felt that connection briefly before with Kendra but with Faith it was so much stronger. Sometimes, she felt like she could read the other girl, like she could anticipate Faith's words and actions before they occurred. She was determined not to lose that connection so quickly again.

"I didn't mean to blow you off like that," Faith said softly, studying her bare feet. "It's just... I've learned to look out for number one, y'know. It's difficult."

Buffy clutched her tiny handbag a little closer. "I know, I've been there." She remembered what it'd been like when she first arrived in Sunnydale, knowing that she had a secret that she couldn't share, how difficult it was to trust people because ultimately that put them in danger too. But when it came down to it, it was surprisingly easy to share that burden with her friends and eventually, her mother. Everyone helped in their own way, even Xander. Just maybe it could be that easy for Faith too, if she chose to let people in, if she chose to let Buffy in. "You can count on me."

Faith finally met Buffy's green eyes, her smile genuine despite the bruise that marred her dark features. "Yeah?"

"Yeah," the blonde affirmed. "All Slayers together, right?" The flippancy of her tone belied the true sincerity of her words.

The dark-haired girl nodded. "Right." She paused. "And I do."

"What?" Buffy asked.

"Trust you," Faith caught and held the other Slayer's gaze for a long moment. "Even if you do throw a mean right hook."

Buffy grimaced and wandered over to the other girl. "I'm really sorry about that." The blonde felt a twinge of guilt. She'd been too quick to believe the worst of Faith. She decided there and then that she wasn't going to make that mistake again. "I guess trust goes both ways."

"It's not the only thing..." Faith mumbled under her breath.

Buffy gave the dark-haired Slayer a strange look. "What?" She did a mental double-take. Did Faith just...? No. Her mind was definitely playing tricks on her. They'd talked about guys and Faith definitely seemed to enjoy being with men, even if she did claim to dislike them. But she remembered one Scooby Gang meeting in the library that Faith had been present at. At the time she could've sworn that the dark-haired girl had been checking out Cordelia. She'd quickly dismissed that idea as insanity but, now, she wasn't so sure. And she wasn't quite sure how she felt about Faith checking out Cordelia. Then she wondered if Cordelia herself had noticed the attention.

"Nothing."

The blonde stared at the other girl for a long moment. She shook her head to dispel the alarming thoughts that were swirling around her head. "Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that we should start over. Clean slate and all. And no more right hooks."

"Sure thing, B," Faith replied.

The blonde was relieved that this was going without a hitch. "So we're okay then?" she asked, just to make sure.

Faith smiled, tiny dimples forming in her cheeks. "Five by five."

"While we're on the honesty kick," Buffy began, her gaze fixing on the barbed wire tattoo on Faith right bicep, watching the muscle flex as the other girl shifted her weight, "what do you think of Cordelia?" The blonde didn't dare meet Faith's eyes. She couldn't quite believe that she'd actually said that out loud but it was bugging her. She just had to know.

Faith frowned. "She's a spoilt little rich bitch. Why?"

Buffy lifted her gaze to the other girl's. "No," she continued uncomfortably. She tilted her head slightly as she tried to gauge Faith's reaction. "I mean, do you like her? In a strictly non-platonic way."

She watched Faith slowly hoist one eyebrow and was fascinated by its progress. The dark-haired Slayer shrugged. "She's a honey, but I don't swing for Queen C," Faith's eyes flicked down Buffy's lean form and the blonde felt her skin prickle under that appraising stare. "She's got nothin' on you in that department."

The room suddenly seemed much smaller and Buffy found herself being drawn in by Faith's dark eyes. She broke the eye contact, looking away. "I should go, Giles'll..."

"No more lies. B. That's what you said," Faith said quietly. So the other girl had seen through that particular embellishment. Still Buffy wouldn't look at her. "Look," the dark-haired Slayer sighed, "if I've freaked you, I'm sorry."

"No. You didn't. It's just... I..."

A gentle hand came to rest on Buffy's shoulder. That small gesture alone sent ripples through her and she was intensely aware of the heat of Faith's hand, the softness of the touch. The blonde risked a glance at the other girl. What would happen if she admitted that she had feelings for Faith? Though, what those feelings were, she wasn't entirely certain. "You can tell me," Faith prompted, as if reading her mind. Buffy searched chocolate brown eyes for the answers she sought.

"Faith," the blonde took a steadying breath, "I like you. In a non-platonic way," she clarified then continued rapidly, "not that I don't consider you a friend, because I do. But I've realised that I want us to be more than friends. Way more." She gave a hesitant smile. "Did that make any sense to you?"

A slow smile stretched over the other girl's full, ruby red lips. "Absolutely." Faith reached out to tuck a stray hair behind Buffy's ear and her hand came to rest on the back of the blonde's neck. They stared at each other, the distance between them closing gradually. Making the first move, the taller girl dipped her head and brought her lips to meet Buffy's in a gentle brush. It was a short kiss, a test, and when Buffy didn't pull away, Faith kissed her again, dotting small kisses along the other girl's lower lip. She increased the pressure minutely and Buffy took the cue, parting her lips to the dark-haired Slayer's. Within moments the kiss deepened further as Faith's tongue sought and was granted entry to the blonde's mouth which she explored leisurely and thoroughly. As they kissed, Buffy was aware of the other girl's hands moving over her torso to the underside of her breasts, massaging a path back and forth. Her own arms slipped around Faith's waist, pulling the other girl closer so that she could feel every inch of Faith's body pressed against her own. When the kiss eventually broke, they were both a little flushed and breathless but they didn't separate by even an inch.

"Buffy..." Faith began, one of the few times she'd dignified the blonde with using her full name. The dark-haired girl's eyes were hooded with desire. "Maybe you should..."

Buffy shook her head. "No, I want to stay."

"Are you sure?" They both knew that the younger girl was far more experienced than Buffy was.

"I want to be with you," the blonde Slayer stole a lazy kiss from full lips. "Right now."

Faith smiled sensually and tugged a more than willing Buffy by the hand towards the bed.

***

Buffy's mind gradually surfaced through layers of sleep to consciousness. She could feel the warmth of the sun on her back, prickling her skin pleasantly. She opened her eyes and memories of the night before came flooding back to her, making her smile suddenly. She stretched her limbs, fully expecting to brush against up against her lover. Lover. She tasted the word. It seemed so right. Glancing over her shoulder, she found she was alone in the bed. Buffy propped herself up on one elbow as her eyes scanned the room. Her heart seized in panic, remembering the time she'd been with Angel and the transformation that had occurred in him. Angel, now there was a complication. She thought she'd resolved her feelings for him, but now that he was back, and was good, she was confused. He would always hold a place in her heart but their relationship was doomed from the start. With Faith, there was a good chance that it might work out. At least, there might've been if Faith hadn't taken off.

The blonde girl slumped back, her head hitting the pillow. She stared up at the ceiling, tracing the cracks in the plaster with her gaze. She certainly knew how to pick 'em. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The sound of the door opening made her sit up again. "Faith," she sighed, relief coursing through her.

"I bring waffles," the dark-haired Slayer announced triumphantly, holding up the bag while closing the door with her butt and precariously balancing a plastic cup holder on her knee. That God for Slayer agility. Buffy smiled gladly.

"But first," Faith said, placing the breakfast on the floor, and approached the bed with a sensual sway of her hips. She climbed onto the bed and crawled her way up Buffy's body, covered only by the thin sheet. "You look good enough to eat." With that Faith captured the blonde's lips hungrily and the waffles were soon forgotten.

Continued in Closer