*A/N: Thanks to cookiesarefood for her betaing skills.*
Previously in Chutes...
Buffy crowded into the brunette’s space, slipping her arms around her. She ran her palm over Faith’s hair, kissing her wet cheek gently. “I would never do anything to hurt you,” she promised fiercely. “I love you.”
Faith froze. Buffy had never said that before. She looked into the blonde’s eyes, searching for any sign of deception there.
Buffy stared back at her with frightened, but clearly sincere, eyes.
Don’t trust her! Run! You have to run! The voice in her head’s screams became increasingly louder. Faith hesitated.
“Please,” Buffy repeated, seeing that she was losing Faith. Her voice wavered.
Taking the bottle from Buffy, Faith uncorked it and lifted it to her lips. Over the sounds of screaming in her mind, she drank.
Part 4, Chapter 3
“You’re sure this is normal?” Buffy asked, her voice strained with concern.
Wesley looked nervous, but he said, “Yes, completely.” His voice was raspy, clearly strained by the force of Faith’s arm pressing in to his trachea only a short time before.
Still frowning, Buffy pulled her bedcovers up over Faith’s unconscious form. The brunette had collapsed after drinking the potion. After gently smoothing the other slayer’s unruly hair back, Buffy looked up at the watcher. “How long will she be out?”
“Typically, it is equal to the amount of time the host was infected by the demon. In Faith’s case, it may be less.”
“Good old slayer healing,” Buffy muttered, still fussing around the bed. “Is there anything I can do for her?”
Wesley shook his head. “No, but I can assure you, she’s not aware of what’s going on. She’s out cold.” He placed his hand on Buffy’s shoulder, patting her awkwardly.
Wesley was certainly stuffier than her own watcher, but Buffy found herself liking him all the same. He clearly cared about Faith, and any friend of Faith’s was a friend of hers. “Thank you,” she said warmly.
“Of course,” he replied, flushing. “I could stay with her for a while, if you need to go and speak to your mother.” His flush deepened considerably. “She seemed rather… caught off guard by things.”
As if Buffy needed reminding. She’d wanted to talk to her mom about things between her and Faith, but this wasn’t really how she’d wanted the discussion to go. Her version had definitely involved less visual displays. “Right,” she almost groaned, standing up. “Thanks.”
“Good luck,” Wesley replied, taking a seat in the chair by her bed.
Buffy figured she was going to need that luck. She made her way downstairs, dreading the talk she was about to have with her mom.
Willow and Xander had made themselves scarce, and Joyce sat alone in the living room. She looked up as her daughter entered the room. “How’s Faith?” She asked with genuine concern.
“Still unconscious,” Buffy responded. “Wesley says she’ll be out for a day or two.” She took a seat next to her mother. “Umm, is it okay if she stays here until she’s back to normal?”
“Oh, of course,” Joyce assured her. She seemed to be as nervous as Buffy. Her hands fidgeted in her lap.
“Mom,” the slayer began, taking a deep breath, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner that Faith and I are… umm…”
“Involved,” Joyce supplied, flushing.
“Yeah, that’s… we’re involved. Involved gals, that’s us,” Buffy chuckled nervously. Her face was burning with embarrassment.
Mrs. Summers seemed to be struggling for words. Finally, she asked, “How long has this been going on?”
“Not long,” Buffy reassured her. “Officially, since New Year’s Eve.”
“New Year’s Eve,” her mother repeated. “So when you said you were at Willow’s…”
“No!” The slayer protested. “I was at Will’s. We both were, with the rest of the gang.”
“But you’ve been staying some nights with Faith,” Joyce prodded, grimacing a bit as she led the conversation in a new direction.
Buffy nodded reluctantly. Why couldn’t the Hellmouth ever open when you needed it? She could definitely use a deep, dark hole to crawl into right about now.
“I just…” the older woman trailed off. “Help me understand this, sweetheart. You’ve always liked boys. I know you and Angel were—”
“Mom, I beg of you, please don’t finish that sentence,” Buffy groaned. The last thing she wanted to do was talk about her short lived sex life with Angel!
“Alright,” Joyce agreed, embarrassed also, “I’m just asking… were you always this way?”
“This way?” Buffy repeated, a little incredulously. “You mean gay?”
Joyce nodded. Gay. There was the word.
She definitely had not always been gay. Buffy liked boys. Boys liked Buffy. “I never thought about it until Faith,” the slayer said honestly. “I still like guys… there’s just also Faith.”
“I see,” said Joyce, who really didn’t see at all. Admittedly, she liked her perception of her daughter’s romantic life to be murky, but even still, this had come out of left field.
“Are you okay, Mom?” Buffy was beginning to suspect she’d broken her mother’s brain. Joyce was sitting on the couch in a daze.
“Sure,” Mrs. Summers said, snapping out of it. “I mean, this is fine. This is good. My daughter’s a bisexual!” She laughed out loud, as if to signify how fine and dandy this way.
“Uh, thanks,” Buffy smiled nervously. “You’re taking this really well.”
“Did you think I would take it badly?” Joyce asked. “Is that why you were afraid to tell me?” The thought hurt. She hadn’t always been accepting of news that she’d gotten from her daughter, but she figured most parents would lose it if they found out their child was a vampire slayer, charged with risking her life to save the world time and time again. Other than that one instance, she’d tried her best to be there for Buffy to talk to.
“I wasn’t afraid,” the slayer reassured her. “I knew you would be okay with it.”
“I am,” Joyce replied, and it was more or less true. This wasn’t a discussion she’d ever envisioned having with Buffy, but the girl was her heart, her entire world. It still hurt to think of the summer Buffy had been gone. Joyce couldn’t describe the agony of not knowing where her daughter was, if she was hurt, or if she needed her mother. She had promised herself she would never make a mistake like that again. She drew her daughter into a hug, squeezing her tightly. “You’re my baby, Buffy. I love you more than anything in this world, and there is nothing you could ever do that would change that.”
“I know,” Buffy said, tears shining in her eyes. “I love you too.”
Joyce patted her back and released her. “That doesn’t mean you two are free to do whatever you want, just so we’re clear.”
Buffy rolled her eyes good naturedly. “I knew this was going too smoothly.”
“There will be no hanky panky in this house,” Joyce began. “I know you’re an adult now, but I don’t want to see, or hear,” she added with a shudder, “you being an adult.”
Buffy covered her eyes with her hand, groaning, “Mom!”
“Are we clear?”
“Clear,” Buffy agreed with a sigh.
“Good,” Joyce said. “And as soon as Faith’s back on her feet, we’ll be having a little talk about it.”
“Mom!” the slayer squealed, mortified. “You don’t need to do that!” She could picture how this talk would go. Faith would be fidgeting on the couch in humiliation while Joyce gave her a talking to.
“Buffy, it’s in the Mom code that I get to interrogate anyone you date and embarrass you,” Joyce informed her lightly. “Besides, you two have left me in the dark for weeks. A little lecturing is the least I can do.”
Dropping her face into her palm, Buffy muttered, “Fine.” Faith was going to be so unhappy when she woke up and realized a talk with Joyce was on her agenda.
Richard Wilkins sat at his desk, sandwich in hand, napkin neatly tucked into his collar. He chewed thoughtfully, swallowing before he glanced up at Mr. Trick.
“They gave her the antidote,” the vampire informed him regretfully.
The mayor placed his sandwich delicately onto the plate on his desk. He brushed his fingertips on his napkin, plucking it from his collar. “I’m afraid I’m out of patience with our friend, Mr. Doyle,” he said mildly. “What good are all these visions if they don’t get those slayers out of my hair?”
“What do you want me to do?” Mr. Trick asked agreeably.
Outside the office, Allan Finch hovered near the doorway, eavesdropping on the conversation happening within. He waited anxiously to hear the Mayor’s response.
Wilkins paused for a moment, then he replied, “Get rid of him.”
Finch quickly scurried down the hall, a glimmer of a plan beginning to form in his mind. By the time Mr. Trick exited the Mayor’s office, the Deputy Mayor had long since disappeared.
Oz held his stake at the ready as he trailed behind his girlfriend and her best friend. The two led the way through the graveyard, chattering animatedly. It was just the three of them, with Cordelia and Xander having offered to sit with Faith in case she woke up while Buffy was out on patrol.
“When I find out who put this demon on Faith,” Buffy was saying, “I’m so going to kill them.”
“You don’t think it was random?” Willow asked.
“After the demon who was manipulating the slayer line?” Buffy asked. “No way. These guys were packing serious demon-y goodness. How likely is it that we’d get two like this right after each other?”
“Good point,” the redhead said, frowning. “Yikes.”
“That’s what they’ll be saying when I get my hands on them,” the slayer agreed, severely.
Willow smiled at her best friend. “They don’t know who they’re messing with!”
“They’re gonna find out,” Buffy said seriously. She tilted her head, seeing something in the distance. “Hang back a sec, guys. Duty calls.” With that she raced across the cemetery toward a fleeing vampire.
Oz put his arm gently around Willow’s shoulders. “Hey,” he said.
“Hey,” she chirped back, hugging his waist. “I’m sorry! We’ve been leaving you out!”
“Nah,” he disagreed.
Willow tilted her chin up, looking for a kiss, and Oz happily obliged. He loved kissing Willow. She was so sweet, and warm, and wonderful. It was easy to get lost in her. As they pulled apart, it took him a moment to open his eyes again. He did so just in time to see a small demon slam into the girl’s side, tearing her from his arms.
“Will!” he cried, immediately jumping into the fray. The girl was dazed, trying to sit up. Beside her, a green skinned demon lay, groaning loudly. Blue spikes in its skin and deep red eyes rounded out the menacing picture. Oz quickly moved between it and Willow.
The demon seemed out of it, rolling on the ground and groaning in pain. Abruptly it began speaking at great speed. “Dark hair. Knife. Twelve! It burns. It burns!” It rambled on further, dissolving into incoherence.
“Oz,” Willow whispered from behind him.
That caught the demon’s attention, and it leapt to its feet. “No!” It shouted. “No more! No!” It advanced on them, and the teenagers backed up. Oz raised the stake, prepared to defend himself.
Buffy soared through the air, tackling the demon away from them. The duo rolled across the grass, smashing into a headstone painfully.
Sitting up astride it, the slayer held her stake at the ready. Her arm moved downward with perfect aim, but at the last moment she pulled back.
“Buffy,” Willow cried, “stake it!”
Buffy looked at the demon under her, who was shaking and muttering to itself. It looked extremely familiar. “Brachen,” she said, remembering the name for its species. “You’re a Brachen.”
The demon’s red eyes focused for a moment, and it suddenly gripped her upper arms painfully. “Help me,” it cried, before losing consciousness. As the demon slumped to the ground, the spikes disappeared under its skin. In its place was a human man.
Oz slid open the side door to his van, and the group peered inside at the still unconscious man. “And you say he’s a Brachen?” Giles asked. “You’re quite sure?”
Buffy gave Giles a pointed look. “Let’s see, green face, big blue spikes shooting out, you’re right; he probably just needs some Proactiv.”
“I’m sorry?” The watcher shook his head in confusion.
“Yes,” Buffy sighed. “I’m sure he’s a Brachen.”
Giles nodded. “Well, I guess we’d better get him inside then.”
With Oz’s help, Buffy shouldered the dead weight and managed to drag the man inside the apartment. They placed him on the couch, waiting for Giles to give further instructions.
“Uh,” the watcher looked around the room, a little lost, “perhaps we should try to rouse him?”
The three teens shrugged.
Seeing that he was getting no help from them, Giles leaned over the prone man. “Buffy, could you fetch me some water?” Gently slapping the man’s cheeks, Giles called, “Hello! Wake up!”
The man didn’t stir.
Buffy handed Giles the cup of water he’d requested. He dipped his fingers in the water, flicking some droplets on the man’s face. Again, there was no response.
“It doesn’t seem to be working,” he said thoughtfully. “I wonder what else we could—”
He watched in dismay as Buffy plucked the glass from his hand and dumped the entire thing over the man’s face.
Immediately the man sat up, gasping for air.
Looking at his now soaked sofa, Giles frowned.
“What?” Buffy asked innocently. “It worked.”
The man looked around him wildly, trying to get up from the sofa. Giles pushed gently on his shoulders. “It’s all right,” he tried to reassure him. “You’re safe here.”
“Tall. Hurt hurt it hurts. He will ascend!” The man continued to babble, twitching under Giles’s hold.
The group watched helplessly, unsure what to do.
“Look at his hand,” Oz pointed out. “It almost looks like he’s drawing in the air.”
“Buffy,” Giles instructed, “hand me a pen and pad from the desk.”
The slayer quickly did as she was asked. In the man’s hand, the pages of the pad quickly filled with gruesome scenes. He drew page after page of demonic activity. His intensity was frightening to look at it.
“What’s wrong with him?” Willow asked nervously.
Giles shook his head. “Certainly people are gifted with sight, from the Powers That Be. They are the Powers’ word on earth. But I’m afraid he seems to be going mad from it.”
“Does that usually happen?” Buffy asked.
“I don’t think so,” her watcher replied uncertainly. He wasn’t all that knowledgeable about seers. “I know someone who may be able to help, though.” He stood. “I’ll make some calls. You three had better head home. It’s getting late.”
“You’ll call if you need me?” Buffy felt a little guilty leaving Giles with this problem, but she wanted to get back home to Faith. She’d be so upset if the other slayer woke up and she wasn’t there.
“Of course,” Giles agreed. He clasped Buffy’s shoulder warmly. “Go back to Faith. I can handle things here.”
“Thanks,” Buffy said.
As the group left, Giles sat at his desk and picked up the phone. It was very early in England, but this was a case of some urgency. Looking at the man on his couch, still frantically drawing, Giles began to dial.
Buffy awoke to slim arms cradling her, and warm, soft lips pressing against her neck. “Faith,” she murmured sleepily. Relief flooded her body. Wesley had assured her Faith’s unconsciousness was normal, but Buffy needed to see the other girl back to herself before she’d believe this ordeal was really over. She rolled over, facing her girlfriend. The room was dark but she could easily make out Faith’s features.
“Hey,” the brunette whispered, her hands sliding under Buffy’s shirt to stroke her back.
“Hi,” Buffy said back. Her hand rose to Faith’s cheek, touching her gently. As the older girl moved into her touch, Buffy laughed in relief. “You’re you.”
“Yup, all me,” Faith said agreeably, pressing her forehead against Buffy’s. “Sorry I scared you.”
“Me?” Buffy was surprised. Faith had been a wreck, thinking everyone was trying to kill her. Buffy’s fear had been nothing compared to what she must have experienced. “You’re the one who had the close encounter of the demonic variety. I was just scared for you.”
Faith nodded, and her arms tightened around Buffy.
“What was it like?” Buffy asked hesitantly. She was curious but she didn’t want to upset Faith. “If you want to talk about it, that is.”
Thinking about it for a moment, the brunette answered, “It’s a little bit blurry, but mostly terrifying.”
Frowning in sympathy, Buffy nodded. “It seemed like it.” She tilted her mouth forward to meet Faith’s. The two slayers pressed against one another urgently, needing to re-establish their connection after the horrible recent events. Buffy threaded her fingers into Faith’s dark hair, holding her close. “I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to get you to take the antidote,” she confessed, when they stopped kissing long enough to breathe.
“Good thing I had a superhero on my side, huh?” Faith joked.
Buffy grinned, kissing her again. “I’ll always be on your side,” she promised. She said it lightly, but it was obvious how sincerely it was meant.
Faith nodded shakily. If there was one good thing to come out of this crap situation, it was that she felt surer of that fact. She’d been out of control, needy, and violent. Yet Buffy was still here with her. “It was weird,” Faith told her quietly, “I had all these thoughts about Wesley and Giles, and you, really crazy stuff, thinking they were going to kill me.” She smiled softly. “But some part of me still trusted you. You were the only thing that made sense to me.”
“I’m glad,” Buffy said simply, touched by her words.
Faith wanted to ask about something else, but she wasn’t sure she really wanted to know the answer.
“What?” Buffy asked, noticing her struggling to say something. She slid her fingers down to Faith’s neck, stroking the soft skin she found there.
“You said you love me,” Faith muttered, casting her eyes somewhere around Buffy’s collarbone. She was afraid to meet her girlfriend’s gaze. She expected to hear that the blonde had only said that to get her to take the potion.
“I do,” Buffy whispered back immediately. Her thumb butted gently at Faith’s chin, forcing her to look up. The two girls looked at one another in the dark, heads close together. “Don’t you know that?” Buffy asked, her voice gentle.
Faith thought about it. She couldn’t say with certainty that anyone had ever really loved her. She’d thought about her own feelings for Buffy quite a bit, but she hadn’t really entertained the notion that the blonde could love her. She was nothing special, except that she was a slayer, and even in that she was the second best. Why would Buffy love her? She shook her head hesitantly.
“I do,” Buffy repeated. “I love you, Faith.” She peppered Faith’s upturned face with kisses, trying to reassure her.
Faith kissed back, still rolling Buffy’s words around in her mind. As crazy as it seemed, maybe the blonde did love her. She knew objectively, if not from personal experience, what love was supposed to be like. She’d seen it in other people. When you loved someone, you took care of them. You were happy to be with them. You hurt when they hurt. There was a way people looked when they were in love. Didn’t Buffy do all of these things for her? She looked at the girl sharing a pillow with her, eyes moving over her face in wonder. Buffy… loved her? “Really?” She whispered, finding that she needed to hear it again.
“Yes,” Buffy said, without hesitation.
Faith crushed the blonde’s body against hers, rolling so Buffy’s body was above hers. She kissed the smaller girl tenderly, her hands cupping her shoulders.
Buffy responded enthusiastically. After the scare they’d had, she was still reassuring herself that Faith was okay. Propping herself up on her elbow, she ran her free hand down Faith’s side. Her palm slid under the brunette’s shirt, stroking the soft skin of her belly.
Wiggling, Faith laughed. “No tickling!”
Buffy sat back, kneeling so she could slide a second hand under the shirt. “What was that, Faith? Tickle you more?” She attacked viciously.
“No!” Faith protested, trying to keep her voice quiet although she wanted to yell. Squirming, she tried to escape Buffy’s clutches. “You’re gonna get it,” she threatened between manic giggles.
“I’m shaking in my pjs,” the blonde retorted.
Powering through the torturous tickling, Faith managed to sit up, grabbing Buffy’s arms. The blonde tried to pull away, but Faith moved quickly, yanking her over her lap.
“Hey!” Buffy cried indignantly, as Faith brought a light palm down on her pajama covered butt.
“I warned ya, B,” Faith told her. “You were bad and now you get a spanking.” She smacked the blonde again lightly before releasing her.
Buffy sat up, her face a little pink. “Is this where you reveal you’re a closet dominatrix and I have to call you Mistress Faith?”
The older girl chuckled. “Nah.” She tugged Buffy back into her arms. Pulling her in close, she kissed her neck. As Buffy melted into her arms, she murmured, “I’d rather call you Mistress Buffy anyway.”
Buffy’s legs contracted momentarily around hers. Without warning, she gripped the back of Faith’s hair and tugged it back, forcing the brunette to look up at her. “Mistress Buffy would like you to take your clothes off,” she said mischievously.
“Yes, ma’am,” Faith replied, quickly shucking off her shirt. Buffy moved off her lap, helping tug off the pajama bottoms the brunette was wearing. Naked, Faith got on her knees, pulling Buffy against her.
“Mmm,” Buffy purred, “this is better. Mistress Buffy is pleased.”
Faith laughed, reaching for the hem of Buffy’s tank top. She yanked it up and off, eager to get the other girl naked. Buffy wiggled from her pants, kicking them off her ankles, panties in tow. Pressing her body against Faith’s, she brought their lips together.
No matter how many times Faith saw the other slayer naked, she was still excited. She loved running her hands over Buffy’s soft skin, squeezing here, kissing there. Buffy was beautiful; Faith felt like the luckiest person in the world when she got to touch her. Wrapping her arm around Buffy’s waist, she dipped her other hand between the blonde’s legs.
Buffy spread her thighs cooperatively, allow the brunette’s fingers to slide into her wetness. Faith groaned appreciatively against Buffy’s neck. She loved how wet the other girl got for her.
Not about to be left out, Buffy’s fingers found their way to Faith’s pussy. The slayers slumped against one another, supporting each other’s weight as they explored.
Buffy rolled her hips against Faith’s hand, trying to get more friction. Her clit throbbed. No matter how she moved, she wasn’t getting quite the right angle. Groaning in frustration, she withdrew her hand from Faith’s wetness.
“B,” Faith groaned quietly in frustration.
Ignoring her protests, Buffy quickly laid down, pulling Faith’s hand after her. Spreading her legs again, she placed the brunette’s fingers back where she wanted them. “Continue,” she said magnanimously.
“Yes, mistress,” Faith teased.
“Faith,” Buffy whined, still manipulating the other girl’s fingers how she wanted them.
“Okay, baby, I got it,” the older girl reassured her, sliding her fingers over Buffy’s clit in circles. She straddled the blonde’s thigh, letting her own soaking pussy press down against it.
Buffy pushed her leg harder against Faith.
Taking the hint, Faith slowly rocked her hips back and forth. God, that felt good. She couldn’t let herself get distracted though. She was on a mission to make her girlfriend happy. Leaving her thumb on Buffy’s clit, she moved her fingers lower, carefully entering the blonde’s tight hole.
“Oh,” Buffy moaned softly, rolling her head back. “Faith…”
The brunette smiled. She loved the way her name sounded, falling from Buffy’s lips like that. She kept stroking in and out, bringing her free hand up to touch the blonde’s breasts.
“Faith,” Buffy murmured again. She reached up, grabbing the brunette’s shoulders. “Kiss me.”
Faith shifted positions, leaning down to kiss Buffy as she worked her fingers in and out of the blonde’s pussy. Buffy wrapped strong arms around Faith’s back, holding her there and kissing her ferociously.
Picking up the pace, Faith circled her fingers faster against the other girl’s clit.
Buffy moaned into her mouth, moving her hips up and down in rhythm with Faith’s fingers. Her fingers dug painfully into Faith’s back, still squeezing the two of them together. “Mmm,” she panted, tearing her lips from Faith’s to lean her head back.
Faith grinned, watching her girlfriend’s face. She could feel Buffy’s pussy tightening around her fingers. She was close. Faith fucked her faster.
“Harder,” Buffy panted.
Faith obliged, adding a little muscle to her movements.
“Uhh,” the blonde moaned, feeling her orgasm building.
Dipping her head, Faith took one nipple in her mouth and sucked lightly.
Buffy’s arm wrapped around her head tightly, holding her in place. With a final hard thrust, Buffy came, weakly crying out her girlfriend’s name.
Faith smiled against her chest, enjoying the way Buffy’s muscles kept squeezing her fingers. She loved getting Buffy off. The blonde was limp beneath her, flushed pink and sweaty. Gently withdrawing her fingers, Faith laid back beside her.
Buffy sighed happily, still breathing heavily. “You’re so good at that,” she murmured.
“Thanks,” Faith said, amused. She gently stroked her hand over Buffy’s stomach, watching as the blonde caught her breath.
When Buffy stopped seeing stars, she rolled against Faith, drawing her into a kiss. She wasted no time in climbing atop her girlfriend. Straddling Faith’s lap, she began to rock her hips.
“Mmm,” Faith hummed appreciatively. Her palms found Buffy’s hips, helping the blonde to move. The site of Buffy moving above her was almost enough to make her come on the spot. Her hair was wild, bouncing above her breasts as she rolled her hips over Faith’s. She grinned when she noticed Faith watching her.
Faith clenched her thighs together as Buffy rode her. Buffy’s wetness leaked over her mound, mixing with Faith’s own.
Buffy reached a hand behind herself, gently prodding Faith to open her legs. The brunette complied, and Buffy slid two fingers inside Faith, beginning to fuck her to the same rhythm she was moving her hips.
“Shit,” Faith groaned, biting her lip to keep quiet. She wanted to touch Buffy, to kiss her, but found herself incapable of moving. Buffy was fucking her thoroughly, moving her hips quicker and thrusting her fingers just as fast.
“God, B,” the brunette panted. Her hips moved of their own volition, pounding back against Buffy’s wet, spread pussy. Their bodies were slick, sliding easily over each other.
Buffy kept moving, now at a furious pace. She ground the heel of her hand down against Faith’s clit and the brunette’s hips flew up, almost knocking her askew.
“Buffy!” She groaned, as her climax tore through her.
Buffy slowed her hand, continuing to gently move her fingers until Faith touched her wrist to let her know she should stop. Then she climbed off, curling up against Faith’s side contentedly.
Still recovering, the older girl managed to cast an arm around Buffy. The blonde kissed her shoulder gently, wrapping an arm across Faith’s torso.
“B?” Faith whispered after their heartbeats had returned to normal.
“Hmmm?” Buffy mumbled back, well on the way to sleep.
Faith looked at the girl in her arms. Nuzzling her face into Buffy’s hair, she said, “I love you.” It surprised her how easily it came from her mouth. She’d feared that phrase for a while now. But Buffy had said it first, allowing Faith to admit it without the crippling nervousness that would have been involved otherwise.
Buffy’s arms tightened around her. She opened her eyes, smiling up at Faith sleepily. “I love you, too.”
After pressing a slow kiss to Buffy’s lips, Faith closed her eyes. “Goodnight, baby,” she murmured.
Wesley sat at Giles’s desk, sipping coffee. With each sip, he wrinkled his brow. Coffee, he hated the stuff. He’d never understand why Americans were so enamored with it. Unfortunately, he needed the caffeine rush at the moment. He’d hardly had any sleep since Faith’s attack, between the researching and then staying with his comatose slayer. Then Buffy had found this man on patrol, who was clearly in need of their help. A contact in England had helped them find the right spell for the job. It seemed something or someone had tampered with the man’s connection to the Powers. The spell required an advanced witch to perform. Neither he nor Giles excelled at magic, but between the two of them, it seemed the spell had been a success.
Giles was perched on the couch next to the man, helping him sip from a glass of water. Their guest was obviously weakened from what had been done to him. He could barely hold himself upright. As Giles lowered the glass to the coffee table, the man slumped backward, closing his eyes.
“You can rest now if you’d like, and we’ll talk in the morning,” Giles offered. “Well, later in the morning.” It was already just after 4AM.
The man shook his head. “No, I’m all right.”
“Can you tell us your name?” Wesley asked.
“Doyle,” the man rasped.
“Doyle,” Giles took the lead. “We know you’re a seer. Can you tell us what happened to you? Who tampered with your connection to the Powers That Be?”
The man nodded, wincing at the aching in his head. “The nameplate on his desk said Mayor Richard Wilkins. I can tell you who’s not getting my vote next election.”
“The Mayor?” Giles repeated, dumbfounded. Of course, he’d known something was wrong within the Sunnydale Police Department. No one could be as stupid or in denial as they seemed to be. It seemed the corruption was more deep-seated than he’d realized. “Why would the Mayor want to see your visions? What was he looking for?”
Doyle struggled to organize his thoughts. He knew he’d heard something important… “Slayers,” he remembered. “He wanted the visions related to the slayers.”
Wesley and Giles exchanged glances. “Well,” Wesley said, “I guess we know who was responsible for almost killing Buffy in the cemetery.”
“And Faith’s infection by the Althesia,” the older watcher added.
Wesley frowned, thinking of the prone Faith. “The question is: what is he up to? Why does he need them out of the way?”
Giles shook his head. He didn’t know either. “At least we have something he doesn’t.”
“What’s that?” Doyle asked.
“You,” the elder man pointed out. “He can’t have wanted you to escape. We can use you to our advantage.”
Doyle was beginning to feel wary of his rescuers. He hadn’t gotten away from the Mayor just to be someone else’s pawn. “Am I prisoner here?” He demanded.
“Of course not,” Giles reassured him. “I’m merely suggesting you might like to help us defeat him, whatever his plan is. You must want some retribution for what was done to you.”
The seer considered that. Having his connection to the Powers cranked up felt like his skull was being torn open, 24 hours a day. Retribution sounded quite nice. “Okay,” he agreed. “I’ll help. What do you need me to do?”
Two chapters left… :) Hope you enjoyed it.