Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Faith can be patient.
It isn't usually this quiet. Usually, there are girls littered through the house, training, eating, and acting like girls.
It's past midnight now, though, and that's when slayers hunt.
They spell it with a little "s" now, and no one says "the" anymore. Except with Buffy. The Slayer. The first, but no longer the one and only. Not for a while, but it's never been so obvious.
It's past midnight. Faith's gotten used to being around people again, so when she finishes popping her popcorn, she decides to check out the makeshift gym downstairs.
Past midnight the house is empty, except for Buffy, and for some reason she likes the basement.
The stairs creak as she trots downward, careful to avoid the bent nails on the railing. The remnants of the Council offered them a better, newer facility, but they got used to makeshift long ago.
Buffy said it reminded her of home, and that was that. Casa de Slayer, and where she goes, the rest can't help but follow.
"B? You down here?"
"Yeah." The voice, unusually, isn't accompanied by the whip-thud of the punching bag. From the foot of the staircase, Faith glimpses the photo album in Buffy's hands before it's slipped onto its shelf. She's paged through it before—pictures of Joyce in college, and old school Sunnydale, back before they were murderers.
And, tucked carefully behind a flyer for some PTA get-together, a snapshot of Spike, and a creepy-ass drawing of B herself.
Faith never asked, but she knows.
"You still miss him?"
Instead of peroxide and leather, she sees tailored suits and brown eyes and rage in her mind. Teeth, and darkness, and a rare fear of sticky-warmth. Yeah, she misses him, misses him as much as her first watcher, her second, and every other person she's held too close.
Sometimes, she doesn't remember where he is. He left, that's all, and it's easier thinking he's gone for good.
The concern snaps her out of it--B doesn't use names anymore. Just "you" and "them" and "we," and she won't use names because someone else might die.
Buffy's staring at her now, so she holds her plastic bowl up with a shrug. "Kettle corn?"
"No." She shakes her head. "Thanks. What about the girls?"
"They're all out now." Faith sets the bowl on a table, next to a broken crossbow and a couple of throwing knives. "We've got the place all to ourselves."
"Careful," Buffy warns. "That sounds like a come-on to me."
"You never know, B." Faith perches next to Buffy on the pommel horse. "Maybe it is."
A few years ago, there wouldn't have been a doubt. Instead, there would have sparring, cheap lipstick, and rug burn. Sometimes, semi-expensive lipstick and brick burn.
"It's weird that he's dead. Deader, I mean."
Faith starts, glances at Buffy with surprise. Nobody's talked about Spike since the end, just like they didn't talk about Anya, before Xander left.
"I got used to seeing him every day," Buffy rambles. "Smelling him. Talking with him."
"Fucking him?" Faith's heard the rumors. She knows they're true. She would have herself, once upon a time.
The shove is playful, but it knocks Faith over. A few years ago, she would have flipped up, knocked Buffy down, and ground against her.
Now, she sprawls on the mat and waits for B to come to her. She can be patient.
Robin's jibes aside, she knows exactly what she does to people—man, woman, human or vamp. And slayers, well, it's that much easier when the buttons she pushes are the same as her own.
When Buffy curls onto the floor beside her, she smirks. "Careful, B. Looks like a come-on."
"You never know, Faith." Buffy props her chin in her hands and kicks her toes gently against Faith's. "Maybe it is."
Faith is as still as death as Buffy inches her body closer. As Buffy tilts her head to the side, and a lock of hair escapes from the messy ponytail and brushes against her neck. As Buffy presses her mouth against hers, gently.
A few years ago, Faith would have bitten back, tasted Buffy's want, and taken her apart.
Now, she smiles against Buffy's lips and waits.
It's been a while for both of them, though much longer for Buffy, who hasn't so much as smiled suggestively since her world ended.
Faith had Robin, for a while, and after that she dabbled with a couple of the new girls. Each encounter was fun, but there was always something missing. Not love, *hell* no, but understanding. Robin never got the slayer deal, mommy-issues aside, and the new girls never got Faith.
In the end, only she and Buffy knew what it was like. Two against the world and the forces of darkness, and most of the time each other.
Buffy's hand is easing under Faith's halter top, and Faith's tongue is in Buffy's mouth. It should feel familiar, but it doesn't. It feels new, as if a word could shatter them to dust.
Of course, she has to say something.
As Buffy begins to peck carefully down her throat, and nip at her collarbone, Faith laughs. "This is weird, B." Buffy draws back with a frown.
"What is?" She looks confused, and Faith wonders whether she'll use Oil of Olay to uncrease the wrinkles in her forehead one day. "Us?"
Faith pushes her away and sits up. "Us. This." Buffy curls upright with a pout. She can feel her heart beating. She wonders if Buffy can feel it, too. "This is different."
"Don't you want to?"
"Yeah." Faith watches Buffy's tongue swipe against her lower lip, watches Buffy tug her tank top into place. "But not yet."
"You still miss him, don't you?"
Buffy doesn't need to answer.
She grabs the popcorn while Faith rearranges her clothing, and they walk up the stairs in silence.
It isn't time, Faith knows. Not yet.
She can be patient.
Originally posted here.