Hug and Share and Learn and Grow

This is my take on what happened in Sunnydale, while Willow, Angel, Spike and Gabe went to Santa Carla. If you haven’t read “Forever Ain’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be” or the beginning of “Friendship Ain’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be” by Carla this probably won’t make much sense. I strongly suggest you do read them!
Category: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: Teen
Characters: Buffy Summers, Faith Lehane
Genre: Fluff, Romance – Slash
Pairing(s): Buffy/Faith
Status: Complete


Prologue

Buffy collapsed into bed gratefully and prayed for a dreamless, restful sleep.

As was often the case in her life, she didn’t get what she wanted.

She dreamt of recent events in her life, but this time she saw them as an onlooker would. She wasn’t in her body, she was watching herself react to what was happening.

She saw Faith rush into the library, blood flowing freely from a gash on her head. She saw herself run over to Faith, cradling the bleeding girl in her arms, tenderly stroking her face.

She saw herself upset and Faith looping and arm around her and making her smile and laugh.

The final image, she saw herself ranting in the cemetery at Faith. She watched as Faith drew her into a hesitant embrace and dropped a kiss on the top of her head.

Then events began to run from what happened to what she wished had happened. She watched as other-Buffy turned her face towards Faith, their lips only millimetres apart, as Faith murmured “I love you, B.”

“I love you too.” Buffy answered, waking up at the same time. Her heart pounded, and her body was shaking. “I love you too,” she whispered again, liking the feel of saying it, of saying it to the right person.


One

The school day passed hazily as it always did. Buffy managed to avoid both Willow and Xander all day. It wasn’t too difficult, she and Willow were dealing with the awkward fact that Willow was dating Angel. A curse-free Angel no less. It had put a huge strain on their friendship and she worried it was one friendship she may have to learn to do without.

Add to that there was a new demon in town by the name of Gabriel—or Gabe to her friends but Buffy did not qualify for that—who was dating Spike and seemed to want Willow’s friendship, Buffy was feeling very alone.

She found herself tapping her feet impatiently all day, waiting for the end of school. And the beginning of Slayer duties. Duties she had never wanted, she now looked forward to because it meant time with Faith.

The dream stirred up feelings that she had somehow managed to always push to the back of her mind and the bottom of her heart. She didn’t know how Faith felt about her, or even if Faith was gay.

Sure, there were signs, the hugs, the way she called Buffy ‘girlfriend’, the thinly veiled comments, but then again, maybe Buffy was just projecting her own feelings onto Faith. Maybe she was just reading too much into something harmless.

“Hey girlfriend!” An arm snaked around her shoulders and Buffy nearly launched into outer space.

“Chill, B! It’s just me.” Faith laughed.

“Sorry.” Buffy gave her a small smile. “I was just thinking about you, and here you are, appearing out of nowhere and scaring the life out of me!”

“You were thinking of me?” Faith asked, smiling her trademark Faith-grin. “All good things I hope.”

“Are there bad things?” Buffy asked in mock horror.

Faith gave the question some serious thought, scrunching up her face adorably, or so Buffy thought at least. “No, don’t think so.”

Buffy’s arm stole around Faith’s waist. “Library?”

“Sure.”

They entered the library to check if there was a new big bad about to unleash havoc on their town.

Buffy took a quick look round, Xander and Cordy were holding hands under the table, Oz was missing, but that wasn’t strange anymore, not since Willow had finished with him for Angel. Willow was also not present.

“Where’s Willow?” Buffy asked.

“Oh,” replied Giles. “She left.”

“Left?” Buffy questioned. “Oh, well, guess we’ll see her at the Bronze.” She noticed that Xander and Cordy looked extremely uncomfortable.

“Um, no. Left Sunnydale, Buffy. She,” Giles coughed, not wanting to list who Willow left with. “She, Angel, Gabriel and Spike have gone to Santa Carla to repay Crystal for Angel’s curse.”

“Oh.” Buffy said in a small voice. She was more stung that Willow hadn’t told her than the fact Willow had gone with Gabe and Angel.

“C’mon, B.” Faith tugged her arm. “Let’s go slay, huh? I bet I can bag more vamps than you.”

She turned to Faith, grateful to her. “How much?”

“Twenty bucks says I get more than you.”

“Twenty-five says no way!” She responded, allowing Faith to drag her out of the library.

“Wow.” Cordy said finally. “Was anyone else expecting a temper tantrum then?”

Giles and Xander both responded in affirmative.

“Wow.” Cordy repeated. “When did Buffy get maturity?”


“Fourteen, count ‘em. Fourteen.” Faith gloated.

“I counted, I made it thirteen.” Buffy responded with a grin.

“What difference does it make? You only got eight. And it was fourteen.”

“That’s only because you stole them all while that hairy vamp pinned me to the crypt.”

“Can’t help it if your getting slow in your old age, B.” Faith grinned and looped her arm around Buffy’s shoulders as they exited the cemetery. “But I’ll do you a deal, you buy me dinner and we call it quits.”

Buffy again let her arm wind its way around Faith’s waist as they walked. “Done… unless you’re springing me for dinner at Sunnydale’s finest restaurant.”

“Sunny D has a finest restaurant? Guess I missed that one.” Faith laughed, enjoying the feel of Buffy’s arm around her. It was only the second time Buffy had responded to her affections.

Ok, so technically she wasn’t responding, she probably walked hugging Red, well, until recently anyway, but Faith was happy.

Maybe she could deal with being a rebound friend, or anything else, just having B to herself for a change was good enough at the moment.

“C’mon, B. Let’s get something disgustingly greasy with about nine-hundred calories per mouthful.” She said, tugging the other Slayer along.

Buffy winced. “Nine-hundred calories per mouthful?” She said doubtfully.

Faith rolled her eyes. “B, there’s nothing more boring than a skinny girl worrying about her weight. Besides, you’re a Slayer, you’ve got a speedy metabolism.”

Buffy laughed and let Faith lead her to the nearest vendor of disgustingly greasy food with about nine-hundred calories per mouthful.


Two

Faith opened the door and let Buffy enter her small motel room first.

“I love what you’ve done to the place.” Buffy said.

Faith bristled. “Look, I know it’s not Revello Drive, but it’s a place to crash,” she snapped.

“No.” Buffy turned to face her. “I mean the fairy lights, and the posters, I really like it.”

Faith shrugged awkwardly. She wasn’t thrilled about where she lived either, but had tried to make it homey, in a weird kinda way. She’d stuck a couple of posters on the walls and strung fairy lights around the window and bed head.

Buffy moved closer to inspect some photos she’d noticed tacked onto the wall. “You’ve got a photo of me on the wall?”

Faith shrugged again. She had been over to the Summers’ house while Buffy was at school and asked Joyce if she could have a few photos of the Scooby gang to brighten up her walls.

Joyce had been thrilled to help out and they’d spent a really nice afternoon going through the boxes and albums looking for “the right picture”. Joyce had even showed her their family albums, she’s seen countless pictures of B as a kid.

Faith wondered what it would be like to have a mother like Joyce, one that cared and made time to file pictures away in albums, and was interested in art. Not one who spent all their money on cigarettes and alcohol. Not one that vanished for days on end, a different man with her every time she reappeared. Not one who’s only media interest lay in “The Jerry Springer Show”.

“Hey! There’s a picture of me in my diapers!” Buffy exclaimed. “I’m guessing my mother had a hand in this?”

“I just wanted to brighten up my walls, B.” She finally spoke. “And you were the prettiest thing I could think off.” She nearly bit her tongue off, what made her say that? B would run a mile.

But Buffy did not run a mile, she merely blushed attractively. “We should get a few new photos of the whole Scooby Gang done, with you in.” She replied. “Then again, the Scooby Gang is changing so quickly nowadays, who knows who’ll be in the photos.”

Faith bit her lip, uh-oh, here comes the outpouring of emotion about Willow, Gabe and Angel. “You know what, B. I’m gonna brush the vamp dust out of my hair. Make yourself at home, I’ll be right back.”

She went to the bathroom and shut the door and began brushing her hair vigorously. She wasn’t good at emotion, or comforting people, but she’d try for B. She just needed to psych herself into it. She heard Buffy say something, but didn’t catch the words. Oh well, it was probably only a nasty comment about Gabe. She though, and continued brushing her hair.


Buffy wandered around Faith’s tiny room, wondering why she’d never thought to ask if the other Slayer wanted to move into her house. It would be more convenient, it would be safer, and her mother adored Faith, to say nothing of the feelings Buffy got every time she looked at Faith.

“Or maybe some pictures of us, The Chosen Two.” She called through the door, but got no reply.

Buffy noticed another picture of herself, sitting with Xander and Willow, it was taken some time during her first year of school, she could tell because of the length of Willow’s hair.

Willow. Buffy’s face darkened somewhat. Where had that friendship gone? She couldn’t blame Gabe entirely for taking Willow’s friendship, she, herself, had been pretty caught up in the Slaying gig since Faith had appeared.

She had been spending a lot of time with the other Slayer. Then Angel came back from hell, or wherever he had been and she had hurled herself at him, mainly to avoid her growing lust for the younger Slayer.

She hadn’t been so much heartbroken that Angel had found someone new, in fact, she couldn’t imagine a better girlfriend for him than Willow, it was just the fact that Angel had been her excuse.

Her safety blanket to hold on to while these new feelings for Faith washed over her. With her security blanket gone she had lashed out viciously, mainly at Gabe, who’s arrival seemed to signal the end of the situation they had all been stuck in.

Her feelings for Faith scared her. She hadn’t ever considered herself anything other than straight, but with Faith around, she couldn’t imagine anyone else she’d rather be with. Including Angel.

It was scary.


“I’m back, how do I look?” Faith struck a pose.

“Well brushed?” Buffy replied.

Faith laughed and Buffy made a mental note to make that happen more often.

Faith collapsed on the bed in an unladylike fashion and patted the space beside her. “Have a seat and tell me your woes.”

Buffy took a seat closer than was necessary. “My woes?”

“Yeah, your woes. Oh, woe is me, my best friend and my ex-honey. Woe, woe, woe.”

“Oh, that.” Buffy smiled at her. “I’m ok.”

“B.” Faith laid a hand on Buffy’s arm, and Buffy felt her nerve endings tingle. “I know I’m not the most sympathetic of listeners, but I am your friend, I can give this hug and share and learn and grow thing a go.”

Buffy smiled, charmed at Faith’s attempt at being girly. “It’s just weird, you know?”

Faith reached into her bedside cabinet and brought out a bottle of wine, uncorked it and took a swig. She offered it to Buffy. “Tell me.” She leant back against the headboard.

“Okay,” Buffy replied slowly. “Can we turn the fairy lights on? I love it, but Mom only lets me get them out at Christmas.”

“Fine, but then we hug and share—”

“And learn and grow.” Buffy joined in. She took a gulp of wine and passed it back to Faith.

“You got it girlfriend.”

Faith turned on the fairy lights and turned off the main light, then took her seat next to Buffy. Faith’s slight weight on the bed made Buffy slide towards her a little, she didn’t fight it.

“So why’s it weird?”

Buffy didn’t answer straight away, too entranced by the multi-coloured lights playing over Faith’s smooth skin.

“B?” Faith prodded.

“Oh, well, you know. I’ve always had Angel around, and Willow’s always been there for me too, and now they have each other, and…”

“And you don’t have anyone? Being alone sucks.” Faith said gently.

“Well, I still have my ‘sister Slayer’.” Buffy smiled slightly.

“But you don’t have your best friend or you lover.”

Buffy opened her mouth. Shut it. Opened it again. Shut it once more. I have you. She wanted to say, but wasn’t sure how true it was.

“I’m your friend, B.”

“I don’t want to be friends with you.” Buffy said, and the moment it was out of her mouth she knew it came out wrong. She had meant to put the emphasis on friends, but it had come out wrong. She had said “I don’t want to be friends with you.” She had made it seem like Faith wasn’t good enough to be her friend.

Faith rocked backwards as if struck. Her face crumpled momentarily, then she managed to pull forward her mask of not caring. “Fine. Screw it. I tried, I failed. Get out.”

“Faith,” Buffy reached for her. “That wasn’t what I meant.”

“I don’t care.” Faith replied with a stony face.

“Yes you do.” Buffy protested. “It came out wrong. I shouldn’t have said anything at all.”

“No, if that’s how you feel, B, maybe you shouldn’t. I’m sorry I’m not Red, I’m sorry I’m not good enough for you, but I thought if I tried…” Faith tailed off, surprised at how close to tears she was.

“It wasn’t what I meant, Faith, but I don’t think you want to know what I was really saying, and was that a sentence?”

“B, can you just go?” Faith walked to the door and motioned for Buffy to leave.

“No. I’m not going anywhere until you understand what I meant.”

“Oh, I understand loud and clear, B. I’m a substitute for Red.” Faith grabbed Buffy’s arm in an attempt to remove her.

Buffy’s temper snapped. “No you’re not! Angel was a substitute for YOU!”

Both girls stopped. Buffy clapped both hands over her mouth. Faith stared at her in confusion. “Explain that, B. ‘Cos I’m about to take that in a way you probably don’t mean.”

Buffy didn’t speak. She hadn’t meant to tell Faith like that. She didn’t even know if she ever meant to tell Faith at all.

“B?”

“Uv ooh” Buffy muttered from behind her hands, not knowing where this new found assertiveness was coming from, and wondering how to stop it.

“What?” Faith gently took Buffy’s hands away from her mouth.

“I love you.” She whispered.

“What?” Faith looked shocked again.

“You heard.”

“B, you don’t have to say that. I mean, I know how hard it must be watching your love and your best friend get it on, well maybe I don’t, but all the same, you don’t have to say stuff like that to me. I’ll be here for you anyway.”

“Angel isn’t my love.” Buffy managed to look Faith in the eyes. “You are.”

“Really?” Faith discovered a smile was working it’s way round her face.

“Really.”

“Honestly? You love me?”

“Yes, Faith.” Buffy smiled. “You want me to write it on your walls in big letters?”

“Yeah. Yeah, that would help, have you got a pen?” Faith began patting her pockets, when she found nothing she rummaged in the nearest drawer, knocking clothes and books flying with shaking hands.

She probably would have continued until Buffy took one of those shaking hands and asked, “Would it help if I kissed you?”

“Uh-huh.”

Buffy faced Faith, her arms moving around Faith’s back. She leant forward slightly, as did Faith, their lips finally meeting after months of waiting. Buffy’s hands trailed lightly over Faith’s back while Faith’s hands stroked Buffy’s face.

They broke apart eventually.

“No, still don’t believe it.” Faith said at length. “You might still have to write it on the walls for me.”

“I guess I’ll have to prove it to you…” Buffy said, leading Faith back towards the bed.


Epilogue

Faith awoke to an empty bed. She stretched and sighed deeply. “Weird-ass dream last night.” She muttered. It was a common dream for her that Buffy would fall in love with her, one she hoped would one day come true.

She wriggled and felt a scratching on her back. She reached around and brought forth a note.

It read:

“Gone for breakfast, back soon. B”

Under the writing was a lipstick kiss.

Faith got up and moved towards the window to let some fresh air in, then she noticed the walls, and began to laugh. They were covered in writing.

“I love Faith”, “Buffy 4 Faith”, “Faith is the most beautiful girl in the world”, “Faith is my girlfriend” and on and on.

She began to inspect the smaller writing.

“I love Faith because she’s amazing”, “Faith is my girlfriend because anyone else isn’t right for me. She’s the only one”, “I love Faith so much it makes me ache to be away from her”, “I looked at Faith this morning and couldn’t believe that I was lucky enough to be with her, she’s so beautiful” and finally: “I love Faith because she loves me enough to let me write all over her walls, quite possibly forfeiting her deposit on her room in the process.”

“Oh, hell. There’s something I didn’t think off.” Faith muttered.

She noticed another one.

“I love Faith because I know she’ll look cute in painting overalls when we redecorate this room…”

And underneath:

“… just before she moves in with me?”

A knock at the door made Faith jump. Don’t let that be the landlord, she thought.

She opened the door. “Honey, I’m homo!” Buffy said perkily, brandishing coffee and croissants.

“I’d love to move in with you.” Faith told her, wrapping her arms around her new girlfriend. “I love you.”

Coffee and croissants fell to the floor unnoticed as the Chosen Two moved closer to the bed.

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