Just Good Friends Series

A series of one-shots in which Faith is very gay, and Buffy is very not, and still there is heartbreak.
Category: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: Teen
Characters: Buffy Summers, Faith Lehane
Genre: Angst
Pairing(s): Buffy/Faith
Notes: These were archived separately, being a series of one-shots, but given how I’m having issues keeping the dates in order, it’s easier to archive them as one story.
Status: Complete


Story 1: Surrender Your Heart

The Bronze is decked out for Halloween. Looks kinda funky in here, all dark with skeletons hanging on the walls and pumpkins on the bar. It’s dark and smoky and not Bronze-like at all. They’ve finally got hold of a decent sound system and it’s booming out old tunes at an enormous decibel level.

There’ve also rigged up UV lights, which makes people glow eerily. Kinda makes me wish it always looked like this.

B fights her way through the crowd towards me with a drink in each hand. A bottle of beer for me, and an OJ for her. Someone stuck an umbrella in her drink and it strikes me as B-like.

I take my drink and shout into her ear that I’ve seen a free table. She nods and we fight our way towards it. I don’t get why this place is so crowded tonight, but it is.

I light a cigarette and B tells me there’s no ashtray. The only bonus of the really loud music is that if B and I want to talk we have to shout in each other’s ear. It’s as close as I’m ever going to get to her.

She points to a circle of ash on the table. “Oooh.”

“Crop circles, only ash, and on a table. See, even a table’s not just a table on the Hellmouth,” I tell her and she laughs. She does that a lot when I’m around. At first it used to surprise me, but then she wrote in my birthday card one year ‘To the funniest girl on the planet.’ Who’d have thunk Faith could be funny?

B picks up my blue lighter, under the UV lights it’s glowing a radioactive colour. B grins and I see her teeth and the whites of her eyes are glowing green. I tell her this and she giggles.

Actually B’s glowing a lot, given her obsession with pastel colours. I’m not. Leather trousers and a tiny black tank top.

“Don’t you have anything that glows?” she asks into my ear.

I shake my head. She reaches over and moves the strap of my tank top and regards my black bra strap.

“Just checking,” she tells me.

“You think I wear white underwear?” I ask and she laughs and tells me that I never stop surprising her, so she had to check.

I grin at the compliment, but part of me feels sad. You see, B and I are the closest friends on the planet. I’m sorry I shoved Red out of the best friend slot, but she’s happy with Tara, so I guess it worked out ok. The problem is the same as it’s always been: I want more.

B told me when she first met me she kinda got a crush on me, but I knew, just by her tone that she was over it by then. It wasn’t a crush-crush. It was just a crush. She said, “If I was gay, you’d be the one for me, but I’m not. See, if I can’t fall in love with you, I can’t be gay.”

She said it gently and tried not to break my heart. She almost succeeded. But I’m her best friend. And that means a lot more to me than I thought it could. Ok, I’m not her lover, but she confides more in me than anyone else on the planet. I got the feeling she really tried to be in love with me.

B steals my cig and brings my thought back to present day. “I thought you quit,” I say, lighting myself a new cigarette, noting that only flecks of the white part glows in the UV lights, and I wonder if I should be worried about it.

“I did.” She inhales deeply. “But I’m quitting quitting. Besides, I need nicotine to get me through tonight.”

“So where’s Clare?” I ask, but I don’t care, and I don’t think B does either.

“Dunno, she said she’d be here half an hour ago.”

Clare works at the Bronze and it’s her birthday. I get the feeling she doesn’t have too many friends because she barely knows B, and pretty much begged her to come tonight. B asked if she could bring me and got the answer, “The more the merrier.”

The sound system cranks up another few decibels. Sooner or later the patrons of the Bronze are gonna start bleeding from the ears. I really don’t want to be here when that happens. Hell, I really don’t want to be here.

I flick my ash on the floor, and I’m kinda charmed by B’s attempt to not make a mess. She’s grabbed an empty beer bottle off another table and is using that as an ashtray. Every time she flicks she misses. So much for Slayer Skill.

“Hey! That’s how the ash circle happened!” She exclaims excitedly.

“I prefer my crop circle theory, but whatever floats your boat, B.”

Let me be your fantasy
I’ll take you up to the highest heights
Let’s spread our wings
And fly away

There’s a crowd dancing now. I wanna dance, but don’t wanna lose our seats. I drop my dying cig in the beer bottle and lean back to watch.

“I get the feeling I know dreadlocks over there.” She subtly points to a crusty looking specimen of humanity.

“I get the feeling I don’t want to,” I reply.

“That’s what sucks about this town. I don’t know if I know someone, or just saved ‘em from a vampy death.”

Surround you with love and pure delight
Release your spirit a set u free
Feel my energy
Let’s be as one
“Let Me Be Your Fantasy”—Baby D

I still wanna dance, I kinda jig in my seat and feel goofy. B quirks an eyebrow at me, then jigs too.

The music changes to something slightly more recent.

Under a lover’s sky
I’m gonna be with you
And no one’s gonna be around
If you think that you won’t fall
Well just wait until, ‘till the sun goes down
Underneath the starlight (starlight)
There’s a magical feeling so right
It will steal your heart tonight

I’m feeling kinda antagonised by lyrics here. I lean back in my chair again and pick up a strand of B’s hair and begin to twirl it round my fingers. B doesn’t bat an eyelid. This is a common thing for me to do.

You can try to resist
Try to hide from my kiss
But you know, but you know
That you, can’t fight the moonlight
Deep in the dark you’ll surrender your heart
But you know, but you know
That you, can’t fight the moonlight,
No you can’t fight it
It’s gonna get to your heart

I hate lyrics like this. While playing with B’s hair I notice she’s wearing the necklace and earrings I bought her for her birthday. Delicate white gold chain with a shiny light blue stone, the earrings are the same stone. Actually, I don’t know why I’m surprised, she barely ever takes them off. Which is great, because I’ve already bought her a ring to go with it all.

It’s at home wrapped up neatly for Christmas. Yeah, I know, it’s the first of November and I’ve already bought her present. Actually, I bought it two months ago.

I nod out of the window at the stars. “Which one’s mine again?”

She smiles beautifully. “See those three in a line? It’s the one on the right.”

“Are you sure?” I ask.

“Of course I am,” she replies, pulling a face that explains she doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about.

But she really did buy me a star. Somewhere up there is a star named Faith Winter. I have the certificate and everything. The card meant more than the star though. It said, “I tried to get you the world, but I couldn’t afford it. Do you mind if I do it piece by piece?”

Ooh, I’m getting far too smushy here.

“Wanna top-up?” I ask gesturing to her empty glass.

She nods and I weave my way through the crowd, pausing to dance a little. I turn to B and mouth the words of the song to her.

There’s no escaping love
Once a gentle breeze (once a gentle breeze)
Weaves it’s spell upon your heart
And no matter what you think
It won’t be to long
‘Till your in my arms
Underneath the starlight, starlight
We’ll be lost in the rhythm so right
Feel it steal your heart tonight
You can try to resist
Try to hide from my kiss
But you know, but you know
That you, can’t fight the moonlight
Deep in the dark you’ll surrender your heart
But you know, but you know
That you, can’t fight the moonlight,
No you can’t fight it
No matter what you do
The night is gonna get to you.
(Your gonna know)
(That I know)
Don’t try you’re never gonna win
Underneath the starlight (starlight)
There’s a magical feeling so right
It will steal your heart tonight

I guess if me and B were together this would be our song, since the way we became friends was dusting vamps under the moonlight, but I guess that isn’t as romantic as the whole Coyote Ugly thing.

And besides, my leading lady is straight.

When I return Clare has finally arrived. She looks anaemic. Her skin is so pasty white she’s glowing blue under the UV lights. I check her neck subtly, no, a vamp hasn’t bit her, this is her natural look.

And I thought I had problems.


B and I exchange comments all night regarding everyone’s appearance, dancing skills—or lack thereof—and other superficial things, but to be honest, we’re bored stiff.

I’m glad when B fakes a yawn and explains that she’s very tired from work and tells Clare we’re going.

We get outside and breathe in cool fresh air, it’s heavenly after the thick smog of the Bronze. Sunny D’s having a cold spell. Freakish weather on the Hellmouth. I tuck my scarf around my neck and realise I’ve lost my gloves.

I hate this, we’re in sunny California, and it’s so cold I can see my breath.

“You want one of my gloves?” B asks.

“I’m fine, really. Anyway, if you do that we’ll both have one cold hand.” I reply.

“Pockets, you idiot.” She hands me a glove and I take it, a little stunned that it’s black and not pastel pink.

She threads a be-gloved hand through my arm and puts her other hand in her pocket, I follow suit.

“You wanna come to my apartment?” I ask.

“Sure.”

My apartment is a five minute walk from the Bronze, but sometimes we’re laughing so hard, or talking so much it takes half an hour. I’m hoping tonight will be one of those night.

“I had a dream about you last night,” I tell her.

“Oh, god, I hope it’s not a prophesy dream. I need a week’s leave from Slaying.”

“Uh-huh, B. It was a dream dream. You know, freaky, weird, makes no sense at all.”

“Oh, in that case tell me.”

“Ok, remember when we went to England to visit Watcher HQ? And remember we played hooky and got on a train and went to the beach?”

“Yeah, Brightly or something.” She replies.

“Brighton,” I correct. “Yeah. Remember there was a good pier and a bad pier?”

“Bad Pier!” She admonishes as if telling off a dog, and we crack up.

A drunk collapsed in a doorway nearby belches loudly and inelegantly and we laugh again.

“So you and me were on the Pier, in a café. The good pier.”

“There wasn’t a café on the pier.”

Dream, B. Work with me.” I grin.

“Ok. Go on.”

“Anyway, we’re on the pier, and all of a sudden it vanishes. Just you and me in this café being held up by one strut.”

B giggles.

“Oh, it gets better. Anyway, you say ‘don’t worry, we can get the roller coaster back.’”

B laughs so hard at this that her legs give way and I smack into a bin. I get the feeling it might take a record breaking forty-five minutes to get home tonight.

“So we get on this roller coaster, and then that vanishes.”

“We’re not having a good time on this Pier,” B notes. “So what do we do?”

“Well luckily there’s a piece of wool stretched from the roof of the café to the beach, don’t ask what it’s attached to. And there’s also these multi coloured floats, like when you’re learning to swim. So we’re freezing our asses off and we grab onto them.”

“And what happened?” B asks when I pause.

“And nothing. I woke up. Too weird-ass for me. What do you think it means?”

“You have a fear of commitment? Isn’t that what all dreams mean?”

“What about the Pier?”

“You have a fear of Piers… or committing to them.”

We laugh all the way back to my apartment.


“Jeez, it’s cold in here.” I flip on the heating, something I’ve never had to do before. I grab the blanket off my bed and drag it into the lounge where B’s settled.

“Oooh, share.” She reaches eagerly for the blanket.

We shove on a video, doesn’t matter which one, we’ll probably talk all the way through.

I take off my boots and discover a hole in my sock. “Typical.” I mutter. “That was my last pair without holes.”

“Ooh, that reminds me.” B digs in her bag. “I got you a present.”

“Um, it’s Clare’s birthday, not mine,” I say, pretty much thrilled as B hands me a paper bag.

“I know, I was shopping for her, but these just shouted ‘Faith’ when I was in the store.”

I reach into the bag and bring out a pair of rainbow socks. With toes. I raise my eyebrow at her. “How did they scream Faith?” I ask. “Are you sure they were sincere? I think they were yanking you, B.”

“I just like that totally unimpressed look you do. And besides, you need socks.” She’s barely hiding a smirk.

“I need black socks,” I tell her, but all the same I’m taking off my old holey socks and trying on my new rainbow socks. “How the fuck do you work these toes?” I ask indignantly.

“Takes practice,” she advises.

“You’ve got a pair? Oh, B, you nerd. Much as I love you, you nerd!”

“Thank you.”


We talk our own brand of nonsense for awhile, occasionally I wiggle my multicoloured toes at B and she cracks up. The flat begins to warm up and B gets sleepy. She leans back against me, and I do what I always do, I play with her hair. Just a few strands, I don’t plait it or anything, I just wind it round my fingers slowly enjoying the softness.

“Riley was jealous of you,” she murmurs sleepily. “He said I never let him play with my hair.”

“Really?” I ask, even though she’s told me a million times.

“Yeah, so I told him that it was your trademark and he should find his own.”

I smile as B drifts off to sleep. I could hate her for not loving me, but what would be the point? I’d lose the best and most stable thing in my life.

So I’ll just be content with being here for her.

And despite what she said, I still hope…


Story 2: Slayer Pride

I slam the washer door and turn to B. “One day you’re gonna have to learn to do your own laundry.”

She looks up from the ironing board. “And one day you’re gonna have to learn to iron. Until then, this arrangement works just fine for me.”

“I still think you’re conning me.” I tell her. “I only own two shirts that need ironing, however, I do all your laundry.”

“Do I or do I not buy you dinner every week?” She responds.

“Yeah. I guess that makes us even.” I grin. We have this argument every week, laundry day wouldn’t be complete without it.

I switch the kettle on, and hop up on my kitchen counter to peruse the mail that’s been accumulating for a couple of days.

I open the most interesting looking one, (read: the only one not in a window envelope signifying yet another bill).

“Anything interesting?” B asks. “Hanger.”

I pass her a clothes hanger. “Nah, just a receipt.”

“They post them now? Wow, I usually just wait for the cashier to hand it over.”

I give her my patented you’re-not-funny look. “Nah, from a motel. Pride’s coming up and I decided I’d stay over, don’t wanna face the crush on the train at night.”

“Gay Pride?”

“Nah, Straight Pride. Decided to switch teams.”

She gives me her patented you’re-not-funny look which is kinda cute. “Did you book a double or a single room?”

“Double, maybe I’ll get lucky. I mean, dyke-central, I gotta pull, right?”

“I can guarantee there will be plenty of women wanting to take you to bed, Fai. But… would bringing a straight girl along ruin your chances? Hanger.”

I pass her another hanger from the stack next to me. “Depends who the straight girl is, B.” I say with a grin.

“The straight girl is me.”

“Are you sure you wanna come? I mean, you don’t have to, I’ve been going alone for awhile. I’ll be ok, you don’t need to worry about me.”

“Faith.” She looks me in the eye. “First of all, as your best friend it’s my god-given right to worry about you when I damn well want, so if I want to, I will. Second, yes, I do want to go, as long as you want me to go.”

“I want you to, B. You know that, it’s just… you know… gay pride.”

“You’re gay. I’m proud of you. Does that count?”

I find myself bouncing over to her to hug her. I don’t think I could love this girl any more if she was gay.


We board the train, B insisted on paying since I paid for the room overnight. It looks like it’s gonna be a great day for the march, nice and hot, but not so hot that people will be fainting left, right and centre on the march.

We grab some seats and B lets me have the window seat. I find out this is because she wants to slump against me and catch some z’s. I guess I’m more comfortable to lean against than the window. B loops her legs over the arm of the seat and wriggles a little to get comfortable.

I sip my coffee slowly, waiting for it to cool. B also had to buy that for me. Not cos I’m lacking in money, but when faced with a nine foot list of various different coffees I was stumped. I mean, I make coffee, one spoon of instant granules, two spoons of sugar and some hot water. How many different ways can you do that?

Buffy however marched straight up to the counter and recited an impressive list of nonsense, slapped some money down and handed me a foamy cinnamon smelling cup of dark liquid. I’m not sure what it is, but it sure doesn’t taste like coffee. What’s with the Starbucks trend?

B wriggles again and jabs me in the ribs with her shoulder bone. “Watch it, Summers.” I caution. “Or I’ll spill this gook over you.”

“Bite me, Winter.” She responds dozily.

“Where?”

She holds up her arm. “Try not to leave a bruise.”

“Maybe later.” I tell her.

“‘Kay.”

B dozes for the entire journey. Occasionally I have to wake her up to get her to move her legs out of the way so people can move along the carriage. Poor B. She goes to work early all week, slays by night, and then I drag her out of bed at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to go to Gay Pride.

She’s a PE teacher. It seemed the most fitting thing she could do. She needed the money after her Mom died so the Watchers Council sped up her training and produced various documents so she could teach. I pity the kids she teaches. Self defence is her best class.

The Watchers Council also pressurised Sunnydale High to make self defence a mandatory lesson on top of Phys Ed. Sunny D were surprisingly receptive to the idea. It’s probably a good idea to teach kids to defend themselves when sitting atop of a Hellmouth.

Me? I work in an office surprisingly. Hence I finally own a couple of shirts. That’s for Thursday when the boss is in, otherwise we all pitch up looking like we just crawled out of a hedge… which is sometimes true if it’s a big night slaying-wise.

The closer we get, the more we outnumber the straights on the train.

I see a couple sitting across from us, they smile at me. I realise I’m twisting B’s hair again. It’s second nature for me. B’s around, I play with her hair. I guess me and B look like a perfect couple.

Sometimes I think what me and B have is a little too perfect for coupledom though. I mean, look how good we are together. We don’t fight, not each other anyway. We agree on… well, not much, but we don’t argue about the differences. We have fun, we’re relaxed together. We always eat out on a Wednesday after I do her laundry and she does my ironing.

While what we have is wonderful and stable and amazing… it’s fragile. I mean, we cross the boundaries of friendship sometimes I think. Look at the way I play with her hair, or the way she buys me gifts for no reason. Or how about that line in the card, “I tried to get you the world, but I couldn’t afford it. Do you mind if I do it piece by piece?”. Is that just a friend thing?

Probably not. But she’s straight. We’re both very clear on that.

So what are we?

Too scared to have a real relationship, I guess.


I jab B in the ribs and tell her we’re here. She smiles dozily and gets up slowly. I take her hand and lead her out of the station. For once we not the only girls holding hands. There’s millions of queer couples here. Except B and I aren’t a couple.

I notice quite a few girls giving her the eye. I have to admit she looks great, she’s just wearing the same as me, a pair of shorts with a bikini on underneath, she’s got a shirt tied around her waist.

Except, B’s got that cute preppy look, her and her pastel obsession, whereas I’m wearing jean cutoffs and my bikini is black. And also B’s wearing some clompy sandals with plastic daisies on the straps, I’m wearing trainers.

We’re wearing essentially the same and still we’re as different as night and day.

“What now?” B asks, looking around excitedly.

“Ditch our stuff at the hotel, then join the parade.” I tell her. “C’mon Summers.”

We dump our bags and collect our key for the room and get back to where everyone’s waiting for the parade to start.

“I’ve never seen so many Spice Girls in once place before.” B whispers to me self consciously.

“Oh check it out, Britney Spears. Millions of ‘em.”

B points to a float. “Pink Ladies, from Grease.”

“Oh, yeah, they’re here every year.”

“Can we help carry the flag?” She asks.

I grin widely, I was hoping she’d say that. “You wanna be on the red or the purple side?”

“Purple.”

I grin again and lead her through the crowd.

I bring one hand up to shoulder level to carry the flag, the other hand I stick out behind me. Before I even look at her, B takes my free hand.

We end up walking behind a guy who runs the Rainbow Helpline. A line for gays to discuss their problems. He’s funny, every so often he’ll make the most amazingly bitch comment he makes Cordy look like an amateur. He also knows the people who made the flag. It’s a mile long and took a year to make. I gotta say, I’m impressed.


By the time we finish the march I’m dead. Screw beating up demons, walking five miles with one hand at shoulder level keeping a flag taut, and the other hand twisted behind you so you can hold your best friends’ hand will kill you every time.

I collapse in an unladylike heap on the grass in the park while B goes to get drinks for us.

I see a couple of girls checking B out. I close my eyes and try to turn my brain off. That kind of thing screws with my mind. I mean, she’s straight so she wouldn’t… but I can’t help imagine one day B announces she’s gay, but not for me. Like I said earlier, we’re too good together. I don’t know what’s worse, B not being gay and being my forever unrequited love, or B being gay but not wanting me.

“Thinkin’ deep thoughts?” B asks, appearing out of nowhere. She straddles my lap and hands me a bottle of beer. I’m surprised to see she’s got a beer for herself.

I take it and clink bottles with her. “Cheers m’dears and here’s to queers.”

She giggles and clinks again. “So what were you thinking about?”

I don’t want to get into my thoughts right now, so I grin. “I was just wondering if this big blonde lummox was gonna plonk her enormous ass on me when she got back with my drink. And what I would do if she did.” I tip her off my body and she spills most of her drink, I think that might have been intentional, my B don’t like beer.

“You bully!” She pouts and pours some more beer on my stomach. “And I don’t have an enormous ass.”

“B!” I yell loudly, that beer was cold. “You wench! You got me wet!”

“Sticky tacky?” She questions with raised eyebrows.

Now that’s a private joke, but you probably get the jist of what she’s asking. “B!” I can’t believe it! She made me blush!

“I can’t believe it! The big-bad-nothing-shocks-me Faith Winter is blushing!” She yells loudly.

I ditch the idea of drinking my beer and slosh it all over her. She ducks but I manage to get her with most of it. The rest goes over the poofs that made the bad mistake of sitting too close to me and B.

“Sorry!” I yell to them, getting to me feet to tackle B to the ground. I grab her round the waist and we hit the ground in a jumble of limbs.

I get up quickly. “That’s what you get for—”

“Making you blush?”

“You did not make me blush.” I tell her sternly.

“You did so!”

“Did not!”

“Did so!”

“Did not!”

“Did so!”

“Did not!”

“Did so!”

One of the poofs that I showered in beer shouts over, “You make a beautiful couple!”

B and I grin sheepishly at him and stop our childish fight.

“Thanks!” B shouts back.

B and I settle back down to catch some rays. She lays her head on my stomach. It feels kinda icky, all sticky from the beer and it’s really too hot for B’s hair as well but I make no effort to move her.

You make a beautiful couple echoes in my head as I stroke her hair.


Story 3: Chaos… and Karaoke

“Faith, it’s an emergency. Get here now!” B squeals down the phone to me.

“Chill, B. I’ll be right there. Can you manage not to panic without me for five minutes?” I reply.

“Ok, but hurry.”

I hang up, grab a bag off stuff and haul ass to B’s place.

I arrive at B’s breathless and exhausted. I think I made a land speed records. I let myself in with the key she gave me a couple of years ago.

“So what’s the problem?” I ask, seeing my best friend at the bottom of the stairs in fits of hysterical tears.

“It’s so awful.” She moans, burying her face in her hands and starting a new batch of tears.

I put an arm around her. “Tell me, B. What’s up?”

She cries on my shoulder for awhile, then looks at me. “It’s too awful to tell. You’d better come and see.”

She starts up the stairs, hiccupping occasionally, and leads me to Dawn’s room.

I push open the door, imagining mass bloodshed, possibly a demon corpse… what I see is worse.

I turn to her, hand on her shoulder.

“B, what have I told you about trying to decorate without me?”


I manage to clean up most of the mess she’s made. I don’t know how anyone can screw up painting a wall, but B did. Admirably so.

I help B drag everything out of Dawn’s room and cover the carpet with old sheets so there’s nothing left to destroy with B’s lack of decorating talent and we start again from scratch.

Dawn’s away at summer camp and me and B promised to redecorate before she got back.

We have the radio on and I sing along as we paint.

B looks at me from time to time with that narrowed-eyes-I’m-planning-something look. It scares me.

“What?” I finally ask.

“What what?”

“Don’t give me that. Why do you keep looking at me… I mean, I know I look damn fine in paint splattered overalls—pink paint no less—but what are you staring at?”

“I’m not staring.”

“Ok, not staring, but what’s with the I-have-a-plan look?”

“Not planning anything.” She gives me the wide eyed what me? look which blatantly suggests that something is going on in B’s evil little mind.

“Stop it. You’re scaring me.”

“Stop what?”

De ja vu, never my thing. I flick paint at her, she flinches and I almost fall off the ladder with laughter. There’s almost a straight line of paint flicks running down the middle of B.

Uh-oh. She’s gonna retaliate. I look for cover but find nothing.

Fwish.

I’m dripping in pink paint. Life on the Hellmouth sucks.

I flick my brush at her, but I’m almost out of ammo, so I grab the bucket of paint and hurl that too.

B stands still for a moment, glaring at me.

She finally speaks.

“HUG!!!!!!!”

She bounds over to me and hugs me tightly. We’re both covered in pink paint and Dawn’s room looks worse that it did before I started helping. She breaks apart from the paint drenched hug, moves her hand up to my face… and paints it pink.


I’m showering when B barges into the bathroom. There’s no such thing as a locked door where we’re concerned.

“I’ve got my eyes closed.” She hollers.

“No need, B.” I call, sticking my head over the opaque shower screen. “It’s fogged up in here.”

“Still got my eyes closed.” She replies.

“Ok.” I reply, turning back to the task at hand, getting pink paint out of my hair. Then I stop. “What did you want?”

“I’ve brought some clothes in for you.”

“I’ve got some already.”

“No. Change of plan, we’re going out.”

“We are?”

“We are.”

She leaves.

When I get out of the shower I’m a lot less pink than when I started. I notice B’s brought in a pair of leather trousers and my favourite top. In case you’re wondering where they came from, she gave me two of the drawers in her room to put my junk in.

Half my stuff lives here on a permanent basis. I have a toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, you name it, I’ve got it here. And vice-versa. I have a lot of B’s stuff at my place. We didn’t do that at first, but I got sick of using vanilla shampoo every time I stayed over, and B got sick of my lack of co-ordinating products. I mean, who cares if you’re using one brand’s shampoo and another’s conditioner, aside from B, that is?

I steal some of B’s moisturiser for my face. It’s the one product of hers that I use on regular basis, but it’s better than mine.

I finally exit the bathroom looking and feeling a lot better.

“Hope you left me some hot water.” B says as she passes me.

“Probably not.” I reply. “I’m going for a cig while you shower.”

I pause in B’s room and pick up Mr Gordo, before going outside and sitting on B’s porch. Mr Gordo sleeps between us when ever I stay over. I think I like him as much as B does. Or maybe we just need something to draw the boundary line between us.

“Did she tell you where we’re going tonight?” I ask the stuffed pig.

Naturally he doesn’t answer and I feel like an idiot for talking to a toy.


Eight cigarettes and two odd looks from B’s neighbours later we’re ready to leave. B holds out her hand to me—something that’s second nature to us now—I take it and we begin to walk.

“Where are we going tonight?” I ask. “Bronze?”

“No, it’s a surprise.”

“B, I don’t like surprises.”

“Yes you do.” She tells me. “You loved those rainbow socks I got you. They were a surprise.”

“No, B.” I explain slowly. “I didn’t love the socks, I loved that you got me a present. The socks were as ugly as sin, and far to cutesy.”

She glares at me. “I have a pair of those socks. And besides, I’ve seen you wear them since I gave them to you.”

“You were hallucinating.” I tell her.

The argument continues as we walk.


“And next up we have… Buffy Summers and Faith Winter.” The greasy guy with the mike grins broadly and starts a nonsense spiel about our surnames. Like B and I don’t already know we’re polar opposites.

“No B. Uh-huh, no way and never. In that frigging order.” I say.

“It’s not so bad, Fai. C’mon, don’t be a wimp.”

“I ain’t singing, girlfriend.” I tell her.

“Buffy Summers and Faith Winter? Are you here, or was it a joke?”

B glares at me.

“I can’t do this, B.” I tell her. Full blown panic has hit me in a big way. I’m already trembling like a girl about to be deflowered.

“I mean, who’d be called Buffy anyway?” Greasy guy continues.

I stand up. “Hey! That’s my girl you’re insulting.”

“Oh, you’re here. Come on up and sing.” He gestures for us to join him on the mini-stage and begs the rest of the patrons to give us a big round of applause.

B smiles big and bounds up to the stage, I would run but she’s got my arm in a death grip. I swear that’s gotta be cheating, using Slayer powers to bully someone into singing against their will. I’m gonna report her to the council.

All these thoughts flash through my head, but stop dead when I realise I’m standing on a stage with a mic in my hand.

I give B a look, she smiles and whispers. “You can sing, Fai. I know you can. You know you can. We can do this.”

I bite my lip. How bad can this be? I mean, B really can’t sing, but she’s up here with me. Why? Because she knew that deep down, I really wanted to do this.

It can’t be too bad, can it?

The opening bars of It’s Raining Men starts.

I stand corrected.


Somehow, despite my nerves and B’s voice we get a standing ovation. Or maybe they’re happy we’ve finally shut up.

“Damn, girl! You’ve got a mighty fine voice.” The greasy guy with the mic congratulates me.

I grab B in a tight hug. “Thanks.”

“Told you that you could do it.” She whispers smugly.

She leads me back to our table, a few people comment on my voice on the way there. I realise I’m trembling still.

“Feel good?” B asks.

I nod.

“Better than slaying?”

“Same result though. Hungry and horny.”

She giggles. “I’m sure there are plenty of people who want you now.”

Not the right one though. I smile at her, and wonder if it will always hurt when she tells me something good about myself.

“I’m gonna get another drink. I need to get drunk and forget I ever sang in public. You want one?” B says getting up.

“Yeah, cheers.”

She squeezes my shoulder as she walks past. I can see a few people eyeing us with curiosity, trying to work out if B and I are.

A guy from the next table hands me the songlist and says, “Go up again, you’re amazing.”

I grin and thank him, not sure how to take the compliments.

“Gonna sing again?” B asks, returning with our drinks. She’s, naturally, got one of those alchopop things. 99% sugar, 1% alcohol. And damned if she hasn’t talked someone into giving her another frigging umbrella for her drink. She lives for those things, I swear.

“Yeah.”

“What are you gonna sing?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“I thought you didn’t like surprises.”

“Your kind scare me.” I reply with a grin. “I don’t mind surprising you.”


“And she’s back! Faith Winter is gonna dazzle us with her vocals again tonight, let’s give her a big hand!”

I get up and give Greasy Mike (my new name for him) a big fat smile.

I pick the mic up and begin to sing, my eyes never leave B’s for the entire song.

I have no confidence
And I can’t see why I should
But I could do most anything for you
And you know I would

I try too hard
And then I give up way too easily
I’m the runner-up inside of you
And you’re the winner inside of me

Lose your way
And I will follow
Here today
And here tomorrow
Like my freedom I know
I’ll never let you go

I still wish on the evening star
And I s’pose I always will
Every child loses something a whole life can’t fulfill
And when you cry I feel the sky burst open in my veins
If loving you makes a slave of me then I’ll spend my whole life in chains

Lose your way
And I will follow
Here today
And here tomorrow
Like my freedom I know
I’ll never let you go

Lose Your Way“ by Sophie B. Hawkins


Story 4: Dinner Date

I fling the card down in front of her nonchalantly.

“What’s this?” She asks, looking up from the paper.

“Just read it.” I tell her pouring coffee for the both of us. It’s my turn to make breakfast today. We do this every Tuesday, we both start late… so breakfast.

“It’s an invite to your work Christmas party.” She deduces.

“Read the last line. In fact, read it all.” I get B’s milk out of the microwave. God knows why, but that girl has to have warmed milk in her coffee.

“‘Dear Faith, you are cordially invited… blah, blah, blah… bring your partner… blah… dinner… blah… formal wear.’ So?”

“I don’t have the two major items on that invite, a partner and formal wear.” I snap. I’m not a morning person in the best of circumstances, but last night B and I dusted eighteen vampires and a… krkl… a… krkla… an unpronounceable demon. We got three hours sleep. I feel like scum.

“Are you asking me—in your usual direct way,” she pauses to roll her eyes at me, “to go with you?”

“And shopping.” I reply, buttering toast madly. “Free meal in it for you.”

“Ok… and Faith, what did the toast ever do to you?”

I look down and notice that the toast is now in about a million pieces. I feel like crying. B leads me to the table, makes me sit down, and starts breakfast again.


I can’t believe I’m shopping for dresses. The staff took one look at me in my leather pants, and they can’t believe it either.

B is, naturally, in her element. She holds a dress against herself. “How about this?”

“It’s pink.” I reply, barely looking.

“Not for you, for me. Don’t worry, they stock an extensive range of black.”

I shoot her the finger and a patronising grin and she grabs an armful of clothes and heads for the dressing room.

I wander round the shop hesitantly. I don’t do shopping for dresses. Damn formal wear. Who’s stupid poxy idea was it to have a formal dinner for Christmas? Well, the boss, obviously. He’s rich and loves to show it off, but everyone who works for him is the same as me, just about making enough money to pay the rent and bills without slipping into the minus numbers with the bank.

I’m wandering around, lost in my thoughts when I realise I’m standing in front of the most perfect outfit in the world. Now, the trick is, not to let B see before the big night.


“You ready?” I call through the door. B and I both wanted to surprise each other with our final ensemble, so I got changed in Dawn’s room. Now I’m standing in the hallway, wondering if I look like the biggest idiot known to mankind.

“Just a minute.”

“You said that half an hour ago!”

“Well, if you’ve waited half an hour, what’s one more minute in the grand scheme of things?”

I mutter a few curses under my breath.

“I heard that. Slayer hearing!”

I mutter louder.

Finally the door opens and she’s just about the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. She’s wearing a pale blue satin dress that reaches the floor, with a very sexy split up one side, but it’s B’s kind of sexy. I aim for sexy and get trailer trash, B aims for sexy and gets glamour. I notice she’s wearing the necklace and earrings I bought her for her birthday.

“So how do I look?”

I wince and step back to get a better look, shaking my head regretfully.

Her face falls a little. “What? What’s wrong?”

“Something missing.” I reply, studying her hands. “Ah! I’ve got it.” I reach into the pocket of my jacket. “This might finish the effect.” I bring out a small velvet box. “Don’t get too excited, it’s your Christmas present.”

She smiles deeply. “You look great in a tux. I don’t know why I’m surprised that you’re wearing one, but I am. Then again, that’s your trademark, surprising me.”

“And playing with your hair.” I remind her.

“That too.” She looks me up and down. “But again, there’s something missing on you as well.”

“Can’t be.” I reply with a grin. “I’m fully dressed. Skimpy black lace undies and all.”

She quirks an eyebrow at me. “You’re wearing underwear? I thought you stopped that.”

“Yeah, well, special occasion, brand new undies. Wanna see?”

“Believe it or not, I’ve seen lace panties before. Just stay there and shut up.” She walks carefully back into her room, damn those heels are high. She reaches into one of her drawers and brings out a box, much the same as the one I’m holding. She then reaches into another one of her drawers and pulls out a scrap of black lace and holds it aloft.

“Are you panties as skimpy as these?” She asks with a wicked grin.

“Well, if you’re that interested…” I mock undoing my pants.

“Ok, stop!” She laughs. “Presents.”

We exchange the boxes we’re holding and open them together.

I bought B a white gold ring with a stone the same blue as the earrings and necklace I gave her. And what do you know, she’s given me the same ring, except this one has a red stone.

“Who says we’re so different after all?” I say. “Thank you.”

“It’s your birthstone.” She explains. “A ruby.”

“Blue just looks good on you.” I reply.

I’m pleased to notice that she puts it on her engagement finger. It saddens me too. Sometimes the sweetest things she does breaks my heart.

B takes my ring out of the box and slides it onto my engagement finger. I feel like crying, but I don’t know if it’s from happiness or sadness.

Sometimes I don’t get it. I just don’t understand how we can be so good together and not be together. It’s just not fair. I love B, and she loves me. But she’s not in love with me.

I’ve kissed guys before, just out of idle curiosity and I wonder if B ever has idle curiosity. Then I think that I don’t want B to kiss me. You see, if B ever kissed me, I’d want it to mean… well, you know. Love. There I said it. Love. And if all this stuff she does, like buying me a star, putting a ring from me on her engagement finger, all that stuff, if that hurts, maybe a kiss would break my heart.

“Taxi’s here.” She says, breaking my reverie.


“So,” she begins as we sit in the taxi. “I’m here as your partner. How partnery do you want me to be?”

“B, how many times has Willow asked if you’re dating me?” I reply, trying to be flip, but I’m aching. I don’t know why, but recently the ache that’s always been there is beginning to get to me more and more.

“Ooh, thirteen. She asked me again on Tuesday.”

“I think we’ve got it covered then.”

She loops her arm through mine and rests her head on my shoulder. “I’m just worried you’ll get into trouble for bringing your best friend, not your partner.”

I smile at her. “There’s a picture of you on my desk at work, B. I think they’ll believe I’m in love with you.” They should do, since I am.

She looks up at me and smiles gently. I think she heard what I was thinking.


The dinner is a nightmare. First off, when B and I arrived, we had to have pictures taken by a professional. Ten minutes of personal hell. B and I being prodded and dragged into “flattering” poses. We essentially just look stupid. I find out later they spent only five minutes on the other staff and their partners.

Yay, my pic’s gonna be on the wall in a “look how open-minded I am, I employ dykes” kinda montage from the boss. I hate being the token gay.

Then we got seated next to Rob from sales and Nick from accounts. Two of the most boring individuals known to mankind. Made worse by the fact they don’t realise they’re boring, they talk loudly and a lot.

Nick and Rob bore each other silly, and keep talking louder and interrupting each other. I pick up a fork and consider poking myself in the eye with it, just to alleviate the boredom.

Nick loudly points out that I’m using the wrong fork for this course. Damn him. I was just ad-libbing. I mean, how am I supposed to know which fork to use? I was brought up on McD’s food.

B leans over and whispers to me, “Wanna get horribly drunk?”

“Too damn bored. It counteracts the alcohol.” I reply.

Rob leans forward, and says, “So you’re girlfriends, then?”

I give him a glare that reduces vampires to dust. Unfortunately, it has no effect on him.

“Couldn’t get a man, eh Faithy?”

I open my mouth to speak, but B gets there first.

“First off, her name’s Faith. Not Faithy. She does get called Fai, but only by me. Secondly, it’s not that she couldn’t get a man, she could have you in a heartbeat if she dropped her standards below humanity. Thirdly, she’s here with me, a girl, who are you here with? No-one. So, in a nutshell, she’s doing a lot better than you.”

“Not that that’s a difficult feat.” I add. Lame. Yes. Cheap shot. Obviously, but B used up all the really good put downs.

“Frigging hetties.” She sighs loudly.

I grin again. She’s using a me-ism. Hetty, short for heterosexual, but a hetty is really a stereotypical straight with a closed mind.

Rob and Nick shut up. I think Nick is planning his next sentence so he sounds very pro-gay, without losing his manly straightness. I give him a look that lets him know neither B nor I are interested in anything he says.


We sit through the Boss’s boring speeches about how proud of us he is, and how glad he is that we’re all here with our partners to celebrate Christmas.

B and I amuse ourselves by playing tic-tac-toe on a napkin with a biro I borrowed off Nick. He’s the type of guy who won’t go anywhere without a pen. This one is especially poncey. Gold plated with his initials engraved on them. I won, five-three.

Finally we’re allowed to flood the bar. The Boss, Mr Hanlon, has reserved the reception room for a ‘disco’ as he put it. He’s also paying for the booze, which B and I are sinking at an amazing rate. We’re not the only ones.

“Wanna dance?” I ask B. They’re finally playing a tune released after 1942, and I’m kinda edgy. Down side of being Slayers, we have so much excess energy.

We hit the dance floor, and I realise that everyone is watching us. It’s not just because of our age we stand out. It’s because everyone thinks we’re together. That thought used to make me happy, now it just hurts.

I don’t know why I’m so down tonight. I mean, I’m having a good time, and B’s put downs of Rob really tickled me, it’s just something…

Screw it. I’m gonna drink and dance until I shake this feeling.

B and I dance circles around the rest of my colleagues. Then again, we’re younger, and we’re Slayers. Mr H looks exhausted though. I grin. B meets my eyes and grins back.

A slow song comes on, and B and I look at each other. This could be awkward.

Or not. B steps forward and puts her arms around my neck.

“You don’t have to dance with me, B.” I whisper into her hair.

“I know that, Fai. I want to.”

I put my arms around her waist, and we dance to an old song. I’m dimly aware of the flash of a camera and the unshed tears in my eyes.


Story 5: Crash and Burn

“So shall we go back to yours?” B asks as our taxi crawls slowly through the traffic. “It’s nearer, and you have a better video collection than me.”

“I dunno.” I reply, resting my forehead on the cool window. It’s not the alcohol that’s making me feel like this, although my body could be pickled with the amount I’ve consumed.

“You don’t know?” She questions, taking my hand. “Faith, what’s wrong?”

“I’m ok.”

“No, something’s been… I dunno, slightly off with you all night. What’s up?”

I turn to look at her, how can I tell her that it’s her making me feel ‘off’? “Yeah, come to mine. We’ll watch Tarzan or something.” That’s mine and B’s movie. Disney rules. Anytime one of us feels down we put it on and feel better. I doubt it will work tonight.

She smiles slightly, but the look in her eyes tells me this conversation isn’t over.


We get in and B immediately goes to the kitchen to start making hot chocolate, while I grab a duvet from my bed for us to snuggle under. Then I start wiggling the cable in the back of the VCR. B and I broke it during a pillow fight—don’t ask—and now you have to jiggle it to get a clear picture.

I shove Tarzan in, and notice that—yet again—B and I forgot to rewind it. Better add that to by New Year’s resolutions. I must rewind videos after watching.

She comes in, wearing a long T-shirt and carrying two mugs of hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows.

“I couldn’t wear that dress any longer. It was too constrictive.” She grins and hands me a mug.

“Yeah, I’m gonna get changed too.” I reply. A tux just isn’t lounging around the house garb. I put down my mug. “Don’t start the film without me.”

I go into my bedroom and get changed, wondering when it became mine and B’s room. Her dress is hanging on the door of my wardrobe. Two of the drawers in my chest of drawers are hers. Her perfume is standing on the top of it. There’s a book, half read on the nightstand next to ‘her’ side of the bed.

There’s a million pictures of us. Some framed, some just taped to the wall, some in a collage that B made me.

There’s a picture of us at Pride in a frame next to my side of the bed. There’s one of us at Disney World, when we went there with her Mom and Dawn. There’s a picture of us with the Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland, because I didn’t want a clichéd picture of us with Mickey.

A picture of us at Buffy’s Graduation. The invite is in a frame next to it.

A picture of us in the park.

Curled up in her living room.

In fancy dress at Halloween.

The tears start to fall. We act like a couple. We look like a couple. But we’re not a couple. I cry so hard I have to sit down.

“Faith? Faith, what’s wrong?”

I’m dimly aware of B holding me as I cry. She rocks me and whispers soothing words. I know it’s stupid to cry over something like this, but I just can’t seem to stop.

“Faith, talk to me, what’s wrong? I’ll make it better, I promise.”

“You can’t.” I reply.

“Why not?”

“Because you’re straight.” There. I finally said it out loud. Not that she didn’t know already.

“I’m sorry.” She whispers. And she really is sorry, because there’s tears forming in her eyes too.

“Sorry, B.” I wipe my eyes. “I shouldn’t have said that.” I sniff and try to pull myself together.

“Don’t be sorry, Faith. I do love you, you know that, right?” She doesn’t need to spell it out. We both know what she means. There’s a difference between love and in love.

“I know.” I say, biting my lip, wondering if I should continue. “But it’s not enough. For either of us.”

“What do you mean?”

“B, when was the last time you went on a date?”

“A couple of weeks ago, why?”

“And what was the outcome?”

“He thought I was a dyke because I talked about you a lot. You know this, we had a good laugh about it.”

“B, we’re dragging each other down.” I say sadly.

“We’re not!” She protests quickly. “We’re good for each other, everyone says that—”

“That we make a great couple.” I interrupt.

“Well, yeah, but so what?”

“We’re not a couple, B. And we’ve been acting like one for years. I just…” I tail off. This is getting hard. I light a cigarette, mainly to play for time. “It’s not right for us.” I say finally.

“Don’t tell me that Rob turned you into a homophobe.” She says lightly, trying to joke her way out of this conversation. Neither of us want to talk about it, but since we’ve started I’m gonna make sure nothing goes unsaid.

“We’re not a couple.” I repeat. “And we shouldn’t act like one. We need to get on with our lives. Dawn’s in a more stable relationship than you’ve ever had, and me, I haven’t even had a relationship.”

“Faith, you’ve had plenty of—”

“One night stands.” I finish for her. “I want to fall in love with someone—someone who can love me back. And you should too.”

“We’ve got plenty of time for that.” She says.

“If we were normal, yeah. Buffy, we’re Slayers. You’re the oldest living Slayer. Don’t you want to fall in love?”

“Yes.” She says in a small voice.

I touch her face. “That’s why I’m leaving.” I hadn’t even thought about it before I said it, but really, it’s the only thing I can do. If I stay here, B and I will just cling to each other and I’m not sure I can do this anymore.

“You’re what?” She asks.

“Leaving Sunnydale.”

“You can’t! You’re a Slayer, you can’t just quit.” Her voice has lost the softness, and there’s anger in it now.

I stand up. “Don’t give me that Slayer crap, B. There’s nasties all over the world. And besides, you took care of the Hellmouth long before I got here.”

“Yeah, and I died! Don’t you care about me?”

“Damn it, B! I’m going because I care!” I snap. “Aren’t you listening?”

“Yeah, I heard. You’re going because you have a little angst!”

“I’m going because it will be easier for us.” The tears are beginning to flow again. I never cry, and here I am. Twice in one night. “Please, B. Don’t make this hard for me.”

“Then don’t go.” She moves over to me and puts her hand on my arm. Her voice softens again. “Please, Faith. Don’t leave me.”

“I want to have someone, B. Someone who’s in love with me.” I spell it out for her loud and clear.

What she does shocks the hell out of me. She cups my face in her hands and kisses me. Not just a peck on the lips. I’m talking about a full on kiss, with her hands in my hair.

I respond for a moment, then realise what she’s doing. I pull away. “Don’t fuck me around, B!” I yell. “It’s not fair. You’re not playing by the rules.”

“What?” She looks shocked.

“You heard. Don’t kiss me again. You’re straight, I’ve never thought any different. Don’t kiss me to get me to stay.”

“Is that what you thought?”

“Well, what else was it? I get it B. You kiss me, ad-lib through a couple of weeks worth of relationship, then dump me. All my feelings go away and we’re back to being best friends again. It’s not fair.” I yell. I don’t think I’ve ever been so pissed off. I couldn’t imagine Buffy being so devious.

“If that’s what you think, you should leave.” B slams out of my room, I follow her, as she grabs her coat and bag.

“Where are you going?” I ask.

“Home.” She responds coldly.

“B, it’s the middle of the night, and you’re barely dressed.” I point out reasonably.

“I’m the Slayer.”

She slams the front door as she leaves.

I walk slowly back to my room and curl up on the bed. Again I’m crying.

I was right. One kiss from Buffy has just broken my heart.


I slowly pack my things up into boxes and bags. My hangover sucks. And crying myself to sleep last night didn’t help either. I gotta find a way to kick this headache out of my skull, it’s been in there so long it’s entitled to squatters rights.

And damned if I’m not crying again. What happened last night? I mean, I was there, so I know. But how… I mean, B kissed me. And I’m not stupid enough to believe that was the start of something beautiful. It was manipulative and nasty.

B’s always known how I feel about her. It was… damn it! I’m not having these thoughts. I’m gonna pack up my stuff and get the hell out of this town.

I light a cigarette and continue packing. I called the Watcher’s Council when I woke up, they’re arranging a motel room for me until I can get a steady job. Which is gonna be harder than usual, since I’m walking out of a job without giving notice.

And it’s Christmas in four days. Damn it!

At least I gave B her present, I’ll mail Dawn’s present or something, she won’t mind it being late. It’ll be like a surprise for her.

I look down at the ring B gave me. I’m tempted to take it off and fling it across the room, but I don’t. I know I’d only hunt for it when my temper wears off. She may be a bitch, but I still love her.


Two hours later and I’m all packed up. The essentials are in my car, the rest can stay here. I’ve paid up ‘til the end of the month, so I can come back to pick it up, or someone can forward it to me.

Someone being B. If she’s talking to me. I laugh at that one. Yeah, if she’s talking to me. That’s really gonna happen if I leave town.

Screw it. I’m going. I was right last night, it was B that crossed the line. Funny, I always thought it would be me. I always thought that if we ever kissed, I would instigate it while we were drunk or something.

I always thought that she’d be feeling as betrayed as I am right now.

Life on the Hellmouth.

It bites.


I get as far as the “You are now leaving Sunnydale” sign before my common sense beats the living shit out of my pride and demands I go back and see B one last time.

I pull a U-turn almost as spectacular as the ones in movies. I steal Spike’s trick and clatter over the “Welcome to Sunnydale” sign. I don’t share Spike’s glee. All I can think is Oh Christ, my fenders!

Well, that and B-thoughts.

I arrive at B’s in the shortest time imaginable. I need to do this now before I wimp out.

I knock on the door and Dawn answers.

“Hey, D. Big sis home?”

“She’s in her room crying. What happened? She comes home at two am and locks herself in her room for a crying fit. I want details.”

“Nothing.” I reply distractedly. I’m two seconds from running like hell. “I’m gonna go see her.” I say, more to myself then Dawn.

I don’t bother knocking before entering B’s room. She’s collapsed on her bed and by the looks of her red eyes she’s sharing the same headache as me.

“Hey.” I say. Lame-ass thing to say, but my mind went blank.

“Not left yet?” She says in an icy tone.

“Apparently not.” I reply. How can she be so cold? She stepped over the line, not me. And here I am trying to make up. “Just about to though.”

“Ok.”

I wince at the lack of emotion in B’s voice. She’s not even meeting my eyes. “Why do I even bother?” I mutter.

“Good question.”

“Cos I don’t want to part on bad terms with you, B.” I snap. “But if you do, that’s fine, just don’t say I didn’t try.” I start to leave.

“Faith!”

One word from her and I stop dead. I turn towards her.

“How could you think I’d kiss you just to get you to stay? How could you? I couldn’t do that to you. I’d never screw around with your feelings like that. Best friends?” She laughs humourlessly. “Yeah, right. You should know me better.”

“Then why?” I ask. “Why would you kiss me? You’re straight.”

“I had to know for certain.” She smiles slightly at me.

“Huh?” I’m feeling way too stupid right now.

“You think I’d let the best thing that ever happened to me walk out of my life without making damn sure that we couldn’t have something?”

I’m speechless. I sit down heavily, miss the chair and end up on the floor, but it barely registers. I fumble for my cigarettes, then remember we don’t smoke in B’s room. I begin to put them away again.

B takes them out of my hands and lights one, she hands it to me, then lights one for herself.

I finally look at her. “I’m sorry, B. I really am.”

“Me too.” She reaches out and touches my arm. “Turns out I’m completely straight.”

I grin sadly at her. “I never thought otherwise.”

“Are you still leaving?”

“Yeah. I guess I am. Nothing’s changed.”

“Can you stick around ‘til Christmas? It would be easier. You could work your notice at your job, and find yourself a new job before you move.”

She makes a valid point. And it’s not like I want to leave. I just feel like I have to.

I smile at B. “Okay. I wouldn’t wanna miss Christmas here.”

She smiles softly at me.

“I don’t want to leave.” I say.

“I know you don’t. But you’re right. And you can visit, and call and stuff.”

“Yeah, and I could write, we could be like, pen-pals or something.” I yawn mid-sentence.

“Did you get any sleep last night?”

“Not much.” I admit.

“Me neither.”

We collapse on her bed.

Mr Gordo sleeps between us.


Story 5: (AU) Flying Without Wings

“So shall we go back to yours?” I ask, inching closer to Faith, as our taxi driver finds the only traffic jam in Sunnydale and joins it. “It’s nearer, and you have a better video collection than me.”

“I dunno.” She replies.

Something’s up with Faith. Ordinarily we’d be holding hands, or hugging or something, but she’s made a conscious effort to put some space between us. “You don’t know?” I take her hand, and squeeze gently. With the mood she’s in, I’m amazed she doesn’t pull away. There’s something wrong, I can just tell. “Faith, what’s wrong?”

“I’m ok.”

“No, something’s been… I dunno, slightly off with you all night. What’s up?”

She gives me this gentle smile. “Yeah, come to mine. We’ll watch Tarzan or something.”

I smile back, but something’s definitely wrong. I mean, first off, Tarzan is our feel good movie, we put it on when we’re not feeling happy. And why is there a distance between us? This has never happened before.


We get back to Faith’s apartment. I put the kettle on to make us hot chocolate, and while it boils I get changed out of the very slinky evening dress I wore for dinner. None of my T-shirts are clean, so I grab one of Faith’s. It’s an enormous T-shirt with an exhausted-looking moon and the words “I want to stay in bed” on it.

It’s not very Faith-like, but I made her buy it. Mainly so I could steal it when I stay over.

As I hang up the dress I take a good look around the room. For those who didn’t know better, they’d think I lived here full-time.

I love this room as much as my room at home. I’m not sure when it became partly my room too. I have two drawers in Faith’s chest of drawers. My perfume is standing on the top of it. There’s a book, half read on the nightstand next to ‘my’ side of the bed. I’ve left it open and face down. Faith hates that. She hates me breaking the spines of books, even if they’re not hers.

There’s a million pictures of us. Some framed, some just taped to the wall, some in a collage that I made for Faith. I like to surprise her, and she was surprised when I turned up with that.

There’s a picture of us at Pride in a frame next to Faith’s side of the bed. I like that picture. We look so happy. Faintly in the background, you can see the guys who said that Faith and I make a beautiful couple. I think maybe that was the start of it. I yelled “Thanks”. Why? Because I wanted them to think that Faith and I were a couple. I like being asked if Faith’s my girlfriend. To strangers, I reply yes.

There’s a picture of us at Disney World, when Mom took us and Dawn. I remember Faith made us spend the day hunting down the Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland, because she didn’t want a clichéd picture of us with Mickey. She really got a bee in her bonnet about it. We only got to go on half the rides. I didn’t mind though. And it’s a really good picture.

A picture of us at my Graduation. The invite is in a frame next to it.

A picture of us in the park.

In fancy dress at Halloween.

Curled up in my living room. My Mom took that one. She always asked when Faith and I were going to start dating. I kept saying I’m straight, but that wasn’t the real answer.

The real answer is when she asks me.


I finish making the hot chocolate and bring it into the living room, where Faith’s playing with the cables of the VCR. They’re a bit delicate. Pillow fight. Faith said I had a fat ass. I responded that her rack wasn’t real. Slayer strength is a dangerous thing.

“I couldn’t wear that dress any longer. It was too constrictive.” I tell her with a grin, handing her a mug of chocolate. I hunted around in her cupboards and found marshmallows. I made sure I gave Faith more, she loves mallows.

“Yeah, I’m gonna get changed too.” She replies, putting the mug down. Again, there’s weirdness. A strange tone in her voice. “Don’t start the film without me.”

I take a seat and take small sips of my chocolate, trying not to get too much mallow fluff on my lips. I light one of Faith’s cigarettes and wonder what’s taking so long.

By the time I’ve finished my drink and cigarette, I know something’s wrong. I let myself into Faith’s room.

She’s curled up on the floor, sobbing her heart out.

I kneel down next to her, cradling her in my arms. “Faith? Faith, what’s wrong?”

She doesn’t answer, just keeps on crying. “Faith, talk to me, what’s wrong? I’ll make it better, I promise.” And I mean it, I’d die for this girl.

“You can’t.” She says.

“Why not?”

“Because you’re straight.” There’s no bitterness in her voice, just sadness.

My heart leaps, Faith is finally telling me how she feels. I mean, I guess I knew, but I’ve found it so hard to try and tell her that I love her. I mean, I made it very clear at the beginning that I was straight, and nothing was going to change that.

I think I still might be. I don’t generally check out girls, but with Faith… It’s hard to explain.

When I was in love with Angel I used to get this feeling, like there were a couple of butterfly’s in my stomach. When I see Faith, it’s like there are a thousand in there. My heart does this crazy flip, and I start to tremble. I close my eyes and see her face. And I get the feeling that I want to give her the rest of the world. I gave her a star, now I want to give her more.

“Sorry, B.” She wipes her eyes and tries to pretend she wasn’t crying. “I shouldn’t have said that.”

“Faith, don’t be sorry.” I say, stroking her face. “Because I—”

“No, it’s not fair, I shouldn’t have said that. It’s not anyone’s fault that…”

“Faith, I do love you.”

“I know.” She says, biting my lip. “But it’s not enough. For either of us.”

“What do you mean?”

“B, when was the last time you went on a date?”

“A couple of weeks ago, why?”

“And what was the outcome?”

“He thought I was a dyke because I talked about you a lot. You know this, we had a good laugh about it.” I say with a grin, about to tell her that maybe he was right.

“B, we’re dragging each other down.”

“We’re not!” I protest quickly. “We’re good for each other, everyone says that-”

“That we make a great couple.”

Damn it! I’m gonna finish my sentence. “So why aren’t we?”

“What?”

“You heard.” I reply. “Why aren’t we a couple. We’re so good together.”

“As friends, B. You’re straight.”

“Would you stop telling me that! Maybe I was, or something. I don’t know how this works. But I have feelings for you, Faith.” Deep breath. “I love you.”

She’s got this bizarre look on her face, it’s somewhere between heartbreak, abject panic and pure unadulterated joy. Then her face hardens. “Don’t say that, B. Not to make me feel better. I’d rather not have you, than have you lie to me.”

“I’m not lying to you, Faith.” I reply, cupping her face is my hands. “I could never lie to you.”

“But you’re straight, B.” She says sadly. “You said so yourself. You told me that—”

“Would you just stop telling me what I feel.” I snap. “Maybe I am straight, but then why does my heart flutter every time I think about you? Why do I have to be as close to you as possible, even if we’re the only people in a room? Why do I have dreams about you? Why do I want to kiss you if I’m straight?” I rage. I didn’t actually mean to be so melodramatic, but it seems to be getting through to her.

“You love me?” She asks.

I roll my eyes playfully. “YES! Why do you think I’m yelling at you so much?”

“You love me? As in in love with me? As in, you want to kiss me and stuff.”

“Yes. Definitely the ‘and stuff’.” I grin and lean forward to kiss her.

She backs off slightly. “B, this is a lot to take in.”

“You don’t want me?” I ask. Somehow, this wasn’t how I pictured this scene. I pictured us just kissing one night, or maybe something madly romantic like us going out to dinner and Faith laying her feelings out for me… oh, hey, that’s what’s happening now. Sort of.

I just didn’t picture this angst. I… my lip starts to quiver. Why can’t this be easy?

“B, it’s not that I don’t want you. You know that. You’ve always known. It’s just… I’m not the type of girl who gets her wish, ok?” She looks at me. Her eyes are pleading with me to reassure her that I’m not yanking her.

“Faith,” I stroke her cheekbones with my thumb. “I don’t know how this whole sexuality thing work. I’ve never wanted a girl before, and I don’t check out other girls, but I want you. I love you. I’m in love with you. I would never lie to you.”

There, I think I covered everything. Oh, god, I made her cry again. There’s tears in her eyes.

“I love you, B. I always have.” She finally makes a move towards me, one of her hands moves to my waist, the other tangles itself in my hair.

She moves slowly towards me, I can feel the fear radiating off her. “This is about where I wake up.” She whispers.

“Me too.” I reply.

That does it for her. Her lips meet mine in possibly the most earth-shattering kiss I’ve ever had. My hands are shaking as they run through her hair.

We break apart at length. I know I’ve got to make the first move. I stand up and offer my hand to Faith, with a little nod towards the bed.

“Are you scared?” She asks.

“No.” I tell her, knowing this is exactly where I want to be.

“I am.” She confides.

“Don’t be. I love you, Faith Winter.”

“I love you more, Buffy Summers.”

“Doubt it.” I reply.

She opens her mouth to respond, but I kiss her before she can.

Slowly we move towards the bed.


I wake up to the sound of Faith’s radio alarm. Faith has me in a death grip. I’m guessing she’s still scared that I won’t be here when she wakes. She shouldn’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.

I almost snap off the radio, but a song comes on that I’ve never heard before. I pause and listen to the lyrics. Sappy stuff like that is beginning to make sense to me.

Everybody’s looking for that something
One thing that makes it all complete
You’ll find it in the strangest places
Places you never knew it could be

Some find it in the face of their children
Some find it in their lover’s eyes
Who can deny the joy it brings
When you’ve found that special thing
You’re flying without wings

Some find it sharing every morning
Some in their solitary nights
You’ll find it in the words of others
A simple line can make you laugh or cry

You’ll find it in the deepest friendship
The kind you cherish all your life
And when you know how much that means
You’ve found that special thing
You’re flying without wings

So impossible as they may seem
You’ve got to fight for every dream
‘Cause who’s to know which one you let go
Would have made you complete

Well, for me it’s waking up beside you
To watch the sunrise on your face
To know that I can say I love you
At any given time or place

It’s little things that only I know
Those are the things that make you mine
And it’s like flying without wings
‘Cause you’re my special thing
I’m flying without wings

And you’re the place my life begins
And you’ll be where it ends

I’m flying without wings
And that’s the joy you bring
I’m flying without wings

Flying Without Wings—Westlife


Story 6: Playing Hooky

I take a seat on my windowsill and light a cigarette. The streetlights and neon signs from the bars below my apartment light up my bedroom.

My lover lays facedown on the bed, the sheet bunched up around her waist. She’s a mass of wild purple hair and smooth, creamy skin. I can see the purple butterfly tattoo on her lower back from here.

Terri is her name. I found that out after the fourth time she came home with me. After the seventh I discovered it was short for Theresa. After the tenth time, I found out she was the same age as me.

After the twelfth time, she demanded that we have some kind of a relationship or that I leave her alone.

I realised that I had been using her so horribly and I hadn’t even noticed. A big part of me thought about keeping going the way we were just for fun. I was still upset about leaving Sunny D and all my friends at that point.

Another part of me pointed out that if Terri was making such an effort, she might just be the very thing I left Sunny D to look for. I listened to the voice of reason, and not just because it sounded like B’s voice.

So, nine months later and we’re still together. The voice of reason has that title for a reason.

Except Terri has asked me to go to Spain with her. I didn’t know what to say.

It’s not that I don’t want to go with her.

It’s just that when I look at my passport I can’t help but remember…


I write the words “Spot the difference” on a bit of paper and surreptitiously slide it across the desk to B.

B takes the paper, and looks at me. I nod towards the front of the room.

She takes in the sight of a very stuffy Watcher standing next to a picture of a Krklahn demon and snorts loudly.

The Watcher, Mr Taylor-Johnstone goggles at her. I manage to keep a straight face and B turns her snort into a cough.

“Sorry.” She wheezes. “Tickly throat.”

I almost crack up then, but manage to keep it in. Although any minute now, I’m going to have my own ‘coughing fit’.

We’re in England, Watcher Headquarters to be precise. We’re in Kent, which claims to be ‘England’s Garden’. Yay, lots of trees and stuff.

The council decided they wanted us to stay with them for the summer to evaluate us. We managed to skim it down to a month, pleading B’s college preparation and an unguarded Hellmouth.

Basically we’re in demon summer school. We’re given information about various demons and then tested on it. We have physical, emotional and mental training to improve ourselves. What it means to me is they’re seeing how many hoops B, Giles and I are willing to jump through before we join a union and go on strike.

We’ve been here for two weeks already and B and I are going stir-crazy. And the heat isn’t helping. I thought this country is supposed to be wet and dismal, it’s not rained once since we’ve been here.

The only bonus of all this studying is that it’s really helping me and B work out exactly which demon we’re going to give them as a leaving present. Oh, in case you missed the resentment in that statement, I’ll clarify. We’re not going to slay it. We’re gonna hand it over alive. They can keep it as a pet. Or possibly the demon can keep the Watchers as pets. I’m not fussed either way.

B passes the piece of paper back. “I only see only one difference. The Krklahn isn’t talking. Go Krklahn!”

I choke back a laugh.

Thank god she’s here.


“Having fun?” Giles asks with a sardonic smile.

“G-meister, if I had much more fun, there’d be a sticky mess on those seats.” I indicate the classroom we’ve just left.

Giles winces visibly. “Normally I would lecture you about calling me G-meister, but I’m too busy being horrified by the sentence that followed it. Excuse me.”

B watches him hurry down the hall and turns to me. “Well done, Fai. You’ve just scared off our only friend.”

I grin at her. “Sorry, girlfriend. I was just so bored, I needed to shock someone. It’s unfortunate the G-meister happened to walk past at that point.”

She giggles. “I thought you were saving your smutty innuendoes for me.”

“Nah, your reactions are quite tame in comparison to some of these Watchers.”


B bounces on my bed trying to get my attention. Truth is, she always has my attention. I just like to pretend otherwise at times.

One more layer of ‘Dragon’s Blood’ nail varnish and I’ll stop pretending I’m indifferent to her. Actually, the name ‘Dragon’s Blood’ is inaccurate for this colour, dragon’s blood is usually purple, and this is black-cherry red. Fuck. I’ve learnt something.

She bounces again and I get a dark red stripe of nail varnish across my hand.

I sigh deeply and glare at her. “What, B?”

“I’m bored.”

I hold up my hand. “And I’m stripey. So I have a wonderful idea. You go get the remover and we’ll both be happy.”

She obediently gets the remover.

I’m scared.

What is she planning?

She returns with the remover and some cotton wool and begins to de-stripe me. “You know the Council have said we can have a half day off tomorrow?”

I smile at her. I think I’m going to like this plan. “Yeah…”

“I think four hours of free time is pathetic. We’ve been here two weeks, we’ve slayed, we’ve swotted and we’ve sweat blood in this creaky old building that doesn’t have air conditioning.”

“I agree. I say mutiny! Who’s with me!” I yell cheerfully.

“Mutiny!” She says approvingly. “I have a plan.”

“All this swotting has paid off.” I tell her.

“Shut up and listen.”

I love it when she takes charge.


Morons. I can’t believe they let us go off alone. Stupid. Very stupid.

In two hours they’re going to realise that we’re not coming back. In two hours we should be in Demon 101 with Mr Taylor-Johnstone.

Except we’re in Brighton. Giles was telling us that he spent some of his teenage years there, now, we all know that teenage-Giles was quite the little hell-raiser, so it sounded like the perfect spot for B and I to let off some steam.

We’ve just checked into a hotel, under fake names, she’s Cici Cooper and I’m Cindy Johnson, we liked the Barbie-like sound of them. This place is fabulous.

Another handy thing is that the Council have been paying us rather well to stay with them. We’ve not left the complex for two weeks, add that to the money we brought with us and we’re set.

We ring Willow and tell her to call the Council and let them know we’ll be back in a few days. See, we talked about this on the train journey, we don’t want them to trace our call and haul us back until we’re ready. We want them to know that we’re eighteen years old and just because we’re slayers we’re not going to ignore that.

Red sounds tired when we talk to her. We couldn’t work out the time difference, it was totally beyond us, but it’s one of the wolf-watching nights, so she’d be awake anyway.

We decide to check out the town. B is in heaven, surrounded by this many shops, then I find a place called The Lanes, and B’s euphoria wears off. We’re shopping my way now. She drags me into Gap. I drag her into a shop called Spankii.

I’m deeply stunned when she buys a tiny leather skirt and a pair of fishnet tights.

She’s not even slightly stunned when I buy a PVC corset and some stockings and suspenders.

We find a shop specialising in Wicca, and we chose a nice silver pentagram necklace for Red. We find a book about fairies for Dawn and I buy a purple bong for Oz. B frowns at my choice.

Oh come on. Why on earth do you think he’s so mellow?

B’s frown inspires me, so I also pick up an ashtray shaped like a cannabis leaf.

Halfway back to our hotel B smugly asks how on earth I’m going to sneak Oz’s gifts back inside Watcher HQ.

Wench!


While shopping we kept getting given flyers to various clubs around here. We’re definitely going out tonight. Now we’re examining them, trying to decide where to go.

“How about here?” I hold up a red flyer with a picture of a nearly naked girl in thigh high boots, leather undies and a bull-whip in her hand.

B doesn’t even flinch. “Sure, can we take her home? She might come in handy while slaying. She looks feisty.”

“You know, it’s a lot more fun tormenting you when you actually get tormented by me.” I comment.

“Was that a sentence? And I’m used to you. You should try tormenting Willow.” She holds up another flyer. “How about here?”

I give the pink flyer a cursory glance. “I’m not going to a club called Poptastic. And Red’s no fun either, she just avoids me for a few days after I say something smutty. Oz is a lost cause, nothing ruffles him. Xander’s fun. But you’re my main goal, I want you to get in touch with your inner smut.”

She raises her eyebrows. “Get in touch with my inner smut? How exactly does one do that?”

Right, wasn’t expecting that as an answer. Time for an ad-lib. “Well, I could show you, but it would involve nakedness, whipped cream and a feather boa.”

She blinks. “Hrmm. So they don’t teach it at Watcher HQ? You’d think they would.”

Damn it! Why can’t she just blush?

She flips through the flyers, then a big grin takes over her face.

“What?” I ask with trepidation.

She grins bigger.

“What?” I ask again.

She holds up a blue flyer that reads, “School Disco! Entrance £4—Free for those in uniform!”