Call of the Dark
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Title: Coastal
Author: Minim Calibre
Email: cicada@cablespeed.com
Medium: BtVS
Rating: R
Summary: Buffy and Faith get some time alone.
Pairings: Buffy/Faith
Spoilers: BtVS 7x22 Chosen.
Feedback: Sure thing.
Distribution: My site. List archives. Just ask.
Author Notes: To Mlle. Lizard, in my continuing efforts to provide her
something other than earnest femslash. Written on the way to L.A., in a
strange and Sapphic mood. Also, to anyone who happened to be stuck around me
that Thursday night when I decided to finish this instead of being totally
social.
Disclaimer: These all belong to Joss, ME, 20th Cent. Fox, Greenwalt, and
other people who are not me.
Author's Website: http://recalibration.adamao.org

----------------------

"Hey."

Faith's voice breaks into Buffy's solitary contemplation of the sunset. The
three months since the closing of the hellmouth have reduced their numbers
as most of the girls, slayers now, have gone off, either home to their
parents or to find their own way, but solitude is still in short supply.

Of course, the ones who stayed might have something to do with that. Kennedy
is still loud and abrasive, Rona's still sarcastic, and Vi is just... Vi.
Always wanting to train, or patrol, or drag Buffy off to discuss the finer
points of slaying and strategy. Timid little Vi, the mouse who always looked
like she was about to shriek, is now about as timid as your average lion.

It's exhausting.

"Hey," she replies, not bothering with perk or enthusiasm. Faith can deal;
it's not her the girls are constantly hounding. "What's up?"

Faith shrugs, that long rolling one that's half shrug, half stretch, and
half stripper. Okay, that's three halves, but Faith has always been a little
larger than life. "Thought you could use the company, B."

Buffy slides over without saying anything, making just enough room on the
log for another person. Faith takes the hint and takes a seat. She's quiet
for a while, almost calm. Buffy's still not used to this new improved Faith.
The calm and control get to her; she's still expecting Faith to be a loose
cannon.

When she can't take it anymore, she asks, "How's Xander?"

"He's been worse. Him and Andrew are doin' some kinda Anya quote-off."

Which means Xander's feeling a little better. Andrew is earning his keep.
For the first week, he wouldn't let Xander out of his sight, not until
Xander finally had to tell him point-blank that he could use the bathroom
without any help from his seeing eye monkey.

From the corner of her eye, she sees Faith pull a cigarette out of her
jacket, then a blur of motion as she lights it. Smoke mixes with the salt
air. It's nice, kind of comforting. Buffy breathes in just a little too
deeply and starts to cough.

"Sorry, B. Guess I should try to quit, huh?" Faith goes to stub it out, but
Buffy reaches out a hand to stop her.

"No, it's okay," she says. "I'm used to the smell."

It's a nice sunset tonight, with deep pinks and oranges that stain the sky,
their reflection giving the water the illusion of warmth. When it fades to
twilight, it'll be time for her to go back to the ramshackle house they've
rented, back to too many girls and too few rooms. Andrew's strung Return of
the Jedi sheets across the living room, so at least everyone has his or her
own space, but it's still not much better than Sunnydale, no less like
living in a sardine can. But as crowded as it is, as close as they've
become, Buffy realizes she still feels lonely in the crowd. Faith has Robin,
Willow has Kennedy, Vi's made Rona her personal project (for which Buffy is
eternally grateful), Andrew is Xander's shadow, and Giles is eagerly
training Dawn in the ancient art of slayer watching.

She's the odd girl out. A third wheel, well, actually, an eleventh wheel.
"Does anything even have ten wheels?" she finds herself asking.

"Yo, B., you all right? Your mind seems to have wandered somewhere weird."
Faith sounds more amused than concerned. She's come out to join Buffy on the
log almost every night since they moved here, so Buffy figures she's gotten
used to the tangents.

"Sorry, just thinking out loud." Buffy kicks at the pebbles, wishing again
that they were somewhere a little less rugged and outdoorsy. Northern
California is pretty, but it's short on ooky-spookies, and even shorter on
amenities.

Faith takes a last long drag of her cigarette, looking at Buffy with her
new, calm expression, making her next words seem more abrupt. "Wanna stay in
my room tonight? Robin feels up to going out with the girls, so you and me
can have a night off. 'Sides, I know that futon you're on's not so
comfortable. I had it last week."

Buffy considers the lumpy futon that's waiting for her in the middle
partition, the only one without a solid wall. The mattress in Faith's room
isn't much better, but it has the advantage of being in a real room with
four walls and a door. Which, thanks to the luck of the dice roll, is
something Buffy hasn't had since the second week here.

"Sure." Buffy's learned the hard way that pride is no substitute for need,
and she needs this, needs to have someone thinking about her, even if it is
Faith.

The schoolbus is already gone when they get back to the house. Buffy wonders
if Faith had all this planned ahead of time. She must have, because it's
supposed to be Buffy's night to train. She looks pointedly at the empty
parking spot, then back at Faith.

"Vi wants to see if she can start training the rest of them. She's a little
gung-ho and way green, but I figured what the hell, you looked like you
could use a break," Faith says, kicking at the gravel. "I left my window
open so we can get in without having to talk to anybody."

From the sounds of things, Buffy's not the only one in need of a break.
Still, she's not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Quietly, they make
their way to the back of the house and climb through the window like a pair
of misbehaving teens in reverse.

Andrew and Xander's voices carry through the tissue-thin walls, urgently
cheerful. It sounds like they've moved on from Anya to comic books, for
which Buffy is almost unbelievably grateful. Not that she's especially
thrilled to hear every third word of a conversation about Sandman, but it
beats having to hear the catch in Xander's voice belying the glibness of his
words.

"Girls' night in, so what do you feel like doin'?" Faith grins and gestures
to the small bookshelf near the door. "We got Life, D and D, GURPS, and
Shadowrun." The shelves are stocked with games and books on games, all in
various stages of disrepair.

"Andrew really knew to pack the general interest entertainment, didn't he?"
Buffy observes. When they found them on unpacking, Andrew claimed they were
all part of his morale campaign. They've been gathering dust ever since.
"Truthfully? I just want to sleep."

Faith's grin gets wider. "Sounds like a plan," she says, pulling off her
shirt.

Buffy looks away, which she realizes is silly; over half a year spent
sharing quarters with a seemingly endless supply of teenaged girls has
erased most of whatever modesty she once had. It's just that this is Faith,
and that makes it somehow different. She catches herself watching the
distorted reflection in the window as it undoes its bra, releasing the full
breasts and reaching up to rub away the indents from the straps.

As it turns out, Faith doesn't wear a nightshirt or pjs or anything but the
sheets. Buffy turns around when that realization hits her. For a second, she
thinks about asking for a t-shirt, but the part of her that still prickles
around Faith refuses to allow it. She looks at the floor as she takes off
her clothes, painfully aware that her bra is mostly decorative, you can
count every one of her ribs, and her hips are more bone than curve. Without
even trying, Faith's made her feel small and self-conscious again.

"We need a better mattress," she grouses brightly as she slips under the
covers.

"Need a bigger house, too," Faith yawns. "Still beats prison."

"You think?"

"Well, the food's a little worse, and there's less privacy, but the
cellmates are better, so yeah."

Buffy falls asleep with her face pressed against a lumpy pillow, and wakes
up with it pressed against soft skin. She should, she knows, roll away
before Faith wakes up, but they've left the window open, the room is chilly,
and she's too comfortable to move. Besides, Faith's arm is tightening around
Buffy's waist, and there's no way to move without disturbing her.

When Faith's fingers begin to stroke the small of Buffy's back, she starts
to suspect Faith's awake. She doesn't say anything, because if she does, she
thinks Faith might stop. She doesn't want Faith to stop. She doesn't want to
think about the why involved with that. Instead, she keeps her eyes shut
tight and breathes in the scent of Faith's skin. It's cigarette smoke and
sea air again, and it's a different sort of comforting. Faith's fingers
stray a little lower, and little to the right, and Buffy's soft intake of
breath betrays her.

"Buffy?" Faith's hands pause on the question.

Her mind still muzzy with sleep and sensation, Buffy responds without words,
moving a hand up to tangle in Faith's hair as she seeks Faith's mouth with
her own. Kissing another girl is different somehow, softer, or maybe it's
just that she remembers when that mouth was briefly hers.

She remembers when that body was hers, too. Buffy slides a thumb across the
underside of Faith's right breast, seeking the mole she knows is there. A
sharp moan from Faith, and suddenly kissing's no longer softer, it's hard
and bruising and right. Faith slides a hand between their bodies, down
Buffy's stomach and between her legs. Buffy stiffens uncertainly at Faith's
touch, whimpering as she hears Faith's fingers parting wet, hot flesh.

Faith makes soothing noises against her mouth, and Buffy relaxes, parting
her thighs to allow Faith better access. It doesn't seem fair that Faith's
getting to do all the touching, so Buffy moves her hand down Faith's body
until they're arranged like mirror images, dark and light, yin and yang.

They're both covered in sweat, and the room doesn't feel cold at all
anymore. Movements grow faster in tandem, their breath harsh and rapid.
Buffy feels Faith tighten around her fingers, and feels herself tighten in
return. She starts to shudder, fracturing and melting all at once, moaning
and mewling against Faith's mouth until she's boneless, senseless.

When she's able to form words, Buffy pulls back, looking at Faith, hoping to
see some sort of clue about what to do next. "I should go," she says, not
wanting to.

Faith gives a sated yawn. "Why?"

"Well, for starters, you're sort of seeing someone. I don't think this is
something he's going to be happy about, exactly." She can hear the note of
uncertainty creeping into her voice, and hates it.

With a sigh, Faith sits up. "Only thing he's going to be pissed about is not
having an invite to watch." Her face looks as uncertain as Buffy feels. "You
I'm not so sure about. You okay?"

Buffy smiles and reaches up to cup Faith's cheek. "Yeah," she says. "I'm
okay." She pauses for a second, bites her lip. "If you are."

Faith's relief fills the room, warming it. "Yeah, I'm cool."

They settle in, cautiously curling next to each other. It's nice, like so
much this night, right. Buffy buries her face in the crook of Faith's neck.
She smiles again, unable to help herself. "Willow's going to claim we owe
her a toaster," she says, pulling the covers around them before they fall
asleep.