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Chapter Thirteen: Relapse
Alone in her motel room, Faith found herself at a loss. She'd ridden with Joyce to drop Buffy off at school, and then Joyce had given her a ride back to the Downtowner. It was obvious Joyce wanted to start on the motel again, but surprisingly had held her tongue. Faith's gaze swept over the room, and her eyebrows furrowed as she contemplated the space that she suddenly felt out of place in.
It wasn't any worse than the places she'd grown up in. Honestly, it was still miles above the last place she'd been in with her mother before social services had picked her up. It still had carpet, even if it was a worn, ugly brown, and the locks on the door actually worked. Plus, the window didn't have bars on it--though, on second thought, in Sunnydale that was more like a downside.
Faith kicked off her boots and flopped down on the bed, staring up at the cracks in the plastered ceiling. She hated the familiar feeling of inadequacy that was creeping up on her now, but as much as she wanted to be mad at Joyce and Buffy for it, she couldn't. Her belly was full and she was surrounded by Buffy's scent. Faith drummed her fingers against her abdomen in thought.
Joyce thought things were getting complicated, and she was right. Maybe the whole thing had been for Buffy's benefit, but this morning hadn't been about the Slayer. Faith's body still ached with the proof of the Slayer's instincts, but her entire being hummed with the memory of waking up with Buffy. Sure, Buffy was terrified, but Faith's ears rang with the words, “I can't...not right now.” .
There was a promise in there. Promises were made to be broken, and Faith knew that intimately, but this morning made her ache to take Buffy up on it. They'd had breakfast together with Joyce, they'd teased each other relentlessly, Joyce even got in on it, and it was so... normal . It made Faith sympathize with Buffy, and it rendered her breathless as she realized it was being offered to her.
The door rattled in the frame suddenly as a fist pounded on the surface, “Yo, Lehane, open up!”
“Fuck,” Faith breathed.
Frank, the manager, had seen her come up and he was here to collect. Faith had been avoiding him for the last few days because she was late on her rent. She hadn't had a chance to raid any nests since Post had showed up, and she wasn't interested in his idea of a trade. Faith rolled off the bed and shoved her boots back on before she stomped to the door and jerked it open, startling him.
“Look, I know I'm late, alright. Give me another day and you'll have it, plus the usual late fee.”
Frank's eyes made her skin crawl, and not in the fun way. He was scum, from his greasy hair to his stained jogging pants and the holey wife beater that hung off his scrawny frame. Faith was pretty sure even the vampires that haunted Willy's Alibi Room wouldn't touch him. She hoped Buffy wasn't attached to these jeans, because she was probably going to burn them after this.
“This makes three times this month, Lehane,” Frank reminded her needlessly, and then he got this look that never failed to make Faith want to hurt him, “I don't think cash is going to do it this time.”
Faith's temper snapped and she drawled dangerously, “Is that so?”
“It is what it is, Lehane,” Frank shrugged, “No one else gets by with being late on rent. If you want special treatment from me, you got to do something more friendly, if you get my meaning.”
“More friendly, huh?” Faith surged forward, grabbing him by his upper arms and pivoting on the toe of her boot to shove him up against the wall outside the room, “How's this for friendly? I pack my shit up, get the fuck out of here, and you walk away without a permanent limp?”
Frank's eyes were wild and Faith smiled darkly. They were in Sunnydale, and she was a slip of a girl, and Frank's feet weren't touching the ground. There was only one thing he could be thinking right now, if he was thinking at all. Her expression did nothing to reassure him otherwise.
“How about it, Frank ?” Faith quirked an eyebrow, “That work for you?”
After a moment, Frank nodded his head rapidly, “Yeah, yeah, that's great.”
Faith let him drop and returned to her room. She jerked the closet door open and grabbed her dufflebag from the top shelf. Unzipping it, she started pulling her sparse clothing off the hangers. Finished, she went to the dresser and pulled open drawers and emptied them as she went. Then she went into the bathroom and added her bathroom sundries to the bag before she closed it up. After making one last round to check that she had everything, Faith sauntered out of the motel room.
“What--what are you?” Frank stammered, still sprawled on the floor.
Faith paused and put her hands on her hips as she contemplated him for a moment. Shaking her head, she dug the room key out of her front pocket and went back over to him. She dropped the key on his chest and started to walk away. Then a thought occurred to her, and Faith couldn't resist.
“I'm the thing that makes the monsters under the bed piss their pants, Frankie.”
Faith kept walking until she reached the parking lot. Then, glancing around at the sunlit morning, Faith realized what she'd just done and she faltered. Had she seriously just given up the only home she had, on the off-chance that Joyce Summers was for real? As Faith felt the anxiety stirring in her gut, she heard gravel crunching under hesitant feet, and she glanced up cautiously.
“Faith?” Joyce's expression was curious.
“Mrs. S.,” Faith replied, surprised, “Is everything alright?”
“I--I was just coming to see you, actually,” Joyce said slowly. “I wanted to try talking to you again. I know you said you're capable of taking care of yourself, and I believe that you are--I mean, how could I not? My daughter is a very capable Slayer, but...she's just a young woman, and so are you, Faith. I slept so much better this morning, knowing you were both under my roof.”
“Oh?” Faith was starting to grin.
She'd been tense since she got there. Every time she looked at someone, every time she brushed past them, every time she took a breath and caught the scent of teenage hormones and anxiety, it set off a familiar chain reaction that made her shake. She drew the line at imagining her attractive, married , female American History teacher chained up with the manacles at Angel's mansion. For the most part, she'd been able to shove her hormones back down and concentrate on her classwork, except that she'd had to rewrite a few answers because they'd strayed really off topic.
“How ‘bout it, Faith?” Buffy's thumb probed the tight opening, “How nasty would it feel?”
She found it difficult to look at either of her friends. She knew her avoidance was bothering them, and she regretted it, but she couldn't quite make herself face them. She was afraid she'd either blush from mortification, or she'd start remembering things, or maybe even both. She spent most of American History fidgeting under their scrutiny and praying the teacher would ignore her.
“I want you all to turn to page 65 and read through to page 72. If you can't finish the section before class ends, please complete it as homework. There will be a quiz,” Mrs. Grant warned.
Buffy thumbed through her open book until she found the page in question. Just as she was leaning forward to begin reading, a white projectile skittered across the page. Snatching it up before it could fall to the floor, Buffy glanced up warily in search of the teacher's ever watchful gaze. Finding Mrs. Grant preoccupied with paperwork at her desk, Buffy slid the paper ball out of sight.
Leaning back in her seat, Buffy unfolded the piece of paper in her lap under the desktop. It smelled like Willow and it was in her handwriting, and Buffy grinned. Willow next to never passed notes during class, though she figured from the bottom passage Xander had a hand in it, too. Sinking lower in her seat, Buffy slid her book closer to the edge of her desk to disguise her distraction.
Buffy, what's going on? Where were you yesterday? Giles wouldn't tell us anything, and your mom was here in the library most of the day. Did something happen? Are you okay?
Yeah, what gives, Buff? We tried to get your attention after homeroom, but you were off down the hall like a Slayer after a vamp in the mall. You avoiding us?
Buffy winced at the on-target accusation. She didn't know how to respond, so she decided she wasn't going to right now. Carefully, she crumpled the note up and leaned over to shove it in the front pocket of her black and gray JanSport bookbag. She knew she could only avoid them for so long, probably just until lunch, but she could work with any time that wasn't now .
“Have you ever noticed how big Xander is when he's hard, Faith?” She whispered hotly as she arched up into the hand driving into her, “He'd tear me open, and I'd love every second of it.”
Buffy forced her eyes to meet Xander's, “Hey, guys.”
They'd caught sight of her outside the double doors of the lunchroom and Buffy had led them outside to the courtyard. She'd bee-lined it to the heavily shaded picnic table at the far end of the courtyard. Stopping underneath the massive canopy of the tree that towered over the picnic table, Buffy shrugged her bookbag off. Hugging the bag to her chest, she sat down on a bench seat and watched as her friends did the same, dropping their backpacks on the ground by them.
“Jeeze, Buff, you look tired,” Willow stared, alarmed.
“Yeah, wasn't going to say anything, but those bags need to be declared,” Xander chimed in.
“Gee, thanks,” Buffy said wryly, “Just what a girl wants to hear.”
“Where were you yesterday? Was there badness?”
Buffy glanced over at Willow and that pleading, innocent look hit her, hard. Her grip tightened on her backpack as she felt the flush burning a path across her skin. The heat settled between her legs and Buffy's thighs clenched as she resisted the urge to grind against the seam of her jeans. Leaning her elbow on top of the roughewn picnic table, Buffy propped her chin on her fist.
“Have you ever noticed the creamy white skin of Willow's thighs, Faith?” Buffy moaned into the crease of Faith's thigh, “She'd taste as sweet as strawberry milk.”
“It was this thing,” Buffy shrugged casually, “We took care of it. I'm back. Story, end of.”
“We?” Xander interjected.
“Me and Faith ,” She bit her lip when her voice broke, then continued, “Honestly, you guys didn't miss much. I got bit by something on patrol the other night, and I went a little crazy yesterday. Faith kept me busy for most of yesterday, trying to help me burn off the effects from the saliva.”
Faith's fingers circled her clit at a maddeningly slow pace, refusing to make contact. Buffy's hips strained against the arm clamped across her pelvis as she cried out softly, begging for her touch. Her eyes opened and she looked up at the woman hovering over her. Faith was smiling, damn her, and Buffy was helpless because all she wanted to do was get lost in those dimples.
“Oh, well, that's...good, I guess,” Willow said slowly, “That Faith was there, I mean.”
“Yeah, Will,” Buffy said softly, “She really came through for me.”
“So, exactly how did Faith help you burn off these...effects?” Xander's dark eyebrows bounced suggestively as he gave her a wide grin, “Was there naked touch--”
“Xander!” Buffy and Willow shouted.
“Don't you have somethin' that's actually in English, G?”
Faith was seated at the long table in the library, her feet hooked around the legs of the chair across from her. There were three leather-bound volumes spread out in front of her. She'd been sitting there for a little longer than two hours, since Joyce had dropped her at the entrance before she'd headed off to work. Faith had already worked through most of the first-hand accounts, and now she was reading through a compilation of facts. They'd already been translated to English, so Faith was mostly just poking fun at Giles because she was starting to get bored again.
“Not your native brand of English, I'm afraid,” Giles returned dryly. “Do the educational environs in New England even have a Literature program, Faith?”
Faith gave him a mocking, pained look, “Ooh, you got me good this time.”
The double doors swung open, admitting Buffy and the others as Xander protested loudly, “Hey, you're the one who left it wide open, Buffster. Why am I getting slapped for it?”
“Ow,” Willow yelped as she slapped his arm, “You're getting slapped because you're a pervert, Alexander Lavelle Harris, that's why. Seriously, Buffy needed help, and Faith--”
“Is sitting right there,” Buffy completed the sentence, gesturing at her.
“Hey, B,” Faith eyed her, amused.
She wondered if Buffy had been blushing that badly all day. Buffy sauntered towards her, her hips swinging subtly, and Faith amended her question. Had Buffy been that worked up all day? Buffy's eyes met hers and Faith felt the heat in that look all the way to her clit. Yeah, Buffy was a goner.
“Hey, F ,” Buffy drawled in a husky tone.
Faith shivered, and silently corrected herself, Hello, Slayer.
Xander and Willow headed for the seats facing Faith, and Faith let go of the chair across from her and gently kicked it out for Willow. Faith never looked away from Buffy as Buffy circled around the table intently. Instead of taking a chair, Buffy propped her backside on the wide arm of Faith's chair. In the peripheral of her vision, Faith was aware of the stunned reactions of Buffy's friends.
“Buffy, how are are you?” Giles interjected, concerned. “Have you had any--”
“Relapses?” Buffy cut in, grinning, “Not so as you'd notice, but I wouldn't mind a few minutes alone with Faith. Though I guess that could be considered a relapse in and of itself, huh?”
To Be Continued in Chapter Fourteen
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