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Chapter Four: Run
Faith looked at Joyce, startled. She didn't like the intent way Joyce was looking at her, and she definitely didn't like the way Giles sat up, suddenly attentive. How should she know what Buffy would and wouldn't do right now? Faith wasn't hedging her bets. Buffy didn't want her around on a good day, and she definitely hadn't been able to get rid of Faith fast enough the night before.
“Hell if I know,” Faith huffed, “And truth be told, I don't want to be trapped in a room with the Twinkie if she's locked herself in ‘cause she's afraid she's goin' to hurt someone. Have you ever been on the receivin' end of a swing right from her shoulder? I have. Not in a hurry to revisit.”
“Faith, could you at least try?” Giles requested gently, “We need a better description of the wound, and neither of us has been successful in gaining entrance. She's blocking the door, so picking the lock is out, and I haven't a chance at forcing the door against her strength.”
Faith stood up and turned away from them, thinking. Her gaze flittered over the living room, coming to rest on the scattering of pictures on the far wall. Her sight narrowed in on an image of Buffy, and Faith felt something painfully familiar settle heavily on her heart. She acknowledged the need she felt, and it made her almost irrationally angry as she turned back to them.
“What's to say she'll let me in? Princess Buffy doesn't want me around on a good day,” Faith gestured at herself viciously, “You fuckin' think she wants me around her right now?”
“Faith, that isn't--” Joyce started.
Faith laughed darkly, “Yeah? It isn't true? Tell that to my ribs. Your baby girl kicks like a mule.”
“Faith, now isn't the time for this discussion,” Giles interjected sternly.
“Nah, it ain't. It never will be,” Faith shrugged, getting to her feet, “I'll check on your girl, G, but I'm out of here as soon as this epic fail is over with. Get Angel to be your whippin' boy, yeah? I ain't a masochist, and I ain't lookin' for a mistress of pain for my inner bitch, thanks.”
Faith knew she wouldn't leave town. She couldn't, or she would've done it already. She had, however, made a decision in the time since Joyce showed up at her door. Maybe she was Buffy's needy little bitch, but she wasn't going to keep putting herself through all this crap.
They didn't trust her or want her around, fine. If they needed her help after this, they could come to her because she was done coming around like a mangy mutt begging for scraps. She'd learned at a young age that after someone kicked you once, you didn't keep going back. She hated how much the thought of distancing herself from Buffy made her heart ache, but it was hurting already anyway.
She didn't hesitate before taking the stairs at a jog. On the landing, her footsteps slowed to a more casual approach. Faith didn't want Buffy on the defensive. Quickly, she turned and gestured for Giles and Joyce to stay back as they started to follow her up the stairs.
She paused outside the bathroom door, letting her hand come to rest against the hard white surface. She knew Buffy could already hear her, just like she could hear Buffy's labored breathing over the sound of the shower. Faith dragged her hand down the rough grain, her inner eardrum twitching at the scraping sound. She heard the splash of water as Buffy's fingers clenched against the bathtub.
“B?” Faith's voice was a whisper.
Faith heard the faint whimper and she closed her eyes briefly. The noise shot straight to the point between her thighs, and she cursed her libido's timing. She was so not in the mood to get in the mood right now. Taking the sound as a sign, Faith cautiously drew her hand down to the knob.
“Hey, I know how you like your showers, especially after a night like tonight when you didn't even get any satisfaction, and I hate to interrupt, but come on, alright? Enough is enough. You got everybody out here all worried, Twinkie. Time to get back out of the shower.”
A soft groan, and then, “Can't do that, Faith .”
Faith froze. The voice was definitely Buffy's, but the guttural tone most definitely wasn't normal. Faith was very familiar with that timbre, even if she'd never expected to hear Buffy say her name like that. Buffy's tongue had curled around Faith's name like she was simultaneously promising eternal devotion and everlasting pleasure and desperately begging for Faith to be her last breath.
“ Then --” Faith had to clear her throat twice, “Then let me in, B.”
She shot a glance over her shoulder. Giles and Joyce had followed her up anyway. Faith's eyes narrowed in warning. Every instinct her Slayer had screamed for them to keep their distance.
“ No, ” She mouthed at them, “ Let me try this. ”
“Can't do that either, Faith ,” Buffy chuckled deeply.
“ Fuck ,” Faith breathed.
“Tch, F . Such a mouth on you.”
It just sounded filthy. Faith could hear every insinuation in the words, and she had no idea how Giles and Joyce weren't picking up on it. Whatever was wrong with Buffy, Faith really didn't think it had anything to do with violence. She would have laughed if she wasn't so unsettled.
“B, I'm gettin' in there one way or another,” Faith warned.
“I'm not stoppin' you, F ,” Buffy replied mockingly.
Faith's hand settled around the door knob and she tested it, making an annoyed face when she found that it was still locked. She glanced over her shoulder at Joyce regretfully. She didn't want to destroy the woman's house, but she'd never had the patience to learn to pick locks. Then Giles stepped forward, motioning for her to step back and Faith hesitated, doubtful.
“G, she still ain't goin' to let you in, either.”
“No, I didn't think she would,” Giles explained, exasperated, “But I thought perhaps I could be of some assistance. I do have some small amount of skill with locks.”
“Alright,” Faith agreed reluctantly, “I guess that's better than wreckin' B's house.”
It was a matter of seconds before Faith heard the door knob's tumblers click into place. She gently pushed Giles out of the way and let herself into the bathroom. She leaned back against the door, her senses adjusting immediately to the dark. She met the eyes that shined brightly back at her.
“ Faith, ” Buffy gritted out.
“Lookin' a little tense there,” Faith added conversationally, “And cold.”
“Oh, Faith ,” Buffy laughed softly, “I'm not cold, far from it.”
“I can see that.”
She could. Buffy was curled in on herself, but Faith could still see a whole lot of skin. The cold water should've had an effect, but Buffy's skin was flushed dark red from her arousal. Her eyes were lit, shining pure black in the graying darkness of the room, surrounded by a ring of gold.
“Well, I am a little naked here,” Buffy conceded.
“Little bit, yeah.”
It was an almost normal conversation. To an outside observer, to the two humans who waited anxiously on the other side of the bathroom door, it probably seemed like it was. To Faith, to any Slayer, it was a power play. She could hear Buffy's erratic heartbeat, see the tendons that stood out in Buffy's arms and hands, and she could smell the sweat and come that permeated the air she breathed. It felt like a challenge, and Faith could feel her Slayer stirring, intrigued.
The edge in Buffy's voice had a very distinct effect on Faith, but it had nothing on the results Buffy's gaze got. Faith could feel the eyes that roamed over her like a tangible caress. Steeling herself, Faith shoved off of the door. She could see Buffy's nails sinking into her upper arms.
“I need to check that bite, B,” Faith said regretfully.
“That's really not a good idea,” Buffy licked her lips nervously. “Really isn't.”
“Probably not,” Faith shrugged, “But it has to be done.”
The tiles were slick from where Buffy hadn't closed the shower curtain. The soles of Faith's boots squeaked softly as she crossed the room. She could feel Buffy's agitation ramping up the closer she got. Pausing right outside the bathtub, Faith felt the shower's spray drench her clothes.
Faith's nipples hardened instantly as the icy water seeped through her shirt. She saw Buffy go ramrod straight and felt herself tense in expectation. In a brief sweep of her eyes, Faith saw the tremors that shook Buffy from the effort she was exerting. Her gaze met Buffy's again, intent.
“You good there?”
“Get it over with,” Buffy gritted out, “I--I can't--I'm losing it, Faith .”
Faith's eyes flickered to Buffy's neck, then back, and she nodded in acknowledgement. She leaned forward, cringing internally as the full force of the water from the showerhead caught her upper body. Buffy let her head loll to the side, her soaked blonde hair tumbling over her shoulder. Faith swept the remaining locks out of the way to expose the wound, her fingers brushing unnaturally hot skin, and she didn't miss the visible jerk of Buffy's sleight body in reaction to the brief touch.
This close, any movement from Buffy was impossible to miss; the shallow rise and fall of her shoulders, the anxious flutter of her pulse, the twitching of her nostrils, the muscles straining under Buffy's immense will power. This close, Faith could sense everything ; the smell of the clean water, the abnormal heat coming off of Buffy, the earthy, salty smell of Buffy's arousal. Faith's eyelids fluttered shut helplessly as her own body responded, and she knew Buffy sensed it.
“ Faith... ”
Clearly hearing the warning in Buffy's groan, Faith forced herself to focus on the wound. The demon's lower row of teeth had left a thin line where it captured the skin, and the upper row had dug in deep as he clamped down on Buffy's neck. The skin was bruised a pale purple beneath the vivid red of the infection painting the entire area. Faith thought that it looked like the wound was knitting together, and she found herself fascinated by the shiny, oddly waxy layer of skin tissue.
Her hand drifted absently towards the wound, only for her wrist to be caught and held in a Slayer's iron grip. And Faith felt Buffy's control shatter. Her eyes raised from the wound to find Buffy's eyes clenched shut as she bit down hard on her lip. Those eerie eyes snapped open.
“ Run ,” Buffy growled.
To Be Continued in Chapter Five
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