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Detour

Author: Scarlet
Disclaimers: All characters depicted herein are property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Yadda yadda yadda….
Spoilers: Up to and including Season 7/Lies My Parents Told Me
Summary: Faith and Willow try make an unexpected stop on their way back to Sunnydale.
Ratings Note: NC-17
Author's Note: This is my first g/g slash fic. Be gentle.
Feedback: Appreciated. See above. ;0) scarletsfiction@yahoo.com


If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.
-Moshe Dayan

Chapter 1

When Willow offered to accompany the slayer back to Sunnydale, but the return initially proved more monotonous than either girl had imagined. Purchasing an extra ticket hadn't been a problem, but the girls found it difficult to find seats together. This meant that for 45 minutes, Willow was forced to listen to the demands of an obese man's dyspeptic stomach while Faith found herself crowded between not one, but two ill-scented old women who complained nonstop about the price of tuna for the first leg of the trip. Not for the first time in her life, Faith began to wish that selective homicide were legal.

As they pulled into Darlington, the girls breathed a collective sigh of relief. The driver gassed up the bus while his passengers stretched their legs.

"Ok, that trip put the `uck' in sucked if you ask me." Faith quipped as she wandered into the gas station.

Willow smiled. When she agreed to bring the slayer to Sunnydale, she had been concerned about how Faith would act. Far from being friends, Willow clearly remembered a time when Faith would have just as soon plunged a knife through the redhead's heart as look at her, but now here they were on the road together. Faith appeared unconcerned about their past history and seemed genuinely interested in the goings-on in Sunnyhell. With the rising of the First, Willow was willing to admit that there was a great deal of relief associated with the return of the younger slayer, and not just because there was strength in numbers. Leadership seemed to be at an all-time low. Buffy had been less-than-inspirational in her treatment of both friend and slayerette for the weeks leading up to the frantic phone call from Fred. Not that Willow could say much. Her own interest in, well, all things life-related had dwindled since Tara's death. Even her brief fling with a young junior slayer had not been enough to lift her from the depression that had settled over her like a haze for the past year. Only recently had she begun to see clearly. It was no wonder that helping return Angel's soul had turned out to be the magic answer, no pun intended. Maybe it had something to do with simply putting someone else's pain above her own. Or perhaps it had to do with her, Willow Rosenberg, feeling needed for the first time in a long, long while. Whatever the reason, she felt rejuvenated and the return to Sunnydale was looking more and more appealing.

Faith woke Willow from her reverie.  "So…I've got tiny smiling goldfish or merry cookie elves. Which would you prefer?"

"Uh, I'm kinda partial to fish with a good attitude these days. Those little elves all freak me out." Willow responded.

"Dude, I totally agree. And, like, all those little elves sitting in a tree all day making cookies? I mean, come on! You know there has to be a little elf-action going on there. Small enclosed space…" Faith teased with a wink.

Willow giggled. Yes, this trip was turning out much more pleasant than she had anticipated. Faith was different. Not "I have been reborn and I renounce my former self." different, Willow seriously doubted that Faith had paid for either of the snack treats, but different none the less. She knew what had caused it, too. Angel. Willow made a mental note to follow up on that train of thought later. The driver was loading passengers back on the bus. Willow gave an exaggerated sigh and boarded the hellmobile.

Thankfully, the crowd had thinned out considerably and the girls were able to sit together for the long second leg. The bus rumbled down the long barren highway, picking up speed as it cleared the city and then losing speed as it began the expanse of winding road they would now cover. Willow began to feel sleepy. Road trips always did that to her. She pressed her head to the window and soon felt the warm, fuzzy embrace of sleep descend on her…

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

"Narcolepsy, huh?" Willow was woken from her half-asleep state.

"Wha-?" She groggily asked.

"Narcolepsy. Spontaneous sleep. Utterly uncontrollable. You should get that looked at." Faith said with a wry grin.

"I wazzn't `sleep." Willow protested through groggy eyes.

"Oh, you weren't?" Faith said seriously. "I'm sorry. The closed lids and tranquil demeanor were obviously a clever decoy. I'll let you get back to…whatever it was you were doing." She gave Willow a lecherous smile and then turned her head back to the magazine she was reading.

Faith was bored. Slice-your-wrists-with-a-razorblade-just-to-have-something-to-do bored. How could Willow just sit there…sleeping? The hot sweaty smell of the bus and constant yammering of fellow passengers had her head ready to split. The trip was taking forever and the bus seemed to be crawling toward Sunnydale. Perhaps it was as apprehensive about returning to the Hellmouth as she was. How could anyone sleep, or pretend to sleep-in conditions like these?

"I'm awake. Really." Willow protested. "What would you like to do? 20 Questions? I Spy? I'm a master at the Slug Bug game, but don't play with Xander because there is this whole pinching thing that, well, you just don't want to get into with him…" Willow smiled expectantly at Faith.

Before Faith could respond, the girls felt a disturbing shudder. Faith's earlier observation was proving true. The bus was going slower than usual. After the first tremble, it appeared that the bus was slowing further still. For nearly 15 minutes, Faith and Willow watched as the bus got progressively slower, until the driver guided it into a small, antiquated gas station with a sign that read simply, "Bud's."

The driver got out and, after a few muffled words over the loud speaker to his passengers, proceeded to tinker with the engine. Faith was on edge. Mechanical troubles aside, from what Willow had told her, things with the First could escalate at any moment and every lost hour was a point conceded to the First. Willow seemed to sense her concern.

"I'll call Buffy." The young witch said, getting up from her seat.   

Faith watched as Willow paced the perimeter of "Bud's", cell phone in hand, looking for a good signal. Faith felt antsy for a fight. Any fight. She knew she would have to curb that urge for the time being. Kicking ass for anything other than slayer-related duties would definitely be frowned upon by Her Holiness, Buffy Summers. Faith gave a tension-filled sigh. Her future seemed to be filled with forced politeness and compromise, but she could live with that. Or, she thought she could. If Angel could live as a Scooby, then so could she. Then again, Angel couldn't get his rocks off without a little reprisal from his bloodthirsty other-half. Faith, on the other hand, had no such luck.

"Things are toasty in Sunnydale." Willow said as she rejoined Faith by the bus. "We're okay for now. The First seems to be in a holding pattern, which could last for several weeks."

"Yeah, or it could blow with extreme force while we sit here rotting in this shithole little town." Faith sighed. "You can't let your guard down, Red. That's just what it's expecting."

While Willow appeared to mull over what the slayer said, they were joined by the bus driver.

"Well, I've got bad news and badder news." The greasy man said. "The bad news is that this bus will not be leaving here any time soon. The badder news is that we won't be gettin' a replacement bus until `round tomorrow morning. Now, the company has generously agreed to house you folks tonight in one of the local 4-star accommodations. That is, the only accommodations that this here town has. Please enjoy your stay in Santa Vista."

Compromise. Faith sighed. Yep, duty sucked.


Chapter 2

Santa Vista, self-proclaimed home of the world's best pomegranate margarita, turned out to be slightly less ooky than Willow had feared. While it had only one motel (The doubtfully named "Rest and Ride"), it did seem to have its share of local flavor. Several restaurants and bars dotted the sparse main street and a small theater advertised a movie that might have been made in this decade. It was heading on dinnertime and the restaurants appeared to be filling up with laughing people of all ages. The girls took all of this in as they dragged their road-weary bodies through the middle of town, loaded down with luggage. Accompanied by the other passengers, they looked like a small nomadic tribe settling down for the winter. When they finally arrived at the Rest and Ride, they took the green plastic key and weakly crawled up the rusty stairs to room #213.

Willow shifted uncomfortably as Faith battled with the thick keyplate. She hadn't wanted to leave anything behind in case they swapped busses before the girls got there in the morning.  Unfortunately, hauling her clothes, toiletries, and a huge tote bag with the paraphernalia she had used to re-ensoul Angel had left her with screaming muscles. Dang, she needed a massage.

Faith finally managed to turn the key and the girls stepped into their new digs.

"There's only one bed." Willow wisely observed.

Faith dumped her lone athletic bag on the small desk. "I'll call the front desk…uh, if there was a phone…which there's not." She hesitated for a moment before saying, "Okay…I'll be back in a minute."

Willow watched as the dark-haired girl stormed to the office. As much as she wanted a bigger room, she had to feel sorry for whoever was about to get the Wrath of Faith.

The slayer returned later with bad news. "They don't have any more doubles. Apparently we should have hauled our asses across this lame town FASTER to receive one of the coveted `double' rooms." Faith made air quotes to emphasize what she thought of the Rest and Ride. She let out a deep breath and flung herself backward onto the green flowered bedspread. "Looks like it's just you and me, Red. Stay on your side and you won't get hurt." She smiled with a mock-evil glance.

Willow smiled awkwardly. Faith knew she was gay. She also had that uncanny knack for pushing people's buttons. Willow had almost forgotten that. She was starting to remember a lot of things about Faith, not all of them pleasant.

"We should get a drink. Go dancing. Do…something!" Faith proposed almost desperately, bouncing lightly on the bed.

"What happened to `you can't let your guard down' and all that stuff?" Willow answered.

"Fuck that, I want a margarita." Was Faith's reply. Already she was beginning to feel suffocated in this dinky room. It was too reminiscent of prison, a thought which she pushed out of her head almost the moment it came in. "We should get a map, you know? See how far we actually are from Sunnyhell. Maybe rent a car in the morning because if I have to sit next to another trailer-park granny, I might start taking lives. But first, I'm going to take a shower because-" she sniffed her shirt dramatically, "-I stink!" She rubbed Willow's head like she would a favorite dog before grabbing a slightly gray towel from the stand outside the bathroom and locking herself inside.

Willow's mind was still two steps behind Faith's. More than two steps. Actually, Faith's train of thought had left Willow at the station and taken off without her. <Maps, cars, margaritas?> The water started running in the bathroom and soon Willow heard Faith singing a Metallica song from the shower. Only 2 hours earlier, she had been snoozing on a Greyhound and now, here she was sharing a room with a questionably sane vampire slayer. Faith seemed pretty serious about going out tonight, too.

Willow cringed. Memories of more snubbings than she cared to remember came flooding back to her. It was different when she was with Tara. With Tara, she always had someone to dance with. Someone to talk with, drink with, eat with…there was someone there. Social situations had never been her thing and now it looked like she was about to be subjected to another one but without Tara, or a wingman like Buffy or Xander. Faith hardly counted. It was more than likely that she would be riding off into the sunset with some Harley driver while Willow hid her mortification behind one of those famous margaritas.

Willow flipped channels on their cheap television. The remote control was bolted to the nightstand and she pressed buttons at random, watching news reports and Spanish talk shows whiz by. Suddenly, the bathroom door was flung open and Faith strode purposefully out in a cloud of steam. Long wet hair dangled dripping wet across her back as she rummaged through her bag. Satisfied, she pulled out a pair of clean jeans.

"Your turn. This hotel might be skeezy, but it has unlimited hot water." She gave a delighted shiver that swung her dark waves away from her body and spattered the room with water.

Willow carefully removed a towel from the rack. It was getting late and dinner was sounding better and better, but the thought of mingling with Santa Vista's bold and beautiful was still giving her mild jitters.

"Hey, I'm gonna get dressed and head to the restaurant right across the street. I'll find us a map, just meet me there when you're ready. Oh, and shower fast, I hate to wait." Faith seemed very serious about punctuality. It did nothing to help Willow's nerves. Faith mistook her hesitancy.

"Hey, if you didn't bring extra clothes, you can borrow some of my stuff if you want."

"Thanks, um...maybe I will." Willow politely muttered. Then she stepped into the bathroom. It still smelled sweetly of Faith and she breathed in the decidedly girlie smell. They were definitely doing this place a favor by staying there. If not for them, the room would smell like feet and Chinese take-out forever. She turned on the shower and let the pounding hot water ease her worries. Faith was right, the hot water was never-ending. Back at the Hotel Summers, there were so many girls jockeying for room in the bathroom, you were lucky to get 5 minutes of uninterrupted shower time. She stood under the streaming water doing nothing. Simply letting the water sooth her mind and muscles.

When she was finally satisfied, she turned off the water and dried herself. Willow plucked through her bag and removed her Willow Attire. Modest, colorful, normal clothes for a normal girl who wanted to feel normal, but never did. She reflected for a moment on the changes she had begun feeling since leaving Los Angeles. Maybe it was time she made a new start. Got out of her comfort zone. Tried something new…

Willow reverently approached Faith's bag. It felt strange to be going through another person's belongings, even with their permission. She picked gingerly at the dark colors before lifting out a pair of delicious leather pants. Decidedly un-Willow. She smiled softly. Maybe tonight was just what she needed.


Chapter 3

Faith slouched impatiently in the red leather booth. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe Willow would refuse to even be seen in public with her. She knew that Willow definitely held grudges on people who hurt the ones she loved and Faith definitely counted as someone who should be on her witchy radar. Death, torture, deception. Faith was multitalented and she knew Willow knew that, too. You had to admire the witch's convictions, though. She was loyal. Warren could attest to that, too. Faith smiled inwardly at the thought of tiny Willow flaying a guy alive. It wasn't a pleasant thought, but this wasn't a pleasant world and Faith knew it. It seemed like Willow knew it, too.

Faith glanced again at her watch. It felt like forever since she watched Willow enter the shower. She hadn't looked that thrilled, more like walking to her doom. What was it about Sunnydale girls? They all had serious fun issues. She spread her hands over the now worn map that she had purchased, thanks to Willow's wallet, at the convenience store across the street. Sunnydale was still several hours away. Faith tapped out a Metallica rhythm on the formica table. Where was Willow? A large Hispanic woman lumbered to her booth and asked to take her order. Her nametag read "Joe."

"Can I have your order?"

Faith's eyes roamed franticly across the menu. Eating alone was just about the most embarrassing thing she could think of. Even when she lived alone, she preferred to bring food to her room. She never ate out unaccompanied. It reeked of desperation. If only Willow would show up. "Well, Joe, I think I will start with..." The words died on Faith's lips as Willow approached. The young redhead strode confidently toward the table with an enormous smile on her face. Faith hardly had time to decide if the gentle warmth pooling below her waist was from near desperate gratitude that the other girl had finally arrived, or her first glimpse of Willow in leather.

"Sorry I took so long. I borrowed your pants and then pants led to shirt and then…" Willow shrugged as if to indication the obvious time and effort that had gone into creating this new version of Willow that stood assuredly next to the wide round booth, waiting for Faith to scoot in.

"Yeah, no sweat." Faith turned without missing a beat to the waitress, "… the chimichanga and…I'm gonna try one of those margaritas…Can you also bring us another bowl of tortilla chips and…we'll need some extra napkins. Will?" Faith turned an unruffled face to the redhead who now stood shifting awkwardly from one foot to the other. "You gonna stay or are you gonna stand there forever?"

Willow blushed deeply and stood aside as the waitress let her into the opposite side of the booth. "I'll need another minute." She quietly uttered. Joe swung her wide hips off toward the kitchen as Faith began talking.

"So, the way I see it, everything hinges on the bus tomorrow. If it looks like we'll be out of here early, then we hop on the Sunnydale express and enter town early evening, totally five by five. But, if it doesn't look like this wagon train is heading out until afternoon, then I think we should get a car because… Are you alright?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." Willow said as she buried her face behind the menu. "So, chimichangas, huh? That sounds good. Could I have one of those? Uh, and one of those, too?" She addressed Joe as the woman placed an uncommonly large margarita glass in front of Faith. The older woman held the witch's gaze for a moment, then smiled as she sauntered off.

"We could call a car place in the morning as soon as we wake up. If I wake up. I'm a deep sleeper. Once, Tara tried to wake me up when this Groshga demon tried to get in our dorm room through the A/C vent and I wouldn't wake up so she had to get Buffy which was really hard because she had been patrolling which really sucked because when she is in that "zone" you just can't…uh" Faith was staring openly at her now. "…It's not important." Willow's cheeks were burning again and she tried hard to halt the tidal wave of words that babbled out of her mouth. Why was she so nervous? It was the leather, she decided. Leather was definitely dangerous. It should come with a warning label. And Faith. She should come with one, too. The slayer was gazing at her with an odd look. Part pity, part something else. Probably mortification at having to be seen with someone as ordinary as full-time honor student and part-time homicidal witch, Willow Rosenberg. She hadn't even mentioned the outfit.

----------

When the waitress put the chilled glass on the table, Willow lifted it and choked down salty gulps of the pink mixture. Faith smiled. At least one of the Sunnydale girls knew how to party. She would give this girl a life it killed her.

Several hours, three games of pool, (Willow won two out of three-who knew the witch was also a shark?) and countless pitchers of alcohol later, Faith found herself dragging a nearly unconscious Willow from Carmine's Cantina across the broad Main Street of Santa Vista. A large, liquid moon hung low in the sky and Faith slowed to marvel at it. "Will, hey Will?" She lifted the girl's chin toward the bright sphere. "Get a look-see at that. Pretty sweet, huh?" Willow turned a lax grin toward the dark-haired girl.

"Somewhere, Oz is either snapping or snoozing." She said with a soft sigh. Faith mentally cringed at her own stupidity. Full moons probably held different meaning for someone who's boyfriend of two years left you because you brought out his "animal" side. Why was she always doing that? Saying the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong time? She hurried them off toward the Rest and Ride Motel.

Getting Willow up the stairs proved more troublesome than she had first imagined. The girl still maintained some motor functions, but Faith was, and she was loath to admit it, a little inebriated herself. Nothing like Willow, but she was sporting a pleasantly warm buzz that she hoped meant she would sleep dreamlessly tonight. The bloody nightmares that had tortured her off and on for four years usually took a backseat to a drunken stupor. Usually.

"Come on Willy, baby. You have to do some of the work yourself." Faith cajoled as she half dragged the girl up the stairs. Willow seemed to realize that she had a part to play, too, and found her legs.

"I still don't understand how you can walk at all, Faith." Willow marveled as the slayer opened the door to their room. "You had more than I did to drink."

"Oh contraire. I had more margaritas than you did. You aren't counting the 6 shots of tequila or the nipple twister that you…woah, hold on." Faith stopped as Willow shot out a hand to steady herself. She slowly inched her way to the bed and sat primly on the edge, attempting to maintain her balance. "See, I know my limit. I know when it's time to party and when it's time to get back to the drudgery that is Slayer Duty." Faith dropped the key on the desk and knelt in front of Willow to unlace the tall leather boots tied high up the witch's calves.

"That's what it is with you, isn't it?" Willow asked, looking down at Faith from under her tumbling curls.

"What what is?" The slayer asked as she worked the laces free one at a time.

"Life." Willow said simply. "You party like crazy, then you work like its slavery. It's always one or the other with you." She tilted unsteadily to one side as Faith began to pull harder on the laces. "I mean, did you ever think you could have both?"

"Both how?"

"Both…just both. Enjoy slaying, enjoy playing, you know. Enjoy life in general?"

"Life doesn't work that way, kid. You've seen the bumper sticker. `Life sucks and then you die.' More truth on the back of a Buick than in all your philosophy books." Faith yanked the left boot free and began slowly working on the right. After a pause, she spoke. "I mean, look at you. Oz leaves you, Giles moves, Tara dies, Buffy dies, you haven't talked to your folks in days and it doesn't seem to be a problem. Without counting the whole, `I turned evil and flayed a guy alive before almost destroying the world' thing, you could say that things are seriously shitty for you. All you can do, really, is find the party when you can." Faith lifted her eyes thoughtfully.

"What about you?

"What about me? I know the score, Red. I don't take anything seriously. One day at a time wasn't just a crappy sitcom."

"Okay, so let's say that's true…" Willow was beginning to feel defensive and the alcohol was making her bold. "…Then by your calculations, you should be ready to party straight through for 6 weeks, but you wouldn't even give that bartender your phone number."

"I don't have a phone." Faith interrupted. "Hello? Without home-age at the moment."

"Don't try to weasel out of this. You know what I mean. I should be here alone tonight, hung over and pissed that you ditched me, but instead, you're taking care of me. What does that say about your theory?"

"It says…" Faith stopped, slipping off the right boot and placing it gently near the other. "…it says that bartenders are not my type." She finished finally. "That's all. And while we are on the subject, let's look at you tonight. I mean, I saw that girl at the bar, and before you try to deny it, I know you saw her too. That little Penthouse pinup would have taken you home tonight in a second, but you wouldn't even say two words to her."

"She wasn't my type."

"Of course she was."

"Ok, she was. But I wasn't hers."

"How do you know that?

"I just know, Ok? Some people just know who is and isn't their type." Willow said stubbornly.

Faith seemed to mull that over for a while. Finally she said, "Yeah, I get that. I'm nobody's type, really. I mean, I'm a good ride and all, don't get me wrong, but type?"

Willow seemed to find her comment endlessly amusing. "Yeah", she said with a bitter snort, "Beautiful, sexy, strong, funny, these are not things that anyone would find appealing. You're right. We might as well send you to a nunnery." She lifted her arm with a flourish and then wobbled a little on the bed. Willow was becoming more lucid but the room was still spinning. She wasn't sure if it was the alcohol, or the warm hands working the socks off her foot. Without warning, the hands stopped and she bit her lip gently with disappointment. Large dark eyes looked up at her.

"So…….beautiful, sexy, strong, funny. These wouldn't be your type at all, then?" The slayer's expression was unreadable.

"I guess…probably not…I mean maybe." She paused and Faith waited. "But someone who was my type…." Willow trailed off.

"Yeah? Your type would…?"

"Someone my type would at least notice when I show up wearing leather pants!" Willow blurted suddenly.

Faith looked confused at the sudden change of direction the conversation was taking. "What are you talking about?"

Willow took a deep breath. "I'm talking about borrowing somebody's leather pants and about that same somebody not even noticing when another somebody makes a huge image change and then," Willow was wailing now with a mixture of frustration and self-pity, "the first somebody makes the other somebody go all of the way around the to the other side of the booth instead of scootching in like what's done in proper circles." Willow was aware that she was whining, she just didn't care.

"You're mad `cuz I didn't scoot in when you came to dinner?" Faith's eyes were wide with amusement.

"No. I…"

"You're mad `cuz I didn't tell you that you looked nice?"

"No, I'm mad because you didn't…you didn't even consider…." Willow's wind left her sails then and she sat awkwardly on the edge of the bed, absently rubbing her fingers. The tension in the room was increasing with every breath she mustered. "I'm mad because, for a few days I finally felt like I was enough, you know. Just enough, past the whole Warren thing…I mean, in a way, …and then people like you come and…" Willow ran out of steam then and stopped, embarrassed. She'd lost her train of thought and most of her self-respect. Blushing, she sat staring at the other girl.

"I noticed."

Low, muted. Barely above a whisper.

"Huh?"

"I noticed. You looked hot. I noticed. Is that what you want me to say? Scorching. Amazing, really."  Faith's eyes met Willow's and held them there against their will.

The moment seemed to spin out forever, though it was only a few seconds. Then in one smooth motion, Faith stood and leaned quickly toward Willow. Her lips pressed firmly onto the sitting girl's mouth and she began kissing her greedily.

Time stopped. Willow could hardly move. Could hardly breathe. This was Faith. Faith. Slayer of Vampires, User of Men.…and…possessor of the world's softest lips…Logic and reason began to recede and Willow felt a gentle pressure building in her. After a while she began to realize that she needed to do something besides sit there. Slowly, she parted her lips and felt the other girl's warm tongue slip urgently between them as firm hands pushed her backward onto the bed.

As soon as Willow was horizontal, the eager kisses became more frantic and she felt the weight of the other girl pressing painfully on her body. Faith smothered her mouth, barely allowing the other girl to breathe. The room was stuffy and dark and very little light was entering from the streetlight outside. Everything was spinning and Willow could see only slightly more than Faith's smooth skin pressed against her own. The frenzied kisses became still more urgent until Willow felt as though Faith's teeth would crush through her own. Regaining some particle of control, Willow used all of the strength she had in her to roll the pair of them over until she straddled the other girl.

A thousand thoughts were raining through her head at the moment and, surprisingly, not one of them was the thought that she should stop what was happening. She looked deeply into the impatient brown eyes staring up at her. Memories of a thousand barbs at her own expense flooded her mind. She should say something. Tell Faith that you couldn't just kiss someone and make up for months of pain. And somehow, with that thought, a window opened in Willow's mind. Memories of the young slayer's body lying in a coma. Memories of Faith talking about her own alcoholic mother. Her dead watcher. The string of men that filled her bed but never her heart. How many times had Faith threatened her, fought with her, risked her life for her? Willow didn't know, but she gazed into the bottomless dark eyes below her and saw the raw hope in them. She saw more than Faith had ever seen in her own mirror. A sudden, tranquil certainty filled Willow's heart. She knew what she had to do. No, you couldn't just kiss someone and make up for months or years of pain. But you could try.

----------

Willow stretched sinuously across Faith's body, pinning her arms to the bed.

"Stay!"

Faith, never one for following directions, began to sit up in protest.

"Ari-beh!"

Suddenly, Faith felt thick bands wrap themselves around her wrists and ankles. She experienced a moment of sheer panic at the thought of being constrained before realizing that Willow had cast a simple spell. Further investigation gave her much relief. The spell was weak, the magical equivalent of ankle weights, and that should she put any real effort into it, it would be easy to leave the bed if she wanted to. Not that she wanted to.

Willow slid off the edge. Walking across the room, she stopped at the smaller of her bags. Rummaging through it, she finally lifted her head, triumphantly removing a large, heavy white candle. She proceeded to set it on the cheap motel dresser.  

"Mi-la-beh." The small flame ignited, pooling the room in its soft, scented glow.

"Geez, Will. You really go all out. I should have jumped you earlier." Faith purred suggestively.

Willow crawled gingerly back on the bed. "Now, I'm going to take the binding off, but you have to promise to slow down."

"Sorry half-pint, but that's not my style." She leaned forward forcefully, attempting to clutch the other girl in her arms.

"Ari-beh!" Willow called again, strengthening the spell. The invisible bands held the slayer up rigidly. Now she could neither move her hands or her legs.

"Try my style on for size." Willow whispered. Slowly, she trailed her fingers down her shirt, pressing gently at her own breasts. Her fingers found the buttons and she began to undo them one by one, her eyes half-closed and glassy. Faith watched with misgiving.

"Willow?"

"Shh…" soft eyes gazed at Faith. She slipped out of the tight fabric slowly and let it drop to the floor. Faith's eyes swept her petite form and her breath hitched lightly at the sight of the silky black bra hugging ivory skin.

Faith lunged at Willow with determination, but the bands held her tight.

"Just…slow…down."

Willow grinned and trailed tiny kisses down Faith's restrained wrist. She sat back and her eyes turned serious as she saw the desire in Faith's gaze. The young witch held her stare for a painfully long time until Faith began to feel an uncomfortable sensation. She wanted to look away. To call the whole thing off and chock it up to some powerful margaritas, but Willow's gaze held her transfixed. At one moment, Willow's eyes seemed a million miles away, at the next, she was impossibly close. Faith felt, before she saw, Willow move toward her. The pace was excruciating. Willow reached out one small, warm hand and stroked Faith's cheek, causing the slayer's breath to catch slightly. Her heart felt like it was battering her ribcage. She wanted to bound forward and ravish the girl, but she was caught, trapped like a deer in the headlights. Powerless to move, Willow's lips inched closer to hers and Faith could see in the warm candlelight the other girl's hunger and…something else. Affection? Devotion? Tenderness?

Faith tugged at the invisible restraints. Enough was enough. She had to get out of there. Out of that town. Out of that room that stopped time for a while and made her forget everything she was, everything she had done, everything she could never have….and still, Willow was leaning closer. Faith could smell her shampoo and that uniquely Willowy smell like roses and lemonade… and then her lips were simply there.

Soft and timid, they brushed across hers hesitantly, as if asking for permission. Faith's chest was burning, her mind spinning. This was too much, too soon. Fucking was one thing but this girl…she wanted…

"Get away from me."

Willow jerked back, as if slapped. "Wha-what?"

"I said. Get. The. Fuck. Away. From. Me." Rage flashed in Faith's eyes. "What do you think you are playing at?"

"I didn't...I mean, I don't..."

"Yeah, you don't. Get me out of these things." Faith's eyes refused to meet Willow's as she shrugged, indicating the invisible bands that still held her in place.

"Ari-shah." Faith clutched at her wrists and boot-clad ankles as if they had been bound by barbed wire instead of an invisible force. She hurdled off the bed and turned furious eyes to Willow.

"Look Will, I know you've had a lot to drink so I'm gonna' speak `slowly', OK?" She emphasized the word bitterly. "You cannot ride a bus for half a day and think you know me. I mean, I thought you wanted to have some fun, loosen up, and God knows you need it, but playing seductress doesn't suit you so just…" Faith hesitated, groping for the right words and finding them unreachable. "… just get the fuck away from me." Finished, she wrapped her arms around herself and began pacing the shabby carpet. "I need to get out of this place right now." She began searching for her jacket.

"You already said that."

"What?"

"You already told me to get the fuck away." Willow's gaze was steady, her voice strangely calm.

"Yeah, well, you haven't gotten far enough away." Faith lifted clothing and luggage in a vain attempt to locate her leather jacket.

"You're a coward."

Faith stiffened visibly and turned slowly around. If looks could kill, Willow would have been dead and buried by the blistering gaze from the slayer.

"What did you say? And make sure you are really clear when you tell me because I don't want anyone saying I misquoted when they ask for a confession later."

"You. Are. A. Coward." Empowered, Willow went on. "You're a sissy. You're afraid. Scared. Chicken-hearted. Yellow-bellied. Lilly-livered. Do you want me to get my thesaurus?" She looked at the seething girl directly. "You. Are. Terrified. And until you admit it, you are no use to me. Or Buffy. Or this world. You can't stand the thought of one night of true intimacy. Faced with a person that might actually give a damn about you, you can't take it. You're ready to run from this room because someone is here that might not hurt you. That is what I call a coward. Let me ask you something, Faith. If you're this scared now, what will it be like when you face The First? If you can't face me? Me! What kind of contribution are you going to make to our cause?"

The seconds ticked by with tormenting slowness and the tension in the room was almost palpable. With the wind dying from Willow's sails, she took a shaky breath. Faith's face was a mask of stone. "So leave. Please. Because we don't need you. I don't need you. Not if you are that afraid. I…I wanted you tonight. I admit it. But, I've spent a lot of time in my life being afraid and I promised myself a while ago that I wouldn't do that, not anymore. I thought that maybe you...I don't know…promised yourself something like that, too. I was obviously wrong. So just…leave." Willow tucked her legs up to her chest and wrapped her left arm around her knees.

With her right arm, she began picking nervously at the bedspread, willing Faith to leave. Or stay. Or leave. Or say something. Time seemed to stretch out endlessly.

At last, Willow caught movement from the corner of her eye. At first, she mistook it for a shadow from the flickering candle. Then she felt the edge of the bed give gently as someone sat down.

Worried that she might scare her away again, Willow stiffened but did not turn her head. Instead, she stared at the intricate floral pattern on the bedspread. Faith's hand was a few inches from hers. Finally, she stole a glance at the other girl. She was perched rigidly on the edge, staring into empty space. Willow took it as a good sign that she had not left. Silently, she waited.


Chapter 4


Stock-still on the outside, Faith was screaming on the inside. Every pore in her body told her to leave. Every thought in her heart told her to stay. Caught in a battle between heart and head, she waited. The truth of Willow's words burned her like a brand. It was fear that kept her from people. She knew that. She wasn't stupid. But to think that someone else, what made it worse was that the tiny witch who would scream if you said "Boo", saw through her veneer…well…that was more than a little unsettling. It was terrifying.

Faith's eyes grazed the slim, unadorned fingers only inches away from her own black-polished ones. She could hear Willows shallow, even breathing. How could she do that? How could Willow appear so calm when there was a gale force wind blowing in Faith only a few feet away?

The battle raged on. Stay. Go. Stay. Faith shifted her hand, bringing it almost imperceptibly closer to Willow's. The windstorm inside her eased a bit. She inched her hand closer still, until they were almost, almost touching. With eyes closed, Faith laid her pinky across Willow's.

When she opened her eyes, she was rewarded with a soft smile. The redhead lifted her eyes to meet Faith's and for the first time, Faith held her gaze without fear. Faith slipped her hand gently over the other girl's hand and squeezed it cautiously.

Several minutes had passed before Faith finally spoke. "I won't…" She started suddenly, then paused. "I mean, I don't…I never…" A deep blush rose on her cheeks. She smiled nervously and struggled to find the words Willow already knew. "…with someone who cared about me." She finally ended.

"I'll be gentle." Willow whispered with mock-seriousness.

The real absurdity of her situation hit Faith suddenly. Faith was supposed to be the experienced one. The one in charge. She was a slayer. Yet now she was as bashful as a virgin in front of Willow. The witch held all the power and Faith was only along for the ride. It was hard for her to decide if she should be scared or aroused by this. She decided on the later.

Willow laced her fingers through Faith's, remembering with sadness a time not so long ago, when her hands held Tara's with the same tenderness. With her other hand, she ran her fingers up the inside of Faith's arm, causing a soft grin to appear.

Willow's hand slid delicately into the long hair-pulling it back from the slayer's face. With her hand still tangled in the dark tresses, she firmly drew Faith toward her. When their lips met this time, both were prepared. Faith hesitated only briefly before parting her lips and allowing Willow's tongue to explore her mouth.

Faith was floating. Falling. Adrift in a sea of pleasure she never knew one person could experience. Willow left her mouth and began trailing her lips across Faith's jawbone, laying tiny kisses every few inches. Her other hand joined the first in kneading Faith's hair and massaging the back of her neck. Willow's lips drifted behind her ear and she licked the lobe experimentally. Faith shuddered with arousal and, encouraged, Willow took the lobe into her mouth and began sucking. Faith gasped, her mouth hanging open ever so slightly. When Willow left her ear, Faith moaned with disappointment. Far from done, Willow continued her exploration of Faith's body as she slid her lips down her neck and ran her tongue along the soft slope where the girl's neck and shoulders met. Willow allowed one hand to leave the soft locks and she gently pulled at the silken spaghetti straps of Faith's shirt. They slipped easily from her shoulders and the witch went to work kissing her shoulders tenderly.

Somehow, Faith felt more naked at that moment than she ever had, and she still had all of her clothes on. Everything felt dreamlike and surreal. Willow was doing things with her tongue that made Faith's toes curl, and still she continued to surprise her. With her mouth occupied, Willow let her hands travel slowly down the length of the other girl's sides. The slayer felt a warm hand slide softly under the fabric of her shirt and begin caressing the small of her back in tiny circles.

Satisfied with her thorough exploration of Faith's shoulders, Willow returned to her mouth and kissed her deeply. Faith's head was swimming and her body was burning. Unsure of what to do, she clutched Willow's arms lightly and the other girl sighed contentedly. They continued to kiss until, pulling back unexpectedly, Willow looked at Faith, her eyes asking permission to continue. Aroused, Faith could do little more than nod.  

Willow slowly lifted Faith's shirt over her head, allowing her breasts to swing free. With exquisite care, she pulled Faith forward and lay her against the pillows. Unused to being so submissive, Faith was unsure what to do next. Willow solved that problem for her by leaning forward and taking a firm nipple into her mouth. She suckled it gently, garnering a loud moan from the other girl. She continued to massage the nipple with her tongue while her hands explored its partner.

Faith wanted nothing more than to take the redhead right there. She envisioned ten different ways to make her scream, and yet the part of her that knew something amazing was happening wouldn't let her do anything but lie against the pillows and receive the sweet pleasure Willow was giving.

Willow moved her attention to the other nipple and Faith sighed contentedly. Willows hands began to rub the smooth skin of her belly. Her tongue left Faith's breasts and marked a trail to the girl's bellybutton. Slowly, Willow unbuttoned Faith's jeans and lowered the zipper. Faith felt her pulse increase and the thumping in her chest grew louder.

"Will..." Faith began. Willow stopped and looked anxiously at the beauty.

Faith looked unsure of what she wanted to say. Willow waited until she finally blurted, "I stole $10 from your wallet." Confused at the sudden change in topic, Willow just stared. "I know it was wrong, blah, blah, blah, but I just wanted you to know. You know, confession being good for the soul and all that stuff. I just…I don't think…if we're going to…you know…we shouldn't have any secrets. From now on. Okay…?" She trailed off softly. Faith was biting her lip painfully, waiting for the other girl's reaction.

"From now on. No secrets. Promise." Willow repeated. She could almost feel the tension leave Faith's body at that admonition. Assured that Faith was satisfied, she continued her investigation of her body.  

The slayer lifted her hips, allowing the witch to pull her jeans completely off. She gracefully dropped the jeans on top of the clothes that had already made a departure and lowered her face to Faith's smooth belly. Taking a deep breath, Willow pressed her lips firmly just below the girl's bellybutton and blew out, eliciting a deep bubbling sound. Faith shrieked with laughter and pulled her legs up to her chest.

"I was right. You sure do know how to set a mood, Will." Tears were streaming down the sides of her face. Willow giggled wickedly.

"I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention…when I did this." With that, Willow gave a wicked grin and bit the top of Faith's red panties, tugging them down gently with her teeth. The girl's laughter stopped and so did her heart. She stretched her legs back out and Willow dragged the slip of scarlet fabric down their length until she had them completely off and added them to the collection.

Naked, Faith lay in front of Willow. The witch's eyes skimmed the slayer's body, entranced. Faith shifted, uncomfortable with such a thorough inspection. She was rewarded with a brilliant smile from the other girl. Willow shook her head. "You are so beautiful."

Faith met her smile self-consciously. "Yeah, well, I was born this way, so…" She joked.

Willow giggled and leaned in to her mouth. She pressed her lips, once again, to the other girl's. The kiss intensified until Willow was forced to break it or risk suffocation. Faith strained forward, looking to recapture the lost lips, and moaned softly. The redhead pulled her to a sitting position. "I am entirely too clothed." She pouted.

Faith smiled evilly and unsnapped the infamous leather pants while reclaiming the other girl's lost lips. She unzipped the pants and slipped them down Willow's narrow waist, along with pale pink panties. Slightly less gracefully than Willow, Faith dumped them on top of the growing pile. The slayer resumed her pose on the bed, pulling the tiny redhead on top of her. <Oh, gods. This is Willow. I'm with Willow. And she feels amazing. Fuck! More than amazing. Did it ever feel this good? Have I ever felt this good?  Should I continue talking to myself or should I just-OH!> Willow had allowed her hand to trail down Faith's side and now slid it confidently between her smooth thighs.

_______________

Faith was holding her breath, Willow could tell. She met the girl's eyes and smiled softly. Faith's breath escaped her with a shudder and she tried to relax. <Geez. It's not like this is the only time I ever did this. There were two, maybe three other times at least…> If pressed, Faith wasn't sure if she could remember them exactly, though. She had always known she was bisexual, but opportunities with men presented themselves a whole hell of a lot more often than with women.

Willow rolled to her side, allowing her to watch the slayer's face as she stroked the short, soft curls. Gingerly, she slid her hand lower and felt telltale wetness, proof that Faith was as turned on as she was. Willow slid one finger gently into the other girl and Faith cried out with pleasure. She added a second and began trailing them in and around the slayer's clit. The slayer was panting, making soft mewing sounds into Willow's ear.

<Ohgodohgodohgod…this feels fucking phenomenal…when did Red learn to do this? Do I care? Yeah, just a little…more than a little…god, you think you know someone….and then they surprise you and…woah! Red! Didn't know you could do that…..>

Faith's face was enraptured with pleasure. Willow found herself growing wet watching the other girl. She was slipping her fingers in and out of the other girl, fucking her with her hand. The slayer was meeting her strokes, thrusting herself forward. After a while, the redhead found herself sliding over the other girl, laying the entire length of her tiny body across Faith's. Skin to skin, Willow could feel her rabbit-fast heartbeat. Slowly, she slid down her body once again, this time burying her face in the swollen folds of the slayer. She allowed her tongue to dart against the other girl's clit. Faith was panting openly now. Her hands snatched at the folds of the bedspread, clutching and unclutching them franticly. Her head began rocking from side to side when suddenly, her back began to arch and-

"Oh, god Willow! I'm-I'm gonna…Fuck, Willow..I'm….Willl-ooow!!!"

A scream was wrenched from her as Faith's orgasm hit her in delicious waves. She rode them out for quite a while before she finally shuddered in its aftermath, unable to speak or move. Willow crawled languidly up to Faith's beautiful face and smoothed sweaty curls from her forehead.

For several minutes Faith stared at the ceiling but did not speak and Willow began to get tense.

"Was that OK?" Willow finally asked, nervously biting on her lip. "I mean, I know I can `talk the talk' and all, but really, I've only had, I mean, been with one other girl and if it wasn't…I mean, if I wasn't good enough then..."

Willow's words were silenced when Faith lunged upward and captured her mouth with an almost feral growl. She crushed the small girl's lips against hers in a passionate kiss. The kiss drew out for several moments. Willow felt a sweet wetness against her cheeks and chin before she realized what it was. Faith was crying.    

"I'm like a fucking baby, right?" Faith said as she pulled back from Willow and swiped her hands across her cheeks.

"A big, gorgeous baby with a hot bod." Willow joked, then scrunched her browns. "I guess that analogy doesn't really work."

"No, it doesn't." Faith laughed and pulled Willow to her chest. The witch pressed her ear to the slayer's breast and listened as the beating slowed. They lay like that for a long time, each caught in her own thoughts.

"So, it was OK, then?" Willow finally asked.

"Yeah. Pretty OK." Faith was never one for gushy sentiment, but Willow could read the truth between her words. Willow hadn't felt so relaxed in a long time. Faith ran her fingers lightly through red hair. She was nearly dropping off when she felt a sharp bite at her earlobe.

"Ow!" Willow cried.

"Sorry. I've just noticed that you have a tendency to drift off on me and I wanted to make sure you were awake when I did this…" Faith explained as she gently took the offended lobe into her mouth and began twirling it around her tongue. Awake and alert, Willow smiled at her playful lover. Faith continued to suck on the lobe and then sat up. Willow wrapped her arms and legs around the slayer in a strange, seated hug. From this vantage point it was hard to get closer to the slayer, but Willow tried, snuggling tighter until her pert breasts were pressed nearly painfully into Faith's.

"Willow?"

"Yeah?"

"Oxygen is an abundant resource on this planet, but I'm having a little trouble getting it right now."

"Oh! Sorry!" Willow scooted back, letting the slayer breath.

"I know I'm trying the whole `getting close to people' thing, but I didn't realize it would be that close." Willow grinned sheepishly and Faith laughed.

"I just didn't realize how huggable you were until now. You should definitely try giving the whole `hugging people you care about' thing a try. You're really good at it!" Willow was babbling a little, but Faith didn't seem to mind. Instead, she grasped the small girl under her arms and lifted her up off the bed slightly. The unusual angle brought Willow's breasts in direct line with Faith's waiting mouth. With a devilish grin, Faith took first one and then the other rosy bud in. Willow's head rolled back and she moaned loudly. The sound sent a slow burn through Faith's body. God, why hadn't anyone told her that making someone else feel good could get her off so much?

"You know what I think?" Faith asked.

"Mmmm…what?" Willow panted.

"I think…" She met Willow's eyes quickly and then took another quick lick between Willow's breasts. "...that you are..." she trailed her tongue under Willow's left breast, "…definitely…" and then her right, "…my type."
"And I think that we are going to have to rent a car tomorrow," Willow panted, "because I am not letting you leave this room for at least twelve more hours."

"Hey, you're the boss."



The End

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