HIDDEN: AFTER THE DANCE
nominated for a Sunnydale Memorial Fanfiction Award
Disclaimer: All of the materials borrowed from Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon and to the entities and companies associated with their creation. I have borrowed them for creative and entertainment purposes only. No compensation has been or ever shall be received for the writing below. No copyright infringement is intended. The same is true for what I have borrowed from Watchers.
My Website: http://www.dragonwriter17.net/
Feedback: Yes, but only if it’s of the non-flamey variety: DragonWriter17@aol.com
Distribution: The Watchers Forum, The Mystic Muse, and my personal site (If you are interested in posting my story on your site, please contact me first for permission.)
Spoilers: Watchers Season 4 “Hidden”
Author’s Notes: (1) “Hidden” (http://thewatcherscouncil.net/seasonfour/hid/hid_teaser.htm) deals with a group from the Watchers Council (Buffy, Faith, Xander, Willow, Rowena, Kennedy, and Kadin) who go on vacation to a tropical island (courtesy of a grateful billionaire whose children had recently been saved by Buffy and several others). While there, they fall under a spell that is designed to make all of their repressed desires, fears, and other emotions come out. As the spell affects them more and more deeply, they act openly upon their sexual desires. In the episode, we show where the spell takes the others, but in the case of Buffy and Faith, we only hinted at what might have happened. This story is my take on what happened. (2) To remind everyone of the context, I have included the media room scene that Susan wrote for “Hidden.” This is the “dance” scene that the title of this fic comes from. I’ve also included the scene near the end of “Hidden” in which the gang is at the Anguilla airport waiting for their Council jet ride home. At another point earlier in the story, I have simply made reference to “Hidden” itself rather than duplicating one and half acts worth of episode. So you might want to re-read “Hidden” before reading this story. (3) This is the most sexually explicit NC-17 story that I have ever written. I’m really pushing my boundaries and going outside my comfort zone with this. I hope it works. (4) Thanks, as always, to Lilly for the beta read and edit.
Number of Chapters: 1 (although it was posted in 4 parts in the Watchers Forum)
Chapter Summary: What really happened when Buffy left the media room after her hot dance with Faith?
As Faith neared the media room door, she heard music. She stepped through the open doorway and saw Buffy dancing by herself to a sultry song. The other slayer’s eyes were closed as she moved slowly to the beat. Faith watched as Buffy took a sip of her drink and then put her glass down to continue with her dancing. Faith’s lips quirked into a smile, and she moved into place behind Buffy. She started dancing in sync with her, moving closer until she touched Buffy’s back.
Buffy’s eyes popped open, and she seemed surprised at first as she looked at Faith over her shoulder, but then she smiled and closed her eyes. She leaned her head back until it was resting next to Faith’s, and the two continued to dance to the music.
The two women moved together in perfect rhythm, the front of Faith’s body pressed closely against Buffy’s back as the music throbbed. Buffy suddenly turned around and pulled Faith closer by the hips, until they were molded together as one.
After a few minutes of dancing, Buffy finally stopped. With her hands over Faith’s shoulders, she leaned back and looked at the other slayer.
“What’s wrong?” Faith asked.
“I don’t know,” Buffy whispered, her breathing heavy. “It just feels…”
“Hot?” Faith put in when Buffy paused.
Buffy shrugged uncertainly.
“We used to dance like this all the time at the Bronze,” Faith said.
“We were just kids back then,” Buffy said, her voice shaky.
“Well,” Faith leaned closer to whisper into Buffy’s ear, “we’re not kids anymore.”
Faith let go of the other slayer and slowly walked away. At the doorway, she paused and turned to give Buffy a steamy look before leaving.
Buffy took a deep breath and then slugged down the rest of her drink. She looked at the door, and then with a firm hand, she put the glass on the table and headed for the door.
Having made her way upstairs, Buffy now looked nervously at the closed bedroom door in front of her. She shifted her weight from foot to foot several times and then dropped her gaze to the floor. She let out a long breath.
“What am I doing?” she whispered to herself.
“Looking for me?”
Buffy jumped at the voice behind her and whirled around. She found Faith standing there—with her thumbs hooked in the pockets of her faded cutoffs and a sexy smirk on her face.
“No,” Buffy said in instant denial, emphasizing the word in totally unconvincing fashion.
When Faith perched her hands on her hips and put on a skeptical mock-glare, Buffy’s eyes were instantly drawn to the dark slayer’s thin blue shirt. Fastened only at the fourth and fifth buttons, it barely covered Faith’s breasts. Her chest still had a slight sheen from the tanning oil that Buffy herself had applied during their earlier nude sunbathing.
When Buffy heard Faith loudly clear her throat, she immediately shot her gaze up to the other slayer’s face where it belonged. When Faith raised an eyebrow at Buffy, the blonde began wringing her hands and picking at the hem of her khaki shorts.
“Maybe,” Buffy reluctantly admitted. Then she let out an annoyed huff and blurted, “I don’t know.”
Faith didn’t say a word. She just crossed her arms nonchalantly and let her smirk grow larger.
Buffy huffed again and gave Faith an exasperated look. “How do you do that?” she asked.
Confused, Faith dropped her arms. “Do what?”
“Act so calm and cool when things are so—”
“Hot?” Faith interjected, grinning widely as she intentionally repeated her earlier line.
Buffy gave a long-suffering sigh and rolled her eyes. Faith ignored the eye roll and stepped forward, easing into the other slayer’s personal space. Buffy didn’t back away; instead, she simply let her gaze come slowly down to meet Faith’s. After a long, deep stare, Faith reached over and trailed her fingertips down Buffy’s arm. When she heard Buffy’s breathing increase, she looked back up and met her eyes once again.
“Things are hot, aren’t they?” she asked the blonde in a husky voice.
For a long moment, Buffy remained locked into Faith’s stare—just panting, her chest heaving against the white cotton fabric of her shirt. Then she whispered an urgent “Yes.”
At that, they both moved into a crushing kiss. They hungrily devoured each other’s mouths as they let their hands roam freely. While reaching under Buffy’s shirt to touch the smooth skin of her back, Faith used her body to press the blonde slayer firmly against the bedroom door. After taking in the sweet scent of sweat and suntan oil, Faith began kissing and nipping her way down Buffy’s neck.
Moaning softly, Buffy buried her hands in Faith’s long, dark hair and pulled her even closer. When she felt Faith’s leg slip between hers, Buffy’s moan grew louder. She began fumbling for the doorknob near her back.
When the knob turned, the door flew open, and the two slayers stumbled inside Faith’s room, their body weight slamming the door against the interior wall of the small foyer. As their lips found each other again, they maneuvered around the edge of the door until they could fall against it and close it, this time with Faith’s back against the door.
As Faith blindly locked the door behind her, the two kissed over and over as if they had no need for breath at all. They separated for the merest of seconds, just long enough to kick off their shoes and then body-collide once again. At that point, Faith gripped Buffy tightly and took them both to the floor.
They barely noticed the impact as they hit the plush carpet, Faith landing on top of Buffy. When Faith went to push herself up with her arms, Buffy refused to let her go. She put one hand behind Faith’s head and pulled her down for a fervent kiss.
When they finally did pause for air, they stared into each other’s eyes, breathing heavily.
“Wanna take this to the bed?” Faith asked, cutting her eyes at the four-poster bed across the room.
“No,” Buffy instantly answered.
“Good,” Faith said with a wicked grin.
Then she grabbed Buffy’s white shirt with both hands and ripped it open, sending buttons popping off in various directions. Buffy gasped in surprise at first then groaned in delight as Faith took her right breast into her mouth.
Faith swirled her tongue around the nipple several times before beginning to suckle it, drawing it against her teeth until it grew hard inside her mouth. When she felt Buffy pushing against the top of her thigh, Faith pressed her knee in tighter and moved her mouth to Buffy’s left nipple, using her hand to twist and tweak the one she’d left.
Buffy dug her fingers into the floor’s thick carpet as Faith teased her into a frenzied state of arousal. When Faith left her breasts and began to rhythmically rock against her, Buffy couldn’t take it anymore. She reached up and grabbed Faith’s face with both hands.
“Shorts off, now!” Buffy commanded.
“Oooo...look who’s gettin’ all bossy from the bottom,” Faith said.
“Please,” Buffy begged.
Faith grinned and gave Buffy a deep, hot kiss. “On one condition,” she said.
“What’s...that?” Buffy asked between breaths.
“That I get what I want,” Faith told her before kissing her once again.
Faith didn’t wait for a reply to her proposal. She just made quick work of removing Buffy’s shorts and then set them aside. She did the same for Buffy’s pink panties but instead flung them dramatically across the room. When she was finished, she leaned over the blonde and looked into her eyes, letting her hand move down to cup Buffy’s mound.
As Buffy felt Faith’s fingers slip into her wet folds, she tried to concentrate on addressing Faith’s earlier statement. “And...uhnn...what is it... mmm...that you want...Faith?”
Moving her fingers to Buffy’s entrance, Faith growled, “I want to fuck you till you scream.” Then she shoved a finger inside, earning a groan of pleasure from Buffy. After a few slow but deep strokes, she stopped and asked, quite unnecessarily, “That okay with you, B?”
Buffy made a strangled sound in her throat. “Gaack...God, yes!!!”
Faith chuckled, but only for a moment. Then her expression went nearly feral as she turned her attention back to her task. With a savage smile, she added a second finger and pumped them in and out, increasing both her speed and her pressure until Buffy’s body was rocking with tremendous force.
With her eyes clamped shut, Buffy was panting in time with Faith’s thrusts. When she felt Faith move her thumb against her clit, she made a high-pitched groan and bucked off the floor for a moment. “Don’t stop,” she forced out between breaths. “Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop...”
Within seconds, Faith heard Buffy suck in a breath and hold it. The blonde arched her back, made the strangled sound in her throat again, and then let out an explosive, but somewhat muffled, cry.
As Faith felt Buffy’s muscles spasm around her fingers, she left her thumb pressed against Buffy’s clit. She smirked smugly to herself as Buffy continued to writhe against her hand, drawing out every ounce of pleasure the orgasm had to offer. It was only when Buffy had opened her eyes that Faith removed her hand.
She waited until the blonde had regained most of her breath and had met her eyes. Then she said in mock accusation, “Didn’t give me my scream.”
Buffy laughed and then pinned Faith with a burning stare. “Don’t worry,” she promised in a husky voice. “We’re not done yet.”
Keeping her eyes locked with Faith’s, Buffy sat up and shifted into a kneeling position. Faith mirrored Buffy’s actions in reverse until she too was kneeling. Buffy let the remains of her torn shirt slip off her shoulders; then she closed the space between them.
“My turn,” she told Faith.
“Don’t you mean ‘my turn’?” the brunette countered.
“No,” Buffy replied firmly.
Then she grabbed Faith by her shirt and pulled her forward for a deep, slow kiss. As their tongues explored, Buffy let her right hand slip down to Faith’s breast. She massaged it through the thin blue fabric until she felt the hard nipple peak even more under her palm. Then she pulled out of their kiss.
As Faith rested her hands at the blonde’s bare hips, Buffy ran her fingertips over the front of Faith’s shirt. “I think one of us is wearing too many clothes,” she said with a mischievous glint in her eyes. “Want me to help you with that?”
Faith grinned widely. “Knock yourself out,” she said, holding her arms open in invitation.
Buffy let a hint of a grin crease her lips; then she turned her attention to Faith’s shirt. Once again, she let her fingertips trail down the front. When she felt the hard points beneath the cloth, she gave the nipples a playful pinch, causing Faith to moan softly. Buffy laughed wickedly and put her fingers to work unfastening the two buttons that held Faith’s shirt closed.
Once she had undone the buttons, Buffy let the shirt fall open but not off Faith’s shoulders yet. She reached forward and placed her hands on Faith’s stomach. With agonizing slowness, she caressed the skin of Faith’s upper body, moving over her abdomen and sides and then to her breasts. She lingered there for the longest time, touching and staring at every inch as if she were committing the entire experience to memory. Finally, she reached up past Faith’s collarbone to her shoulders, where she pushed the shirt away, causing it to slip to the floor.
By now, Faith was breathing heavily. It was taking all of her self-control not to force Buffy to work faster. Buffy seemed to sense this, and she leaned forward until Faith could feel the blonde’s hot breath on her ear.
“Patience,” Buffy whispered before giving Faith’s earlobe a teasing lick.
“Shit,” Faith panted.
After pausing to give Faith a smoldering glance, Buffy turned her eyes to the dark slayer’s shorts. They were cutoff jeans, faded and worn, clearly a favorite pair of Faith’s. She ran a finger along the inside of the waistband before using both hands to undo the metal top button. No one was more pleased than she when she saw that the shorts had a button-fly instead of a zipper. She plucked at the next button and gave a snort of laughter. Faith merely groaned in frustration.
With a lack of speed that was completely maddening to Faith, Buffy meticulously unbuttoned each metal fastener. When the fly was fully open, she wasn’t surprised to find that Faith wasn’t wearing any underwear. She slipped her hand inside and ran teasing fingers across the bottom of Faith’s belly, barely touching the thatch of dark hair below.
“Come on, B...you’re killin’ me,” Faith complained.
“Fine,” Buffy replied a bit testily, though she was still grinning. Then she moved behind Faith. “Hands and knees,” she commanded.
After Faith complied, Buffy inched the shorts over Faith’s hips until they dropped to the floor. Then one leg at a time, Buffy eased the cutoffs past Faith’s knees. With a final yank, she sent the worn jeans flying off several yards away.
When Faith tried to rise from her all-fours position, Buffy instantly pushed her back down. “Not so fast,” she told the dark slayer. “I’ve got you right where I want you.”
Faith started to make a snarky retort, but the words were transformed into an indecipherable groan when the blonde plunged two fingers inside her.
“Fuck!” Faith eventually managed to croak.
“That’s the idea,” Buffy remarked as she increased the rhythm and strength of her penetrations.
Soon she felt Faith begin to slam back against her thrusts. She grinned when she heard Faith’s breathing change from mere panting to something closer to grunting. Keeping up the pace, Buffy reached under Faith with her other hand and pressed the flats of her fingers against the slayer’s swollen clit.
The additional stimulation pushed Faith into overdrive, causing her grunts to become progressively louder and closer together until they merged into a single, long roar as she came and came hard.
Buffy waited until Faith’s orgasm had faded; then she slowly pulled away and sat back on her heels, resting her hands on her thighs as she struggled to control her own breathing. Buffy couldn’t help grinning as she recalled the Klingon-worthy roar Faith had just let loose.
Guess I got my ‘scream’, Buffy thought smugly to herself.
When Buffy heard Faith’s ragged breathing turn into growling, she immediately looked up. She found that Faith had turned around and was now crawling towards her, slinking forward like a dangerous cat stalking its prey. As Faith let out a deep-throated chuckle, Buffy’s eyes went wide.
Several hours and multiple screams later, two very exhausted slayers lay sprawled on the bed. They were covered in sweat and breathing hard. They were so tired that they barely had enough strength to untangle the sheet and covers at the end of the bed and pull them over their naked bodies.
“God, that was good...” Buffy mumbled wearily.
“Uh-huh,” Faith mumbled back in agreement. Then she grinned and asked, “Good as a non-fat yogurt?”
Buffy snorted in reply. “Forget non-fat yogurt,” she said. “This was Ben & Jerry’s with Häagen Daz on top.”
After a shared laugh, the two slayers drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, Buffy was the first to wake. Her eyes blinked open slowly, and she took in a deep, relaxing breath. As she exhaled, she turned over and was greeted by the sight of a soundly sleeping and completely naked Faith.
Shit! Oh God. Shit!
Buffy hadn’t made this exclamation aloud, but she slapped her hand over her mouth anyway. Which was probably a good idea considering the barrage of thoughts that were now bombarding her mind.
Her eyes darted around the room, where she saw discarded clothing littering the floor. Then she lifted the sheet and looked down at her own naked body.
Oh God...Oh God...Oh God...
When Faith seemed to stir, Buffy instantly jumped out of the bed and began gathering her clothes. When she couldn’t find her underwear, she started to panic. But a murmur from the bed made Buffy abandon her search. She yanked on her shorts, pulled on her ripped blouse, and picked up her shoes. Holding her sandals against her chest, she slipped out the door and dashed across the hall to her own room.
Once safely inside, Buffy fell against the door and closed her eyes. She let herself slide down the wooden surface until she was seated on the carpeted floor. For the longest moment, she simply rested her head on her bent knees. Then she tilted her head back and leaned it against the door.
“Shit,” she whispered.
Minutes after Buffy left, Faith eventually roused from sleep and opened her eyes. A languorous smile crept onto her lips, and she indulged in a full-length body stretch. As the memories of her slayer-on-slayer sex-fest with Buffy surfaced in her mind, she chuckled smugly to herself. Then she turned over, expecting to find the other slayer beside her. Faith snorted when she saw that Buffy was gone.
“Typical,” she mumbled.
But when she recalled the previous night’s events, the smile reappeared on her lips.
Then again, that sure wasn’t ‘typical Buffy’ last night.
Faith stretched again, crossing her legs at the ankles and linking her hands behind her head.
Didn’t think Buffy had it in her. I really didn’t.
Faith chuckled again.
Shoulda known after what Spike said about her back in SunnyD. Heh heh...can’t wait to tell Ace about this.
At the mention of Robin’s name, Faith’s forehead creased in confusion, and her eyes grew troubled as warning bells went off in her mind. But within seconds the mental alarm was drowned out by the pleasure-filled memories of the night before.
Faith laughed and sat up in bed. As she swung her legs over the side, she waved her hand in the air in a gesture of dismissal.
“Ehhh, he’ll get it,” she told herself. “No big.”
Here, the events of “Hidden” Act Three occurred as aired, as did the events of Act Four all the way through the arrival of the Anguilla Sea Rescue plane.
As soon as the rescue team had loaded Jordon Tyrell onto the seaplane, they radioed Mrs. Longheart’s pilot, who said he would be there in a couple of hours. Then the plane took off, headed for the nearest hospital on Anguilla.
On the pier, Buffy, Faith, and the others simply stood in silence as they watched the seaplane lift off the water and into the air.
Buffy finally broke the silence. “Our ride’ll be here soon,” she said. “I guess we’d better get to packing.”
Everyone nodded mutely and trudged off toward the condo.
A short time later, Buffy was in her bedroom. The door was open, and she was busy gathering her belongings and packing them into her suitcase, which was lying open on the bed. The packing was proceeding normally until Buffy came across the clothes she had been wearing when she and Faith had beaten Jordon.
She looked at the blood-splattered clothing for only a moment before rapidly stuffing them into a garbage bag and shoving them into the very bottom of her suitcase. She took a step back from the bed and just stared at her suitcase, breathing heavily.
When her heart had stopped pounding, she went back to packing. Soon, however, she came across another unwelcome reminder: her ripped white blouse. She held up the torn garment and traced her fingers along the front where most of the buttons were now missing. As she recalled the previous night’s events, her heart began racing once again. She closed her eyes and put her hand against her forehead.
I can’t believe I—
She stopped her thought and shook her head, unable to even say the words in her own mind. She sighed and opened her eyes and then packed the blouse away in her suitcase.
Suddenly, Buffy heard a knock behind her. She jumped a bit and turned around to see Faith standing in the doorway.
“Hey,” Faith said with a small smile.
“Hey,” Buffy replied. She tried to force a return smile but failed.
Faith, on the other hand, cranked up her smile and sauntered over. Buffy swallowed hard and tried not to stare or to fidget. She intentionally straightened her posture and waited for Faith to arrive.
“What is it?” she asked the brunette.
Faith’s smile became a full smirk as she reached into her back pocket and pulled out a pair of pink panties and dangled them from one finger.
“I believe these are yours,” she said teasingly.
Faith was hoping to coax a grin from the blonde. Sure, they both probably had regrets about what had happened between them, but if they were honest about it and just laughed about it together, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Her hopes were dashed, however, when Buffy did anything but grin.
Buffy’s expression went from stiff to angry as she instantly snatched her panties from Faith, but not before glancing nervously at the open door to the hallway, as if she were worried that someone might have seen the exchange.
“Thanks,” she said sarcastically. Then she turned her back on Faith, crammed the item of clothing into the bottom of her suitcase, and resumed her packing.
Faith’s grin slipped away, and she dropped her hand back to her side. She stared at Buffy for a moment and then shook her head.
“So that’s how it’s gonna be, huh?” Faith said snidely. “You’re just gonna hide it away...bury it...just pretend it never happened?”
Buffy stopped packing, turned around, and walked over to Faith. Though she lowered her voice, she spoke with urgency.
“As far as I’m concerned, Faith, it didn’t happen,” she emphasized while pointing at the dark-haired slayer. Buffy paused and then continued in a slightly less stern voice. “We were under a spell, okay? A spell that messed with our minds and made us do things that, under normal circumstances, we never would have done. Things that...that...” She trailed off, apparently having trouble completing her statement.
“...that we’ve secretly wanted to do for a long time?” Faith suggested, her tone completely sincere.
Buffy’s mouth was still open, but at Faith’s words, she quickly shut it and didn’t reply.
Undeterred, Faith went on, her voice surprisingly soft and unguarded. “I mean, that’s what the spell does, right? Releases all of our inhibitions, brings up everything that’s hidden inside us, whether we realize it’s there or not, whether we want it to be there or not?”
Faith paused and looked at Buffy intently, waiting for some kind of response. After meeting Faith’s gaze for several seconds, Buffy eventually just glanced away. Faith’s shoulders slumped, and she shook her head once again. When she looked back at Buffy, all hints of vulnerability were gone.
“You just can’t admit it, can you?” Faith accused. “Miss Straight and Narrow couldn’t possibly be attracted to another woman, not even the least little bit. Especially not to this woman.”
Buffy’s head shot up, and she glared at Faith. Then she crossed her arms tightly and refused to say a single word.
Faith let out an exasperated groan and threw her hands up in the air. Then she rolled her eyes and actually laughed. When she looked back at Buffy, her teasing smile had returned.
“Oh come on!” Faith needled. “We fucked each other’s brains out last night, and we liked it! I’m not saying we should have, but at least I’m willing to admit it!”
Buffy was impervious to Faith’s good-natured plea. “Yeah, well, we also nearly beat a man to death, and we liked that, too,” she replied sharply.
Buffy wasn’t prepared for the flash of intense pain that she saw in Faith’s eyes. It was there only for a second, but Buffy instantly regretted her hastily spoken words. Before she could say anything to make amends, though, Faith’s eyes went cold.
“If that’s the way you feel about it...fine,” Faith said harshly before turning around and stomping toward the door.
“Faith...” Buffy called out. She even reached out toward the departing slayer, but it was too late. Faith was gone.
Buffy dropped her arm and let out a long, sad sigh.
Inside the Anguilla airport, Buffy and the others waited anxiously for the Council jet to pull up to the gate. When the flight attendant signaled the group that they would be departing soon, Buffy turned to her friends.
“It’s almost time,” she told them.
“So that’s it? We just leave Jordon here?” Kennedy asked.
“Right now, he’s too critical to travel,” Buffy said. “He’ll remain here under guard until he recovers.”
“If he recovers,” Faith muttered, lowering her gaze to her hands. Then she tore her eyes away and moved her hands out of sight, as if she couldn’t bear to see them, what they reminded her of.
“What about James?” Rowena asked. “There’s no way Jordon did this on his own.”
“We’ll deal with that when we get back home,” Buffy said. Then she stood up straight and met each person’s eyes. “I want to remind everyone of our agreement not to discuss the personal ramifications of what took place on the island. We can share in general what happened, but that’s all. We were under the influence of a very powerful spell—one that made us do things that we aren’t proud of.”
Intense looks passed all around the group. Buffy and Faith exchanged tortured glances. Kadin did the same in Kennedy’s direction; the slayer held her gaze for a moment and then turned away. Willow and Rowena flashed sad smiles at each other before hugging each other and leaning their foreheads together. Xander refused to look at anyone; he just rubbed his arm where he had cut himself.
Buffy sighed and went on. “There are certain details that the majority of the Council—and certainly the general public—don’t need to know."
Faith cleared her throat. “So everything that happened on Demented Island stays on Demented Island. Got it?” she asked the group.
Everyone nodded silently.
Several hours into their flight from Anguilla, most of the vacationers were sleeping, exhausted from their long ordeal. Buffy and Faith were the exceptions. Neither had been able to doze off, and now Buffy sat fidgeting in her seat, trying to work up the courage to go talk to Faith. She wanted to speak privately, though, and the confines of the Council jet didn’t allow for that.
However, when she saw Faith get up and walk into the small galley at the front of the plane, Buffy took her chance and headed that way. When she arrived, she found Faith rummaging around in the small refrigerator, banging cans and bottles grumpily.
“This is supposed to be a freakin’ luxury jet,” the brunette complained. “Ya think they’d have at least one beer in the damn fridge.” When she slammed the cooler door shut and stood up with a diet cola in her hand, she saw Buffy standing at the galley’s entrance. “What?” Faith demanded.
“Uhhh...I-I-I was hoping we could talk?” Buffy offered meekly.
Faith gave her a scathing glance. “I think you said everything you needed to say back on the island.” Then she attempted to move past the blonde.
Buffy put her arm out to stop her. “Please,” she asked. “Hear me out?”
Faith glared at her for a moment; then she stepped back, crossed her arms, and said, “All right. So talk.”
Buffy wrung her hands a bit and then began to speak. “I-I-I just wanted to say I was sorry for what I said. I-I-It was thoughtless...a-a-and mean... a-a-and I’m so...so...sorry.”
Faith’s expression didn’t soften at Buffy’s words. “Okay, you’re sorry,” she said dismissively. “Thanks for sharing.”
Once again Faith tried to move around Buffy, and once again the blonde stopped her. The dark slayer could have forced her way past her fellow slayer, but she chose not to. She just looked at Buffy and waited impatiently.
“Faith,” Buffy said, “I know I haven’t handled this very well, but...” Faith interjected a huff of disgust, but Buffy just sighed and went on. “...I still think we need to keep this between us,” she said. “Nothing good can come from us airing our dirty laundry in—”
“Is that what it was to you?” Faith objected angrily. “Dirty laundry?”
“No!” Buffy instantly answered. “No, I didn’t mean it like that. It’s...it’s just a saying, a stupid cliché you use when you want to keep things secret. I—”
“I’m telling Robin,” Faith firmly announced, cutting to the chase.
Buffy just stared in shock with her mouth hanging open. When it looked like Buffy was finally going to say something, Faith beat her to it.
“I don’t care about our ‘agreement.’ I’m not keeping this from him,” she told her. “He might kick my ass out the door, but he deserves to know.”
Buffy and Faith then engaged in a lengthy and stony stare-off. Despite their best efforts, however, they couldn’t prevent the occasional flashes of emotion from appearing in their eyes. Nor could they stop the small twitches in their stern expressions that belied the strength of their inner defenses. But neither was able to discern exactly what the other was feeling, though they certainly tried. After a seemingly interminable amount of time, it was Faith who broke the awkward silence.
“Now if you don’t mind,” she said with heavy sarcasm, “I’ve got a non-beer to enjoy.”
Buffy reluctantly stepped aside and allowed Faith to exit the galley. She turned to watch as Faith walked away.
Now no longer facing one another and with no one else to see, the two slayers let their masks slip away, leaving behind nothing but a weary mixture of pain and loss in their eyes.