DISCLAIMER: All things Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon and perhaps others, and certainly not this little dragon. My "Patching Her Up" series is just a series of short stories unrelated to one another, from different fandoms, that have a certain theme in common. Each part is a stand-alone.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Like everything else I've written this story is also available at my own fic site, http://ryufic.blogspot.se/
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To rosmari.karlssonfaltin[at]telia.com
Patching Her Up
By Carola "Ryûchan" Eriksson
"Aw, geez you couldn't have picked another time to forget how to duck than when a Fyarl demon is tossing a stone slab at your head?" Buffy wasn't nearly as exasperated as she sounded, mainly she was concerned as she dabbed at a rather nasty gash that had only just stopped bleeding.
She wasn't about to let on that she was actually worried about the other girl though, or Faith would get the idea that Buffy cared or something, and she'd never hear the end of teasing for that.
"Yeah, but you know me, B... no time like the present." Faith answered somewhat airily, her voice a bit muffled from the bag of frozen peas she was holding to her forehead. A moment later and Faith started shaking.
"What?" Buffy yelped in alarm, immediately removing the cloth she was using to clean up the blood-matted mess that was now the other girl's hair. "What, what happened? Does it hurt? Are you cramping?"
Getting increasingly worked up and inching towards all-out panic, Buffy made to jump off the bed and reach for the phone. "I knew it! We should have taken you to the hospital!" Under her breath she muttered. "Why I listen to you I'll never know."
"No, no, it's nothing..." Faith gasped a little, and suddenly it was clear that she was in fact neither shaking nor cramping up in any way, but actually giggling to herself. "Its just... you know me, B?" The wide, dimpled smile coupled with the squinty-eyed look sent Buffy's way was just about the only thing that kept Faith from getting the phone tossed at her already injured head. "It rhymes!"
"Gah! Faith!" Buffy made a few throttling motions in the air above Faith's head as Faith continued to giggle and mumble about other words that apparently rhymed with 'B'. "You scared me!"
Buffy blinked a little at that. Had Faith apologized? Faith didn't do apologies.
"Yeah, well, there could be all kinds of brain damage going on in there, so please try to stay calm, alright?" She eyed the brunette that was looking at her with squinty but still surprisingly honest eyes. Maybe Buffy should call Willow, have her come over and have a look at Faith? Willow knew about things like these. "You could have gotten that phase thing, or, or, that other, the dys-something thing. Maybe they come with random giggling and shaking, how would I know?"
"Naw B, I've just gotten a concussion. Don't worry." Faith reached up to rub at her head and Buffy swatted her hands away. "I've had them before, though not since I became a Slayer."
It wasn't entirely as reassuring as Faith might have thought. For one thing it would clearly take quite a beating to give one of them a concussion, for the other Buffy wanted to ask about the concussions Faith had gotten in the past, but knew that it wasn't a good idea. Faith did not talk about her past beyond the few odd references to her former watcher. It was probably too painful a subject to bring up when she was already so... out of sorts.
"Lucky it hit my head, huh? The hardest part of my body." Faith joked and buried her face back into the bag of peas.
"I think you've gone loopy, you almost sound like you're drunk." Buffy scolded, taking a critical look at the gashes on Faith's head. The life of a Scoobie meant that, apart from being a master at first aid, you had to become something of an expert at judging whether something needed stitches or not. Luckily it didn't look like Faith did, despite how much she had bled on the way home. Head wounds were like that though, Buffy knew that from very personal experience. "I still think we should get you to a doctor, just to check so your insides weren't scrambled in any really bad way."
"No. No, please Buffy." Unlike before, when Faith had loudly and determinedly protested Buffy's suggestion of going to the hospital, this was quiet and pleading. Buffy felt herself flush and knew with a sense of resignation that she wouldn't try to convince Faith to go.
"Alright. If you're sure its nothing bad?"
"Just a concussion." Faith assured, sounding tired and a little bit distant. "Slayer healing will fix me up by morning, I might just sound a bit... erm, loopy, until then."
Unseen by Faith Buffy nodded, and prepared a few alcoholic swabs.
"This will sting a little, okay?" Faith nodded but said nothing. She didn't say anything when Buffy cleaned the wounds, didn't even move, but Buffy herself cringed in sympathy. Slayer strength or not, she knew it still hurt.
Finally she got off the bed to put the bowl of water, the bloody towel and the used swabs aside. "There, I'm just going to wrap that up and you'll be all set." She gently nudged the bag of peas away from Faith's face. "Let me see?" She crouched down to get a better look.
"Wow... that will be quite the shiner." She commented, which earned her a brief but dimpled smile. "Still, it was still lucky it didn't really hit you in the eye."
Actually, jokes about luck aside, Buffy almost wished she hadn't slayed the Fyarl demon already so that she could go out and do it again, after first stomping on all its bones with something very, very heavy, for how fragile and beat up Faith was looking. She had been far too quick about it, but really, seeing Faith go down after that nasty blow to the head had scared the crap out of Buffy. The added adrenaline had given her quite the edge against the demon, and helped drag Faith all across town to Buffy's home.
Without really meaning to she found herself reaching out to gently brush Faith's hair out of her eyes.
"What was it that distracted you, anyway?" She asked, mostly to cover up her moment of embarrassment when she realized what she was doing and to keep Faith from making some teasing comment about it. This wasn't Willow, after all, she couldn't just go brushing Faith's hair or pat her cheek or something like there was nothing to it.
Apparently caught off guard, Faith couldn't verbalise a response. Her eyes were more honest than the girl would probably have intended them to, however, as they, as wide as they could be at the moment, immediately dropped from Buffy's down to Buffy's cleavage.
Realizing what she had just done, Faith looked away, awkwardly clearing her throat.
Buffy blinked, stunned, before quickly glancing down at herself. Ah. She was wearing that new top, the skimpy one that was in fact a bit more risqué than what Buffy would usually wear. It was an impulse buy one day after Buffy had been feeling depressed about being single again, and it was meant for dating or clubbing, certainly not for slaying.
So why had she worn it tonight, anyway?
Looking back up she found that she and Faith wore matching blushes. It looked good on Faith, rather cute. It gave Buffy a strangely warm feeling, and she found herself wishing she could get to see Faith blush more often.
"Hey..." She said gently, touching the chin of the girl that was studiously avoiding to look at her. "it's okay. Flattering, really." When Faith reluctantly looked back at her Buffy gave her a warm smile. "Thank you."
And then she tenderly kissed Faith's cheek.
Oh. That was the reason it was a bad, bad idea to get all touchy-feely with Faith as if she was safe, sweet, best-buddy Willow... because naturally then Buffy would do something incredibly stupid and girl-crushy.
Blushing a lot stronger now and internally babbling about girl-crushes and not boys, sexy dimples and Faith lips, Buffy quickly got up and walked over to the dresser where the rest of her rather impressive first aid kit was laid out and waiting. As she nervously gathered up the bandages one small voice in the back of her head that sounded suspiciously much as her best friend was listing all the signs and reasons why Buffy kissing Faith on the cheek was not as much a surprise as Buffy thought, while another voice that sounded very much like Xander was busy singing the K-I-S-S-I-N-G song.
Then, by pure chance, she caught sight of Faith through the mirror on her dresser.
The other girl had dropped her bag of peas and just sat there, eyes wide, holding a hand to her cheek while looking completely awed. Buffy even saw her mouth a 'WOW' to herself while she thought Buffy wasn't looking, and the expression in those dark eyes when they looked her way... such longing, such warmth...
Buffy's heart was pounding away like not even a full tilt run across town could make it do, but she still felt a strange kind of calm. She smiled warmly and turned back towards Faith.
"I'll just wrap this... is that okay?" She asked and gestured to Faith's head, smiling even more when she got a careful and slightly stunned nod in answer. She started out on the bed beside Faith but soon, unintentionally, found herself finishing while kneeling between Faith's legs.
"There." She said, lowering her arms and leaning back a bit to meet Faith's eyes. "How does that feel?" Faith however had a strange expression and her eyes were glued, she quickly realized, once again to Buffy's cleavage.
Buffy blushed but giggled, and Faith blinked herself out of her trance.
"Erm, yes?" Faith said sheepishly, embarrassed but clearly happy that Buffy wasn't offended. "Perfect? Mr Pointy? A week from Tuesday? The colour blue?" She gave Buffy the full wattage dimpled smile that Buffy was just now beginning to realize had always made her just a little weak in the knees. "I feel no pain?"
"Good." Buffy laughed. "But I think I'd better put this dangerous thing away for now, anyway." She pulled a little at her top and went to take out two sets of sleepwear.
"Aww, do you have to?" Faith complained, probably before she'd had the chance to think about what she was saying. At Buffy's grin she relaxed and joked about it. "Goodbye, tight top, it was a pleasure to make your acquaintance, and let no-one tell you different."
Still grinning Buffy stepped a bit closer than strictly necessary to hand Faith the set of sleepwear she had picked out for her. "Well, you know, you weren't really supposed to see it on patrol anyway. I bought it for dating purposes."
"So you might just get to see it again once you're better." She winked at Faith and disappeared down the hall towards the bathroom.
When she returned some time later, sleepwear on and arms full of blankets and pillows, she found Faith still sitting where she left her, dreamily staring off into space.
"Faith? You didn't change?" Buffy asked a bit surprised as she lay the spare bedding on a chair. "Do you need help?"
"B? I think I'm, um, hallucinating."
"Ah." Buffy smiled and put an arm around Faith's shoulders. "Would those hallucinations be of me alluding to that I would like to go on a date with you once you're better?"
"Yeah..." Faith looked at her with wide eyes. "Wow, B, are you reading my mind?"
"What do you think?" Feeling quite bold and ignoring the little voices in her mind that told her not to, Buffy leaned in and gave Faith a little peck on the lips. It was brief, chaste and really just the tiniest peck, but it was still quite electric. She had kissed Faith!
Ignoring her own blush and Faith's stunned look, she gently pushed Faith towards the door. "Go get changed and I'll get the bed ready while you're gone. I figure that you shouldn't lie down like this, so I'll make up the bed so you can sleep sort of half sitting up."
Resisting the urge to throw herself at the phone to call Willow and get some best friend advice and support it was nearly two in the morning and Faith would be back at any moment, after all Buffy hurriedly got the bed ready and promised herself that she would get Willow's input, and possibly girl-dating advice, as soon as she could in the afternoon or something. Faith returned, wearing Buffy's nightwear but still looking a bit dazed, and Buffy wasted no time in tucking the dark-haired girl into the impressive and cosy nest she had transformed her bed into. A quick sprint to fetch a glass of water and some painkillers later, and Buffy crawled under the blankets next to Faith.
"B?" Faith questioned quietly when their bare legs touched under the blankets, sounding unsure.
"Go to sleep, Faith." Buffy reassured soothingly, reaching out to take Faith's hand in her own. "I'm right here next to you if you need anything. Just close your eyes and try to relax."
With a strangely relieved sigh Faith did as told, leaned back and closed her eyes. It did not take long before Buffy could tell that the other girl had fallen asleep.
Even in sleep though, Faith did not let go of Buffy's hand.
A happy little smile playing at her lips, Buffy closed her eyes and allowed herself to drift away as well. A vague reminder to ask Willow for dating advice swam past in the last moments of conscious thought, as well as to make sure she went back to the store where she had bought that top as soon as possible... she was fairly sure it came in blue as well.
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