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03 November 2008 @ 10:09 pm
Severed and Sewn (1/1)  

Wouldn't you know it? I go to work on Bangel and I get my first Fuffy!

Title: Severed and Sewn
Author: ClawofCat
Timing: Post-NFA
Rating: R
Pairing: Faith/Buffy, implied B/S and B/A
Warnings: Sexual situations
Summary: Buffy, suffering from insomnia, reflects on the evening that she and Faith mourned the passing of Angel and Spike.

A/N: My first femmeslash fic. For[info]only_passenger, who likes the girl sex. Consider this an early bday present, since I’m not sure I can manage to get the Catwoman fic written in time. Beta’d by[info]eowyn_315.

*****

 

At night, the low whirring of the box fan sends long, reaching shadows out across the floor. She watches them, eyes wide in the dark, as the moon follows its lunar rotation, creeping inch by inch. The bed is narrow and the sleeping difficult, but there’s always a hand to grab when her mind won’t settle. It lurches and heaves with dreams and nightmares of heaven and hell, monsters and saints. She thought she had put those away; they never used to be like this.

 

In Sunnydale, her thoughts would lie with her, silent and settled, bedded down when the work was done. It’s been different since she was divided and halved. The dreams come constantly, an REM intrusion into waking life. She can’t sleep and she’s scared to sleep. The topical aids do nothing for her.

 

She stops trying to count the lines on the ceiling, and rolls over. Brown hair is thrown across hers on their pillow, filling her vision, a clash of product and grease. She presses her face to the dark strands, rubs her nose into the ends up to the root. He used to do this, always petting her hair, huffing its unique scent in like a prospective buyer at a cosmetic sample counter. She never sold, but he wanted to buy. Looking at Faith next to her, she notices the repeating pattern. Faith breathes heavily through her parted lips, the steady rise and fall of her chest stretching the camisole tight across her breasts.

 

It was Faith that came to her in Rome, two bags full of grey ash in her luggage. When she handed them to Buffy, her hands shaking, pent-up tears careened off the slope of her nose and chin. She choked back her condolences, her sleeve pressed against her mouth. Faith doesn’t get the dreams; she has memories to haunt her instead. Saw the dragon, saw the blade and the twin explosions of dust that hit the air like whirling sandstorms. 

 

She only told her that after Buffy broke the kitchen counter and her wrist, and fell to the floor, a tear in one of the bags spreading ash onto the tile, between her toes.

 

Which one… I don’t know which one of them…

 

She wept strangled cries of disbelief, hands running into the scattered remnants like they run into Faith’s hair, taking in the sensation because goodbyes come quick and unexpectedly. There’s never enough to hold on to.

 

Bent down, crouched low, Faith grasped her broken wrist, and held her at that one point of contact as she scooped the cinders back into its Ziploc bag. She only let go long enough to grab a black Sharpie off the counter.

 

That’s Angel, Faith said, scrawling his name across the slippery plastic, and watched Buffy grab the soles of her feet, stricken with horror underlain with relief. She’d stepped on Spike enough in life, she said. Retrospect shoves courtesy at you like you couldn’t see what had been swept under the kitchen rug before.

 

I should have been there, she said, drenched in regret like their sandstorm of dust had turned into a rainstorm and let loose a downpour on her head. She got no argument from Faith, the long gash cut into her cheek evidence enough that more hands on deck wouldn’t have been turned away.

 

She doesn’t remember now how their lips met, a soft, soggy press that wicked up their mutual tears. But she fell into it, scared to pull away when so much pulling away had just taken place. She needed the feeling of now to replace the feeling of then; her fingers made their way to Faith’s hair without wavering. Locked behind her neck, she held her close, clinging tightly to an enemy and ally that she never could seem to reconcile. She looked at Faith and she saw Spike, hints of Angel, her gateway to then via the road of now. She didn’t stop her when her lips fell to her neck and blunt teeth skimmed the hatch mark pattern of scars there. The grief oozed up, in huge, hiccupping sobs as Faith rocked and petted her, making a dance of her lips and teeth and tongue along her throat.

 

I got one, too, she whispered and drew back, pushing Buffy’s palm against her neck, the part hidden by her hairline. A raised mass of tissue greeted her hand, bumpy and rough.

 

It never healed right. Was pumped full of some mind-alerting smack at the time. Messed with my bod. It was Faith’s turn to gulp down the burn of sorrow when she remembered the faith they had in each other. Her eyes strayed to the bag on the coffee table, the best man she ever knew reduced to grains of grit. Good, evil, demon all the way, both men gone in an explosion that marked the end of their reigns. She never called Angel boss, but she could almost think of him as equal.

 

She groaned, surprised, when Buffy worried the ragged mark, her lips sealed over the scar, mimicking the width and breadth of Angel’s own bite. He left his impressions in both their hides, permanent casts of viciousness, his weakness. That’s how he would see it anyway. But not them, who had so little to cherish when so much had been taken.  

 

Lie back, Faith whispered, her tongue dotting the posts and hoops in Buffy’s ear, as she pushed her into the cushions. Hands under hem, her top was drawn up like a curtain call, marking the start of the show. She closed her eyes, breathed through her mouth, when Faith’s hands roved in silent circles across neck and chest and belly, feeling out all the places where the pain was caught up like a cramp. She rubbed it out of her in soothing pulls and strokes, coaxing each tear and sharp cut of guilt to bubble out of her mouth and make itself heard. She looked down the length of her body when Faith paused at two scars along her belly. Stake through the gut, pierced through with a sword in the final battle. She knew the marks, but not the way she’d memorized the fine burned hatches where she’d clasped hands with Spike, believing it to be the last and only.

 

What? she whispered, eyes darting from Faith’s to the scars.

 

Nothing. Just karma or something. She raised her own shirt, dropped it at the end of the couch, and pointed at the thin line on her stomach. She quirked her eyebrows slightly, but there was no need. Buffy knew what it was, didn’t need a reminder to remember how the blade felt and its slight resistance before it sank deep into Faith’s side.       

 

They gazed at each other over the expanse of Buffy’s body, a pregnant pause of uncertainty and tension, before Faith whispered, it’s cool, and dropped back to her task, wiping the topic of discussion clear off the table. She realized then that lying back wasn’t an option. She’d laid back every time, take, take, taking like it was a sport. They’d taken plenty from each other; a change in strategy was needed. Sitting up, determined, she kissed Faith, and let her hands roam, too, taking action. There had been no excuse, no I didn’t know or I couldn’t get there fast enough. Here now, so she did now.

 

Faith groaned when Buffy’s fingers dipped between her thighs and swam in the soft, wet sea she found there, like all their tears were diverted downward and were brimming over. They breathed into each other’s mouths, taking in their last breaths. She thought of vampires, how they didn’t breathe last or first, except when they did, except if they were Spike whose breath augmented every emotion. Each catch and sigh, groan, whisper, draught of air made him what he was, who he was. Sturdy, still Angel lacked that kinetic quality of life that Spike had in spades… spades and hearts and clubs, weapons, poker, and bourbon. He could shuffle her like any deck, bringing up a new face but never a matched pair.

 

Her fingers were caught tight inside when Faith shuddered suddenly. She waited out the pulse and clench that rhythmically squeezed index and middle fingers like a heartbeat; remembered the draw of blood up her throat, the fluttering of her pulse when he drank deep and tore hard. Faith’s own swollen tissues blush rose, suffused skin heating with need. When the ripples subsided, she added a third finger, tucking it in with the rest, remembering the well-worn stretch, how they both filled her for a time, and filled her in that moment.

 

They were recalled to life in the memory born through Faith’s hands, a slow and steady glide and a hammering, knowing pound to counteract each other. The tears replenished enough to keep her wet and heaving as she stared at the dust, dunes of grey on her coffee table like Spike’s cigarette ziggurats at the base of her front tree. She whined, an ululating mourner’s cry, as Faith brought her to a crest, her mouth a quick study of the repeating pattern that wrenched her higher.

 

With fingers still slick and glistening, Faith reached for the makeshift urns, dusting the tips of her fingers with ash. The dark grains adhered to the pads and anointed her and Buffy’s lips and forehead like a Father at Ash Wednesday services. They sealed their repentance on a feverish kiss that tasted like tar and battlefield cries. What was left of the dust, Faith tucked away for safe keeping, pushing her fingers back inside the warmth that both vampires had known. All Buffy could do was nod, chest heaving silently, as the grains were left to share her womb – the sweetest damnation they ever knew – riding the current of her sorrowful shudders. Faith shored her up with a quick, rocking movement, pressing them to her and straight into her heart, their proper resting place.

 

Her fractured wrist knit quickly; her heart took longer, but Faith is always there to grab her hand and hold her together when she thinks she might break again. Tonight she dreamt of fire; her hand still tingles with pinpricks when her fingers brush Faith’s. The touch is light, but familiar. Faith sighs, eyes cracking open in the dim light.

 

“Still awake?” Her voice is hoarse and raspy, a dry wheeze in the cold air. She rolls onto her side, her hand circling Buffy’s wrist out of habit.

 

“Dreams. Same old,” she whispers.

 

“Could punch your lights out. That’ll make you rest easy,” Faith jokes, her thumb pressed to the roadmap of veins on Buffy’s inner wrist. At the junction is a black letter A, guardian and sentry of the integral intersection. Faith sports her own twin tattoo, a mirror of their shared marks at throat, wrist and belly. Linked together at their pulse points, the trinity of remembrance fortifies their bond.

 

They fit snugly, spooned tight together, a fit unattainable for Buffy before. She’s still restless, having been ripped asunder, her power and self distributed to give the others strength. She understands now the burden that her sister carried, what the feeling of intangibility and unreality feels like. She never expected that it would be Faith to bring her back, to adhere the broken bits of shattered identity.

 
Hands clasped tight, they forge their own burn, make their own memories, as their twin tattoos kiss between the press of their wrists
.


 
 
 
shawty got flava like a peach lifesaver: btvs: fuffy side by sideonly_passenger on November 4th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
mmm, sweet. just only waking up, but couldn't wait to read this, and glad i didn't.

there is so much about this i love. the back drop--angel and spike, their ashes, faith arriving with them, yes. a year with spike, years with angel, and finally it's faith who reunites them, puts them back into her, of course only when it's futile. because isn't that how it works for buffy? there is no nick of time for her, at least not ever in love.

the twin bites. you write so beautifully, and it's full and clear, their presence, meaning, the memories, and still you don't press too hard on it, so it maintains that slipperiness, boulders to catch faith and buffy each momentarily, to give them pause as they slide down the slope.

you begin with patterns, and even though the theme fades a little behind the action for awhile, there are hints of it everywhere. it holds throughout.

the line for the cut, spike and the spades--gorgeous, gorgeous writing. if i'd written it you'd have called it "classic pass". that's a fucking artful metaphor, and it works, even separated a bit from the rest of the story, because it superimposes canon, fitted as a skin. oh, i love.

“Could punch your lights out. That’ll make you rest easy,” Faith jokes,
i adore this. because faith is shared grief, she is comfort, she intrinsically understands this pain of buffy's and soothe and soothe and soothe, and she's still faith. and must be faith. and this line allows it, speaks volumes about how things are for the two of them in the aftermath.

one thing more: toppy buffy. i know it's not super-toppy buffy, but when she sits up, takes faith, i was just nodding, enthralled, thinking, yes. yes. a little twist that packs big. taken enough. can't lie back. and the ashes, returning them to her, also i think classic of faith, shows a side of her i love, this wordless empathy, this gift.

i read this, and i think faith must love her so much, and i love when a writer can make me think that, because i want to believe it.

you made me believe it, with this.

thank you.


ClawofCat: Buffy stake raisedclawofcat on November 4th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
I got all teary when I was reading your feedback. I'm not sure if it's what you say or how you say it, but it always kinda touches this soft place in me that creates gushy feelings. I'm so glad you liked this. I was trying to "channel" you.

It is interesting that Faith is the link here since these boys were such a mode of contention between them, especially Angel. It's like she can put all that aside, and just respect this event for what it is - devestating, painful and one that deserves some solemn respect. She does the right thing.

you begin with patterns, and even though the theme fades a little behind the action for awhile, there are hints of it everywhere.
Shit, yeah. I meant to keep that going in a stronger fashion, but it got away a little bit and I didn't catch it and tie it back together when I revised. When I originally wrote this I switched from past back to present midway into the sex scene and spent a lot of time just trying to fix the tenses! The content ran away. Does that ever happen to you? Tense switch? I do it a lot, actually. Present is just so immediate and I kinda forget and go to it by default. *slaps wrist* Laura keeps me in check though, bless her heart.

spike and the spades--gorgeous, gorgeous writing. if i'd written it you'd have called it "classic pass".
Yes. That was one place where I was like "There she is." I love that line. Might be my favorite of the whole fic, which is why it's the one I chose as the teaser for the cut. That stream of consciousness thing that you sometimes do.

LOL. Thought you might like toppy Buffy. I just thought it was an organic development in the story, her desire to be active in the face of lose because she doesn't know when she'll have another chance. But it did occur to me that you'd dig it. Buffy doesn't get to top too often, but I love it when she does, like in "Clutch."

Thanks for the amazing feedback. I found it rather ironic that your shot is all about the bite, and their respective bites are one of the first gateways into their encounter. Cheers, babe. Will leave f/b on IATW tonight during election coverage. Can't wait to see the changes.