What Meets The Eye
by Angelina

God. Why am I here? Why do I insist on coming to this place time and time again when I really don't like it. It's dark and dingy. It smells funny, like mould or something. And I'm positive that all the dust from these old, ancient books is clogging my pores. So why am I here? Hmmm, could it be the scintillating conversation? Well, I must say that listening to Willow and Giles discuss the finer points of demonology has its moments. Not. All those conversations usually involve some disgusting detail about how the demon guts its victims and wears their entrails for earrings or something. Now accessorising I can relate to, but not with innards.

So if we count those two out that leaves Buffy and Xander who, at this precise moment in time are arguing over who would win a fight between Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. Who the hell cares about this stuff? These aren't my kind of people. I want to stand up and scream that sometimes. But I don't. Because they're my...friends... sorta. And one of them is my boyfriend.

Although God only knows how that happened. I like to think that it was the situation. Being one of the few who know that monsters and boogiemen are real drastically reduces the number of people you can talk to about stuff. And Xander was one of those people. And because of all the near-death experiences my brain must've malfunctioned and gone back to primitive survival of the species way of thinking. I was gonna die, he was there, I had to. And I guess it's been more convenient just to keep him. Anyone else I get involved with gets beat up by invisible girls or eaten by vampires or turns out to be a psychotic member of a cult or something. So going out with someone who's under the protection of the slayer has its advantages...mainly for the longevity of the relationship.

Plus, Xander's been really good about, you know, the other thing...the thing that I'm not thinking about. The thing that I don't ever think about. But I really don't want to think about that now.

What was I thinking about before the thing that I don't want to think about? Oh yeah, why am I in this library, researching some boring old demon with these people. I'd like to think that learning about the existence of various evil thingies has made me realise that I have a duty to protect the less-informed members of society. Weeeeellll, kinda. Yeah, I do want to help fight badness. Well, not so much with the actual physical fighting stuff. That's dangerous and is best left to people who know how to do it without dying. I'm not one of these people so I'm of more use in here. It's a pity I don't actually like books. I'm not stupid, in fact I'm very intelligent. I just keep that little fact well-hidden. But I'm not a fan of books. Which leads me back to why I come to this god- forsaken place of a night. I could help in other ways. I could...I don't know...I could buy them all little fighting outfits or something.

Listen to me. Who am I trying to kid here? I couldn't just sit back and let them go out and fight. I'm not that kind of person. People think I am, but I'm not. So that's why I'm here I suppose. Yeah, I'm here to help. I wanna help. I'm certainly not here in the hope that the person I don't think about is gonna drop by after patrol. Nope, that's definitely not the reason. Just because I overheard Giles telling her to report back to him doesn't mean that that's the reason I decided to blow off a night at the Bronze with Harmony. It's a total coincidence. And while I was overhearing them talking, I definitely didn't notice the way her leather pants accentuated that sculpted ass which I would gladly kill to have. I mean have in the sense that I'd like mine to look like it...not that I'd want her own personal ass or anything. And my insides didn't go all gooey when she spoke in that low, grainy voice with the 'slightly wrong side of the tracks' accent.

Maybe if I keep telling myself that I'll believe it one of these days. I could possibly admit the truth to myself. And only to myself. But if I were to do that it'd open up a big can of worms that I just can't deal with right now. So I'll continue dropping into the library during school and be secure in the knowledge that it has nothing to do with trying to catch her while she's training and getting all sweaty. And I'll help research well into the night and I'll know that it's not because I want to see the way she buzzes after patrol, practically vibrating with energy, just about ready to burst. Yeah, I'll know all of that.

However, it is getting harder to deny it. I've had a permanent headache for the past three weeks. At least, that's what I've told Xander whenever he's tried to initiate anything sexy. It's not that I don't want to do stuff with him, he's actually quite good. It's just that my bottom lip can't take it any more. I've bitten it so much trying not to scream her name when he's doing stuff to me. It's lucky that I'm so secure in the fact that I'm in no way attracted to her that or I might just wonder why it's her face that's in my head whenever I'm about to...ummm, you know. I might be curious about why it's her name that comes out of my mouth. So it's lucky that I'm one hundred percent not attracted to her really, isn't it?

The way that my stomach just jumped into my mouth when she crashed through the swing doors obviously has something to do with the chicken I had for dinner. I'm sure it was slightly pink in the middle. Oh my God, she's bleeding.

"Oh my God, Faith, you're bleeding!"

Way to state the obvious Buffy.

"It's just a scratch, I'm fine. Damn stupid vamps ambushed me in an alley. Why the hell you got so many alleys in this town anyways?"

She's so tough. There's blood coursing down the side of her face and her shoulder looks to be in a bad way too, from what I can see through the ripped denim anyway. But she's so strong and brave that she probably doesn't even notice the pain. God, I hope I didn't just sigh contentedly.

"Come into the office, I'll get you cleaned up."

I sometimes wonder if Giles gets some sort of kick out of 'cleaning up' wounded teenage girls. But then that probably makes me a lot more perverse that he is.

"Nah, G-man, you're busy with the books."

Oh God, she's looking at me...why is she looking at me? My expression is somewhere between mild concern and slightly questioning. I think that's the right balance.

"Maybe Queen C could fix me up. Looks like her readin' isn't goin' too great."

She's got that cocky smirk on her face. It's cute, even with all the blood and bruising. But what is she talking about? Oh shit, my book's upside down. Maybe I should've looked at it a couple of times instead of flicking the pages. She wants me to help her? Why? Would it look really strange if I agreed? It's not like we're friends. Oh what the hell.

"Whatever. Anything to get away from these books. I'm getting a rash from all the dust."

An overly dramatic sigh to punctuate my sentiment and I think I've got them convinced that this is a chore for me, which is what it is, of course. I drag myself to my feet and follow Faith into the office, not watching her butt as she walks.

She sits down on Giles' desk while I get the first aid box out. I turn around and see that she's flinching as she tries to remove her jacket. I reach out and put my hand on her arm to stop her from straining herself further. It's really hard to ignore the surge of energy that just shot up my arm at actual physical contact. But I just about manage it. I gently slide the jacket off her injured shoulder and can't help but gasp at the deep lacerations hidden underneath.

"S'okay C, it'll be gone in the morning."

She grins at me and I can do nothing but smile warmly in return. This denial thing isn't really working well at the moment. The cut on her head has almost stopped bleeding. I dab it a couple of times with some cotton wool and then turn my attention to the more serious wound on her shoulder. I take my time cleaning it, leaning over her, lightly grazing the skin of her arm with my hand to hold her in place as I work. Oh. My. God. She just put her face in my cleavage. I'm completely frozen. I have no idea what to do now. I can feel her breath tickling me. Then suddenly she sits up and blinks a few times.

"Jeez, musta lost more blood that I thought."

She glances at where her head had been. I'm really trying not to breathe fast but I think I'm redefining the term 'heaving bosom'. And the fact that she's staring at it is just making matters worse.

"Sorry 'bout that."

She looks so far from apologetic it's unbelievable. People who're sorry don't usually have a lascivious expression on their face. And sorry people generally don't stare quite so much at the body part in question.

"It's just...it looked really comfortable, and I'm feelin' kinda woozy. And ya know, it's just right out there, inviting..."

My God, I'm completely offended. And totally flattered. But the words 'Pot', 'Kettle' and 'Black' keep springing to mind. Hello? My chest is 'out there'? She's one to talk. But I guess I really should make some kind of response here.

"It's OK."

How suave Cordy, how verbose.

"Oh, I wasn't apologisin' for puttin' my head there. I was sorry I was unconscious at the time."

She winks at me. And now I'm pretty sure that I'm beyond words. I hurriedly finish tying a bandage around her shoulder and stand back, making sure that no part of my body is touching hers. That way, I may regain the power of speech in a minute.

"Look, uh, I think maybe I should get Giles...you seem...maybe you should see a doctor, with the blood-loss and stuff..."

I turn to go get Giles but she catches my arm and spins me back around to face her.

"It's fine, I'm fine."

And I believe her. And I'm utterly transfixed by her eyes. And I'm staring at her without speaking. And she has this strange expression on her face, like she knows something. What does she know?

"Look, I'm gonna head home...maybe, if you're not too busy here you might wanna walk me back...to make sure I don't faint or anything on the way."

Her voice carries a suggestion of something more. Or maybe I'm just hearing things that aren't there.

"I...uh...I'll drive you back...much safer."

Her eyes just lit up. Like maybe she'd been expecting me to refuse or something. She actually looked pleased and surprised. Which leads me to believe that there's a lot more to Faith than meets the eye. Of course, what meets the eye is very pleasant...but it's not all that she is. Hmmm, who'd have guessed? She's still holding onto my arm. I don't want to break the contact. In a quick movement I find myself pressed against her, her mouth to my ear. Her whispers are doing strange and unusual things to my legs.

"And if we get there and you're still concerned about my health...maybe we could play Doctor?"

She pulls back and for a split second I see vulnerability in those deep eyes. Then it's gone and replaced by the usual grin. She walks out of the office and I hear her announcing to the gang that I'm taking her home. I'm shaking. With fear? Or excitement? I'm not sure. The only thing I'm sure of is that I have no idea what I'm doing. But whatever it is, I'm probably going to find out soon.