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'cause i might not say it back

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After years of slayage, Buffy was used to injuries and bruises. The weird thing was that there were mornings she woke up with injuries she didn’t remember earning; even after a night with no fighting demons, she still sometimes woke up in pain, often at odd hours.

“It doesn’t make sense, Giles. Even on nights I don’t patrol, I wake up in pain. Is this a new slayer thing? Demon curse? This better not be another Watcher-sent sickness.”

“Well, I can promise you it’s not the last one. As far as I know, this isn’t common among slayers, except-”

“Except what?”

“Well, sometimes, two soulmates may share certain experiences, s-such as pain.” Giles took off his glasses as he spoke. “Do you know who your soulmate could be?”

“No.”

“Well, this sort of shared experience usually happens after you’ve met your soulmate. How long have these…pains being occurring?”

“A couple weeks.”

“Well, that should narrow it down.”

“Thanks, Giles. Also, please don’t tell anyone?”

“Of course not.” Giles smiled.

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Giles’s explanation did narrow it down, but Buffy didn’t like the list. There was Scott, some vampires, Angel coming back, and Faith.

One by one, Buffy eliminated the possibilities. It was highly doubtful that Scott was getting up to strange pain-inducing activities at night, based on what she knew about him. She’d killed every vampire she encountered on patrol, so they couldn’t give her more injuries after their deaths. If Angel counted as a different person after returning from the hell-dimension, then it might be him.

The only one left on the list was Faith. Met just before the extra-pain-from-soulmate-crap started? Check. Faith sometimes went patrolling without Buffy, and Buffy’s extra injuries could be from that.

No. That can’t be. I’m not gay. No.

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One conversation with Angel later, he’d been crossed off the list. Apparently, if they were soulmates, they would’ve noticed two years ago. Okay. Fine.

That just left Faith.

Buffy tensed up for a moment outside Faith’s apartment. She took a deep breath and made sure to unclench before she knocked on the door.

A few moments later, Faith opened the door.

“What’s up?”

There was the tensing again. Buffy sighed. “Can I come in?”

“Sure thing,” Faith said, moving aside so Buffy could enter the apartment.

Buffy walked in. She spoke slowly, staring at her hands.

“So I’ve been getting bruises lately. Not from Slaying. I mean, yeah, from Slaying, but also on nights I don’t patrol, I still get Slayer-esque pains. Giles said t-that soulmates share pain, sometimes, so I was thinking-”

“We’re soulmates?”

Buffy looked up. Faith didn’t look scared, or confused, or shocked – just a few of the things Buffy was feeling. Faith looked calm, like they could have talking about anything in the world, and not the possibility that they were destined for each other.

“Maybe? I don’t know.” As she spoke, she wandered over to Faith’s bed and sat down. “I mean, it just doesn’t make sense. I’m not-”

“Gay?” Faith sat down beside her.

Buffy nodded. “I mean, I’ve heard of platonic soulmates, but aren’t those really rare?”

Faith was silent.

“Faith?”

“Sorry, I just needed a second to think. Listen, if you don’t want to be soulmates, that’s fine. We don’t have to do anything about this maybe-connection.”

Buffy looked up at Faith. Faith was staring at her hands. “What do you mean?”

Faith continued to look away from Buffy. “I mean, there’s no rules that we have to rush into anything, right? So let’s just keep living the way we’ve been living.”

“I….okay.” What Faith said made a lot of sense. There was no rush. They didn’t have to do anything just because Buffy had a hunch that they might be some kind of soulmates.

Buffy got up to leave. She was at the door when she turned around.

“See you at patrol tonight?”

Faith looked up and smiled. “Sure thing, B.”

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Faith waited for Buffy to leave before she finally exhaled.

Well that was fucking awful.

Buffy was deep in the mental closet, and that was totally fine. Faith had no problem with that. None at all.

She wondered if anyone at the Bronze would be down to fuck this early in the day.

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Buffy wasn’t sure who to talk to about this. Her mom didn’t have a soulmate, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to tell Willow and Xander yet.

So she knocked on the door.

“Come in,” said Mr. Platt.

Buffy walked in and sat down. “I have…a problem. A soulmate problem.”

“Okay. Can you give me any details?”

“My soulmate…it’s not who I expected. It’s not someone I’m in love with. I can’t imagine being in love with them.”

“Alright. Well, what about her makes her impossible to fall in love with?”

Buffy frowned. “How did you-”

“If you were talking about a guy, you wouldn’t have to say ‘them.’ Do you really think you’re the only one to use that trick?”

Wait. Did that mean he was…? “Are you…?”

Mr. Platt simply inclined his head. “That doesn’t matter. We’re not here to talk about me.”

Buffy shook her head slightly, trying to clear her thoughts. “Right. Soulmate. I’m definitely not in love with them, and I’m not even sure they’re my soulmate. Should I still try to make it worth?”

“Absolutely. Keep in mind that love is an emotion that develops over time. Your gut is probably right about this person being your soulmate, even if your mind says no. The worst thing that could happen is you try, and you fail.”

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Another knock on her door. It was either Buffy or a demon.

Not a demon. Oh, great.

“Come in.”

Buffy walked in slowly, her eyes to the ground. Oh, great. The soulmate crap again.

“Faith, about the soulmates thing,” Buffy paused to look up at Faith. “I want to give it a try.”

“Okay, sure.

All of a sudden, Faith felt hands on her head and lips on hers. With the same amount of suddenness, the lips are gone. Buffy was still close, so close that their eyes could look nowhere but at each other.

“Oh,” Faith smiled. “We can certainly try that.”