Did you know this week was the 18th anniversary of the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? It’s bonkers to think that’s true! It was almost two decades ago, yet the show still feels groundbreaking and culturally relevant. And, of course, Buffy fan communities are as strong as ever, thanks in large part to the comic books that are keeping the canon going. Below are ten of the best Buffy femslash fics. Obviously most of them are either Willow and Tara, or Buffy and Faith — but I tossed in some surprises for you too!
Plot: The apocalypse really messes with Faith’s plans to make Buffy into more than her roommate.
Length: 57,000 words
The hellmouth in Cleveland’s activity has been – Buffy calls it escalating. Faith calls it doubling down on the wackadoo. Either way, there’s a vamp on the outskirts of town who’s amassing followers fast, and he’s almost as tough as an ubervamp, with the important exception of being surrounded by an army of vamps. It should be a pretty straightforward kill, only right now, Buffy and Faith are alone. No trainees, no other full Slayers. It’s kind of like old times, and it’s wigging them both out.
Hence calling in the big guns. Also known as Willow.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Faith says. “You firebomb the place, we sneak in and kill the big boss. Easy-peasy.”
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but when has anything ever been that easy for us?”
“Point,” Faith says. “Still. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
“Yep,” Faith says. “Wouldn’t say it if I wasn’t.”
Faith thumps her shoulder. “Buck up, Red. It’s Buffy’s night to cook, which means we’re eating tacos.” Tacos and meat loaf is pretty much all Buffy knows how to make. Faith can follow a recipe, but then, it was Buffy’s credit history – meaning, the fact that she had one – that made it so they could put a down payment on this place. Courtesy of the Watchers, who are really terrified of Slayers who’ve made it past thirty.
Point being, Faith doesn’t mind cooking most of the time. But they haven’t seen Willow in almost a year, and Buffy needs the busy work of cooking. So tacos for dinner it is.
Pairing: Faith/Tara, Willow/Janna
Plot: Buffy and Faith take center stage as they tag-team to take down another Big Bad.
Length: 220,000 words
“I like the look.” Somehow, Buffy had snuck up on Faith. “The brooding loner, propping up the wall. Are you trying to attract a Dominant for the night? Or was this your latest attempt to scare us all away with your laser-like glare?”
“Must be the first, right? ‘Cause you’re here and not stumbling for the door in them stupid heels, B.” Not that scaring Buffy had been a possibility. It had taken only a single sparring session to show Faith why her original Watcher had sung Buffy’s praises. Buffy was wicked fast and far better trained. “You lookin’ for something with more curves than the X-Man?”
She’d pushed too hard. Faith knew it the second she’d brought Xander into the conversation. Buffy moved so fast Faith didn’t see her coming. A forearm to her throat held Faith pinned to the wall. “I’m trying very hard to remember why I like you. It’s like you can’t help yourself. One minute you’re normal. Just another Slayer to hang out with, another sister in arms. And the next you’re some bitch in heat I want to smack down.” Buffy pressed close, her eyes blazing with fury and enough Dominance to make Faith squirm. “Don’t make me smack you, Faith. You won’t enjoy what happens.”
Faith nodded as best she could. And the meek, clearly cowed, “Yes, Ma’am,” that snuck out in response humiliated Faith. She wasn’t afraid of Buffy, even if Buffy did wear her marker on the left.
Buffy peered into Faith’s eyes for a long, tense moment. “Jesus, you make me mad sometimes.” Releasing Faith, she took a few steps back and straightened the hem of her skirt. “If you can stop glowering, Willow needs our help. She babbled something about a woman on the floor and needing a doctor. Only I think Will lost her. I couldn’t really understand. I promised to help, though. She was pretty upset.”
Plot: Post season-five fic that tackles sexuality, gender, and true love.
Length: 58,000 words
Buffy was pacing the room in frustration, but Joyce found she couldn’t look at her daughter like this for too long. She was reminded too much of young romance, first kisses, whispered promises that were destined to be violated.
Everyone was relieved when the doorbell rang.
“I swear it wasn’t me!” Willow insisted vehemently as she came into the house. “I was in the programming lab all . . .” She froze in her tracks in the door. “Holy goddess.” She scanned them, assigning names to new faces, focusing on one. “Tara?” She crossed over to the couch to sit next to her partner, taking Tara’s hand and touching her face. Tara tried not to flinch.
Giles remained in the doorway, evaluating. And coming up with an observation he was none too happy with. “What is Spike doing here?”
Spike grinned. “Why, Rupert, ‘m touched you recognize me, what with the new digs ‘n all.” His sweet soprano shimmered with amusement.
“Shut up, Spike.” Buffy backhanded him on the shoulder.
“Oy, watch the upper body strength, Slayer, I’m a delicate little flower now.”
“You’re a vampire, Spike.” She paused. “You are still a vampire, aren’t you?”
Plot: Faith chooses getting Buffy over getting revenge.
Length: 60,000 words
Buffy nodded. She didn’t know what to say. Willow had shocked her, but it was wearing off. She wondered how Faith had known. What had Buffy missed seeing? Maybe it was just that Faith had been known to – again in her words – “scratch the itch” with whoever was handy. Faith knew, because Faith liked girls. Buffy thought again of Faith’s teasing, Faith’s flirting…but, that was so the wrong direction for her thoughts to be headed right now. “So,” she said. “Who did you want me to meet?”
“Tara,” Willow whispered, subsiding a bit.
“From your Wicca group, Tara?”
“Well…okay. Yes. I want to meet her. I want you to, um…follow your heart. But in a less Afterschool Special kind of way.” Buffy smiled. “And, with Faith…can you be okay with her? I mean, if she recovers, and she…hates us…that’s different. But, for now?”
Willow shrugged. She looked down for a minute. “It’s not that I don’t want to give her a chance, Buffy. I know she’s sick, and hurt, and all that. But we’ve given her lots of chances, haven’t we?”
“Maybe not.” Buffy struggled with her words. She kept having to face this issue over again. But with Faith being memory-loss girl, it just kind of changed the way she saw it. “We never gave her a chance this time. Because she was meeting us for the first time and already the deck was stacked against her.” Buffy sighed. “I don’t know, Will. I just want her to understand. Maybe none of us can forgive each other if she doesn’t know what she’s done, but if she remembers, I want us to be able to.”
Willow sent her a pained glance. “If she remembers –”
Plot: Just your average X-Men/Avengers/Buffy crossover with Willow and Tara as main characters!
Length: 7,500 words
In the early days of her captivity, she’d held high hopes that the red-haired witch would find her. As much as her beloved’s lack of self-control worried Tara at times, that intemperance would have worked very much to her advantage when the powerful witch finally realized her girlfriend had gone missing, and Tara had imagined her rescue at the hands of the Scoobies a thousand times over.
But that was before Tara fully understood what had happened. The day her captor told her the full extent of what he’d done had been the worst moment of her adult life, worse even than the sight of Buffy sprawled beneath Glory’s tower or the weight of a spring of Lethe’s bramble across her palm.
It isn’t just that she isn’t on Earth anymore; the unusually bright sun, the extremely long day, and the three moons that chase each other across the green-tinted sky might not belong to any place visible from 1630 Revello Drive, but mere distance could never stop Willow from finding her. It isn’t even that she’d traveled to this place– wherever it is– on a spaceship instead of through a portal she or Willow might be able to recreate; that issue, too, might be overcome given enough time.
No, the real problem is: who would ever look for a woman already known to be dead? And not the magically caused, let me just talk to Osiris for a minute, only permanent if you’re unwilling to touch the darker magics, kind of dead either.
Pairing: Laura/Carmilla, Faith/Buffy
Plot: A hilarious Buffy/Carmilla crossover.
Length: 15,000 words
Faith groaned. “That’s disturbing.” She turned back to Willow,” And yes, Mircalla Karnstein daughter of one Count Karnstein of Styria, a duchy of Austria. Born 1680. Turned 1698. Killed almost as many slayers as William the Bloody. Was known for her alluring looks and had a special liking for young girls. Cut a pretty destructive path across Europe for a couple of centuries and then boom- dropped off the face of the earth, presumed dead, around the end of the nineteenth century.” Faith took a drink of coffee. “Also was supposed to be like able to turn into some giant black cat or something.”
Buffy eyed her incredulously. “Uhh…”
Faith shrugged. “Slayer handbook.”
“Seriously?” Buffy turned to Giles. “I mean really… how is it that everyone but me was…”
Giles held up his hand to stop her. “Yes, yes. You were never properly trained. We know. However, there are more pressing matters at the moment.” He nodded at Willow to continue.
Plot: Pure Fuffy fluff!
Length: 11,000 words
Faith got the wings from a glowy guy. He had light-beam wings and his hair was molten gold; he had a crown made out of fire. He was really really hot—if you liked that sort of thing. Faith apparently liked that sort of thing, because when Glowy Guy floated down into the midst of a bunch of demons they were battling, she went right for him.
Buffy thought Faith looked—well, wreathed with light, to be honest—but also zombified, sorta walking in a daze directly toward the glowy guy. Just stopped everything she was doing, cross-bow falling to her side, then down to the pavement, and Faith was just walking, walking toward the light.
It didn’t seem like a good thing—well, except for the light was pretty, and really kinda mesmerizing when you thought about it, like a disco ball—or like a hearth, a fire, the kind Buffy imagined in olden days in Ireland with families beside them, and the cold outside, or sunshine at the beach, and you were in someone’s arms, and they held you like they loved you, and were alive.
Only it was better, like the Bronze after a hard night of Slaying and the light was dim but had a sort of glow, and Spike was there, and Willow never killed anyone, and Buffy’s mom was there and Angel and Tara and Giles and—and you were there, and you were there, and you. It was a light just like the kind at the end of a tunnel, but only getting brighter, brighter, brighter, and she was walking there with Faith.
Pairing: Faith/Buffy, Willow/Tara
Plot: After the portal closes, Buffy finds herself in weirdly familiar territory.
Length: 100,000 words
Pain. Body shredding pain was the last thing she remembered. Body shredding pain and bright lights blinding her vision. She knew the sun had just rose, signaling a new day for those that she loved. From the moment Buffy Summers leapt off the shaky man made tower and into the portal of energy, she knew she would die. It all came together and stuck like glue; death was her gift and the only way to save her friends and her sister. As odd as it sounded she’d reached a sort of peace in those last few brief seconds as she told Dawn to keep living. Naturally she would die young; that was the curse of being a Slayer.
Yet as she laid on the cold, hard ground and stared up at the star filled night sky, one random thought filtered through her brain. Man, Heaven looks kinda crappy.
There had been no white fluffy clouds or angels with soft wings to welcome her to her final resting place. Nope, nothing cool and interesting like that. Just wet grass and a cramp that was steadily moving up her leg to her ass. And here she’d thought Heaven was a place of good feelings and fluffy fluffiness. Where she could eat all the cheese she wanted and never gain a single pound. Where she’d always have the latest fashions and her hair would never do that weird thing it usually did.
“If I’m in hell, someone is getting a strongly worded letter.” Groaning, she slowly sat up and rubbed at the back of her head.
Plot: Tara always finds a way to survive in fan fiction!
Length: 1,500 words
The redhead in her Wicca group is a real witch. Tara can feel the power humming through her skin. At night, she imagines how other things would feel too: soft bright hair slipping through her fingers, smooth skin under her palms, tiny callouses where the girl — Willow — holds a pencil. In the dark, her imagination wanders further, to things that make her blush and stammer every time she tries to look Willow in the eye. Not that it’s hard to make Tara blush and stammer; she does that all the time, no matter whom she’s facing.
She skips Wicca group next Tuesday, and the one after that, until not going becomes a habit. Soon she has a girlfriend, someone more suited to her. Kate blends in; Kate doesn’t notice magic. Tara says she’s happy, but when Kate says “I love you,” she never can say it back. Every once awhile, she sees a flash of red and longs for electricity under her skin.
Plot: The Scoobies take London (and Buffy takes Faith).
Length: 42,000 words
“Is it just me, or are the London vampires extra stupid?” Buffy was lightly sheened in dust, running the faintest sweat, two floors down an abandoned subway station and two vamps ahead on the night. Life was good.
“It’s the transient population.” Faith rolled left, retrieved her compound bow from where she’d dropped it earlier, came up on one knee and drilled off three shots in four seconds. Perfect heart shots, every one. “They don’t get enough time to get to know the place before we kill them again. Up one.”
Another vampire thought that made it an excellent time to go for Faith’s back. Buffy grinned, vaulted an old Underground rail and introduced his heart to Mr. Pointy. “Still,” she mused, brushing the dust off her jacket, “Sunnydale brought in the tourists too. You’d think…huh.” She heard the flat snap-twang of Faith’s bow again, working like a metronome, but didn’t have time to check the results. Apparently, vampires in London liked dropping from the ceiling. It made things a little exciting. “Maybe these ones just want to un-live in peace. Vampires who aren’t looking for the big-league trouble that is us.” Five vamps, eight moves. Faith was right – group action was totally a rhythm thing. “Weird.”
“So,” Faith said when the dust had stopped raining down out of the air, “when I said it was just a little vampire nest, I maybe might have misestimated just a bit.”
Next week I am going to profile ten femslash fanfic writers. If you’re interested in doing a little interview, hit me up: heather at autostraddle! I can’t wait to hear from you!