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Chapter 7- Do You Dream What I Dream?

"Here're the cuffs you wanted." Xander comes slinkin' in like I'm gonna blow any minute.

Buffy's standin' next to the bed with her arms crossed, starin' at me and lookin' like she wants to kick my ass. I don't blame her, but it doesn't make this situation any easier.

"Faith," She says expectin' me to answer her for the billionth time, but she knows I can't, I don't wanna and I can be a stubborn bitch. We all know that. "Can you even look me in the eye?"

"Uh, do you-do you want me to put `em on?"

Gotta hand it to Xander he's got balls of steel.

"No," He flinches and Buffy continues her sentence. "You can't look me in the eye, you know you're wrong and you're making this harder."

"Put `em on, X." I hold my arms out in the most non threatenin' way I can, but the fact that I'm boilin' inside makes my arms shake and he can tell things aren't copacetic.

"Faith, we don't need to do this."

"Put `em on."

"Go ahead, Xander, put them on!" Buffy yells and he jumps slightly. Good thing he wasn't tryin' to cut `em off, I'd have no hand by now.


"Don't tell me anything, Faith, unless it's going to be that you're mistaken and we don't have to do this-this…bullshit!"

Xander closes his eye, he knows she's reached her breakin' point.

"Keep goin', Xan." I watch him continue to shit his pants. "Alicia get here yet?"

"She's in the other room with Willow, getting things ready."

"Good." I give him a hopeful smile. "Can you call Dawn in here?"


"Why are you ignoring me?!" Buffy's gettin' desperate, I can see it in her eyes, she's about to beg and that's somethin' I never want her to do, unless we're ya know, in that kind of a mood. "Please, Faith. Please?"

"B, it's the best thing." I try to keep lookin' in her eyes but I just can't. Not now that I know. "After what you guys told me I was yellin', you're gonna take a fuckin' chance like that?!"

"I trust you."

I have to bite my tongue, `cause I was about to say somethin' that she would have been hurt to hear. She thinks I'm bein' immature and stubborn, but she won't listen to reason, so I'll fuckin' keep my mouth shut. I think that's pretty mature of me.

`Sides, I've done enough talkin', and even though it was in my sleep and I wasn't aware of it, it doesn't change my mind.

"What's up?" Dawn says as she comes in the room.

"Take your sister inside," I say and Buffy whips around lookin' at me like I knew she would, I don't let it get to me, I keep goin'. "I think she needs to calm down a bit. Somewhere where I'm not."

"Faith, what are you trying to do?" B comes up to me and looks like she's tryin' to hold back her real feelings. Which probably are punchin' me in the face. "Why are you deliberately trying to shut me out? I thought you wanted me here with you!"

"I know, and I appreciate that…"

She lets out a little snort, `cause I know it sure as fuck doesn't feel like that to her.

"…but that was before I knew what I said."

"Faith, we'll find out what's happening, together. Ok? What's so wrong with that?"

"Buffy, you should be worried about Mia, not me."

That seems to have ignited the fire that's been dyin' to burst out. I see the fuckin' flames lickin' behind her eyes.

Dawn sees this and jumps in, I owe her big time.

"Buffy, why don't you come into the other room, for just a few minutes? She'll start to see things differently in a little while."

I hope I do, so I don't say anything smart-assed. Contrary to what this shit looks like, I'm not tryin' to be a bitch, I just want to protect my family.

Before she goes B gets the key off Xander and takes the cuffs offa me. I start to protest, but I can see by the look on her face I should keep my mouth shut. She bends down and takes something out of the drawer under the bed. Dawn's eyes go wide and Xander lets out a cough, he choked on his spit.

She goes about shacklin' me to the bed with what I guess was supposed to be a surprise Christmas gift. I smirk at her as she pulls the chain that she just cuffed to my wrist and secures it around the bedpost. She must've had this shit custom made, the length of chain is just right so that I can comfortably lay on the bed while still bein' subdued.

She gets a little rough with the other arm and then realizes what she's doin' and looks at me kinda soft.

"I still trust you."

"And I still love you. Even more now." I wiggle the brows. "Some other time with these, huh?" I give her a wink as I pull on the chains.

"I'm still gonna kick your ass you know."

"I know."

She leans in and kisses me and then leaves the room. Dawn's about to leave with her but she turns back and leans down to give me a kiss on the cheek.

"I hope you know what you're doing." She warns.

"Not really, but when's that ever stopped me before?"

"She's not really mad, just a little pissed."

"I know, I'm gonna be in so much trouble, but to tell you the truth D, if we can't stop whatever this is, you guys might have to…"

"Can't stop?!" She cuts me off. "Did you hit your head and forget who we are?"

"Nah, I know, just sayin' you need to do what you gotta do if I start to go off the deep end."

She rolls her eyes like the brat she is.

"I'm not even gonna entertain the implications in that. I'll play dumb and guess that you're talking about swimming and I'll tell you we'll clap."

"Yeah right, there's not a dumb bone in your body. Bratty ones for fuckin' true, but not dumb. Now stop bein' so stupid and go be there for Buffy, she probably needs to vent big time."

She leans in and kisses me again. "You owe me your second born."

I go to say we'll just settle up now and I'll give her my first born, but that fuckin' makes me start to cry and I have to look away.

"Don't do it Faith, we'll get through this. Don't you do that, or else I'll start and then there'll be a chain reaction and tissues and snot and you wouldn't like it. You hear me?"

I nod.

"Good, we'll be in the other room. Holler if you need us."


"Who's this `Kay' person you keep talking about? Buffy's starting to get suspicious."

That makes me laugh. They're always buggin' me about me sayin' `Kay' for ok.

She winks at me and then leaves. Before she does she looks at Xand and nods.

"I guess you've got psycho duty again huh, X?"

"Not psycho duty, Faith. I'm honored to be here making sure you're gonna be ok."

"I'm honored to have you here."

"Do you think maybe I could take pictures of you like that, for my `Facebook'?"

I snort with laughter. "What the fuck is with this Facebook shit anyway? What happened to Myspace?"

"Oh, that's so yesterday, you've gotta get with it, girlfriend." He says all flamey.

"So Facebook'll let you put bondage pictures up there, but women breast feedin' gets taken down."

"I know, I was appalled. They've set women back about a hundred years."

"Save your women's lib crap, Xand. The other women can't hear you right now, you know you were sad because they took free titty lookin' away from you."

"Hey, I'll have you know I can see titties as you put it, for free anytime."

"Yeah, but most guys really don't get off on their own titties, they wanna see someone elses'."

By the time the door opens up again I've got such a fuckin' stitch in my stomach from laughin' I'm practically dyin'. Xand quickly tries to compose himself, but he was in the middle of tellin' a joke and he's got that laugh that just won't quit. It's the one where everything he says is drawn out into a laugh and he just can't stop it.

"Did you make everyone else leave just so you could tell your smutty jokes?" Will says with an eyebrow quirked and a grin on her face.

"Oh Wiiiiilllllllllll," Xander squeals out. "Weeeee were just…uhhhhheheheeeee," He's still tryin' to control his laughter, but he's a goner, I've got myself pretty much under control, but he's fucked. I'm just about to say somethin' about him pissin' his pants when the fuckin' air in the room changes. Xan has no problem controllin' his laughter now he just stops like he was never laughin'.

Alicia walks in with Mia in her hands.

My arms instinctively go out so she can hand her to me, but the pull of the chains remind me of just what the fuck is goin' on here and I tell her to stop right where she is.

"Don't come any closer, A."

"Faith," She says as she doesn't listen to a word I say and she sits on the bed. Mia's lookin' at me all puzzled, but she still wants kisses and she gets a little whiny. "She wanted to see you."

"I'm gonna stake you when I get outta these shackles." I tell Alicia in a sweet and flowery voice so I don't scare Mia.

"You're the one that wanted them on." She sing-songs back to me. "She's strunze, eh Mimi?"

"I may be strunze, but you're gonna be de-ead."

"Cut the bull, I'm checking to see if whatever's got you spooked is still in there."

I let out a sigh and relax somewhat into the pillows. My wrists hurt from strainin' against the restraints, she really pissed me off.

"I don't know why you feel you had to put my child in danger."

Alicia looks at me for a beat and then she talks to Mia, "Give your stubborn mommy a kiss and then you're gonna go with your Uncle Xander to get fed. Ok?" She's lookin' at Mia in the face as Mia's snackin' on her fist. Classic sign that she needs to be fed. I look over at the time and yep, it's almost exactly on schedule. Life's fuckin' funny.

She holds Mia up to me, and I'm torn between wanting to get out of these shakles to hold her and wantin' her to be safe. I give her a kiss and she pulls at my nose and makes the sounds that are probably gonna start bein' her name for me. `Poppop'.

I'm gonna kill Xand.


After Mia's gone, Alicia comes back and sits down next to me.

"Can we get rid of the shackles?"

I shrug and Willow snaps her fingers and they open and fall to each side. I rub at my wrists.

"A little on the dramatic side, no?"

"I'm still gonna kill you for bringin' Mimi in like that."

"You seriously think you're gonna hurt her?"

"I don't know. You don't know. No one fuckin' knows. Don't act like you know."

"It was a bad dream, Faith."

"It was too real, Alicia."

"It's called repressed memory."

"Fuck that psycho analytical bullshit, someone's tryin' to control me through my dreams."

Willow shakes her head.

"No?" I ask her.

"No, Faith, I've checked."

I don't even need to ask her if it's foolproof, I know she's got the state of the art shit and I don't question it. Much.

"Nothin' witchy goin' on?"

"Not even a little."

"What then?"

Alicia sighs and looks down at her hands.

"Your mother tried to kill you when you were six months old."

I narrow my eyes at her, "You were there…"


"I saw you in my dream."


"No, last night." It's all comin' back to me. "You walked in on my ma with a syringe in her hand."

Alicia nods.

"Fuckin' great, that's lovely. How was I still allowed in her custody after that?"

"I couldn't prove it for sure, and she never tried it again."

"How d'ya know she never tried it again?"

She looks at me like, `Ah duh.' but I just keep waitin' for an answer so she finally says, "She was stubborn like that."

"Like what?"

"I accused her of trying to kill you, and she proved me wrong by never trying it again."

I don't know how the fuck to process this bullshit I'm hearin' so I get up quickly off the bed and walk to the windows. Willow stands next to me, lookin' at me with that face that says she's there for me. The fact that I don't wanna punch her face is a comfort to me. Sometimes when I was all psycho, I had that urge.

Yeah, no lie, I was a mega bitch back then, which is why I didn't want Mia around me before. Buffy might trust me, but I'm still not a hundred percent.

"So because my mom was an irrational psycho, I'm supposed to be grateful to her for bein' alive?"

"That's not what I was saying."

"But isn't it sad that it's the fuckin' truth?"

"Faith…" Willow starts and then stops.

"Yeah, I know, Will. I'm fuckin' goin' around in circles here aren't I?" I let out a huge breath and try to calm my stomach.

"I'm not sure what you mean."

"Every fuckin' time I think I'm catchin' a break, somethin' else comes along to fuck with me. It feels like I'm some whiny reject who gets attention by bein' in the toilet all the time."

"Again, I'm not really sure where you're going with that. Especially the toilet thing. Are you saying their stomach's all rumbly and they have to be in there a lot?"

I look at her like she's nuts. "Am I Giles? Do I say `Go to the toilet'?"

"No, you usually say `Goin' to the can.'."

I have to laugh at her imitation of me, she does it so well, and so often that I just can't help but wanna beat her for it. But in a nice way, of course. Heh.

"Or, `Need to use the crapper.' I keep laughin' and catch a glimpse of Alicia who looks kinda amused but still concerned. "Or, `Gonna need to use the pisser.'"

"Ok, ok, Will. Stop, I get it."

She grins at me and I can see she's gonna spout some wisdom.

"What is it, Will?"

"You're great you know that?"

"How's that?"

"You're just great, and you need to know that about yourself."

"Oh yeah, great. Have a kid and the first chance I get I'm tryin' to kill her."

"Don't say that, Faith!" Will hits me in the arm then looks a bit sorry. "Sorry for the violent tendencies, but you saying something like that makes me hitty. I know for a fact you'd rather die than let something happen to Mia. You said before that…"

"I know, and I still feel that way, but what happens if…"

"What happens? You're not gonna, everyone sees that, why can't you?"

"How do you know?!" I get a bit impatient when there's no evidence that they can give me.

She looks away and it's a mega guilty face she's got.

"Don't fuckin' tell me, Will!"

"Alright then, I won't." She whispers, soundin' kinda relieved.

"Willow, you're in over your fuckin' head."

"I'm not, Faith!"

"You're fuckin' with the future!"

"I didn't do anything with the future."

"What'd you do then?!" I'm really pissed and I get in her face, but I manage to stop myself from grabbin' her around the shoulders and shakin' her.

"Faith, leave her alone, she just wanted to make sure things were going to be alright."

"How?!" I yell at Alicia then look back at Will. "Can't anyone fuckin' give me a straight answer?!"

"We did a… a sort of a thing."

"Well that fuckin' answers all my questions."

"Faith, don't be so mad."

"What makes you think I'm fuckin' mad?!"

"All the `fuckin' you're doing. And not the usual kind you do." Willow smiles at me and I relax a little. Damned if she doesn't know exactly how to get me to take a breath and stop bein' such a bitch.

"So, `we did a sort of a thing' means you and Alicia?"


"Do I wanna know what you did?"

"Probably not the best idea."

"How come?"

"For one, it's kind of complicated."


"And, you really don't need to know what I can do."

"But how's that any different than knowin' you can do somethin' that I don't wanna know what it is?"

"Because then you'll know that I know, that you'll know…" She laughs before she keeps goin', she was just fuckin' with me. "Besides, if you knew then I'd have to kill you."

"You're usin' government shit, ain't ya?"

"Well, technically they're using mine, but yes."

"Ok, then, that's all I need to know." Don't need to disappear `cause I knew some top secret stuff.

I sit up against the small desk in the room, lookin' at the two people in front of me that I owe much more than my life to, a thousand times over. I wonder when I'll ever be able to pay back any of the people I owe my life to. Probably never.

Somethin' else for me to worry about.

"What are you thinking about, Faith?"

I smile at Willow and give a little shrug. She smiles relieved, she knows I'm not gonna act as stupid as I have been the last hour or so.

"C'mon, really."

I look at Alicia and then back at Will, "I was just thinkin' how lucky I am."

"You're very lucky." Will agrees.

"And how much Buffy is gonna kill me."

"And very dead."

I groan.

"No! C'mon Faith, you know she's not gonna stay mad. She's not even mad really right now, just worried about you."

I look at Alicia and raise my brows, see if she has any thoughts on how dead I am.

"She's doing push-ups."

"Oh Christ." I'm dead.

"She's just blowing off a little excess energy." Will jumps in, in defense of Buffy.

"She's gonna tear me a new one, just you wait."

"You're making too much of this, don't over think it."

"Call her in here, you guys might wanna clear out."

"We'll give you privacy, you're not going to get killed." Alicia comes up and gives me a hug. "Stop making this bigger than it is, capisce?"

"Yeah, capisco." I sigh, not really agreein' with her, but whatever.

Will comes up and hugs me too, her face has that happy, `I think you're gonna get some tonight' look.

I'm gonna get some alright. I didn't trust Buffy's faith in me and she hates when I do that.

As they leave I say a little prayer for my soul.

"Everything checks out, Buffy. She's all yours." Will says as she goes out and shuts the door.

I hear Buffy say somethin' but because she's behind the door it's muffled.

Guess she wasn't ready to see me yet, `cause it's been like five minutes and she's still not here.

I lie back on the bed and stare at the ceilin'. After a few more minutes Buffy finally comes in the room, I can see from the corner of my eye she's got Mia with her.

I feel like such shit `cause I acted like an ass. But I was only tryin' to protect her, we needed to check things out, what's so bad about that?

"Hey," Buffy says quietly, guess she thinks I might be sleepin'.

"Tomorrow's Christmas."

"Yes it is." She sits down on the bed and puts Mia on my stomach with no hesitancy at all. After watchin' me scoop her up and start kissin' her all over, Buffy gets up and I don't stop her, I know what she's doin'. "I'm gonna go take a shower, I was working out."

"Take your time, baby."

"Thanks, in that case I might just take a relaxing bath."

"I was gonna give you bubbles for Christmas, but you need `em now, they're in the bottom cabinet, behind the lotion you hate."

"Clever." She says and slips out of her clothes as she makes her way to the bathroom. "Very, very clever."



When Buffy gets out of the bathtub, me and Mimi are finishin' our third book. It was my favorite, I love that little pig takin' the pancake and then wantin' everything else in the house. Kinda reminds me of the Cat in the Hat. But when I was a kid that fuckin' book used to make me sweat, `cause those kids were so gonna get their asses beat, and that fuckin' Cat didn't care.

"Did you have a good soak?"

"It was wonderful." Buffy smiles at me and my heart gets all fucked up. "How about you guys, did you have fun?"

"Best fun ever. Huh, Mimi?"

She looks up at me and puts her arms out, she wants to have kisses. "Popop."

"Oh my God! Those are gonna be her first words, Faith!" Buffy drops her hair towel and sits on the bed, strokin' Mia's back. "Mimi, say Poppy!"

"Buffy," I groan.

"C'mon Mimi, say Poppy!"

"Poppopopop." Mia mimicks dutifully. Why's she gotta be a dutiful girl? Just like her Momma I guess.

Buffy's laughin' and givin' her kisses, while I hold her and I have to laugh with her. It is kinda funny. If bein' called `Poppy' and havin' to live with it is the price I have to pay for actin' stupid, then I'll gladly pay it. But somehow I know that it won't be my only penance.

"Such a good girl, baby." Buffy gives her another kiss and then looks at me like she's made a decision. She smiles big at Mia and then says to her, "Let's go, Mimi, Momma and Poppy need to talk." Buffy picks her up and goes to the door. I don't stop her even though I wanna, `cause I sure as shit don't want Mia to hear all the stuff Buffy's got to say to me.

I stand up, ready to take whatever she's got.

"We'll be a minute or two, let Mia play with her toys, she's been wanting to crawl around since she had her lunch. Don't let her near the tree!"

Xander says he's not stupid and then Buffy closes the door.

She takes a moment or two before turnin' around to face me.

"I can't believe it." She says, clearly not believin' it.

"I'm sorry."

"You don't even know what I mean, so how can you be sorry?"

"I do know what you mean, B. I fucked up. Again. I told you I wasn't gonna and then not three hours later I fall right back into it."

"Faith, will you…"

"B, really, I'm sorry, whatever you're gonna do to me I deserve." I start wringin' my hands all nervously and lookin' at the window.

"Just stop..."

"I don't know what to say."

"You don't have to say anything. Just listen ok?"

"Ok," I go back over to the desk and sit on the chair. This was Gee Gee's desk and chair, my Aunt had it sent to me, `cause Gee Gee wanted me to have it. She had brought it with her from Sicily when she first came over. I guess I feel safe here. Like it's protectin' me.

She comes and stands next to me, lookin' out the window for a minute and then lookin' at me.

"What I was trying to say was that I can't believe you looked the same way you did that night at your motel when I told you Kakistos was in town."

I flinched when she said his name. Why's she bringin' up a time when I was fuckin' fail dude? Damn, I'm talkin' like Andy and his geek friends now. They say shit like `Failboat' and then laugh their asses off at each other. Great.

I let out a long sigh, I'll wait to hear what she has to say.

"Don't huff, there's a point to this."

Again, I don't say nothin' `cause I don't want her to get mad.

"You needed me then and you couldn't bring yourself to ask me for help. Why would you do something like that?" She doesn't give me time to answer. "And you keep on doing it even now, after all we've been through. After I gave you my heart and told you I'd always be there for you."

"I know, I don't know why."

"You know you don't know why or you don't know?"


That gets a chuckle out of her. God that smile on her face soothes me like puttin' chapstick on your lips when you've been chasin' after a demon for an hour in the fuckin' cold.

What am I afraid of? Why does this shit keep bitin' me in the ass?

She leans up against the desk and for some reason I have a mini flashback to the Sunnydale library. She's lookin' at me after I killed Finch. I needed her help then too and I pushed her away.

But why now?

I know she's expectin' an answer, and I wanna give one to her so I fight the urge to run or to put my head on my arms on the desk and shut her out.

I smooth my hand that's restin' on the desk over the dark stained wood. It feels almost warm to my touch. Weird, `cause there's a draft by this window and usually this shit is cold.

Holy shit, I think I know how Will knows I'm not gonna try to kill Mia. I'll have to think about that later though. Right now Buffy's doin' her best not to kick my ass but I have to be alert just in case her best wasn't good enough.

Is that what I'm afraid of? Is that why I keep testin' her? Testin' the wall to see if blastin' it damages it enough to break through? Testin' her to see if she sticks with me? Keeps on bein' there to help me?

Do I even want to be helped?

I look up into her face and I see the answer written in her understandin' eyes.


"I think I'm afraid." I manage to finally get my shit together enough to answer her.

"Of what?"

After a while she can't take the silence, `cause I clammed up thinkin' of what I was tryin' to say.

"Of me? Of being married? Having children?"

Her spellin' all that out like that helps me realize what I was tryin' to say.

"Of bein' somethin' other than a fuck up."

She doesn't say anything. What could she say to something like that? She's doin' a hell of a fine job of not just haulin' off and slappin' me.

"I know how lame that sounds."

"Just keep going, I'll judge it on its merits of lame or not lame later, I really wanna hear what's in your head."

I turn so I'm fully facin' the desk and put my head in my hands. I just need to meditate a moment and figure out exactly what I mean. It's like I know how I feel, but I'm havin' a hard time translatin' that into words.

She comes up behind me and starts rubbin' my tense as fuck shoulders. Oh god that feels fuckin' good.

All of a sudden she lets out a laugh.

"What's funny?"

"I just thought of something else to call you."

"Oh Christ, let's hear it…" It's probably gonna be Peepaw or somethin'.


"Like the fuckin' Pixar movie?"

"Like a brick wall." She chuckles.

What can I say? I get tense when I'm fuckin' up my life, or tryin' not to. So basically my shoulders are brick-like 24/7.

"Mmm, you've got good hands though." I snort out, `cause I can be clever too. "I should call you Allstate."

"After how they treated us when they tried not to pay out on our claim? I mean really! Just because a Yodvan demon smashed in the windshield doesn't mean damage wasn't done."

"Well, maybe you shouldn't've been so forthcoming with the truth."

"They read me that thing they have to before you file the claim and it says I could go to jail for committing insurance fraud."

"Damn, B. Sometimes I don't know what goes through your head."

"Well, I'm glad we switched insurance companies, that's all."

"You're a fuckin' trip." I laugh.

She squeezes a little too hard on the shoulders and I remember I'm supposed to be kissin' her ass.

"So, where was I?" I ask.

"You were saying you were scared."

"Right. I am scared."

"You're scared of making mistakes, that's understandable, we all are. Jesus, Faith! If I told you how many times I didn't want to pick up Mia for fear of using slayer strength or of dropping her. Not to mention the crap she would be exposed to being the daughter of two Slayers…"

"I know, B. But that's not what I was sayin'."

"What then?"

"If I do well, what happens then?"

"Ummm is this a trick question?" She moves over so she can look at my face and she looks puzzled. I love that face so much that every time I see it I wanna kiss her, but I keep goin'.

"I mean, how do I act? What kinda things would be expected of me?"

"Oh God, Faith. You're afraid of success because you think all you've ever known is failure?"

"That's exactly what I'm sayin' and don't make fun."

Like a fuckin' flash she grabs me and I snap up my arms in defense and try to grab her forearms so I got some leverage when she tries to hit me.

Instead of hittin' me though she pulls me closer and kisses me so hard my breath is fuckin' squeezed outta my lungs.

She pulls back just as quick and looks at me; holdin' me down on the desk. She's searchin' my face for somethin'.

"Do you love me?" She asks like she's not sure.

How can she ask such a thing? Doesn't she know she's my world?

"'Course I do, B."

"Mia too?"

"Yes, baby, Mia too."

She's still lookin' in my face pretty intensely, if this wasn't such a serious situation, I'd break out laughin'.

"Why do you think such crazy things?"

"You sayin' I'm crazy, B?"

"No, I'm trying to figure out why you'd think you would have to be successful all alone. We'd be right there with you, sharing in the success, living our lives, loving you, helping you, having you help us. We all need each other, Faith."

When she puts it like that, how can I disagree?

"That sounds reasonable."

"Does it?"

"Yeah, sounds wonderful." I smile givin' her the dimples I know she loves to see.

"That's because it's that time of the year."

"What time?"

"The most wonderful time."

"You're corny, but I still love ya." I wink at her.

She finally lets me up from the desk and I straighten out my shirt and stuff. A minute later she pounces again and she's kissin' me desperately.

"Mmm, as much as I love your kisses, what's up, B? Why so desperate?" I say when I finally get a chance to speak.

"Seeing you as you were back when we first met reminded me of how stupid I was, and how much I had to make up to you, and how much I love you."

"How come you get mad when say I say crazy things and you get to say all kindsa crazy shit?"

"Telling you how I feel is crazy?" She's gettin' kinda pissed so I hope this doesn't backfire on me.

"No, saying things like `how much I had to make up to you', you never have to make up nothin' to me, B. I owe you so much more it's just too much to think about."

I sit back down on the chair and pull her with me.

"Let's just say we're even and call it a day, ok?" She asks.

"Heh, ok. I guess."

"Good," She kisses the top of my head.

"Ya know, B. You say a bunch of crazy stuff, come to think of it."

"Oh, I do, do I?"

"Yeah, how about that time you said the Dove chocolate wrapper told you I was cheatin' on you?"

"What?!" She tries to play innocent.

"A few months back, you said that thing about the oceans meant that you have to keep your eye on me, that I was trying to stray from the shore."

"I didn't say that meant you were cheating on me!"

"No? What was the crying jag all about after you read it?"

"Just the pregnancy hormones going wacky; that was just after I had Mia!"

"A couple of months after, and you made me sleep on the couch…"

"I had a bad dream and I felt irritated, I was trying to spare you."

"See that, B? You spare me, I spare you, it all evens out."

"Don't even try it, your `sparing' is more like shutting out and not sharing. I don't want you sacrificing yourself like that, I won't allow it!"

"Yes, mother."

"Don't even start that, I'm too hot to be old enough to be your mother."

"You're a MILF now, B. Don't try to deny it."

"Oh god, you and your acro-thingies, do I wanna know what that means?"

"Sure ya do, `cause I wanna do it." I wiggle the brows. "A lot."

"Well, we can't, we have family out there in the next room and we don't have time. We're having dinner at 7, we have to get the dining room ready."

"For X, Will, Satsu and Dawnie? We can just do like we did for lunch."

"No, we can't. We've got other company coming."

I groan.

"Faith, stop being such a baby!"

"I thought you were too young for me to be your baby."

"You're A baby, I didn't say you were MY baby."

"No? Somethin' change here, B? You call me baby a lot, you said you loved me and everything. And then you…" I pretend to be almost on the verge of tears.

She slaps me on the arm. "Quit it, faker."

We kiss again and this time it's a slow, lovin' kiss. No desperation, just love, understandin' and maybe a whole lot of horny for each other.

When we break she starts leavin' small tender kisses around my face and I sift my hands through her silky hair.

"I like that you grew your hair out more, baby."

"Really? I was thinking of shaving it."

"Pullin' a Britney, huh? Always gotta be doin' what she's doin'."

"Well, not that I'd do it for aesthetics, it would be for survival. And Britney ain't got nothing on me!"

"You know it." I laugh. "Survival, huh? You think people wouldn't recognize you bald?"

"Not for that kind of survival, Mia's trying to scalp me, she likes to grab on and not let go."

"I saw that earlier."

"How come she doesn't do it with you?"

"Probably because my color is natural."

"And what's that supposed to mean?"

"Ya know, she's really attuned to things that aren't real, so maybe she's tryin' to pull it out `cause it's fake."

She slaps the other arm.

"I thought we made a pact on no hitting."

"That was before you started up with all the verbal abuse."

"I'm just tellin' some truths; I thought you liked when I did that?"

"Whatever. Besides, I think once you hit the ten year mark, the color your hair has been past that point becomes your true color."

"Tell your pubes that."

"That's it! This conversation is finished and I'm not talking to you ever again!"

She goes to get up but I hold her in place.

"Gonna be kinda weird havin' sex and lovin'…raisin' more kids and livin' life without you chimin' in once in a while. Maybe you should rethink that last statement."

"What makes you think we'll be doing all those things?"

"See? Got you to break your no talking to me thing, think I can getcha to do all those other things with me."

"You frustrate me." She lets out a sigh and relaxes her posture.

"But the payoff is so sweet, no?" I say softly and blow her a kiss.

She hesitates a moment and then leans in for another slow, hot, wet kiss. When that one ends we're both pantin'.

"We-we should get back out there. Xander's probably letting Mimi swing from the tree."

I laugh, "Yeah, that miscreant."

"It was really nice of Will and Satsu to bring all those gifts and things."

Oh here we go, most of this banter back and forth was buyin' her time so she could think of how to approach the `Satsu' subject.

"Yeah, real nice. They're wonderful."

"The presents?"

"No, well, yeah, but I meant Will and Satsu."

"What do you think about them?"

"As in a couple?"


"I think I'll get used to it." I suddenly get curious. "How about you?"


"Yeah, how do you feel about your ex bein' with your best friend?"

"She's hardly my ex Faith."

"Are you finally admittin' you have casual sex, B?"

"Don't start that again. And no, I don't have casual sex. But…" She trails off.


"That's too complicated to get into right now."

Heh. Still won't admit old Satsu was my stand in.

"Ok, I'll let you off the hook. For now." I wink at her.

"Thanks. Anyway, I think she's good for Will and I don't think it's too soon, do you?"

"After Kennedy?" I ask and she nods at me. "Nah, K told me to make sure she didn't stay alone too long, that she didn't deserve that."


"That day," I stop for a moment, rememberin' her last words to me. "Before she died."

"Have you told Will this?"

"Sorta…" Kinda I guess.

We sit in silence for a while. I know she knows I've been avoidin' talkin' to Willow about the Kennedy thing, and we really do need to talk about it. I think she thinks I'm bitter `cause she's forgettin' about Ken or somethin' by movin' on. But I don't think that at all. Anyway, it's kinda like this big elephant in the room when we're together.

"You know what I think?"


"I think you and Will need to take a trip together, you guys haven't done that in a while."

"Oh really?"


"What're you and ol' casual `ex' Satsu gonna do while we're gone?"

"Faith, don't even think it."

"Am I gonna come home to Mia singin' `I saw Momma kissin' Satsuclaus'?"

"Now you're just being dumb!"

"Well, why you tryin' to shove us off?"

Buffy sighs and waits a moment before speakin', when she does its soft and serious.

"She said going there helps…"

"You think so?" I say, stoppin' the other bullshit.

"I do."

"Kay then, that's settled. We'll go sometime after the new year."

"Sounds good, and I'll miss you so much."

"How much?"

She leans in again and plants a scorcher on me. Good thing I'm not wearin' synthetics, they would have melted to my skin.

After we're done with our make out session and we fix ourselves so that we look presentable we make our way out of the room.

"Just don't stray too far from the shore." She says with a laugh.

"With you as the shore? Fuckin' stupid of me to even leave it, but you're the one makin' me go."

She thumps me on the ass just as I open the door. Dawn and Will looked up just in time to be my witnesses.

"You saw that abuse?"

Dawn picks up a pillow from the couch and nails me with it. Willow yells, "Score!"

"Yer all bitches."

"Faith!" Buffy yells.

"Language!" Everyone finishes for her.

They all suck.


Chapter 8- Christmas Time Is Here

"G, another single malted milk ball?"

"Is that what you're calling these? I thought it was called `eggnog'?"

Giles was our surprise guest, well, a surprise to me. Buffy and the gang knew he was comin' but they wanted to surprise me.

I'm fuckin' stoked he's here! Can't get enough of my family these days.

"Yeah, without the egg. Who knew Willow had egg fear, too?"

"I'm not exactly crazy about raw egg in a drink myself." Giles says with a toast motion of his glass.

Buffy comes up behind me and takes my drink off me.

"Hey!" I say to her when she steals a sip. "You're breast feedin'!"


"So? So you can't be drinkin' that!" I take my glass back off of her.

"You really shouldn't be doing that, Faith." Giles says.

"Me?! Why am I the bad one? She's the one tryin' to drink like a fish."

Buffy smirks and I wanna know who turned the world all upside down.

"Because you're talking about Buffy's…well you know…" He gestures towards her chest.


"I'll be over in more neutral waters over there." Giles points to the corner.

"Tits?" I say to make him shudder.

He turns and leaves, but just gave Buffy a wink and a smile so I know he's not really freaked out, they just like fuckin' with me.

"Oh, yeah, more neutral waters? Over next to Xand the `I love with my hand' man."

"Hey?! Why're you picking on me? I'll have you know I'm an equal opportunity lover."

"Too bad you don't get the opportunity much." Willow mumbles, I can see she's tryin' not to break out into a grin.

"Et tu, Willow?" Xander holds his hand over his heart like he's been wounded.

Buffy hugs up to me while she watches them snipe at each other.

"Hey, I'm still upset with you." I look down at her and she smiles up at me.

"Faith, I just took a sip, and I'm bottle feeding her tonight."

"How come? You plannin' on gettin' `tore up'?" I frown at her.

"No," She narrows her eyes at me. "My nipples are sore, I think it's because of the cold weather."

My lip comes out in sympathy for her.

"Good," She says with a hip check. "It's all your fault, you should feel sorry for me."

"How is the cold weather my fault? What I'm `Faith the Meteorologist' now, too?"

Buffy chuckles slightly, "No, it's partly because of your," She lowers her voice to a whisper. "…overactive hands and mouth."

I lean in and whisper back, "Stop moanin' so sexily when I suck and squeeze `em and you wouldn't be so sore."

"Well, that's a problem then, I guess you're just not gonna be able to…"

"Don't even finish that sentence, baby." I cut her off. "Mia can go on the bottle permanently, I think it's time don't you?"

"You'd do that to your daughter?" She says with a smile, then realizes how it sounds and quickly tries to say something to cover. I stop her before she starts.

"Don't, B. `Cause if you try to censor what you say on account of me, then we'll never really live, will we?"

"No, we won't." She agrees.

"So, you were sayin'? I'd be cruel to my daughter and allow her to be bottle fed, huh?"

"Yeah." She says a little apprehensively, but she's a trooper and she's tryin' my way.

"Well, she'd still be gettin' your milk, but I'd be the one harvestin' it." I grin.

"Oh, so I'm a cow now?"

"You always did love your cow pajamas."

"You're loving this aren't you?"

Damn, the way she said that reminded me of when we were about to kick her out of her own house in Sunnydale. When the First was tryin' its worst to beat us, and I do mean worst.

"I'm just kiddin', B." I suddenly get really serious. "I love you and I just want you to be happy. That's all I've ever really wanted."

She leans in and kisses me tenderly. Brat steals our moment by makin' loud kissy noses and Will, Satsu, Xand and even Giles are laughin'.


"No, grossed out is more like it." Dawn says all snotty.

"Yeah, you wish you had somethin' as hot and fine as me to kiss." I stick out my tongue and Buffy pokes me in the stomach.

"Stop setting a bad example for the baby."

"She's sleepin', B. How's me messin' with Dawn while she's sleepin' gonna harm anyone?"

"It travels, like waves."

"You're a little nutty, babe. Did you have more nog than what I saw you have?"

She shakes her head quickly and then looks up at me through her lashes, "I'm drunk on you."

I hear an "Awwww" and it wasn't from Will either, Dawn forgot her smart-assed brat routine and actually allowed herself to say what she really thinks.

And I'm not gonna let her live it down. Ever.

"Good night all, thanks for coming." I pick up Buffy and drape her over my shoulder in a fireman's carry. "We're gonna go ya know..."

"I guess we'll let ourselves out?" Willow asks.

"Faith, put me down!" Buffy straightens her clothes out after I put her down and she looks at me like I'm two. "We have guests and food, and and…"

"I know, no sexy-time when G-man's here. I know." I fake pout.

She kisses me like the spoiled child that I am.



We ended up finishin' the party with the gang. It was fun. I even managed to get Satsu to laugh, total bonus was it was when she was drinkin' my nog without the egg. She didn't exactly snort it out of her nose, but Giles wasn't any more pleased about bein' sprayed with it. Although, the best part about it was to see a genuine smile on Will's face and to see that she was in love again. That's been like a weight's been lifted off of my shoulders. Who knew the thing I'd been dreadin' the most, would be the thing I'm most grateful for.

Well that and this wonderful little honey starin' back at me from her crib.

"Hey, Mimi, you're not tired? What's the matter, baby?" I check her diaper. Yep, wet. "C'mon, little girl, let's get you dry. Are ya hungry?"

"How can she be hungry? You just fed her for like an hour." Buffy says as she walks back into the room.

The party wound down about an hour ago, and everyone promised they'd be back for present openin' tomorrow. Will, Satsu and Dawnie are stayin' over. We got room and they wanted to be here in the mornin' for Mia's first Christmas.

Xand and Giles made us promise that we'd wait to open presents until they got back here though.

"So? I just ate too, don't mean I'm not hungry again." I wink at her.

"Why is it that I don't think you're talking about actual food anymore?"

"You're such a perv, B." I look offended. "Not everything I say has to do with sex. I was just thinkin' about your pie."

"Who's the perv?!"

"You made apple pie, no?"

"I made a pie like thing, not sure how good it turned out because you didn't tell me." She says all accusatory, but there's no need, `cause it was great.

"Well…" I lower my voice to the `even sexier' register it has. `It was warm…" I wiggle my eyebrows as I continue. "Moist…" I purr out the next part. "And creamy."

She's just shakin' her head at me.


"You're not describing my apple pie, don't even try it."


"No, there was no cream."

"I'll bet there is now though, huh?"

She laughs at my attempt at being seductive.

"Actually, Ms. Naughty, I was talking about your apple pie, I had ice cream with it. It was wonderful, you just have to work on the crisscross stuff at the top." I make the hand gestures to help describe what I'm sayin'.

"The lattice crust?"

"Yeah, that."

"It's so hard!"

"Now, who's the perv?" I leer at her.

"Don't you turn that into innuendo, Faith. You don't even have one now." She sticks her tongue out at me.

"Tsk, B. Bad example." I point at Mia's crib and then I look at her and notice her eyes are as big as saucers. She's watchin' B and tryin' to imitate her by stickin' out her tongue. At first I was just kiddin' but now that I see she was really tryin' to imitate her momma I crack the fuck up.

Buffy gets all jumpy.

"Oh no, no baby! No don't do that… that was just a…I didn't mean to do that…" She's tryin' to reason with a six month old and I find it fuckin' hilarious that she got busted. "Don't make your face all ugly like that…only bad girls do that, and Momma was very bad just now."

"Poppy should give Momma a spankin' for bein' a bad girl, huh Mimi?" I say, all animatedly and Mia claps.


"I think that was a `yes', B."

Buffy's got her head down defeated.

"I'm a bad influence."

"The worst." I agree with her.

Her head shoots up and I see my self-righteous honey starin' back at me. I reach out and pull her closer to me as Mia continues to clap and coo. I give Buffy a kiss on her nose.

"You're a great Mom, baby, don't even think for a minute you aren't. And as for influences, if I didn't have yours I'd be a fuckin' failure ten times over."

We kiss and she pulls back when Mia's babble gets louder.

"She's trying to talk to us."

"Probably doesn't like bein' ignored." I laugh.

Buffy picks her up outta the crib and I stand behind her with my arms wrapped around her helpin' to hold Mia.

"You wanna try for another?" I ask with a whisper into her ear.

"What? Now?!"

"Why not? This one turned out so well." I nod my head towards Mia.

"She did, didn't she?" Buffy says all proud of our daughter. She tenses slightly. "But I, I uhhh…."

"You don't want to." I say, finishing her thought for her.

"I…it…it's not that…" Buffy stutters out as she's tryin' to think of somethin' that won't push me away.

"I get it, B. Don't worry. It's too soon."

"I thought we talked about this?"

"We did, I just felt maybe…ah forget it."

"Faith, please don't be like that." She kisses the side of my head. "It's not like I don't want to have anymore ever, but I thought you said we'd wait until Mia was a little older?"

"Yeah, I know I said that."

"What's changed?" Buffy turns around in my arms and looks in my face, tryin' to find the truth.

"I thought maybe that was just what I wanted."

"If it wasn't what I wanted, don't you think I would've let you know?"

"So how about it?"

"I'd like to wait. And you?"

Gotta say, I feel relieved, I don't know why I even brought it up. I guess I felt so good about Mia bein' such a good girl, I figured maybe we'd try again. I know I definitely don't want her bein' an only child like me.

Buffy probably thinks I'm a real whack job. I go from not wantin' to be around Mia `cause I think I'm gonna go really nuts and kill her, to wantin' to get busy with the baby makin' again.

"Yeah, we should wait."

"Are you sure?"

I nod, "I'm sure."

"Good," She leans in and kisses me. "No need to give up on sex, though, right?"

"You're not goin' nuts too, are ya, B?" I feel her forehead. "Nope, feels fine."

"Oh stop, I was just kidding."

"Don't say shit like `givin' up on sex'. It hurts me real deep."

Mia pulls on my hair and Buffy who was about to scold me about sayin' a curse word with the baby right in between us starts laughin'.

"Oh, I think you just got in trouble, Poppy."

"Hey, not funny, B! Help me get her fists open, this shit hurts! OW!" Mia just tugged harder and Buffy's laughin' even more. "That's it, Momma's gonna be sleepin' on the couch tonight."

"With Will and  Satsu? Ok by me!" She says all smart-assed. I forgot they were on the pull out.

"Ok, Uncle…Uncle!" I say, givin' up. "You can stay in the bed with me, alright?! Can you just help me get her hands open, please?!"

"Wow, the great and mighty Faith the Vampire Slayer, felled by a little hair pulling."

"Yeah, like you didn't almost cry when she was tuggin' on yours."

"I think I did cry." Buffy says sincerely. "She hurts!"

After we get Mia back in her crib and she's finally asleep me and B go back to our room gettin' ready for bed.

"So Giles mentioned babysitting Mia tomorrow night, why don't I know about it?" Buffy asks as she slips in bed next to me.

I yawn really loudly and put my arm around her. "Well I thought we could get out and do somethin', just you and me."

"When? Shouldn't we be with our guests?"

"Well, later on, like at 7 or somethin', I thought maybe just take a walk around the tree, just you and me. Like old times."

We usually take a walk around Rockefeller Center and look at the tree and the people skatin' in the winter time. We haven't been able to go lately, and I know that's been buggin' her.

She looks at me with a soft smile on her face. "That sounds great! Do you think maybe we'll get to skate?"

"Well, I didn't figure we'd be out that long." I see her face fall a bit, but she covers it well. "If the lines not too long…I guess…"

She lets out a little sigh, "The line is always long."

"We'll get to do it someday, baby."

"I don't know why it's so important to me, I just wanna, ya know?"

"I know what you mean, it's Christmas, it's Rockefeller, it's the tree in the background. I get it, but…"

"Yeah, I know, it would be like an hour wait and we can't spend that much time away."

"Maybe some other time…"


She snuggles in further and starts driftin' off to sleep, her even breaths do their job and soon I'm out too.



"Merry Christmas!" Xander shouts as I open the door. He's pushin' his way into our apartment wearin' a Santa hat and beard and handin' me shit to put under the tree. Giles looks like he's already started to have a few toots, or snoots or whatever the fuck he calls `em, of his favorite brandy.

"Merry Christmas, dear!"

"G, you been drinkin'?"

"We-we had a couple mimosas with breakfast." He looks guilty.

"A couple? Your face is redder than when I talk about sex with Buffy in front of you."

His face just turned almost purple.

"Must you ruin Christmas for me, every year?"

I smile really big at him, "Yep!"

Last year I gave him a picture of me in some racy underwear. Don't even think it's anything like that. Pervert. I just like messin' with him for all the shit he put me through when we were in Scotland and England together. Especially the time he almost ripped my surgically repaired tongue out of my mouth and made me feel helpless in front of Satsu.

At the time I threatened to cut off his balls, but these days I like to get my revenge in more constructive ways. Plus it's like a Christmas tradition now.

I guess he gave the picture of me to Xander. Either that or Xander stole it from him, point is, Xander's got it now. Down side of that was Buffy kicked me in the ass for it. I thought it was funny.

No one gets jokes these days.

We all sit around the tree, givin' each other presents, openin' them and gettin' our pictures taken. Mia's got a haul of stuff that could fill a frickin' Toys R Us.

When we're done openin' our presents I take a look around the room. It looks like Santa's sleigh blew up over our livin' room. Mimi's got a couple of Christmas bows stuck to her head and she's chargin' through the paper on her hands and knees. She's havin' a fuckin' awesome time.

I know I'm havin' a blast and I got some cool shit too!

Buffy also said she had a special present for me in the bedroom. Giles almost blew his tea clear across the room and scolded her for joinin' in on my torture.

She got after him for thinkin' she was talkin' about sex or sex toys. It was fuckin' classic to see them bitchin' at each other. I love when she gets him all apologizin', like he's one of us who fuck up a lot. Ya know, like me and Xand.

So we went into the bedroom and she got out this thin package that looked like it was a little bit bigger than a magazine and had me sit on the bed to open it.

"I thought those shackles were my present in the bedroom?"

"Well, they were, but since that was spoiled yesterday, I can't exactly count them as a present."

"Awww, B. You didn't have to get me anything else. The necklace and the music and the fuckin' rad comics you got me were enough."

"I know we said nothing big for each other, but I thought you might like this. A lot."

I grin at her, very fuckin' curious as to what's in this package. She nods at me with her own sexy grin in place and I rip the pretty paper off of it. I opened it up to what must be the back, `cause it's blank. I turn it around and my eyes fuckin' pop the fuck out of my head.

I must've looked like one of those cartoon people with their eyes buggin' out, `cause Buffy laughs like she's gonna die.

"Oh, Faith! The look on your face is priceless!"

It's a sketch of her done in that sexy cartoonish style. Like that dude, Bill Ward, used to draw. He drew these women and called them Telephone Girls. They were drawn in sexy lingerie, loungin' on their bed or in the bedroom talkin' on the phone.

Buffy's is not in black and white though, it's in a really awesome style, like it's older but not really. She's loungin' on the bed and talkin' on her cellphone, I can see the scythe on the bed next to her and my leather jacket's there too, it looks like she's idly strokin' it while talkin' to her honey on the phone. That's me, by the way. In case you forgot.

The detail is just so fuckin' awesome, it's like someone took a snapshot and just `tooned it up.

"Do you like it?" She asks tentatively.

"Like it? No." She goes to look away. "I fuckin' LOVE it Buffy. Holy shit, I think this is the best Christmas present EVER in the history of presents."


"Oh my god, yes!"

"Better than the ornament?"

I stop oglin' her cartoon goodies and look up into her face.

"Of course, not. And it's not better than the other presents you've given me. It's just…fuckin' awesome, B." I turn it around and show it to her. "It's you, and you're on the phone to me. It was the time you said you were thinkin' about me while I was in England before we were really serious, so you put my jacket next to you and called me, isn't it?"

"Yeah." She smiles. "It was the time I knew I really loved you, like desperately loved you, and that we'd be together forever."

"That was a fuckin' rad conversation."

"The raddest." She winks.

We had phone sex that night for the first time and even though that was great, I really loved the serious talk we had even more.  We got seriously down with how we felt about each other, I mean seriously. No more just, `I love you's, do you love me?'s. It's when we decided we were gonna live in New York and start the academy.

"And I like the fact that you put the Scythe in there. And I see Mia's bear on the floor." I hadn't noticed that before. I keep pointin' to stuff. "It's this room, and you've got a sexy little number on, B. It's awesome. I just love it."

"I love you. I'm glad you like it."

She steps up to me and straddles my lap. I lay the picture down out of harm's way as we make out. It's hot and wet, and if I didn't have plans we'd be fuckin' for the rest of the day.

But I got plans so we just make out for a little while longer.

"Did you like your shoes?" I say, a bit out of breath when we calm down from a particularly scorchin' kiss.

"I loved them, Faith!" She gives me another kiss. "I can't believe you remembered which ones I had my eye on. And to tell you the truth I didn't think you'd get them for me."

"Why not?"

"I seem to remember someone putting me on a shoe ration. Meany."

"Aww, don't be like that, baby. I want you to have all the shoes in the world, really I do. But Mia'd be in rags, and we'd have to live in the street and eat rats." She shudders at that and I have to laugh. "Well, we would if you were given free rein to buy shoes."

"I do go a little overboard sometimes, don't I?" She scrunches up her nose cutely, like always when she's makin' a confession.

"You're a young woman in NYC. Who wouldn't get tempted by all this fashion? It's awesome. But we got to do it in moderation."

"I'm with you. Miss Responsibility."


"Yeah, real responsible. Last year I almost got arrested for drivin' a motorbike up the steps of the library."

She gives me a little shove at the memory of that.

"So, we've got brunch and then what?" She asks.

"We veg out for a while, my Aunt's probably gonna call soon, then I'll have to talk to all fourteen of my cousin's and other Aunts and Uncles."

"I'm kinda bummed my Aunt Linda and Aunt Arleen couldn't come."

"Next time, maybe."

"Yeah, maybe." She says kinda sad. I know she's been missin' her mom somethin' fuckin' fierce lately. Especially since Mia's been born and with this bein' her daughter's first Christmas she'd have wanted to share that with her. It's natural.

Christmas was always a big tradition with them. Just the two of them, well and Dawn, but we know they're just false memories. Dawn went through this whole big thing of makin' us see that she wasn't really there, and even though Buffy sees her as her sister and doesn't care that the memories are fake, she said that it would be a lie to say she was around back then. She also said it was enough for her that she's alive for real now, and she doesn't necessarily care much about the fake memories. It was a hard thing to do, but we stood behind her decision. It was almost like witnessin' someone's decision to not go for a radical, but possibly life savin' operation and then havin' to watch them die. But in reverse.

Lemme just fuckin' say it was mind blowin'.

We hear a soft knock on the door.

"Buffy, Faith. Is it safe to come in?"

It's Dawnie. Speak of the bratty devil.

"Yeah, D. We're just f-mpfph!" My sentence is cut short by a little fuckin' short assed Slayer.

The door opens.

"I didn't hear any loud screaming or banging so I figured it was safe."

"What the hell, B?!" I say when she finally takes her hand away from my mouth.

"You were about to be rude."

"I was about to say we were just finishin' up!"

"Well sometimes you say the other f word and I didn't want you ruding up our wonderful day together, in front of my sister."

"Did you give her the picture?" Dawn's not even listenin' to our banter.

Buffy nods, smiling.

"Isn't it great, Faith?!" She goes over and picks it up. "Although I could do without seeing my sister's hooters through that nightie, but isn't it great?!"

"Dawn! You can't see my hooters."

I get a smirk on my face and Buffy looks at me.


"You can see a little bit of hooter, baby." I shrug.

She looks more closely at the picture, "Ok, a hoot. Possibly. It's not exactly see through."

"No, but they're dyin' to pop out." I grin at her.

"I'll take it back and have it retouched." She tries to get up so she can take it off Dawn.

"You do that and I'll…"

"You'll what?"

"I'll take back your shoes!"

"That was a low blow, Faith." Dawn says, she's in the same shoe boat as her sister.

They're both lookin' at me like I just slapped Buffy.

"Ok, whatever. Just don't take it and have it retouched, I like it. It's retro and it's fuckin' sweet." I hug Buffy closer to me. "Just like you." She kisses the top of my head.

"Awww, it's almost getting bearable to watch."

"Shut up, Dawn! God, will you ever stop being an annoying little brat?" Buffy says.

"Who're you calling little? Tiny the Vampire Slayer."

"Just because I'm shorter than you…"

"Yeah, yeah, here we go with the threats. Just because you're a freak of nature…"

I happily tune them out. I know Xand and the others are preparin' the surprise I got for Buffy and Dawn.

They're gonna shit themselves. Hopefully not literally, `cause ew, dude. But I bought a shit load of tissues just in case they cry, like I think they might.

"What's that music?" I ask, `cause I know it'll stop them from bickerin' and it's the cue Xand and I set up so that I'd know everything was ready.

"What music?" Buffy asks, takin' the bait.

"I dunno, Giles must be playin' some of his old music out there."

Buffy and Dawn cock their heads in the same way as they strain to hear the music.

Well I've been out walking
I don't do that much talking these days
These days--
These days I seem to think a lot
About the things that I forgot to do
And all the times I had the chance to

"I recognize that song…" Buffy says softly. "Mom used to play it on the weekends when she was cleaning."

And all the times I had the chance to

"When she was thinking about how she had to start over." Dawn adds.

And I had a lover
It's so hard to risk another these days
These days--

Buffy looks at me curiously.

"How did you…"

"I was over your house a few Saturdays. Remember?"

Now if I seem to be afraid
To live the life I have made in song
Well it's just that I've been losing so long

She nods and then gets up and opens the door. Two huge trunks with bows on them are in the living room waiting to be opened.

"What are these?" Buffy asks, looking out at the gang.

"They're for you and Dawnie." Willow bounces happily in her seat.

Dawn looks at me and raises an eyebrow.

I nod at her, "Go ahead, D, you and Buffy open `em."

Buffy turns back around to me. "What did you do?"

"Why don't you open `em and find out?"

I'll keep on moving
Things are bound to be improving these days
One of these days--

I get up off the bed and set the picture on the bureau before joinin' the girls outside. The gang's all gathered around waitin' for `em to open the trunks.

"Do we open them one at a time or together?" Dawn asks Buffy.

Buffy shrugs.

"Open `em however you want." I make my way to the couch and flop down, Mia crawls over to me and I pick her up. "Watch, Mimi, Momma and Aunt Dawnie are gonna open their presents." I straighten her little dress out and plop her in my lap.

These days I sit on corner stones
And count the time in quarter tones to ten, my friend
Don't confront me with my failures
I had not forgotten them

The song finishes just as they decide to open `em at the same time and the look on their faces is fuckin' classic. Both their jaws drop right to the fuckin' floor and I can see tears startin' to well up.

"It's my diary! And my books! And look, my jewelry box!" Dawn's squealin' with each bit of stuff she's findin'.

Buffy looks up at me and then picks up Mr. Gordo, "This is him?"

"The one and the same." I smile, "Took a f-uh, a lot of washin', but he's clean."

She puts him down and picks up another jewelry box, "You…found…Mom's…" She puts a hand over her mouth and tries to stop herself from cryin' but it's not workin'. Will jumps up and goes over to comfort her friend and to join in with the tears, apparently.

"How did you do all this, Faith?" Dawn asks.

"The Government finally got their claws out of Sunnydale, since I technically own the land I had some excavation teams workin' on findin' the house and your stuff."

"What about Willow and Xander's houses?"

"Will's unfortunately burned. Somethin' about the ingredients of her spell cabinet mixin' with each other…"

"Hey! It wasn't my fault, I was busy helping save the world!" Will defends herself.

I just shake my head and laugh at her.

"Faith…" Buffy calls to me. "Come here."

I get up from the couch still holdin' Mia and walk over to her. She grabs me when I get close enough and hugs me tight.

"I can't believe you did this for us!"

"I know you were missin' your stuff, and your Mom's stuff…"

"The music…" She's talkin' about the songs I've been playin' this whole time, they were Joyce's favorites. "Did you find her albums?"

"Yeah, but not intact, most of `em were smashed. G-man helped me figure out what albums she had, sometimes all he had to go on was a piece of the cover. I was able to download `em from iTunes."

"You're so sweet!" Dawn jumps over to us and joins in on the hug.

"Figured I had to make up for the crappy gifts I gave you the first Christmas we spent together."

"They weren't crappy…" Buffy trails off as she spots the stake I whittled for her that year. "You found it!"

"Yeah, imagine that, huh?"

Mia's tryin' to bend over to pick up somethin' from the trunk. She's gettin' all pissed that she can't grab it.

"What do you want, baby, hmm?" Buffy asks her as she looks in the trunk. "You want Mr. Gordo? Hmm?" She bends down and picks up the stuffed pig. "He's a good piggy." She says as she hands him to Mia and then lifts her dress and gives her a raspberry. Mia squeals with laughter and Buffy straightens up and laughs with her. "Just like another good piggy I know."

"Hey, no fair, B. Why you gotta make fun? So, I've got a big appetite."

"You're definitely a good piggy." She laughs at me and leans in for a kiss.



"I still can't believe you did all that, Faith." Buffy says as we get off the train and make our way over to the stairs that will take us up to the street.

"It was nothin', baby."

"Stop saying that, it was something, something wonderful." Buffy hugs closer to me as we get out into the cold air. I snake my arm around her and hold her close.

"I know you've been missin' your Mom a hell of a lot lately, and I thought if you had some of her stuff, and the stuff from the house, you'd kinda appreciate it."

"Kinda appreciate it?! It's the nicest, most excellent, awesome…" She tries to think of another word.


"…wonderful thing anyone's ever done for me." She snuggles closer.

"Even the time Xander gave you CPR when you drowned?"


"And how about the time Will, Tara, Xand and Anya brought you back from the dead?"


"And what about…"

"Hey! Why are you trying to harsh my `grateful for the best wife in the world' moment?"

"Sorry, babe, just showin' you that it was really no big deal."

"But it is a big deal, Faith! You must have been working on that for months."

"I guess."

"In secret, so all that time you said you were working overtime?"

"I was workin' overtime, and then teleportin' to SunnyD to oversee the dig."

"Did you go to the school?"

I nod, "Xand wanted to see if we could find An's body."


"Yeah, but we didn't. Probably for the best, that would have been creepy." I shudder a little.

"It would have just been bones by now, wouldn't it?"

"Mmhmm, he wanted to provide her with a proper burial if he could. Gotta respect him for that."

"He's still really misses her, doesn't he?"

"Yeah, those two were meant for each other, I only knew her for a few months all up, but even I could tell that."

"You remember her from when I went to Sunnydale High?"

"Yeah, she was the chick that helped bring Vamp Willow to our dimension."

"You saw that?"

"Nah, Xand still talks fondly of it." I laugh.

"I'm sure Willow loves that." She laughs with me at the thought of a horrified Willow tryin' to shut Xander up.


"Look at the tree, Faith! Oh, it's soooo pretty!"

"Yep, it's awesome ain't it?" I take my phone out of my pocket to take a picture of it.

"Oooh! Get a picture of me in front of it!" Buffy runs a little ways away and turns around waitin' for some people to get out of the way so I can get a picture.

"Got it!"

"Lemme look!" She practically bounces back over to me.

I love when she gets like this, carefree and almost kid-like. Too often she's had to be all stuffy and in charge girl, I like when I can give her a bit of a rest from all that.

"Awww, I wish we brought the camera with the flash, how come we didn't think of it?"

I look at the dark figure of B with the tree in the background. "Forgot, as usual, but the tree still looks awesome, huh?"

"So pretty." She agrees.

"I'm gonna get one of just the tree, use it as my screensaver. It's rad, dude."

Buffy looks over at the line for the ice rink, "Longer than last year." She says all disappointed.

As soon as I get a couple more pictures of the tree I join Buffy near the wall of onlookers lookin' down at the rink.

"It's so pretty." She says almost under her breath.

"Not as pretty as you." I lean in and kiss the side of her face.

"Oh, Faith! Look at that couple down there. They brought their baby in a little sleigh looking thing and they're pushing her around."

"Aww, that's so cool!"

"We could get one of those for Mia! I didn't even know they existed." She looks at me hopefully. "Can we?"

"Sure." I smile at her and she leans in for another kiss.

When we break for air she goes back to watchin' the skaters.

"Hey, I think that's Andrew!"


"There! The guy who lost his hat." She points to someone who's tryin' to catch up to a girl who stole his hat.

"Probably just looks like him, I don't think Andy knows how to skate."

She's lookin' more closely at the people as they skate around.

"The girl who stole his hat looks kinda like…"

I think the jig is up now.


The skaters and the people who are around us look at Buffy.

"Oh, my god Faith you didn't!" Buffy starts jumpin' up and down.

I nod to her and then hold a `thumbs up' sign to Giles who's down on the ice, he sees it and nods to the guy who helped me set this all up. Music starts up over the loud speaker.

Christmas time is here

Buffy's still lookin' at me like I just told her we own the city. I think she's happier right now than if that were actually true.

Happiness and cheer
Fun for all
That children call
Their favorite time of year

She grabs me by the arm and pushes her way through the people getting down to the stairs that take us to the ice.

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
of love and dreams to share

"Oh, my god, Faith! Oh my god!"

Funny, that's what she usually says during sex.

"That's Mia in that sleigh isn't it?!"


Buffy gets us to the entrance and almost runs onto the ice without skates. I pull her back and make her sit down.

"We've got the rink to ourselves for a little while, but you gotta put skates on, babe."

One of the other guys I set this up through holds out two pairs of skates and we sit down on the bench and lace them up quickly.

Sleighbells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Buffy takes my hand and we skate over to the sleigh that's now bein' pushed around by Will and Satsu.

Christmas time is here
Families drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

"Isn't this great!" Willow says all happy.

Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

Buffy nods her enthusiasm, I don't think she can even speak she's so happy.

A couple of people skate over to us and Buffy looks like she sees a ghost.

"Aunt Linda?!"

The woman nods and hugs Buffy.

Dawn comes up on her other side and squeals, "Isn't it great, Buffy?! Faith did it all!"

Aunt Linda pulls back and gets a good look at Buffy. "You've gone and grown up on us! And look at your daughter! So cute!"

She looks at Mimi and smiles, "She's got the Summers' nose, doesn't she?"

"She does," Buffy agrees.

"Sorry, honey. Your Aunt Arleen was gonna come but she just couldn't get away."

"That's ok, I'm glad you were able to come."

"Your wife has been so great to us. She put me and your Uncle Steve up at the Waldorf. Do you know how much that must have cost?" She pulls me into her side for a hug. "A bunch and then some!"

This is all cool and stuff, but I think I've had enough praise for one night, I guess I just don't do well with too much of it.

After I break away, nicely, from Aunt Linda, I spot Alicia and skate over to her.

"Glad you could come, A."

"This was really a sweet thing you did for Buffy."

"It didn't suck."

"You still need help on taking praise don't you?"

"A little."

We skate over to the side and lean up against it, watchin' everyone havin' a great time.

"So, how did the other stuff go over?"

"They loved that, too."

"You've got the magic touch now."

"Yeah, for now."

"Oh stop it, Faith."


"You know what."

"Tell me and I'll tell you if you're right."

"You're always thinking you're one step away from being the person that you don't want to become."

She's right, but fuck if I'll admit that.

"You should start chargin' for your shrinkin'."

"I should," She smirks at me. "I'm right aren't I?"

"How about you tell me how you and Will knew I wasn't gonna go nuts," I look over to where Will is skatin' with Buffy and Xander and she catches my eye. "and I'll tell you if you're right or not."

Willow skates up to me and Alicia.

"What are you two conspirators doing?"

"I'm tryin' to figure out somethin'."

"What?" She looks a bit nervous.

"How you were able to tell I wasn't really gonna hurt Mia."

"Faith, I thought we talked about this?"

"Why can't I be all inquisitive, you got a monopoly on that?"

"No, I just…" She looks at Alicia who shrugs.


Alicia takes the pussy way out and leaves me and Willow alone. She's takin' her turn pushin' Mia around in her sleigh.

"You're protectin' her from somethin'?" I nod towards where she's skatin'.


"Him…her…they…" I say all smart-assed. "You're really makin' me nervous to think what you must have fuckin' done, Will."

"Can't you just…"

"Leave it alone?"

"Be happy with the outcome?"

"Not if you guys fuckin' messed with somethin' you shouldn't have."

She sighs and watches as Andrew finally snatches his hat back from Dawnie. Some people watchin' from up on the plaza cheer and some boo.

I don't know why I just don't let this go and think about it on a different day, but I just can't. It seems like they put themselves in danger for me, and I don't really take to that kindly.

No one ever called me the reasonable Slayer.

"Ok, Faith, but you can't tell anyone. Not even Buffy!"


"No, Faith, I mean it, you have to swear." She gets all resolve faced.

"Ok, I swear. Geez, what the fuck?"

"Well, we didn't look into the future, we…performed a sort of a…séance type thing."

"In my living room?"

"Yes, but it was all in our heads, no one else knew what was going on exactly."

"And what did you exactly do?"

"Alicia spoke to someone, who knew you, and who could tell her a bit of your future, without actually giving up much information about it."

I narrow my eyes at her.

"See? It's complicated."

"Sounds kinda stupid actually."

"Hey! It's a very smart spell thought up by a very smart witch!" She gets indignant and if she wasn't on skates she probably would have stomped her foot.

"So what's the government usin' it for?"

"Well, the President-elect is the one that's using it. Very sparingly, I might add, but he's using it for his transition."

"He talked to the dead?"

Willow nods.

I think about it for a bit and then it hits me.

"Holy fuck."


"So when Obama said he was learnin' a lot from Lincoln, he didn't mean because he was readin' his biography, he meant he was actually learnin' a lot from Lincoln?"

Willow grins slyly.

"Oh fuck, you guys are really fuckin' in it!"

"Don't worry, it's safe."

"Why can't I tell Buffy about it? You could help her talk to Joyce, couldn't you?"

Willow looks sad.

"No?" I ask her.

She shakes her head.

"Why not?" I'm kinda pissed. "She's missin' her somethin' fierce, it would help."

Willow shakes her head.

"How do you know?!"

"I very carefully planned this spell, it only calls forth those who can help in certain situations."

"So who came forth in mine?"

"Your grandmother."

I look out at the rink tryin' to find Alicia. She's skatin' all by herself, kinda broody lookin'.

"She talked to my Gee Gee?"



"It was pretty intense."

I feel a deeper respect for Alicia now. That must have been all kindsa hard for her to do.

"Why wouldn't Joyce come to help with Buffy?"

"Buffy doesn't really need to see Joyce."

"Oh." I say kinda bitterly.

"What `Oh'?"

"So I'm a fuckup, and B's still the golden one."

Willow slaps my arm and I slip to the ice on my ass `cause I wasn't ready for it.

"You need help getting up, honey?!" Buffy calls from across the ice and starts to skate over.

"No, babe, I got it!" I hold my hand up and tell her to keep havin' fun, "Will and I'll be done in a minute." She looks skeptical, but she doesn't question it.

Some people watchin' us were clappin' when I fell. Fuckers, wait till they get down here.

"Why do you have to be like that, Faith?"

"I'm not sayin' anything bad about, Buffy, Willow. I just think it sucks that I've got paranormal proof that I'm still not normal."

"Why don't you listen before you jump to conclusions?"

"Ok, so what then?"

"Joyce can't help Buffy with her feelings of loss, because she's already getting help from someone who means a lot to her." She gets all up in my face, so I get who she's talkin' about without havin' to question it.

 I look out at Buffy who's tryin' to help Xander up from a huge ass spill he just took. She's laughin' so hard she can't even get a good grip on him to pull him back up. Another pang of love blooms and then spreads through my body.

"Xander, just because they're playin' `A Charlie Brown Christmas' doesn't mean you have to try an' do the Snoopy Dance!" Willow yells to him, laughin'.

Willow looks back to me and raises her eyebrows.

"I get it."

"So, stop questioning your role in her life already! You're it. End of story."

Buffy gets Xander to his feet and then makes a break for me once she feels sure he's not gonna bust his ass again.

"What's up?"


"You wanna stop the deep and meaningful and come be frivolous and silly with me?"

"I think I can manage that." I smile at her.

Satsu comes up to us and pulls Willow away, she narrows her eyes at me, "Must you hog, all of the beautiful women?"

"You don't see Andy over here, do you?"

She laughs, "You've got a point, `cause Dawn's not there either."

"Hey!" Buffy yells, "That's my little bratty sister you're talking about, not a beautiful woman!"

I look out at Dawn, who's gettin' some catcalls from a couple of guys watchin' her skate. She looks like a model with her tasteful clothes and jacket and the wavy hair look she's got goin' on. Kinda like what I'd imagine a princess to look like, if she were skatin'.

"Sorry, B. She's gorgeous."

"She kinda is, isn't she?"

"Yeah, babe, but that's because she's part of you."

Buffy leans in to me and gives me a kiss. We hear another small cheer go up. It's freaky bein' here with all these people watchin' us.

I start skatin' backwards and pull Buffy with me as I go. She's impressed.

"Didn't think I could skate this good, did ya?"

"You never mentioned it before."

"I grew up in Boston, B. Ice Hockey is huge up there."

"Did I mention the part about you not mentioning it before?"

"Yeah, smartass, you did."

"I'm still impressed by it though."

"Mad skills, huh?" I wink at her.

"Yeah, the maddest."


"You seriously have to ask? Mrs. I-rented-out-the-ice-rink-at-Rockefeller Center-to-satisfy-the-whims-of-my-whiny-wife."

I laugh at that, "Nah, you're not whiny, baby. You're awesome, and that's why I did it."

"You're great you know that?"

"Not really, but I could get used to you sayin' it a few more times."

She turns us around and she makes me stop and look at all our family and friends havin' a great time.

"You love me, but you did this for them, too. After the crazy year we've had you know exactly what everyone needs to make it all better. Everything's better because of you."

Buffy's favorite Christmas song starts up again.

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all
That children call
Their favorite time of year

We skate to the music, just like we've seen on A Charlie Brown Christmas, as a matter of fact, everyone else is, too.

Sleighbells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Xander's skatin' in a chain with, Willow, Dawn, Andrew and Satsu and looks like he's five again.

Giles and Alica are leisurely skatin' side-by-side, probably talkin' shop no doubt, but they look happy, Giles even gives me a wink as he passes us.

Christmas time is here
Families drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

Buffy lets go of my arm and takes my hand and we skate around, tryin' to catch up with Dawnie, who's currently got Mia.

"There's your mommies, Mimi, they've come to rescue you from the wickedly sinister, but stunningly beautiful Princess." Dawn says with her story-tellin' voice. "I think she's gonna need her diaper changed." She says to us, all bratified.

We catch a whiff of what's emanatin' from the sleigh.

"Wickedly sinister is right." I call after Dawn, who's cacklin' away as she's makin' her way over to take off her skates. Our time's almost up.

"I'll get that hag back later. Won't I my beautiful, Princess?" I say to Mia.

Buffy's starin' at me, I can feel it.


"I love you. You're the best thing that ever happened to me. Because of you I have the best life I could have hoped for. Ever."

Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year

This is a pretty fuckin' wonderful time of the year.

I think I might be gettin' used to holidays not suckin'.

The End



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