Rating: NC-17 for now because I don't know what's going to happen just yet. These things have a mind of their own.
It’s been six years now since Sunnydale imploded. Six years of not carrying the burden of saving the world alone. It’s been six years since I’ve had to worry about impending doom and apocalypse. Six years since I’ve seen her. Well I take that back. I see her every now and again in a Slayer dream.
I usually have one when I’m at my loneliest. Once upon a time I thought it was just coincidence but over the years I’ve come to realize that she knows me. Maybe it’s why I pushed so damn hard when we were kids. She took one look at me and knew everything about me. I wouldn’t admit it then, but it scared the shit out of me.
It still scares me a little. Maybe it scares her a little too. Maybe that’s why she just took off the morning after D-Day. Haven’t seen her in person since. But those eyes, I see those chocolate brown eyes every night as I fall asleep. Slayer dream or not she’s on my mind. And if I’m really lucky I get a letter.
No post mark of course. No return address. Just a blank envelope with my name on it. She sends them to Giles and he passes them on to me. I asked him once why she doesn’t send me mail directly. He just smiled his sad smile and said that Faith moved around a lot, that she liked to stay lost. That used to keep me up at night. Faith. Lost and alone with no response to her letters. It took me nearly a year to realize she never wanted or needed a response from me. The day I figured that one out was the day my heart broke a little more.
Okay I’m not naive enough to still think I’m not in love with her. I knew it when she came back for the big show down. I knew it when we switched bodies. I knew it on the rooftop the night I nearly killed her. And I knew it the moment that she stared me in the eye and flashed that damn cocky smirk at me, letting me know I could hide from the world but I couldn’t hide from her.
That was so long ago. So long it seems like another life. We were just kids. All wrapped up in our own selfish ways. I wanted love, she wanted acceptance. We were so close to it too. If she hadn’t killed Finch, if I hadn’t blamed her for everything... scratch that. If I had just let her in, she might have let me in too. But we didn’t and all I have left of her now is a stack of letters, a few memories, and a dream or two.
“Buffy?” I can hear Giles but I’m too zoned out to respond. Dawn smacks my arm and I blink a few times. Finally I drag my gaze to my Watcher and give him a faintly apologetic smile. He sighs in his disappointed British way but hands me an envelope anyway. “You have post. I suspect you’ve been waiting for this.”
I have? I take the letter and note the familiar scrawl of my name. I can tell it’s from Faith even without seeing the writing. I can smell her perfume and the faint scent of cigarettes. I never thought I’d say this but...I’m far from repulsed. It’s almost comforting now. “Well I wasn’t expecting mail but hey if it’s here then yay for mail.” Dawn just rolls her eyes and goes back to reading the morning paper. “Okay. What?”
She takes a second to finish the article she’s reading before folding the paper nearly. God, if I had known Watcher training would turn her in to a mini Giles I would have vetoed that idea six years ago. “Give it up Buff. You’re already expecting the next letter and you haven’t even read this one yet.”
Hrm. Either I really am that transparent or Dawnie mastered the ability to read my mind. I give her a dubious look before smiling sunnily at her. “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. I’m just excited I got mail that isn’t a bill or advertisement.” This time I get a snort for my troubles. The brat.
“Uh huh. You go from Mopey Buffy to Smiley Buffy just because Ed McMahon didn’t send you a letter?” Well she’s got me there. I just shake my head and give Giles a ‘help please’ look that he promptly ignores. Fine. I don’t need his help. Though I think I might have to concede defeat this time. That’s not something I do often or ever really but the truth is that they’re right.
“Fine. I’m happy because I got a letter from Faith. You know it’s a perfectly acceptable and normal reaction to be happy to hear from a former arch nemesis turned ally.” And another round of looks. Okay. I should just five it up. I don’t know why I’m fighting it so hard. It’s not like they don’t know I’m in love with Faith. Giles and Dawn remember what I was like the day I realized she was gone.
I was a mess. For a long time I almost convinced myself that I hated her fore bailing out on me again. Until I got my first letter. And like the tard I am I squealed and scampered off to a quiet corner to read it. In the process I pretty much forgot that I was supposed to be pissed at Faith. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I didn’t have a reason to be angry. Faith ditched me as soon as she could and I was devastated. I’d spent the whole night with her, finally allowing myself the comfort that only she could give me. And yes it involved a lot of nudity. I had finally given in to her after four years and she had finally let me in. I didn’t know if she loved me but I knew she needed me. Faith needed me more than she would ever admit to and I didn’t push it. I just...went with it. Trusting in her to still be there when I woke up.
But she wasn’t. Once again I gave my heart away and it bit me in the ass. There was no way I could hide behind my superiority and be all righteous indignation girl. I was too spent form losing so much in the battle and then to lose her...lets just say my descent in to depression wasn’t pretty. But deep down I understood.
Sorta. I got the fact that Faith wasn’t in any shape to give me what I needed. And I knew that if I tried to get her to be there then I’d just be using her for my own selfish reasons. But it hurt. My God id it hurt. I look down at the envelope and trace the lines of my name across it. “I just...miss her.” Like I miss the other half of my soul. But I’ll never admit that. Faith made it clear she wasn’t in to making us work. “I’m just gonna head home now.”
Dawn gives me a hug as I stand up. The one I give her back is a little mechanical but I don’t think she faults me for it. I have to admit, she’s a pretty good sister. Pain in my ass though she is. Giles watches me leave his flat silently and I’m beyond grateful for that. I don’t think I could stand to hear him say that this is Faith’s choice one more time. Logically I know it’s Faith’s choice but the illogical part of my brain keeps screaming ‘How could she not want me?’
But that’s the part that sounds vain and selfish so I usually shove those thoughts away as quickly as I can to the deepest, darkest closet of my mind. Ha! Closet. More like the deepest, darkest cavernous pit. What? I have a lot of repression going on here. Years and years worth. I should probably see someone about that but it’s bad enough that I think I’m nuts, I don’t want anyone else to see it too.
I want to open this letter so badly. Once again I trace my fingers over my name and smile. I can’t wait to get home so I can curl up on the sofa with my blanket and Beefstick so I can find out how Faith is doing. Find out if she misses me. Ugh. I’m starting to annoy myself. That being said I tuck the letter in to my messenger bag and make my way the few short blocks to my small flat. Beefstick, my cat gives me a plaintive meow when I step inside. “Hey Fatty, did you miss mommy?”
I guess he did miss me since he’s head- butting my ankles and purring. Faith would get a kick out of the fact that I named him Beefstick. I wish I could tell her but I never remember stuff like that in Slayer dreams. They’re few and far between and when I do get to see her we just wind up walking the old Sunnydale cemeteries together.
I don’t waste any time kicking off my shoes and dumping my keys and bag in a pile by the door. God, how is it that one letter from Faith can make me feel like a teenager with a crush all over again. Taking a deep breath I drop on to my couch, pull my pink fuzzy blanket over my legs and open the letter. Beefstick curls up in my lap and head-butts my hand. I stroke his head idly as I read.
I know it’s been awhile but I got caught up in some stuff with a few of our fangy friends. Don’t worry though, I did what I do and kicked some ass. And the bonus was I looked wicked hot doin’ it.”
I’d say I have to agree. Faith unleashed is a sight to see. The memory of which has gotten me through more than one lonely night. Did I just think that?
“So right about now you’re probably picturin’ me all badass an’ thinkin’ I’m hot. Don’t beat yourself up about it, I kinda like ya thinkin’ sexy thoughts about me.”
See what I mean about her knowing me? I have to smile at it even if it bugs the hell out of me that she knows me so well.
“Anyway, I just thought I’d drop you a line in case ya were wonderin’ how I was or somethin’. I’m still all about the redemption and doin’ the right thing. It’s not as hard as it used to be now that I have a damn good reason. Well a damn better reason than just because it’s the right thing to do.”
I hate that I pushed her down so much that she really thinks she’s a bad person. In my mind I know it wasn’t just me, I know years of living a hard life with crappy family ties had something to do with it. But I can’t help but feel guilty for doing to her what everyone else did. I should have been a better friend. I just should have been better. Period.
“His name is Wes. I think you’d really like him B. He has this smile that’s so open and real it breaks my heart. Weird huh? Me havin’ real emotions and shit. You can stop freakin’ out about it; you’re the only person besides Wes that knows I’m not entirely a cold-hearted bitch. Only, don’t tell anyone ‘kay? I worked a real long time at keepin’ up my image and I don’t want it questioned now.”
Oh. My. God. She’s...happy. She’s happy and it’s not with me. Tears that I didn’t know I had well up in my eyes. I missed my chance with her and she never gave me the chance to tell her how I felt. Goddamnit Faith. I have to stop reading, even if I know I’ll keep reading later. I just can’t do any more right now. I don’t even know why I’m so upset. It’s not like Faith ever said she loved me or even mentioned that she might want to be with me.
It’s always been her usual teasing and flirting. The same thing she does to everyone. Oh. Well yeah. I guess that’s kind of what makes me mad. I’m not just anyone, or at least I don’t want to just be anyone to her. But I really have no right to be angry or hurt. It’s been six years and Faith has always made it clear that she liked sex. Lots of sex. And even though I like to act all nunnish, I’m no saint.
I mean I have needs too you know. It’s just that I always knew it would be a short relationship in the end. And I never once considered that Faith would find someone that she would want to settle down with. If that’s what she wants. I’m only assuming since in six years she’s never once mentioned seeing anyone. I would know, I’ve reread her letters so many times I could recite them by memory. No, that’s not stalkerish at all.
I take a few minutes to compose myself before picking up the letter again. Okay I can do this. I can read about Faith’s boyfriend and be happy for her. And if I say that enough I might one day actually believe it. Maybe.
“It’s weird ya know. Tellin’ ya all this stuff in a letter. I wanted to call but everytime I tried I just couldn’t figure out what to say. Plus it’s me an’ ya know I’m not big with the talkin’ and shit. I wanted to tell you for so long but...you know it is. Anyways. Now ya know. I hope ya know I’m thinkin’ about ya. It’s been a real long time and I’m thinkin’ me and Wes could use a vacation. Maybe we’ll head up your way. I talked to Giles about it, just to get a feel on if I’m welcome or not. I think Squirt might try to light me on fire in my sleep or somethin’. I’m not quite sure why but she’s a Summers woman and hell hath no fury, right?”
I chuckle despite myself. Dawn can be awfully scary when she’s being all protective of me. It reminds me alot of mom. I sigh a little but I don’t let the sadness creep in.
“I hope things are good with you. That you’re happy and stuff. For all the shit you’ve been through you deserve to get what ya want.”
Well that’s shitty for me since I want her and she has Wes. Okay this is me shutting up my internal bitch voice. She’s finally happy. I can tell in the way she talks about him that she loves him. I want that for her.
“Well I guess I should stop wastin’ your time. Maybe we’ll see each other again soon. Maybe I’ll have the balls to call next time.
God, I’d love to hear her voice again. About an hour ago I would have said that I wanted to see her too but now I’m not so sure. I’m not sure that I can see her happy with Wes. I know I know, that’s so not fair of me. She deserves this. She deserves to be happy. I guess I just need to get over it. Over her.
Okay this isn’t my flat and the vampire snarling at me definitely isn’t Beefstick. I look at the stake in my hand and smile. I’m dreaming. And even in my dreams I know I can take this guy. He snarls at me again and I put my hands on my hips. “Okay if you’re not even going to try I’m just not going to play.” The vamp lunges and I raise my stake at the last second. Poof. “Sucker.”
I hear someone clapping behind me and I know who it is. Oh God. Why now? Why tonight? I turn slowly and offer Faith a faint smile. She’s...beautiful. So damn beautiful. And the hell with this cold attitude business. I can’t look at that smile and not give her a full one back. “Nice work there B.” Please don’t give me the dimples. Please please don’t give me the gah. Dimples. Hello puddle o’ Buffy.
“Well you know the vamps, not the smartest.” And apparently neither am I. Why is it that my wit and charm just flies out of my ass when she gives me the dimples? I play with my stake nervously and peek up at her through my bangs. Okay this is lame. We’re not in high school anymore. “So not that I’m not glad to see you but why are you here?”
Faith tucks her hands in to her back pockets and raises a shoulder in a light shrug. “Felt like you needed a friend.” Are we? Friends that is. I put my stake away and lightly kick at a headstone. Great. I’ve reverted back to the girl I was when I first met Faith. Nice.
“How’d you know?” Faith takes a few steps closer and gets right in my personal space. She always did that. Got right in my bubble and forced me to take notice of her. I flick my eyes up to hers and she’s so close if I just close my eyes and lean forward I could kiss her. But I won’t. I can’t. Not knowing what I know. “How do you always know Faith?”
She gives me that heartbreaker grin and tugs a lock of my hair playfully. “Just ‘cause I’m far away doesn’t mean I can’t still feel ya B.” Our connection. Faith’s expression changes a little when she realizes I can’t feel her the way she feels me. “You can’t feel me can you?” I shake my head and look away. It’s not that I never could feel her it’s just that I’ve spent ten whole years ignoring the feel of her. Be careful what you wish for. Once you get it you might not want it.
“My end must be on the fritz.” Faith knows I’m lying. I can read it in her eyes but she doesn’t push me on it. She just hops up on to the headstone and rests her hands on her thighs. I stare at them because it’s much easier to fixate on her hands instead of her eyes, and her lips, and the way her dimples show when she’s excited, or the swell of her breasts when she breathes or...
“Hey, my eyes are up here Slayer. If ya wanna oogle the goodies ya gotta do it on your own time.” I blush and look up at her face not even realizing that I stopped staring at her hands a long time ago. I give her a mildly annoyed look that clearly doesn’t reach my eyes. I’m happy to see her even if it’s killing me.
“Don’t blame me for looking. You’re the one putting them right in my line of sight by sitting up there.” Lame. So so lame. I take a step closer and rest my hands on her knees. Warm hands cover mine and I close my eyes. I miss this feeling. I miss her so fucking much. “You know I was just telling Beefstick today that I haven’t had a Slayer dream in awhile.”
Her brows come up comically high. “Beefstick?” I clear my throat and grin at her.
“My cat.” Faith tries for a second to not laugh but she can’t help it. Her chuckle turns in to a full out laugh and I’m totally mesmerized. It’s her scent, the way her hair falls in waves around her face, the full lipped grin and her voice. Oh God, the things her voice does to me. Okay enough of that. Bad Buffy. Bad wrong and no Buffy. She’s in a relationship and I will not fuck that up for her because I’m a selfish bitch. I pull my hands away and cross my arms over my chest.
“You named your cat...Beefstick. That’s priceless B. Fuckin’ priceless.” I grin and lean back against the headstone just close enough to touch her if I lean to one side but far enough away so that we’re not constantly in contact. “So what’s on your mind Slayer?” I look up at her and shrug a little before staring up at the full moon. Why is the moon always full in these dreams?
“Got your letter today.” She nods once in understanding but she doesn’t. She couldn’t possibly know what I’m thinking. Not this time. “You sound happy Faith. I’m really glad for you.” Faith tips her head up to look at the sky too. I wish we had been able to talk like this years ago. It might have saved both of us some serious pain.
“If you’re so glad for me why are we here?” Damn her. Damn her for knowing me so well. Again. I chuckle and nudge her with my shoulder. She bumps me back letting me know she’s not taking it personal. She’s really grown in the last six years. I sigh and rub my arms against the chill of the night. Why can’t I dream of warm tropical nights?
“I honestly don’t know why we’re here. I must have fallen asleep on the sofa after reading your letter.” Okay I can feel her looking at me so I don’t want to look at her. Damnit I wasn’t going to do this. I wasn’t going to let her know now that she’s got this guy she obviously loves. Or cares a hell of a lot about. “Why don’t you want me to know where you are?”
Now it’s my turn to gaze up at her while she looks away. It wasn’t the smoothest topic switch but it gets me out of saying something I shouldn’t say. No matter how badly I want to turn to her and bury my face in her neck and just take in her scent and tell her I love her, that I always have, that I can’t get over her because I was wrong. Angel wasn’t soulmate. I couldn’t give him half of what Faith already owned. So I do what I always do and make this all about me. “Well, at first I kinda figured you didn’t wanna hear from me after what I did. And I was kinda scared of what ya might say back to me. Then there was the runnin’ and the real life shit and more an’ more time went on...”
Okay now who’s being lame? I just look at her until she looks back at me. Well we’re a pair aren’t we? I chuckle and nudge her again. “I won’t lie. I was pretty pissed for awhile but...I kinda sorta get it.” Faith gives me a nod and smiles down at me. Look away! Look away before it’s too late! I turn away and rub my arms again. I feel arms around me and I’m wondering how that happened without me noticing her moving.
I lean back in to her arms and look up. Faith looks down at me and gives me a sheepish grin. “Ya looked cold.” A sigh tickles out and I know I must have the biggest most retarded grin on my face. Her face comes closer to mine and oh God if she tries to kiss me I don’t think I have the will power to pull away. Not with the way her body is warming up mine. And not especially with the way her scent seems to curl around me making me feel whole and safe for the first time in six years. “B...ya know I love...”
Yes? You love? Continue please! Wait. I don’t want to know. No no I do. I want to know. Unless I don’t actually want to know. Then I don’t want to hear it. But I have to know. This could kill me. Or you know make me happy again. But what if it’s not what I want to hear? Just tell me and get it over with. No don’t tell me!
“Wes?” Wes? She loves Wes. I open my mouth to say something but the disturbed look on her face shakes me out of my despair. Something isn’t right. Faith’s face pales as she blinks with her head cocked to one side like she’s listening to something. Oh God. He’s there with her while she’s sleeping. “NO!” And just like that she’s gone. I’m confused for about two seconds before a bolts of fear and pain rush through our connection.
My body lunges up as I wake from my dream. “Faith...” She needs me. She needs me now. I put my hand over my chest and close my eyes to concentrate on the feelings I’m getting from Faith. I jump off the sofa and only spare a second and a half to kick my blanket away before I’m grabbing my things and heading for Giles. He’ll know where she is and he’s going to tell me or we’re going to have a talk. With hitting.
You know it was surprisingly easy to get Faith’s address from Giles. Of course I’m sure he gave it to me more to get me to stop banging on his door loud enough to wake the dead. As soon as he opened the door I pushed him in to the flat and skipped the pouty face and went straight for the stern Buffy face. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t intimidated by but he acted like he was and that helps soothe my ego a little.
And you know, if I had known that her address was in the top drawer of his desk I would have stolen it years ago. I look down at the familiar writing on the envelope as I wait for the jet to be fueled up. Being the original Slayer has its advantages these days. Can I just say that the Watcher’s Council was totally holding out on us. If I had known about the money they had tied up in offshore accounts I would never have worked at a greasy burger joint.
The pilot calls my name and I blink up at him. Right. Time to go. I’m just about to board the plane when my cell phone goes off. I flip it open in mild irritation. Who the hell would be calling me now? I see Dawn’s picture come up on my caller ID. “I can’t talk right now Dawnie I’m on my way to the States.”
She gives me an exasperated sigh and I have to roll my eyes at her. “I know. That’s why I’m calling. I just wanted to let you know that you don’t have to worry about the cat, take your time.” I can honestly say I didn’t expect that one. My steps take me in the cabin of the jet and I settle in. Dawn’s voice is quiet on the other end when she finally speaks again. “I know how much Faith means to you Buffy. Don’t let her walk out on you again.”
Oh this one is costing her. I can tell by the way she’s trying really hard not to give me a dramatic sigh. “I don’t think I can do that Dawn. She’s...moved on. There’s someone else in her life and well, lets be honest here. It’s me and Faith. Not the most stable at the best of times.” I can feel the plane rolling forward as we start down the runway. I hate this feeling. Not the plane. Well that too. But the losing her part.
I can almost see Dawn nodding her head. “Look. Just wait and see what happens, and call me everyday.” I know she doesn’t like Faith. I know she’d rather me be alone than with her but she’s trying and it kind of warms my heart. I love my little sister. Sometimes. I clear my throat a little and shift in my seat as we finally take off.
“I know that must be killing you to say so...thanks. For being a good sister.” Dawn chuckles a little and if I close my eyes I can see her shrugging a little. In her Watcherly way. That’s just so weird to me. She’s always going to be Dawnie to me. “You’re not one of Faith’s biggest fans I know but it means a lot to me that you care.”
“Well. She hurt my sister. I tend to take that to heart. And then there’s the part where she won’t stop calling me Squirt.” Ha. I know for a fact that she secretly loves that Faith calls her that. I read it in her diary way back in Sunnydale. Of course if I tell her that then I’ll never hear the end of it about reading the stupid thing anyway.
“My hero.” I say my good-byes and look out the window at the passing terrain. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I get there. I know Faith isn’t dead. I can feel her again. Don’t know how it happened but I’m not going to kick a gift horse when it’s down. Um. Or something like that. God I miss her.
I wish I had known that I’d have an hour drive from the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport to a little freak ass town called Midlothian. No, seriously. It’s called Midlothian. Now. I know Faith, maybe as well as she knows me and for her to move to a small town just doesn’t seem right. She’d have to have a damn good reason to get away from the city. Or she really doesn’t want to be found. Either way here I am gassing up at a station just on the outskirts of town.
Boy they aren’t kidding when they say everything is bigger in Texas. The woman that rented me the car at the airport had hair bigger than...well something really big. I turn the gas cap in to place and head inside the station to get my credit card back. Oh God. I think I’m in deliverance country. “Well ‘lo there darlin’.”
I eye the greasy looking guy behind the counter and offer up a timid smile. Oh how nice, he’s got shirtless tanlines to match his crusty overalls. “Um. Hi. I came in to get my card. Pump two.” He smiles what I’m pretty sure he thinks is a charming smile, but it falls flat considering the gaps in his teeth big enough to drive a mac truck through. Ew. Spit cup. My eyes go a little wide when he picks up an old 32 ounce Pepsi cup and spits right through one of his gaps. Oh my God.
“Hrm. Buffy Summers. This must be you.” He hands me my card and I resist the urge to wipe my card off on my jeans. My eyes catch on the name tag buttoned to the strap of his overalls. Wade. I knew it had to be something like that. He just looks like a Wade. “So where ya from Miss Buffy Summers?”
“Well California originally. I’m just out here visiting a friend. She lives on...” I take a second to look at the address and smirk. Of course she’d live there. “Lost Road. You wouldn’t by chance know how to get there would you?” I flash him a brilliant smile hoping that he won’t ask too many questions about it. Like who my friend is. Chances are that Faith is pretty well known, she’s kind of hard to miss and this is a fairly small town.
“Lost Road. Well sure I know where that is. Only a few houses up that way, I probably know you’re friend.” Oh boy here it comes. He looks me up and down shrewdly before ejecting another dark strand of spit in to his cup. “You wouldn’t happen ta be a friend of Faith’s now would you?” Is this good or bad? Should I answer or not? I’ll just go with it and hope for the best.
“Actually I am. She’s not expecting me and I was hoping to surprise her.” Here goes nothing. I give my best innocent look and smile sweetly. Wade debates for a second giving me the squinty eye before his face breaks in to a wide gapped smile. I’m going to take this as a good sign. He smacks his hand on the counter lightly and calls over his shoulder at the woman who was working the register before him.
“Ya hear that Loretty? Friend of Faith’s come round lookin’ for her.” There’s a curious but muffled comment that I don’t quite catch from the back room. He turns back to me and grins wider. “You’re gonna jump 287 to Sardis. Once you get there take Sardis to Saralvo. Can’t miss Lost it’s up on the right.” Wade sketches me a quick map and pushes it over to me. “It’s goin’ on work time right about now. She might be up at the titty bar.”
Did...he just say what I think he said? I blink and raise my brows. “Um. The what?” Loretty comes out from the back room and smacks him in the shoulder to move him out of the way. She takes a long drag of her cigarette and I have the good sense to be a little nervous about that. We are in a gas station afterall. I don’t want to have come all this way to go up in a big ball of greasy fire with people named Wade and Loretty.
“The titty bar. It’s where she works. Old strip club down near Waxahachie. If she ain’t home g’wan next door to Charlotte Pinkerton’s place. She’ll tell ya how to get to the place. Now don’t be scared none of that shotgun, damn thing ain’t never loaded she just likes her peace and it’s one hell of a deterent.”
Shotgun? When I find Faith she and I are going to have a serious talk about the town she lives in. And then I will mock her until my teeth fall out. I grin at the two for the help. “Um thanks. Be seeing you.” Wade spits again and winks at me. I hope that doesn’t mean he has a crush on me. As soon as I get to the car I reflect on everything I just learned. Faith works at a strip club? I don’t even want to think of a bunch of guys like Wade getting to see Faith naked. No matter how appealing the thought of her naked is to me.
After getting lost a few times I finally pull up to the house and park the car. I’m just sitting here trying to get a read of the place. She’s there. I can feel her. The gentle hum of our connection has been getting stronger the closer I get. I get out of the car and walk up to the front door. The screen is hanging off the hinges and the front door looks like it’s been kicked in. This doesn’t look good.
I push the door open and take a few steps inside. I don’t know what I was expecting but this wasn’t it. The place is pretty wrecked. It looks like a band of demons crashed through here. Wait. Maybe they did. Panic starts to fill me and I take another few steps around the living room to the kitchen. She’s not laying here in a puddle of blood so I’m thankful for that. The floorboards creak above me and I move back out to the foot of the stairs.
My breath catches at the sight of her standing at the top, looking down on me. She’s bruised and holding the back of her head like she took a serious hit. “B?” I take the stairs two at a time because even all battered and bloody I need to be near her. Confusion furrows her brow as she looks at the hand that was holding her head. It’s sticky with blood.
“Faith what happened?” She blinks a few times like she’s trying to concentrate before she leans against the wall. I reach out to steady her because it’d be really sucky if she took a header down the stairs right now. Faith looks up at me with a look I’ve only ever seen once. The night I went to Los Angeles and found her in Angel’s arms. She was so...broken. It’s tearing my heart up to see her this way. “Faith?”
“That sonofabitch took him.” She slides down the wall until she’s sitting, her head in her hands. Fat tears roll down her cheeks and I’m really not sure what to do. Who took who? And why the hell did whoever kick the crap out of her to do whatever it is they did. Um. I’m confusing myself more I think. I reach out and brush a lock of her hair away from her face but I get no reaction. She’s shutting down. No no no no. That’s never good. “Stupid redneck fucks. I’m gonna kill ‘em.”
Her eyes go cold and it scares me. I shiver and not in the good way that I usually do when I look at her. Faith flicks her eyes to mine like she’s waiting for something. “So...not a demon gang hell bent on taking you out huh?” She blinks a few times and shakes her head. Well I was right that she needed me because hey bleeding and battered. But I guess it wasn’t the big bad that I thought it would be. “So...who’s the ‘him’ that got taken?” I think it’s Wes. It must be. She wouldn’t be this off if it was just some random person.
“My son.” Oh. Wait. What? My mouth drops open a little and I close it with a click before a fly decides to go exploring. Now it’s my turn to blink. What do I say to that? She has a son she never told me about. It dawns on me that I should have known by the tone of her letters over the course of the past few years. Okay. I can’t breathe. I look away and stare down at the rubble of the downstairs while I just process this.
“You have a son. Wow that’s...wow.” She has a child with someone. Someone she cared enough about to have a child with. Wait a minute. This isn’t the time to be thinking of this. This isn’t the Buffy show, this is about Faith and the bastard that beat her and took her son. I look back at her with my resolve face and grip her hand. “How did this happen? I know you and one guy no matter how Texas Beefy he may be couldn’t do this.”
She flinches and nods in the direction of what must be her room. I help her stand and we walk in to the room. There’s a shovel with red smears on the floor next to a pile of pictures that look like they’ve been stomped on and torn up. Glass shards stick out of the carpet at odd angles. God, that must have hurt to be laying on. “It wasn’t just Jimmy. He brought some friends. They caught me sleepin’ or I’d have kicked the shit out of them.”
This is so my fault. I called her to that Slayer dream. And they took advantage of it. Sure it’s probably coincidence but I still feel responsible. I bend down and pick up a photo of Faith with her arms around the most beautiful little boy I’ve ever seen. I smile at the fact that he has her dimples. Oh yeah he’s going to be a heartbreaker like his momma. “I’m guessing this is Wes.” She nods and takes the picture from me. Tears well up in her eyes but I can tell she’s got one thing on her mind. Revenge.
“If you’re gonna tell me I should go to the cops we might not remain friends B. Jimmy has my son.” She looks at me as if waiting for me to argue. I’m not going to. I’m not a mother but if I was I can imagine that letting the police do what they do wouldn’t be fast enough for me. I shake my head slightly and feel my own eyes get hard and cold.
“Nope. Jimmy...er...whoever is so going down.” Faith is mildly surprised but she nods. And then she sways. “But we’re not going anywhere right this second. You need to clean up some of those cuts first.” She looks like she’s going to argue but I don’t even give her the chance. “You’re not going to do your son any good if you can barely stand.” She closes her mouth and nods and starts toward the bathroom. I follow mostly to make sure she doesn’t keel over. Faith stops at the door and looks down at me.
“Buffy...” There’s not time for this. For the talking part of the visit. Right now a little boy is lost, away from his mom and probably pretty damn scared. That alone makes me want to get this done but the fact that it’s Faith’s son, what they did to her, that I can’t forgive.
“First we get him back, then we’ll do the talking thing. Okay?” She nods and shrugs out of her shirt. My eyes immediately go to her chest. There’s bruises and damn, even a bite mark. These guys were out to hurt her in a very personal way. It makes my blood boil at the thought of anyone laying a hand on her. Faith reaches in to the shower and turns on the water. “Do you need help or should I...erm. Go?” I very pointedly look away from her body because hey now is so not the time for me to be having sexy thoughts about Faith.
“I’m okay. Gettin’ better every minute.” Right. Gotta love that Slayer healing. I nod and back out of the bathroom. I guess I should make myself useful so I start to clean up bedroom. I stop when I reach the pictures on the floor. I pull one that’s half hidden under some others and stare almost open mouthed at it. It’s of the Scoobies at the Bronze. All of us are laughing and smiling and having a good time. God was I really ever that young? In the background a hauntingly familiar face is watching us from the shadows. Wait. Not us. Me.
Faith was watching me when this picture was taken. I don’t even remember when this was taken or by who, I just know that look on her face. Of longing. She needed me then and I didn’t even look her way. I sigh and sit on the floor by her bed going through the pictures. Some of them are of her son, some of other people I don’t know. And then there’s one of me and Dawnie right before the big day.
I don’t know what it means but I so intend to find out. I need to know. I can hear Faith sobbing and it snaps me out of my own little world. I put the pictures down and go in to the bathroom. She’s curled up on the floor of the shower and my heart stops. She looks so small. I turn off the water and kneel next to her. “Shhh. It’s okay Faith. Everything is going to be okay. We’ll make it right together.” I promise. If it’s the last damn thing I do on this earth I will make this right for her.
She leans against me and I wrap my arms around her. For ten years Faith has always been this larger than life figure in my life. She’s always been strong willed and powerful. Graceful and captivating. Seeing her like this is pretty much putting me in to a tail spin. Faith looks up at me with those heart stopping eyes and I feel the earth stop moving. God she just...takes my breath away. I’d give my left arm to have her look at me like this for the rest of my life. I cup her face gently but stop myself from kissing her.
“Come on you. Your son needs you.” She nods and gathers herself up to stand. Faith stands there unashamed and I have to admit that I always admired that about her. I hand her a towel and step back in to the bedroom to give her time to dry off in private. Because staring with open admiration of her body right is so not good. Why can’t I be a normal person who can put the lust away? I’m staring at the wall trying to get myself together when Faith steps out of the bathroom and starts getting dressed. “Do you know where to start looking?”
I hear her snort and turn my head to look over my shoulder at her. “Well Jimmy is a mean sonofabitch but he’s stupid. I’m guessin’ he went to his cousin’s place the next town over. I told him if he ever came near us again...fuck!” The anger is back as evidenced by the nightstand becoming a pile of rubble. This guy sounds like a real winner. I don’t think he expected Faith to get back up from that beating which means he knows jack about her. I clear my throat and raise my brows questioningly.
“Not to be all nosy but how did you end up you know. Pregnant?” Faith shakes her head making her damp dark tresses fall over her shoulders. My mouth goes a little dry at the sight but I keep my focus as she pulls her hair up in to a pony tail. It’s her ass kicking hair do. She sighs and grabs a dark denim jacket from the closet and a knife about as long as her forearm. I stare at it for a second but I’m far from telling her not to bring it.
“Well ya see B, when a guy an’ a girl like each other they sometimes get naked together. And then the guy takes his...” Okay enough of this. I put a hand over her mouth and shake her head. I get it. She slept with him. I knew that part. I give her a mildly annoyed look and pull my hand away. I can’t tell if she’s really annoyed that I’m asking or just trying to get my goat. What does that mean anyway? Get my goat. I don’t even own a goat.
“I get the birds and the bees aspect Faith. I just meant...this guy seems like a real piece of work. I mean. I know you like them rough but...” Okay I should not have said that. The look she gives me has gone from annoyed to angry. When will I learn to just mind my own damn business? I raise my hands in a placating gesture and walk out of the room. Fine. I can take a hint. Faith’s heavy steps behind me reassure me that we’re still on the same page.
As we get in to the car she sighs and leans back against the headrest. I look at her before putting the rental in to gear and heading in the direction she told me to take. I can feel Faith’s eyes on me as we drive but I don’t look over at her. “It was one drunken night okay? Jimmy was lookin’ good, I was feelin’ no pain. It just happened. I saw him a few times after that and it was a good time. I wasn’t interested in anything serious since I figured I’d be gone from this town in about a month. But then I found out I was pregnant and things changed ya know? I never knew my dad an’ I didn’t want Wes not to know his so I stuck around.”
She’s never told me much about her family so I don’t interrupt. When Faith’s in a talking mood it’s best to just let her go with it. “Jimmy wanted more than I was willin’ to give and it started some pretty wicked fights. I wouldn’t take Wes away from him but I wouldn’t see him anymore either. Guess it bruised his ego or whatever. It wasn’t until Wesley’s second birthday that it got real bad. Jimmy showed up drunker than a sailor in a brothel. Started makin’ threats an’ pushin’ my friends around. I kicked his ass out but it’s been a struggle ever since. Every other month he comes around here sayin’ how he’s sober an’ he wants to do right and all other kinds of bullshit. It all came to a head around the time I sent out that letter. It’s why I was thinkin’ me and the kid need a vacation.”
I can see that this Jimmy is going to meet the business end of my stake if I ever see him raise a hand Faith again. I know in the back of my mind I should be horrified at the thought of taking a human life but I’m so past the self-righteous phase. This man did something unthinkable. He hurt Faith and he’s stolen her son. I shake my head and frown. “Why didn’t you tell me any of this Faith? I would have been there for you.” I finally do look at her and she looks away.
“After all we been through ya gotta ask that B?” Well. Yeah. Because after all we’ve been through I still don’t understand why we can’t be friends. Why it’s always such a damn struggle to communicate. “If I had told ya that I got knocked up an’ I was stickin’ around so my kid could have a dad would you have wanted to be around? Or would ya have shut me out and gone on with your life.” My hands grip the steering wheel hard enough for my knuckles to go white.
“I’m not the one that walked out of anyone’s life remember?” Okay. I’m still hurt over that. I know it. Faith knows it. But now isn’t the time. I let out a calming breath and shake my head. “Look Faith...we need to talk. There’s just so damn much that’s happened, so many feelings of hurt and anger and...” Love. I shake my head take the next turn when Faith points to it. I don’t know how to verbalize everything I feel right now.
“Talkin’. The one thing we’re not so good at.” She gives me a mild smile and I have to look away because I can feel my skin heat up in a blush at her next statement. “We’re much better with the non verbal communication if I remember right.” Yes we are. We so are. I clear my throat and shift in my seat a little. Faith chuckles and I give her annoyed Buffy face. Which isn’t really annoyed as it’s kind of bordering on amused at the moment.
“Laugh it up chuckles, because after we get your son back you and I are going to be having that talk.” She gets quiet and stares out the window. I can see her reflection and I can’t read the expression in her eyes.
“I owe ya that much B.”