I do not own any of the characters in this story. Joss Whedon owns all of the characters of Buffy and the person who created Blade owns him and all the attached elements.
The Long Road
Chapter One: Slayers
Faith sat in her cell, wearily staring at the ceiling, the cracks in it long since memorized. Two fuckin' years she'd been in this place. But it had seemed like centuries. Slayers weren't meant to be put behind walls. They needed the fresh air, open spaces, freedom to move.
But that's why she was here in the first place. Too much freedom had sent her over the edge, causing her to make choices that she knew were wrong but did anyway. Causing her to go against everything a slayer stood for. She had killed people. Plural. True, the first had been an accident. But after that…after that it was for the kill. It was for the excitement, the adrenaline rush. And that had all spiraled down to the one moment when she broke. When she went crashing into Angel's arms, sobbing, as she realized the monster she had become.
And so she sat, or in this case, stared. It had been months since he had visited. Ever since Buffy…
No, she thought, slowly sitting up her back wincing in stiffness. I won't think about it. They told me B was dead and I felt it. She saved the world. Again. Always doing the self-sacrificing. Always doing the fuckin' right thing. It almost makes me sick. I know they look at me and compare me to her. I was the rogue, the insane slayer. She was the strong, do-gooder. I was bad, she was good. It was as simple as that to them.
But I can still feel her. It's been more than two years since I last heard from Angel. Don't know what shit he's in. But B's here. She's not dead. I mean, she was, but now she isn't. She CAN'T be.
She heard footsteps walking towards her cell. She turned slowly, surprised as the guard stopped in front of her cell but she refused to show it. She stared at him, arms crossed over her chest.
"Ya got a visitor Faith."
The words echoed through her head. She was surprised at the array of emotions she felt as she realized someone had come to see her. She hadn't had any human, well vampire, contact since the last time Angel had come. And that had been more than two years ago now. She slowly walked down the hall, a drop of excitement running through her. That drop was probably the first time in a year she had felt anything other than boredom and despondency. She didn't even care who it was – any contact was better than no contact at all.
But nothing could have prepared her for this. The guard led her in the holding area and she sat down in one of the chairs at the table. She sat there for a couple minutes, tapping the table impatiently before the door opened again. Faith turned towards it and froze in shock.
Faith stared at the blond in front of her, too shocked to say anything. The woman slowly walked forward and sat in the other chair, staring at Faith. "What's wrong? Cat got your tongue?"
Buffy smiled a sad smile as she nodded.
"They told me you were dead."
Buffy nodded again. "I was. But they brought me back. They thought that I was in a hell dimension so Willow found a spell that could bring me back. It worked. And I've been back for about two years now."
Faith sat back in her chair, not believing what she was hearing. "Red brought you back? So the bitch's getting really strong with magic, huh?"
Buffy winced slightly at the word Faith had used but pushed past it. This was not the same to get into an argument. There were more important things to say.
"Yeah. Willow," she began stressing the name, "was really powerful even though some of the things she got into were too dark."
"Was?" Faith asked, not missing the past tense that Buffy used. Something was wrong even though she couldn't quite put her finger on it. Buffy was different. She wasn't the bitch that Faith remembered. She wasn't as self-righteous as she had been. She was…changed.
"Yeah, was," whispered Buffy, breaking eye contact for the first time as she stared down into her lap. Silence passed between them for a few moments before she looked back up again.
"She's dead. All of them are dead. Even Giles. Even Dawn."
Faith's hardened heart softened at those words. Even though she had hated Buffy at one point and she still wasn't sure that she liked her, she felt compassion for her. She reached across the table, and placed her hand on top of Buffy's. "I'm sorry, B."
Buffy nodded in acknowledgement, encouraged by the change in Faith's eyes. Where, just moment ago, they had been cold orbs, she now saw a flicker of a flame in there. She'll be okay, Buffy thought. She really has changed and soon, that flicker will turn back into the fire I've seen there before. But it'll be calmer, not as wild. She'll do the Hellmouth good.
"Thanks," she said, pushing back her grief. There would be another time, another place for that. "But that's not why I came."
Faith straightened immediately, a guarded expression on her face. "What is it B? Did you come to chew me out? Tell me how much I deserve to be here?"
The simple but firm reply caught Faith off-guard. "Then why…"
"Before she died," Buffy took a deep breathe, pushing back the tears that threatened to flow. "Willow told me that the Hellmouth was slowly beginning to open again. I don't know how she knew but she did. I told her I would take care of it that there were more important things to worry about."
"But I realize, now, that's not my job anymore. When my friends died, my life in Sunnydale died. I don't belong there anymore. It is not my job to protect it."
Faith leaned forward, her grip on Buffy's hand tightening. "B, you need to be there. No one else can take care of it. You're the Slayer for Christsake. That is your job."
Buffy shook her head, the sad smile once again playing on her lips. "No. It's your job."
Faith sat stunned for the third time in as many minutes. Did the loss of her friends and family send Buffy over the edge? She'd be in here for a long time, and by then the Hellmouth would be opened. But as she opened her mouth to speak, Buffy shook her head.
"I know what you're thinking," she stated. "You'll be good and dead by the time you get out of here. You're getting out a lot sooner than that."
Buffy leaned forward, her voice hushed. "Listen. Quentin Travers is no longer in charge of the Council. He's been booted. And the new guy thinks it would be in everyone's best interest if both slayers were active at the same time. So they've been working on getting you out and they're getting really close. Close enough that they don't really mind that I'm leaving Sunnydale."
"I've talked to the new guy. Francis Droken. A little stuffy, but he genuinely cares about the Slayers. And he agrees with me. More or less." For the first time since she arrived, Buffy flashed Faith a genuine smile. "I had to make him agree with me, but he agrees. You're going back to Sunnydale. And they're sending you a new watcher. And before you say anything, I've met her. She's not your typical watcher. Actually does real field work and has encounters vamps before. She's tough but she's likable. It'll be good for you."
"And I'm not leaving you alone. I've already contacted Oz. He agreed to come back to help you out as long as you promise not to kill him. Jonathan will help to and Anya will pop in from time to time. But she can't do much because her job occupies a large portion of her time."
"Why are you doing this, B?" Faith asked, tears stinging her eyes. "I tried to kill you and your friends. I'm a screwed up bitch who doesn't deserve it? Why?"
"We're sisters, Faith. Slayers Sisters. I will always be there to help you no matter what happens. We don't give up on each other."
Faith nodded, not able to say anything. Buffy stood up slowly favoring her "sister" with a smile. "I have to go now. I've finished what I've come here for."
Faith stood up and followed Buffy to the door, unsure of what to say. "Where are you going to go?"
Buffy shrugged. "I don't know yet. Maybe I'll stick around L.A. for a while, maybe I'll go to Arizona. Maybe New York – I think I might have family there. But wherever I go, I'll never forget you. And I'll always be there for you."
With that, Buffy pulled Faith into a hug. Tears streamed down both of their faces as sudden realization came to them. This was probably the last time they would ever see each other. Their destinies lie on different paths.
As they pulled apart, Buffy tilted Faith's head down and gently kissed her on the forehead, a kiss between sisters. Slowly, Buffy turned to the door. "Goodbye Faith."
"Will you be okay?" Faith asked, watching as Buffy walked out the door.
"I'm five by five, Faith."
The door closed softly behind Buffy with a slight click. Faith smiled as she heard the retreating footsteps. She stood there until the footsteps disappeared completely and she was left alone. But, she knew, she was never really alone. Not now. She could face anything thrown at her – she would always have someone there for her. "Goodbye B. Best of luck to you wherever you go."