The Truth HurtsBy
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Everything belongs to Joss Whedon.
Author's Note: This is a short sequel to Forgiveness so I suggest you read that first. There are a few small things I had to change for the purpose of the story but nothing major. I don't know much about the parole system so if something is wrong let me know or ignore it. As always, please Read and Review.
Spoilers: None really. Obviously it takes place after 'Tomorrow' and two months after the first story 'Forgiveness'.
Faith walked up the front steps, taking a deep breath readying herself to open the door. Wes was picking her up in twenty minutes, knowing that he wasn't welcome. She understood Angel's anger, but if he had managed to forgive her transgressions…murder and all, then he should have that same forgiveness in his heart for Wesley. But she wasn't going to tell him that. She just needed to tell him that she was out and thank him for all that he did for her. She wouldn't be staying though. Her loyalty was with Wes. She finally got what Buffy had with Angel all that time. She understood why Buffy was able to forgive Angel for what he did as Angelus. After all, Wesley had forgiven her for torturing him.
She pulled open the door and stepped into the lobby. Every head in the place turned her direction and she felt like she was on trial all of a sudden. She knew who they all were. Wesley told her everything. She knew the green demon behind the counter was reading her aura like a book right at the moment but she didn't care. She was just here to say her piece and get gone.
"Is Angel here?" she asked, noticing that he and Cordelia were the only ones not in the lobby.
"The man's upstairs. Can I help you?" the one she recognized as Gunn asked.
"Yeah, you can tell him Faith's here. He'll see me."
"I don't know. He and Cordelia are kind of busy," Fred said hesitantly, not sure of the girl with dark hair, red lipstick, leather pants, and tribal tattoo on her arm.
"Trust me, he'll come for me."
Fred went to tell him and Gunn and Lorne just watched her closely as if waiting for her to do something. So she did. The weapons cabinet was open and she headed for it, grabbing a long broadsword with celtic etchings on the blade. She twirled it a couple of times and glanced at Gunn. "Up for it?"
He smirked. "Always."
He took his own sword and they walked to the empty lobby area. Facing each other, the clang of steel was soon the only noise in the entire hotel. Despite prison, Faith was still at her peak, having trained continuously while locked away. Gunn was panting and sweating, his movements becoming slower and less calculated as they parried. Finally Faith knocked his sword from his hands, sending it skittering across the floor. "Looks like I win."
Angel watched with Cordelia and Fred from the stairs. "Still just as good as ever, I see."
"You know me…chosen one and all. Slayer strength and skill doesn't go away, not even in prison."
"You're a slayer?" Gunn asked, realizing why this girl beat him so easily.
"Yeah. You're not a bad fighter. I just come with some extra perks."
"So what are you doing here Faith? Did you break out?" Cordelia didn't even bother to hide her disdain for the dark haired slayer in her voice.
"When?" Angel asked, curious as to why she hadn't called to say anything.
"Actually, two months ago."
His brow furrowed even deeper. Had she been afraid to come to him? Was there some reason she had waited two months to see him to even let him know that she was out? Had she fallen back into the darkness that had consumed her before? He tried to block the questions from his head. She didn't look like she had become what she was before. "Where have you been staying? Do you need a job or anything?"
"Nah, I got a gig at a record store for a few weeks. Wasn't my idea of a good time, but the people were nice…most of them anyway, and I got a place to stay too. I won't be there for much longer though." She sighed. Now for the hard part. "I'm only going to be in town another day or two. I'm heading to New York. Heard there's a big vamp increase out there. Thought I could do some pest control. My parole officer arranged everything. Kate's in New York so she's going to be my parole officer from now on."
She could see the disappointment on Angel's face. "I know it's not what you had in mind. We talked about me working here when I got out the first few times you wrote, but I've never really been a team player. We both know that. I'm good though. And I won't be alone."
Cordelia latched on to that bit of information. "You won't be alone? Who's going with you, another raving loony?"
"Nah, he's not crazy, except in bed. He's just…well, he's made some mistakes and he understands me better than anyone ever has. It's all good."
Everyone could see the light in her eyes and Cordelia marveled at the fact that there was actually a man out there who had found the good in Faith and managed to bring it out. Whoever he was, he deserved some kind of award. Getting past Faith's defense's had to have been damn near impossible. "He'd have to be crazy to get involved with you."
Angel glared at her briefly. "Who's the lucky guy?"
"Trust me you wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"They sure wouldn't sweet cheeks," Lorne interjected, smirking at what he saw in her aura. "I'm not sure I believe it myself, but it's all right there plain as day. I've gotta say, he's got some guts to take you on after all that happened. You're good for each other though and definitely on the right path. New York is the right place for both of you."
The roar of a motorcycle engine was heard just outside. Gunn and Fred tensed. They were the only two who knew Wes had a motorcycle. The door swung open and there he was. Angel growled and Cordy glared. No one moved a muscle. "You ready Faith?" he asked, ignoring everyone else.
"Wesley?" Fred asked quietly. "What's going on?"
"Faith can tell you." He turned to her and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. "I'll be outside." With one last look at the Angel Investigations team, he said, "Good-bye," and walked out the door.
Angel turned his eyes on her. "You're with Wesley." It wasn't a question, but a harsh statement. She could hear the violence in his words.
"Do you know he stole my child? That I lost Connor to my enemy and a hell dimension because of him?"
"Yes. He told me. He also told me that what you think he did was not what actually happened. He never intended to give Connor to Holtz. That's not the kind of man he was. He planned on keeping him safe until the danger passed. Justine slit his throat and took Connor from him."
"That's not what happened. He would have told us if that was true," Fred said, not willing to believe that everything might have been an accident.
"Would he? After the hospital visits that you all paid him? I highly doubt it. He's stubborn that way."
"How can you be with him, Faith? He stole my child!"
"That isn't the question to ask me, Angel. The question should be 'Why is he with me?' I tortured him. There are scars covering his entire chest from where I used a knife to cut him. I tormented him, telling him what I was doing and how I knew ways to make it hurt more. I used every way I knew how to make him bleed more and make the pain to last." She glanced away, her eyes watering slightly. "His chest is covered with white scars that will never fade and every time I touch them all I can think of is how grateful I am that he knows how to forgive. He may have been wrong and you have every right to be angry for a long time, but everyone deserves forgiveness and a second chance. You told me that once Angelus." Cordelia gasped when Faith used Angel's true name. "Ask B, I'm sure she could tell you a thing or two about it, since you seem to have forgotten…or maybe Willow could tell you about how she forgave you for stalking her, drawing her while she slept and killing her fish and putting them on hooks in an envelope for her to find. Maybe Giles could tell you about forgiveness. After all he eventually forgave you for killing the love of his life and leaving her in his bed." Angel cringed at the reminder of Jenny Calendar and what he'd done to her.
Faith sighed. This hadn't gone the way she planned. She just wanted to say goodbye and now it had turned into this drama that she didn't want to deal with. "Well, I guess that's it. Said what I wanted and now I've got to get gone. Wes is waiting."
Angel took a few steps down the stairs opening his mouth to say something. "Don't worry about it Angel. I just needed to say a few things. Everything's five by five. I'll call you from New York. Catch you later." With that she was gone, a tempest of passion and pain for two of the people in the room. No one moved as the motorcycle roar faded in the distance, signaling the departure of both her and Wesley from their lives.
"She was right you know. That girl has been many different people and done many different things…most of them bad, but she was right about forgiveness. It may not always be deserved but it's always needed and that man of hers needed it more than anyone except her. Ironic that she received it and he didn't. After all who was the worse offender, Wesley trying to save two lives or Faith trying to end another one?" Lorne said, his voice laced with disdain. He'd managed to catch a glimpse of Wesley's aura and the only thing keeping him grounded in this world and the good fight was the little firecracker that once tortured him. "It's really kind of poetic in a sad, Shakespearean tragedy sort of way." He turned then and walked out, leaving the remaining members of AI stunned.
For several minutes nothing was said and then they all went back to taking care of what they'd been doing before Faith's entrance. None of them were able to forget the words she'd spoken and for the first time since the 'incident' they all felt the first stirrings of guilt for the way they'd treated Wes. He'd been family and even if they hadn't been able to forgive him, they shouldn't have kicked him out of their lives as if he'd never been part of their group.
Cordelia glanced at a picture of all of them before everything had gone to hell. Wesley was smiling his hand on Angel's shoulder and his other arm around her waist. Fred and Gunn were sitting together in front of them. Lorne was right and so was Faith, though it hurt to admit that. Unfortunately it was too late to go back. It was too late for all of them except for the two people headed for the Big Apple. She gave a quick, silent prayer for them. It was all she could do now. Things had changed irrevocably and there was no going back.