Disclaimer: Buffy and all recognizable characters are the property of creators. This is from the mind of a retrospective, slightly older and wiser Faith…mainly because young Faith is so ghetto that I can't write her without feeling the need to strangle the crap out of something!

"I look at B and wonder how I missed the path that is straight and narrow. And sometimes all I want is to be on that path with her. But it's never long until I think – how friggin' boring would I be then?"

The Screaming Tree

My parents were allergic to noise.

I discovered it when I was four – about a week after I realised I was totally into screaming.

So much for that passion. In fact, my parents made sure I didn't have anything to be passionate about my whole life.

After screaming was banned from the house I learned the fine art of shooting my mouth off. A cute brat with dimples and a sharp tongue can manipulate anyone. I learnt that early too.

But it didn't get rid of the screams inside.

Hitting things helped that something chronic! One hit and my body would crackle and spark like static. A right dose of that static was enough to arouse in me the highest state of passion. Artificial passion, sure….but it was still there. And it was more than anything I had ever been allowed to feel in my life. Dangerous you ask?……you bet your fucking pants! But there was.no way I'd give it up for nothing. It made me feel wild and feral. And I loved it. Fighting was all I was good at. It made me burn. It made me Faith. It became me. The fighter was all I was.

And it was all I liked about myself.

I'm not being bitter at all. Going from a Worthless Shit to an Ass Kicker was my greatest achievement. It happened so quickly. One night when I was 14. My finest battle. Not the school bully or a monster or a cop. It was the day I finally grew some, and hit my father back. And I learnt some and matured some from that experience too. (that's the right thing to say, right?) Whatever. I don't know what I felt after I beat my dad to a drunken, bloody, sobbing heap. All's I know is I didn't scream.

And I never went home again.

I learned that night - Each fight…Every brush with death…It made me more alive.

After dad went down, I ran. I ran away from the blood and the sirens and the pitying, guilty stares. I ran until I reached the largest tree I had ever seen. I climbed a cold, brittle fence and stood under the towering mass.

And I screamed.

I screamed for my dead mother and I screamed for the 12 hours I had sat with her and watched the blood darken and turn lumpy on her pulseless wrists. I screamed for the bruises I had to hide all by myself after she left me, and I screamed for the day I refused to drag my sorry ass to a school ever again.

And most of all I screamed for the loving parents, friends, opportunities, hugs and trust that I never had. I screamed profanities that I shouldn't have known the meaning of yet, and I screamed heart-wrenching little girl cries that could have torn the bark from the tree with pain.

The screaming tree swayed slightly and it listened. It understood.

When all the screams were out of my body I was fearless. With the fearlessness came recklessness, but I didn't know that then. I thought I heard the screaming tree whisper to me that it would be okay. That I just needed faith.

But I was wrong. The noise was the owner of the tree and the cocking of his shotgun. 

My throat was dry and raw anyway, so I stopped my yelling and ran.

And really I haven't stopped.