A/N: Summary: Dana has a visit with her favorite Chosen One. Takes place after "Angel" Finale. More Character Study than any action…for now.
This is something that came into my head, and will probably have 3 parts, but can be read as is. This story was inspired by Sisiutil's "Repairs"
PS. The latest part of "More or Less", my Faith/Spike Series should be out soon!
Dana was learning about what was real. She was learning what real meant and why it was important. Dana was learning that from Dr. Suzy. ("Kind of like Dr. Suess, isn't it? But it's not. Do you remember Dr. Suess, Dana? The Cat in the Hat? Did your parents read to you? I bet that was good. We can talk about that.") That was what Dr. Suzy first said. That was a memory. It wasn't happening now. It was over. It had been real, but now it wasn't; now it was just in Dana's head. There were bad things that happened in Dana's head. Bad things with chains and her long dark hair getting ratted up in knots, like her body, but they were over.
The time she had very short hair that stood up on her head, and that vampire with the yellow hair killed her on the dirty subway floor was over. All she wanted was to get to her son again. No, that wasn't her that was another Slayer. She was a Slayer, part of all the Slayers, but she wasn't all Slayers. She was Dana. One of many, but separate, alone, Dana. The bad things that had happened to Dana were different than the bad things that happened to all the Slayers she remembered. But, sometimes it was so hard, she felt those things the Slayers felt, she saw the things they saw, she said the things they said. She was them. Sometimes she really wanted to be them and not Dana, but it was important to be Dana.
Who was Dana? Dana was a girl with long dark hair and "olive" skin. Faith said once they took her out she would fit right in with all the Italians here. Dana lived in Italy now, which was far from where she lived before. She lived in a nice room with sunlight now with walls the color of custard. The room had pictures on the wall. One was of Xena the Warrior Princess, a show, a pretend not real show, that Dana liked. The room also had a poster of a bunny rabbit smiling and under the bunny it said: I like everybody except you pinheads.
Dr. Suzy didn't like that poster, but Dana insisted on keeping it. It was from Faith. Faith bought it for her the day after she had gotten a Teddy bear from B. Dana had never met B, but she had sent the Teddy Bear down. Faith said B was the boss of all the Slayers, and Dr. Suzy had Dana make B a thank you card and write about herself. So, Dana wrote she was a girl who had a nice room. She liked "Xena." She liked to wear flannel shirts because they were soft. She like the Harry Potter stories Dawn read to her. She wrote that she had a friend named Dawn and a friend named Faith. Then Dr. Suzy said that Dawn was Buffy's sister. Dana didn't like hearing that, and she wasn't sure why. Maybe it was because she didn't know who this "Buffy" was or what she had to do with the Slayer boss, B, giving her a bear. She didn't like that Dawn had a sister. It made her scream and punch the walls. Dana wasn't a sister. She had been. She had a brother once and bad things had happened to him. She saw her little brother getting torn up piece by piece. Shescreamed and she swore this time she would fight. This made Dr. Suzy push the button and some Slayers came out to hold Dana down. The Slayers were her sisters. What bad things would happen to them? They explained bad things wouldn't happen anymore. Those were just memories Dana had. There was a difference between what was remembered and what was happening now.
Dana had Faith—here now. That was what she had. There were the others, the others who smiled and didn't hurt. Girls, women, Slayers like her. Sisters. Women didn't hurt—women protected. Now wasn't a punching screaming day for Dana; now was a good day. She had Faith next to her and even though she was much smaller than the mother she reminded Dana of the mother, when the mother was whole.
Now Faith was here. She was real and sitting on the couch in Dana's room. Dana remembered having a room before too, a room where she wasn't afraid and always in the dark. A room when the mother would be whole and real and come and sit. This room was different though. Besides the Xena and Bunny picture and Teddy bear, the room had a couch. It also had a lock on the outside and a steel door. Dana also had rooms with steel doors after the before time. Rooms with locks and steel and sharp things and shackles. Hurting things! Had to get out. Had to—can't hurt me anymore.
No, Dana, no. That isn't now. She liked her room now even if she didn't like the locks. Real time had pieces—pieces of things she didn't like and pieces of things she did. She thought about stripping away what she didn't like, taking the badness out piece by piece, but that was wrong. Take one block out and the whole tower falls. She needed the bad to have the good.
Faith was here and that was good, but she was sad—mad—then back to sad. Faith was having a bad day now. She could do that even though Dana was having a good day. They were separate.
"What is bad now?" Dana asked.
"Everything, kookoo. Everything is wrong," Faith said.
She bit her red apple lip. Her lip looked like an animal squirming, struggling to live under her teeth. Her round eyes looked around the room and got more pointy and angry. When Faith was having a bad day her face made Dana want to hide, but she couldn't look away from Faith. Her face was too strong like a light that burnt your eyes, but it was so much nicer than dark.
"Everything is not bad, everything is not wrong. There is good and bad together. It can't be taken apart," Dana said.
"Oh kook," she pushed out air from the big round balloons on her chest, "I came down here because you're the only person I can stand right now, you know?"
"Now people are bad—hurting you? Can the Slayers kill them? Are they all bad monsters that Slayers can kill?"
"No, they were just fucking stupid. They were fucking stupid people that were all good and messed with the all bad monsters. Do you remember Wes, kook? He helped get you here," she looked at Dana.
"I came here with Andrew. He's not a Slayer or a girl, but he doesn't hurt. Andrew visits me and writes things down," Dana smiled.
She liked Andrew. He had a funny face that made her laugh when he looked at her with concentration. He also fell down a lot like a clown and that was funny.
"Yeah, that's gotta be fun, huh?" Faith asked.
"Yes, it is. He looks like this," Dana said and tried to make the face Andrew made when he looked at her.
She pretended the pillow was the thing Andrew wrote on and her finger was a pen, but she knew it wasn't real. Dana put her hand on her chin and stroked it like Andrew. Faith laughed, but then Dana thought she might have been crying. Then she stopped and touched Dana's head and looked at the wall. Dana looked at it to but there was nothing there. Maybe Faith was looking at the nice color of the wall, or that the sun was getting less yellow and more orange and it made light on the wall.
"You were happy and then it went away," Dana said, "Where did it go?"
"Happy time is over, time to be sad," Faith said
"Why?" Dana asked.
"Because something bad has happened. Something wicked bad," she said.
"Is it happening now?" she asked.
"No, I think it's over, for now," Faith said and put her elbows on her knees and sighed.
She said things were happening- bad things or they already happened. When something already happened there was nothing you could do about it. That was what Faith always told her.
"Past is past, no amount of crazy or crying will change it, so you might as well just let it go, " Dana echoed what Faith had said to her once.
"Heh," Sometimes Faith had little laughs and her big red lips bent up, but didn't show her perfect white teeth.
"You'd make a great member of the gang in LA. I know you got off to a rocky start with them. But who hasn't," Faith said.
"LA is not now. It's over," Dana assured Faith.
Dana knew "LA" was where she lived before, but when Faith or someone else talked about "LA" they usually meant something else. They meant the things that Dana did when she got out of her last room. She had broken a lot of things and hurt Andrew and she didn't like to think about the rest. All of those other men were too tall and not like Andrew and they messed up her memories of who she was and what was now.
Faith's big eyes, that were the color of the goodness inside a chocolate bar, looked of to the side.
"Yeah," she said, "It's never over, is it? If they come at them again I'm gonna make sure I know it's happening—not when it's fucking over and I'll jump into the fire with them. All of this made me realize the Slayers aren't my people, The Fang Gang, they are my peeps, at least what's left of them, and I should be with them fighting the good fight in a bad way."
"We are Slayers both," Dana said pointing back and forth to Faith and herself. Then, she brushed her long dark hair back. Sometimes it fell in her face and made her hot.
"That doesn't mean we belong with all of them, Kook," Faith said.
Her round real life doll eyes looked at Dana. Sometimes Dana wanted to squeeze Faith as hard as she could, but she always seemed to be moving too much for Dana to do that. Even as they sat on the brown couch that matched Dana's skin more than Faith's eyes Faith was moving around. She would fold her legs up and down in her dark jeans. She would move her arms and torso around as if she wanted to make them fit right in her black shirt. All the moving made Faith's hair fall in her eyes too. Dana brushed Faith's hair back. Faith made a face that made her get a line in her forehead, but then she smiled.
"You and me belong. Our hair, it's the same, but it feels different. Yours feels softer—better," Dana said.
"That's not the only part of me that has gotten soft. I should have been on my toes. If I was in the know I would have made Red get off her ass and save that waif. I would have torn that posh building down myself. I wouldn't be afraid to mix it up like B. I'd have marched down there and said: 'Angel, what the fuck are you doing?'"
"Angel was Angelus, but now he's good," Dana said.
She wanted to show Faith she knew that. It was wicked important to her. Dana tried to remember all the words that Faith used and all the ways her body moved so that when she was gone Dana could have her memory. Memories weren't real, but sometimes they were good.
"And after a bunch of shouting and punches and lecturing he would have broke and told me, and I'd have helped. Fuckin' B, man," Faith had lit a cigarette and took it out of her mouth to laugh.
"I go to Angel to go psycho and she's down there in a flash, but she won't help him when he's waist deep in a bucket full of evil. That's because she never wants to really touch it. Must be nice to be so high and mighty and alive for sure and not missing."
Dana had wanted to start smoking, but she wasn't allowed. Faith wasn't allowed to smoke near her, but she did today. Dana understood today was a special day, but not a good special like a birthday. Dana had a lot of special bad days too.
"I was missing, presumed dead for six years, but I wasn't really missing I was with him," Dana said numbly.
"I know, kid. That had to suck balls compared to anything I'm bitching about," she said.
"It's five by five," Dana drawled, "Like I said past is past."
The things Faith said seem to stay with her like the things the other Slayers said. Only the things Faith said came to her more easily. The other Slayers were in her dreams, her body, and her blood. But none of the others could touch her like Faith could. They were gone. Dana could breath in Faith, smell her, and touch her. Faith was real. She was real and had big bright eyes that didn't look away, but they were nice eyes—not hurting. Her eyes had lashes so long and strong it was like Dana's doll she had in the before time. But Faith wasn't a doll; she was real, and the before time was over. Dana was learning—learning about kicking and punching and when not to kick and punch from Faith—learning past is past from Faith.
"Yeah, but you still can be sorry for stupid things you did or said… and you know, it's not B's fault. She's afraid. She has to have control. She has to think things aren't so bad. She has to think there is something she can do to help."
"B is the boss. How can the boss be afraid?" Dana asked.
She didn't understand. Dana had no memories of B. She imagined B was exactly like Xena, but Dana knew that was much different than having Slayer memories.
"How can she not in times like this? I should really feel sorry for someone like B, I suppose. She can't live in reality. The Fang Gang, we know the world is beyond help, but we still want to go down swinging. I could never figure out why Spike didn't make a b-line for B, why he stayed with Angel of all people. You know, other than to some vamped out version of the odd couple, but I get it now. I totally get it. He knew he'd never fit in with all the happy shinnies around here. He might not lose his soul, but eventually he'd do a Scooby no no and get bounced. I should find Spike just to tell him I get it. Just to tell him how the more or less being good thing is going. I'd tell him how B can't deal with the more or less good thing, and that's why she stood them up. We could hit each other in the face a couple of times, then we could laugh and share a cigarette, "Faith smiled.
"Spike. You want to share a cigarette with him and not me," Dana said.
Dana didn't like to think about him in LA, but she would never forget Spike. He was a vampire, and she made sure she took the bad pieces off of him, but everyone said that was wrong. But, she had seen him hurt and kill, maybe that was just a Slayer memory, but Dana had real memories of the other man doing hurting and killing. It didn't matter. He was back in the other place over the water and on the plane. He was in a dark place. Dana didn't see him killing, but he left the dark place and he hunted a lot. Dana didn't trust that. What was he looking for? More Slayers to kill? Why did Faith want to share a cigarette with him?
"Spike isn't here. He hunts. I'm here. I don't hunt now. Share a cigarette with me," Dana said.
"No, sweetie," Faith smiled, "I only share cigarettes with people who already smoke and are already dead. I'm not here to corrupt you, at least not like that."
"Corrupt…to make bad. You want to corrupt Spike?"
"I think he's already there," Faith made a funny noise as she said that. It seemed to come out of her nose.
This made Dana laugh, but then she thought of what Spike would look like smoking a cigarette. It wasn't her pretending, like how she pretended B was Xena, it was a memory. She wasn't sure if she saw Spike smoke or if it was a Slayer memory. He grinned, like a dog growling with the cigarette between his teeth. It was like he had a bad light in his eyes even though all around it was dark. He made a show out of taking out his lighter and lighting the tip of the cigarette. He had to "make a show" of everything. Those were the words that popped into Dana's head as she saw him in there.
"Yes, he's been made bad. He wasn't the man that hurt me, but it doesn't matter. He hurt the Slayers--- killed them."
"Right, but then he was made good and in the end it all broke even. Slayers hurt him, got him killed twice now by not doing jack to save his ass," Faith shrugged.
She looked like she wasn't really sure about this, and she didn't really care that much. She should care. All Slayers should know about this vampire.
"William the bloody has bad pieces in him that I don't like, even if he has good."
"Right, I know he's a total pain in the ass. I don't really know the guy that well, but I know him enough to know that if only one member of team Angel is still kickin' it's him. I just kinda feel that," Faith said.
"I just kinda feel William the bloody all the time. It's not real. It's a memory, the past. Accept when it's not," Dana said.
"Oh yeah," Faith nodded, "All your Slayer memories. I don't envy you that so-called super-power, girlfriend. Who wants memories of some dead chick's past in their—What do you mean accept when it's not? Do you see the future?"
"Not the future," Dana shook her head," Now. I can see William the Bloody sometimes now. He lives in a dark place that flashes with a dark man who sleeps. Someone hurt them. Someone bad. They can still hurt them."
"You know where he is? Is he in LA?"
"He is in LA where I did those things. The things I did to him went away—got better, but the things other people did haven't. That's why he's in a dark place with flashes," Dana explained.
"You still interested in breaking rules, Kook?" a smile came to Faith's mouth slowly.
"I can have a cigarette," Dana felt her mouth smile too.
"I was thinking something a little more crazy, but you'd have to promise me something,"
"Make a promise? Like the Slayer oath?" Dana asked.
"There's an oath? When did that happen? Never mind. We don't need some stuffy oath. I'm going to take you back to LA, but only if you can deal with---"
"No!" Dana yelped, "I want to stay with the Slayers."
"Well, okay. Stay here in sunshine land," Faith's voice got rough, like it did when Dana did something wrong.
She had only done one wrong thing in front of Faith, and she thought that was pretty long ago. Faith had brought a man to see her. Dana usually didn't like men who weren't Andrew. She threw things at the English one with the glasses that came to see her because he talked to her in a too loud voice. Faith told her she was bringing a man that would be different and Faith was right. She brought a man that was very tall and had muscles, but he was different. He had skin like chocolate and talked to her in a good voice. She had liked him so much. She couldn't remember what they talked about, but she answered all his questions that he asked about the before time, and she didn't do that for Dr. Suzy. She might do it for Faith, but Faith didn't ask any questions about the before time. Everything was perfect with the big black man, Dana actually saw him as quite little and cute. Then he said he had to leave. Dana really thought he was going to stay there forever with her. It was what seemed right. It physically hurt to have him go. She couldn't remember what she said or did. She knew she didn't hurt the little big man, but she may have hurt everyone else as she tried to stop him from leaving. After that Faith had the rough voice she did now.
"They can make you into the perfect Stepford Slayer I bet. Someone who never sticks their neck out for any of the other champs that make a mistake," Faith said.
"One mistake for a Slayer can mean death," Dana said.
She wanted to show Faith she knew what was right; she knew what the Slayers wanted.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Faith said, "Since I'm about up to my hundredth mistake I might as well see how many licks it takes for me. I'm going to go away for a while, kid."
"Go? You can't go! You have to stay here, get better, getting better everyday."
"Whoa. Whoa. That's you not me. You're the resident psycho now, and even when I was no one kept me under lock and key, so I'm going."
Dana felt something painful fill her insides. She thought she might start screaming and holding on to Faith like she did with the man, but she knew that wouldn't be good.
"Where? When are you coming back?" Dana asked as she gripped her own hands until they felt like they weren't there anymore.
"Geez kid, you'd be smart if there was less going on in your head," Faith sighed, "I'm going to LA. I have to find Spike. Then, he'll lead me to Angel. I don't know when or if I'll be back it all depends on how much trouble they're in."
"Can I come?" Dana asked lowly.
She knew what the answer was. She had to stay here and get better. She was getting better everyday, and one day she'd be there. She couldn't leave the room with just Faith yet. She had to leave the room with Dr. Suzy and seven other Slayers that were trained in restraint. Faith said "restraint" was a fancy word for holding you down, and she didn't want to help hold Dana down.
"Well, you said you wanted to stay here with the Slayers, remember?"
"You are a Slayer. I want to stay with you," Dana said.
"Okay, but you have to promise you won't go all mediaeval on me, or any kind of evil. I know you're already nuts—nuts I can handle. Just don't hurt anyone unless I say so especially Spike or Angel, and that includes chopping anything off of them," Faith said.
"I can come!" Dana said loudly.
"Shhh," Faith said sharply, "Yes, as long as you promise not to hurt anyone."
"I have taken my oath," Dana said solemnly. That felt like the right thing to do.
Then, Dana did hug Faith. She couldn't remember the last time she hugged someone, but all the old feelings came back to her while she was doing it. It was the feeling of her insides popping with cartoon hearts that no one could see, but they were real. Dana just wanted to squeeze herself so close to Faith that there would be nothing between them. Two Slayers together—the same.
"Christ," Faith grunted, "When you promised not to hurt anyone that meant me too, ya know? Are you sure you're up to this, kook?"
"I keep all my promises to a lady, love," Dana said in an English accent.
She could see William the bloody saying that to her. She knew a promise was a good thing, but when he said it, it wasn't good. It was always the first thing in her head that came up when she heard the word "promise." But, that wasn't happening now. Now they were going back to the before place to help the vampire because that was what Faith wanted now. Dana knew saying what the vampire said in her head would make Faith laugh and it did. She learned more everyday.