Disclaimer: Since my name is not Joss Whedon, 'Buffy: The Vampire Slayer', 'Angel' and the characters associated with the show belong to someone who in't me. I also do not own the storyline, that is taken from gidgetgirl's 'The Lost Child Challenge' (details below) posted at the Chocolate Covered Strawberries Archive.

The Lost Child Challenge

When Faith was fourteen, she was raped by her mother's boyfriend. After that, she left home on her own, pregnant with the rapist's child. When she was found by the Council, her first Watcher took the baby, assuring Faith that it would be taken care of... the Watcher then was killed by Kakistos before she could give Faith more information. Now, years later, the child has come back into Faith's life.

Requirements:

- Faith dealing with mixed feelings about the child: a mother's love and the memory of the rape.
- The child having a Faith-esque attitude problem
- The council having had some hand in the child's conception
- The child having an amazing destiny
- Faith wanting to save her daughter from her own mistakes

Author's Note I: The events of the prologue take place at the same time as those of the end of the Buffy Season Two episode 'Becoming, Part I'.

Author's Note II: Anyone have any idea what genre I should put this under?


Prologue

Boston, May 19th 1998

She had never imagined anything could hurt this much.

It was like something - a very large, very heavy something - was trying to claw it's way out of her.

She felt as though she had been going through this pain for months, years, although the clock on the wall told her that it had been fifteen hours so far.

Fifteen hours, on her fifteenth birthday.

It was almost ironic.

"Good girl, Faith. You're doing really well." The woman on her bed, though in reality not much more than a decade her senior, held her hand and stroked her hair, as her mother would have.

No, not as her mother would have.

Her mother had kicked her out, she didn't want anything to do with her, didn't want to believe what she had heard, what Bryan had done.

She had hated having that bastard's kid squirming inside her.

She had wanted to have an abortion, she had been ready to and she would have had one before Constance came along.

She didn't believe in guardian angels, not any more, not after what had happened, but if she did, she would have thought that the woman who had found her the night her mother had pushed her away, screaming that she was lying, the woman who had looked after her when nobody else cared whether she lived or died, was one.

"It won't be long now." Constance murmured soothingly, holding the young girl gently, trying to steel her heart, to will herself not to care.

She had a job to do.

At her nod, a nurse in a starched white uniform approached, needle in hand.

"Nurse Richards is going to give you a shot now, Faith, it will take the pain away, I promise." She whispered, trying not to think about how young and vulnerable the girl in her arms looked.

Wanting nothing but an end to the spasms of agony she was suffering, the dark-haired teenager gratefully allowed the nurse to inject her with the anesthetic, her body becoming limp, her eyes sleepy and unfocused, scarcely aware of what was happening as the nurse was joined by a doctor and the two of them worked to bring her unwanted burden into the world.

As if in a dream, she heard a baby's cry.


The child in her arms whimpered softly as Constance Havering slipped out of the delivery room and marched through the hallway to the man awaiting her.

The nurse and the doctor, their silence bought with generous bribes, finished up their work on the unconscious girl, a girl who had trusted Constance with her life.

She resolutely pushed these thoughts from her mind.

She had known from the beginning what must be done, she had known that she shouldn't get attached, shouldn't allow herself to feel guilty about what the girl who had become almost a surrogate daughter to her had endured.

It was vital that this child be born, be raised on the side of Good.

Compared with what this baby would someday be able to do, the suffering of one girl was unimportant.

At least that's what she tried to make herself believe.

For a brief moment she considered running, taking Faith and the baby away, confessing everything, but she couldn't. The influence of her training was too strong.

Quentin Travers held out his arms as she approached, taking the newborn infant and studying her carefully, as a jeweller might apraise a diamond, inspecting her for any flaws.

"Well?" His voice was curt.

"It's a little girl."

"We expected as much." He scrutinized the child. "Is she healthy?"

"Perfectly."

"I'll make the necessary arrangements to bring her back to England. I leave the mother in your hands."

"Yes sir." She hated herself for her submission to what she knew in her heart was wrong, hated her superior for being able to view the situation so coldly, for being able to walk away from the suffering his plan had caused an innocent girl.

/It had to be done. It's for the best. /

No matter how many times she told herself that, she couldn't quite bring herself to believe it.


Her head ached and her vision was blurry as she came to and saw Constance looking down on her, a sorrowful expression in her grey eyes.

"What's wrong?" Her voice was groggy. "What was it? A boy or a girl?"

"A girl." Constance wiped her eyes with a tissue. "Stillborn, the poor little thing, not meant for this world."

Faith was silent for a long time, reflecting on the events of the past nine - or, more accurately, eight and a half - months.

When she had found out that she was pregnant, all she had wanted was to get rid of it. She didn't want a reminder of Bryan, of everything he had done, calling her 'Mom'.

It had been Constance who had persuaded her that, despite the circumstances of its conception, the child was innocent, that it was hers.

Now she would never know whether she could have learned to love the baby, her baby.

"Maybe its better this way." She said at last, her voice hollow, wanting, needing to believe what she was saying. "Maybe it's for the best."

TBC.

Author's Note: Should I bother to continue with this story? Please review and let me know if there are any requests.