Changing of the Guard by Gina

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: Faith/Cordelia

Copyright 2007

Disclaimer: I own nothing but enjoy trying to play with the characters a bit.

Feedback: yes please

Distribution: just ask

Summary: Season 3, Faith is the only living slayer; let's see what will take place.

Chapter One- Faith

Willow, Oz, Cordy, and Xander sat at a table having sodas at the bronze. "So, how is Joyce?" Xander asked, having noticed neither his girlfriend nor Willow's boyfriend had bothered to ask about Joyce Summers. It had been three months since Buffy followed Angel into hell, and he thought it rude of them not to mention such things.

"My parents talked her into doing the foster thing for teens," Willow said dryly. "I went over there yesterday, she seemed quiet but not to bad considering what happened."

The group exchanged sad looks, as Willow shivered in rememberance of Buffy being unable to kill her love and go on. She took the step that would change them all forever, she plunged the sword into herself and went in the portal behind Angel. This was a tragedy that nearly broke everyone. The Scoobies went to group therapy graciously held by a council member, who had a degree in psychology, for two months. Giles was a broken man and headed to England not to have been heard from as of yet. Joyce stayed secluded until she too sought out therapy from Sheila Rosenberg who ended up convincing the woman to take on a teen foster child. This was not to take the place of Buffy but rather to fill the void she left behind and possibly to help Joyce regain her former zeal for life. Helping a child would be the best thing to get Joyce going again, everyone hoped.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Faith shuffled her boots up the sidewalk to the Summers home. She didn't need another foster home, adults and her didn't mix well at all. Social services caught her alone in a dumpy hotel a week or so ago and she realized she had no choice. What she didn't know was the council had a hand in it but she was about to find out just how cruel fate could be to Joyce Summers, or was it?

She knocked lightly on the door to find that a middle-aged woman quickly answered it. "Hello Faith," Joyce said with a smile as she moved aside letting the girl in taking notice she had little in the way of personal belongings.

"Hey," Faith said and smiled back at the woman. "The social services goons didn't give me your name but I'm Faith Lehane." The girl visibly winced upon saying her last name as if it were a plague.

Joyce motioned for Faith to have a seat at the kitchen table and sat down a plate of food. "I wasn't sure if they properly fed kids in those places so I tried to rustle up something." Joyce said as she took a seat across from the girl. Joyce was given little information about this girl but knew she had lost her mother to drugs some time ago. Also, that her father was unknown and she'd been a problem child in the system for many years. "Oh forgive my impropriety, Joyce Summers is my name." The woman spoke with a tinge of sadness in her eyes as she watched Faith scarf down the food. She had not seen anyone eat like that since Buffy.

Faith's eyes shot up from her plate and looked the woman over. "Summers," she said in a drawl. Nice name," she covered quickly. When her watcher died a few months back, she traipsed across country in hopes of finding Buffy Summers, her sister slayer. The watcher had told her all about Buffy and Faith knew she needed help dealing with Kakistos. He was an ancient vampire who spent his summer chasing her across the country. "Do you have any kids," Faith took a shot at finding out if this was a related Summers of Buffy but the answer she got both made her fear for her life and wonder what sort of joke the God's decided to play on this poor woman.

"My daughter passed away a few months ago," Joyce said as she straightened up in her chair trying to remain composed. "Her name was Buffy."

Faith began to fidget slightly as she darted her eyes from Joyce to the front door and back to Joyce again. She wanted out of there and fast. "Faith?" Joyce questioned as she stepped next to the girl. "I know this is not going to be easy for you but I'm very easy to get along with and I would like to have you here in my home."

This one was a mystery indeed and nothing like Buffy, which made Joyce glad. She was dressed in tight leather that revealed a bit more skin than Joyce would liked to have seen and seemed a little more withdrawn than any of Buffy's friends. Joyce shook her head in remembrance that Buffy acquired some strange friends during her tenure as slayer. Joyce was proud of her daughter for being part of such a sacred duty but part of her was still bitter at Buffy. Slayer or not, wanting to die rather than fulfill your sacred duty was the easy way out, and this is what made her think of all of this. The look on Faith's face told Joyce she was trying to take the easy way out of something and Joyce tried her best to give comforting words that might help the girl decide not to bolt out of the house. "Finish off the fries there and I'll just go out there and lock up my car," Joyce offered tentatively and walked out the kitchen door.

Faith's mind tried to wrap around what was happening. She wanted no part of being friendly to anyone, never had been and didn't plan on it now but here was the mother of a slayer wanting to accept her. She knew Joyce would turn cold as soon as she found out what Faith was and she'd be home free then. This happy home life was cramping her style and that wasn't cool.

How Joyce was going to find out her identity, Faith did not bargain for. She heard a scream from outside and instinctively ran out of the house. She saw none other than Kakistos with Joyce up in the air. "Faith," the vampire with cloven-hoofed hands and feet hissed in a guttural growl.

"Your fight is with me, let her go!" Faith said but fear showed all over her face. She watched helplessly as he killed her watcher and now he was about to kill another human being.

Faith was berating herself for being such a lousy slayer when a guy ran up the road. "Fuck!" She yelled. She knew another person was about to be in harm's way.

Faith knew she had to do something quickly or another death would be on her hands. Instinctively she kicked the vampire hard in the back of the knee, which made him wobble. She then forearmed him in the stomach and he doubled over. Kakistos wasn't expecting this but had sense enough to retaliate quickly. "Watch her die Faith!" He threw Joyce through the air hoping to knock her out or kill her as she hit the paved road but Xander caught her inches from the street.

Faith's eyes filled with rage as she began to fight with Kakistos. Xander got Joyce back inside the house quickly, though he did not seem to pleased to learn a new slayer was in town. Once Joyce regained her composure, she looked out the window and saw that the vampire was beating Faith down. She grabbed a small sword that Buffy had left in the corner. "Faith!" Joyce yelled and tossed the sword with a trembling hand. She hoped that Faith would catch it in time. Faith swiftly caught the sword and spun it around then drove it through Kakistos' chest.

A thick silence fell upon the three who were standing after the brief moment of chaos. Faith started to turn towards the road to leave but remembered her things were in the home. Normally she wouldn't worry about personal belongings but she had a few smaller weapons, her leather jacket and cigarettes in there so turned towards the door figuring to collect them and be on her way. "I'll just get this stuff and," Xander cut Faith off with an icy cold tone that matched his stare.

"Get your things and leave! Joyce doesn't need this and neither do we! One slayer loss is enough for us all!" Xander bellowed in a furious tone.

"Don't sweat it, that is what I was gonna do but I won't take any lip from a fucking boy!" Faith's ill-mannered temper flashed out fast. Joyce took note of that, as she stood trembling outwardly but brave inwardly. She had to do this, for Buffy.

"Xander Harris, you leave this house right now and do not come back until you can speak to my foster child in a proper tone!" He looked at Joyce and knew just how brave this woman really was.

He hung his head and walked out the door planning to find a way to fix Joyce's predicament. "I'll be on my way Mrs. S." Faith too turned for the door but Joyce placed a gentle hand on her arm.

"Faith you saved my life tonight. At least let me repay you with a nice place to sleep and some good food." Joyce offered bravely though she truly didn't know that she could handle getting to close to another slayer yet something compelled her to be strong and assist the young girl.

"Your life wouldn't have been in danger if I hadn't been dragged here." Faith retorted in her gruff macho tone.

"Sure it would have, I live on a hellmouth," Joyce responded softly. "At least stay the night Faith and have some breakfast in the morning. We can talk after we've had some sleep."

Faith looked into Joyce's soft eyes that held so much kindness and love but a great deal of pain. They reminded her slightly of her watchers eyes, not in color but in kindness. "Yeah ok but don't count on me to much Mrs. S. cause I've been alone most of my life and I don't need anyone now." Faith spoke securing her emotional walls up tight with her biting attitude but Joyce saw right through it and vowed to herself that she would help this girl because everyone deserved to be cared for in their life.