Disclaimer for whole story: I do not own anything to do with BtVS, not the characters nothing, zilch. So there, this is just a fanfiction. And ain't it obvious I don't own BtVS, otherwise why the hell would the show not still be on. I mean come ON! ok so officially rambling but anyway…

Summary: Set after Chosen, S7 finale. Faith was left out of all the plans and everyone moved on with their lives, many wondered what she did after battling the first but none knew, there were rumours but never true sightings of the dark slayer. Now 5 years later she turns up and with a new big bad God from a hell dimension threatening to take over the world it is just as well. Can the past be kept in the past to ensure there is a future?

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Cruciatus

By Audiodream

Prologue

'I remember standing there thinking Sunnydale was gone, wiped out and that maybe with it my chance at redemption. All paths led there, just like the broken road I was stood on right now. Had the Scoobies forgiven me? Even if they had would I forgive myself? That was a question burning hard on my soul, am I able to forgive myself for what I did to them? To Alan Finch? Even if it had been an accident I had still killed a man and then gone psycho, would they ever trust me again?

I remember hoping with all my heart that I had done my bit and that all was forgiven, that I had found redemption. But deep in my heart I knew I hadn't and that I might never but I had to try. Not because I wanted to be forgiven for all my sins and go to heaven blah blah blah, sure I like to think there is something after this but we didn't know so I wasn't gonna think about it. All I cared about was getting forgiveness from the scoobies and mostly from myself. If they hated me and never forgave me I could promise them I felt the same way about myself just ten times stronger.

I remember telling myself to buck up, look around you just kicked ass. B just kicked ass. You all just kicked ass, we should be celebrating. I looked in awe at the B, she stood there totally at peace with the world. Happy, liberated as if she was finally free from the curse of being the only slayer, forced to live a lonely and dangerous life. She could finally get a life.

I remember feeling happy for her and wondering if maybe I could get my own life, one without all the slaying and violence. Of course I am still Faith Lehane, slayer, I would still patrol and kick ass just not on an apocalyptic scale. Kick back a bit. Ya know? But I should have known that that wasn't going to happen.

I remember when we arrived at the hospital and the injured went to get checked out, I stayed next to Wood all the way until he grew too unstable and was taken quickly to surgery. I stood in the hallway motionless waiting and waiting until I heard the nurse slowly walk towards me, the pace of her walk, the rhythm of her heart, the uneasiness in her movements, she was here to tell someone that someone they cared about hadn't made it. I remember fighting back tears, swallowing the lump that had formed and searching the hall in search for anyone else that she could be here to see. No one. I was stood there alone, story of my life, she told me. He had had massive internal bleeding and despite their best efforts had died. I nodded telling her I understood and I sat there, in the lonely hallway for hours, until I finally let everything out. I cried and cried into my hands. Everything had just built up, me trusting someone had been a first and then he went and died on me. That was just a really REALLY cruel trick.

I remember the following week being a bit of a blur as potentials went home for six months until training started from the schools that Giles was going to set up. People staying in small groups and keeping to themselves, making plans. Plans I was excluded from. No one looked my way, wondered how i was holding up, wondered what MY plans were. Then suddenly the numbers staying in the old AI offices dwindled until I was the only one left. Everyone had moved on with their lives and left me out, left me behind.

I remember as I finally made the decision to pack a bag and head into the sunset to see where my quest for redemption left me I was approached by a man. He was tall, skinny, and old. He had greying brown hair and deep cast features. I remember as he introduced himself to me as the gate keeper, not man nor demon just the gate keeper. He told me all about the plans for the upcoming years, how things were gonna change how hard the scoobies would have it. He gave me a choice to help. And I took it. If only I knew it would take so much out of me, maybe I wouldn't have done it. Then again, maybe I would have.

I remembered all this in the mere thirty seconds I had to spare as I frantically started to mutter the words to the almost forgot spell that would bring me back to he real world, to civilisation. I managed quickly to make sure I had the runes right before closing the circle and begin the painful extracting from the place I had called home for the past five years since the fall of Sunnydale. I still couldn't believe I had been there for five years, five whole years since she last saw the scoobies, Giles and B. Five fucking years.'

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TBC…

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