Returning the Smile you had from the Start

By Siren

A.N.- This is a songfic that takes place in Faith's mind while she's in her coma. I don't own any of the characters from Buffy or the song 'returning the smile you had from the start' by Emery. I do, however, own Evan and Mrs. Debussy. WARNING: Contains violence, strong language and suggestions of rape. This is Faith we're dealing with. Aside from the lyrics, anything in italics is Faith's thoughts.

You wanted to know if

It was worth the pain that it has caused us.

Both our lives—subtract one life.

To know why it was you who deserved this.

Faith couldn't fathom what had just taken place. She was about to throw the blonde off of the roof of her apartment—the one the boss gave me—and now she had a knife, her knife no less, stuck in her gut. She felt past the immediate pain and realized that something warm, wet and stick was coating her shirt. The new shirt that her boss had given her.

She looked into the stunned, green eyes of her sister-slayer as the knife—I called it Jackal—was ripped violently out of her. She grunted at the pain, her eyes never leaving the girl across from her. She seemed as surprised as Faith. She clutched her abdomen as some basic instinct told her to. Growling, she struck out and hit the enemy away from her. She should have taken advantage of her dazed stupor to punch or throw the bitch right off of the roof, but something stopped her. Faith just couldn't bring herself to kill her.

Looking down, she saw her white shirt quickly turning crimson. Slayer healing will kick in. I'll be good as new in no time. But she knew that wasn't true. The damage the other slayer dealt her was much too severe. She glanced at her blood-soaked hand. Always bloody. Wasn't there a play where the queen couldn't get the blood off of her hands, no matter how hard she scrubbed? She knew that her life was coming to an end.

"You did it B—you killed me," she breathed, teeth clenched in pain. She knew what would come next. She'd fall. Always falling, always sinking deeper and no one sees or cares. The sensation of falling was glorious.

Then she hit the earth.

As simple as I can

I'll tell you the difference

Between a pencil and a pen

And where it will leave us.

As your body lets you die

And I sit here, still alive.

Faith drifted from memory to memory, twisted dream to twisted dream. She was eight and watching cartoons at her neighbor's house. Her mother went out some time last night to 'unwind' and hadn't come back yet. It was evening again, already. Faith jumped slightly when she heard the door next door slam.

"Faith!"

Her mother was back. And from the sound of it, she was irate. Despite her mother's shouting, Faith stayed where she was. She knew she'd have to go home eventually, but she wanted to stay with Mrs. Debussy where it was safe for just a little longer. She had warm meals, helped her clean and watched cartoons. She felt like a normal, happy, healthy girl. Why couldn't it stay that way?

"Mrs. Debussy, you open this door right now, you old hag!" Faith's large, doe eyes widened in shock at her mother's language. The woman had been kind enough to look after Faith and feed her. She was well into her fifties, but she was no 'old hag'. Mrs. Debussy sighed and patted Faith's head as she passed by her to open the door. Can't I stay just a little longer?

"Hello Mrs. Lehane. I'm sorry to keep you waiting, I was fixing up some dinner. Would you like some?" That was Mrs. Debussy. Always polite and kind. Faith liked that. Her mother's angry, red face appeared in the doorway. Faith leaned further into the couch, hoping to somehow escape her mother's eyes. But her mother always found her. "I don't want your fucking food! I want my daughter! She is, after all, mine," her mother growled. Mrs. Debussy's mouth dragged down a bit, but she nodded curtly. "Of course. Faith?"

She cringed inside at the sound of her name and slid off the couch. She could smell the alcohol on her mother before she reached the door. She looked up at the older woman pleadingly. "Are you sure you wouldn't like me to watch her for the night? You look tired." Faith's mother looked even more angry, if that was possible. "Of course I look tired! I work all day and come home to take care of my kid! What the hell do you expect?" She didn't wait for a reply and grabbed Faith's hand. "C'mon, Faith."

She looked back at Mrs. Debussy, who gave her a gentle, sad smile. Faith knew she was in for some form of pain. When they got back to their dingy apartment, she watched her mother stumble to the kitchen. She knew what was coming and braced herself.

"So, you like that old bat more than me?"

Faith shook her head. "No, mommy." Her mother took a bottle of vodka out from the fridge and stared at her as critically as she could in her inebriated state. "That bitch may be nice, but don't let her fill your head with any nonsense. You're trash, Faith." She grinned a wide, drunken grin. "Poor, white trash, just like your mother." Faith swallowed back the tears that she knew would come flooding. "Daddy wasn't trash," she muttered. Her mother frowned. "What'd you say?"

"Daddy wasn't trash," Faith repeated in a louder voice.

Slap!

"Your father left us, you ignorant shit. Did you forget that?"

"No."

"He left us for that cheap hussy. Mandy or whatever."

"Sandy."

"Same difference, darlin'. He still left. What hell? Are you crying?"

Faith wiped her tears away quickly. "No," she replied. Her mother smirked. "And why is that?" Faith swallowed the second wave of tears and squared her tiny shoulders. "Because only weak girls cry," she answered. Her mother nodded and took a swig from the bottle. "Damn right. You still crying?" Faith shook her head.

"You five by five?"

"Five by five."

In my memory I wrote you down in ink.

I never wanted to erase your story.

Even with the tragedy it brings.

Faith picked up the bow and arrow and looked at the street below the theatre. She could see Buffy and Angel arguing. What's wrong, B? Trouble in paradise? She notched the arrow and took aim. I can't imagine the price of true evil? Watch this, soul-boy. Let the arrow fly, already knowing that it would hit its mark. When it made contact with his back, she lowered the bow and tilted her head to the side at the sound of the vampire approaching.

"You missed the heart," he said in a dull tone. Stupid demon. "Meant to," she said. She turned away from the scene on the street. Buffy was cradling her undead lover, looking panicked. How sweet. She walked across the rooftop to her apartment and tossed her bow on her bed. "Why didn't you kill him? You're a slayer, aren't you?" the vampire persisted. Growling, she turned around and grabbed him by the throat. "Yeah, I am. The one and only slayer, actually. Want me to show you why?" she asked. The vampire shook his head and she released him. "Get the hell out of my apartment." She turned away, not bothering to watch him scurry to safety.

She stepped into her bathroom and locked the door behind her. She removed her jacket and boots and looked down at her hands. How much destruction would they bring? I'm gonna bring the world to its knees. She stripped the rest of her clothing off and stepped into the shower. She turned the water on full-blast and completely hot. She gasped a bit at the sudden change in temperature before stepping fully into the spray.

She relished the feeling of the hot water pelting her skin. She was feeling so numb these days. Numb…except for that darkness that lives deep down where no one can reach me. She picked up a loofa and lathered it with a spicy-scented body wash. She scrubbed at her flesh, ignoring the feeling of pain when she did it too hard. Dirty girl. Filthy. I can't wipe the sin away…

A knock on the door jolted her out of her reflection. "Faith? How did it go? Do you think the poison worked?" She felt a cold numbness spread in her stomach. "It went great. He dropped like a fly," she replied. She heard her boss chuckled. "Wonderful! Well, dry off and come on out. I have something for you." She heard him walk away and glanced down at her healing, blistered skin.

The fluid in your lungs

That tells you you're losing, stop breathing.

The medicine that comes will fix you,

Will help you, but takes you from conscious to sleep.

Place my hands to face and weep.

Faith was fifteen and sitting in a tattoo parlor. She was high off of something, as was the norm now. Her mother had passed away the year before and she was living in foster care. Well, she had been living in foster care, until she ran away. Thanks to the dose of cocaine, she was now sitting on a chair with an 'artist' etching the number '96' onto her arm. She didn't feel the needle piercing her skin, making the marking permanent.

The man hadn't asked for I.D. He just wanted cash, and cash she had, thanks to the woman she pick-pocketed earlier. Her conscience bothered her a little, but the drugs remedied that. "Why did you want this number?" the man asked, wiping away at some excess ink. Faith's answer was hollow and automatic. "Opposition."

"Opposition?" the man asked. Faith nodded. "Everything in life is opposition." The man grunted and returned to his job. Faith looked down at the symbol on her bicep and nodded. Pain and beauty. Something she was intimately familiar with. Before her mother had died of alcohol poisoning, she had been somewhat happy. She had been seeing someone and had even managed to keep her job. Things were looking up.

Until Evan ruined everything. He was a classmate of Faith's at the high school. They had English together. He had been having trouble with a paper that they were righting on Shakespeare. Personally, Faith thought that the subject was overdone, but she didn't bother to say anything. They had gone back to her house and were sitting on her couch with a book of poetry in her lap. "He jests at scars that never felt a wound," she read. "What do you think he meant?"

Evan's green eyes were studying her and she noticed that they were trapped on her more than ample chest. She cursed her body for maturing so quickly. She was only thirteen and already she received cat-calls from men on the street. "Evan?" His eyes finally rested on her face and she noticed that they were dark with something. Lust? "Faith…you're really smart. And sexy…" An alarm went off in the back of Faith's mind and her heart began to pound.

Evan leaned closer and brought his lips to her's. She pulled back and closed the book. "Maybe we should do this another time," she said, her voice and body shaking. Evan smirked. "We can do something much more interesting than a paper," he suggested. "C'mon, Faith. You know you want it," he said and raked his eyes over her young body. Faith shook her head and stood up. "No, thanks. I have homework to do. You should go home," she rambled.

She yelped when she found herself pinned to the couch with Evan's weight pressing down on her. "I just want to have a little fun, Faith. You wanna have fun too, don't you?" Her brown eyes widened and she shook her head. "Not this kind of fun. Now get off of me, Evan." He ignored her and began placing kisses along her neck, one hand sliding down to the button of her jeans. She struggled against him, but he pinned her down easily. She shut her eyes and retreated to the dark place inside of herself.

When it was over, he zipped up his jeans and grabbed his backpack. "If you tell anyone about this, I'll fucking kill you. You got that, whore?" Faith said nothing as he turned and left. When her mother came home she told her everything. Instead of receiving comfort, her mother blew up at her. "You're only thirteen and already the men want you! Why don't they look at me that way, huh! Tell me that, Faith! You stupid piece of trash!"

That was when Faith lost respect for herself.

Something beautiful,

Something torn from my hands.

I'm not ready for you to die.

(I can't leave her like this; get away from her.)

That is not all that she was. I don't want to say goodbye yet.

This day will end with a life complete.

My closest friend here, in front of me.

Suddenly, all the memories and dreams seemed to melt into one another. Evan was inside her. She was on the rooftop with her knife in her gut. The mayor was smiling as she modeled her pink dress. Her mother was hitting her in a drunken stupor. She had killed the mayor's assistant. She and Buffy were dancing in the Bronze. She was punching Wesely. She was stabbing Professor Wirth. Her watcher was being butchered by Kakistos. Her mother was dead. Her father was laughing. She was running. Always running. There was blood everywhere. Her hands were stained and filthy. Buffy was disappointed. Everyone was disappointed in her, because she was bad.

Bad.

Bad.

Bad.

Faith gasped as her eyes flew open.

You wanted to know if,

If it was worth the pain that it has caused us.

Both our lives—subtract one life.

To know why it was you deserved this.

-End