Disclaimer: Don't own the characters or anything else really, so don't bother to sue. Author's note: This story is an old one of mine that I got way to stuck on to continue a long time ago but, as I hate permanently unfinished stories, I have just gone though and re done the whole thing in order to take it in a direction where I'm less likely to get so stuck again. It's mostly the same in the first few chaps, but as the story goes along I've changed the direction of it more and more. Hope you enjoy it and, as always in my stories, if there is any mistakes, something you don't like or feel is out of character, or just an idea you'd like to see happen in it please review or message me about it! I love constructive feedback and will almost always find a way to work in what you want or fix whatever I'm doing wrong. Thanks.
Disclaimer: Don't own the characters or anything else really, so don't bother to sue.
Author's note: This story is an old one of mine that I got way to stuck on to continue a long time ago but, as I hate permanently unfinished stories, I have just gone though and re done the whole thing in order to take it in a direction where I'm less likely to get so stuck again. It's mostly the same in the first few chaps, but as the story goes along I've changed the direction of it more and more. Hope you enjoy it and, as always in my stories, if there is any mistakes, something you don't like or feel is out of character, or just an idea you'd like to see happen in it please review or message me about it! I love constructive feedback and will almost always find a way to work in what you want or fix whatever I'm doing wrong. Thanks.
Buffy walked into the cinderblock room and sat down in the seat across the table from Faith. The girl looked the same, and unlike herself, no more tired or old than the last time she had seen her. Faith had been in the women's penitentiary for almost three years now and still somehow had that sharp determined light to her eyes as she had before. It surprised Buffy somehow and she briefly wondered how Faith did it.
As far as she knew she would never get out, how could that light have survived for so long? Buffy had lost hers long ago, when she had died and was brought back. The light hadn't come back with her. It wasn't the same. She wasn't the same. Something was missing from her that she couldn't quite place...until she saw it remaining in Faith. But then again, Faith had it easy, even with jail. She didn't literally have the fate of the world carried upon her back...or at least not yet. Not until Buffy was finished with the conversation she was about to have with the rogue slayer.
Buffy noticed Faith watching Buffy as she leaned back in her chair, never wanting to give away what she really felt or thought about much of anything. "Hello." Buffy finally managed out smoothly.
Faith continued staring carefully underneath her laid back posture. "B." She nodded. "So what do I owe the visit?"
Straight to business, Buffy thought, she's trying to make it easy on me. "The world's ending and I think it might actually happen this time."
Faith made no comment.
"You've stayed here all this time when you could have broken out whenever you wanted?" She said in a way that almost asked more than stated. Buffy knew she had, but it still surprised her. How much self-restraint had that must have taken? Could she herself have done that?
Faith nodded. "I got kinda crazy for a while. I knew I needed to be here. Besides, I wanted to show you I was serious."
"You went to jail for me?" Buffy asked in a doubtful tone.
"I went to jail because I wanted to straighten myself out. I stayed because of what you said."
The blonde didn't want to get into thinking about that statement at the moment, knowing she needed to get back to Sunnydale and bring Faith with her. "Well, you did that. Now it's time for you to go home." She stood up, waiting for Faith to follow so that they could go. The council...or what was left of it, had seen to her freedom already and Buffy knew they wouldn't have a problem, but Faith remained looking up at her in her seat.
"I don't have a home, B. I just float around where I want or where I'm needed." There was a hint of sadness in her voice though it was clear to both that she in no way meant it to evoke pity. She loathed pity, always had.
Buffy looked at her and tried to think how to voice what she really wanted to say in a way that was acceptable. I wish you weren't so screwed up so I could have kept you. I've wanted you to come back every single day since you've been here. I miss you. I should have forgiven you before, but it was easier to blame you than blame myself. It was my fault too. Please forgive me. Please forgive me for letting this happen to you. I wonder if that scar is still there. Please forgive me. Come home. You have one. You always have one. Your home is with me. I swear I won't be such a bitch this time. Oh God, please, please forgive me. She waited until Faith met her eyes before replying.
"Yes you do." She held out her hand to her fellow slayer. Faith, understanding the weight of what the blonde said, took her hand and stood up, following her out of the ugly room.
Thirty minutes later Faith was finally out of the ugly prison uniform she had worn for so long and into the clothes she had worn those years ago when she had turned herself in. And she had no way to describe how good it felt. They were taking a bus back to Sunnydale, as Buffy still didn't drive. But then again, neither did Faith. She needed paperwork such as her birth certificate and other things that she didn't have to get it. Besides, that had been what Xander was there for. The ride hadn't been quiet thus far. Buffy was trying to fill her in on everything and it was taking an amazing length of time.
Faith had never doubted that she was missing things, but never realized until then just how much. Buffy had died...for real this time. No wonder she's so depressed looking.
Faith wanted to hug her, but it just wasn't something she did. Heck, she wasn't even sure she ever had been hugged before...except maybe by Angel right before she turned herself in. Not that she really cared.
They got off the bus nearly three hours later, almost the whole time being spent in Buffy catching Faith up on events and explaining the current situation for her. No one was there to pick them up and they walked the two remaining miles to Buffy's house, Faith nodding and turning around as soon as they got there to find somewhere she could stay while she was in town and Buffy called out to her like she was retarded so something.
Faith turned around. "Oh yeah sorry, bye, B. I'll come by tomorrow to help out with whatever. I just need to go find a place to crash." The thought of staying at Buffy's house hadn't even crossed her mind.
Buffy caught up behind her and stopped her in her tracks, looking almost hurt. "I was thought you could stay with me..." Buffy commented, obviously taking the gesture as Faith hating her too much to even want to stay in the same house. She quickly tried to cover up her hurt tone and think of a more logical reason to get her to stay. "Everyone else is. Willow, Xander, all the potentials we could round up...it's safer."
"Well, if you want, B. Do ya got room?"
"You can share mine...it's the only one that's not filled with sleeping bags at the moment."
Faith nodded and followed her inside. Amazingly enough, at the moment the house was empty...though it was definitely obvious that a ridiculous number of teenage girls had recently been there.
"Willow and Xander took them all out to a movie for the night to try to lighten the mood. The first got to one yesterday and she hung herself. The girls were pretty upset. It started at nine so they'll be gone for a couple more hours. Enjoy the quiet time, there isn't much of it around here."
Faith chuckled. "Believe me, as much quiet time as I've had lately I don't think I'll mind."
She meant it as a joke, but even so Buffy felt really guilty. Even with everything, she shouldn't have left Faith there for so long. A few months yes, a few years...that she shouldn't have allowed. And from what Faith had said earlier Faith never would have left unless Buffy had told her it was ok. She was waiting for me. I'm such an idiot. I'm such a bitch.
Faith sat down on the side of her bed and bounced up and down a little. But in doing so her shirt rode up just enough to reveal the still thick and prominent scar on her side and Buffy's eyes grew wide.
Faith must of noticed her face go pale, because she seemed suddenly concerned for the blonde. "You ok?"
Buffy didn't answer but instead reached out her hand to touch the still barely showing scar out of reflex. Faith did not stop her and Buffy found herself kneeling down in front of the younger girl tracing along it with her fingers.
"Does it hurt?" Buffy asked, still zoned out.
Faith debated on how to answer and finally decided to just go with the truth. "Yeah, sometimes." Buffy looked up at her with apologetic eyes and Faith quickly added a "but not much" to the statement.
"I have nightmares about it sometimes." Buffy admitted surprisingly.
Faith kept her tone lowered. "So do I." She didn't think it would turn into a conversation.
But Buffy continued. "Sometimes I dream that you're sitting in that tree outside my class back in high school and then suddenly you start bleeding through your shirt and I'm standing at the window with that dagger. Or I dream about how it really went and I see you falling out the window of your apartment...and I think that I wake up but when I do I still have that dagger in my hand and I'm asleep. And you're just lying there. God, I hate it."
Faith wasn't quite sure what to do with the confession from Buffy. She had never given any thought to the possibility that the girl might regret it at all. Faith put a hand on her shoulder, as comfortingly as she knew how to. "You did what you had to." She said simply, and Buffy's head snapped at her for the remark.
"No. I didn't. I should never have let it go that far. That was my fault too, Faith. And you were the one to pay for it. Eight months...and then three years." By the time she had finished it was obvious she was talking more to herself than to Faith and she looked as if she were about to cry. Faith had no idea what to do. She wasn't mad at Buffy. She was mad at herself, and apparently Buffy felt just as much guilt. Weird. She wondered if Buffy understood why she had gone to the mayor.
"I did a lot of messed up things. I wasn't a good person like you."
"And how else were you supposed to be, Faith? You were alone. You were eighteen years old and you were alone. I left you alone. That shouldn't have happened."
"Seventeen." The girl quietly corrected.
"What?" The blonde asked, confused.
"I was seventeen. I'm twenty now. I'm a year younger than you, B."
"I never knew...wait...so how were you living in that hotel alone then? Where was your guardian?"
Faith shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know, the council I guess. Been on my own long before that though. I didn't mind."
By this time Buffy had stood up from in front of her and plopped down beside her. Faith obviously wanted to change the subject and Buffy didn't want to make her uncomfortable so she complied. "Want to go grab something to eat before the girls get back and raid the fridge?"
Faith smiled. "You know I would never turn down food."