Freedom is an illusion.

She knows this and yet she chases it, reaching out for something so intangible, so elusive that she can never really get her fingers around it.

She's always trapped, by things she's done and things she will do. Because she has a destiny about her, sewn in with the fabric of her skin and wound up in the dark curls of her hair. Destiny swirls around her neck, like a string of pearls, clings like smoke, and it won't leave no matter how far she runs. It never goes away. And she is never free.

Faith figures she'll grow up and embrace it someday. The life of pain and getting beat up, the early death, that was also stitched into her with blacks and blues and startling reds. It was okay she knew the colors and stitches long before she was called.

But she always though that just maybe she'd escape. She'd go away and she'd be free.

She hadn't dreamt of things that go bump in the night or of watchers whom never stuck, she only wanted to be free. Why was that so hard? Why couldn't they just let her go?

Can't they see she doesn't want to be here?

But destiny persists. There was a time when she though you created your own destiny—if that were the case, she'd like some lessons on how to change it.

So she disappeared one day after the school was set and no apocalypses were in the foreseeable future.

"Buffy, I need to go."

The blonde girl sighed, but wasn't caught off guard. Faith couldn't be contained for long.

"You're always welcome here, we'll always have space for you Faith."

Their eyes met for a second of understanding.

Forgiveness? Tolerance? Friendship?

Yet Faith choked on her unspoken question, would Buffy always have space for her at the new school, or would she always have a place for her?

"I'll stay in touch, just gotta see the world B. Stuff I wanna do, guys I wanna do…ya know…"

And Buffy smiled in that way that was just so aggravating. "Yeah, I know."

So she closed the door behind her and stepped away from the house with the stained glass windows and gingerbread trim.

Don't look back.

She straddled her ducati and hit the road.

It always called to her, the wide expanse of black stretching out and dipping before her, yellow lines pointing away, no where in particular just away.

Chasing her ever running horizon.

There were things Faith understood that others never could. She understood how the world spun a little on a tilt and how umbrellas didn't ever really stop rain- just moved it.

You can't stop the rain, just let it hit upon you – and should you chose to be an umbrella red and bold, the wind would eventually pick up and swing you backwards. She understood.

So why was it, He understood all this and yet he tried his best to be an umbrella? She was a bit surprised to meet him at first, and she held up fists and spread her feet in an always comfortable defensive stance.

And He, He laughed at her, soft belly laughs and spoke in His faded British drawl, "Some things never change."

Some things never do change but He certainly had, bleached blonde hair forgotten she could see it just hanging on to the tips of his hair. His duster was replaced, said it reminded Him of bad things and she remembered vaguely something Robin had said about his mother.

So she dropped her fists and danced with Him a moment when He whispered into her ear something she didn't really catch but sounded a bit like, "I know too…"

He did know, didn't He? About the world and tilts and umbrellas that broke. So she let a smirk dimple her cheeks and rocked her hips into His, Faith understood things about men as well as about the world.

But He pushed her back slightly, twirled her into His chest, her nose in His shoulder and asked, "Will you catch the horizon with me? I'm lonely."

And she was glad He had admitted His aloneness because she knew she couldn't have and now she didn't have too.

Because Spike understood things of the world and of Faith.