They tell me I have a visitor. I never have visitors, so instantly I'm suspicious. Plus, it's not official visiting day. The guard comes and gets me, cuffs me, and walks me down the hall. All the girls are looking at me, wondering why I'm so special to get out for a minute.
I know this isn't good news. I've just got this feeling…B used to call it her "Spider Sense." Been nervous all week, walking around my cell, can't sit still. This isn't a "you're getting sprung" visit, this is going to be bad. I've got that sick feeling, where your chest gets all tight and every nerve in your body is jumping. Guard-girl and I walk down the hall and she leads me outdoors. This is a bigger surprise. No little booth with a phone? Plus, it's already dark outside. They keep me cuffed; they know how strong I am. That's been a good thing. First week here I proved myself and now, I don't have any friends but I'm no one's girlfriend either.
There's a picnic bench ahead and my visitor is sitting at it. It's Angel. The nervous sick feeling in my gut has fully exploded into out and out panic. He looks horrible. Well, as horrible as gorgeous guys can look. Ragged, more mopey than usual. I walk towards him and sit. The guard stands back, not leaving us alone but giving us some privacy.
Angel and I stare at each other for a moment. He's avoiding my eyes. "It's bad, isn't it?" I ask him finally.
"How bad?" My voice is shaky. Damn.
"As bad as it gets."
I want to come up with some witty comment but it's just not in me right now. "B?" I ask, praying, praying that's not the answer. Please…
He doesn't say anything, but his eyes…his eyes…I've never seen that kinda pain before.
"Angel…what? Please, tell me!" I say to him, trying to be tough, though I think I know.
"She—she's gone, Faith." He says, the pain and sorrow so clear in his voice.
"No," I tell him. "No way. Not Buffy." I shake my head, everything in my mind getting fuzzy. This is impossible.
"How?" I whisper.
His eyes shift to the guard then back to me. "A god…Glory. She came to kill Dawn and Buffy gave her life instead."
I can't talk. I can't breathe.
He continues, though I want to tell him I don't want to hear it. "She's been…it happened four days ago." I still don't say anything and he looks at me, concerned, which I find ironic since I can only imagine what this is doing to him. "Faith?" he asks. "You're the only one now."
The finality of his words hits me like a ton of bricks. "What?"
"You're the only one now. They're not going to call another Slayer."
"I—I can't. I can't do it," I tell him. My voice doesn't even sound like my own. I stand up, gotta get away. Angel leaps up and comes over to me, reaches out for me.
"Faith," he says…and holds me.
I can't stop it. I start sobbing, fall to the ground. "No…."
"I know, I know," he whispers to me.
"Buffy…she's the strong one. She's not supposed to die," I wail, not even caring that I'm making a fool out of myself. I look up at him. "Angel, tell me it's a joke, please…this is just a stupid joke…" But I know it's not.
He lets me cry it out. Soon I'm just shaking, tears aren't coming anymore but I can't seem to stop shaking.
"The Council…they're going to be here soon, maybe tomorrow. To have you released," he tells me.
I look up at him. "No."
His eyes plead with me. "You have to. There's no one else."
"Tell them to call someone else. My number's disconnected. I can't do it."
"You have to," he tells me sternly.
"Why?" I ask, scrambling to my feet. "So I can end up dead too? Buffy was ten times stronger than me. She was a stronger person. And she's gone."
"Faith, you're strong too."
I shake my head. "Not like her. No one was like her. She tried…she tried to give me everything she had. Even after all the crap I put her through. She did things, things I could never do. She died for her sister."
"She died for the world," he told me.
"What are you talking about?"
"It was Dawn or Buffy. There was no stopping it. She chose. If she hadn't, the world would have ended."
I take this in. "Where's this god now?"
Angel runs a hand through his hair. "Dead. Giles killed her."
"It was too late. Glory opened a portal to allow every demon dimension into ours. The only way to close the portal was with Dawn's blood…or Buffy's. So she saved Dawn."
I'm floored. I have never come up against stuff like this. "See! What would I have done?"
"You'd have done the right thing," he tells me, and the confidence in his voice scares me.
"You don't know me, Angel."
He ponders this. "No, I don't. Not anymore. Because you're a different person now than you were back then."
I look away.
"You've got a second chance, Faith."
"I'll never be her," I tell him. "I don't want to be. She was…she was good, special."
He nods, agreeing with me. "You'll just have to be you."
My shoulders sag. "I don't know if I can. I don't know who that person is."
"You'll find her," he says and we sit back on the bench. He glances at the guard. "Look, they're not giving me much time. Giles pulled something with the Council just so I could even get in here. But I wanted to tell you in person about Buffy."
This is too much. "So…I'm just going to be reinstated and shipped back to Sunnydale?"
He nods. "But I'll be there too."
"I don't imagine the gang is too thrilled about this," I say, a new fear entering my mind. "Willow, Xander…I wasn't too…friendly…with them."
He doesn't say anything. Doesn't have to. "I'll be there. And I'm your friend. Buffy was your friend, even in the end. They'll react to that."
I let out a breath slowly and gaze up at the stars. The night is beautiful. Been awhile since I've seen this many stars. Been awhile since I've been outside at night. "I want to go to her…to see Buffy's…" I can't say it.
He nods again. "Sure. She'd like that."
The guard signals that it's time to go. He turns to me. "It will be okay," he tells me softly.
I nod, but I don't believe it. He turns and walks away. The guard takes me by the arm. "Angel?" I say, turning around. He turns back to me. "I'm so sorry," I tell him. "I loved her too." He nods, sadly, and it breaks my heart.
And that's a new feeling for me.