Chapter 44- Epilogue- Comin' Full Circle
Author's notes 1/5/10: Wow, it's been almost two years since I posted the prologue to this story. When I wrote and posted "Cupid Can Kiss My Ass" over on another website, I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd still be doing it two years later and have so much fun continuing to write and post stories. Mainly it's because of the feedback and the connection through feedback that I've made through these stories that keep me inspired to write. I'll always cherish and forever be humbled by your kind words. I apologize, I never meant to drag the posting of this story out so long, I guess it's life and this site not being my "main" site, that I kinda forgot to keep updating over here. I thank the people who kept leaving feedback requesting me to finish the story for making me get off my lazy ass and just do it. To you this is dedicated. This last chapter is also dedicated to my fake (but kinda real) dawter Krista, this site and this story brought us together, I'll always be indebted to them, and to you for making me smile on an almost daily basis. The other times you usually make me cry, but whatevs. Oops, did I spoil another moment? ;) Don't worry, Mama labshu. ---- Thanks for reading everyone! I hope you enjoy this last chapter immensely! I have a holiday themed follow up that I'll probably start posting soon. :D
Uh, oh. I'm in trouble I think. What's new?
I'm wakin' up to an overactive three year old pouncin' on my back and a pissed off Buffy glarin' at me.
"Faith, get up!"
"Get up, Poppy! Poppy, get up!" Mia's bouncin' each time she says 'get up', like she needs to accentuate those words with poundin' her ass on my back.
"Faith, you said you'd go with us to the park, and we have to go in the next hour. I've got people coming later so we need to get a move on!"
"Unnnhh." I say in protest.
Oh shit, not the counting! Little Mia's gonna get it from me. She's tellin' Buffy to count to ten.
"Do I need to count to ten, Faith?" Christ she's got such a mom voice, makes me shake in my shoes sometimes. Don't tell anyone I said that though. Still haven't lost my edge.
"Horsey up, Horsey. I wanna ride!" Mia's still bouncin' on my back and makin' me look like a fool, 'cause now you know that I haven't been able to maintain my edge like I used to.
"Ok, I'm up. Poppy's up." Mia gets off my back and slides down off the bed.
Yeah, you heard it. Poppy.
That was Buffy and Dawn's little joke that started the day Mia was born, and then it sorta stuck. Giles even slipped and called me it one time, then blushed like five shades of red and gave me a very British apology.
Doesn't stop Xand from callin' me 'Pops' though. Fucker. I'll get him, don't you worry. Can't do anything right now, though; kinda need him for this current mission, and future missions, I guess.
"Mia, go get your stuff ready in your bag, have Auntie Dawn help you, ok sweety?" Buffy waits until she's outta the room to turn her glare back to me. "You're really up or do I have to drag you out?"
I had started to sink into the pillow again, but at her threat I flip onto my back.
"Buffy…" I groan.
"Faith, no. You wanted to go on this mission, I told you it would take a lot out of you and still you insisted."
"But Beeeeee…" I whine.
"No 'but B's', we talked about this over and over. I told you I would need your help more now that 'The second's' on its way, and said maybe now wasn't the time to take on extra work, but you insisted and you promised it wouldn't affect making time for us."
I stretch out and I can feel my T-shirt ride up and bare my stomach, in all its tanned, smooth, hint of muscled glory. I sneak a peek of Buffy who's sneakin' a peek at it.
When she sees me catch her lookin' she laughs.
"That's not gonna lure me back into bed." She sticks out her tongue. "You'll have to save it for later." The smile she gives is a promisin' one.
Knowin' I'm not gonna get what I want, and knowin' that I really shouldn't, 'cause I made a promise, I mentally slap my ass and get into gear; stretchin' out for real this time. I hear all the bones that need it, crack and pop. I sit up on the edge of the bed and let out a relieved sigh.
Buffy comes closer to me and puts her arms around my shoulders.
"I know it's an important mission, Faith. That's why I didn't give you more crap about going. But you shouldn't have told Mia you'd come with us to the park if this was harder than you thought it would be."
I tighten my arms around her growin' waist and hug her to me, listenin' to the noises her belly's makin'.
"Nah, it's a piece of cake, don't worry about a thing, babe."
"A piece of cake, huh? That's not what Andrew says."
"Yeah? Well Andrew's a fuckin' liar." I say, gettin' a little pissed that he would be givin' Buffy the updates I told him not to give. "He talks shit up all the time. He loves playin' it for the drama."
"Faith, why do you treat me like I'm stupid? Like I'm not a slayer? Like I don't know that things can turn out to be tougher than you thought?"
Oh shit, tread lightly here Lehane or your ass'll get handed to you. Per usual.
"I didn't want to worry you." I mumble into her stomach.
She lets out a frustrated sigh.
"Buffy, please, I'm handlin' it. We're winnin'. Doin' what needs to get done. And I'm comin' home every night like I promised."
"And I appreciate that. But you don't have to kill yourself doing it."
"I'm gonna keep my word, and that's that."
"Well then don't get upset if you have to do things that you want to get out of. I don't want to hear the whining. You make me feel like it's a chore for you to go out with us."
Oh fuck that! That's the last thing I ever want her or Mia to feel.
"No, Buffy, I was just bein' a little lazy. I'm up and I'll be ready in fifteen minutes."
"You've got twenty." She starts to break away from me so she can leave and then stops and looks at me. "I appreciate what you're doing, honey and I'm sorry I had to go all 'Mom' on you."
"You can go 'Mom' on me anytime, baby. Apparently, I still need it. Especially the spankin's." I look up and wink at her and she gives me a big smile and a laugh. Then she closes the gap between us and plants a sweet kiss on me. It turns heavy for a few minutes and she finally manages to break away from the kiss.
"We can't Faith, not now." She's breathin' heavy and my eyes are tryin' their best to focus. "Leah and Kara should be here with Joey soon."
My brain finally kicks into gear.
"Oooh, they're comin' with us?"
"Yep, they don't have afternoon classes so they decided to spend the day. Is that ok?"
"Wonderful," I rub her belly. "The more the merrier."
She smiles at me. "I'm so glad you think so."
"I'd be stupid not to." I give her a big smile, makin' sure to give her the dimples she loves to see.
It looks like she's in a daze for a second and then snaps out of it, her willpower is somethin' to be marveled. "Ok, then, let's get going." She steps completely away and leaves the room.
I go off to the shower and smile as I hear Mia fightin' with Dawnie 'cause she wants to bring all her toys to the park and Dawn says she can't.
She's such a good girl, though, she takes disappointment really well. Buffy's always tellin' me I need to take after Mia more. There was even this one day where I got all shitty 'cause I wanted somethin' and Buffy wouldn't let me get it. The truth is, I really didn't need it, and come to think of it I don't even remember what it was. We were out at the mall shoppin' and I got all moody after she told me no, so I went out to sit on the bench and Mia came with me. She sat next to me, studyin' me for a while and then kissed the side of my head and said, "Be a good girl Mommy, you'll see, Momma will get it for your birthday."
I laughed and pulled her to me, kissin' her and bouncin' her on my knee. Her laugh and presence makes all my worries and moodiness go away. A lot like what Buffy does for me. She's a really sweet girl, always givin' kisses and wantin' raspberries on her stomach. Just like Buffy too, come to think of it. Heh.
Fifteen minutes later and we're all ready to go to the park. I took a super quick shower and didn't shampoo, 'cause I had taken a shower before fallin' into bed the night before. Well, the mornin' actually, 'cause I got in at like 3am.
We're loungin' on our huge picnic blanket and Joey's runnin' around with the dog Leah and Kara got for him. Mia's tryin' to keep up with them.
Off in the distance I see someone who looks like Red, drag someone who looks a lot like Satsu across the field. As they get closer, I see exactly who they are: A very pregnant Willow, and a very tired and cranky lookin' Satsu.
"Hey, Will. Who's the angry boy you brought with you?" I ask with a laugh.
Satsu glares at me and I know if Mia wasn't runnin' up to them right now, she would have told me to go fuck myself or at least have given me the finger.
"I got like three hours sleep, Faith."
"Like I got any more?"
Buffy pats my leg, "Don't start the fights."
"Don't worry, B. We're not gonna fight," I lower my voice and mumble. "Not here anyway."
Buffy pulls my head around to hers, "Don't be cute."
"That's like askin' the sun not to set, baby. I'm always gonna be cute."
I jump up before she can swat my ass and run off so the dog follows me. He's jumpin' and yippin' at me and wants me to throw him his Frisbee.
I love this dog, he can catch a Frisbee like nobody's business. So I tell him to go long and he looks at me like I'm a nut, but I know better, 'cause he fuckin' takes off like a shot and runs a football field's length. I whip that fuckin' thing and as soon as it gets above his head he stops runnin' and makes a picture perfect leap, snatchin' the flyin' disc out of mid-air and makin' a perfect landin' on the ground.
Everyone's clappin' and Xander's sayin' "Nice arm, slick."
Satsu gets up and says, "I can do better than that." She steps away from the blanket she and Will just laid down and bends down to Ripper who drops the Frisbee at her feet.
Leah heard about Giles' nickname bein' Ripper and used it for the dog. Joey loves the name, he thinks it's cool. Giles was actually flattered.
"Go long, boy!" Satsu shouts and Ripper takes off like he did before. Only she doesn't throw it when I did, she lets him run further out. I'm about to tell her no, when she lets the Frisbee go and it burns down the field and to its destination. I start takin' off even before Ripper's up in the air.
Out of instinct, Satsu starts runnin', too. We hear the splash about three seconds after Ripper catches the Frisbee and drops out of view; Satsu yells out. "Oh fuck, no!"
In the distance behind us, I can hear a few gasps and "Oh, god's."
I also hear Buffy say, "Don't worry, Lee. Faith's got it."
Satsu speeds up and overtakes me as we get to the edge of the lake. She didn't realize this embankment dropped off into the water, or else she wouldn't have thrown the Frisbee like that. And the bad thing for Ripper is, this side has a huge wall. He'd have to swim way too far over to the other side to get back up on land.
As soon as Satsu gets to the edge she swan dives right into the water and lands near Ripper who's doin' a mean doggy paddle. He's still got the fuckin' Frisbee in mouth. That cracks me up.
Satsu grabs onto him and swims to a part of the wall that I direct her to, it's got some rocks she can climb up on.
I see a couple of beat cops runnin' up as she's climbin' up the wall. They're yellin' to her, "Miss, hey, Miss, you can't swim in that water. Miss!"
I tell them she was just tryin' to rescue the dog and they tell me to tell her to be more careful. There could be all kindsa things in the water apparently.
When she's near the top I hold out my hand for her to grab onto, I pull her up the rest of the way. When she's eye level, I give her my best shit eatin' grin.
"You set me up?" She asks hurt.
"Not at all, but why you gotta try to show me up all the time?"
I pull her up the rest of the way and set them on the ground.
Satsu's exhausted, so she splays out on the grass tryin' to catch her breath. I think she's more scared then tired from the run, but she really did fuckin' turn on the jets once she realized he had gone into the water. It was awesome to watch. Ripper lays the Frisbee by her hand and barks at her. He wants to do that shit again, I guess he thought it was fun.
"No, boy! No more splashies, ok?" I tell him. "Should I carry you?" I look at Satsu with a smirk on my face.
She groans and rolls over then gets to her feet, lookin' like a drowned rat. She bends down and picks Ripper up and we make our way silently back to the blankets.
"There's my girl." Will says cheerily. "Did you have a nice dip?"
"Willow…" Satsu whines.
There are some chuckles from various people, but no one says a thing. They're really stunned that Satsu did something like that, 'cause usually she's calm, reserved and level headed.
I guess I've been ownin' her a lot on the mission lately and she was tryin' to get even or somethin'.
She shouldn't feel that way though. I don't get competitive about missions anymore, I just want to get them over with. Get in, get out, get back home.
Will chuckles at Satsu as she approaches her and gives her a kiss to the cheek. "Can't stay dry, can ya?"
Satsu wiggles her brows, "Not when you like me wet."
Xander coughs, "Uh, children present!"
"Yeah, and Joey and Mia, too." I grin at him and take my seat next to Buffy. She pulls me back so my head is restin' in her lap, and Mia comes and sits on my stomach, I raise my legs so she has somethin' to rest back against.
Will quietly and quickly performs a spell to dry Satsu and Ripper off, if you didn't see the rustlin' of their hair and Satsu's clothes you wouldn't notice anything was up.
Satsu finally lets Ripper down and he runs up to Joey, lickin' his face and tuggin' at his shirt. He still wants to play.
Buffy's watchin' them and a smile is bloomin' on her face.
I tilt my head back and watch her. Fuck, my heart still skips beats when I look at her. Mia's chattin' away about somethin' and then realizes she's not bein' heard.
My fuckin' heart sinks like a stone and I get goose bumps. That sounded just like me when I was a kid. 'Cept I usually would be runnin' away and yellin' that, not sittin' with a look of indignation on my face until I was paid attention to.
"What?" Buffy asks.
"You didn't listen!"
"I'm sorry, sweety, what did you say?"
"Since when does she call you 'Ma'?" I cut Mia off and receive a pout for my troubles.
"For like a month now," Buffy shrugs. "I didn't even really notice it. I guess it's just shorter for her."
I don't know why the fact that Mia's usin' that name for Buffy is so significant to me. Why it means so much.
There's millions of kids all over the country callin' their mother's Ma, millions all over the world. My cousins call my Aunt 'Ma', my Aunt and Uncles called Gee Gee 'Ma'. I called my mother 'Ma'. But I never thought Mia would call either of us that, I dreaded it without even really realizin' it, and now it's like a weight's been lifted.
"I asked if it was ok that she called me that."
"It's fine, just curious is all." I look back up into Buffy's eyes and she understands. "It's perfectly fine."
She smiles down at me and leans down to give me a kiss.
Mia and Joey make kissy noises. That makes me laugh.
Dawn gets up and takes both their hands, leadin' them away from the blankets and goin' out to play with Ripper. "Let's leave the love birds alone, shall we?" She sounded like Giles there.
"You're just jealous, Little G."
As I lay here, I look around and take stock. The words 'full circle' come to mind. They've been kinda in my head off and on since Mia was born.
I've come a long way since first goin' out to Sunnydale. As a matter of fact, everyone's come into their own, and faster than we all could have hoped.
Satsu and Will got together about a year after Kennedy died, they're havin' their first kid, a boy, any day now. Xander's still content to play the field. He thinks maybe he'll be like Charlie Chaplin and have kids when he's 70. I pointed out that old Chuckles had at least three kids while he was still young, but Xander just smirked and said somethin' like, 'How do you know I don't?', to which Willow replied, 'They'd be hangin' off your arms and on your back wherever you went.' It's true, if he ever knew he had a kid, he wouldn't just abandon it and move on to the next woman. He'd rather lose his other eye.
Dawnie's moved to New York permanently, which is a real fuckin' help with me bein' gone a lot lately. She's also not with anyone at the moment, but we suspect that there's this really cute guy she's been shackin' up with, 'cause whenever Leah mentions the name 'Kevin', who's a teacher at her school, Dawn gets this smile on her face that makes me wanna make kissy noises. But god forbid I kid her about somethin', she'd get all vengeful and send me on a mission that I couldn't come back from.
Giles is more or less retired, he's tourin' the world currently, livin' out his dream of explorin' everything and takin' notes and pictures and sendin' us postcards from the most obscure places. And every once in a while, B or I will get a call to go pick up a girl who didn't know she was a slayer until Giles found her beatin' the shit outta somethin' much bigger than herself.
Alicia's been the biggest addition to the family, besides Mia and therapy, that's helped to relieve all my hang ups from childhood. I learned to trust her and learn from her. All her knowledge of vamps and demons has proved to be a huge asset to us in the field, and she's been the biggest reason why Giles can relax when he's out on his excursions. He knows we're in good hands.
I even found out what her connection to my first watcher was, and it didn't really surprise me, given the fact that she looked a lot like my grandmother as a younger woman. They were together for a while, before Emily became my watcher. At first when I found that out I was kinda devastated, not only that I felt responsible for her death, but that Alicia fell in love with someone who wasn't my grandmother. But I understood. She didn't want to upset Gee Gee's life, and she still was able to be involved in it, by lookin' after me.
I owe her a lot.
Speakin' of someone who I owe a lot to, Buffy hands me a sandwich and laughs as my stomach growls loudly. She's such a brat.
But a brat that I would walk the ends of the earth for.
We've been connected for almost thirteen years now, a couple for almost six, and we still surprise, love and frustrate each other like we just got together. And to give you a little insight into the frustratin' part, last year was her year to work, and she had to go underground without a word for a week. Well, a week turned into two, turned into three, and by the fourth I was screamin' in Andy's face so much he started havin' nightmares that I was that mother alien from Aliens and he was Sigourney Weaver. Have I mentioned he's a fuckin' nut? Now, Buffy knew what she was doin' but that didn't mean that I didn't nut out on her when she got back. And that's why it's so important for me to come home each night, or mornin' or whenever I can, for at least a few hours, so they know I'm ok and that Mia doesn't wonder what happened to me.
This year, since it was my year to work, we decided to make a go at havin' another kid. We did it with the same spell as last time, only this time around we didn't speed it up, it took about a week for things to fully take shape, and it seems to have made a difference on how fast the baby's growin', 'cause it's not nearly as fast as the last time. She's about two months, and while she's bigger than a regular woman would be at two months, we know that's because B's not a regular woman.
She's a fuckin' goddess. And don't you think I don't let her know it.
Satsu's cellphone rings me out of my thoughts.
"Hello?" She looks at me when she hears who's on the line. "No. We're in the park. You said tonight. Why…no…I did that already…ok, ok. Andrew, how many times do I have to say ok?" She waits a beat, "Ok."
I chuckle and shake my head. She cracks me up.
Willow sighs and looks away as Satsu presses end and puts the phone back in her pocket. I sit up and wait for what I know is comin'.
"He wants us there in an hour."
Xander's already gettin' up and checkin' his PDA. "I thought we'd have more time."
I shrug, "What's new?"
"But, Faith! You promised!" I look over at a pissed off Joey. "You said we'd go on the swings after we eat."
"And we will, you're finished, aren't you?" I say gettin' up from my comfortable position, shovin' the rest of the sandwich in my mouth. Buffy tosses me a bottled water and I skull half of it as Joey jumps on my back.
"I'll head back now," Xand says. "Buy you guys a few extra minutes."
"Thanks, man." I pat him on the back.
"No, problem." He walks off all business like and then breaks into a Charlie Chaplin walk. Everyone laughs.
"Where's Poppy goin'?" Mia asks, as she sees me and Joey gettin' ready to go.
"C'mon, Mimi. Swings, baby. Let's go."
She gets up and runs to my side, pullin' on my arm and usin' my leg to help her climb up my side. I toss the bottle of water back onto the blanket and grab onto her, settlin' her into a comfortable position, and makin' sure Joey's secure on my shoulders.
Rippers runnin' and jumpin' every few minutes as we make our way down to the playground.
"Look, there goes the pied piper." Willow laughs.
It makes me smile.
Me. The tough assed, bitch, slut from Southie, who'd sooner kill you then look at you, who's so stupid she doesn't know what an Achilles Heel is.
I feel a presence even before I hear any footsteps.
"Hey," My heart does that flip thing I was talkin' about earlier.
"Ma!" Mia yells as her and Joey are bein' pushed on the swings by me. "Look, I can point my toes towards the sky!"
"Faith won't let us jump off 'em, though."
"Good, you shouldn't be jumping off of them." Buffy says as she stands behind me and hugs me from the back.
"I know, things come up," She sighs. "But I'm glad you came even for a little while."
"Me too." I look up into the sky and the clear, piercin' blue takes my breath away and breaks my heart just a little. Everything pure does that to me. For the first few months we had Mia, I was always on the verge of tears every time I looked at her, heard her cries or even thought of her.
I have a feelin' this mission might be my last, but I don't tell Buffy anything about that. We never speak of those kinda feelin's to each other, not even how close we've come to death when we're out there. That's somethin' for another day. Another time and place.
I just live right here, in this moment and thank fuck for my family and destiny.
They're what brought me here, and made me who I am.
A tough assed mother fucker, with a hot woman, awesome kid, another one on the way, and a great family and friends.
And don't you forget it. 'Cause I never do.