A Matter of Faith

Chapter 1

The battle was over, and they'd survived. The gang had ended up in LA at Angel's hotel. Angel had set them all up with rooms for a few nights as they decided where to go from there. On the third day, Buffy, Faith, Willow, Kennedy, Dawn, Xander, Giles, and Angel were sitting in the lobby talking about possible future plans. Kennedy wanted to take Willow home to New York to meet her family, Buffy and Dawn were still undecided, Giles was considering moving back to England to try to reconstruct the Watcher's Council, and Xander decided to stay in LA helping Angel. Faith, however, still did not know what she was gonna do or where she was gonna end up. But she did know that she didn't want to end up on another Hellmouth for a while.

It was during a lull in the conversation that the door to the hotel opened and a man in a suit walked in. Everyone turned to face him as Angel stood and walked over in his most menacing way.

"Can I help you?" Angel asked.

The man looked visibly nervous as he spoke, "Um...yes. I am looking for a uh..." he lifted a clipboard and consulted the list of names, "Faith Spencer? Is she here?"

Faith got worried but stayed quiet as she noticed Angel's shoulders tense. She somehow realized that he wanted to handle this.

"Who's asking?"

"Listen buddy I just have a certified letter for her. Is she here or not?"

"No. Not right now but I can sign for it. I don't know when she'll be back." Angel reached out for the clipboard.

The man thought about it for a few minutes as he glanced behind Angel towards the group of people sitting in the lobby. "Are you Angel?"

"Yes. Why?"

"Oh, cuz the letter is addressed in care of Angel Investigations. If you're Angel then I can let you sign for it and I can go finish my route. Good." The man visibly relaxed as he handed the clipboard to Angel and showed him where to sign.

Angel signed his name and handed the clipboard back to the deliveryman and waited as he checked the signature and then handed over a white envelope. The man smiled and then turned and walked back out the hotel door.

Angel turned the letter over in his hands until he was sure the man was really gone. Then he turned back to face the gang and walked right over to Faith and handed her the envelope. Faith took it and stared at it. She didn't know if she wanted to open it. The gang just waited silently as Faith took her time deciding. They somehow understood that she needed to open it in her own time.

Finally, Faith took a deep breath and opened the envelope and pulled out the single sheet of paper. She unfolded it and read what was typed there. As she finished reading, her hands began to tremble and the paper slipped from her fingers as she passed out.

Buffy, being closest, reached out and caught her as she fell forward and then laid Faith on the couch. Once she was sure Faith was ok, she reached over and picked up the letter. As she read it a look of sheer disbelief took over her face. Willow was the first to speak.

"Buffy, what is it?"

"It's from Faith's father." Buffy's voice betrayed the shock she was feeling. Faith had never mentioned a father.

"Her father? Really? What's it say?" Xander finally spoke up.

"Um...well, I don't know if this guy really is her father cuz he has a different last name but he claims to be her biological father and that he wants her to come to see him in New York City in two weeks. Says he has some news for her about her family."

"Wow. That's incredible, I mean the timing of it all."

Kennedy finally put her two cents in. "Am I the only one who's noticing something off about this?"

"What do you mean exactly Kennedy?" Buffy asked.

"Well, think about it, I mean, after all that's happened. Faith moving to Sunnydale, then going psycho and ending up in jail and finally breaking out and helping to destroy the first evil, you're telling me in all that time her father had no way to contact her? I mean, why now? Ya know?"

Buffy and Willow knew that Kennedy and Faith had become friends and also that Faith must've confided in her about a few things.

"Well, yeah it does seem a bit suspicious but it's Faith's decision as to whether she meets him or not. Plus, there's more. According to this, Faith's record has been expunged."

"Expunged? What's that mean?" Dawn asked.

"Um..." Buffy was at a loss so Angel jumped in.

"It means that she's no longer wanted for murder. Her criminal record has been wiped clean. This means that she can leave California for New York without worrying about any cops coming after her."

"Well, that's good right?" Dawn asked again. She had been really worried that Faith might have to go back to jail.

"Yeah, that's good. She's a free woman. She can do whatever she wants now."

"Question now is, what does Faith wanna do?" Buffy asked in a quiet voice. She was coming to realize just how much Faith meant to her and she didn't want to lose her now. Especially to a family she didn't even know existed.

The gang grew silent as Faith began to wake up. As her eyes slowly opened, Buffy moved to sit next to her. The first thing Faith saw when her vision cleared was Buffy, and with her defenses so low, Faith did the one thing she'd wanted to do for years...she sat up and kissed her.

After the initial surprise, Buffy gave in and kissed back and soon both girls were lost in their own world. Somewhere in the back of Faith's brain she heard a throat being cleared and she broke away from Buffy. That was when she noticed where they were and, embarrassed, she jumped up from the couch and bolted up the stairs to her room without looking back.

A still stunned Buffy just sat there as she left and then, before the gang could say anything she ran after Faith with the letter still clutched in her hand. Suddenly, Buffy wanted answers.

Faith was lying face down on her bed trying not to cry and to forget what had just happened. Not because she didn't like it but because she didn't think Buffy meant to kiss her back like that, and that hurt her more than the knife in her gut had. Faith tensed as she heard the door to her room slowly open and she heard Buffy's voice asking if it was ok to come in. Faith had a brief impulse to tell her to go away but she knew they had to talk this out because she had already decided to go to New York to meet the man who claimed to be her father.

"Yeah B, come on in."

Buffy walked in and closed the door before walking to sit on the bed next to Faith who had sat up as she was closing the door. Suddenly, Buffy didn't know what to say and neither did Faith so they sat in silence. Each lost in her own thoughts until finally Buffy couldn't take the silence anymore.

"Faith, what happened down there?"

"You mean the kiss? Listen, B I am sorry about that. I didn't mean to kiss you like that. Just, put it down to temporary loss of sanity or something ok?" Faith didn't want Buffy to know that it was more than that. That she was pretty sure she was in love with Buffy and also equally sure that Buffy would never want her like that so the easy way was to pretend she didn't mean it.

Buffy didn't understand the disappointment that ran through her to hear Faith say she didn't mean to kiss her. Buffy was pretty sure that it had meant more than that to Faith but without proof, there was no way she could just call her on it. So, she dropped it and changed the subject.

"So...um...do you know what you're gonna do about the letter you got?"

Faith jerked her head towards Buffy. "You read it?"

"Well...yeah. After you passed out I was curious as to what could make you pass out and so I read it. Sorry, I was just worried about you."

"Oh, nah it's ok B. At least now I don't have to tell you what it was about. Saves time." Faith smiled.

"So, what are you going to do?"

"Me? I'm gonna go to New York and see this guy and see what he has to say. Why?"

"Wondering. And, just like that you're gonna go see him? What if it's a trap? Or, a scam or something. Faith, you've gotta think about this, please."

"Why does it matter so much to you B? It's not like we've ever been the best of friends. Thought you'd be happy to finally see me leave. Besides, it doesn't matter if this guy's the real deal or not. I've wanted to go back east for a while now ya know? See my mom's grave and make my peace with her, somehow. Also, I 'm getting tired of all the sun here in California. Thinking maybe I need to be on my own, away from everything that happened here. So, why not?"

"Oh...I see." Buffy's voice lowered as she turned away from Faith, the truth finally hitting home. Faith didn't wanna get away from California so much as get away from her and that hurt. Knowing that Faith didn't want to be anywhere near her just hurt Buffy more than she ever thought it would. "Away from me, I get it really I do. I'll just leave now." Buffy suddenly needed to get out of there before the tears that were threatening fell.

Faith watched as Buffy practically ran from the room. Faith wanted so badly to stop her and make her realize that it wasn't like that. But in a way, it was. Getting away from Buffy might help her to get over the blonde slayer. Since three years in prison hadn't done the trick, maybe a totally different time zone and coast might.

Three Days Later

Faith stood in the lobby of Angel's Hotel and said goodbye to the gang, well to Dawn, Xander, Giles and Angel anyway. Willow and Kennedy were going to go with Faith to New York cuz Kennedy's family was there. And Buffy had refused to say goodbye to Faith, she was still hurting over her decision to leave and a part of her wished Faith has asked her to go with her. Buffy would've said yes and dragged Dawn along too. But, Faith never asked and Buffy had just enough pride to not mention it.

Faith noticed Buffy's absence and was saddened by it. 'Oh well. Guess it's probably for the best. I'm not really into long goodbyes and if I saw her I know I'd probably give in and stay just to be with her.'

The three ladies left the hotel and got into their waiting cab and went to the airport. Faith was quiet the whole way to the airport and Kennedy and Willow were talking about Kennedy's family and her hometown and all that.

Finally, at LAX they boarded their flight to New York and relaxed into their seats. Faith soon fell asleep for the whole flight as Kennedy and Willow joined the Mile-High Club...twice.

TBC...