What Faith Can't Do
There are lots of things Faith can't do.
She can't kill Buffy: tried, failed. She's glad she failed. Isn't she? But then, some nights, it just creeps into her head and there it is: if Buffy were dead, she would be the Slayer. Not the other Slayer, not the dark Slayer, not the rogue slayer, just the Slayer. One of a kind.
Faith can't tell people she cares.
Big bear hugs aren't her thing. She never even knew how to apologise to Wes (but he's dead now so what does it matter?). Couldn't tell Angel that he was her saviour, not really. Can't tell Robin he's important to her. Never told her first watcher that either, 'fore he bit the dust in a particularly violent way. Hell, she can't even tell Spike she likes the company while on a smoke break! How pathetic is that?
It's a small thing, but it stings: Faith just cannot make pancakes.
They burst into flames, or just turn black and smoky. One time they cooked perfectly and then tasted like sugary rubber.
She watches other people cook pancakes and it's easy. What's wrong with her?
She can't cry when she feels the worst.
When Faith heard the news that Angel was dead she couldn't cry a single tear. She walked over to the nearest wall and attacked it viciously, kicking and punching. Robin washed the blood off her hands and bandaged her but the red-brown still stains the bricks to this day, reminding her every day of that bad time when she'd believed he'd died – and how no one had even thought to tell her about the elaborate ruse that necessitated this awful lie.
Buffy, who was in charge of telling people, probably hadn't thought her trustworthy enough to know back then – she'd been out of prison less than two years, and had already backslid a couple times. Or maybe it was just revenge for the one time Angel chose someone else over her. Faith understands. But she still feels betrayed.
Faith can't feel happy when she watches Robin and Angel talk.
This is because it's Robin and Angel and they visibly get along and it annoys her. Both are handsome, moral, reliable, heroic men who hate Spike – of course they'd bond. But seeing her own personal guardian angel chatting it up with her boyfriend isn't pleasant, because Angel knows so much more about her than anyone else and she's scared of Robin finding out things she's not ready to tell him. Things she may never be ready to tell him. She doesn't like it, and hates herself for caring.
It shouldn't matter, but it does: Faith can't forgive Buffy.
For having everything Faith ever wanted and not even valuing it. Not until it was too late, anyway.
She can't sleep without dreams.
Faces staring at her, hands touching her, bodies strewn about before her. The smell of blood. They seem so real that she wakes screaming and doesn't calm down until strong arms wrap around her, holding her close. "Angel," she thinks, flashing back to that day when she started her redemption and he held her so tightly she got bruises. Out on the wet street, his voice in her ears, surrounded by the scent of him, soaked by rain, pleading for death from the only person who ever really got her. His arms like iron bars around her, holding her there, real, alive, and the pain of how tightly he was holding her somehow making it okay to cry, because it felt like he was in as much pain as her. Sometimes she accidentally says "Angel" out loud, but Robin doesn't hear. Or maybe just pretends he doesn't.
Faith can't accept charity.
Even before she was pulled into the Slayer gig, she'd rather beat someone up for their cash. And if not that, she had her body to bargain with in …other ways. Her stepfather had taught her the value of that back when she was young enough to earn double.
It was a long time ago. But Faith still can't let her childhood go.
She shares a small amount with Angel, a smaller amount with Robin. Robin acts like each bad thing is horrific, whereas Angel just sits there solid and comforting, secure in the knowledge he's seen worse – done worse. She's not sure which she prefers. Angel, probably.
She's shared with B before, too. Red gets her angry face on when she's there because she believes Faith is trying to make people pity her. It would never occur to Red that Faith hates pity and always has. She's had it hard, sure. Who hasn't? And if hers was a bit harder, well, she's a grownup now.
Faith can't tell anyone the truth.
The truth that she's still evil where it counts – she may wear a thin skin of goodness over the black chaotic foulness beneath, but that doesn't mean it's not there. The truth that she believes in hell, and knows she'll end up there. The truth that people really are bastards, in general, and that there is no such thing as an innocent one. The truth that she doesn't really have the ability to love – not unselfishly, like Buffy and Robin and Angel and even Spike do.
No, Faith can't tell the truth. Not to anyone, ever. Because these truths would destroy her.
She can't believe in God.
It's what you learn in jail – religion – but in her mind God either doesn't exist, or is a real bastard.
She's heard the devil's greatest trick was convincing the world he didn't exist. But maybe, just maybe, the devil's greatest trick was convincing the world he was God.
She can't be sure.
About anything. Robin, Angel, even Buffy – these are the most important people in her life. But she doesn't know what she feels about them, or them about her.
Faith can't stop the darkness inside of her.
Oh, she can fight it, day in and day out. But it's still right there inside of her. Sometimes she pictures it as an inky black vine growing around her heart and soul, strangling them. Sometimes it's her shadow, following her everywhere until she hides in pitch black, so that instead of her darkness it's everyone's darkness.
She wonders if it's just what she's capable of without her soul. A part of her. Other times Faith thinks it's a wrongness inside of her that makes her capable of thinking and sometimes doing stuff that B would never do. Either way, she doubts B or Robin have this darkness – they're too good, too pure.
She hates them for that.
Faith can't obey road rules. They just don't make any sense to her – like most rules, really. Faith is an agent of disorder in the universe, chaotic and rebellious to a fault. Road rules are unimportant.
Robin often says that there's a reason why only people with supernatural powers let her drive. Once when she drove Buff to a big meeting, B said "You drive like a spazz!" as if she was quoting someone, which made the rest of the Scoobies laugh – and annoyed Faith, because it made her feel even more left out than Xander and Red's blatant distrust. Because they have shared stories, and history, and love.
While they were talking the more serious stuff, Faith took off patrolling and had a brutal and bloody fight with a demon. When she came back to the meeting place bruised and messy, Angel was there bringing another lot of news from his area. He glanced at her and asked jokingly if she'd been eaten by a bear. She laughed with him at the memory, and then caught Buffy's death-glare.
The knowledge that she has inside jokes too had really cheered her up on the way home. Well, until she totalled the car in an incident with a Chevy, a low-flying plane and a poodle. ("I don't want to talk about it," she'd told Robin, and to his credit he'd never asked for a full explanation).
She can't die.
Sometimes, she wishes she could, but there's still so much to do. And Faith owes it to the people who care about her to keep going, even if sometimes she just wants to rest so damn badly.
Faith can't ever see people the way they are.
People are abstractions to her, always illusory. Once it seemed to her that the blood coming out of them was the only thing real thing about most people. Everything else was a mask, a cover. They seemed two dimensional. Faith was flesh and blood, violence and pain, chaos and need: they were laughter, annoying chatter, and an indifference that was worse then hatred.
Now she can see – in flashes – the depth to other people. Surprisingly Willow is one of the people she sees it most in. Red loves, see, in a way the rest of the Sunnydale group don't – Xander breaks all the women he loves, for Anya men were always a possession, for Buff love is only ever a pretty fantasy, and Spike obsesses instead of loves. But Red, she feels it. Deep down, where it hurts. Where it breaks you. She loves like Faith hates.
She can't bring herself to admit she'd like to wear dresses. Sometimes, anyway.
Looking pretty and feminine is completely against what Faith is all about. It would look weak, and silly, and people would laugh. So she never tries on the pretty red dress in the store downtown, even though she can't take her eyes off it whenever she goes by.
Above all, though, this is what Faith can't do – Faith can't stop the occasional moment when she forgets her guilt, her pain, her past, her loss, her hate. Watching a movie with Robin – laughing with Angel – smoking with Spike – sparring with Buffy – dancing at a club – even petting a puppy. She can't stop those little moments when she feels happiness, undeserved happiness.
And she doesn't want to.
I 3 Faith. Best character ever.