Working Title: To Forgive

Rating: PG-13 for mild violence and language

Feedback: I'm a feedback whore. Really, I'll do just about anything for the stuff. On the other hand, if don't get any I might get discouraged and NOT write more and you wouldn't want that, would you?

Summary: When Buffy died Faith was released from jail but she's been laying low for a year, afraid to confront those she'd hurt. When someone pays her a little visit, however, her only option is to return to Sunnydale and ask those whose lives she'd almost taken, to help save hers.

AN: This story takes place during season 6. Buffy is still secretly sleeping with Spike, Willow and Tara are not together and Xander and Anya are.


May 2001:

She stared up at the cold gray ceiling; it stared back at her. It was no use looking anywhere else; every view was the same. The dull, uninspiring "non" color was all around her. All the walls, her bedding, the uniforms they wore day in and day out, all possessed the same steely shade.

How long had she been there? She had stopped counting ages ago. Counting days were for those who had something to look forward to, she would be there forever. Not that long ago she had expected forever to be a year or two, tops. Girls in her line of work never lived very long. But she was retired now, so forever took on a whole new meaning. It's nothing, she thought to herself; forever is only the beginning, eternity would be a whole lot longer, and that was how long she'd be paying for her sins.

She used to make excuses. She worked for the Powers, she didn't need to follow the rules. She had saved far more lives than she had taken, well more human lives at least. Survival of the fittest, she was stronger, she was better. Then things changed; she could not make excuses anymore. She had seen with her own eyes, well Buffy's actually, that she wasn't better, she wasn't even better than the scum she had been chosen to fight.

The fight: god how she missed the fight. She had loved losing herself in the rhythm, the dance. There was a gym in the prison of course. She went everyday, tried to imagine that the punching bag was a vampire or an unidentified demon, but it wasn't the same. It used to be enough, just to fight the bag, but now, with her powers, she barely broke a sweat. There was no agility, no skill required, it was all brute strength. It was too early for the gym anyway and so she just lay, letting her mind fight the battles. There were plenty of demons in her head; she just had to give them physical form. Today she was fighting a blue, hairy monster with blood red eyes; he kind of looked like Cookie Monster on drugs. The imaginary "her" delivered a mind-shattering blow to Cookie's head. "Faith," why was he calling her? He was supposed to fight, not talk.

"Faith," it came again. The slayer sat up and focused her eyes. It was the guard. Lunch wasn't for a couple more hours, what did he want?

"Got a visitor, tough stuff," who was it? Angel hadn't been to visit her in at least a year. She stood up and walked to the gate of her cell. The guard unlocked the door and Faith followed him to the visitor's room.

Faith took in the site before her. The visitor's room was occupied by only one man, no guards. The man was tall and skinny with a thick mane of chestnut brown hair. He appeared to be about thirty years old. He was dressed formally in a brown tweed suit and held a brown leather brief case.

Oh god, what did they want from her? Even prison didn't free her from them.

"Hello, Faith," the tweedster standing in the room with her said once the guard accompanying Faith had left them. "My name is Milo Gentry, I'm with the Watcher's Council."

"Wow, you really threw me with that one. I swear the tweed wasn't a dead give away." Faith rolled her eyes at the man as she approached the table in the center of the, otherwise bare, room and plopped herself down in one of the metal, fold up chairs that surrounded it.

"Mock, if you will, but I think it would behoove you to listen to what I have to say," the watcher remained calm though he knew already this was going to be a difficult conversation. He had heard enough about the rogue slayer to know he was getting himself into some deep water, but what other choice did the Council have?

"What? You gonna spring me from jail? You don't want that. I'm evil; remember? Besides, there are two slayers now, you don't need me, you got B," Faith leaned back slightly in the chair and put her right foot up on the table. She flexed and relaxed her calf so that the chair rocked slightly back and forth.

"Bee?" Milo asked, slightly befuddled.

"Ya know, Buffy, the other slayer. The good one who fired your assess," Faith chuckled slightly under her breath. Sure she was back on the side of good now, but she wasn't a saint, she could still find some amusement in other's pain.

"Ah, yes, Ms. Summers. Actually that is why I am here," Milo took a step towards the slayer. "You see Faith, Buffy Summers passed away last week."

The blood drained from Faith's face and she stopped rocking her chair. She squinted her eyes shut, gulped and then opened her eyes and looked at the watcher again. "Excuse me?"

Milo leaned back against the table so that he was almost sitting on it. "I'm sorry, perhaps that was a bit blunt of me. I'm aware that you and Ms. Summers were somewhat friendly before your unfortunate incident with the Mayor of Sunnydale."

The mention of the Mayor made Faith pale even more. Richard Wilkins was evil, there was no doubt, but she had loved him at one point, part of her still did. He was the father she had never had, and she couldn't hate him for that.

Faith removed her foot from the table and sat up perfectly straight. She took a deep breath and pushed away the tears that she could feel forming behind her eyes. Now was no time for crying, there would be plenty of time for that later; now she needed to find out what was going on. "So what do you need me for? One slayer dies, another is called; you know the drill."

"Yes, that is the 'drill' as you say, however, things are a bit different now. You see Buffy already had a predecessor. When she was drowned Kendra was called. Then Kendra passed and now you are slayer. Buffy Summers has not held the slayer lineage in quite some time. You are now the only active slayer and as thus, you must be returned to active fighting status."

Faith stared at Milo, not sure what to think, it was all too much for her to handle. Things had been so easy the last couple of years, no thinking required in the Big House. "So, I'm the only slayer?" Was all she could say even though she knew that was exactly what Milo had just told her.

Milo nodded.

"There's no one else?"

He nodded again.

"Wow, kinda brings new meaning to one girl in all the world." Faith let out a deep breath.

"The Council has already arranged for your release. The prison has gotten your things from storage and as of now, you are officially a free woman. Provided you work for the council under my supervision, of course."

"Of course. Cause what would being free be without someone to watch your every step and tell you what to do?" Faith mocked.

Milo didn't notice her sarcasm, or if he did he chose to ignore it. "Shall we go?" he motioned her to the visitor's entrance of the room they were in. Faith sucked the air into her lungs, held it, and stepped forward.