Disclaimer: I own nothing…except my computer. And I'm still making payments on that.
Summery: Faith walks into the Magic Box one day to find someone waiting for her.
Setting: This is slightly AU…ok…S3 happened the same, but when Faith woke up, she didn't switch bodies with Buffy…she tried to make amends. None of the gang, save for Buffy, really put any effort into it. Set in S4.
Giles was sorting through a new box of inventory when the jingle of the door made him look up. He smiled and adjusted his glasses. "May I help you?" he asked.
The man who walked in was huge. Giles swallowed hard and thought he might even have demon blood in him. He wasn't very tall, maybe 5'10'', he had a massive bulk about him. He moved easily, however, and Giles could tell that he was packed with muscle. He wore a simple pair of black slacks and a tight, black t-shirt which accentuated just how muscled he was. Over that, he had on a very nice black leather jacket.
The man smiled disarmingly at Giles. "Hey, how you doin'?" he asked. "I'm lookin' for someone, I thought you could maybe help me out?"
Giles nodded. "Of course, If I can."
"That's great." The man said. "You see, she's my daughter. She left home a while back, there was some problems and stuuf, you know what I'm sayin'?" he said, shrugging but keeping his smile in place. "Some things were said that maybe was bad, but I heard she was in some trouble and I'm her dad, you know? I should help her if I can."
Giles felt a small swell of pity for the man. Anyone who's child ran away in Sunnydale was most likely not going to be alive for very long unless they left the town before nightfall. "What is your childs name?" he asked.
"Her name is Faith. Here, I have a picture…" the giant man said, reaching into his coat and pulling out a small, worn photo. "It ain't a recent one or nothin', but I don't think she will have changed much…" he said. "It was taken about five years before she ran away…" the man muttered softly, looking around the shop.
Giles was staring at the man holding out the photo. He gently took the picture. Surely he wasn't looking for…their Faith? Was he? Looking at the picture, Giles saw a young girl, no older than ten. She had long, black hair and was smiling broadly. Her two front teeth were missing but she smiled broadly none the less. She was wearing a bright red sweater and the picture backdrop was a grey-blue that Giles recognized immediately as a typical school picture backdrop. He studied the face carefully and nearly dropped the photo. "Dear lord." He muttered. Looking back at the man, he swallowed. "She is your daughter?" Giles asked.
"Absolutely." The man said. "We kept in touch for awhile after she left, well actually she'd call and when we found out where she called from she had already gone…" the man sighed. "From what the police have been able to tell me, she's been here for awhile now, so I'm kinda goin around and seein' if she maybe is still here somewhere."
"I see." Giles said carefully.
The front door jingled again and Giles looked up to see Faith and Buffy walk in.
"I'm telling ya, B, you shoulda been there. It was a killer…" she stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the man standing at the counter.
"Daddy?" Faith said softly.
"Faith?" the man stared at the dark slayer and swallowed hard.
For a moment, no one moved. Faith and her father just stared, afraid that if they moved this would all disappear. Faith decided that she would risk it and covered the distance between them in two steps and leapt into her fathers arms, hugging him tightly.
"Baby…oh god…baby, are you alright?" the man was asked a now sobbing Faith. "Why didn't you call me, or come home…"
Buffy, who was watching the entire scene, felt tears coming from her own eyes at the emotion radiating off of the two. "Giles?" she asked.
The Watcher just shook his head, still staring in amazement.
"Giles, can we use the training room?" Faith asked, looking at Giles with tears still running down her cheeks. She had one arm locked around her fathers neck still and she wasn't letting go.
"Of course." Giles said.
"Thank you." The dark slayer said, pulling her father along behind her.
Buffy walked up to the counter, staring after Faith and her…father? "Giles…that was her…?" she shook her head.
Giles nodded. "Indeed." He said, handing Buffy a picture.
The blonde slayer took the picture and looked at it hard. It was defiantly not the Faith they knew. The Faith in the picture was innocent, soft and full of joy. Buffy frowned and looked up. What had caused her to change?
"Come home." Faith's father said, holding onto Faith's hands. "Please."
Faith shook her head. "Dad, I can't. You know that." She said sadly.
"Why? You think we ain't got…problems…in Boston?" her dad asked. "Cause we do." He said. He knew Faith was a slayer. He knew about vampires.
"I think it's more about mom than anything." Faith said sadly.
"Hey…that was a long time ago." Her dad said. "She isn't mad anymore." He assured her. "Neither is your brother, or even your uncle. They all love you."
Faith raised an eyebrow. "Sure. I didn't knock them across the living room." Faith sighed. Her mind flashed back to the night she ran away.
"Again, Faith?" Faith's mother yelled. "You were fighting again?"
Faith rolled her eyes. "So what? He started it, I finished it. Simple as that."
"No, Faith. It's not that simple. This…" her mom held up a letter. "This isn't simple. You've been expelled!"
"For the record, I totally dropped out before they expelled me." Faith said, smirking.
"Hey, hey, hey!" Faith's father walked into the house. "I'm gone for all of five minutes and you all are fighting?" he asked, kissing his wife on the cheek and looking at the paper in her hand. "What's that?" he asked.
"Faith has been expelled." Her mom said coolly.
"For what?" her father asked.
"Fighting." Her mom said.
"Whatever. No big loss." Faith said, turning around. Suddenly, she felt a wave of…something…wash over her. She could hear everything in the room with crystal precision and clarity. She felt power flowing through her. "I…I gotta go…" she muttered. She felt pulled to go out, to run.
"I don't think so young lady…" her mother said, grabbing Faith's arm and pulling.
"Let go of me!" Faith practically snarled, spinning and lashing out with a fist. She watched, horrified, as her mother went sailing through the air and slammed into her father, knocking them both down. "What the…" she muttered before running out the front door, leaving it open.
Faith's father checked his wife and sighed when he saw she was all right. But when he looked up, Faith was running out. "Faith?" he yelled after her. "FAITH!"
Faith didn't stop.
"Come on. You don't really think that she's still mad about that, do you?" Faith's father brought the dark slayer out of her reverie.
Faith only raised an eyebrow.
"Ok. She may be a little upset." He said. "But she loves you, too." He said, standing and holding the heavy bag Faith was punching. "You're our daughter. Nothin is ever gonna change that." He said. "And lift your arm."
Faith smirked and raised her left arm while punching.
"Better." Her dad smiled.
"I can't go home. I have stuff to do here. I have things that I need to make up for." Faith said, punching harder. "Too much stuff."
Faith's father held the bag tightly and nodded. "At least visit. Call. Write." He said. "Something."
Faith nodded, feeling tears burning her eyes.
They remained silent for a moment, Faith punching the bag hard while her father held it. She didn't want to tell him that for the last eight months, she had been in a coma…or the reasons why she was in that coma.
"Raise your arm." Faith's dad said again, this time swiping out with his right arm and smacking her lightly on the side of the head.
Faith raised her arm and shook her head. "I'm not ten anymore, dad." She said softly.
"But you fight like it." He smiled. He remembered when she was ten and her brother was fifteen. Her brother was learning how to box and Faith wanted to learn too, but her mom didn't want her to have anything to do with it. But her dad would let her watch her brother and made sure that she was catching everything too.
Faith was a tomboy in the truest sense of the word. She didn't like dolls, frills or dresses. She spent most of her time at the gym with her brother watching the amateur boxers and mimicking their moves. It came so naturally to her. By the time she was twelve, she had been in more fights, and won more fights, that her mother had forced her to stop going with her brother. It infuriated Faith and drove a wedge in between her and her mother. Her dad tried to bridge the gap, to repair it, but Faith had inherited her fathers stubborn streak. She ran away from home at 16 and never looked back. She would call and let her dad know she was ok, but whenever he tried to pass the phone to her brother, her uncle or her mom, Faith wouldn't say a word. She'd listen to their 'I love you' speeches and their begging to come home, but she wouldn't utter a word until her dad came back on.
Faith smirked. "I fight way better than a ten year old." She said.
"Well, I wouldn't say way better. That's a bit of an exaggeration." Her father said.
Faith flipped him off.
"My daughter is such a princess." Her father rolled his eyes. He let the bag go and Faith stopped punching.
"How long are you staying?" Faith asked.
"Till tonight." He said.
"How…" Faith began.
"How did I find you?" he asked.
"I got a call from the hospital here." He said.
Faith looked up, frowning. "You mean you knew about what happened?"
"I just found out. If I had known…" he shook his head. "I woulda come out as soon as I found out, you know that."
Faith looked down. "I got better."
"I see that." He said. "So you aren't coming back?"
Faith shook her head.
"At least take this." He said, handing her an envelope.
Faith took the thick envelope and opened it. Her eyes went wide. "Holy crap!" she said softly. "There's gotta be at least…five G's here!"
He dad smiled softly. "It's your college fund." He said. "We managed to save some stuff from the IRS." He said.
Faith tried to give it back. "Dad, I can't…"
"No. It's yours. Your mom and me got plenty…now." He said. "It's the very least I can do, you know?"
Faith slipped the envelope into her pocket and sat down next to her dad, laying her head on his shoulder. "Are you sure mom still wants me?" she asked softly, her voice cracking as tears started to fall down her cheeks.
"Oh sweetie, of course she does…" he dad said, stopping suddenly.
Faith looked up at her dad and saw him looking at the door. Turning to look, Faith felt her throat tighten and her heart start to race. "Mom…"
Faith's mother stood in the doorway, holding a hand over her mouth as tears fell. She shook her head and walked over to Faith, dropping to her knees in front of her daughter and hugging her tightly.
Faith hugged her back, sobbing into her mothers neck, softly repeating the same thing over and over. "I'm sorry…I'm so sorry…"
Xander walked into the Magic Box and stopped dead in his tracks. He cocked his head to the side and walked carefully forward to where Buffy and Giles were standing at the closed training room door. He looked from one to the other and back again before coughing slightly.
Giles jumped and had the decency to look embarrassed. He quickly went back to shelving the items in his hand.
Buffy just looked annoyed.
Xander grinned and bent close to the door, pressing his ear to the surface. "What are we listening to?" he whispered.
"Faith." Buffy said.
Xander raised an eyebrow.
"Her mom and dad are in there with her." Buffy explained.
Xander's eyes went wide and he pressed closer to the door.
Buffy suddenly jumped up and dashed for the table.
Xander, who reacted a little slower, only made it to the book shelves before grabbing a book and pretending to read. He didn't notice it was upside down.
The door opened and Faith walked out, pulling her dad and mom along with her.
Xander could tell they had all been crying. Suddenly, he narrowed his gaze as he tried to place why Faith's dad looked so familiar. Suddenly, he dropped the book and his eyes went wide. The color drained from his face and he almost fainted.
Faith ignored Xander and turned to her mom and dad. "I promise. Christmas." She said. "Barring apocalypse." She sighed.
Faith's mom looked a little uncomfortable but just nodded. "And you'll call, right?"
Faith nodded. "I promise."
Faith's dad pulled her close and hugged her tightly, lifting her off the ground as he did, letting her hang in the air. Faith hugged him back just as tightly. "I'll miss you." He said.
"Don't tell anyone I'm coming home." Faith said, grinning. "I want to see the look on Paulie and Juniors face when I walk in the door."
Faith's mom rolled her eyes. "Your Uncle will have a heart attack."
Faith's dad only nodded. "Probably. You take care of yourself, and if you need anything, anything at all, you let me know." He said.
Faith nodded. "I will. I promise."
Her dad nodded and headed for the door with his wife. He stopped and turned, looking at Giles. "Yo, thanks for the help." He said.
Giles smiled. "My pleasure."
Faith waved as her parents left and turned, a huge smile plastered on her face. Giles and Buffy were both staring expectantly at Faith but it was Xander who suddenly broke the silence.
"You…you're…" he stammered.
Faith rolled her eyes and smirked.
"You're last name…it's…." Xander just couldn't find words.
Faith nodded, grinning. She liked a speechless Xander. It was funny.
Buffy raised an eyebrow at Xander. "You know Faith's last name?" she almost pouted.
Xander looked at Buffy like she had just asked the dumbest question ever in the history of questions. "You don't recognize her father?"
Buffy shook her head. "Should I?"
Xander sat down at the large, wood table and began to thump his head. "I need some guy friends." He said.
"Who aren't British." Xander added.
Buffy looked at Faith and back to Xander. "So, who is he?"
Xander looked at Faith and shook his head. "Are you sure you're really a slayer? Cause you are…HIS daughter."
Faith shook her head and laughed. "You are such a dork, Xan." She said.
Buffy was getting annoyed. "Who? What is her last name?"
Xander looked at Buffy and shook his head. "Poor, poor Buffy." He said sadly. "Alright. Buffy Summers, meet Faith Balboa." He said.
Giles felt the small statue slip from his fingers. "Good lord." He muttered.
Faith smiled. "Pleased to meet ya." She, waving at Buffy.
Buffy looked back and forth between Giles, Xander and Faith. "So…is he famous or something?"
Giles clucked his tongue and hurriedly went looking for a broom, muttering as he walked. "Oh bloody hell…Is he famous!"
Faith laughed. This was turning out to be one of the best days she had ever had.