SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers for The Gift.
RATING: PG-13 (subtext, I guess)
FEEDBACK: Aw, what the hell,  e-mail me.
SUMMARY: Faith gets a one-day pass for Buffy's funeral, but she's a day late.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Buffy et. al. - Joss Does. The idea (and I use that phrase loosely) is mine. Try not to reprint this puppy if ya don't ask me first, ok?

    Faith stood over Buffy's headstone, flowers in hand.

    "Angel told me what happened, B.  Leave it up to you to fling yourself into a portal to save the world and your little sis.  I got a one-day to come out here.  I told the prison people that my sister died, and Angel vouched for me... but it took a while to get me cleared and "tagged," so here I am, a day late and a dollar short as usual."  Faith glanced over to the headstone next to Buffy's and sighed.  "I keep losing people and I can't stop it... I'm sorry Mrs. S. that I tried to kill you.  You were always so good to me."  Faith took one of her flowers and laid it on Joyce's plot.  Faith looked back at Buffy's.  "So were you."  She laid the other rose down, and touched the top of the headstone and began to sob.

    "Unrequited love, huh?  Buffy was always good at inspiring that."

    Faith turned to see a bleach blonde man standing behind her.  It took her a second to register who he was.  "Spike?"

    "Hey.  I take it that you found out what happened... died to save her sister.  You know, if I would've been faster, she'd still be here, but..."  Spike looked down at the grass beneath his feet.  When he brought up his eyes to meet Faith's gaze they were wet with tears.  "I know - a vampire crying over a slayer.  Stupid, isn't it?  I don't even have a bloody soul, and I can't even make it through the day.  You know, I've killed two of 'em.  I could never bring myself to kill her, though.  She had her chances to stake me, and she never did, even though I was nothing more than a tame puppy.  I think she pitied me at first, ya know?  Then for some reason I started to love her - watched out for her when her Mom was sick, told her when Riley was going around on her, swore to protect her little sister, things like that.  She never loved me back, but she treated me like a man, and I... no one's ever done that, not even when I was alive."

    Faith looked at the weeping vampire who stood across from her.  "I treated her like shit.  She always looked out for me, and the one time that she didn't, I ran away from her.  Then I came back, then I ran away.  I hurt her - I betrayed her trust.  She was my friend, and I took that friendship and I stomped it into the ground.  This isn't unrequited love - this is an apology."


    "What did you say?" Faith asked, shocked that a vampire would try to call her bluff on something like that.

    "Bullshit.  You loved her.  I can tell.  You just don't like to admit it because you never told her.  Unrequited love goes like that.  You tell them, and you can tell other people, but if you don't, well - you can't even admit it to yourself.  You cared about what happened to her and her mum - that's why you tried to hurt them."

    Faith turned to look at the headstones.  "I spent Christmas one year with Mrs. S.  That was the only real one that I ever had."

    "She used to make hot chocolate with those little marshmallows."

    "She listened when you talked to her."

    "She did, though I'm sure that she wouldn't've had she known that I'd tried to kill her daughter about a hundred times."

    "She wanted to give me a second chance after I tried to kill her... I don't know if Buffy did, though."

    "They were really alike, those two.  I'm sure that she did.  She can't hold a grudge for long."  Spike walked up behind Faith and put his hand on her shoulder.

    "After all the pain I caused Buffy, all I can give her is just a couple of roses.  I always wished that I could give her more."

    "Me too."  Spike wiped his eyes, and turned to go.  "I have to get back to the Magic Box - we're brainstorming for ways to fight vamps without... without her.  Care to join us?"

    "I can't - gotta get back.  My one day pass is about up."

    "Want me to tell them "hi" for you?"

    "No - I'll do that on my own when I get out."

    "G'night, Faith."

    "'Night, Spike."

    Faith turned back to the Summers' plot, and wiped a tear away from her eye.  "Sorry, B - you know I could never cry well.  I gotta go back, but when I get out, this is the first place that I'll come, I promise.  I have a lot of apologizing to do."  She bent over to place a kiss on Buffy's headstone, and passed her hand over Joyce's.  She fumbled around in her pocket for her bus pass to make sure that it was still there, and headed towards the Greyhound station for a long ride home.