Christmas Apology
by Hayley

Title: Christmas Apology

Rating: PG13

Pairing: Buffy/Faith

Disclaimer: These characters are not mine and I make no money off this.

Summary: Set during Season Six. Faith is released from prison before Christmas.

Faith smiled grimly as she walked out of the prison that had been her home for over a year and a half. The guards and everyone else had told her she should be happy to be free and she was, thus the smile. Of course, they had told her that more because of when she was getting out than anything else. She was walking out on December 23rd, plenty of time to get home and spend Christmas with family. When that was mentioned though, she stopped smiling.

She didn't have anyone she could call family, no one she was going to rush home to be with. Hell, there wasn't even a place she could call home so there wasn't a point in rushing. Now that she was out of prison she was essentially homeless. All she had was some cash and a change of clothes.

While she'd been in the big house, Faith had changed. She was calmer now and had learned to control her anger with varying degrees of success. Her prison shrink loved the improvement she showed and the fact Faith tried to stay away from everyone and stick to herself made her out to look the model prisoner. It made the people charge want to release her, saying she had been fully rehabilitated, and even though Faith didn't think she was deserving, here she was: free.

Sighing and losing the smile completely, Faith began to walk toward the bus stop. She knew there was only one of two places she would ever go and at the moment, she wasn't sure which one wouldn't kick her out. There wasn't anyone in Sunnydale that would welcome her with open arms and apart from Angel, there wasn't anyone in LA that would either.

Faith knew if Angel had found out she was getting out he would have been outside the prison waiting for her. As much as she would have appreciated that, it wouldn't have been what she wanted. Angel always seemed to have a plan on how she could redeem herself and right now, she wanted to figure that out on her own. She needed to be in control of her future and her redemption.

None of that was something she wanted to do tonight anyway. Right now, all she wanted to do was sleep in a real bed and be able to take a long shower without having an audience. She wanted to have one night to herself before she dealt with people who wanted nothing to do with her.

The next morning Faith felt relaxed and that was mostly due to not being in prison. The previous night had been just what she wanted in her first night of freedom. She'd gotten on a bus and was dropped off at the first decent hotel she saw. She checked in, got a cheeseburger and a beer and just chilled. It was almost perfect.

Faith knew what would've made the night perfect to her and it made her angry to think about. What would have made the night perfect was if she'd gotten laid. It had been way too long since she'd had any sex. There'd been opportunities in prison but in an effort to keep to herself, she'd turned each one down. Now she had an inch that desperately needed scratching and only one person stuck in her mind.

That was what made her so angry. She knew she wouldn't have had any trouble finding someone to hook up with. Any of the men and probably some of the women in the hotel bar likely would have taken any offer she tossed their way. But that was the last thing she wanted, more meaningless sex, much like she'd had as a teenager. She couldn't do it anymore, the new Faith wasn't capable, and that was due to the fact there had only ever been one person she wanted the entire time she was in prison: Buffy.

It drove her crazy knowing the only person she ever wanted despised her. She knew it was part of the reason she went insane and went down the wrong path, her shrink had said as much, but she wanted to get past that. To do that though, she needed to face Buffy.

Faith knew exactly what that meant, too, which was why she was on a bus heading to Sunnydale. It was incredibly crappy timing on her part but it needed to be done. Once she saw Buffy she hoped she could move on, hopefully somewhere far away. She would simply have to deal with the fact it was on Christmas Eve.

Sunnydale came into view faster than Faith expected and soon she was walking down Revello Drive, looking toward the area she knew Buffy's house was located.

Buffy had gone through a tough time since they'd last seen each other, that much Faith knew. She had all her duties as the slayer then had to battle a god and even died. Faith couldn't begin to imagine what it was like to be Buffy, to be the Chosen One, and knew that's exactly what Buffy was. The Chosen Two had died when she turned on the only friend she had ever tried to have.

The all too familiar house came into view and Faith could feel herself starting to slow. She cursed herself for not being brave enough to do what she should and picked up the pace again. The only thing she hoped right now was that Buffy would be alone. It was scary enough to simply own up and face her. She didn't need to deal with the rest of the gang pointing out her very obvious flaws.

Once Faith got to the front door, she stopped and took a deep breath. She looked down and cursed under her breath when she saw her hands were shaking lightly. While she by no means wanted to look confident, she didn't want to look like some shaking weakling. She still had some pride. It wasn't much but it was there.

Faith let the breath out quickly and knocked on the door, preparing to get knocked on her ass. It took a couple seconds but soon the door opened, revealing Buffy on the other side. Even though she looked a little tired, Faith thought she looked just as beautiful as she remembered and Buffy was in her dreams every night.

Buffy's mouth dropped slightly but she didn't say anything right away. She looked a little shocked so Faith spoke up.

"Hi, B."

Buffy's eyes went wide at the sound of her voice, like everything had become way too real. "I was supposed to get a call if you broke out," she said through gritted teeth.

"I didn't," Faith answered, half wondering why she wasn't already unconscious but didn't want to bring it up. "I got released. Part of a new program mixed with good behavior or something like that."

Buffy stifled a laugh, a hand gripping the door. "Good behavior? You? Yeah, right."

"Thought I'd try something new." Faith shrugged. "I like it."

"I don't believe it." Buffy leaned in, narrowing her eyes. "Why are you here? Shouldn't you go somewhere you're wanted?"

Faith tried not to show how much the comment hurt and hope she succeeded. "There's something I need to say to you."

"I told you if you ever tried to apologize I would beat you to death," Buffy said, looking as though she was trying to look tough as supposed to actually being tough. "I meant that."

"If that's what you wanna do, I won't stop you." Faith looked into her eyes, hoping her own looked convincing enough. "I'd just like to say what I need to first. Can I come in?"

Buffy looked like she was weighing her options for a minute before stepping aside and letting her inside. Faith panicked a little as she walked in, not thinking she would have made it this far, but continued walking into the living room. The room was decorated for the holiday but Faith could tell it wasn't the same as the last Christmas she'd been here. Something was missing and she realized immediately what it was.

She turned back to see Buffy looking at her uneasily. "I'm sorry about your mom. I know how much she meant to you."

"How do you know about that?"

"Angel thought I'd wanna know." Faith paused. "It's not fair, ya know. You gotta deal with all this slayer shit and then your mom . . . it just sucks."

"Yeah." Buffy looked as though she might begin to cry but stayed strong. "Is that what you came here to say?"

"No," Faith said as she shook her head. "Are we alone?"

Buffy nodded almost reluctantly. "Why? Don't want an audience?"

"It's easier." Faith walked over to the couch and sat down. "This is only for you anyway."

"Lucky me," Buffy mumbled but sat in a chair anyway. "Do I get to hear prison stories? Maybe about how much you've suffered?"

"Prison was what I deserved," Faith answered as she turned to her. "I did a lot of bad things, B. I know that. I fucked up but I'm gonna try to do good now. I'm gonna try to make up for all the bad I've done."

"Good luck with that."

Faith smiled. "I know I can't make for everything. I'll never make up for everything I did to you. I'll never forgive myself for it and I don't expect you to. I am beyond sorry, Buffy."

Buffy looked down for a minute, her eyes glassy like she was about to cry. Faith cursed herself for causing it. She didn't want to add to Buffy's pain, not now. She only wanted her to know how sorry she was, that she knew how insane she'd been. She wanted closure for both of them. They both needed it.


Faith looked up and saw Buffy was in fact tearing up. She wanted so badly to comfort her but had the good sense to hold back. "You, B. It's always been you."

"It's my fault?" Buffy asked, her voice beginning to rise as she blinked away a tear.

"No," Faith said quickly, leaning forward. "None of this is your fault. It's mine. I'm the one who couldn't handle falling in love with you."

"What?" Buffy choked out, her eyes suddenly wide in response to Faith's explanation.

"I don't know what it is about ya, B," Faith laughed in spite of herself. "I fell for you the first moment I saw you but I knew you would never feel the same. I tried to forget and ignore how I felt but I couldn't. You were always there, looking hot as hell and one hundred percent untouchable. It literally drove me crazy."

"You . . . love me?"

Faith nodded with a smile. "Always have, think I always will, too. I've learned to deal now. Had to get my head shrunk to do it but hey, whole new Faith now."

"You love me?"

"Yeah and that's not what I was going to tell you today. I just wanted to say I was sorry and then leave so you could enjoy this and many Christmases to come knowing I'm outta your life."

Faith waited for a minute but Buffy didn't say anything. She wouldn't even look at her. That hurt a little but she knew it was for the best. She even felt a little on the good side right now, mostly because she was finally able to say everything out loud. It was like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders and she could breathe again. She liked that.

When Buffy still didn't say anything after a few minutes, Faith stood up, thinking there wasn't anything left. She'd said everything she came to say and more. Buffy knew exactly how she felt and had heard her apology. Whether she believed it or not was up to her but Faith had done her job.

She started to walk away, putting a hand softly on Buffy's shoulder as she did. That must have woken Buffy up from her trance because her hand covered Faith's quickly. She kept hold of her hand, too, as she stood and faced her.

"You think you can say all that and leave?" Buffy asked, staring hard at Faith. "You say you've changed but you're doing the same thing you've always done. You say or do something then leave me with the fallout."

"That's . . . that's not what I wanna do," Faith stammered, not sure what Buffy was getting at. "Do you want me to stay?"

Buffy let go of her hand, scowling at her. "Did you know I died?"

"Yeah, I felt it."

She paused for a moment at the response but then continued with what she was saying. "I died and was at peace only to be pulled out by my friends. I'm still trying to deal with just being here and taking care of my little sister and working and then you say . . . that. It's too much."

"I'm sorry."

"Stop saying that!"

Faith wanted to apologize again but kept her mouth shut. She noticed Buffy's eyes wouldn't stop moving and she figured her mind must be racing, too. Her own shoulders slumped at that. She made a quick assumption that this new torment Buffy was going through was her fault. It looked like she'd broken her.

She took a step forward and cautiously placed a hand on Buffy's shoulder, making her look up. She looked so sad and maybe even a little torn. That wasn't the purpose of her visit at all. Faith wondered now how serious Buffy was when she mentioned cleaning up her messes. Her best intentions now felt tainted.

"I am so sorry, B," Faith said again, looking deep into Buffy's eyes. She gave in to her urges then and lightly pressed her lips against Buffy's.

What shocked her was Buffy kissed her back. She almost backed away in response but the urge to do what she always wanted to do kept her there. The only thing she'd ever wished for was happening. Even though she was sure the other slayer hated her more than anything, kissing her was still the best moment in her crappy life.

Faith first wanted to place her hand on Buffy's cheek but decided to hold her instead. She felt Buffy needed it, even if it was from her. Her arms carefully wrapped around her, feeling the warmth of her body against her. Buffy let out what sounded like a sob and Faith moved away, breaking the kiss but not the embrace.

"Why? Why did you have to come back now and say that?" Buffy almost whispered. "Why now?"

"I finally understand it now." Faith did her best to look into her eyes but Buffy was trying hard to look away. "What would you have said if I woulda told you that when we were teenagers?" She sighed. "I wouldn't have been able to say it anyway. I tried to convince myself I just wanted to fuck you. I don't fall in love, ya know."

Buffy let out a sigh and looked back at Faith. "This is insane."

Faith was suddenly confused by what she saw in Buffy's eyes. It definitely wasn't hate. "B, tell me to leave and I'll go."

"I always cared about you, Faith. Even when I didn't want to." Buffy put a hand on Faith's cheek and she had to fight not to fully lean into her hand. "I don't know . . ."

Faith leaned in and lightly kissed her again, thinking she was safe now from any negative reaction. "Tell me to go."

"I don't want you to go," Buffy whispered, her eyes tearing up again. "I want you to stay."

Faith grinned before kissing her again, tightening her hold on her in the process. She wondered who thought she deserved this because she knew she needed to thank them. This was her own little Christmas miracle, Buffy being in her arms.

They kissed for a minute before parting. Buffy's arms had made their way around Faith so they now stood in the middle of Buffy's living room holding each other. Faith rested her forehead against Buffy's, trying to figure out what was going on. She'd imagined so many scenarios as she walked up to the house, a couple which included Buffy killing her, but this was definitely not one of them.

"B, you gotta clue me in here."

Buffy let out a slow breath. "I want you to stay here for Christmas. You're not going to Angel's, are you?"

"I don't think the big guy celebrates and I really doubt Wes and Cordy will want me there." Faith brought a hand up to Buffy's cheek, reveling in the softness of her skin. "Kinda like what would happen here."

"They'll deal," Buffy said. "You'll apologize and they'll deal."

Faith sighed, already beginning to prepare herself for the many apologies she'd need to say in the very near future. If it meant that she'd get to spend this Christmas and many to come with Buffy though, it was worth it.

The End.

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