by Hayley

Title: Disappear

Rating: NC17

Pairing: Buffy/Faith

Spoilers: Season Four Buffy/Season One Angel

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

Summary: When Buffy catches up with Faith in LA after the body switching, she sees the state Faith is in and, after consulting with Giles, takes her back to Sunnydale. Will she be able to give Faith the help she needs to get her on the road to redemption?

Chapter One

"You don't know what you're doing."

"This is not up to you, Angel. Faith is a slayer and if she wants to prove she actually wants to make up for what she's done she's going to have go back. It's not a choice."

Angel looked angry as he stood between her and the room Faith was in. "You have no idea what she's going through. Whatever you and Giles think about the correct way to rehabilitate Faith, it won't work. She needs to stay here. I can help her."

"What is it with you and this hero complex?" Buffy asked angrily. She wanted nothing more to get out of LA and if Giles wanted her to leave with Faith, that's what she would do. She trusted her watcher to do what was best. "It is not your job to save her."

"What I don't like is that you come to my city and tell me what to do. You're not in charge here, Buffy." Angel took a step toward her. "This isn't up to you either."

"Do you really think Wesley and Cordelia want her here? Have you looked at them? In Sunnydale Giles will be there to watch her. I will, too."

"Can you push your feelings inside after everything that happened? Just hours ago you told Faith you wanted her to die," Angel said as he sneered. "I won't let you take her if that's how you'll treat her. You'll ruin any progress I could make."

"Step aside, Angel," Buffy said. "Giles said we can help her, finish what they had tried to last year. I'm going to follow his lead."

"Not good enough."

They faced off for what seemed like forever, Angel basically daring Buffy to try to get past him, when the door to the room opened. Faith stood there, her dark makeup smudged and looking like she had a huge, grueling weight on her shoulders.

"I'll go."

Buffy kept thinking back to the conversation as she drove back to Sunnydale. She had almost wanted to give in and tell Giles that Angel had refused to let her take Faith back. The only problem with that was her watcher would never believe her. He knew that if it came down to a fight she would win. He had that sort of confidence in her.

The drive was making her nervous in more ways than one. When Buffy chased after Faith to LA Xander had grudgingly let her borrow his car so she knew she needed to concentrate on driving and not on the fact Faith was sitting in the passenger seat. She would deal with that situation once they arrived in Sunnydale.

Before she had left for LA, going as her first instinct was still to make sure her former boyfriend was okay, she and Giles had discussed what would happen to Faith. They agreed that the Council assassins should not get their hands on her. Even with everything that happened Giles didn't want her to end up as a victim of the Council, instead telling Buffy she needed to protect Faith from them. After that, she needed to bring her back to Sunnydale. Even though she didn't think it could happen, Giles thought they could help Faith, especially when Buffy had described how Faith acted during their last fight.

Of course, Angel wanted to be the hero and Buffy was a little disgusted by that and by the image she had of the two of them in Angel's apartment together. They were so close and the look in Angel's eyes made her physically ill. It was like Faith was trying to take what she had with him from her, too.

She knew she couldn't let her emotions get the better of her now though. As much as she wanted to kick Faith out of the moving car as they sped down the highway, she knew she wouldn't. If Giles had a plan that didn't involve turning her over to the Council then Buffy would go along with it. She trusted him and didn't want the Council to get their hands on any slayer. The way they acted when they had held her captive while in Faith's body had scared her into wanting to protect Faith from them. Only from them though.

What had surprised her more than anything was Faith choosing to go with her. Staying with Angel was the safe choice no matter how opposed Wesley and Cordelia would have likely been to the idea. She had to know she would be even less welcome in Sunnydale.

"What are you gonna do to me?"

Buffy dared to look over at Faith but saw she wasn't looking at her, her eyes looking out the window instead. She was shocked by how defeated she sounded, too. She didn't sound like the Faith she remembered or fought with a few days ago. "What do you mean?"

"Figured you'd just hand me over to the Council once we got to Sunnydale no matter what you said to Angel. Didn't think you'd want to deal with me."

"I don't and we have nothing to do with the Council, remember?" Buffy answered strongly and wished Faith had just stayed quiet. "This is Giles' idea. He's the one who wants you back in Sunnydale. I don't."

The Faith Buffy knew would have come up with a sarcastic response but the one sitting next to her said nothing, only continued to stare out the window. She hadn't even asked how they were going to evade the police from both Sunnydale and LA but the gang had already thought of that. Willow had easily hacked into both departments' computer systems and erased Faith's records and warrants. Buffy knew that no one liked doing it either but in the end, she didn't think anyone would really want Faith dead. The Scooby gang didn't kill humans. They were the good guys.

Giles told her he knew what the Council did to a slayer who continued to go against the rules the way Faith did and none of it was good. Even though a rebellion like Faith's was rare every time it did happen the slayer was killed for the good of the line. Buffy's watcher strongly disagreed with that, especially given he thought Wesley did a less than adequate job the first time around. He said he would just adjust the rehabilitation process to fit the situation.

The rest of the drive was uneventful and neither slayer spoke the rest of the way. Buffy almost wished Faith had talked her ear off, even if it was to tell her off for all the wrongs she thought had been committed against her. That would have seemed normal for her and the drive, though possibly more stressful, wouldn't have been as uncomfortable.

Faith didn't even sleep. She only stared out the window and seemed to avoid making any movement toward Buffy at all. It was the exact opposite of the Faith she knew.

Several things went through Buffy's mind as she drove and the first was wondering what effects the coma had on Faith. She had acted the way Buffy had thought she would when she woke up, angry, bitter and revengeful, and Buffy didn't know if she could ever forgive the attack on her mother. That went over the line for her and just thinking about it made her want to toss Faith out of the car and not look back.

Something happened after the body switch though and Buffy didn't know what it was. Faith had still gone after Angel, attacked Cordelia and held Wesley hostage but according to Angel it wasn't because she liked it. She had wanted someone to kill her.

Buffy still didn't know if she fully believed that or at least, she didn't when Angel had told her. When Faith had tried to run from the Council thugs Buffy thought Faith would just send her wave of destruction elsewhere. She didn't think Angel would take it upon himself to save her, especially with the shape Wesley was in. If Faith had taken any of her friends and tortured them like she had with her one-time watcher, she knew she would not have been able to be in the same car with her like she was now.

She also thought about Giles and why he was willing to stand up for Faith. Granted she hadn't treated him as she had Wesley but she wondered how her watcher thought he could fix Faith. There didn't seem to be any way to fix the other slayer and Buffy could easily tell Faith felt broken, too.

The tension was getting to be too much for her so Buffy finally reached over and turned on the radio, letting out a breath as the quiet sound of soft rock filled the car. She took a quick look at Faith and couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at the fact she hadn't moved an inch. Not a single reaction came from her side of the car.

It was troubling. Buffy was confused more now than ever.

Sunnydale could not come fast enough.

By the time they'd arrived at Giles' condo Buffy was tired and really needed some sleep. She had to fight falling asleep the last thirty minutes in the car and she had to keep thinking that Xander expected his vehicle back in one piece in order to keep her eyes open. It was late, however, and even though she didn't have any early morning classes, she could still use a good night's rest. Ever since Faith had woken up from the coma, that hadn't happened.

"Am I staying with Giles?" Faith asked as the car slowed to a stop in front of the condo.

"That's for him to decide," Buffy answered quickly but knew there wasn't anywhere else for Faith to go. The motel she'd stayed at before was not an option and the apartment she'd had while working for the Mayor had never been repaired. Besides, it had never been hers to begin with.

Faith didn't respond to the answer and her silence to everything made Buffy uneasy. She almost wanted to comment on it but exhaustion was getting in the way. Instead, Faith only got out of the car and followed her up the walk to the front door where she opened it without so much as a knock. Her watcher was expecting them so she didn't feel the need to. It was late and the unlocked door was the only sign she needed to see it was okay to enter.

Giles appeared from the kitchen almost instantly to greet them, a tired expression on his face. Buffy knew that look because she knew there was a similar one on hers. It made her wonder if he had been in contact with the Council while she had been getting Faith and bring her back to Sunnydale. Even though he had quit, he still may had called just to let them know Faith would be rehabilitated by them and it would be best that they leave the states without continuing their pursuit of her. The last thing Buffy wanted was to deal with them once again.

"I trust the drive was uneventful."

Buffy nodded. "No surprises."

He nodded as well and gestured to the pair. "Sit down. We have arrangements to discuss and I'm sure you want to get some rest, Buffy."

Neither girl responded to what he said, only sat on the couch. Buffy made sure to stay as far away from Faith as possible and thought that maybe the other girl was trying to do the same. Whenever she looked at Faith she kept seeing all the things she had done to her and her friends and family and it made her so angry, a feeling that would not help her now. She knew there would be plenty of time to get all that out later. Her watcher probably had something planned to deal with those feelings, too.

"Faith, I'm sure you're wondering where you'll be staying," Giles started out. "You'll be staying here, in my guest room."

"Okay," Faith said quietly.

"There are conditions for you staying here and not being handed over to the authorities or returning to Angel," Giles continued. "You are not to go anywhere by yourself unless I say it's okay. Right now if you leave this house it will either be with me or with Buffy. I know you are a slayer and we could use some help right now but for the time being you will not be patrolling or helping Buffy. You will be following a routine I have set up for you until I say otherwise."

"Okay," Faith mumbled out again, her eyes focused on the ground.

"I had hoped for you to be able to visit a psychiatrist as well but with everything you would need to discuss I don't think that's wise. I believe they would have an obligation to turn you in to the police even though there aren't any warrants out for you any longer."

Faith didn't say anything and Buffy didn't know what else Giles could really say. The other slayer would need to follow whatever Giles had planned but she was pretty sure he wanted Faith to open up to him, too. She needed to talk about everything she'd done and apologize to whomever she could but Buffy didn't feel Faith would open up to Giles. There might be problems that she wouldn't feel comfortable discussing with him.

She knew Faith had a fair amount of distrust when it came to anyone associated with the Council and Buffy felt it was justified. Her first watcher was killed in front of her and then she had someone pretend to be her new one, only to cause a rift between the two slayers. Wesley hadn't known had to handle her or how to be a watcher and had to deal with the rehabilitation and assassin squads the Council sent. Even though Giles had nothing to do with that he was still one of them at one time. That alone would cause mistrust.

Buffy supposed that meant she would have to step up and be Faith's shrink and she wasn't sure she was up to it. She hadn't gotten over her own Faith-caused hurt enough to deal with whatever pain Faith was going through. She wasn't ready and didn't know when she would be.

"Buffy," Giles said, getting her attention, "I'm going to need you to come here after your classes tomorrow so we can go over the schedule I want to use."

"Might be a little later than you want," Buffy said. "I'm checking in with my mom in the morning and then I'm meeting Riley after my last class."

Faith seemed to wince at the name but didn't say anything when Buffy turned her head to look at her. She guessed she couldn't be blamed for that and knew the same thing would probably happen tomorrow if Giles asked about him. Riley was a sore subject.

The problem was it would probably soon be for her, too. That would mostly be because even though she would need his help when they took on Adam and The Initiative, she was planning on breaking up with Riley.

She realized on the drive from LA that the relationship she had with Riley would never work. They were too different and she knew part of him would always think differently than her when it came to issues like the existence of something like The Initiative. He was a military guy through and through and she never wanted that kind of involvement when it came to slaying. In her mind, organizations like that only got in her way.

That's how she saw their relationship as well, even though she tried to deny it. He always seemed to be in the way at the most critical times and that wasn't how she wanted to think of the person she was dating. She didn't think he would ever be okay with the fact she would never need saving from him and that it was more likely that she would be doing the saving. Buffy always got the impression that Riley was more annoyed by that than he led on.


Buffy looked up and saw Giles was trying to get her attention. "Yeah?"

"I was asking you if you would be patrolling alone tomorrow night."

Knowing exactly what Giles would say if she said she was Buffy shook her head. "No, gonna get the gang together. I don't think we'll take on Adam if we see him though."

Giles nodded. "Good idea."

Buffy dared to look over at Faith and was a little shocked at her body language. She had her eyes on the ground and looked as though she was simply waiting for someone to tell her what to do next. She hadn't even asked about what was going on or who Adam was and why Buffy didn't want to face him alone. Only silence came from her direction. It was eerie.

"It's late," Giles said then before Buffy could drift off to her own world again. "Get some sleep, Buffy. We've all had a long couple of days. I can show Faith to her room."

"Sure, I'll see you tomorrow." Buffy didn't so much as look as Faith as she got up and walked out, hoping Xander would be okay with her not dropping his car off until the morning.

What was a little strange to her was that she didn't have any concern of leaving Faith alone with Giles. A couple days ago, before LA, she would have kept Faith in her sight at all times and would have never let Giles deal with her on his own. This time was different though because Faith was different. She was a shell of her former self.

Buffy didn't know what Giles had in mind yet but could tell it needed to be something drastic. They didn't just need to reform Faith. Now they needed to fix her.

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Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen || Chapter Fourteen || Chapter Fifteen || Chapter Sixteen

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