This whole day has been one big nightmare and Faith hasn't been here to help me deal with any of it.
Tyler has decided to that he's not going to do anything I ask him and I really didn't appreciate the tantrum he threw earlier was in front of most of the girls at headquarters. It took Xander tossing him over his shoulder and telling me he'd take care of it to get everything somewhat settled.
I guess he just let him tire himself out and had him take a nap. I owe him big for that.
Nick's hasn't been his normal happy self today either. He's been crying and I can't figure out what's wrong which only makes me feel like the worst mother in the world.
I think I would be handling everything better if Faith would be here to help but she's not. She had to fly to Miami last night but not for something to do with the center. There were reports of a vamp gang causing more trouble than normal there and since Faith knows the area better than anyone, Giles asked if she would accompany two of our more experienced slayers there.
That was yesterday afternoon and when I talked to her this morning she said their first night there was a bust. It was a lot of rumors and not much else. They didn't even stake anything and Faith gets real annoyed when that happens.
I'm waiting up for her tonight because I told her I sleep better knowing she's okay. It's a little sappy sure, but now that I've found the one person I'm supposed to spend the rest of my life with I worry. I want her around for a long time.
It's around midnight when the phone starts to ring and it's a little odd that Faith would be calling so early. I expected her to call a little later than this but I don't really think about that as I answer the phone to find it's not Faith on the other end.
"Johnny?" I ask. "What's going on? Is something wrong at the center?"
"No, everything's fine but I got a call that's confusing. Is Faith in Miami?"
I raise an eyebrow. Since Faith wasn't going to be working at the center and it was only going to be for two or three days she decided to not tell everyone there that she was in town. "Actually, she is. She took a couple girls from our operation there for a couple days."
He sighs and it's not a good sigh. "I just got a call from one of our volunteers that works at South Miami Hospital. He said a woman named Faith Lehane was brought in earlier tonight."
The phone would probably be crushed in my hand right now but I have enough sense not to. I need to keep it together. "But . . . were there others brought in with her?"
"I didn't know to ask," Johnny says and now he sounds more worried since I've said Faith was in town. "I'm gonna drive there and see if I can find something out."
"How bad was she hurt, Johnny?"
"I don't know. Look, I'll get there and call once I know, okay?"
He hangs up before I can say anything else and I have to sit down. All these feelings rush through me but the biggest one is helplessness. Faith is hurt and she's so far away.
It doesn't help for me to sit here and panic though, not when I have so many allies on my side so I immediately call headquarters, Willow specifically. She can get the troops ready and find out everything much faster than Johnny can.
"Will, I need you to get here now."
"Why? What's wrong? Are the kids okay?"
I take a breath. "They're fine but Johnny just called. He said he got a call from a hospital there and they told him that Faith was brought in."
There's dead air for a moment and I try my best not to panic. "But . . . they didn't even find anything last night and neither of the girls called in with a problem."
"I don't know what's going on but can you get Giles and Xander and get over here now?"
"Okay, we'll be there."
I hang up before she can say anything else and immediately begin to pace. This all has to be a big misunderstanding and it takes a moment before I realize I didn't even try her cell. I didn't even ask Johnny if he had.
Speed dial is an incredible invention but when her number goes straight to voicemail I want to cry. "Faith, baby, you need to call me back. Johnny told me you might be in the hospital and I really want him to be wrong. You need to be okay, baby, so call me."
Tears are starting to fall as I hang up and I sit down on the couch, trying hard not to sob. If Tyler wakes up I want him to think everything's okay.
A car pulls up to the front of the house about 20 minutes later and right now I really wish we were in our old little house. It only takes someone two or three extra minutes to get to the new house but it feels like an eternity at the moment.
Giles, Xander and Willow walk through the front door without knocking and I quickly make sure the baby monitor for the boys are on before looking at them. None of us exchange hellos before sitting down in the living room.
"It's Faith," Willow says simply and I can feel the tears start to fall. "I couldn't get in touch with either Kelsey or Gina so I did a quick location spell. All of them are at the hospital Johnny told you about."
"They're all alive, Buffy," Giles adds in quickly. "The spell Willow used wouldn't have worked if they were not."
"You'd think that would be comforting but it's not," I say as I try to keep myself together.
"We tried to call the hospital while we were driving here to get some information but they wouldn't release anything." Xander looks at me and I can tell he's worried. "We thought you could try."
There's not a whole lot to say right now except what I've been thinking about since I asked them to come here. "I want you to transport me there."
Willow's the first to speak. "I thought you and Faith were against doing that."
"Faith is." Faith thinks it's weird to transport somewhere and really doesn't like the queasiness afterwards. We also have to think of what people will think if we suddenly appear in Miami. "Right now, I'm fine with it."
"I don't know, Buffy. It could get a little tricky."
"I'm not asking you to transport me into her room or anything. Just outside the hospital where no one will be able to see me suddenly appear."
The three of them look at each other and I think they're trying to think of a way to talk me out of it. My mind's already made up though. I know I won't be able to tolerate the flight not knowing exactly how Faith is doing.
Willow looks at me and I can tell she's torn on what to do. "I think I can do it but what about the boys?"
"That's why I have the three of you here. I trust you with them and maybe once I know what's going and that Faith's okay, you can transport me back. They might never know I was gone and I don't want Tyler to know Faith could be hurt."
Giles nods and I'm sure he knows he wouldn't be able to change my mind. Maybe he doesn't even want to. "Okay, do this quickly. Only for a few hours at the most though, Buffy. Find out everyone's condition and then you have to come back. I know you don't want everyone you know what we do here."
"Okay," I say sternly. "Let's do this."
Willow a master of pretty much everything so I'm not surprised when she transports me to an alley near the hospital where I'm not seen by anyone. It's late and there's not many people out but it's still impressive.
My only thought right now though is to get inside and find Faith. I think because Johnny lives kind of far away from the hospital I beat him here and that's all I can hope for. I only need to check on her and make sure she's okay before I can have Willow transport me back home. Then when I fly down here in the morning I won't be panicked about her condition.
When I walk through the front doors there's only one very bored looking woman is sitting behind the desk. It's not that there's no one in the area or that there's a lack of people that need help either. She just looks like she doesn't want to be there.
"Hi," I say is the nicest, sweetest voice I can manage, "I'm looking for someone I was told was admitted. Her name is Faith Lehane."
Her look changes as she looks at me, like she knows I'm trying to be nice even though I'm panicking inside, and types Faith's name into the computer in front of her. Then the look on her face changes again and I don't like that at all.
"She's here. I, uh, I'm gonna page someone to take you to her."
"Was she brought in by herself? She was with two other girls tonight."
I turn around to see Kelsey walking out through the doors that lead back to the exam rooms. She has a split lip and a cut that's been stitched up over her right eye but it doesn't look like anything's broken. I hope Faith's not badly hurt but from the look I was just given, I don't think that's the case.
"Kelsey, what happened?"
She eyes the waiting room and the woman at the desk before leaning in. "We got jumped. I think they knew we got here last night because it was like they knew where we were gonna go and everything. We got most of 'em but well . . ."
"Kelsey, where is Faith and Gina?"
There are tears in her eyes and I try to prepare myself. "Gina got the worst of it. She looked pretty bad. Faith was unconscious when the ambulance got there."
My stomach drops as I feel someone come up behind me. "Are you the one asking for Faith Lehane?"
I turn to see a nice looking young man standing a few feet away. "Yes, is she okay?"
"Let me take you to her doctor."
He turns and motions for us to follow him. I look at Kelsey but she just shrugs so we follow him with saying anything. I don't like that he's not talking but I'm betting he's been told not to talk to me about Faith's condition. I guess I'd rather hear everything from her doctor anyway so I don't pester him with questions he probably can't answer.
We wind our way through the hospital halls then up a floor, finally stopping at a nurse's station. He says something quietly to the nurse there and she pages a Dr. Martinez to the desk, who appears almost instantly.
"Are you here for Ms. Lehane?"
"Yes," I answer and try to prepare myself for whatever he has to say. "How is she?"
"We just put her in a room now," he says with a stern look on his face. "She's unconscious and she has a broken wrist and two broken ribs." He pauses and I realize I'm holding my breath. "There's something that showed up that's confusing to us. Has Faith had previous head traumas?"
I nod slowly. "She was in a coma for a few months when she was eighteen. She had a couple, uh . . . traumas, I guess, a couple years later."
"I think that's why she's still unconscious."
"Is she gonna be okay?"
"We'll know more once she regains consciousness," he smiles, "and she will. Hopefully, soon."
"Thank you," I say, trying my best not to cry. "Can I see her?"
"Of course. Megan here will show you to her room."
"Thank you," I say again. "Can we find out how our other friend is doing? Kelsey, can you check on Gina?"
"I can show her where to go," Megan says easily as the doctor silently leaves. "Just wait here."
Kelsey waits at the nurses' station as I follow Megan down the hall. Thankfully, Faith's room is only about three rooms away and I love that. I want someone to be near Faith at all times in case she needs them. She should get the best care.
When we walk into the dimly lit room I see Faith lying still, eyes closed and hooked up to a monitor. She's got a cast on her left arm because of her broken wrist and I know if she was awake she would be complaining about it.
"She needs her rest so I can only let you stay for a little while," Megan says quietly.
"That's okay." I try to smile at her but my mind is preoccupied with Faith. "Can you let Kelsey know what room Faith's in? Once she checks in on our other friend, I want to get her home."
She nods but leans in a little, too. "Ms. Taylor is in serious condition. Does she have family close by?"
Gina doesn't have any family that I know of and I think Giles is the contact person for all of the younger slayers if they get hurt. "No, I don't think so. She works with me in Cleveland. A group of us were . . . vacationing."
"It would be good if someone were here for updates and to be with her."
"Once I get Kelsey home, I'll have someone come here."
"All right." She smiles warmly at me. "Don't stay too long, okay?"
She leaves and I slowly walk over to Faith's bed. She's so still and I can feel tears fall on my cheeks as I place my hand on her forehead. I run my fingers over her before I lean down and lightly kiss her cheek.
"Faith, baby, I'm here," I whisper as I sit down. "I even transported here to get to you. The boys are at home in Cleveland and I know the last thing you want is to be away from them for too long. I need to you wake up for me."
The best response from Faith would be a groan and say something sarcastic but I get nothing. I'm not sure what to do so I just sit with her for a few minutes, thinking about what we're going to do what we can get Faith out of here. When she wakes up we'll have to get her discharged kind of fast. It's hard to explain slayer healing to a doctor who's never seen it before.
Oh, shit. I turn around and Johnny's standing in the doorway. "Hey."
"I . . . I thought you . . . were . . . in Cleveland."
I grip Faith's hand for a moment before I stand and take a couple steps toward Johnny. She is going to have a fit when she wakes up. "I think we need to talk."
"I don't believe it."
He keeps saying that and it's getting old. I explained what Faith and I are and what we do as best I could and I know he understands everything. He was very calm about all of it, too, but now he's in complete denial.
"It's true, Johnny." I sigh quietly and look over at Faith. She's still unconscious and I keep thinking about how pissed she's gonna be about all this. "Faith didn't want to tell you because she decided everyone here didn't need to know. She didn't want to scare people off who could help at the center."
He nods and looks at me. "Can I see any of this or are all of you just really crazy?"
"I need to concentrate on Faith waking up," I say. "Maybe you should take the night to think everything over and come back in the morning. We'll talk everything out."
"Okay," he agrees. "Once Faith is discharged, we need to talk."
He gives me a worried look but doesn't say anything else before talking out of the room. I immediately sit back in the chair by Faith's bed and hold her hand again. Even though she probably would never be able to tell, I feel bad for leaving her side for the few minutes I did.
It's a little nerve racking sitting there and waiting for someone to wake up, especially when I keep thinking the nurse will come in at any moment to tell me I have to leave. That means I'll have to be transported back to Cleveland with Faith still being unconscious and that's just not acceptable.
Thankfully, a little over 15 minutes after Johnny left Faith begins to move and I sit up quickly and lean in, keeping hold of her hand.
She groans and I'm really nervous now because of what the doctor said about her previous head injuries. I don't know what we'll do if her slayer healing doesn't fix her head. That fear increases when she doesn't say anything right away but then she opens her eyes and I breathe a huge sigh of relief.
"Where am I?"
"You're in a Miami hospital, baby," I say quietly. "You and Gina and Kelsey were jumped last night."
She widens her eyes, like she's remembering their patrol. "Where are they?"
"Kelsey's okay. She went to see Gina who's not so great. I'm gonna have to get Giles here."
Faith furrows her brow and I know she's putting two and two together. "How are you here, B? Unless I'm losing my mind, you should be in Cleveland with the boys."
"I convinced Willow to transport me here once I found out what happened. I had to check on you. Will's gonna transport me back once I knew how you were. I'll probably take Kelsey back with me." I pause and I know what she's gonna ask next. "Ty and Nick are fine, Faith. They'll probably never know I'm gone."
"Okay," she says and squeezes my hand. "Sorry for scaring you, B."
"I was a little panicked when Johnny called me about you being here."
"How did he know? I didn't tell anyone we were down here. Slayer business is need to know only as far as I'm concerned."
"I guess one of your volunteers works here," I answer. "I'm thrilled he did 'cause who knows when I would've found out otherwise."
Faith lets out a breath. "So Johnny knows now, doesn't he?"
"He wants to have a talk when you get discharged."
She doesn't say anything else and so I move to rest my head on her lap. There aren't any words that can describe how relieved I am that she's awake and talking. I don't know what I'd if anything bad happened to Faith. How could I handle the slaying, the center and raising our two kids by myself? I could never get over losing her either.
I feel her hand on my head and I know I probably need to leave or get a nurse but I don't know if I can right now. "I don't want this to happen again."
"I know." She doesn't say anything for a minute but when she does again I nearly faint in shock. "We should get married."
My head shoots up quick and I know by the look on her face she's serious. I definitely did not expect this when she woke up.
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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 || Epilogue
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