by Hayley

Chapter Six

She's been gone three weeks. Three long, incredibly depressing weeks.

I cried the rest of the day after she drove away. Willow had to listen hard just to understand what had happened and she had me repeat myself a few times, too. She stayed with me that night to make sure I was okay.

The problem is I wasn't okay and right now it feels like I never will be again. I was so sure Faith was the one for me. She was supposed to be my other half, my soul mate, the one person who would be there for me no matter what. I don't like the fact I was wrong.

Even though I haven't been trying to spread my misery, everyone has been noticing I'm not myself and that I want nothing to do with anything going on at headquarters. Dawn even told me in so many words last week that I needed to get over it fast. She said crying over Faith wasn't going to get her back and it wasn't helping what we were trying to do with the slayer operations. I hated that she was right.

I've been so distracted with my lack of a Faith-shaped girlfriend that I've been limiting myself at headquarters even if that meant not doing what I normally do. I coordinate training classes and patrols but I don't teach as many and I haven't patrolled in over a week. I don't trust myself when I'm patrolling right now or teaching with weapons. It's horrible but it feels like I've become a liability.

Giles and I haven't been speaking lately either. When I showed up at headquarters the day after Faith left for Miami everyone already knew what had happened. Everything was overblown of course, it is a big building with a ton of teenage girls after all, but the rumors were everywhere about our fight and how Faith left. It was strange because the only person Willow told prior to us showing up was Xander but apparently he is a big gossip. Girls kept asking me about some of what we said to each other and if furniture was broken in the process.

I talked to Giles that day and he apologized for pushing Faith too hard but I didn't think he meant it the way he should and I told him so. I didn't think he was sorry that he kept pushing her to commit to her slaying duties. He was only sorry that she left and more importantly, left me. I know he doesn't like seeing me so depressed.

After that first conversation, we haven't said much to each other. He thinks I blame him and I partially do. Maybe if he hadn't pushed as much Faith and I would've had more time to talk over her issues in Miami. We could've discussed her living with me or me and Tyler moving. I'm not sure how those conversations would've gone but maybe we would have had a chance to settle everything before I had to come home with Faith ready to leave.

Willow and Xander have been better than Dawn at trying to get me out of my depression. They've been trying to cheer me up by having movie nights like we used to and Willow's taken me shopping or for coffee a few times. She's even offered to transport me to Miami to talk to Faith even if it's only for a couple hours but I didn't think that was a good idea. I had no idea what I would even say to her and in my mind, there was always a chance she didn't want to talk to me. Maybe she was moving on.

To make matters worse, I think my mood is rubbing off on Tyler. My little boy has been moody and cranky since Faith left. He doesn't like naps or eating what he should and at this rate his first word will be no and that will be the only one he learns.

Today I didn't even bother to go to headquarters. I wasn't going to teach anyway and since I haven't been talking to Giles I haven't been going to meetings. After that, there's no point to being there. Everyone is busy doing whatever they need to do and I'd only get in the way.

I thought I'd spend the day having some bonding time with my son instead. We've been playing and I've read to him and everything's gone okay so far. He's been in a good mood finally and I think maybe he's starting to get over missing Faith. Maybe that means I can, too.

While we're playing I hear a car pull into the driveway and the engine turns off a moment later. I'm not expecting anyone and the phone hasn't rung all day so it's a little strange. People don't simply show up to my house.

Tyler looks up at me and smiles and I smile back. "Should we go see who's outside?"

I think he knows I'm going to pick him up since his response to my question is to babble and reach for me. That's what I like to think anyway. He could just be reacting to me standing but I want my boy to be smarter than that. Either way I pick him up and hold him close as I look out the front window.

There's a brand new SUV in my driveway, one I've never seen before and I can't see who's driving it. I don't know much about cars or anything but this one looks like it was driven right from the factory to my house. No one I know would be able to buy something like that. I look to my son and kiss his forehead before walking outside with him.

Once I step outside, my mouth drops. The person who slowly steps out from the driver's seat is Faith. She looks amazing as always, clothes hugging her curves just right and her hair is being held back by her sunglasses. When our eyes meet she smiles nervously and closes the car door before walking toward us.

"Hey," she says quietly once she's within a few feet of me.

It takes me a moment to say anything. What do you say to someone who left you three weeks ago? "Why are you here?" I ask, keeping my voice calm and quiet. I don't want to start anything right away but I want to know why she's here.

"Uh . . . to give you a car?" She smiles the cute smile she knows I love as she gestures to the car and I have to fight not to fall for her all over again.

"What do you mean?"

She continues to smile. "Come on, let me show you."

Faith turns and walks back toward the SUV or whatever the hell it is. I let out a quiet sigh and look to Tyler, who definitely remembers Faith. His eyes are glued to her.

"I wasn't sure what to get," Faith explains as she turns to me, "but my guy at the dealership told me this one was top of the line and had all the safety features. It's fully loaded, too. Even got navigation 'cause you get lost sometimes and an entertainment system in the back to keep Tyler occupied."

I look inside and there's a car seat installed in the back seat. There's a few toys by it and the back is packed with stuff.

"There's a couple people at the center who know how to install car seats properly so I know it's in there right," Faith says as she moves to stand behind me. "I think it's the right size for him. Had to do some guessing with it." She pauses but when I don't say anything she keeps going, maybe out of nervousness. "I didn't know what color you'd want so I got silver like the one you're driving now."

I can't believe she did this. How could she break my heart and come back like this? My vision blurs a bit and it's only then that I realize I'm crying. I'm not even sure why at this point but tears are falling and Faith's face falls when she sees it.

"Don't cry, B," she says and gently places a hand on my shoulder, "I'm trying here. Maybe we should go inside." She looks to Tyler then back at me and gestures to him. "Can I?"

Faith barely waits for me to nod before carefully taking Ty from me. She lifts him up and they smile at each other before she holds him close and kisses the top of his head. I think she whispers in his ear that she missed him but I can't be sure. It's almost too soft to even notice.

We walk inside and Faith sets Tyler down in his little chair in the living room before walking to me and giving me the biggest hug I've ever received. It's so tight it feels like she's afraid I'll try to pull away. The only problem with it I'm having is that while my brain keeps reminding me how hurt I am, my heart never wants to be out of Faith's arms again. I don't know what to do.

"I'm sorry I left like I did," Faith says quietly. "I couldn't take the pressure Giles was putting on me when I left so much behind. I should've talked to you."

"I should've stood up for you with Giles," I respond. At least we know we're both wrong.

Faith loosens her hold on me to give me the softest kiss she's ever given me. I only let it last a few seconds before pulling away. Even though I love that she's here, she seriously needs to explain herself.

I move us to sit on the couch. "Why are you here?"

Faith looks at me with those big brown eyes and I can tell I'm not the only one who's hurting. "I only made it to just south of Cleveland before I had to stop. I don't really cry, B, but I could barely see by then, the tears were coming so fast. I knew my choice sucked but I kept going. After how I left I knew I couldn't stay."

What does she mean by that? "What do you mean you couldn't come back? Do you think I would've not wanted you to change your mind and come back right away?"

She shrugs. "I didn't like the decision I made and I knew it had hurt you. I figured what's done was done so I drove straight through until I got to my apartment."

"And you just decided to come back now?"

"I tried to go back to work and my life there but I was miserable. All I could think about was what you were doing, how Tyler was, if both of you were okay. After a couple days my second in command called me on it and we decided to work something out."

"Why didn't you call and talk to me if you were miserable?" I ask.

"Probably the same reason you never did," Faith says, smiling. "Johnny and I worked out a work schedule that would allow me to work there and be here with you. It took a couple weeks to do that and to get all my things together but then I drove back."

It finally hits me that she's here to stay. Everything in the back of the SUV must be hers. "So you're here to stay? For good?"

"For as long as you want me," Faith says quietly. "I love you, Buffy."

Oh my God, she actually said it. There were only hints here and there but neither of us has ever said it. "I love you, too, Faith." I'm starting to cry again but at least it's 'cause I'm happy now. "So that stuff in the car is yours?"

Faith smiles and nods. "All that crap in the car isn't just stuff I bought for you and Ty. I needed to bring some clothes with me."

This time it's my turn to pull her into a hug. I know I should be at least a little mad that she's put me through three of the most miserable weeks of my life but she also came back. We've both made some mistakes here so I can't be too mad at her.

"Did you trade in that new car you loved for that family-friendly thing in my driveway?" I ask quietly as I slowly release my hold on her.

"Are you kidding? That car's awesome," she says, laughing. "B, you've gotta remember I don't exactly need to trade in a car to get a new one. I got this one so you'd get rid of that old eyesore you drive."

How could she? My car's not flashy but I love it. "Eyesore? I love Rusty."

Faith laughs. "The fact that you call your little car Rusty is a sign that you need a new one. I thought you could ditch old Rusty 'cause this one's better and safer for the little guy. My car and motorcycle are being shipped along with the rest of my stuff."

"You have a motorcycle? How much stuff do you have?" I rest my head on her shoulder, beginning to relax into her arms as we move into a better position on the couch. "In case you haven't noticed, this house isn't what you would call big."

"Maybe that's something we can talk about later," Faith says as she kisses the top of my head, "and yeah, I have a motorcycle. Almost got a boat one time, too."

The house issue is something we definitely will need to talk about. Before I can say anything about to though Faith's hands are moving over my stomach and I'm quickly forgetting about our discussion. I'm suddenly reminded that simply Faith's presence is a turn on. The fact I haven't had sex in three weeks is also something I'm strongly aware of right now, too.

Tyler decides it's time for us to pay attention to him again because he starts his babble that he does a lot now. I keep trying to pay attention so I'll hear if he says a word but nothing yet.

"Okay, sweetie," I say as I get up and lift him up from his chair, "we won't ignore you anymore."

I sit down and place Tyler on my lap, having him sit up but keeping him in place. Faith moves to sit right next to me, placing an arm around my shoulders. She places her other hand on Ty's back, helping him sit up even though he doesn't really need it.

"So," she starts, "are we gonna try this? I'm gonna have to go to Miami for a couple days every few weeks or so but I was thinking maybe you and Ty could come with me sometimes. I can show you around and I already turned a room into a bedroom for little Ty."

She must have known I'd be more than okay with us getting back together. She planned out everything. "I think we can work with that," I say as I smile.

Today turned out to be a really good day. I can't wait to tell everyone she's back.

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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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