Title: Take Me
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine and I make no money off this.
Summary: AU during Season Six. Faith is out of prison and has come back to Sunnydale in order to start over and ends up crossing paths with Buffy who has problems of her own.
As the bus bounced along a particularly bumpy patch of road in the late evening, Faith couldn't help but think about all the things she could do that didn't include what she was doing right now. She definitely didn't want to be doing this. It was almost painful, too much for her to handle.
Riding on this particular bus was probably not the best thing for Faith right now. In fact, some people probably thought the young slayer had no business being anywhere but in the prison she'd spent the last eighteen months. Oddly enough, the legal system felt otherwise and now Faith was on her way to the last place she thought she would ever go back to.
The bus bound for Sunnydale was going slower than she thought. She figured since she didn't want to go there the bus would be at the city limits before she knew it. Now it felt it was going slow only to taunt her and she didn't like that feeling at all. She hated that lack of control.
Faith still didn't know what to make of her newfound freedom. When she found out her charges had been reduced due to some glitch in her case, she thought that meant instead of twenty-five to life, it would be more like ten to fifteen. Next thing she knew, however, she was told her time was completed and she could go.
Faith couldn't quite believe it. She thought she should pay more for her crimes and what she served didn't even put a dent in righting all the wrongs she'd done. Maybe that was the reason the first place she thought to go was not to LA and Angel, but to Sunnydale and the person she figured probably hated her most.
She knew Buffy had every reason to hate her and behind her was probably a long line of people who felt the same. Faith had not a single argument to convince them otherwise either. In fact, she agreed and could see herself in that same line right behind Buffy. She hated what she'd become the last time she'd been in Sunnydale and was afraid she was still that person. It scared her more than anything. She didn't want to hurt people anymore but was terrified she couldn't change.
Shaking her head and placing it against the headrest, Faith closed her eyes for a minute and wondered how insane she was to think about coming back to this place. She wasn't wanted, probably wasn't even needed. The only thing that kept going through her mind was that she needed to be near the hellmouth. She needed to do her duty as a slayer. It was the only thing she ever thought she was good at and that feeling was something she needed right now.
Faith reached in her pocket and counted the cash she'd been given at the time of her release. Besides a set of street clothes, she'd been given five hundred dollars. She knew that wasn't standard issue and could only think it was Angel's doing. He was the only one whoever cared to visit her in prison. She made a mental note to give him a call once she got settled.
Looking back out the window, Faith could see lights ahead and could feel it was Sunnydale, like the place was in her blood somehow. Her breathing quickened for a moment as she started to get nervous at what lie ahead of her. Faith wanted so badly not to mess up this time.
Her thoughts were immediately brought back to Buffy. When she was there last, Buffy had been her world, for better and for worse. That had eventually been her downfall, her nonstop thought for the older woman. Faith was determined not to make that same mistake again.
Of course, the only person on her mind was Buffy. She wondered what would happen when Buffy found out that she was not only out of prison but also in Sunnydale. Even though she was determined to make a clean start, she didn't think Buffy would see things the same way.
Faith closed her eyes again. Her mind was screaming at her to run, to get out of Sunnydale. It was like her brain knew there was only trouble waiting for her in this town. Then again, when trouble came in the beautiful package of a certain slayer Faith couldn't resist.
"Here's the room key," a greasy guy across the counter said as he handed Faith the key. "How long will you be staying?"
Faith took the key and looked at the manager, trying to hide her disgust at his disheveled appearance. "I don't know," she answered. "I'm gonna play that by ear."
"You're only paid for a week," he said, looking her over. "After that you have to pay up or get out."
Faith scowled at him as she picked up her duffel bag off the floor. "Yeah, I got it. It's this way, right?" She pointed out the door and to the right.
The manager nodded and Faith walked out of the office and down to her motel room. She wasn't pleased with the fact it was the very same place she'd stayed the last time she was there but she knew she needed to conserve her money and the motel was one of the cheapest places in Sunnydale. It was also the most rundown but she could deal with that. She kept telling herself it was only temporary and that thought kept her going.
Faith still tried to feel upbeat about the situation. She was out of prison and tomorrow she would start looking for a job. That wasn't exactly the most fun but she figured she could find something that would require a lot of strength and not much else. The young slayer never thought of herself as very bright and that combined with her ex-con status, Faith figured cheap labor jobs were her best option.
Opening the door, she sighed as the room looked exactly like the one she'd stayed in three years ago. She made sure she didn't get the same room but hadn't realized the manager was probably too cheap to remodel the place in the last three years. Looking at it gave her the feeling of a bad dream but she shook it off and tried to forget it. That type of thinking would not help and she knew it.
Faith tossed her bag on the floor near the bed and sat down in a shabby chair in the corner of the room. She couldn't believe she was actually going through with starting over in Sunnydale. She thought for sure she was crazy because of it but the prison shrink had told her otherwise. He said she just had to learn to control her anger. He even gave her exercises to help but also said it was just best to think before she acted and try to keep a clear head.
That was never easy where Buffy was concerned. She stirred so many emotions in Faith and she seemed to know how to push every one of her buttons without even trying. It was like Buffy knew just how to make her angry and maybe even wanted to.
Faith got up and walked into the bathroom. She decided she had thought enough for the night and needed to get some sleep. She stripped and took a quick shower before climbing into the bed, smiling slightly at the fact overall the room seemed clean and the sheets felt that way, too. The thought relaxed her enough to help her fall asleep.
The last thought going through Faith's mind was that it would be a long day tomorrow.
Morning came all too soon but Faith woke up bright and early nonetheless. She quickly showered and got dressed, knowing the sooner she got started the better her prospects were at finding a job. She knew she'd need to find one quickly or risk running out of money.
It was still before business hours in most places so Faith started walking around the town, trying to see what was different and what places were still the same. That made her think about if the cemeteries had changed much in the three years she'd been away. There were probably more graves. Faith furrowed her brow at the thought. Buffy had a grave in one of those at one point.
When Angel went to the prison and told Faith that Buffy had died, she told him she already knew. She knew because she could feel it, the pain, the moment she died. A part of her died with the older girl and Faith didn't know if that part had come back when Buffy did. She still hurt as though Buffy was still dead.
As she continued to walk, Faith thought more about Buffy and about how she was going to react to her. Faith hoped she would at least be indifferent at the fact she was back in town. She realized that was the best result she could hope for. There was no hope she would be happy to see her again.
Faith had never stopped thinking about Buffy the entire time she was in prison and now all she could think of was how she could make things right. She knew the process was going to be beyond hard but she wanted to try. She wouldn't be able to stand herself if she didn't. Buffy needed to know how much she wanted to make everything better.
Faith was so lost in thought she didn't realize she had been walking up Revello Drive. She panicked, not knowing if she was ready for this encounter right now. It could blow up in her face in such a bad way and it wasn't the best way to start her time out of prison, but it needed to be done. She figured since she was here, it might as well be now.
She saw the familiar house up the street and walked quickly along the sidewalk and up to the front door. Taking a deep breath, Faith reached out and knocked on the door. She heard some movement inside the house before the door opened. Buffy stood in front of her and for a few seconds Faith forgot her own name, much less anything else. She was still as beautiful as she remembered.
"Hi, B," Faith said, starting to give a small smile but Buffy stopped her before she could do anything else. She punched her in the face with all the strength she had, knocking Faith unconscious.
Buffy looked down at Faith lying unconscious on her front porch with a blank expression. She didn't know what to think about this situation. She never thought it would happen and therefore, had never prepared. She'd always thought if Faith ever tried to come back into her life she'd kill her or at the very least, beat her within an inch of her life. The pain Faith caused her had always been so close to the surface it hurt to think about her and now it wasn't there. Without that emotion, she didn't know what to do.
She looked down at Faith for another minute before leaning down to pick her up off the floor. Buffy couldn't bring herself to just close the door on her even though she really wanted to. Thankfully, she was alone in the house. T hat was a relief in and of itself. Ever since she was brought back, the gang rarely left her alone and they would not know how to handle Faith. They would just look for their friend to do something and Buffy had no idea what to do.
Buffy carefully picked up the young woman and brought her inside. She put her down gently on the couch and sat in a chair across from her then leaned back and rested her head against the chair, closing her eyes. Buffy didn't want Faith in her house and didn't want to wait for her to wake up, but it was all she could think of. Her mind couldn't even process the fact she was alive much less that Faith was there.
Faith began to move slightly on the couch while Buffy's eyes were closed, starting to wake up from the strong hit Buffy had given her. It took her only a few seconds to realize where she was. She easily recognized the Summers living room and looked across from her to see Buffy leaning back in a chair. Buffy had her eyes closed and looked exhausted. It made Faith wonder what was going on with her. She'd never looked that tired before.
"B?" she questioned, a little too nervously for her tastes. She wanted to be remorseful but she thought nervousness went hand in hand with weakness. Faith never wanted to seem weak.
Buffy's eyes opened and she looked at Faith with a blank expression. "What are you doing here?"
Faith slowly sat up and thought about the right thing to say. "I got out of prison yesterday," she said slowly. "I really didn't know where to go. Just kinda ended up here."
Keeping her eyes locked on Faith, Buffy straightened up in her chair. She could see Faith's nervousness and couldn't figure out why she was. That wasn't the Faith she remembered. "You could have gone anywhere. You could have gone to LA and stayed with Angel. You didn't need to come here." She paused. "You shouldn't have come here."
Faith shrugged, her eyes looking Buffy over. "I'm a slayer and this is a hellmouth. I felt I was needed here."
One thing Faith couldn't figure out was why Buffy was just calmly talking to her. She figured she'd get more than just a punch in the face. It didn't seem right. In fact, something about Buffy didn't seem right.
"B, are you okay?" Faith asked, leaning forward and studying her.
That question was the last thing Buffy thought Faith would say and was taken aback by it. She wondered if Faith was trying to put on a show for her, trying to look like she was all good now, but then realized it had been a minute and she hadn't answered the question. Faith was now looking at her with a little concern. The last thing she wanted was her concern.
"Just peachy, Faith," Buffy remarked sarcastically. "In case you didn't hear, I'm back from the dead." She paused. "You're wrong though, Faith. You're not needed here."
"B . . ."
"No," Buffy said strongly, holding up her hand to stop the younger slayer, "I don't want to hear anything you have to say. I know I can't force you to leave town but stay out of my way. I don't want to see you."
Faith didn't respond right away. She wanted to try and make things right and would need to see Buffy in order to do that. Of course, she didn't expect Buffy to let her do that, at least not right away. She knew it would take time.
She nodded. "Whatever, B. I'm just here to help." She got up and started to walk toward the front door but stopped halfway and turned back to her. She didn't want to leave without somehow letting Buffy know she'd changed. "B, I just need to say I'm . . ."
"Don't," Buffy said between gritted teeth. "Don't apologize to me. I won't believe you."
Faith nodded again. "Okay. Just remember if you need some extra muscle, I'll be around."
She gave Buffy a small smile before walking out the door and hoped like hell it looked sincere.
The rest of the day sped right by for Faith. She went around to around a dozen major businesses looking for work and it hadn't all been a waste. One place, a shipping company, hadn't given her the brush off and she was asked to come back tomorrow to talk to the shift manager about pay and availability.
Her mind was still clouded from her encounter with Buffy however. She did not react the way Faith thought she would. The passion in Buffy's evident hatred for her was gone and while Faith was a little relieved about that, it also looked like she'd lost all the passion in her life. It freaked Faith out that Buffy was acting like she was still dead.
Faith wondered what exactly Willow and the rest of them did to bring Buffy back from the dead. It was almost like they did it wrong or they missed bringing back a part of her. By the end of the day, Faith wanted more than anything to talk to Buffy about everything. She had told her to keep her distance, however, and Faith intended to respect that. At least, for the time being.
Walking into her motel room, Faith tossed a bag with her burger on the chipped up desk by the window and shut the door behind her. She sat down on her bed and allowed herself to feel a little happy. She was finally getting a good start and it improved her mood remarkably. If things went right, tomorrow she'd have a job and that meant it was only a matter of time before she got out of her crappy motel room.
Faith kicked off her boots and grabbed her food. She'd skipped lunch in favor of going to more businesses and before she realized how hungry she was now, the food was gone. She turned on her TV and tried to watch whatever was on but couldn't concentrate.
She ended up taking a nap and woke as it was getting dark, almost all evidence of sunlight gone. Faith looked over at the clock and saw it was almost nine.
"Shit," she muttered, "probably should already be out there."
She grabbed the stake that had been placed with her possessions at the prison and her leather jacket and walked out the door quickly. She couldn't wait to get out there and do what she had been called for.
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 (original) || Chapter Fifteen (alternate)