Title: You'll See
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine and I make no money off this.
Summary: Faith tries to make it on her own.
It wasn't working with the rest of them. That's what I need to keep telling myself as I go from city to city. It wasn't going to work with me being part of a team, teaching new slayers and being around people who knew who I once was. What I once was.
They'd always look for signs. Signs that I wasn't who I kept saying I was now. Signs that I was still the same person who hurt all of them so long ago. That way they could justify feeling the way they do about me. They could go on not liking me and could feel okay with second guessing every move or decision I made.
Okay, that might not be exactly what happened and I could've just been paranoid that they were doing that. It felt like it sometimes though. No matter how hard I tried I never felt like one of them. I was always outside looking in.
That's why I had to leave. I couldn't redeem myself by following orders. I don't think it works that way. It's not really my choice then, ya know? It sure doesn't look much like my choice. It looks like I'm only following orders and that's not how I want it.
I'm good now. I know I am and though that shouldn't matter to anyone else but me, I want it to matter. I want everyone to look at me and know that I am. I want to be counted on. I want her to count on me.
It's what it always comes down to: Buffy. I want there to be a day where she looks at me and I can tell she's over everything that happened. There should be a look in her eyes that says she's okay with me now and I'm finally an equal after all these years.
I don't think I'm ever gonna get that look from her. At least, not while working with her. I think she always thought I was only going along with the plan and if it were up to me I wouldn't do any of it. That if it was up to me I wouldn't choose to help people or fight for the greater good. When she looked at me it always looked wary, like she didn't want to set herself up to be disappointed.
That's the look I can't take. It was like a slap in the face every day. I couldn't stay around for that. I really doubt anyone could take that.
So I left. I don't think anyone was really surprised by it either. I'd already kind of separated myself from the rest of them so no one was really attached to me staying anyway. There wasn't anyone I would consider a friend, someone who wouldn't want me to leave.
Just to be clear, I didn't disappear in the middle of the night or anything. I told Giles I was gonna travel around for a while and he told the rest of them. Like I said, none of them were all that surprised. No one said good riddance or anything but I sure as hell didn't get a going away party.
She didn't even say goodbye, didn't ask why I was leaving. The last time I saw her was when I walked by one of the training rooms on my way out. She was teaching some of the new arrivals and I doubt she even noticed I walked by. I admit I stopped a watched for a moment, thinking she might say something, but nothing happened so I left.
The only person who really talked to me about what I was doing was Xander. We were never what you would call friends but I think he wanted to step up and say something on behalf of the rest of the inner circle. That's what he told me anyway when he came to my room the night before I packed up and left.
My room was always pretty empty. I'm not exactly what you would call the decorating type but all my belongings were packing in my two pathetic looking bags and all I wanted to do was sleep before I caught a bus in the morning. First one outta Cleveland and away from people who would never respect me. But Xander had to show up and wanna talk, something he'd never wanted to do before and honestly, I wished I wouldn't have let him then either.
It started out okay. He asked me why I was leaving and by looking at him, I knew he deserved an honest answer so I gave him the best one I could. He seemed to believe me but to my shock he said no one wanted me to go.
That was news to me. No one had said goodbye besides him but he said no one knew what to say. According to him I'm not the easiest person to talk to and I guess I can agree with him on that. I'm always waiting for one of them to accuse me of something so I'm always on edge and all I ever want is for them to get to the point and leave me alone.
We talked for a few minutes and for those few minutes it was the best talk I've ever been involved in. Xander's pretty cool when you get right down to it and he's a lot better at reading people than anyone gives him credit for. The way he talked to me put me at ease and I opened up to him a little about wanting to redeem myself and wanting to do it on my own. He seemed to understand that and I was grateful he didn't try to convince to stay once he heard it.
What he did say though messed with my head so the talk still ended on a bad note. He brought up that Buffy didn't want her to go either and was pretty broken up about it, too. My first instinct was to kick him the hell out of my room. If she really wanted me to stay, she would've said something, right? She would have talked to me about it instead of ignoring my existence.
When I called him what seemed to be an obvious lie he said something that made me wanna punch him right in the face. He told me that everyone close to her thought she was in love with me.
Pretty fucking nuts, right? Buffy Summers in love with me. I couldn't see how that was even possible. I don't even love me. When I look in the mirror I struggle not to see the slut that not even her own mother could love. I'm getting better at not seeing that version of myself but there are some days where it's all I see. If that's what I see how can anyone else see anything different?
Xander tried to explain it further but I told him to leave. He didn't argue it, probably 'cause he could see how shocked and angry I was.
There's no way that's true. She's never shown any interest in us even being good friends, much less that she wants to get me in the sack. Granted I can't really blame her. I am pretty fucking hot. Who wouldn't want me? But to be in love with me? It's just not possible.
The knowledge I ended up clinging to as I left the house that morning was that Buffy never actually told any of her friends that she was in love with me. It was only something they all thought. I wasn't sure why they all thought that since she never gave me the time of day during meetings or patrols or anything else. Wouldn't she act like she actually gave a shit if she loved me?
So I left Cleveland and travelled. I stopped whenever I needed to get a quick job to make some cash or if there was some vamp or demon trouble I needed to take care of. I can't say it's the best life but I know I'm helping people. Just last week I saved a family from being dinner for a couple vamps. That felt pretty good. The dinner I got as a reward tasted pretty damn good, too.
I think I've been gone about a year or so and I haven't heard from any of them. I thought I was going crazy once 'cause I thought I saw Buffy when I was in Houston a few months ago but nothing came of it. It did make me think about how I could be tracked if someone wanted to though. That problem was solved pretty quick once I tracked down a warlock that could whip up a protection spell. It's probably paranoid of me to think I even need one but I don't want someone following me or trying to get me to fight a battle I don't wanna fight.
Right now I'm in Ogallala, Nebraska and I've been here a couple days. It's oddly a vamp hot spot or it is at the moment. I'm slowly taking care of them but I'm also running a little low on cash so I've had to get a job, too. Kinda means I'm constantly tired at the moment.
One thing I'll never understand is why vamps and demons choose to go to small towns to hide out. There's loads more places to hide out in a city. There's loads more freaks in cities, too, so they'd fit right in and no one would even look their way. There's no real obvious place to hide out in small towns but maybe the vamps come 'cause the people here are so much better at turning a blind eye than anyone in LA or NYC.
I had an early shift so at least I'm able to take a nap today. Yesterday I had to function on an hour of sleep and I swear if the manager at the diner I work at didn't think I was hot, I probably would've been fired.
Not today though. It's kinda dreary and rainy which to me is the perfect napping weather. I figure I can get in a couple hours then walk toward the edge of town, the part furthest away from the highway, take out the vamps that hang out there. Maybe I can even get 'em all so I can concentrate on earning some cash and then moving on to the next town.
The hotel I'm staying at sort of sucks but the manager of the diner helped me get a discount since he knows the guy running the place. He's a good guy and hasn't tried anything with me, not something I can say about everyone I've worked for in the last year. It wasn't anything I couldn't handle but I've kneed a lot of crotches since I've left Cleveland.
I'm so tired the minute I lay down I'm dead to the world until someone starts knocking on my door. No one has knocked on any one of my hotel doors since I've starting travelling. I don't know anyone in any of the places I've been, I don't make friends and I've never been late to any job I've had in the last year. No one has had any reason to visit me at my room.
I look over at the clock on the nightstand by the bed and I think I've maybe only been asleep for an hour or so. It doesn't really feel that long but that's probably because it's not nearly long enough. I'm so tired and I really wanna get a couple more hours in before I go out and kick some vampire ass.
Groaning both that I have to get up and that I was so tired I fell asleep in my uniform, I get up and open the door to find Buffy standing at my door. I look past her for a second to see it really started raining out which would explain her damp hair and jacket.
What the fuck is she doing here? Did she get lost? This place is a long way from Cleveland. There's no airport anywhere near here and you have to drive through hours of nothingness to get here. I'm not exactly thrilled with trying to get out of town. Boringness in several directions.
"What are you doing here?" I finally get out after staring at her for a minute or so. I'm making no move to let her in either. She woke me up from a much needed nap.
"I could ask you the same thing," she responds quietly. "How the hell did you end up here?"
I shrug. "There are vamps here. Since I'm a slayer and all I figure it's my job to, ya know, slay 'em."
"Did you get something to shield you from us?"
My eyes go to my jacket for a split second where that pouch is. It's obviously not working for me anymore. "Why are you trying to look for me?"
Buffy looks at me with narrowed eyes but I can't read her at all. Maybe it's 'cause I haven't been around her for a year. "Are you gonna let me in?"
Right now, I'm seriously thinking about shutting the door on her. I don't want to deal with her anymore and I don't wanna think about what Xander told me. If it's true, how do I deal with that? Sure, she's wicked hot and all but I don't know how to love someone. I don't know how to accept that someone loves me.
Her look turns into a scowl until I sigh and step aside to let her in. She looks around my room as I shut the door and my mind's a blank at why she's here. "What do you want, B?"
"You never talked to me before you left," she says as she turns back to me. "You never said goodbye or where you were going."
"You never fucking asked, B." I'm a little disgusted at the attitude that coming off her. It's not my fucking job to consult her on every decision I make and she sure as hell wasn't giving me the time of day anyway. "Was I supposed to ask your permission?"
She sighs and she sounds tired. "That's not what I mean. I wasn't looking for you to ask me. I just thought . . . you'd tell me why."
The look she's giving me right now makes me take a little pity on her and I motion for her to sit down. She sits on the edge of the bed and I sit down next to her, not close so we're touching or anything but close enough. "Didn't think it mattered."
"It mattered to me." She turns to look at me and her eyes are a little watery. If she really cared this much, why didn't she show it a year ago? "I thought we were doing okay there but then you told Giles you were leaving. And then Xander told me what you told him before you left . . ."
"What did he tell you?"
"He said that you needed to be on your own to prove yourself and that's not true," Buffy says and I know by looking into her eyes that she means it. "You were proving yourself in Cleveland. Everyone knew that and we were all behind you."
I really want to laugh at that but I don't. I'm trying my best to respect our conversation. Maybe she'll leave right after if I do that. "No one ever showed that so what am I supposed to think, B? Besides, I'm doing good on my own. I like it."
That's not really true. Sure, some days I like the traveling and helping people I know I'll never see again but I don't like the odd jobs and the shitty motels. I hate the buses. I should've tried to buy a car before I left.
"I don't think I believe you." She paused and looks away for a second before looking back at me. I don't like the look in her eyes. "Xander told me what he said to you before you left, too."
What else can I really say? I didn't confess anything before I left. He told me she was in love with me but I didn't say that I loved her back. Did she want to track me down just to explain herself?
"I started looking for you a few months ago and I thought I saw you in Houston but then I couldn't track you at all. You had help with that, right?"
I nod slowly. No use denying it, right? "Yeah, I figured it'd be better if I knew I was really on my own."
Buffy does something that wigs me out a little: she places her hand on my thigh gently. We've never been all that touchy-feely before. "He was telling you the truth."
"I kinda figured that." My eyes are staring at her hand. "Xander's not exactly a liar."
"Faith, I'm kinda lost without you in Cleveland." She moves the hand that's on my thigh to my chin and makes me look at her. "I've been trying to find you to get you to come back."
My brain's completely empty. Sure, that happens a lot but usually it's reserved for meetings and research. I've never been in a situation like this before and I never would have ever dreamed Buffy Summers would track me down and confess her love for me.
What happens next threatens to shut my brain down. Buffy leans in and kisses me. It's soft and gentle and I have to say I've never been kissed like that before. Anyone who's seen me knows I'm not the soft and gentle type but that's what she's trying for. I like it.
Buffy shifts closer to me and I'm pretty sure she's waiting for me to respond in some way. I'm still trying to get over that she's kissing me. Even after a year, I'm still not done processing the fact that she loves me.
We continue to kiss softly as her arm makes its way around me and I do the same. What can I say? I do like her and she's here for me. No one's ever done that for me before. No one's ever cared enough to come after me.
My body gets the best of my brain and I deepen the kiss, something Buffy responds to instantly. It's like she was waiting for me to do it. In seconds I'm exploring every part of her mouth and my hands start to move over her back. I can feel her hands begin to move over my body, too, and she's less shy than I'd figure she would be. Then again, she's in love with me.
I break away from her, out of breath, and almost die of shock as she begins to kiss and suck on my neck. There's no doubt in my mind that she wants me now. She's the more aggressive one at the moment and I never thought that would have been possible.
My ears hear a moan and it takes a second for me to realize that I'm the one moaning. Buffy Summers just made me moan out. This is way too fucking hot but then my brain turns on.
If I continue with this, we're gonna have some amazing sex. Buffy shows no signs of stopping and I'd love to see her naked but this is all wrong. If we have sex she's gonna want me to go back to Cleveland with her and I'll go. I'm not gonna fuck her and break her heart. I'm not that person anymore which is why this can't continue.
"B, stop," I say quietly as I push her away as gently as I can. "We can't do this."
She gives me a confused look that makes me wanna kiss her. "Why not?"
"Because I can't go back with you."
Now she looks like she wants to cry. Damn it. "You're not coming back? But . . . but I love you."
Oh, shit. All I want to do is hold her and tell her exactly what she wants to hear but I can't. I'm not the person I want to be yet. I haven't proven myself. I'm not good enough for her.
"I know, B," I sigh. "But I left to prove that I could redeem myself on my own. I haven't proven myself."
"You don't need to prove yourself," Buffy says as tears start to fall. "Everyone knows you're on the right track, that you're one of the team." She sniffles quietly. "I need you there, Faith."
The only thing I can do is take her into my arms. It feels like I'm breaking her anyway but I can't go back with her. I'm not ready. I need to be good enough for her.
"Buffy, I've gotta do this on my own. I've gotta be able to look in the mirror and be okay with what I see. No one can help me with that. I can't go back until I do that."
I don't think she likes that but she doesn't say anything else. She only holds me tighter.
"It'll be okay, B. I'll do what I need to do and I'll go back to Cleveland a better person. You'll see."
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