Author: Regala Electra
Rating: R Overall
Pairings: Faith/Wood, Faith/Buffy, Faith/Wes, Faith/Others
Spoilers: Set after the BtVS & AtS Series Finales
Series Summary: Faith’s seen The Muppet Movie. She likes to think of herself as a master of moving right along.
Part Two Summary: She had dreamt of Buffy's lips against her forehead, whispering that now the floods have rolled back, she will fight no fires.
Author’s Notes: Series of short ficlets featuring Faith's life post-Chosen. Er, I also am using these fics to set up a context for Faith in the Other Myths That Aren’t True Faith/Dean Crossover Series of Sexy Doom. You do not need to read that series to understand these ficlets, they are mostly BtVS/AtS oriented. Titles to each section are song lyrics, all credited.
mary, mary, mother full of life
(Mary; Kristin Hoffmann)
Faith still stands at the threshold of Buffy's apartment, even though she's been told to come in. Twice. Shifts from one foot to another, wincing at the new ache deep in her knee. Some fucker had tried bringing her down with a fumbled kick to the knee. He’d learned his lesson right quick.
She’d balance against the doorway, but she’d get a Look, the silent please don’t do that, so she just waits there, knowing how foolish she looks fidgeting as Buffy finishes her morning routine.
(One of the crapshoots to traveling standby—sure, she managed to snag a seat that went to the Fiumicino airport with only one stopover—she’d arrived in Rome in the early morning. She doesn’t own a pair of sunglasses and had blinked too many times in the bright light, unused to being up so damn early. She appreciates the dimmed light in the hallway and figures she’ll stick here awhile.)
It’s weird watching B here, not just in another country, but it’s like another goddamn universe. She sings to her plants now (off key, but it’s kinda sweet, not that Faith would ever say unless she was trying to tease Buffy) and waters them with a pale orange pitcher that looks like it belongs in an art gallery, because, as Buffy jokes, —Seems that water keeps them from dying. Who knew?
Faith inclines her head, not a real nod, but something to show that she’s listening.
She had dreamt of Buffy's lips against her forehead, whispering that now the floods have rolled back, she will fight no fires. She offered water cupped in her hands and it was ice-cold as Faith drank greedily. What is this? Faith asked, sputtering as the cold settled in her stomach and Buffy had answered, —it is life.
It's just a dream and Faith never had the big important dreams. Only, she keeps on having this dream. It even followed her as she crossed the Atlantic; managing to catch a couple of Zs in her cramped seat. Maybe it’s telling her something, something profound, but Faith knows that she’s just not that person: prophecies do not touch her and it’s better that way.
She creates something that is hers. It is something small and viable and enough. She doesn't have time to coo at a wilting green leaf, to encourage a little nest of herbs to keep on growing.
Buffy wields power like a distorted version of motherhood, which is fucking bizarre considering she's still single and hasn't ever hinted about having kids. Her sister Dawn is enough and Faith now asks about her. B smiles just a bit and agreeably begins to tell Faith all about her. Faith's learned (hey, sometimes she does pay attention) it's a good neutral ground. It's the only place to stake out when the silences become awkward. Dawn’s the magic word to keeping the balance.
It’s the threshold and unlike Faith, there's not stalling. Buffy rambles on about all the things she can think of as she continues tending to her plants. While she idealizes her sister a hell of a lot more than Buffy used to, Faith figures that’s Buffy’s job now. To be the P.R. person, the one who says how good things are going and that's why it's totally chill to still be living in Rome even though their little organization has its roots growing deep in English soil.
Dawn's always the start of the big stories and it easily switches to the next of kin. The new generations of Slayers are her children and Buffy tells Faith all about them, always getting their names right, but it's a hollow pride. Facts aren't the whole story and though they can be dressed awful nice, Faith's the one that's always lived in the in-between.
So she recognizes that there's something missing and when the morning light halos around Buffy as she turns to look Faith in the eye, Faith sees it now. Buffy is the high society mother living an idyllic life, vaguely still working, but more and more it's becoming oversight, something which Faith does not understand.
Faith doesn't get her ass kissed by the younger Slayers. They stay out of her way but she catches them staring sometimes, like they're trying to figure out which rumors are true. All of them are, kids, she’s said several times over. They believe her and Faith chuckles. Sometimes they think she’s joking and they laugh, a nervous twitter.
Still, she's gone on a few recruiting missions to find new Slayers. Distasteful as she's found them to be, it's better than letting, in the words of Willow (in a less than tactful moment), "another Faith" come into fruition.
Buffy's got a sharp set of shears in blood-apple red that match the accents to her chic little kitchenette. She trims thorns from a potted plant. Mentions how one of her Slayers has figured how a new way to repair stakes, —it's so simple and totally will cut down on whittling time (like Buffy's even whittled her own stakes in the past couple of years).
She sweeps the discarded leaves and thorns — all the ugly bits — into the garbage can, a mellow metal grey, and she puts the can back under the sink.
Faith had bloodied her knuckles bringing down one girl, barely fifteen, who'd taken her newfound powers and gone on a brutal killing spree in Nashville. Maybe she should've been merciful and ended it, but she remembers rain and Angel's arms around her and she knows that hope is grey and cement and steel bars. Faith had accepted that hollow clang of the bars and the knowledge that she was keeping herself there.
The girl though, she didn’t have a shot of understanding why Faith would have done that. Faith didn’t have the words to explain it, only the ability to knock the girl down and keep her from killing anyone else. Nothing had worked — meager attempts at reason and then the kind of shrink talk that even made Faith cringe as she was saying it — so a crew of Slayers came a-knocking with orders to take the girl.
Faith hasn’t ever asked what they do to the bad seeds. She's got a faint impression that Willy Wonka's method of bad eggs getting tossed in the incinerator is kinder.
Buffy's task done, her urban garden trimmed and healthy, she wipes away the tendrils sticking to her face. She smiles now much easier, the past hurts ignored for the moment, and tells Faith of a wonderful little trattoria she found and an even better little café just around the corner.
When the younger Slayers speak of Buffy, it is reverence always.
She’s the one that started all this. A better world.
Now, as Faith steps into Buffy’s apartment, walking towards Buffy and saying B, believe me, any place that has caffeine is my favorite kind of place, she knows what Buffy really is. She is the impossible. Water in the endless desert. A hallucination, but something to cling to, something to keep a person going even though there’s always going to be a drought. Nothing ever rolls back, least of all the fight.
Faith’s got a hell of a lot of fight still in her. She'll always take up the sword (or whatever weapon needs to be hefted) and storm ahead.
The next part will actually be Faith/Buffy as opposed to this piece as this one's more Faith and Buffy.