I was an up-and-coming intern in the Council's medical division at the time the Second Slayer was brought to England.
Later I was an active participant at the subsequent ten flatlines and, er, resurrections, for lack of a better word. I was there when we examined her body. I pried open her stiff fingers from around the tiny razorblade crusted with dried blood; rigor mortis had already set in and the bones of her hand had to be broken open. I did that too.
Shortly after Faith's suicide I left the Council. More accurately, I was fired. They cited incompetence but what they really meant was that I was hooked on the bottle. I never drank on the job, I swear, but I'd been in and out of rehab so many times I can't blame them for believing otherwise.
So I went back to Canada. Got a job in a hospital but the alcohol got to me and last month I was struck off the register. Same day as I was evicted from my apartment, naturally.
Since then I've been holed up in this dump of a motel, just drinking and thinking. A lot of drinking. But mostly thinking. About her. About Faith.
* * *
The official story says that Faith went mad because of the flatlines. That we pushed her back and forth between the worlds of the living and the dead so many times that her mind broke down altogether. Add to that the brain damage suffered from oxygen deprivation during the flatlines themselves, and the official account seems completely p lausible to any outsider.
But I know better. I was there from the beginning, remember?
So I know that the reports are wrong. We did terrible, cruel, inhumane things to the Second Slayer - but by the time she came to us she was already mad.
And somehow that almost makes it worse. Like torturing a retarded child, or drowning a newborn kitten. We should have treated her with kindness and pity. Even her crimes, her murders and fits of violence: couldn't these be explained by the fact that she was insane, therefore not responsible for her actions?
I swear to god, I'll never forget the first time I saw her. She was strapped down to the bed and tears were streaming down her face. Eyes staring, vacant. And she was saying the same words, over and over again, like a mantra or a prayer, until the words ran together in a stream.
I remember clearing my throat nervously. "Is that... I mean, is she drugged up or high or something?" I dropped my voice to a whisper. "Does she actually believe what she's saying?"
"No drugs except sedatives. She's been like that since before we boarded ship in Los Angeles," one of the weary-looking attendants muttered to me.
"She's a fucking looney," another added more harshly, not bothering to lower his voice and twirling a finger next to his forehead.
Even at the time, I found it hard not to agree. The following years only firmed my conviction that she was already deranged when she woke up from her coma. Faith's delusion was utter and complete. Right to the end she never stopped repeating the same words she had uttered when she first arrived. Even now I can still hear her voice...
"I'm Buffy not Faith... I'm Buffy not Faith... I'm Buffy not Faith... I'm Buffy..."