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Temporary Sanity

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INT Mansion Bedroom – Night

Angel, alone, preparing for bed. He turns to see Faith standing in the doorway, carrying a large, heavy bad.

ANGEL: Faith.

FAITH: Angel

(beat)

I got nowhere else to go.

Angel hesitates for a second. Faith looks like she's about to lose it.

FAITH: Look, I hate asking for help. But I'm asking 'cause I...I'm in trouble, the real kind.

ANGEL: It's ok.

FAITH: Nah, it's... a couple of county lines from ok, believe me.

ANGEL: I believe you.

Angel lets her in. She sits down on the bed, eyes staring forward, in her own world of fear.

ANGEL: Just talk. Start at the beginning.

FAITH: I don't have near enough time for that. I'm gonna give you the cliff notes.

ANGEL: Just keep talking.

FAITH: After I-I killed that guy, nobody trusted me. Not B, not the Scoobs, not Giles and not you. It's not that you guys trusted me much before, but it was enough, it was... nice.

ANGEL: I trust you.

FAITH: You shouldn't. I don't trust me right now.

(beat)

I'm a live in the moment kinda person, yunno? And in the moment, joinin' up with the mayer seemed to be the right-well, not the right thing, but it made perfect sense in the moment, ok?

Angel sits up, back straight.

ANGEL: You're right, this is serious.

FAITH: I know. I'm sorry, alright? Well, the Mayor, he trusted me. Treated me real nice, like his kid or something. For a while, that felt great. Remember when you told me killing people's make me feel like some kind of God?

Angel nods. Faith shows him her hands. Blood.

FAITH: Think I just came down to earth. I'm having a moment of temporary sanity, and I've got to take advantage of it before I hurt someone I care about. While I still care.

Angel examines her hands, concerned.

FAITH: It's not human, if that's what you're thinking. Not that that makes me feel better, or this guy any less dead. He was harmless, and I killed him for some kind of sick fun.

ANGEL: Faith, you need help. And you can't do it alone.

FAITH: I know. For real now, I'm scared. Scared of what I am, scared of what I'm turning into. I feel like I'm not even me most of the time. Cold-blooded, straight-up killer, that's the new me. Like you were.

ANGEL: No, you're not like me. I didn't have the choice.

He looks her in the eyes, drives the point home.

ANGEL: But you do. You can stop this. Right now, telling me all this–one hell of a first step.

Faith shakes her head.

FAITH: I'm not strong enough. This whole sanity thing-not gonna last. It's too late.

ANGEL: You have a soul. You're trying. It's never too late.

FAITH: This isn't about me. It's about these.

She picks up the bag, unzips it, and dumps the contents. About a dozen heavy old books fall out.

FAITH: The Books of Ascension. All of them. I ran off with these on my way out of City Hall. Any minute now, he'll know. He'll send someone after me. You need to keep these safe. I have to get out of here, skip town. Running's what I'm best at, anyway.

Faith laughs again, bitterly.

FAITH: It's how I got here, and it's how I'll leave.

Angel places his hand gingerly on Faith's shoulder. She flinches and he pulls away.

ANGEL: You're not leaving.

FAITH: How you gonna stop me, Soul Boy? I'm stronger than you.

ANGEL: I don't have to stop you, because you won't try to leave. You're not going to leace, because, condition you're in, you might hurt someone. You're not going to leave, because we need you here to stop the Ascension.

FAITH: Shut up. The fabulously wonderful Buffy Summers can do that all by her damn self.

(beat)

"Sides, I don't think I could fight him. He's- He's like the evil dad from the 50s I wish I had.

(beat)

The Ascension's on Graduation Day. 'Till then, the Mayor's invincible. Nothing can harm him.

(beat)

ANGEL: I can't make you stay, but I can ask you to. You really are needed here. And if you don't trust yourself, you need to trust someone else with yourself. I can keep you safe, I can keep them safe from you. You're not beyond help, not by a long shot.

Faith looks at him, wide-eyed, for a moment, considering the offer. She closes her eyes, and shakes her head.

FAITH: Nice try, Soul Boy., you nearly had me.

(beat)

Look, don't tell 'em what I did, ok? Make something up, bout how you got the books and the info. Tell Giles, if you have to, but not B and not the Scoobs. I don't want them to know. They don't need to know. I don't want them to think of me as Faith, the murdering traitorous bitch.

She's losing it now, starting to cry, shaking a little. Angel wraps his arms around her, and Faith clings to him, sobbing now.

ANGEL: I won't tell, I promise. But you. are. not. leaving. You don't have to talk to anyone, but you're staying right here.

FAITH: -almost inaudibly- Ok.

Faith breathes in deeply, pulls away from Angels hug.

FAITH: The Mayor -sniffles, another deep breath- he's after your soul. Right now, if he hasn't found out about the books, he thinks I'm screwing you. When I don't come back, he'll use other methods.

ANGEL: I'll be alright. You just worry about yourself right now, ok?

Faith nods, tears drying.

ANGEL: I'm going to go into the next room, call Giles about the books. I won't mention you, I promise. Are you going to be alright?

Faith nods, a little hesitantly. Angel turns to walk away.

ANGEL: It gets easier, eventually.

FAITH: -quietly- What?

ANGEL: Redemption.

He leaves the room, and Faith lies down on his bed, exhausted.