“You know I would have been less shocked if you had turned up a few months ago,” Faith says, passing on a more traditional greeting for the man sitting on the other side of the glass.
He looks so much older than he had when she had seen him last that its weird thinking that was just a year ago. Life hadn’t exactly been peachy for either of them.
“Well, yes, I suppose it must be- wait why would it have made sense before?” Giles asks looking confused.
“I mean when B was dead,” she pauses, it still hurts to even say that, “there was a part of me that thought you might come cause you needed another Slayer. Now she’s alive again I can’t see why you’d need to look me up.”
“How did you know? Did Angel tell you?” Giles asks looking even more confused than he had before. For a smart guy he looks confused a lot.
“I felt it. When she died. And again when she came back. It’s uh a Slayer thing I guess. I don’t know. ”
Giles sits back a little and, in a move she’d seen a million times, starts cleaning his glasses.
“That’s fascinating. You can feel each other? Do you think you could-“
She rolls her eyes and cuts him off, “Listen we don’t exactly have hours to chit chat here. Tell me why you’re here.”
“Right,” he says composing himself, “well it’s about Buffy-“
“Is B okay?” she cuts him off again, unable to stop the concern from coming out, “I mean damn she just came back from the dead, girlfriend deserves a break,” she adds with a shrug, trying to cover her little outburst of emotion.
“That’s actually what this is about. You’re probably not privy to how Buffy returned from the dead. Having decided that Buffy was in a hell dimension, Willow and the others found a spell to raise her from the dead. If I had known I would have discouraged them from attempting such magic.”
This makes Faith’s blood boil in a way it hasn’t since she settled into this whole redemption thing she’s trying in jail. How could he even think about being upset they took B out of hell? She wants to punch through the glass and shake him. Maybe slap him around a little.
“Good for Red, glad someone has B’s back like that,” she choses to let the bitterness come out through her words rather than her fists.
“Willow was wrong. Buffy wasn’t-well the truth is we all found out rather recently that Buffy had been in heaven. Willow and the others- they ripped her out of heaven,” his voice is laced with more pain than she’s ever heard in him before.
“Oh god B,” Faith chokes out before she can stop herself. She’s overwhelmed by the confusing emotions cursing through her.
Buffy dying had almost destroyed Faith. She’d been lying in her bunk trying to meditate when suddenly she’d felt like someone had dumped ice all over her. Just this crushing cold that weighed her down and made breathing feel so damn hard.
And she’d just known.
Desperately she’d tried to feel for Buffy through their Slayer connection and all she felt was a coldness that seemed to pierce her very core. She just knew that it meant Buffy was gone.
Slowly a rage she hadn’t felt since she’d turned herself in built up in her and she was screaming. Screaming and slamming her fist into her cell wall until the guards had all come running in and then her fists were slamming into bodies, knocking them out easily, blood pouring out of their soft bodies and her own hands.
Then the next thing she remembered was waking up in solitary feeling numb. And for the next 147 days that was all she felt. Numb. Her whole life Faith felt something intensely every moment of every day.
But, while B was dead, she’d felt nothing.
Then suddenly, as she sat in the dining hall trying to eat something, her body had tingled and warmth had spread through her. She’d been unable to control the tears that had sprung to her eyes. Tough ass Faith Lehane had wept tears of fucking joy as she’d sat at that dining table knowing Buffy Summers was back in this world.
So knowing Buffy had been ripped out of heaven? Ripped away from the peace she deserved more than anyone? It hurt. She hurt for Buffy because she knew how fucked the whole thing must have been. But, she couldn’t bring herself to feel bad that Buffy was alive because god Buffy had not deserved to die in the first place.
That and147 days of numbness was all Faith had needed to know she loved Buffy Summers in a way she’d never loved anyone. She couldn’t feel bad knowing the girl she loved was still in the world.
“Faith?” she had completely forgotten Giles was still there. She raises her eyes to his and sees genuine concern for her there. She looks down immediately and takes a few deep breaths to compose herself.
“I’m still not sure why you’re here for me?” she asks because she really wants to know. And she wants Giles to stop staring at her with his kind eyes that seem to know too much.
“As I’m sure you can imagine, Buffy is not coping particularly well,” she scoffs at this because well no fucking shit, but she lets him continue.
“And I think my being around isn’t helping her. She’s allowing me to look after everything, Dawn, her debt…everything.”
“Why would you be looking after Dawnie? Surely Joyce can?” she asks before she can even get into the bullshit that is Giles wanting B to just deal without his help.
“Oh,” Giles falters, “I thought-well I assumed. Joyce passed away suddenly a little while before Buffy…” he trails off.
And well fuck. She almost laughs at how fucking ridiculously unfair this entire thing is. Buffy didn’t deserve any of this. Neither did little Dawnie. And oh god Joyce. She’d been a hell of a woman. A kind woman and Faith had only ever thrown that back in her face. She feels a lump form in her throat as she realizes she will never get to apologize to her.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” she says sincerely, noting the tears in the corners of Giles’ eyes. She kind of always figured he had a little thing for Joyce. She wouldn’t blame him if he had.
“Yes well,” he takes off his glasses again, dabbing at his eyes discretely as he cleans them. “I’m heading back to England. For good.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Faith screams before she can stop herself. Because what the actual fuck is wrong with this man sitting across from her? God she always thought he loved B as if she was his own.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he asserts, “Buffy needs me to not be there so she can start living again.”
“B needs you to leave?” she’s fully in rage mode now and the guards are starting to come closer, “You’re like a dad to her and you’re just up and fucking off when she needs you most? That sounds more like something my old man would have done.”
“That’s exactly why I’m leaving,” he yells back and now the guards are really looking worried. Giles can also see them approaching and he waves them off, before turning to face Faith again. And for a minute they just look at each other.
“Buffy doesn’t need someone she can pass all the responsibility onto while she wanders through life lost. But, she does need someone there to help her. Which is why I’m here.”
“Wait what?” she says, her anger deflating completely and being replaced with shock.
“That’s why I’m here. I’m organizing to have your record expunged, if you agree to this obviously, so that you can go to Sunnydale and help Buffy.”
Faith knows she must look ridiculous just blinking at him. But, fuck she definitely wasn’t expecting that.
“Hang on you want me, the murdering rogue Slayer, to go back to Sunnydale to help B?” she almost laughs, “Do you even hear yourself? Or have you been knocked out too many times.”
“I know you love her,” Giles says quietly and Faith feels like she’s just been sucker punched.
“What are you talking about?” she asks trying to sound like the mere idea is stupid, she crosses her arms defensively as she glares at him.
“I may like to ignore what you all do with your private lives, but I’m not blind Faith. You can deny it all you want and I will not push it, but I know you’ll help her. I can see the change in you and I know you’ll do the right thing for her. For you both,” he finishes with a soft smile and she almost feels like crying. He can’t possibly know what his belief in her means. If only he had-no she knows she can’t dwell on the past.
“So are you willing to come help save the world again, Faith?”
She closes her eyes to process it all. Is she ready? The road to redemption isn’t an easy one and she’s sure being back in Sunnydale will just make it a lot fucking harder. But, she could help again. Use her powers for good and all that shit. Help B. She’s not sure how she’ll be any help, but she’d like to try.
She smiles as she opens her eyes.
“Yeah, if the world is ready for more Faith.”