Chapter 1: Who is she?
Chapter 1: Who Is She?
December 14, 1995
Penny Halliwell stood in the attic of her spacious home. In the center of the large, unfinished room stood the shimmering figure of her deceased daughter Patty. In her arms was her newborn great granddaughter, wrapped in a yellow knitted blanket, a replica of the ones her mother and aunts had been wrapped in as infants.
Patty look down at her grand baby longingly. She wished she could hold the child, even if it was just for a moment. "Take her to Saint Anne's. The nun we gave Paige to found her a wonderful home, with wonderful parents. The baby deserves that too."
Penny looked down at the sleeping child. She was only a few hours old, but Penny could already tell that her great-grand baby was a fighter. Despite being a month early, she was fully developed, and had a set of lungs to prove it. She only weighed five pounds, but she was long. Twenty-one inches long to be exact. She placed a tender kiss on the child's head, and then looked towards her daughter.
"How is Prudence?" Patty asked.
"She's tired, but that's to be expected. Childbirth is taxing on grown woman, let alone a seventeen-year-old. I still think I should wipe the pregnancy from her mind."
"If you do that, she won't be ready when her daughter comes looking for her," Patty said.
The baby let out a soft cry and began wriggling her in great-grandmother's arms. "It's time," she said, and then picked up the bottle sitting on the table. "I'll take her to the church after she finishes this bottle. Her powers will be bound, and she will be safe from him. He won't be able to track her."
"And you're sure Piper and Phoebe have no clue about the baby?" Patty asked. The baby's safety depended on nobody finding out about her.
"Positive. I sent Prue away before she started showing, and she assured me that she hadn't told anybody. Which I verified of course."
"Of course. You wouldn't be you if you didn't double check everything," Patty said with a soft smile adorning her lips. "Give her a kiss for me and tell the girls I love them."
"I will, as always my dear," Penny said. "Blessed Be."
"Blessed Be, Mother."
Patty was gone in seconds, leaving Penny alone with the child. Sending her away was the best thing for everyone. The baby would be safe far away from San Francisco, and Prue could spend the rest of her teens, being just that, a teenager.
Once the baby had finished the bottle laced with the binding potion, Patty took her to the local church. The nun she spoke with was the same woman who Patty and Sam had given their daughter to just eight years before. Penny had only two requests. The first being that the family they found for her great-granddaughter be far from San Francisco. "Her life may depend on it," she told the nun. The second being that her name began with a 'P'.
With a final kiss, Penny turned and walked out of the church to return home to where her eldest granddaughter was sleeping fitfully. That night after Phoebe and Piper had gone to sleep, Penny snuck back up to the attic and lit a candle to guide the newest addition of her family to her new home. She said a pray for the girl to have a good life, and another for her granddaughter Prue.
Their paths would cross one day, and the evil that lurked in the shadows would return to claim what he believed was his. Penny only hoped that her girls would be strong enough to defeat him.
September 2, 2013
The house was quiet. Too quiet for Prue's liking. It had been a day since her sister Piper had orbed off into the heavens with her boyfriend Leo, leaving her and their younger sister Phoebe behind to worry about what had happened to her. Phoebe was at the club setting up for the band that was playing later on.
Prue was avidly flipping through the Book of Shadows looking for anything that could help them be prepared for when the Triad decided to send the next demon after them. Knowing that there was a purpose behind their fight had renewed her determination to be the best witch she could be.
She set the book aside when she heard a car door slam outside. Thinking it was Phoebe returning with her car, she stood up to greet her at the door. She wasn't expecting the knock that came as she neared the double doors, nor was she expecting what she saw when she opened the door.
Standing on her porch was a short, ragged looking white man who was wearing a green button up shirt, leather jacket, and a short-brimmed fedora. That, however, was not what was really unexpected. What was really unsettling about the strange man was the young woman he was effortlessly carrying over his shoulder.
"Do you mind?" the man asked, then before Prue had a chance to respond, he pushed passed her and into the house. He moved to the living room as though he had been there before, and gently placed the woman on the couch.
Prue was outraged at the audacity of the stranger, but that audacity was nothing compared to what she felt when she got a good look at the woman. Her beautiful face was covered in bruises and cuts, both old and fresh. She stepped close to her and pushed the man away from her. None too lightly either.
The man took a step back, raising his hands in defense, with each step. "Woah, I didn't do that to her. I just saved her from the people who did."
Prue kneeled next to the couch and inspected the girl's cuts. Somebody had abused her to the point where she was barely recognizable. "Who is she?"
"You already know who she is," the man said cryptically.
Prue looked over her shoulder and gave the man a withering glare. "Who are you, and why did you bring her here?"
"The names Whistler, and I'm only doing what I was told to do," Whistler said.
"Told? By who? Who is she?" Prue fired off rapidly.
"The PTB wanted her returned home. Her destiny is far greater than she knows, and she wasn't fulfilling it where she was."
"PTB?" Prue asked softly, and then quickly stood up. She advanced on the man with a hard glare. "Quit being cryptic. Who is she? Who are the PTB, and why did you bring her here?"
"Sorry. I'm a higher power slash demon hybrid. Cryptic is what I do," Whistler shrugged his shoulders as he spoke. "She'll explain everything once she wakes. What she knows anyway. The rest you'll have to figure out yourself. I did what I was supposed to do. Delivered her home again. The rest is up to you."
"Can you at least give me her name?" Prue demanded.
"She goes by Faith Lehane," Whistler said as he walked towards the front door. "I'll be around. Oh and she'll probably sleep for a while but she's not in any immediate danger. They made sure of it."
"They who?" Prue asked, but Whistler was already out the door. She moved to the window and watched the man leave in irritation. She looked back at the young woman asleep on her couch. She looked young, late teens perhaps. She was taller than her and skinny. Too skinny. The hospital style scrubs she wore hung loosely off her body and were stained with dirt, blood and tore in places. Her skin was pale, her eyes were dark and sunken in. There was a general look of despair to her.
There was also something familiar about her, but she couldn't quite figure it out. She didn't have time to question it though. She had to call Phoebe and decide what they were going to do. She kept the call brief, telling her they had a non-demonic related situation and she needed her home. Once she had hung up, she went to retrieve their first aid kit and a basin of water to clean and bandage Faith's wounds.
In the twenty minutes that it took Phoebe to return home, Faith had not moved or made any sounds as she continued to clean the caked blood on her delicate skin. Prue kept checking her pulse to make sure that she was still alive, not entirely trusting the man's words. She let out a breath of release each time she felt the steady pulse.
"So, what's going on?" Phoebe asked as she hung up her sweater. Fall seemed to want to come early this year. She froze when she saw the girl lying on her couch. "Who is that, and what happened to her?"
"Her name is Faith, and that's all I know. The demon who brought her here was cryptic and wouldn't answer anything."
"A demon brought her here?" Phoebe asked. The confusion had only set in, and she had a feeling that it was only going to get worse. "Leo," she yelled, and waited expectantly. She huffed when no orbs appeared.
"Yeah. I tried that already. Several times in fact," Prue said annoyed.
"What's the point of having a whitelighter if he whisks our sister off without a word for days?"
"Maybe they're testing us," Prue suggested.
"Testing what? To see how well we fair without Piper. I thought we already passed that test." Phoebe turned to look at the girl. She stepped closer, and then kneeled next to the couch. "Why would a demon bring her here?"
"He said that he was just doing what the PTB wanted him to do," Prue answered.
"He didn't give you any idea who she is or why she is here?"
Prue's eyebrows furrowed. "When I first asked who she was, he told me I already know who's she is, and then as he was leaving, he said that they want him to deliver her home again."
"Cryptic much," Phoebe commented. She brushed a lock of Faith's greasy, unkept hair behind her ear. "Goddess. Who did this to her?"
"Only she can tell us that," Prue said. She closed the book and sat it on the end table. "I'm going to call Darryl and see if he can run a check on her. Maybe he'll come up with some answers."
"Should we take her to the hospital?" Phoebe asked.
"No," Prue said solemnly. "He said she wasn't in any immediate danger. Besides, we may not know what it is, but there is a reason she was brought to us. She may not be safe in the hospital."
"I'll get her settled then. There is no reason why she can't be comfortable," Phoebe said.
As Phoebe retrieve blankets and pillows for the young woman, Prue went into the kitchen to call Darryl. Their call was brief, and Darryl assured Prue that he would get back to her as soon as he knew anything. She hung up with him and called Piper's cell phone. She knew it was a long shot, but she was hoping that the call would reach wherever Piper and Leo orbed off to.
Prue slammed the phone onto the counter in frustration when the call went straight to voice mail. She flopped into a chair at the table and sighed heavily. There was a strange girl asleep on her couch, her sister was missing along with their whitelighter, and she had to decrypt what little a demon had told her.
She sat at the table for a few minutes going over everything Whistler had told her. It made little sense to her. Not coming up with anything on her own, she decided to return to the book to keep searching for anything about the PTB.
The next morning Prue was jolted awake by loud knocking. Banging really. Groggily she rose from the chair she was in, tossing aside the blanket that appeared on her during the night. She glanced over at Phoebe who was curled up on the love seat. They had taken turns checking on Faith and flipping through every magical book they had in their position. She checked on Faith, before finally making her way to the front door. She opened the door to reveal Darryl standing there. He was carrying a police file, and he looked as though he had yet to sleep.
"Is that girl still here?" he asked quickly as he walked past Prue.
"Yeah, Darryl. She's on the couch," Prue replied sleepily, randomly pointing over her shoulder. She followed the man into the living room, to find him pulling his handcuffs out. "What are you doing?" she yelled, and then moved in between him and Faith.
"Cuffing her. This girl is dangerous," he replied.
"This girl has been asleep since she was dropped off," Prue stated. "People aren't much of a threat when they're in a coma, Darryl. So, why don't you tell me what you found out."
Darryl looked at Faith unsurely for a moment, clearly weighing his options between doing his job, or conceding to Prue. In the end Prue won out. He handed her the files he had deposited on the coffee table.
"She's a convicted murderer," he said.
Prue looked at him in surprise, and then looked down at Faith. She looked too young, too innocent to be a convicted murderer.
"She's dangerous," Darryl said.
"How dangerous can one girl be?" Prue sat down in the armchair and read through the police report. With each page she turned a sinking feeling settled in her gut. She had been convicted for two murders, several attempted murders, a string of robberies, and the assault and battery of a couple of police officers. "Okay. So, she is pretty dangerous."
"Who's dangerous?" asked Phoebe sleepily.
Prue nodded her head towards Faith, and then handed Phoebe the file. Phoebe sat up and thumbed through the thick file. "It says here that she exhibits unusual strength, the kind you would see with drug use. Maybe that strength is because she's a demon, and Whistler brought her here for us to vanquish."
"I'm not a demon."
All three of the room's occupants jumped at the groggy voice and turn to face the speaker. Faith's eyes were still closed, but she was attempting to move.
"I am a murderer though," Faith stated sleepily. She fidgeted slightly before drifting off to sleep again.
"I think she's asleep again," Phoebe stated quietly, then shooed Prue and Darryl into the conservatory. "She was sent here for a reason, and until we figure out that reason, we need to keep her here."
"I can't do that," Darryl said. "I have a legal obligation to bring her in."
"Well she obviously didn't escape prison herself," Phoebe retorted.
"She wasn't in prison," Prue said.
"What? I thought you said she was a convicted murderer?" Phoebe asked.
Prue took the file back from Phoebe and thumbed through it until she found what she was looking for. "It says that she was sentenced to a high security mental health facility until such a time she was deemed fit to reenter society. Which apparently only took a few months." Prue looked at them. "She was released into the custody of two of her uncles after only being in there for three months. That was two months ago."
"That seems a little fast," Phoebe said.
"It is," Darryl replied. "It usually takes years for a patient to be released back into society after committing murder, if ever." He peeked through the window at Faith. Some of those bruises and cut look to be about six weeks or so old."
"That means they are probably the people who did this to her," Phoebe said.
"I know you girls don't want to hear this, but I have to take her in. Her uncles reported her as a runaway over a month ago. The judge issued a warrant for her arrest. Besides," he said solemnly, then hesitated. "She's obviously been abused by somebody. She needs to be seen by a doctor to make sure she is okay, and a police report needs to be filed."
"We know," Prue said. "Please just give us a few days. There is a reason this girl was brought to us. We just have to figure out what it is. Do your detective magic and find out more about her. If nothing pans out, then you can take her?"
Darryl looked through the glass doors at the sleeping girl again. "I'll see what I can find out, but if nothing pans out in two days, I am taking her."
"Fair enough," Phoebe said.
Darryl pulled out his cuffs and tried to hand them to Phoebe. "Take these just in case she wakes up and isn't in the mood to stick around."
"Darryl, we're witches. We can handle one mentally unstable girl." Phoebe said.
"Even still," Darryl said, and then pushed the cuffs into Phoebe's hands. "I'll feel better if you can restrain her. I'm going home to catch a few hours of sleep."
"Thanks Darryl," Prue said.
"What are we going to do?" Phoebe asked once Darryl had left.
Prue looked through the glass door. "We need to try and wake her up. She must have to use the bathroom by now, and she should eat something."
Faith was surrounded by darkness. She could hear people talking around her, washing her bloodied face, shaking her, and trying to coax her to wake up. She tried to wake up, to respond to the voices, but the darkness consumed her. She couldn't move or speak. It was causing her a great deal of anxiety.
She was curious about the women who were trying taking care of her. They seemed nice and caring, even if the one called Phoebe was cautious of her. She wanted to wake up and tell them that she was fine. That they could stop worrying about her, but as hard as she tried, the most she had mastered was a few moments of consciousness. Just enough to reassure them that she wasn't a demon, but to still be weary of her.
Several hours later, Prue sat at the island reading Faith's file as she waited for the frozen lasagna to finish baking. Thank god Piper had several pre-made meals in the freezer just in case she didn't have time to cook. Once Piper returned from wherever the hell her and Leo went, she would tell her how much she appreciated everything she did.
Faith had yet to wake, and Prue's worry was mounting steadily. The maternal instincts in her were telling her to take her to the hospital, but her witch instincts were telling her that would be the wrong decision. Before she became a witch, she wouldn't have second guess herself. Now however, she knew there was a greater risk to Faith if she took her to the hospital before they had the full picture. All Prue knew for sure was that it was her job to protect Faith.
Phoebe had called a few minutes before to tell her she would be home in a little while. Once she did, Prue was going to attempt to wake Faith again. Until then she was studying Faith's file for anything that would help explain why she was sent to them. The file unnerved her, and not just because of the violent acts depicted upon the pages. There seemed to gaping holes in the file. Like how the Sunnydale Police department even had Faith on their radar as a suspect when there was no evidence against her. No DNA, no eyewitness, there wasn't even a connection between Faith and the two Sunnydale victims. They had her gold to right on the mugging of the man at the bus station, and the breaking and entering of his home, but the conviction they got on the rest of the charges were only achieved because of her confessing. Faith's full confession was in the file, but even that had holes. There were no reasons why she killed those people, only how. It was a troubling case.
"Figure it out yet?"
The groggy voice startled her. She looked behind her to find Faith leaning up against the wall, watching her with big brown eyes. She was momentarily stunned by her appearance. She looked much younger than the file said she was. "How long have you been awake?"
"A few minutes," Faith replied gravely. "Can I have some water?
"Sure." Prue slid of her stool and grabbed a bottle from the fridge. She handed Faith the bottle, and watched as she struggled to open the cap. How did this girl manage to do all those things?
Faith greedily brought the bottle to her lips, and down the contents in one go. She sighed softly as she lowered the bottle. Prue took the bottle from her before she had a chance ask where the trash can was. "Where am I?"
"San Francisco," Prue relied.
Faith looked around the kitchen curiously. "What is the date?"
Faith looked sharply at Prue. "2013?"
"Yeah," Prue told her.
"Good. The last time I was in a coma I woke up in a new year," Faith said lightly.
"The last time?"
"It doesn't matter," Faith mumbled. "You're Prue, right?"
"Yeah. You could hear us?"
Prue went around to the other side of the island. "Why don't you sit down?" She said, gesturing to kitchen table. "Dinner's almost done."
"I'd rather you call your cop friend to take me back to Atascadero," Faith stated.
"Darryl gave us a few days to figure out why you were brought to us," Prue said.
"I know, and I'm telling you I want nothing to do with whatever they want from me," Faith grunted. She grabbed her ribs and bent over slightly in pain.
"Come on sit down," Prue insisted. She touched Faith's shoulder to help guide her to the table, but Faith shook her off. "Please. I'll feel better if you were sitting."
"Why? You afraid I'm gonna attack ya?" Faith took an uneasy step forward, and practically fell into the chair waiting for her. "There, you can chill now."
"I wasn't worried about you attacking me," Prue said.
"I would be if I had just gotten done reading my file," Faith proclaimed.
"You can try, but I'm not easy to get the jump on," Prue stated.
"When the drugs wear off, and my strength returns, we'll spar."
Prue laughed. "You have the wrong sister. Phoebe's the one who fights. I just wave my hand and make them go flying."
"Then I'll give Phoebe a go," Faith smirked. "So, when you gonna call your cop friend?" She insisted.
"You're probably the only person in the world who wants to be locked away," Prue commented. After checking the lasagna, she looked hard at Faith. "I'll make you a deal. Why don't you go upstairs and take a shower, change your clothing, and after dinner if Darryl still has not called, I will call him."
"And you just trust me to go upstairs by myself. What If I take off?" Faith snarked.
Prue smirked. She walked over to the table, reached out and plucked a few hairs.
"Ow. What'd ya do that for?"
"Now I have a piece of you to scry for if you do leave," Prue told her. She pulled a sandwich baggy out of the draw, and placed the hairs in.
Faith looked at Prue in confusion. "Scry?"
Prue slide the baggy in the drawer. "It's a way of magical tracking people."
"So, you're a witch?"
"Yeah. Me and my sisters are all witches." Prue smiled lightly and then gestured for her to follow her. "Come on. I'll show you were the bathroom is."
Faith stepped into the shower unsteadily, grunting softly with every motion. The stream of hot water flowed over her body causing the healing cuts covering her body to sting. She looked down to inspect the damage that still plagued her body. Bruises covered nearly every inch of her body in various stages of healing, and there were shallow cuts and tears in random spots, leaving her body looking like an ugly rainbow.
It had been about two months since the abuse started. Since they began injecting her with the drugs that muted her slayer abilities. In some ways she wished the drug would wear off, so she could heal, and get back to her regular strength, but in other ways she relished in the weakness. She couldn't hurt anybody while she was like this. This was the Higher Powers' way of punishing her for going evil and abusing the powers bestowed upon her.
She was okay with that.
Every day that she sat in isolation the guilt she felt for killing Finch and the Professor grew. It was like the anger she had felt in Sunnydale slowly leaked out of her heart. The visions she had of stabbing or strangling the people she was around slowly began to stop as well. She would never admit this out loud, but she was scared shitless the visions and thoughts would start again. The quicker she could get back to her room at Ata, the happier she would be.
Still, it was nice to have a hot shower for once. For just a little, she would allow herself to enjoy it.
Prue was pulling the lasagna out of the oven when Phoebe ran into the kitchen in a frantic. Fearing there was a demon on her tail, she tossed the baking pan onto the counter, and flung the oven mitts over head as she got into fighting stance.
"She's gone," Phoebe shouted.
Pure relaxed as she threw her sister an annoyed looked. She turned around and picked up the oven mitts. "She's upstairs taking a shower."
Phoebe looked at Prue as though she lost her mind. "Alone?"
"Yes alone," Prue said.
"What if she tries to leave?" Phoebe asked.
"Then we'll scry for her using the hair I plucked from her head," Prue told her. "Besides. She's eager to get back to the mental institution, so if she does leave, we'll know where she will go."
"Nobody is eager to get locked in a mental hospital," Phoebe said skeptically.
"Well she is. I had to practically force her into the shower, so she would stop pushing me to call Darryl."
Phoebe grabbed plates and silverware for them and sat down at the table. "What do you make of her?"
"I don't know. She didn't say much, except to tell me to call our cop friend, and that she was in a coma before. I feel like there is a lot that doesn't add up. There are gaping holes in her police file. There is no reason for the Sunnydale PD to even look at her for the murder of the Deputy Mayor or the Professor, and yet they were."
"The Sunnydale PD are jokes," Faith gruffly said from behind them. She leaned up against the doorway tugging at the clothing Prue had loaned her. After months of not eating properly, they hung loosely from her body. "The only reason they were onto me was because Wilkens had them in his pocket."
"The Mayor, right?" Prue asked as she grabbed Faith's file off the island. She flipped through the file to looking for the page that the mayor was mentioned. "Wilkens spoke to the police on your behalf after the deputy mayor was murdered. Why would he tell them it was you, only to vouch for you afterwards?"
"Because we were a threat to him," Faith said, and then stepped towards the table. She slumped into the open chair near the mud room door. "I'll tell you what you want to know, as long as you promise to call your cop friend when were done."
Prue sent Phoebe an 'I told you so' look, and then looked back to Faith. "I'll promise as long as you promise to eat."
Faith eyed the lasagna eagerly, her stomach grumbling its agreement. "Deal," she said, and then passed her plate down the table.
As Prue dished out a heaping pile of lasagna onto Faith's plate, Phoebe went to the fridge to get them drinks. She asked Faith what she wanted, who grumbled that she didn't care. She poured everybody a glass of tea. When she sat Faith's glass in front of her, she did so hesitantly.
"I'm sane today," Faith stated, as she grasped the glass eagerly. She took a few gulps, and then set the glass back down. "But don't let your guard down," she said quietly. She hesitantly took a bite, and a burst of flavor hit her like an orgasm. After months of eating tasteless hospital food, follow by two months of just enough scraps to keep her alive, this was a gift. It was then that she realized how hungry she was. She had been starving for so long she had grown used to the pains of hunger.
Phoebe and Prue watched Faith in interest, and a fair amount of concern. After that first hesitant bite, Faith began shoveling the delicious food into her mouth faster the she could chew it. The sisters shared a concerned look. Prue turned to Faith. "Slow down Faith. There is plenty of food here."
Faith looked up at Prue and gave her a sheepish look. "Sorry. It's just really good. I haven't had food this good since I was still invited over to B's house."
"Who's B?" Phoebe asked.
"Buffy," Faith replied. "Her mom is an awesome cook."
"Why'd you kill those people," Phoebe asked bluntly.
"Phoebe," Prue said sharply.
"It's cool," Faith told her and then looked at Phoebe. "I didn't mean to kill Finch. B and I were out patrolling, and I thought he was a vamp. It wasn't until I staked him that I realized he was human."
"What are you? Magically speaking."
"B and I are slayers," Faith answered, and then countered with, "What are you?"
"Witches," Phoebe stated. "I read about slayers in the Book of Shadows. I thought there is only one slayer at a time."
"B drowned a few years ago but was revived. The slayer line was passed to Kendra, and then to me when she died." Faith paused to take a bite.
"I take it the Mayor was a demon," Prue stated.
"Not yet. That happened later. He was a human, who was slowly becoming a demon. That's why he needed me and B out of his way. So, we wouldn't screw up his plans."
"If he had you distracted by the cops then why did he vouch for you," Phoebe asked.
"Because I gave in to the evil and went to him." She began shoveling food into her mouth again.
"Why did you kill the professor?" Prue asked, almost fearful of the answer.
"He knew how to kill Wilkens once he ascended, so Wilken had me off him," Faith stated.
Phoebe scoffed, "You say that so casually."
"Because it was at the time," Faith stated. Before she could stop the words, she blurted. "Wilkens was good to me. He treated me like he actually cared about me. Like it was his choice to have me there, not me being forced on him."
Faith froze, realizing she had told them something too personal. "Look I told you what you wanted to know. Call your cop friend."
"Wait, you still didn't explain why you even went to the Mayor, or why you turned yourself in," Phoebe said.
"No. Call your cop friend," Faith insisted. She had enough of their sad glances, and prying. She didn't know these people, nor did she owe them any explanations. When neither Phoebe nor Prue made any moves towards the phone, Faith stood up and said, "Fine. I'll walk."
Faster than she'd been able to move for weeks, Faith darted towards the kitchen doors. Even with her speed boost, Prue and Phoebe were faster. Her way was blocked, so she turned around and darted for the open mud door. Unfortunately for her, she was running away from a witch. Prue lifted her hand and magical shut the door. Faith slammed into the door, expecting it to open, but it wouldn't budge.
She turned around to face the sisters once more, weighing her options. She could admit defeat and sit down and finish her amazing meal, or she could fight like hell to get out of there. Sitting back down to finish her meal was temping but came with a downside. They would insist on hearing more of her story. She had already told them more than she wanted. Getting out of there was a long shot without the use of her powers, but she felt the overwhelming need to try. She needed to get safely behind bars before her strength returned, and she lost control again.
Throwing caution to the wind, she gathered every ounce of her strength and speed she had left and barreled her way through Prue and Phoebe. Unfortunately, the sisters were ready for her, and caught her as she tried to pass. Fear crept into Faith's chest, making her panic, then in the blink of an eye she was on the floor just inside the dining room. Before she had a chance to comprehend what happened, her body exploded in pain, causing her to scream out in pain.
Prue and Phoebe were looking were trying to figure out what had just happened. One second they were trying to calm the struggling woman, and the next she disappeared and reappeared in the dining room screaming in pain. They moved to Faith's side just as the woman's screams died.
Phoebe knelt down and felt for her pulse. "She just passed out," she assured her sister.
"What the hell just happened?" Prue asked.
Phoebe looked down at the woman, and then back up to Prue. "It looked like she blinked," she sighed. "How is that possible. She's bleeding. Warlocks can't bleed."
"I don't know Phoebe. We should get her off the floor, and then we'll figure it out." Together they moved Faith to the couch and got her situated again.
"Maybe we should take her to the hospital," Phoebe suggested worriedly.
"I don't think that's a good idea," Prue said equally as worried. "She used magic. The last thing we need is a repeat of what happened to Piper."
Phoebe looked like she was going to argue with Prue but stopped at the look her sister was giving her. "Fine. I'll look in the book for any healing spells." Under her breath she said, "And for any reference to why she could blink."
Prue was no longer paying attention to her sister. Her full attention was devoted to Faith. The cut above the woman's right eye had reopened, blood was slowly leaking from the wounds rolling down her bruised face. Prue fetched the first aid kit from the wardrobe in the foyer, and carefully cleaned and sealed the cut. She brushed aside the woman's hair and watched her carefully as she slept.
There was something inside of her that was drawing her to Faith. It was this overwhelming need to make sure she was okay; to protect her. She didn't understand it. All she knew was that there was use in fighting it anymore. She had been trying since Faith had first crossed her path, and so far, it had been an utter failure.
Prue sat down next to Faith on the floor and laid her head next to Faith's hand. A little while later Phoebe returned with the book and an arm full of candles, to find her sister sleeping peacefully. Despite her unease about the situation, she couldn't help but smile. It was a quant picture.
She laid the book on the table and began placing the candles around the couch. She had found a spell to speed up the body's natural healing abilities. It wouldn't work as fast as if Leo had been healing her, but it would help. She just had to wake her sister up, because only Faith could be inside the spell's barriers.
Half an hour later, both sisters were sitting in the armchairs watching Faith sleep beneath a glimmering yellow bubble. Phoebe was casually flipping through the book looking for any reference to magical beings that teleported the way Faith had. She had already read the entry dedicated to slayers, which made it clear the slayers powers were more passive, instead of active.
A little after two in the morning, both the sisters were abruptly woken by banging on the front door. Prue groggily check on Faith's who was still sleeping peacefully under the shimmering bubble. Prue looked at Phoebe questioningly.
"It's the spell. It keeps her asleep as she heals," Phoebe reassured her, and then went to answer the door.
Darryl stood on the other side of the door, looking more ragged then she had ever seen him. He was still wearing the same clothing her was in the last time she saw him, and he looked as though he hadn't slept in day. In his arms were three large files.
"Please tell me she's still here," he begged, sounding exhausted.
"She's asleep on the couch," Phoebe told him. "What is it Darryl? You look like crap."
Darryl passed Phoebe the files. "I found her," he said, and then walked into the living room. He paused when her saw her sleeping beneath the bubble. "What's around her? Is she okay?"
Prue answered him. "She's fine. The bubble is just helping her to heal. Are you here to take her into custody?"
"No," Darryl said. He turned to Phoebe and took the top file from her. "I couldn't find anything for the first name Faith, last name Lehane from before her time in Sunnydale. So, I broadened my search. I searched all girls born with the last name Lehane in 1990. There were several hits, but none matching Faith's description. So, I broadened the search to girls Lehane's born between 85' and 95'. It took me all night to go through the files, but I finally got a hit. Paulina Faith Lehane, born on December 14, 1995 here in San Francisco to an undisclosed family, and then adopted a few days later in Boston."
Darryl's words sent shockwaves through Prue. It couldn't be her, could it? She looked to Faith and then to Darryl. She snatched the file he was reading from. "Are you positive Faith is this girl?"
"I'm positive. There are several pictures of her in the files. Faith's real name is Paulina."
Prue looked at the first page of the file. There, staring back at her from a photocopied black and white photo, was a younger version of Faith. There was no denying those big brown eyes. Next to the photo was her birth date. December 14, 1995, the same day her baby girl had been born. She collapsed into the chair behind her and read through the first page as fast as she could. Faith had been given to a nun at Saint Anne's in San Francisco, and later adopted by the Lehane's.
"He said I already knew her," She said softly.
Phoebe looked up from the file she was reading. "What was that honey?"
"He said they wanted her returned home," Prue said to herself.
Phoebe was more confused than before. "Prue honey, you're not making any sense."
Prue looked up at Phoebe with tears welling in her eyes. "He said I already knew who she was," She repeated. "He said they wanted her returned home." She turned to look at Faith. "They wanted her returned home, and she is. She's home."
Chapter 2: Huh?
Disclaimer: I do not own Charmed, Buffy, or any characters that appear in this story. They all belong to their prospective owners.
AN: Hey guys. Before you get to the chapter, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who dropped a review. I appreciate them so much. I also want to take the moment to apologize for the long wait. I've been busy as hell and haven't had the chance to post. As long as I'm not busy and the words keep flowing, you'll get a new chapter each week. I'll upload it every Saturday. If you have Twitter, my tag is the same as my name. I usually drop updates on my stories if I can't update or whatever.
Also, I want to add a WARNING. This chapter is dark and deals with the abuse Faith had to endure both as a child and during her time with her 'uncles'. Please read with caution.
Chapter 2: Huh?
Phoebe was staring at Prue like she was losing her mind. Her mouth was opened slightly, and a confused looked mingled with concern adorned her features. "Prue?" She said as she sat on the coffee table in front of her sister.
Prue looked into Phoebe's eyes. Tears were rolling down her face. "She's home. I never thought I'd see her again, but here she is. She's home. She's home."
Phoebe was lost. She was missing a big piece of information, the key that would decipher Prue's ramblings.
Prue looked up at Phoebe. "She's my daughter," she stated as though Phoebe was aware that she once had a child.
Phoebe was at a loss for words. Prue was making even less sense to her. Prue never had a child, let alone a teenager. "Prue, honey, I think you need to take a nap. You never had a child. Right?"
Prue looked at Darryl before allowing her eyes to fall to Faith. "I did have a baby. Right after I turned seventeen."
Phoebe's jaw dropped slightly. "You… you had a baby." She turned around to look at the young woman sleeping on the couch. "You have a daughter." She turned back to Prue, with a hurt look upon her face. A look that only reflected a fraction of the hurt she was feeling. "What the hell, Prue? How could you have a kid running around in the world, and not tell us?"
"I was sixteen when I got pregnant, Phoebe. Grams set me to live with Aunt Janice until it was time for the baby to come, and then she took her away from me. She told me the baby's life was in danger, and that we had to send her away to keep her safe. I believed her."
"Did she say why the baby was in danger?" Phoebe asked.
"No," Prue said slowly. She thought over everything that happened in the days before and after the baby's birth trying to remember if Grams had given any indication of why. Everything was a bit hazy though. She could only remember bits and pieces, and what she could remember was cloudy. The only memory that was clear in her mind, was her holding the tiny baby in her arms just moment after giving birth. She could remember every feature of her daughter's face, right down to the baby's dimpled cheeks and big wondering eyes.
Prue looked to Faith again and studied her face. A few of the bruises that had been there when she arrived had faded, while the freshest ones were looking worse then ever. She was happy to see that the shallow cuts on her face were healing rather quickly. Despite her face looking like she went a few rounds with a demon, Prue could see her baby behind the damage. Her beautiful baby girl was lying on her couch.
She was home again.
Darryl cleared his throat, and then gently asked, "How sure are you she's your daughter?"
"I…" Prue pushed unsure of how to explain it. "I felt a connection to her from the moment I laid eyes on her. There was just something that drew me to her. It made me want to protect her. So, I am positive that she is the baby Grams sent away."
"It does make sense," Phoebe added. "She has the same birthday as Prue's baby, and was adopted out of San Francisco. That's too much of a coincidence."
"Then that could help us tomorrow," Darryl said.
"What's tomorrow?" Prue asked.
"In the morning I am escorting Faith to the station," Darryl said.
"What's going to happen to her? I mean, besides being Prue's daughter, she is just a kid."
"A kid who confessed to killing two people, and who has clearly been abused." Darryl sighed. "All else aside, there was a gross oversight with her case. She's a minor who was question without proper representation. That alone is enough to have her case reevaluation. I have a lawyer friend who works at Social Services. I've already called her and explained Faith's situation. What I know of it, anyways. She's going to meet us at the station at nine to get the paperwork started. She'll be able to explain Faith's options to us then."
"And what if she doesn't want us to do anything?" Phoebe asked. "Faith seems to really want to go back to hospital."
"Then we'll just have to convince her," Prue stated.
"Prue, I'm all for giving this girl the benefit of doubt," Phoebe hesitated.
"But?" Prue pressed.
"But… What if she is dangerous? Like more dangerous then what we've read. She did blink like a warlock. Who is her father?"
"I…" Prue said, and then paused. She thought about it, and realized she had no memory of getting pregnant. "I don't know. I don't remember getting pregnant."
"Then her father could be a warlock, Prue."
Prue looked at Faith with sadness filling her heart. It was a valid question. She knew that, but it didn't make the sting hurt any less. This girl was her daughter. A daughter who had committed horrible atrocities. There was always a chance that would turn out to be just as violent as she once was.
There was a feeling deep in her heart that challenged that thought. A feeling that overrode all her rational thoughts. She wanted to believe that there was good in Faith. No; she needed to believe that there was good in her daughter.
"I don't think we have anything to worry about anything, Phoebe. I truly believe that she won't hurt us. There was something in the way she looked at us during dinner last night. Like she wanted nothing more then to hide away for the rest of her life. There is good in her. We just have to help her see that, and if she ever does become a danger, then we'll deal with it."
Phoebe looked down Faith, and for just a second pushed all her worries to the side. She wanted to see if she could see Faith in the same way Prue was. As a member of their family, instead of the stranger that she was. If they were right, then this girl was her niece. It was a strange thought. She wanted to see Faith in that way. She truly did but doubt and fear clouded that.
She looked back to Prue, who was staring at her with such hopeful eyes, that Phoebe couldn't bare to take this away from her, despite her reservations. "Alright, you win, but I think that you should at least get DNA test done. Just to be positive that she is your daughter."
"I agree," Darryl stated. "Since she is a minor, without a parent, she'll become a ward of the state. Her out come, regardless of what it is, will be better if she has you advocating for her."
"Then we'll have it done as soon as possible," Prue agreed. She looked to her friend and noticed again how raggedy he was looking. "You should get some sleep, Darryl."
Darryl nodded his head in agreement. He began making his way to the entrance but paused. He turned back to Prue, and sincerely said, "I'm routing for a happy ending here. Faith has been through hell several times over, and that's just what I've had a chance to read. It's not surprising that she ended up in the situation she did. Even if the DNA test comes back negative, she really lucky to have you in her corner."
"Thank you," Prue said. "I really appreciate that, and everything you've done the last few days."
Darryl nodded his head with a quiet, "You're welcome," and then quietly left.
Prue turned to find Phoebe returning the file they had been reading to the top of the pile.
"I think we should do the same," Phoebe said softly. She gently placed her hand on Prue's shoulder as she passed by her. A small gesture, but a comforting one none-the-less.
Prue didn't sleep that night. Her mind was racing far too much for it to allow that to happen. Instead she sat in the armchair watching the girl, who she was praying was her daughter, sleep. Her mind flip-flopped between the possibilities of a life with Faith, and with fears of what was going to happen if Darryl's lawyer friend couldn't help them.
Every now and again her eyes would shift from Faith to the pile of files sitting on the coffee table. She was itching to read them. To get an idea of what her childhood was like. To know the horrible events that led her baby into the situation she was in. However, she refrained from doing so. Reading those files felt like a gross violation of Faith's privacy. It wasn't like reading her police file while trying to figure out who she was. This was different. This felt more intimate.
If Faith indeed was her daughter, then she wanted Faith to trust her enough to tell her everything that happened in her life. She wanted to be the kind of mother that would always be there for her children. She wanted to have that kind of relationship with Faith.
Prue was also terrified of how Faith was going to react when she explained what they learned. She didn't want to have another episode like they had earlier. She didn't know how or why Faith could teleported like a warlock, but she did know that it hurt her. Prue would very much like to avoid that again if possible.
A little after six in the morning, just as the sun was peeking into the Manor, Prue decided to break the spell Phoebe cast and wake Faith. She wanted to explain everything to her, while still giving her time to eat and shower again before Darryl arrived.
It took a little while to rouse Faith out of her slumber. The spell that Phoebe cast seemed to work incredibly well. She made a mental note to only use the spell in a pinch. It would be very bad if a demon attacked and she couldn't wake her sisters up.
When Faith finally did rise, she looked at Prue with confusion. It was when Faith quietly asked why she was looking at her like that, that she realized Faith's confused look was simply mirroring her look of concern.
"Do you remember what happened?"
"Ah…" Faith groaned. "I remember you and your sister holding me hostage. Everything after that is a blank."
"You passed out after you teleported into the dining room."
Faith snorted. "Teleport? As in disappear here, and reappear there? Yeah. Slayers can't do that. We beat things up with our super strength and leave the witchy stuff to the witches."
"I don't know how you did it, Faith, but you did. I do have an idea though," Prue said and then turned to pick up the top file. She handed it to Faith and waited quietly as she read over it.
"So, your cop friend figured it out," Faith said quietly.
"He found out who you are; that you are just a kid, but there are a lot of holes that only you can fill. Like why you gave the police a different birthdate."
Faith looked up from the file she was reading and glanced at the pile it had come from. "Did you read them all?"
Prue followed Faith eyesight, and for a moment thanked the gods that she had decided not to read them. It was well hidden, but she could still see the look of fear in Faith's eyes. "No, and I won't read them unless you want me to."
"Good," Faith said as she tossed the file onto the pile causing it to tilt slightly. "My age has nothing to do with what I did in Sunnydale. I left that life behind when I hitchhiked my way across the country. Paulina is dead."
"The way I see it, that girl is sitting on my couch in desperate need of help," Prue said. She was trying very hard to keep the 'mom tone' out of her voice, but she knew she was failing.
"That girl is dead," Faith spat, "and the only thing this girl needs is for your cop buddy to take my ass back to psych ward where I belong."
"Why do you want to go back there so badly?" Prue question.
"Why do you care?" Faith countered.
"Why don't you care?"
The anger Faith suddenly felt was evident on her face, as well as in her tone. "Because two people are dead."
"You said the first one was an accident," Prue reminded her.
The anger slipped form Faith's face. "Finch is dead because I was a careless, shitty slayer. The world is safer with me locked up."
"I don't believe that for a second," Prue said kindly. "But you are getting what you want. Darryl will be here at nine o'clock to take you to the station."
"About damn time," Faith growled softly.
"This is different than before, Faith. Darryl knows you're a minor. He has a friend who's a lawyer. She's going to try and help you."
"You can't help me," Faith spat. "Look lady. I don't know why the PTB want me here, and frankly I don't care. You're nothin' to me. I'm nothin' to nobody. Don't waste your time on me, 'cause no matter what you do, the results are gonna be the same."
"If there is one thing I've learned since becoming a witch is that nothing is set in stone. Me and my sisters fight evil every day, and we change the fate of thousands of people by doing so. We have lost people close to us because of the lives we lead. There have been many days where we just wanted to give up and go back to our normal lives because of that. Then we remember why we were chosen for this. What role we play in this never-ending cycle."
"The only role I have to play is death," Faith spat. "I can't be trusted to not hurt people."
"I think it's the other way around. People can't be trusted not to hurt you."
"Well you have that right. I only get to live if I am locked up. It's really a win-win. I get to keep my life, and I'm not off fucking up people's lives."
"Is somebody after you?" Prue asked sharply.
"It doesn't matter," Faith sighed.
"It matters to me," Prue said as calmly as she could. On the inside, she fought the urge to pull Faith into a hug. She wanted nothing more than to make Faith feel safe, something she suspected Faith hadn't felt for a very long time.
"Why the fuck do you care?" Faith spat.
Prue recoiled at the anger in Faith's voice. She wanted to tell her the truth; that Faith was her daughter. There was something inside of her that told her that telling Faith at that moment would be ill advised. After the scene in the kitchen the day before, she was sure Faith would freak out. That was the last thing Prue needed to deal with. Darryl would be there in just a few hours, and then they could get Faith the help that she deserved, whether she believed so or not.
Instead of giving into her instincts, Prue reached under the coffee table for her purse. She pulled her wallet out, and then tossed her purse on the floor. She opened her wallet and pulled out a faded picture from behind her driver's license. She looked at it fondly for a moment before handing it to Faith.
"This is my daughter," Prue chocked. "She'll be seventeen in a few months. This picture is all I have of her. My grandmother took it just a few moments before she took my baby away."
"Why are you showing me this?" Faith asked as she shoved the picture back into Prue's hand.
"To make you understand why I care," Prue said as she looked down at the picture. "I never got a chance to be there for my baby. Grams told me her life was in danger. To be honest, I just thought that was code for her not wanting me to be saddled with a baby at seventeen. When I became a witch and learned about the secret life Grams lived, I realized that her life probably had been in danger. I have no idea from what, but if Grams sent her away, then it must have been something horrible."
Prue paused, and took a deep breath. "If my daughter was sitting right in front of me, I would do whatever it took to protect her in any way I could. I care because if my daughter was in your shoes, sitting in front of a stranger in desperate need of help, I would hope that person would help her."
Faith looked down at the picture in Prue's hand. "Look lady, I'm not your kid, and you giving me some sad sob story won't change the facts. I am a convicted murderer, and in a few hours, I'll be back in a padded cell. So, feel free to waste your time caring about a lost cause. I don't give a damn. Soon I'll be nothing more then a distant memory to ya."
Faith stood suddenly and bolted from the room as fast as her body could move. A few moments later, Prue could hear the bathroom door being slammed shut. She sighed heavily, "Well that could have gone better."
Prue looked down at the picture of her beautiful baby. The tiny baby's eyes seemed to stare straight off the page and into Prue's. She had been dreaming about those piercing eyes since the day she had been born. Imagining what it would be like when she finally was reunited with her daughter. Hoping that wherever her child was, that she was happy; with two loving parents, a dog and cat, and a couple of sisters.
Faith was not what she imagined her daughter would grow up to be. The hell that Darrel hinted at, was never what she wanted for her child. Just thinking about the possibilities of what she went through left a sour taste in her mouth.
She looked at the pile of files fighting between the urges to read every word or light the pile ablaze in the fireplace. In the end, she simple slipped the picture of her baby back into her wallet before making her way into the kitchen to make breakfast.
Faith threw the door to the bathroom closed in a frenzy, not noticing that the door rebounded, leaving it open slightly. Rage burned in her chest, making it hard to breath. She sank to the floor as she tried to regain control of herself.
As she calmed her anger, the fear that had triggered the episode steadily mounted. Fear is something that Faith knew well. Since she had been a young child, fear is what had dictated nearly every moment of her life.
Fear is what had caused her to hide under her bed after her daddy and sister had died. That was the night when her Mommy began to destroy everything, they owned in the living room, during her first drunken rage. She had only been three years old at the time.
Fear is all Faith felt for the next three years until social workers showed up at their house wondering why Faith wasn't in school yet. She had been terrified at what her mother would do to her that night. She hid in the closet the entire time the ladies had been talking to her mother, and when her mother finally came looking for her, she knew what was about to happen. The beating she was expecting never came. Instead, Faith experienced something she hadn't felt for years. For a brief moment, Faith felt loved and hopefully. Her mother promised to get sober, and to be the mother Faith deserved.
The promise Faith's mother made to her that night didn't last long, and neither did the hopeful feeling. Just a few months after starting school, Janet had not only broken her promised to Faith, but she had progressed to taking drugs. The fear that Faith felt every day she went to school that year had been horrible. Her mother had made it clear every morning before she left that if anybody saw the bruises of Faith's frail body, she wouldn't get to see the next day.
Faith lived like that for two years before her gym teacher noticed a bruise on her back during gym class. That night while Faith had been doing her homework, Faith's mother had come into her room, stoned to the point the woman could barely stand, and proceeded to make good on the promise she made every morning.
When Faith finally did wake again, she was lying in a hospital room, with a bunch of doctors and nurses standing around her. She doesn't remember much of what happened after that, just a lot of touching, soft reassuring voices, and a shit tone of pain. She found out a few weeks later that her mother, knowing there were people coming to take her child, had overdosed just after the beating.
The fear Faith felt after that was of varying degrees. She had no family left, which left her a ward of the state. That left Faith with a kind of fear she had never felt before; the fear of the unknown. It wasn't long before she became numb to the unknown. Instead she flip-flopped between being fearful of the abusive foster family she was living with, to being fearful of being sent away from the good ones. The good ones were few and far in between, and something always happened to get her sent away.
Just before Faith turned twelve, she decided she couldn't take the fear of being hit at any moment by her foster dad, and the fear of going to sleep at night only to wake to her foster brother in her bed. Living on the streets wasn't exactly what she thought it would be, however. She had run away from one kind of fear straight into a bunch of new kind of fears.
The worst fear on the street was where she was going to sleep each night. It had to be somewhere warm, off the beaten path to avoid the cops, church workers, men who wanted to have sex with her, and the worst, the older street kids who raid the younger ones for their scraps. Faith had made a few friends who helped her. She was small and scrappy, which made stealing things easier for her then her bigger friends, but it also made her an easy target for the older kids.
During her time on the streets, she had been picked up by the police three times and sent back into foster care, and once to a group home. Each home was worse the then the last, so she only stuck around for a few days.
Faith had been on the streets for a little over a year, when she was approached by a strange lady. At the perfect time as well. Puberty had hit Faith hard and fast. She went from small and scrappy to looking like she was an adult nearly overnight. It was getting harder and harder for Faith to pull a fast one on shop owners, and even harder for her to avoid the perverts.
Diana Lounge became Faith's guardian angel for a brief time. The fears that plagued Faith when she was in a good home, were present more then ever at the beginning. Diana was kind to her, she feed her well, she caught her up in all her schoolwork and even advanced her further than her level, and she trained her for a future as a vampire slayer, something that she prayed every night would happen. Still, Faith was terrified that she would have to leave.
Just as Faith began to relax with Diana, the ancient vampire Kakistos heard that there was a watcher in town training a potential slayer. Two vamps held her down and forced her to watch as he killed Diana. Despite being able to dust the two vampires holding her, the most she was able to do was damage his face. He fled, with vows to return for her.
Faith had to watch the woman she had grown to love die, and just hours later she was fleeing. She had finally been able to relax and live a life free from such strenuous fears. She had been able to be a normal teenager and go to school. She had even made a real friend, something she had never had before.
So, Faith was no stranger to fear. It had been the one constant emotion that always flowed alongside her anger, and she hated it. She despised the how weak she felt, how powerless. That is why she relished in being a slayer. After Kakistos was dusted, she had the freedom she had been seeking since she was three years old. She didn't have to be afraid of anything anymore, because she had power. She could do whatever she wanted to do.
Want. Take. Have.
The motto was simple, but it cemented the sense of freedom she had. Right up until she accidentally killed Finch. Then all of a sudden, the fear returned, only this time her fear was accompanied by visions that she rather never sees again.
It was those visions, and the things that she did as she tried to escape them, that made the fear she was feeling as she coward on the Halliwell's bathroom floor harder to handle. Prue was so determined to help, and she had no doubt in her mind that Prue gets what she wants. She didn't want to be helped, and it terrified her to think about Prue and her friends succeeding in their efforts.
Faith could handle the injections that dampened her powers, and she could take the beatings she was receiving. After all, she deserved a lot worse for what she had done in Sunnydale. What she couldn't handle was it happening again.
That was her greatest fear. That one day, the demon that lives in her head will rear her ugly head again, and this time Angel won't be able to save her. That was a fear that she lived with every day, and she was positive that she always would.
There was a part of her that felt safe while she was in her worn cell. It was like a security blanket of sorts. She knew that as long as she was being given the dampening injections, she couldn't hurt anybody if she slipped back into the darkness again. She couldn't hurt anyone with no strength.
Faith took a deep breath in through her nose, and released it out through her mouth, then she repeated the process. It was something that her therapist had been trying to get her to do with little results. There was just something about being told how to breath that made Faith uncomfortable. Never-the-less, she continued to repeat the process until she managed to push her fears and anger to the side.
She told herself that in a few hours none of this would matter. She would be back in her room at the hospital, and Prue would forget all about her. She would be safe, and even more importantly, the world would be safe from her.
Phoebe was awoken quite abruptly by the bathroom door being slammed shut. She groaned as she rolled onto her back, knowing exactly what had caused that, or rather who. Prue must have told Faith that she was her mother, and by the sounds of it, it did not go well. She rolled over, and closed her eyes again, hoping for just a few more minutes. Sleep refused to come however, and after a few minutes of just lying there, Phoebe decided to crawl out of bed to investigate.
Phoebe had to admit that she was curious about Faith. There was a side of her that was terrified that she was a Trojan Horse. She was dangerous on her own. The police report made that very clear, and she knew being a slayer gave Faith tremendous power. It was the possibility that she was part warlock terrified her more. For all they knew this girl was an imposter and was sent to destroy them from the inside.
There was a part of her, a very large part, that was drawn to her. If Prue was right, then Faith was her niece. That meant that she was family, and Phoebe would do anything to protect her family. Even if it meant help Faith to fight her own inner demons.
The most curious thing about Faith was not her magical status, but the contents of those folders. Or more specifically, what Faith had gone through to have files that large. It was that curiosity that made it impossible for Phoebe to turn away when she peered through the gap in the bathroom door. She watched as Faith managed to calm herself using techniques that she learned about in class.
With Faith's elbows resting on her knees, Phoebe noticed a large cut running down her right arm. She couldn't believe she had missed it. The cut was hard to miss at that moment, however. It was bright red, mostly because one of the stitches at the top had torn and blood was steadily running down her arm, but partly because the cut looked infected.
Faith jumped when Phoebe pushed the door open, which made Phoebe feel bad. She hadn't meant to startle her. Although she should have expected the response. "Sorry," she said softly, as she made her way to the medicine cabinet. As she rummaged through the cabinets, she could feel Faith's eyes burning into her back, and for a fleeting moment she worried about Faith attacking her. When she turned back around, with her arms full of first aid supplies, Faith was in the same position she was in before. Phoebe was mildly impressed with Faith's ability to glare at her, despite the curiosity that seemed to be present.
Phoebe kneeled in front of Faith, depositing the first aid supplies on the floor between them. "You're bleeding," she said softly, as she poured peroxide onto a rag. She looked up as Faith as she made a move toward her but froze suddenly. Faith was sitting so tensely, Phoebe could see Faith's muscle, or rather what was left of them, quaking. "I'm sorry," she quickly said, as she withdrew the rag. "I won't hurt you," She said kindly.
That only seemed to make Faith tenser. Phoebe sat down on the floor with her legs crossed. "I'm going to clean the wound. It's still bleeding, and it looks a little infected. Is that alright?"
Faith looked into Phoebe's eyes before quickly looking away. She nodded her head, giving her permission, but didn't look back at Phoebe. She didn't want to see the pity reflecting back at her. She refused to flinch when the rag touched the open wound, afraid of showing the older woman any more weakness. They had seen enough already.
"You tore a stitch," Phoebe said quietly. The sadness in her voice screamed volumes over her actual pitch, which made Faith internally flinch. "How did this happen?" Phoebe tried to keep her voice even, but she knew that she was failing.
Faith squirmed slightly, and then gruffly stated, "I must have hit it off the door."
Phoebe looked up from the wound. "No. I mean how did you cut your arm?"
"Oh," Faith said softly and then pretended to clear her throat.
Phoebe understood the gesture meant Faith was uncomfortable with telling her. She laid her hand on the girl's knee in an attempt to comfort her. It was that moment that she was sudden sucked into a powerful premonition.
Faith was lying on a thin mat in a dark room with no windows, when a door suddenly flew open flooding the room with bright light. Two men entered the room, one of who pressed a button on a little remote. Lights flickered on showing every aspect of the room clearly.
The walls were made on worn padding, like the ones you would find in a psych ward, although there wasn't much left. The majority of the remaining padding was muddled with dry blood. To the right of the room sat a small table and a couple of chairs.
The second man slammed the door shut, not caring about making noise. There was no one around to hear them, and even if there was nobody there to hear they wouldn't care. The first man reached down and pulled Faith to her feet by her hair, then grasped her by the throat. "It's time for your punishment little girl," the he spat in a British accent, and then tossed her against the wall like she was a doll.
Faith's head bounced off the wall with a resounding thud. Before her body had fully sunk to the floor, the other man had grabbed her and tossed her against the wall again. This time he held her a few inches off the ground by her throat. "Tell us how much you like being punished little girl," the man demanded with a false sweetness in his voice.
In response, Faith spat in his face. That was a big mistake. The man growled at Faith and then tossed her across the room. She landed awkwardly a few feet away, with her head catching the table as she went down. Blood began gushing from a gash on her forehead.
"Now look what you made me do," the man whined. He looked to his partner and said, "Look what she made me do."
"Looks to me as though she is begging to be punished severely today Tony," the partner stated cockily.
"I think you're right, Dan," Tony said, matching his partners cockiness. "What do you think we should do?"
"Well I think little girls who misbehave, should be treated like little girls," Dan smiled.
Tony matched his partner's evil grin, with one of his own, and then began removing his belt. He then slid his belt across his hand slowly, making sure that Faith could see what was about to come. Tony looked to his partner to find him doing the same.
Giddily, they began whipping Faith with their belts, not caring where their strikes landed. Faith remain quiet at first, but that just seemed to piss them off. With each strike, they became more enraged, striking her harder and harder, until finally her screams were all that could be heard.
Faith thrashed away from the men, which seemed to piss them of more. Dan grabbed her by the hair and threw her across the room. Faith slammed into the table, slicing her arm off a metal strip that had been bent outwards on the leg.
Phoebe felt herself being thrust out of the premonition, and seconds later being pulled into a new vision.
Faith was lying in the center of a large group shower, with Dan and Tony standing over her with a hose. She was curled up in a ball shivering violently from the cold water being sprayed onto her. The water beneath her was stained red from the various cuts still seeping blood. The worst of them was the cut she had sustained in the previous vision. It was bright red, and the blood was gushing from it.
"Stupid bitch," Dan spat. "Just give in. You know you want to. Give into the darkness. Then this can all end."
Faith looked up the man, and through shivering blue lips said, "Never."
Dan kicked Faith in the stomach, causing her to cry out in pain. Tony chose that moment to turn the hose back on and spraying Faith with it. The harsh spray could be seen pelting at her skins, causing Faith to cringe in pain.
Phoebe felt herself being thrust out of the premonition again and sucked back into another.
Faith was back in her her padded cell again. She was lying on her mattress with a blonde woman kneeling beside her, slowly stitching up the cut on her arm. The scrubs Faith had been wearing in the first premonition were back on her frail body.
"I wish you would just give them what they want Faith," the woman said kindly. "All this could be over, if you just give them what they want."
Faith looked up at the woman weakly. "You're not Buffy."
"What's wrong Faithy? I thought this is what you wanted. Isn't it? You couldn't have me the way you wanted me, so you tried to murder Angel, and when that didn't work you came for me. You couldn't do it though. You never were as good as me. Not then and sure as hell not now."
"Shut up," Faith groaned. "You're not her, and ya don't know shit."
The blonde bent down low and smiled widely. "All done F. Maybe next time you should fight back. That way this won't happen again."
"You're not her. Buffy would rather see me dead."
"That hurts me Faith. Here I am stitching up your poor arm, and you keep telling me I am not who I am. I would never want you dead. I'm the good one, remember?"
"Leave me alone," Faith groaned weakly. "I won't give you what you want. I won't."
"Fine then," the fake Buffy said. "Maybe they can convince you."
The Buffy look-a-like turned to the open doorway. Faith didn't have to look to see that Dan and Tony were standing there.
Phoebe was knocked out of the premonition with such force that she tumbled backwards. It took her a few moments to regain her touch on reality. The images she saw were still playing in her mind. She felt nausea as she slowly sifted through the sickening visions.
She looked up at the Faith with the image of her lying on the shower floor at the forefront of her mind. Real fear was etched into Faith's beautiful face, and for a moment Phoebe wondered why. Then she noticed that her sister was kneeling next to her, looking at her with the exact same expression etched into her beautiful face. It was then that Phoebe knew for sure, that Prue was right about Faith being her daughter.
"Are you okay?" Prue asked, concern bleeding from her tone. She didn't wait for an answer, however. "What did you see? You were gone for a while. You've never had a premonition last that long. What did you see? Do we have an innocent to save? Is it a demon?"
"Prue," Faith yelled suddenly.
Prue looked at Faith in shock.
"Give her a second to breath," Faith grunted.
Phoebe looked at Faith and silently thanked her. The premonition had been intense to say the least. She had never had one that last that long, was as clear, or that showed multiple scenes before. It was a bit of a shock on her system.
"I saw how you cut your arm," she told the girl. Fear crept its way back into Faith's features, only it was different this time. Darker. It was as though she knew what Phoebe was about to say. "I saw what they did to you."
Faith held the stare for a moment more, and then turned her head to the side. A new look crept its way into Faith's features, mirroring the feelings that Faith was desperately trying to ignore. Shame. She was ashamed that those men had been able to toss her around like a rag doll, as though her life meant nothing. She was ashamed that she had been able to do nothing to protect herself. She was ashamed that she had broken and allowed them the satisfaction of hearing her screams. But in that very moment, she was most ashamed that Phoebe had seen her like that. Broken, bruised, bloodied, and helpless.
As the fear and shame mounted inside of her, Faith felt an overwhelming urge to be far away from the sympathetic looks the sisters were giving her. She had no idea how she managed to do it, but one second she was trying hard to avoid their gazes, and then the next second she was in the foyer. She stumbled as she reappeared, grabbing ahold of the round table to steady herself. She felt odd, like all her organs had just been sucked into a little hole, before being released again, but at the same time it felt right. Exhilarating even.
She could hear the Halliwell sisters storming towards the stairs, and in a split-second decision she decided to make a break for it. She ran for the front door, throwing it open with such force, that for a moment she was glad she didn't have her strength back yet. She looked back to see Phoebe and Prue running down the last few steps with as much speed as they could muster, and then turned to exit. Instead of making a clean break for it however, she ran right into Darryl, who had just been about to knock.
Faith stumbled backwards and tripped over the rug. She stared up at the man in shock, who was staring down at her with amusement written on his face.
He looked up at the sisters, who were now standing directly behind Faith, and chuckled, "I see we have a runner. I guess I showed up at the right time."
Chapter 3: Are You Ready?
Disclaimer: I do not own Charmed, Buffy, or any character in this story. They belong to their respective owners. I am merely playing with them.
AN: As of this chapter, I am adding in characters from other fandoms. I'm curious to see how many of you recognize them.
Chapter 3: Are You Ready?
Sun streamed through the police station, illuminating the three women sitting on the front bench, one of whom was cuffed to the arm. Faith was sitting slouched, with her cuffed hand gripping the arm of the bench tightly. For the third time that morning she was grateful to not have her powers because she surely would have crushed the arm.
Nervous wasn't a word Faith liked to use, but in that moment, it was the best word to describe how she was feeling. When she had first run into Darryl, quite literally, she had felt a moment of relief. She was finally getting to go back to the safety of her room at the hospital. As the morning passed however, that relief slowly turned her into a nervous wreck. Not that she was showing it. She refused to show the Halliwells anymore weakness.
At some point between listening to Darryl explained what was going to happen as they ate breakfast, and her actually arriving at the police station she realized something. She had been so worried about losing her mind and hurting somebody, that she had failed to remember her own safety. Even if they did send her back, the council would never let her stay. She would never be safe. If it wasn't Dan and Tony, then it would be somebody else.
Phoebe's premonition reminded her of just how bad the last 'session' was. They had pushed the limits on the physical and mental abuse. The realization that she had almost died this time had hit her hard. While there was still a part of her that wished she would die at times, there was an even greater part of her that wanted to live. It was that will to live that was fueling her nervous bout.
Her tension mounted quickly when they arrived at the station. There were far too many men in uniform for Faith's liking. Every time one of them passed their bench she involuntarily flinched slightly, which only managed to piss her off. She hated feeling so weak, and she hated showing that weakness even more.
Phoebe could practically feel the Faith's nerves rolling of her in waves. She could see that Faith was trying to hide it, and she did so very well. Unfortunately for Faith, Phoebe was more in tune to what people were feeling than the average person. She gently placed her hand on her knees causing the girl to jump. "It's going to be alright," She reassured quietly.
Faith turned to look at Phoebe. "No, it won't," she stated firmly.
The dark bruises on Faith's face seemed to shine more brilliantly than before, reminding Phoebe that there was a very real reason for Faith to be afraid. Images of those men abusing Faith were burned into her mind, replaying like horror film. The premonition had been more intense than her average ones. It had been longer, clearer, and she had a physical connection with what everybody had been feeling.
"I suppose if I had been hurt like that, then I would be terrified as well," Phoebe said quietly. "But you have something you didn't have before. You have me and my sisters."
"Phoebe's right Faith. You have us to fight for you now, and Darryl. He's already taking steps to make sure you don't go back there. And when our sister Piper returns with her boyfriend, you'll have them too."
"A small army at your back," Phoebe stated, with a soft smile.
Their words were intended to help Faith feel more at ease, but they only made her tension rise. "I don't want to go back," she said quietly. Her heart was racing as she spoke the words, as though she was revealing this big secret. In a way it was, but it was more like she was accepting something she had kept buried deep inside of her for months.
She had turned herself into the Los Angeles Police Department for three reasons. Angel had convinced her that her life was worth living; that she was worthy of redemption. The only way she saw that attainable was by turning herself into the police. She could start earning her redemption by being locked away, simultaneously protecting the populous from her, and protecting herself from her own destructive behavior.
When her powers began to drain she thought it was just the Powers That Be revoking what they had gifted her with. It was about two weeks later that she realized it wasn't the PTB removing her powers, rather somebody was muting them with the slayer serum. Buffy had told her all about the test she had to endure, and how Giles had been secretly injecting her for days before hand. It was just a few weeks later when she was taken to the courthouse for a hearing and released into the custody of two men who were claiming to be her uncles.
At first Faith had just assumed this was the PTB's way of teaching her a lesson. Showing her a fraction of the pain she had inflicted. After a while the pain over took everything, and she began to question if this was even them or just The Council. Those thoughts she quickly squashed. It didn't matter if it was the PTB or just The Council, all that mattered was that she did deserve the punishments she was enduring. After all, she had taken two lives and hurt many more.
With that acknowledgement, Faith began repeating the same thing over and over again. 'She deserved this. She couldn't hurt anybody like this. She couldn't escape while she was like this. People were safe because she was like this. She deserved this.' After a while the mantra became a comforting aspect of the 'punishments'. She zoned out on the men and focused solely on those words.
Sitting in that police station she realized that she didn't want to go back to that. In that moment, all the mantras she had been repeating for months flew right out of her head. Instead of being this badass slayer, murderer, or abuse victim, she was just a scared fifteen-year-old girl.
"I don't want to go back," Faith repeated softly.
A tall brunette woman wearing a dark grey suit was suddenly standing in front of her. "Well that's good to know, because if I do my job right, you won't be," she said with conviction. She shifted the files to her right arm and extended her left hand out for Faith, who hesitantly extended her arm and accepted the offered hand.
"I'm Laurel Lance. I'm a lawyer who works at the South Bay Social Services," the woman said, and then waved an officer over. "We are going into an interview room, so we can discuss your case privately."
Faith looked back to Phoebe and Prue unsurely as the officer cuff her hands. She only allowed the officer to take her away when Prue told her that they would be there waiting.
Laurel entered the room right behind her and sat the files on the table. "What do you drink Faith?" she asked kindly.
"Um… water is fine," she replied hesitantly.
Laurel turned to the table behind her and pulled a bottle of water from the minifridge below it. She handed it to Faith and then turned to pour a cup of coffee for herself. She sat down, and then looked to the officer.
"Kindly uncuff her," she said firmly, but not rudely.
"But she's dangerous ma'am," the officer replied.
"She won't hurt me," Laurel said, and then turned to look at Faith. "Will you, Faith?"
"Ah… No," Faith stuttered.
Laurel turned back to the officer and said, "See. She says she won't hurt me. Now kindly uncuff her and leave." The officer looked hesitant to obey, but after a moment he did so. "Good. I thought he would never leave. So, how are you?"
Faith paused, surprised by the question. "Five-by-five," she responded.
"Really? Because it looks like you're about a one-by-one at this point," Laurel joked. She smiled at Faith, hesitantly smiled back. "I get it. You've been through a lot, and here is just another adult in your life to screw it up, right? Well, if I have my way, you'll actually be able to live your life soon, but in order for that to happen I need a few things. Starting with you agreeing to cooperate."
Faith nodded her head slightly, not trusting her voice at that moment.
"Good," Laurel said. She reached for the top folder and opened it. "First things first, we need to discuss where you have been for the last few months?"
"Because your uncles reported you as a runaway over a month ago, and then you showed up at a stranger's house unconscious and badly beaten. I would like to know who has been hurting you."
Faith looked at Laurel with a hard look.
"I can't help you unless you open up," Laurel relied.
"They…" Faith began weakly. She cleared her throat lightly. "They're not my uncles."
Laurel looked down and flipped through the file for a few moments. "It says here that Dan and Tony Charles were your father's brothers."
"My father was an only child."
"Not your adoptive father. They were your biological father's brothers," Laurel said.
"What are you talking about?" Faith interrupted.
Laurel looked up at Faith sharply. "You didn't know you were adopted, did you?" She asked unsurely.
Faith sat there and stared at Laurel numbly. The bitch hadn't been her real mother. She always wondered how a woman could treat her own child like she treated Faith. How her own mother couldn't love her like the mothers on tv loved their daughters. Now she knew. Her mother treated her like that because she had no love for her, and she had no love for her because she wasn't her real mother. Biologically or emotionally.
Her father had loved her. Of all the confusing things in her childhood this way one thing she was sure about. He doted on her, and never treated her any differently than her older sister. It was their mother who was generally horrible to her, even before her sister and father were killed. James had been her father despite not sharing any DNA with her, but Janet had just been a bitch.
"How do you know this?" she asked after a few moments.
Laurel opened one of the files laying in front of Faith, she flipped to the back and tapped the page. Faith read every word of the document three times before the full effect hit her. She had been born right here in San Francisco to unknown parents, abandoned at Saint Mary's, and adopted a few days later by the Lehanes.
Faith's head was swimming with images and voices…
"You're not my daughter," Janet had yelled as she hit her again. "You will never be my daughter."
"The PTB wanted her returned home. Her destiny is greater than she knows, and she wasn't fulfilling it where she was." Whistler had told Prue while she slept. "She'll explain everything once she wakes. What she knows anyway. The rest you'll have to figure out yourself. I did what I was supposed to do. Deliver her home again. The rest is up to you."
"This is my daughter," Prue chocked. "She'll be seventeen in a few months. This picture is all I have of her. My grandmother took it just a few moments before she took my baby away."
"She'll be seventeen in a few months."
"The PTB wanted her returned home."
"She'll be seventeen in a few months."
"Deliver her home again."
"She'll be seventeen in a few months."
"I'll be seventeen in a few months," Faith said aloud. The implication of those words hit her like a ton of bricks.
"Yes, you will be," Laurel replied. "Faith are you okay?"
"Yeah," Faith said a little dazed. "I'm not the smartest chick, but doesn't it seem a little fishy? Two men randomly showing up to claim me as their niece, when my bio-parents ain't even known."
Laurel crossed her hands in front of her. "Yes. I suppose it does seem a little fishy."
"They aren't my uncles," Faith repeated. "They're the ones who did this to me," she spat angrily as she pointed to her face. "I never ran away. I've been with them the entire time."
Laurel open the file to the back and jotted a few things down. "We are going to head to the hospital in a little while Faith, to get you checked out. I want to make sure you are not seriously injured, and to catalogue all your injuries for your file. If that is alright?"
Faith was stunned that she had asked her that. Nobody had ever asked her if something was okay with her. They just did want they wanted and took what they liked. "Yeah. Getting checked is probably a good idea."
"Good. While we are at the hospital, there will be an officer there. Olivia is one of the city's best SVU detectives."
"Why bother with the detective? You won't catch them."
Laurel closed the file. "My only goal here is to help you Faith. I want to do that in any way I can. I can understand how hard this is for you. If these men are not your uncles, then we need to prove it, and any little bit of information you can give us will help."
Faith crossed her arms and stared at Laurel. She had dealt with people like Laurel before. Most of them were cold towards her. She was just another charge to them. Saw her as nothing more than their job. Then there were the ones like Laurel, who honestly wanted to help her. She would be disappointed when she realized there was no saving Faith. Something always happened, and eventually they gave up.
"Okay Faith," Laurel sighed. "Let's get you to the hospital."
Prue and Phoebe were still sitting on the same bench, waiting patiently for Darryl to return from talking to his captain. Well, Prue was waiting patiently at least. Phoebe, on the other hand was beginning to become agitated with the wait.
Phoebe sighed loudly. "What's taking Darryl so long? He said he would be back in a few minutes. It's been more than a few minutes."
Prue smiled softly at her sister's impatience. "Darryl will be back Phoebe."
"I know he will. I just want some good news. That lawyer lady has been talking with Faith forever. I just want to make sure she is alright."
"It's hard to believe you thought she was dangerous just this morning," Prue teased.
"Oh. I still believe she can be dangerous, but I also believe that she just needs a little guidance," Phoebe said absentmindedly. She was searching the station for any sign of Darryl, Faith, or Laurel. She huffed, and then turned to Prue. "Besides, she's your daughter. If anybody in this world is qualified to help her, it's us."
"I wonder what her powers are," Prue wondered aloud.
"Well we know she can blink like a warlock," Phoebe stated. "Is her father a warlock, because that could explain why she went dark for a while."
Prue searched her mind for what felt like the hundredth time for any memory for Faith's father. She sighed heavily when she found none. "It's possible I guess. That would explain why Grams sent Faith away and erased any memory of him from my mind."
"Do you think she's always been able to blink, or is Grams' spell is breaking apart?"
"She looked surprised when she did it this morning. The spell must be breaking apart now that she is home," Prue said, and then looked to Phoebe. "What did you see in your vision? You looked a little freaked out, and you've seemed to do a complete one-eighty with Faith since then."
Phoebe's shoulders sagged as she sighed, "It was horrible Prue. The way they were tossing her around like she was nothing, beating her like she was worthless. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. Especially not a kid."
"Then we'll make sure they pay for it," Prue said darkly.
Darryl choose that moment to reappear in front of them. "Sorry ladies. My Captain was watching Faith interact with Laurel. He's not convinced that a fifteen-year-old could do the things Faith did, but he did believe our story. Which is good. All we have to do is sign our statements, and it will go into the report."
Prue stood quickly and asked, "When can we see Faith?"
"Laurel and I will be taking Faith to the hospital to get checked out and start the police report. Though from what Laurel says, she is reluctant to cooperate with the investigation. You won't be able to see her until at least tonight. I won't be surprised if they keep her for observation overnight."
"But Prue's her mom," Phoebe objected.
"I know this Phoebe, but nobody else does," Darryl countered. "In the eyes of the law she was abandoned at a church and adopted. In order to get custody of Faith, she first had to prove that Faith is her daughter.
"Well that's dumb," Phoebe muttered.
"In this case I agree, but the law is there for a valid reason," Darryl admitted.
"How do I do that?" Prue asked.
"Speak with Laurel," Darryl said. "She'll know what to do."
"What is the likelihood of her getting to come home with us?" Prue asked uneasily.
"If we can get Faith to tell us where they were holding her, there is a good chance the judge will release Faith into the custody of a family member. A simple DNA test will prove that you are her mother, but after what happened the last time they are going to be more thorough."
"Morris," a gruff voice yelled. Darryl turned at his captain's bellow. "I'll be back," he said, and then followed his captain into his office.
Phoebe huffed as she flopped onto the bench. "Here we go again," she groaned. Prue just chuckled as she took her place next to her. She patted her sister's leg comfortingly.
Faith was lying in her hospital bed, mindlessly watching some old movie. She was numb, both from her long, emotionally exhausting day, and the medicine her incredibly perky doctor had prescribed.
After Laurel had finished going over her plan, the lawyer and Darryl had taken her to the hospital, for the most grueling, emotionally draining afternoon of her life. She seriously would rather fight Kakistos again than spend another day going through all the test she had endured.
Some of the tests were quite simple. She had several x-rays taken, blood drawn, MRI and Cat scans done, and a full physical completed. What was the most daunting was the rape exam that Olivia, (the SVU detective who was only in the room because Darryl had talked her into allowing in the room), had managed to talk her into doing. Neither agreements were given up easily, nor in a timely manner. She was impressed, and touched with their tenacity towards punishing the people who were responsible. Not that she would ever tell them that.
Hours after she had arrived, the doctor finally came in to tell her that the worst of the injuries was a few broken ribs, which was why she had been having trouble breathing deeply, and a small bruise at the front of her brain. She was worried about the bruise, but since Faith was alert and moving around, she wasn't too worried. It was the infection in the cut on her arm that she was most worried about. She wanted to monitor it until she was completely sure they were in the safety zone before releasing her. Which is why Faith was cuffed to a hospital bed, in a private room. Laurel had not been happy with her being cuffed, but since Faith was not on a locked ward, this was the only way they could guarantee that she would stay where she was.
Faith had been hoping for some peace when the doctors finally left, which she was graciously granted. Unfortunately, the quiet left room for her to think, or rather overthink. Her mind was racing with the fact that she had been adopted, and how Prue spoke of her daughter. It wasn't a coincidence that the PTB just happened to send her to somebody who gave up a daughter the same age as her.
She tried not to think about what it would mean for her. The way Prue was talking about her daughter, gave Faith the impression that if she ever did find her daughter, she would never let her go again. That thought scared her. Faith had only ever had one decent role model, and just as she was beginning to relax and enjoy life Diana was ripped from her life.
Although she hadn't been around the Halliwell sisters long, she could sense that they were good people. There was a small part of her that fantasized about being released and going to live with Prue. She wondered what it would be like to have a mom, a real one, someone who treated her like her dad had, and aunts who would help her get away with things her mother would never allow. She wondered if that was where this new-found power came from, and if she would develop any others.
There was a larger part of her however, that kept shutting the fantasies down. She kept reminding herself that fantasizing only led to more disappointment, and she had years of disappointments to prove it. She had dreamed about being saved from her mother's tyranny for years, and when it finally happened, her life didn't approve any. She was still abused, still ruled by a tyrant, and still forced to live her life in fear.
While on the streets she had dreamt about being saved by a nice rich lady, who would love her like she was her own. She never truly believed it would ever happen, but the dream kept her going on some of the toughest nights. Then a nice rich lady did save her, and for a little while she had been happy. Diana had left no room in Faith's busy mind to worry about losing her. She made Faith feel safe and happy and loved. She had let her guard down, which had been a big mistake. When Diana was murdered, she'd been crushed.
Spending time with Buffy and the Scoobies had made her long for a friendship like they had. She had fantasized about becoming their friend and becoming a real part of their group. Alas, they always seemed to keep her on the outskirts, and even when she finally did become close with Buffy, she fucked everything up by killing Finch.
That's what she does. She fucks everything up. That's why she stopped fantasizing about things when she turned herself in. Instead she just accepted everything that came her way and didn't wish for anything. It just made her life simpler.
Her quiet time was interrupted by a soft knock on the door. She looked over at door to find Prue standing there with a small duffle bag in her hand.
"Is it alright if I come in?" She asked.
"Sure," Faith replied and then added. "It's not like I can go anywhere anyways." Faith shook her left arm, causing the cuffs to rattle against the metal rail.
Prue set the duffle bag on the open chair and then sat on the foot end of Faith bed. "How are you feeling?" she asked hesitantly. She was nervous. Probably more nervous than the day she sat in front of Grams gearing up to tell her that she was pregnant.
Prue knew that she had to approach the subject of Faith being her daughter very carefully. She didn't know how she was going to react or if she would even care. She wanted her daughter with her. She wanted to be able to take care of her, to protect her, to teach her all the knowledge she had to give. Whatever road Faith's destiny took her down, Prue wanted to be there with her.
Faith was a wild card though. She was already a teenager. One who was convicted of two murders and committed to a psychiatric hospital. Prue wasn't going to begin to assume how that affected Faith. She didn't want to do anything that is going to trigger Faith.
"How are you feeling?" Prue asked again, after a pregnant pause.
"Better than I was," Faith smiled goofily.
Prue chuckled. "I bet."
Faith watched as Prue awkwardly looked around the room. It was weird to think that the woman who was sitting on her bed could be her biological mother. It made her mind run faster then she could cope with. The silence was unbearable to her.
"So…" she said awkwardly. "What'd ya bring me?"
A smile formed on Prue's lips. She slipped off the bed as she started to ramble, "I spent a few of days in the hospital a couple of years ago, so I know how cold and boring it can get." Prue pulled out a soft blanket, several books, two spiral notebooks, with several boxes of pens, colored pencils, and markers. "I didn't know if you were the reader type, or the drawing type, or the writing type, so I brought all three. This way you could have the one you like, and two other you can choose from."
"Thanks," Faith coughed uncomfortable.
Prue sat the supplies on Faith's tray and then, without even thinking about it, open the blanket and spread it over Faith. Prue smoothed the blanket out, and then turned back to the duffle bag. She pulled a fairly large container out of the bag and placed it right in front of Faith.
Faith didn't notice the container at first. She was too busy gently rubbing her un-cuffed hand on the blanket Prue had just spread over her like she was tucking in her three-year-old for bed. The last time she had been tucked into bed was when she was three years old. Her daddy would come into her and her sister's room every night to tuck them into bed. He would read them a story, and then he would pull their blankets real tight and smother them with kisses. It had always been her favorite time of day.
"Faith," Prue said, as she gently shook Faith's arm. "Are you alright?"
Faith looked the hand on her arm and slowly followed it up to look Prue in the eyes. She was looking at her with such worry, the same way her daddy had been looking at her that time she fell out of bed and broke her arm. It was that moment that she was certain that Prue was her mother. Only a parent looked at their children like that.
"Yeah," Faith grunted. It was then that she noticed the container of lasagna sitting on her table. Her eyes lit up as her mouth began to water. She grabbed the container and practically ripped the lid off. She took a long sniff of the warm pasta, and then mindlessly took the fork Prue was offering her.
"I spoke with the nurse before I smuggled it in to make sure you were allowed to have food. I was a little surprised that they said it was okay so easily. I figured they would have some rule against it."
"Thank you," Faith said with her mouth full.
"You're welcome," Prue said as she sat in the now empty seat. "So… Which do you prefer?"
"Which do you like better? The books, drawing, or writing?"
"Oh um," Faith said. She wiped her mouth and looked over the items Prue had brought her. "I'm more of the fighter type. My docs at Atty made me do other things though. Not much to do when you're on a locked floor with other looney toons. Drawing was kind of fun, except that my docs were concerned with what I was choosing to draw. Writing was better until they started reading what I was writing. So, I just started reading all the boring books they had there. Some of them were ancient."
Prue smiled softly at Faith. "Well I'm sure I will love anything that you draw, and I can promise that I will never read anything you write unless it's an emergency, or you want me too. What I can't promise is that you will like any of these books. I'm not much of a reader. I like pictures. Even make a living on taking them. My sister Piper on the other hand loves books, which is why I raided her bookshelf."
Faith picked up the top book and looked it over. "I'll read just about anything. It helps keep my mind off what I did."
Prue moved to sit on the end of the bed, and gently squeezed Faith's covered leg. "I'm here if you want to talk."
"Until you're not," Faith said. "Once the perky doctor releases me, I'm going back to Atty, and you'll go back to a normal life."
"Um… Actually, there is something that I would like to talk to you about," Prue said.
Faith looked down at her hands as her breathing picked up a step. Hearing Prue tell her that she is her mother cemented it in her mind. She wasn't sure if she was ready for that.
"Do you remember the picture I showed you? The one of my daughter?" Prue's voice betrayed how nervous she was feeling. She tried to keep it even, but there was a shaky note to it. "Well… you see…"
Prue was interrupted by a nurse entering the room. "Sorry to interrupt," the tall, slightly chubby black man said kindly. "I'm Malik. I'm going to be your nurse for the night. Will mom be staying tonight?"
"Oh…um…" Prue stumbled.
"She's not my mom," Faith answered evenly. She watched the hurt look that formed on Prue's face. Yet another reason she was positive Prue was her mother. "My mother died when I was a kid, leaving me an orphan."
"Well I'm sorry to hear that," Malik said.
"Don't be. The woman was a crack addict who abused me. The bitch got what she deserved. Just like I did." Faith rattled the cuffs around her wrist again. "I don't deserve to have people care for me. Anybody who does just ends up dead."
Malik picked up Faith's chart and scribble something into the notes. "Well I don't believe that for a second. Everybody deserves to have somebody there to love and look after you." He flipped the page and scribbled something else, then looked up at Prue. "Though I am sorry to say the visiting hours are over for all none family members."
"Okay," Prue said. She looked at Faith and gave her leg a gentle squeeze. "I'll come see you in the morning before my photo shoot. Sleep tight."
Faith didn't trust her voice at that moment. She had already said more than she should have. She didn't want hope to slip into her voice, causing Prue to think she had a chance at this whole mother thing. Faith screwed up everything she touched. She wasn't about ready to screw up this kind woman who brought her a blanket, books, and pens, pencils, and paper. Who was eager to come see her the very next morning.
No. Faith was not going to screw Prue's life up. She was going to back to Atascadero where she belonged, to wait for when The Council came for her again. Then she would do whatever they wanted her to do so she could finally be free.
"Seems like a nice lady," Malik said as he placed the blood pressure cuff on her arm. "She sure did bring you a lot of things to occupy your time."
"Yeah," Faith sighed. "Just like a real mom."
Chapter 4: Feelings
Chapter 4: Feelings
Phoebe rolled over and groaned loudly. She was trying not to hate her sister at that moment, but dammit she just wanted to sleep. This was the third time she had been woken up by Prue's need to remodel the house in the middle of the night.
It had been just after three when Phoebe had been woken by a loud crash. Expecting it to be a demon attack, she jumped out of bed and followed the noise through the house. What she found however was her big sister in Grams sewing room with a large broken vase. When Phoebe asked Prue what she was doing, the woman simply responded, "Getting Faith's room ready. Duh." If she hadn't been so damn tired, Phoebe might have laughed at Prue's terminology. Instead she turned away from her sister and crawled back into bed.
The sun was just beginning to peek through the windows, casting a soft glow through her room. She groaned again and threw the blanket off. She knew Prue wanted to go see Faith before her shoot at ten and knew she would be dragging since she had been up half the night. She decided she would be a good little sister and bring coffee to Prue. Lots and lots of coffee.
A little while later, Phoebe cautiously stepped into the room that Prue was fixing up for Faith. She looked around the small room, surprised by how much Prue had gotten done in just a few hours. The room that once held a worn loveseat, Grams' ancient sewing machine, and the boundless amounts of thread, needles, and fabric that were kept in wooden boxes, and a tall wardrobe, was now empty, sans a desk and a small dresser.
"Wow," she said allowed.
Prue popped out of the closest. "Yeah. Grams had a lot of sewing supplies. It took me over an hour just to lug all of it up to the attic."
Phoebe handed one of the mugs she was holding. "I thought you might be needing this."
"Thanks," Prue sighed as she eagerly took the mug. She took a long sniff of the delicious aroma, before taking a tentative sip. "Mmm… What time is it?"
"A little after six," Phoebe replied. She rubbed her hands over the worn wallpaper. "Are you going to paint or put up new wallpaper."
"I was thinking about taking down this paper and then painting, but I want to wait until Faith is here before we decide anything. It is going to be her room after all. Plus, we need Leo here to help. He's the one who knows what he is doing, not me."
"Probably a good idea," Phoebe said with a teasing smile. "How are you doing?"
Prue sat the mug of coffee onto the desk she was leaning against. "I have no clue."
"Did you tell her last night?"
"I started to, but a nurse politely kicked me out," Prue sighed.
"So today then?"
"The first chance that I get. I'm heading to the hospital right after I take a shower if you want to come."
"No. I'm good. You go do the mom thing. I'll go see her tonight before I open the club."
Prue gave Phoebe a nod, and then she picked up her coffee. "Thanks again. I don't know what I would have done without you Pheebs. You've really stepped up. I'm proud of you."
There were so many times she wished she would hear those words coming from Prue, but the majority of the time she was disappointed. Prue was the type to overlook all the hard work somebody was doing and only seeing their failures. So, hearing those words was a big deal for Phoebe. "Thank you," she said honestly, then smiled evilly at her. "It's about time you notice how awesome I am."
Prue laughed. "I love you. Don't ever change."
"I love you too," Phoebe mimicked.
"I am going to take a shower. I have two shoots today. One at ten and another at three. After that I am going to head to the hospital."
"I will see you there then. Have a good day."
"You too," Phoebe said. She waited for Prue to close her bedroom door, and then snuck up the stairs to the attic. The sun was shining brightly through the window casting a halo around the book of shadows, almost as if it was calling her to the book.
Phoebe didn't know what she was looking for, other then known warlocks, but she was determined to find something that will lead her to Faith's paternity. She didn't know why she was so worried about Faith having the ability to blink. Maybe it was because she had fought so many warlocks over the last two years. She's seen the damage an innocent seeming person can create. Perhaps it was because of priest warlock who she and her sisters help save from his evil brothers. She had believed that he was evil as well, but in the end, he helped to defeat his siblings and enter into the priesthood. Then again, it could simply be because Faith was her niece, and she wanted to help her in any way she could.
Any way she looked at it, her reasoning came down to one thing; her sisters. Prue and Piper were her everything. She would do anything to keep them safe and happy. Right now, Faith was the one thing that was going to determine Prue's future. That meant Phoebe had to do something, anything, to help Faith.
Phoebe had a few hours before she had to head to the club to set up for the night. Which meant she could research until her hearts content. She took the book over to her favorite chair and began scouring through it.
Faith was staring out her hospital window as the sun steady rose from over the mountain tops. She was exhausted from lack of sleep. Every time she nodded off, she forgot that she was safe in the hospital, instead of back in her worn padded cell. She would wake up covered in sweat, with her heart racing. A nurse would come rushing into the room a few seconds later to check on her, but she would pretend the nurse woke her when he turned on the lights to evade any questions. He knew she was lying, and she knew that he knew she was lying, but they kept up the game all night long.
Now she was enjoying the sunrise, a small amenity that she had not been granted in her windowless prison. Light was a privilege for good girls who follow the rules, and she wasn't a good girl. Good girls don't side with evil or kill for sport. They hunt the bad guys and save the world.
Faith knew they were just trying to break her. It was all a part of The Councils sick and twisted way of testing her to see if she was worthy of rehabilitation. At least that is what Dan told her after the first week of solitude. Faith suspected that him and Tony were just demented men who had been granted permission to play with Faith before killing her. Whatever scenario was the truth mattered very little to her now. She was safe, for a little while at least. That was what she had to focus on. She was safe.
A little after seven, her very perky doctor came skating through her doorway. She groaned inwardly as the blonde rolled closer to her. She was not in the mood to have somebody so damn externally happy around her. It was just a reminder of something she would never experience.
Doctor Arizona Robbins smiled at Faith before sitting down on the end of the bed. "Good morning, Faith. How are you feeling?"
"Five by five," Faith replied.
Arizona hummed lightly. "And how did you sleep?"
"Best night sleep I've had in years," Faith said.
Doctor Robbins looked at the chart and back up at Faith. "Well then, I suppose we can cancel the sleeping aid Nurse Malik suggested we order, or was he right about the nightmares?"
Faith shrugged her shoulders, "I slept fine. Would have been better if he hadn't been in my room every five minutes waking me up."
"Alrighty then. I'll put a note in your chart asking the nursing staff to remain out of your room unless absolutely necessary."
"Sounds good doc," Faith said. "So, when can I get outta here?"
"I would have thought you'd be excited to stay here for a while," Doctor Robbins said.
"Cause I'm going back to a nut house when I get out."
Faith eyed Arizona suspiciously. "You're fishing," she accused.
Arizona met Faith's suspicious glare and smiled. "Yeah. I am. You're a smart cookie." She flipped the chart over. "So, I've spoken to your doctors at Atascadero and they've filled me in a little about you."
"Oh yeah? Did they tell what a charmer I am?"
"Yes actually. That's exactly what they told me. They also filled me in on the medications that you were on and urged me to resume your regimen as soon as possible."
"Lovely," Faith snarked.
"But first we need to have you evaluated."
"Which means I'm off the psych ward," Faith summed up.
"Not yet," Arizona said. "We want to continue monitoring the infection in your arm. Which means you're staying put for the moment, but there will be a psych resident coming to talk to you in a little while."
"And if I say no?" Faith asked.
Arizona reached across the bed and grabbed the chain of the cuffs around Faith's left wrist and gave it a little tug. "Then this won't come off." She looked to the open door, and then back to Faith. "Just between you and me, I've been told that the judge is monitoring your case very closely and is already deciding where you are going after we discharge you. So just talk to Doctor Andrews. What's the worst that can happen?"
Faith wanted to say that freedom would be the worst thing, but she kept it to herself. Something told her that Doctor Robbins wouldn't like to hear that. "Sure doc. Whatever you want."
"Great," Arizona said.
"You're too damn perky," Faith said.
"So I've been told," Arizona said, completely unfazed. "I'll check back with you in a few hours."
Faith sighed in relief when doctor Robbins left the room. She was just too damn perky and optimistic for seven in the morning. She understood that she was just trying to give her the best care possible, but Faith didn't even know how she was feeling half the time.
Faith laid back and stared at the pile of books Prue had brought her. She picked up the top book and opened it the first page.
Instead of heading straight to the hospital, Prue made a detour to the South Bay Social Services building. Failing to tell Faith that she is her mother allowed her the opportunity to have all her ducks in a row before telling her. To have a solid plan in place to give Faith some sense of stability. That first required her to visit with Laurel, who hopefully will be able to advise her on how to begin the process of getting Faith into her custody.
South Bay was bustling with workers, impatient parents, and scared children. Prue sat in the waiting area, her knee bouncing nervously, waiting for Laurel to arrive. One of the assistants, a nice young brunette who looked familiar, had informed her that she was due into the office at any moment, then escorted her to a chair outside her office. She kind of wished she had waited until later, because the wait was making her more nervous.
Thankfully, she didn't have to wait long before the lawyer came walking towards her. "Prue, I didn't expect to see you until I went to visit Faith."
"There's something I need to talk to you about. If that's alright?" Prue said nervously.
"Sure. I don't have to be in court for an hour," Laurel said as she unlocked her door. She held the door open for Prue, who passed her nervously. "Please sit. Tell me what I can do for you."
"Um…" Prue paused and cleared her throat. She felt like her stomach was trying to come out of her mouth. "Well you see…" She paused again, then groaned lightly at her on cowardice. "Faith is my daughter."
Laurel stopped unpacking her bag and looked to Prue in shock. "But I thought that Faith's parents were dead."
"Her adoptive parents are. I'm her biological mother," Prue said.
"Oh," Laurel said, and opened her desk to retrieve Faith's file. "There is no indication who Faith's biological parents are. Are you certain?"
Prue smiled softly. "I'm positive. I gave birth to a little girl the same day as Faith. My grandmother took my baby away without telling me where she was taking her. The church where she was left at isn't far from where we live. It is too much of a coincidence that the girl who was deposited on my couch, was born on the same day as my daughter.
"Okay. Very true. Not what I was expecting, but this is a good thing," Laurel said, and then she stood up. She went to her door and called for the young woman who had shown Prue where to sit. They quietly conversed for a few minutes, before Laurel return.
"Paige is going to get the paperwork started to establish maternity. Does Faith know about this?"
"I tried to tell her last night, but we were interrupted," Prue replied.
"Good. That's good. Let's not get her hopes up until we are one hundred percent positive that you are her mother. Then we can go from there. I have a hearing at ten to transfer Faith's custody to South Bay. Once maternity is established, we will have to file a motion to legally recognize you as her birth mother. Then it is as simple as having a social worker do a home study to make sure your home is safe, and us granting you custody. Should take a few weeks to push everything through. I've already spoken with the judge presiding over Faith's case, and she has assured me that Faith's release will be honored as long as Faith passes a psych evaluation, provided we have a suitable home for her to go to."
"You make it sound so easy," Prue spoke. She had been gearing up for a long exhausting process.
"Oh, trust me, it isn't. There is a lot of work that is involved, and normally it would take months for this process to be completed. Personally, I like Faith, and after the life she's been through, she deserves to have a stable life. Plus, Darryl has sung your praise. I trust that man with my life, and if he says you're one of the good guys, that's good enough for me."
"So, what's first?" Prue asked.
"First thing we have to do is get a DNA test done. If it comes back positive, then we can file the paperwork to officially establish you as her mother. Then we can start the process to get Faith's custody returned to you."
"Thank you," Prue said feeling elated. She had been worried that there was no chance of legally getting Faith back because Grams had left her at the church. Sure, she knew it was unlikely that she would be punished for the acts of her grandmother, but rationality had left her brain when she realized the girl lying on her couch was really her daughter. Now everything was full of possibilities that might not come to pass. She had to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. "Thank you so much for helping."
"I am happy to help. To be honest, it's a nice change of circumstances for once. I spend most of my time removing kids from neglectful and abusive parents, it's rare that I get the chance to reunite a kid with her mom."
"It is nice. I never thought I would get to see her again. Grams took her so fast, and when I would ask where she was, Grams would just tell me that she was safe."
"You can't dwell on that. If Faith is your daughter, then you have a chance to make her life better. Whatever your grandmother's reasons were don't matter anymore. Just you and Faith matter."
"You're right," Prue said and then looked at her watch. "I should go. I want to see Faith before I head to work. Thank you again."
"You're welcome. I'll call you after the hearing, and we can set up a time with the hospital to do the DNA test."
"Okay," Prue said with a nod. She shook Laurel's hand and then left, passing Paige, the assistant who had helped her, as she made her way through the building.
Faith was asleep with a book lying open on her chest when Prue entered her room. She looked so peaceful that Prue didn't want to disturb her. She turned to leave when she heard Faith softly say her name. She turned back to find Faith staring at her intensely. "Good morning," she said.
"Hey," Faith said. She sat up and laid the book back on her table. She gently pushed her table to the side, making room for Prue on her bed. Prue didn't sit on the bed this time however. Instead she sat on the chair in the corner. An awkward silence fell between them, making Faith incredible uncomfortable. "What, no presents today?" She joked, hoping it would get Prue to say something.
"Well you can blame your nurses for the lack of presents. I brought you donuts and a hot chocolate, but they banned it from the room. Apparently, you might need to have surgery this afternoon, so I left it with them."
"Damn, and here I was dreaming about eating some donuts."
Prue smiled widely. It was nice to see Faith looking a little more at ease then she had since they met. She looked better from where she was sitting. There was color in her face behind all the fading bruises and cuts. "How are you feeling?"
Faith's smile faltered. For a split second she had forgotten why she was in a hospital room. For a split second she was just a girl joking around with her mother, and in that split second, she had felt at ease. She wondered if she would ever feel normal again.
"I feel better," she answered honestly. "Ready to get out of here."
"Are you finally accepting that you are not going back to the hospital?" Prue asked hopeful.
Faith leaned forward a glared at Prue. "I don't belong in that place. I belong in jail with the rest of the animals."
Prue worried why Faith was back to wanting to be locked up again, she didn't flinch away at Faith's harsh words and aggressive attitude. Instead she leaned closer to her so that their faces were mere inches away. She locked eyes with her daughter and with conviction said, "You are not an animal."
Those words made a fire erupt in Faith's chest. "You don't know me," she growled. She didn't know why she was suddenly so angry, but it was there, and it needed to come out. "Do you want to know how I killed the professor? Wilkins had given me this sweet ass knife as a present for joining him, and when he ordered me to kill Worth I took it with me. Damn that blade felt good in my hand, and I was eager to use it. I took that knife and I slide it into the professor's body over and over and over again. His blood was every where, and fuck it felt amazing. So, tell me again I'm not an animal. Tell me!"
Prue swallowed the bile that had risen up her throat. She felt a little sick hearing Faith's description of killing the professor. She pushed it down however. "Animals don't want to be caged, even when they know they did something bad. They fight to get out." Prue touch Faith's cheek tenderly. "I see the good in you sweetie. All you have to do is see it too."
Faith batted Prue's hand away. "I ain't worth shit."
Prue placed her hand on Faith's cheek again, and when Faith tried to bat it away, she gently cupped it around her neck, brushing her thumb over her cheek. "Yes, you are, Faith. Yes, you are."
Prue's touch felt so good on her skin. Like it was always meant to comfort her while in distress. Unfortunately, her touch also made the anger burning in her chest more intense. Tears sprang to her eyes as the anger present in a different way. "Just leave me alone," she yelled.
"I can't do that Faith," Prue replied. She tried to wipe away Faith's tears, but that only made her angrier.
Faith batted the arm away again, this time with more aggression. "Why? Why won't you just let me alone?" Her tone had lost its edge, replaced with a more defeated note. "Why?"
"Because I'm your…" The word 'mother' got stuck in her throat. Laurel's voice rang in her ears, reminding her why she wasn't going to tell Faith today. Giving Faith false hope was the last thing she wanted to do. Though, if she was being honest with herself, it wasn't the only reason the word got stuck. There was a part of her that was scared to be rejected by Faith. What if Faith wanted nothing to do with her?
Faith sat forward again and growled into Prue's face. "Just say it damn. Fucking A, just say it." She suddenly deflated, realizing why she was upset. She was having a panic attack that was presenting as anger. This was not uncommon for her. Her therapist at Atascadero had helped her identify the differences in her moods. It helped her calm down when she was starting to lose control. "Just say it," she repeated almost pleadingly. She just needed to hear the words slip from Prue's lips. To hear the truth.
"I won't leave you alone Faith because I'm your mother," Prue said. Faith had relaxed, giving Prue an opening to cup her cheek again. Faith flinched away at first but relaxed into the touch. "You have good in you, and I will be damned if I am going to let my daughter rot away in a mental hospital for crimes she committed while she was mentally unstable."
Faith didn't know how to respond. Her chest still burned with residual anger, constricting her breathing. Tears still seeped from her beautiful eyes, slipping down her cheeks. She didn't know if she was relieved to hear Prue admit that she is her mother, or terrified that there was a new person in her life for her to screw up.
She didn't have the chance to contemplate her feelings because a woman cleared her throat loudly behind them. She hastily wiped her eyes, refusing to allow somebody else to see her like that. She hated when people could see how weak she is.
"Sorry to interrupt," the woman said.
Faith, happy that all evidence of her tears were gone, looked to the door. The woman was standing there, with the female guard assigned to her room hovering just behind her. She looked as though she wanted to come into the room, but the doctor was blocking her way.
The doctor looked over her shoulder and mutter, "We're good," to her, and then came into the room, closing the door behind her. "I'm Doctor Andrews," she said. "I was expecting this to be a standard evaluation, but it looks like there might be a few things we should discuss."
"Standard works for me," Faith said.
"Alright. I can do standard for now," Doctor Andrews agreed.
Prue looked to the doctor uncomfortably. "I should go. I have a photoshoot in half an hour."
"Yeah, okay," Faith said.
"I'll be back tonight. Phoebe is planning on coming. She'll probably show up before I get back. I'll call ahead and see if you can eat. If you can, I'll pick up whatever you want."
"Sup to you. I'm not picky," Faith replied.
"Okay. I'll be back tonight," Prue said. She resisted the urge to lean forward and place a kiss on Faith's forehead, an act that she had done many times to her sister. Instead, she slipped from the bed, and brushed passed the doctor.
Doctor Andrews sat in the corner chair and opened the file she was holding. "How are you feeling today, Paulina?"
"Oh. Right. I'm sorry," Doctor Andrews fumbled. "I did read that you prefer your middle name."
"What else did you read?" Faith asked curiously. She had always wondered what her doctors were saying about her. It had bugged her that they were saying writing things about her without giving her the chance to rebut.
"Would you like to read your file?" Doctor Andrews asked.
Faith looked up from the file surprised. "Hell yeah."
"Then I'll make a deal with you. If you answer all my questions honestly today, I will make a copy of the file for you to read."
"Really? Ya ain't fuckin' with me?"
"No. I promise, I'm not fucking with you, Faith."
"Deal," Faith said.
Doctor Andrews smiled, "Good. She wrote something on in the file before looking back to Faith. "So, all I am doing today is assessing your mental health for the judge and deciding what dosage of your meds to start you on. It'll also give us a good starting point for future sessions. Sound good."
"Whatever you want doc," Faith replied.
"So… Just for the record, you were diagnosed with severe bipolar 1 disorder, with psychosis."
"That's what they tell me," Faith said.
"And you were in the middle of a psychotic break when you were arrested?"
"That's what they tell me," Faith repeated.
"You don't believe them?" Doctor Andrews asked.
Faith was already getting irritated with this session. "I didn't say that."
"How long after you left the hospital did you stop taking your medicine?"
"The same day," Faith replied.
"Because my fake uncles refused to give 'em to me."
"Had they offered them, would you have continued to take them."
Faith paused for a moment. She had not been expecting a question like that and had to think about it. "Yeah," she replied hesitantly.
"Give me a reason why you would have continued taking your meds?" Doctor Andrews elaborated.
"Oh. I… um…" Faith said unsurely. She thought back to how she felt while she was in Sunnydale, and then to her time in the hospital. While she had only been on her meds for a few months, Faith had already been able to tell the vast difference between pre-meds and post-meds.
Before the medicine everything was in hyper-drive for her. It was like she was going through the motions of her life, only she had no control. She was saying and doing things without knowledge of what she was doing or why. She was always in this hyper state, eager to do things she loved, but then she would crash and become so sad she couldn't do anything.
There was a month around her fifteenth birthday where she had fell into a deep depression, not that she knew what it was at the time however. She just felt so damn sad because it was her birthday and she was alone again. There was no one happy that she was alive and in their life. So, she drowned her sorrows in a bottle of rum she swiped from the Bronze.
When she finally did sober up again her emotions only got worse. She was angry that she had drown her sorrows over something so pathetic. She was Faith 'freakin' Lehane. She was a badass slayer who didn't need anybody. Still, she couldn't shake the sad feeling filling her chest like a bad cold, and it only got worse as time went on. Stupid little things that shouldn't bother her were like a knife stabbing her in the back. She was especially upset that nobody came to check on her, not that she wanted them to, (at least that is what she told herself).
Then one day she woke up and she was fine. Better than fine in fact. She woke up with a month's worth of energy stored in her cells, not a care in the world, and a destiny to fulfill. It didn't take long for her erratic, almost suicidal behavior to crash in on her. She was so blinded by being the best slayer, and finally having somebody there that was on the same level as her, that she couldn't sense that Finch was human before she staked him like a vampire.
Killing Finch intensified her already erratic feelings. She was in a battle with herself. Her heart was rapidly sinking with sadness and guilt, while her head kept telling her that she did nothing wrong. That she didn't give a damn if a man was dead because she was the best, badass slayer in town. Nothing could touch her.
After the medicine began working she began to see things differently. It was like there had been a fog laden over her mind that prevented her from being able to see just how crazy and erratic her behavior had become, and the meds helped to lift that fog. She didn't remember everything she had done or why she had done them, but there were events that were engraved in her mind. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to trust whether those memories were entirely true, or a figment of her disorder. The way she thought and felt had been altered by the intensity of her bipolar. Something that had been little at the time, she remembered as being the end of the world (figuratively speaking).
The fog that kept her mind fuzzy was gone because of her medicine, and for that she was incredibly grateful. It was like she could just be her without all the crazy getting in the way. Sure, she was still a foul mouthed, biting nails tough, badass bitch, but her actions were her own. She didn't want to go back to feeling foggy and insane again.
"Yeah. I would have kept taking them," she repeated, forgetting that she was meant to answer a different question.
"Where'd you go just now?" Doctor Andrews asked.
"Nowhere," Faith replied.
Doctor Andrews looked like she wanted to press, but she moved on with her questioning, which seemed to take forever. By the time she was done, Faith had a headache. She was grateful when the woman left, allowing her a chance to take a nap. She couldn't seem to stay awake for very long before needing to close her eyes; a vast difference from the past few months, where she was barely able to close her eyes for more than a few minutes at a time.