Second Chance
by Sarah Meyers
Rating: R

Spoilers: Anything I feel like putting in here..It's all fair game to me..
Author's Notes: Part 5 is mainly focused on the relationship between Dawn and Faith, because I think Dawn's a cool character who doesn't get enough attention..
Feedback: You know everyone wants some..

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	What do you do, when love comes along
	And offers your heart a chance to move on
	With no guarantees, no safety net
	You trust what you feel, you take that first step

	Just close your eyes
	Reach for the moment,
	Before it slips by
	Here is your second chance,
	Take it, and fly.

	--Trisha Yearwood

*****

PROLOGUE

You know I'd give anything for a damn radio right about now. Not to say that this place is all that bad. After all, I came here by choice. It was my choice to turn myself in so I could make things right. It's not as bad as I'd imagined prison would be, but the silence is what kills me. Being left alone with nothing to do but think all the time is driving me insane.

Okay so maybe I already am insane but what the fuck do I care? That's the whole point of being here. At least that's what I keep telling myself. Then I get lost in thought, and I can think of only one thing, and that's why I'm here. Not because I think coming here was the right thing to do, but she thought it was right.

She's the reason I hate thinking, because it always leads to her. I fucking hate her for it. Or maybe I'm just trying to fool myself into thinking I hate her so things will be easier. Not to say I'm not sorry for the things I did because I am sorry for most of them though I don't think I'll ever admit that to anyone. It's hard enough just letting myself think it.

I don't feel bad that I killed that man at all. It goes along with the job. Save a few thousand people and your allowed to screw up along the way, so whats the big deal? They all act like I did it on purpose. No, it wasn't my choice to stake him, but it happened so why couldn't they just move on like me?

Instead they make me out to be the bad guy. I'm sorry I ever came to this damn town and fucked up all their happy little lives. I know I shouldn't have tried to blame B for it or choked Xander and all the other shit that I pulled but I couldn't take them all looking down on me like I was shit. Looking at me the same way my parents did.

Thinking back on it now, I realize all they wanted to do was help me but I got scared. Why couldn't they just give me time to deal my own way? They just had to go and force themselves into the situation acting like they know how it feels. Like everything was going be fucking peachy. Well none of them have a damn clue about how it feels to kill someone. Sure they wanted to help, but they looked at me like I was such a fuck up.

Then that night on the docks when Buffy hit me I snapped. I know it was my fault because I couldn't keep my damn mouth shut about soul boy but I was hurt. Just a few days ago things were perfect. Me and B, the chosen two kicking ass like we were supposed to. I had everything I'd ever wanted and when I killed him it was snatched away from me. But the fucking idiot shouldn't have been roaming the alley's in the first place!

I could take anything, anything in this world, but the way B looked at me when she hit me. There was nothing but hatred and disgust in her eyes. I know she saved me from those boxes crashing down on me but it was too late. I wish it hadn't have been, that I hadn't been so fucked up. But if they wanted to look at me like I was shit, I figured I'd give them what they wanted so later that night I went and joined the mayor.

It would have been best for me to just run as fucking far from Sunnydale as possible but deep inside me I knew that I couldn't have lived without seeing B. You know how they say 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer'? Well I thought if I was her enemy I'd still get to be around her kicking ass like before. I suppose it was stupid of me to not realize it would lead to us kicking each others asses, or her stabbing me but I'm over that now. I would have layed down my life to protect her, yet it turns out I'm the one who hurt her the most. Some idiot I am huh?

So then I end up here, in a small attempt to make things right. I know being behind bars won't make her forgive me but maybe now she'll realize I'll do anything for her. My only regret is that I didn't realize that earlier. If I hadn't gotten so scared and just turned myself in to begin with I wouldn't have lost the greatest thing I ever had. Even if I don't regret killing him, I should have done this for her in the first place.

I want to put the blame on them, or at least part of it but it was never their fault. I didn't know how to deal and I fucked up. Yeah, I admit it. I fucked up and now I'm sitting here driving myself crazy because of it. I get out of here soon and I'll do whatever it takes to get her back, because if I don't... Well I don't think I'll survive. What's the point when you have nothing to live for?

It's kind of funny, how I can hate her so much even knowing that I can't survive without her. Maybe the only reason we got along was because of the slayer connection, but it's still the first time I've ever felt that alive. Being with her was amazing and I want that back somehow. As much as I hate her, since being here I've realized the real reason this all happened. I love her just as much as I hate her. And I'll be damned if I won't die trying to make things right. I want the hate and the hurt to go away, so the only thing that remains is my unconditional love for her.

PART 1

Six days and I'll be out of here. Six fucking days and I'll be able to see her again. Of course, as happy as I am about it, I'm scared as hell. I know I could have broken out of here long ago if I wanted, but then B would never forgive me. As much as I hate this place, and those girls trying to make me their 'bitch' and the beatings from the guards every time I loose my temper, I had to stick around for her.

"You've got a visitor," a guard calls out as she unlocks my cell. I feel a small smile forming on my lips knowing it's most likely Angel. He's offered to hook me up with a place to stay when I get out of here. He's going to flip when he finds out I'm going back to SunnyD to make things up to B. I still can't get over how much he's willing to help me though. I tried killing him a few times and taking his soul, yet he's still forgiven me. I know he only forgave because he knows how it feels to be in my situation, but it gives me hope that if he can, maybe B will be able to forgive too.

Before I leave I grab the journal he gave me so I can share some stuff with him. When he gave it to me I just laughed at him for thinking I'd actually write in the damn thing but it's turned out to be a big help. It's scary enough thinking some of the things I do, but reading my thoughts is worse. It's good for me though, to have a way to organize my thoughts and deal with my frustrations. Writing them out always seems to help.

I let the guard cuff me and I follow her to the visiting room. I'm a little suprised when she leads me to an empty room. Normally we don't get to be alone with our visitors. We just have to do the whole over the phone thing, but I suppose they figure since I'm getting out it'll be okay. She uncuffs me then leaves the room and I'm starting to wonder where the hell soul boy is.

Finally the door opens behind me and I turn around to see, no not soul boy, but Buffy. My smile quickly fades but I try not to take the defensive. I'm sure she didn't come to prison to kick my ass, and if I fight I'll get one hell of a beating not only from her, but from the guards. "Miss me?" I let a cocky smile spread across my lips and she just walks past me to sit down at the other end of the table.

"Angel told me your getting out in a few days." From the look in her eyes I can tell she's still really pissed at me. I want to make some smart ass comment but I know it's the wrong thing to do. I can't play with her like I used to. I shrug and she gets straight to the point. "Don't you even think about coming to finish what you started. If you show your face in Sunnydale again I'll finish what I started." She lowered her gaze to my stomach and I knew exactly what she was talking about.

I wince and turn my eyes away from hers knowing there's no way I could hide the hurt in them. "I really hope you don't mean that," I say softly, not trusting my own voice. "I'm going to come back, because I have to make things right with you somehow."

"It's too late for that Faith. I tried so many times to help you but you pushed me away every time. Do you know how bad that hurt me? To know one of my friends would push me away like that."

I realize talking with her now won't get us anywhere. We don't have nearly enough time, and I know her anger won't go away before she has to leave. "I thought you were Angel, since he's the only one who ever comes to visit me. Well Cordy came once insisting that I let her give me a haircut but that didn't really count." I stop and pick up my journal. She's looking at me puzzled, wondering where the hell I'm going with this. "There's some stuff in here I was going to share with him but I want you to have it. I really want to make things right with you. If you read this you might believe me. No more secrets B. Everything I am is in there. If you take it and read it and still want to kick my ass out of Sunnydale when I get out, feel free."

"Why should I believe anything in here is true?"

I'm trying my best not to loose my temper with her, but I really want to yell at her. I know redemption isn't easy but I was supposed to have time to prepare for seeing her again. Now I've gotta shoot from the hip. "I didn't know you'd be coming here B. It's not like I thought 'Oh, well she's coming so let me make up a lot of bullshit and hope she buys it'. If you read that, you'll know everything. You'll know why I did the things I did, you'll know how I was before I came here, and you'll know how sorry I am." I stop and bow my head. "And you'll know how I really feel about you."

I'm not looking at her, but I know she's wondering what the hell that's supposed to mean. "How do you feel about me Faith?" Her voice is finally soft, and for the first time she's let her wall down in the few minutes she's been her. I lift my gaze so our eyes lock and the anger isn't in there right now. For the first time in a long time she's not looking at me like I'm shit so I take a deep breath trying to get the nerve to tell her.

"B..." She gives me a small smile to encourage me to go on and my heart starts being a million times faster. "I don't know how to say it," I whisper.

"I thought you just said no more secrets Faith." She sounds a little annoyed and I can tell she's putting her walls back up so I quickly get the nerve to do what I've only dreamed about. I stand up and walk to her and kneel down beside her. I brush a stray lock of hair behind her ear and caress her cheek with my hand. "Faith?" she questions what I'm doing almost breathlessly.

I smile at her, and as my mouth opens to speak the words I've been longing to say to her the door to the room opens again and I scurry away from her. I want to pounce on the guard and beat the shit out of her for interrupting my moment, and as I look at B she's obviously thinking the same thing. The lady walks over and cuffs me again announcing that visiting hours are over. I'm sure B knows what I was going to say to her anyways. We've always been able to read each other like a book, maybe because of the slayer connection. I tried my best to hide from her before but it obviously did no good so this time I'll let her read as much as she wants.

As I turn around to walk out I feel her hand on my shoulder stopping me. I turn around slowly expecting her to hit me, but instead she pulls me into a soft hug. "Your still not forgiven you know," she whispers. I wish I could have hugged her back, but since my hands were cuffed there wasn't much I could do.

I give her a small smile when she lets go of me and walks out. All the hell I just went through in prison, that one hug from her made it all worth while. I know she's still pissed at me, but that hug was a promise. A promise that I'll have my second chance.

PART 2

I lay in my bed now, finding sleep impossible, not that it's anything new. I've never had an easy time sleeping in this place and not just because of all the noise the other inmates make. I do think they really like to piss me off, but I can't say I haven't enjoyed pissing them off at times. But after my last fight I learned to keep to myself. It's hell knowing that I could take every single person in this place, but I have to let them beat on me if I want to get out of here.

Normally when I try to sleep I just have nightmares about the things I've done. Mostly the things I did to B. I suppose I deserve the nightmares, and the pain that comes from them but it would be nice to just get one night of peaceful sleep. The reason I can't sleep tonight is still her, as it always has been, but not because of my nightmares. But B has my journal and now she'll read all about how fucked up I am. What was I thinking when I gave that to her?

I just wanted her to know how much I love her. She'll know I'm sorry for what I did, but what's she going to think when she reads I did everything out of love? I'm sure she'll just be extatic to know I tried to kill her boyfriend and torture her friends because I loved her. Some great way of showing your love huh? But how could she not get it in the first place?

I know I need to get these thoughts out of my head. I just gotta remember the hug. Great, now I've got that goofy smile on my face again all because B hugged me. Some bad ass I am. Turn into a giggling five year old all because of some stupid hug.

Maybe if I just close my eyes for long enough I'll fall asleep. I've only got a few days left in here and then the real test begins. Yes, sleep is good.

*****

"Faith?"

All the sudden my eyes shoot open but something's different. "B...?" I look around me but I'm not in prison anymore. Oh, I get it, slayer dreams. Duh. Finally I see her and she's sitting on this couch in what I'm guessing to be her hotel room. "You know we haven't shared a dream in a long time B. Another end of the world crisis?" I ask with a smile. I know this is one of our slayer dreams because it's too real to be another of my nightmares. Being a slayer definitely has it's perks.

"No, not this time Faith. I'm not exactly sure why we're here. I guess we were both thinking about each other before we fell asleep." She starts walking towards me and my body tenses. She doesn't look angry but I've learned to always expect the worst. Then you'll never be dissapointed.

"I see you've been doing some reading," I say to her as I point to my open journal on the table. "Now you know how fucked up I am, if you didn't figure it out before." I spot the radio thats on a small table beside her bed and I walk over to it and flick it on. "I've been dying to hear some damn music you know? I hate how it's so quiet in there sometimes."

I'm not looking at her but I know she's walking up behind me and I just start singing. "Loaded, I've loaded up this gun. There's a killer in me."

"Hoping, hope that your the one. But you always run away when I come around." She finishes the singing the song and puts her hand softly on my back. I shut up wondering what the hell this dream is supposed to mean. "I'll be here when you get out Faith. Come home to Sunnydale with me?"

"Why? We hate each other B. Haven't I caused you enough pain already?" Her small arms wrap around my waist as if in answer to my question.

"Didn't you say you meant everything in that journal?"

"Yeah, I did." I want to turn around and return her embrace but I'm too scared. Maybe this isn't a slayer dream after all. There's no way B would want me to come with her.

"Then don't you love me? If you want to make it up to me, come home with me and make things right. You don't hate me Faith, and I don't hate you. As much as I wish I could at times, I've never been able to. You got lost somewhere along the way, we both did and you know as well as I do we need each other."

"I don't want to hurt you anymore B. I never wanted to. I'm sorry." She walks in front of me and I notice the unshed tears in her eyes. I laugh quietly at the thought of her crying over me, the one person who's caused her more pain than anyone else. She lifts her hand and wipes away the few stray tears that I've let slip past my eyes and for the first time I let myself embrace her. "I know you haven't forgiven me yet but I want to make it up to you. I'll do anything you want, and I..." I stop and take a deep breath. She's looking in my eyes now, and hers are almost pleading me to say it. The words I've never spoken to anyone in my life. "I love you."

"I love you too Faith. That's why I came to see you earlier and why I couldn't keep up that pissy attitude when you came close to me. I never realized it, until that moment in prison when you were so close to me. Then it all made sense. There's still a lot that we'll have to work out when you get out and I want to discuss some of the things in this journal. But I'll be waiting for you. I always have been."

"No more hate and fighting?" I question. I know it's silly to ask her since I've been the one to start the fighting most of the times but I just need to be sure that she really wants to go through this. We've hurt each other so much I'm not sure how to make all of it go away but maybe this love stuff will work.

The things in the room around us start to fade and I know it means one of us is waking up. I swear if it's me I'm going to beat the shit out of myself for ruining my moment with B. "No more hate Faith," she whispers as she gives me a soft kiss on the cheek. "See you in a few days," she says as everything fades away.

*****

My eyes open slowly and I look around to find I'm back in my cell. I want to curse at myself like I usually do for ruining things but something stops me. I stand to look out at the night sky through the small window in my cell. The sun is just begining to rise and I feel like with the new day I'm being given a chance to start my life again. To start the right way with B at my side.

I can still feel her in my embrace, and her soft lips on my cheek. Even though I'll always have to live with the regret of the things I've done, it's nice to know that at least I can make some things right and that B's willing to help me. What I've done to deserve any of it, I'm still not sure of but one thing I have learned in my life is to never question fate. And that's exactly what brought B and I together. We were made for each other and it's not too late for me to show her just how much I love her.

PART 3

In just a few hours I'll be out of this hell hole. I haven't seen Angel in a long time and I'm starting to wonder what will happen when I get out. He was supposed to come by to talk to me about living arrangements, but ever since that dream I had with B I'm not sure what the hell is going on. I haven't seen her either, so I'm starting to think that maybe that wasn't really a slayer dream. I should have known better in the first place. After all, why would she want me to go back with her?

Of course, it may have been a slayer dream. She knows I love her now and she could be using that to get back at me. Give me the false hope of a second chance and then snatch it away from me just like I tried to take the things that meant the most to her away. But is B really the type to do that sort of thing? I know she has every right to hate me after what I did to her, but she'd be sinking to my level to do something like that and she's nothing like me.

No, she's everything I'm not. Everything I wish I could be and the only thing I've ever really wanted in life. She's the reason I can't give up, no matter what. Even if the dream wasn't real, if she does still hate me I'll spend the rest of my life fighting for her. I have to have some reason to live after all, and saving the world that fucked me is hardly it.

The last few days have been pure hell on me. I thought I'd be glad to get out of here, but in truth I'm scared as hell. It's so much easier sitting here and being sorry, than actually having to face the people who's lives I tried to hurt. The only thing that's keeping me even half together is that in my dream B said she loved me. Maybe it was a lie, and I suppose I'll soon find out if it was or not but it sure was nice. I wish I could sleep, or maybe even write but there's nothing for me to do other than stare at the wall for the next few hours and hope beyond all hope that B's around still when I get out.

*****

The sound of keys clanging breaks me from my trance and I finally manage to break my gaze from the wall that I've been staring at. The guard stops at my cell and starts unlocking it, a look of disgust on her face that I can't help but smile at. I give her a cocky smile and a look that lets her know I hate her just as much as she hates me.

I expect her to cuff me like she always does but as soon as my cell is unlocked she starts walking away so I grab the few things I have and follow her. All the other inmates are looking at me too, and as I walk out I can feel the heat of their stares on my back. I pause and then turn around to blow them a kiss and give them the same look of hate that I gave the guard just a few moments ago. A few of them shout obscenities at me and I just walk off, finally on my way to freedom and more importantly, on my way to B.

I'm stopped to fill out some paper work, and it seems like I can't sign my name fast enough. I just want to get the hell out of here. Even though it only takes a few minutes to fill the papers out it seems like a lifetime. "I don't want to see you back in here again," the man behind the desk tell me. Maybe he thinks his words are what's going to keep my in line when I get out. I just give him a half smile and turn around and stare at the door. This is it.

Here and now, my second chance begins. My chance to live life like I should have in the first place. I feel the smile spread across my lips as I step outside. Soon I make my way out of the gates to the parking lot and look around as if I've never been outdoors before, taking everything around me in. Then finally it all sinks in. Where do I go from here?

I start walking towards the street with no destination in mind just yet but then a voice stops me dead in my tracks. "Trying to run away from me already?" I can't help but laugh, and it seems that it's the only thing I can do since my body seems to be glued in place. I guess she wasn't lying in the dream.

"B, you know your nuts right?" I say as I turn around to face her. It's a good thing I spoke before I looked at her, because I'm sure that I wouldn't have been able to speak after looking at her. Just when you think a person can't be any more beautiful than they already are, they gotta go and prove you wrong.

"I know you probably want some exercise after being stuck in that small cell, but I'd rather have you drive back to Sunnydale with me than have you walk." She gives me that little laugh and smile of hers and before I know what I'm doing I have her pulled into my arms.

"That dream was real wasn't it?" I ask as I bury my face in her hair trying to hide the tears that are threatening to spill from my eyes. "Can you really give me another chance B? I'm so sorry for all I did but if you can't forgive me I understand."

"I forgive you Faith. When I came here to see you, I had no intentions of ever saying this, but I forgive you. I won't forget any of it, but I can forgive." She pulled herself out of my arms and look at me. She brought her hand up to wipe away the few stray tears that slipped from my eyes and smiles softly at me, assuring me that what she says is true. "You have to promise me one thing though."

"Anything B." Hesitantly I take her hand in my own, and watch her eyes to guage her reaction. She gives my hand a soft squeeze as our fingers entwine to let me know it's okay.

"Promise me you'll never leave me alone again."

I look a little confused for a moment at that. It's not like B's ever been alone with the scoobs and her family around. But then I remember the dream, and her saying she loved me too and the realization sets in. "I promise B. I'll always be with you." She's searching my eyes and I smile at her to let her know I won't hide anything though there's something I'm dying to say and I assume she can tell.

"You can say it you know." Yup, she knows.

I nod slowly and look her in the eyes. I reach my hand up and brush a few strands of her hair behind her ear and let my palm gently rest on her cheek. "I love you B." Before I have a chance to be afraid of what I just said I feel her arms around my neck, slowly pulling me towards her. Just as my eyes close I feel her lips softly brush against mine and I start to wonder if this is another dream of mine. The kiss slowly deepens and I realize something.

I've never felt like I belong anywhere before. I've never been loved, or needed but now I finally realize that I belong with her. We were brought together by our bond as slayers. A bond that no one will ever be able to touch, and somehow through all the hurt we've come to love each other.

She wraps her arms around my waist and ends the kiss much too soon. "I love you Faith." I feel her lips press softly against my neck and she takes hold of my hand and starts leading me towards her car. "Lets go home," she says softly. I still don't know where I'm going to stay, or what will happen once I get back in good 'ol Sunnydale but one thing is for sure. B is my home; my safe place and where she goes, I'll gladly follow.

PART 4

The drive back to Sunnydale was rather uneventful. Neither of us talked, but it was a comfortable silence between us. About halfway through the trip B took my hand into her own and gave me this smile that made me loathe myself. All the sudden it sank in that I caused her years of hurt, and here she is saying she loves me. I took my free hand and delicately began to trace patterns on the top of her hand that was holding mine. I can feel the tears forming in my eyes and I know that there’s nothing I could ever do to make this up to her, or anyway that I could ever forgive myself.

I look at B and the tears are falling freely down my face, and she still doesn’t say anything. She only squeezes my hand softly knowing that nothing she says right now could make me feel any better. I’m craving more contact with her and if she weren’t driving right now I’d pull her into my arms and never let her go. It’s almost a scary feeling I have, like I just want to melt into her, to completely become connected to her beyond just the slayer part. I’ve always needed B, but only now will I let myself admit that. I used to think that needing someone made me weak, almost like being second best. I know B doesn’t think I’m weak though, or second best to her. She’s always seen us as equals, and I was just too far gone to believe her.

It’s almost funny to think that prison is what made me sane, if you can call it sanity that I have. I guess we’ll find out if I can really be good and stop hurting people that I care about. Finally my tears stop and I raise her hand and kiss it softly and she smiles at me again. “I love you Buffy. I know I screw things up a lot, but if you help me I can be good for you.” I feel incredibly lame, asking for help but I know I can’t do this without her help. She is the only reason I still live, and there’s no point in denying that I need her any longer. No more games, no more walls between us from now on.

She pulls off the highway and we pass a big sign that’s off to the side of the road. In big letters, instead of saying ‘Welcome To Sunnydale’ some kid must’ve stuck a piece of cardboard that he wrote on in front of the ‘dale’ part so it now reads ‘Welcome To Sunnyhell’. If only the people that lived here knew how true that was. I take a deep breath as we drive further into town, knowing now my chance to prove I’m different really starts. Here is my second chance on a silver platter and I’ve never been so scared in my life.

When B stopped outside of her house I was most surprised. I knew she said we were going home, but I thought she just meant Sunnydale. I had no idea she meant her home. “B, I don’t think your family’s going to be particularly happy with me coming here.” I say, suddenly regretting the things I did to them in the past.

“Well Dawn’s always liked you so I don’t think she’ll mind that much if you stay here. There’s no way I want you going back to that cheap motel. And I’m sure there’s the apartment from the mayor but I kind of wanted you to stay with me.” When she shuts the ignition off the silence consumes us, neither knowing where exactly to go from here. As odd as it might seem, us making up was the easy part.

“What about Miss S? She won’t want me in her house after what I did to her.” She looks at me confused, and I see the hurt in her eyes at the mention of her mother’s name. I know the hurt in those beautiful eyes can mean only one thing. “No, that can’t be,” I whisper more to myself than anyone else. Miss S was always cool to me, even after all I did. She was almost the mother I never had, but of course I had to screw that up along with everything else that I had going for me in this town.

“It wasn’t vampires or anything. There was this tumor and we couldn’t do anything. I thought Angel would have told you.” Buffy wrapped her arms around herself and I suddenly realized just how much I really do love her. I never wanted to let anything hurt her like that again. I wanted to say something reassuring, to take her into my arms and tell her how sorry I was, but it seemed as if my own body was numb. In fact, we both probably would have stayed there being the doom and gloom twins for the rest of the day had it not been for Dawn who chose then to come and greet us.

Now while Angel didn’t tell me about Miss S, he did tell me that Dawn isn’t really B’s sister. All my memories of her are just made up or some bullshit. She’s some key or something and B died to save her, but like last time she died, it didn’t last for long. That’s B for you, the unstoppable one. I never found out how she came back to life, but death isn’t the topic I wish to stay on at the moment so I’ll save it for later. Instead B and I hop out of the car and Dawn practically jumps on me and gives me the biggest hug I’ve ever gotten in my life. I guess no one bothered to tell her just how much of a psycho I was and the things I did to her mom.

“Miss me much D?” I ask as she pulls me into the house. She smiles when I call her D and I can’t help but remember the first time I called her that. She used to get so jealous of how I called B, well B. So I called her D once, just to try it out and she practically beamed. If I didn’t know better I’d say the kid had a crush on me.

“Are you going to stay with us?” Dawn looked from me to B; and I just shrugged. I really had no clue what was going on, or where I go from here. I guess B and I are together now, so SunnyD is my home again but I still feel like I don’t fit in around here.

“I was hoping you would stay with us Faith. I’d really like it if you did.” B says in that soft shy voice of hers and there’s no way I could ever refuse her.

“Yeah, I mean, if you’re sure you want me here. I’d be glad to stay. On one condition that is,” a smile forms across my lips as I see the nervous looks they give me. It’s nice to know I can still make them sweat a bit. “As soon as that sun’s finished setting we go kick some ass. I’ve been aching for a good slay.”

B laughs and nods, and I can tell she’s semi relieved that it wasn’t something else. Dawn just looks at me like I’m crazy for actually enjoying slaying. But that’s what I was born for. I was born a killer and it would do me no good to hate what I do. Just then my stomach speaks up letting out a loud growl and I almost find myself blushing as the two sisters stare at me. “What? It’s not like they feed us well in prison.”

“Well since this is your home now, feel free to help yourself to anything you want.”

Did she just say home? Damn, I have a home. If I were the sentimental type, which I’m not, I would have pulled the two of them into a hug and thanked them for helping me get my life back in order. Instead I just smile at them and go to raid the kitchen. There isn’t much in there, and I know I’ll be hungry as hell after slaying so I settle for a bowl of Dawn’s cereal and when I go back into the living room I notice the two of them took off to do their own thing. I collapse onto the couch, where I assume I’ll be sleeping from now on and turn on some cartoons.

“Glad to see you’ve made yourself at home,” B’s standing behind the couch and I wonder how long she’s been watching me.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t…” I start but a pair of soft fingers on my lips silences me.

“No apologies Faith. Like I said, this is your home. I like it like this. It’s kind of like I’m seeing the real Faith for the first time. And I’m falling more in love with you than I ever thought possible.” Before I could say anything in response B’s fingers were soon replaced with her soft lips gently pressed against mine. I wrap my arms around her waist to deepen the kiss with her but before we can go on any longer I here Dawn clearing her throat and I quickly pull away from B.

“I…I…” Oh God, I’ve turned into an idiot. Can’t think. Are my cheeks burning? They are. I’m blushing. What the hell is this? I look up to find the two of them laughing at my embarrassment.

“You what Faith?” Dawn’s got an evil glint in her eyes and I know she’s just waiting to tease the hell out of me. Good thing I’m just one step ahead of her. And thanks to my great slayer speed, before she even knows what’s happening I’ve got her pinned to the ground and I’m tickling her. I don’t really know why I’m doing it, because I’ve never been one to play around like this before but it just seems like the thing to do. The only kind of playing I did was with guys, and I’d rather not revisit those days.

“Buffy, help!” Dawn actually yelps as I continue to tickle her. I move so I’m straddling her hips making sure that there’s no chance of her escaping. After a few more seconds of the tickle torture I stop to look up at B who’s laughing so hard she’s crying, and then look at Dawn whose face is a deep shade of red. It’s not even been a full day since I’ve been out of prison and I’ve already got a home, a girlfriend, and Dawn who is like my own kid sister. I pull myself off Dawn and go to sit back on the couch.

“Faith?” I know they’re both looking at me but I can’t face them now. I can’t do this. I’m Faith, the fuck up. I don’t deserve this because I know I’ll only let them down in the end.

“You ready to go kick some vamp ass?” I ask before I turn around. B knows better than to ask questions in front of Dawn, but she knows something’s wrong too. Guess I’ll have to talk about it while we’re out. After all, I did promise no secrets this time.

“Faith?” I finally look at Dawn and can tell she’s worried about me. She’s a cool kid, and if I stick around this place, which I’m sure B will make me, taking care of her becomes my first priority.

“I’m five by five D,” I smile at her reassuringly as I walk to the door. B goes into mother mode and tells Dawn she better not go anywhere while we’re gone and that she shouldn’t stay up too late. Dawn’s just rolling her eyes at B and eventually I grab her arm and pull her out the door. “We’ll be back later,” I call out as I shut the door behind me. B shoots me a look that tells me she’s not exactly thrilled that I didn’t let her finish being motherly, so I mimic D and roll my eyes at her.

She swats at my arm playfully and as I smile at her I see the serious look spread across her features. Cautiously, she reaches out and takes my hand in hers and as our fingers entwine I realize how scared I really am. “I don’t deserve any of this B. You shouldn’t love me after what I did. You shouldn’t give me a home or trust me with your little sister. I’ll fuck everything up like I always do,” I say to her before she even gets to ask her question.

“You know I’m going to disagree with you, don’t you? Yes, you’ve done a lot of things that weren’t the greatest, but I’ve messed up too. My mom has, Giles has. I know you’re not a bad person Faith and I love you. Dawn adores you and thinks you’re the coolest person to ever walk the earth practically. I read your journal, and in it you said you’d rather die than ever hurt me again.”

“I would B. That’s why you have to let me leave, before I hurt you. I couldn’t live with myself if I ever did that again. How can you just forgive me so easily when I can’t even forgive myself?”

“The only way you’ll hurt me is if you leave me alone again Faith. It would kill me, and Dawn. Don’t do that to us,” her voice cracks and it almost sounds like she’s pleading with me. There’s a look of such desperation in her eyes that it breaks my heart, but knowing she’s that serious about me being with her finally makes me realize she loves me as much as I love her. I can’t let my fears of hurting her control me because then I’ll never be able to be truly happy. Not that I think I deserve any sort of happiness, but B wants me happy.

Knowing that any words I say wouldn’t be enough to show her just how much I love her I pull her into my arms and hold her to me tightly. I lift her chin with two fingers and kiss her as tenderly as possible. I feel as if I could drown in her touch, and loose myself in her when we kiss. It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever felt. Believe me, I’ve felt a lot of things but none of them compare to this love stuff.

“Come on, it’s been a long day. Lets go kick some ass so I can get you in bed.”

I raise an eyebrow at that statement and I get one of those goofy grins that only B is capable of giving me. “You want me that bad huh?” Now it’s her turn to roll her eyes as she drags me along behind her.

“I just want to cuddle with you,” she says in a voice so innocent I hardly recognize it as hers. I’m not exactly sure what this cuddling stuff is, considering I’ve never done it before but as long as it involves B I’m sure it’s good. She kisses me again and for a moment I forget we’re even standing in the middle of a graveyard. Funny how she can make even this place seem romantic. At least until you see a slimy demon about to hit your girlfriend in the head with some rather large blunt object.

I push her out of the way just in time to be on the receiving end of the wooden hammer that was just about to hit B. “Oh fuck,” is all I can say as darkness engulfs me. Next time I’ll know better than to let my guard down in a graveyard. I just hope B can kick this things ass.

PART 5

When I came back to consciousness, before I even managed to open my eyes I realized I was in the place I hated most in all the world. Sunnydale hospital, where I spent eight months as a vegetable thanks to B. Not that I can blame her for putting me here in the first place. I was wicked psycho back then and tried to kill Angel. Knowing that she chose him over me still makes me sick, even if I am with her now. But then I have to realize that it’s not like I ever really told her how I felt. At least not in a way she would understand. She was too naïve to get the meaning behind all those sexual innuendos of mine.

Before my thoughts get the best of me I hear arguing coming from outside of my room and I force my eyes open. It’s bright as hell in my room, but I figure my eyes just need some time to adjust. “B?” I whisper, hoping she’s in the room with me. I feel two soft hands cover one of my own, but know they’re too big to be B’s.

“She’s out in the hall with Willow,” the person, who’s voice I recognize as Dawn’s tells me. I blink my eyes rapidly a few times trying to get them to focus, and finally I see her smiling down at me.

“How long was I out of it this time?” In response she just laughs at me, which I’m hoping is a good sign.

“It was only for a few hours Faith, but you had us worried. Especially me.” My sight is getting clearer thanks to my slayer healing I assume and I notice her eyes are red from crying.

“You know me, I’m five by five. You don’t think I’d be leaving my new family already do you? I gotta keep kickin’ so I can take care of you and B.” I was almost stunned that I called them my family, and from the look on Dawn’s face she was too. I never had a family before, or at least not one that cared about me. It’s weird to think I’ve finally gotten one so late into my life, but the word flowed so easily from my mouth. “B’s okay right?” I ask suddenly remembering the demon that put me here in the first place.

“Yeah, she’s okay. She was in here but,” Dawn trailed off, and she looked almost afraid to continue. I guess I can’t expect them to always remember I’m not the same monster I was before, and that I couldn’t ever be mad at her. I have a pounding headache and talking only makes it worse so I only squeeze her hand in reassurance. “I know everyone around here kind of holds a grudge against you other than Buffy and me, and that you probably don’t want to deal with them yet since you’ve only been back for a day but I told Willow you were here. Buffy called me and told me what happened and I was so scared. I just wanted to come here and make sure you were okay and that I didn’t loose another person I care about like I did mother so I called Willow and asked her to bring me here. They’re kind of out there fighting about things now.”

“Red’s not too happy that I’m back huh?” I ask with a chuckle as Dawn shakes her head. If I weren’t stuck here, I would have loved to see the look on Red’s face when Dawn told her I was back. Of course I am back to make amends, but some things will never change. Like the thrill I get from spooking out the scoobs. “You think you could tell B I’m ready to get the hell out of here?”

A few seconds after she leaves my room then B comes in with a very skeptical red head behind her. If Dawn weren’t in the room I would have said something just to piss Red off. I know B would forgive me, but I don’t want the kid to see how fucked up I can be. Of course, if I can’t be nasty I can always get to her in other ways. B notices the smile spread across my face and her eyes narrow as she walks closer to me. She knows I’m up to something, and she’ll probably kick my ass for this when I’m better but it’ll be worth it. As soon as she’s close enough I pull her down into a deep kiss.

She doesn’t respond at first, probably because Red’s in the room but eventually she relents and kisses me back. I can hear Dawn giggling in the background and B quickly pulls herself away from me, her face fully flushed. Red looks like a deer caught in headlights so I start giggling along with Dawn. Yes, I was actually giggling. It is the new me after all, and when I’m around Dawn I seem to devolve a few years and my brain functions as if I were Dawn's age. B glares at us, letting us know we’re both in trouble when we get home which just leads us to laughing harder, of course until the throbbing in my head resumed.

“Oh Goddess, I gotta,” and Red was out the door before she could even finish her sentence.

“I can’t believe you two,” Buffy said almost angrily. “Willow’s my best friend and you can’t just go scaring her off like that.” I feel almost ashamed for what I did, but seeing the look on Red’s face was still worth it to me.

“It’s not her fault Buffy. We were talking before I got you and I dared her to do it.” I spin my head so fast to look at Dawn I think I could’ve given myself whiplash. Dawn was actually trying to take the wrap for me? Out of everything that’s ever happened in my life, nothing has ever compared to the amount of happiness that gave me, not even B saying she loved me. B is everything to me, but no one’s ever been willing to take the blame for me before. She even looked so proud about it, I just sat there stunned, unable to tell B she was lying.

“I’m going to go fill out the paper work so we can get out of here. You two be good, or else I’ll send you to your rooms when we get home,” B says in that motherly voice of hers that leaves me and Dawn no choice but to mumble ‘yes mommy dearest.’

When B’s gone I have Dawn help me change back into my street clothes and somehow I decide I should talk to her about the things I did before. “Hey D, you know you’re like a kid sister to me right?” I ask and she looks at me and nods. “Do you know about the things I did before I went to prison, and why everyone around here hates me?”

“Kind of,” she answers honestly. “I know of what you did, but not in detail or anything. Everyone figured I was too young I guess, but I know it was pretty bad stuff if they wouldn’t tell me about it.” She hands me my shoes without even looking at me. I can tell that even though she didn’t know everything, the memories of what happened still hurt her. It was hard for me to talk about this stuff again, and while a part of me thought I should be discussing this stuff with B first, it seemed so much easier with Dawn.

“I hurt your mom D. Willow, Xander, Wesley, everyone I touched I hurt. I was in love with B and I tried to kill Angel and I was so hurt and messed up. I wanted B but I couldn’t have her, and so in my fucked up head I somehow reasoned with myself that if I couldn’t be happy, B didn’t deserve happiness either. I… I’m not like that anymore Dawn.” She looks up at me when I use her full name, knowing like B does that I only use full names when I’m dead serious. “I love you and B, and I’d die to protect the two of you. I’ve never had much in my life. I was the type to scrounge up just enough to get by, but it never bothered me until now. Now that I have you two, I’ve got the one thing I’ve always wanted most. I have a family and I swear I’ll take care of the two of you.” I look in her eyes and find so many questions that she can’t even find the words to ask. I think I covered the ‘why’ in there somewhere, at least the one about why I did all that horrible stuff. But there’s one question she’s dying to ask, and I know what it is so I answer before she gets the chance to ask.

“I just wanted to tell you all that, because I know you really look up to me, and I don’t want you to ever think I’m someone I’m not or that I’m better than I really am. When I was a kid, I never had family. I had a drunk mom and an abusive dad, but that’s not family. Me, you and B, that’s family. Since I was pretty much treated like shit as a kid, I didn’t know how to handle people when I got older. I still don’t really, which you saw by me kissing B in front of Red just because I thought it’d be fun to piss Red off. I won’t be perfect, but I promise I’ll take care of you and B if you can forgive me for the things I’ve done.” My eyes sting from the tears that I refuse to let fall. The memories of the things I did are so vivid even now that it’s painful to think about it, even though I’m glad for it. I know I deserve to be pained by them for the rest of my life, however long that may be. I suppose it’s funny knowing that I can open up to Dawn better than B, but I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that she’s just a kid.

I start to wonder where B is and when I look over at the door I notice she’s just standing there with tears streaming down her cheeks. A large lump forms in my throat knowing that B probably just heard everything I said. I know she’s already read all this stuff in my journal, but something about her actually hearing me say it makes it difficult, even though I’m not about to let on to that. Nope, instead I smile weakly and let out a small laugh. “Guess that saves me from having to go all emotional again huh?” B nods at me, knowing better than to say anything about it. It’s one of the things I love most about her. She might not understand everything about me, but she knows when to drop stuff and finally learned not to push me.

“Come on, let’s get you two hell raisers home.” B says as she wraps an arm around my waist lending me support as we walk out of the room. My head is still pounding, but I know thanks to my special healing abilities I'll be five by five in the morning which is always nice. Besides, the headache I have now isn't even half as bad as the ones I've gotten from some hangovers. You'd figure as a slayer we wouldn't have to deal with shit like that but we do and it sucks. Of course now that I have my new family I won't be doing any more drinking. There's no way I'd want to put them through what my mother put me through.

*****

"Geez B, you got us back to your house quick," I mumble as she wakes me up in the car. I suppose I dozed off sometime during the trip back.

"Our house you mean," she says with a smile.

When we get inside I make my way over to the couch and lay down, already falling asleep. Taking hits in the head like I did isn't easy, even if you are a slayer. Dawn comes in and tells me goodnight and gives me a brief hug before dissapearing up the stairs.

"You ready to go up to bed?" B asks me softly as she sits on the arm of the sofa. I guess she noticed my look of confusion because she just shook her head at me again. "You didn't really think I was going to make you sleep on the couch did you?" Too tired to speak, the blank look I give her says it all. "Well you're sleeping in my room with me. That is if you wanted," she blushes a little and I sit up to kiss her softly.

"I'd like that B. Just lead the way," I say standing up. The walk up the stairs seems to drain all my energy but when we get in her room I manage to rid myself of my clothes. When B notices her face turns redder than Red's hair and I can't help but laugh, that is until I notice I'm actually blushing again. "Sorry B, I guess I'm not used to sleeping with other people." Yeah, that sounded smooth. Some doof I am huh?

"It's okay," she whispers as she blushes even more. I'm too out of it to really care, because if there's anything that Sunnydale hospital can do, is drug people up. She changes into some cute pj's and crawls into her bed, motioning for me to lay down. "Come on, I still wanna cuddle with you."

"Your going to show me how to do this cuddling stuff right? Because I've never done it before," I say as I crawl in next to her under the blankets. As soon as I'm laying down she pulls me into her arms and kisses my forehead. "Is this cuddling?" I ask meekly, almost embarassed that I've never had anyone hold me before.

"Yeah. It's nice huh?" I kiss her neck in response and drape one of my arms loosely around her stomach.

"I like listening to your heartbeat B," I whisper just seconds before I fall into the first contented sleep of my life.

PART 6

Man, I have really missed Sunday morning cartoons. Even better, there's an X-men marathon on this morning. When B woke up I had to explain why they're so great. I can't believe she didn't get it. At least she went to go make breakfast. I could definitely get used to this family stuff.

"Aren't you a little bit too old to be watching cartoons?"

Guess I'll have to explain the wonders of X-men to Dawn too. "Come on Dawnie, it's X-men," I say as I pat the spot on the couch next to me. She sits and I start explaining all the characters to her. I can't believe they've never watched this before.

B comes in laughing, and sits down on my lap. "Did you brush your teeth Dawn?" she asks interrupting me. "You'll be here all day if you let her go on. I only got out of it because I promised food." She kisses me before heading back into the kitchen and I stick my tongue out at her.

"So anyways, I learned all I need to know in life from cartoons." I smile proudly.

"Yeah, and it got you far too huh?" I'm not sure what she really meant by that. Whether she meant my new family and all I have now, or my time in jail. But being me, I took it to mean the later, and I guess she realized it. "I didn't mean it like that. I'm sorry Faith."

"It's fine," I say, and I can see in her eyes that she didn't really mean it. That's just how teenagers are. They speak without actually thinking first. Hell, I still do that most of the time.

I walk into the kitchen to find the most adorable thing I've ever seen. B's got some music on and she's singing into a big wooden spoon thats dripping pancake batter. I walk up behind her and start singing along as I wrap my arms around her waist.

"Commercial break or something?" she asks as she turns around to kiss me once more.

"Nah. I'm gonna go out for a walk or something. I need to clear my head." I sit up on the counter and she looks at me like Miss S used to so I quickly get down.

"What's wrong?" I don't know why, but for some reason what Dawn said to me really bothered me, and I just need to think. Guess I should tell her that, but for some reason I don't. Maybe it was to protect Dawn because I'm sure B wouldn't be happy with her saying that either.

"Nothing. I just wanna go for a walk okay?" She looks a little hurt and I feel bad in an instant. I'm still not used to that whole care and share thing. "I'll be back in a while. I love you," I say kissing her quickly.

"I love you too," she smiles at me as I walk out the door.

*****

Somehow I end up at the park. I almost wanted to hit the nearest store and buy some JD, but I know drinking won't do anything. For a few minutes my reasoning skills went back to the way they were before jail. Dawn looks at me like I'm shit, so I show her what shit I can be. But as I learned in jail, that kind of thinking doesn't get me anywhere. Besides, if anyone really loves me, it's Dawn and I know she didn't really mean it.

I'm not sure how long I've been out and I feel bad because I'm sure B's worried about me but I don't feel like going back yet. As I turn the corner into the park, who do I run into other than Red and Blondie. Some luck I have this morning. Guess there's no time like the present to try and make amends huh?

"Hey Red, Blondie," I say nodding to the two of them.

"Her name's Tara, and mine's Willow. Or are two syllable words too big for you?"

"That hurts," I say as I sit down on a bench next to them.

"Yeah well you deserve a lot more than just that." Okay, obviously this is going to be harder than I thought.

"Look Willow, I'm not here to make trouble. Buffy's the one who wanted me to come back. For what it's worth, I'm sorry for all the stuff I did."

"It certainly isn't worth much to me." She gets up and holds her hand out to Tara. You know, the girl is as sweet as can be when she's your friend, but she's one hell of a bitch when she doesn't like you.

"Personally, I don't give a rat's ass if you like me or not Willow. I just want us to play nice for B's sake."

"Y-yes you do," finally Tara speaks up. "I can tell you want us to be friends. It's in your eyes." And all this time I thought B was the only one who could do that whole knowing what I'm thinking by looking at my eyes thing. Guess maybe it's a witchy thing too or something.

"Your wrong Tara. Faith has no feelings," Willow takes her girlfriends hand and tries to get her to stand up but she doesn't.

"I know I didn't go through what everyone else did, but I forgive you." Tara smiled at me and Willow looked like she was about to explode. Somehow I manage not to laugh, knowing that wouldn't really help my cause any.

"Thanks Tara. I really do mean it Willow. I'm sorry. Just think about it at least okay? Now if you don't mind, I gotta make sure B didn't burn the house down. I hear she isn't much of a cook." I wink at the two of them and walk off.

Suddenly what Dawn said to me earlier doesn't seem bad. I think the only reason her remark bothered me was because it was true. But hey, maybe if I hadn't fucked up so bad I would never have what I do today. Point is, there's not point in dwelling on the past. I've got a future now and that's all I need to worry about.

On the way back to B's I pass some little flower shop and decide that a peace offering is in order. After all, I did skip out on mine and B's first breakfast together and I hear girls like flowers. I get a dozen red rozes for B, and notice they've got some orange roses too. I'm not really sure if they mean anything like red means love, but they're cool so I grab a half dozen of them for the kid. I guess I ought to get used to spoiling them now, because even if I end up broke I love seeing them smile.

When I get back home I realize the front door is locked and I'm still without a key. I've got my hands full, but somehow I manage to ring the doorbell and Dawn's quickly at the door smiling at me. "Miss me?"

"Are you still mad at me?" she asks and her smile fades. I walk in the house and just shake my head at her.

"Actually, I was hoping you'd forgive me for taking it the wrong way." I pull out her flowers from behind my back and I swear I've never seen her smile so big before. She practically jumps on me and gives me a big bear hug. "Where's B at?"

"She's in the kitchen cleaning up the breakfast you didn't eat," she pokes me in the ribs and I notice the evil gleam in her eye.

"I'm in trouble for leaving huh?"

"Yup," she smiles at me then takes off to her room. Let's just hope the flowers go over as smoothly with B as they did Dawn.

"Uhh... Honey I'm home," I say softly peaking my head into the kitchen.

"Hey," she says flatly before turning her attention back to the dishes.

"I brought you something," I walk up behind her and wrap my arms around her waist holding the roses in front of her. "I'm sorry for taking off this morning. I just needed to think about something."

"You really want to make it up to me?" She turns around in my arms and I notice she's got that same evil gleam in her eyes that Dawn did just a few moments before. They're definitely up to something.

"Yeah?" I half state, half ask unsure of what I'm about to get myself into.

"Well you can start by taking me and Dawn to the mall." She stops and gives me a quick kiss before she takes off to search the cabinets for a vase. "Then tonight you can tell my why you took off this morning and we can finally talk about all that stuff in your journal."

"Guess I don't have much say in the matter do I?" I ask meekly.

"Nope," she smiles at me again and Dawn chooses that moment to walk into the kitchen. "You ready yet?"

Dawn nods and I just sigh. It's going to be a long day. I can handle the whole dealing with the past thing tonight, but taking both the Summers girls to the mall is like murder. What can I say, I'm just not the shopping type.

PART 7

"Come on B, my arms are tired." Yes, I'm actually whining. Wouldn't you be after spending six hours in the mall with B and Dawn? And not only have I been drug around all day, I get to hold all the bags. Joy.

"Just because you're done shopping doesn't mean we are," Dawn smiles sweetly at me as she speaks. Now I know I really love them, because there's no way in hell I would do this for anyone else.

Next thing I know I'm being pulled into another store. This one's called American Eagle or something of the sort and there's nothing but preppy people in it. Obviously they have no manners because they're all staring at me like they've never seen a girl in leather pants before. Of course, in this backwards town it wouldn't surprise me if they hadn't.

"What do you think Dawn?" Buffy looks over at Dawn and holds up some light blue tank top with the numbers 27 on it. Sure it would bring out her eyes, and might actually look hot on her if it were tight enough, but I'm not about to say that.

"Hey, I'm just gonna go wait outside. If looks could kill, these people would have had me dead the second I walked in here." I go to kiss B, but then realize we're out in public so I settle for a goofy smile instead. I'm not one to care what people think about mine and B's relationship, but I don't think she's comfortable enough with it yet to be showing public displays of affection.

As I'm walking out of the store I've still got my head turned, refusing to break the eye contact between B and I. Just my luck, I bump into some blonde bimbo."Hey," I offer my hand to help her up and she gladly accepts it. "Sorry about that. Guess I should pay more attention huh?" She just kind of snorts at me before storming off.

"Anya wait!" I hear Xander yelling from the other end of the mall. I'm guessing that bimbo is his girl or something. He goes running by me and just as I start to think I got off the hook, he back tracks and stops right in front of me.

"You," he says harshly.

"No welcome home hugs?" I ask sarcastically.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Guess these people don't believe in phones. I figured B would have told the whole gang I was back by now.

"Shopping," I smile and hold up the bags. His eyes narrow to suggest that he wants more from me than that. "B came and got me cuz I got out of prison. We made up and stuff ya know? I'm not out to cause more damage if that's what you're thinking. And I'm sorry for before and all okay?"

"Promise?" He asks as his eyes glance over to where his girl just ran off.

"Sure," I respond trying not to laugh at the situation. He's so nervous he looks like a five year old that just got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

"Good enough for now. I gotta go," he stops and points at where the blonde he called Anya just ran off to. He quickly sprinted off calling out her name again. Finally I allow myself to laugh. Poor guy's never had any luck with women.

"What was that all about?" B asks me as her and Dawn step out of the store.

"Looks like the X-man's having some girl problems. As mean as it might sound I'm kinda glad. Kept him off my back for a while longer. Oh, I forgot to tell you. I ran into Red and Tara while I was out this morning. This town is really much too small."

"Yeah it is. So what happened with Willow and Tara?" We start walking again and she takes some of the bags from me. I might be strong, but I was struggling with those bags.

"Nothing much. Red still hates me but I apologized and Tara forgave me." I shrug and finally notice B is leading us out of the mall.

"What about Xander?" Dawn asks.

"I think he was too busy worring about his girl to care much. He made me promise I was sorry and ran off."

"That's good...I think," B shakes her head. "Come on, lets get home. We've got a lot of talking to do tonight."

"Sure thing B. Anything to get me out of this damn mall." They both stare at me and I have a feeling they're going to make me come back to this place one day. But like I said before, I ain't the shopping type.

*****

When we got home I was so glad to just sit down. Dawn and B immediatly start pulling all their crap out and they're making plans to share the clothes already. Sometimes I wonder if I was really meant to be a girl, because I really don't understand this stuff.

"What'd you get Faith?" Dawn finally looks up from the pile of clothes she's sitting under.

"What do you think?" Buffy askes her. "Leather pants and tight shirts of course," she answers for me while rolling her eyes.

"Got 'em just for you B. I know you think I'm sexy in them," I wink at her. "I'm going to take a shower while you two uhh... Do whatever it is you girls do." I shake my head as I'm getting up and B just pulls me back down for a kiss.

"I've wanted to do that all day," she whispers.

I smile at the two of them before heading up the stairs. When I reach the top I can hear them giggling about something so I sit down on the top step to listen to them. Gotta love slayer hearing. It's nothing other than just adorable and I almost wish I had a video camera.

Caring about someone other than myself is still really weird to me. I always loved B, but I've never really felt like I had to take care of her before. Now not only do I have to worry about her, I have to worry about Dawn too. It's awkward when you've always put yourself first, then suddenly one day you've got two people that mean more than life to you to take care of.

It's almost like I'm not me anymore. I'm definitely not the same girl I was before prison. It's a good thing, don't get me wrong but in a way I miss who I was. This is fun, but there's definitely something to be said for being as carefree as I used to be. I guess that's what growing up is though.

"Hey, I thought you were going to take a shower?" B questions and I'm brought out of my thoughts.

"I was, but I guess I kinda got lost in thought," I smile sheepishly at her.

"I get dibs on the shower then!" Dawn runs up the stairs and blows by me into the bathroom.

"Geez, I've never seen a kid so glad to shower before."

"Well the sooner she showers, the sooner she gets to put on her new pyjamas." Buffy says as she sits down beside me on the stairs.

"Is that one of those girl things I don't understand?"

"Could be," she laughs. "So, you up for that little chat now?" I nod at her and she takes my hand in hers and pulls me up. We walk into her, or our, or whose ever room it is now and I sprawl out on the bed as she shuts the door behind us.

"So what's the what B? I thought everything in there was kind of self explanatory."

"Most of it was, and there's only one thing I really care about." She sits down straddling my waist and suddenly I'm not so concerned with thoughts of my journal anymore.

"What do you care about then B?" I sit up and wrap my arms around her, holding her in place on my lap.

"For one, I care about you," she smiles and gives me a quick kiss. "I'm past all that happened between us. What I want to talk about is what happened before we ever knew each other."

I know exactly where this is going and I let my arms fall to my sides as I lay back down on the bed. "B, I can explain the things I did to you and the scoobs until I'm blue in the face, but please don't make me talk about my childhood."

"Your childhood is exactly why you did what you did Faith. That's why you love Dawn so much isn't it?" she asks softly as her palm caresses my cheek.

"Yeah. I just want to make sure she never has to deal with anything like I did. No kid deserves that." I look away from her so she doesn't notice the tears that are threatening my eyes.

"You know you didn't deserve any of that either right?" She makes me look at her and she wipes the tears from my eyes.

"I do now. I'm just glad I'm a slayer because if I weren't I probably would have died. Though death was more than welcome back then. After what happened, after the beatings and my step father raping me, I didn't think anyone could ever really love me. You proved me wrong B, and I couldn't even tell you how glad I am you did. I'm still kind of fucked from it. When I get hurt I still get the urge to go drink like my mom did. Hell, I thought about it this morning. I'm scared I'll screw up again B. How many chances can you keep giving me?"

"I can't tell you that you won't Faith. But you know I could screw up too. But if it happens, I know how much you love me. I also know you love Dawn. So if it happens, I'll give you another chance. Whether it takes three, four, or five chances, I'll never give up on you Faith. I promise. You have to promise me one thing though."

"Anything B." I whisper sincerely.

"If you ever feel yourself slipping, or if you're hurting you come talk to me about it. Even if it's just something small like what Dawn said to you this morning."

"She told you about that huh?" I sit back up and pull B back into my arms suddenly wanting her as close to me as possible.

"Yeah. After you left she was really scared that you were mad at her so she told me." B starts running her fingers through my hair and it feels so relaxing I can't help but yawn.

"I hope she knows I'd never be mad at her. And yeah, I promise B. I won't just walk off like I did this morning. It's still kind of hard on me though. I've never trusted anyone before you."

"I know," she whispers as she kisses my forehead. "It's something we'll work on together. You should probably get some sleep now though. You're going to have a big day tommorow."

I can't help but smile at that. "You're not making me go back to the mall are you?" I ask as my eyes narrow just before I start to tickle her.

"No, I'll only make you go once a month. Tommorow we're going to have a talk with the whole gang and get this all worked out. So rest up." She pulls herself out of my reach and starts changing into her new pyjamas. I take that as my cue to strip down, and crawl under the covers.

"Do we get to try that cuddling thing again? I kinda liked that," I pat the spot on the bed next to me and she eagerly crawls in and lays in my arms.

"Anything for you," she winks at me just before turning off her lamp that's beside the bed.

"You know I'm going to hold you to that right?" I bend my head forward and catch her mouth in a tender kiss.

"I look forward to it," she says as we break apart.

"Hey wait, aren't we like supposed to say goodnight to Dawn or something?" B starts laughing softly, so I'm taking that as a no. "Be nice." I poke her in the ribs just for good measure. "I'm new to this mommie stuff too."

"And you're doing a great job at it so far. Now go to sleep before I kick you out and make you sleep on the couch." She pokes me back to let me know she's just teasing. I don't say anything back and instead my fingers lazily trace patterns on her back. I watch her as she falls to sleep, and just when I think I've seen her at her best I realize how wrong I really am. I don't think she'll ever cease to amaze me.

PART 8

I never managed to fall asleep. Last night Buffy held me in her arms and tonight is the first time I've gotten to hold her in my arms. She really is beautiful when she's sleeping. I never thought there'd be a day when I wouldn't think of running from something like this, but running from Buffy is the last think on my mind now.

Unfortunately, what's on my mind isn't much better. For some reason I can't stop thinking about how Angel told me she died to save Dawn. I know she's back now and everything's five by five but what if she hadn't come back?

"You're not asleep?" I hear her soft voice ask as she shifts in my arms.

I fight the urge to tell her how scary the thought of living without her is to me, and opt for just holding her closer to me. "I was just thinking," I say honestly, not sure if I should tell her what about just yet.

"About what?" she asks as she props herself up on her elbow. When I look into her eyes I remember the promise that I made last night to share things that bothered me with her, no matter how small they might be.

"For one, just how beautiful you look when your sleeping," I pause to give her a quick kiss. I lay back down on the pillow and she's still watching me, waiting for me to finish. "I never found out how you came back to life after you saved Dawn. And about how miserable my life would be if I didn't have you with me now."

She lays her head back on my shoulder and I know the memory still hurts her. "When mom died Dawn stole one of Willow's spell books and did a spell to bring her back. I was really mad at her at first for doing something so stupid, but it turned out that it worked. We never got to see her again though, because Dawn ended the spell right before we got to see her."

She stopped talking and I could feel her warm tears as they slid off her cheeks onto my body. Not knowing what to say I gently ran my fingers through her hair urging her to continue. "Basically Will and Tara did a spell like that, except it was a more advanced version. I can't really explain it because I don't know much about their witchy stuff but they're the ones who brought me back."

"Geez B," I manage to whisper. It's the only thing I can choke out as I feel tears of my own falling down my cheeks. Before I got out of prison I never knew I was even capable of crying but it seems like I've been doing way too much of it lately. I hold onto her her for a few more minutes until I hear Dawn walking around out in the hall.

I slide two of my fingers under B's chin and tilt her head up towards mine. As gently as I can I kiss her eyelids before I untangle myself from our embrace. "How about I go make us some breakfast? You can take a shower and call the scoobs so we can go get my death over with."

"They aren't going to kill you Faith. Tara's already forgiven you, and Willow will lighten up eventually. Xander's...well Xander," Buffy smiled as she rolled her eyes. "And since when can you cook?"

"I'm not really sure," I say as I wink at her. "I figure if there's directions on a box I'll be five by five." I walk out of our room and head downstairs when I hear her yelling something about cereal from the bedroom. I see Dawn in the living room watching cartoons while she's eating a bowl of cereal.

"Aren't you supposed to be in school or something?"

"Faith, it's summer. Kids don't have school in the summertime."

"I knew that." She just looks at me and rolls her eyes much like her sister does. It's not my fault I dropped out and forgot that stuff. "Really, I was just uhh... testing you." She laughs at me before turning back to the tv and I notice she's watching X-men again. I have to say I like her taste in shows.

I walk into the kitchen looking for anything that I might possibly know how to cook for breakfast but much to my dismay I can't find anything. "Hey Dawn, do you know how to cook?" I ask as I head back into the living room. She just holds up her bowl of cereal as in response to my question and suddenly I realize why B was shouting something about cereal to me.

I find that there's only one bowl of Fruity Pebbles left and as much as I want them for myself, I'll be nice and let B have them. See, I can be romantic. So I pour B's bowl of cereal and set it on the table and I pour myself a bowl of Frosted Flakes and set it down too. While I'm grabbing the milk out of the fridge B comes into the kitchen and sits down at the table. "That was fast."

"What can I say? I'm fast and I'm good." She winks at me and I feel myself melt at that comment.

"You know you'll have to prove that to me later right?" I say with a wicked smile. She shakes her head at me and I can tell she's blushing even though she's trying to hide it from me. I hand her the milk and sit down next to her.

We eat in a comfortable silence and when we finish I head upstairs to get dressed. I pull on a pair of my new black leather pants and a white tank top really quick before stopping to brush my teeth. When I get back downstairs I see that Dawn is dressed too and I assume she wants to go to the Magic Box with us. I guess it's better that way anyways. If I have B and Dawn on my side maybe the gang will be able to forgive me a little easier.

"Ready to motorvate?" I ask as I take B's hand into mine. We've still got a bit of time until the scoobs are supposed to be at the store so we decide to walk there. The walk was really quiet and I think each of us were just lost in thought. My thoughts of course being about how leather pants in hot summer weather don't really go well together.

When we get there I stop to take a deep breath and hope that the scoobs will at least play nice for B's sake if not mine. We walk in and Giles, Willow and Tara's eyes are immediately on me. I look around and notice that Xander and Anya aren't there yet, which isn't surprising since B told me about what a sex freak Anya is. No wonder Xander stays with her. Not that their relationship is any of my business. Besides, I hear she's a 1200 year old ex vengance demon, so if he can forgive her for whatever she did she should be able to forgive me.

B pulls on my hand and leads me to the table and we all sit down, and I pull B into my lap and wrap my arms around her waist. I'm not sure how she feels about it, but I think she knows I'm scared of facing them so she just smiles at me. After an awkward silence Tara finally speaks up. She doesn't say much, just a simple 'hey' and her voice is so soft I can tell she must be a very shy person.

"Should we wait for Xander or just start?" Buffy asks finally.

"Where do we even start Buffy?" Willow asks as she looks at her best friend. "What's there to say? You let a killer in your house, and are trusting her when you should be finishing what you started," she snaps. If nothing else, Tara must have noticed the hurt in my eyes and she put her hand on Willow's back as if to calm her down.

Buffy looked at me too, and I think she was at a loss for words so I spoke for her. "Look Red," I stopped amd remembered seeing her in the park yesterday, and corrected myself. "Willow, you don't have to like me or trust me. I told you I'm sorry, and other than that I don't know what to do. Even if you hate me and think I'm the scum of the earth."

"Which I do," she spat out angrily, cutting me off.

"Fine!" I'm quickly loosing my temper and I think B can tell so she takes my hands in hers, but still doesn't speak. "If you hate me, hate me. If you can't trust me, at least trust Buffy and Dawn. They're not kids and they know what they're doing. They know I wouldn't ever hurt them again."

"She even took us to the mall," Dawn says in an attempt to prove my point. I couldn't help but smile again at that. Willow was about to say something else but just then Xander and Anya walked through the door.

"So, did we miss anything?" he asks as he sits down on the counter pulling Anya in front of him.

"Yeah, we were busy..." Xander quickly put his hand over his girlfriend's mouth knowing as well as the rest of us what she was about to say.

"Well Willow still hates me and the G-man hasn't spoken," I say to him and notice that Anya's glaring at me. B also told me she thinks every girl is out to sleep with Xander so she's got some issues to deal with. I guess spending 1200 years as a demon does that sort of thing to a person.

"Will, you think you could speed up the whole forgiving thing cuz I kind of want to get back to what we were doing," he smiles sheepishly before giving Anya a kiss.

"Wait, your just going to forgive her like that?" Willow asks as she stands up.

"Well I ran into her in the mall last night. She promised she was good. Works for me," he shrugged.

"And keep your hands off my Xander," Anya added looking me straight in the eyes.

"No worries. I'm happily in love with B here," I smile at her. Xander looked like his eyes were about to pop out of his head when I said that. It took all my self control not to start laughing.

"You...and you...together?" he asked. When we nodded at him I knew exactly what he was thinking, but I fought the urge to throw something at him. At least we rendered him speechless.

"So what about you G-man? Hate my guts too?" I asked deciding I wasn't very fond of his silence.

"It's Giles," he corrected me. I guess B and Dawn are the only ones who like my nicknames for them. "Buffy and Dawn are like daughters to me. I trust their judgement, and if they believe you deserve another chance I'm willing to give you one. It'll be good for Buffy to have someone helping her with slaying and even better for Dawn to have two slayers looking out for her."

"You're forgiving her too?" Willow asked. I think she was in shock that she was the only one who couldn't move past well, the past.

"Willow, please just try?" Dawn asked her. I looked around the room and noticed everyone was staring at Red, expecting her to give in, and it felt nice to know they were all on my side for once.

"Oh fine. But if you ever go psycho again I'll," she paused obviously looking for words.

"You'll what? Beat me to death with a shovel?"

"You know, that's not a bad idea," she smiled at me. I knew that even though she didn't like me we had at least reached common ground.

"Well now that we've got that settled we'll be going now." Xander and Anya waved and practically ran out of the store. Willow and Tara left shortly after them to do some studying for school.

"I want you both here for training early tommorow morning," Giles said before walking off. I guess the guy never learned to loosen up but I'll be glad to get back to training and slaying.

"So what now B?" I ask as we head out of the store.

"I think this is the part where we live happily ever after," she smiled at me before giving me a kiss. We heard Dawn making gaging sounds behind us and as we broke the kiss she told us to get a room. B started blushing and for some reason I did too.

"So anyways, can we get home now? Johnny Bravo's supposed to be on and the guy's a riot," I say changing the subject. They both shake their heads at me and I can't help but smile. One day they'll understand why cartoons are so great. And maybe there will be a happily ever after, after all...

...continued in Happily Ever After?...

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