Happily Ever After?
by Sarah Meyers
Rating: R

Disclaimer: You all know they aren't mine, but I'm still wishing...
Author's Notes: This is still from Faith's point of view like Second Chance was. I'm just trying to dive a little deeper inside her mind this time. If anyone knows exactly what grade Dawn is in please tell me. I'm just guessing either 9th or 10th...The song used in it is called Farther Down by Matthew Sweet. Sequel to my fic Second Chance.

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PROLOGUE

The summer went by pretty fast after everything that happened. B and I are still doing really great but at the same time I'm constantly looking over my shoulder waiting for the other shoe to fall. The gang has finally gotten used to me being back now. Tara's actually really sweet and she even taught me how to cook, sort of. Willow still gives me the evil eye sometimes but she's starting to thaw out and I'd say we're finally on our way to being friends. Xander is one of my best cartoon watching buddies. He comes over while B and Dawn are at school to watch them with me since he has nothing better to do. Well, except Anya but that's a visual I'd rather not have in my head. B and Dawn still don't get the greatness of the cartoons but I did manage to get them hooked on the Smurfs. It's a start.

Angel comes from LA every few weeks to visit. He's become like an older brother to me and I think that gives B the wiggins considering their past. Heck, it's weird to me considering I tried killing him. I have to admit that the big guy and I have a connection though. It's almost like the one B and I share as slayers. It's something that no one else I've ever met could understand. I guess it's because we've both been on the dark side of things, even though mine was by choice when his wasn't.

He's still got his knickers in a twist over mine and B's relationship but he doesn't say anything about it. I think he's still in love with her and honestly I can't blame him. I was jealous at first but B's good at reassuring me she's the only one she's got eyes for now. I know it's not completely true because it's not like she can help but be attracted to other people. I'm attracted to other people it's just I worry about her realizing there's someone out there better than me. I try not to be so jealous and punch every guy that looks at her but when you've got a girl as hot as B and you're shit like I am you can't help but be a little insecure.

Giles has us training like crazy and sometimes we even train twice a day. He says I'm behind since I was in jail for so long and I suppose it's true though I hate to admit it. B can totally kick my ass and I try my best not to let it get to me. I still hate being second best, even if it is only to B. She knows it gets to me and at first she was holding back but I told her not to. My theory is that if I can't be better than her I can at least settle for being tied at first. So I'm trying my best to get better.

Dawn is growing up way too fast. She's got boys forming lines to ask her out and needless to say, I hate each one of them. I know I'm a little too overprotective or at least that's what she always tells me. Was I ever such a pain in the ass when I was a teenager? Okay, don't answer that. I just want to protect her and make sure her years in high school aren't nearly as traumatic at B's were. But then I have to remember I was the cause of most of that trauma. Of course when I try reasoning with Dawn that's usually when she yells at me and goes storming off into her room. I might not make the best guardian in the world but me and B are sure as hell trying to raise her the best we can.

Speaking of B, she's started college again. She stopped after her mom died since she had to take care of everything but now that I'm helping she can go back and finish her studies. I'm really proud of her for it but then it gives her silly ideas about how I should get my diploma and joining her at college. I just tell her I'd rather sit on my ass and watch cartoons all day than do scholastic stuff. It's mostly true since I'd pretty much rather do anything than school stuff but sitting around at home all day playing house wife just ain't my thing. In fact I'm getting sick of it pretty fast which isn't such a good thing. I seem to be attracted to trouble and that's the last thing I need now.

I'm only twenty and I can't sit around the house acting like I'm eighty much longer. The only time I really go out is for patrol and training and there's only so much you can do around the house. I've got a kid to raise, a house to take care of and B too. I'm starting to feel like we're married minus all the bickering that married couples do. We've managed not to get into any fights yet but like I said, I'm still waiting for the other shoe to fall. I had actually thought about asking her to marry me but I don't want to rush things and I'm not sure if I'm even ready for that idea. I can commit, but getting married is a whole 'nother ball game. So did we live happily ever after like B said? I'm still not sure but I guess we'll find out won't we?

PART 1

"Did you miss me?" Buffy asked as she stepped into our room wearing nothing but a towel on her head.

"You know I did," I say softly as I get off the bed and walk towards her. Even though we've been together for a few months now, seeing her like this still takes my breath away. I pull her into my arms and give her a passionate kiss but break away remembering the phone call I got while she was in the shower. "I was thinking about joining you in the shower but Giles called and it kinda put a damper on my mood."

"What did he want?" she asks me as she starts getting dressed. I can't help but to let out a small whimper of displeasure at this and she stops to give me a quick kiss that promises I'll get what I want later.

"Apparently there's some new big bad in town. Spike showed up at his place all beat up. There's some new demon and apparently he's not playing nice with the vamps. Not that I can blame the thing for beating Spike up. I'm still not fond of him drooling over you every time he's around."

"Spike's a nice guy. At least when he wants to be. Besides, eventually he'll realize how completely in love with you I am and get over me," she said as she finished putting on her shirt. I just rolled my eyes at her and she quickly gave me a kiss before walking out of the room.

"By the way, Giles wants us to go on a quick patrol tonight." I followed her out of the room and smiled when she groaned.

"He just had to call right while I was in the shower didn't he?"

"Hey, I don't mind. Just means I'll get to join in the next one," I winked at her and followed her downstairs. "Where's Dawn at tonight?"

"She went out with some boy she met at school. I told her to be home by ten." B slipped her shoes on and we walked out to do our patrol. We walked to the first graveyard in a comfortable silence and upon looking around we found that there weren't any vamps out.

"I bet Dawn's having so much more fun than we are," B said as she sat down underneath a large oak tree.

"So are you sayin' I'm no fun B?" I asked with a smile as I sat down next to her. She swatted my arm quickly before resting her head on it.

"You know I'm not saying that Faith. There's nowhere in the world I'd rather be than right next to you." We kissed tenderly but I pulled away quickly as I remembered what happened last time we got into a make out session during patrol. The hospital is definitely the last place I want to end up tonight.

"So what's this guy like that Dawn's out with?" I asked as I pulled B into my arms. Might as well get comfortable since it doesn't appear that there's going to be any action tonight.

"I don't know," she shrugged. "Didn't meet him."

"Wait, you let your sister go out with some guy and you didn't even meet him first? Am I the only one who finds something wrong with that?" I asked.

"I trust Dawn," she simply said.

"I trust her too B. But I don't trust horny teenage boys, or any guy for that. All men are beasts B, you know that as well as I do." She didn't say anything back to me and just sighed instead. "Why don't we go home? I don't think there's any point in sticking around here tonight." I gave her a soft kiss on the neck before standing and offering my hand down to her.

We started walking back home hand in hand when she suddenly stopped and gave me a serious look. "What?"

"I'll beat you home," she said with a smile.

"Huh?"

"I bet I can beat you to the house." I saw the look in her eyes and knew just how serious she was being. Of course since she didn't get all gross from patrol I had to give her a reason to take another shower. What better reason to take a shower is there than being all sweaty? Can't miss out on my fun ya know.

I gave her a quick smile before I took off running, getting a head start on her. "Like hell you will," I called back over my shoulder and watched as she started chasing after me. From that second on I ran all the way back to the house without ever once looking back. It didn't seem like it took very long for our house to come into sight. I knew B was right behind me the whole time so when I got close enough I practically dove onto the front porch. "Don't make bets you can't win B," I turned to smile at her victoriously.

She stuck her bottom lip out and began to pout. She looked so adorable that she left me breathless for the second time tonight. Not knowing what to say I simply pulled her into my arms and gave her a tender kiss. "Guess you got what you wanted," she said softly as we broke apart. I gave her a confused look as I unlocked the front door. "I'm all sweaty now so we'll get to take that shower you wanted."

"Like you didn't want it too." I think she might have blushed when I said that but I wasn't so sure since it was dark out. When we got inside B went straight upstairs and I stopped to go grab something to drink. As soon as I entered the kitchen I stopped dead in my tracks.

"Dawn." I said flatly, not really sure of what to say. She was sitting on the kitchen counter and her new boyfriend was standing in between her legs with his arms around her waist and the two were obviously in the middle of something that I had not needed to see.

The boy quickly scrambled away from her upon hearing my voice and gave me an apologetic look. Smart kid. "Faith," Dawn said nervously as my eyes fell on her. "We got home early and..."

"Just thought you'd make out in the kitchen?" I asked, cutting her off. She didn't answer and I could tell she was probably pretty pissed at me for interrupting her date. "Look, you two can kiss until your blue in the face," I said before turning my eyes to the boy. "But if you ever think about doing more than that with my sister I'll kill you." I guess he could tell I was deadly serious and he gulped. Actually, he looked like he was about to piss his pants and it took all my self control to not start laughing at him.

"Yes ma'am." He turned his eyes from me to Dawn and smiled weakly at her. "I've got to get going. I'll see you at school Monday?" he asked. Dawn just nodded at him and he quickly made his way out of the house.

"Nice boy," I said to Dawn who looked like she was about to explode on me. "What?" I asked defensively.

"Thanks for scaring him off," she said angrily. She tried to walk past me out of the kitchen but I just grabbed her arm and stopped her.

"Look, I was a teenager once too D and I know how boys are at that age. I'm just trying to look out for you."

"Yeah." She rolled her eyes at me and jerked her arm from my grasp. "And what a wonderful job your doing. And when you were my age you practically jumped on every guy you saw so I don't need your help," she yelled at me before storming out of the kitchen. If that had been anyone in the world other than Dawn I probably would have hit them for saying that to me.

Before I got lost in thought about what just happened I remembered that B was probably already in the shower waiting for me. I smiled once more before grabbing a can of coke out of the fridge and heading upstairs. As soon as I got into the bathroom I set my coke down on the sink counter and rid myself of my clothes. "Did I miss all the fun?" I asked as I stepped in the shower behind B.

"Oh, I'd say it's just about to begin." She moved closer to me and wrapped her arms around my waist. When our bodies pressed against each other it was like someone sent a bolt of electricity straight from my brain to the tips of my toes. I kissed her hungrily, all thoughts of mine and Dawn's encounter quickly fading from my head.

*****

"Hey B?" I asked softly, unsure if she was asleep yet or not. I wasn't going to tell her about how I screwed up with Dawn but the more I thought about it, the worse I felt.

"Hmm?" She lifted her head from my shoulder and looked up at me in the dark room.

"I kinda need to tell you something." She gave me a concerned look as she took my hand in her own. "When we got home I saw Dawn and her date in the kitchen and I kinda screwed up."

"I was wondering if you'd tell me what happened," she said as she sat up. I raised my eyebrow in question and settled for a 'huh?' since I didn't know what she was talking about. "When I was getting ready to get in the shower I heard her yelling at what I figured to be you."

"Oh. Yeah I kinda pissed her off B. I didn't mean to. I guess I'm worse at this mother stuff than I thought," I said sadly. I guess I didn't have to tell the guy I'd kill him if he touched her and trusted her more. Maybe I should work on my people skills or something.

"Hey," she bent down and gave me a soft kiss before continuing. "It's not like there's a handbook to this stuff. I've pissed her off plenty too. Besides, she's a teenager and all teenagers hate anyone trying to take care of them. She'll out grow it in a few years," B said as she cuddled back into my arms.

"So she's going to hate me for the next few years?" I questioned.

"She doesn't hate you Faith. She loves you more than anybody. Just give her some time." She yawned and I didn't say anything else knowing I should let her sleep. Even though tomorrow was a Saturday we had to get up early to go to the Magic Box to figure out what this new demon is all about, or if Spike's even telling the truth. I still don't trust that guy as far as I could throw him. Sighing one last time knowing there's nothing more I can do about my fight with Dawn tonight I kiss the top of B's head and let myself drift off to sleep.

*****

When I woke up the next morning I found myself in an empty bed much to my dismay. I definitely like waking up with B in my arms better than being alone when I wake up. Not wanting to waste any time in seeing her I groggily climb out of bed and head downstairs. I find her and Dawn talking in the living room and as soon as Dawn sees me she gets up and walks away from me. "See, she hates me," I said as I sat down on the couch next to B.

"She does not." She stopped to give me a kiss and before I could really get into it she pulled away from me laughing.

"What?"

"Like I said, she doesn't hate you. She was just running away from your morning breath." She started laughing harder as I scowled at her. "Go brush your teeth and get dressed. We've got to get to the Magic Box to figure out what's up with that demon Spike said is here."

I grumbled at her sleepily but did as she said and headed upstairs to brush my teeth. I was about to stop by Dawn's room to apologize to her but she must have sensed me coming or something because as I was heading down the hall she slammed her door shut. So I continued my quest to the bathroom and quickly brushed my teeth before returning to the bedroom to get dressed.

"Dawn's not coming with us?" I asked as I headed back downstairs.

"She said she wanted to stay and go back to sleep or something." B shrugged her shoulders and we headed off to the Magic Box.

By the time we got there the whole gang was already in research mode trying to figure out what kind of demon just made Sunnydale it's new home. "How was patrol last night?" Giles asked, wasting no time like usual.

"Dead. There weren't any vamps out," B said as she sat down next to Willow.

"That's because he's bloody killing them all," Spike stated. Upon everyone's confused looks he rolled his eyes and continued. "Garin's his name. The prick that did this to me. He's strong and he's killing any vampire that he sees. Said something about how they just get in the way."

"Maybe he's a good demon then," Willow suggested.

"I highly doubt that Willow," B said. "If he says the vamps are in his way it means he's up to something." Giles walked off after she said that and Willow turned her attention back to some book she was looking at so I pulled B aside.

"Hey, do you mind if I dip out? You know the research bit isn't really my thing and three's something I've gotta do." I asked with my best puppy dog eyes.

"Where are you going?" she asked curiously.

"I can't tell you," I said apologeticly. "I can after I do it, but it's something I gotta do on my own sorta." I know my explination was vague but I didn't really want her or anyone to know where I was going in case I chickened out again. She sighed but said that it was okay for me to take off as long as I told her about it later. I gave her my best smile and a quick kiss before I left to go to the one place I've been scared of since coming back to this town.

*****

"Hey Miss S. Long time huh?" I asked as I sat down next to her grave. "I would have come sooner to apologize but I guess I was too afraid. I don't know much about what happens when you die but since I know there's a hell it must mean there's a heaven too right? I know your gone but I hope that you know how sorry I am for all the stuff I pulled when you were still around. You were the coolest adult I ever met and like everything else, I screwed that up.

"I'm trying my best to make everything right again though Miss S. I'm sure you know I'm taking care of Buffy and Dawn for you, or at least trying. I'm okay in the girlfriend department but I could definitely use some of your advice on how to deal with Dawn. They still miss you a whole lot and it's hard dealing without you around. B went back to school like I'm sure she's told you already, and Dawn just started high school. They're both doing really well and you'd be as proud of them as I am. Of course Dawn's started dating and I'm not really sure how to deal with that yet. I think I really screwed up last night.

"I've been thinking about taking that test so I can finally say I graduated from high school like B wants me to. Then I thought I might get a part time job so I'm not sitting around all day while they're at school. I figure it'll keep me out of trouble and the extra income would help some too. The council pays us decently but it's only enough to get by with. I don't mind since I'm used to just getting by, but Buffy and Dawn deserve more than that. I guess I kinda want to spoil them."

I stop for a moment to collect my thoughts as I let my fingers travel over the cold stone. "I hope one day you can forgive me for all the hurt I caused Miss S. I really am sorry for it." I stood up and took one last look at her grave and wiped away the few small tears that fell from my eyes before walking away.

I walked back to the Magic Box hoping that they were done with whatever research they had to do so I could get B and take her back home. I still had one thing left to do today and that was set a few ground rules with Dawn about her dating. So when I got back to the store B still had her face in some book but she looked like she was about to fall asleep. I grabbed the book from her hands as I sat down on the table next to her. "How much longer you gotta stay here?" I asked as I gave her a kiss.

"You weren't gone long," she smiled. "And we can get out of here now if you want. I don't think we'll get much of anywhere with the research now."

"Cool. Let's motorvate then." I grabbed her hand as she said her goodbyes and we quickly headed out of the shop.

"Where are we going?"

"Home," I said and she gave me a funny look. "I've got some things I want to talk to you and Dawn about. At least if she'll sit in the same room with me for a few minutes." B didn't say anything to me the rest of the way back to the house and I'm sure she was still trying to figure out where I went but I didn't want to tell her just yet.

When we got home Dawn was in the living room watching TV and when she saw me she tried to leave but I stopped her. "Please stay Dawn," I stated more than asked. Her and B sat down on the couch and I sat down on the table in front of them.

"So what did you want to talk to us about?"

"First, I wanted to apologize to D. I promise I won't give death threats to your dates anymore. I'm sorry for that okay?" She nodded at me and smiled a little which made me relax. "There are a few rules that need to be made though." She groaned and her small smile faded. "For one, either me or B has to meet the boy before you go out with him. Two, your curfew will always be ten at least until your older unless it's a special exception. Other than that we'll stay out of your business okay?"

"Sounds fair enough. And I'm sorry for being such a brat to you," she said softly.

"So are you going to tell us where you went today?" B asked impatiently.

"I finally got the nerve to go visit your mom. Told her I could use a little help dealing with my two princesses," I said sarcastically.

"I bet she was glad you visited her," Dawn said quitely as sadness filled her eyes at the mention of her mom.

"I did some thinking while I was there and came up with a few ideas that I wanted to go over with you two as well. B, I wanna take that test so I can say I passed high school." B's eyes lit up so bright when I said that it made me almost regret not deciding to do it earlier. She was about to say somethng but I held up my hand so I could finish. "After I do that I want to get a part time job. You know that martial arts place down by the Magic Box?" They both nodded at me and I continued. "I was thinking about maybe becoming an instructor there and teaching younger kids self defense after school."

"I think that's really great." B got up and gave me a kiss of approval at my idea. Dawn nodded her head in agreement and gave me a quick hug.

"So yeah, I'm done now," I smiled sheepishly at them. "So what do you two want to do the rest of the day?"

The sisters exhanged a knowing glance and turned back to me. I noticed their matching smiles and knew what was about to happen. "Mall," they both said in unison. They're so lucky I love them as much as I do because I so would not go to the mall for anyone but them. Buffy grabbed her keys and pulled me out of the house. The only thing I could think was that it's going to be another long day for me.

PART 2

After another hellish trip to the mall we finally got home at about six that night. I really don't know how people can shop for that many hours in a row and I have a feeling I'll never figure it out. They both got more clothes and once again, I have no clue why. By now I'd figure they own every item of clothing that mall has to offer. No wonder I need a part time job to keep up with them. Not that I can complain too much. After all, I got something very important to me while we were there.

"So what's with that cd you got Faith?" B asked me as we sat in our room. She was giving me a make shift 'fashion show' of her new outfits and showing them off for me. "I know that's not the kind of music you listen to. Or is there like a hidden Korn track on there somewhere?"

"Funny," I replied as I put my new cd into the stereo. "While most songs on here are crap, there's one that's very important to me." She turned around to look at me while trying to pull her shirt on and somehow managed to get stuck in it. I pushed the play button and walked over to her, pulling the shirt down so I could see her face. "Do you remember that dream we had together right before I got out of prison?" I sat down on the bed and pulled her into my arms as she nodded. "Well you know how I really wanted to hear music?"

"Yeah," she said slowly, wondering just where I was going with this.

"Well we didn't have any music in there and the whole time I was in prison I had this one song stuck in my head. It always made me think of you and it kinda kept me grounded while I was in there." I grabed the remote to the stereo and turned it on the track that I was talking about and kissed her neck letting her listen to the words.

	Into you, so far the words go
	So much clearer than you hear
	Into you, goes everything I know
	No one else knows how I feel

She turned in my arms to look at me and I did something I had never done since we've been together. I sang to her.

	Farther down, I'm desperate for you
	Where you'll never have to know
	Farther down, I'm still without a clue
	Just something, something takes my pain away

	Only chance can change my fortune
	So I'm not sure why I try
	As if I could swim the ocean
	As if you could start to fly

I looked in her eyes and found that my voice had begun to fail me. She was almost on the verge of tears so as gently as I could I caressed her cheek with my hand and kissed her. The rest of the song played on softly but I don't think either of us heard it as we got lost in the others gentle touches.

When we broke apart I was thankful to find that my voice decided it would work again. "B?" I asked softly wanting to get her attention. I moved so I was leaning against the headboard of the bed and pulled her into my arms. She took my hands in her own and wrapped my arms around her waist. I heard her whisper a soft 'hmm?' as if in response to me so I took a deep breath and spoke.

"You know I'm still not really good at this opening up stuff but I'm trying to fix that. I'm also not the most romantic person to ever walk the earth and while we were out today a question popped into my mind and I kinda wanted to tell you about it." I shyly said.

"And what question is that?" She began to lazily trace patterns on the palm of my hand with her fingertips and I almost forgot what I was about to say.

"It's just, I was wondering if you really know how much I love you. There's times that I wonder if you really know how much it is. I wish I could write you a song or say something incredibly romantic that would maybe let you know but I guess the only thing I can do is sorta rant like this and hope you know."

"Well I know how much I love you Faith and if it's anything like that, then don't worry. I know." She brought my hand up to her mouth and placed a soft kiss on my palm as I tightened my hold on her waist with my other arm.

"The only thing I can say is that no matter how much you say you love me, I'll still love you more. It's that big B," I whispered. "You were the first person I ever loved. Even when I didn't think I'd ever get you I knew I'd never love anyone but you. When I was younger I never thought I'd grow up to mean anything to anyone. I always thought I'd lead this great adventurous life and never really settle down. I'm really glad I'm here with you now though, even if it does scare me sometimes."

She shifted in my arms so I could see her face as she gave me a confused look. "Why does it scare you?"

"Because sometimes I'm afraid I'm still the same fuck up I was as a teenager. Not to mention the fact that I've never really had much responsibility in my life and now I've got to take care of you and Dawn and I'm scared I'll let you two down somehow."

"What makes you think you'll let us down?"

"I don't know. I'm just scared B," I confessed. B got a smile on her face and it almost looked as if she were trying not to laugh. "What?"

"Don't you know what just happened?" she asked me. I raised an eyebrow in question, unsure of why she looked like she was about to laugh at me. "When we first met you never really let anyone see who you really are. Even after you got out of prison and moved in you still had some of those old walls up to hide yourself from me, even if just a little. I think I just saw the last one go tumbling down." She stopped to give me a quick kiss before continuing. "Do you trust me and Dawn?"

"Your the only ones I do trust B."

"Then let us take care of you like you take care of us. I promise that no matter what happens there's no need for you to be afraid." I smiled as she said that to me and pulled her into a hug knowing there was nothing else that needed to be said. Of course my stomach decided it wanted to be fed at that moment and started to make funny noises. "Dinner time?"

"Definitely. Let's go see what Dawn wants."

When we got downstairs the three of us quickly decided on ordering pizza and B took off to call the delivery people. When she came back to the living room she wrapped her arms around my waist as we stood behind the couch. "I'm bored," Dawn complained as she stood up from her spot on the couch.

"We could play Pictionary or something," Buffy offered.

"Don't have enough people Buffy."

"Uhh, I miss playing hide and seek," I added shyly.

"So you wanna go outside with the vamps and play hide and seek?" Dawn asked.

"No, of course not. You've never played hide and seek in the house? It's even better when you play in the dark." They both gave me funny looks at that. "Okay so I've never played hide and seek before. Not like I really had any childhood friends but I've always wanted to," I shrug.

"We don't have enough time for that now. The pizza man will get here and we'll all be hiding." Buffy stated.

"So then what?"

"I know." I gave them a mischevious smile and turned so I was facing B. "Your it," I swatted her arm playfully before taking off to dive over the couch.

"Your so not getting away with that," she grinned at me.

"And just what do you expect to do about it?" I questioned with a wicked grin of my own. Dawn ran out of the room and B just stood there for a minute smiling at me.

"This," she said as she dove over the couch tackling me down. "Looks like I got you." She moved so she was sitting on my stomach firmly holding me in place.

"Now that you have me what do you plan to do with me?" I questioned. I heard Dawn come back in the room and moved my head to find where she was. When I spotted her I noticed her evil smile and she held a video camera up and turned it on.

"Now the whole world will know your biggest secret," B said in some mock evil villains voice. Before I could even respond I felt her fingers poking my sides and she was tickling me unmercifully. I tried to wiggle away from her but I was laughing too hard to move much. Luckily for me the doorbell rang not too long after she started and she got up to get our pizza. I stood up holding my sides that were sore from laughing. I tried my best to scowl at them even though it didn't work very well. I think it turned out to be more of a lopsided grin.

"You know I'll get you back for this right?" I looked first at Dawn, then B and they both nodded there heads in response.

"But that's the fun part my dear," B said as she walked past me into the kitchen. Dawn and I quickly followed and upon getting a smell of the food my stomach growled again to remind me of how hungry I was.

"So what are we doing after we eat?" Dawn asked as she grabbed a slice of the pizza.

"Me and Faith are going demon hunting."

"We are?" I asked even though my mouth was currently full.

"Well since he's killing all the vamps for us I've got a lot of energy lately. I figure we might as well go kick his ass and get it over with," B replied.

"Are you sure? We still don't know anything about him," I stated.

"And since when are you the reasonable one?" B teased.

"Since I've got a family to take care of," I said as I stuck my tongue out at her.

"Are you two sure your really older than me?" Dawn asked as she rolled her eyes at us.

"Awe look, Dawn inherited B's comic genius," I laughed only to have Dawn throw a pepperoni at me. I tossed it in my mouth and grinned. "Yummy."

"So, you coming with me tonight?" B asked.

"Do you really think I'd let you have all the fun? Of course I'm going."

"So what do I get to do then?"

"Dawn my dear," Buffy started as she grinned at her sister. "You get to clean the dishes of course." I popped the last of my pizza in my mouth and laughed when Dawn started groaning.

"Here, you can start with my plate," I offered as I set my plate down in front of her. "You ready or what B?"

"You know, I still haven't managed to figure out not only how you eat as much as you do, but how you do it so fast," she stated.

"Oh what was it you said to me the other day?" I stopped and rubbed my chin thoughtfully. "I believe it was 'I'm fast and I'm good' or something like that," I winked at her.

"Yeah, yeah. Come on, lets go kick some ass," she linked our arms and as we were about to walk out of the kitchen Dawn's voice stopped us.

"Hey, be careful okay? Neither of you know anything about this demon really so just be careful for me," she said softly.

"Promise," I said. B nodded in agreement and we were soon on our way to find this Garin who kicked Spike's sorry ass. What kind of name is Garin anyways? Oh well, I just hope he's half as stupid as he sounds.

PART 3

"Hey B, you know Giles is going to flip when he finds out we're doing this right?" I stopped B by placing my hand on her shoulder as we walked through the grave yard.

"Doing what?" she asked as innocently as she could even though she knew exactly what I was talking about.

"Oh, going after a big scary demon that we know absolutely nothing about. Of course there's the not telling him first part of it too," I added as I pulled her into my arms. "I really had much better ideas of how we could spend the night."

"Well we can do whatever it is your thinking of later, but first I want to get rid of this demon. And we do know something about him; he doesn't like vampires," she stated.

"Well why don't we let him stick around and kill the vamps for us?" I asked jokingly, knowing that wasn't really and option. B pulled out of my embrace and tugged on my hand so I was following her. "Where are we even going to find him?"

"Right here of course," she pointed down at the ground in front of us where there was a large opening to the sewers. She didn't waste any time and jumped down leaving me no choice but to follow her into the dark sewers.

"Since when did you become so gung-ho about slaying? I thought I was the one who enjoyed it, not you." We both stood in the sewers for a few minutes letting our eyes adjust to the dark so we could see where we were going.

"Well it's Dawn's birthday next week. I don't need a big demon ruining all the fun. They seem to like ruining our family gatherings."

"Huh, I didn't know that." I shrugged and took B's hand in my own. "Come on, I can sense something coming from down there," I pointed towards the left of us. We walked through the dark tunnels for a few minutes and finally noticed that it seemed to be getting brighter.

As we rounded another corner my slayer senses started screaming at me. We ended up at a dead end but there was something else there. This part was well lit with torches on the wall and it seemed to be where the demon had been staying, though it didn't appear that he was here now even though my senses told me otherwise.

"Ah, just as I expected. My slayers have finally come to me." I turned my head to where the voice came from and noticed a tall figure coming out of the shadows. I relinquished my hold on B's hand and we both took fighting stance immediately. "It really is so much easier to fight you on my terf than yours you know," he laughed.

"What do you know a demon with a brain," I joked.

"Obviously not a big one if he think's he's going to kill us though," B replied.

"So what's with you doing all our dirty work for us anyways?" I asked him. I studied his body as I waited for his reply. He didn't seem to be in any rush to attack us, though when he does I think he'll be able to put up a pretty good fight. He looks almost like the jolly green giant, except leaner. If what Spike said is true he's very fast as well.

"Oh, the vampires you mean? I didn't need them getting in my way. I wanted my slayers strong for when we fight."

"First off, we aren't your anything," B yelled at him. "Second, if you want to fight us why are you just standing there like a doof?"

"I have a question first, then we fight." Okay, file this as my oddest demon encounter yet. What's with this guy? "Which one of you is the God killer?"

"Huh?" Me and B both said at the same time.

"Oh, you mean that bitch Glory?" B paused and the demon nodded. "That would be me," she said proudly.

"Good, it's your dead body that I want," he said as he started walking towards us. My smile must've grown as wide as Texas as I got ready to kick this things ass. He went straight for B who was blocking all his blows with ease at first.

Finally he used that speed Spike was talking about to catch her off guard and grab her by the throat. I took that as my que to join in the fighting and knocked his feet out from under him. I grabbed my stake from my coat and just as I started thinking this was way too easy he kicked me off of him and I went flying backwards onto the concrete wall.

I hit my head pretty hard and struggled to stand as I watched him and B exhanging blows. He had the advantage of towering about two feet above her, but I don't think he ever learned how to shift his weight well and B easily tripped him. I managed to stand and shake off the hit I took from the wall and rushed over to B's side.

She smiled at me briefly before turning her attention back to the demon who was rushing at the both of us. B side stepped him and I dropped to the ground and due to his momentum he couldn't stop and tripped over me. B quickly hovered above him, and stepped on his back. "Say hi to Glory in hell for me will ya?" she asked as the plunged the stake into his heart.

"Eww, demon goo. Can't they just turn to dust like vamps do?" I asked as I walked over to B. I dusted the dirt off my clothes and gave her a smile. "So was that really the big scary demon Spike was freaking about?"

"Guess so," she shrugged. "You know how Spike is though. Everything's scary to him and I guess he just didn't manage to run away from this guy fast enough."

I couldn't help but laugh at that. I grabbed one of the torches off the wall so we wouldn't have to back track through the sewers in the dark and took B's hand in mine. "Guess it's back to action packed patrols for us. At least now your mind will be put to ease since you know there's no big scary demon that's going to interrupt Dawn's birthday."

"You know what else Dawn's birthday means?" B looked at me with the same wicked smile she used for one thing only. Oh God, I have to go to the mall tommorow to get the kid a present. Why must I be cursed like this?

"I guess I'll go tommorow while your in class then," I groaned. "I've also gotta go get an application for that place I want to work. But right now, that's the last thing on my mind." We reached the end of the sewers and I couldn't help but stare at her cute butt as she climbed out of them. Yes, shopping was definitely the last thing on my mind now.

"And just what is on your mind?" she asked seductively although she knew the answer to that question as well as I did. In response I only pulled her into my arms and kissed her as passionately as I could. I felt her arms wrap around my neck as I slid my tongue in her mouth and I reveled in her sweet taste. I slid my leg between her thighs and was rewarded by her grinding down against it as our kiss deepened. My hands trailed down her back and I slowly slid them under her shirt feeling the warmth of her skin on my fingertips.

"Wait," she breathed softly as she broke our kiss. I looked at her curiously wondering if something was wrong. "We can't. We have to go home. Dawn's worried about us being out remember?"

"Come on B, the kid can wait a little longer," I whispered as I kissed her neck and let my tongue slide across the smooth flesh it found there.

"Faith," she said reluctantly letting me know that as much as she wants me to get my way, we have to go home first. I grumbled my protest but pulled away from her.

"Fine, we'll go tell the kid we're okay. But then I get to have my fun," I stated. I might not be the same fuck up I was a few years ago, but slaying will always make me hungry and horny. Can't help it and sometimes I really hate that this parenting stuff gets in the way even if I do love Dawn.

We walked back to the house in silence as quick as we could. When we got in I headed off to take a shower and B said she was going to go tell Dawn about what happened. I told her that while she was at it she should see if Dawn will tell her what she wants for her birthday. Makes my trip to the mall tommorow so much easier if I can just go in and get what I need and leave. I really don't want to spend a day in there shopping around again. With as much as they both go there I'm starting to wonder if it's not really their second home.

When I got out of the shower B quickly informed me that Dawn just wanted more clothes, as if she didn't already have enough. She gave me a quick kiss and headed into the shower herself. I headed down to the kitchen to grab a few slices of cold pizza to take care of my grumbling stomach before heading back upstairs to wait for B. After all, someone still has to take care of the horny now don't they?

PART 4

The next morning I woke not only to an empty bed, but an empty house. It was around noon when I finally woke up and B was in one of her boring classes now leaving me to face the devil mall all alone. Once I ate breakfast and watched some of my cartoons I trodded up to Dawn's room to look through her clothes. At least if I have to buy her clothes I want to make sure I don't get her something she already has. Of course, not long after I started my mission I realized she had way too much to even remember half of it.

So much reluctantly I headed off to the mall hoping that I could find a way to make this trip as painless as possible. I went straight to her favorite store and tried to ignore the stares I was getting from the employees. As I was rumaging through a rack of shirts one of the employees came up and asked if I needed help. She had one of those looks that basically said 'because you obviously need it' and I fought the urge to bolt and gave her my best smile.

"Yeah, it's my little sisters birthday and as you can see this ain't exactly my thing," I said as I turned back to the clothes.

"Do you know what size she is?"

"Uhh, she's kinda tall and stuff so I guess like a medium," I said. She gave me a smile and walked to the back of the store to point out the new clothes that they just got in. She explained the just got their winter clothes in and they had a sale with long sleeve t-shirts where you get like two for like twenty bucks.

She walked off leaving me to decide if I was going to get anything and I think I just stared at the clothes for at least another ten minutes. Finally I snapped out of my stupor and picked out a few shirts for her and this really cool baby blue jacket I knew she'd love. Hell, if they had it in dark colors I'd even like it.

After I got out of that store I went to the music store and got her some of those stupid pop cd's she listens to. I tried to hide what I was actually looking at because I know people would laugh if they saw a girl in leather buying Backstreet Boys cd's and such.

Four shirts, three cd's and one jacket later I was ready to bolt out of the mall as fast as I could. B should be out of her class by now and she could tell me if I got the right stuff or not. Then, if this isn't stuff Dawn would like B's the one who gets to take it back and get other stuff. I'm avoiding the mall until christmas.

When I got back home B still wasn't there so I went upstairs to hide Dawn's presents since she gets home from school soon. I settled back into my cartoons and Dawn was the first to come home. She had the biggest smile on her face that I'd ever seen as she sat down on the couch next to me.

"What's with you?" I asked as I turned my attention back to the tv.

"You know that guy I went out with last week?" I nodded my head as a small smile formed on my lips. How could I forget him? I only about made him piss his pants. "Well he just turned sixteen and his parents got him a car and he wants to go out tonight so can I please?" She grabbed my hand and forced me to look at her so she could give me her puppy dog eyes.

"It's a school night Dawn," I said trying my best not to give into her. She just continued to stare at me and like she knew I would, I caved. "Fine, but be home by nine since it's not a weekend." Before I even got to finish she pulled me into a big hug to let me know I made the right decision.

"Did I miss something?" I turned around to find B looking at us with a goofy grin.

"I've got another date with Jason tonight," Dawn said in a sing-song voice as she started going upstairs.

"You told her she could go out on a school night?" B raised her eyebrow at me in question.

"She used her puppy dog eyes. I couldn't help it!" I said defensively. She smiled at that knowing if she were in my place she would have gave in too.

"Well I guess it doesn't hurt to have the house to ourselves for a while then," she whispered as she moved over to me for a kiss.

"I was kinda thinking we should go out tonight too," I said.

"If we're out how will we know if Dawn comes home on time?"

"Simple," I said as I pulled her into my lap. "We don't tell her we're going out. As long as she thinks we'll be here she'll come home on time. Besides B, I know we've been together for a while now and we've got a lot of stuff going on but when is the last time we actually went out on a date?"

She looked thoughtful for a moment before she smiled at me. "Your right. So what's the plan then?"

"Well how about we cuddle here until this Jason guy comes to get Dawn so we can really meet him. Then I'll cook you dinner and we can go Bronzing."

"Your actually going to cook?" she asked skeptically as she moved to sit beside me on the couch though my arms remained around her.

"Yup. I might as well make sure all that effort Tara put into teaching me doesn't go completely to waste." I stopped to kiss her nose. "You know, it's been a while since we've all done something together. Have you told them about Dawn's birthday party yet?"

She nodded as she moved so her head was resting on my shoulder and we stayed like that for the next few hours. Being like this has always been one of my favorite things. Just getting to sit and talk about anything and everything. It doesn't matter if it's just what B did earlier or if it was her making fun of the people on tv because they were singing disco with fake ostriches on their heads. Getting lost in her voice is something I'll never get sick of.

*****

"What are you two doing?" Dawn practically yelled as she walked into the living room. "Jason's going to be here soon and he can't see you two all groping over each other," she told us.

"We're not groping D, we're cuddling," I said with a smile. Even now it's funny to think of myself of all people as a cuddler.

"Why, I might even think she was ashamed of us Faith." B said as she sat up out of my embrace.

"I'm not ashamed of you. It's just that he's a guy. If he sees the two of you together he'll be thinking about that all night and not me," Dawn said almost sadly.

"Well if you like him that much, and he can't deal with us being in love with each other then he isn't good enough for you." B smiled at her and moved back into my arms and just then we heard a car pulling up in front of the house.

"Be good you two," Dawn warned as she went to answer the door. I briefly thought about pulling B into a kiss but Dawn would flip if I did that. Then it seemed as if B were reading my mind and she moved to sit on my lap and planted her lips firmly on mine. "Buffy!" Dawn yelled when she came back into the room. B just smiled at her wickedly and I figured it must be one of those sister things when you just can't help but to piss them off even though you know better.

"She did it," I looked at Dawn innocently as I pointed to B.

Dawn turned to her date who was blushing profusely and smiled sheepishly at him. "Uhh, they're kinda gay," she said apolegeticly. "Buffy, this is Jason. Jason this is my sister Buffy and you kinda already met Faith last time you were here."

He opened and closed his mouth a few times before he managed to let out a soft 'hi'. Finally he managed to find his voice and he looked at Dawn confused. "I thought Faith was your sister?"

"Well Buffy's my sister and Faith's her girlfriend so she's like a sister to me."

"Oh," he nodded his head in understanding. "So you ready to go?"

Dawn assured us she'd be home by nine and took off leaving me and B to get our date like activites started. "Now if I remember correctly you promised me dinner."

"That I did," I smiled at her as I got up to head to the kitchen. "Is spaghetti okay? It's the only thing I really remember how to make," I said shyly.

"Sounds good to me. I'm gonna go take a shower." She gave me a quick kiss but before she left I remembered the stuff I bought at the mall earlier.

"Hey, I put Dawn's birthday presents up in our room. You wanna take a look at them and see if they're okay?"

"Sure," she smiled at me as she walked out of the kitchen. I took a deep breath and turned on the small kitchen radio B had put in there, hoping that I wouldn't screw up my first dinner for B. I usually cook her and Dawn breakfast on weekends but B usually takes care of the dinner thing.

*****

"So?" I asked as B took her first bite of the food.

"So what?" She looked up with her mouth full of food and I couldn't help but laugh.

"Is it good?"

"Well if you'd quit staring at me and eat your food you'd know that yeah, it is." She smiled at me before turning back to her food and I did the same. After we ate in silence for a few minutes an old song came on the radio that I recognized from when I was younger. I got up and walked over to B who looked at me curiously.

"Dance with me?" I asked as I held my hand out to her.

"Isn't that what we're going to the Bronze for later?"

"Yeah, but they don't play this stuff there. Come on B. Call me weird if you want but I really wanna dance with you to this," I said as I gave her my best puppy dog eyes. She didn't say anything back but she stood up and moved into my arms. We danced around the kitchen to the remainder of the song.

"What's that song called?" she asked softly when it finished.

"Uhh, I think it's called Hysteria. I haven't heard it in a long time but I really like the words."

"Yeah, it's a good song. It could be our song, since we don't have one." She said as she kissed me softly. "Why don't you go get dressed while I clean up?"

"Sure thing B." I bent forward to give her another kiss and headed upstairs to put on some better Bronzing clothes. Well at least I needed a better shirt since it's not like I'm about to change out of my leather pants. It didn't take long for me to put on a better shirt and some make up and after leaving a note for Dawn we were on our way to the Bronze.

*****

"You know one day soon we're going to have to find somewhere else to go," I said as we walked into the Bronze.

"Why's that?"

"Because it's where we used to hang out in high school. Or at least while you were in school and now Dawn's in high school which means this is where she'll start coming on dates."

She rolled her eyes at that but turned to give me a serious look. "Are you still planning on taking that test for school?"

"Yeah, I was going to see about it next week after Dawn's birthday passed and everything. Hey, I'm gonna go get us some drinks. Why don't you find a table or something?"

She gave me a small kiss which made me smile. It didn't seem like it was that long ago when she was still afraid to be with me in public but now it didn't matter where we were to her. I walked over to the bar to order our drinks and while I was waiting I sat down and looked around to see if B had gotten us a table yet.

When I spotted her I was more than a little surprised to see a guy that's about our age with his arm around her shoulder. I know I still have some of those jealousy issues to work on so I sat tight and watched, fighting back the urge to go and tell him to get the hell away from my girl. B herself looked pretty annoyed with the guy which lead me to believe since she wasn't kicking his ass he was probably a guy she knew from school.

"Here's your drinks," the guy behind the bar told me. I gave him a smile as I grabbed the drinks and started walking over to where B and that guy were standing. He took his arm off her shoulder and just when I thought he was about to walk away from her I saw his hand grab her ass and B pushed him away from her. I dropped the drinks to the floor, and the last thing I remember was thinking that I'll kill that asshole if it's the last thing I do.

PART 5

After I saw what that guy did to B everything seemed to blur around me. It was like a tidal wave of emotions hit me and I was helpless to control myself. Before I even knew what I was doing I had grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pinned him against the closest wall.

"What the hell do you think you're doing to my girlfriend?" I yelled at him which caused several of the patrons inside the Bronze to turn and look at us. I heard B saying my name behind me trying to get me to calm down but I was too angry to even pay attention to her.

Before the guy even answered me I could tell he was three sheets to the wind by just looking in his eyes. Of course, being drunk doesn't give him any reason to touch my girlfriend like that though. "Just trying to get some help with a school project," he retorted as he tried to free himself from my grasp.

"And that project involves touching my girlfriend's ass?" I pushed him against the wall again as he kept struggling. Due to his inebriated state his head snapped back and hit the wall with a forceful thud.

"Look it's a free country bitch so get your dirty hands off me." He broughts his hands up to try and push me off of him and before I could even stop myself I brought my right hand up and punched him in the face. I felt my hand connect with his nose as the bones broke underneath my fingers. Blood started pouring out onto my hand and I released my hold on his shirt collar. I realize I must've lost control of my body or something because as soon as he hit the ground I was hovering over him, not willing to just leave him as he was.

I looked down at him as he lay whimpering in pain and kicked him hard in the stomach, but still not using my full slayer strength. I heard a cracking sound and figured it to be his ribs breaking. Finally B came and pulled me away from him and wrapped her arms around me to get me to calm down. I looked down at the guy's limp, bleeding body and figured that by now he's passed out from the pain.

"Oh God," I whispered when the full realization of what I just did sank in. I turned to look at B and I could feel my stomach start churning as I realized all the self control I've been working for since going to prison was washed away in mere seconds. When my eyes locked with B's I saw the one thing in them that I swore I would never put there again.

I fucked up and scared B again by loosing my temper like that. It was the same look of fear that I had put there all those years ago before prison. Even if it was only for a split second, B was afraid of what I did to that drunk looser. "I'm so sorry B," I whispered before I did the only thing I could think of. I ran out of the Bronze as fast as my two feet would take me.

As soon as I ran out of the Bronze I realized I had no idea of where I should go. I can't go home because then I'll have to tell Dawn about what happened and I don't want her to know that I just sent some guy to the hospital because I can't control my temper. I don't really want B to find me but I know in this small town it would be impossible for her not to no matter where I went so I might as well not even try to hide from her. Instead I stopped running and headed in the direction of the nearest grave yard.

I know B doesn't hate me for pounding that guy, because she has to know he deserved some of that. I just don't think she'd be able to understand what it means to me. How scary it is to even me that I can loose my temper and snap just like that. It was so easy for me to beat that guy to a bloody pulp. I know the loser deserved some of that but I didn't have to put him in the hospital did I?

I still haven't learned to control my anger after all this time and it could get me into a lot of trouble. Usually I just keep everything like that to myself and I suppose all the pent up stuff I've been feeling came out on that guy as well. It's like if I give in to it, even a little bit, I completely loose control of myself and don't even realize what I'm doing until it's all over with.

"Hey stranger," B said as she walked up behind me.

"Hey back," I replied as I turned around to look at her. "What are you doing here?"

"Well I was looking for my girlfriend. She's a bit taller than me," she paused and held her hand up in the air at the same level as the top of my head. "Dark hair, beautiful eyes, and she's got a tattoo on her arm right about here," she trailed off and let her fingers trace over my tattoo softly. "You seen her?"

"Oh, that girl. Faith's the name right?" I asked with a little smile feeling slightly weird about talking about myself in third person. "She said something about messing some guy up pretty bad. Then she told me she doesn't think she's good enough for you."

"Well I hope she knows just how wrong she's got it all," B said as she took my hand in hers and started leading me towards the house. "The guy she messed up deserved what he got. She was just being protective of me."

"B," I whispered and turned around to look at her seriously. "I'll never be good enough for you. I went too far tonight. Once a fuck up, always a fuck up."

"Don't believe that for a second Faith. I love you and I couldn't ever be happy without you."

"Even if I'm never anything great?" I asked.

"You already are great to me Faith. You just have to believe in yourself." She stopped and kissed me on the nose really quick. "Besides, I'm never letting you get away from me."

"I won't be able to get a decent job B. You know how I said I wanted to get a job teaching kids self defense? Well I was thinking who's going to let someone who's been to jail for murder work with kids? No one will ever hire me and I'll never be able to give you and Dawn all you deserve."

"You love us don't you?"

"Of course I do B. I'd never be able to stop for anything." I replied honestly.

"That's all we want from you Faith. Just love us like we love you. The rest isn't that important. We can all work on that stuff together, as a family."

"Hey B," I said with a small smile as I let her words sink in. "I'm sorry for ruining our date tonight." She laughed softly at that and pulled me down for a tender kiss to let me know it was okay. She tugged on my hand and we began walking the rest of the way home and the only thing that I could thing was that I must be the luckiest girl alive. I just hope my luck never runs out.

PART 6

After that night at the Bronze I pretty much stayed in the house for the next week. Things are a little different now that I beat that guy up, but hopefully they'll be back to normal soon. I started worrying that the guy might try to press charges against me and if he did, I would be in a lot of shit. Not only do I not want to get in trouble with the cops again, but fighting him and sending to the hospital is also a major violation to my parole. If they found out about it I'd be in trouble.

By now I'm starting to think that he either doesn't want to press charges, or is just too afraid to press charges against me. As nice as it is to know that he's not going to the cops about this, he's gone and messed up B's school life. Apparently none of the guys B is friends with in school will talk to her now because of her 'psycho possessive' girlfriend. She tells me it doesn't matter to her and that it'll all be old news soon but I know it does hurt her a little bit. B's got this thing where she doesn't worry about what people think about her now, but when people think badly about the people she cares about it really hurts her. I don't give a shit what people I don't even know think about me, but B does. There's not much I can do about that one though.

I made plans with Willow and Tara to start studying for the test to get my diploma. We start next week, and we'll study three nights a week for a few weeks until I'm ready to take it. After I do, and hopefully pass it I'm going to go looking for a job, and hopefully I'll be able to do something with kids. I've been thinking more about asking B to marry me as well. The idea is always in my head, and the words always want to pop out of my mouth. After I make myself better, get a job and become someone suitable to marry I figure I'll ask her. It's not like there's any rush because I think I finally realized she's not going anywhere.

Now she's looking at me with a small smile on her lips and I can tell what she's thinking as she walks over to me. "So are you planning on joining in on the festivities anytime soon? Will and Tara just got here," B says as she sits down on the bed next to me.

"Sorry B, I was just kind of lost in thought."

"So I gathered. Wanna share with me?" she asks me as she takes my hand in her own.

"Just thinking about where my life's going I guess. You know I love you right?" I asked as I stood from the bed, pulling B with me.

"Yup, and you know I love you too." She stops and gives me a quick kiss. "So lets go downstairs and be social. It is Dawnís birthday after all."

I grabbed Dawn's presents from our closet and gave B a grin. "You know, this is the first birthday party Iíve ever been to B." I saw the look in her eyes change and I knew she felt bad that I could be this old and still have never been to a birthday party. I guess I shouldn't tell her I've never had one either huh?

I made my way downstairs without saying anything else to B and made my way to the kitchen to set Dawn's presents down on the table there next to her cake that B had bought earlier. I turned around and looked through the open door into the living room and smiled as I watched the whole gang talking and joking with each other. Anya was no doubt talking about sex or telling embarrassing stories again because Xander was blushing profusely and trying to get her to stop while the others were all laughing.

I know I've hung out with the whole gang before and we're all pretty good friends with each other now, even me and Willow, but I still feel a bit out of place. It's almost like I'm intruding on some family tradition even though I'm now considered to be part of the family. My eyes fall to Dawn as she laughs and snuggles up in Jason's arms. She really has grown up much too fast even for me. While I think she's still too young to be dating I have to admit her and Jason make a cute couple and he seems to treat her really well.

Finally I turn to look at B who's sitting on a recliner on the other side of the living room and I see that she's looking right back at me. From the look she's giving me I can tell that she's been watching me for the last few minutes as I looked in on the group. We seem to have a whole conversation with just our eyes and it leaves me sort of blown away that we can communicate so much to each other without even using words. She gives me a look that tells me to come join them, and as I look back at her I can tell she knows how out of place I feel. Her eyes soften in reassurance as if to let me know that it's okay for me to join them.

As I walk into the living room B opens her arms slightly, inviting me to come sit down on her lap and I shyly did just that. I relaxed a little when her arms wrapped around my stomach and I placed my hands over hers and gave her a soft smile. I heard someone's stomach begin to growl and laughed when mine started to do the same.

"Can I open my presents now that everyone's here?" Dawn asked eagerly. Everyone just turned to look at my and B and we both shrugged.

"We have to sing happy birthday before you can open your presents," Willow said happily. Everyone began to get up and head to the kitchen where all of the presents and cake was. Everyone sat around the table, and I hopped up onto the counter and for once B didn't yell at me for it. After all the candles on the cake were lit B moved to turn off the lights and finally everyone began to sing. I just watched in wonderment as everyone did something so simple, yet it was something that meant so much not only to Dawn, but to me as well. After everyone finished Dawn blew out the candles and B turned the lights back on.

B walked over to where I was sitting on the kitchen counter and stood in front of me so I could wrap my arms around her. We watched as Dawn went to open her card from Xander and Anya first. When she looked at it, she started laughing and looked at the couple that gave it to her. Xander was trying to hide his head in his hands while Anya looked at Dawn proudly.

"Whatís so funny Dawn?" B asked as she tried to look at the card. Dawn held it up to reveal a picture of a half naked stripper on it and when Jason saw it he didn't seem to find the joke very funny.

"Xander wouldn't sign it because of the guy on it but it's from him too," Anya said. Dawn opened the card and read the happy birthday message on the card to all of us and said her thanks as she noticed the gift certificate to her favorite clothing store in it. Next she went for Willow and Tara's present, opening the card from the couple first.

Dawn read the writing on the card to us all and I smiled to myself as I realized that only Willow could pick out a card like that. It was one of those 'funny, cheesy, sentimental all wrapped into one' type card. After she opened the present I saw that the two had given her a spell book for starters and Dawn was overjoyed with it. I felt B tense in my arms and figured she was still unhappy with Dawn's new interest in the magic field but only because she worried about her sister.

After saying her thanks, Dawn went to open the present from Jason which surprised me since I figured she would want to save the one from her boyfriend for last. "I didnít get a card," Jason said softly, sounding very shy. "I kind of used all my money to get the present and my parents are out of town so I couldn't borrow any money for them to get you one. Sorry," he added.

"You didnít have to get me anything at all J," Dawn said as she looked at him. I almost wanted to laugh at how she picked up my habit of calling people she cares about by the first letter of their names, or other types of nicknames. She neatly took the paper off the small present and before she even got a chance to open the box it was in I already knew what it was. As soon as she opened it I saw the unshed tears in her eyes as she looked at her boyfriend speechless.

"What is it?" Xander asked, poking his head around trying to get a glimpse of what was in the box. Dawn turned the box for all of us to see, and inside there was a thin bracelet from Jason. I had thought it was made of silver at first, but then Jason explained that it was what they call white gold and that he had been saving for it ever since him and Dawn started dating. I thought it was a pretty expensive present for a kid his age to be getting for his girlfriend, especially since they hadn't been dating for that long but then I realized how quickly I fell in love with B when I was their age and it finally dawned on me how much the kid really cared about Dawn.

Willow helped Dawn put the bracelet on and Dawn gave Jason a quick kiss of thanks before going to open the presents from B and I. "Is it okay if I open the presents before the card?" Dawn asked as she turned her attention to the two of us. We both nodded that it was okay and she started opening one of the presents.

The first thing she opened was the box with the cd's in it that I picked out for her and she flashed us a huge smile as she showed them to the group. After that she opened the box that had the jacket in it, and she quickly went to open the last present which contained the shirts in it. After she opened them all she started to get up but Willow reminded her that she hadn't opened our card yet.

Jason handed her the card and Dawn carefully opened it. She started reading it to herself and Tara asked her to read it out loud like she had with the other cards. She read the front of it out loud, and when she opened it and saw that B and I had each written inside of it she looked at us to see if it was okay to read that part out loud as well. We nodded our approval again, and Dawn went to read what we wrote to the gang.

"Okay, this part is from Buffy," she said softly before reading more. "Dawn, I can't tell you how proud I am to have you as a sister. I know this is your first birthday without mom but I hope I can do a decent job of making it just as enjoyable as all the rest were to you. I love you and I hope all your birthday wishes come true."

She looked over at Buffy with tears in her eyes from the short message B had wrote in it and smiled at her and mouthed a 'thank you' before turning back to the others. "And this is what Faith wrote," she said as she wiped the few tears from her eyes. "Hey kiddo, I can't believe your growing up so fast on us. I guess we'll have to teach you how to drive soon huh? I know this is the first birthday I've gotten to celebrate with you and I want you to know how happy it makes me to know I'm part of the family now. I know we're not related by blood but you are more of a family to me than anyone I've ever known, and I hope I can do a good job of taking care of you. Happy birthday D, I love you."

As soon as she finished reading that she shot up from her chair and pulled B and I into a huge hug. "Thank you," she whispered softly and smiled through her tears. Not one of us let go as we continued to embrace each other in the middle of the kitchen. As I stood there, holding B and Dawn in my arms I realized not only how lucky I was but that it sure seemed as if I'd already gotten the happily ever after ending that I had always dreamed of.

I long ago realized that staying on the path to redemption wasn't an easy thing to do and it often seems as if it will be a never ending journey. I've made plenty of mistakes already and just as sure as the sky is blue I know I'll make plenty more in the future. Only now, I realize that it's okay for me to mess up because everyone does it in their lives. As long as I try to do my best for them, I know I won't let them down and that I'll always be in their lives. What more could any girl ask for? Maybe it won't be perfect but it'll sure as hell be damned near it.

"Come on already you guys!" Xander whined causing the three of us to break apart. "I want cake already." The whole gang started laughing and Dawn wiped away the last of her tears. We all gathered around the table as B cut the cake and for the first time in my life I didn't feel like an outsider looking in and even better, for the first time I can remember I actually looked forward to the future and whatever it might bring my way. Yes, B was right when she said we'd live happily ever after and now all I can think is that I should have listened. After all, she would never lie to me.

The End

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