See Chapter One for Disclaimer Faith thinks she got away with it, that she's escaped me.
She thinks that she'll never have to pay for everything she's done; that there will be no justice done for all the pain she's caused, all the blood she's spilled.
She is so very wrong.
Faith and I will meet again.
I know, because I dreamed it last night. One of -those- dreams, the kind that always comes true. I'm not going to tell the others, they're acting like I'm a little too eager to finally get my hands on her. So I'll play it cool, and bide my time.
My chance will come. And when it does, I swear that only one of us is going to come away in one piece.
The next time will be the last time.
March 6, 2000
Alex shifted slightly as Kelly snuggled up against him, both of them rocking slightly as the train picked up speed. This was his first time traveling by rail, and so far all he could say was that it was better than walking. Scott's car had taken them to within a few hundred yards of the train yard, and between the two of them, he and Kelly had managed to keep Faith on her feet long enough for her to point out the one she wanted. Now they were on their way. He still wasn't sure about their destination, he wasn't completely sure Faith herself knew. 'North' was all she would say when he asked her.
He looked over at where she lay. The girl was sprawled out along the same wall they were sitting against, her eyes closed and her head cradled in Kelly's lap. Looking at her face as she lay there, he felt whatever doubts he might have had fade away. As powerful as Faith was, however dark and violent she might be, she needed them. Watching the smile on Kelly's face as she gently stroked the other girl's bruised cheek, he knew that she felt it too. They had a place, now, and more to look forward to than just surviving another day. Their place was with Faith, wherever that might take them. Whatever anyone else thought, whatever that Whistler guy thought or these Council people Faith had mentioned, as far as he was concerned the scales were balanced. When Kelly had opened her eyes and looked up at Alex, any debt Faith owed the two of them had been cancelled. She'd risked death to achieve that, and she hadn't been asked to, or forced into anything. That alone told him that she was worth anything he could do to help.
"Alex?" Faith's eyes were open again, though they didn't seem focused on anything in particular.
She looked to be in pain; god knew she had every reason to be, as torn up as she was.
"I've been trying, but I still can't remember everything that happened last night. You know, after I went crazy?" She licked her lips, and her voice grew thin and faint. "Did you happen to hear how many people, innocent people, I killed?"
Alex glanced over at Kelly, who looked stricken. Faith just lay there, staring at the ceiling of the boxcar without seeming to see it, and eventually the boy sighed.
"No, I didn't hear how many. I guess I got kind of busy."
"I guess so. I was just wondering, is all."
He looked around the empty car, anywhere but at the pained look on Faith's face.
"Listen, there's no use worrying about that right now. Why don't you try and get some sleep?"
She bit her lip for a minute, then gave a slight shudder.
"I'd like to, I really would; but I'm afraid…."
He felt his expression change to reflect his disbelief.
"You? Afraid? Of what?"
Her dark eyes closed, and she cradled her mutilated hand against her stomach.
"I'm afraid that if I sleep, they'll be waiting for me in my dreams." She shuddered again, more violently this time. "Buffy was, before. I killed her in my dreams, but in real life I never could. She's always been better than me, stronger, smarter…." She swallowed painfully. "I wonder if I can really pull off this change, now, when I know that I'll never manage to live up to everything she is." A soft, weary sigh. "I don't want to sleep if she's there again, waiting for me, with the ones I killed. I don't know if I could handle that, right now."
Kelly stroked the girl's hair in an effort to soothe her, and Alex leaned back against the wall, thinking. The way she always said that name, it was as if that particular word was a holy name, something that had to be whispered in a hushed, reverent voice. In a casual tone, he addressed the room at large.
"You know, you keep saying that name. What was it again?"
Faith opened her eyes again, a puzzled frown on her face.
"Yes, Buffy. That's kind of a silly name, isn't it?" She frowned harder, but Alex turned to look at Kelly. "What do you think, Kel? Listen to it: Buffy. Silly, huh?"
Kelly smiled a little as she met his gaze.
"Definitely silly. Buffy; who is that, anyway?"
Faith looked like she was on the verge of being angry, but wasn't sure exactly why.
"Buffy isn't silly, she's---" They both looked down at her expectantly, and she could only shrug. "Well, she's Buffy. The Slayer. One girl in all the world, chosen to fight the…." She trailed off, and Alex pretended to be searching his memory. Finally he shook his head.
"You know what?" He leaned over a little, so she could see his face clearly. "I've never heard of her. Whoever she is, wherever she is, Buffy isn't any part of our lives. You don't have to worry about her. Not about making her happy, or what she would or wouldn't have done. We don't even know her, so don't think we're going to be comparing the two of you. This isn't her world you're living in, Faith; it's yours. Make it what you want it to be." He sat back, putting his arm around Kelly's shoulder and pulling her a bit closer. "And don't worry about your dreams either. Just sleep. We'll keep watch, and we'll both be here when you wake up."
Faith lay there for a long while, staring with haunted eyes at the ceiling until finally she closed them and drifted off.
Alex had the feeling that there were some strange and wonderful times ahead. Not that he believed in fate, because he didn't. Still, as he looked out through the slotted openings in the train car and watched the sun begin to rise, he couldn't get rid of that feeling.
Meanwhile, as her friends watched over her, the Warrior slept a deep and dreamless sleep… and began the long process of healing.
* * * * *
In blood, fire and madness, the DarkChild shall be reborn.
Everything she was, shall be lost
Even as she finds that which she is meant to be.
Her lies shall be lost, and she shall find truth.
Her hate shall be lost, and she shall find love.
Her fear, her anger, and her hate shall be lost.
And she shall find the purpose for which she was brought forth into the world of men.
No longer the Slayer, she shall become something far greater.
Not a skulker in shadows, hiding her deeds from those around her;
Not a renegade, fleeing the keepers of the laws of men;
Not the DarkChild, huddled within her own misery.
She will stand forth, strong and proud, and proclaim herself unto them.
The final age of mankind shall be her age; hers, and those who choose to stand with her.
Many will fear her coming, and indeed her time will be a fearful one.
Many will wish for her destruction; but it is she who will be the destroyer.
Some will seek to leash her to their will; but her will shall be laid upon them.
She will humble us,
She will shield us,
She will lead us.
Rejoice and Tremble;
The Warrior is come.
--Spoken by the High Seer of Atlantis
* * * * *
You have reached the end of
'Virtue of a Warrior'
Author's Note: Well, there you go; you made it all the way through.
Thanks, reader-people, for following along as Faith made this journey.
And thank you
, you few people on TtH who have left reviews and recommended the story--I very much appreciate you!
As for Faith? Well, one of these days I will
pick this story up again. If you would be interested in reading it, let me know. In the meanwhile, you can see more of Faith in the novel I'm currently working on, 'Faith and Buffy's Super-Happy-Ending Bedtime Story', which takes place in the same timeline, a few years further on.
Check it out, you might like it.
Thanks again, guys.