Faith So Not In The Middle
A/N- DISCLAIMER- Set post-Chosen for BtVS, and picks up at the end of Kicked Out for MITM. After that, it’s all AU, that’s for sure! I own none of this stuff, except for the story ideas. All Buffy and Angel material is the property of Joss Whedon, and Malcolm in the Middle is owned by the creator Linwood Boomer... I think. Either way, it’s not mine and I’m not taking credit for it. I’d be a lot richer and a lot happier if I did.
FAITH SO NOT IN THE MIDDLE
“Yeah, B, I’ll be cool. I just gotta do this, y’know. Faced up to a lot these past two years, and this is just one last thing I gotta face up to.”
“I know,” Buffy responded simply, and Faith knew she understood. The two Slayers exchanged weary grins before the brunette rolled her eyes and picked up her duffel bag.
“Time to go home, B. Catch ya later.”
Buffy handed her sister Slayer a long, thin gift box, which Faith accepted. She had a feeling she knew what Buffy had just given her and she smiled wryly.
“See ya, Faith. Drop me a line every now and then, let me know what you’re up to, how you’re doing?”
“Yeah,” Faith called over her shoulder as she climbed into the black celica she’d claimed as her own from Sunnydale when the town had been virtually deserted. Buffy smirked as she gunned the engine and sped off out of sight. She didn’t know exactly how Faith had come into the possession of the car in all the chaos, and she really didn’t care.
Heavy metal music blared from the speakers and Faith drummed her hands on the steering wheel in time with the beat as she drove. She looked for all the world like a carefree roller, window down to let the wind whip through her hair, dark sunglasses masking her chocolate brown eyes as the country sped by in a blur of miles.
Inside, Faith was a flutter of nervous energy. She hadn’t been home in five years, hadn’t spoken to her parents or her brothers since she’d fled after Kakistos killed her watcher. She didn’t even know if they still lived in the same house. She didn’t even know if they knew what she’d done. When she’d given herself up in LA over two years ago, she’d gone under the Mayor’s last name, Wilkins, and nobody had been the wiser. Hell, even B and Angel didn’t know her real last name, close as it was to ‘Wilkins’. She was glad for the incompetence of American cops so that nobody had gotten the connection between Faith Wilkins of Sunnydale, California and Faith Wilkerson of Boston, Massachusetts.
As Boston crept closer and closer, Faith contemplated turning back more and more seriously. Angel had offered her a place in the Hyperion, living and fighting alongside him, and she knew the offer would stand forever, but she had insisted on reconciling herself with her past. She put it down to her overwhelming thirst for a redemption she knew she would never actualise.
Almost automatically she found herself turning off at exactly the right exit, following the right roads, turning down the right side streets. After five years, she still remembered how to get home like she’d gone there every day of her life. And the place looked exactly the same, she realised with a smirk as she drew up to the curb.
Faith shut the engine off. “Why am I not surprised,” she chuckled to herself as she took in the scene before her.
Her second oldest brother, Reese, who was four years younger than herself, was hugging the tree in the front yard and calling for help. It was easy to see why he needed help so badly; a fire hose was strapped to his back, and had been turned on full force. His pants were around his ankles, and water pounded against his legs, making them red raw. The front window had been blown completely back into the house and there were no other signs of life in the street, except for the car neither had noticed pulling into the driveway.
Still chuckling at the ridiculous stupidity of Reese, Faith jumped out of the celica and turned the water pump off. Reese sank to the ground in relief, rolling away from the tree.
He squinted up at his rescuer, who now stood above him, silhouetted against the sun so he could not see who it was.
“Reese, what the hell were you doing?” asked a voice that even after five years he would recognise anywhere. He struggled to disentangle himself from the bulky hose and stand, his facial expression imitating something of a confused caveman.
“Faith?” was all he got out before the two figures getting out of the car parked in the driveway rushed over to them.
“Faith, is it really you?” Hal’s voice was, as usual, on the verge of hysteria as he grasped his daughter by her arms.
“Where have you been?” Malcolm, the ever logical second youngest of the family, and the certified genius, chimed in over his father’s shoulder.
Faith took in his filthy clothing and exceptional smell and wrinkled her nose at him. “Might ask the same of you, Mal,” she returned flippantly before being almost crushed into a group hug. She squirmed a little in objection to being trapped between Reese’s waterlogged body and Malcolm’s filthy one.
“So... what’d I miss?” When she was free Faith tried the flippant approach once more, but was not nearly as successful this time.
“Don’t you think you’re just going to get away with this just because we’re so happy to see you, young lady,” Hal warned. “You have a lot of explaining to do, and we’re going inside so I can call your mother right now!” He took her arm and marched her forcefully into the house, stopping only for a moment to let out an enraged “Reese!” when he saw the damage to the window.
Reese looked at his brother and shrugged. He knew that with Faith, his reckless runaway sister, now twenty-one, showing up right at this moment, he’d be off the hook for the window for sure. Malcolm smirked but said nothing as they turned to follow the others inside.
Reese took one step and tripped over the sopping wet jeans still bunched around his ankles.
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