: I do not own these characters.
Faith walked into the diner, noting as she did that it wasn’t anywhere that tourists went. It also wasn’t anywhere that cops normally went, which surprised her a little. She figured Sara would have been more familiar with the diners that usually had at least one table of badges.
She spotted Sara immediately. She was sitting in a booth, a largish bag next to her, trying not to grip her coffee too tightly. Faith forced herself not to snicker. It wasn’t nice to laugh about it- Sara was still getting used to her augmented strength, and if she didn’t watch it, she’d break the mug.
Faith slid into the booth. She had given Sara her number, but she had doubted the older woman would actually take her up on her offer. Maybe Sara was doing better at dealing with her past than she had expected. Faith knew how hard it was for either person at this table to ask for help.
“You look rough,” she told Sara, eying her critically.
“Yeah,” Sara replied. “It’s been a rough couple of weeks.”
The surprisingly prompt arrival of the waitress to take their orders pre-empted any reply Faith might have made. Instead, she rattled off a fairly standard post-Slaying order, grinning as she watched Sara’s eyes bug out at the amount of food. Sara’s own order was far more modest. Even, Faith decided with a frown, too little for a normal woman.
“You’re not eating much,” she said neutrally.
“That’s ok,” Sara retorted. “The Hungry Man Special plus an extra order of French toast, home fries, Canadian bacon, and a fruit salad? That’s more than even Greg puts away in one sitting.”
“And what’s up with the fruit salad?” Sara wanted to know.
“Red’s after me again to eat healthier. Fruit’s healthy, right?”
“I don’t think the fruit will make much difference with the rest of what you ordered. It’s like a heart attack on a plate.”
“Oh well,” Faith shrugged. “Everyone goes one way or another. Heart attack’s good as any other way, and better than some.”
Sara shook her head. Even now she couldn’t be so lighthearted about death. Inconvenient, seeing as she had left being a crime scene investigator when she had become a Slayer.
“How do you deal with it?” she asked curiously.
“With what? The expiration date, or the relationships?”
Sara’s eyes snapped to Faith’s face. She hadn’t realized it was that transparent.
“Both, actually,” she said slowly.
“Your situation’s a little different than mine,” Faith said slowly. “Everyone I know, my friends, the people who are family to me, they all know what I do. I don’t have to try to cover anything, or make big decisions about whether or not to tell someone what my world looks like. They know. They’re part of it too. Robin, Nigel, even James…they all knew. Hell, they’re all affiliated with the Council one way or another.”
“I’m allowed to tell.” It wasn’t quite a question.
“Oh, yeah, you can. You’ve met Red, B told her and Xander and a couple others you wouldn’t know. It used to be we were supposed to keep it secret, but really, it’s at your discretion. But I guess the challenge is trying to get them to believe you. It’s not like we’d let anyone have you committed or something, but they can still choose to believe you’re a liar or you snapped or something. A lot of people would rather not have to see the stuff we deal with.”
Sara stared at the table. How the hell do you explain demons and vampires to a bunch of scientists? And if she was leaving again, was it even worthwhile to try?
“Look, I’m not going to tell you what to do one way or the other. But if you decide you want to talk to your friends about it, I can get in touch with some of our contacts. There’s a few who might have some tips on how to approach the science and logic crowd without getting tagged as crazy.”
“As far as the other bit…you know, not much has changed for you. It’s not like it used to be. You’re not one girl with the weight of the world on your shoulders. There’s enough Slayers out there that you can choose to just do enough light slaying to keep whatever vamps are in your area from becoming a nuisance. You don’t have to put your name in the pool for Hellmouth or hotspot assignments. You were a cop. You already did pretty much the same thing we do, but with people. There was always a chance that one night you wouldn’t go home.”I almost had that one night
, Sara thought. I don’t think I’ll get a reprieve again.
The arrival of the waitress with their breakfasts gave Sara a chance to absorb what Faith had said. While the waitress worked on finding places for the half dozen plates bearing Faith’s food, Sara stared at her omelet as if it could make everything better.
Faith didn’t say anything other than a quick thank you until the waitress was gone. Then she nodded at the bag next to Sara.
“What’s with the luggage? You leaving town?”
She watched Sara’s face swirl with sadness and confusion.
“Yeah. I just don’t know where I’m going. I…when I got the news about Warrick, I knew I needed to come back. But when I got here, I realized I don’t belong here anymore. I can’t come back to the life I had here. I’m not even sure I can pick up the relationships I had here. Everything here in Vegas is the Sara that didn’t get out from under that car.”
Faith nodded. She’d heard the story of how Sara became one of the oldest former Potentials to access her Slayer power under intense circumstances.
“I just don’t know where the new Sara belongs now. Angel and Wes and the rest of the people in LA were really helpful. But I don’t feel like LA is where I need to be either, and I don’t think I should stick around here while I try to work it out. I think I need to make the break clean.”
Faith wondered if Angel had talked to her about what the Council were hoping she’d do.
“Did they have you talk with Giles at all?”
Sara shook her head.
“The whole time I was in LA, I was learning what a Slayer is, training, and…dealing.”
Faith didn’t need any further explanation; she’d spent some time ‘dealing’ too.
“Giles thinks you can do for the Council what you used to do for the police- investigate things. We’ve got plenty of people who know how to research. We don’t have very many who are trained to evaluate a scene, collect evidence, and work out what happened and who did it- which is just as important as knowing which musty book in the library wing you need to look in once you have some idea what you’re looking for.”
Sara looked up.
“So I don’t have to…”
“Do what I do?” Faith asked wryly when the other woman trailed off. She grinned. “No. You can if you want to. But the wearers of the tweed think having a Slayer who’s more an investigator than a fighter could be a huge plus. Most of us never made it long enough to worry about the kind of training and experience you have. Hell, I’m pretty sure B was the first one to ever go to college.”
“She didn’t finish,” Sara pointed out.
“But she went,” Faith told her. “And that means a lot. It gives the girls now something to look at and see that they can make it. They’re not just short term weapons. And neither are you.”
“What if I decide I want to take some time to think about it?” Sara asked.
Faith waved a hand expansively, almost knocking her orange juice over in the process.
“Hell, take the time. Make
the time. It’s a big ass world, and if you’re going to save it, you need to be sure you want to.”
Sara paused. She could do whatever she wanted. She could take that trip in the footsteps of Darwin, use the time to figure out who she was now without the pressure of her old life or her new one surrounding her.
“I suck at the whole giving advice thing, but if you’re going to go, don’t draw it out,” Faith told her.
Sara thought about Pamela Adler in her care facility bed, and about her conversation with Gil earlier.
“I’m not going to. Can I meet with Giles to talk more about what the Council is interested in having me do?”
“Can you? Giles will be thrilled to hear you like the idea. The tweed brigade were under the impression you would want to come back to Vegas once you finished training.”
Sara felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
“No. I think I’m done here.”