Yes, I'm still alive.
So, after losing my draft of chapter four and rewriting it, I looked at this story and said, “What the hell? I wrote this?” So, after a year and a half, here's the rewritten chapters 1-3 and the new chapter 4.
Bella and Xander are cousins-Renee & his mom were sisters. Bella spent a little over a year in Sunnydale, from just after Faith showed up, to about a week after ‘Pangs’. Bella and Faith got to be good friends before Faith went rogue, and were still friends while she was. Because of spending time together, Bella's a bit less klutzy and a bit more confident. She hasn’t forgiven Faith for getting herself in a coma and not calling after waking up yet.
This is set about 6 months post-Chosen. Twilight got moved back a year to make it fit. Everyone's in LA at the moment with the AI team, who were offered the jobs at Wolfram & Hart, but turned them down. Spike still got to Angel and is all ghost-y. Fred's close to a breakthrough on the recorporealizing. Faith turned herself in as soon as they got to LA, and earned an early parole. She's currently running mini-Slayer boot camp. She and Wood broke up soon after getting to LA. He's in Cleveland now, and she's dating Xander. Cordelia woke up from her coma about 3 months in. She still has visions, and she's currently dating Wesley. Dawn’s dating Connor, much to the shock of Spike and Angel. Buffy's in Rome. She probably won't show up. If she does, she's going to get killed. Willow’s stronger than ever with the magics, and recently broke up with Kennedy.
No, I don't like Buffy very much, or Kennedy. Sue me. Not really though-I'm broke.
Disclaimer: I OWN NOTHING. Stephanie Meyer owns Bella and the Cullens. Joss Whedon owns the AI team, Sunnydalers, and Hyperion.
“He knows.” It was the first thing any of them had said since they’d started the insane car trip. Jasper looked at Alice, shocked.
“Crap. That's not good.” Bella jumped slightly as her cell phone vibrated in her pocket. As she picked it up, she muttered, “Oh, please let it be who I think it is...Hello?”
Evidently it was who she was hoping for, because she slumped down in relief when she heard their voice. “Hey, Xander...Yeah, I’m fine. But I’m in a bit of a situation at the moment...No, I have not been kidnapped! Jeez, Xan, it happened once. Once!...Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it, you’re sorry, but I could still use some help.” She laughed. “Nah, nothing like that. All I need is directions from Forks, Washington to Sunnydale... Sunnydale’s a crater? Why do I have the feeling you had something to do with it?... Don’t pull the innocent tone out. I have two words for you: High. School...Riiiiight...Yeah, I’ll be careful. You think I’m crazy?...Thanks for the directions...Hey, can you keep my visit a surprise for me? You know Willow, she’ll get sugared up on mochas, and then crash and burn. Not pretty. Especially with guests...Thanks, X, I appreciate it..It drives you nuts, that’s why...Don’t start, Xander, just don’t...See you soon. Bye.”
Bella grinned as she closed her phone. “And there we go, problem solved. Change of plans. We go see my cousin, and he and his adopted family'll put up with us until this mess is over. Oh-directions. Take the I-85 south until...”
Willow was reading in the lobby when Bella, Alice, and Jasper walked in.
“Hello, anybody home?” Willow looked at Bella. Bella looked at Willow. “Bella?” Willow sounded shocked.
Bella smiled. “Hey Wills. Where's Xander?”
“Bella!” Willow was up like a shot and started hugging Bella while babbling almost incoherently. Bella smiled and hugged back just as hard. She'd missed Willow-babble.
“In order-I missed you too, I'm fine, Charlie and Renee are fine, I'll tell you later, they're Alice and her boyfriend Jasper, and of course I missed Giles and Xander and everybody else. Well, maybe not Buffy.” Bella paused for a minute to think. “Definitely not Buffy. But everyone else, yeah. Xander!”
“Bella!” Xander ran down the rest of the steps and hugged her. “You look good.”
“Thanks. You too.” she said. She cocked her head and looked at him. “Apart from your eye, that is. You okay?”
He smiled. One thing hadn't changed-she still got straight to the point, at least with him. “Better than I was. Giles! Come see who's here!”
“Xander, does it really have to be right this minute, because I was sorting out the new books, and...” Giles trailed off when he saw Bella. “Oh good lord.”
“G-man, the minis just finished up. I was gonna see if there was something else I could do, because I'm really getting bored. Is ...” Faith trailed off. Bella did not look happy to see Faith. “B,” she breathed.
end chapter 1
“What are you doing here B?” Faith was shocked.
Bella, on the other hand, was absolutely livid. “What am I doing here? What the HELL are you doing here? The last thing I heard about you, you were in jail for life.”
Jasper had a huge headache now- Bella felt VERY strongly about whatever- Faith?- did. “Bella?”
She spun around. “What?”
He put a hand to his temple. “Now that hurt. Can you try to calm down a bit? You're giving me a headache.”
She winced. “Sorry. I kinda forgot.”
Faith looked at Jasper and Alice curiously. “B, you do know your friends are vamps, right?”
Bella smirked. “If there is one way I'm like my cousin, it's the fact that we're both demon magnets. Xan's worse though,” she said as she nudged him with her shoulder. “All the girls that he's dated/had some form of relationship interest in- and others- have turned out to be connected to the supernatural. Ampata, the praying-mantis lady, Drusilla, Buffy,” she shuddered, “Cordy, Anya, Wills, you-what is it with Xan and Slayers, anyway?- the hyena spirit...”
“Dracula.” Xander shuddered. “And I can't believe I just brought that up.”
Bella looked at him. “You met Dracula? Oh, right- demon magnet.”
“Not my fault, thank you. AND he turned me into his spider-eating butt-monkey. Uber-creepy guy. It's nicer to avoid him altogether.”
“And yet I can't when I want to. Poncy bugger STILL owes me eleven pounds.” Spike said as he came towards them. “Hello luv.”
“Hey Spike.” She stood up to give him a hug.
He backed away slightly. “Sorry luv. Non-corporeal.” He put his hand through her head to prove his point.
She shook her head and looked at him. “Do you have any idea how weird that feels?”
Spike thought a moment before replying that no, he didn't.
“Well, he might not, but he delights in doing it to me and Xander.” Angel said. “How are you Bella?”
“Reasonably well, considering.” She plopped back down on the couch after giving him a hug.
Xander groaned. “Why do I have the feeling I'm not going to like this?”
“Cause you're not, Doofus. Why do you always get in these situations Bella?”
“Nice to see you too, Cordy. I don't know why, hmm, let's see, maybe it's because I'm a demon magnet?”
Xander sighed, shook his head, and hit Bella on her head. “Ow. What was that for?”
“Too much sarcasm.”
Alice looked at Jasper before smiling slightly. “You have a strange family, Bella.”
She looked at them. “You have no idea.”
end Chapter 2
Some time later...
"Hmm?" she said. She was almost asleep. Damn long car rides.
"Who are your friends?" Xander sounded honestly curious.
"Oh." She yawned. "I'm an idiot. Sorry, I forgot."
"It's okay, Bella. You had a long day," Alice chirped.
"Alright. Everyone, this is Alice and Jasper. Alice and Jasper, this is my cousin Xander, you already know Willow, that's Cordelia, Giles, Faith, Spike's the one with peroxide hair, and Angel's over by the desk." she said in one breath. When she got her breath back, she said, "Willow, I think I'm turning into you."
"Is that a bad thing?"
"Not necessarily. But I bet Edward would like to keep me how I am." She glanced at Jasper. "Right?"
Alice answered. "Most likely. He's also going to be very angry when he realizes we're not in Phoenix. Like we said we would be."
Bella winced. "Oops? I kinda didn't think that far ahead."
"Isabella Swan- what have I told you about making plans?" Xander's voice was quiet but deadly serious.
She sighed. "Think the plan through all the way..." she began, reciting it like it had been drilled into her
"...before you do it. Graduation wasn't a very well thought out plan."
"Last-ditch effort, but it worked, didn't it? Mayor go boom."
Alice and Jasper looked at each other. Cordy noticed. "Trust me, you don't want to know. Oh, shit." She seized up and fell off her chair, disrupting the family quarrel. "Cordy!" they said at the same time.
"I'm fine, I'm fine. I could use an Aspirin, though."
Xander and Bella looked at each other. He sighed. "I'll get it."
"What happened, Cordy?" Angel crouched by her and helped her back into her chair while Xander got her Aspirin.
"Bella...she was in trouble. Something was chasing her...something very fast. Faster than any of the slayers."
"Shit." Xander kicked the couch after handing Cordelia her aspirin. "What are we gonna do?"
Alice gasped quietly and shook her head. "Well that was interesting." She looked at Jasper. "I'm calling Carlisle." He nodded and she rushed towards the phone as the group stated planning behind her.
end chapter 3
Of course I get left behind.
Not the only one, shorty.
Oh my God, don't *do* that! You nearly gave me a heart attack! I'm Bella. Xander's cousin
Faith. Nice to meet you, B.
Five by five.
What does that even mean? Seriously though. Are you okay?
What do you think, B? I was starting to trust her, and then this shit happens.
For what it's worth...I'm sorry.
Thanks. /gulp of beer/ This always fucking happens to me. You can't trust people. I shoulda learned that by now.
I'm still here.
Yeah. Guess you are.
Why did you do that? He likes you, Faith. He's not like Ronny or Kenny or Steve.
B, you know my dating history. Eventually I had to face up to my destiny as a loser magnet. Now it's strictly get some, get gone. You can't trust guys.
Xan's a good guy, Fay.
Yeah. Too good for me.
No, Faith! He's human!
You don't get it. You killed someone last night.
No, *you* don't get it. I don't care.
Let me in Faith.
Go away B.
Fay. Let me in.
/Sighs and opens the door/ Five minutes B. Then I'm gone.
So, I went to meet up with my cousin at the library. Imagine my surprise when I hear them talking about how the deputy mayor got killed.
What happened last night Faith?
Why should I tell you? So you can pull some holier-than-thou shit?
Why are you going after her friends?
"Because"? Damnit Faith! If you're not careful you'll get yourself killed!
Maybe that's what I want, B. Maybe I just want everything to end.
Don't say that.
Why not? B, if I die, all this ends. No more guilt, no more pain.
No more dancing or cigarettes or beer, or sex. Besides, I'd miss you.
Nothing about "it's the easy way out, Faith, you wouldn't do that"?
It's your life.
...How the hell did an eleven year old just beat me in an argument?
Nearly twelve. And I'm smarter.
Don't push it B.
Hey Faith. It's me again. Surprised you're not sick of me yet. Oh yeah, that's right, you're in a coma! You stupid...idiot...bitch! I told you to be careful, didn't I? And what do you do? You go after Angel. You knew how Buffy would react, and you still did it. You... argh. I'm going to leave now before I decide to strangle you. I'll see you ater. Wake up soon. And call me. I'll never forgive you if you don't.
She's a minor, and her mom would never allow her to come. Please, Warden. I'm begging here. One phone call, please.
I'm sorry. Request denied.
Angel Investigations, we help the helpless.
Cordelia? Okay...I'm going to ignore that very awkward moment there. Is Angel around?
Not at the moment. He just went to the jail to visit Faith.
Why didn't you tell me?
I couldn't. Bella, I'm...
Don't you dare. Don't you dare, Angel. How long?
Eighteen months. Eighteen *months*.
No. A year and a half. You knew for a year and a half that she was awake, and you still didn't tell me. Don't talk to me, Angel. I don't want you to talk to me. Not anymore.
/Bella clicks the phone off and cries/
I'm not going to her funeral. Not after what she did. Not after putting Faith in a yearlong coma.
No, Xan! Look, I'm sorry that her being dead hurts you, but I only spent time with her because you were her friend. After Faith...I could've happily killed her. I'm not happy she's dead now, but I'm not sad either. Go. I'll just...I'll find something to do.
Just go, Xander.
Are you ready to be strong?
Bella shot up in bed, gasping. "That was...odd. Coffee. I need coffee before I attempt to figure it out," she groaned.
A floor away and two doors down, Faith woke up in the same second. "What. The. Fuck. I hate Slayer dreams. Coffee..."
Bella glanced up. "Hey. Couldn't sleep?"
Faith shrugged. "Slayer dreams. Freaky shit."
Bella held up the coffee pot in question. Faith nodded. "How've you been, B?" she asked after the silence stretched too long.
"Mom remarried, I'm living in Forks, I'm being hunted by a vampire who wants to kill me, and you're asking how I've been?" Bella raised an eyebrow at Faith as she poured their coffees.
"Well, other than that, I'm following in Buffy's footsteps on the dating front, I've only had two near-death experiences so far this year, and I've been furious with you." She faced Faith and said quietly and with obvious hurt in her voice, "You didn't call."
"I couldn't, B. I begged the Warden. I begged. And then you hung up when I did."
Bella snorted, "Yeah.” She was quiet before she sighed and said, “Look, Faith, I'm still mad, okay? But you're my best friend. You do it again, and I will hurt you, though. Slayer or not. Clear?"
“Yeah,” Faith said. “We five by five, B?”
Bella shook her head. “Not yet. Maybe three by three. But we'll get there.”
They sat comfortably for a while before, "Dating a vamp? Seriously?"
"Shut up, Faith."