It was months before she saw them again. She was following a lead that had been posted on one of the message boards online, places where hunters communicated mostly in code and lately, Slayers and Watchers as well. She followed the signs, tracked the demon activity to a warehouse outside of town. She got there just in time to see Sam exorcise a demon, apparently with nothing but the power of his own mind.
Faith gave herself a half a second to just be impressed, while Sam collapsed to his knees, then stepped into the room and made her presence known.
“You boys get yourselves into the most interesting messes, ya know?” she said, walking across the room. She pulled a knife from the sheath at her back and Dean, lying on the concrete floor with his hands tied behind his back, raised his eyes, his eyes wide and wild.
“Don’t hurt him, Faith! He’s not evil, I swear it,” he shouted, struggling against his bonds. He looked like he’d been tortured, beaten, blood running into his eyes from a cut on his forehead. Faith knelt beside him and used the knife to cut easily through the ropes that were holding him. He sat up, quickly, too quickly, apparently, because he swayed like he was going to pass out. She put a supporting hand on his shoulder, then rose and moved to kneel beside Sam.
“Faith, please!” Dean said, trying to get to his feet.
“Chill out, slick,” she said, calmly, sheathing the knife and pulling Sam up into a sitting position, so that his head fell back over her arm. As Dean made his way slowly and painfully to them, she used the hem of Sam’s own shirt to wipe away the blood that was trickling from his nose. Dean practically fell to his knees beside them.
“Sammy?” he said, anxiously.
“M’okay, Dean,” Sam murmured, still not opening his eyes. “Head hurts,” he added.
“Bet it does,” Faith said, nodding. “That was a helluva trick there, Sam.”
“This part always sucks though,” Sam said, barely audible.
“Lets get you boys outta here,” Faith said, rising to her feet. She helped Sam get upright, then slid her arm around his waist, mostly carrying him while he shuffled his feet and Dean led them out of the warehouse to the black Impala that waited outside. They put Sam in the backseat and Dean opened the driver’s side door.
“I’m gonna follow you to your motel,” she told him and he nodded, sliding into the car and turning the key.
Their motel was only a few miles away and they got Sam inside with a minimum of fuss. Faith helped him fall onto one of the beds and Dean headed for the bathroom, returning with a bottle of Tylenol. Faith took it from him.
“Go take a shower, get the blood washed off. I’ll take care of Sam,” she told him. Dean hesitated, looking at his brother, then at Faith.
“What he did back there,” he finally said, “it was- He’s not- I know what it seemed like but-“ Dean was faltering, didn’t seem to know what to say.
“Dean,” she said and he stopped. “I saw what he did. He took out a demon. He did his job. Just used a different kind of weapon.” Dean was still staring at her, as if undecided and she sighed. “He’s not evil, Dean. He’s just got a little something extra to work with. No rule says you have to be lily white human to be one of the good guys.”
Finally, slowly, he nodded.
“Yeah. I’m just gonna go take a shower. Be right back.”
That night was a milestone for Faith, the first time she’d ever gone to bed with anyone just to sleep. Still, cocooned between them, she had to admit it felt good. She felt her guard drop and it surprised her. For the first time in a long time, she had someone, literally, at her back, Dean spooned against her while she held Sam in front of her and she trusted that Dean could handle most anything that came through the door.
In the morning, she left early and returned with coffee, then waited while Sam and Dean woke and got their bearings. When they were dressed, caffeinated and alert, she spoke.
“If I told you there was someone who could help Sam with his gift, would you come with me?” she asked, bluntly.
“What do you mean help?” Sam asked.
Again, with the rule breaking. Faith told them. About the Watchers Council, about Willow and Dawn and Buffy. She told them about all the magic, about the resurrections, the First, things that she probably shouldn’t have told anyone outside the Slayer family, things she knew damn well Giles didn’t want the hunter community knowing about. She told them and they listened, to how they had access to the largest collection of occult research materials, the most powerful witch, some of the most important magic in the world. They had the resources to help Sam learn to control and harness his gift and also to protect him from those who might see him as something dangerous, something to hunt. She had a feeling that he and Dean had been keeping this secret from the other hunters for a long time now, with good reason. Most of them only saw things in black and white and if it wasn’t human, it was evil and needed killing.
When she was through, they were silent, processing everything she’d told them in their own ways. She got to her feet.
“Look, I’m gonna go, let you two think about it. You got my number in your phone, Dean. I’ll be heading that way in a few hours, so call me, let me know.”
She grabbed her bag, slung it over her shoulder and was heading for the door. She paused with her hand on the knob when Sam said her name.
“We’ll go with you,” he said and she turned back to look at them. Sam looked at Dean, then back at Faith. “I want to learn to control this. I have to, or it’s going to kill me,” he said and Dean nodded, slowly.
“Okay, Sammy. We’ll go,” he agreed and sighed, running his hand over his hair. “Who knows, maybe it’ll be good to have a home base to work from.”
It took them several days to get from Nevada to Cleveland, stopping in various small towns along the way, crashing in cheap motels. None of them had expected any of this to turn into more than a good time, working together and a night or two on the road here and there wherever they met up, but by the time they reached Cleveland and Slayer Central, it was fairly apparent that it was much more than that.
Dawn met them at the door with a happy squeal and a hug for Faith. She smiled at the Winchesters as she welcomed them inside.
“How long are you guys staying?” she asked, as they walked through the house.
“A while. Got some things to work out and I’m hoping you can help us out with that,” Faith said. Dawn was nodding.
“Sure, no problem,” she said. “So, Faith your room is still yours of course and we need two more-“
“We’re good, Dawnie,” Faith said, stopping her. “My room’s all we need.”
“Oh,” said Dawn, her eyes widening a little. She glanced and Sam and Dean, then back at Faith and smiled like she was biting back laughter, blue eyes shining. “Okay, then. I’ll let you guys get settled.”
Faith leaned back in her seat, looking around her. Sam was wandering around the library with Dawn, eyes wide and excited as he took in the selection of books at his fingertips. Dean was sitting by the window, alternately looking outside, watching his brother and shoving pizza into his mouth. There was a group of five or six mini-Slayers laying on a pile of pillows in the far corner of the room, pretending not to stare at Dean and Sam while they picked at their pizza. Rolling her eyes, Faith let the front legs of her chair thump to the floor, then got to her feet and walked over to Dean, plopping down on the window seat beside him.
“What’s with the giggle squad?” he asked, motioning to the girls. “Thought all the Slayers in training were with your crew Europe.”
“They’re in transit. Heading back over after a visit with their families. This is sort of their pit stop. The minis and some of the full fledged Slayers will stop through now and again,” she told him.
“Sam looks happy,” he said, after a minute. “Been a while since I’ve seen that,” he admitted.
“We can help him. Sort of something we do here,” she said with a shrug.
“Thought Slayers were more into taking out the creepy crawlies,” he said.
“Well, that too,” she agreed. “Ass kicking is sort of in the blood around here.”
“So, while Sammy’s learning to get this… thing of his under control, what do you and I do?” Dean asked.
The ringing of a phone made them both pause, looking at Dawn. She crossed to the desk in the center of the room and glanced down at the flashing buttons. Her gaze flicked to Faith, who’d seen it was the private line that was flashing.
“Giles?” Dawn said, into the mouthpiece. She paused for a moment, listening. Then, “Yeah, Faith’s here. She got in this morning. Okay, Giles, email me the details… Okay, okay, sorry, then have Willow email them. We’ll take care of it. Yeah, we’ll call if we need back up. Thanks. Bye.”
Dawn hung up the phone and looked at Faith, eyebrows raised.
“What’s up? What did Giles have?” Faith asked.
“Apocalypse,” Dawn said and Faith sighed.
“Yup. In Montana, just outside of Missoula. Giles is having an argument with his computer again so Wil’s gonna email me the details,” Dawn said, opening her laptop.
Faith looked over at Dean.
“Up for a road trip?”
~*~Yes, I know the ending is a little abrupt, but don't hate me too much, there's more to the story, if you want to follow the series...