Knock You Down
Title: Apples, Trees and Roots
Disclaimer: J.K. and Joss own all. I own battered copies of their collected works.
Spoilers: Season 7, book 5, my ficlet Numb the Pain
Summary: Faith never thought she’d become somebody’s family or The collected Black family reacts to their newest ‘misplaced’ member.
A/N: Okay, so originally this was going to be the chapter that the whole Ministry invasion happens…but that would involve me digging out my copy of OotP, and I’m just kinda of being lazy. Besides, I was hit with a bit of survivors guilt, and well, I figured Faith and Sirius needed to be hit with it too.
Also, I apparently wanted to make this the most heart-wrenching fic ever. Somebody smack me. Apples, Trees and Roots
Knock You Down
Faith was not digging the robes, but the booze wasn’t half-bad. She could deal with Ted being all nicey-nice to her for the sake of the booze. He was watching some crazy game in a fireplace, and weirdly enough - it wasn’t the oddest thing she’d ever seen.
“You alright, love?” Ted asked quietly, noticing her staring off in space.
“Yeah,” she shook her head. “Five by five. So, what was Andy going off to do today?”
“Ah, she’s going to handle the Coven,” Ted smiled, but the worry was clear on his face.
“The good old coven,” Faith shook her head again, this time with purpose. “Shouldn’t I be in on that confab?”
“No,” Andromeda’s voice cut in behind her. She signaled the barkeeper for another round as she placed a tender kiss on Ted’s head. Faith couldn’t help bristling at Andromeda’s tone. “And I say that only because I did not want to pull another witch off of my sister’s throat.”
“Who lunged for Cissa’s throat?” Ted frowned over at her, as she arranged herself next to him.
“Genevieve Zabini,” Andromeda replied, turning her attention over to Faith as Ted whistled lowly. “I did not wish for you to be exposed to them quite yet. I would protect you in any way I could.”
“I didn’t ask for any protection,” Faith bristled, but part of her craved it too.
“I know. That is why
I did it,” Andromeda smiled softly at her. “But the old Coven is no more, and it will
be reformed to find those girls who now need your
“You taking up the helm?” Ted asked quietly.
“Of course,” Andromeda nodded to Tom, as he floated the drinks over to their table. “It’s on your tab, darling.”
“Isn’t it always?” Ted smiled lowering the fresh pints down to the table. He quickly captured her hand and pressed a small, sweet kiss to her knuckles. Faith had to look away.
Images of her mother, whose face had been blocked from her memory for so long, flitted through her mind as she imagined another dark haired man kissing her hand. Marni shoving him away playfully, a pretty blush on her face. Faith felt her eyes burn and water. She hadn’t thought of her Ma in so long, because when she did all she could pick out were those painful dying images of her.
“Faith?” Andromeda’s voice sounded so far away, and it wasn’t until her hand laid gently on Faith’s that her words even registered.
“The memories are still coming back?” Andromeda asked quietly, wrapping her hand tightly in her own.
“Yeah. How -”
A loud bang hit her ears as the chairs at the table next to their booth slammed forcefully to the floor. Tom was starring at them slack-jawed. Faith hissed at the biting taste of the new magic flowing around her - from
her. Why did this shit keep happening? How the hell was she gonna do her job as a slayer when her witch magic was going all haywire and shit? Ted quickly raised the chairs back up with his wand. Andromeda was calling her name again, pulling her out of her spiraling thoughts.
“Faith, watch my hands and follow my words,” Andromeda said quietly. She placed her thumbs together, “One by one.” Her forefingers followed. “Two by two.” Her middle fingers “Three by three.” Her ring fingers. “Four by four.” Her pinkies were last, forming a wide-spread arch of fingers.
“Five by five,” Faith breathed out, feeling her magic settle down a little.
It took three rounds of that before she felt her magic settle completely, a low thrum of energy that was barely noticeable again. Andromeda smiled at her encouragingly, while Ted went to order them some food as a cover for leaving them alone so Andromeda could explain.
“My ma - I picked that up from her
,” Faith frowned.
“I suspect you also picked it up from Regulus,” Andromeda nodded. “But, seeing as your mother was a Squib, she would know it as well. Most young witches or wizards who come into their powers early are taught that trick to keep balance the magic.”
“So I’m a baby?” Faith felt her magic stir a bit.
“No, but you are untrained. Which will be remedied now that the Coven business is settled. There are quite a few teachers there who have nothing better to do than make up the coven mistakes to you and your girls.”
“How do you know Uncle Reggie taught me it?” Faith asked, her magic settling again. She wasn’t sure why it did - she was still pissed about the baby comment.
“Because I taught it to him, Sirius and Narcissa when we were children. Bella was the only one who refused to learn it,” Andromeda looked upset. “Bellatrix always preferred to play the loose canon.”
“She had a screw or ten loose,” Ted snorted, settling beside his wife. He winked at Faith as he pushed a chocolate bar her way as he set three large sandwiches in front of them. “Chocolate’s the cure for everything.”
“It has magical properties, m’dear,” Ted grinned.
Faith shared a look with Andromeda who only shrugged. She’d never been a big chocolate girl, but damn if it didn’t hit the spot and level her with a low buzz of calm. Shit was more potent than a fricken shot of Jack.
“So, I’m gettin’ some ‘teachers’?” Faith asked, setting the bar aside after only a couple of bites.
“She is?” Ted frowned.
“Yes,” Andromeda smiled brightly. “The Coven - the better half of the Coven that is - would like to aide you in any way they can.”
“What do they want in return?” Faith’s eyes narrowed.
“Three of them want nothing more to make up for their predecessors cruelty,” Andromeda sighed. “But you are correct in that a few of them have alterior motives. One has a granddaughter who was recently called, the other has a very young daughter who was called as well.”
“So they want to kiss ass and get me to help them?” Faith shook her head.
“I highly doubt that Madames Bulstrode or Zabini would pander to anyone,” a voice said from beside them.
“Yes, I had the same thought myself, Talia,” Andromeda nodded to the woman, who sat to across from them.
“You must be Faith,” there was a sadness in her voice that Faith knew
. “My, you’ve grown so much. Of course, the last time I saw you, you were barely above my knee.”
“You’ve met Faith before?” Andromeda seemed alarmed.
“Part of my induction into the Coven involved me traveling with Dame Treble and Lady Sleighton to oversee the initial binding,” Talia’s voice shook. “You were all of six at the time. Regulus was outraged.”
“Wait - you knew
and helped them bind me?” Faith felt her magic swell beneath her.
“Partially. Another reason I was there was to lay the pathway to your magic. It was to activate whenever you were in grave danger and keep you from death,” Talia’s voice shook. “He wanted you protected, and I would have done whatever he asked of me.”
Faith rocked back in her seat. Kakistos, Buffy trying to gut her with her own knife, the coma. All the coma dreams. She’d survived it all because her uncle wanted her protected.
“Talia, what did you do?” Andromeda asked quietly.
“What Reggie asked me to do,” Talia sighed brokenly. “What I couldn’t do for my child.”
“Reggie knocked you up, didn’t he?” Faith spoke quietly. Images of a little dark haired boy in the corner, watching her flashed through her memory.
“N-no,” Talia stuttered.
“Merlin’s beard,” Andromeda muttered. “He asked you to bind a bit of your magic to keep her safe, didn’t he?”
“Talia - whoever you are - you can’t lie worth a damn,” Faith frowned. “I’ve seen him, when I was in the coma. A little boy about three with dark hair?”
“Was it a boy?” Talia’s eyes glistened, her hand fingering a pendant around her throat.
“My God,” Ted’s pint sloshed over the rim as the mug slipped from his fingers. “You bound yourself while you were pregnant?”
“I didn’t know,” Talia squeezed her eyes shut. “Reggie couldn’t have known if I didn’t. He never meant to disappear. But something happened and -”
“I jumped off the quarry. When I was six,” Faith stared at the woman who had apparently been her uncle’s lover at one point.
“It wasn’t your fault, Faith,” Talia’s hand sought hers out. “None of us knew. And you had to be protected from your grandmother and cousins.”
“But you were safe. You were protected. That’s all that mattered to us. We had to right her wrong,” Talia’s voice, while still shaky, grew stronger.
“The binding - it snapped right? The whole ‘your-magic’s-shielding-my-magic’ thing, right?”
“Yes. It’s why I thought the worst until Helene contacted me,” Talia took a deep breath. “And since I could barely feel Reggie anymore -”
“You could feel Regulus?” Andromeda asked in a whisper.
“Andy, darling, I think we should take this conversation somewhere a little less open,” Ted prodded.
“Yes. Definitely.” ~*~*~
They’d made their way back to Andy and Ted’s home nearly an hour ago. Now Talia spoke quietly with Andromeda in the other room, going over everything she knew about Regulus’s last known location. Faith was still hung up on the fact that innocents had died so she could live. And the guilt was chewing her up. She was in the middle of a meltdown when she heard a distinctive pop behind her.
Sirius stood to the left of Remus and Tonks, his eyes searching for her. Ted looked between father and daughter, and nobody moved until Andromeda entered.
“Talia’s gone to lie down for a bit after - all of that,” Andromeda sighed, her eyes landing on her cousin. “Tonks, supper was long overdue. Perhaps you can take your cousin and Remus to the kitchen?”
“Uh, right on that, Mum.”
Sirius watched silently as she left, turning to look at Andromeda and Ted only after the door closed behind them. Andromeda shook her head and glanced up to the heavens.
“Up until this very moment, I wasn’t aware that I had two of the stupidest men in the world for relations,” Andromeda shook her head. “First, you seduce and impregnate the Squib daughter of a prominent American Wizarding family. Then your idiot brother develops an attraction to said Squib while he’s cozying up to a member of the Coven to save your child.”
“And ‘cozying’ is a code word for impregnating said Coven member and pretty much playing her false, from what we can recon,” Ted rocked on his heels.
“Your brother, in order to make sure Faith was protected from life threatening trauma, convinced Talia that she should bind
her magic and his to Faith’s buried Magic,” Andromeda shook her head. “Could not one of you have sent me a bloody owl before you mucked up not only your own lives but the lives of your children in the process?”
“I’m still not following you?”
“Talia lost the babe because of the magical feedback of a childhood trauma that should have killed Faith,” Ted said quietly, managing to keep his temper in light of his wife’s frayed one.
“If Regulus wasn’t already dead, I would -”
“Luckily for you, you can follow through with that threat,” Andromeda snapped, cutting him off.
“Beg your pardon?”
“Regulus isn’t dead, at least he wasn’t twenty-five minutes ago when I phoned a convalescent home in Connecticut,” Andromeda crossed her arms over her chest. “The only good thing that damned fool did was to take the brunt of the feedback on himself.”