A\N: The lyrics included here are from the Eagles song ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’.
“Fuck!” Faith groaned as she stared at the test result. Wouldn’t you fucking know it, her life starts going good. Now this. She chuckled bitterly, every test she’d had, she’d failed. She had to speak to someone but who? Xander was out for obvious reasons. B, nah, they still had a mutual hate thing going on. Angel wouldn’t exactly be unbiased. Giles? Nah, Faith grinned, the old guy was getting on, this news might cause a short-circuit. But there was always… Grabbing her cell, she quickly dialled a number and waited impatiently for an answer. “Yeah Red, I need some urgent help-, fuck Red!” she half-fell off the toilet seat when the red-head teleported into the bathroom beside her. “You shouldn’t be doing that to a woman in my condition.”
“Is there something wrong with Xander, the kids, or,” Willow’s mouth dropped open. “Your condition?”
“I believe the term is bun in my oven.” Her eyes widened as Willow fainted. “Ah crap. I thought she’d take it better than that!”
* * *
Willow’s vision swam for a few seconds upon awakening but upon it clearing she looked up into Faith’s worried doe-like eyes. “Hey Red,” the Slayer drawled, her tone casual. “Making a pregnant woman carry your fat ass is not advisable.”
“Sor-, wait!” Willow’s eyes flashed. “Do not have a fat ass.”
“Felt like it,” Faith’s eyes rolled theatrically. “If not for Slayer strength.”
“Ha ha,” she pouted for a second. “So pregnant,” oh gossip, she loved gossip. “Who’s the father?” She nearly asked ‘do you know?’, but decided to give Faith more credit.
Faith glanced to the floor. “Xander.”
“Again!” She squawked. Then, noting the younger girl’s grimace, continued in a softer tone. “Sorry, but I didn’t know you two were..”
“Making the beast with two backs? Bumping uglies? Doing the horizontal hula? Banging bodies? Humping like dogs on heat?” Faith supplied with a grin.
Willow reddened. “I was going to say involved.”
“Yeah,” Faith’s face sobered. “Things were wicked hard at first. X started his carpentry business and I got a part-time job teaching self-defence to women. We didn’t argue or nothing, but Xander was distant, kinda like you’d be to someone you knew from work but not to talk to, I didn’t expect him to be all over me or nothing, but I thought maybe we could be buds, but it wasn’t working out like that. We were just two people who happened to share a house and two kids.” Faith’s smile brightened her face. “That changed at Christmas though.”
* * *
“Damn it,” Faith looked down at the cooking tray. She’d fucked up again, sixteen pounds, it should be ready now. Her heart shrivelled as she looked at the measurement table and realised that instead of the three hours she’d put the turkey in for, she should have put it in for four and three quarters. “Oh crap.” X was going to kill her, especially as he’d wanted to go to the Christmas shindig with G and the others but she’d put her foot down. She’d wanted to have a Christmas with just her, him, and their babies, to make up for all those with them that they’d missed. And now she’d screwed up.
“Need help with anything?”
She almost jumped at Xander’s voice from the doorway. Refusing to look up to see the condemnation she knew would be there, she replied. “Not a lot of point,” she replied bitterly. “I messed up the cooking time. Dinner’s a bust.” Should stick to what she’s good at, fucking and fighting. She waited for his explosion.
“No big deal.”
“No big deal!” Angry now, she turned towards Xander. “I wanted this to be perfect for them!” She pointed towards the lounge. “I wanted to show you that I was a good mother! That I was better than -,” her voice trailed off.
“Better than yours?” Xander shook his head. “You’re way better than yours and mine ever were. Who decorated the house with me, who took them to see Santa, helped me shop for the kids’ presents?” Xander rolled his good eye. “Who insisted that I go three hundred bucks over the budget to get Hoppy’s doll-house and Lex’s train set? Let’s face it, what kid likes turkey anyhow?”
And who spent that last six weekends building a clubhouse for their children outside in the middle of winter? It wouldn’t be a carpenter she knew would it? Faith smiled. “It really doesn’t matter?”
“Faith, it really doesn’t matter,” Xander winked and turned. “Kids!” he hollered. “Me and your mom have decided turkey’s boring. We’re going to have pizza!”
Xander turned and grinned at her. “Seems they’ve had your cooking, waaay too many times.”
* * *
“After that things were way better, we played with the kids, took them out together. Then it was New Year’s Eve and we had too much to drink and I was horny, he was horny. The sex, man,” Faith shook her head. “It blew my mind. Back in the day, X was a twenty minute man.”
“Ugh,” Willow shuddered. “Too much detail.”
“But that night, man we were on fire.” Faith’s eyes widened. “Six times! I mean I can go all night, but I’ve never met a guy who could manage more than four!”
Willow felt as if her cheeks got any redder she’d catch fire. “So then you were a couple?”
Faith’s face fell. “No,” she shook her head.
* * *
A Cheshire grin on her face, Faith rolled off Xander. “Hey X, learnt some tricks,” she praised before placing a tender kiss on her partner’s stubbly cheek while running a soft hand down her lover’s chest. Xander had lost a lot of the extra fat he’d been carrying after Sunnydale and looked damn good on it too, throw in the air of danger the eye-patch gave him and he was a million miles away from the geeky virgin she’d boned a lifetime ago. “Built up your stamina too.”
Xander chuckled. “Anya wouldn’t,” her partner’s voice trailed off and in the half-light, she saw his face tighten. “Oh god, Faith,” his head shaking Xander rose. “I’m so sorry, this is a mistake.”
“A mistake?” Faith felt her stomach hollow in pain. “But we’ve just had amazing sex. We really could have something spec-.”
“I’ll sleep in your room tonight, you stay here.” Immobilised by shock, she could only watch as Xander stumbled out of the room. Faith’s eyes burnt, a cold loneliness gripping her. This was how he must have felt after she’d thrown him out.
* * *
“That was harsh,” Willow said for want of anything else to say.
Faith shrugged. “Guy loves her, not like me. I’m just convenient, a pretty face and kick-ass body that’s always ready to go.”
“I’m sure Xander doesn’t think like that at all.”
”Maybe, I don’t know, I mean.” Faith fell silent. “Things were real hard for a month. We lost the closeness we’d had over Christmas, there weren’t anything fights or nothing, he just wouldn’t talk, couldn’t bear to look at me.”
“Oh Faith,. I’m sorry,” sometimes Xander had the sensitivity of a brick.
“But, things got better. Valentines’ day I went to work, got three Valentines’ cards, my first ever.” Willow blinked, but Faith was gorgeous, had guys hanging off her like limpets. Faith chuckled at her expression. “Guys I hung with back in the day weren’t exactly romantic Red. Their idea of showing a girl a good time was telling her not to bother with underwear ‘cause she wouldn’t be needing it by the end of the evening. Then when I picked the kids up from school two of the dads gave me cards too.” Faith winked. “And one of the other moms too. But nothing from Xander until I got home.”
* * *
Faith looked up at her son’s shout. “Lexy, I’ll get you a juice in a minute. Okay sweetie?”
“Momma I think you should come out to the garage.”
Faith sighed. There was an urgency in her baby’s tone that wouldn’t be denied. “Five by five.” Seconds later she was stood in the dimly-lit garage looking at Hoppy holding a huge card that was nearly her height and Lex struggling under the weight of a teddy bear that was even taller than him. “What’s this?”
“It’s an apology,” Xander stepped out of the shadows, his face nervous. “Over the past year you’ve really tried with the kids and made this place a great home. And most of the time I’ve acted like an ass. I was wondering,” Xander’s feet shuffled nervously. “I was wondering if you’d like to go out on a date to Il Firetitos.”
“That’s the classiest place in town,” Faith protested. “They won’t let you in in leathers.”
“Ah,” Xander reddened. “That’s the other part of your present. There’s a black cocktail dress on your bed.” Xander’s blush deepened. “And no way am I shopping for one of those again. If you want to?”
In answer she pressed her lips to Xander, sliding her tongue into his mouth. “Dad! Mom!” Heedless to the disgusted cries of her children Faith continued kissing Xander for some time.
* * *
Faith’s eyes shone. “It was wicked. He’d ordered a freaking horse and carriage to take us there, and when we got there, there was a bouquet of roses waiting for me. And afterwards, man that guy knows how to be tender when he makes love to a woman. We’ve been together ever since.”
“And now you’re pregnant?”
“Yeah, and I’m scared Red. I mean last time I was pregnant, I didn’t get morning sickness, didn’t change nuthin’ ‘cept stop smoking. But this time I’m gonna see myself fat,” the horrified look on Faith’s face was almost comical.
Almost. “But that’s not what’s really scaring you is it?”
“No,” Faith looked down on the floor. “I know X won’t run out on me, but I want more, I want his heart.”
Willow did so hope Faith didn’t mean on a silver platter. Pushing aside the uncharitable thought, she spoke. “I can’t advise you except to say you should be having this conversation with Xander and not me. And you deserve one another.”
“Thanks,” Faith’s brow furrowed. “Hey! Was that an insult?”
* * *
“X,” Xander looked up to see the Slayer stood in the lounge doorway, her face nervous. “I need to talk to you about somethin’.”
“Okay,” this sounded bad. He threw down the paper he’d been reading. “Is it the kids? Are they ok-.”
“They’re cool, Miss Cleaver has them. X,” Faith took a rattling breath. “This thing we have isn’t just sex is it?”
“Faith, of course not. I like you a lot. What’s this about?”
“You don’t love me?”
“Faith,” he was about to say no and then he realised that in fact he did “Faith, I can’t imagine what it would be like to never again wake up with your head resting on the pillow next to me. Or never watch you when you make breakfast, or hold your hand while queuing in a store, or to hold you in my arms. Or to see your eyes light up when the kids make you proud or hear you laugh at something they say. So, yes I do. Faith, what’s this about, are you ill?” Could Slayers get ill?
“Kinda,” Faith took a breath. “I’m pregnant.”
For a second Xander stared stunned at the table before him. Then, he smiled slowly. “I’m going to be a dad again?”
“Yeah,” Faith whispered.
Xander’s grin spread until he was sure it was cutting his face in half. Pulling the ring-pull of his coke can, he dropped onto one knee before the Slayer. “Faith, will you marry me?”
* * *
“Oh god!” Faith felt a rare moment of self-doubt as she stared into the full-length mirror, the long flowing white, virginal white now there was a laugh, dress she was wearing looked out of place on her. Even worse she was seven months pregnant and fat. Everyone was going to laugh when they saw her. “I look ridiculous.”
“You look beautiful to me.”
Spinning around, she grinned at Angel stood in the doorway looking damn hot in his tuxedo. “You came!”
The vampire smiled at her before walking in and giving her a kiss on the forehead. “Give up the chance to give a girl away on her wedding day?” he chuckled. “Besides, it’s not likely I’d turn up the opportunity to have a father of the bride talk to Xander.”
”Don’t you dare,” she growled. “You do that and I’ll,” she searched for a threat. “Dip your dick in a glass of holy water.”
Angel shuddered. “I’ll consider myself warned. Wes, Connor, and Lorne came with me.”
Faith grinned. “Greenie gonna sing?”
“He promised. Faith,” her mentor hesitated. “You sure about this, marrying Xander?”
“Fang, he looks after me. I never thought I’d have a guy be proud to be with me like he is, make me feel so wanted.”
“Despite everything between us he’s a good man,” Angel nodded. “But if you ever need anything….”
“I’ll call you,” she finished.
“Make sure you do,” Angel offered her his elbow. “Shall we?”
”I was standing
All alone against the world outside
You were searching
For a place to hide
Lost and lonely
Now you've given me the will to survive
When we're hungry...love will keep us alive”
Faith’s breath hitched at the sight of Lorne standing next to a bewildered looking vicar, the demon’s voice blasting out throughout the crowded church filled with their friends from the old life and new. Giles was there, sat with B, Wes, and Con. Kennedy and Dawn were too, the former looking less than happy at the bridesmaid’s outfits her and Dawn were wearing. All the people from her work were there and many of the friends they’d made since moving to Hardin, Texas. “You look like a princess mummy.”
“And you,” Faith crouched down beside Hoppy, her flower girl. “Are the most beautiful little girl in the world. And look,” she pointed to the front of the church where Xander was stood with Willow as his Best Person, and Lex as the Ring-Bearer, “don’t your daddy and brother look handsome?”
“Yeah,” her daughter nodded.
”You ready Faith?” she nodded. “You know,” the vampire whispered in her ear, “I’m proud of you.”
”Thanks Fang,” she replied before turning her gaze back to her husband to be. “I love you,” she mouthed through eyes shining with happy tears at the stunned look on her lover’s face. Today Boston biker bitch Faith Lehane was buried and homicidal Slayer Faith Wilkins put to rest. Today Faith Harris, loving mother of two, soon to be three, wonderful kids and loyal wife of the world’s sweetest guy, was born.