F is for Family
See chapter 1. A/N:
My first update of the new year. Yes, I know it's late but January is a busy month for me and I've only had time to write, not post. So, here it is! Faith's past is mainly taken from Buffy Wiki and books based on her. I just twisted it a little to include the Stilinkis, which was actually quite easy.
Thank you to Noturbaby again and to all of you who have read and reviewed, and to those who have only just read. Chapter 6: F is for Family
Faith had left Stiles at the kitchen table, lost in his thoughts. She was tired after answering what seemed to be a million and one questions and affirming repeatedly that vampires definitely did not sparkle. At one point she thought Stiles was going to lose his shit when she told him that Buffy had gone up against the
Dracula. He then proceeded to ask what other monsters they had come across and had his own list to verify or quash each in turn. After discussing the existence of magic and witches Stiles had been disappointed to learn that Hogwarts was still fictional.
She made her way to her room and flopped down on the bed. She’d look for Derek in the morning; looking for him now could inadvertently lead the Argents to him.
Speaking so frankly about her life as a slayer had been liberating but she knew that the information she had withheld would still hold a tight grip on how much she could really relax here. 'No matter how far I go
', she thought.
At the age of four, Faith’s abusive father had been imprisoned for murder. She didn’t know this until much later in her life, by which time her memories of him had faded in to obscurity. The years that followed had been a collection of bad memories; ranging from her mother’s numerous and abusive boyfriends, her spotted education and the complete lack of any discipline. The thing that had always rang true though, was just how lonely she had felt.
Years of truanting, minor crimes and petty theft had led to her being taken from her mother and placed in to foster care. In one short year she has gone through three different families; each in turn less qualified to deal with her properly.
That was when her watcher, Diana, had intervened; taking her away from her old life and beginning her new one.
Diana had appeared as if from nowhere, claiming to be an aunt on her father's side; supplying all the right paper work and certificates. Faith knew that this was a fabrication but had long since stopped caring… if anything it was just another opportunity to be given food, water and accommodation until she was abandoned again.
This time though, her new guardian was more than capable of taking care of the wayward Faith.
Diana had made it clear from the beginning that she would be handled with an iron fist; offering the kind of discipline that she’d only ever read about or seen on TV. She was also promised that her commitment to this training would offer her something that she had longed for, purpose.
Diana had full documentation on Faith’s life including family trees, each and every instance she had been in trouble and the information on her father’s arrest. She had gone on to tell her about the Slayers and how they would gain their powers… upon the death of the Slayer before them. Faith was fifteen at the time and had to accept the fact that, in her future, she would have to protect the world from the occult and supernatural… a lot for a teenager to swallow.
After finding out about her slayer status, Faith had made the decision to separate herself from her family completely. Information was passed to her mother that she had moved overseas with her foster family. Her only other family was her aunt, Stella, on her mother’s side, her husband Stan and her younger cousin. She had fond memories of them from family visits and held those memories deep down in a warm corner of her mind. She remembered them as being very kind. Her aunt was the polar opposite of Faith’s mother; she was always so warm and inviting… everyone loved her.
For this reason she made it clear that they were never to be involved in her life again. Isolating them was the only real protection she could offer them, no matter how much anguish it may have caused.
Faith was sixteen when she heard that her mother had passed away. She grieved silently, refusing to let her emotions bubble to the surface. Her aunt and uncle had begun searching for her but Faith’s efforts to keep them away had been successful in quashing any attempts they had made. They had been left with the same story given to her mother; she was overseas and living happily.
She was seventeen when their requests to find her dwindled away around this time and she was resigned to being that distant family member you know about but never see.
Faith had found out about her aunt's illness while she had been in prison. Angel had arranged legal representation for her and the lawyer had brought a comprehensive file on her and her ‘past’.
She saw glimpses of information as he flicked through the pages; one that caught her off guard was the details of her Aunt Stella’s illness. She remembered the urge to call her uncle; the urge to call and see how her aunt was.
The urge was promptly quelled by the information that followed… her aunt had passed away from her illness. The information was sharp in her gut, as if she has swallowed a Brachen demon whole. She hadn’t so much as shown a glimmer of her true feelings on the matter but she mourned silently.
Over the weeks that followed, she had decided that staying away from them was still the correct thing to do. Whilst she knew that she could not have done anything to prevent her aunt’s death, it saddened her that she didn't go to the funeral.
She hadn't thought about her family again until after Buffy had decided that she wanted to have a life and had set up home in Rome. Faith had travelled back and forth from Cleveland, Scotland and London but had never settled and set up a home base. After a night out with Dawn, and a bottle of tequila, she had spilled her guts about her family; prompting the journey that had ultimately lead to her arrival here in Beacon hills.
Her recent return to Beacon Hills had still been a stark reminder of how much she had sacrificed in her years of ‘duty’. Her uncle, a man that had been out of her life for years, and her cousin had accepted her in to their home and had treated her like family from the word go… Well, they were
family but they had made her feel
like family; something she treasured.
Her years she had been trained to withhold her emotions, letting anger fuel her actions. For the first time, she had emotions that she wanted to celebrate; not hide. The problem was that she didn’t know how. She had seen the small smile her uncle had when he saw her and Stiles together and she hoped that he knew how important they were to her… she also hoped that she was just as important to them.
Now that Stiles knew everything, he’d been free to fill her in on everything that had been going on. He told her about the Alpha, about the Argents, Kate, Derek’s lineage and how he was born a wolf rather than being bitten like Scott… he also told her all about Lydia; nothing supernatural there unless ‘soul mate’ syndrome and delusional behaviour counted.
The way he spoke about her made it clear that this wasn’t just a crush; he would happily go to any length to keep her safe. He had even visited her following the video store attack when no one else had. He told Faith about the drugged state she had been in and told her about a photo that Lydia had on her phone… a picture of the Alpha in wolf form.
Faith had asked him to show her it but he told her that he had deleted it from the phone. She wasn’t angry with him; in fact she could see he had the right motives when he made the decision. The picture wouldn’t really have offered them any more than they already knew so it wasn’t a significant loss.
It was then that she noticed it, something that had been hinted at already but never as clearly as this; Stiles was fiercely loyal to his friends and whilst afraid, he would face his fears head on every time if it meant he could protect those important to him… he was incredibly brave, even if he didn’t realise it.
Faith asked him to keep the information about the photo to himself. She didn’t think that the others would be as understanding as her about him deleting it. When Stiles asked if she would tell Derek about who she was, she said that she would update Derek when he
Stiles laughed and picked up his phone, quickly speed dialling Scott and pressing it to his ear. Faith could hear the automated answering service starting but Stiles hung up quickly, redialled and placed it to his ear again. He did this a few times more before finally leaving a message:
“Dude! I’ve been trying to reach you. Call me when you get this!”
The radio in Stiles’ room crackled to life, “We’ve got calls coming in about a 10-91V at the High School. Nearby officers are requested to attend. Control over.” With that it was silent once again.
Stiles looked at her and his face drained of colour, “That’s a vicious animal attack!” He hopped up and pulled on his jacket quickly.
Faith wasn’t really sure why he was as panicked as he was. “It’s five by five,” she reassured him, “we’ll just head down there and see what’s going on.”
“You don’t get it!” he shouted as he pulled his Converse on, “My dad’s there. It’s parent and teacher night. ”
Faith picked up her jacket without another word and followed Stiles out, jumping in to the passenger seat of his jeep just in time to avoid being left behind.
As they made their way to the school Faith started to feel guilty; she had opted to skip her patrolling duties for today to talk to Stiles and couldn’t help but feel that this could have been avoided. The radio never gave anything more away and both she and Stiles were running through numerous scenarios in their minds about what it was, what had happened and who, if anyone, had it happened to.
As they were about to pull in to the parking lot of the school, Stiles’ phone lit up and vibrated loudly; dancing across the dashboard. With one hand still on the wheel he flipped the phone open and pressed it to his ear.
He was quiet for a moment before looking shocked, “A mountain lion!” he glimpsed at Faith as if she had the answer to a question he hadn’t actually asked.
She continued to listen as Scott told him about what had happened and how Chris Argent had been the one that shot it. Faith couldn’t help but think that the lion had been a decoy; trying to make people think the recent attacks were in fact a just a lion, that was now dead. It would draw people away, leading them back in to a false sense of security. 'Rest easy and go back to your safe little homes
,’ she thought. It was a tactic she’d seen used many times before by many bad people.
Stiles was pissed at Scott and had avoided him for a couple of days. He was angry that Scott hadn’t been at the school when he was supposed to be; instead disappearing for the day with Allison. On top of that, he hadn’t answered his phone all day… even when Stiles really needed him. How many missed calls does it take before you realise that the call is important and PICK UP THE DAMN PHONE!
he thought angrily.
Faith’s uncle had been quick to point out that this had been the longest they had gone without speaking. He even recalled a time when Stiles had been grounded for cursing at the neighbours in Latin. Apparently, Stiles had thought it had been smart to learn curse words in different languages so he wouldn’t get into trouble - he had just made the mistake of picking the one language her uncle was well versed in. On each of the eleven days he had been grounded, Scott had snuck in to his room. Her uncle had known every time, being in law enforcement definitely helped, but he had let them be. He told her it was for two reasons: first, keeping them apart was too cruel a punishment and second, letting Scott in meant that Stiles wasn’t getting in to trouble somewhere else.
“Maybe he’s growing up?” he said hesitantly.
Faith smiled at him doubtfully but didn’t reply.
“Yeah, I know… votum repute,” he smiled back, “That’s Latin for ‘wishful thinking’”
Over the days that followed, Faith had noticed Stiles doing more research into werewolves, the paranormal and occult and now Slayers too.
She was worried about him but decided to wait until he came to her with any more questions. She didn’t have to wait long though as he approached her that same evening, she just wasn’t expecting what he going to ask.
“Can someone learn
to control their emotions… like anger?” he asked.
She sat down next to him on the couch, “Scott?”
“Yeah,” he replied wearily.
“Wouldn’t Derek be better for this? I’m not a wolf or anything so the best that I could come up with is sceptical at best.”
Stiles rubbed the back of his neck nervously, “Uh, that’s not really a good idea for me. One on ones with Derek tends to end up with me in some physical pain or being threatened that he’ll tear out my throat with his teeth.” He saw the look of anger on Faith’s face but continued, “What I meant to say is that Derek isn’t exactly helpful. Sure, he has awesome control but his social skills are lacking somewhat… he’s no Yoda. He also has this thing where he scares me, like, a lot. I’m not really proficient in Derek speak at the best of times so that’s a no go on going to Derek about this.”
“What makes you think I can help?” she asked.
“You deal with having abilities that aren’t exactly natural don’t you? How do you control your emotions? What do you do when you get angry?”
“Kiddo, you have no idea how loaded a question that is,” Faith looked sullen for a moment, “Well, other than viciously beating vamps in to an ashy pulp… I run. Meditation could help but it’s not really a quick fix.”
Stiles looked dubious, “Isn’t there a saying that you shouldn’t run from your feelings or something?”
Faith shook her head and smiled, “I don’t run from my emotions Stiles. Taking off at a sprint with no destination in mind is liberating. It offers me a freedom that I can’t replicate in other ways. I run to clear my mind so that I can figure out stuff that’s been bothering me and learn to deal with it.”
“That’s what I use the bathroom for… it’s my epiphany throne,” Stiles said, lost in thought for a second.
Faith grimaced, “No, not quite the same thing cuz. Someone once referred to my running as my anchor.” Faith paused to let Stiles take in what she said. “Maybe that’s what you need to do with Scott – find his anchor.”
Stiles thought this over and it made sense to him; Allison could be Scott’s anchor. Her presence was enough to calm his mind and it had brought him back from the brink more than once. He just needed proof.
Stiles confronted Scott in the school locker room with his findings and, with Faith’s permission, had told him what she was. Scott hadn’t believed him at first but had seen all the same things Stiles had seen and had to admit that this explanation fitted. This acceptance still came after Scott had had a slight freak out about more weirdness coming into life that wasn’t needed. Stiles had taken the opportunity to tell him that it was actually more weirdness coming into his
life and that he rather liked having Faith around.
Stiles told him that he thought Alison was his anchor but Scott pulled away from him.
“I told you what Derek said in the parking garage!” Scott shouted, “Women make you weak!”
Stiles looked horrified, standing open-mouthed. “Women make you… explain Faith? She’s far
from weak,” he pointed at Scott, pressing his finger in to his chest, “She’s all Xena Warrior-Kick-Ass and she pinned Derek to a wall, and then the floor and…” he trailed off, lost in thought for a second before looking concerned, “I really think I need to have words with my cousin.”
Scott pushed his hand away. “But Faith isn’t a wolf!” he scowled. “Look at Derek. He’s alone but he’s strong… he’s in control.”
Stiles nodded limply, “True, but he’s also creepy and currently resides in a burnt out shell of a house, which I might like to add, makes him even more of a creepy creeper – which I didn’t think could actually be possible. I’m not gonna let you end up like Derek… and neither will Faith. We’ll figure something out together.”
Faith and Stiles sat at the dinner table in his kitchen; three pizzas were stacked in front of them. They had been sitting for a while and oddly, the conversation had stayed ‘normal’. If normal being Stiles describing in detail how he purposely provoked Scott by launching lacrosse balls at him, just to see how quickly he could lose it and then calm himself down after, or, how he ended up in detention with Scott then quickly finishing that he had been right all along and Allison was Scott’s anchor. The detention had been worth it apparently as it proved he was right over Derek – Stiles may be afraid of the werewolf but he was never going to waste getting one-upmanship on him. Faith had kept her opinions on the whole ‘women make you weak’ speech to herself and made a mental note to show Derek exactly how weak she could make him; she still had that pent up energy to let loose.
Her uncle came into the dining room and placed his jacket on the back of a chair; rubbing the back of his neck wearily. He looked at the banquet they had collected and looked back to them, “Can I join you?”
Stiles nodded and pushed a pizza box towards him. He smiled and sat down. He looked at the pile of cheese, meat, tomato and crust that they were each working their way through. He took a deep breath in, smelling the warm meaty aroma on the air. 'Jesus that’s good,’ he thought.
He popped the box open then closed it again. Looking at Stiles he grumbled, “Vegetarian?”
“What? It’s good for you. It’ll make you grow big and strong.” He replied.
He laughed, “At my age son, you stop growing tall and start growing wide… and I don’t much care about that anymore,” he smiled. ”Now gimme a real piece!”
Stiles reluctantly pushed his box over so that his dad could prise a slice free. Anyone else would have thought that Stiles was being selfish or greedy but Faith could see that he was actually afraid; afraid of losing his dad. If that meant he had to force feed him the healthy stuff then she knew that he would not only stick to it, he’d carry it out with conviction… and she’d help him anyway she could.
“Uncle Stan, you could get healthy and fit by coming running with me in the morning. All that fresh air… it would be good for you.”
Faith watched as her uncle paused with the pizza slice at his mouth. “I think a couple of miles would do you wonders and you can burn off all the calories you consume. What do you think?” Faith winked at Stiles slyly.
“Uh… well, Faith that would…,“ her uncle started. He slowly placed the pizza slice down and back into the box.
“… Be a great idea!” Stiles finished, catching on to what Faith was doing. He ignored the look of dismay he was receiving from his dad. “With Faith getting you fit then you won’t have me breathing down your neck anymore. You can eat whatever you want.” For emphasis he pushed the pizza box towards his dad.
Faith watched her uncle contemplate what she and Stiles had said. She could see that he really wouldn’t mind getting Stiles to lay off with the healthy eating but he knew that running with Faith would be an extreme commitment… and not one he was comfortable signing up for at this moment in time.
With a frown, her uncle pushed the pizza box back at Stiles and pulled the box with the vegetable pizza towards him, taking out a slice.
“Thanks for the offer, and I know you could help but I think I’ll stick to the veggies.” He looked down forlornly at his food, “Yummy,” he said unenthusiastically.
“Your loss,” Faith said, shrugging lightly in her best attempt to look nonchalant.
With the conversation of her uncle’s eating habits put to rest, Faith gave Stiles a wink as he mouthed a silent thank you to her before tucking back into his pizza.
When Faith’s uncle had first made contact with her she had told him she was a P.E teacher in an all-girls school. It was more of a ‘lax’ version of the truth than an all-out lie. On arriving in Beacon Hills it had afforded her a perfect reason to go out running every morning, evening and night. She knew that her previous duties with the Slayer school were no longer in such immediate demand but hadn’t yet made the decision to actually move away yet… she couldn’t deny that it had crossed her mind a lot since her arrival here.
Her uncle had asked her what her plans were and she had told him that she was taking a break from her teaching career. She had told him how much she had enjoyed being here and to her surprise he was just as forthcoming; telling her he felt the same way.
He had told her how much it meant to him to have her back in their lives; he also made it clear that he loved the relationship she had established with Stiles. He explained that his work was always going to create times that where he couldn’t be there and he couldn’t begin to say how much it meant that she was there for Stiles… and subsequently to keep him out of trouble.
Faith knew that her uncle wanted to probe further in to the years he had missed out on but could tell that he was avoiding the subject. She didn’t think for a minute that he had abandoned his curiosity; just that he was waiting for the right time – like father, like son.
She realised that Stiles had inherited his ‘bull shit detector’ from his dad as they had the same unwavering stare when something was amiss. Faith was content to stay quiet about everything just now; she was happy to finally be part of a real family and didn’t want to jeopardise that. She definitely didn’t want to worry her uncle, especially with things the way they were at the moment.
All that mattered right now was family and she would kill to protect that… literally.