Title: Another Freak in the Family
Disclaimer: I don’t own them.
Spoilers: Some minor spoilers for season seven of Buffy and I honestly don’t know about the Sentinel. (I might be totally screwing with Sentinel continuity, I’m not too well versed in it and I apologize in advance for any possible wrongness.)
Summary: Faith goes to meet her past.
AN: This is a songfic and the song used is “To the Moon and Back” by Savage Garden. I’m not really sure how I ended up writing this story from listening to that particular song...
She’s taking her time making up the reasons
To justify all the hurt inside
“Just sign this.”
She looked down at the small dotted line, it seemed such an insignificant thing, but suddenly it felt so difficult to do what she’d been told to. It wasn’t even such an important paper, most likely no one would ever find out whatever name she used. Just sign it, any name would do.
She’d tried using many names over the years. For awhile she’d taken to using her Watcher’s name, but after she was killed... Faith had not wanted to remember that and her name would have done nothing but remind her of the first person she’d met in a long time that had actually cared about Faith.
Then she’d gone by Faith Wilkins, but that was a Faith of the past and using that name now felt wrong as if she was trying to deny how much she’d changed since then. Besides she still cared for the Mayor, he’d been evil, but he’d been nice to her, he’d made her feel wanted, it would hurt too much to use that name.
Of course she could have used the name Willow had given her after Sunnydale was destroyed. The new identity the witch had created for her. A brand new Faith with no tarnished past. A new beginning, but that name had been nothing if not a reminder of what she’d been, of how everyone still saw her. Faith Winters, nothing but a darker and colder version of Buffy. The dark to her light, the bad to her good. No, that was not a name she wanted to use.
Why on earth did she have to sign something because she wanted to see someone at a police station? He was a detective there, not like she was wanting to see any criminals or anything like that. The metal detector she’d gotten, but what would they do with her name?
“Fine,” Faith said, not making any attempt at sounding polite.
Quickly she drew down a name she’d not used for a very long time.
Guess she knows from the smiles and the look in their eyes
Everyone’s got a theory about the bitter one
“No that’s all miss...” The desk clerk looked down at the paper she’d signed and her eyes widened in surprise. It really looked rather comical. “Ellison.”
So it seemed her old name was raising a few eyebrows. Not that surprising considering that she was there to see one Detective James Ellison. She could already see the woman behind the desk get that speculating look that told her she was trying to figure out who exactly Faith was.
Faith wondered how fast rumors traveled in this place. Would the news of her arrival precede her or would she actually manage to surprise people? Not that it really mattered much in the long run, but she did so take pleasure in shocking people. Had to take your fun where you could.
Faith ignored the woman and the directions she was trying to give. How hard could it be to find her way here?
They’re saying “Mama never loved her much”
And, “Daddy never keeps in touch
That’s why she shies away from human affection”
She stepped inside the room housing the Major Crimes division with her usual confidence. Not that confidence was really the word she’d use if she was being honest with herself, just as often as not it was all an act to hide what she really felt... but she wasn’t being honest with herself. Honesty was overrated. It hurt too much.
It took Faith no more than one glance to get an overall picture of the room. The first thing she noted was any possible escape routes, an ingrained habit and a useful one. She’d taken to doing that even before she became a Slayer. A nine year old runaway needed to know such things.
It took no longer to take in the people in the room and to recognize the one she was looking for. He could really be only one of them, even had she not seen a picture of him she would have recognized him.
Faith sauntered to his desk. As he looked up from whatever papers he was reading she smirked at him.
“Hello bro. It’s been awhile.”
But somewhere in a private place
She packs her bags for outer space
It was funny the way he just froze. He just stopped dead and stared at her. A rather cute looking guy with long hair hurried to him, put his hands on his shoulders and said something in a low voice, even with her better than normal hearing she could barely hear what he was saying.
It seemed what she had read about that dissertation fiasco... thing, while getting a bit of info on him hadn’t been fake after all. She’d wondered about that, she could still remember things from when she’d been a kid, like their father calling him a freak. Her Slayer senses were telling her she was facing something not quite normal, so the logical conclusion was that he really was a Sentinel.
That would make the cute looking guy his Shaman. It was surprising the things you bothered to do when you had some proper motivation. Faith had actually done some research on the whole Sentinel thing once she’d realized her brother might be one. It was easily done since all she really had to do was e-mail some questions to the new Watcher’s Council and the research people there would do the actual researching for her.
She concentrated on the cute guy. Definite supernatural vibes there, he really was a Shaman then. Faith had never personally met a Shaman before, but this one was definitely good, she didn’t mean his abilities, since she really didn’t know anything about that, but he was good. Good as in giving off all those vibes that spoke of light and kindness and all things not Faith.
And now she’s waiting for the right kind of pilot to come
And she’ll say to him
She caught herself before she was left staring at the Shaman. You didn’t see many people like that in this world, she wondered how much bad he could take before he lost that goodness in him. Maybe he was one that wouldn’t, after all if he was a cop, which just seemed off somehow, he must already have seen a lot of bad things.
Willow had had something of that quality when Faith first met her, but even then the redhead had already started to change. Faith had done her part in making the change faster and Willow had certainly changed. Faith found herself hoping that the Shaman would never have to change like that and not just because of the damage he might do if he ever went bad, but Willow had been one of a kind. It was not likely anyone else would go through what she had or achieve such power as the witch had.
Faith knew a lot of good people, but they all had darkness in them. Most of them had fought in their war too long not to have quite a lot of darkness in them. The Shaman was different though, whatever he’d gone through in his life hadn’t left him jaded or bitter or tainted by darkness like normal people would, like everyone did, even if only to a small degree. No, he was light.
Faith pushed away those thoughts. It was a little too much speculation based on nothing but the vibes she was getting from him, still she didn’t think she was wrong in any of it.
She looked back at her brother, who seemed to have unfrozen himself.
I would fly to the moon & back if you’ll be...
If you’ll be my baby
He had seemed to believe her when she’d simply answered ‘yes,’ it might have had something to do with him being a Sentinel or maybe not. Maybe you just knew your family no matter what... and that she knew was wishful thinking on her part and the sort of emotional crap she didn’t let herself indulge in.
Faith had been quite surprised by the hug she’d suddenly been enveloped in. What she remembered about her family was that they’d never been all that touchy feely and Jim certainly didn’t look like the touchy feely type. Then again she was his long lost sister and all...
She’d been introduced to the Shaman and found out his name was Blair Sandburg. Was it some sort of thing about being Jewish before you turned to magic? Willow had been Jewish before turning pagan. Faith supposed she herself should be called pagan too, she sure as hell wasn’t Christian or atheist.
Then before she really knew what was happening the three of them where having lunch in a nice, quiet little place. Faith had been a bit amused when Blair had given her brother advice on what sort of food to order, it wasn’t hard to notice that the Shaman had a thing for ‘healthy.’ The answers Jim had given indicated that they were quite comfortable with each other and that none of it was exactly new.
Faith had just ignored any attempted advice on what she should or shouldn’t eat and ordered exactly what she wanted. Slayer metabolism was a bit different from the normal, the reason why she always felt hungry after a fight. Always being horny after a fight had other reasons. It was good being a Slayer.
“I didn’t know Jim had a sister,” Blair said and Faith had a feeling he’d started the conversation simply because it didn’t seem as if either she or Jim would be doing it any time soon.
“We thought she was dead,” Jim answered in a low tone.
“I ran away when I was nine,” Faith shrugged. “And I’d say half sister really. Don’t know who my mother was.”
The running away had been a whim on her part really, she hadn’t liked it at home all that much, but she hadn’t had any plans on actually getting away, home was pretty much all she knew after all. She’d seen a kid on TV run away from home and decided then and there that she would do the same, she’d been gone by the night.
“What happened to you Faith?”
Faith shrugged, she wasn’t one to dwell on the past. It wasn’t as if she could change any of it and it was far less painful just to try to focus on the future. She’d however known that if she did go see her brother her past would inevitably be dredged up, but she’d been willing to pay that price. What she hadn’t expected was the pain she could hear in the voice of her favorite relative and she didn’t know if she could deal with that, with the fact that if she did tell him about her life she would hurt him.
“It’s a long story bro,” Faith sighed. A long story and a lot of it she wasn’t sure if she should or could tell him, even with him being a Sentinel she doubted he was aware of all the things that went bump in the night, but more importantly he was a cop and Faith didn’t know how he’d take some of the things she’d done. “I’ll give you the short version. I ran, got picked up a year later by someone, lived with her for five years, ‘till she died, ran, met some potential friends, did some crappy stuff to them, ran, then did some more crappy stuff to them, ran, did some more crappy stuff to other potential friends, ran... There was a lot of running.”
“I take it you stopped running?” Blair asked.
“Someone made me stop and think and believe me I had time to do a lot of thinking.”
Got a ticket for a world where we belong
So would you be my baby?
The rest of the lunch had been spent talking about less serious things. Well most of the talking had been done by Blair, but Faith hadn’t minded. It had given her time to regroup. She knew it was just a momentary reprieve, that was if she wanted to see her brother again. She just knew Jim wouldn’t let it go before he got some answers.
Faith parted with them outside the diner, with a promise that she would see them at their loft later, after their shift had ended.
Then Faith went looking for a fight. Any fight, human or demon, it wouldn’t matter as long as she got to beat the hell out of something. That was the way she dealt with her emotions, beat the hell out of meditation violence did.
She can’t remember a time when she felt needed
If love was red then she was color blind
She didn’t even have time to knock on the door before Blair opened it. She almost hadn’t come at all, not because she didn’t want to see her brother, but because she was afraid of what would happen. Afraid of getting hurt.
Faith tried to remember the last time she’d heard anyone invite someone inside. Well unless it had been a very deliberate invite to a particular vampire.
“Just a hint, if you don’t want people to start suspecting something you might want to let them knock before opening.”
Faith noticed the look that passed between the two men and pretended not to.
She sat down on the couch and accepted the offer of tea Blair made. After Blair went to make the tea she was left alone with her brother, probably why the Shaman had offered it.
There was an uncomfortable silence as Faith lounged in the couch and Jim stood in front of the window watching her.
“You’re just dying to know about my life, aren’t you? It’s not that easy bro, it’s been so long. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. Don’t tell me you were just going to reveal all your secrets to me.”
Inwardly Faith cringed at the look of guilt that passed over her brother’s face. Make him feel guilty for not revealing the secrets you already know and he might let you keep yours, it was a good plan except for the fact that it made her feel guilty as all hell.
“I guess we don’t know each other anymore, but I’d be willing to work on that.”
And what would happen when he did get to know Faith? Vampire Slayer, murderer, escaped convict... Probably not the things he was looking for in a sister.
All her friends they’ve been tried for treason
And crimes that were never defined
It wasn’t as if she’d met someone who could accept all those things. Not in the long run. They had forgiven her, but after the battle was done...
No, in the long run they simply couldn’t accept how much she’d changed and how much she hadn’t. They expected her to act different because she was one of the god guys. She was still Faith and refused to be some copy of Buffy, the picture of what a good Slayer should be like.
What a joke.
She felt betrayed. Betrayed because they couldn’t accept her for what she was and she hadn’t even really expected them to. Not after everything she’d done to them, not when they had never truly had time to become friends in the first place.
Hat was why Faith preferred to stay away from Council HQ. She still kept in contact and got her assignments from there, but she never went there. Thankfully she didn’t need to. It was much easier to just stay away.
She’s saying, “Love is like a barren place,
And reaching out for human faith
Is like a journey I just don’t have a map for”
“I’m sorry Jimmy,” Faith whispered and then she was gone.
She didn’t bother with the elevator, didn’t even think of using it as she ran down the stairs. She didn’t stop before she was out of the building.
No one was following her. She didn’t know if she should be grateful or hurt. He might still follow her, she knew, but now that she was out she’d calmed down a bit.
She couldn’t just leave, her brother deserved something.
So baby’s gonna take a dive and
Push the shift to overdrive
“I shouldn’t have come,” Faith said, hoping that Jim was listening. “I just managed to hurt us both. I should have let the past stay the past.”
Faith started walking away. She’d go find some demons to beat and then she’d head out of Cascade.
“It’s better like this bro.”
Send a signal that she’s hanging
All her hopes on the stars
This was better, Faith told herself as she walked away. He was better off not knowing what his sister had become. Most of all she didn’t think she could handle it if he rejected her.
Coward, a part of her mind screamed. You’re running again.
Faith stopped. She knew she was running, she’d run from the Scoobies once the final battle was done and now she was running from her brother.
There was a moment of clarity and Faith could see her life in front of her. She’d just keep on running until some demon finally got lucky. Was that really what she wanted from her life?
What a pleasant dream
If she stopped now... well somewhere along the line a demon would still get lucky, but maybe she wouldn’t need to be alone. Maybe Jim would accept what she was...
“Tell your Shaman to find out about Slayers and you look up Faith Wilkins,” she said without looking back toward the building she’d left such a short while ago.
And if he didn’t accept her... well she wouldn’t be there to see it. It was up to him now, if he’d even heard her. If he ever wanted to see her again he would find her, she was sure of that.
Now she could run and maybe that tiny bit of hope she felt would make sure that the demons wouldn’t find themselves all that lucky for awhile yet.
I would fly to the moon & back if you’ll be...
If you’ll be my baby
Faith looked at her childhood home. She wasn’t really sure why she’d come here, her ride out of Cascade would be leaving soon, but she’d felt like she needed to see this. Faith wasn’t however feeling much of anything as she watched the house, not anger or bitterness or regret... nothing really.
“Another freak in the family,” Faith said as she turned away. “Dad would be so proud if he knew.”
Got a ticket for a world where we belong
So would you be my baby?