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Searching for Hope

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Summary: Set years into the future (AU). Faith finally comes clean and tells Xander that they had a daughter. What happens when that daughter ends up beeing one of the 4400 returnees. Response to Challenge #879 (Buffy/The4400)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > 4400, TheOnBrokenWingsFR1826,510073,41519 Jun 0511 Jul 05No

Searching for Hope

Author: OnBrokenWings
Title: Searching for Hope
Rating: FR18
Author e-mail: mystic_moon_21@yahoo.com
Disclaimer: I own nothing of Buffy or The 4400. The lyrics to “Hear You Me” don’t belong to me. The belong to Jimmy Eat World.
A/N: This is for the msot part for Buffy a compeltely AU universe. I’m not going to give too much away....all you do need to know is that Faith never went evil. I think the other pieces will fall into place. :) The lyrics don’t fit entirely perfectly, but they inspired me, so I couldn’t not include them. Italics are writing, asterisks (*) are flashbacks, and bold are sing lyrics.

Faith POV

It’s funny how things work out. A lot of things I wouldn’t have guessed. But mostly it’s this ending I wouldn’t have guessed. It’s a very un-Slayer like death. But I guess in the end, they were right, Slayers are just human.

And sometimes the endings, make you think about the beginnings. I’ve been doing a lot fo thinking about beginnings. My life as a child, with my mom, all screwed up. The rush I got jumping off of rocks at the quarry. The rush I got always looking death in the eye and daring it to come get me, even when I was too young to understand. Finding out I was a Slayer. Finally having something to do with my energy, with my constant challenge of death. But I guess it doesn’t matter if you challenge death, or how often. In the end you just have to look it in the eyes and be brave. Because death comes for everybody.

I’ve been remembering all the beginnings of new phases in my life. Finding out I was sick, being a mother, Sunnydale. Sunnydale, my life changed in Sunnydale. I fell in love there, I got pregnant there. I broke both of our hearts when I left. And I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life, not telling him. Now we both have to deal with the tragedy. And hopefully it’s not too late.

I looked down at the blank piece of paper in front of me, in my hospital room. It remained blank: white, pristine, perfect, unblemished. I almost didn’t want to write anything, wanted to just mail it to him like this, untouched, perfect. An apology for taking it all away for him and trying to give it back too late. An apology for stealing our happy ending, for stealing our perfectness. But like us, this paper too would become dirty, marked, imperfect, filled with unsaid things, instead of sent blank as yet another void to suck them into.

[i]Dear Xander,[/i] I wrote down. It was at least someplace to start trying to explain all of this to him. And all I was gonna get was once chance, there wouldn’t be any time for do-overs. I’d always put off talking to him, figuring I had the time. Well time was something I wasn’t sure I’d have anymore.

Xander and I’s beginning had been more of a one night stand thing than anything else. I refused to let it be more. I wouldn’t open up. But we both kept coming back for more.

I remember feeling hopeless and alone, one night after my watcher had been killed. I wandered the streets, feeling like I had nowhere to go. And feeling stupid because I couldn’t stop thinking about him, about going to him...and for once not drowning my sorrows by sleeping with him. I wanted to just crawl into his lap and cry.

*I fought with myself for hours, as I wandered the deserted streets of Sunnydale. I felt pathetic. I was a mess. My watcher had died. Been killed because I’d been too slow. It was my fault....

I didn’t want to care.

I didn’t want to cry.

The want to cry made me angry because I knew for a fact that I was stronger than this. I was above tears. I didn’t get involved with people after leaving my mom behind. There was rarely a need for it. So there was rarely a need for tears.

But Kelsey had been different. She had been British, and annoying, and a bit of a stick in the mud, but she had pushed me, challenged me, even made me laugh. And most importantly she had believed in me, even when I felt like a lost cause.

And now she was dead. All that beveling in me she’d done and I’d still proven to be a second rate Slayer.

Believing in people other than yourself was useless. People always fall. They always let you down.

My feet carried me on a path of their own making until I found myself crouched down next to a basement window of the only other person I felt truly believed in me. I was shocked at where I stood, but I had been thinking about him all night.

I looked through the glass of the window, at him, Xander, my....fling....maybe more. He was up. He was watching tv. Some late show. He was laughing at something that they’d said. He was happy. Normally I’d interrupt and make him happier, but tonight, I knew things were different. And I didn’t want to knock, I didn’t want to pull him away from the quiet moment to laugh that he’d found.

Then again, I wasn’t supposed to care about things like that. I wasn’t supposed to care about people. Ask anybody. They’d agree.

I finally knocked, but softly, softer than even I would’ve ever guessed I was capable of knocking. I did it that way because I hoped he wouldn’t hear me. That I could stand up, feeling let down, rejected, angry. That I could walk away and outrun, outfight, out drink, whatever my emotional outburst. And then I could wake up tomorrow, hurt, jaded, and bitter. Things made sense that way.

After a few moments I began to execute that plan as I stood and turned, beginning to walk away. I wanted to run, until everything in my body burned, screamed for mercy with the effort of it. Then I wanted to find somewhere to sleep, I’d be exhausted. But I knew that there wasn’t far enough to run for me to forget. And I knew I had nowhere to go. I had nowhere to sleep, except for the place that I’d once shared with Kelsey. And it had her imprint. I couldn’t face it.

I was pathetic.

I wanted to be angry and bitter, but all I felt was sad. A deep, spreading sadness. One I knew I couldn’t fight no matter how hard I fought, or how far I ran, but I was going to try.

Or I was until I heard the door creak open. And I couldn’t resist the urge to turn around. There he was. The man I couldn’t admit had my heart, who had tried to tell me that I had his.

“Faith,” he said, a little unsure if this was all for real, showing up and ditching before we were together wasn’t my usual and we both knew it. But tonight wasn’t usual.

I stood silent, like a deer caught in the headlights for a few more moments before his gentle, caring, concerned features broke me. Snapped me like a twig for all my strength and bravado. I felt the tears begin to fall. And I had no words. I didn’t really do words, never really have. My feet began to carry me again, on their own accord, I was running. Running right for him. The tears were making my vision blurry.

My body collided with his suddenly as I through myself into his arms. He didn’t understand, but he quickly held me, not missing a beat. “What...” he started to ask the question, but words were already flowing from mine. I didn’t have eloquent words, I didn’t have in depth feeling words, but what I had was enough. “She’s dead,” I whispered and he knew immediately, tightening his grip on me and taking me into his basement.*

Writing the letter had passed quicker than I thought. I just hoped he simply understood my words now, like he had then, and other times in the past. After all, like I said, I’m not really good with them.

[b]There's no one in town I know
You gave us some place to go.
I never said thank you for that.
I thought I might get one more chance.[/b]

Xander POV

Today was a day like any other. Single, 37, watching everyone around me lead the life I’d wanted. The house, the wife, the family. They never understood why I never recovered from Faith leaving me. It never made sense to them.

Hell, it wouldn’t make sense to me, if I hadn’t lived it. They were right, from all appearances we were nothing but physical, no deep connection. But that was all it was, appearances. When other people weren’t looking, there was more. Sure she mouthed off, she had walls, we danced around issues, we used sex as an excuse not to talk, even when there was a problem, but all couples do that....fall back on what works.

And then one day she was gone. Just like that. Poof...gone, disappeared, no longer there. We looked for her, thinking it might be something Slayer related, maybe something evil had gotten her. But eventually they gave up. She had run away, plain and simple. And she had broken my heart.

We speculated that maybe she was dead. At times I almost hoped she was because then she hadn’t left me. She just simply didn’t have the choice. But we knew she wasn’t dead because another Slayer hadn’t been activated. Not until she would’ve turned thirty. Which could’ve meant she was alive and well and living out the rest of her life, or that she could no longer fight the good fight.

The council had changed their rules about calling the next Slayer. After all it seemed like with all of our help, Buffy would never die young like the other Slayers did. And they couldn’t deprive her of an adult life they had finally decided. A pregnant woman, or an 80 year old could no longer slay, it would be ridiculous.

But even that ate me up inside. Again I wanted her to have died tragically while saving the world than still be alive. It was a selfish thought. But I liked thinking of her as the fallen warrior who had great reasons for leaving better than I did the girl who had run away, moved on, started a family, a life without me....the one thing that I couldn’t do in return.

It was that time of the day, time to check the mail. I always held this sick hope that finally, if she was alive, the silence would be broken, I’d hear from her. A letter, a phone call, her showing up on my doorstep. But in 16 years it hadn’t happened, so I wasn’t holding my breath.

Bill, bill, junk mail, coupons, letter from Faith, bill, junk mail....wait...what? I shifted back a few pieces of mail and froze. Her name written across the top, but with no return address. No way to find her. I went inside and sat down, ripping the letter open. And God help me, now that it had finally come, I was bitter.

[i]Dear Xander,[/i] I read. How impersonal. I don’t know what I was expecting, but some letter that seemed like a dear john letter, wasn’t it. I was curious. I wanted to know what she had to say, why she wrote now. But suddenly I couldn’t read it, consumed by mostly inexplicable anger.

I laid the letter on the table, knowing I would read it later, but not now.

[b]What would you think of me now,
so lucky, so strong, so proud?[/b]

Faith POV
I wondered if the letter had gotten to Xander yet, if he’d even read it. But I had to imagine he had, or he would, if it wasn’t there yet. I had to stay hopeful. I had to do the one thing I’d never done, never believed in...trust in the fairy tale ending.

He would get it, he might be mad, sad, so many things. All the things I felt writing it. It had taken all my strength to try and write that letter, to try and use words that felt foreign to me....eloquent words, to try and say something worth substance. But I had to believe that despite all of those emotions, he would read it, just like I had written it.

If nothing else he had to know that he had a daughter. If he didn’t understand anything else, he had to understand that. And hopefully he’d rise to the occasion, and not give up on her, not leave her alone. He had to keep searching for Hope.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was scared, I freaked out, I ran. I ran away from commitment, from everything, or so I thought. But just like when my watcher died, I couldn’t run from myself. I couldn’t outrun or fight being pregnant. And in the end it had been the best thing that had happened to me.

[b]I never said thank you for that,
now I'll never have a chance.
May angels lead you in.[/b]

Xander POV

How come sometimes something you’re trying to avoid, trying to pretend doesn’t exist, is the only thing you can think of? Like I said, there is no letter. Nope nothing down on the dining room table, absolutely nothing. I should be sleeping, but instead I’m thinking about that nothing on the dining room table.

Damn it. Damn the letter. Damn her. It’s not like she could possibly have anything important to say after all this time....right?

But I knew better. I knew her better. I knew me better, for all my bravado, I didn’t hate her. I never could. And before I knew what I was doing I was out of bed and on my way to read this non-existent letter.

I picked it up again, rereading the opening, that made me cringe and smile. After all she had written, she remembered my name.

[i]Dear Xander,

I’m not sure how to say this. I don’t think there’s a good way. And I’m not good at saying thigns anyway.[/i]

I laughed softly, didn’t I know it. For two years I think I only heard ‘I love you’ as many times. Not that she didn’t feel it, I felt her feel it, express it. She just couldn’t say it.

[i]You might wanna sit...[/i]

I did, sat right down on my couch. Knowing that this letter would change everything.

[i]I guess I should start from the beginning. Or well not the beginning, beginning...the beginning of our time apart. Hindsight’s 20/20, right?[/i]

I could almost hear her nervous chuckle, her awkward pause, the silence weighing in on me.

[i]It’s probably not worth much now, but I’m sorry. For leaving, for staying away, for holding out on the truth for so long.

I left because I was scared. I know, bad excuse. But I was. I was more scared than I’d ever been scared of anything. I ran from it, but like usual, realized running didn’t make it go away. I was afraid of getting in too deep. I was afraid of what you’d say if I told you.

I was pregnant when I left. And that’s why I stayed quiet so long. I couldn’t face what I’d done to you with it all. She’s 16, her name’s Hope. Long story, short. There’s a picture in the envelope.[/i]

I stared blankly at the paper. I had a daughter. A real life, living, breathing, of the flesh daughter....for 16 years and I hadn’t known.

Why hadn’t she told me? And if she never intended to, which sounds like her meaning, why was she telling me now? So many questions, I wanted to track her down and demand answers. The next part of the letter pretty much told me, I was lucky if I had the chance.

[i]So, another long story, short. You’re probably wondering why I’m writing now....

Hope needs you. I’ve only got days left, if even...I have cancer. And Hope, she’s missing. Gone. You can’t give up looking for her. She’s probably in danger. You know, like mother, like daughter.[/i]

I could almost see the smirk on her lips with her last sentence. I should congratulate her on her delivery of a bomb shell.

[i]Please, don’t give up on her. Even if you hate me, at least find her. It’s too late in coming, but I’m sorry...and I love you...I always have.

Love,
Faith[/i]

I was shell shocked, what was I supposed to do. I opened the envelope, pulling ut two pieces of paper. One the picture she had promised and one with the hospital’s address.

I stared at the picture. She was beautiful. She had a smile like mine. And she had my eyes. She had her mother’s nose and long wavy brown hair. And she had that guarded aura that Faith always held. She was perfect. It was like holding a baby in your arms for the first time and falling in love with it. This was our daughter. And she had to know I wouldn’t let her stay lost.

[b]Hear you me my friends.
On sleepless roads the sleepless go.
May angels lead you in.
So what would you think of me now,
so lucky, so strong, so proud?[/b]

Faith POV

I closed my eyes tightly. The pain was growing. I was trying to hold on. For Hope. All for her. I knew I couldn’t die and leave her alone and scared wherever she was. I don’t know how it happened....how does a parent just lose their daughter?

I would’ve thought runaway, but we were both in the house. And nothing was missing, not a thing. The window wasn’t open, money, bags, clothes, not a single thing. It was like she had vanished into thin air.

*”I’ll be right back, mom,” Hope had said to her mom when the movie was over. They were having a mother daughter night and she was thinking that now would be a good time to play cards. She would like that. It was fun. And on their nights, her mother rarely argued.

She trotted down the hall to her room quickly and looked over her shoulder to see her mother smiling. She gave her a one second gesture and winked as she disappeared around the corner.

I heard her sifting through drawers, moving things around. I knew what she was looking for, the cards. She was trying to remember where she last had them. I could almost see her bouncing around her room in anticipation as she looked for them.

Hope grinned as she pulled the deck of cards out of the back of her desk drawer. And then it felt funny, the air did or something. She wasn’t sure, but it made her bristle. And then she was blinded by a light.

I heard the cards scatter across the floor, splaying in every direction and I got up from the couch and moved quickly towards the door to see if she was okay. But when I got there, her desk drawer was open, the cards were spread across the floor. And she was gone. Completely gone.

I looked down at the cards again and the Queen of Hearts stared up at me mockingly.*

I’d never felt anything like what I felt that day before. And I hadn’t felt it since. I was starting to believe I never would.

And then I felt something else. I don’t know how, but I knew I had nothing to worry about, that Xander would take care of Hope.

“Thank you,” I whispered softly, knowing I’d never actually be able to say it to him.

[b]I never said thank you for that,
now I'll never have a chance.
May angels lead you in. [/b]

Xander POV

I had gotten into my car and started driving almost immediately after studying the picture. I was going to San Francisco. That’s where Faith was in the hospital. I had to see her one last time. Tell her all the things that I hadn’t been able to say in her absence.

Part of me was mad, but I could be mad later. I had to give us closure. I could be angry with her later. She had to know that I wasn’t going to give up on our daughter. Ever. Just like I’d never given up hope that one day she would talk to me.

My words wouldn’t be bitter or hateful when we spoke. I could live without answers to all of my questions. I just had to let her pass peacefully, knowing someone cared about her and Hope.

I drove all night, until the early hours of the morning, hoping that I would make it in time, praying that I could tell her that. That she could finally rest peacefully after years of worry. I would hate her later. I would be angry when she died.

[b]Hear you me my friends.
On sleepless roads the sleepless go.
May angels lead you in.
May angels lead you in.
May angels lead you in.
And if you were with me tonight,
I'd sing to you just one more time.
A song for a heart so big,
god wouldn't let it live.[/b]

Faith POV

I fought to keep my eyes open. The pain was blinding. I could hardly move because of it. I knew I was blanking because my eyes kept trying to close. I was struggling to breath. But I knew I couldn’t give up now. I just felt that something huge was about to happen.

What? I didn’t know, but something huge. Something big. Something I’d been waiting for. It was on the verge of happening and I had this sinking suspicion that I was going to miss it. I was going to miss it all, the turning point.

I closed my eyes, but struggled to stay conscious. I continued to think about anything I could, concentrating on breathing, so that I wouldn’t miss it.

And then I felt it. That thing in the air again. That had made my skin bristle. I smiled slightly, believing that that was what I was supposed to wait for.

[b]May angels lead you in.
Hear you me my friends.
On sleepless roads the sleepless go.[/b]

I felt the tingle, the bristling, the feeling grow. And that’s when I knew I could do it. I could truly close my eyes, give in, give up. She had to be back. I took in one last breath and let it out, feeling myself slip away.

[b]May angels lead you in.
May angels lead you in.[/b]

Xander POV

I was getting out of te car when I saw it. A bright light. It seemed to go right over the hospital, hurtling for something else. One too many years as part of The Scoobie Gang had my senses alert. But I had other things I needed to do now.

I climbed the steps, and eventually found my way to her room, Faith’s room. The doctors were gathered around her. They were unplugging the machines, removing the tubes. And my heart stopped. They gave me a apologetic glance, and nodded without any words being spoken. I knew that I’d been too late, that she had died.

Now I could be angry.

[b]Hear you me my friends.
On sleepless roads the sleepless go.
May angels lead you in.[/b]

Hope POV

It happened all too fast. One second we were moving. So fast you almost couldn’t even feel it, but you knew it. And then we stopped. It made your body feel like it should turn in on itself. The halt that we came to.

Without warning we were no longer warm, inside wherever we had been. We were cold. On the banks of some river, god knows where.

I didn’t even know what to think. We couldn’t really finally be home could we? And home from where?

[b]May angels lead you in.[/b]
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