DISCLAIMER: Listen up and Listen good, because I’m only saying this once! OC stuff, not mine. Buffy stuff, not mine.
SUMMARY: the OC/BtVS. Faith was taken from her family when she was ten. Now the Watchers Council is gone she’s free to go back, but it’s not that easy when over ten years have past and nothing’s the same as when you left.
RATING: PG-13 for language.
TIMELINE: Faith is aged 21 in this fic. That makes her 16 when she first arrived in Sunnydale (around the same age Buffy was when she was called). She was 10 when she was taken from her family, so they’ve been without her for about eleven years. Takes place after ‘the Blaze of Glory’ for the OC and goes AU (alternate universe) i.e. Trey will not show up. At least not for now, but I may change my mind later.
A/N: The final chapter, sorry it took so long to get up. Thanks to all the people who have read and reviewed this story. There isn’t a sequel planned for anytime in the near future, as far as I’m concerned the story is finished- there’s a new equilibrium as my old media professor used to say. Thanks again and enjoy the last chapter
Distant Elephants by Kiara
EPILOGUE- EVER AFTER.
“You know not to go outside, especially when we’re being targeted.” Buffy said gently to her sister as she dabbed the wound on her forehead.
Dawn winced as the antiseptic made contact with the cut. “I know, I didn’t think. I’m sorry for worrying you.”
“Hey, look who’s conscious!” Faith said as she came into the kitchen.
“I’m gonna go get a bandage. Will you be okay?”
“I’ll be fine Buffy.” Dawn said with a roll of her eyes.
“How’s the head?” Faith asked as Buffy left.
“Fine. Buffy’s overreacting as usual.”
“I am not!” Buffy’s voice wafted back down to the kitchen.
“So, I’m sorry.” Dawn said when she was sure Buffy was out of ear shot.
“What for?” Faith asked, genuinely surprised.
“I didn’t think. I promised you I wouldn’t get them into trouble and I knew we shouldn’t go outside, but I forgot. Buffy always says I should think more and not get in such stupid situations but-“
“D, you’re babbling!” Faith interrupted. “It’s not your fault anyway. I should have known that the vampires wouldn’t have given in that easily. Any time you want to look out for them is fine with me.”
Dawn laughed. “I think I’ll leave that to you. You’re pretty good with the big sister stuff.”
“Definitely. You’ll be irritating Seth and Ryan in no time.”
Faith smiled slightly. Dawn got up and gave her a quick hug. “I’m glad you’re happy.” She said.
“Yeah, me too.” Faith grinned at the youngest Scoob and went to find Buffy.
“I get it now.” Faith said from the doorway, knowing that the other slayer would have heard her approach.
Buffy briefly looked up in her search of the first aid box. “Get what?”
“Why you’re so hard on D. I just thought you were a stuck up, tight a… well, you know.”
“Is this going anywhere?”
Faith glared at her. “Do you mind? I’m trying to share here.”
“Sorry, continue.” Buffy said with a smirk. Faith was acting differently than she was used to, more human. It was a nice change.
Faith sighed and sat down on the edge of the bath. “Is it always like this?”
“With Dawn, yes. You may not have noticed but she’s a trouble magnet. I hear other kids manage to go whole weeks without risking their lives.”
“That’s comforting.” Faith returned dryly.
“Isn’t it though?” Buffy grinned, but took pity on the obvious worry on her friend’s face and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder before taking the bandages back to her own younger sibling. “You’ll do fine Faith.”
“So how’s the pool house?”
“It’s weird. You know, the only time I slept in that bed was with you.” Marissa looked at him, trying to gage his reaction.
Ryan looked up at Marissa. He didn’t break eye contact as he slowly inched his hand towards hers.
The light snapped on.
“Woah.” Marissa rubbed her eyes at the sudden increase in light.
Faith was standing in the doorway. “You guys are up early.”
“Hmm.” Ryan was still blinking.
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything.” She said with a smirk. She may have only been about for a week or so, but even she knew that between those two there was always something.
“No, it’s cool.” “It’s fine.”
Ryan cleared his throat. “So do you have any plans for today?”
“Kinda. Dad mentioned some pseudo charity non-yard sale or something like that. Apparently my return is now common knowledge so I’ve got no reason to hide in here.”
“Secrets don’t stay secrets very long around here.” Marissa said, smiling her thanks as Ryan handed her a bowl of cereal.
“He asked Seth and I to help out too.”
“Help out where?” Seth said as he came into the kitchen.
“Fake charity yard sale. Come on, I think we’re getting in the way.” Faith lowered her voice to a stage whisper so that Marissa couldn’t hear her final comment. She dragged Seth out of the kitchen before he could say anything leaving Ryan staring at Marissa in a slightly creepy way.
Faith lowered the box of streamers she was moving onto the table. She had steadily been ignoring the points and whispers all morning as people speculated as to who she was and where she had been. She’d overheard some of them talking, and what some of them were saying wasn’t exactly favorable but she mostly heard pity. Faith hated being pitied, always had and now was no exception. At least no one knew about the jail time- they probably wouldn’t have been quite so accepting of a former murderer.
Sandy, sensing his daughter’s discomfort, came over. “Why don’t you help Ryan and Seth take pictures of the lots?”
“Sure.” Faith nodded, glad to be out of the limelight.
She heard Seth fooling about before she even opened the door and smiled as she walked into the room. That was her
brother acting like an idiot.
“Alright ottoman, work with me; you’re sexy, get nasty, work with me! That’s it you’re a cougar, you’re a panther and you’re in the woods…”
She saw it coming as if in slow motion as Seth stepped backwards towards a table with a glass egg on it. He knocked it, the whole thing wobbled and the egg tipped off its stand towards the floor. Faith dove forwards and caught it millimetres before it would have hit the ground.
“What?” He said oblivious.
Ryan ran hit hand through his hair and shook his head. That was too close for comfort. “Nice reflexes.”
Faith grinned and shrugged. “What can I say, I work out.”
“Nice save.” Seth laughed. “That thing’s probably worth, like, a million dollars.”
“No, ten thousand.” Ryan said, reading the tag and setting it back on its stand. “It says it’s from Risky Business.”
“Really?” Seth raised the camera once more. “Hey dude, turn it the other way, it’s got a crack in it.”
“I hate to say I told you so, but those centre pieces and those table cloths- they clash, Taryn. I told you to get those linins with the hem stitch.” Sandy said, biting the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing out loud.
“I know, Sandy; I know.” Taryn folded up the old tablecloth, barely overcoming the urge to glare at him. He was being downright chirpy. It must be his daughter coming home, though she found that whole situation a little suspicious: girl gets kidnapped, returns home ten years later with no crazy mental problems? Something just wasn’t right with that.
“I’m sorry, but you have no one to blame but yourself.”
Kirsten laughed from behind him (another strange thing- Kirsten didn’t laugh like that for no good reason). “Who are you and what did you do with my husband?”
“Well if it isn’t our proud sponsor.”
“I brought the banner, how can I help?”
“Joan! Tell me you didn’t order those napkin rings. This is not a mob wedding!” Sandy called, much to his wife’s amusement.
“Gosh Sandy, I thought they were kinda fun.” Joan said, more than just a little perturbed by Sandy’s uncharacteristic behaviour.
“Uh who wants to help me hang the banner!”
“Ask Taryn. She’s screwing up the tablecloths, get her off
“Okay…” Kirsten said, giving her husband a strange look.
Sandy smiled at her, and it was returned. They both knew what people were saying, but for once Kirsten didn’t care. Their daughter was back where she belonged and life was good at the Cohen house. Long may it last.
“You know,” Sandy said as the Cohen’s (plus Marissa) went back home that evening; “I think that’s the first Newpsie Event that’s gone off without a hitch in a long time.”
“It’s the first one I’ve seen.” Ryan commented, smiling at Marissa.
“I think I miss the drama.” Marissa quipped.
Faith rolled her eyes at the two of them. She’d only been around a couple of weeks and even she could see that there was something there. On the other side of her Seth was doing much the same thing.
“Whatever.” Seth announced. “I’m wiped, I’ll see everyone in the morning.”
“Don’t forget Faith’s friends are coming over tomorrow before they leave.”
Seth raised a hand in acknowledgement as he went up the stairs.
Faith’s smile dimmed slightly. Tomorrow everyone was going back to Cleveland. Which meant that Xander would be going back to Cleveland. Which meant that tomorrow, he would be leaving her.
By living closer to her family, it meant being further away from her best friend and whatever else Xander had come to be to her over the course of this trip. And while she was glad to get to see her family for a while, she’d miss him more than she thought she would.
“Willow called me earlier.” Buffy said, knowing that Faith was already aware of her presence. They’d all arrived at the house to say goodbye and Buffy had immediately volunteered to go and fetch Faith who was talking with Seth in the garden.
“She did a scan of the area. There are no demons of any kind in Orange County.”
“None? Thank God.” Faith said, a weight lifted off her mind. That meant she didn’t have to worry about her family being out at night.
“She also said to wish you a happy Hanukkah.”
Faith frowned. “Hanukkah was three months ago.”
“I think she’s just happy to have another Jewish person about who quote, doesn’t worship Santa, unquote.” Buffy said with a grin.
“You know Jewish people? You should invite them to next years Chrismukkah; last year there were ratio issues.” Seth confided, listening shamelessly to their conversation.
“Yeah, a cross between Christmas and Hanukkah so you get the best of both worlds.”
“Cool.” Buffy agreed. “Anyway, we’re going back to the hellmouth. I have innocent minds that need warping.”
Faith laughed, a sound that was getting more and more frequent for those around her. “Okay B, thanks for coming.”
“No worries. You get in trouble, I bail you out. That’s how it’s done.” Buffy said with a grin.
“Yeah right, you fight like a girl.”
“And yet I can still kick your ass.”
Seth watched the interaction between the two in interest. In the few days that Buffy had been staying in Orange County, the Cohen’s had witnessed several of the friendly arguments between the two chosen slayers. Dawn had told them that it was down to the ‘alpha slayer’ thing, something that none of the other slayers would experience until Faith died and the next one was officially chosen.
He’d come to terms with the ‘demons are real’ thing now. It was verging on cool that his sister was a superhero, although when he’d said that she gone quiet and said: ‘yeah, that’s what I used to think too.’
“Join us whenever you want.” Buffy was saying.
“Thanks.” Faith said with a smile, although she wasn’t planning on moving back full time anytime soon.
“See you soon.”
To Faith’s surprise, Buffy gave her a quick one handed hug. All the Scoobs had know that she hadn’t been much with the contact so had never really initiated any. It seemed they could tell she’s changed.
They walked back to the house, so she could say goodbye to the others. Quick hugs were exchanged, Dawn made her promise to call. And then it came to Xander. Faith felt a lump building at the back of her throat which she forced back down.
“So thanks for everything, I couldn’t have done it without you.” She started awkwardly.
“You’re welcome.” He said with a grin.
Faith glared at him. He should be upset to be leaving her, dammit. “So what time are you leaving?”
“Now. I’ll drop the others off at the airport and be back in a couple of hours.” He said, still grinning.
“Drop off? You’re staying here?”
“Didn’t I tell you?” He said, the twinkle in his eye letting her know that he knew too well that she hadn’t known his plans. “Giles is reassigning me to overseeing the building of a Watchers base not to far from here.”
“Yeah, well if that’s okay with you.” He said a touch nervously.
“I guess.” Faith shrugged, grinning manically on the inside.
Xander raised one eyebrow. He could see right through her. “That’s sorted then.”
“I suppose so.”
He stepped forward to kiss her before he took off for the airport, but she stepped back.
“My parents are right there!”
He grinned at her, he couldn’t help it. He’d never thought Faith would be so proper. “Fine, plenty of time for that when I get back.”
She nodded. “Count on it.”
There was the Faith he knew. He gave her a quick kiss anyway, before hopping into the rental car and backing down the driveway.
Faith waved and laughed until the car was out of sight. Kirsten and Sandy immediately came up behind her. “Are you okay, sweetie?”
Faith nodded. “I’m fine.”
And this time she found she actually meant it.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far, away, there lived a beautiful princess who fell in love with a handsome prince. Things weren’t always easy for the prince and princess but they never stopped fighting side by side for what they believed in. They faced amazing odds but they refused to give in until they won their war. And they lived happily ever after.
The End. No Sequel.