Past Redemption - Episode 1

Stephens Place Logo

Title: Past Redemption - Episode 1
Author: Kathryn Merteuil
Disclaimer : The characters used are owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, WB, Fox and probably some other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Copyright : All parts not copyright to another entity (see disclaimer) -- including content, presentation and xHTML -- are copyright Kathryn Merteuil © 2000.
Spoilers : Buffy and Angel episodes from Late S3 Buffy onwards.
Notes :

16 years after "Sanctuary" Faith reflects on her life and faces her situation.

Many thanks to Sean for initial proof reading and suggestions

Feedback : Yes please.
Rating : PG-13, for now. Later installments may get higher ratings.

Faith stared at the wall. Plain and institutional, the color was probably selected by some psychologist to promote calmness and docility. From outside she could hear the tick of the clock and the clicks of the guards heels marking off the seconds, minutes, hours until Faiths mind instinctively flinched away.

She got up from her bench like bed – like she’d be sleeping! -- and slowly began the Tai Chi exercises she’d learned during her long stay. There wasn’t much space, but over the years she had learned to moderate her movements to make maximum use of the little space available. The concentration of the movements helped balance her mind, helped her stay in control, helped her keep the screaming within her from taking over.

Her routine complete Faith sat down and cast her mind back. Back to another time. Back to a time nearly 20 years ago. She had been a girl of 15 then. Still living with her mother, the woman who would never let Faith forget how bearing her had cost her figure and ruined her future. Her mother who spent more time drunk or high than sober, whose idea of caring was to give Faith some money to buy food, oh and a bottle of vodka. Her mother who had screamed "Whore" at Faith when she didn’t come home one night, who told her that she couldn’t have a pet. When she adopted a stray, the mother who drowned it in the sink whilst holding Faith by the neck and making her watch the whole process until the dog, hardly more than a puppy, stopped moving. The mother who died in a cold deserted room, with a needle in her arm.

Then Faiths thoughts turned to the woman who was more of a mother to her than anyone else. The woman who took her out of the slum squat she was living in. The woman who spoke softly and helped her face the world. The woman who told her that whilst there was evil in the world there was also good, that she could make a difference, that she was someone. The woman who gave her nice clothes, even if they sometimes disagreed on styles, and trained her in attack and defence. the woman who taught her that she need not fear. The woman who was torn from her by the ancient vampire Kakistos. The woman who died with Faiths name on her lips. Who died so that Faith could escape to live

Faith had run, run far away. But Kakistos had followed, never more than a step behind. Eventually Faith had reached Sunnydale, and Buffy. Together they had fought and killed Kakistos, Faith had struck the fatal blow and seen her fear dissolve into fine dust.

For a while things had been great, Buffy had been great. Faith had felt her barriers begin to dissolve. Then Mrs Post had arrived. Claiming to be a watcher, the woman had manipulated everyone to her own ends. The barriers returned, the fear of betrayal returned. Faith felt lost, lost from herself and in herself.

Then one night she had swung her stake and hit the wrong target. She had changed from slayer to killer, had taken a human life. That night something inside of her died. The stench in her soul had choked her. Faith wanted to run, would have run. She’d made it to the docks, but Buffy had pulled her back and she saved Buffy from Mr Trick. That night she’d gone to the Mayor, why? Faith had turned to the black hats and become the blackest hat. Even after all these years she still didn’t know why.

The Mayor had given her everything, true. He had given her an apartment, a playstation, comic books, clothes and love. Maybe it was faked. Maybe he had played her for the fool she thought she was. But it had felt real. He had stinted her nothing. Even when he snapped at her she knew it was out of love. He never made her feel anything but good about herself. He lavished her with affection. She loved him more than she ever could her father, even if she had known that two-bit loser. Sure that Mayor had the resources to feed her body but he also had the resources to feed her soul, to make her feel wanted, needed, important, and she had gone over the edge. Turning on Buffy and the Scoobies, killing again, befriending those she was trained to slay.

Then the final showdown. The Mayor had wanted Buffy and Angel out of the way. Faith had come through with the method and the execution. Little did she know how far that would push Buffy, push her to the final titanic clash. The fight had taken all her strength, ending with Faith tumbling into a coma.

Even comatose Faith had had no rest. Her personal demons taking form and shattering any peace in her dreams. All to often those demons wore Buffys face.

When she awoke from the personal hell of her mind the world had gone on. In 8 short months people had changed, moved on. Faith had not. She fought Buffy on the UC Sunnydale campus and it was as if they had not even broken stride. The video from the Mayor had troubled her. She still loved him, perhaps more now it seemed that he had honestly loved her, had thought about her survival in case of his failure. His faith had never wavered.

Holding Joyce captive waiting for Buffy she had acted with bravado she had not felt inside. She actually liked Joyce, if only her own mother had had the faith in Faith that Joyce had in Buffy? Joyce never doubted that Buffy would do what’s best, could do what she needed. Faith had been reminded of another woman two years previously, a woman taken from her by the filth she had sworn to eradicate.

A fight and a magical device later and Faith was in Buffys body, pretending to be Buffy. She had planned to skip town, to get away and start anew. Be someone else, be someone who didn’t have her baggage. But she couldn’t. The first thing to go was her intention to be someone else. Faith couldn’t resist taking her new body out for a spin at the Bronze. She slipped into her old ways without even thinking. Brought back a little when she realised just how much Willow had moved on. Part of her was surprised, but then she thought "Good luck to ‘em!", a little of Buffy mingling with Faith. When she rescued the girl from the vampire attack she was shocked at her reaction. Being thanked? That hadn’t happened before! It felt Great. Memories of past feelings, of a woman who cared, returned. The old Faith quickly took over however. Her seduction of Riley was pure malice. However even that back fired when he seemed to care, guys don’t do that, "Get some, Get Gone". The walls of Faiths mind started to crack.

The cracks opened at the airport. She saw the news program about vampires about to kill a church full of people and before she knew what she was doing she was rushing to save them. Rushing to be Buffy.

Killing vamps again felt good. Doing her job. Until she lay helpless before the last vamp, who suddenly dissolved before her eyes to reveal the last face she wanted to see. Her own. Faith leapt to the attack, pounding the worthless person before her and shrieking her hatred of the body that had caused such pain to everyone around her. hating her, hating what she had become. But a quick spell later she was back in that body. She bolted.

On reaching LA she felt back in control, or at least that’s what she fooled herself into believing. She was Faith, uber chick, lone wolf. She could kill anyone, torture anyone, blame anyone but herself. But in the final analysis she knew where the blame lay. Standing in the rain begging Angel to just kill her, Faith was naked to the world. She had looked in a mirror and seen the face of evil. "I want to die. I deserve to die. I need to die", her body wanted to follow what passed for her human soul.

But she had lived. Angel had taken her in. Cared for her and loved her, in his own way risking his own life. he had finally ended his relationship with Buffy, because of Faith. Wesley had betrayed his calling as a watcher for the woman who a day earlier had tortured him, for Faith. Buffy, the person who had the most reason to hate her, who had suffered most at her hands, risked her life, for Faith.

Faith reeled. What had she done to deserve this? Nothing. She had earned hatred, revulsion and death but they were offering her a life. Faith took one look at her life and felt dirty. For the past two years she had blamed her watcher for dying, blamed Kakistos for killing her, blamed Buffy for having a family and friends, blamed the Mayor for failing, blamed the father she never knew for leaving her with the mother she wished she didn't but never blamed herself.

Faith finally took responsibility for herself. She didn’t know how to make amends but she knew a first step. Finding her way to the police station she told Detective Kate Lockley "I’d like to make a confession".

"Faith", the guard stepped into view and brought her back to reality, "She’s here.".

To Be Continued