Willow's Child

I Need You

Disclaimer:I own nothing, except Sophie.

AN: Warning, this chapter contains mild references to child abuse, and some swearing.

Buffy's eyes gave a quick scan of the room, confirming Dawn's observation that the Dark slayer was indeed absent. She slapped a hand to her forehead, knowing exactly what the problem was. Happiness had always been a Faith repellent.

"I better go look for her" said Buffy, pulling away from Willow's hug and bolting out the door.

"Um.. Should we help her?" Tara asked.

"No" said Xander. "With anything Faith-related, it's best to just let Buffy deal with it. They've got that whole slayer bond thing going on."

"Okay then. Well, I was in the kitchen for awhile, so I made some pancakes" Tara smiled, turning to Willow. "I didn't know if you wanted funny shapes or rounds, so I made both since it's your birthday."

"Great, Tara-pancakes!" Dawn cried, happily skipping into the kitchen. "I know Willow's not the only one who's missed those!" Xander, Andrew, and Giles followed, Andrew pouting a little.

"No-one gets that excited when I cook something."

"Well, you never came back from the dead after four years" said Xander. After the three men had left the room, Sophie asked her mother's:

"Did Auntie Faith run away 'cause she doesn't wants Auntie Buffy to know that she loves her like you loves each other?"

Sprinting outside, Buffy only just managed to stop herself from falling off the front porch. She had half expected that she would have to chase the motorbike down the street, so she was surprised to find Faith, her cheeks stained with tears, leaning against the bike and clutching a helmet, as if she had not quite decided what she was going to do. As Buffy approached, the Dark slayer spoke without looking up.

"Little Red hit the parental jackpot, hey B? Just turned up out of the blue, and Red loved her, even before she knew the kid was hers. Blondie in there turns up and loves her just as much. My Mom had nine months to get used to the fact that I was comin' along, and she still didn't want me. And why should she? After all, it's my fault her life was shit. It was my fault we could never afford anythin'. It was my fault if my Mom's boyfriend tried to touch me, I was probably leadin' him on. Know how old I was when she told me that? I was eight. Eight fuckin' years old, B!"

"Oh, Faith.." said Buffy reaching out to place a comforting hand on Faith's shoulder, but was shrugged off.

"My Grandma was the only one who cared 'bout me. Used to sing to me when I had nightmares. She died babysittin' me when I was five cause I never got taught to call an ambulance. First my Grammy, then my Watcher, then The Mayor. Everyone who cares about me always ends up dyin'. I'm better off on my own. No-one really wants me around anyway."

"That's not true. I want you around, Faith."

"I know ya do, and that's the problem" said Faith, finally looking up. "No-one's ever cared enough to make it hard for me to leave before, B, I've never cared enough. But you, you and the Scoobs.. You make leavin' hurt, B"

"Then stay" said Buffy taking a step closer to the younger slayer.

"Whoa there, B" said Faith, feeling a little flustered. "I don't think you should.." She tried to take a step back, but the bike stopped her.

"Sophie got it right in that drawing, Faith. You're a part of our family" she stepped closer again, so that their bodies were almost touching. "You belong here, with us.. with me. When you leave it hurts me just as much as it hurts you, and I don't think I realised why until just now. I don't just want you around, I need you around. I need you, Faith." Before the Dark slayer could respond, she felt Buffy's lips meet hers, initiating a passionate kiss, which Faith found herself eagerly returning. She had no other choice. Faith needed Buffy as much as Buffy needed her.

Meanwhile, two recently reunited wiccan lovers watched from the window.

"I guess our little girl was right" said Willow, her eyes wide in surprise.

"Guess she was" Tara smiled, taking one last look at the Chosen two before turning back to Willow, pulling the redhead towards her. "That looks like fun."

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