Authors Note: So, I don't really have a timeline for this story, and i'm sorry but I don't know if I will ever establish one. It doesn't take place in any firm setting of a season, which should be pretty clear seeing as Buffy's 22 and Tara died when Buffy was only 21. Tara was not resurrected, merely never died, and I'm not sure if Warren will ever come up. The reason for Dawn being 14 is because in the episode "Blood Ties" Xander is shocked when the gang learns that Dawn's diaries have been burnt, because she has apparently, kept them since she was seven. However, since Buffy arrived in Sunnydale when she was fifteen, that would make her and Dawn eight years apart. I know that in "Older and Faraway" Buffy is turning 21 and Dawn screams to Anya that she is 16 making them only 5 years apart. However, for the purpose of the story, they are eight years apart. Sorry, if the lack of a timeline confuses anyone, that's not my reason for not establishing one. Should be mostly AU.
Warnings: Mild neglecting of a child.
Disclaimer: If I post the story on here theres a good chance I don't own it. And guess what? I don't.
"No, Faith, I won't let you do this!"
"Well, that's the brilliant thing about it B, I'm not giving you a choice."
Buffy looked down at the baby in her arms, the baby that wasn't hers, that she now had to raise, all because she wasn't wanted. Willow tried to make excuses saying that Faith had just be scared, didn't know how to be a mother. But that was no excuse for what Faith had done. Leaving her child, not caring if she lived or died, viewing her only as a problem never as a miracle. It made Buffy sick to her stomach. Here she was the slayer, danger constantly around, it was no way for a baby to grow up. Giles had reasoned that they just give it- her up for adoption but Buffy had clung to her, refusing to let her go. Maybe because it was the last shred or Faith she had, or maybe just because she hadn't fully processed everything yet. The fact that she was now expected to be a mother. She was barely twenty- two. Yet, how old was Faith again? Younger than her, by a year at least. And she'd already been to prison. Already seen so many things that she shouldn't have.
Buffy, sighed, looking down at the baby in her arms. She had the exact same shade of hair as Faith, the same big doe eyes. Buffy already loved her, much more than she should considering the circumstances. That was probably why she couldn't give her up, not even when the gang had made all those good points. They'd all just made Buffy cling harder.
Five Hours earlier:
"What are you going to name her?" It was Tara who finally broke the silence, her soft voice expressing what the whole gang was feeling.
Buffy was startled, she'd never even thought of names. What did you name a baby that wasn't yours? "Uh… I never, even thought about it," Buffy stole a glance at the pink bundle in her arms noticing just how much she looked like her mother. "What do you think she looks like?" They all lapsed back into silence, the obvious answer already on all of there lips. She looked like a Faith, she looked just like Faith.
"Well, maybe… we could name her after someone important," Willow got seven pairs of questioning eyes. "To Faith. Someone special to Faith…" Willow trailed off as her eyes searched around the room, on everyone's crestfallen expressions. "Do we know anyone special to Faith?" No one said anything, voicing once again how little they knew of her. She'd barely told them anything, and none of them had ever cared to ask. The silence was interrupted by the sound of a gurgling baby, bringing everyone back to the matter at hand.
"She spoke fondly of her old- watcher…." Buffy said throwing it out there shooting a look at Giles. His eyes were trained on the baby that was still in Buffy's arms.
"I don't know who Faith's old watcher was," Giles said, removing his glasses. "However, I do know that we don't have to name the child at all."
"Oh no, most babies usually have names."
Giles ignored Anya's input and looked directly at Buffy. "Have you even considered adoption?" Buffy was taken aback. She looked away from Giles, and down to the happy baby she held in her arms. She couldn't keep a straight train of though, the baby held her attention completely.
"She's beautiful," She whispered aloud, not caring that she was straying off topic. Off a very serious topic that needed much discussion. "You're such a pretty little baby, yes you are!" Buffy found herself suddenly cooing, something she hadn't intended on doing. Not that she's intended on doing any of this really, it had just happened. "Beauti-"
"We get Buffy the babies a beauty," Xander said cutting off Buffy's sudden maternal streak. "But, G-mans right, adoption is the way to go."
"Why do we have to give her up?" Dawn asked quietly from her perch behind Spike. Everyone turned to look at her, and she looked down.
"Well, Dawnie, it's not our baby." Tara began soothingly. She didn't like the idea of adoption, but she also wanted to ensure that Faith's baby grew up and had a happy life, with or without her biological mother. Growing up on the hellmouth wouldn't exactly provide that.
"I know," Dawn said already even more confused then when she first spoke up. "It's Faith's baby," Tara nodded. "But… Faith's gone… did Faith not want her baby?" Tara fell silent, she knew what it was like to not be wanted by a parent, but she also didn't think that was the case with Faith. When she'd seen Faith look into the eyes of her baby all Tara could see was love. Willow took this one.
"It's not that Faith didn't want her baby, it's just that… she was scared. Faith didn't know how to be a mother."
"No." Buffy said halting the conversation from going further. In that direction at least. They hadn't talked to Faith, heard the things she'd said.
"Faith , I know you're scared, and confused but we'll all get through this. You won't be alone."
"Theres nothing to get through. I'm not scared and I'm not confused. Maybe you are though, because I know exactly what is going to happen."
"Faith, you can't leave, you have a daughter!"
"That's just the thing. I don't have a daughter, not anymore. She's a baby, she'll never know, and goody-two-shoes Buffy will never tell her."
"Faith. She is you're DAUGHTER."
"No, B, she was my problem. And now, I've gotten rid of it."
Faith turned away from Buffy, away from the hall way that led to where her baby was sleeping and walked towards the front door, her hand was already around the handle when Buffy let out another desperate plea.
"No, Faith! I won't let you do this!"
Faith didn't turn around, she only hesitated for another moment before she began again. Only saying something when the door was about to slam, knowing Buffy would hear. "Well, that's the brilliant thing about it, B, I'm not giving you a choice."
"No, Faith doesn't get an excuse, she didn't want this. She didn't want anything to do with this." Buffy spoke harshly, not allowing anyone to defend Faith. Faith didn't deserve it. Faith didn't even deserve to live, she'd thrown her baby away, to the first person she'd seen, she didn't deserve anything.
"Right, well speaking of this, I don't see why we can't jus' give it up." Spike said attempting to steer the conversation of a less dangerous course.
"There isn't an it!" Buffy shrieked, rounding on Spike, her eyes flashing. Spike stared at her for a moment, and she finally came around to her senses. "Sorry… it's just…. she needs a name." Buffy spoke quietly looking away from Spike, she could feel his concerned gaze boring into her. His wasn't the only one.
"We- we could name her… Kate. I heard Faith mention it as a possibility once." It was Tara who came to the rescue again, as she so often did. Buffy looked down at the baby weighing it in her mind. It seemed to fit.
"Katie…" she whispered to the baby. "Yeah that's you. My little Katie…" Buffy trailed off in horror. Xander was staring at her as though she had grown another head.
"Buffster, I know that you want to keep the baby but, it's not-"
"I want to keep her." It was Dawn who spoke, now fully hidden behind Spike, Buffy couldn't see her at all. Dawn was only ever with Spike and Tara now, she viewed them as her protectors, and everyone else fell into the category of people who hadn't saved her. Xander stopped talking, Dawn was a in a delicate place, if she wanted to keep Faith's baby around then for him it was as good as done.
"Dawn, it would be best if the child was giving up for adop-" Giles wasn't even halfway through his sentence when Spike cut him off.
"You heard the bit she wants to keep the baby around, then were keeping the baby around." Spike all but threatened him, his expression daring Giles to try and get rid of the baby again. Giles sighed wearily, not giving in.
"Spike, this baby isn't ours-" Giles stopped when Spike made to get up, only being stopped by a pale hand now grasping his leather duster. Giles made to start talking again but this time, amazingly, it was Anya who stopped him.
"Babies require lots of stuff. We should probably go shopping. I mean, who want's Katie wearing second hand clothes?" Giles turned away from us all and walked into the other room. Xander was quick to follow. Buffy sighed, handing- or rather shoving Katie into Willow's arms, half- running to catch up with Xander and Giles. When she finally caught up with them neither acknowledged her presence. Her mouth twitched, annoyed.
"Look, guys, I know this situation isn't ideal but-"
"There is no but Buffy!" Giles thundered, cutting Buffy off. "She isn't our responsibility, the best thing to do would be to give her up."
"No!" Buffy shouted back in retaliation. "We are not getting rid of Katie. She is my responsibility-"
"No, she is Faith's responsibility, and since Faith decided to abandon her child, we should give her up. There is nothing more we can do for the girl, we are not responsible for her."
"Yes I am." Buffy said disagreeing. Xander looked at her.
"No, I think you want to be responsible for her. She's your last link to Faith, and I get that, but Faith left. We don't nee-"
"Faith, asked me to look after her." Buffy answered softly, knowing full well that Xander and Giles- especially Giles- were not going to but her reason, after what she'd just said about Faith, but it was true. Faith had more or less asked her and some small part of Buffy wasn't going to let that go.
"Weren't you the one just saying that she didn't deserve anything, Buff?" Xander asked accusing Buffy with every fiber of his being.
"Look, I know what I said but… but Dawn wants her." Buffy said, using her as a reason rather than trying to explain her own.
"Dawn isn't the one going to raise her Buffy." Giles stated giving her a serious look.
"So, the whole gang will, you heard-"
"No," Giles said cutting her off harshly. "This child, this- this problem is you're responsibility. Not ours, you knew Faith was pregnant, you knew Faith was leaving and yet you did nothing to stop her!" Buffy shrank back, Giles was shouting and Buffy didn't like it, she had tried to stop her, but Faith was still Faith she'd never listened. "You are they slayer, Buffy, you can not just drop everything for a child you have to realize that the best thing to do is to get ride of it-"
Giles was cut off by the door banging into the wall, at an ear shattering volume. Buffy turned to see what was going on, and Giles removed his glasses pinching the bridge of his nose. It was Spike standing in the doorway, and if looks could kill they would have all been dead.
"I'm takin' the bit home," He seethed, daring anyone to say anything.
"Wh- why?" Buffy questioned, she had stopped objecting months ago, she just wanted to know if Dawn was okay. It wasn't like she could actually ask her herself. Spike started at her like she was mental.
"Why the soddin' 'ell do you think?" Spike spat turning and leaving slamming the door behind him so that Buffy couldn't see Dawn. She only ever caught rare glimpses of her sister, and they lived in the same house. Spike and Tara were usually there, and when Tara had class, Spike arrived an hour before she left so that they could talk about Dawn in private, and so that Dawn wouldn't have a moment alone. Buffy didn't even fully understand what had happened to her sister, she was kept so far apart from her, if both Spike and Tara happened to be unavailable (which to be honest, was very rare) Anya took her out. Anya- of all people- was trusted more than she was, her own little sister didn't want to be alone in a house with her, if those three were unavailable then she hung with Willow, and if they were all gone she locked herself in her bedroom, put headphones in, and clutched the telephone until she got a call from one of them. Buffy sighed, turning back towards Giles and Xander. Xander was glaring at the door, and Giles was staring at her.
"I hope you know what you're doing Buffy." Buffy jumped, startled, it wasn't Giles who had spoke, it was Xander and somehow, that made the whole situation a thousand times worse.
Buffy sighed, pushing what had happened earlier out her mind and walking into the spare bedroom, where a crib was now placed. It had only taken two and a half hours for Anya, Willow and Tara to come back from baby shopping, and then only an hour more for them to finally get the crib built, Xander either having refused or just never having been asked Buffy still wasn't quite sure.
Buffy stood in the doorway, watching as Tara and Anya struggled to build what was going to -hopefully- become Kate's crib. Willow had taken Katie out of Buffy's hands for the moment, leaving Buffy to wonder why Anya didn't just call Xander and ask him to build it, him being the carpenter and all. She watched Tara sigh and take out yet another incorrectly placed piece and finally decided to ask.
"Anya…. why don't you just call Xander?"
"You think he would come help?" Anya's tone was surprised, and she had a small frown on her face as she stared at the crib that Xander would have finished building by then.
"Of course I do," Buffy responded immediately. "Don't you?"
Anya had never answered back, and had instead began to work on the crib again, Xander never having been called. But now, the crib was complete and after Willow and Tara performing at least five different spells to ensure that it was safe, and Anya decorating it, Katie could finally be put to sleep in it, no longer having to nap in Buffy's arms like she'd been doing on and off for the last hour.
Buffy slipped the baby into the crib, and watched Kate sleep peacefully for a few moments before kissing her on the forehead, like she had done with Faith so many times before, and then left quietly, turning on the baby monitor as she left. As Buffy made sure the door didn't close to loudly, she could hear the sounds of the television coming from downstairs, Anya still hadn't left yet, and Spike still hadn't brought Dawn back yet. Buffy walked downstairs and "casually" glanced at the clock, it was 11:15 and even though, Buffy knew that Spike would keep Dawn safe she still began to worry.
"Tara?" Tara turned to face Buffy, pulling off Willow slightly, so that Buffy got all of her attention. "Um… do you know when Spike's bringing Dawn back?" Buffy hated having to ask, and she hated the fact that she couldn't just march down to Spike's and collect her. She gave a dry laugh inside her head, that would go over well, Dawn hated being alone with her, and Spike… it was just a bad idea. She caught both Tara and Anya glancing at the clock, neither very alarmed with the time.
"I was going to pick her up … Spike doesn't want to have to come here," Tara pursed her lips in thought. "I could go get here now if you wanted."
"Is it really safe for you two to be walking through a cemetery alone?" Buffy asked, concerned for her friend and her sisters welfare. She was still a little shaken by the 'doesn't want to come here.' It meant that Spike was mad at her. Again. Anya turned towards the two of them, with the majority of her face turing towards Tara.
"Oh, Spike will walk them through the cemetery no doubt. Don't worry, Buffy. Besides," she said tacking something on as an after thought. "I should get going too. I'll go with you." Anya said, talking only to Tara now. Buffy bit her lip. Of course Spike would walk them through, what the else did she expect?
"Yeah… that's a good idea… you should do that." Buffy said, trying to hide what she was feeling. She knew she hadn't suceeded when Tara threw her a small sad smile, and Anya smiled encouragingly, both attempting to console her. Yet, she couldn't help but notice that neither girl had anything soothing to say, and that all they had offered up was some smiles, being careful not to actually touch her. Both girls left with Tara giving one last kiss to Willow, saying she'd be right back and following Anya out the door, saying absolutely nothing to Buffy. And that was how she knew that even though they were some of her best friends in the whole world, that they still blamed her.
Blamed her for Dawn, and for Faith and for everything else that she had messed up on. Buffy couldn't exactly disagree.
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