the bunny warren v. Faith

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Dear Angel

Author: Mikelesq
Concept: At the end of Season 4, Faith writes a letter to Angel from prison.
Rating: PG-13.
Tone: Way too serious.
Quality: Eh, so-so.
Feedback: Please
Legal disclaimers: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" characters and situations are owned by Joss Whedon and the producers of the show. The story is entirely fiction, and is expounded from "Primeval." Distribute if you like.

Part I.


Dear Angel:

I haven't written a letter, in, like, forever, so sorry if it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I think I wrote a letter to Santa once, but I didn't get anything, so it kind of turned me off the whole correspondence thing.

Anyway, this is important, and I can't get to a phone, so I figured this was the only way to get hold of you.

Yesterday I had a little disagreement with one of the girls. She thought that I cut in front of her in the chow line. Which I didn't. Like I'd be in a hurry to get a plate full of the crap they dish out here. Anyway, she swung a tray at me while my back was turned. Hit me in the back of the head pretty hard. I took her down pretty easy, but I ended up with a good bump on the noggin. They sent me to the infirmary. They also took away my phone privileges for fighting. That's why I'm making with the pen and paper.

Anyway, I went to sleep in the infirmary. Most of the prisoners in the infirmary are there because they got hurt in fights, so the guards keep a pretty tight watch, which is kind of good. It means you can sleep without worrying. So I was sleeping pretty soundly last night, until I started dreaming.

Look, I don't know if Buffy ever told you, but when you're a Slayer, you get pretty intense dreams. Don't get me wrong, you get the garden variety, I-slept-through-the-final-exam-and-wound-up-at-the-pep-rally-naked dreams. But you also get other dreams. You can tell the difference. They're intense. You can feel it. They mean something.

So I was making with the REM, when the dream started. It started off fairly normal. I was alone in the prison gym, shadow boxing. Doing a couple of high kicks, staying limber. Then I heard a voice behind me:

"Are you winning?"

I turned around. There was a girl standing there. Blonde, kind of pretty in her own way. She was wearing a big, frumpy sweater and one of those skirts that goes all the way to the floor. I asked:

"Who are you?"

"You don't know me. Are you winning?"

"I guess," I said. "I mean, there's no one to fight. I'm alone."

"Those fights are the most dangerous of all," she said. "You're the one enemy that you can't escape."

"I'm not running anymore," I said. "I'm staying right here."

"You're fighting your own nature," she said. "It will pursue you. It will always be at your back, behind every wall, down every road. Tonight will be difficult."

"Tonight I am safe," I said. "Nothing can find me here."

"If you cannot be found, you are lost. You will understand."

The girl turned and walked out the door that leads to the courtyard. I said out loud:

"Why am I talking like a subtitled Italian film?"

Which I was, which totally pissed me off. I mean, I hate that foreign crap. Everyone going around all snotty and intellectual. I walked to the door myself, and went out to the courtyard.

Only I didn't walk into the courtyard. I looked around. I was in a motel room. Actually, it was the motel room I stayed at while I lived in Sunnydale. I turned toward the door to the gym. It wasn't there.

Now, you would think that I would freak. I didn't. All I could think was that there was a TV. I could watch TV. Any show I wanted. No guard taking a vote on what we would watch. No getting outvoted and having to sit through a bunch of UPN sitcoms. Anything I wanted, I could watch. I turned on the TV, and started flipping through the channels. There was nothing but static.

"Any luck?"

I turned to face the voice. Xander stood before me.

Now, did I ask what he was doing there? What I was doing there? You'd think that would have been the logical line of inquiry. But, no, I asked:

"Why can't I get a picture?"

It seemed like a good question to ask at the time.

"You have to know what you want to see," Xander replied. "Do you?"

"I want comedy, and drama, and thoughtful blends of the two, like 'M.A.S.H.' Only without the laugh track. I hate laugh tracks. And foreign films."

"All fiction," Xander said. He approached me, put an arm around me, and kissed me, hard. He was so warm. I could feel his pulse through his lips. Then he pulled away. Behind him, something moved. A mass of black, tangled fur scurried in the bathroom.

"Too bad, Faith," Xander said, reaching for the TV dial. "There's no fiction on tonight."

He turned the dial. I turned to look at the screen. The snow was gone. The reception was perfectly clear. There was a girl on TV. With dark hair. Dark eyes. No clothes.

It was me.

I was holding someone. Someone blonde. Someone muscular. I cried out:

"Oh, God!"

I couldn't see his face, but I knew it was B's boyfriend that was in my arms.

I could hear Xander's voice behind me say:

"Another broken heart because of you. How many more hearts will you break? How many hearts, Faith?"

The guy in the TV lifted his head. Only the face wasn't his. It was another blonde. It was Buffy. She asked:

"How many hearts?"

Then I felt something in my hand, as though I'd been holding it forever but had never sensed it until that moment. I looked down at my hand. It was a stake, dripping with blood. I looked at the screen again. This time it was the mayor's assistant, his face pale with death. He asked:

"How many hearts?"

I turned away, gasping for breath. Then I saw Xander. He stood before me, only now he had a wound in his chest, a gaping hole, crimson and deep. Yet he stood there, alive, and asked:

"How many hearts?"

I ran out of the room, my face in my hands. I was sobbing, screaming:

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"

I got a grip, then looked around. I should have been outside. I wasn't.

I was in the library. The Sunnydale school library. I thought it had blown up because of what the mayor did. Well, what we did.

"Here!"

I turned toward the voice. Giles was sitting at the table, pointing out something in a book to Wesley.

God, Wesley looked horrible. His face was bleeding and bruised. His left arm hung limp at his side. Wesley asked Giles:

"What have you found?"

"It's all here," Giles responded. "Basic psychology. The human spirit is forever in conflict between the basic drives and appetites, the sense of self, and the sense of duty."

"Of course," Wesley said. "The drives and sense of self overwhelmed any moral inclinations. She simply lacked the fortitude to fight them."

"Obviously a weak person," Giles said. "She was simply horrible."

I took a couple of steps toward them. Giles looked up.

"Oh," Giles said. "There she is now."

"Giles," I said. "Look, something's happening. I don't understand...."

"Oh, don't worry," Giles said. "We have it all figured out. It took some research. Many hours, actually. However, we've found the answer."

The furry whatever was back. It moved through one of the aisles between the bookshelves. I tried to get a good look, but Giles interrupted me:

"It seems that the problem is...well, it's you. You're just no good."

"Giles," I said. "Something's after me."

"Try to do it," Wesley said to Giles.

Giles pulled a chain out from his tweed waistcoat. He dangled the chain in his hand. There was nothing at the other end. I asked:

"Where's the watch?"

"You see," Wesley said. "Impossible."

"To think all the hours we wasted," Giles said, "trying to find an answer. Trying to find a way. Pointless. All the minds that tried to formulate a solution...How many minds?"

I looked up from the chain to Giles' face. He was bleeding. Something had cut him across his forehead. Blood streamed down, like rain down a window pane. His face showed no pain when he asked me:

"How many minds, Faith?"

I ran out of the double doors of the library. Like a dope, I expected to be in the school hallway.

I wasn't. I was in a house. A nice house, actually. Curtains in the windows. Rugs on the floor. The smell of something baking from a kitchen. It looked familiar, but it couldn't be where I thought it was. The place I knew was never that nice.

"This is my house," I said out loud. "When I was a kid, I lived here. What happened to it?"

"You left."

Another voice. From behind. Doesn't anybody start out with "hello" anymore?

I turned around. It was Willow.

"It's so clean," I continued. "It's nice. Warm. It was nothing like this."

"You left, Faith," Willow said. "It was always you that was the problem. All the time you blamed everyone. You blamed this place. How it was always cold. How it was always loud. How it never was as good as the homes of your friends. Well, what few friends you actually had. But, see, you left, and it's all better now."

"No," I said. "It wasn't like that. You have no idea what it was like."

"Oh," Willow said, "poor Faith. Still blaming everybody but yourself. Look how wonderful this place is. You hit the streets, and this place became beautiful. Every place is beautiful when you're on the street. Running. Hunting. It's what you were born to do."

"I don't believe that! You're lying! You're...you're not even Willow!"

"Oh, really? And what makes you say that?"

"Willow was never like this," I said. "You...you're cruel."

"I wasn't until I met you, Faith," Willow said. "You taught me how to be cruel. You taught everybody how to be cruel. Me. Xander. Buffy. We never wanted anyone dead the way we want you dead. You brought a darkness among us. It poisoned our spirits. That happens every time you stop running. You try to find light in others, but you only bring darkness into their spirits. How many poisoned spirits are enough, Faith?"

Willow's face began to wrinkle, sag, and turn a dead, drab green. She said:

"How many spirits?"

At that point, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the shaggy shuffler again. It headed out the front door of the house. I ran after it, screaming:

"Stand and face me, damn you!"

As I got out the front door, do you think I was on the porch? On the sidewalk? On the front lawn?

Nope. Of course not. I was where you'd expect to be when you walk out of the front door of a house. I was in a graveyard.

Among the headstones, Buffy stood before me.

"B," I said. "Something's here. It's after me."

"Good," Buffy said, her arms folded across her chest.

"You don't understand," I said. "Something here isn't right."

"You got that straight," Buffy said.

The earth began to move. I don't mean that sexually. I mean the earth really started to shake. I looked around. Vampires were rising out of the graves. All of the graves.

"B," I said. "We've got to fight these! They're everywhere!"

"I know," Buffy said. "So why don't you go everywhere, and stop once you get to nowhere?"

The vampires were finished rising, but they didn't attack. They just stood, silent, watching me.

Buffy looked at me, walked toward me, and held her palms up in the air.

"I suppose you want me to use these," she said, waiving her hands back and forth. "How many times am I going to have to use these because of you? How many others are going to have to fight and die before you find out what you are?"

She got within a foot of me, and clocked me right in the jaw. I fell straight to the ground.

Buffy was on top of me, slamming my face with lefts and rights. She started yelling:

"How many hands, Faith? How many hands?"

I finally managed to grab one of her arms, and throw her off of me. I got up, and just started running. I could hear her following behind me, still shouting:

"How many hands? How many hands?"

I ran toward a mausoleum. I pushed the door open, ran in, and shut the door behind me.

So, guess what was behind Door Number One? A crypt? A new car?

Try a desert. All wide open. Not a roadrunner or coyote in sight. Nothing around but sand and rocks. That is, until she came. Again.

It was the blonde who showed up in the gym at the start of my dream. Only now she was dressed different. She was wearing some kind of a sarong or something. Like one those alien princesses on 'Star Trek' (the old show, not the new one with the bald guy). It suited her.

"Look," I said. "I want some answers."

At that point, I saw my bushy friend again. Only this time, there was a body attached to the hair. She had mud stripes painted on her. Definitely not 'Star Trek.' More like 'Quest for Fire.' She looked at me, circled me. I watched her, and said:

"Maybe I should be asking you."

"I will speak for her," the girl said. "She does not speak. She fights. She hunts. She kills. Like you. She was the first."

I then saw that the primal girl held something in her hand. A stake.

"The first," I said. "The First Slayer."

"She is angry," the girl said. "She has come for you. Both of you."

"Buffy," I said.

"You have angered her," the girl said. "You have both violated all that she has given you."

Great. Not only did I have to face the wrath of Buffy and the judicial system of California, I also had primal forces ready to dole out punishment.

"I know that I have done horrible things," I said. "But I am trying to do what is right now."

"You live as an animal," the girl continued, as though I had said nothing. "A caged animal. You are not to be caged. You are not tame. This is not your destiny."

Of all the things I've done, this is what bothered her? That I turned myself in? Took a break from killing vampires to try to make up for the people I'd hurt? I was beginning to understand.

"I am not an animal, tame or wild," I said. Then I started talking some really freaky, deep stuff. "I choose the cage, not the cave. I will emerge from the cage a woman, not a beast. I will live among people. I will find peace."

"No," the First Slayer grunted at me. "No...peace. Just...death."

At this point, a bald guy walked up beside me. He opened his coat. Inside his coat, hanging from hooks, there were...and I know this sounds weird, but I swear...there were cheese slices. You know, like, Kraft?

"Oh, screw it," I said. "Prison is better than this bullshit. I'm waking up."

At this point, the First Slayer took a swing at me. I blocked it pretty easily, and gave her a good kick in the chest. She flew backwards.

Then I woke up. I sat up and looked around. I was back in the infirmary.

"Go back to sleep," the guard said. I laid back. But I didn't sleep. Not that night.

Anyway, that's the dream. Whatever cavegirl was, I know I beat her. But, from what the blonde said, it wasn't just after me. It's after Buffy, too. And I know that, whatever it was, it could have killed me in my dream, and I would have been dead. All-the-way dead.

I know you and Buffy had a pretty bad falling out because of me, and she sure doesn't want any good deeds from me. But someone has to warn her. I want to help. I know that sounds crazy, after all I've done to hurt everybody, but I really do want to help. Try calling Giles. Tell him what happened, and see if he can warn Buffy about what's coming.

Please, hurry. It may already be too late.

Sincerely,
Faith

Part II.


Dear Faith:

I got your letter. Sorry I can't come to you in person, but something big is going down. It seems that our old friends Wolfram & Hart are summoning some kind of demon, and I can't get away.

Buffy and I have made our peace, but I don't know if she would be ready for a warning from you, so I called Giles about your dream. You were right. That thing did go after Buffy. In fact, it went after Giles, Xander and Willow, too. They had their dreams the same night you had yours. Don't worry. They're all fine.

According to Giles, the four of them did some kind of spell to defeat a demon they were fighting, and the spell involved calling on the spirit of the First Slayer. The spirit was angered at Buffy for taking allies in her fight against evil, and attacked them as a way of trying to teach Buffy a lesson about what it means to be the Chosen One (emphasis on "One"). As you may remember, Buffy was never very good at her lessons, so she emerged unscathed. Apparently once the First Slayer's spirit was awakened and could enter Buffy's dreams, she was able to get into your dreams as well.

Faith, I know that for this to happen, when so many other changes are happening to you, is frightening and confusing. But try thinking of it this way:

The First Slayer went after Buffy because she was too civilized, too human. It could have ignored you, but it didn't. It came after you, too. The qualities of compassion and empathy that Buffy demonstrates are in you. You've put aside the killing, the hunting, the rush of the battle, in order to find yourself. This offended the primal, animal spirit of the First Slayer. That's why you were attacked. It attacked you because you are on the right path. The path back to humanity. The path to redemption.

We'll talk about this more later. I'll visit you as soon as I can. I promise. In the meantime, try to stay out of trouble.

Very truly yours,
Angel

THE END


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