DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all its characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf. BtVS/Angel is the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy, original characters belong to the author.
FANDOMS: Law & Order: SVU / Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
PAIRING: Olivia/Faith.

A Matter of Faith
By Acathla

Chapter One

The battle was over, and they'd survived. The gang had ended up in LA at Angel's hotel. Angel had set them all up with rooms for a few nights as they decided where to go from there. On the third day, Buffy, Faith, Willow, Kennedy, Dawn, Xander, Giles, and Angel were sitting in the lobby talking about possible future plans. Kennedy wanted to take Willow home to New York to meet her family, Buffy and Dawn were still undecided, Giles was considering moving back to England to try to reconstruct the Watcher's Council, and Xander decided to stay in LA helping Angel. Faith, however, still did not know what she was gonna do or where she was gonna end up. But she did know that she didn't want to end up on another Hellmouth for a while.

It was during a lull in the conversation that the door to the hotel opened and a man in a suit walked in. Everyone turned to face him as Angel stood and walked over in his most menacing way.

"Can I help you?" Angel asked.

The man looked visibly nervous as he spoke, "Um…yes. I am looking for a uh…" he lifted a clipboard and consulted the list of names, "Faith Spencer? Is she here?"

Faith got worried but stayed quiet as she noticed Angel's shoulders tense. She somehow realized that he wanted to handle this.

"Who's asking?"

"Listen buddy I just have a certified letter for her. Is she here or not?"

"No. Not right now but I can sign for it. I don't know when she'll be back." Angel reached out for the clipboard.

The man thought about it for a few minutes as he glanced behind Angel towards the group of people sitting in the lobby.

"Are you Angel?"

"Yes. Why?"

"Oh, cuz the letter is addressed in care of Angel Investigations. If you're Angel then I can let you sign for it and I can go finish my route. Good." The man visibly relaxed as he handed the clipboard to Angel and showed him where to sign.

Angel signed his name and handed the clipboard back to the deliveryman and waited as he checked the signature and then handed over a white envelope. The man smiled and then turned and walked back out the hotel door.

Angel turned the letter over in his hands until he was sure the man was really gone. Then he turned back to face the gang and walked right over to Faith and handed her the envelope. Faith took it and stared at it. She didn't know if she wanted to open it. The gang just waited silently as Faith took her time deciding. They somehow understood that she needed to open it in her own time.

Finally, Faith took a deep breath and opened the envelope and pulled out the single sheet of paper. She unfolded it and read what was typed there. As she finished reading, her hands began to tremble and the paper slipped from her fingers as she passed out.

Buffy, being closest, reached out and caught her as she fell forward and then laid Faith on the couch. Once she was sure Faith was ok, she reached over and picked up the letter. As she read it a look of sheer disbelief took over her face. Willow was the first to speak.

"Buffy, what is it?"

"It's from Faith's father." Buffy's voice betrayed the shock she was feeling. Faith had never mentioned a father.

"Her father? Really? What's it say?" Xander finally spoke up.

"Um…well, I don't know if this guy really is her father cuz he has a different last name but he claims to be her biological father and that he wants her to come to see him in New York City in two weeks. Says he has some news for her about her family."

"Wow. That's incredible, I mean the timing of it all."

Kennedy finally put her two cents in. "Am I the only one who's noticing something off about this?"

"What do you mean exactly Kennedy?" Buffy asked.

"Well, think about it, I mean, after all that's happened. Faith moving to Sunnydale, then going psycho and ending up in jail and finally breaking out and helping to destroy the first evil, you're tellin me in all that time her father had no way to contact her? I mean, why now? Ya know?"

Buffy and Willow knew that Kennedy and Faith had become friends and also that Faith must've confided in her about a few things.

"Well, yeah it does seem a bit suspicious but it's Faith's decision as to whether she meets him or not. Plus, there's more. According to this, Faith's record has been expunged."

"Expunged? What's that mean?" Dawn asked.

"Um…" Buffy was at a loss so Angel jumped in.

"It means that she's no longer wanted for murder. Her criminal record has been wiped clean. This means that she can leave California for New York without worrying about any cops coming after her."

"Well, that's good right?" Dawn asked again. She had been really worried that Faith might have to go back to jail.

"Yeah, that's good. She's a free woman. She can do whatever she wants now."

"Question now is, what does Faith wanna do?" Buffy asked in a quiet voice. She was coming to realize just how much Faith meant to her and she didn't want to lose her now. Especially to a family she didn't even know existed.

The gang grew silent as Faith began to wake up. As her eyes slowly opened, Buffy moved to sit next to her. The first thing Faith saw when her vision cleared was Buffy, and with her defenses so low, Faith did the one thing she'd wanted to do for years…she sat up and kissed her.

After the initial surprise, Buffy gave in and kissed back and soon both girls were lost in their own world. Somewhere in the back of Faith's brain she heard a throat being cleared and she broke away from Buffy. That was when she noticed where they were and, embarrassed, she jumped up from the couch and bolted up the stairs to her room without looking back.

A still stunned Buffy just sat there as she left and then, before the gang could say anything she ran after Faith with the letter still clutched in her hand. Suddenly, Buffy wanted answers.

Faith was lying face down on her bed trying not to cry and to forget what had just happened. Not because she didn't like it but because she didn't think Buffy meant to kiss her back like that, and that hurt her more than the knife in her gut had. Faith tensed as she heard the door to her room slowly open and she heard Buffy's voice asking if it was ok to come in. Faith had a brief impulse to tell her to go away but she knew they had to talk this out because she had already decided to go to New York to meet the man who claimed to be her father.

"Yeah B, come on in."

Buffy walked in and closed the door before walking to sit on the bed next to Faith who had sat up as she was closing the door. Suddenly, Buffy didn't know what to say and neither did Faith so they sat in silence. Each lost in her own thoughts until finally Buffy couldn't take the silence anymore.

"Faith, what happened down there?"

"You mean the kiss? Listen, B I am sorry about that. I didn't mean to kiss you like that. Just, put it down to temporary loss of sanity or something ok?" Faith didn't want Buffy to know that it was more than that. That she was pretty sure she was in love with Buffy and also equally sure that Buffy would never want her like that so the easy way was to pretend she didn't mean it.

Buffy didn't understand the disappointment that ran through her to hear Faith say she didn't mean to kiss her. Buffy was pretty sure that it had meant more than that to Faith but without proof, there was no way she could just call her on it. So, she dropped it and changed the subject.

"So…um…do you know what you're gonna do about the letter you got?"

Faith jerked her head towards Buffy. "You read it?"

"Well…yeah. After you passed out I was curious as to what could make you pass out and so I read it. Sorry, I was just worried about you."

"Oh, nah it's ok B. At least now I don't have to tell you what it was about. Saves time." Faith smiled.

"So, what are you going to do?"

"Me? I'm gonna go to New York and see this guy and see what he has to say. Why?"

"Wondering. And, just like that you're gonna go see him? What if it's a trap? Or, a scam or something. Faith, you've gotta think about this, please."

"Why does it matter so much to you B? It's not like we've ever been the best of friends. Thought you'd be happy to finally see me leave. Besides, it doesn't matter if this guy's the real deal or not. I've wanted to go back east for a while now ya know? See my mom's grave and make my peace with her, somehow. Also, I 'm getting tired of all the sun here in California. Thinking maybe I need to be on my own, away from everything that happened here. So, why not?"

"Oh… I see." Buffy's voice lowered as she turned away from Faith, the truth finally hitting home. Faith didn't wanna get away from California so much as get away from her and that hurt. Knowing that Faith didn't want to be anywhere near her just hurt Buffy more than she ever thought it would. "Away from me, I get it really I do. I'll just leave now." Buffy suddenly needed to get out of there before the tears that were threatening fell.

Faith watched as Buffy practically ran from the room. Faith wanted so badly to stop her and make her realize that it wasn't like that. But in a way, it was. Getting away from Buffy might help her to get over the blonde slayer. Since three years in prison hadn't done the trick, maybe a totally different time zone and coast might.

Three Days Later…

Faith stood in the lobby of Angel's Hotel and said goodbye to the gang, well to Dawn, Xander, Giles and Angel anyway. Willow and Kennedy were going to go with Faith to New York cuz Kennedy's family was there. And Buffy had refused to say goodbye to Faith, she was still hurting over her decision to leave and a part of her wished Faith has asked her to go with her. Buffy would've said yes and dragged Dawn along too. But, Faith never asked and Buffy had just enough pride to not mention it.

Faith noticed Buffy's absence and was saddened by it. 'Oh well. Guess it's probably for the best. I'm not really into long goodbyes and if I saw her I know I'd probably give in and stay just to be with her.'

The three ladies left the hotel and got into their waiting cab and went to the airport. Faith was quiet the whole way to the airport and Kennedy and Willow were talking about Kennedy's family and her hometown and all that.

Finally, at LAX they boarded their flight to New York and relaxed into their seats. Faith soon fell asleep for the whole flight as Kennedy and Willow joined the Mile-High Club…twice.

Chapter Two

The plane landed at New York's JFK Airport and Faith, Kennedy, and Willow said a brief goodbye. Faith was going to Manhattan and Kennedy's family was on Long Island so they had to part company. But Kennedy gave Faith the address and phone number of her family's house if she ever needed anything or just wanted to talk. Faith accepted it with a smile and then turned and walked away with a backpack slung over her shoulder. Two outfits, another pair of shoes, and the basic toiletries were in the backpack and really that was all Faith needed to survive.

Kennedy and Willow watched Faith leave. Then, Kennedy turned to Willow and smiled. "Ready to meet the fam baby?"

Willow smiled back, a tad nervous. "Ready as I'll ever be. Let's go."

Kennedy noticed the nervousness and leaned forward and kissed her girlfriend. It seemed to calm Willow down. Kennedy then led Willow to the rental car booth.

Faith hailed a cab and had it take her to Times Square. Giles had given her a large sum of money before she left, to cover her expenses for a while. Faith got out at 42nd and 8th and took a look around. She had a weird feeling of coming home, she couldn't explain it so she shrugged it off and walked downtown until she found a suitable (cheap) hotel. She walked in and got a room. She got to the room, took a shower, then picked up the phone by the bed and dialed the phone number her father had given her in the letter. After the third ring, the line was answered by a man with a deep, raspy voice.


"Um…hi. This is Faith is Martin Carlson there?" Faith asked a bit nervously. Martin Carlson was the name her father had given her.

"Faith, hello. This is Martin. Are you in New York already?"

"Yup… just got in. So, how do you wanna do this?" Faith decided to just cut to the chase. No sense in beating around the bush right?

The man cleared his throat. "Um…I have some business stuff to take care of today until 7 but, maybe we could meet up tonight at 8?"

"Sure, that works. Where?"

"Are you familiar with the city?" Martin asked, concerned about making sure Faith could find the meeting spot.

"Yeah, kinda. I can get a map, it's no big. So…where?"

"Ok, sounds good. Um… the Bethesda Terrace in Central Park then? Should still be light enough outside to be safe. It is summertime. Sound good?"

"Um…yeah sounds good to me. 8pm sharp then at the Terrace. See you there…Martin."

"See you Faith." Martin smiled at hearing Faith say his name. He had been worried that she'd try to be formal and call him Mr Carlson or Sir or something like that. But, no, she'd called him Martin, it gave him hope that maybe soon, she'd call him dad. Martin hung up the phone and so did Faith.

Martin looked around the room and his gaze fell to a photograph of a young woman with a small child. The woman's dark hair was spread out over her shoulders left bare by the strapless dress she wore. Her arms were holding a little girl, about 3 years old, who smiled like an angel. The little girl's hair matched her mother's as did the happy, carefree smile on her face. Both of them looked like nothing could ever wipe the smiles from their faces. But the mother's eyes also held…love. A love that at the time seemed strong and lasting and indestructible. The little girl was Faith, and that picture had been taken just five months before it all fell apart. Before Martin had been approached by a man from England who'd claimed that Faith was a special child, a potential Vampire Slayer, and that she needed to be trained as young as possible to ensure she'd be ready if she was called. Martin had laughed at first then raged when he realized the man wasn't kidding. He'd tried everything he could to keep Faith with him but, even Linda, his wife, had turned against him.

Linda was a Watcher. She'd been given a leave of absence when she'd met Martin and had Faith, but when it was revealed that she'd given birth to a potential slayer, Linda had been called back into service. She knew what would be required of Faith and of herself and without a moment's hesitation, she'd agreed to it all. Oh but they had fought long and hard but in the end, Martin didn't stand a chance against the Watcher's Council. They'd had more money, power, connections, and influence than Martin ever imagined and they had taken Faith from him. The divorce happened shortly after that, and Martin didn't even get joint custody. Linda got full custody and she took Faith to Boston. She raised her there and trained her and, hopefully, had loved her enough to make up for his not being there…but as he'd found out recently, Linda hadn't.

The Council had assigned another Watcher, with Linda being simply Faith's mother. Linda broke down, when she realized that she was being essentially cut out of her daughter's training and that she would have no say in how Faith was trained or treated Linda went off the deep end. She'd turned to drugs and alcohol to dull the pain. Martin assumed that when she'd been replaced as Watcher, Linda had suddenly realized what she'd given up when she'd left him and then, with the damage done and no way to go back to the way things were, drugs and alcohol and …sex, became the next best things. Martin also found out about the men, thanks to a private investigator he'd hired a few months after the divorce was final. A different man every week, each one worse than the last, treating Faith like an unwanted inconvenience (and that was a best case scenario). There were times, but no proof, when Martin got the feeling that those men had done more than just ignore his little girl.

He'd get the truth from Faith and if any of them touched her at all, he'd track them down and make them pay… NO ONE hurt his daughter and got away with it for long. Martin had also found out about Faith's coma, and how she'd ended up in a coma in the first place. Martin had a bone to pick with… Buffy Summers. But that could wait, until after he got the full story from Faith, because he also knew that Faith had escaped from jail and gone right to Buffy Summers and, considering they are both still alive, they must've made amends. But Martin still wanted to know the truth from Faith.

Martin went about his business as usual, but there was a hum of anticipation buzzing through him as he kept an eye on the clock, knowing he'd be seeing his daughter that night. After all these years, he was finally going to see her again. With Linda dead and the Watcher's Council destroyed, he'd found out about that too, he was finally able to contact her directly… after he'd gotten her criminal record wiped clean of course. Martin Carlson wielded a lot of power in the legal community now, and having Faith's record expunged, even of a capital crime, had been easy for him. And it was the least he could do after he'd left Faith to the machinations of Linda and her Watcher. He didn't know if the watcher had been good to Faith or not, but he did know that she had been killed in 1998 by a vampire and that Faith had fled to California soon after that…Sunnydale, California to be exact and that's where all of Faith's real problems had occurred. Martin was always sorry that she didn't know about him and that she could come to him for help.

He briefly wondered if he should contact Linda's niece, tell her that her cousin was in town. Martin had remained close to Linda's sister after she'd married his best friend Roger Novak. Their daughter Casey had never known her aunt Linda but she'd still thought of Martin as her uncle. Recently, Martin began telling her about Faith, little by little without revealing the Vampire Slayer part. Casey had, admittedly, been fascinated and had wanted to meet her cousin. Casey had been his encouraging rock during everything he'd been through tracking Faith down and getting up the nerve to contact her. Martin decided that contacting Casey could wait until he'd met with Faith.

Faith took a nap after talking with her…father. She was a bit jet lagged after the flight and with the time difference, so she laid down to rest. Besides, it was still daylight out so there weren't gonna be any vamps to slay to take the edge off the waiting so she figured a nap might help.

Faith woke up a few hours later to see that it was 6 o'clock. She had two hours until the meeting and as she was tryin to decide what to do in those two hours, her stomach chimed in with its opinion. Faith decided to just go out and get something to eat and also to get acquainted with the City so she could find the Bethesda Terrace when she needed to later.

Faith found 42nd street and picked a random direction and just walked until she came to a familiar sight—the Golden Arches. Faith smiled at the McDonald's sign, nice to know that even in New York City she could still find a Big Mac.

Faith walked in and ordered a Big Mac, fries and a sprite—no ice. Faith hated when the ice melted and watered down the soda…yuk! Faith paid for her food then walked up a flight of stairs to the upper level and found an empty table for two near a front window and sat down. Eating her meal while looking out the window at the people walking by, Faith let her mind wander a bit.

After about five minutes, Faith was eating slowly, more interested in the people than the food but still hungry enough to eat… Faith glanced down and noticed a stunning woman.

She was beautiful and Faith felt an instant attraction and before she could think to get up and follow and meet her, Faith noticed that the woman entered the restaurant. Faith was so busy trying to calm herself that she didn't notice the woman sit down two tables away from her. When she did notice, Faith reverted to her usual modus operandi of sly looks and casual indifference. It was how she worked, with women anyway, as she determined if her 'prey' was interested.

Faith was an old hand at spotting…interest and this woman was giving off enough vibes to make Faith's libido stand up and take notice. There were quite a few other things Faith noticed about the woman as she sat there admiring her, as the woman distractedly looked out the window as she ate. The first thing Faith noticed was that she was noticeably older than Faith first thought, not really old, more like mid 30's and nowhere near Faith's cut off point with women.

She had tanned, smooth skin, short dark brown hair with light brown highlights and brown eyes. She also had the saddest face Faith had ever seen—that wasn't in a mirror looking back at her that is. Faith felt a sudden urge to see that sad face happy. To see those sensuously full lips turned up in a smile just for her.

The woman turned suddenly away from the window and caught Faith looking. Faith, even though embarrassed at being caught, didn't flinch and held eye contact for a while before releasing a sexy, inviting smile.

The warmth that blossomed in Faith's belly as the woman smiled back, took Faith by surprise. It was a genuine, if slightly cautious, smile and it took Faith's breath away. The two ladies sat there smiling and looking into each other's eyes for a few more minutes then, the woman arched one eyebrow as if in question of something. But before Faith could react the woman broke the eye contact to answer her ringing cell phone.

"Benson. Yeah, on my way. Bye." Detective Olivia Benson silently cursed her partner's timing, and also praised it. Sparing one last smiling glance at the pretty young brunette who was smiling at her, she picked up her trash and half eaten meal then left.

Elliot's timing sucked cuz she was enjoying the little flirting session she'd been having with the younger girl and she wanted to at least find out if the girl was legal yet. She kinda looked it but Olivia knew by now that looks could be deceiving. After all, she herself, looked like she was ok but really she wasn't. She still missed Alex but she also knew that there was no future there…yet. One day, maybe, if the threat ever ended, she might come back and Olivia fully intended to pick up where they'd left off but until then, she was stuck here—alone and lonely. Olivia decided it was time to move on…it had been almost a year… and remembering the brunette in McDonald's, she knew that she'd just passed up a great chance. She didn't even get the girl's name!

Olivia pulled up to the solid brownstone and flashed her badge to the uniformed cop standing guard. She walked past him and went up to the third floor where Elliot was waiting and talking to the ME.

"What do we got?" Liv asked.

Elliot turned to her then back to the ME.

"Jennifer Walker, 25, student at Hudson University. Bludgeoned to death after she was raped, burned, cut, sodomized and see here," the ME pointed to the girl's throat where clear bruises showed imprints of fingers, "she was strangled as well."

"Geez… time of death?" Liv asked, her professional façade covering her disgust.

"Judging by the body temp, I'd say she's been dead since noon, but I won't know for sure until I do a full autopsy. I'll have a more definite answer then."

"Ok. Thanks doc." Elliot said as he led Olivia over to a young woman who was standing next to another uniformed cop.

Chapter Three

Faith finished her meal in silent disappointment. She been having fun flirting with that sexy brunette and was about to get up and say something when her cell phone rang. That killed the moment and she'd left without a word. Faith figured if anything could help her get over Buffy, that brunette sure could. In a City as big as this, she doubted she'd see her again… bummer.

Faith got up and threw her trash away and left the restaurant. She walked the streets for a bit before coming upon a cop in uniform. Faith decided to ask for directions.

"Excuse me, Officer."

"Yes miss, how can I help you?" The cop was young, maybe late 20s or so. Cute, with light blond hair and blue eyes, kinda reminding Faith of Spike a bit. She smiled at that.

"Can you tell me how to get to Central Park?"

"Walking, train or bus?"

"Um…walking I guess."

"It's pretty far but ok. We're on 42nd and 7th, the beginning to Central Park runs along 57th so you can walk 7th Ave in that direction until you reach 57th and there you are." The officer explained as he pointed the way to the right, uptown. "Also, there should be stands near the 57th street entrance that has maps of the park."

Faith smiled at how helpful he was being. "Well, thank you Officer…"

"Sommers, William Sommers." The cop answered, thinking Faith was flirting…and she was a bit until she heard his last name and thought it was Summers not Sommers.


"Yes ma'am, Sommers. See?" He pointed to the little metal tag on his uniform that had his name: W. Sommers.

Faith saw it and relaxed… good, no relation to Buffy, though the blonde hair did throw her off a bit.

"Yup, there it is. Well, I better get going. One last thing, what time is it?"

Officer Sommers checked his watch then, "It's 7:15 pm miss."

"Thank you Officer Sommers, have a nice day."

"You're welcome miss, you too."

With that Faith walked away in the direction he'd told her. Faith had forty-five minutes til the meeting but she wasn't dawdling. Only because she had no clue how far she had to go or how long it would take her. As Faith walked from 42nd to 57th, she looked around at the City, vainly hoping to spot that brunette from McDonald's but, no luck.

Faith reached the entrance to what she assumed was Central Park and stopped for a moment in front of this huge golden statue. She didn't know why, but it seemed familiar. Faith saw a little dark-haired girl playing near the base of the statue with a woman whom Faith assumed was her mother and it too seemed familiar. Kinda like déjà vu but Faith didn't know how that was possible since she'd never been here before…that she remembered anyway. Faith soon shrugged it off and began walking towards the park.

Just as she reached the other end of the statue, the strong smell of horses and manure hit her. Faith looked around again and noticed about five horse drawn carriages lined up on the street outside the park. Faith smiled, she's seen these in movies set in New York, tourists usually used them. Faith decided it might be the best way to find the Bethesda Terrace so she walked up to the first one in line.

The horse was all white with black spots…sort of like a Dalmatian. The carriage was black with gold trim and the driver was an older gentleman with gray hair and twinkling brown eyes. Faith let him help her in and asked if he could take her to the Bethesda Terrace. The man nodded and off they went.

Faith found out the horse's name was Angel and that got a giggle out of her. But for the most part, the ride was peaceful…as long as Faith ignored the smell of the horse. They arrived at the Terrace and Faith paid the man and got out. She watched as the carriage rode out of sight then turned to the Terrace. She walked to the edge and looked beyond.

The fountain in the middle was beautiful. It was an angel, looking down at the round base. It was huge but it was beautiful and again, Faith felt a strange familiarity that bordered on déjà vu. Faith just let herself get caught up in the beauty of it all.

"It's beautiful isn't it?" A man's deep, raspy voice intruded on Faith's thoughts. She really wasn't in the mood to be hit on. She turned to face the guy to tell him off but stopped when she saw him.

"Faith, I presume?"

"Yeah I'm Faith."

The man held out his hand. "I'm Martin Carlson. It's nice to finally meet you."

Faith visibly relaxed a bit. She shook the man's hand. "Nice to meet you too. Are you really my father?"

"You're direct, I like that." Martin smiled. "Yes I really am your father. I can even prove it." The man reached inside his jacket pocket and pulled out a folded paper. He handed it to Faith, who'd tensed up thinking he was reaching for a gun or something. Martin noticed this and simply sighed. "I'm not going to hurt you Faith. I'd never do that, here, read this."

Faith took the paper and unfolded it. She'd never seen this, it was her birth certificate. She'd never really had a need to see it. But she had it now and there in the box marked father: Martin Carlson. In the box marked mother: Linda Spencer. But what really surprised her was the box marked hospital: Colombia Presbyterian Hospital, New York City.

She was born here? Not in Boston but…here? That was gonna take some getting used to.

"Faith, are you alright?" Martin noticed Faith had gone pale, but he didn't know why…unless. "Your mother never told you that you were born in New York did she?" He already knew she'd never told her about him.

Faith shook her head. "I never asked, just assumed I was born in Boston. Can you tell me…what happened between you two?"

Martin nodded. "Sure, but I would prefer to do it in private. Besides, it's dark now and the park's not safe after dark. C'mon." Martin began to lead Faith to his waiting car when they were attacked by a vampire. Martin was knocked unconscious but Faith went right into slayer mode.

Swift kick to the groin followed by a side kick to the stomach that sent the vamp flying a few feet away. The vamp got up, pissed as all hell, and muttered, "Slayer!" Then charged again trying to get a punch in but Faith was quicker. Blocking and landing punch after punch, losing herself in the fight. Beating the vamp into a bloody pulp.

Someone nearby, a concerned citizen, flipped open her cell phone and called 911, telling the operator that a young woman was being attacked by the terrace in the park. Cops were soon dispatched and the citizen quickly left the area, concerned only now for her own safety.

Faith was still getting lost in the fight but keeping control over the vamp when she heard sirens. She quickly looked around then pulled a stake from her back pocket and thrust it into the vamp, watching it explode into dust. Faith looked around and noticed Martin was still unconscious and ran to him, actually concerned.

Faith was trying to wake him up when the police arrived. Faith looked up and noticed Officer Sommers and another uniformed cop. As soon as the cops learned it was Faith who was attacked, and noticed the bruises and few cuts, they called SVU and an ambulance. Within minutes, two detectives came driving up and got out of their cars, the ambulance right on their heels.

By this time Martin was awake and worrying over Faith. There was a cut above her right eye where the vamp had got in a lucky shot with sharp nails, numerous bruises that would be gone by morning. The detectives walked up to them and as Faith looked up, her eyes locked with those brown eyes she'd seen earlier in McDonald's.

Both women were caught in a moment until the cop's partner began asking questions. Faith answered him as best she could without giving away that it was a vampire.

"What did this guy look like?" Detective Stabler asked, noticing that Olivia had gone very silent.

"Um…tall, dark hair, white guy, looked maybe mid thirties…not too sure on that one. Horrible breath, like something had died in there ya know?" Faith made a face then smiled. So far she hadn't lied. The vamp did look like he'd been in his mid thirties (when he'd been turned at least), and his breath was horrible…it had that coppery smell of fresh blood. Faith figured he'd just eaten when he'd found her. Somewhere in this park was either a dead body or a vamp waiting to rise.

Stabler grimaced, "Yeah, what happened miss… I'm sorry I didn't get your name."

"Faith, my father and I were walking back to his car when this guy came and attacked us."

"What happened then, Faith?"

"My father was knocked unconscious and I defended myself. Black belt in karate, judo and tae kwon do. Came in handy tonight."

"I see, so where is he now?"

Faith shrugged her shoulders…she really didn't know nor did she care where vamps went after they were dusted. Now she knew she had to lie a bit. "Ran away, didn't notice which direction though, was concerned with my father by then."

Stabler nodded, satisfied for now. He turned to his partner, who still hadn't said anything. "Liv?"

"I'm good. Um, Faith, maybe you should let the paramedics have a look at that cut. And if you remember anything else that might help us, call." With that she handed the girl named Faith her card…with her home number scribbled on the back. She'd put her home number there while Elliot had been questioning her, luckily, no one was looking at the time.

Faith took the card and looked at it. 'Detective Olivia Benson: SVU. Well at least I know her name and how to find her now. Too bad I found out like this though. Oh well, some things can't be helped I guess.' Faith turned the card over and saw another number there and smiled briefly. 'Still got it.'

"Yeah, sure." Faith quietly went over to the paramedics and let them put a butterfly bandage on her cut, knowing full well it'd be healed by the morning.

Once statement were taken, the cops left and it was just her and Martin again. Faith insisted on driving since he'd been knocked out. Martin didn't argue once he made sure she knew how to drive. Then he gave detailed directions to his apartment.

Chapter Four

On the drive to Martin's apartment, there was silence until he finally got the nerve to ask. "That was a vampire wasn't it?"

Faith was shocked. "What do you mean?"

"Faith, I know about vampires, and I know that you're a slayer."

"What?! How do you know?"

Martin sighed, now or never. "It was part of the reason you're mother and I split up. You were three years old when this British guy came to the house and told me and Linda that you were a potential slayer. I didn't believe him but Linda did. She'd been a watcher see, and she'd known since you were 6 months old that you were a potential. When I refused to believe it and allow you to be taught to fight, Linda and the council took you away from me. I fought long and hard Faith, to keep you with me but I lost. Linda took you to Boston. I'm so sorry Faith."

"Wait, what are you sorry for? Sounds like it wasn't your fault."

"I'm sorry for not trying sooner to get you away from your mother, I wanted to but the Watcher's council threatened to kill you if I tried. Linda was there when they told me that and the look in her eyes told me they weren't kidding. I wasn't allowed anywhere near you, so I turned my focus to building up the kind of money and power I'd need to fight a group like the Council. But by that time, you'd left Boston. I didn't find you until after you were in a coma. I was still afraid the council would try to kill you so I kept my distance. Then, when I heard it had been destroyed and that you were back in Sunnydale, I started to build up the courage to contact you. By the time I did, you were in LA, how did you escape that huge earthquake that hit Sunnydale?"

It was a lot for Faith to take in but she managed to so far. She noticed they were on Martin's street. "Which one is it?" Martin pointed to a big one on the left.

Martin actually lived in a mansion in Westchester but he also kept an apartment in Manhattan. That was where they'd driven. Faith pulled into the underground garage and into the spot Martin indicated, not that he needed to tell her since his name was painted in big bold letters over six parking spots. Three spots were already taken so Faith pulled into the fourth and turned the car off. Their conversation was paused by silent mutual agreement as Martin led her to the elevator. They got in and he took out a key and put it in the lock next to the PH button and turned then pressed the PH button.

As the elevator went up, it stopped once to pick up a passenger in the building's lobby and then once more on the 15th floor to let the man off. Then it was a smooth trip to the top floor. Faith was silently trying to not only process what he'd told her in the car but also what he'd just done. Obviously, only someone with the key could get to the top floor, how'd that work when a friend visited?

The elevator doors opened and Martin let Faith step out first. She stepped out expecting to see a nice hallway but nope, she'd walked into what looked like another room. It was nice, sky blue carpeting, with a slightly darker blue on the walls and tastefully placed light sconces on the walls giving off a welcoming glow. Faith heard the elevator closing and turned to see that Martin was standing there watching her reaction.

"This is very nice, this is your place?"

"Yes it is. Well, one of them anyway. I own this building Faith, this top floor apartment is my treat to myself. Come, I'll give you the tour if you'd like."

"Sure, lead the way Martin." Faith was putting off their conversation as much as she could, so she could finish processing everything.

Martin understood and gave her the tour. First, the living room, which also had the same sky blue carpet and blue walls, the dining room whose color scheme was sandy brown, each of the five bedrooms with their own unique color scheme and several nice views of the city. The three bathrooms all a paler blue than the carpet in the living room, the kitchen, whose theme was stainless steel, it looked like a restaurant's kitchen. Finally, there was the game room, named not because there was dead animals or anything but because it housed every game imaginable. Playstation (1 & 2), Xbox, Gamecube, N64, and even the NES and Sega Genesis, each with its own 35inch TV. Another TV hooked up to a DVD/VHS and a huge stereo. There was a pool table at one end, a dart board on the wall, a small wet bar in one corner and an arcade style basketball game in another corner. Faith noticed a shelf on the far wall and it had board games stacked from the floor to the ceiling. Faith stood in awe in the doorway of the room, almost as if she wasn't worthy to enter.

"Wow, this is…wow." Was all Faith could say.

Martin smiled, "Glad you like it, I created this room for you Faith. I wasn't sure what you'd like so I just got everything, there's still some stuff on backorder though. That'll get here within the next two weeks I'm sure. Hopefully, you'll still be around then, I'd like it if you were."

"I think I'd like that too, but you shouldn't have gone to all this trouble for me." Faith suddenly flashed back to the Mayor and that apartment he'd gotten her, everything she'd ever wanted, and she didn't like the comparisons so she pushed those thoughts away and focused on the moment.

"Nonsense, you're my daughter Faith, and I've missed almost your entire life. I wanna make up for that, or at least try to, if you'll let me." Martin paused to let that sink in. "Shall we go into the living room? Finish our talk?"


They went back into the living room but when they got there Martin remembered that he hadn't eaten yet. "Are you hungry Faith?"

Faith just noticed she was starving, she'd managed to control the after effects of slaying on the drive over by focusing on what he'd told her but now, at the mention of eating, the hunger was back at full force.

"Starving actually, slaying always makes me hungry." Faith felt it would be best to leave out the horny part, that she could control until she got to a cold shower…or a hot body.

"Really? Hmmm…interesting side effect but it makes sense. Fighting, all that exercise I guess you gotta replace what you're working off right? Ok, let's go in the kitchen and see what I can whip up ok?"

Faith couldn't help the look of disbelief that popped up in her face just like she couldn't help her next words, "You can cook?"

"Single man, on his own had better learn to cook or risk either starving or going broke from take out. Seriously though, before you were born I took a course in culinary arts. Back when I thought I wanted to be a chef, grew out of that phase but still remembered how to cook. It was actually how I won your mother's heart."

"Yeah? Can you tell me about that? About how she was before…I was born."

"If you'd like. Let's see," While he began to tell her, he took out ingredients for the meal. Faith tried to mentally guess what he was making but gave up as soon as he began talking about her mother.

"Linda, she was…difficult I guess would be the best term. She didn't want anything to do with me at first. See, my best friend, Roger, was dating her sister and they both thought we'd be good together. So they played matchmaker, but Linda didn't share their opinion. She thought I was…beneath her I think was the term she used. See, Linda had been sent to a boarding school in England since she was 10 years old. Her sister lucked out and managed to stay in the states and attend private school. It was while she was in England that she was recruited by the Watcher's Council. But anyway, her experience with the other girls at that school, rich little brats who thought no one less than a Duke was good enough, shaped Linda's outlook. When she graduated from Oxford she returned home and that was when her sister, Kate, started trying to convince her to give me a shot. But Linda kept refusing."

"Why didn't you just give up and move on?"

"Good question, I guess because from the first moment I saw her I was hooked. There was no one else for me." As he spoke he prepared dinner. Expertly chopping, slicing, and dicing. He had two pots on the stove by now and a pan where he was sautéing onions, garlic and oregano in olive oil. "Can you pass me that spoon there Faith?"

Faith handed him the spoon and waited for him to continue. "So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, so Linda wouldn't have me and I only wanted her, so I cooked up the perfect plan, pun intended there, and I decided to throw a small dinner party. Just the four of us really, Kate, Roger, Linda and me. I cooked the whole meal, appetizer to dessert, took me all day but it was worth it. They arrived just as I was placing the chocolate soufflé into the oven. We ate in relative silence so the soufflé wouldn't fall. Needless to say that by the time the soufflé was gone, Linda was impressed. She agreed to give me a chance. Said any man that would go to all that trouble to get her attention deserved a shot."

"Wow, so I take it you made the most of your chance huh?"

"Yes I did, I dipped into my trust fund, which Linda never knew I had, and courted her in a way that would make even a Prince look poor by comparison. Three months later we were married."

"Were you…happy? The both of you I mean, happy in the marriage?"

"I always thought we were, things seemed near perfect. We worked, went out on weekends, trips during the summer, it was what I'd always wanted. And then we got really blessed and Linda told me she was pregnant. I was thrilled. I think I might've gotten on her nerves a bit though."


"I…I became very overprotective of her when she was pregnant with you. Coddled her really, never let her do anything too strenuous, always made sure she rested. Then I committed the ultimate sin and cut off her coffee supply."

"Mom liked coffee?" This was a shock; every time she'd tried to sober her mother up with coffee she'd slap the cup away then slap her for good measure.

"She loved it, drank like 10 cups a day. You seem surprised, why?"

"Well, when I was growing up, mom would get drunk and when I tried to give her coffee to sober her up, she'd slap the cup away." Faith thought it best to leave out the getting slapped part.

"Hmmm…guess maybe it reminded her of earlier times. Anyway, she really got mad at me for not letting her have her coffee but the doctor insisted on no caffeine, which meant no soda either. Just juice, water and milk, boy was she mad. Kept saying she'd get me for that, but there was always a spark in her eyes that told me she was just kidding. After you were born, nothing could pry you from my arms unless it was feeding time or time for me to go to work. You were my little girl, and you knew it. I think that might've also been a factor in Linda's decision to leave. She knew that she couldn't compete in the favorite parent department so she did the next best thing and took you away from me."

By this time, dinner was done and Martin decided they'd eat in the kitchen at the little breakfast table. He told Faith where the plates were and she got two down for them. Martin served up two big plates of angel hair pasta with a homemade red wine sauce. Once the plates were on the table he turned back to the oven and pulled out the loaf of garlic bread and cut it up into pieces and put it into a basket and put it on the table too. Then got out a bottle of Chardonnay, "Faith, do you drink wine or would you prefer something else?"

"Take a beer if you got it, or juice if not. Not a big wine gal."

"Beer it is then." Martin put the wine back and got two long neck bottles of Corona out of the fridge along with a lime which he sliced up into quarters and put in a small dish. Once everything was on the table he pulled out Faith's chair and she sat down, then he sat.

Faith smiled as she realized that this was what she'd always wanted, dinner with family. With a parent who cared and took the time to show it by cooking a meal…something Buffy had always taken for granted when Joyce was still alive.

Martin noticed Faith hadn't eaten yet, "Faith? You ok? It is safe to eat you know… not like I'm gonna try to poison you or anything."

Faith smiled. "I know, just…was thinking about something." Faith began eating and noticed it was really, really good.

"Mind if I ask what you were thinking about?"

"Just… remembering all those times in Boston, when I'd be watching TV and see families having dinner together and wishing I could be there with them ya know?"

"I think I understand. Well, if you decide to stay we can have dinner like this every night. I'd be more than happy to cook dinner every night."


"Oops, guess I'm kinda jumping the gun aren't I? But I won't lie to you Faith, I would love nothing more than to have you move in here and live with me. I want us to be a family again but I understand that you might be…wary of that. I understand if there are…trust issues when it comes to men but I want you to know that you can trust me Faith."

"Last person who said that to me ended up sticking a knife in my gut, so you'll forgive me if it brings back bad memories."

Martin visibly paled. He'd known about the whole knife thing but he hadn't known that Faith had thought she could trust the person who did it. "Buffy Summers wasn't it?" Martin asked…trying to sound casual but knowing he'd failed.

Faith heard the tremor of anger underneath the trying so hard to be casual tone in her father's voice. Faith had accepted he was indeed her father, but how did he know about Buffy?

"Yeah…how'd you know her name?"

"Ever since I tracked you to Sunnydale, I kept a close eye on you. Well, I hired a private investigator to keep an eye on you. He had strict orders not to interfere just to observe. And report back every week. I know almost everything, well the facts anyway. The motives, emotions and stuff I don't know. In fact, when I heard that she'd almost killed you I almost hired someone to kill her. But I stopped myself in time. Because you were still alive, in a coma yes, but still alive. I was in the middle of making arrangements to have you moved to a hospital here when you woke up. And then you ended up in jail. There wasn't much I could do about that but I did what I could. It took a few years but , again, I was in the middle of getting you an early parole into my custody here when you broke out and went back to Sunnydale. My investigator told me what was happening there, well, as much as he could seeing as how he didn't know about the vampires and stuff. Maybe someday, you could tell me what really happened there? But until then I can wait. So then you left there and ended up back in LA. I was afraid you'd try to return to jail so I pulled some strings and got your record expunged. That was when I finally got the courage to send you that letter."

"I see…wow. You went to all that trouble just to find me? Why?"

"You're my daughter Faith. I love you, I've loved you since you were born and I finally had the means to contact you."

"But why was that so important? I mean, you could've turned around and just said 'fuck it' and lived your life. I never would've known differently."

"That's partly why I did it Faith. You never would've known differently than you've known your whole life. And I wanted you to know that there was someone, me, who you could turn to, trust and who loved you unconditionally. I wanted you to know that you are not alone Faith. Even though, considering you probably made friends this time in Sunnydale, you probably already knew that, I wanted to make sure you knew it. I also wanted to meet you Faith, to have you meet me."

"Oh, makes sense I guess. And yeah I did make some friends and also made peace with old rivals but, until tonight I still felt alone. I've been on my own since I was 16, and I got used to it, accepted it as the way things were. Now you tell me that I am not alone anymore, it's gonna take some getting used to ok?"

"Of course, old habits die hard, I know this. Take all the time you need Faith, and in the meantime if you like you can stay here. You'd have full run of the place during the day when I'm at work and when I get home we can have dinner together and anything else you'd like."

"I get the feeling that if I let you, you'd spoil me rotten."

"Yes, I probably would. I missed out on 18 years of your life Faith, that's a lot to make up for. But I would at least try to hold myself back…a bit." Martin smiled.

Faith smiled back, thinking she could probably get used to having a loving parent in her life. Someone she could count on and talk to, someone who knew she was a slayer who needed to patrol, speaking of which. "I do have something to ask you Martin."

"Faith, you can ask me anything, and I hope that one day you'll be comfortable enough to call me dad but I can wait for that too. So what'd you wanna ask me?"

"Well, you know that I'm a slayer and that means that I hafta be out there at night killing vampires. If I did move in here, would you be able to let me do that? Go out on patrols like a slayer should?"

"I said before I won't lie so here goes. I'm not gonna pretend that I like the thought of you fighting vampires and risking your life, but I do understand that it's a part of who you are and that you can't change that so yes I would let you go out and patrol. But, I'd be waiting up for you every night to make sure you got back safely."

"Liking the honesty, and I guess I can put up with having you wait up for me as long as you don't try to run my life or tell me what to do, deal? I'll move in here if you can agree to that."

Martin thought about that for a minute. He knew he could agree to her terms but he also knew it would be tough to hold back. But he would try, for a second chance to be the father she deserved, he would try his very best. "Deal, it won't be easy but I'll make every effort to refrain from telling you what to do. Fair enough?"

"Yeah." By this time Faith had eaten not only her plate of pasta but most of the garlic bread and two beers. Sleep had begun to set in a bit. "I'm getting tired though, long flight and then that slay. Mind if I crash here?"

"Of course not, go pick out a room. A word of advice though, the red and blue room has a closet full of clothes in your size. Not saying you have to pick that room but when you do pick your room, you can move the clothes over ok?"

"Ok, sounds good. Well, goodnight…dad." Faith takes a risk and then goes over and gives him a kiss on the cheek then walks out, hearing him say a surprised goodnight. Faith smiled, knowing it wouldn't be long before this apartment felt like home. Faith walked through each of the four available bedrooms, knowing which one was her father's. She tried to get a feel for each room but when she walked into the red and blue room, she got the feeling of being home. She walked around the room, certain that the feeling was just because she knew the closet held her clothes but, no, the more time she spent in the room the bigger the feeling got of being home. Faith sat down on the bed, trying to figure it out when Martin appeared in the doorway.

"I take it you picked this one?"

"More like it picked me but, yeah. Is that ok?"

"Very ok, I had a feeling you'd pick this one. Feels like home doesn't it?"

"Yeah it does…how'd you know?"

"This room is an exact copy of your bedroom when you were three, well except for the bed it was much smaller back then. You never seemed the type for Barbie sheets or anything like that, but when you got older I was going to let you redecorate anyway you wanted. But…that never happened. So when I decorated this apartment I told the decorator that this room had to be exactly like this. I guess a part of you still remembers the room."

"Guess so, thanks. I love it."

"I'm glad. Of course, if there's anything you wish to change you are more than welcome to. I want you to feel that this is your home Faith. Maybe this weekend, if you want, we can go up to the house in Westchester."

"You have another house? Why?"

"Sometimes I like to leave the City for the weekend to relax. Trust me, you'll probably never wanna leave it but the City holds more…night crawlers. Anyway, good night Faith. I'm going to be up for a little while longer in my office returning some calls. See you in the morning?"

"Sure thing, goodnight."


Martin closed the door and left. Faith looked around and decided to just get changed for bed but then realized she needed a shower. Thankfully, this bedroom shared a bathroom with another one so she didn't have far to go. After making sure the two doors to the bathroom were locked she stripped and took a shower.

Half an hour later, Faith crawled into the full sized canopy bed and fell asleep.

Martin sat in his home office, which was connected to his bedroom, and smiled. His daughter was finally home. He finally had his second chance to be a father and he wasn't going to blow it. The phone on his desk rang and he picked it up quickly, not wanting to wake up Faith.


"Martin, it's Casey."

"Hi Casey, what can I do for you?"

"Just wanted to talk to someone. Tough case at work which I lost and then had to listen to a tirade from the detectives on the case about how I'd messed up and let a rapist back on the streets."

"I'm sorry Casey, I know how hard it is to lose a case. I do have something that could possibly cheer you up though."

"I hope so, I could use some good news. What is it?"

"My daughter Faith is here."

"Faith?! Oh my god why didn't you tell me earlier?"

"Sorry, was kinda busy earning her trust. She's a challenge but I think she's coming around. I got her to agree to move in here so that's a good start."

"Is she around? Can I say hello?"

"Sorry Casey, she's sleeping. Plus, I haven't told her yet that she has a cousin. She sorta knows about your mom and her connection to her mom but…we didn't get around to kids."

"There's more to this than you're saying, what's up?"

Martin sighed. "Apparently, I was right about Linda turning to alcohol, Faith let it slip that she was often drunk. Faith doesn't have a high opinion of her mother I don't think. Not sure how she'd react to a cousin on her mother's side ya know? I don't mean to hurt you just saying."

"I understand Martin. My mother never really spoke of her sister after she left you. I only knew she was married to you because my dad insisted on telling me before I met you. Still, I would like to meet her…she's family."

"I know Casey, um…tell you what. I'll tell her tomorrow morning and if she's ok with it maybe we can all have lunch tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow, yeah I'm free tomorrow. Around 1 o'clock?"

"Sounds good, I'll call your cell when I can confirm Faith's presence ok?"

"Ok, but even if she says no, can we still have lunch?"

"Yes of course. See you tomorrow Casey."

"Thanks Martin, see you tomorrow. Goodnight."

"Goodnight Casey."

Martin hung up and sat there smiling. After a few minutes, he got up and, after making sure the apartment was secure for the night, went to bed.

Chapter Five

After a rough night, Detective Olivia Benson walked into the squad room of the 16th Precinct in an oddly upbeat mood. She was in a good mood only because of what happened the night before. She'd met that young brunette she'd flirted with at McDonald's and now she knew her name. Faith, it seemed oddly fitting to Olivia. At this point in her life, she could use a little more faith…in more ways than one. Plus, the girl now had her number, yup Olivia felt good. But the file that waited for her on her desk quickly put an end to that.

Within twenty minutes, Olivia's good mood was gone as she was immersed in the dark world of sex crimes.

ADA Casey Novak was also in a good mood this morning but for slightly different reasons. Martin had called and confirmed that Faith would join them for lunch later. She was so excited…and nervous. She'd heard enough about Faith from Martin to realize that she and Faith probably had nothing beyond DNA and Martin in common. Casey wanted to change that, she wanted to have a cousin (at last) to hang out with and talk to. Sadly, there were very few friends she could talk to about her job. And while one would think that Olivia would be the perfect person to talk to, there was still an iciness there. Casey had figured it out within a few weeks why, Olivia resented her for replacing the late Alex Cabot. According to Liz Donnelly, her boss, Olivia and Alex were very close and Olivia took her death the hardest of all the SVU detectives. Casey could tell this by the level of warmth and cooperation she got from the other detectives. After a few cases, they'd warmed up and stopped treating her like the enemy lawyer who messed up their cases. She became one of them in a way, an ally who they could work with…all except Olivia. She put up a good show around the others but when it was just them, her true feelings came out and the iciness was back.

Casey didn't mind anymore. She decided that if Olivia ever wanted to change her mind about her then that would be great but Casey wasn't going to beat herself up over it.

Casey walked into the SVU squad room and after greeting the detectives, walked into Captain Cragen's office for their meeting.

Olivia watched as Casey went into the Captain's office and the door closed.

"Hey El, you got the autopsy report on Jennifer Walker there?"

Elliot shuffled some papers around and found the report. "Yeah, right here, haven't had a chance to read it. Hang on." Elliot opened the folder and read the report. What he found was pretty much what the ME had told them at the scene but it was what was written in the notes section that caught his eye.

"Body was completely drained of blood, and there were two puncture wounds on the upper inner right thigh which was hidden before by the blood. Origin and cause of wounds—unknown but definitively not the cause of death."

Elliot didn't know what to make of that so he handed it to Olivia without a word. Olivia read the report and when she came to the notes section she too was confused. Just as she was about to suggest visiting ME Warner for some clarification, Casey exited the captain's office in mid conversation with Cragen.

"Well, Captain, I'll keep that in mind thanks."

"Anytime counselor, and have fun at lunch."

"I will, in case you need anything though I'll be at, as weird as this is going to sound, the McDonalds on 42nd street."

Cragen couldn't quite hide the smile as he clarified, "McDonalds? Somehow I can't picture you there."

"Not my usual choice but it was my cousin's choice and since it's our first meeting I want her to be comfortable you know? Anyway, won't be so bad, they serve salads too. I should go, see you later Don."

"Bye Casey, tell Martin I said hello ok?"

"Will do."

With that, Casey Novak said goodbye to the detectives and left the squad room, she still had an hour until lunch so she went to her office to work a bit more.

Olivia went over to Cragen and verified for herself where Casey would be, but she didn't ask who she would be with cuz it made no difference to her. She had a feeling that whatever clarification Warner could give them was gonna require some legal advice.

Elliot and Olivia put their jackets on and headed to the Medical Examiner's office to see if she could clarify the notes she wrote.

Chapter 6

Olivia and Elliot walked into the viewing room where the ME was waiting for them with the body of Jennifer Walker laid out on a metal table, naked but covered from chest to knees with a sheet. ME Warner was expecting them, knowing that what she put in her notes would be odd enough to bring them out.

Olivia stood over the body as Elliot asked, "So doc, did you get a time of death?"

"Yeah, tricky this time though."

"How so?" Olivia asked.

"Well usually, lividity, liver temp, and rigor are used to determine time of death but Ms Walker had no blood at all inside her body to establish lividity. No blood also tampers with liver temp and rigor."

"So how'd you get a TOD?" Elliot asked, curious.

"I said it tampers with the factors, not that it eliminates them. My original estimation was off by 8 hours give or take. Meaning Ms Walker was killed sometime between 3 and 4 am, but the blood was drained while she was dying."

"So the blood loss killed her?" Olivia asked.

"No, look here." Warner showed the detectives the eyes of the victim. "There's petichial hemorrhaging, meaning she was suffocated, as evidenced by the hand marks around her neck but if you note the fracture of her scull right here you'll see that what actually killed her was a combination of the blow to her head and strangulation." Warner then pointed to the bruises on the victim's neck.

"Perp went into overkill mode but why drain the blood?" Elliot asked.

Olivia was staring at the puncture marks on the thigh. "El, look at this, looks like a bite mark."

Elliot went over and looked at the marks, they reminded him of the marks left on victims in vampire horror flicks. Elliot knew it was ridiculous but that's what it looked like.

"Bite mark, yeah it does. Doc, any explanation for those?" Elliot asked, pointing to the marks.

Warner moved closer to the marks and studied them again. Her mind was coming to the same conclusion Elliot's had—vampire. Or someone pretending to be. "The only explanation I have is not one I'd care to share."

"Why not?" Olivia asked, having also noticed the similarities to vampire bites.

"Because it's not based in any medical or scientific fact. Just speculation."

The three of them looked at each other, silent communication passing between them all. Then Elliot spoke what they all were thinking.

"Vampire? Or some crackpot who thinks he's a vampire?"

Warner simply nodded as did Olivia.

"Just great, perp leave any DNA or other evidence?" Elliot asked, more grossed out than anything else at the thought of a crackpot out there drinking human blood cuz he thought he was Dracula. Just when he thought he's seen it all in this job, someone comes along with something new.

"That's another weird thing, he definitely raped her but left nothing anywhere in the body. Not even spermicide or residue from any type of condom."

"Ok, that is odd." Olivia said, "But maybe he didn't or couldn't finish."

"Impotent? That's one explanation but even if all he did was penetrate her there would still be some DNA rubbed off, skin cells. Unless…"

"Unless what?" Elliot asked.

"Well, unless he used something other than his own equipment." Warner said, slightly uncomfortable. This case was getting weirder by the minute.

Olivia felt the same way, especially with this new twist of the perp using something else to rape the victim.

Elliot, however, had no problem voicing his thoughts, simply because he'd deal with his emotions later, in private.

"Something else? Like a dildo?"

"That would explain the lack of DNA." A sudden idea occurred to the ME. "Give me a few hours and I'll be able to let you know for sure ok?"

Elliot and Olivia exchanged looks then agreed. They left the ME's office and went back to the squad room to share this new info with Cragen.

Meanwhile, at the McDonalds on 42nd street…

Martin and Faith had arrived first and ordered their food and were sitting in a corner booth eating and waiting for Casey to arrive. Casey showed up, ordered a salad and diet coke and joined them. Martin introduced the two ladies and then silence settled in as they ate. When they were done, Casey began the conversation.

"So, Faith, Martin tells me you've agreed to move in with him, is this true?"

Faith had decided while she was eating that Casey might be worth getting to know. Despite being from her mother's side of the family, Martin had kept in touch with her so maybe she wasn't as bad as she'd been thinking when Martin first told her about the lunch meeting.

"Yup. I figured, it wasn't his fault how I grew up so I might as well give him a chance. Besides, he's family ya know?"

Martin smiled, already growing accustomed to Faith's way of thinking and talking. Casey smiled too.

"Yeah I know, I still think of him as my uncle. I hope, Faith, that you and I can become friends. I'd really like that."

Faith thought about it and decided that she could always use a friend. Besides, just like Martin, Casey was family. Faith smiled, "Yeah, I'd like that too. Only friends I ever had are still in California."

Casey relaxed, the hard part was more or less over, Faith had agreed to become friends. Casey flashed back to something Olivia had told her, that once people found out exactly what they did for a living, working in sex crimes, they tended to lose interest. Casey decided to test that theory and began looking for a way to work it into the conversation. Faith offered the opening when she asked what Casey did for a living. Casey held nothing back as she explained that she was an ADA for the city of New York in the Sex Crimes Unit, better known as the Special Victims Unit.

Faith hid her surprise well when she found out that Casey worked for the same unit that Olivia did. They must know each other but Faith wasn't going to ask Casey about Olivia. There was something in Casey's tone when she spoke of the only female detective in that unit. Something that made Faith refrain from asking Casey about her.

Lunch lasted just under an hour when Casey got paged. The SVU team needed her for something and she had to go. Faith resisted the urge to offer to walk with her there. Faith had other plans for the detective which didn't involve seeing the inside of a police station just yet.

Instead, Faith gave Casey a hug goodbye and then sat back down with her father, who'd remained quiet throughout the whole conversation. "You've been very quiet, is something wrong?"

"No, nothing wrong. Just, well I'm just glad that you and Casey are getting along. I was worried you might not give her a chance because of her relation to Linda."

"Yeah? Well, that's something you haven't learned about me yet, but you will. I don't hold anyone's DNA against them. The way I figure it, you can't choose who you're related to so why should you be held accountable for their actions? So, I will give Casey a fair shot, just like I am giving you a fair shot. Make sense?"

"Yes it does. Well, I have to get back to the office for a few more hours, you're welcomed to join me there unless you have other plans."

"I wanna explore the city actually. Get a feel for the place so that when I patrol I don't get lost or anything ok?"

"That's fine. Just a suggestion but, due to the shortage of cemeteries within the city limits you might want to get familiar with Central Park. As evidenced last night, vampires tend to hunt there. Also, I'd like you to have this." Martin handed her a cell phone. "It's yours if you need to call anyone, even Buffy in California if you want, ok?"

"Thanks Martin. But I don't think I'll be calling B for a while. But I'll carry the phone with me just in case."

Martin smiled and they left the restaurant together. Martin hailed a cab back to his office and Faith walked to Central Park.

Faith managed to walk all over the park, getting to know every spot and also managing to admire the beauty of it all. From the Bethesda Fountain to Bow Bridge to the Literary Walk, Faith enjoyed it all, but there were moments when she caught herself wishing Buffy could've been there, and other moments when she'd see something and get that sense of déjà vu. The times when she'd catch herself thinking about the blond slayer Faith would force herself to focus on something else, anything else to get her out of her mind. Usually, the image that worked best to drive Buffy out of her thoughts, was the face of Olivia Benson. Faith didn't think she could forget that face even if she wanted to try, which she didn't.

Faith pulled out the cell phone that Martin had given her and then took out the slip of paper Kennedy had given her at the airport. As Faith dialed the number to Kennedy's house, she walked slowly around the park, coming to a stop in front of a statue of a dog. Faith was reading the inscription when Kennedy answered the phone.


"K? That you?"

"Faith! Oh wow, didn't expect to hear from you so soon. How are things with your father?"

"Going good, he's a nice guy and I learned more things about my mom and what happened all those years ago. It's really a long story. How's the whole meet the parents thing going?"

"It's going pretty good. Everyone loves Willow and she's even teaching my dad how to use his computer. He needs serious help there, total technophobe. Willow says she reminds him of Giles only less British." Kennedy and Faith both laugh at that.

After another ten minutes of catching up Kennedy asks the big question. "How's the whole, getting over Buffy thing going? Any luck?"

Faith had told Kennedy how she felt about the blond slayer on the plane to NY while Willow was in the bathroom. Kennedy had asked at the time why Faith hadn't just come clean with Buffy about her feeling and Faith had confided that she didn't want to risk the rejection. Faith knew Buffy wasn't like that and she'd rather never hear the no than feel the pain of it. Kennedy had understood and then offered her support and her promise not to tell Willow about it. Telling Willow was like telling Buffy and Faith did not want that.

"Actually, it going good. I've already met someone who could possibly help me get over her, you know what they say: easiest way to get over the last one is with a new one."

"Really? Well tell me about her."

"She's older, but not by too much. She's got short dark hair, brown eyes, a killer body and a smile that could make Angel lose his soul. There's only one downside, if you can call it that."

"That must be some smile, and what's the downside? Is she straight or something?"

"Not sure if she's straight but she definitely spiked the needle on my gaydar into the red. No, the downside is she's a cop. A detective and she was the cop they called after I was attacked by a vamp my first night here. I dusted him but then she shows up and I have to lie to her about what happened to the guy who was attacking me."

"Wow, some first meeting, but I guarantee she won't forget you anytime soon."

"Oh that wasn't out first meeting. Well, maybe in terms of exchanging names but I had seen her earlier at the McDonalds during lunch."

"Yeah?" Kennedy was suddenly very interested. Faith was talking about this woman with a tone in her voice that Kennedy almost identified as infatuation. If Faith wasn't careful, she'd end up falling for this woman. Which Kennedy didn't think would be a bad thing, unless Faith came clean about her past. Being a cop, Kennedy doubted this woman would be easily forgiving.

"Yeah, she sat down two tables away and we kinda flirted with our eyes, which is when I saw that amazing smile. Then she got called away on her cell and she left without so much as a word or anything. Then she shows up just after I dusted a vamp. Talk about awkward meetings."

"Tell me about it. Did she say anything then, any indication that she liked you?"

"Does handing me her card with her name and work number on one side and her home phone written on the back count?"

"No way! She did that?"

"Yup, right in front of her partner too, though I don't think he saw her write her number on the back…I did though but you know me, perfect poker face."

"Very cool, a definite step in the right direction. So you have her number, you call her yet?"

"Nope, you're the first person I've called except for my father."

"Aww… now I feel special." Kennedy teased. "I think you should call her, sooner rather than later, Faith. Don't let that lady slip through your fingers. You might regret it."

"I'll think about it. There is such a thing as appearing too desperate, Miss I had to trick Willow into our first date."

"Hey, that was different, we were in that whole don't know how much longer we have to live situation cuz of the First. I didn't have time to play hard to get and let her come to me."

"No you didn't, but I do. Doesn't mean I am going to just wait for her either just means that I am not gonna make myself look desperate. Besides, I get the feeling that I'll be seeing more of her soon."

"Why's that?"

"My cousin, on my mother's side, is a lawyer who works with her. Talk about coincidence huh?"

"Very convenient I'll say. Well, I gotta go now Faith, it's time for me to take Willow horseback riding."

"Horseback riding? I thought Red was afraid of horses, that's what Xander told me once."

"She is, but I am working on getting her over that. Today is her first lesson in getting over her fear. So I can't be late or she'll find a way to hide until dinnertime. Talk to you tomorrow ok?"

"Yeah ok K. Tell Red I said hi and I'll call tomorrow. Bye."

"Bye Faith."

Faith closes her cell phone and takes a look around, noticing that the park has less people in it. She checks her watch and realizes it already 4:30 in the afternoon. Faith decides to find a spot to rest for a few hours then begin her patrol of the park, suddenly needing to slay something. The talk with Kennedy had helped her to ground herself. It would be easy for Faith to lose herself in her father's lifestyle. To let him just spoil her and become a rich brat, but Faith didn't want that. She finally had learned what it meant to be a slayer, the true meaning and that was more important to Faith now than it ever really was before. She wanted to prove to herself (and to Buffy) that she could do it. That she could be a slayer and fight on the side of good and be everything a slayer was supposed to be.

Talking with Kennedy had reminded her that she wasn't alone, that there were other slayers in the world. More than there'd ever been. Enough that if she needed help she could call for it. Faith also knew that Hellmouths weren't the only places Slayers were needed. New York City had been home to at least one other slayer that Faith knew about…Nikki Wood, Robin's mother. So obviously there were vamps and stuff here too. And Faith made a promise to herself that she would do whatever it took to fight the evil in the world. So, she found a relatively quiet spot in the park, near the Bethesda Fountain, to rest and wait for nightfall.

For some reason, Faith was always drawn to the fountain. There was something about it that seemed very familiar to her. She made a mental note to ask Martin about it later that night.

Part 7

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