FIC: Faith The Series Season 3 Episode 16 (43/?)
"Now," the Mayor entered the office with a beaming smile that he directed full power at the young blonde sat at the opposite end of the desk. "The two policeman you assaulted have disappeared and all records of your mother’s unfortunate demise expunged. As far as the outside world is concerned any absence can be explained as business trips." His smile wavered at the young lady’s non-response. "A little gratitude would be much appreciated."
It was an effort, but he managed to keep his temper by reminding himself just
how important this young lady might become to him. "Well that’s splendid!" He
reached into his pocket and dropped a credit card onto his desk, careful to
avoid the physical contact he so disdained. "That will help you pay bills etc.
But don’t go wild, there’s a five thousand dollar a month limit on that."
"Thanks," the girl snatched the card up with alacrity and there was a far
greater gratefulness in her voice than before. The blonde looked up at him,
impatience in her eyes. "Why can’t I kill her now?" she whined. "I want to rip
her throat out."
"Now, now, now," he smirked at her eagerness. "These things have their time. Besides, there will be time aplenty to enjoy Faith’s demise after the event. When," he allowed a hard note to enter his voice, "I say so. Now, off to school."
* * *
"And furthermore Miss. Austin-Meadows, I will not tolerate unagreed upon absences from patrol, am I understood?"
"Yes, Mr. Whydham-Pryce."
"I can’t believe she’s actually taking it from him," Faith muttered as she watched her counterpart take a tongue lashing from Wussley. "He spoke to me like that and I’d rip his lungs out."
"Leaving aside the visceral image," Giles said in his snooty manner, "perhaps they relate on some snob level?"
"Or maybe she has the hots for him." They both shuddered. "No," Faith decided. "That’s just too disgusting."
"Yes quite," Giles sniffed. "Let’s not pollute the British gene pool still further." Her glare bounced off the smart-ass Englishman. "Where is Xander this afternoon?"
"He’s gone to pick his tux up for the prom!" Faith beamed proudly.
"Oh dear," murmured her guardian. "I rather think he’ll be competition for Austin Powers rather than James Bond."
"You’re a regular fuckin’ laugh riot ya know?"
"Please, child," Giles smirked at her. "Language."
* * *
Xander whistled to himself as he hurried through Sunnydale’s major shopping
mall, his gaze darting left and right as he looked for the surprise he wanted to
get Faith for being his prom date. His brow furrowed as he noted somebody
examining a dress in April Fools. "Well even on the weekend I need my fix of
Cordy-abuse. Guess I’m just kinky that way." A grin on his face he pushed the
shop door open. "Cordy, always a pleasure.
The cheerleader looked up, an almost frightened look on her face. "Cross-dressing now Xander?" she snapped.
Stranger and stranger, Xander mused, that insult definitely lacked her usual venom. "That your prom dress Cordy?" he shot back with a grin. "Because you should carry it off no problem, definitely screams upper-class slut."
"Is this a customer or a friend?"
Xander turned to see an imperious looking salesgirl looking at him. Xander hid a smirk, he wondered if Cordy had taught her that look. "Neither. Just stopped by for my daily helping of bile. It’s sort of a Harris-Chase tradition."
The salesgirl glared at him before turning her attention to an unusually quiet Cordelia. "You better get back to work and quit goofing. Mrs. Finkel so has it in for you." Her warning delivered, the salesgirl stalked off, nose held firmly in the air.
Xander looked from the middle-aged woman by the counter to a downcast Cordelia. This didn’t make any sense. "You work here?"
"Yes. Yes, I work here."
"But, uh, why?"
"I'm trying to buy a dress," Cordelia muttered.
"But don't you already have all the dresses?" Xander was growing increasingly bemused. "Like more than Imelda has shoes?"
"I have nothing, okay? No dresses. No cell phone. No car. Everything's been taken away because Daddy made a little mistake on his taxes. For the last twelve years. Satisfied? Are you a happy Xander now? I'm broke. I can't go to any of the colleges that accepted me. And I can't stay home because we no longer have one."
"Uh, wow." Seeing Cordelia like this, surrounded by an aura of hurt and with tears in her eyes didn’t have the appeal it would have had a few years ago. He wanted to hug her. But he wanted his arms more.. "Why didn’t you tell Faith or -."
"Or Jesse? My ex-boyfriend? Yeah, neato."
"Cordy, I’m-." He spun round at the sound of the shop front window shattering
and saw a four-legged furry beast barrelling towards them, salvia dripping from
its gaping mouth. "Get down!" Xander shoulder-charged the cheerleader out of
harm's way before leaping towards the creature. "Slayers are like policemen!" he
grunted as he grabbed hold of the monster around its heavily muscled neck,
attempting to keep its gnashing teeth from his face and throat, even as its
claws ripped at him. "There’s never one around when you -." Suddenly his legs
gave way knocking him to the floor, the creature on top of him.
Just as the monster was about to savage him Cordy brought a yardstick down across its snout. The monster let out a howl before turning its baleful eyes on the cheerleader. "Nice doggy."
Even with the monster laid on him, Xander was unable to prevent a giggle from escaping. Nice doggy? Pure Cordy. Suddenly the beast leapt off him and charged not at Cordy but at a tuxedoed youth at the back of the shop. Groaning at the effort, Xander struggled to his feet, helped by the shaking cheerleader. "Thanks Cordy," he muttered.
"No problem Dweeb Boy," his companion whispered, her voice shaking and her usually healthily-tanned skin a sickly grey. "Any idea how we beat this crea-."
The Queen of Sunnydale High’s voice trailed off when the beast turned its gaze on them. Suddenly it let out a roar and bounded past them, and out of the window. Xander sighed with relief. "Shopping really can be murder eh?"
"Do you really think we have to tell Faith?"
"Well duh," Xander thought of something and passed the cheerleader his keys. "You go get the car, I’ll get the video tape." He waited until the cheerleader had disappeared out of the shop before approaching the store’s shocked manager. "How much does Cordelia owe on that dress?"
* * *
"But you’re alright?"
Xander rolled his eyes at Faith’s fussing. "I’m great, a few bruises but nothing major. Let’s watch the tape." After a second inspecting him, his girlfriend nodded. "See," Xander pointed at the tape. "That’s where things went weird."
"Xander, hellmouth remember?"
Xander nodded at Faith’s remark. "Yeah, but still. I’ve attacked it, Cordy’s attacked it but it goes for a guy cowering at the back of the shop."
"If I'm not mistaken, this is a hellhound." Wesley commented.
"Yes." Giles agreed. "It's particularly vicious. It's sort of a demon foot soldier bred during the Machash Wars. Trained solely to kill. They feed off the brains of their foes."
Wesley turned to Cordy. "And what pray tell were you doing there this afternoon?"
"What? Um, I was... "
Xander dived in to the rescue. "You know what’s she’s like. Burning a hole in daddy's wallet, as usual. I just bumped into her during my tuxedo hunt." He smiled at Cordy’s grateful half-glance.
"Right, these things eat brains right?" Faith asked. At Giles’ nod the blonde continued. "How’s this for a plan. Giles, you and," Faith cast the younger of the two Watchers a distrusting glance "Wes come with me to Willy’s to see if he’s got any information."
"Oh splendid," Giles beamed. "I always enjoy giving that odious little berk a good hiding." Everyone stared at the older Watcher for a second. He shrugged. "I spar with Slayers and fight with demons, it’s nice to be dishing out the punishment for a change."
"Someone’s got issues," Xander muttered under his breath.
"Okay," Faith shook her head before turning to the rest of them. "The rest of you go to the local butchers and meat plants, see if anybody’s been buying brains."
* * *
Giles shook his head at Jesse’s enquiry as he sat down in the library. "Willy was quite insistent that he’d never seen anything or heard about hell hounds."
"And you believed him?" queried Xander.
"Oh," Giles smiled a Ripperish smile. "He was rather too frightened to lie. What about you and the butchers?"
"Nothing," put in Cordelia. "Maybe there was just the one?"
"Unlikely," Giles saw every one of the teens’ eyes roll at Wesley’s lecturing tone. "These beasts run in packs of four to six. The question is, why are they here?"
"The rather more important question is why haven’t there been reports of their attacks? Even in Sunnydale," Giles turned the video of the attack back on, "they’d be noticed."
* * *
"What is this place?" Tegan queried, nose wrinkling at the foul stench as she followed the Mayor down a flight of stone steps and into a dimly lit basement. Her eyes widened at the sight of the four cages pushed against the far wall, one empty but three occupied by howling, snarling beasts. "They’re like the animals on the video tape that Xander and Cordelia got!"
"Yes an unfortunate incident. I’ve had them here for quite a while, but the catch on one of their cages broke, and one escaped." The Mayor sighed. "Their handler had his employment terminated. One can’t stand incompetence."
Tegan resisted the urge to shudder. "But what do you need them for?"
"Tonight, I want you to take delivery of an item for me. While this is going on, my three pets will be unleashed. And with the training they’ve got," the politician pointed towards the video screen currently showing ‘Carrie’ before casually tasering one of the monsters making it howl in agony. "And then tonight, Faith will fight these. And she will die."
"I wanted to kill that bitch!"
"My dear, language," the Mayor shook his head before putting on a pair of plastic gloves, and flinging a piece of meat into one of the cages. Immediately its occupant snatched a hold of the meat in its powerful jaws, sunk its teeth in, and tore it in two, blood spraying everywhere. "Besides, I doubt you could rip her apart like that, now can you?"
Tegan smiled slowly. "Guess not." She looked at the Mayor. "But I get to see the corpse afterwards?"
The Mayor sighed. "If that’s what you wish."
* * *
"My dear," Giles felt the stirrings of parental pride when Faith strode downstairs in an off the shoulder, ankle-length black number, "you look beautiful."
Faith looked less than convinced. "Ya don’t think it’s too much?"
"You look stunning," Giles offered Faith his arm. "Xander is a very lucky
man. And you make sure he doesn’t forget it."
Faith smirked. "Like I’d give him the chance." Faith’s face sobered. "G, the hell hounds?"
"Don’t worry about it," he replied. "That is a problem for another day. Xander’s limo will be here shortly to take us to the dance."
Faith’s smirk returned. "Ya looking forward to playing chaperone, G?"
Giles winced at the reminder of his press-ganged by Snyder role. "Oh happy day."
* * *
"Thank you for the lift, Xander," Giles climbed out of the limousine. "Now why don’t you two make your grand entrance, catch up with your friends. I’ll be at the library, looking through some papers."
"Remember ya gotta turn up," Faith smirked at him as she climbed out of the car, looking absolutely dazzling. Yes, the dress was worth the fortune he’d paid for it. Emotion almost tearing his eyes, he nodded numbly. "’Cause Mrs. Lance is looking for a dance, and ya don’t wanna disappoint her!"
Giles glared at his unrepentantly grinning charge. Of course, he reminded himself that didn’t still mean she wasn’t a complete hellion. "Mrs Lance," his lip curled at the mention of the matronly and very bossy home economics teacher some twenty years his senior, "is going to be disappointed."
"Do you want me to pass that on-," Xander gulped at his glare. "Never mind."
Shaking his head, he walked off, striding the darkened corridors with confidence. "Hello Sam," he nodded at the janitor before entering his thankfully deserted library. He was grateful the prat had taken the night off to take delivery of some papers. Background information on Sunnydale. He was loathe to admit but he’d actually neglected to do in his haste to take up his post. "Most sloppy," he muttered reprovingly. "You can’t afford these slip-ups."
Sitting down, he started to leaf through the papers on his desk. His eyes strayed around the office out of boredom, coming to rest on the video tape Xander had brought them. He stared at the tape, lips pursed in thought. He rose, picked up the tape and shoved it in the machine. "We’re missing something," he muttered. Maybe without the kids sat around chattering, he’d pick up just what exactly.
His eyes widened as he watched the attack, Xander’s words returning to haunt him. ‘I’ve attacked it, Cordy’s attacked it but it goes for a guy cowering at the back of the shop.’. "It’s going for the formal wear," his blood froze. "It’s been trained to attack people dressing for parties. The prom!"
* * *
Xander carefully poured some punch into two cups. "Yo, Harris!" he groaned at the sound of Percy West behind him. "How does a geek like you end up with a hot ticket like Giles? I mean, that girl in that dress, it practically scream-."
All at once his irritation was replaced by a burning anger. Spinning around to face the jock, he stepped into the bigger youth’s space. "You finish that sentence, West, and you’ll be the one screaming, are we understanding each other? Now," he continued before the boy had chance to reply, "how you talk about your girl-friend or other girls isn’t my business. Heck, seeing as you’re dating Kendall, anything you say is probably true. But you talk out of turn about my girl-friend, or any of my friends and they’ll be holding a bed at the ICU unit for you. Get out of my sight."
The youth stumbled away, face pale. Head shaking, Xander started to turn back towards the punch. "Very smooth, Harris," he groaned at the mocking voice in his ear. "And so was getting me this dress. Thanks."
Xander turned to Cordelia, her dress a full length silver backless number, an
embarrassed look on his face. "Well the money was totally worth it, you look
Cordelia treated him to a beaming smile. "Naturally."
"I see you came with Jesse, that’s good."
All at once the head cheerleader’s face grew guarded. "Well there was no time to get fixed up with anyone else."
"A girl has pretty as you, there’d have been a stampede," Xander said. He was saved from seeing if his clumsy attempt at praise either flattered or offended by the sound of the gym doors crashing open. Turning, he saw Giles had run in, a flustered look on his face. Already, Faith was hurrying over, Jesse, and the Wiccas in tow. "Oh boy," he muttered, "trouble."
* * *
"You’ve got the address of the delivery?"
"I’ve got the address," Tegan confirmed. "And the hell-hounds?"
Her new-found boss smiled benignly. "Oh, they’ll be making a delivery of their own any time soon."
* * *
"So they’re heading here?" Faith grimaced at the Englishman’s nod. "Damn it!" Faith turned to him. "Me and G will take care of this, we’ll just be a minute. Come on-."
"No way are you cutting us out of this!" Xander protested.
"Hey, we’ll be back in a minute." Before he had chance to argue any further, Faith was heading out of the door, her Watcher beside her. "keep an eye on everybody!" Faith yelled over her shoulder.
Fuming at his easy dismissal, Xander turned to the others. "Are we going to let that go?" he demanded. He smiled at his friends’ unanimous shakes of the head.
* * *
Faith swallowed as she faced the trio of hellhounds charging towards her as she stood with her Watcher on the school front lawn. "This is a very bad idea," she muttered. She could take one, maybe two, on her own. But three? G, could handle himself against a vamp, but these things were something completely different.
Faith almost turned at the yell to her left from behind. She gaped when the hellhound to her right exploded in flames and the one to her left fell to the ground, a trio of arrows quivering inside of it.
Which just left one.
Shaking her surprise off, Faith bounded forward to confront the last of the demons. The beast howled before powering off the ground, leaping towards her with jaws agape and salvia dripping from its long teeth. Faith dropped to one knee and thrust her sword upwards.
Given that it was a broadsword, it was far from the ideal weapon for stabbing with, but the power of Faith’s arm sent the weapon ripping through flesh and bone. The howling demon fell to the ground, blood pumping out of its gaping wound. Faith leapt away from the plummeting beast. The moment the creature hit the floor she was straddling it, her hastily-drawn knife in hand. One arm wrapped around the weakening creature’s head, holding it steady, she plunged the weapon repeatedly into the monster’s neck until it slumped to the ground, dead.
Rising, she looked towards the others, hurrying towards her. "Thanks -."
"Never cut us out," Xander interrupted, eyes harder than she ever remembered seeing them. "We’re a team."
"I know," Faith nodded, "I made a mistake." She smiled. "Forgot how much you guys mean to me." She glanced towards Willow. "How in the hell did you set the hellhound on fire."
"It was me." Everyone turned in surprise to Amy. "I’ve been practicing."
"But with what?" Faith guessed only she heard Giles’ concerned mutter. Her Watcher raised his voice. "Let’s get inside."
* * *
Tegan shivered, the cold night air cutting through her as she stood on the dock, awaiting the arrival, salt heavy in the sea air. She paid little attention to her vampire escort flanking, only bothering to notice them if either got too close. "It’ll be time now," she smiled to herself. She just wished she was there to see Faith torn apart by those beasts.
She stiffened as a stretch limo with tinted windows drove into view, coming from between a fish market and a derelict warehouse. Forcing an unconcerned expression, she waited for the long vehicle to pull up soundlessly before her and her companions.
After a second a gleaming silver door swung open, and a weathered looking man in a business suit stepped out, his black hair greying at the edges and his grey eyes suspicious. "Where’s Wilkins?" the man demanded, his voice raspy from too much whiskey and cigarettes.
"Mr. Wilkins," she put special emphasis on the Mayor’s name, "has other business." She opened the steel briefcase filled with money. "Mr Wilkins has authorised me to act for him in this matter."
The courier looked at the cash before nodding, reaching into the car, and pulling out a walnut box with intricate carvings on it. "This will only open for him," the man warned. "A person has to have certain spells done on them before it will open for them."
"Mr. Wilkins is aware of this," Tegan lied with her usual ease. She supposed the Mayor would know what the man was talking about, but she didn’t have a clue.
The courier nodded. "Well, it was a pleasure doing business with you."
* * *
"Well," he nodded as the man at the other end of the phone continued to talk, his mouth stretched in a thin line. "That is disappointing."
Suddenly the office door crashed open, and Miss. Austin-Meadows hurried in, looking very smart in a newly bought executive business suit and complete with the package he’d sent her for. "I’ve got it Mr. Wilkins!"
"I’ll speak to you later," he spoke into the phone before hanging up, his eyes fixed on the box under the blonde’s arm. "That’s all very well, Tegan," he reproved, "but in the future, knock, alright? Manners make a lady to rustle an old saying."
"Yes sir," the blonde placed the box on the table. "Any news on Faith?"
"Ah yes," he grimaced. "It appears young Miss Giles has once again survived." Seeing the fire burning in the blonde’s eyes, he raised a hand. "Calm yourself dear, her time will come."
* * *
"You all worked well as a team as usual." Giles praised as he led the youngsters into the darkened library. His eyes narrowed at the figure pacing the floor. "Hello, Wesley, we’ve dealt with those other hellhounds, someone had been training them to attack the prom." Rather ingenious actually, the extinction of the American teen was a rather laudable goal when one thought about it.
"Oh, well done."
Giles’ brow furrowed. There was something definitely wrong with his younger counterpart, the unkempt and scruffy clothing, the dazed expression, and the stench of fear. "Is something wrong Wesley?"
His soft tone failed to soothe the younger man. "Oh yes, I’d say there was
something wrong. Something very wrong indeed."
FIC: Faith The Series S3 Ep 17 (44/?)
Faith cast the others a bored look. So what had happened now? Knowing Wussley, she shot the younger Watcher a scornful look, he’d probably lost his knitting. "Yeah? Wanna share?" she sat down and put her boots up on the desk. G glared at her. "What?" she sighed long-sufferingly before putting her feet down.
"Thank you," G nodded stiffly before turning to Wesley. "Pray continue."
Wesley nodded back at G. "Thank you Mr. Giles," the younger Englishman turned to them. "Does anyone know who formed this town?"
"Oh great," Faith overheard and chuckled at Cordelia’s moan. "Now we’ve not only got to research demon history, we’re expected to know local history too. Is there no end to the pain?"
"Richard Wilkins I!" Willow exclaimed. "Everyone knows that!" The excited Wicca deflated when everyone turned to her with eyebrows raised. "Well, obviously not everybody." They continued to stare at her. "I like to keep up on local history, okay!" the witch defiantly defended, arms crossing.
"Most laudable, Miss Rosenberg," Wesley broke in. "But also unfortunately
"Oh," Willow shook her head, eyes glittering, "I don’t think so. I’m not wrong."
"Girl’s on a tear," Faith muttered in amusement. "Bet we’re down one pompous Watcher in just a few seconds."
"Well, not incorrect as such," Wesley hurriedly corrected, clearly sensing the terrible danger of a righteous Rosenberg. "What you’re saying is the accepted version of events."
"Geez," Faith spoke up. "I remember when you used to talk like this, G. What ya say gang," Faith looked around the others, "wanna break out the Watcher decoder rings again?"
Both G and Wes shot her an irritated glance. "When I arrived in Sunnydale, I was more than a little surprised that someone would be stupid enough to build a town on a Hellmouth." Wes continued. "Even without knowing the exact nature of the place, there is a certain frisson to the place that would discourage people from coming here However I’ve found the man who founded Sunnydale wasn’t stupid, they were very, very clever."
"Wesley," Giles sighed, "Faith isn’t alone in wishing you’d get to the point."
"My apologies." Wesley shot Giles an almost scared look. Faith raised an eyebrow, clearly he’d been introduced to Ripper at some point. "Richard Wilkins I did indeed form this town," Wesley nodded towards a now-smirking Willow, "as did Wilkins II and Wilkins III."
"Well I’m lost," Amy muttered.
"Are you saying they’re exactly the same person?" Giles queried sceptically.
"Yes," Wesley reached into the attaché case resting on the desk and pulled out three sheets of paper. "Here is a photocopy of the town’s first ever paper, announcing the election of the town’s founder as the first Mayor. Here is one just after the second world war, and here is last week’s."
"Good lord," Giles looked from photocopy to photocopy and back again, his eyes growing wider and wider. "By jove, you’re right! Jolly good show old bean!"
"Damn, I’ve met him." Faith realised every eye had turned to her. She looked towards Cordy. "Night of the zombie attack at your house, he came over and talked to me.. I thought he was a dirty old man trying to hook up with the hottest babe in the place." The other girls glared at her. "What. I am the body!"
"You’re no Jamie Lee," her soon to be former best friend shot back at her.
Even as Faith’s mouth opened to retaliate, Giles rushed in. After shooting her a troubled look, he looked towards Wesley, the other Watcher still beaming from G’s praise. "The question is what does Wilkins want with the Hellmouth?"
Wes’ face fell instantly, eyes growing fearful. "Ah, as to that," the Watcher pursed his lips together. "He intends to ascend to demonhood."
"Wouldn’t descending be the proper turn?" Willow put in. "I mean ascending seems to indicate he’s becom-," the wicca’s voice trailed off at their stares, "never mind."
"So," Faith shrugged. "He’s a demon, big deal. I’ve killed like a few hundred of them."
"No, no," Giles shook his head. "Full-blood demons are quite different from the hybrids that exist in this dimension."
Wesley looked towards Jesse. "They’re far, far bigger."
"Great," Faith looked from one Watcher to the other. "How we gonna stop him?"
Giles looked towards Wesley. "Has he completed the immortality ritual?"
"You’re saying he takes the same drugs as the Heff does?" Xander coloured at her stare. "N…not that I know who Heff is," Xander looked towards Jesse and pointed. "His fault! His fault!"
"Please," Giles sighed. "Let’s have a little focus shall we? Wesley?"
"No," the younger Watcher shook his head. "According to my sources, he’s only just taken possession of the Box of Gavroc, so he won’t have time to complete the ritual yet. It’s now at town hall."
"Why does the Mayor have to be immortal to ascend?" Cordy broke in.
"A very good question, Miss Chase," Wesley paused to push his glasses up his nose. "If a human sorcerer with all the knowledge of the black arts attempted to ascend, they’d be torn apart by the force of the change. The Mayor has to be invulnerable to harm, otherwise the ascension will kill him."
"So," Faith shrugged. "We get this Box, no immortal Mayor, no ascension."
"Yes," Wesley stared at her in surprise. "A most insightful suggestion."
"What?" Faith felt faintly injured. "I can have good ideas."
"Quite," G looked doubtful before coughing and turning back to Wesley. "Have you been in touch with Tegan?"
The other Watcher’s face fell. "Unfortunately she appears to be unreachable."
"No problemo," Faith rose sinuously. "We can do this ourselves, just the gang. This ritual, what do we need to stop it?"
Giles looked around. "Wesley, I want you to stay here and prepare the destruction ritual for the Box, Amy, and Willow, stay with him and help. The rest of us will have to break into town hall and steal it." Faith beamed, Giles sighed. "What?"
"Been too long since I broke in somewhere. Never broke into a town hall before."
"Oh god," Giles groaned, "I’m raising the Artful Dodger."
Faith pouted. "You say that like it’s a bad thing."
"You have my deepest sympathies, Mr. Giles."
"Thank you Wesley, now try saying that with a straight face."
* * *
"What are you going to do with that Box anyway?"
The Mayor smiled secretively. Tegan resisted the urge to roll her eyes. The wind-bag was a pompous ass, but a dangerous one, you only had to see how the vamps jumped around him to see that. And if he was her route to Faith she’d have to be patient around him. "That is for me to know my dear and you to wonder." The Mayor placed the box in the centre of a hexagonal room beneath a skylight. "Now go home, I won’t have need of you for a few days. Act normally, and be a good little girl."
Tegan nodded dutifully. "Sure."
* * *
"Got the lock, G?" Faith whispered.
Her Watcher nodded before smirking and stepping back. "It’s open," the Englishman pulled the skylight open for emphasis.
"Wicked cool," Faith peered down into the room below. On top of a grey podium sat an intricately carved wooden box. Faith shivered involuntarily.
"What’s wrong?" Giles whispered.
"Thing gives me the heebie jeebies," she admitted with rare candour before glancing at Jesse. "You ready?"
"Yeah," Jesse nodded.
"You’ll have to be," Cordelia muttered. "Pulling that weight."
Faith ignored the clearly bitter words of a woman still fuming over her stating the honest truth of her being the hottest babe around. "Right, all we gotta do is wait for Xander to-." She grinned at the sound of a bell ringing in the distance. "Turn on the alarm." She looked at the rope tied around her waist and the drop to the box. God, she hoped she hadn’t been putting on weight. "Lower me in guys."
* * *
Xander grinned as the alarm set off, Fury’s Halloween memories coming in handy once again. Although really, he looked left and right as he entered the darkened corridor and forced himself to relax, act normally, it was common sense to have a diversion to direct attention away from the main thrust of their infiltration.
His glee dissipated as a pair of vampires charged out of a room ahead of him, heading for the doorway. Even as he prayed they wouldn’t notice him, they turned to face him, eyes suspicious. "No humans in here after night," one of them growled. "Grab him."
The two demons simultaneously rushed him. Xander tried to slide to the right, throwing an overhand right at the nearest demon. His blow connected but to no avail, the demon still slammed into him with enough force to lift him off his feet and send him crashing into the wall behind.
His face a mask of rage, the vampire he’d just hit threw a right that he just ducked under, the blow strong enough to smash plaster. Taking advantage of the demon’s outstretched arm, he slammed an uppercut into its armpit. The vampire grunted and stumbled backwards, arm dropping.
Xander stepped forward to take advantage and instead moved into a body shot from the demon’s companion. Breathing a sudden impossibility, he doubled up. His eyes widened as he saw the demon’s knee coming up to meet his face. Thinking quickly, he hooked the vampire’s leg and yanked, sending it stumbling backwards with a frustrated growl. Before he could straighten, an elbow from the first demon crashed into his head.
The last thing he heard before passing out was one vampire warning the other not to eat him because the boss might want to see him.
* * *
"What’s this car doing here?"
Ralph shook his head as he stared at the car in question, parked discreetly away from the lit part of the town hall parking lot. "I don’t know, but it doesn’t belong to the boss or any of the boys."
"Should we hang around, see if we can pick up some unsuspecting tourists?" asked his companion.
"Yeah," Ralph grinned. "Might get something to eat."
"Hey guys," Ralph started to turn at the incredibly sexy voice, "guess what, dinner is served."
As he finished his turn, he saw his friend explode into dust. Roaring in fury, he threw a front heel kick at the face of his fellow vampire’s killer, a smoky-eyed, leather clad beauty. His eyes widened when the girl slid like silk beneath the blow. He croaked when the girl thundered a left hook into his groin. His crotch in blazing agony, he fell to the ground, moving into a foetal ball. "Looks like you have food poisoning," the girl husked before smashing a stake into his chest.
* * *
"Food poisoning?" Cordy snorted as they broke cover and ran to Faith. "Could your puns be any lamer?"
Faith ignored the cheerleader’s taunt and instead glanced to him. "X not catch up to you?"
Giles forced a reassuring smile, not at all fooled by his Slayer’s casual tone. "I’m sure he got out of there," he nodded towards the dimly lit municipal building, "before us, saw the vampires at the car, and took another route home. Xander has nothing if not a finely-tuned sense of self-preservation."
"Yeah," Faith half-smiled, but worry filled her gypsy-brown eyes. "Careful, G. That was almost a compliment."
His chuckle hid his own concern. "Clearly I’ll have to be more careful in the future."
* * *
Xander groaned as he awoke, head thumping from the knock on your head. Looking around, he found he was in a bare darkened room, tied to the room’s only chair.
"Tegan!" Xander hissed when the door opened and the blonde Slayer sauntered in. "How did you get here? How did you know-," he shook his head. "That’s not important, untie me so we can get out of here!"
The blonde smiled and shook her head before gently closing the door behind her. "Say please."
Xander stared at the blonde. "Tegan," he hissed. "This is no time for games!"
"Oh," Tegan shook her head. "I think it is."
He gasped when the Slayer’s palm crashed into his shoulder, the open-handed blow still enough to send pain shooting through his shoulder and him crashing to the ground. Dazed, he stared up at the smirking blonde in disbelief. He opened his mouth to ask why she was doing this only to be stopped by her placing her heel on his throat, cutting off his air.
The Slayer glanced behind herself when the door swung open and the Mayor walked in. "Now, now, Tegan," Wilkins shook his head, a faintly regretful look on his face. "Let’s not be playing rough now. We need him in one piece for the exchange."
"Can’t I hurt him just a little?" wheedled Tegan.
Only his laundry man would know how relieved Xander was when Wilkins shook his head. "No, dear, they might not exchange for damaged goods."
"Fine," suddenly the weight was gone from his throat. Even as he gulped in air, Tegan grabbed him by the hair and dragged him upright, causing yet more pain to explode in his scalp.
He stared up in bemusement at the girl, completely bewildered by events. "W…why?"
"Because," the girl’s normally beautiful face twisted into a hideous, hateful mask, "my mom died because of your bitch not doing her job. And you’re all going to pay!"
Xander flinched instinctively when the blonde stepped towards him, fists clenched. "But not," the Mayor’s urbane voice cut in, "today, Tegan." He breathed again when the Slayer came to a halt, her eyes burning. "I didn’t call you back for that. Good girl, now let’s get ready for the exchange. I have a call to make."
* * *
Faith charged through the school’s darkened corridors en-route to crashing through the library double doors before skidding to a halt. The brazier with the potion was sat bubbling in the centre of the floor and Wes, Amy, and Willow were there. But no Xander. "H…has X come back?"
"I’m afraid we’ve seen no sight of Mr. Harris," Wesley rose from his seat. "And I thought he was with you."
"We lost him," Faith glanced over her shoulder to see Giles and the others entering the library, worry etched on his faces. "At least-." Giles was interrupted by the ringing of his mobile, the man pulled out his phone, a puzzled look on his face, after all, anyone who had his number was in the room. "Hello?" Giles’ face suddenly contorted in rage. "You harm one hair on his head and I’ll gut you like a fish." The man listened for a second. "Very well." He hung up.
"G," Faith’s heart was hammering at several hundred miles a second, "what’s the sitch?"
"It appears the Mayor has Xander," she swallowed. "I’ve arranged an exchange in a hour. Him for the box."
"I’m afraid not," Wesley shook his head. "We simply cannot risk the lives of
thousands to save one boy."
Faith turned back to the Watcher, her eyes hardening. "That’s what the good guys do," Faith replied through gritted teeth. "It’s part of being loyal and honourable, helping your friends. Although I figure you wouldn’t know anything about –"
"Do you think I bloody want this!" Wesley interrupted her tirade. "Well I don’t but bloody -."
Suddenly Jesse was beside the Watcher, sweeping his legs from under him. "We’re doing the exchange with or without you-." Jesse turned at a crashing to his right. "Cordelia, what are you doing?"
"Argument over," Cordelia had knocked the brazier to the floor. "No brazier, no point in holding onto the box."
* * *
Xander felt his mouth dry as he looked around, arm twisted behind his back as Tegan pushed him through the cafeteria doors, Wilkins just ahead of them, and a trio of vampires behind. "Ah, Faith and her intrepid gang are here," the politician beamed at the others ranged against the far wall.
"Tegan!" cried Wesley. "What are you doing with this scoundrel?"
Xander only hoped the Watcher was referring to Wilkins. "I traded up," Tegan spat. "You’re all going to die!"
"Let’s cut out the melodramatics," Wilkins interrupted. "The exchange."
Faith stepped forward, box in hand. Tegan did the same, her arm around Xander’s neck. And suddenly the doors swung open. Xander groaned, Snyder together with two policemen. "Look what we have here," the principal sneered. "The usual suspects, creating trouble." Snyder turned his attention to Faith. "Give me that box."
"Why," the vampire Slayer’s tone was redolent with menace. "Don’t you take it?" Faith laughed as the two policemen began unholstering their guns.
"Faith," Giles’ tone was strained. "There are those without your advantages."
At the Watcher’s words the vampire Slayer relaxed. "Okay."
After snatching the box from Faith, Snyder passed the box to one of the policeman. "Open that for me."
"NO!" the Mayor bellowed from the shadows he’d slid into at Snyder’s entry.
Too late. Xander’s eyes widened as a spider the size of a large hand leapt onto the policeman’s face, tearing it off in an instant before leaping onto the next victim, the Mayor who knocked it off with contemptuous ease, his face healing in a second. Faith dived for the box just as another spider escaped. Cursing, the brunette slammed the box shut just as her dagger flew through the air impaling the spider as it made to leap for Giles’ face. At the same instant Cordelia spun round and threw her knife through the first spider as it readied itself to drop from the ceiling onto Wesley.
"Mr. Mayor," Snyder practically kissed the politician’s feet. Xander supposed it made a change from kissing his ass. "I’m sorry I didn’t know- ."
"No problem Principal," Wilkins smiled. "Just make sure this stays between us, okay?" The politician’s smile widened at Snyder’s nod. "Good man. Tegan, we’re leaving." After a last visceral glance at Faith, Tegan followed the Mayor and the vampires out of the room.
"As for you," Snyder turned towards them, his composure returning. "I should have know you’d all be involved in dru-."
"Oh bloody shut up you pillock," Giles growled. Snyder’s mouth clamped shut instantly. Xander chuckled nervously, well at least the evening had a good ending.
* * *
"So her mom’s dead and she blames me?" Faith couldn’t believe what she was hearing. "How the hell is that my fault?"
"I rather think there is a rather more important question," Wesley broke in, "what to do about her?"
"Indeed," nodded Giles. "I can’t think of many things more dangerous than a rogue Slayer."
* * *
"What are we going to do?" queried the clearly frantic girl sat opposite him, her eyes filled with panic. "They know I’m on your side now!"
"Quite," the Mayor sat back and stared at the girl. At first, after the initial revelation, Tegan had been elated at Faith’s discovery of her betrayal, relishing in the other girl’s shock. But now, reality had begun to set in.
Tegan was of limited use to him now. From what he’d seen of Faith, the two girls were evenly matched on a physical level, but Faith was the far braver, mentally tougher, and resourceful of the two. Tegan’s only chance of defeating her would have come from a surprise attack, but that opportunity was gone now.
But perhaps, he smiled inwardly, perhaps Tegan could be used to destabilise Faith before his ascension, make it easier for him to defeat her. "Yes dear," leaning forward, he affected a look of concern. "You can’t go home now, that’s clear." He smiled. "But don’t worry, I own just the place for an upwardly-mobile young lady such as yourself."
FIC: Faith: The Series S3 Ep 18 (45/?)
Admissions Department, Sunnydale Hospital.
"Well that’s all from us." The bespectacled, greying at the fringes man looked down at his application form and then at him. "Have you any questions for us, Mr. Hartman?"
"Only one," Ben smiled. "How soon could I start?"
The head of the admissions board bared his teeth in a practiced bureaucrat’s smile, all gleam and precious little sincerity, before answering. "Our new year for interns starts in September but we’ll be in touch with our answer in under a month. But can I say," the senior doctor’s smile widened, "with these test scores and references you have nothing to worry about."
* * *
"Ah, Miss. Austin-Meadows," he smiled as his protégée entered. "I have a mission for you."
The blonde smiled as he explained his plans. "When do you want me to do it?" she asked, eyes gleaming.
"Why," he hid a smile, "as soon as possible, dear."
* * *
Jesse hurried through the darkened streets, cursing his dad for insisting he do his chores before heading out. He stopped as a shadow shifted ahead of him, hand reaching for his stake. He relaxed when nothing sprang from the shadows, and started forward again.
"Hello, Jesse." His heart stopped when the blonde Slayer stepped out of the shadows, a dangerous smile playing on her lips. "I enjoyed our kiss so much, I had to see you again."
Jesse tried to speak, but found his mouth had clamped shut with fear. Instead he moved into a defensive stance. The blonde’s ocean-blue eyes hardened. "Oh yeah, you got possessed by Ironfist didn’t you? Let’s see what you’ve got."
The Slayer came at him at a blur. He barely managed to duck beneath her front heel kick at his face. Grabbing the out-stretched limb around the calf, he attempted to yank the knee out of its socket. Pain exploded in his head, flinging him over a near-by picket fence. Looking up, he realised the advancing blonde had just used her trapped leg as leverage to leap into the air and kick him in the side of his head
Head spinning, he struggled to his feet. He threw a right-handed palm strike aimed at the Slayer’s nose, but the blonde grabbed his hand and bent his fingers back. "Arrgh!" he screamed as pain erupted in his hand, three fingers snapping like twigs.
He fought against the urge to retreat, burying his pain deep inside. Instead he stepped into the psychotic blonde and drove his still useable fist into the side of her face. Blood splattered out of the Slayer’s mouth, but her only apparent reaction was to smash her head into his nose.
He was instantly gagging for air, his nostrils and mouth both clogging with blood. The Slayer made it even more difficult for him to breathe by kneeing him in the groin. He hit the ground on his knees, the hard pavement ripping through his jeans and grazing his knees as he vomited his dinner up.
A strong hand grabbed the back of his head and dragged him to his unsteady feet. "It’s not over yet," the Slayer taunted. "I know you’ve got more in the tank."
A calm acceptance settled over him, he was dead, he knew it for sure now. All that mattered was not giving her the satisfaction of begging or showing fear. The blonde threw a straight right. Somehow he managed to move inside the attack, and drive a left into the Slayer’s stomach. "That’s good," he felt her breath hot on his neck, "fight, don’t make it easy."
Suddenly Tegan had a hand around his throat, squeezing. He gasped as she threw him into a brick wall some ten feet away, the impact jarring his back. He watched as the Slayer advanced, her pace unhurried.
The moment she was near enough, he grabbed a trash can lid and slammed it into the side of her head. Tegan’s eyes widened in shock and she staggered two steps to the side before regaining her balance and shooting a heel kick at his knee.
"Noooo!" Jesse screamed as his knee shattered, the bone shooting out of the flesh, blood fountaining out. He fell into a heap, the rest of his pain insignificant next to the agony of his leg.
The Slayer beamed down at him. He tried to push himself up, but his injured arm buckled under him. The blonde grabbed his head and pressed her lips to his, forcing her tongue into his mouth. The Slayer pulled away, her smirk widening, and hands still wrapped around her head. "I told you I’d have another kiss." The Slayer yanked his head to the side, the last thing he heard was the sound of his neck breaking.
* * *
Giles looked across at Xander. "Xander, did Jesse say when he’d be getting here?" The boy glanced at his watch and opened his mouth.
"We gotta do something. She’s just roaming around doing fuck knows what?"
"Faith, sit down!" Giles was getting dizzy watching his protégée pace the library.
His Slayer shot him a glare that could have scorched. "That’s right," she grouched as she slouched into a chair. "I’m a good Slayer, I don’t go nuts and start working for the local black arts dude. Why do I get shouted at?"
"Because he has to shout at someone and he knows you won’t rip his arms off," Xander gulped at Faith’s glower. "That is to say, he’s reasonably certain. More certain than I am right about now."
Faith shook her head before turning back to him. "I should be out there, looking for her."
"Yes," he nodded thoughtfully. "Perhaps you should. And then what?"
"And then I…." Faith’s cupid-bowed mouth slowly closed. "Oh."
"Oh, precisely," Giles nodded. "Tegan appears more than willing to kill you. Are you willing to do the same?"
"It’s done," Giles looked to the library entrance as the door crashed open and Wesley hurried in. "I’ve phoned the Council. Your father is sending an extraction team for Tegan."
"An extraction team!" Giles was on his feet in a second. "You bloody idiot!" he raged, face mottling. "I thought we agreed to wait?"
His counterpart gulped and stepped back, hands raised in surrender. "No w…we agreed that Faith shouldn’t be the one to go up against Tegan."
"What is going on here?" Suddenly Faith was between him and the other Watcher, her brown eyes demanding.
"This fool!" Giles glared over his diminutive charge’s head and at his junior counterpart. "Has sent for the Council hit-team to take out Tegan."
"You idiot!" Faith’s scowl had the younger Watcher scampering backwards.
"That might not actually be a bad idea," Willow’s strained voice broke in. "I mean if you don’t wanna go up against her." The Wicca’s voice quavered. "I mean not that you’re scared or anything, but you don’t want to kill, and that’s good. Maybe they should be called in to deal with a human."
"You think," Faith shook her head, "that a bunch of tea-drinkers can handle a Slayer?"
Giles chose to ignore the insult to his country mainly because Faith was making his very point for him. A tad undiplomatically put true enough, but that was just her brash style. "Well they’re on their way, now!"
Giles groaned, why oh why had Wesley chosen this precise moment to begin sprouting a backbone? Annoying wasn’t bloody in it. "They’ll just have to be-." The window exploded behind him. Giles instinctively dived for the floor, a half-second after Faith, and an instant before Wesley. After a second he heard Cordy and Willow’s choked sobs, and Faith’s muttered cursings. He twisted his head to see what had hit the window. Bile rose in his throat at what he saw. "No," he closed his eyes for a second then opened them again. It was still there. "No," he muttered. Not again.
* * *
Faith sprang to her feet. Grabbing a hold of Willow, she dragged her to her feet and spun the red-eyed Wicca around to face her. "Get on that computer and find where Tegan’s hiding." The Witch stared at her blankly. "NOW!" Her scream reverberated around the library. The red-haired hacker jumped and scurried towards the computer.
"Faith, perhaps you shoul -."
"Should what, G?" Faith spun to face her strained-looking mentor. "Wait until that mad bitch makes a play for ya, X, Cor, or one of ya?"
Her surrogate-father flinched at the coldness in her voice. "Faith, I
"No, you don’t have a clue," Faith shook her head. "I’m not letting her hurt someone else I care about." Faith crouched over the weapons chest, flipped it open, and started rummaging through its contents.
"Faith-," her Watcher tried again.
Again she interrupted the Englishman. "You asked me if I was ready to kill her. I am now. That bitch gave me all the reason I needed," she refused to look towards Jesse’s body, the corpse of a kid who’d she’d fought alongside of for nearly three years.
"I’ve got an address, 12 Latfield Apartments," Willow broke in, her voice quavering, "it’s in the upper-class residential area, it’s owned by the Mayor."
"And what," she scowled at Wesley’s high-pitched voice. One day soon, that asshole’s balls would drop. "And what if Tegan returns earlier?" Faith’s mouth silently opened and closed. She had no answer for that.
"Let her," everyone turned and swallowed at the look in Amy’s eyes.
Shaking off the icy finger crawling up her back, Faith nodded. "Then I’m going."
"At least let me come with-."
"G," Faith looked towards her Watcher and smiled sadly. "Ya don’t need to see this, trust me."
* * *
Xander tore his eyes from Jesse’s corpse as the door closed behind Faith. Standing, he turned to Giles. "Why didn’t you stop her?" he demanded, his voice shaking.
"What could I do?" Giles demanded, his eyes strained. "How was I supposed to manage that?"
"Well, I’m going after her," Xander declared.
"You bloody foo-," Giles shook his head. "Wait for me." Giles looked towards the others. "You all stay here. Strength in numbers."
* * *
"Sir!" the Mayor looked up as the door to his office crashed open and one of his aides rushed in, his face showing his vampiric visage. "The alarms at the Slayer’s apartments have been tripped! Faith Giles is there!"
The Mayor smiled. The secret alarms he’d had set into Tegan’s place had borne fruit. "Call the police, but instruct Det. Stein to move in only if Giles wins the fight."
The Slayer problem would be solved one way or another by the end of the evening.
* * *
Tegan paced the floor of her tastefully decorated apartment, heart hammering. When the Mayor had given her permission to get some payback for her mother she’d been elated, but now she was regretting her actions. Not killing Jesse, that boy deserved to die for choosing Cordelia over her, but now Faith would be looking for her.
Suddenly the apartment door crashed open to reveal her crazed-looking sister Slayer. "Guess what, your vampire bodyguards, pretty much dust," Faith snarled.
"Oh look," Tegan forced her fear under control, "the street-trash thinks she’s woman enough to play with the big girls."
Faith’s answering smile sent shivers down her spin. "Who’s playing?"
The raven-haired Bostonian lunged forward, her right heel shooting towards Tegan’s jaw. She slid inside the blow, grabbed her opponent’s foot at the ankle and threw her into the wall, knocking her fellow Slayer and the painting hung there crashing to the floor.
Anxious to follow up on her advantage, she rushed into the attack, aiming to kick a field goal with the brunette’s ribs. Instead pain shot through her lower leg when her foot was grabbed and twisted. Off-balance, she fell through the glass coffee table.
Both her and the east coast native reached their feet at the same time. She came in fast with a heel kick at Faith’s forehead but the other Slayer ducked under the blow and drove a hook into her stomach.
Thousands of sit-ups only slightly protected her from the blow’s impact. Grunting in pain, she landed a knife-edge chop to Faith’s neck, knocking the east coast native off-balance before following up with a leg-sweep at her rival’s feet that her fellow Slayer leapt over before delivering a flying crescent kick that connected with her jaw, knocking her onto her back.
She immediately jumped back up. Angered by the blood dripping out of her mouth, she surged forward with a right cross. Her opponent leaned away from her attack, grabbed her wrist, twisted at the waist, and threw her over her shoulder, and through the glass balcony door.
Tegan hit the hard floor in a ball and sprang upright. Her fellow Slayer
charged her. Tegan waited until the last second to sidestep and drove the point
of her elbow into Faith’s skull. "Shit!" Faith stumbled away from a follow-up
right, grabbed her wrist and yanked her towards her and into a clothesline to
the throat, even as she swept Tegan’s legs from beneath her.
Tegan flew through the air and back into the apartment, her landing cushioned by the sofa. Faith bounded towards her but Tegan made it to her feet before the raven-haired Slayer reached her, and caught her on-rushing Slayer with a left to the eye.
Grinning at the dazed Slayer’s predicament, Tegan leapt into a spin kick.
Faith managed to duck beneath her attack, grab her by the ankle, and fling her
into the wall. Rolling to her feet, she saw her former companion charging
towards her. Tegan leapt into the air into a flying hook kick that smashed into
the back of Faith’s head, knocking her face-first into the wall.
A snarl parting her lips, Tegan leapt towards her fellow Slayer only to catch a back-swung desk lamp in her face. Dazed by the impact of the lamp shattering against her jaw, she didn’t see Faith’s foot until it exploded against her head.
Before she had time to regain her balance, Faith grabbed her by her shoulders and flung across the room, into, and over the kitchen. "Owww!" she screamed as she hit the floor shoulder-first. Rising, she grabbed the kettle and threw it at her opponent.
As soon as Faith’s foot flicked up to block the flung kitchen implement, Tegan was moving. One hand-hurdling over the counter, she dropkicked the smaller Slayer in her ample chest. Faith grunted as she flew backwards, crashing into the crouch. A grin on her face, Tegan rushed in for the kill.
She screamed as her leg exploded in pain, her opponent having connected with a punishing heel kick to the shin. In an instant Faith was on her feet. Tegan’s head rang when the other Slayer crashed into her skull with a jumping spin kick. Dazed, she stumbled towards the balcony, desperate to escape her rampaging adversary.
Faith was remorseless, battering her with stunning flurry of blows, her feet and fists seemingly everywhere at once. Finally she was at the edge of the balcony, the steel railing pressing against the small of her back. "Please," she croaked through bloodied lips.
Faith leaned into her, their bodies pressing together and the smaller girl’s breath hot on her face even as she grinded her forearm into Tegan’s throat. "Bet Jess never begged," she husked. The other girl’s forearm eased off just slightly. And then slammed into her throat with even greater force, propelling her over the railing.
* * *
"Damn," Faith croaked as Tegan’s body flew over the railing. Her heart hollowed as the other girl crashed to the ground, landing in the back of a passing truck. What had she done? She’d just killed another human being.
Dazed, in pain and wearier than she’d ever been before, she turned to leave. Suddenly police poured into the apartment, their guns drawn, and badges held aloft. "Freeze, you’re under arrest!"
* * *
Xander shuddered as he watched Tegan swan-dive from her fourth-floor apartment balcony. "We need to get to Faith," he reached for the door, "check she’s alright."
"No, Xander," Giles grabbed his arm. He glared at the Watcher. The Englishman stared back impassively. "Look at the police running in there, Faith’s been set up. I want to be in there with her, but if we run in there, the bloody rozzers will nab us as accessories and we’ll be unable to help. What we need," the Englishman pulled out his mobile, "is some help."
* * *
Det. Stein stared through the bars at the wan figure sat huddled there, a grin tugging at his mouth. He’d wanted to nail that little bitch ever since the Mayor had forced him to let her off last year. And now he had her on murder. He just loved breaking punks like her, kids who thought they could do what the hell they like, crushing them until they hadn’t any spirit left. And that was what was going to happen to Giles he was going to make damn sure of it.
"Detective Stein," he turned to find himself being regarded by a disdainful looking man in his late fifties wearing a pinstriped Saville Row suit. "Could you tell me why my client hasn’t been allowed her phone call?" the cultured-sounding man sniffed. "And why she’s had her rights trampled over in such a cavalier manner? I notice she’s rather battered? Police brutality, perhaps?" The man smiled coldly. "Do you really want everything in this station examined in the smallest detail? Who knows what would turn up?"
* * *
Faith watched dazedly as the lawyer who’d just turned up out of nowhere ripped through the detective who’d arrested her two hours ago. It seemed like a terrible dream, the fight, her arrest, the questioning, this cell.
Her door swung open. "Miss Giles," the guy was definitely English probably a Watcher, "the police have seen the light. You are to be released without charge."
"Please," the man held up a palm. "Say nothing. Let’s not give these ‘gentlemen’ any ammunition." Faith nodded and rose numbly, the manacles fastened to her ankles and wrists and connected together via a chain rattling. The stranger turned to Stein and sniffed. "And let’s get those unfastened shall we?"
Minutes later and she was walking out of the station, the stranger still by her side. She twisted her head to look at the man. "Not that I’m ungrateful, but who the hell are ya?"
"I’m Horace Finch of Mason & Rumpole, senior partner at England’s premier law firm," the man sniffed, "I was called out of a lunch meeting and transported here via the Devon Coven so I’ll have a little more respect young lady."
"Right," Faith was more than a little off-balance.
She turned at the collective shout from her friends stood waiting in the station car park, all congregated around G’s car. The Englishman raced towards her. A second later and she was in his arms, almost but not quite sobbing. "I had to go after her," she explained in a whisper. "I couldn’t let her hurt you."
"It’s alright," Giles muttered in her ear, "she’s gone now."
* * *
"The bones are set, and the majority of the internal damage is repairable. But the head trauma, its simply too severe. You know, it’s a wonder she's alive at all, with the blood loss. I'm sorry sir, there is almost no chance at all that she is ever going to regain consciousness."
The Mayor nodded at the surgeon’s report, he’d chosen this private clinic rather than the local hospital, not only for its superior health care but also for its discretion. He didn’t want that damn Slayer or her Council finding out about this. His eyes moved to a battered looking Tegan lay in a hospital bed, attached to an oxygen tube, an IV, and several monitoring devices, the only sound in the room the heart monitor beeping. The Mayor reached down and gently brushed the blonde’s hair from her forehead and stroked her cheek. "One day you’ll come back."
And when she did there’d be hell to pay.
FIC: Faith: The Series Season S3 Ep 19 (46/?)
"Damn it girl!" she trembled at her father’s gruff bellow through the kitchen door, momentarily drowning out the sound of the football game they were watching. "Me and Donny are waiting for our dinner. Do you want another whipping?"
"You tell her pa," put in her older brother, a hatefully gleeful note in his voice.
"I….I’ll j…just be a couple more minutes, sir," Tara replied, voice trembling. She limped over to the stove, her legs and backside still aching from the leather belting she’d received yesterday when in her haste to have the dinner ready on time she’d burnt the steaks. The beating and her growling stomach, not fed in a day, motivated her to make sure everything was perfect tonight.
A tear suddenly fell. Feeling herself about to lose control, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a crumpled letter. Her heart leapt at the postmark. "Sunnydale," she whispered. The letter had arrived for her three days ago, confirmation that her secret application to UC Sunnydale had been successful. In three days she’d escape to a whole new life.
Sunnydale wasn’t much of an university, but it was a way out. Anything had to be better than the hell she currently lived in.
She started at her father’s shout. "Soon, sir!" she yelled back, hurriedly wiping her eyes dry. "Just three days," she muttered.
* * *
"How has she been?"
Giles forced his concerned gaze away from the tiny figure sat at the library desk, surrounded by her friends, and towards his fellow Englishman. "She’s barely spoken a word since she was released," he admitted.
"Yes," Wesley nodded. "I was afraid of this. When I was in training, I did a
study on the fate of Slayers who either inadvertently or deliberately killed
humans. It made for depressing reading."
"Oh," his heart tightening, he turned back to his adoptive child.
"Yes. Admittedly the study group was rather small. Seventeen Slayers in last nine hundred years, barely a fraction of the five hundred called. But a large percentile of those seventeen suffered emotionally and mentally after the event, some descending into utter madness." Giles winced. "There is however one crumb of comfort, the ones who deliberately killed an evil human as opposed to deliberately or inadvertently killing innocents suffered less. I proposed that the demon within somehow helped assist the girl with the burden, lessening the effect to depression as opposed to outright insanity."
"You’re a real comfort, you know that?" he commented dryly.
"Well," Wesley sounded affronted, "I thought it behoved you to have all the facts at hand."
Giles shook his head. "Yes, I’m so-."
"Well it does a man good to see so many of the youth of today in a seat of learning."
Giles spun around, heart chilling at the figure walking through the library door. "Get out," he growled through gritted teeth. "You’re far from welcome here."
"Well gosh, that’s unfriendly," the Mayor beamed at him before picking up a book on the counter. "I funded this place, surely you wouldn’t turn away a man seeking to increase his knowledge? Speaking of which," the politician glanced at the book and began to read. "’The beast will walk upon the earth and darkness will follow. The several races of man will be as one in their terror and destruction.’ Aw, that's kind of sweet. Different races coming together. If you think of it like that, it makes me sound like a demonic Martin Luther, a great leader bringing people together. Makes me just look forward to graduation even more."
The Mayor turned towards the table where the children were sitting, frozen in fear. The smile widened. "What? No smart-alec remark from you, Miss. Giles, you’re usually so full of attitude." The Mayor turned back to him and smiled. "That's one tasty-looking girl you've raised there Mr Watcher. I’m gonna eat her and I just bet she tastes as good as my dear departed wife’s Sunday roast."
Giles’ heart tightened. Suddenly he’d snatched up an epee from the table and
thrust it through the half-demon’s chest. Surprised by the attack, Wilkins
stumbled backwards only to quickly regain his balance. "Whoa! Well now, that was
a little thoughtless." The politician smiled at their collective shocked gasp as
he pulled the sword out of his chest, shaking his head at the tear in his suit.
"Violent outbursts like that, in front of the children? You know Mr. Giles, they
look to you to see how to behave. A well-bred Englishman like you should know
better. Ah well," the Mayor’s face hardened, "enjoy these last moments, people.
Savour them, because in a few days there’ll be nothing but pain. Oh, and death.
Plenty of that."
Giles heard the scrape of a chair moving behind him. "Ya think ya can come in here and threaten my family?" he smiled inwardly at the emotion in his girl’s voice. She was back. "Big fucking mistake, asshole. If ya don’t leave here right now, I’ll kick your ass. Maybe you’re invincible, maybe you’re not. But I bet ya ain’t immune to pain. Wanna see if I’m right?"
"Such disrespect." The Mayor’s smile was strained. "Just for that, I’ll make sure your death isn’t quick."
"I’m looking forward to graduation already."
* * *
"We can’t kill him," Wesley muttered as the Mayor walked out, "he’s invincible until he ascends."
"Then let him ascend already." Every eye turned to Xander. He shrugged. "He’s not invincible then, is he?"
"No," Wesley sniffed. "Just rather larger than a house."
"But killable," his face tightened. "And he is going to die for having Jesse killed." Xander pushed away memories of explaining how his friend had been jumped by a gang and killed to his best friend’s grief-stricken parents.
Giles sighed. "As much as I loathe agreeing with Wesley-."
"Charmed I’m sure," the younger Englishman sniffed.
"But he is right, an ascended demon in this dimension will be huge, simply slice and dice as you Americans so quaintly put it won’t cut the mustard."
"Then we don’t slice and dice him," Xander continued, the memories of Nick Fury coming to the fore.
"What do you suggest?" Wesley enquired. "Give him a nasty chest infection?"
Xander ignored the sarcastic Watcher to stare at Faith’s guardian. "If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected."
"Good lord," an unwilling smile tugged at Giles’ lips. "You’ve been reading Sun Tzu?"
"Nick likes him," Xander dared a glance at his intently-watching girl-friend. "How’s that embroidery coming along by the way, Faith?"
"Bite me," Faith chuckled, the tension lessening in her eyes.
"Maybe later, if you’re good."
"Please," Giles shuddered, "stick to the point, you’re making me ill."
"Sorry G-Man," Xander nodded. "The Mayor’s arrogant and over-confident. He thinks we’re dead before we start."
"He’s right," Wesley muttered.
"Young man," Giles spoke before he had a chance, his eyes flinty as he stared at his fellow Englishman. "These children have faced and defeated insurmountable odds before. If you haven’t the backbone to fight with them, get out. I haven’t the time or inclination to molly-coddle you any longer."
The younger Watcher flinched at the older man’s frosty lecture. Wesley glanced towards the door before squaring his shoulders and shaking his head. "I’ll stay."
Giles’ eyes softened slightly. "Then perhaps there is hope for you after all." The senior Watcher glanced back at him. "Please, continue."
"Yeah," Xander let out a tension-fuelled breath that he didn’t realise he’d been holding. "But then, why wouldn’t he be cocky? His entire opposition is in this room, two Watchers, two Wiccas, a Slayer, a cheerleader, and me. Not exactly an army." Xander paused. "But I know where I can get one."
"Really?" Giles leaned towards him. "Do tell."
Xander licked his lips. This was the tricky part. "Sunnydale High Graduating Class ’99."
"A bunch of school children that’s pre-," Wesley looked around them and coughed. "That’s a pretty good idea."
"I’ll get them," Cordy rose, her eyes still red and puffy from her near continual crying. "I still have some influence even after hanging with you doofuses for three years."
Xander decided to ignore the insult in favour of asking questions. "How will you persuade them?"
"I’ll tell them Jesse died for them and if they don’t help they’ll wish they had too."
"That’s a hell of a recruiting slogan," Faith muttered before raising her voice. "I’ll come with, convince any nay-sayers." Faith shook her head at Giles’ look. "Don’t worry, I’ll just break stuff, convince ‘em of my powers." With that, the two girls left the library.
"That neatly takes the surprise away from the Mayor and transfers it to us. And should give us a chance against his vampires," Giles commented carefully. "But we still have the actual problem of the Mayor himself and how to kill him?"
"Explosives, a room full of them," Xander replied.
"I beg your pardon!" exclaimed Wesley. "You’re not telling me you can just get your hands on a room full of explosives?"
"It might work," Giles interjected, his tone calm but eyes dancing with a dangerous light Xander had only seen on the ‘Band Candy’ night. And hadn’t that been a blast. "But Wesley did point out the flaw. Where can you get hold of such an amount of explosives?"
"I can’t," he looked towards Willow. "But Will can."
"What!" the witch’s eyes widened and she shook her head vigoursly. "Not me! I’m no anarchist!"
"Recipes on the internet, for making them," Xander chuckled at his friend’s horror.
"Oh right," Willow looked to Amy who nodded. "We’ll get right on it."
"These troops of yours will need arming." Wesley rose. "I’ll got to the local
sports shops and get what I can." The Watcher sighed. "I can just see the
expense paperwork now. ‘Why did you need thirty bows?’ ‘To equip a graduating
class’. ‘Request denied’. Oh dear, oh dear." The Watcher was still mumbling to
himself as he strode out of the library.
Giles chuckled at Wes’ distress before turning back to him. "One question still remains though Xander, how will we lure the Mayor into this trap?"
"We’re going to use his arrogance," Xander replied before explaining.
Giles smirked. "Most ingenious. And where exactly will this trap be?" Giles paled as Xander looked around the library. "Oh bugger, you cannot be bloody serious!"
"It has to be here. Somewhere close to the graduation ceremony but somewhere enclosed where we have control."
"You evil bastard," the Watcher muttered. "I’ll get to work on moving my own books."
* * *
The Mayor looked around his office, at the meekly waiting vampires crowded into it. "Here’s how it's going to lay out. The transformation should begin at exactly 3:28. I'll just be finishing my speech - you know, it's too bad you fellows have to miss that, because I think it speaks to everyone of us. I mean, heck, I've been working on it for a hundred years. It better be good. They'll try to run, of course, and this is when I'll need you boys in flanking position."
"But Sir, the sun!" protested one of the demons.
The Mayor smiled. For the first time since his confrontation with Faith and her gang of miscreants he was truly relaxed. "Not going to be a problem." He pointed at the map behind him. ""You come up through the sewers here. The important thing is containment. I'll need to feed. It's crucial in the first few minutes to sustain the change. What does that mean? No snacking. I see blood on your lips, it's a visit to the wood shed for you boys. Kill. Don't feed. After all they’ll be plenty of time for that afterwards." He sobered. "Remember: fast and brutal. It's going to be a whole new world come nightfall, don't want to weaken now." The vampires started to trail out. "And boys? - Let's watch the language."
* * *
"You guys in?" Faith demanded.
Scott, Larry, and Percy nodded, awed by her display of strength. Owen practically panted. "You bet, Faith. I’ll be there for you."
"That’s what I was afraid of," she muttered under her breath before forcing a smile. "Remember chain of command, people. Me, then X, then Cor." She really wanted G on this, but Xander had decreed that he’d be in charge of the explosives. Which at least meant he’d be out of the battle.
"I’ve got Harmony and Aura," Cordelia reported as she hurried up to her.
Faith smirked. "You say that like it’s a good thing."
* * *
Faith looked around as she took her seat for the graduation, heart thumping. All that was left to do now was hope and pray that everything went according to plan.
And that not too many of them died.
"Congratulations to the class of 1999." She looked up to see Snyder stood at the podium. "You all proved more or less adequate. Something that surprises me no end, in some cases more than others. This is a time of celebration, so sit still and be quiet." Faith blinked. Dude had a funny idea of celebrations. "Please welcome our distinguished guest speaker: Richard Wilkins the 3rd."
The Mayor shook Snyder's hand before stepping up to the podium. After a brief smile at the students, the politician took out some cue cards, and cleared his throat. "Well. What a day this is! - Special day. Today is our centennial the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of Sunnydale, and I know what that means to all you kids - not a darn thing. Because today something much more important happens: today you all graduate from high school. Today all the pain, all the work, all the excitement is finally over. And what's a hundred years of history compared to that? You know what kids? ?"
"Shit," Faith breathed. "He's going to do the entire speech."
"Man," Xander muttered beside her, "just ascend already."
"Please god," she muttered.
"For all of you it may be that there is a place in Sunnydale's history,
whether you like it or not. It's been a long road getting here. For
you and for Sunnydale. There has been achievement, joy, good times, and
there has been grief. There's been loss. But we are at journey's
end. And what is a journey? Is it just distance travelled?
Time spent?" Faith faked a snore. "No. It's what happens on the way, it’s
the things that happen to you. At the end of the journey you're not the
same. Today is about change. Graduation doesn't just mean your
circumstances change, it means you do. You ascend to a higher level.
Nothing will ever be the same." Faith looked up as a shadow enveloped the
quad, her hand shifting inside her robe. It was nearly time. "Nothing."
The Mayor winced before swallowing and continuing his speech: "And so as
we look back on-." The Mayor groaned and almost doubled up. "On the events that
brought us to this day. We," the public servant grunted and doubled up before
slowly straightening and continuing, " we must all-. It has begun. My
destiny." The Mayor stopped and smiled. "It's a little sooner then I expected, I
had this whole section on civic pride. But I guess we'll just skip to the big
Faith glanced at Xander as the grimacing Mayor stretched and grew, his suit splitting around him. The Mayor continued to change, rapidly transforming into a big snake-like demon with clawed mandibles surrounding its mouth, stretching higher and higher as the faculty abandoned their seats. The students leapt to their feet but stayed in position, staring at the towering snake.
Faith let out a yell, Willow’s volume-amplifying spell ensuring her voice carried throughout the quad. "Now!"
The students threw off their gowns, revealing crosses, axes, and other assorted weaponry. "Flame units!" Xander roared. Several students including Larry stepped out of the seats, pointed the flame throwers at the demon and began flaming him. "First wave!" Xander yelled. Faith watched as a number of students led by Willow and Amy aimed crossbows at the snake. "Fire!" The Mayor screamed and swayed, the scorch marks joined by arrows on his cleggy, grey skin. Suddenly the demon lunged down, swallowing a first row student whole.
Xander glanced behind him. "Rear unit!"
Still stunned by the devoured student, Faith glanced behind her to see Cor and Wes moving their unit into attack against the vampires charging in there. The unit stopped just feet from the vampires and let fly with flaming arrows, turning several of the demons to dust.
Faith nodded in satisfaction, wincing slightly as she saw Snyder be swallowed up by the Mayor. "Wish me luck lover." After gently kissing her man on the cheek, Faith stepped out into the aisle and stepped towards the Mayor. "Hey Limp-Dick!" she hollered. The demon’s baleful eyes turned to her. "That was a pretty sweet place ya gave Tegan. Before I kicked her ass she boasted how she had ya wrapped ‘round her little finger. She played ya, a spoilt brat, played the guy who’d run this burg for a cool century. But then," she tilted her head to one side and raised an eyebrow. "Guy like you is probably not man enough to be with a woman so she’s the nearest a guy like ya’d get to a kid."
The demon’s roar shook the building and his head shot towards her. Taking the hint, Faith turned and charged towards the school, eating up the ground in long strides. Kicking open the door she charged inside, the snake’s growls filling her ears. Swinging around a corridor, she forced out an extra spurt of pace and crashed through the library doors just ahead of the demon.
Entering the library, she briefly looked at the makeshift explosives spread
throughout the room before leaping over the library counter and through the
thankfully left open window. She heard the Mayor’s voice cursing behind her even
as she nodded towards G. Her Watcher grinned at her before shoving the plunger
down. The library shook, flames shooting out of the windows as the building
exploded, the school collapsing on the imprisoned demon. Faith smirked at G. "I
wonder how many kids get to blow up their schools at graduation?"
Giles shook his head. "Like you needed the reason," her Watcher unfairly accused.
* * *
Faith watched the ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks parked in front of the wrecked school. "As Alice would say ‘School’s Out’ for summer."
Faith turned to her Watcher. "Who the hell is Alice? Ya got a new chick, G?"
"Alice Cooper," Giles sighed long-sufferingly.
"Oh right," Faith lapsed into a gloomy silence. "How many dead?"
"Seven students, two parents, and Snyder," replied Xander. "Would have been more, but sunlight returned as soon as you killed the Mayor, dusting the rest of the vamps."
"Lucky escape," Willow commented.
"Jesse’s funeral tomorrow," Cordy commented.
Faith’s spirits fell still further. "Great."
* * *
"Dr. Walsh! Dr Walsh!"
Maggie looked up at the animated lab assistant. "Yes, Hammers, what is it?" she said listlessly, hours of paperwork sapping her enthusiasm.
"Have you heard about the incident at the High School?" the man didn’t give her time to answer. "Seven students dead. One with a broken neck but no damage either to the internal organs or the brain."
Her mouth dropped open, lips drying with excitement. Finally she found her voice. "He’ll be perfect for Project 314!"
"Exactly," the lab assistant’s eyes gleamed. "I’ve had the boy’s ambulance diverted here."
"Well done," she beamed. Finally she could begin her work. "What’s the boy’s name?" It was unimportant really, but she liked to be thorough for records.
"Uh," Hammers glanced down at his clipboard. "Owen Thurman."
* * *
Marcus Hamilton smirked as he walked the gore splattered corridors, his feet crunching on the bones from a myriad of beasts, men, and demons tortured to death there. His ears rang with the screams of the tortured and his nose filled with a number of revolting smells – burning flesh and acid the least offensive of them.
He stopped at a blank wall and muttered a quick spell. A half-second later and the wall shimmered, a gaping mouth appearing before him, two gold-red eyes staring bleakly down at him. He smiled before stepping into the mouth.
He found himself in a darkened room, a naked figure hanging via chains from the ceiling, the captive’s feet only just touching the ground. The unfortunate prisoner was flanked by two thickly-muscled creatures, the redness of their woollen robes probably camouflaging the considerable quantities of blood splattered on them. One was busily sticking a red-hot poker into the captive’s well-muscled torso, while the other was lashing his back with a whip wrapped in barbed wire. On a wooden table stood before the trio there sat a selection of instruments, including, but not limited to, a selection of knives, thumbscrews, claw hammers, and pliers.
All the classics.
The two robed figures pulled away from their prisoner at his entrance, their heads bowed respectfully. "Please," he smiled at the two robed torturers, "continue. I don’t want to interrupt your work. I find a little pain focuses the mind. " He turned his gaze towards the manacled figure. "Don’t you agree, Angelus?"
"I find it bloody hurts to be honest," the sweating demon retorted. "Ain’t ya afraid of getting a wee bit of blood on that fancy suit of yours?" The vampire groaned as the whip lashed his back.
"So nice of you to be concerned about me when you’re in such a predicament."
"Ach," Angelus’ eyes briefly flashed yellow. "If you knew me you wouldn’t be surprised." The demon cursed as the whip and the poker were simultaneously applied. "Always concerned about my fellow man."
"Such a humanitarian, Angelus." Hamilton chuckled. "Given your big heart I just bet you’d be interested in the welfare of the Slayer who’d put you here?"
"Um," he saw the desire flickering in the vampire’s eyes. Not the desire of a man for a beautiful woman, but the desire of a sadistic madman to break and degrade his target. "I’d like to have a few days with that Slayer, thanking her properly for the last few years. I’d make some memories on her pretty wee body."
Hamilton smiled. Just what he’d wanted to hear. "As a representive of Wolfram & Hart I’m sure something can be arranged."
"Really?" Despite the pair of robed torturers tearing at his body, Angelus smiled back at him. "Do tell?"
"After all the time you’ve spent here, I assume you’d make thanking Faith for your holiday your priority?" Hamilton pressed.
"Oh, I think we can agree on that," Angelus agreed. "Not that I need any motivation to pay that lassie a visit, not after all she’s done to my family."
"In that case," he reached into his jacket and pulled out a contract. "Sign this and we’ll be on our way." Angelus glanced meaningfully at his manacles and his mouth opened. The chains and the torturers disappeared. "Of course you’ll be needing your hands."
END Season 3
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