FIC Faith The Series S 3 Ep 11 (38/?)
Giles pursed his lips as he worked through the library requisition forms, the paperwork giving him the sort of headache he’d only wish on Snyder. "Oh bugger," he muttered as he realised he’d added the budget totals up incorrectly.
"Hello, Rupert." His breath caught and pen dropped to the desk at the cultured voice. Looking up, he saw a distinguished-looking man in his early seventies with thinning grey hair and penetrating blue eyes. "So this is where you work?"
He coughed in an effort to clear his throat. It didn’t work. "Hello," he
"And your Slayer?" the man stepped through the doorway. "Where is she?"
Giles licked his lips, anxious to delay the inevitable. "She’s in class."
"Oh, of course. In that case, Rupert," the older man looked around. "Perhaps we should, how do these yanks put it," the man smiled wryly, "catch up?"
Giles rose on decidedly rubbery legs. "What a splendid idea," he lied. Suddenly library requisition forms didn’t seem so bad.
* * *
"Yo G!" Faith yelled as she entered the library, stopping when there was no reply. Confused, she made her way through to G’s office. Finding a piece of crumpled paper on his otherwise spotless desk, Faith snatched it up. "Home, urgent business," Faith muttered.
* * *
"G!" Throwing open the front door, Faith hurried into her home, having made the two mile journey home in just over 2 minutes. Sweat dripping off her, she charged into the front room and found her guardian sat in the lounge drinking team with an older guy. "Your note said urgent business!" Faith exclaimed. "I thought it was Sla-," remembering the guest, her voice trailed off.
"Slayer related?" the old man said, his voice filled with wry amusement.
"Faith," she looked towards her guardian, confusion growing. Who the hell was the stranger? "Meet Charlton Giles, my," her Watcher coughed, "father."
"Your pop?" Faith stared in disbelief at the old-timer.
The old geezer chuckled. "Rupert wasn’t the result of a science experiment, my girl."
"Yeah," Faith glanced from one man to the other. "I did kinda wonder." Faith smirked. "A botched one."
The old man threw his head back and laughed. "Oh, delightful," he roared, tears rolling down his face. "Delightful." After a second G’s pop looked towards her Watcher. "Please, Rupert. I’d like to talk to this young lady," Faith almost looked over her shoulder to see who he was talking about, "on my own for a few minutes if you don’t mind."
"So this is how it ends," Slayer hearing picked up G’s mutter to himself. "Not in a blaze of glory but a tepid whimper." The Englishman raised his voice. "I have to check out some references in my study anyway."
Once the door had closed behind her Watcher, the old man’s eyes lighted on her. "Please, Faith, sit down." The man smiled. "I think it’s past time we got to know each other." Faith gulped at the guy’s piercing gaze. All at once G’s nervousness made sense.
* * *
"I trust she meets with your approval?"
Charlton stared searchingly at his son as Rupert sat down in the seat only recently vacated by the Slayer. His offspring’s tone was light, but with a note of underlying tension that only those who really knew him would notice. He smiled. "She’s all you’ve said and more. A truly remarkable young woman, especially given what she’s been through. You’ve done an astonishing job with her, she does you great credit."
"Thank you," his son nodded, his face relieved.
Charlton scowled. "I trust you have something planned for her Cruciamentum?"
Rupert’s face sobered. "I have a few ideas."
"Good," Charlton nodded. "I’ve only just met her, I don’t intend to lose her."
"Neither do I, neither do I," his son agreed.
* * *
"Ah, come on," Faith pleaded, putting her best little girl face on, "ya gotta have some wicked cool stories on G," she implored. G groaned. "Gotta give me some ammo for when he’s giving me grief."
G senior chuckled. "I somehow doubt you need any help in defending yourself."
"You have no idea how right you are."
Faith ignored G’s mutter to press her Watcher’s father. "Kay, but you gotta have something juicy I can tell the gang?" She looked up as the library doors opened and her friends walked in.
G senior looked over his shoulder. "Is that the young man in question?"
G senior looked back at her, schooling his face into a forbidding expression. "In that case I best put our little plan into action." G senior rose and strode towards her boyfriend and the others.
"Faith," G demanded from behind her. "What have you and my father concocted?"
"Ah, just a practical joke."
G groaned. "I better get a bucket." She tore her eyes away from the scene unfolding in front of her to look at her Watcher. "To clean up the mess," her Watcher dolefully explained. "There’s always a mess when father gets raucous."
Faith’s grin widened as her Watcher hurried away. "Oh yeah, I definitely like him."
* * *
Xander blinked at the thunderous looking old man stood before him, stood ramrod straight despite his seventy plus years. "Uh yeah?"
"Uh," the man looked like he couldn’t be any more disapproving if he tried. "A sloucher," now the man looked like he’d smelt something bad, and he was reasonably sure he’d washed this morning. "You’re Xander Harris aren’t you?"
"Yeah," the man sniffed. "Yes," he hurriedly amended.
"You’re dating my grand-daughter."
"I don’t think so, I’m dating Fait-," Xander’s mouth dropped open. "Oh you’re G-M-," the man sniffed again. "Mr. Giles’ pop?"
"Correct. In England, the higher-classes have a tradition, one does not ask out one’s granddaughter without seeking permission." Xander opened his mouth. "Ignorance is no excuse young man. You have offended my honour. The only question is how to settle this-."
"Oh Xander is going get his ass whipped by an old timer!" Cordelia crowed. "This is like my best day ever!"
Cordy’s mouth clamped shut when the man’s eyes turned to her. Which meant the Englishman had at least one good quality. "The only question", the man’s gaze returned to him, eyes boring through him, "is how we settle this. Fists or swords?"
"Gah, ah," Xander suddenly spied Faith sat at the table behind the man, tears rolling down her face as she laughed helplessly. "It’s a trick!" he exclaimed.
"Of course my boy, of course," the man’s weathered face broke out into a smile. "An old dodder like me’s not going to start with a fight with a strapping young fellow like you." G-Man’s dad placed an arm around his shoulder and whispered in his ear. "No, I’d hire someone to do it for me if you should ever hurt her." Xander gulped as the man pulled away. "Now the festivities are over, I think it’s time we got down to business, Rupert?"
* * *
Faith stomach hollowed as her Watcher finished speaking. Even as she opened her mouth to speak, Xander leapt to his feet, face red with rage. "There is no way that is happening!" Xander exclaimed. "You are not feeding Faith to any vampire!"
"Please, Xander," G Senior’s voice was soft but with an undeniable note of firmness. "We have no intention of doing anything of the sort. Unfortunately if we are to prevent this from happening we have to box clever."
"Why!" Cordelia demanded. "For once Doofus is right! There’s no way we’re going to let them do this!"
"If we don’t," G interrupted, his face drawn, "they’ll have my adoption of Faith reversed and me deported. Then, with a new Watcher in place, they’ll test her anyway. And if any of you," his gaze took in the others, "interfere they’ll kill you."
Xander leaned over the table. "You must be real proud of this organisation you work for," he scoffed. "What, the Gestapo weren’t hiring?"
"Young man," G senior didn’t back down an inch from X’s glare. "Neither of us agree in the slightest with this test. But to foil it will require a level of intelligence that given your behaviour at the moment I am far from sure you are capable of. Now sit down!" After a final second, Xander sunk back into his seat. "Thank you." G senior’s face relaxed before turning to his son. "Rupert, if you don’t mind?"
"My father and I were up all night discussing how best to foil the Cruciamentum," G stood. "This plan will require all of your co-operation."
"You’ve got it," Xander interrupted. Faith smiled weakly at her other friends’ instant agreement.
"I expected no less from you all," her Watcher briefly smiled before continuing. "Ever since I arrived in Sunnydale I’ve sent the Council one set of reports relating to our adventures here, excluding your parts in them, and another more truthful set to my father. At first I was acting to merely avoid controversy, knowing the Council would disapprove of your involvement, but recently I’ve had a dual purpose. To hide your involvement so you could help Faith with her Cruciamentum. The Council head, Mr. Travers, arrives tomorrow, together with his two assistants and the vampire they have captured. I plan to make a spirited resistance before ultimately capitulating to his demands for testing and injecting Faith. The night the test occurs I will be escorting Mr. Travers and Tegan on a patrol so he can see her in action. That is why she is not here, to give her deniability."
"Make sure the bitch doesn’t spill her guts more like," Faith muttered.
"Because I am to be otherwise occupied, giving me an alibi, my father will be heading operations for us," G looked to the older man, "father?"
"Thank you, Rupert," G senior rose as his son sat. "Xander and Jesse," he glanced from one boy to the other, "you will be inside the house to deal with the vampire when the remote release on his prison is activated, allowing him free rein through the house. Unfortunately, the building, rented accommodation on Lassister Avenue, will have two guards, the assistants I mentioned earlier to assure no one interferes with the test. That’s where, Willow, Amy, and Cordelia come in," G senior flashed the girls a smile. "I understand Willow and Amy are witches of some ability?"
"Oh we out-Sabrina anyone!" Willow agreed.
"Out-Sabrina?" G senior asked with raised eyebrow.
"A quite ghastly tv show about a teenage witch," G explained.
"And yet you knew what it was." Faith’s titter trailed off at her guardian’s glare. "I intend for the pair of you cast a deflection spell on Xander and Jesse to allow them to pass by the guards undetected. But that is only stage one of the diversion," G senior looked towards Cordy, "the divine Miss Chase is going to have an unfortunate car mishap just outside the house, drawing the guards away."
"Oh," Cordy shook her head, "my sports car never breaks down. Only the best for me."
"You said -," G Senior shot his son a disbelieving look before shaking his head and returning his gaze to Cordy, "the car breakdown will be staged. The men will be drawn away from their posts by a beautiful damsel in revealing attire allowing Xander and Jesse to sneak into the house and await Faith’s arrival."
"Revealing attire?" queried Cordy.
"He means wear hooker wear, Cor," Xander put in helpfully. "You know, what you usually wear."
Seeing her best friend’s eyes harden and mouth open, Faith spoke up before one of their full-blown squabbles could erupt. "And the vamp, do we know anything about it?"
"Indeed we do," G senior pulled a trio of photocopied sheets from his
briefcase. "I filched these from Council archives, better the devil you know,
indeed." The aged man passed her, Xander, and Jesse a file each. "He’s a demon
by the name of Mather. He was a conman in the late sixties who had the
misfortune to attempt to con a vampire."
"So, not old?" Cordy asked.
"No," G senior shook his head. "The Council have a rule, no vampire over fifty years of age can be used in the Cruciamentum. They don’t want the demon to be too strong."
"What?" Xander snorted. "Don’t want it to be too unfair?"
"There won’t be any cameras inside or anything?" Faith interrupted before an argument could break out.
"No," G shot Xander a look before replying.
"There’s an awful lot that could go wrong," Willow said worriedly. "Xander and Jesse could be spotted, the vampire could be too strong for the three of them, one of them could be injured."
"I know," G-Man said wearily. "But it’s the only solution we could come up with. We’re just lucky it’s one vampire."
* * *
"Please," Mayor Wilkins gestured his new personal assistant into his office. "Take a seat." He smiled as the African-American demon obeyed. African-American, he sniffed, black was black, a label didn’t change the worth of a person or demon. Political correctness, one day he’d catch up with WhedNox demon that had started the movement and squash him like a bug. "It has come to my attention that a considerable opportunity is at hand. Miss Giles is eighteen soon."
Trick blinked at his announcement. "You throwing her a party or something?"
Wilkins stared at the vampire in disbelief. A smile slowly spread across his face as he realised the demon didn’t know. "No," he laughed in genuine amusement before plunging into an explanation of the Cruciamentum.
"They do that?" Trick stared at him when he finished. "Are they mad?"
"They’re English," Wilkins sniffed. "In my experience it comes to much the same thing. Almost as bad as the French, except they smell a little better. But nonetheless it presents us with an opportunity."
Trick smiled. "Yeah, it does. Where’s the address, I’ll-."
"No, no, no," Mayor Wilkins shook his head. His subordinate’s eagerness was most commendable, but needed channelling in the right way. "I have a delivery on the same day that I want you to collect. I want you to send two vampires to kill her. And Trick, make sure to tell them the other demon dies too, I don’t want any witnesses."
* * *
"Keely Banflait! What sort of name is that?" Cordelia moaned as her car zipped through Sunnydale at a perilous speed.
"It’s Gaelic for ‘beautiful princess’." Charlton gritted his teeth. He’d found within a few minutes of being alone with the Sunnydale cheerleader, the decorative effects wore off to be replaced by a feeling something akin to having one’s fingernails removed.
"Oh," the girl sounded mollified. But only for a moment. "But why do I need to have a secret identity? We’re not going all La Femme Nikita are we?"
"I beg your pardon?" Charlton felt like he was moving from irritated to bemused at a considerable rate. Almost as fast as the car was moving in point of fact.
"Secret agent!" the teen shot him a withering glare. "Keep up!"
"Because," Charlton felt his mood shift back to annoyed, "if any investigation of the Cruciamentum takes place, your name cannot be linked back to Faith’s in any way."
"Ah," Cordelia nodded. "That’s why I have to wear the disguise too?"
"Precisely," Charlton nodded as the cheerleader’s car screeched to a halt outside a car-hire firm on the outskirts of a town some fifty miles away from Sunnydale.
"But does it have to be a hatchback?"
* * *
"It is utter barbarity!" Giles thumped his fist down on his lounge table while he glared at the older man sat opposite.
Quentin Travers appeared unmoved by his rage. "Cruciamentum is not easy... for Slayer or Watcher. But it's been done this way for a dozen centuries. Whenever a Slayer turns eighteen. It's a time-honoured rite of passage."
"It's an archaic exercise in cruelty. To lock her in -," Rupert clenched his fists together. "In a prison, weakened, defenceless, with the very beast she hunts every night. Proving her worth? She’s proved it a hundred times! If any one of the Council had actual contact with a Slayer, they would see, but I'm the one in the thick of it."
Giles had to fight the urge to rip Travers’ answering smirk off his face. "Which is why you're not qualified to make this decision. You're too close."
"No, that’s not true at all. What I am, is loyal," he shook his head. "I won’t do it."
Travers sighed. "Rupert, you and your Slayer have achieved a great deal. It would be a tragedy to have to replace you. A Slayer is not just physical prowess. She must have cunning, imagination, and resourcefulness. And believe me, once this is all over, your Faith will be stronger for it."
"Or she'll be dead for it," Giles seethed before allowing his shoulders to slump forward in defeat. "Very well, I’ll do it." He looked up at the other man, praying with all his might the other man would take his bait. "I was wondering if you’d accompany myself and Tegan on patrol, to judge her progress?"
"Excellent idea," the head Watcher rose. "I’ll meet you here at seven-thirty?"
"Fine," Giles nodded.
* * *
"Now," Charlton prowled the lounge carpet like a general on parade, the children and his son, technically not a child although sometimes he wondered, sat on the seats. "Let’s run through the plan one more time," he glared at Xander’s groan. "Young man, I’m taking this very seriously, are you?"
"Hey, X, takes this seriously," his adoptive grand-daughter snapped. "He just don’t like to think much."
"Gee," the boy muttered. "Thanks for the support."
Quelling the urge to smirk, he continued. "First, Rupert leaves with Travers and Tegan," Charlton felt a bitter taste in his mouth at the mention of the other Slayer. He’d met her only briefly, but her snootiness had got his hackles up, and confirmed his first thought of keeping her out of the loop. "Then, Willow and Amy will start the deflection spell here, under my supervision. Next, Keely’s car will tragically break down outside the house."
Cordelia snorted. "If that rust-bucket you hired gets me that far."
Charlton decided to ignore the cheerleader’s complaints. "While the guards are distracted, Xander and Jesse will walk in. When Keely leaves," Charlton looked towards Faith, "Faith will enter. Once the demon is slain, she will leave. And while the guards are distracted, so will the boys. Any questions?"
* * *
"Bloody hell!" Johnson, a ten year veteran of the Met, commented when a car pulled to a shuddering halt just outside the building they’d hired for the Cruciamentum. His mouth dropped open when a gorgeous, bespectacled blonde with the body of a swimsuit model clad only in high heels, black PVC mini, and two sizes too small halter top leapt out. "That’s a nice sort and no mistake!"
"Aye," agreed his companion, a burly Scot by the name of Daglish, a ten year veteran of the Highland Guards, "nice knockers." The jock’s eyes widened when the blonde lifted her car’s bonnet and bent over, her mini-skirt pulling tight. "Cracking arse too."
Johnson grinned at his companion. "It would be impolite not to help."
The Scot’s mouth parted in a gap-toothed grin. "Aye, you’re right there, laddie."
* * *
"Maybe I should stay and watch over Cor-."
"Shut up," Xander pushed his friend through the shadowy building’s entrance, grateful for both the distraction and the drooling image Cordy had given them. "Cordy will be fine. We’ve gotta find this vampire’s prison before Faith gets here."
"Yeah," Jesse nodded. "It’s the cellar, right?"
"Yeah," Xander led his friend through the house’s dusty corridors, the smell of grime heavy in the air. The whole place was a wreck, peeling wallpaper failing to hide the cracks in the walls’ plaster. The owners must have died and gone to heaven when the Council approached them about renting this dump.
Licking his lips, Xander descended the stairs leading to the cellar, every step accompanied by the pounding of his heart. He and Jesse exchanged looks before shoving the cellar door open. Stepping inside, Xander fumbled around for the light switch, finally finding a string and tugging on it. A light flickered on. Xander blinked his eyes clear. They were in a bare looking room, an empty, cobweb-covered cupboard against the right wall, and a rotting table and two chairs in the centre.
And in the far corner stood a six foot high, thick wooden box from which inarticulate screams could be heard. "You think that’s it?" Jesse whispered.
"Either that, or wood’s come to life," Xander whispered back. "Being Sunnydale anything's possible."
His joke fell flat, both of them just stood and stared at the box. Xander felt his hands growing sweaty and drew his stake for comfort, to remind himself it was there. "Hey." Both of them both jumped at Faith’s hushed voice behind them. "Wussies." Both Faith’s laughter and taunt sounded forced. His girl-friend pulled out a stake and looked towards them both. "You ready for this?"
Xander and Jesse looked towards one another before nodding and moving into positions flanking the wooden box while Faith stood four foot from the front of the box, stake held ready. The next few seconds seemed to take hours to pass and then the box’s lid slid to one side and the vampire charged out, demonic face showing. "SLAYER!"
Xander dived to the ground in front of the rampaging demon. The vampire grunted as it ran into him, its charge turning into a head-long fall to the ground. The demon immediately started to climb up but Faith’s foot to the face momentarily stunned it while Jesse drove his stake through its back. The demon instantly exploded into dust. "That was easy!" Jesse crowed.
"Yeah, too easy," Faith grimaced as she looked down at the dustpile. "One of ya’s gonna have to make it look real. Hit me."
"WHAT!" Xander shook his head. "No way!"
"I’ll do it."
Both he and Faith turned to Jesse. "Ya got issues Jess?" Faith queried.
"He’s tired of Cordy wearing the pants in their relationship," Xander dourly accused as he glared at his best friend.
"Hey, she beats me up in training all the time," Jesse defended before turning to Faith. "What do you want me to do?"
"First," Faith tore the left sleeve off her denim shirt. "Grab my arm and squeeze, hard as you can." All at once Jesse looked reluctant, his mouth opening in protest. "Damn it, Jess!" Faith snapped. "I don’t like this anymore than you do! Just do it!"
"Okay," Jesse’s face stiffened.
Faith hissed as the teen grabbed her arm around the bicep and squeezed. "Ah hell." Faith took a breath before continuing. "Next kick me in the shin-. Ah shit!" Faith hopped around for a second before taking some dust off the table and rubbing it all over her face, shirt, and pants. "Now, backhand me across the face." Again Jesse just looked at the brunette. "Do it!" Faith’s head snapped to one side when the boy hit her, cheek purpling and blood trickling from the corner of her mouth. Next, the brunette tore the chest pocket from her shirt. "Now-."
"Look," Jesse shook his head. "That’s beaten up enough."
"Oh no," Xander tore his eyes away from his two friends to look at the two vampires at the door, blood chilling, "that’s not even close."
* * *
Faith stumbled back a step, horror filling her at the sight of another two vampires. Where the hell had they come from? Even as she asked herself the question, the two demons charged forward, one back-handing Xander, blood flying out of her honey’s mouth as he fell into the wall, the other being tackled by Jesse.
Which left her all alone with the one who’d knocked X to the floor. Gathering her courage, she raised her stake.
And was driven to her knees by an overhand right to the temple, stake falling to the ground beside her. "Slayer," the demon’s husky voice even as he grabbed her hair and yanked her head back, pain exploding in her head. "Never tasted a Slayer before. Hope you’re a screamer."
"AHH!" The demon screamed as she picked up her stake and jammed it through the vampire’s foot. "You fucking bitch!"
Blood exploded out of her mouth when the vampire backhanded her onto her back. Head ringing, she tried to rise only for the demon to drive his uninjured foot into her ribs, doubling her up. "That’s better," the demon knelt down and tore the stake out of his foot with a sick pop. Wincing, the vampire stood and kicked her onto her back, she tried a kick, but he grabbed her ankle and twisted, the bone’s pop as it dislocated lost in her scream. "All on your back. If you’re nice to me, I might make it quick."
"I don’t think so." The vampire’s mouth half-opened in surprise a split-second before it burst into dust. Immediately Xander and Jesse stepped through the dust and helped her to her feet. "Are you alright?" her boyfriend anxiously asked.
She wouldn’t cry, she silently promised. "Five by five," she forced a nod. "Let’s blow this shithole."
* * *
Cordelia looked at her watch for the hundredth time in the past quarter of an hour as she waited for Faith in their pre-arranged meeting place. Where was she? Her heart leapt when the car door opened. "Finally, it took yo-," Cordelia’s voice trailed off as she noted the taut look on her best friend’s face as she climbed in the car. "What happened? It went alright didn’t it? Did Jess-."
"There were three of the fuckers," suddenly her friend was shaking, tears pouring down her face. "If it hadn’t been for the guys-."
"Hush," Cordy hugged her friend to her as she sobbed. "It’s alright, it’s alright."
After a minute, her friend pulled away, an embarrassed look on her face. "Take me to the library," Faith muttered as she rubbed at her eyes.
"Maybe you should go home. Ring Giles from there."
"No," Faith’s face hardened. "Me and Travers are gonna have a talk."
"You think that’s smar-." Cordelia’s voice trailed off at the look in her best friend’s eyes. Faith might not have her powers at the moment, but Cordelia had no wish to argue with anyone who could manage to look that pissed. "Library it is then."
* * *
"And this is a Stygian Hunting Dagger," Giles raised the curved dagger, "its serrated edge making it doubly dangerous." Patrol had been uneventful, a single raising dealt with. But now, all he could do was wait and hope. And so he was attempting to occupy the long seconds by showing his boss his collection of weapons.
"Yes," the older man couldn’t have sounded more bored. "Most impr-."
"You fucking bastard!" Giles’ head snapped towards the door as the door flew open and a battered but alive, his heart leapt, Faith strode through it, eyes shooting black fire. "You low-down scumbag!" His eyes widened when the brunette snatched at one of the daggers lying on the counter and lunged towards Travers.
"Faith! No!" He jumped in his daughter’s path, and wrestled the sword from her. "Faith! What has come over you!"
"There were three of the fuckers! Not one, G!" Faith screamed.
"She’s lying," Travers muttered.
Giles spun to face his superior. "My Slayer doesn’t lie! Not about Slaying!"
"Go there and see for yourself! There’s three dustpiles!" Faith snarled. "And get out of here before I gut you like the pig you are!"
* * *
Travers stormed out of the library and into the darkened corridor. He’d never been so humiliated in his life. "That little tramp," he muttered. "She’ll pay."
"No," he turned to see himself being regarded by Charlton Giles, a cold look in his normally reserved countryman’s eyes. "Nothing will happen to Faith. But you on the other hand," the older Watcher smiled. "Three vampires at a Cruciamentum? You made a real bugger of this, Quentin. And I’ll have your job for it. This will be the last Cruciamentum ever."
The older man chuckled. "You forget who you’re talking to Travers. You only got your post on my sufferance. Now I don’t feeling like suffering you any further," the man’s eyes turned to icicles. "Get out of my sight before I kill you myself."
* * *
"And what do you intend to do once you’ve finished school?"
Damn, Faith mused as she shrugged, she was glad those Slayer-sapping drugs were wearing off, last night had hurt like hell, anything that speeded up the healing process was a godsend. "I don’t know."
"Young lady," G Senior rubbed at his nose in the same kinda way G did, must be heredity. "You have to have something planned for your future?"
Man, that disapproving tone, they must bottle it and pass it on to each new generation of Gileses. Faith shrugged again, a gesture that gained her a sigh. "Die young, leave a hot cor-."
"None of that!" Faith blinked at the man’s thunderous tone. "I won’t tolerate talk of that kind, do you understand me, young lady?" Stunned, she nodded. "Good," the Englishman’s tone and face softened. "Now, you must have something you’d like to study at university?"
Faith began to shrug again only to stop at G Senior’s glare. "I kinda like English and History," she admitted.
"Wonderful," the man beamed before reaching into his pocket and passing her a trio of paper-clipped sheets. "In that case you’ll need that." Faith opened the papers and stared down uncomprehendingly at their typed contents. "It’s a trust fund, I had the papers drawn up before I came over here on the off chance you were all Rupert told me," Faith looked up. "It will pay you $ 700 a month from the date of your high school graduation until you receive your degree, at which point you will receive the sum of $150,000. Not a lot I know, but it will make going to college a little easier."
For once Faith found herself speechless. "I….I c…can’t-."
"Of course you can," the man’s tone left no room for argument. "Call it an old man’s attempt to make up for all the birthday and Christmas presents you never got and I never got to give you."
"Six generations of Giles’ have all gotten degrees. This place," the elderly Watcher sniffed, "is hardly Oxford or even Cambridge, but it will have to do. I intend to make sure that you do the same. After all, you’re a Giles, aren’t you, girl?"
Faith grinned. "I guess I am. Thanks."
"My pleasure. Now my dear," the man smiled apologetically. "I don’t wish to throw you out of your own home. But I’d like a little time with my son before I leave?"
"Uh," Faith stood, "kay."
"And you take care of yourself and those friends of yours." G Senior grinned. "And try not to get that son of mine into too much trouble. Lord knows he’s easily led."
* * *
"Faith appeared inordinately pleased when she left."
Charlton smiled as his son entered the room. "Perhaps that’s the reason," he passed Rupert a second copy of the trust fund agreement.
"That’s generous." His son’s eyes widened as he scanned the document.
"It’s nothing for a young woman who risks her life daily," Charlton waved away his son’s comments. "The life she’s had she deserves any help we can give her." Rupert nodded. "Besides," he chuckled, "I’ve made sure she can’t spend the money on a Harley-," he laughed at his son’s shudder. "Oh don’t Rupert, I remember your Norton Commando and the near heart attacks you gave me, you bloody hooligan."
His offspring smiled ruefully. "And with you around I’m never going to forget it either." The younger Watcher’s face sobered. "Travers?"
"That man is a bloody antique," Charlton growled. "But his incompetence in allowing those two vampires to sneak in give me an opportunity to replace him."
"You don’t think it was deliberate?"
"No," Charlton shook his head. "I’ve checked with the Council and the only captured Council vampire ‘out’ was Mather. I don’t see Travers going outside the Council to ‘acquire’ one."
"True," Rupert hesitated. "Could our spell have allowed them in?"
Charlton smiled tightly. He’d spent a restless night worrying over that very thing. "No, son," he soothed. "The wording was very specific, only Xander and Jesse were affected by it. It was just pure ineptitude, and the fact the two demons appeared to know about the Slayer being there suggests a leak of some description." Charlton stood and looked down on his son. "I can’t tell you how proud I am, Rupert. She’s a fine girl, a great credit to you both. Keep her safe."
FIC Faith The Series S 3 Ep 12 (39/?)
Hearing her Watcher’s shout, Faith dropped to one knee and thrust her sword upwards at the she-demon leaping at her. The point of her sword ripped through her rival’s shoulder, separating its arm from its torso. "Fuck!" she swore as a gloopy viscera spurted out of the gaping wound, drenching her. "My jacket was new this week!"
"Maybe you’d be better suited to find a look that wasn’t more streetwalker chic, dear."
Gritting her teeth against Tegan’s purred comment, Faith quickly beheaded the one-armed demon before moving onto the next monster. Ducking beneath a clumsy haymaker, she thrust her sword at the monster’s chest only for her opponent to slap the weapon away and smash a fist into her mouth.
Faith grunted as she stumbled backwards, blood filling her mouth. The demon roared gleefully before leaping at her. Instantly Faith responded with a leaping spin kick to the side of the monster’s head, stunning, and knocking it sideways. Before the monster had chance to react, her sword sliced through its neck, sending its head crashing to the ground.
Spinning around, she saw the other demons in the cavern were dealt with and stepped towards Tegan, a dangerous look in her eyes. She pulled to a halt when Giles stepped between her, a warning look in his eyes. "Priorities, huh?" her Watcher said. "It would behove us to find what exactly the demons were…"
After a second Faith nodded. "Fine," she replied through gritted teeth.
* * *
Tegan glanced up the corridor. Hearing the sound of the approaching group led by Harmony, she shoved the hall door open and strode into the hall, her high heels clip-clocking on the hardwood floor. The solitary figure setting up chairs as part of some punishment or other looked up. "Oh hey, Tegan," Jesse said, his tone typically uncertain.
"Hi," she smiled seductively before moving towards the boy. Hearing Harmony’s carefully raised voice just outside the hall, she pushed Jesse down on to the chair behind him. The boy’s mouth opened in surprise. Before he had chance to speak she was straddling him, lips fastened to his, Slayer powered thighs holding him in place. After a second he stopped struggling and began to pull her closer, then she heard the door open.
"Jesse!" The sound of Cordelia’s heart breaking was sweet music to her ears.
* * *
"Faith!" Faith ignored her Watcher’s voice as she stormed out of the girl’s toilets, leaving Red and Ams to look after her friend. She was no good at the comforting shit, what she was good at was serious ass-kicking. "Young lady! Stop right there!"
Faith pulled up at the Engishman’s stern tone and reluctantly turned to face him. "What?"
"A Slayer is given her powers to protect people, not to use them to abuse people," Giles lectured. "And you fighting her would definitely constitute abuse of your powers."
"Tegan uses her powers to walk all over people all the time!"
"Yes, that is unfortunately true," Giles nodded, his expression grave. "But I hold you to a rather higher standard of behaviour than Miss. Austin-Meadows, am I wrong to do so?" Faith looked down at her boots. "Am I?"
"No," Faith muttered.
"Good," her Watcher’s tone softened. "And how is Cordelia?"
"Not good, wicked messed up."
"Then perhaps you had better go back to her?"
* * *
"Ah hello," Giles exchanged a pair of uneasy glances with Xander and an uncomfortable looking Jesse when Faith led a red-eyed Cordelia and the two wiccas in the library. Teenage drama, the delight that made his life worth living. Deciding to stick to the matter in hand, he looked towards his notes. "I’ve identified the demons we fought last night and I’m afraid the news isn’t good."
"Like it ever is."
Giles ignored Xander’s mutter in favour of continuing. "The Sisterhood of Jhe is an Apocalypse cult. They exist solely to bring about the world's destruction, and we've not seen the last of them. More will follow."
"Why are they here?"
Giles chose to ignore the hoarseness in Cordelia’s usually sweet-sounding voice. "Based on some artefacts I found with them, and taking into account the current astral cycle..."
"G," Faith interrupted, an impatient look on his young charge’s face, "We don't need to see the math."
Giles placed his book on the counter and leaned forward. "The long and short of it is they intend to open the Hellmouth."
Willow gasped. "The Hellmouth. The one that opens..."
"Beneath our very feet," Giles finished. Everybody’s gaze shifted to the stairs. "The Hellmouth beast will be once again unleashed and it will be far from the worst demon to escape from the Hellmouth."
"What Martha Stewart’s twin, too?"
Nobody smiled at Xander’s wisecrack. "Do we know when this is supposed to happen?" queried Amy.
Giles sighed. "I’m currently trying to narrow it down. If you're up for it, we're heading into deep research mode." He forced a smile at the chorus of yeses that followed his request.
* * *
"Sisterhood of Jhe. Race of female demons, fierce warriors..." Faith’s face crunched up in disgust. "Who celebrate victory in battle by eating their foes. Man, what sort of diet is that?" Hearing the sound of the library door open, she tensed as she saw Tegan enter. After a quick glance at Cordy’s pained face, she spoke, her tone casual. "I was figuring maybe me and Teg can hit Willy’s, see if he knows anything?"
Giles glanced from her, to Tegan, and finally at Cordelia before nodding. "A fine idea," her Watcher replied, his smile fixed. "But be careful, we don’t know how many of these are hanging about. In the meantime, I’ll head out and try the Spirit Guides."
Faith nodded as she rose. "Will do, bossman."
* * *
Giles stood before a large mausoleum, holding up a lit candle before him, its light dancing off the carvings on the worn stone before him. A bright cloud appeared in front of the mausoleum. Licking his lips, he spoke. "Noli me renuere, umbra ducens. Sapienta manium super me effundatur."
The cloud’s voice echoed in his head, the anger in its tone enough to make him quake. "Illae res occultae sunt tempoti et locis obscuris. Enuntiare illas Chaos super orbem vivum terrarum ferat."
Giles shook his head, he wouldn’t be denied. "Belua propulsanda est! Invenire vitium suum noster spes sola est!"
He was hit by a gust a wind that almost knocked him off his feet and briefly took his breath away. "Noli petere! Perturba nos non diutius!"
Even as the last of the cloud’s scream died away it floated off into the sky. "Bugger," Giles cursed. "Looks like we’ll have to rely on the old-fashioned methods." He just hoped they’d have enough time.
* * *
Faith gasped at the debris in Willy’s. The place has been completely trashed, tables, chairs, and customers lying everywhere. Hearing a moaning behind the bar, she rushed over to find a badly-beaten Willy lying there, blood pouring from a number of cuts, and his face battered into a misshapen mess. "Slayer," the snitch greeted before coughing. "These demon bitches are going to end us all. Before sunrise. That's what they said Look, kid, my clientele ain't exactly nuns and choirboys, but I... I never seen anything like these demons."
"I'm gonna stop them." Faith replied.
"That Hellmouth opens," Willy shook his head, "they're gonna be the least of your problems. If I was you, I'd be thinking about how I wanna spend my last night on Earth."
"What a jolly good-." Tegan’s mouth clamped shut at her glare. She was getting real sick of her junior Slayer.
Pulling out her mobile, Faith dialled for an ambulance before rising. "Help’s on the way, Willy," Faith said, her heart thumping at what the snitch had told her, before heading towards the exit. Once outside, she took a few calming breaths of the cold night air before speaking to her companion. "Let’s head back to the library." She turned away from her companion.
"Yes, let’s. I’m really rather interested to see how Cordelia’s getting on. I do so hope mine and Jesse’s indiscretion didn’t hurt her too much."
Faith’s hackles rose at the mockery in the rich girl’s voice. Turning, she glared at the other girl. "Ya might want to keep away from Cordy," Faith warned. "I’m looking for a reason to kick your ass and ya really don’t want to make it easy for me. Now let’s go," Faith turned away from the other Slayer.
"Who do you think you’re talking to you gutter-, ugh!"
Blood pumping, Faith spun around, grabbed the younger Slayer by the neck, and lifted her into the air. "Ya ain’t listening. Like ya always say, I’m street. And the street teaches ya one thing, girlie, that’s look after your crew and they’ll look after ya. Cordy’s part of my crew." She dropped the gasping Slayer on the ground. "And ya hurt my crew, I hurt ya."
* * *
"So that’s it," Giles broke the strained silence that followed Faith’s report. "They definitely intend to open the Hellmouth to worship the beast within, and will attack tonight."
"Yeah," his pride and joy nodded. "That’s about the size of it. The spell’s already been started, it’ll open anyhow, but the only place the whole thing can be stopped is here, so they have to come here to make sure that doesn’t happen."
"Oh bugger," Giles muttered as he considered their options and formulated a plan, a plan with more holes in it than a lump of smelly Swiss cheese but was the only option in sight. "Willow, you and Amy will have to cast a spell closing the Hellmouth, unfortunately that can only be done once it’s opened, so tonight. Faith, you, and Tegan, you’ll have to help me fight off the beast." He turned towards Xander and the others, and smiled apologetically. "You three won’t be needed, this is a little -."
"Won’t we?" Xander interrupted, a look as serious as any he’d ever seen on the boy’s face. "Seems to me this is as much our world as it is you super-powered types?"
Giles forced a smile. The boy’s determination was admirable if misplaced.
"True," he allowed. "But there is little you can do-."
"I don’t think so," Xander shook his head. "What about those demon bitches? You’re going to have your hands full with the Hellmouth beast. What about them?"
"True," Giles rubbed at his forehead. "But surely you’re not suggesting taking them on hand to hand."
Xander chuckled. "Do I look stupid?" Faith’s mouth opened. Without turning towards his girl-friend, the teen spoke. "Don’t answer that. No, remember the Judge?"
"We’re hardly likely to forget," Giles said sarcastically.
"Yeah," Xander nodded. "Well, me and Jess, we went back to the army base during the summer." Giles groaned, the beginnings of a throbbing headache forming. He could see where this was going. "And stole a bunch of stuff from there, just in case."
"Man!" Faith exclaimed. "That is so fucking cool!"
"Goodness gracious," Giles wasn’t altogether sure he approved but on this occasion it might come in very handy. "I trust you weren’t stupid enough to store it in your home?"
"God, no," Xander shook his head. "We," the boy glanced at Cordy and gulped, "buried it under the stables at Cordy’s house while they were away."
"You did what!" Cordy screamed with some of her old fervour. Faith just laughed.
"Yeah," Xander winced. "I was figuring that me and Jess could take a couple of Mossbergs, load them with some special ammo we’ve been making in Jesse’s dad workshop-."
"Special ammo?" Giles shuddered. "I’m afraid to ask."
"It’s just an incendiary ammo but blessed by a priest who we saved from a demon," Jesse explained.
"I figure we could hold them off together, kill them before they reach you-."
"I’m in too," interrupted Cordelia. Xander turned towards the girl, his mouth opening only to clamp it shut, "you’re not cutting me out. Not after leaving your stolen weapons stashed on my land!"
Giles sighed. As much as he hated to admit it, Xander had a point. Only a complete idiot tried to fight a battle on two fronts when it could be avoided. "Very well."
"Great," the boy beamed. "In that case, Jesse, me, and Cordelia will go get the guns."
"Me and you," Cordelia corrected.
Everyone looked at an uncomfortable-looking Jesse. "Uh, I’ll stay here then," the teen’s smile was distinctly forced. "I have a chem test to study for anyhow."
* * *
"Why have you stopped digging?"
"Cordy." Xander stopped and looked up at the cheerleader. "This would be a lot faster if you helped."
"Manual work?" the cheerleader sniffed. "I don’t think so. That’s why we have you blue collar types."
Deciding to ignore the insult, Xander continued. "You know whatever we caught him up to it wasn’t Jesse, not really. He’s really into you, he’s crazy about you. I don’t get it myself, but there it is."
The brunette’s smile was strained. "Thanks doofus."
"Uh, my pleasure," discomforted by their sudden moment, he glanced down at his spade. "Better dig."
* * *
"That’s the last of the tables," Giles thanked Tegan and Faith for clearing the way, before looking at the black circular figure on the floor. Eight rays extended from the edge. Inside are four small semicircles marking the four corners. At the centre three short lines intersected. A lit candle stood on each line and a fourth at their
intersection. All around the circle and the room were more candles. Finally he nodded, it was ready. "Terra, vente, ignis et pluvia. Cuncta quattuor numina, vos
obsecro. Defendete nos a recente malo resoluto."
"We're doing the binding spell from the Hebron's Almanac?" Amy queried.
"Yes, but once it's ready, you're to stay back and let me finish the recitation." Seeing Willow’s mouth open, he shook his head. "Don't argue. I want you two safe. Who knows what's going to come up from beneath us."
* * *
Giles shuddered as the Hellmouth opened, and the same huge, green, multi-headed, tentacled demon that erupted from it less than two years before loomed over the heads of he and his companions. Bolts of energy flashed about like lightning. "Oh my God. It's grown." Gathering his courage, he glanced towards the two Wiccas. "Amy! Willow! You know what to do!" he looked towards the Slayers. "As do you!"
* * *
Xander stared around the darkened foyer, every flickering shadow making his blood pound. His head snapped to the left at the sound of shattering of glass. He saw a trio of powerfully-built monsters snarling their way into the entrance hall. He quickly backed into the slightly safer environs of the adjoining corridor’s shadows. "Here?"
He started at Cordy’s low hiss. "Yeah, Mamma-demons and her sisters have come to play," he whispered.
"Good," Cordelia’s shotgun clicked as she loaded one into the chamber. "Because I’m ready for some action!"
He raised an eyebrow. Mad Maxine had nothing on a pissed Cordelia.
* * *
The doors of the library crashed open and Faith thudded to the ground, just a few feet short of the far end of the corridor. Faith swallowed as the the three heads of the Hellmouth demon came slithering through the doors after her. "Oh fuck!" Faith leapt to her feet, grabbed her axe and charged back in.
* * *
He and Cordelia sprang from the shadows, Jesse held in reserve to cover them as they re-loaded, and began firing. The shotguns boom punctured the entrance’s hall’s deathly silence, the rounds smashing into the leading demons. Xander’s eyes widened when the demons staggered but didn’t go down. "Not good."
Gathering his nerve, he fired again, blood vomiting from the demon’s leathery hide at the moment at impact, but again it failed to go down. Only on the third hit, a bullet ripping through its head did the monstrous demon crash to the floor.
Soon his lungs were clogging with the arid taste of cordite and the stench of burning flesh, the demons’ screams competing with the boom of his gun for his ears’ attention. His eyes widened as he saw more of the demons rushing in behind the others. "Re-load!"
* * *
Giles swung at the Hellmouth demon with an ax, still trying to force it back the rest of the way as he recited the rest of the binding spell. "Omnia... vasa... veritatis!" Looking up, he saw the two figures on the level above the demon. "Now!" Instantly the vampire Slayers swung their axes.
* * *
"I’m running low on ammo!"
Xander nodded at Jesse’s yell in his ear, the sound barely audible over the gunfire. "I know, so am. Cordy?"
The high school queen’s face was taut with tension and her eyes filled with terror. "Me too."
Xander glanced towards their axes lent against the wall. They could take maybe one of them between all three of them. But, he looked with bloodshot eyes through the heavy gunsmoke to the tribe of demons advancing on their position, there were far more than just one of them. There had to be another way.
Suddenly the lead demon let out a mournful howl that was almost instantly echoed by its companions. Xander gasped as they backed up. "They must have done it!"
"We’ve won!" Looking behind him, he smiled as he saw Cordelia hugging his best friend. Suddenly the cheerleader pulled away, a shield coming down. "I’m going to check Faith’s okay," the cheerleader stepped away from Jesse and turned to leave before stopping and looking over her shoulder at him. "Coming doofus?"
* * *
Charlton Giles stared intently at his office-light, unable to concentrate on any of the documents stuck on the desk before him. He rose as his office door entered and a distinguished-looking man in his mid-sixties entered. "The vote is in?" he queried, unable to control the butterflies fluttering in his stomach. So much more than his own position hung on his scheme. If everything went to plan, his son and adopted grand-daughter would be so much the safer, but if not they’d be in even greater danger. His opponent was a vindictive, petty-minded man.
"It is," his guest confirmed with a nod before smiling slightly. "You won, Charlton. With my support Travers has been deposed and you installed as Council head. I trust you’ll stick to our deal?"
"I’m a man of my word, Roger." Charlton stiffly replied. "My first order of business will be installing your son as the Watcher for Slayer Austin-Meadows."
FIC: Faith: The Series Season 3 Ep 13 (40/?)
"Faith, I’ve written a poem for you -."
Faith shot her pursuer an irritated glance. "That’s great Owen," she lied, "but shouldn’t ya be writing poetry for like your chick?"
"Well," the boy blushed at her searching gaze. "I was sorta wondering-."
Faith spun to face the youth. She was getting wicked sick of him following her around like a sick puppy. At first it had been funny, but nearly a year on and Owen Thurman was starting to seriously creep her out. "Back the fuck off, buster," she growled. "I’ve got a honey, not interested. And if ya don’t leave me alone, I’ll make sure that my pop will have to have his foot surgically removed from your ass. Ya dig?"
Faith shook her head as the youth scurried away. What she’d really wanted to do was lift the guy up by his ankle, and dangle him upside down until he passed out. "Secret identities suck," Faith muttered. She smiled crookedly. But it was kinda cool having an over-protective English guy and her honey to look out for her. Faith’s eyes widened as she remembered something. "Oh fuck!" she cursed. "Late again!"
* * *
"Ah," Giles raised an eyebrow as his daughter rushed in. "So good of you to join us all," Giles glanced at the others sat around the table. "Good to see your 100% record for lateness is holding up."
"Sorry," Faith smirked. "But I hate to mess up a batting average." The Slayer’s chocolate brown eyes hardened. "Ran into that Thurman freak again-."
"What?" He beat Xander to his feet by a split-second. "Do you want me to have a word with that boy?" Owen Thurman was a strange one, even for an American. Emily Dickinson was a fine writer, but the boy’s fascination with death was to quote Faith, ‘wicked creepy’. While the school had its inevitable nerds, Owen was something else entirely. The sort of boy one found at the top of a church spire with a sniper rifle in hand. Yes, definitely strange.
"Nah," his girl’s eyes sparkled at his concern before she sat down. And put her boots up on the table. The Slayer sighed at his pointed glare before putting her feet down. "What’s the skinny?"
English, Giles resisted temptation to shake his head, such a beautiful language. Except when spoken by Americans. "My father rang last night-."
"Yo, how’s G. Senior doing?" Faith interrupted. "Old ticker still going okay?"
Giles stared at his charge in disbelief. If he’d ever referred to his father as ‘G Senior’ he’d have gotten a clip, when Faith did it, his father thought it was endearing. Life wasn’t fair. Head shaking inwardly at the misfortune that had him lumbered with his father as a child and Faith as an adult, he replied. "I believe his heart manages the occasional beat. Now, if I may continue?"
"Sure G," Faith yawned theatrically. "Be my guest."
"Thank you, I’m most grateful." He turned to Tegan. "This news concerns you most of all," the Slayer sat a little straighter, "although it will affect us all. My father has decided that Tegan should have a Watcher of her own. To this end, Wesley Whyndham-Pryce will be despatched to join us in a week or so. He’ll be working with us."
"He a hottie?" Faith queried.
"Hey!" exclaimed an open-mouthed Xander.
"Girl’s gotta keep her options open," Faith replied. "Well?"
"I really have no idea," Giles sniffed. "Watcher personnel records don’t come with head shots you know."
"They should. I’d have asked for a younger model."
Faith’s accompanying smile robbed the words of any sting. "Well, yes," he smirked. "I do remember asking the Council if we had any English potentials going spare. I recall talk of some swap-deal."
"Bite me," Faith eye-balled him.
"And risk rabies," he sniffed, "no thank you."
"Do you know anything about this Wes?" Xander queried.
"I’m afraid not," he replied. "The young man is over ten years younger than me, so by the time he joined the Watcher Academy I’d long gone." He decided not to mention he was far from impressed with the young man’s father. The youth deserved an untarnished start, a chance to stand or fall on his own abilities.
"Ten years, uh?"
Giles shook his head in amusement at Faith’s provocative mutter and Xander’s jealous bristle. Poor boy, Faith teased him unmercifully even though she adored him. "Still far too old for you," he scolded.
"Don’t I have a say in what Watcher I am assigned?"
Giles felt the temperature drop several degrees at Tegan’s haughty comment. The stupid girl, she’d alienated herself from those she depended on to keep her safe. "No, you don’t. I’m sure Mr. Pryce will be fine." Seeing but ignoring Tegan’s opening mouth, he turned to the others. "Meeting adjourned. I think it’s time we did some training."
"Hey," Faith looked around, eyes puzzled. "I’m not the last here," the brunette Bostonian realised. "Where’s Ams?"
"Uh," an uncomfortable-looking Willow half-raised a hand. "She couldn’t make it. Had something to do."
"Yeah?" Faith stared at the red-haired Wicca. "Like what, Red?" The witch’s only reply was a half-shrug.
* * *
"Hello-," Rack smiled as the sound of his shop’s door bell ringing. His smile faded when he turned to find himself face to face with one of the Scoobies. Realising she didn’t have a clue who he was, he spoke, voice held careful. "Hello, and how can I help you?"
"Hi, hi," the girl shuffled from foot to foot, expression nervous. "I..I’ve got this friend, and she told you do magic boosts. Only I’ve got another friend, and she’s a Wicca too, and she’s way more powerful than me, and I want to catch up."
Rack stared at the girl, his guts twisting in fear. If this was a trap, or the girl led the Slayer to him, he’d be done for. On the other hand, he smiled inwardly, if he managed to subvert a friend of the Slayer’s to his side, it would give him a powerful ally should she discover him through other sources. "High stakes, indeed," he muttered before smiling and raising his voice. "Certainly dear," he pulled aside the curtains concealing the door behind his counter. "If you’d come through?"
* * *
Giles watched smugly as his Slayers battled a trio of vampires who’d had the misfortune to cross their path. Sensing Xander moving forward, doubtless to assist Faith, he grabbed the boy’s shoulder. "She’ll be fine, son," he counselled. "These vampires are nothing."
Even as he watched every silken move of the two Slayers, he thought about young Wesley’s impending arrival. Whatever possible misgivings he might have about the younger man’s appointment, it would be a relief to be able to distance himself and Faith from Tegan. He’d tried with the girl, he really had, but she wasn’t interested, either with working with him, or with Faith. His impatience with her had gradually turned into disdain after the Jesse fracas. He’d overheard Jesse’s protestations to Cordelia in the library one day about being forced and much to his disquiet they rang all too true.
He just hoped Wesley had more success than him. He smiled as the third and final vampire exploded into dust. "Well done-," his voice trailed off as he realised as every-body else was looking to their left.
Bile rose in his throat as he followed their gaze to see Cordelia knelt on the ground, vomiting on the park’s neatly-mowed grass. The source of her horror was two children’s corpses arranged in a bizarre pattern. "Don’t touch anything," he barked as Faith started forward even as he reached into his jacket. "I’ll call the police."
"The cops?" exclaimed Xander. "Since when have the pol-," a sort of sickened realisation flooded the face of his daughter’s paramour, "oh."
"Quite," Giles nodded grimly.
* * *
"Mayor Wilkins," the Mayor looked up as his deputy shuffled in, a typically nervous look on his titular second-in-command’s face. No backbone, what was it with the youth of today?
Dismissing his question as unimportant, he carefully folded the contract he’d just signed, and placed it in the envelope. "Yes, Allan?"
"Our guests have arrived," Allan smiled weakly before stepping aside to allow two small children, one boy and one girl, to enter the darkened office.
"Ah," Mayor Wilkins smiled. Such sweet looking children, such hidden power. "I’ve been expecting you. It has begun?"
"It’s begun," the children said in unison.
"Wonderful," he smiled. Soon the Slayer and her darn companions wouldn’t be any trouble at all.
* * *
"But you’re sure they were killed by humans and not demons?"
"Faith," Giles sighed at the desperation in his adopted daughter’s eyes as she sat on the sofa opposite him, them having gotten in just five minutes earlier after giving the police their statements. She more than anybody had experienced just how depraved their fellow man could be, and yet she clung to the belief that there was some depths that man would not sink to. A sweet innocence and not one he would willingly puncture, but on this occasion it seemed unavoidable. "There were no marks indicating a vampire, the only unusual thing about their death was the way their bodies were arranged. And even that suggested some cult involvement of some sort or another."
"Yeah, but we could check?"
Giles sighed, knowing full well that his charge could not be balked in the morning when she got her teeth into something. "In the morning," he caved in, "we’ll research the symbol."
Faith’s face fell. "We?"
"We," he confirmed.
* * *
"How’s the research going, G?"
Giles slammed a book shut at her approach and rose, an irritated look on the Watcher’s lined face. "Slower than it would if you’d turned up at the right time."
Faith stepped back at her Watcher’s anger, shocked by its ferocity. "Uh, sorry, but I-."
"Really, Faith," the Englishman stood. "After close to five years together, you’ve still got new excuses? I suppose you should be applauded by your ingenuity, but instead I’m rather weary of it."
Faith stared at her guardian, stomach hollowing in pain. "W…well I’m here now."
Her Watcher shook his head. "Well yes, but I’m afraid it’s too little too late. They’re holding a vigil for those two young children who died at City Hall."
"Oh," Faith paused for a second, "I could come with."
"I rather think your classes are more important," her Watcher sniffed before striding out.
* * *
Faith walked out of class, her heart still tight from her confrontation with G earlier and downcast eyes fixed on the ground. She knew she rode her Watcher hard a lot of the time, but she didn’t mean nothing by it, it was just her way of having fun, she thought he got that. He and X were the most important people in the world to her, she’d never do anything to hurt either of them.
"Rosenberg!" Hearing the sound of her friend’s name being shouted, Faith looked up. Her eyes hardened as she saw a group of six jocks pushing and poking Red and Ams. "Heard about you and her being into that witchcraft thing!" commented one of the guys. "Just like those sickos who killed those kids!"
A slammed locker door cut off Willow’s scared denial. "Did I say you could speak?"
"Looks like I get to work my frustrations out on some jocks," Faith muttered before stepping forward. "Holy shit!" she exclaimed as the jocks suddenly went flying, crashing into the far wall, and sliding down to the ground, before quickly staggering to their feet and running off.
Gathering herself, Faith ran over to the two witches. "Nice move Red," she complimented. "But don’t you think that was maybe a little public?"
"I didn’t do it," Willow didn’t look towards her, the red-head’s eyes fixed on her pale-faced girl-friend. "Amy did."
"Riiiight," Faith glanced from Wicca to Wicca. She’d always thought Willow was the strongest of the two wiccas, but what Amy had done had taken some serious mojo. Shaking that off, she looked towards Amy. "Maybe you should have waited for me?"
Amy’s eyes flashed. "I don’t need anyone to protect me!"
"Fine, whatever," Faith backed off. It was just her day to get her head bitten off. "Maybe you two should head off home before someone gets home."
Amy’s mouth opened but Willow beat her to it. "Good idea," the red-head hurriedly interrupted. "Come on, Amy."
Faith shook her head as the two witches scurried away, Willow shooting her a grateful glance over her shoulder as they did so. Man, this day sucked in all sort of ways. Deciding G needed to know about what had just happened, she headed towards the library. "And I only just re-attached my head, too," she muttered sarcastically.
Seeing Tegan as she arrived at the library, she called out to the other Slayer. After a theatrical sigh, the tall blonde sauntered over to her. "Yes, Giles?"
Faith bristled at the other Slayer’s dismissive sneer. "Don’t push my buttons, today, Teg," she warned. "That would not be smart." Warning delivered, she glanced towards the library. "Something weird’s going down, come on." Opening the doors, she walked in to find the library still deserted. Damn, she’d forgotten about the vigil.
"Oh yes, no Mr. Giles in the library, that is strange."
"Shut up," Faith started forward. Suddenly her Slayer sense went off. Stepping back, she spoke. "Let’s get out of here-."
"Make your mind up," sniffed Tegan.
Faith grunted as something sharp hit her in the neck. Legs instantly rubbery and eyes blurred, she turned to run only to crash to the ground.
* * *
"Excellent shot Mr. Giles."
"Thank you, Detective Stein," Giles turned to the portly policeman stood beside him, holding a tranquiliser rifle the match of the one that he’d used to shoot Faith with. "And your shot was quite exceptional too," he nodded towards the comatose body lying beside Faith.
"Thank you, Mr. Giles," the police officer smiled before turning serious. "And Ms. Madison and Ms. Rosenberg?"
"Oh," he smiled tightly as he approached the two limp bodies, picked up Faith, and slung her over his shoulder, "those two dirty Satanists are being dealt with as we speak."
"Excellent," his companion smiled as he took Tegan, "then to City Hall?"
"To City Hall."
* * *
Willow shook her head as she unlocked her front door. Those nuts at school had been really frightening, but even more frightening had been Amy’s sudden power boost and violent reaction. What had happened to her girl-friend?
Willow looked up as she entered the hallway, surprised to hear her mother’s voice coming in from the lounge. Her mother wasn’t usually in until much later. Gathering herself, she walked into the room. "Hey mom-," her voice trailed off as she registered the books staked high on the coffee table. "They’re my books!"
"I didn’t believe when Mr. Giles told me," Willow’s eyes widened. Mr. Giles
ratting on them? "That my girl was one of these cultists," her mother looked
down at the witchcraft books, "but here is the evidence."
"I can’t believe you’d snoop like this!" Willow snatched up as many of the books as possible, and edged to the door, her skin crawling, something was very wrong.
Her mother continued speaking as if Willow hadn’t interrupted. "But fortunately, all this can be rectified."
"Help!" Willow gasped as two sets of hands grabbed her from behind and someone stuck a foul-smelling rag in her face, muffling her calls for help or chances of casting a spell.
The last thing she heard before passing out was her mom’s voice. "It’s for your own good, dear."
* * *
Xander looked left and right as he left his class, hoping for some sight of Faith. She’d supposed to have been in Chem with him, but hadn’t turned up. He guessed it could be some sort of Slayer emergency, but if it was anything really urgent, he and the others usually got a note out of class. Being a Scooby rocked. Shaking his head with disappointment, he started towards the library, intent on seeing if Faith was there before going to the canteen.
"Hey, Xander wait up!" Xander turned at Jesse’s voice, lip curling at the sight of Cordelia trudging some way behind his friend. Tegan had a lot to answer for.
Dismissing the uppity Slayer from his mind, he looked towards his best friend. "Jess, what’s up?"
"You heard the news?" his friend’s face and voice were excited. "Willow and Amy were getting hassled by a bunch of jocks over being Wiccas."
"But they’re alright?" Xander’s breath quickened, fists clenching protectively.
"Yeah, Amy did some mojo and scared them off," his friend replied. "They went home."
"Good," Xander turned back towards the library. "Faith never turned up for class, I was wondering if she was in there with G-Man. Wanna come?"
"Sure," Cordelia stepped up beside him, ignoring Jesse. Preferring to be near him rather than Jess, things were bad.
All thoughts of his friend’s relationship woes fled from his mind when he opened the library door to find it empty. "Anyone?" he called out.
Silence was his only reply. Cordelia walked across the library, the click of her heels resonating through the otherwise hushed room. Sitting down at the desk, Cordelia flipped open the book sat there, pulling out the makeshift bookmark and started reading. "Oh no, oh no," Cordelia shook her head. "This is not good."
* * *
"I am not liking the sound of that," Xander crowded over her shoulder. Probably looking down her top, all men were pigs, her recent experience with Jesse had taught her that.
Pushing aside her misgivings, Cordelia started to explain. "Giles was reading about a theory that some folklore has actual, very literal antecedents."
"And in some language that's English?" Xander put in.
"Fairy tales are real."
Xander looked at her. "Say what?"
"Look, it’s all here!" she pointed at the page. "You recognise that symbol?"
"No," Xander’s voice trailed off. "Wait. Yeah. It’s the position the kids were laid into."
"Yeah," Cordelia nodded. "It says here some demons thrive by fostering hatred and,
persecution amongst the mortal animals. Not by destroying men, but by manipulating man to destroy each other. They feed us our darkest fear and turn peaceful people into vigilantes."
"So you’re saying those two kids-."
"According to this Hansel and Gretel-," she interrupted.
"Whatever," Xander shook his head, "faked their deaths to put everyone under a spell."
"And then innocents are persecuted by a righteous mob. It's happened all throughout history. According to this it happened in Salem, caused the Witch-." Cordelia’s voice trailed off as she noticed the occult symbol on the makeshift bookmark she’d removed from the tome before starting to read. "Oh no, look at this!" Picking up the flyer, she shoved it into Xander’s hand.
"POO?" Xander’s eyes widened as he looked at the leaflet and then rapidly tore his eyes away. "Look if Giles is having health problems, it’s none of our business." The Sunnydaler shuddered. "Especially those sort."
"Idiot," Cordelia shook her head impatiently. "It says lower down it stands for People Opposed to the Occult’. They’re having some sort of rally at the city hall."
"People Opposed to the Occult?" Xander’s brow furrowed. "But why would G-Man be involved in…" Xander’s voice trailed off. "Oh boy, he’s been infected."
"Yeah," Jesse walked back and dropped two tranquiliser rifles on the desk. "And I’m betting he’s got Faith and maybe Tegan."
Xander’s face fell. "No, no," her best friend’s boyfriend pulled out his
mobile that Giles had issued to each of the team and phone Faith. After a few
seconds he shook his head, eyes growing terrified and face paling. "She’s not
"Try Amy and Willow," Jesse urged.
"Yeah," Xander nodded. "Good idea." A few seconds later and her fellow Sunnydale High student shook his head. "Nothing. We’ll have to go down to City Hall-."
"And do what?" Jesse shook his head. "There’s three of us against an angry mob." Jesse looked towards her. "Is there a way to break a spell?"
"Yeah," Cordelia peered at the book. "There’s an incantation here that makes the demons appear in their true form, which negates their influence."
"Well that’s useful," Xander began to pace, "seeing as both our Witches are missing."
"It doesn’t need a witch, " Cordelia smiled, "only a," her heart dropped as she looked up, "a virgin."
"Oh boy," Xander exchanged glances with both her and Jesse. "Any takers?" he said, his voice carrying little expectation.
"We’re screwed," Cordelia muttered.
"Yeah, that’s kinda the problem," Xander groused before his eyes lit up. "Snyder!"
"Say what?" Jesse put in.
Xander turned to Cordelia. "Would you sleep with Snyder? Even if he had the price?"
"Hey-," Cordelia’s anger faded, and she sunk back into the seat she was rising out of. "You’ve got a point. No woman would touch Snyder."
"And how are we going to persuade him to read the writings?" Jesse queried.
"Yeah," Xander scowled. "We’ll work that out on the way."
* * *
Faith groaned as she awoke, head thumping. What had happened? Her eyes widened as she realised she was fastened to a wooden pole in the centre of a huge hall, a baying crowd in front of her. Panicked, she strained, attempting to snap the thick ropes around her. "Don’t struggle, Faith." Faith looked up to see her Watcher stood before her, a glazed look on his face. "It’s no good, the drugs you were injected with have a very similar effect to those we used for your Cruciamentum."
"G," Faith looked around to see she was just one of four people fastened to stakes, Tegan, Willow, and Amy, "you’re making a mistake. This is wrong."
"No girl," Giles took a torch off Tegan’s mother. "You’re wrong. But this will straighten you out."
"Giving me an oven bake will sort me out?" Faith’s eyes bulged. "What are ya, high?"
G ignored her outburst to turn to Tegan’s mother. "Thank you Julianne." This has been so trying. You've been such a champ."
"Oh, you, too, Rupert."
"We should stay close, have lunch," Giles suggested.
"Oh, I'd like that. How nice," Julianne beamed.
"Fuck, they’re friends," Faith muttered. "This is worse than I thought."
Two kids pushed their way through the mob. "Hey kid," Faith babbled, "ya wanna earn some money, unfasten me and my-," her voice trailed off as she recognised the kids as those she’d seen dead last night.
"You promised," the little girl sniffled, "you said they’d pay."
"Don’t worry, dear," Giles knelt down beside her and set the books under her on fire as others did the same to her friends and Tegan. "They will."
"Oh crap," Faith muttered.
* * *
"Damn it!" Xander punched the door as they ran out of the school. "We need a virgin."
"We’ll find someone," Cordelia soothed.
"In Southern California?" Jesse snorted. "Good luck."
"Got one!" Xander exchanged a look with Jesse when Cordelia took off at a sprint. Shaking his head, he followed the girl to find her dragging a scrawny boy behind her.
"Look at him!" Cordelia demanded. "I mean look at him, he’s probably fourteen at the most. And I doubt he’s ever even had a girl-friend-."
"I’m quite the hit with the-."
"Shut up!" the three of them said in unison. Xander turned to Cordy. "He might not be."
"I caught him trying to set up a spy-camera into the girl’s locker-room last week."
"Well that clinches it," Xander admitted. "It’s the sort of thing I’d have done if I was smart-." Realising his friends were staring at him, he reddened and turned to the boy. "What’s your name, kid?"
"Right," he looked towards his car. "You’re coming with us."
"B…but," the boy squeaked.
"It wasn’t a request." The teen’s mouth opened. "Cordy, you think your dad might be interested in this boy perving on you?"
"I’ll come with you," Andrew squeaked.
Xander nodded. They’d found their virgin. If only his voice wasn’t so irritating.
* * *
"How are we going to get in?" Cordelia queried as she screeched to a halt outside the city hall, their hostage leaning out of the window to throw up.
"Yeah, thought about that." Xander looked towards the doors as he talked.
"Why me?" Cordy’s heart dropped. Proof positive that Xander hated her was in every word. "Why do I have to be lumbered with the geek?"
Xander ignored Andrew’s cry. "Because me and Jesse are going to be running interference."
"Fine," she huffed. "But you’ll pay, Harris."
* * *
"They hurt us," said the boy.
"Burn them," said the girl.
"For Christ’s sake," Faith yelled over the crackling flames. "G, dead people are talking to you. You ain’t Haley Joel! Do the math!"
"I'm sorry, Faith," Giles shook his head.
"Look at me!" she pleaded. "You're not gonna be able to live with yourself if you do this!"
"You earned this. You toyed with unnatural forces. What kind of a guardian would I be if I didn't punish you?"
"Fuck, like talking to a brick wall," Faith muttered in despair.
* * *
"Hey," the guard half-turned towards him. Right into a haymaker to the jaw. The man dropped like a stone. Xander glanced at Jesse. "That went better than expected."
"Yeah," Jesse nodded. "It did."
"Means things are going to go really bad when we go through the doors." He added.
"Probably," Jesse shrugged before grinning. "Ah, well."
His friend’s shoulder crashed into the door, the door flying open. Xander’s eyes widened as they rushed in to find their friends fastened to stakes in the middle of the floor, the fires licking at their feet causing his blood to run cold even as the heat stung his throat. "Change of plan," he muttered as he charged forward, elbow catching the first man to try and intercept him full in the jaw, knocking him to the floor.
He’d almost reached Faith when he was tackled to the carpet by someone. He responded with a knee to his attacker’s stomach, knocking the man off. His eyes widened as he recognised the man. "G-."
He grunted as a right to the mouth opened up his left lip, the metallic taste of blood filling his mouth. Comforting himself it was far from the first time a father figure had hit him, he grabbed the Watcher’s hair and leveraged himself on top of the man, punching him in the eye even as he caught an elbow to the throat that had him gasping for breath as he fought for desperate supremacy.
* * *
"Xander, no!" Jesse shook his head as his friend raced off. "Great, think up a plan and then completely ignore it," he muttered. Seeing a fire extinguisher by the wall, he snatched it up and started spraying the fires.
His attention on his smouldering friends, he failed to see a man sneaking up on him and fell to the ground to a punch to the back of the head. Reacting instantly, he swept the man’s legs from under him, but before he could get up another two men were on him.
* * *
Cordelia stared around the room. Thing were not going well. She turned to her cowering companion. "Remember the camera, Wells!" she threatened.
The boy paled before continuing to read, finishing the incantation. "You gods, I call upon you! Do not hide behind false faces!"
The two children screamed. A moment later and they morphed into a red-skinned demon standing over seven feet tall with pointed ears pointed, huge jaws jutting from its lower jaw, and lank black hair.
"Okay," Cordelia swallowed. "I think I liked the two little ones more than the one big one."
* * *
"Good lord," Giles breathed as his reason returned and the other adults charged screaming from the room. "Terribly sorry old chap," he quickly climbed off Xander, hardly being able to look at the damage he’d inflicted on the boy. Although the truth be known, his ribs had felt better.
"Let’s worry about that later," Xander snapped. "Faith!"
"Quite, untie the girls," spinning around, he spied a dazed looking Jesse climbing to his feet, a weapon by his feet. "The axe," he yelled. "Here!"
"Protect us! Kill the bad girls!"
"I’m afraid," he caught the flung axe in mid-air and charged forward, ducking under a clumsy haymaker, "the party’s over." He drove the axe deep into the monster’s thick thigh, eliciting a pained scream. Ignoring the blood splattering him, he dragged the axe out, bending at the waist to avoid another swing at him before burying the axe deep into the area under the monster’s left armpit, ripping into its heart. The demon screeched before falling to the ground, its body quivering in its death throes.
"Wow," he heard and smiled at Faith’s mutter behind him. "Every girl wants a Watcher who can do that."
* * *
"Come in Allan," he motioned towards the figure stood in the doorway of his office. "I trust you have news for me?"
"Yes sir," his deputy nodded. "The Slayers are safe, their friends saved them."
"Really," he steepled his fingers together for a second before slowly smiling. "Resourceful group aren’t they?"
FIC: Faith The Series Season 3 Ep 14 (41/?)
Giles’ brow furrowed as he tried to decide whether or not to categorise ‘Trolls Of Truth & Legend’ under European or Giant monsters. "Mr. Rupert Giles?"
"Yes?" he turned at the upper-crust voice behind him, his heart sinking at the foppish looking young man stood behind him, complete with spectacles, black hair gelled into a careful parting, and a superior, snooty expression. This was to be his assistant Watcher? "Oh dear," he muttered. Introducing this young man to Faith and her unruly mob would be akin to feeding a lamb to a pack of wolves. "And you are Wesley Whyndham-Pryce?"
"Of the Council Of Watchers of England," boomed the young man, a smirk plastered on his face.
"Yes, quite," Giles glanced around the thankfully empty library. The young man was clearly an indiscreet moron to boot. Wonderful. "Perhaps we’d best continue this conversation in the office?"
"Of course," Wesley looked around. "A library, a quite ingenious cover."
"Glad you approve," he muttered before leading his younger compatriot into the inner office. "Would you like a cup of Earl Gray?" he asked as he moved around to the kettle on the side behind his desk.
"Oh please, no milk or sugar," Wesley requested. "One must stay in shape if one is to be a field Watcher." Giles raised an eyebrow. He doubted if vampires minded much if one had a couple of sugars in their cuppa. "I’ve read your reports. Lothos, the Master, Angelus, and Kaktosis – very impressive. Of course, training procedures have been updated quite a bit since your day. Much greater emphasis on field work."
Giles looked down at his chair. He idly wondered if anyone would really mind if he wrapped it around the younger man’s head. "Really?"
"Oh, yes. Not all books and theory nowadays. I have, in fact, faced two vampires myself. Under controlled circumstances, of course."
Giles crossed his arms to fight off temptation. "Well, no danger of finding those here."
"Controlled conditions," he replied, adding a silent ‘you prat’ to his explanation. Where was Faith? He couldn’t hold back a smirk. Suddenly he couldn’t wait until these two met. He’d have to scrape this prannock off the walls.
* * *
Faith sighed as she glanced at her watch. Cocooned in Xander’s embrace, huddled in her boyfriend’s arms in the middle of the school lounge, she could stay here all day but duty called. "I gotta go see G," she murmured into her baby’s ear. "New Tweed’s arriving today."
"Oh," disappointment flickered in X’s eyes. "Do you want me to come?" he offered.
"Thanks hon," Faith kissed Xander on his forehead. "But too many new people at once might freak the dude out. Tegan was meant to come with," Faith sniffed, "but she’s off with Harmony and her crowd somewhere."
"No surprise there," commented Cordelia, an all-too familiar gleam of bitterness in her best friend’s eyes, the distance between her and Jesse noticeable.
"Yeah," Faith sprang up, leaned back in for a long, lingering kiss with Xan before pulling away, a low chuckle rumbling up out of her throat. "See ya, peeps." Hips swinging, she sauntered through the lounge, conscious that as usual every eye was on her. Reaching the library, she shoved the door open. "Yo G!"
"Faith!" came the holler from the inner office. "In here."
Faith made her way through, stopping at the door entrance, noting without comment the atmosphere in the room. Man, G did not like the new guy. Territorial much? "Thank you for coming, Faith. No Tegan?" she shook her head. Giles sighed. "Disappointing but not unexpected. Wesley, this is Faith."
The new Watcher rose. "Miss Giles, my pleasure." The man offered her his
hand. After a second she shrugged and shook it. "My," Wesley winced. "You have a
"Ya know," Faith smirked, "I was thinking yours is kinda limp." Her smirk widened at G’s choked laugh.
* * *
Wesley sniffed. The first thing he’d noted about the American was of course her intoxicating beauty. The second thing was her insolence. It was obvious his elder Watcher was far too soft on her. "I trust you have your written report regarding last night’s patrol?"
"You’re on crack, right?" the Slayer laughed. "Four vamps, I offed two, Teg got one, and X and Jess managed one between them. End of report."
"Yes," Wesley shook his head. "I’ve been made aware of Mr. Giles’ unconventional methods," he sniffed. "Well let me assure you they won’t continue on my -."
He had to fight the urge to retreat as the Slayer’s coal black eyes turned to blocks of ice. "Unconventional keeps my pretty little ass alive. You diss my friends and we will fall out. And that wouldn’t be smart." The Slayer looked away. Wesley bristled as he realised he was being dismissed. "Class, now. Later, G."
"Goodbye, Faith," his counterpart smiled. "Thank you for coming."
"See ya." Faith raised an eyebrow. "Good luck, G. You’ll need it." The Slayer laughed before walking out.
"Who does she think she is?" Wesley huffed.
"She thinks she’s saved the world several times," his counterpart replied, a fire burning in his eyes to match the chill he’d seen in the Slayer’s eyes. "And I think she might be right. You might want to bear that in mind when you’re considering acting like an arse."
"Um," Wesley sniffed. "I’d heard that you had a closer than healthy relationship with your Slayer."
His countryman stepped towards him, the fires flickering in his eyes threatening to engulf Wesley. "Faith has had a troubled childhood, I believe that treating her with kindness, and yes love, is rather more conducive to a harmonious relationship. And yes, is the humane thing to do. You’d be well advised to remove that stick from your arse if you wish to last around here."
* * *
"The Council have reason to believe El Eliminati, a fifteenth Century duelist cult, are here in Sunnydale. Their numbers dwindled in later centuries due to an increase in anti-vampire activity and a lot of pointless duelling."
"Man," Xander muttered with a yawn as he sat in the library with his friends, Faith sat in his lap. "I didn’t think it was possible for someone to be more boring than Giles." He squirmed when he realised both Englishman were looking at him. "Sorry," he smiled self-consciously. "Did I say that aloud?"
The younger Watcher looked down at his book. "They eventually became the acolytes of a demon called Balthazar, who brought them to the New World, specifically here."
"You appear to know a lot about them," Giles commented.
"I didn't get this job because of my looks."
"Now that, I believe," muttered Jesse.
Wesley’s reply was pre-empted by Giles. "Why haven’t they been active in Sunnydale before?"
"They were driven out a hundred years ago. Happily, Balthazar was killed. I don't know by whom."
"And they're back 'cause...?" Faith queried.
"Balthazar had an amulet purported to give him strength. The remaining Eliminati are probably looking for it. For sentimental value."
"Vampires with sentiment?" Cordelia queried. "Anyone think that’s as likely as Faith developing good taste in men?"
"As the man involved, can I say hey!" Xander protested.
"Please children," Giles interrupted with that all-too familiar pained expression that he remembered from many times before. Most noticeably when Faith had told him they were dating. "Cordelia has a point," Giles smirked. "About both points actually. Can we be sure this amulet doesn’t pose any threat?"
"Oh, no, not at all. Nonetheless, we may as well keep it from them. Faith, you will find the amulet."
"I will?" Faith’s voice had a dangerous tone that always had him heading for cover when she directed it at him.
"Are you not used to being given orders?" Wesley asked.
"G usually asks nicely and gives me a chocky treat," Faith replied innocently. Xander bit his arm to prevent from joining the others in laughing.
"I don't feel we're getting off on quite the right foot," Wesley huffed.
Faith’s smile widened. "How about I try putting it up your ass?"
Xander’s amusement died at the sound of footsteps and looking over his shoulder, he saw Tegan. "Ah. This is perhaps Tegan," Wesley smiled.
"My Watcher?" Tegan shook her head. "Oh I don’t think so." The Slayer stormed off.
Giles looked towards Faith. The brunette groaned. "Sure." Leaping up, Faith hurried after the other Slayer.
* * *
"Yo!" Faith grabbed hold of the other Slayer and spun her around to face her. "Look, I know he’s an ass, but he seems to know his books at least. Maybe you -."
"My dear," Tegan sneered. "Since when where you under the illusion I took your advice over anything? Clothes, deportment, men, and certainly not Slaying." The blonde turned and flounced away.
Faith stared after her and shook her head. "What a fuckin’ bitch."
* * *
"Does Miss. Austin-Meadows often not turn up for patrol?" Wesley shook his head when his companions exchanged glances but didn’t answer. "Most sloppy of you, Mr. Giles." The coal-eyed Slayer’s mouth opened only to reluctantly shut at the older Watcher’s gaze. Indiscipline was clearly rife. "Never mind," he started. "Mr. Giles, I assume you and Faith will be sufficient to do one patrol. Here is your patrol route," he passed his diagram to the older Englishman.
"Patrol routes?" Faith snorted. "What next? How to Slay charts?"
"What a good idea." The brunette Slayer started forward only to be pulled back by his country-man.
"No, Faith," Giles shook his head.
Turning to the others, he smiled. "I don’t really approve of civilians getting involved in Slaying," he candidly admitted. "But this time I will make an exception. Follow me."
"Would anybody," he heard Faith’s boyfriend’s mutter, "mind much if my stake slipped into his eye?"
Miss Chase’s boyfriend snorted. "Don’t get yours dirty, borrow mine."
* * *
"Ya think Wuss will be bonding with the others yet, G?"
Giles’ lips quirked up in an unwilling smile at his charge’s whispered comment, her breath icy in the cold early spring air. "Somehow I doubt it,"
"Jeez," his Slayer shook her head, chestnut hair bouncing at the movement. "And I thought you were bad before I trained ya."
He raised an eyebrow at that. "Trained me," he whispered indignantly. "Why you -."
"They’re here!" Faith whispered. He silenced immediately, watching through the bushes they were hidden behind as a trio of demons entered a crypt, coming out several minutes later carrying an amulet. "That it?"
"Indeed it is," he confirmed. "Now we’ll-."
"Wicked!" the brunette burst from cover, charging the shocked demons.
"Fai-," he shook his head. He’d have to have words with that young lady about becoming more circumspect, and stopping these hazardous head-long rushes into peril. "Not that she ever bloody listens," he muttered as he stepped out of the shadows, crossbow held ready in the event of him getting a clean shot.
* * *
Faith’s blood was pumping as she ducked under the nearest demon’s wild haymaker, retaliating with a hefty side kick to the chest that put her rival down on his ass. Feeling a pair of hands on her shoulders, she stepped back and drove the back of her skull into her opponent’s face, her attack rewarded by a pained yelp and the sound of cracking cartilage.
The hands on her shoulders loosening but not releasing, she reached up, grabbed her attacker’s wrists and bent forward at the waist, flinging the shocked vampire over her shoulder. The moment he landed face-up on the cold, wet ground, Faith slammed her stake home.
Sensing a vampire charging her from the right, she shot out a leg as she straightened, catching him in the stomach before leaping into a spin kick. The demon ducked beneath her attack, her foot parting the air above him. Upon landing he slammed a hard right into her face, momentarily dazing her. Rolling with the blow, she grabbed the demon’s arm and used his momentum to drag him towards her and onto her stake.
At the same time she heard a woosh and saw a crossbow bolt fly past her right eye and into the demon charging her from behind. Crouching, she picked up the dropped amulet.
"Thanks for that, G. Couldn’t have done it without ya." Faith commented as her Watcher strode towards her, a disapproving look on his face. What had she done now?
"When are you going to learn to be more careful?" her Watcher reproved.
"Yeah, this the amulet?" She lifted the jewellery up for her Watcher’s inspection.
G barely looked at the amulet. "I’ll have to check with Wesley. He is after all the expert." She snorted at the thought of Wesley being expert at anything other than embroidery and knitting. "But don’t change the subject young lady, when are you going to learn to be careful?"
She smirked. "Keeps me young, G."
Her Watcher sighed. "You have no idea how much it ages me. Back to the library, we’re supposed to meet with the others in half an hour."
Faith smiled innocently. "That on Wuss’ schedule, G?"
"Oh do shut up."
* * *
Garth snarled as he watched from the shadows. He’d been late to meet his brothers, otherwise he’d have died with them, facing the fearsome Slayer. And now, his eyes moved to the amulet she held in her hand, she had it. His master would not be pleased, but any attempt to take it from her on his own would be suicidal, he needed help, he decided before melting back into the shadows.
* * *
"Oh yes, Harmony," she nodded in agreement as they left the cinema, their followers trudging behind. "Brad Pitt is simply DIVINE!" she giggled at the thought of her new Watcher. The Council had been real dumb removing her from Giles’ stewardship to this wimp’s. He’d soon understand who was boss.
* * *
"Pfft," Wesley announced as he lead them into the library. "I fail to see what is so remarkable about Sunnydale, nary a vampire."
"You think he’ll wet himself when he actually meets a vampire?" Jesse muttered.
"I’d lay money," Xander agreed with a nod.
* * *
Juilanne across the darkened car park, mind awhirl with plans. Her daughter’s new Watcher was an interesting proposition. Mr. Giles had proven, magical interference aside, immune to her charms. But if this new man was comely looking, well a new ally in keeping her daughter alive would be most useful. She’d been bending men to her way for decades, this should be easy.
Juilanne shrieked at the sound of a voice behind her. Dropping her shopping, she raced towards her car, heart pounding as she ran. She somehow knew, she just knew, her stalker wasn’t human. By the time she reached the car, her heart was pounding, and sweat dripping down her face. Hand shaking, she reached into her purse for her keys.
"Now that’s just rude."
She shrieked at the voice in her ear, the lack of a reflection in the car window confirming her worst suspicions. Dropping her keys back into her purse in favour of her cross, she spun around and shoved it in the monster’s face. The demon hissed and leaned back, its true face showing.
Julianne took her chance. Spinning on her heels, she sprinted around the back of the car and for hoped to safety, head half-turned to watch the demon behind her. She gasped when the monster leapt on top of her car and jumped off it to crash into her back, knocking her to the ground. She whimpered as the demon grabbed her hair and yanked her head back, pain roaring through her scalp. "Bitch!"
Her pleading was cut off by the demon’s teeth sinking into her neck, her life-blood bubbling out. Soon her heart slowed, and then she sunk into oblivion.
* * *
"And then I said-," Wesley looked up from regaling his obviously awed audience with tales of the Watcher’s Council. "Ah, Miss Giles," he rose at his counterpart and his Slayer’s arrival. "Is that the object in question?" he looked towards the amulet in the Slayer’s hand.
The Slayer shot the object an amused look. "How the hell should I know? Not book girl here, action girl, ya got the memo, right?"
"Quite," he snatched it from her, "it appears to be the same, but will bear further examination and research."
"No, no problem," snapped the American, black eyes hardening, "don’t mention it. Oh, wait. You didn’t."
He opened his mouth to reply that a Slayer wasn’t thanked for simply
completing her duty. "Children," Giles forestalled him, his expression weary.
"Why don’t you all go home? We’ll tell you what we found in the morning."
"I second that," Miss Giles’ paramour put in. "I still haven’t started that
"It’s in tomorrow!" Willow exclaimed, the only American he’d met with an apparently functioning brain.
"And your point is?" Xander slid his arm around the Slayer’s shoulder. Wes shook his head in disapproval, a Slayer with personal relations. What did Mr. Giles think he was playing at? "Let’s go, gang."
* * *
Tegan groaned at the persistent knocking at the front door. Probably her sluttish counterpart come to complain about her not turning up for patrol. Well, she’d soon learn her place, she’d had enough of the Giles’, she didn’t have to listen to them anymore. "What!" she flung the door open only to be confronted not by the charity Slayer but by two uniformed policemen.
"Miss Austin-Meadows," one of the two grave-faced men stepped into her house. "I’m afraid we’ve got some bad news," the man licked his lips, "your mother’s been killed."
"No," she croaked. Legs suddenly unsteady, she leaned against the hall wall. For a few seconds, she numbly listened to the officers’ talk. Her mother dead, it wasn’t possible. Then she realised they’d use the phrase ‘pack of wild dogs’, Sunnydale-speak for a vampire attack. If she’d bee-, no if Faith had been doing her job properly, her mother would still be alive. She silently promised that the Slayer would pay.
"I’ve gotta go," she stepped towards the doorway only for the two police officers to block her path.
"Miss-." She didn’t let the officer finish, driving a fist into his mouth. The blow lifted the man off the feet and sent him flying half-way down the path. Eyes widening, the man’s partner attempted to draw his gun, but a foot to the groin put paid to that. Tegan grabbed a hold of the doubling-up policeman’s head and drove it into the wall before stepping over the body, her mind already working. Faith would pay for letting her mother die. She smiled as she planned just what she’d do. In a fair fight Faith would maybe beat her, but this wasn’t going to be a fair fight. Not by a long way.
* * *
"Ah!" Wesley exulted as he looked up from his third book. "It is the amulet, wonderful!" He was unable to stop from beaming. His first mission in Sunnydale an unqualified success, what an auspicious start.
"That’s marvellous," the other Watcher said wearily. "Now, if I might offer some advice about the way you speak to the others. They’ve done some great things, some amazing exploits, perhaps if you treated them with a little respect, you’d get some back."
"Mr. Giles," he sniffed. "You can provide the carrot, I will be the stick."
The older man’s eyes hardened. "How about I provide the carrot, you provide the idiocy-," the other Watcher’s eyes flickered towards the doorway. "What the hell?"
* * *
Tegan marched determinedly towards her target. Just a few streets and she’d be at Faith’s house. She’d ask for a new start, ask how her patrol had gone, act all interested. And then when her back was turned. Bang, she’d strike. Knock her out, hog-tie her with the police officer’s cuffs, kill Giles, and then spend a few hours teaching that little bitch respect for her betters before finally killing her and leaving town.
"Miss Meadows!" She briefly slowed at the unfamiliar voice calling her name and then continued on her way, her pace unabated. "Slayer!"
She stopped at that. How did this man know who she was? Spinning around, she glared at the out-of-breath man running behind her. "Who are you?"
The man paled at her tone. "I’m," the man gulped air, "the deputy mayor," she tensed as he reached into his pocket only to relax when he just pulled out some papers. "I’ve got some information for you. The Mayor is behind all demonic activity in the city, has been for a century!"
"Is that right?" A smile on her face, she slammed her palm into the deputy mayor’s face, driving his nose bone into his brain, killing him instantly. She had a new plan.
FIC: Faith The Series Season 3 Ep 15 (42/?)
Mayor Wilkins knelt in the centre of an inverted pentagram drawn in blood with a burning candle stood at each point, his hands out to his sides. "Potestatem matris nostrae in tenebris invoco. Maledictum filium tuum abomni periculo custodias nunc et in saecula!"
The building began to shake, pots fell from the top of a cabinet by the doorway. The Mayor remained still, his eyes closed, body moving with the quake. After a minute or so the quake subsided. He opened his eyes and checked his watch. "I don't understand why Allan would miss this. He's usually so punctual." He stood.
"Did it work?"
Mayor Wilkins looked towards the wide-eyed Trick and smirked at the power coursing through him. "Oh, it worked."
* * *
Giles’s eyes widened at the seven vampires racing through his library door. Snatching up a pair of stakes, he threw one to his fellow Watcher, groaning slightly as the other man failed to catch it, the weapon clattering uselessly to the ground. "Why am I not bloody surprised?"
Leaping forward, he ducked under a wild haymaker to deliver a head butt to the nose. Stunned, his opponent stumbled backwards. Giles thrust his stake home. Before he had chance to pull it out, he was rugby tackled and flung to the ground, the back of his head bouncing off the floor.
* * *
"I can’t believe you forgot your history book!" Cordelia exclaimed as they pulled into the school parking lot. "Sometimes I think you do this on purpose!"
"Sure Cor," Xander rolled his eyes. "Because I so love spending time with you." He turned to get out of the car.
"Wait!" A hand grabbed his shoulder.
Xander turned towards Jesse, confused by the terror in his best friend’s eyes and voice. "What, Jess?"
"Look," his friend pointed towards the library.
Xander was compelled by his friend’s voice to follow his finger. His heart dropped at the sight of Giles and Wussley being herded out of the library by six vampires. "Too many," he muttered.
"What are we going to do?"
Xander was pleased to note Cordelia had immediately turned off the radio and all inner and outer lights. Truth that Cordy had brains, despite all appearances to the contrary. "Cor, you drive around to Willow’s, her and Amy are staying over there tonight," his mind reluctantly turned from XXX images, "Jess, you run around and get Faith. I’ll follow them, phone you when I know where their base is."
"Maybe we shouldn’t split, maybe we should just ring Faith?"
Xander grinned wryly. "Faith doesn’t answer the phone once she’s gone to bed. Believe me, waking her up is far more dangerous than me trailing them." His expression sobered as he eased the door open. "See you later."
* * *
Faith shook her head as she climbed into her bed and turned her lamp off. "That fucking Wussley," she muttered. "He’s just gonna make Slaying a whole heap of fun." Closing her eyes, she settled down to sleep.
THUD! THUD! THUD!
"Ah fuck!" Faith threw her bed-covers off at the loud, persistent knocking at the front door, grabbed a stake, and hurried down. Flinging the door open, she glared at the intruder. "Yeah, Jess?"
"You have a ‘Winnie The Pooh’ T-shirt?"
Faith looked down and groaned inwardly at the t-shirt transfer of an orange bear staring back at her. She’d forgotten she’d put it on for bed. Looking up at the incredulous boy, she growled warningly. "Wanna make somethin’ of it?"
Jesse gulped. "No," the youth shook his head. "Not me, siree bob."
"Good answer," Faith stared at Jesse. "What the hell do ya want?" Seeing Jesse’s mouth open, she raised a hand. "Ya thinkin’ of sayin’ something’ smart, don’t. I am not in a good mood."
"As opposed to your usual sunny dispo-," Jesse gulped again at her snarl. "It’s Giles and Wes, they’ve been kidnapped by that vampire cult."
Faith’s stomach hollowed. "How do ya know?"
"Xander had forgot his text book, and we’d all gone back to collect it. As we pulled up in the lot, we saw Giles and Wuss being led away by some vampires."
"You’re sure it’s the cult?"
Jesse nodded. "We saw the swords, like you described."
"Right," Faith pouted thoughtfully, taking a second to calm her racing heart. "Where did they take ‘em?"
Jesse hesitated. Faith raised an impatient eyebrow. "Um, we’re not sure. Cordy’s gone to collect Willow & Amy, while Xander’s trailing the vamps to their hideout. He said," Jesse licked his lips before continuing, "to wait for him to ring with their location."
"Great, just great." Faith shook her head. If anything happened to Xan, she’d kick his ass. "Go in the lounge, I’ll go up and change. Get the weapons chest out. Let Cor and the Sabrinas in when they get here. X rings, tell him we’ll be there soon."
"Sure," Faith turned to leave, "should I tell him that you’re changing into your Ninja Turtle top?"
"Not funny, Jess," she warned as she hurried upstairs. "Not funny at all."
* * *
"Hey," Xander stepped out of the shadows as Cordy’s car pulled up and his friends climbed out.
"Hey yourself," Faith smiled weakly before throwing herself into his arms. "Is he-."
"A little battered, but he’s okay." Xander’s eyes narrowed as he glanced around. "Where’s Tegan?"
Faith shook her head. "Phoned her, nothing." His girl-friend’s gaze hardened as she turned towards the seemingly deserted fish market. "What’s the sitch?"
* * *
"The front! The front! Moisten the front!" Giles watched in mounting disgust as a ladle full of water was poured across Balthazar’s flabby chest.
"Oh, God!" Giles groaned as Wesley continued to whimper. Of course there were worse things than having to watch the demon equivalent of Big Daddy be washed. "Oh, God!"
"It doesn't seem too promising, does it?" he replied.
"Stay calm, Mr. Giles. We have to stay calm."
"Well whatever I would do without your sage advice?" he mumbled sarcastically, eyes still fixed on the demon opposite. There was a total of eight vampires here, the six who’d managed to kidnap him and his hapless compatriot, and two that had been with Balthazar. "He looks well, well not exactly healthy but certainly alive for a century dead demon doesn’t he?"
"There’s no need to be snippy Mr. Giles," Wesley sniffed.
"Sorry, just following your lead in everything," he replied. "I mean, you’ve done so well so far."
Balthazar turned his attention towards them. "Closer, bring them closer." Two of the Eliminati grabbed and shoved them closer.
"Oh dear, looks like dinner is served," Giles muttered.
"I’d appreciate it if you didn’t joke like that," Wesley quavered.
"Just having fun," he replied. Fun? It was times like this he wondered if Faith was a bad influence. "Look old chap," he raised his voice. "If you want my advice, invest in a Stairmaster," he paused for a second. "A specially reinforced one. Owww!" he grunted as one of the vampires punched him in the kidneys.
"Are you out of your mind? This is hardly the time for games!" screeched his fellow Watcher.
"Why not? They're going to torture us to death anyway." Wesley paled and began to whimper.
"You're not wrong about that." Balthazar’s laughter turned to strangling wheezing. "After all, you stole my amulet from me."
"Now, hold on. We-we-we can deal with this rationally. We have something you want. You have something we want." Giles stiffened beside Wesley, if he offered up Faith and the others, he’d kill the bastard himself.
"Hmm... A trade. Intriguing." Balthazar paused. "No. Wait. Boring. Pull off his kneecaps!"
Two of the vampires grabbed Wesley. "NOOO! No, no, no! You have the amulet, pleaseeee!"
"That’s right, I have no need of either of you," Balthazar paused. ""YOU WILL YOU WILL DIE SLOWLY!"
"Hey gang." Giles smirked when his Slayer sauntered into the factory. "You start the party without me?" A demon lunged at Faith from the left, Faith snapped out a kick. Giles winced as the vampire’s knee shattered under the impact and the demon fell forward onto his Slayer’s up swinging stake.
A half-second later and Faith was by his side, grabbing one of his guards by the shoulders and flinging him headfirst into some metal shelves by the door. The second vampire moved to intercept the Slayer, only to fall over his judiciously placed foot and right into a left hook to the jaw and right stake to the heart combination.
Suddenly the back door crashed open and Cordelia, Xander, and Jesse hurried in, flanked by the two Wiccas. "Oh boy," Faith chortled as she winked at him, "the gang’s all here." Faith’s face sobered as she raised her stake. "Turn around, G."
"Oh, of course." He quickly turned around and presented his roped hands to his Slayer. "Thank you," he gasped when he felt the ropes around his wrists snap, the pieces falling away.
"Oh dear, oh dear!" Seeing a vampire advancing on the increasingly apparently hapless Wesley, he shoved his fellow Watcher to the ground.
"Thank you, my dear," he murmured.
* * *
"No problemo," Faith drawled, hiding a smirk at G’s very British gratitude.
Seeing a vampire charging her, she ducked under his sword swing only to catch a shoulder to the face, knocking her over to fatso’s pool. The demon followed up with a backhand swing, making her trip forward. Recovering quickly, she returned with a back kick at him, and then shoulder rolled onto a large crate to avoid being sliced by another one's sword. Behind her, she could hear Balthazar screaming.
* * *
"I suppose," Giles crouched behind Wesley in an attempt to untie his wrists, "I should release you." Behind him he heard the roar of a vampire. Looking up, he saw a sword flashing towards him. Heart racing, he ducked, the weapon hitting on a shelf above. Straightening, he grabbed the sword and back-elbowed its owner in the face, wrenching his sword from him. Snatching up the falling weapon, he beheaded his would-be attacker.
Another demon charged him swinging, Giles quickly parried. The vampire swung
Again, he parried. The demon spun around, and swung from above, but again he blocked, this time twisting his wrists to send his opponent’s weapon clattering to the ground. The demon was stupid enough to bend to pick it up, he kneed the vampire full in the face, the impact of his attack shattering bone. The vampire fell to the ground, its face a caved-in visceral mask. He coolly beheaded it. Turning back to his fellow Watcher, he quickly unfastened his wrists and passed him the spare weapon. "I suppose you know which end to hold it with," he coolly commented.
* * *
Faith rolled to her feet on a raised area of the floor. A vampire charged her with a sword, Faith swayed to one side, allowing him to pass by before grabbing his arm, pulling him past her, and flinging him onto a barrel. Another swung at her, she ducked, and triple gut-punched him, her fists beating out a rapid tattoo. Snatching up the blade the demon had dropped, she quickly beheaded him.
Sensing the other vampire charging her from behind, she leapt up into a spin-kick, the side of her boot smashing into his face, knocking him into a pile of rope. As he attempted to rise, she hit him with an ax-kick to the back, knocking him to the knees. Before he had chance to rise, her sword had sliced through his neck.
"Enough!" Balthazar roared.
Faith gasped as she was lifted into the air and propelled towards the pool "My guess he’s not looking to hold a pool party. That’s lucky ‘cause," Faith reached into her leather jacket, "I ain’t brought my bikini." Pulling out her mobile she ripped the back off, and turned it on. "Hey Baltie," she dialled a number from the phone’s memory as she reached the edge of the water, "I figured it was time for you to eat. Takeaway pizza work for ya?"
Sparks erupted the moment she dropped the phone into the pool. Balthazar immediately dropped her to the ground, writhing in spasmodic agony. Dusting herself off, Faith rose sinuously. She grinned as she realised her friends had finished off the rest of the vampires and even as she looked around X and G were running towards her. The obese demon slumped forward lifelessly.
Suddenly Balthazar’s eyes flew open. Heart racing, Faith jumped back. "Slayer! You think you've won." The demon’s laugh descended into desperate wheezing. " When he rises... you'll wish I'd killed you all."
Faith shook her head, hiding her fear behind a wry smile. "Gee, no one likes a sore loser."
* * *
Giles watched as Wesley walked up to his apartment, a moderately priced condo. Turning to Cordelia, he spoke. "Please wait, Miss. Chase," he ordered as he climbed out of the cheerleader’s car. "I forgot there was something I wanted to mention to Wesley."
"Book stuff?" queried his uninterested looking Slayer.
"Something approximating," he replied before hurrying up behind the man. Reaching him as he arrived at his front door, he spoke. "Wesley." The man jumped and started to turn towards him at his approach, mouth opening. "If you ever," he began over the top of whatever the man was about to say, "offer to betray MY Slayer or any of her friends again, you will quickly wish that Balthazar had tortured you. Am I making myself clear?"
The younger man’s eyes bulged. "Mr. Giles-."
"Do you understand?" he repeated, his voice softer, the velvet glove over the iron fist.
Wesley gulped. "Completely."
His smile had little warmth in it. "Good, then I’ll see you bright and early in the morning. We’ll just write today off as a false start. I hope that’s agreeable?" The younger man nodded warily. "Excellent."
* * *
"Any word from Allan?"
"No, sir," Trick replied from his position sat on the other side of his desk.
Mayor Wilkins shook his head. "No punctuality. I bet it wasn’t like this in your day, Mr. Trick?"
The black vampire shook his head. "No, sir."
Wilkins shook his head again. "It just won’t d-." His voice trailed off when the door crashed open, and young Miss. Austin-Meadows walked in, her eyes red and puffy but her face stiff, emotionless. Exchanging a look with Trick, he spoke, his tone held carefully casual. "Now missy, it’s always a pleasure to be visited by a pretty young lady. But at this late hour it is rather unseem-."
"You’re the demon king of Sunnydale," the girl pronounced before flinging a folder marked with his seal onto his desk. "It says so there." Trick started to rise. Before he was out of his seat, the girl had kicked him in the midsection, doubling him up, and driven her stake through the back of his heart, turning him to dust. "Like I was saying, you’re the demon king of Sunnydale. And I want in."
He looked down at the papers, mind working furiously. "How did you get your hands on those, if I might ask?"
"Your deputy gave me them," the blonde paused. "Before I killed him."
"Oh really," he looked up in surprise. "And why did you take such an action?"
"Because," the girl’s pretty face transformed into a mask of rage. "My mother got killed because of that Faith bitch’s laziness, and I want to make them pay. Every single one of them!"
"Oh," the Mayor kept his face impassive even as he inwardly rejoiced, "I think that can be arranged."
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