A/N: Yes I know in canon it was alligators, but crocs are bigger.
FIC: Faith The Series S3 Ep 6 (33/?)
Strike looked around the dusty warehouse, its cracked windows and musty stench hinting at its general dereliction, and at the sixty or so vampires lounging around there. Over fifty vampires, he shook his head, he had to admit he was impressed. In almost two hundred years as a member of the undead, he’d never seen half as many vampires in any one place at any one time.
Yes, he decided this was a definite opportunity. Raising his voice, he started to talk. "Good to see all you guys here," he began. "I’m honoured to be here in your company, really. But the thing is, why are we all here?" he paused for a second, allowing his question to sink in. "To service some old guy’s vendetta with the Slayer? We know what a bad ass that bitch is, but we stay away from Sunnydale and what happens? We get on with our business, one girl, she can’t be everywhere. This doesn’t make sense." Encouraged by the approving mutters from his audience, he continued. "I mean, this Kakistos, who the hell does he think he is?"
* * *
Kakistos shook his head as the demon exploded into dust. "Young vampires, today, no respect," he muttered before turning to face the intimidated into silence mob, gathered from the cities of LA, San Diego, and San Francisco. "We’ve heard from him," he glanced down at the settling dust pile. "Are there any more dissenters?"
After a second of continued silence, he smiled. "Excellent. I do like vampires with a sense of tradition. Vampires meet Slayer. Vampires kill Slayer through sheer weight of numbers, one of the classics." Dismissing the mob from consideration, he turned to his oldest childe. "Has it arrived yet?"
Trick nodded before glancing nervously at the shaking box to the end of the warehouse. "Yeah, boss." His childe paused. "It’s one big-ass monster."
"Yes," he smiled. "It’s ironic isn’t it?"
He shook at his head at his childe’s look of confusion. The younger demon was an intelligent demon, a moderniser, but he had no sense of irony. "Such a large monster needed to kill such a little girl." Throwing his head began to laugh, the sound rumbling around the dark chamber.
* * *
"Faith," G pinched his nose. Man, he must be pissed, he always was when he pinched his nose. "Couldn’t you at least try?"
"I don’t trust her," she flatly replied.
Her guardian took a breath. "Faith," the Watcher began to rub his glasses. Man, watching him get this frustrated was wicked fun. She idly wondered if she could get steam to come out of her English guy’s ears. "Tegan has potential to be a very useful ally. Moreover, she is one of our group-."
All at once, Faith got pissed. "Ain’t one of us," she corrected with a shake of her head. "That uppity bitch spends all her time with Harmony -."
"Faith," G rubbed at his forehead, the gesture no longer amusing. "You can’t dictate who she spends her time with."
"Every time we try and include her in non-Slaying shit, she’s just too busy, or it’s not her scene, let that bitch try."
G ground his teeth together. "Faith, part of being a Slayer means you have to be resourceful. And Tegan has tremendous potential as a resource, together you could be a great team."
"I’ve done fine with just you guys backing me, I don’t need some snooty white-bread bitch who thinks she’s better than me!" Faith’s last shred of temper snapped. "But hey! At least she ain’t got a Juvie record! I bet she’s just a perfect little Slayer! Way better than me!"
"Faith," G looked bewildered. "I never said that-."
"I’ve seen you, encouraging her, talking to her, I’m your Slayer, not her!" Faith screamed before storming out of the kitchen.
"Faith! Come back here now!"
Ignoring her Watcher’s bellow, Faith stormed out of the house, door slamming and house shaking behind her. Strides lengthening, she hurried away from the house. "Well that was quite a scene."
Faith spun around to see Xander slouched against the side of the garden fence. "You heard that?" she queried.
"Heard that?" Xander straightened, stepping away from the fence. "I think they heard that in LA."
"Why didn’t you come in?" Faith demanded. "I could have done with the back-up in there!"
"Oh no," Xander shook his head. "This boy-friend’s duties do not extend to getting his ass handed to him by the stuffy Englishman. ‘Sides," Faith felt a pit form deep in her stomach, "he had a point."
"I’m G’s Slayer, not that bitch!" Faith shouted, tears forming. "I won’t let her take him away from me!"
Xander hurried over to her. "Hey, hey that’s crazy talk," Xander put his arms around her, pulling her into him. Leaning down, her boyfriend continued to whisper in her ear. "G-Man adores you. No-one could ever replace you for him, or any of us. But maybe if you gave Tegan another chance, she could work out, become one of us. You’ve always shared with all us."
"You’re my buds, my crew," she whispered. "Tegan’s like some super-powered Harmony."
"No argument there," Xander chuckled. "Maybe she needs someone to show her the error of her ways."
After a second, Faith nodded reluctantly. "I’ll think about it."
Xander grinned. "Great. Now, about G-Man-."
"No," she shook her head. "I need time, time to think." And to cool off, she silently added.
"The Bronze for a drink before patrol?"
* * *
Giles sighed as the recently congregated group began on their patrol. His charge hadn’t turned up until several of the others had arrived, giving him no opportunity to speak to her in private. As she’d doubtless planned, the devious minx.
He sighed again. This parenting lark was a bugger to put it mildly. There were times he didn’t wonder if he was totally and utterly out of his depth. His own parents had set him a fine example, even given his spell off the rails, but then he’d never had Faith’s emotional baggage and insecurity.
And the sod of it all was he adored his girl, loved her spirit, strength of character, sense of loyalty, and zest for life. If he lost her, his heart tightened at the thought, that would be it, he’d retire as Watcher, he couldn’t bear to see another Slayer doing his daughter’s job.
"She’s just scared of being replaced, you know?"
Giles glanced at the youth who’d dropped in beside him. "I beg your pardon?" he was far from happy to be getting advice from a boy not even out of his teens.
Xander ignored his stiff tone. "Spend time with her doing non-Slayer things." Xander paused. "That’s what a kid wants more than anything from their parents, time."
Giles glanced at his companion. And that’s what Xander had never received
from his father, he realised. "You’d be more than welcome to join us, old man,"
he said softly before smiling wryly. "In fact I’m sure Faith would insist."
"Um," the boy looked embarrassed at his offer, looking down at the ground. "Well, thanks."
* * *
Faith glanced around, checking where everyone was, she was flanked by Jess and Cor, the witches had drawn the short straw and were with Slayer Bitch, while G was with her honey. Probably talking about her.
Faith growled deep in her throat. She hated going all girly like she had before, preferring to hide her feelings, let no one know one how she felt. But she’d never had a ‘rent, someone who cared for her like G did and she didn’t wanna share. She wasn’t some pampered white-bread cheerleader with a loving mom and a sheltered life, she just wanted someone of her own. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it?
* * *
Tegan hid a smirk as Willow and Amy talked around her. She’d noticed the atmosphere between the low-class Bostonian and the snooty Brit, more cracks she could work on. And as for Cordelia and Jesse, her inward smirk widened. She’d teach that bitch to choose some low-class skank over her! No one snubbed her.
She stopped as she sensed something. "Something’s wrong," she muttered. Her blood froze as the terror mounted. "Something’s wrong!"
* * *
Faith glanced from right to left. "Yeah," she nodded at Tegan’s shout. "I feel it -."
She broke off when a vamped-out demon leapt out of the darkness from her left. Shooting out a side thrust kick, she caught the demon under the chin before spinning around, catching him with a spinning backfist, and slamming a stake home.
Even as the demon’s mouth opened in shock and exploded into dust, she spun away from him, driving an elbow backwards into another vampire’s face, shattering bone. Twisting her upper round, she thrust her stake home.
Her eyes widened as she registered the amount of vampires swarming around her and her friends. "Fuck," she muttered. "Not good."
Ducking under a left hook from a gangly six footer, she grabbed her would-be assailant by his wrist and yanked him forward. The demon stumbled onto her stake. Feeling a pair of hands on her shoulders, she drove her head back.
And was grabbed around her neck. She reached up grab at the arm choking her, but her limbs were grabbed by a quartet of demons. Panic grew as another vampire stuck a needle in her neck. Her eyes widened as she saw the vampire holding the syringe was Kaktosis’ head crony. Her struggles intensified, muscles straining in her terror, but she was held fast by the demons.
And then slumped forward as darkness engulfed her.
* * *
Trick grinned as the brunette Slayer went limp. The temptation to brush aside her hair, sink his fangs into her creamy-white neck, and taste the finest of blood was overwhelming. He controlled himself by reminding himself what would happen to him when Kaktosis caught up with him. Looking at his companions and the fight going on around them, he nodded. "Well done," he growled, dropping the used syringe into his pocket. "Now sound the retreat and let’s get out of here."
* * *
Giles sidestepped a vampire’s rush, leaving his stake behind for the demon to run onto. Even as it screamed in agony, he pulled his stake out. Leaving it to burst into dust, he spun around to tackle another vampire.
And stopped when he realised the rest appeared to have disappeared back into the night. Puzzled, he scratched his head. They’d been vastly out-numbered and the demons had also the advantage of surprise. So why had they retreated? Was it some sort of reconnaissance to test their strengths?
Shoving the problem aside, he shook his head. He would worry about that later. Right now, he was just grateful that everyone was alright.
His head shot around at Jesse’s anguished shout. Seeing Xander lying there, a nasty bruise on his forehead and two dust piles on the ground beside him, he hurried over. "Good lord is he alr-," his voice trailed off as he realised something. "Where’s Faith?" he demanded when the fear choking him had subsided slightly. When he received no answer except scared, confused faces, he repeated the question, his voice rising slightly, hysteria tugging at it. "Where’s Faith!"
* * *
"Is the pit finished yet?" Kaktosis queried impatiently.
His minion looked up. "Yes sir," replied the head of San Diego’s vampires. "It’s twelve feet deep as you ordered. They’re," the vampire looked over his shoulder at the pit, "they’re lowering it in."
"Excellent," Kaktosis looked up as he sensed his childe. He beamed as he saw his childe and his companions carrying the limp body of the Slayer. Trick appeared to have lost sixteen of the thirty vampires that had accompanied him. But that was unimportant, they had the target.
He walked over to his childe. "I trust she is alive?" Grabbing the Slayer’s hair, he lifted her head and looked into her dulled eyes. He licked his lips. The temptation to rip into her throat, taste her blood, was almost uncontrollable. Except, he looked over the shoulder at the sound of snapping teeth in a pit., and chuckled He had something far more special planned for this little bitch. He smiled. A thousand years from now, vampires would talk about what he’d done to her.
* * *
"W…what do you mean Faith’s gone?" Xander cried, eyes wild with fear.
"I…I don’t know son," Giles replied. The middle-aged Watcher looked as scared as the teenager. "When we were fighting, she was snatched."
"Got her!" Everyone’s eyes snapped to Willow. The red-haired witch continued. "She’s at the factory on Elventhworth Street."
"Well done Willow," Giles nodded wearily. "Now, the question is how do we deal with this?" The small group instantly descended into a heated conversation.
Tegan thought quickly. If she helped them she was going to get involved in a very dangerous predicament indeed. And it wasn’t like any of these, she glanced at her chattering companions, could force her. But this was Faith, the Slayer who’d defeated Lothos, the Master, and Angelus as well as a horde of major demons. If she deserted Faith and the bitch survived, the other Slayer would come looking for her and she didn’t want that. And just maybe she could manipulate this situation to help herself. "We’ll need distance weapons," she put into the on-going discussion. "Catch them by surprise before going hand to hand."
Giles nodded approvingly. "A good point."
Tegan returned the Englishman’s nod. She just hoped she was making the right decision.
* * *
Faith spat and gagged as foul smelling water hit her, awakening her from her enforced slumber. Even as she blinked her eyes clear, a spine-tingling voice spoke. "Hello dear."
Faith looked up from her position laid on the dirt filled ground, fighting back a wave of nausea. The feeling of sickness was replaced by stomach-churning terror at the sight of Kaktosis staring down at her, a sickening leer on the demon’s face. Looking around, she saw she was on the edge of a pit, a pit surrounded by more than thirty vampires. "No," she whispered. Heart racing, she attempted to get up onto her hands and knees only for her shaking arms to fail her, knocking her face-first into the dirt.
"Oh I think yes." She screamed when the demon grabbed her hair and yanked her head up, almost ripping her hair off her scalp. "You took my eye, you think I was just going to let that go?" the demon kicked her ribs. She grunted in pain. "No, I’m going to kill you. And then your friends are going to die cursing the day they met you. But first," the demon kicked her again, "as I said I’m going to kill you." The demon released his grip before kicking her again.
Faith screamed as she rolled off the edge of the pit and fell, her scream accompanied by the watching demons’ cheers. Hitting the ground with a grunt, she laid there for a second, her breath coming in tortured wheezes, before struggling into a seated position.
And looking up into the terrifying sight of a steel cage containing a thirty foot long crocodile, its yellow, antediluvian eyes staring at her with ages-old malevolence and its huge mouth filled with flesh-rending teeth. Two ropes were secured to the top of the cage door, the cage door the reptile was repeatedly banging on in its eagerness to get to her, and held by a pair of hefty looking demons sat on the edge of the pit. "He’s a beauty isn’t he?" she heard the 1,000 year old vampire above her, his bellow cutting through the other demon’s jeers and shouts, but didn’t look away from the terror in front of her. "Specially bred in Malaysia on a diet of steroids and little girls." The monster laughed, the sound echoed by his cronies. "You’ll be quite the delicacy for him. Faith meet Phobos. Phobos meet Faith!"
The two demons yanked on the ropes holding the cage shut, flipping its door up. Instantly the monster roared out of it, jaws held gapingly open, lunging towards her.
Thinking quickly, Faith dived to the right, the croc’s fangs barely missing her trailing leg before it crashed snout-first into the wall. Body still weak from the drugs, she pulled herself upright on the pit wall, fearful eyes fixed on the stunned reptile turning to face her. Realising she was just feet from the cage, she dived towards it, hands reaching for the nearest cage rope.
Grabbing a hold of the nearest rope, she pulled desperately. The demon holding onto the rope let out a shocked roar before falling into the pit, hitting the ground between her and the crocodile, dust rising, and the jeers from the watching vampires growing.
Even as the demon rose to his hands and knees, the crocodile pounced. Leaping forward, the reptile grabbed the vampire’s head between his jaws and bit down.
Faith was unable to prevent a moan from escaping when the vampire exploded into dust, leaving nothing between her and the nightmarish monster.
* * *
Their arrows thudded into the back of the nearest half a dozen of the demons, four of them exploding into dust. The others howled in pain, their cries making the others turn to face them. Tegan looked around, seeing how badly out-numbered they were, she leapt over their heads, figuring the pit behind them had to be safer than facing the demons facing her and her companions. Let the ‘Scoobies’ deal with them.
* * *
Faith’s eyes widened when a lithe figure dropped into the pit behind the croc, landing on their feet, scuffling up dust around them. Her eyes widened even further when she recognised Tegan.
The other Slayer grabbed a hold of the croc’s tail even as it advanced on her, lifted it off the ground and flung over the pit edge behind her. Tegan charged across the pit to her, grabbed her by her hand and leapt out of the pit, dragging her with her.
As they landed on the factory surface, Faith glanced over her shoulder behind her.
Her blood chilled at the sight of a wildly screaming Kaktosis, his left hand snared in the monster reptile’s mouth. Even as the demon vainly tried to shake the steel-trap jawed reptile off, swinging his arm wildly, he pounded it with his left fist, his punches smashing through the croc’s skull, sending blood and bone splattering everywhere. Finally the reptile fell limply to the ground, its corpse barely twitching.
Faith looked up in disbelief at Kaktosis. The wildly screaming demon was staring in disbelief at the stump where his left hand had been. Licking her lips, she spoke in a whisper to Tegan. "We’ll never get a better chance, we can take him."
* * *
Tegan looked with disbelief at her fellow Slayer. Hadn’t the stupid bitch just seen the vampire punch a massive crocodile to death with one hand? There was no way Tegan was going anywhere near him. Thanking quickly, she shook her head. "You’re still not at full strength, best not to risk a fight with him right now."
After a second Faith nodded. "Yeah, I guess," she replied. "Let’s get out of here, and," the brunette grimaced as if swallowing an especially bitter pill. "Thanks."
Tegan smirked at the look on the Bostonian Slayer’s face. "My pleasure, dear."
* * *
Giles listened to the sound of his child’s laughter, a small smile tugging on his lips. She was safe, for now at least. And the future could just bloody wait. Walking into the lounge, he sat down and dialled an international number. After a few rings, it was answered. "Hello, father? It’s me," Giles smiled at his father’s reply. "Yes I’m aware of the time difference. I just had to ring you to tell you what Faith did tonight." He talked to his father for a good twenty minutes, recounting with relish his Slayer’s exploits. "Yes, I hope that you get to meet her one day too," he swallowed in terror at the thought of those two combustible personalities meeting. "You know the door’s always open, so to speak. Well, good-bye, you and mother, keep well." After hanging up, he added. "I love you."
FIC: Faith The Series: Season 3 Ep 7 (34/?)
"I wanna know," Willy winced as the Slayer picked up a 500 lb Traza, pressed him overhead and flung him across the wrecked barroom. And into Willy’s prized 50s-style jukebox. The entertainment centre smashed and flattened under the impact of the demon like a soda can being stomped underfoot. "I wanna know where Kaktosis is!"
And then the supernatural warrior turned her beautiful yet somehow terrifying face towards him. "H..hey, Slayer," Willy started to edge towards the back door, heart pounding and conscious of the heavy beads of sweat rolling down his face, "I don’t know nothing about -."
The Slayer was at him in a second. Willy gasped when the Slayer’s right hand encircled his throat and she lifted him off the ground with an ease that belied her lithe frame. "It’s ‘anything’, Willy not ‘nothing’. See we’ve been doing grammar at school, learning to talk properly. And you’re lying." Willy gurgled helplessly. He couldn’t believe he was talking school classes with the kid, his only interest in schools was cheerleaders, always had been. "We’re also doing vocabulary. You’d be amazed all the different words that mean torture, but they all come down to the same thing – pain. You don’t tell me what ya want, and they’ll have to invent new words for what I’m gonna do to ya."
"I don’t," he gasped, purpling for air, "know," he wheezed, "anything."
"Find out." Suddenly he was flying through the air, landing with a crash on the dust covered ground. "Clock’s ticking, Willy," the Slayer warned before turning on her heel. "I’m an impatient gal, don’t keep me waiting. That wouldn’t be smart." The brunette glanced at the burly figure standing in the doorway of his bar, his crossbow trained on the few patrons that the Bostonian hadn’t pummelled into unconsciousness. "Let’s blow this dump, X."
* * *
The moment they exited the club, the cold night air hitting them, Xander spoke, his voice sounded strained even to his own ears. "Don’t you think you were maybe a little harsh on Willy in there?"
Faith’s head snapped towards him, her eyes whipping him with their ferocity. "That fucker runs a business serving drinks to demons, demons that eat and kill humans, plot to destroy the world, and other bad shit like that. I could give a crap about making Willy piss his pants if it gets me Kaktosis." The Slayer gestured ahead with her head. "Come on, I wanna see what the others have found."
"Sure," Xander whispered. He understood it was her past, together with the warrior spirit within her that made Faith this ruthlessly intense. But sometimes it scared him a little.
* * *
Giles looked up, having himself led Tegan and the others in a search of the various deserted buildings, at the entry of his charge and her boyfriend into the quiet library. His group’s muttered discussion ended with the arrival of the increasingly volatile Slayer. Since Kaktosis’ second attempt to kill her three days ago, Faith had been especially ‘high-strung’. "Nothing."
"Fuck!" Faith’s eyes flared and she kicked the table in the centre of the floor, flipping onto its back with a crash. "Where is the bastard?"
"Oh good show," he muttered sarcastically, "take it out on a defenceless table." Still, it could be worse, he glanced at the sparring pads and shuddered.
"We don’t even know he’s still here."
Giles noted even the previously haughty Tegan shifted uncomfortably when his daughter’s eyes came to bear on her, the blazing intensity scorching through her fellow Slayer’s arrogant armour. "He’s here," she pronounced. "He came back last time we faced off. And I bet this time he didn’t leave. But," Faith’s dark eyes hardened to obsidian, "there won’t be a fourth time. This time it ends."
But with who’s death? Giles’ stomach twisted at that unpalatable thought. No matter what it wouldn’t be, he glanced at his prowling daughter, hers. And if he had to die to make sure of it, so be it.
* * *
"G," Giles looked up at the knock on his door. "Can I come in?"
"Of course, dear."
After a second, the door swung open and his girl walked in, still clothed of course but without her usual heavy mascara, rouge, and lipstick. As always when he saw her face without her usual make-up, he was stuck by how terribly young and innocent she looked. Not that he’d ever say that to her, of course. Knowing his bloody girl, those very words would ensure she’d never take it off again.
His charge smirked. "Nice jim-jams, G."
Giles glanced down at his union jack pyjamas before glaring at his daughter. "Might I remind you who bought me these last Christmas?"
Faith’s lips quirked up in a grin. "Oh yeah, that would be me, right? Didn't think ya'd have the balls to wear them tho."
"It would indeed," he fixed his unrepentantly smirking pride and joy with his sternest glare before giving into temptation and smiling at her. "And what pray tell, do you wish to talk to me about at this ungodly hour?"
"Yeah," his Slayer’s smile disappeared in an instant. "About not being able to stake Kaktosis. Ya found out how to kill him, right?"
Giles hid a wince at the fear in his daughter’s pool-like eyes. He motioned to his bedroom’s chair. "Please, sit. I’ve been doing some research-."
"That’s why they pay you the big bucks."
Giles raised an eyebrow at Faith’s muttered comment. Big bucks? He wasn’t aware they did, he must have missed that memo. Undeterred, he continued. "In 300 BC, the Slayer Aimee killed a reputed seven century old vampiress by the name of Jovanna by beheading." His daughter’s eyes lit up at this news. "In 5th century AD, Acacia killed an Egyptian vampire by the name of Amon in Rome, also by beheading, Amon was reputed to be nine centuries old. And then in 1666 in London, Molly Herbert killed a nine hundred year old vampire called Guthrie, by setting him on fire."
"That’s wick-," Faith’s brow furrowed. "Holy shit? London, 1666? You’re not telling me? The Great Fire Of London?"
"Unfortunately things got a little out of control," Giles admitted with a wry smile.
"A little out of control! Damn, I thought I was the radical Slayer! A whole fucking city!" Faith’s excitement dissipated to be replaced by a look of puzzlement. "But how come I could stake the Master?"
Giles hid a grimace. Precisely the question he’d been vainly trying to answer. "I haven’t got an answer," he admitted. "Only a theory. Remember how the Master’s skeleton stayed intact the first time you staked him?"
"I’m hardly likely to forget," Faith replied.
Giles nodded. "My theory is that the ceremony that allowed the Master to do that, resulted in him losing his invulnerability to being staked. He took a gamble, it failed."
"Good as answer as any," Faith shrugged and stood. "See ya in the morning, G."
Faith stopped at the door and turned back to him, her eyes filling with doubt. "We’re gonna beat him, right?"
Shoving his own worries aside, Giles forced a smile. "I have every confidence in you my dear."
His Slayer shot him a grateful smile. "Thanks, G."
* * *
"Boss," Trick implored his sire, "we gotta leave, this town’s too hot for us, we need to -."
"We need to kill the bitch who did this to me!" Kaktosis remaining eye blazed with enough fire to make Trick wonder if he and his master would burst into flames from them. "We ran once before," the Greek vampire shook his head. "We will not run again."
"Okay," Trick knew reasoning with his enraged sire was fighting a losing battle but decided to try anyhow. "If you think this way, at least let me try my contact, he could be useful-."
"A human?" Kaktosis shook his head. As Trick had expected. "We don’t need a human. We kill humans. We have the brethren. And we have," Kaktosis raised the gleaming hook on the end of his left arm, fashioned out of steel, "this." If his sire’s eyes had burnt before, now they were nuclear-powered. "I’ll use it to peel every inch of flesh off that bitch’s body!"
Trick resisted the urge to shudder as the broad-backed demon strode from the room, leaving him alone. The last time he’d seen the boss this insane had been the 1880s. As he remembered it had taken that Slayer over a week to die and when she had finally passed, she’d been something less than human.
Still, this Slayer was different, mere force of arms wasn’t going to work with her. Trick licked his lips. He hated disobeying his sire, knowing full-well his master’s mercurial temper, but this was a matter of self preservation. And that was something he valued very highly.
He’d have to make a call to the mage he’d suggested earlier. If his master killed him for it, so be it. But they needed help, and if they weren’t allowed to flee, he couldn’t just sit here and wait for the Slayer to catch up with them.
* * *
"Hey Willy," his blood chilled at the Slayer’s husky voice. Turning, he saw the sultry teen was flanked by her normal guard-dogs, the middle-aged Englishman who served as her guardian, and the lucky\brave kid who was rumoured to be boning her. "Got any information for me?"
"Look Slayer," he tried for a calm tone, but his voice trembled uncontrollably. "I can’t just-."
"Um," the Slayer interrupted, her gaze flitting uncomfortably around his only recently repaired bar, the tables and chairs the supernatural warrior had broken in her rampage taken outside, and the floor swept clean. He hadn’t replaced the jukebox yet, but he had a few contacts. "Place looks nice, you must have worked hard to get it all fixed up in one day," the brunette hottie commented. "It would be a shame for it to get wrecked again."
Willy caved in immediately. "Some people have disappeared around the old Thomas business park, hobos, that sort of thing. I figure maybe he’s holed up there feeding."
"Thanks Will," Faith fixed him with a dazzling smile. "That wasn’t hard, was it?" The brunette turned to her companions. "Let’s get the troops ready."
"No," Willy muttered as the Slayer sauntered off, her friends following
behind. He still remembered the bitter humiliation of him cowering before the
brunette last night, in front of all his customers too. But she’d pay. "Not hard
at all," reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his mobile. Dialling a number,
he whispered into the phone. "Yeah, she’s on her way."
* * *
"Thank you," Kaktosis smiled as he hung up his phone. He looked around the shadowy warehouse. "Ladies, gentlemen. We will have guests soon, have fun. But remember, the brunette Slayer is mine."
* * *
"So this is the place he’s been hiding out," Faith stepped through the darkened entrance. She peered into the shadows, but couldn’t see anything. Shaking her head, she continued on, the others following behind.
"Faith, maybe we shouldn’t be here," Xander whispered after they’d been clambering through the underground labyrinth for several minutes.
Pushing aside her own trepidation, Faith shook her head. "We’ll be five by five, X," she shrugged. "’Sides we gotta end that Kaktosis-."
"Women today," her heart stopped when the demon in question stepped out of the shadows ahead of her, his looming presence making her mouth dry. "They never listen, I blame the sixties and women’s liberation." Faith swallowed when Kaktosis lifted his left arm, the hook there in place of his hand, glinting maliciously. "Still, you’ll learn your place soon enough."
Tearing her eyes from the hook, and noting the huge broadsword the demon carried in his right Faith gulped her fear down. "No," she shook her head as she hefted her own sword, conscious of the other vampires stepping out around her party, yet reassured by the feel of her own blade. If she killed Kaktosis, the others would just melt away. "I already know my place, kicking your ugly ass."
* * *
"We will see," Kaktosis murmured as the Slayer charged him. It was a shame she’d proven too dangerous to capture, he’d have enjoyed snuffing out that fiery spirit, making her beg for death’s sweet release. Comforting himself that the thrill of victory would almost make up for that, he hurried to meet her.
He was surprised when the Slayer suddenly pulled up short, the heel of her right cowboy boot flying up in an attempt to kick him in the knee. Twisting away from the blow, he brought his sword flashing down at his opponent’s neck.
The brunette’s own weapon flashed up, parrying his attack with enough force to knock him back a step. Her teeth parted in a snarl, the Slayer leapt at him, her weapon flashing upwards at his throat. Kaktosis contemptuously knocked the blow away before again trying for a decapitating slash. Again the Slayer blocked.
Reacting to that in an instant, he brought his newly acquired hook into the fight, swinging it downwards at his supernatural nemesis. "Fuck!" the Slayer twisted her lithe torso away from his attack, but not quite quickly enough, the tip of the hook ripping into her side just above her right hip.
Kaktosis’ demon roared at the sight of Slayer blood. Calming himself, he continued his attack with a barrage of merciless sword-swings that had the beautiful warrior retreating frantically before him, feet scuffling up dust. Suddenly he changed from forward and reverse head-slashes to a thrust at his adversary’s stomach.
This time the Slayer was able to dart nimbly out of the way of his attack. Kaktosis grunted as pain ripped through his right thigh. A brief glance down confirmed the Slayer had been able to slash him across the leg. Ignoring the pain and the ringing of steel in his ears, he stepped towards his opponent.
The Slayer leapt over his sword strike at her legs. Unfortunately for her, he’d anticipated that and he caught her with his hook, ripping a bloody furrow across her chest, a crimson shower spurting from the wound. "Ahh!" the Slayer fell backwards. Hitting the floor on her back, she immediately rolled backwards and onto her feet, a pained but resolute look on her face.
Kaktosis’ eyes widened when the supernatural warrior launched herself into a flying, side-heel kick, the blow cannoning off his chest. Kaktosis laughed, the sound rumbling around the pitched battleground, as he staggered backwards. "A nice move, but not," his sword slashed down at the Slayer’s throat, "quite enough!" Her sword came up, once again parrying his attack.
But leaving her vulnerable to a hook attack from the other side. The raven-haired warrior managed to pull her head away from the decapitating attack at the last moment. Even so, the base of the hook smashed into her forehead, blood bursting out of the impact area.
The Slayer let out a strangled gasp, staggered sideways, and dropped her sword, the weapon clattering to the ground. Roaring triumphantly, Kaktosis bounded forward. Eyes widening, the Slayer dropped into the splits and punched upwards, her uppercut smashing into his groin.
"Ahhh!" Kaktosis groaned as pain roared through his crotch, bile rising in his throat.
Even as he watched dazedly, the lithe brunette rolled to her right, grabbed her sword and leapt back up. Despite the blood pouring down her face, her features were set in a grim, determined mask. Forcing himself to straighten, Kaktosis charged to meet her.
At the last instant, Faith sidestepped him, her sword flashing up. He screamed as the tip of her blade tore through the decaying flesh under his ruined eye, pain blazing through the dead area. "Sucks," his eye widened as he felt the blade enter his neck, mouth opening in protest, "to be you!"
* * *
The moment Kaktosis burst into dust, Faith’s legs buckled and she stumbled, only to be grabbed by, she looked up and grinned, Xander, who else? "You kicked his ass," Xander complimented her before his eyes filled with concern. "Are you okay?"
Faith shrugged. "Nothing major," she lied. In truth, she felt like shit, but Slayer healing being what it was, she’d miss maybe two days of school and be five by five. She looked around her companions. "Anyone get Trick?" She scowled at the answering headshakes. "Ah, fuck!"
"Maybe he’s run," Willow suggested. "Decided Sunnydale’s too hot for him."
"We did kill his sire," a dust-streaked Cordelia put in, "or did anyone miss that?"
"All reports would indicate that Trick is a rather unusual vampire, more interested in self-preservation than the usual vendettas or empire-building," Giles put in. "We won’t see him again."
* * *
"Thank god!" Trick muttered as he flung the manhole cover off. He’d been running through the sewers beneath the base for what seemed hours, mind filled with the image of the Slayer tearing through his seemingly invincible sire and nostrils filled with the painful stench of the sewage that permeated through the underground tunnels. But he’d finally reached the surface. There were a few hours of night left, just a few but enough to find a motorist, kill them, steal their car, and get out of town. Already he was making plans.
He stopped when he realised a man was standing in the otherwise deserted road
ahead of him. The middle-aged man was portly, with friendly eyes, and a genial
mouth. He took a step forward, meaning to kill him, he wasn’t to his taste
really, but he needed to take his frustrations out on someone.
And stopped as he realised something. "Not a man," he growled.
"Now gosh," the man smiled at him. "No need to be so judgemental. After all, neither are you. And besides, I’d warrant I’m nearer than you. No demon living inside me. Not yet anyway," the man offered him his hand, "Mayor Richard Wilkins III. Pleased to meet you, Mr. Trick."
Trick’s eyes narrowed. The town’s mayor? And he knew his name? Shoving the manifold mysteries aside, Trick shook his head. Ignoring the proffered hand, he made to step around the politician, only to have him bar his path. "Have to get out of town," he growled. "Out of my way." Given his uncertainty about who or what this person actually was, and his own instinctive prudence, he had no wish to start a fight, but he would if bluffing didn’t work.
"Well gosh," the civic servant’s face took on a hurt expression. "That’s just rude," the man complained. "And there was I trying to be polite. And what would a smart, ambitious demon like yourself want to leave the Hellmouth for? I fancy I’ve created a town of rare opportunity. No," the man shook his head, "you’ll make a simply splendid personal assistant."
Trick stared at the man. He was offering him a job? But Trick was tired of taking orders, he wanted to be the one in charge. And even if that wasn’t true, there was that damn Slayer to consider. "I’m leaving this place," he declared with a shake of his head.
The local politician’s smile widened. "I’m sorry. Wasn’t I clear?" The smile disappeared. "It wasn’t an offer, it was an order. One you’d be wise to take."
* * *
Rack sighed as he cautiously approached the smouldering building, dry wood cracking underfoot. It would appear he was too late, the Slayer and her companions had gotten to his potential employer before he could. All that promised money and demonic essences, gone. He sighed again. "Most inconvenient." A smile tugged reluctantly at his mouth as he felt the Hellmouth’s power tug at his scorched soul. But even without his patron, this place had potential, he could feel its energy crackling around him. "I’ll stay," he decided in a whisper.
And if the Slayer got in the way, Rack’s smile broadened, he'd never ripped the power from a Slayer before. He imagined it would be a quite delicious cocktail.
FIC: Faith The Series Season 3 Ep 8 (35/?)
"There is no fucking way I am doing this!"
Giles winced at his charge’s screech before fixing her with his sternest glare. As usual she steadfastly refused to wilt. "Faith," he adopted the firm tone he normally reserved for report card day, "Mrs. Austin-Meadows has been kind enough to invite us for dinner. It would be rude to refuse."
"Might be rude, but it’s the smart thing to do."
Giles raised an eyebrow at his charge’s mutter. "What was that?"
"Nothing," Faith dropped her gaze.
"I thought not. Now," he glanced at his watch. "It’s an hour before we go out. I’ll let you use the bathroom first." He looked towards his daughter. "After you’ve freshened up I imagine you’ll be changing."
"Not really," Faith shrugged, and looked down at her attire of black jeans and matching gym top. "I’m fine as I am."
"I’m afraid not." Giles stared at his Slayer. "We’ve been invited out to dinner and as such you will dress accordingly. Now go and get changed into a dress-."
Faith’s eyes widened. "I gotta wear a dress too. This fucking sucks!"
"Faith," Giles glared at his Slayer, "Tegan is your fellow Slayer and you need to get on with her. Do as you’re told."
He stared hard at the Bostonian teen. Finally the brunette turned on her heel and raven locks flying, made for the door. "This fucking sucks, you know!"
"Yes," he muttered as the Slayer stormed out of the room and up the stairs, slamming the lounge door behind her, "I got that the first time."
* * *
"Well, cheerio!" Giles forced a smile as he climbed into his car. After a final wave to the woman stood in the doorway, he closed the door and turned to his passenger. "Good lord, that was terrible."
Giles glared at Faith’s smirk. "Shut up."
Faith continued to talk despite his terse order. "I mean I don’t know what’s crawled up your hole, J-lady looked like she really liked ya. Ya could get some serious action."
He shuddered at the images. "That woman’s eyes."
"Everyone’s got eyes, G."
"Not like those," he shuddered. "I thought I was being eaten by a piranha."
* * *
"She’s quite the trash isn’t she?"
Julianne hid a smile as she turned back to her daughter. "Oh yes, dear, quite. That dress didn’t hide the trash within. The way she eats, it’s a wonder she bothers with a knife and fork at all. She should be waitressing at some truck-stop."
"Or behind it with so-." Her daughter’s mouth clamped shut at her look.
"Please dear," she sniffed. "You know how I feel about ladies and vulgarity. Let’s not lower ourselves to Miss. Giles’ level." Tegan nodded in eager enthusiasm. Satisfied, she changed the subject. "Have you packed for your trip yet?"
"I’m taking you to the airport first thing in the morning and you know how I don’t like to be kept waiting."
"I’ll go up immediately mother."
"Good girl." Juilanne’s smile disappeared as her daughter hurried out of the kitchen. She’d hoped Tegan had been exaggerating about Faith, but meeting the girl, she shook her head, had only confirmed her daughter’s words. The little tramp was the very epitome of ill-breeding, and the way she spoke and looked at her Tegan. No respect for her betters.
Rupert on the other hand… Her smile returned, oh yes, there was a very attractive man indeed. Once that blasted waif of his was out of the way, she had definite plans for him. "Something has to liven up this one-horse town," she decided in a mutter.
* * *
"Ah, Mr. Trick," Wilkins looked up as his newly hired personal assistant entered his office, "I do hope that the man you recommended will be here soon."
"Mr. Rayne will be here before dark," Trick soothed. "He’s a cautious man."
"Ethan?" Wilkins beamed. "It’s a small world isn’t it?"
Trick looked puzzled. "You know him, sir?"
"We’ve done business in the past," he said. "It was completed most satisfactorily."
* * *
Faith stopped as she entered the school foyer, flanked by her buds, although thankfully Tegan was absent, the bitch having gone to her grandparents or something. Ahead of them was a table piled up with boxes of chocolate bars. Students mingling around the table were each taking a box as Snyder checked their names off on his clipboard.
Suddenly Snyder saw them. "Ah!" Stepping forward, the principal shoved a box of candy into the eagerly waiting hands of her boyfriend. Faith smirked, no surprises there then.
"Principal Snyder, thank you!" Xander gushed. "You weren't visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, by any chance?"
Snyder glared at her boy-friend. "It's band candy. You will sell it to raise money for the marching band. They need new uniforms." Faith blinked, she wasn’t even aware they had a band.
"Yeah. Those tall, fuzzy hats ain't cheap, huh?" Xander commented.
"But we're not in the band," Faith protested as the principal pressed a box into her hands.
"And if I'd handed you a trombone, that would've been a problem, Giles," Snyder glared at her. "It's candy. Sell it."
* * *
"You have time to be in a band?" Giles stared at his charge over the kitchen table.
Faith snorted derisively. "If I had any spare time it wouldn’t be spent in a crummy band. Well," Faith smirked, "Motley Crue maybe, those boys know how to party."
"I think not," he stared at his daughter over the top of his glasses, "what would I do with forty chocolate bars?"
"You could hand them out at the Library. Hire-."
"The term is ‘borrow’," he corrected stiffly. She’d been living with a librarian for five years and yet she still didn’t know the correct terminology?
"Borrow one book, get a candy bar, you’d have them flocking in," Faith beamed at him. "Well?"
"Twenty," Faith opened her mouth to protest. "Twenty or none." The Slayer’s mouth clamped shut. "Twenty it is then."
* * *
"I heard that there was a secret rule that if a teacher's more than ten minutes late, we can all leave."
Faith shook her head at Cordelia’s comment as she watched the general rioting at the front of the class, boys tussling, girls bitching. "It's G’s turn to watch study hall. He'll be here. He's allergic to late."
Cordelia sighed. "He is wound a little tight. I had this philosophy book checked out from the library for, like, a year, and he made me pay the fine, even though it was huge. I was sad to return it. It was perfect for starting conversations with college boys. Of course, that was B.J."
"Blow-," Faith registered Cordelia’s look and amended what she’d been about to say. "Before Jess. Clever. How’s that working out?" she asked, remembering Tegan’s predatory looks.
Cordy’s eyes went dreamy. "Oh, he’s wonderful. You and the doofus?"
Faith grinned. "You two are never going to get on are you?"
* * *
"I like chocolate." Xander remarked cheerfully as he munched down on the bar.
Jesse snorted. "After knowing you fifteen years I think I’ve worked that out."
"These things are selling like hot cakes," Xander paused, "which is ironic, 'cause the hot cakes really aren't moving..."
"I fear you."
Xander nodded. "Wise man."
"But hey," Willow cut in from the table beside them, "we're raising a lot of money for the band."
"Go back to kissing Amy," Jesse suggested with a grin, "I was enj-. Oww!" He held his arm where Willow had punched him.
Suddenly his girl-friend’s strident voice, cut through the noise. "Where is Giles already? I'm bored, and he's not here to give me credit for it."
Miss. Barton walked in. Everyone fell immediately silent, intimidated by one of school’s most feared dragons. "Hey! We're all stuck here, okay? So now let's just sit quietly and," the teacher glanced at a book on the desk and smiled, "pretend we're reading something," Faith squinted, confused, "until we're really sure that old Commandant Snyder's gone. Then we're all outta here!"
"Does anyone else wanna marry Ms. Barton?" Jesse whispered.
"I’m not that grateful," Xander replied.
"I guess Giles isn't coming?" Willow queried.
* * *
"Hey!" Faith shouted as she came through the front door. "G, I was worried about you. Where were ya at school? Skipping study hall and all?"
G stepped into view from the dining room with his arms crossed and a stern look on his face. "Hello, Faith."
"What ya doing here?" Faith gaped when Tegan’s Mom stepped into the hallway. Her, here now, this was not good.
Julianne unwrapped her chocolate bar and held it out to Giles to take a piece. The librarian smiled and broke off a piece. "Thank you."
"I’m here," there was something shark-like in Julianne’s smile, "to discuss your and my daughter’s training. It appears you’re not getting on as well as Rupert," Faith’s eyes boggled, she’d just called G ‘Rupert’, not good, "would hope."
"Uh, right," Faith decided to beat a hasty retreat. "Well, I’m kinda tired after all the Slaying, see ya in the morning. Night Mrs Meadows, G."
* * *
"Well, bloody hell," Giles turned to Julianne, a rakish smile playing on his lips. My, she was a nice piece, and no mistake. Big jugs, long pins, nice eyes, and shoulder-length golden hair. "Thought she’d never leave. Pain in the arse she is. Where were we?" His smile widened as he grabbed Julianne around the waist and pulled her towards him. "Oh yeah, I remember."
* * *
"Tell ya Cor," Faith shook her head. "I’m in an alternate dimension or some weird Hellmouth shit like that." She shook her head again. "I mean, G hates her."
"Maybe it’s you who can’t stand her and you’re projecting -," Xander gulped at her glare. "Why did I listen that one time in psychology class?"
"Me, I think ya got that crap off watching Cracker," Faith commented before shoving the door to the Bronze open. And stopping dead at the sight that greeted her. "See, alternate dimension, I told ya!"
The dance floor was filled with 40-somethings gyrating in a most ungodly fashion. And the stage was likewise occupied by people of the same age group. Faith winced as the band’s 300lb singer attempted to body surf the crowd but the crowd wisely stampeded out of the way, leaving him to crash to the floor. "That has gotta hurt," she muttered.
"Hey cutie! How about a kiss?"
"How about," Faith easily evaded the chubby, florid-faced man’s hands groping at her chest and butted him square in the face, knocking him to the ground, "not?"
"Faith!" Willow let out a shocked cry. "That’s Mr. Andrews! The Maths teacher."
"I know," Faith smirked at the Jewish Wicca before stepping over the groaning body at her feet. "He failed me last year."
"Payback’s a bitch, and Faith’s-."
"Finish that sentence and I’ll cut ‘em off," Faith warned.
"Justly entitled to any retribution she feels fit," Jesse smoothly completed.
Faith nodded approvingly. "I just knew you couldn’t be as dumb as ya looked."
"It’s a medical impossibility," Xander agreed.
"You’d know," Cordelia muttered.
Xander shot Cordelia a glare before continuing. "Okay, either we’re in a really bad Doctor Who episode -."
"Are there any good ones?" Faith muttered.
Xander glared at her. "Or something icky is going on."
"Gee," Faith said sarcastically. "Ya think?"
"Hey girls!" Faith looked over her shoulder in disbelief. Snyder had crept up behind them, his arms around both her and Cor’s shoulder. "Where’s the party and when are we heading there?" The principal winked at her. "I always wanted to hang with the coolest kids in school, the rebels."
Ah fuck, Faith thought quickly. "We ain’t the coolest kids in school."
"You’re not?" Snyder looked disappointed.
"Nah," Faith shook her head. "Cor, Harmony’s address."
Xander let out a choked gasp as the principal hurried off. "A master strategist," he praised.
"What can I say, G made me read Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’. Three times." Faith’s eyes widened. "G! He must be under this spell too!"
Xander laughed. "Giles at sixteen? He’ll probably be the nerd other kids pick on."
* * *
"Must be exciting being from England."
Giles shrugged and scratched at his belly, hunger for the bars having driven them out of the house. "Not particularly," he winked at his companion. "Fitter birds over here. Like you."
"Thanks," Julianne giggled. His companion stopped at the front of a boutique with some retro clothes on display in the window, spotting a leather mini. "Nice!"
Giles shot the mini a bored glance. Clothes weren’t really his thing, but with her legs Julianne would look the dogs’ bollocks in it and no mistake. "You fancy it?"
"Yeah, but the store's closed."
Giles took a final, slow drag from his cigarette before tossing it aside, stamping it underfoot. Grabbed a trashcan and flung it through the window, glass flying every-where and an ominous alarm going off. After shooting the now madly giggling woman a cocky grin, he climbed in and grabbed the mini skirt, throwing it to the bird as he climbed back out. "For you my lady," he bowed mockingly.
Suddenly a policeman appeared behind them, pointed his gun at them. "Hold it!"
"Oh bollocks!" Giles began to jump from side to side, waving his arms wildly. "Oink! Oink! Someone gave the bacon a shooter." He stopped and smirked. "You'll never use it, though, man."
"Will -," the man grunted when he stepped towards him, ignoring Julianne’s frightened cry. Batting the man’s gun aside, he grabbed his wrist and drove his knee up into the man’s groin. The law officer doubled-up, Giles finished him off with a karate chop to the neck that laid the man out cold on the pavement.
"Told him he'd never use it." He strutted over to Julianne as she leant beside the police car.
"You are sooo cool. You're like Burt Reynolds," Julianne cooed.
In a flash Giles had one hand around the bird’s neck and the other around her back. Julianne startled and gasped, but didn't struggle. Instead she took the gum out of her mouth and pressed her lips to his. A grin on his face, Giles leant her back over the hood of the car.
* * *
Faith stopped as she led the others back to her place. Looking across the street, she noted the riot outside the candy factory. "Does that seem strange to anyone else?"
Xander glanced in the direction she was looking. His eyes puzzled, her boyfriend shook his head. "Next to Mr. Snyder wanting to be our best pal, not really?"
"Actually, he wanted to be mine and Faith’s," Cordelia corrected.
"Great, now we’re arguing about who’s friend Snyder wanted to be?" Jesse put in. "I blame Faith."
"Yeah, whatever," Faith grunted. "That is definitely weird." Faith started across the street towards the riot towards the back of the factory to investigate further. Her eyes widened as she recognised two of the people. "G! Mrs. M!" Taking off, she rushed across to block the pair off. "What are ya doing?" her mouth dropped open as she registered the fag hanging from her Watcher’s mouth. "And what are ya doing, smoking?" Reaching up, she snatched it away from him and after a quick puff, threw it on the ground and stamped it out.
"Hey luv!" her Watcher protested. "Who the bloody hell do ya think ya are stealing a fella’s fags?" Faith ignored that with a shake of her head before turning back to Cordelia, Willow, and Amy. "There’s something definitely wrong with -, hey!" She whirled around to face Xander, eyes flaring and hand rubbing at her butt. "What have I told you about slapping my ass?"
Xander raised his hands. "Hey, wasn’t me!"
Faith’s eyes turned towards Jesse, growing more and murderous. "You got a preference if I break your right or left hand?" she queried.
"Ah come on, luv," Giles leered at her. "Pants that tight, ya begging for a bloke to cop a feel!"
Faith’s eyes widened in realisation. "You!" Faith started forward. "I’m going to-."
"Wait," Xander stepped in her way, "spell remember?"
"Yeah," Faith scowled at her smirking Watcher. "But he ain’t exactly acting Giles-like is he?"
"Look," Faith noted that Cordelia had joined Willow and Amy in putting considerable distance between them and the swaggering Englishman. "We’ll figure this out later. Remember the spell?"
"Yeah," after a final glare at her Watcher, Faith started through the crowd, throwing people left and right in her temper. Leaping up onto the loading dock, she grabbed one of the men stood there by his arm and flung him into the other two, clearing the way. "That wasn’t even a fight," she scoffed before kicking in the factory door.
"Hey, what do you think G-Man and Mrs. M got up to?"
Faith shuddered at Xander’s query. "Just don’t," she replied before stopping inside the factory. The place was piled to the ceiling with cases of Milkbars. Hearing a cultured sounding voice, Faith glanced to her right.
Across the room from the conveyor where the boxes were sealed, she saw a strangely familiar man on a phone The man started to talk. "Yeah, I've been out there. Town's wide open. You guys can go anytime."
Faith’s brow furrowed in recognition. Blood beginning to boil, she charged over to the phone. "Ethan Rayne, sold any good costumes lately?"
The sorcerer turned to face her, eyes widening in surprise. "Might wanna hurry," the magician dropped the phone. "Well, Faith. What a fine surprise, you’re looking as delectable as ever."
"Ethan," Faith noted her Watcher’s voice had stiffened, chilled to ice.
Ethan’s replying smile was sickly. "Ripper." Suddenly the man spun and raced away, heading towards the inclined end of the conveyer, pulling down racks to block their way.
"After him!" Faith growled before breaking into a sprint. Soon they were weaving through the maze of stacked candy bars in their pursuit.
"Bloody hell!" Giles slumped against some crates of candy, chest heaving.
"That's what smoking will do to you," Xander commented.
"Be quiet," Faith ordered.
"Where'd the bastard go?" Giles queried.
"I said, shut up," Faith snapped. She concentrated for a few seconds, a smile tugging at her mouth at what she heard. Turning, she ran back on herself, spinning around a corner to confront Ethan. The man’s mouth opened in surprise, she closed it with her fist, knocking him full on his ass. "That’s for Halloween, asshole." She followed that up with a kick to the man’s gut, doubling him up. "We're pretty much in a talk-or-
bleed situation. Your call."
Faith ignored her Watcher’s voice to stare stony-eyed at Ethan. "I-I'd just like to point out that this wasn't my idea," the chaos mage said.
"I'm subcontracting. It's Trick you want." Faith’s stomach hollowed at the mention of the vampire. She just knew the bastard wouldn’t leave town. "I'm just helping him collect a tribute... for a demon."
"He's lying. Hit him!" Giles screamed.
Faith shook her head. "I don't think he is, and shut up."
"You're *my* Slayer," her Watcher pushed past her, "knock his bloody teeth down his throat-."
"G! Shut the hell up!" Faith turned back to Ethan. "What demon?"
"I don't remember."
"My guess," Faith glanced at her boyfriend as he spoke. "A mage’s hands are real important to doing spells."
"I say," Ethan paled at Xander’s implied threat. "There’s no need to be so unpleasant.
The demon’s Lurconis. They wanted a way to get the tribute away from people."
"Lurconis! You bastard!" Faith grabbed G as he lunged at the cowering mage. "You stupid bastard! You heartless shit!"
"G!" Faith struggled to hold her raging Watcher back. "Calm the fuck down!"
"Calm down," the Englishman twisted his head to face her. She had to admit to being more than a little intimidated by the rage in his eyes. "Lurconis feeds on babies! The tribute will be new-borns!"
Horror constricting her chest, Faith released her grip on Giles and glanced towards the others. "we need to get to-."
Her voice trailed off at the sound of a gun’s hammer being pulled back. "I wouldn’t."
Turning, she saw G pointing a revolver at a crowbar-wielding Ethan. Moving with the speed of light, Faith snatched the gun off her Watcher and drove the butt into the Chaos Mage’s face, dropping him like a stone. G reached for the gun, but Faith pulled away. "No fucking way," she declared. "Not in the mood you’re in. And where the hell did you get a gun anyhow?"
G smirked. "Rozzer." Faith exchanged a confused look with the others. "A cop," her Watcher clarified.
"Oh shit," Faith groaned. She really hated being the adult. Shaking her head, she turned to the more pressing matter, Ethan’s crumpled body. "What are we gonna do with him," her voice trailed off at the sight of Mrs. M. with a pair of handcuffs dangling from her. "I don’t wanna know," Faith declared before snatching them off the woman and securing Ethan to a near-by pipe. "The hospital, let’s hit it."
* * *
"They’ve got them!" Xander reported as he ran in from the ward.
"Fuck!" Faith exploded. "If we just knew where they were."
"'Lurconis dwells beneath the city, filth to filth.'"
Faith turned to her Watcher. "Say what?"
"'Lurconis' means..." G paused, "'glutton'. And we'll find it, um... in the sewers."
Mrs. M’s eyes lit up and she grabbed G in a stomach-churning hug. "The sewers? You’re so smart!" Tegan’s mom cooed.
Faith stepped between the pair, pulling them apart before something puke-inducing happened. "Time out. These children are gonna die if we don't act now, okay, and
think clearly. There is no room for mistakes."
"Sorry," G muttered.
"Good," Faith nodded. "It’s the sewers then. Let’s go."
* * *
Mayor Wilkins beamed as he looked around the large chamber lit by firelight from torches and candles. Trick was nearby watching the four red-robed vampires who stole the children as they chanted in Latin, stood around the concrete rim of a small pool. "Come on, big guy. They're not getting any fresher."
"Patience, Mr. Trick," he softly counselled.
Suddenly Faith dropped down from above through a manhole. The Mayor immediately moved into the shadows.
Suddenly two of his vampires exploded into dust, killed by crossbow bolts fired by Mr. Harris and Mr. McNally. "Most impressive," Wilkins muttered. Another demon charged the Slayer. She moved with a breath-taking grace and speed, ducking beneath his attack, moving into a leg sweep that took his legs from beneath him, and staking him in a single move. Noting the number of people dropping into the chamber, Wilkins realised it would be only a matter of moments before he was seen and recognised, and started to withdraw from the chamber.
* * *
"Get the babies!" Faith ordered as she moved to confront Trick.
Xander nodded before looking at Jesse. "Flank him?"
His best friend grinned. "Works for me!"
Darting forward, Xander came in at the demon’s right, and Jesse to his left. Xander made sure he was a couple of steps ahead of his friend, the vampire punched him in the chest, knocking him to the ground, but the momentary distraction served its purpose, giving Jesse the time he needed to thrust his stake home. Even as the demon exploded into dust, the girls rushed through, grabbed the babies, and pulled them to safety.
* * *
Faith’s eyes widened when her Watcher charged Trick. "No G!"
The Englishman threw a right that the demon swayed away from before grabbing him by the arm and by the hair at the back of his head. Trick flung G at her, Faith braced herself to catch her Watcher but was bowled over by the missile. Taking advantage of the opportunity, the vampire raced out of the chamber.
Faith turned her attention to the man lying on her. "I said no, dickhead," she groused, accompanying the words with a thermonuclear glare. "And be very careful where you put your hands when you get up," she warned.
For once, her teenaged rebellious Watcher listened, gingerly climbing off her. Suddenly the cavern shook to a deep rumbling, dust falling from its low ceiling. "What the hell's that?" demanded the librarian.
A huge snake’s head suddenly appeared out of the hole in the far wall, howled in a blood-curdling manner and pulled back. "Lurconis, I'm thinking," Faith hefted her stake. She was really out-gunned here.
"Good guess," Xander raised his crossbow towards the gas pipes overhead. "Faith, get G’s lighter."
"What?" she looked confused at her boy-friend. "I know this is stressful, but it’s a hell of a time to take up smoking!"
"Just do it!"
Shaking her head, she held out a hand to the librarian. The Englishman shook his head. "No bloody way! It cost me two sodding quid, it’s gold-plat-."
Faith smiled sweetly. "I could take it off your unconscious, bleeding body." The Watcher glared at her before slapping the lighter in her hand. "Thanks G!"
Faith looked towards her boyfriend. "Light it and get ready." Faith obeyed. There was another cavern-rumbling roar, Xander shot an arrow into the gas pipe above, piercing it, sending a jet of gas flying towards the far wall. " NOW!" Faith flung the lighter up at the gas and dived to the ground. The moment the flickering flame hit the gas it ignited, sending a dancing flame jetting towards the demon’s emerging head.
Lurconis’ roar turned into a high-pitched scream when his head was engulfed in flame, his head thrashing wildly. "Good call, X!" Faith bounded to her feet. "Let’s get the hell out of here!"
* * *
The Mayor pursed his lips together. "That was most unsatisfactory. Things didn't turn out the way I had planned."
Trick shrugged. "Where's the downside? You just got yourself one less demon you
have to pay tribute to. The way I see it, I did you a favour."
Mayor Wilkins smiled. "I guess you did." His smile died. "Except I’m a man of my word. And it gets around I don’t stick to my deals, well gosh my reputation takes quite a hit. And if it’s one things people can’t stand it’s a welsher. Do we understand each other?"
Trick’s stomach hollowed at the unsettling gleam in the politician’s eyes. "I understand, sir," he agreed.
* * *
"What I don’t get is how that Ethan guy knew you? And why did he call ya Ripper?"
Giles sighed at his daughter’s question. He’d been dreading this ever since the affects of the bloody candy had worn off. "Faith, please sit down." After a second his daughter obeyed, sitting in the lounge chair opposite him. "Do you remember Hewitt Alden?"
"The man who raised the bugbear?" The transplanted Bostonian nodded. "In point of fact, it was far from the first time we’d met."
He ignored his charge’s exclamation. "In 1973, I was a callow twenty-year old, newly immersed-."
"I asked for an explanation, I get a lecture from a limey with a dictionary up his butt."
Again, he ignored his foster-daughter’s muttered comment. "I was less than happy with Council regulations, and as a result I rebelled. I started hanging around with Ethan and a number of like-minded souls in the pubs and clubs, boozing, scrapping, stealing, and picking up girls, generally raising hell." He disregarded the supernatural teen’s choked gasp, lost in decades’ old guilt. "Somehow Hewitt Alden found out about mine and Ethan’s talent for magic, and took us under his wing, teaching us all he knew about chaos magic. Three years later, revolted by some things I’d learnt and done, I pulled away and returned to the Council. I’m sorry," he looked to the floor, the words choking him, "I’m sorry I lied to you. I’m sorry I’m not the man I pretended to be."
There was a long silence. "Bullshit," came the quiet reply. "Seems to me you’re still the guy who took in a street kid and looked after her when you didn’t have to. Who’s had my back these past three years. Nothing’s changed."
Giles fought back the tears as he raised his head to stare at his Slayer. "Thank you, dear. You are an extraordinary young woman you know. Perhaps I don’t say it as often as I should, but that doesn’t make it any the less true."
Faith looked embarrassed at his praise. "Yeah," Faith’s full lips parted in a crooked smile. "And you’re still the man who screwed Mrs. Austin-Meadows."
Giles’ mouth dropped open at Faith’s knowing wink. How had she guessed? "Oh, do bugger off," he replied weakly.
Faith shook her head. "Smoking, bad language, making a pass at me, vandalism, beating up a rozzer," the word sounded peculiar coming from his daughter’s mouth. "You’re going to be grounded for a long time Mister!"
Giles groaned at the gleam in his daughter’s eyes. He sensed it would be a long time before he lived ‘Ripper’ down.
A:N: To my American readers, the bars Giles mentions are famous fictional British pubs.
FIC Faith The Series S 3 Ep 9 (36/?)
"Hey Teg-," Jesse’s voice trailed off as he looked at the blonde Slayer dressed in a two sizes too short black mini and her curvy upper body practically poured into a white blouse with the top three buttons daringly unfastened, displaying more a hint of -. Jesse shook his head, tearing his eyes away from the alluring sight, forcing them to the Slayer’s smirking face. "What are you doing wea-, in here," he quickly, stutteringly amended.
Tegan flashed him a gleaming smile. "I understand you’re having trouble with history." The girl leaned over the polished library desk, her blouse falling alarmingly open. "So am I, study buddy!"
The blood drained from Jesse’s face. Standing on suddenly shaky legs, he began to edge for the door. "Um, I’d love to," he licked his lips, forcing his eyes not to concentrate on the curve of the Slayer’s ass or the contents of her blouse but on her face. He had a great girl-friend, he reminded himself. "Only I’ve got martial arts practice. See you later!"
* * *
Tegan laughed softly to herself as the boy fled out of the library. His reaction had confirmed everything she’d guessed. Miss. Chase was too good to lower herself to sleeping with Mr. McNally, the boy was practically brimming with hormones. Making her little project so much easier.
And so what if she had to lower herself to dressing like Faith? Tegan sniffed as she fastened the undone silver buttons on her blouse. The methods she used to get her revenge weren’t important, only leaving Chase broken and humiliated.
* * *
Giles stepped through the bar’s entrance, into the warm, smoky environs of Sunnydale’s only British themed bar, complete with snooker table, darts table, and the comically Dick Van Dyke sounding bartender. And the ruffled dresses on the barmaids were like something out of the 1890s not 1990s.
But, Giles made his way to the bar, it was the only place in town whose jukebox played the music of his youth and served traditional British beer rather than the awful American crap. And, he added with a note of guilt, it was the only place that Faith wouldn’t track him down to, giving him some much needed peace.
He loved his Slayer with all his heart, but that unfortunately was part of the problem.
"Six days," he muttered.
"What was that Mr. Giles?" queried the barmaid, a brassy type that one might find down at ‘The Rover’s Return’ or ‘The Woolpack’.
Giles smiled in vague embarrassment. "Nothing," he shook his head. "I’ll have my usual." He reached into his pocket and brought up a ten dollar bill. "That’ll cover me for tonight."
The barmaid smiled before taking his money from him and going to get his drink. Alone again, he descended back into his morose broodings. Six days until Christmas. Last year, his chest caught at the memory, last year, there’d been him, Faith, and Jenny. He smiled sadly. His Slayer had hidden it well, but he knew his girl, and he knew she’d been excited at having Jenny there for Christmas, the child deep inside her wishing that one day they’d be a family.
But thanks to Angelus and his brood that would never happen.
A part of him had died that day too. With the love of his Slayer, although of course he’d never use such a word in her hearing, a half-smile tugged at his lips, and her quite amazing friends he’d managed to pull himself back together, eventually. But emptiness remained deep within him, an emptiness that gnawed ever wider with the approach of the holidays.
"You’re clearly a man with a lot on his mind."
Giles started at the slightly husky voice by his side. Turning, he saw a ravishing, golden-haired beauty with startling green eyes, dressed in a business suit sitting on the bar stool beside him, the only slight flaw with her elegant outfit her gaudy necklace. "I beg your pardon?" he said, tongue tripping over the words at the blonde’s gorgeousness.
"A problem shared is a problem halved," the woman offered him a perfectly manicured hand. After a second he shook it. "I’m Runa, and you’re?"
"Gil-," he caught himself. "Rupert. Rupert Giles. Can I buy you a drink?"
"A red wine would be lovely, thank you," Runa smiled at him. Once the drink had arrived and the bartender been paid, Runa continued. "That’s a very British name, Rupert Giles. And what brings you over the pond?"
Giles ventured a half-smile. "Family, duty, the boring old things that the English seem to put such store by."
"You sound bitter."
"It’s been a hard year," he sighed, grateful for the opportunity to open up to another adult but as always careful as to what he said. "My girl-friend was murdered." The woman gasped. "If not for my adopted-daughter," he reached into his pocket, bringing out the photograph of Faith he always kept in his wallet, "I would have fallen apart."
"She’s very beautiful," Runa commented.
"Oh she’s so much more than that," Giles trailed a finger down his Slayer smiling face, "she’s brave, loyal, and kind. And soon," guilt deadened his heart. "Soon, she’ll have to face something no child should face."
"That sounds terrible," Runa commented uncertainly. "As a parent it must be horrible to be unable to help your child."
"Not unable, I’m still working on a way-," he corrected fiercely before shooting his companion an apologetic look. "I’m sorry, it’s been a stressful year."
"I quite understand," a strange gleam entered the woman’s eyes. "I bet you wish the entire year hadn’t happened?"
More than anything, he wanted Jenny back. But his own wishes were unimportant next to his Slayer’s happiness. "I wouldn’t wish anything for myself," Giles looked down at the lovingly laminated photograph of his pride and joy. "I’d just like her and her friends to see snow before," his throat tightened as he remembered one of the few pre-Sunnydale times he and Faith had actually connected, a snowball fight on Christmas Eve the year before she was Called. "I’d just like it to bloody snow for once." Rising, he smiled politely at the woman. "I’m sorry, I’m terrible company this time of the year, perils of being hundreds of miles away from home."
"Somehow," the Scandinavian flashed him a dazzling smile, "I have the feeling that home is wherever that girl," the woman’s long fingernail tapped his laminated photograph, "is."
Giles smiled. "You’re probably right. Well, Runa, it was a pleasure. Good-bye."
* * *
"Good-bye, Rupert," Runa, wish demon for the bereaved, smiled to herself as the Englishman walked out of the bar. "Wish granted."
* * *
"Bloody hell," Giles stopped and gaped as he stepped out of the bar and found himself knee-deep in snow. A terrible suspicion forming, he turned back to the bar and hurried in, only to find Runa had gone, mysteriously disappeared. "Oh, bugger," he muttered. Turning to the bartender, he stopped, his fears confirmed. Gone was the thick-set, florid face he’d come to expect in his fortnightly visits, replaced instead by a rat-faced fellow.
Turning, he hurried out of the smoky bar, wrapping his coat around him in the vain attempt to keep out the lashing cold. He had to find Faith.
If his Slayer even existed in this alternate universe he’d stupidly created. "A wish demon," he mumbled through chattering teeth, "you pillock." Wish demons were creatures controlled by a mysterious arch-demon, preying on the wishes of the emotionally hurt to grant their wishes, warping them in some way to cause the maximum damage. Although to be fair, their existence was only a whispered rumour.
Mainly because no-one had ever survived meeting one.
A long hour later, he’d completed the normally twenty minutes walk home, aghast by the horror he’d created, the snow in some places shoulder high, and the town a deathly silent, snow-white morgue, completely empty of people. Even at its bleakest, Sunnydale had never been this devoid of life.
A dead weight hovering on his chest, Giles trudged up the front path and tried his keys in the front door. For some reason, probably trembling fingers, they wouldn’t work. Hoping against hope that Faith was inside, he knocked impatiently on the front door, shivering helplessly in the bitter, cutting cold. "Who is it?"
Giles blinked in confusion at the drunken voice inside his house. If Faith had a young man inside, he would not be happy. He slammed his fist on the door again. "Open the bloody door!"
Seconds later, the door swung open to reveal a tall, pot-bellied man with three days’ stubble and alcohol-hazy eyes. A drunk carrying a pistol, a quite calamitous combination in Giles’ estimation. "Is Faith here?" he demanded.
"Faith?" the man looked puzzled before belching and scratching his groin. Oh dear god, thought Giles with a shudder, let me die now. "Ah," the man’s eyes brightened. "The tramp who hangs with my boy and his group," Giles’ eyes hardened at the man’s insult to his Slayer but mindful of the gun he didn’t otherwise react. "They’re always hanging at the library," the man’s lips parted in a sneer, "much good it does him. Alex’s grades stink. Poor genes from his mom," the man concluded before slamming the door shut.
Alex. Giles blinked at the closed door. "Xander’s father," he whispered. Shoving aside the question as to how the Harrises ended up living in his home as unimportant next to the fact that his Slayer was alive, Giles started towards the school.
He just hoped in this alternate universe the place had central heating. And was in the same place.
* * *
"I’m ready to kick some demon ass!"
Samuel Zabuto forced a smile at his Slayer’s butchery of the English language. His Slayer was a fine young woman, albeit with more than a few rough edges, but the progress she’d made since he’d adopted her out of a Boston state home five years ago astonished him. He just wished she’d pay more attention to her studies. But then he also wished she’d safely reached the cut-off age of 18 without being called. "You be careful out there," he softly counselled.
Despite recent events, his adopted child’s smile had lost none of its beauty to him. "Careful ain’t no fun."
Zabuto stared pointedly at Faith’s left cheek. "Careful gets you through the night uninjured," he reproved, a note of sternness entering his voice.
Faith flinched at the reminder. "We’ll be careful," she promised.
"Don’t see the point, we’re all doomed."
Zabuto and his Slayer exchanged worried glances before looking towards the library table. Sat behind it was a sunken cheeked youth, his eyes hollow and despairing. The death of his girl-friend, Cordelia Chase, and best friend, Willow Rosenberg, a month ago had broken the previously annoyingly optimistic Xander Harris. Where before the boy had always been a morale-booster to the other teens, if a continual irritation to him, the youth was now moody and brooding, listlessly taking part in their activities. Zabuto suspected he only continued to come here because it was marginally better than staying home.
"Hey X," Faith turned to the slouched boy, "maybe you wanna go out with us tonight. Help kick some giant ass?" The youth shrugged and shook his head. His Slayer’s eyes flickered with frustrated pain before turning back to him. "We’ll be back in two hours, k?"
"Very well," Zabuto nodded as his child hurried out, her friends flanking her. "Now," he started to go through some books newly shipped from England at great risk, hoping that there was some clue, a hint to indicate what had caused the snow that had engulfed the world for the past ten years, "let’s see what we have here."
* * *
"You alright, Faith?"
"Five by five, Wolfie," Faith grinned at the rock guitarist stood beside her, her heart lifting as always by the sight of her blue-haired boyfriend. "It’s just, X, ya know?"
"I know," Oz nodded. "But I get it. If I lost you," the werewolf sighed.
"Yeah?" Faith queried.
"Yeah," Oz half-smiled. "It would take me weeks to find a blow-up doll with the right dimensions."
"Asshole!" Faith laughed and punched her boyfriend in the shoulder. Unmindful of the others, she laid her head on Oz’s shoulder. "It’s just, he was the first." Her boyfriend raised an eyebrow and waited for her to continue. "The first guy who was my bud, not just after me for the goodies. He was the first Scooby, and it’s tearing me apart not being able to do shit."
"We keep him safe," Jesse comforted. "That’s something."
"Maybe a makeover?" Jesse’s girl-friend commented. "That always cheers me up."
Everyone turned to the busty blonde. "Harmony, what have I told you about thinking before talking?" Faith reproved.
"That’s always assuming she can," Larry muttered. Devon laughed before kissing his boyfriend’s neck.
Faith grinned at the good-natured bickering going on around her. No matter how down she got, her buds could always be relied on to keep her spirits up. "Hey!" Amy put in, "is that a man over there?"
"Fuck!" Faith cursed as she noticed the silhouette of a man, moving through the town, heading unerringly towards them. What sort of idiot was out at this time? And moving through one the frost giants’ most favoured hunting grounds no less? "Let’s go."
Her friends followed her at a jog. Within a couple of minutes they were at the shivering man, he was a guy in his mid-forties, good shape for his age, and kinda cute in a nerdy sort of way. Will would have dug him for damn sure.
The man’s eyes widened when he saw her, his bluing lips pulling up into a shivering smile. "Faith! Thank god! It’s good to see you!" Faith squinted at the man’s exclamation, she’d never seen the dude before. The man’s face fell. "Oh Faith, what happened?"
Faith flinched when the man reached to touch her ravaged left cheek, torn apart in a fight with a frost giant six months ago, the poison in the beast’s claws ensuring the wound still itched and stung. "Who the fuck are you?" she demanded, her anger at being reminded about her wound bubbling through.
The man tore his eyes from her scar to look her in the eye. "I’m sorry," the man apologised. "I’m Rupert Giles, in another reality I was your Watcher-."
"That’s whack!" she exploded. "Samuel Zabuto’s my Watcher!"
"Samuel?" The man smiled. "A good man. But in my world he was Kendra’s Watcher."
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Faith demanded. But on the other hand, the dude did know her.
"Faith," Oz interrupted, tone tense. "Maybe we should be moving."
"Yeah," Faith agreed before looking challengingly at the Englishman. "You’re coming with."
The man smiled at her. "Five by five."
"Yeah, sure," Faith gaped before shaking her head. The dude definitely knew her, but from where? Faith’s brow furrowed, maybe he was a plant like that W&H bitch who’d been made to look like her mom. Quelling the urge to behead the bastard on the spot, she spoke. "So how come you got here?"
The Englishman scowled. "Not my finest moment I’m afraid-."
A pair of frost giants erupted out of the snow behind them, their shaggy white fur meaning that only their golden eyes, flashing claws, and gleaming teeth were visible. The stranger roared in pain as one of the claws ripped through his back, blood showering through the always winter air.
Leaping forward, Faith flung her axe into the air, the sharp blade crunching into the space between the demon’s eyes, dropping it with a howl. At the same time, Oz, Jesse, Larry, and Devon unleashed crossbow bolts into its partner, likewise killing it.
"Fuck!" Faith leapt over to the crumpled, convulsing man lying on the ground. "You’re gonna be five by five," she lied as she held the man.
"No I’m not." The self-described Watcher smiled at her, blood staining his teeth, the knowledge of approaching death in his eyes. "I’ve caught you in enough fibs to know when you’re lying. But that doesn’t matter," the man shook his head. "It’s a wish demon, Runa," the man coughed. "If you destroy her power base, you’ll reverse anything. And no matter what," the man reached up, stroking her hair, "I was always proud-." Faith felt a strange sense of loss as the last of the man’s blood bubbled out of his mouth, crimson droplets both falling onto the snow beneath them and staining her leather jacket.
"Faith," she started at Oz’s hand on her shoulder. "We have to get out of here."
"Yeah," after a long look at the corpse she rose. "Back to base, we gotta see Boss Man."
* * *
Yamir looked up at the sound of his throne room door being flung open and his chief subordinate, proud Asvido, whose left ear had been taken by that bitch of a Slayer, prowling into his inner chamber. Yamir rose off his throne made of human thigh bones, a smile parting his gaping mouth. "You have them I see," his gleaming teeth flashed in the dark making the hostages whimper in terror. "Well done, our wonderfully heroic Slayer won’t be able to resist running head-long into our trap. And then we’ll feast on her flesh!"
* * *
"Boss Man!" Zabuto looked up at the sound of his Slayer’s strident voice. "We got big -, who the fuck is that!"
Zabuto glanced towards the corpse sprawled on the floor by the door to his office, the man’s left arm ripped off. "That was Mr. Snyder, the principal of Sunnydale Elementary," he sighed. "It appears that one of his buses broke down and the children on-board were snatched by the frost giants." He paused, heart heavy. "He risked coming across town to tell us." Zabuto shook his head. Mr. Snyder must have been a remarkable man, to get all the way here, even after having one arm torn off. The cold would have slowed the blood loss, but even so, it showed true dedication to his students.
"How many?" Faith asked her face ashen grey.
"FUCK!" His Slayer exploded, kicking over the table, knocking books flying. She turned back to the door, long hair swinging angrily. "I best go rescue them!"
Oz stepped into the Slayer’s path. "What about what the guy said?"
"He was talking bullshit."
"He knew you, Faith," Jesse pointed out.
"What guy?" Zabuto put in, anxious to stall, put off the inevitable for as long as possible.
His charge turned around to face him and shrugged. "Some dude named Rupert Giles-."
"Rupert Giles!" Zabuto felt his legs almost buckle beneath him.
"You know the guy?" Faith looked at him in puzzlement.
"The Slayer before you, a Miss. Buffy Summers died in a fire killing a demon called Lothos. Her Watcher was also believed to have died with her, he was a Rupert Giles. He said he knew you?"
"Yeah," Faith looked as bemused as he felt. "Said something about you being the Watcher to some chick called Kendra."
Zabuto was vaguely amused to note that from the jealous look in his Slayer’s eyes, just the thought of him being someone else’s Watcher turned her borderline homicidal. However that amusement was submerged under concern at what the ravishing brunette was saying. "There is a Kendra, Kendra Merrick, amongst the potentials. It was commonly thought that she, rather than you would be called after Miss. Summers."
Faith’s mouth dropped. "Oh fuck," she croaked.
"Well, my sentiments precisely," he said sarcastically. "perhaps you better tell me what else Mr. Giles said." He listened with growing excitement as his charge talked. "It’s just possible," he muttered. "We’ll have to summon Runa," he realised Faith was heading towards the door. "Where are you going?" he demanded.
His charge turned to him, eyes impatient. "I don’t have time for this shit," she growled. "Missing kids, remember?"
"It’ll be a trap."
"Well shit, Sherlock," Faith snorted at Xander’s comment. "I got that one already. But I ain’t gonna sit around doing fuck all like some I could mention."
"If we stop Runa, the children will no longer be missing," Zabuto pointed out.
Faith looked at him for a long second before finally shaking her head. "Too risky, if this is bullshit, we wait, the kids die anyhow. I’m going."
Zabuto pursed his lips. What the teen was saying made a disturbing sense. "Very well, then in that case I’ll stay here and try the summonsing spell. But someone will have to stay and help me, Wish demons are rumoured to be very strong."
"I’ll help." Everyone turned towards Xander. The teen shrugged at everyone’s surprised looks. "It’s a chance to get Cordelia and Willow back, right?"
"Indeed it is," Zabuto nodded.
"Boss Man, can I talk to you in your office?"
Zabuto’s forehead furrowed at the pensive look on the brunette super-hero’s face. "But of course," rising, he walked over and opened the door. "After you."
"Thanks." Once inside, the teen turned to him. "If this Giles guy wasn’t a fucking nut it means," the girl swallowed, "it means when everything changes you won’t be my Watcher anymore, right?"
Zabuto grimaced. "That is possibly correct."
He was observant enough to notice the tears that briefly welled in the brunette’s eyes, but far too discreet to mention them. "Well, I’d just like to say, I really lo-," the girl coughed. "I really appreciate all the stuff you did, for me thanks." The girl strode out of the office. "Guys, saddle up! Time to kick some giant ass!"
Zabuto smiled sadly as the girl walked out. "Yes Faith, I love you too," he whispered.
* * *
Faith slammed her foot into the cavern door. The entrance flew open with a highly satisfying crack. It felt good to have something to take her frustrations out, what with the thoughts of losing her Watcher, her mind plaguing her with thoughts of whether this other reality be any better for her than the current one. Zabuto was the nearest thing to a parent she’d ever had, she’d never known her own pop, and her mom was a worthless slut who didn’t give a shit what happened to her daughter as long as she had money for crack.
But Zabuto, he cared. Yeah, he was wicked strict, but he’d never let any one take advantage of her or try to himself, and he never hit her, even before she had her powers. That English dude had seemed on the level, but who the fuck knew? And she hadn’t liked the easy way he’d touched her scar, not even Zabuto would do shit like that.
Shoving her own concerns aside as selfish, ten years of worldwide snow, that had to end, she strode into the darkened chamber, friends flanking her and her eyes searching the darkness. "Yo! Yamir! How about you get your mangy ass out here now?"
"Slayer, time to die!"
Faith gulped inwardly when a frost giant stepped out of the shadows. Most of the frost giants stood around eight - nine feet tall. This bastard stood close to twelve, with a thick powerful build to match. Forcing her terror down deep, she hefted her battle ax. "Your lines?" Faith raised her axe. "Who wrote them, a Roseanne writer?" Geez, she just hoped in the alternate reality that piece of shit got cancelled.
* * *
"That’s the summonsing ritual?"
Zabuto nodded nervously at Xander’s question, the pentagram seemed correct, and the spell was clear enough. It was just no one had ever been stupid enough to try this before. "I suggest you hide yourself Mr. Harris, element of surprise, remember?"
"Sure." The youth nodded before ducking behind the library counter.
No sooner had the teen done so, when a swirling vortex made up of crackling black energy appeared, shaking the entire library until it cleared to reveal a beautiful blonde.
"You dare summon me!" thundered the demon. "You dare demand my presence?"
"Oh dear," Zabuto breathed. It would appear she was a tad irritated. Gathering himself he spoke. "I demand you remove the wish -, ugh!"
His words were cut off by the demon lunging across the pentagram to grab him around his throat and lifting him off the ground. "Remove a wish?" she screamed. "I don’t remove wishes."
* * *
Yamir beamed as his tribe stepped out of the shadows, surrounding the Slayer, she might bluster, but he could smell her fear. His smile broadened as he noticed something. "Such a pretty scar."
The raven-haired warrior’s eyes darkened. "You bastard!" As he’d expected, the Slayer charged him, flailing axe leading the way. Grabbing the weapon’s shaft, he smashed a paw into her face, her jaw shattering with a pleasing crunch.
The girl hit the floor in a heap, but to her credit, she rolled right back up. Laughing to himself, he threw the axe to her feet. Without a weapon, not even a Slayer was a challenge.
The bleeding girl snarled before smoothly scooping the weapon up. When she came in this time, she came in more cautious, blood still seeping down her face. Suddenly she darted to his left, he moved to block her, and she turned, her axe blade ripping through his side above his hip, blood bursting forth.
Pain making his breath shorten, Yamir exploded. His roar shaking the cavern, he hit the girl with a backhanded slap, knocking her back a step. The female warrior swayed before diving back in, leading with the pointed tip of her axe.
Yamir grimaced when he parried the attack, the tip tearing into his blocking paw. Ignoring the pain he lunged forward, grabbing the girl by her neck and flinging her into the wall behind.
The girl twisted in mid-air, ensuring that she hit it shoulder rather than head first, but on landing she let out an anguished scream, her right ankle twisting unnaturally beneath her. Before she had time to recover he was on her, knocking the axe to the ground, he lifted her overhead by her hair and belt before bringing her down hard on his knee, the sound of bone cracking echoing in his ears.
"Slayer," he breathed in the limp girl’s terror, her spine shattered and raised her to his mouth. Of all humans, a Slayer tasted the finest.
* * *
"This is for Will and Cor, bitch!"
The demon screamed when Xander’s axe cut through the top of her head, but most worryingly didn’t die. Which didn’t bode well for either of them if the rest of the plan didn’t work. Forcing aside his worries, Zabuto lunged forward, grabbed the necklace around her neck and yanked it off.
* * *
"Wish granted!" Runa blinked when the wish didn’t work, she reached for her power necklace around her neck only to find it gone. "Wish granted!" she shouted with increased panic. "N…no."
The Englishman stared strangely at her, his eyes widening. The man chuckled and shook his head. "You almost sounded like a -," he shook his head. "A silly fancy. Well," he stood and smiled. "It’s been a pleasure, goodbye, dear."
"Wish granted!" Runa screamed forlornly at the man’s departing back.
A\N: Before anyone asks the lyrics contained within are my own and the major reason I never made it as a songwriter. I can’t wait to rewrite ‘Once More With Feeling’. Oh lord.
FIC Faith The Series S 3 Ep 10 (37/?)
"Nothing in the world I wouldn't do.
Just to be able to be close to you.
There's nothing that wouldn't be too much.
Just to feel um, your lightest touch.
I'd fight my way through Arctic frost.
Just to ensure that our love won't be lost."
"Ya think she’s hot, why not make a move?"
Oz half-grinned at her comment. But then, you never got more than a half-grin out of the rock guitarist. They occasionally hung out with the musician, he was kinda cool and it was different hanging with someone who didn’t have a clue about her ‘nocturnal duties’. Nocturnal duties, Faith smirked inwardly, damn if that didn’t make her sound like a hooker. "Thinking about it," the rock guitarist admitted.
"Playing it cool, right?" Xander nodded sagely. "Very smooth, good tactic. Or you could go over talk music with her."
"What’s he gonna do, ask her to play with his instrument?" Faith scoffed.
Again the guitarist responded with a half-grin. "Never tried that one before."
"Word to the wise," Faith snorted. "Don’t."
"No, playing it cool is definitely the way to go," Xander put in.
"Yeah," Faith raised an eyebrow at X’s comment. "’Cause you’re such an expert on chicks, right?"
Xander grinned, his arm looping around her shoulders before he kissed her neck. "I got you didn’t I?"
Faith snorted. "I taught ya all ya know, and you know it." Xander reddened and squirmed in the seat beside her. "Well ya’re a decent student and that’s about it. But man," she shook her head and winked at Oz, "the hours I had to put in training him."
"Too much information," Oz rose, his eyes fixed on the band’s lead vocalist, the singer’s honey-blonde hair swinging as she sang. "See you tomorrow."
"Not staying to talk to Veruca?" Xander queried.
Again Oz half-smiled. "Leave them wanting more."
"Smooth," Faith approved. "Very cool. See ya, Oz." The guitarist nodded at them before hurrying from the crowded club.
Xander turned to her as the band’s music slowed. "You want to dance?" her boyfriend asked in his normal stumbling manner that was such a turn-on.
Faith grinned. "Let’s." Faith’s smile widened as they reached the middle of the dance floor and Xander pulled her into his arms, her head resting on his chest as they moved in time to the music, their bodies pressing together. Life just didn’t get any better than this.
"When I first smelt you, that scent.
I knew you were heaven sent.
I still remember that first glance.
I was spellbound, in a love trance.
My heart you've taken for your own.
If you knew how my love’s grown.
Always wanted to stroke your silky hair.
But to pluck up the courage, I couldn't dare.
Ever since that first so fateful day.
From my heart you're never far away."
* * *
"You sensed him?"
"The purple-haired guy sat with the biker chick and the hunk?" Veruca nodded at her drummer’s question. The club dressing room was only small, far too small for all of them, especially considering their heightened senses. "I sensed him, he’s new. My guess is he doesn’t even know what he is."
"He’s never changed before?" the drummer asked.
"He has no idea he’s been blessed," Veruca confirmed.
Her lead guitarist walked in, his closing of the door behind him failing to cut out the sound of the club’s booming jukebox. "I asked around. His name is Daniel Osburne, known as Oz. He plays with a local band, he’s their lead guitarist."
Veruca smiled. "Perfect just perfect. That makes it easier."
"It’s almost time," her bassist put in.
Veruca nodded. "Yes, time to feed." Tomorrow they’d deal with ‘Oz’.
* * *
"Cordy!" Jesse pulled away from his girl-friend in frustration. "I’m putting my best moves on you, and you’re a million miles away."
"Sorry," his girl-friend smiled across her soft-top’s front seat. "I was thinking about Faith."
"You’re thinking about Faith! While you’re making out with me?" Jesse stared at his girlfriend. "That’s, that’s… Well," Jesse paused to consider the idea, "kinda hot actually."
"Doofus!" Jesse winced when Cordy hit him. She could punch for a girl. "I was thinking it’s her 18th soon, we’ll have to get her a present."
"Yeah, we will," Jesse agreed. "But we didn’t come up here to talk about Faith." He ran a finger down the cheerleader’s neck. "We came up here to do things you can never tell your father about because he still thinks you’re a... good girl."
"Oh yeah," Cordelia dazzled him with a full-on smile. "And you were just about to help me prove him wrong."
"That I was." Jesse confirmed before leaning in for a kiss. "Cordy!" he cried when his girl-friend pulled away. "What now?"
"T..there’s something out there," his girl-friend peered through her window.
"Yeah, well I’m in here," Jesse impatiently reminded.
Cordy turned back to him. "Yeah, you are." His girl-friend moved towards him again.
And pulled away just as their lips were about to meet. "Okay, now I *know* I heard something."
Jesse shook his head. "Cordy, there’s nothi-," he jumped when a hairy arm punched through the convertible’s roof. "My mistake, get us the hell out of here!"
"Oh god! Oh god!" Cordy screamed as she reached for the keys, Jesse looked around the car, heart thumping as he saw they were surrounded by three, no make that four, of the monsters, including the one on the roof.
He jumped when his girl-friend slammed the car into reverse, flinging the snarling beast on their roof off and to the ground, its growls turning to screams as the convertible backed into it. Tyres spinning, Cordelia pulled the car towards the main road before turning to him. "Told you I heard something."
* * *
Faith climbed onto Cordy’s car and peered at the savage tear in the roof, forcing back a shudder as she did so. Whatever did this was one bad hombre. "And you're sure it was a werewolf?" she queried as she jumped off the vehicle and turned to her friends stood in the school car park.
"Well, let's see, um, six feet tall, claws, a big old snout in the middle of his face like a wolf. Um, yeah, I'm sticking with my first guess." Jesse paused. "And it wasn’t werewolf. It was werewolves. Four of them."
"It was so awful." Cordelia put her head on Jesse's shoulder.
Jesse put his arm around the cheerleader. "I know, honey."
"Daddy just had this car detailed," Cordelia added.
"Tsk," muttered Tegan. "It was so reckless, putting yourselves in danger like that," the rich bitch reproved. "If you don’t care about yourself, what about Jesse?"
Sensing a by-now familiar argument about to break out, Faith shot her junior Slayer a warning glare before speaking to her guardian and Watcher. "Werewolves, what do you know about them?"
"I’m afraid," Faith groaned at an all-too recognisable gleam in her Englishman’s eyes, "we’ll have to research." Yep, Faith shook her head, that was what she was afraid of.
* * *
"Ahhh!" Wrapped up in his bed, Fingers looked up at Veruca. "I won’t be able to play tonight," Shy’s lead guitarist admitted, "that car hitting me will put me out for a couple of nights."
Veruca smiled. "That’s alright," she purred, visions of the good-looking youth from the previous night dancing before her eyes, "I’ve got your replacement in mind." Other than the two teenagers they’d fed on last night, there’d been no reports of anything that matched werewolf killings. It appeared Oz was resisting his nature. But after he’d watched the pack slaughter, the blood lust would become too much and he’d become at one with his wolf. And hers.
* * *
Oz walked dazedly through the school’s corridors. After waking naked in a ditch, with only vague, terrible memories of turning into something monstrous plaguing him. After he’d crept home he’d rung his aunt only to find that his cousin, Jordy, was a werewolf, Jordy who’d bitten him three weeks ago.
Upon reaching school things had gotten even worse when he’d heard muttered rumours of two teens torn apart by a ‘pack of dogs’. Had he done that? His mind recoiled from the thought, but it was possible. If he could just remember.
Hearing a voice behind him, he turned to see the honey-blonde singer from the previous night stood there. "Hey," he replied.
The blonde smiled. "I’m Veruca, the lead singer with Shy. I hear you’re a guitarist?" he nodded. "I was wondering if you’d be interested in playing with us tonight only our lead fell off a car last night." The girl smiled. "How about it?"
"Sure," Oz forced a smile. Anything to forget what he might have done last night. At least he had a month to plan for the next time this happened.
* * *
"And while there's absolutely no scientific explanation for lunar effect on the human psyche, the phases of the moon do seem to exert a great deal of psychological influence. And the full moon seems to bring out our darkest qualities."
As Giles read from one of his dusty old books, Xander indulged in his favourite past-time, Faith watching. His girl-friend turned to him, a vaguely amused look on her face. "Something wrong?"
"No," he smiled back at the brunette, "view’s great."
"If you two don’t mind?" Giles huffed before turning back to the book. "The
werewolf is such an extreme representation of our inborn animalistic traits that it emerges for three full consecutive nights: the full moon and the two nights surrounding it."
"Whoa," Xander tore his eyes away from Faith to look at the Watcher. "So it’ll rise again tonight?"
"Yes," he glanced across at Willow who was busy reading another of the Englishman’s books. "The Werewolf acts on pure instinct. No conscience, predatory and aggressive."
"In other words, your typical male," Faith commented before affectionately swatting the back of his head, "’least until they’re house-trained."
"On behalf of my gender, hey!"
Giles peered over his glasses. "Yes, let's not jump to any conclusions."
"I didn't jump." Faith defended. "I took a tiny step, man – animal, obvious."
Giles sighed. "The point is that our wolfman could also be a wolf woman, depending on who was bitten by a werewolf."
"Yeah," Xander agreed before looking towards Giles. "Bitten?"
"That’s the standard-," the librarian’s voice trailed off as he stood up, "Xander, what is the matter?"
"I’ve got a lead," he replied before hurrying out of the library, shouting behind him, "I might know who our werewolf is!"
* * *
Xander shoved the locker room open and walked in. "Larry."
The sole figure washing his face in the sink jumped. "Harris! Sheesh.!" The jock shook his head before opening his locker. "Next time wear a bell."
"Why so jumpy, Larry?"
"Geeks make me nervous."
"Is that really it or is there something you're hiding?" Xander pressed. "Like how did you get that cut?" he pointed to the bandage on the school bully’s forearm.
"A dog jumped out and bit me, sixteen stiches," the youth stared at him. "What the hell has it got to do with you, anyway?"
"No," Xander shook his head. "I don’t believe you. I know your secret, big guy. I know what you've been doing at night."
"You know, Harris, that nosey little nose of yours is going to get you into trouble someday... " Larry grabbed him by the shirt, but Xander didn’t react, knowing a combination of his Halloween possession and Giles’ training meant he could handle the footballer. "Like today."
"Hurting me isn't gonna make this go away. People are still gonna find out."
Larry let go of him and stepped back, a scared look on his face. "Alright. What do you want? Hush money? Is that what you're after?"
"I don't want anything! I just wanna help!" Xander exclaimed.
"What, you think you have a cure?" Larry scoffed.
"No, it's just... I know what you're going through because I've been there. That's why I know you should talk about it," Xander responded.
"Yeah, that's easy for you to say. I mean, you're nobody. I've got a reputation here."
"Larry, please, before someone else gets hurt."
Larry shook his head. "Look, if this gets out, it's over for me. I mean, forget about playing football. They'll run me outta this town. I mean, come on! How are people going to look at me after they find out I'm gay." Xander blinked, okay not the revelation he was expecting. Larry smiled. "Oh, wow. I said it. I'm gay. I am gay."
"Yeah," Xander nodded dazedly. "I heard you the first time."
"I can't believe it. It was almost easy. I never felt I could tell anyone. And then you, you bring it outta me," Larry shook his head.
"Really," Xander shook his head. "It probably would have slipped out even if I wasn't here."
"No, no, because knowing you went through the same thing," Larry leant on the locker opposite him, "made it easier for me to admit it." The other boy scowled. "But don’t you think it’s a little unfair on Faith, using her as cover?"
"A…as cover?" Xander stuttered.
"And Jesse, the way you two used to hang around together?" Realisation dawned in Larry’s eyes. "He’s using Cordelia isn’t he? Wow, I mean Jesse’s really hot. You’re okay, but him."
"You think Jesse’s hotter than me?" Xander was in turns insulted and then relieved. "Really not the point," he shook his head. "I’m not gay!"
Larry smiled sympathetically. "Of course, of course not. Don't worry." Larry patted him on the shoulder. "I wouldn't do that to you. Your secret's safe with me. If you ever need to talk…"
"Thanks," Xander muttered before bolting.
* * *
"Where did you go?" Faith queried as Xander rushed back into the library, face pale.
"What is it with you people!" Xander cried. "Always with the accusing! Judging people! Prying!"
"Jeez," Faith looked towards her Watcher, eyebrow raised in confusion. "Chill pill, take one." Faith turned towards Willow. "Red, any luck?"
The Wicca looked up from her lap-top. "There is one name that keeps getting spit out. Aggressive behaviour, run-ins with authority, about a screenful of violent
"K," Faith nodded eagerly. "Give me a name and I’ll track the asshole down and kick-," Faith’s voice trailed off as realisation hit. "It’s me, ain’t it?"
"And why," Tegan snorted, "am I not surprised?"
Deciding punching her way through her fellow Slayer’s face wouldn’t help her argument, Faith instead went on the defence. "Okay, most of those were not my fault. Somebody else started 'em. I was just standing up for myself."
"They say it's a good idea to count to ten when you're angry," Cordelia put in.
Faith eyeballed her friend. "One... Two... Three..."
"I'm guessing your standard silver bullets are in order here?" Jesse interrupted.
Giles shook his head. "No. No bullets. No matter who this werewolf is, it's still a
human being, who may be completely unaware of his or her condition."
"So tonight we bring 'em back alive," Faith concluded.
"What time do you want us?"
Faith hid a wince at Xander’s query, knowing her boyfriend hated it when she
sidelined him. Turning, she shook her head. "Sorry X, this is a two Slayer, one
tranq gun, guy job."
"Hey," she put her hands on her man’s shoulders and kissed him on the chin, "you go have fun at the Bronze, I’ll meet up with you later, promise."
* * *
"Find anything?" Giles queried as the three of them walked through Sunnydale’s darkened woods.
"Yes. And you won't believe what I saw. Brittany Podell was making out with Owen Stadeel, but he goes with Barrett Williams." Both he and Faith stared at Tegan. "If she ever found..." The blonde Slayer’s voice trailed off. "No, no sign of the werewolf. How about you?"
"The same." Giles looked around. "I thought we might, I thought we might knock on a few windows, uh, ask if anyone has seen anything yet."
Now it was his turn to get a double-stare. "G, no one's seen anything."
Giles reddened at his girl’s knowing tone. "No, of course not, no. Yes." He looked around, towards some bushes. "Shall we?"
Faith snorted. "You asking two Slayers into the bushes with ya, G? Ya stud, ya."
He shot his unrepentantly grinning Slayer a glare. "Oh do belt up." Shoving aside the bushes, he started into them. At the last moment he heard a click and suddenly was flying into the yanked upwards by the rope around his leg. "What the bloody hell!"
"G!" Faith cried out in horror.
"What the hell?" a tall, weather-beaten American with a shotgun stepped out of the shadows. "Hands are good right about there."
After a second Faith and Tegan raised their hands. "Who are you? What are you doing?" Giles demanded.
"The name's Cain," the American replied. "I'm the one with the gun, which means I'm the one who gets to do the interviewing."
"Before we begin, perhaps you’d be so good as to release me?" Giles tartly suggested.
Cain exhaled before pulling out a knife, and, his shotgun still trained on them, cut the rope holding the snare. Giles grunted as he crashed to the ground, landing on his shoulder. "You alright?"
He smiled at his daughter. "Yes."
Cain tilted his head and glanced from Tegan to Faith and back again. "Gotta say, I'm impressed."
Giles’ eyes narrowed at the lecherous note in the man’s voice. "Excuse me?"
Faith looks up at Giles, then back at Cain. "Oh shit," the brunette muttered. "This can’t end well."
Now Cain openly leered. "Well, it's good to get the fruit while it's fresh."
"You'd be wise to take that back," Giles growled.
"Hey congrats really," Cain laughed. "A guy my age with two honeys like this, you’re a player, man. "
Fists clenched, Giles started, forward but Faith held him back, head turned as she glared at the man. "Yo, this ain’t like that." Faith shot him a warning look before releasing her grip. "We're hunting werewolves." Cain laughed. "Okay, it's funny if you don't believe in werewolves."
"No," the man shook his head, "it's funny thinking about you three catching one. I mean, this guy looks like he's auditioning to be a librarian, and you're girls."
"How 1890s," Tegan muttered.
"I assure you they’re quite capable."
"Yeah," again Cain leered at his Slayers. "Capable of what, though?" Giles growled and started forward only to stop when Cain levelled his gun at his chest. "Here’s the thing. Werewolf pelts fetch a pretty penny in Sri Lanka, and it's a little hard to skin 'em when they're alive."
"And it doesn't bother you that a werewolf is a person twenty-eight days out of the month?" Faith queried.
Cain smirked. Giles realised he was really beginning to loathe the bombastic hunter. "That's why I only hunt 'em the other three. I'd really love to stay and chat, but I'm on a tight schedule. Any idea where else the boys and girls like to get together around here?"
"You're looking for a party?" Tegan asked.
"No, but the werewolf is. They're suckers for that whole sexual heat thing. Sense it miles away. Since this little doggie ain't here, I guess he found another place."
"Thanks for the info," Giles winced when Tegan crashed a right into Cain’s jaw, cracking it and sending the man crashing to the ground before picking up his gun and bending it into an u-shape.
"Well done, Tegan," Giles approved.
"Hey, I was fixing to do th-," Faith’s voice trailed off, a horrified, terrified, look coming over the beautiful brunette’s face. "I…I know where Wolfie’s gonna be, the Bronze."
"Where the others are," Giles turned. "To the car, and hurry!"
* * *
"In the bar stands a gigolo living on his good looks.
Next to him, a short fat man whose more into books.
But the way you look, that just don't mean a damn.
The beauty of your heart, that's the measure of a man."
Xander looked around the crowded club. Jesse was dancing with the girls, leaving him alone with his thoughts and fears. Suddenly a beaming, perspiring Willow appeared beside him. After chugging down part of her soda, the Wicca spoke.
"Oz is really rocking tonight," Willow exclaimed. Xander smiled vaguely and shrugged. "You don’t need to worry, Faith’s like super-tough, Tegan’s a bitch, but she’s tough too, and Giles is the book-slayer!"
A grin on his face, Xander opened his mouth to query if ‘book-slayer’ was an actual term. And then paled as he registered something. "Right now, I’m not so much worried about Faith and the others as us. The band are all going ‘Bad Moon Rising’ on us."
"Bad Moon-," Willow followed his gaze. "Oh boy."
"That doesn’t come close to covering it." Xander replied, seeing the others
heading towards him, he started barking out orders. "Get everyone out now!"
* * *
"Hurry, G!" Faith implored as she leapt up and down on the seat beside him.
"I’m going," he gritted his teeth as he roared around a corner, tyres screaming in protest, "as fast as I can!"
* * *
Oz swallowed as he continued to play, fingers, deftly, lovingly stroking the guitar strings. Something was very wrong, he didn’t know what, but tonight, he could almost smell the sweat of the dancers, hear the pounding of their hearts and every muttered whisper. "Oz," he glanced towards Veruca. "Join us."
His eyes widened when the lead singer’s body began to swell, clothes ripping, and sprout thick, golden hair. "N…no," his guitar slipped through nerveless hands, crashing to the ground as his temporary band-mates leapt from the stage and into the crowd. Eyes fixed on the carnage before him, Oz felt himself begin to change, the wolf’s howling call impossible to deny.
* * *
"This is not going well," Xander muttered as a werewolf leapt off the stage and onto a fleeing patron, the teen’s head disappearing into the monster’s jaws. He winced as the bar was sprayed with viscera. "I so didn’t need to see that. Four, make that five werewolves from the look of Oz," Xander continued. "We are seriously out-numbered."
"Lucky we’re here then."
Xander’s heart leapt at Faith’s voice. "Faith!"
"Yep!" his girl-friend shoved her way through the screaming to his side. "And if you two jabronis don’t start for the door you’ll have more than just werewolves to worry about."
"Go, X!" Faith grabbed his collar and shoved him towards the door, her eyes fixed on the ensuing carnage.
* * *
"You ready, G?"
"Indeed I am," her Watcher raised his tranquiliser rifle and fired a dart into the nearest werewolf. "Although we have a problem," the Englishman hurriedly reloaded his gun and fired again, even as the werewolf turned and headed for him. "This is single-shot, and I’ll need time to -."
"Understood." Leaping into the air, Faith jumped over the heads of the fleeing patrons and into the path of three of the four remaining werewolves, the other just prowling on the stage. She was relieved when Tegan appeared by her side. "Let’s do this."
One of the werewolves jumped at her, bared teeth shining in the half-light. Faith dropped to one knee, reached above her head and grabbed two handfuls of fur and flung the monster into the bar. Even as she spun around to face the werewolf, another jumped at her from behind, only to be put down by a back-heeled kick to the jaw.
Turning her attention back to the first werewolf, she caught it with a left hook to the jaw as it leapt at her, knocking it back into the bar. The wolf leapt at her again, obviously not a Mensa member, only to be caught by a dart to its back. Yelping in surprise, the wolf hit the ground with a bump, and looked towards Giles as he fired a second dart into it.
"Well done-." Faith grunted as a heavy weight slammed into her shoulders, knocking her face-first to the ground. Conscious of the werewolf’s hot breath on her neck, she reached out, grabbed a bar stool, and swung it behind her.
The heavy seat connected with a solid thump, the werewolf yelped, and rolled off. Faith leapt to her feet and spun to face her attacker, only to be hit by the werewolf leaping at her again, the force of the collision carrying her and her attacker over the bar. "Fuck!" Faith grunted as she hit the ground, pain reverberating through her body, but had presence of mind to drive a knee into the wolf’s stomach, knocking it off.
Rolling up to her knees, she grabbed a bottle from behind the bar and flung it at the werewolf. The monster howled as the bottle smashed into its snout, glass flying everywhere, before leaping at her.
Faith flowed into a side-on stood position and caught the monster with a side-heel kick to its face. The wolf howled as it flew back over the bar. "Demons, vamps, werewolves, it don’t matter," Faith placed her hand on the bar counter and prepared herself to one-hand vault over it, "I kick as-, shit!"
Faith screamed as her hand slipped on some fluid on the bar as she leapt into the air, sending her sailing over the werewolf’s head and crashing into the jukebox by the wall before bouncing to the ground. Winded and head ringing, she was helpless to roll away from the jukebox falling on her legs, pinning her to the floor. Faith turned her head to see the werewolf advancing on her, eyes glinting balefully. "Oh, fuck."
Suddenly a furry shape hit the werewolf, powerful jaws sinking deep into its neck. The first werewolf howled at its unexpected attacker and tried to shake him off, but the other lycanthrope’s jaws were inescapable, and soon the first werewolf sank to the ground, blood pooling on the ground beneath. "Okay," Faith swallowed as the surviving wolf prowled around her, gleaming eyes fixed on her throat. "Is this a good moment," she tried and failed to push the jukebox off her, "to tell ya I was thinking of contributing to PETA?"
Suddenly there was a slight ‘pfft’, a split-second later dart appeared in the werewolf’s neck. The monster howled and leapt at her.
Only to hit the floor with a thud when Tegan threw a dagger into its shoulder. Snarling, the werewolf turned towards the other Slayer only to crumple under the effects of a second dart. For a second there was a strained silence. "Great guys," Faith commented. "Now how about getting me up and these wolfies chained up before they wake up?"
"Nag, nag, bloody nag," muttered Giles.
"I heard that!" she warned.
* * *
"How’s your legs?"
Faith winced at the question. She hadn’t felt it at the time, she’d been too jazzed, but the jukebox had made a hell of a mess of her. If she’d have been normal, she’d had been on crutches for weeks, as it was she wasn’t gonna be wearing the leather mini X loved for quite some time. "Sore, but I’ll live," she turned to her questioner, "thanks to you."
Oz half-smiled. "My pleasure."
"You going?" Faith queried.
"Yeah," the rock guitarist stared into the woods. "I’ve got a flight to Tibet in an hour. A guy Giles knows, some shaman who he reckons knows how to control this stuff." The rock guitarist looked towards her. "Have I told you how weird all this?"
Faith laughed. "Welcome to my world!"
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