FIC: Faith The Series Season Episode 11
"Youíre the Groosalug?" Cordelia gaped at the square-jawed, sapphire-eyed muscle man stood in front of the now closed door. Finally things were looking up.
"I am," the powerhouse dropped to one knee. "You are beneficent to look upon me with such softness in your eyes to ignore the flaws of my polluted birth."
"The what now?" Cordelia asked.
"The odd bulging of my limbs," Cordy gulped when the man executed a double
biceps pose before lifting up his leather shirt to show his six-pack. Charles
didnít have those goodies. "As I matured these defects became more apparent.
The Covenant soon determined there could be no mistake. There was cow's
blood in my veins."
Cordy shook her head. "So? Heck, I'm all cow! "
Grooís eyes widened. "No, no! You are beyond cow. You are of prophecy."
"I bet you say that to all the girls," Cordelia muttered.
"For my people to be part cow is to be less than whole. There was
nothing I could do to prove my worth. I was - incapable even of performing
husbandly duties with any of the females of my tribe."
Cordelia gaped, this goodness was aN eunuch? "You mean you are..."
"Anatomically equipped to mate only with a human."
Cordelia breathed again. "Good to know."
"I was cast from my village." Groo continued. "Cut off from my life
givers. Forced to make my way on my own. I sought to end my suffering. I
foolishly entered every contest of skill and daring that I could in an attempt
to snuff out my pathetic life. But even at this I failed."
"You did?" Cordelia breathed.
Groo nodded. "I won every match. I vanquished every flame beast. I defeated every drokken. It seemed nothing could stop me. The Covenant had no choice but to bestow upon me the name groosalug. The brave, the undefeated."
"Wow." Was it her or was it hot in here?
* * *
Faith looked around the trees. "We're lost." God, she hated the country-side.
"Nonsense," Giles replied. "I've been following the sun. "
"Which sun?" Xander asked. "There're two of them. Alternate dimension? Faithís right, weíre lost," Xander groaned. Giles halted and held up a hand for silence. "You're having a Blair witch moment?"
"Something's hunting us," Faith said for her Watcher.
"Okay," Xander joined them in a circle, Lorne cowering in the centre. "Palace guards?"
"I don't know," Giles tersely replied.
"Oh crap," Faith groaned as screaming figures started dropping from the surrounding trees. In a few moments they were surrounded by a group of humans carrying crude weapons. "Iím not usually this unpopular until people have gotten a chance to really know me!"
* * *
"And that, my princess, is my story in full. When the Covenant summoned me I
was vanquishing the Mogfan beast that bedevils the scum pits of Ur."
Cordelia continued after a beat: "Uh, that's a great story. And
you are a great groosalug. But I'm not your princess. The truth is, I've
got somebody, somebody back home."
"Is he a warrior to challenge the Groosalug?"
"Oh heís a great warrior," Cordelia smiled. "Maybe not enough to challenge you, but heís my warrior."
* * *
The human rebels are gathered around a fire in the woods. Giles, Xander,
Faith and Lorne are all tied to stakes to one side of it.
"I know how we send a message to the princess. We storm the palace!" One rebel yelled.
Their leader shook his head. "That'd be suicide. Our entire number would be wiped out in minutes."
The first rebel nodded. "That'd be a message."
Giles cleared his throat. "Excuse me. I couldn't help overhearing."
Faith groaned, here her pops went again, blundering them into trouble.
"It's all right Faith, I believe we can help these brave men."
Their leader snarled. "Shut up, reconnaissance-cow-scum."
Giles reddened. "Now see here, I've told you already. We're not reconnaissance cows."
"We tracked you coming from the palace. Don't lie," the rebel leader
"I'm not lying. And if it's a message you want sent to the princess, then I know we can help."
Xander groaned. "Shut up, Giles."
"How?" demanded the leader.
"Well, we just happen to be close personal friends with the princess," Giles
Xander closed his eyes. Faith groaned. "This canít end well."
"They know the princess?" One rebel laughed.
Giles smirked. "I can prove it. In my wallet, the leather holder in the
back of my leg coverings." The leader strode over and pulled out Giles's wallet.
The leader flipped open the wallet, revealing a photo of the gang at the last
Christmas party. "It's true. They know the princess."
"Now," Giles continued, "if your organization would just draw up some sort of
list of demands we would be more than happy to present it directly to her
"Lets do it," the leader decided. "Have Sasha write up a list of
Giles smirked at them. "There, you see?"
The leader smiled. "Shove the list in their mouths, put their severed heads on sticks and display them outside the princess' window."
* * *
The groosalug and Cordy lounged on the throne steps as Cordy wrote up her proclamations. "And this one will free the slaves and outlaw polyester. I know it hasn't actually been invented here yet, but I'm a forward thinking monarch."
"Your wisdom knows no bounds," the Groosalug replied.
Cordyís smile slipped as Silas and two other priests enter. "Get out cow," Silas ordered.
Head bowed, Groo hurriedly left. Outraged, Cordy stood before Silas. "Hey. You can't call him that. He is groosalug, the brave and undefeated."
Silas smiled coldly. "He is that only because I say he is."
Cordy glared at the head priest. "Yeah? Well, the way of things is going to change around here."
"Is that right?" Silas smirked.
Cordy picked and held up a rolled parchment. "I've got proclamations!" She gasped when Silas knocked the parchment out of her hand. "Hey!" Cordy protested. "Who's wearing the tiara around here, pal?!"
Silasí smirk widened. "The Powers have seen fit to place their gift in you."
Cordy nodded. "You got that right."
"But let us be clear." Silas continued. "You have no authority here."
"But I am the princess." Cordy protested.
"The princess, like the groosalug, is a tool of the Covenant, nothing more. - You will do what we tell you to do. If we tell you to mate, then you shall mate."
Cordy glared at the priest. "You can't force us to..."
A backhand slap knocked her to the ground. "Remember your place, cow bitch!"
* * *
Faith glared at Giles as she joined the others in kneeling, their hands bound behind their backs, their heads clamped into stocks. "I swear-."
The leader interrupted her. "For the crime of collaboration you are sentenced
"No!" Giles protested. "We're not collaborators, we're not even from around
"On my count of three," instructed the leader.
"Idiot," Faith shot Giles a disgusted look.
Just as the executioner was about to strike a black-fletched arrow slammed into his chest. The man fell back with a scream, dropping the axe. Faith looked up to see mounted guards charging down from the surrounding hills. "Imperial guards!" the leader shouted.
The rebels scrambled to face the attacking guards. Faith joined the others in hurrying to her feet, the stocks clamped around their necks swinging ponderously. "This is our chance to escape!" Giles cried.
"There they are! Kill the otherworlders!" A galloping guard cried.
"I really had about enough of this world." Faith growled as the ropes binding her wrists finally snapped. "Next time I take a vacation, Iím staying earthside!"
* * *
Sasha flung his sword after the last of the fleeing guards, the blade
shuddering as it impaled the demon, toppling him from his saddle. Sasha walked
over to the corpse of their leader, dragged the sword out of his corpse, and
strode to where Faith and the others were stood.
"They did not come for us. They came for you. Why?"
Giles let out an impatient sigh. "Because they know we will try to rescue the
"Rescue her from what?" asked the rebel.
"From mating with the groosalug," Giles replied.
"Iím not that bothered," Xander muttered.
"That will fulfil their prophecies and consolidate their power," another rebel commented.
Xander groaned. "Okay, Iím in."
"You're fighters. We are on the same side. You may go."
"Letís hustle," Faith muttered.
"As Spencer Davis said ĎKeep On Runniní," agreed Lorne.
"Do you always make weird music references?" Xander queried.
"As the boss said ĎNo Retreat, No Surrender," Lorne replied.
Faith shook her head. "Thatíd be a yes then."
Giles stopped and turned back to the camp. "These people have a cause worth fighting for. Isn't that what we do?"
"What about Cordelia?" Faith queried.
"If we're going be getting her out of that castle we're going need help," Giles replied.
"The question should be do we really want to rescue her?" Xander sighed when both she and Giles glared at him. "Okay, okay."
"We still want to storm the castle gates," argued one of the rebels.
Another nodded. "Yes! We have to show them!"
"We can't defeat them!" disagreed a slightly more realistic third. "They have the power, they have the wealth, we have no plan!"
"I say we storm the gates!" snapped another.
Giles interrupted. "If you do they'll cut you down. You can not wage a frontal attack against a stronger opponent. This kind of battle can only be won by being sneaky! You create a diversion by striking at several different points at once. While they are looking ahead, you come from behind."
"And kill their leader," Faith added. "Chop him up into little bits."
"Sometimes you scare me," Xander muttered.
"It's a good plan!" shouted one of the rebels.
"I agree," nodded their apparent leader before turning to Giles. "You shall lead us!"
Giles looked towards her. "Why do people keep putting me in charge of
"I blame in-breeding," Faith replied with a shake of her head.
* * *
"It's not my duty to question authority," the Groosalug argued.
Cordy shook her head. "Hold on there. You're groosalug, the brave and undefeated champion, if it's not your duty to fight evil than I don't know what is."
"I fight who I'm told. I'm not a real champion!" Groosalug admitted.
"Then it is time you stopped working for Monk-boy and became one," Cordy replied. "If thereís one thing Iíve learnt from my friends itís that true champions fight for what they believe in."
Groo shook his head. "I am unworthy of lifting your burden, highness."
Cordy smiled. "Nonsense, you're way worthy. What burden is that again?"
Groo reddened. "When you receive me - on the night we are wed."
Cordy gulped. "I like you Groo, I really do. With all the muscles and such, but Iíve got somebody. Although I wonder if you do it in another dimension, is it really cheating?"
"It is foretold in the ancient prophecies that one will come who is of prophecy. She will mate with the groosalug whose demon blood shall take on the prophecy."
"What is this prophecy anyway?" Cordy queried
Groo shrugged. "Only those of the priestly orders know."
Cordy shook her head. "It doesnít matter, I canít do this. I have Gunn."
* * *
"The groosalug is our most formidable opponent." Giles decided. "We have to get him out of the castle. If challenged to fight he has to accept?"
One of the rebels nodded. "Yes. A champion of the realm he can not refuse, but no man can defeat the groosalug."
"How about a woman?" Faith smirked.
Giles smiled. "My thought exactly. Once heís out of the castle we'll create diversions here, here and here. Then a few of us will scale their back wall here where their defences are weakest."
Xander shook his head. "Weíre splitting up too much," his daughterís boy-friend objected.
"I'm leading this charge." Giles retorted before turning to one of the rebels. "Tell me about the killing device."
"It sends a signal to the collar on every slave in the land."
"What kind of signal?" Faith asked.
"Blows their heads off," replied Lorne. Everyone looked at the demon who shrugged. "Hey, why do you think I left this place?"
* * *
The full moon bathed Giles in light as he sat in front of a fire, leaning on an unsheathed sword. "The guys you send to create those diversions are gonna die," Xander argued.
"Quite probably," Giles looked towards Xander, eyes bleak, "you remember your
Halloween possession. In warfare if you try not to get anybody killed you wind
up getting everybody killed. Get ready to move out."
"And me?" Faith queried.
Giles turned to his daughter, heart heavy. "Go to the village. Call out
the groosalug - and kill him."
"Kill their undefeated champion." Faith grinned tightly. "No problem."
"Iíll go with you," Lorne volunteered. "I know how to prepare the challenge
* * *
Cordy stood as the door opened and Silas entered, followed by a couple more priests.
"Good. I see we're progressing towards mating. Let's get on with it."
"Huh?" Cordelia thought quickly. "What about the wedding?"
Silas shook his head. "I tire of waiting. Do it!"
Cordy crossed her arms and gave the priest her vaunted ĎQueen Cí glare. "With you guys standing around? I don't think so!"
Silas stepped closer. "Then I'll encourage you."
Another priest rushed in. "My lord! There is something in the village you will want to see."
"What is it?" Silas pursed his lips before striding over to the window and peering out. "A challenge has been issued." Silas turned to Groosaluug. "You have been challenged. You must fight."
Cordy shook her head. "What? No! No fighting. You canít fight my friends!"
"Silence!" Silas pointed to Groo. "Out!"
The moment the groosaluug had left, Silas spun to face her. "Cow-bitch!" His back-hand knocked her back to the floor. "When the Groosaluug returns you will mate. You will mate on your friendsí corpses if I deem it!"
* * *
Giles watched from the shadows as some of the guards ran off, then moved
deeper into the bushes where the rest of the rebels were waiting, motioning to
the assembled warriors, several of which hurried off. A few moments later voices
ring out again.
"Rebels at the south gate!" A few more guards run off. "Rebels at the north wall!"
Giles crouched down next to one of the rebels and looked at him. The rebel looked from Giles to the guards left in front of the gate, then rose and charged "Death to the state! Death to the state!" Two more rebels follow him to engage the remaining guards as Giles looked down to the ground. Then signalled for the others to follow him.
* * *
Xander threw a grappling hook up over the wall and started up it. Just to his left, two rebels charged the gate with a battering ram. Xander winced as one of the rebels fighting the guards let out a scream as a sword sliced across his stomach.
* * *
The groosalug arrived at the village square in a chariot, took off his gloves, walked up on the podium and held his hand into the flames of the torch.
"This guy," Faith muttered. "He doesn't feel pain?"
"Oh, he feels it, but he's the groosalug." Lorne replied. "He overcomes all things. Good luck."
Groo turned to her. "You will die, barbarian!"
"Look," Faith forced a smile, "I thought I was fighting some demon. Now youíre human, weíre on the-, owwww!" She winced as Groo smacked a right into her face. She ducked the follow-up left. "íKay, no more trying reason."
* * *
Silas strode down a rush-torch illuminated corridor. A priest hurried
up behind him.
"My lord, rebels have breached the castle!"
"It's Silas! Stop him!" Giles roared before leading the rebels towards the head priest only to be intercepted by some palace guards
* * *
Faith ducked another left and blocked a thrust kick on her shoulder. This guy was good, but she was the gal whoíd kicked the Master, Kakitosis, Penn, and Angelusí asses, she could handle him. She winced as she caught a right to the hip, she thought.
Blocking an incoming left on the outside of her forearm, she stepped into the hybrid and caught him with a palm-strike to the chest. The hybrid stumbled backwards before attempting a spin-kick she ducked under before grabbing his grounded ankle and pulling. The moment the demon hit the ground on his back, he started back up only to catch her heel kick firmly on the jaw. His eyes crossed as he slumped to the sandy ground.
Faith smirked. "Winner and still champion."
* * *
Heart pounding, Cordy paced in the priest's chambers, a dark red cloak worn over her princess outfit. She glared as Silas approached. She punched the demon in the face only to gasp when he grabbed her by the throat. ""This is all your fault! You think you can destroy our way of life? Think again! I will kill every cow in the world before I allow that to happen." With his free hand Silas pulled the cloth off a device. "Everyone of you." With a mad cackle the priest shoved her into a bookcase. Silas' hand hovered over the killing device. Giles, followed by Xander, and a bunch of rebels charged in. "You're a little late."
Eyes fixed on Silas, Giles lowered his sword, handed it to another rebel and held out his hand. "You don't have to do this."
Silas cackled again. "I don't have to - but I'm going to." Cordy straightened. "And you and your filthy cow-princess can go straight..." Her sword sliced Silasí head from his shoulders.
"Your cow-princess is tired of hearing you yak, padre," Cordy said as the decapitated corpse dropped to the ground.
"Nice going," Xander complimented.
"Yeah great," Cordy slumped against the wall. "Can we go home now?"
* * *
Lorne couldnít help but smile as he strode Sunnydaleís streets, sticking carefully to the shadows. After years of searching, he had somewhere to call home, more than that, he had people who accepted him. And such fine people too, there was a spirit about them, embodied in their young leader, and marshalled superbly by the older Watcher.
He stopped at his new home and started unlocking the door, swinging it open, he stepped inside, smile broadening at the singing he heard. His mouth opened in a flamboyant greeting.
And then he saw the singer.
"Oh," tears shone in his eyes, "that poor child." He had to find the Slayer and fast. "Oh," his breath caught, "that poor girl."
FIC: Faith The Series Season 5 Episode 12
"Ah," as usual Holland Manners hid his disgruntlement with his rather shoddy employees with a smile, "I assume youíve all been making plans as just how to deal with the Slayer?" When silence was his only reply, he sighed. Such lack of initiative. It made him worry about the younger generation. Although of course it also made his position a good deal more secure. He pressed a button on his desk and the outer door swung open. "Ladies, gentlemen," his smile widened into something more genuine. "Meet Toth."
* * *
"Jesus!" Faith snarled as she leapt out of her chair at the banging at the front door, exchanging a frustrated look with Giles. Theyíd been back in their own dimension less than an hour and already trouble was a comminí a knockiní. "This better be apocalypse-worthy," she snarled as she waved Giles back down and hurried to the front door. She flung it open to find Lorne stood there. "Whatís up Hal Jordan?" she queried.
"Hal Jordan?" the demon stared distractedly at her. Probably blown away by her hotness. She found it crossed species, demons and humans found her irresistible.
"Perils of having a geek boy-friend," Faithís eyes narrowed at the demonís sudden flinch. She opened her mouth to ask why but before she had chance the demon was hurrying past her and into the lounge. "Rude much?" she muttered before following the demon.
"As I told you," Faithís eyes followed the demon as it paced the floor, a
nervous energy surrounding it, "I can read auras. Bo Diddley might have sung
ĎYou canít Judge A Book By Its Coverí but when it comes to me and auras, I
"Quite," Giles shot her a bemused glance. She shrugged, like she knew what the hell was going on. Gilesí eyes returned to the demon. "Please tell us what youíve discovered."
"Oh boy," Lorne licked his lips and looked towards her. Suddenly Faithís heart chilled as premonition struck. No, she shook her head, it couldnít be. "Her boy-friendís not human, heís some sort of dimensional k-."
"Youíre lying!" Before she knew it, she had her hand wrapped around Lorneís throat, squeezing as she shook him. "Tell me youíre lying!" She screamed, the demon strangely blurred.
"Faith, please." After a second, she became aware of Giles tugging at her biceps. "Iím afraid heís probably right."
Shocked, she released her grip, allowing the demon to slide to the ground. "You definitely," Lorne coughed, "kill the," the green-skinned demon coughed again, "messenger," another cough, "around here."
Faith ignored the demon to stare open-mouthed at the Englishman, head shaking in desperate denial. "My own theory was that it hÖhad to be one of the people you most cared about. Iíd narrowed it down to three people. Your father-figure, myself, your best friend, Cordelia, or your lover, Xander. Iím sorry darling."
"No," she fell against the Watcher, painful sobs engulfing her. "It canít be.
"Iím sorry," she felt Gilesí arm around her shoulder, his hand tousling her hair. "Iím sorry. Lorne," the Watcherís tone changed too imperceptibly for anyone other than her to notice, "Iíd appreciate if you didnít mention it to anyone. Not even Xander."
"Of course," the demon patted her on the back. "If you need anyone to talk to, you know where I am."
* * *
Giles kept his eyes on his listless looking Slayer as she dragged herself around one of Sunnydaleís graveyards, the others, even Xander, hanging back, sensing her air of negativity. Which was fortunate, Xanderís one attempt at conversation had nearly ended with the bewildered youthís decapitation.
Giles sighed. Heíd thought patrol might have perhaps lifted his Slayer out of her depression. "Giles," he glanced towards Wesley, "should Faith be patrolling in this condition?"
"Sheís clearly ill, unusual for a Slayer, but not unheard of. Perhaps we should patrol without her tonight?" Wesley suggested.
"Sheíll be fine," Giles curtly replied.
"Are you sure?" Wesley pressed. "She doesnít-."
"I said," he growled, "sheíll be fine!" Wesley flinched at his tone. Giles forced his ragged nerves under control to begin an apology that he really couldnít be bothered giving. "I know youíre -."
"Slayer!" Suddenly a green-faced, black-cloaked demon appeared in front of Faith and pointed a rod at her.
"Faith!" He and Wesley started forward at the same moment, the curvy brunette either frozen to the spot or wanting her pain to end, the others following behind. He hit Faith square in the back, knocking the both of them to the ground.
As they crashed to the ground a bolt of light hit Wesley full in the chest, carrying his fellow Watcher over a near-by gravestone to land in front of a thick bush. The demon growled something before disappearing into the darkness. The others ran over to Wesley, discreetly leaving it to him to help Faith up. "Are you al-, are you uninjured?" Faith nodded with a surliness that was worryingly reminiscent of the troubled teen heíd adopted over five years ago. Giles looked around. "Obviously every oneís shaken up," he saw Gunn and Xander helping Wesley up, "we might as well call it a night."
* * *
Wesley groaned as he awoke and looked around his still lightening surroundings. A cold rage built up inside him as he recalled what had happened. "T..they just left me?" he growled in disbelief. Heíd taken some sort of energy blast for that wilful girl and her bastard of a guardian and those drones the Slayer called friends had just left him.
"Bitch," he growled again. Then smiled. Oh yes, payback was going to be such a bitch.
* * *
Wesley groaned as he rolled out of bed. He shivered, remembering the previous nightís frightening events. And that fall had been so painful, he shuddered, his mother had always said he was of a delicate constitution. No, he wrapped himself back in his quilt, Sunnydale was definitely too rugged for him.
* * *
Giles stared distractedly at the book before him, the words blurring as he flicked through its pages. He knew he should be searching for information on this Toth, but he had larger concerns. Giles sighed and shook his head. Heíd met Xander on the way out and dissuaded the young man from trying to visit, saying Faith was ill.
And what to do about the young man?
It was far from his fault, and yet the father inside him screamed violence every time the boy spoke. Shaking his head, he tried to focus again. When he failed, he slammed the book down with enough force to bring Cordelia scurrying in. "That book cost $300 off Dem-Bay!" the receptionist squealed. "And itís no Gucci handbag!"
Giles shot the striking brunette a glare, but was too weary, too soul-sick to put any real heat behind it. "Has Wesley turned up yet?"
"No," the former cheerleader had a look of wonder on her face, "I actually beat one of you two in. Does this mean I get a raise?"
"No," Giles wearily shook his head, he really didnít have the energy to deal
with the cheerleaderís eccentricities, "it means you get on the phone and find
out where he is."
"Do you think Groo would have gotten work with Gunn and Xanderís company?" Cordy sighed. "Oh my two men all sweaty and -."
Giles shuddered. "Phone, now, Cordelia."
* * *
Wesley whistled as he strode down Sunndyaleís main street, his hands in his pockets, a wide grin stretching his face. Noting the roadside flower vendor deep in conversation with a passing costumer, he discreetly lifted a pre-packed bunch of twelve roses and continued on his way.
Stopping outside his destination, he leaned against the wall and waited.
A few minutes later, and the building door swung open. "Hey," he straightened and pulled the flowers out from under his jacket, offering them to the blonde hurrying down the steps, "want to go for lunch?"
Kate stared dazedly at him. "What about-."
"Rupert?" he smiled. "Youíre not going out anymore. And to be honest, Iíve struggled with my feelings for long enough."
"Thereís a very fancy Italian, just around the corner," Wesley continued.
Kateís cheeks coloured. "WÖWesley-." The policewoman took a breath. "My place is just around the corner."
* * *
"Well thatís strange!"
Giles fought back the weary sigh that always seemed to follow a pronouncement by Cordelia. Instead he looked up at the receptionist stood in the doorway. "Please, expand."
Oh please let it be Angelusí return riding Pegasus, anything to take his mind off Faithís heartbreak. "Iíve just spoken to Wesley," Cordy giggled, "oh itís-." He cleared his throat impatiently. For a wonder the former cheerleader re-discovered the point and stuck to it. "I originally rang him at home, but he didnít answer. But then I tried his cell, and not only did he have it on, I could hear a woman giggling in the background."
Giles gaped, mouth opening and closing akin to his pet goldfish of some forty years previously. "A woman?"
"I know," Cordelia nodded. "I didnít think he knew any, much less what to do with one!"
"Quite." Giles stared dazedly at the cheerleader. Things were unravelling faster than heíd expected.
"Have you found anything on this Tooth?"
"Toth," he wearily corrected. "Ancient demon, very strong, last survivor of the Tothic Clan. It also says that for a demon he's unusually sophisticated."
"You mean he knows how much to pay for a good pair of pumps?"
"Not quite," Giles felt as if his head would explode. "Unlike most demons, he
does not fight barehanded. He uses tools, devices. He's also supposed to be very
"Devices, what like that thing he had last night?"
"Precisely," he nodded. "Iím endeavouring to identify it, but at present-," he smiled. "Ah here it is!"
"Really let me look!" Cordelia snatched the book heíd been perusing off his desk before he had chance to react. "Wow! Ugly looking thing, I thought you said he was sophisticated?"
"Cordy," Giles tried his sternest tone.
As usual the cheerleader wasnít home. Or at least wasnít listening. "The rodís called a ferula-gemina. It splits one person in half, distilling personality traits into two separate bodies. As near as I can tell, Toth was attempting to split the slayer into two different entities." Cordelia looked at him. "I donít get it."
"One would have all the qualities inherent in Faith, and the other one with everything that belongs to the slayer alone ... the, uh, the-the strength, the, uh, speed, the heritage. Then Toth would kill the weaker half, the Slayer half dying immediately afterwards." Giles gasped as he realised something. "And when it hit Wes, I think it separated him into his strongest points and his weakest."
"So which oneís the real Wes?" Cordelia asked.
"No, no," he shook his head as he stood and began to pace, "you donít understand, both halves are actually Wesley. And if theyíre not rejoined together heíll die. Call the others, we need to find him and this woman before something drastic happens."
"Okay," Cordy nodded. Five minutes later, the cheerleader was back, a troubled look on her face. "Theyíre all on their way in, except," Giles raised an eyebrow at the cheerleaderís uncharacteristic reticence, "Kate, a fellow cop answered her desk phone, apparently they saw her leave with an educated-looking man."
"Kate? Wes?" Giles slumped into his seat.
* * *
Wesley whimpered as the door crashed open. "Iím going to bloody kill him!" He trembled as he stuck his head under the pillow, the sound of thudding feet on the stairs as Giles charged through the house.
Suddenly the bedroom door swung open and there stood his fellow Watcher, eyes blazing manically. "You, you!" For once Gilesí eloquence seemed to fail him, instead the older man started forward with fists clenched.
"No, no, no," Wesley whimpered.
Suddenly Gunn and Groo were dragging the swearing Englishman back. "Are you sure the beam did not also hit Mr. Giles, Princess?" Groo asked.
"Will you stop with the calling my girl ĎPrincessí?" growled Gunn.
"Iím sure," Cordelia glanced at Faith, when the blank-eyed Slayer failed to speak, she continued, "this is the Wesley who hasnít performed intimately with Kate."
"Say what?" Faith blinked. "Wes has been sticking it to the cop?"
"Lovely turn of phrase, my girl-friend."
Faith shot Xander an almost wounded look before continuing. "Whatís going on?"
Wesley listened in growing confusion as Cordelia explained what her and Giles had discovered. "We need to get to Kateís now," Xander denied.
"Oh no," he shivered. "Things are too rough outside, it would be-."
"Get up!" He gasped as Giles grabbed him by the scruff of his vest and yanked him to his feet. "The quicker you get dressed, the less likely I am to stove your bloody face in."
"Uh, if what Cordy said is right, this Wes didn-."
"Shut up, Xander!"
"Shutting up, sir."
* * *
Wesley looked up at the insistent knocking. "I know youíre in there, Wesley!"
"Oh no," Kate threw her hand up to her mouth, pulling the bed sheets around her.
"Relax luv." Wesley as he strutted over to the door, pulling his pants on as he did so. Unfastening the chain, he swung the door open.
And caught a right to the jaw. "You bastar-," Gilesí curse turned to a grunt when he head-butted him in the face, leaping forward to crash into the other man and knock him to the ground, him on top.
"I am so not in the mood for this!" Before he had chance to throw another punch, the Slayer grabbed his shoulder and flung him back into the copís apartment.
"You lousy coward!" Wesley jumped up the moment he hit the ground. "Hide behind your Slayer will you-." His tirade trailed off when he noticed a very familiar figure cowering in the background. "What is going on here?"
"I will not miss again, slayer!" a voice thundered.
* * *
Faith grinned sourly as she spun around to see Toth stood at the end of the corridor. This she could deal with. "Cordy, explanations!" She yelled before launching herself towards the demon.
Her shoulder crashed into its chest, knocking Toth onto his ass while she landed like a cat beside it, arm-sweeping its legs from underneath it as it struggled to get up. The moment Toth hit the ground she was charging it. "Shit!" She swore when the demon grabbed her ankles and threw her face first into the corridor wall.
By the time sheíd spun around to face Toth, heíd made it to his feet. Faith grunted as the demon caught her with a right, snapping her head back, and opening a cut on her bottom lip. Ignoring the coppery taste in her mouth, she ducked a follow-up left hook before planting a maliciously hard kick between the demonís legs. His eyes crossed and he started to double up, allowing Faith to grab his head and twist.
A crack rang out as Tothís head twisted around. "Iíve just taken out the trash," she scowled before allowing the demonís limp corpse to fall to the ground.
Her elation faded as she turned to see Xander watching her. If only every problem could be solved so easily. Swallowing her pain down deep into the place she kept all her heartbreak, she strode back to her friends. "Everything explained?"
Giles shot both of the Wesí murderous glares before nodding. "Willow was just about to-."
"Let the spell be ended." Suddenly the two Wes were replaced by one. Willow beamed. "Done!"
* * *
Wesleyís palms were clammy and his heart thumping enough to make his chest ache as he stood outside the door. Heíd raised his fist to knock four times only for his hand to fall uselessly down. After another sigh, he shook his head and turned to leave.
His heart jumped slightly at the voice and turned back to see his former
Ďpartnerí stood peering through the door crack. "KÖKate," he stuttered, mouth
predictably failing to work, "IÖI was going to apologise -."
"Donít," the door opened a little more. "Not unless you really regret what happened." His cheeks coloured as he remembered how sheíd felt to touch, her scent, the sounds sheíd made. But he didnít speak. "Do you want to come in?"
Wesley looked down at his feet. "Giles-."
"Rupert and I are over," there was a note of undeniable sadness in the copís voice, "weíre the past. Unless you regret what happened between us?" Wesley forced his head up and shook it. "Well then," satisfaction replaced sorrow in the copís voice, "are you coming in?"
After a second he stepped towards the police woman, a smile tugging at his lips.
* * *
"Hello, Faith." Gilesí heart tore in half as he strode into his adopted daughterís darkened bedroom to find her sat on her chair, eyes down, knees tucked under her chin, and arms wrapped around her legs.
When the distraught beauty didnít answer, he started to talk. "Iíve been giving Xanderís situation some thought. From all Iíve been able to delve up about the Key, it appears all your memories of him will be true." Faith started at that. When she didnít speak, he continued. "Heíll have been put here in Sunnydale from birth, unaware of his destiny, awaiting your arrival. Everything you think heís said and done, he really has. Every risk heís taken, every demon heís endured, heís done it. And heís done it for you."
"I should have known."
Giles forced himself to ignore the desolation in the young beautyís voice. "Should have known what, Faith?"
"That someone as kind and caring like Xander," Faith slowly raised her head, the pain written clear in her luminous eyes, "couldnít love a messed-up skank like me. Heíd have to be a fake."
"Now you listen here," Giles decided molly-coddling would only take him so far. "You are not a messed-up skank. Far from it. Youíre a beautiful, loving hero. As for Xander not loving you." Faith started as his hardening tone, but he continued regardless. "I donít want to hear such rubbish again. It doesnít only demean you, it demeans all our efforts, it demeans Jonathan, Jesse, Amy, and Jennyís," a husky note of longing entered his voice, "sacrifices. Donít try and tell me we all made the mistake of believing in a messed-up skank as you put it. Because thatís what we do, we believe and love you, Kate, Wesley, Gunn, Willow, Tara, Cordelia, myself, and," he paused, "Xander. We all love you."
"I love him," the tears the Slayer had been holding in streaked down her face as she shook and wept, wailing her pain. "I love him!"
"I know dear, I know." Giles wrapped his arms around the sobbing girl, one hand stroking her mane, "I know. Just let it out."
FIC: Faith the Series Season 5 Ep 13
"Hey Lockley, you and your wall of weird," Kate looked up wearily from her desk, ready for her daily dose of baiting from the cavemen she worked with. "You heard this one? Apparently thereís a limb factory somewhere in Sunnydale?"
Kate stared at the speaker, a portly, crumply detective in his mid forties who mistakenly thought of himself as the office wit. "You mean artificial joints?" she queried for want of anything else to see.
"No," the manís sagging jowls bounced as he chuckled. "Actual body parts from
living, breathing people. Itís some sort of urban legend one of my informants
tried to pass off to me. Says his cousin was telling him about his lawyer only
having one eye for years, bailed him out last week, two eyes."
Kate pulse raced despite her scepticism. "Well you donít want to be bothered with urban legends, give the details to me."
* * *
Kate took a breath as she entered the lobby of Watcher Investigations, having not returned since starting her relationship with Wesley. Her brow furrowed as her ears picked up snippets of an argument Ė Ďneed to knowí, Ďkeyí, Xanderí, Ďothersí, nothing that made any sense but the discussionís participants were definitely getting heated. Stopping at the inner officeís door, she raised her hand to knock.
Before she had chance to, the door swung open. "Ya listening in cop?" Kate backed off, disquieted by the almost molten rage she saw in the beautiful brunetteís eyes. "That how ya get yar breaks? Snooping?" Faith began to advance on her, the swing in her hips even more predatory than normal. "How about ya tell me how long youíve been snoopiní?"
"I..I," a cold clammy fear twisted her chest, recognising the way the Slayer was looking at her was very much akin to the way she looked at a vampire or demon that had really pissed her off. Before she knew it she was backing off. "IÖI need to see Giles-."
"Yeah?" Faith snorted. "G donít need to see a back-stabbing bit-."
"Thatís enough, Faith." Kate breathed again when Giles came out of the office, stepping between her and the advancing Bostonian.
Hurt filled the young womanís liquid eyes, almost enough pain to make her feel sorry for the beauty. Except said young woman was about to rip her head off. "Oh yeah," Faith spat. "Take her side against me!" Gilesí mouth opened. "Donít forget sheís doiní your bud on the side!"
"Faith!" Giles stepped after the brunette as she raced off before sighing, shoulders slumping as he turned to her, a worn look on his face. "I cÖcan oÖonly apologise for Faithís behaviour. Sheís been under considerable stress over the past week."
"Itís alright, Rupert," Kate smiled weakly. No bones broken, at least not
this time. "Faithís problems, is it anything I can help with?"
"I..I donít think this is a situation anyone can help with," her former-lover forced his shoulders to straighten, the smile that accompanied it also strained. "Now, Iím sure you didnít drop into see how we were going on. What do you want?"
The probably unintended barb in Gilesí words almost made her wince. "Yes," she nodded, her tone unintentionally turning brisk\professional, "of course. I have a possible case for you." Giles raised an eyebrow. "There appears to be a body part factory in town-."
"Oh we canít let them get a foothold," Gilesí lips tugged up in a momentary half-smile at his pun before sobering. "There are certain demons that can regenerate dead tissue, but re-grow body parts?" he shook his head. "I donít believe there are any with the power to do it across species."
"No, not re-grow limbs," Kate shook her head. "Transplant them from one person to another."
"TÖthatís monstrous," Giles gasped. "What exactly is your information?"
"Well, a fellow detective told me a story about a lawyer supposedly getting an eye back," Kate paused. "It sounds ridiculous, but the lawyer works for Wolfram & Hart."
Giles groaned. "You think there might be credence to this?" Kate nodded. "Perhaps it doesnít just stop at aiding their own employees. Perhaps theyíre out-sourcing their services to anyone who can pay," Giles shuddered. "Monstrous." The Englishman paused. "However, your evidence is coincidental to say the least. The aforementioned lawyer could have had a recently cured eye condition that necessitated a patch until it was cured."
"You donít really believe that!" Kate protested.
"No, given the W&H connection, not really." Giles shook his head. "However there are a number of unanswered not to mention disturbing questions. Where do they find the donors? What happens to the donors after the procedures are carried out? Where are these procedures carried out?"
"The only person we know who might know the answers is the lawyer," Kate pointed out.
Giles chuckled dourly. "I hope youíre not suggesting kidnapping him?"
"No," Kate sighed in frustration. "Of course not. But there has to be some way of tracking this limb-factory down."
"If it even exists," Giles mused. The Watcher smiled as he looked over his shoulder to where a terry-robed Lorne was coming downstairs. "Of course, I have the solution. Youíll have to sing for Lorne."
"Oh no," Kate shook her head, eyes widening with horror. "I donít sing."
"Itís hardly the West End or Broadway, my dear," the Englishman murmured before
taking a hold of her arm and pulling her towards the demon. "I think weíll go and see Lorne."
* * *
"You want to sing for me?" Lorne clapped his hands together. "Of course, itís been too long since I did a reading. Of course," he pouted, "my last reading didní-." His voice trailed off at Gilesí hard stare from behind the pensive-faced detective. "All Iíll want from you dear, is one of those lovely smiles and a few verses of a song." He picked up his sea-breeze and strode over to the reception table. "Please, Rupert, come with me."
He smiled at Kateís question, oh the many times heíd been asked that beauty. "The song isnít important," he replied as he sat, "the emotion behind it is." He directed his gaze towards the police officer as she began to sing Air Supplyís ĎAll Out Of Loveí. Eyes still fixed on the singing police officer, he spoke to his companion. "You do realise heíll have to be told."
Unsurprisingly, the Englishman stiffened. "Thatís up to Faith. Sheís my primary concern."
"As you wish treacle," he smiled, unfazed by the manís hard tone, "but he has a right to know. And youíre a good man, you know that."
Giles glowered at him before grimacing and changing the subject. "Have you seen anything that might help us?"
"Yes," Lorne replied as he rose. "That was beautiful, darling, beautiful, I
thought I was listening to a 30s cocktail singer." The demon passed the cop a
piece of paper. "Find what links the six names on that paper and youíll be one
step closer to what you want."
"Is that i-." Kateís eyes widened. "Wait, I recognise three of those names as being ex-cons."
"Well," Lorne smiled. "Youíve got your starting point."
* * *
Kate sighed as she pulled away from her computer, rubbing at her eyes. "All six of these names are parolees, all clients of the same parole officer, all who havenít turned up in the last three months."
"Thatís three coincidences, two more than Iím willing to swallow," Giles was grim-faced as he pulled out his cell. "Iíll phone the others, tell them to meet us at the office."
Kate bit back a groan when Wesley pulled her to one side upon her and Gilesí arrival at the office. "Why didnít you contact me before your ex-, before Giles?"
Kate winced at the hurt in her boy-friendís voice. "Itís nothing to do with you and I," she hastily reassured her lover. "Giles has the Slayer, thatís all." Her tone hardened at Wesleyís distrustful look. "You can either accept it or you canít, but itís the truth. Heís our leader."
* * *
"Giles, can I have a word?"
Giles hid a wince at Xanderís voice behind him. Forcing himself, he turned around to face the young man. "Of course," he managed a nod, "can we step inside my office please."
The boy smiled weakly. "Sure." Once heíd closed the door behind the pair of them, the teen spoke. "Do you know what Iíve done wrong?"
Giles once again had to hide a wince at the hurt on the boyís face. "I know," good lord, he paused, this was a terrible situation, one without any right answers. "I know Faith needs you to be patient with her, and give her some space." Giles paused. "And you, being the young man you are, will do that, understand?"
"Understand," the youth mumbled.
"Bloody hell," he muttered as the bemused and hurt-looking youth stumbled back out into the reception area. Lorne was right, Xander at least deserved to know.
But that was for another time, there was more urgent business at hand. Following the youth out into the reception area, he shook his head at his almost scared charge before directing his gaze towards their group. "Thank you all for coming," he began, "it appears that Kate has discovered another Wolfram & Hart operation, a Ďchop shopí for humans."
"Chop shop?" Gunn spoke up, "what do you mean?"
"I mean exactly what I said, as unlikely as that may sound," Giles replied.
"Apparently the law firm are running a business transplanting healthy body parts
from people onto the well-paying clients and best-performing staff."
"Ohhhh goddess," whispered a pale-faced Tara. "Thatís hideous."
"It is rather," he agreed. "However it is unconfirmed although very likely at the moment."
"Well Faith," Cordelia purred. "Maybe you should look into those butt implants you so obviously need." When Faith didnít respond, Giles saw Cordeliaís eyes flicker and watched as the cheerleader attempted to lean in and whisper something only for Faith to pull away.
Not wanting anyone else to notice, Giles hurried on. "However the evidence is somewhat overwhelming although circumstantial. As a result, we need to find more evidence."
"How are they doing this?" Wesley glared at him, probably something to do with Kate coming to him rather than aid. Well, he had too many problems of his own to be bothered with giving out relationship advice. And it wasnít as if he was a Don Juan anyhow. "Snatching runaways off the street?"
"No, well not that weíre aware of." Although that did give Wolfram & Hart a whole other avenue for collecting body-parts. The dregs of society with no-one to care that theyíd gone. "All the possible victims weíre currently aware of are parolees who disappeared while under the care of the same parole officer."
"Parolees take a powder all the time," objected Gunn.
"Nevertheless," Giles continued. "I think it best we run a few checks, then perhaps confront the man. Willow?"
The witch started at his voice and stared blankly at him. He smiled and looked meaningfully towards the computer. "Oh right, do you want me to check him out?"
"That would be the next step," he agreed.
"Right," the red-haired Wicca hurried over to the computer and turned it on
before looking towards him. "Iíll need everything youíve got on this parole
"Of course," he looked towards Kate. "Detective?" He melted into the background as the detective began to talk.
"Okay!" Willow let out an excited squeal. "Iíve just finished checking the officerís bank records and Iíve found heís made nine deposits of five thousand into an account opened six months ago. An account separate from the one his salary is paid into."
"A deposit per person?" suggested Kate.
"That would be my guess," Giles scowled. "This bears further investigation."
* * *
"Mr. Archer! Mr. Gary Archer?"
Archer scowled as the insistent thumping on his apartment door forced his attention away from the wrestling. "Who is it?" he demanded as he rose, strode across his apartment, and swung the door open.
"Rupert Giles," the bespectacled middle-aged man replied. "Private Investigator."
"Youíre English?" he grunted.
The Englishman smiled. "Well yes, that doesnít preclude me from being a private investigator you know. The worldís most famous detective was after all an Englishman."
Archerís eyes narrowed. "Whoís that then?"
"Why Sherlock Holmes of course," the man stepped over the threshold. "What a lovely place you have here," the private investigator looked around his spacious apartment. "Must be quite a stretch on a parole officerís salary."
"Yeah." Archer reached behind the door for his baseball bat leaning there.
"Naughty, naughty." Archerís head snapped around when his wrist was grabbed in time to see a brunette bombshell grinning at him. He only had half a second to ogle the teen temptress before her fist was crashing into his jaw.
* * *
"Faith!" Giles gasped as he spun back to the doorway and to his daughter stood over the crumpled parole officer. "Youíve knocked him out? I hadnít even started questioning him yet."
"Yeah, next time Iíll let him brain you with this," Faith raised the baseball bat.
"Ah, well done," Giles looked around. "Faith close the door." He strode over to the coffee table, picking up the can of beer before tipping it over the unconscious man.
"Wasting beer, where is an officer of the court when you need one?" Faith asked.
Giles waited until the parole officer had begun to splutter to consciousness before speaking. "Faith," Giles kept his gaze firmly on the parole officer, "break the bat." The parole officer gasped when Faith wordlessly took the bat between her hands and pulled up the bat splintering with a resounding crack.
The parole officer let out a shocked gurgle. "How did she do that?"
"That shouldnít be your main concern," Giles warned. "Your concern would be what sheíd do if you didnít answer my questions and I left the room for say a minute. The longest sixty seconds of your life I shouldnít wonder."
"Iím like a regular attack dog," mused Faith. "Woof. Woof."
"What do you want?" gasped Archer.
Faith smiled. "Smarter than the average parole officer."
"I want you to tell me where you took," Giles paused to pull out his note with the names of the missing six on and read them out.
"Wolfram & Hart would kill me," Archer pleaded. Faith cleared her throat meaningfully. Archer gulped. "Wait, hereís the address."
* * *
"This the place?" Gunn queried as they pulled up outside a dreary-looking travel agentís.
"Thatís what Archer said," Giles retorted. "letís check."
The four of them, Xander, Gunn, Giles, and Faith, all climbed out of Gilesí jalopy. Giles strode briskly to the carís trunk and opened it. Hers, Gunnís, and Xanderís eyes all widened when Giles reached in, grabbed a handful of Archerís hair and yanked him out. "Is this the place?" The parole officer grunted and nodded. "Thank you." Giles shoved the bound and gagged man back into the trunk and slammed it shut. "It would appear this is the place."
Gunn gulped. "Not arguing with you English."
Giles beamed. "So glad to have you on board, Charles. Iím thinking security will be top drawer. Window sensors, motion detectors, cellular backup, guards, obviously."
"Iíve got that covered," Faith grunted as she tore a trash can out of the pavement and flung it through the shop window. "See?"
* * *
"Oh very subtle," Xander muttered as glass shattered and half a dozen men charged out. He blocked a haymaker from one of the men on his forearm before stepping in and butting the man in the face. Wincing as pain raced through his head, butting was never like the films it always hurt, Xander nonetheless followed up with an uppercut to the jaw that had his opponent slumping to the ground.
Xander looked around to see his friends had dealt with the other five and were already moving into the shop. Xander stepped over the crumpled guard and followed the others into the darkened shop to find Faith stood in the shopís centre, a thoughtful look on her face. "Itís hollow here," the Slayer husked. "Trapdoor underneath."
Even as Faith stepped off, Xander started towards, hoping for an excuse to speak to her, to get a clue to whatever heíd done wrong, and maybe then start to fix it. But then Giles was flinging the trapdoor off, and Xander found himself following the others down into the dimly-lit basement.
"What is this?" Xander stopped dead as he reached the bottom to find a room lined with glass cells, each holding partially maimed naked person.
"Save the ones you can," Xander shuddered as he glanced towards Gilesí etched in granite face. "Turn the life-supports off on those you canít. And then weíre setting this place on fire. Theyíre not using it again."
* * *
"We have to do something about W&H, G," Faith paced the lounge floor, agitated beyond measure. "I mean I knew they were evil, but that was some sick shit!"
"Faith," Giles licked his lips. "We have to tell him."
Faith glanced towards her Watcher, brow furrowing in confusion. "Tell who,"
suddenly it hit her. "No way," she shook her head. "No way." If she told him it
would be even more real.
"Faith," Giles sighed. "He has to know. He deserves to know."
* * *
"We need to talk."
"Hey Faith!" Xander jumped up from the Batman graphic novel heíd been perusing, he felt very Dark Knight right about now, and turned to his girl-friend, excited that sheíd finally come to see him. His smile faded as he spied his girlís forbidding guardian stood behind her, a grim expression on his face. "Hey, G-Man," he shuffled from foot to foot. No matter how many demons he faced, an annoyed or irritated looking Giles still scared the bejesus out of him. "Do you want to take a seat?"
"Thanks," Faith nodded uncertainly at him before moving over to the roomís two seats. Xander sat on the edge of his bed, opposite his two guests.
After a long silence, Giles spoke. "Weíre here to see you about a very grave matter," the Watcher paused to squeeze Faithís hand. "Itís a matter weíve struggled with, but as it concerns you and Faith the most, you deserve to know."
Xanderís brow creased. Giles couldnít be cryptic if he trie-. Xander gaped as the penny dropped, shocked eyes moving from the Watcher to his girl-friend before stopping there. "WÖ.what does the Council say?"
"We of course havenít informed them," Giles stared at him. "Informed them about what exactly?"
"Faith being, um," Xander licked his lips, "we used birth control, but I suppose it was inevitable, the amount of-, um." His voice trailed off, cheeks reddening.
"You think Iím pregnant," Faith let out a hysterical laugh.
"Oh goodness," Giles shook his head. "If thereís a way to complicate matters
youíll find it. Faith isnít pregnant."
"Okay," Xander breathed again. Heíd never doubt Durex as long as he lived. "In that case, whatís the problem?"
Giles looked towards Faith, the Slayer shuddered and stared up beseechingly at her father. "YÖyou tell him."
Xander stiffened at the pain in Faithís voice. Every part of him wanted to go to her and hold her in his arms, but some dark instinct told him sheíd only recoil. "Giles," he forced a firm note into his suddenly trembling voice. "What is it?"
"Very well," Giles licked his lips. "Some time, that is to say, a few months ago, I discovered a prophecy about Faith." Xander groaned inwardly, experience had taught him such things never went well. "It claimed that one of Faithís companions wasnít human but a sort of dimensional key hidden here to be close to the Slayer."
"Okay," Xander nodded, glad to have an answer. "So Iím assuming youíve narrowed down the list of suspects? Any idea who it is?"
Faith made some sort of choked gasp, what little colour she had remaining draining from her face. And then it hit Xander. "NÖ.no," he shook his head. "IÖIím human."
"Iím afraid not son," Giles looked immeasurably sad and weary, face creased
with the sort of pain that never really goes, "Lorne heard you sing-."
"No, no, no," Xander shook his head, heart tightening.
Despite his denials, Giles was remorseless. "You were put here specifically for Faith to protect."
"Itís wrong," Xander shook his head, hurt crushing his chest. All the pain, humiliation, and neglect heíd suffered had been some part of a master-plan. "Iím human." Suddenly he was curled up in a ball, tears pouring down his face as he shivered, a great chill engulfing him.
"Oh bloody hell."
"Hey," he felt Faithís hand on his shoulder, "it donít change how I feel Ďbout ya. I thought it did, but seeing ya now, like this, I realise it donít. You and me are forever babe."
FIC: Faith The Series Season Episode 14
Giles sighed as Faithís worried voice trailed off before sheíd completed her enquiry. "Heís still sitting in his chair, Faith." He reached out to squeeze one of Faithís shoulders as they slumped. "Donít blame yourself, dear. This isnít your fault, youíre both victims in this."
"Iím gonna talk to him," Faith stepped through the door and gently closed it behind her.
* * *
"Come now, Rayne," Holland sighed as he inspected his surroundings. He was in one of their baseís basement cells, their dull dreadfulness a stark contrast to the upper floorsí gleaming luxury. It was a place he didnít particularly enjoy visiting, what with the uncomfortable furnishings, drab dťcor, and the smells, the awful stench of pain and terror. Some of his colleagues were invigorated by such things, sometimes would even eat their lunches down here while they took in the sights, but he found it a distraction, a necessary evil.
"Ahhh! Ahh!" He turned to the man strapped in the steel chair, his arms and legs secured, and his neck collared to the chair. The once-arrogantly aloof Englishmanís eyes had been bludgeoned shut, his nose splattered across his face, a chisel across the bridge would have that effect apparently, and several of his teeth littered the floor, ripped out of his mouth through his demonic torturerís spindly fingers.
"Now, this unpleasantness need not continue." Holland glanced at the drip attached to the chaos mageís left arm. It was unlikely that the Englishman had the strength left to summons magic, but it didnít do to take risks. Satisfied the drip still had plenty of fluid in it, he continued. "All you need is to answer my questions. After all, itís not as if you havenít bedevilled the Slayer yourself in the past."
The mageís bleary eyes momentarily focussed on him. "You have no idea what Rupert-."
"Means to you?" Holland smiled. "You forget who I work for. Of course I know
about your unrequited affection." Holland looked towards the torturer, eyes
hardening. "Snap a finger."
"Ahhhhh!" The man scream as the demon casually grabbed a digit and yanked it back, bone splintering like a matchstick.
"Letís not labour under any illusions, Rayne," Holland continued with the prisonerís sobs had died down to sniffles. "Youíre not a hero. Youíre a weak and petty man who never bothered to grow up. Pretending different will only cause me annoyance and you an immense amount of pain." He nodded at the torturer. "Hurt him."
The man spoke once his screaming had finished, voice harsh from his screams. "WÖwhat do you want to know?"
"This Slayer, sheís not like the others, theyíre sheep, no, ants nibbling at W&H, but sheís different. Thereís a dangerous quality to her." Holland paused, formulating the question. "Youíve had dealings with her, why is this?"
"Thereís two reasons, oh god," Rayneís body arched as pain shot through him.
"Faith didnít go through the traditional Council Potential System-."
"I know this," Holland looked towards the torturer.
"But you donít understand what it means!" Rayne screamed. Holland gestured the demon back. After a terrified look at the demon Rayne continued, his voice marginally more controlled. "Because she didnít come through the Council Potential System, sheís experienced life, its good and its bad, so she understands how precious it can be, to really fight for it in those moments when those with less understanding might give up. More than that, her childhood has made her extremely resourceful and resilient. The second reason is rather more simple, no Slayer has had such a resourceful team around her."
Ah, Holland nodded, the first reason didnít help him, but the second, there was potential there. "Thank you for your assistance, Mr. Rayne," he looked towards the torturer. "You might as well finish him off," Holland started towards the door. "We need the space for other guests."
* * *
"Hey." Xander looked up but didnít answer. Faith squared her shoulders before walking over and squatting in front of her man. As bad as this had been for her, it had to be even worse for Xander. It wasnít her after all who wasnít real.
Nope, just the most important man in her life. Faith licked her lips before
continuing. "The others are worried about ya-."
Xanderís head snapped up, eyes widening in horror. "You didnít -."
"Course not," she hastily reassured. Theyíd have to be told at some time of course, sheíd accepted that. So, she was gonna get heat for dating a dimensional key, sheíd dated worse. "Theyíre your buds, theyíre gonna worry, you being you wonít change that."
"This thing thatís after me," Xander took a breath, "does Giles know what it is?" Faith slowly shook her head. Xander forced another breath. "But this using my blood opening this dimension up to hell is bad. So Iím thinking, the only way this whatever doesnít get my blood to use is to make sure Iím dead before it gets here. Itís not like Iím really-."
"Donít you dare!" Angry now, Faith grabbed her manís shoulders and shook him. "I donít care what no stinkiní prophecy says, youíre real to me, damn it!" Her lips quivered. "Donít just think of ya, ya selfish bastard!" Her chest tightened as she began to shake, the strength leaving her legs. "Whatíll ya killiní yarself to Red? Or Gunn? Or me!"
Suddenly she was sobbing, entire body shaking. And then Xanderís arms were around her, clumsily holding her. "Ignore me," her boyfriend chuckled weakly, "you know me, I never think anything through."
* * *
"Hello Lillah," Lindsey greeted as he fell in beside the leggy lawyer. "Any idea what this meeting is about?"
"I thought you were the one with your ear to the ground." Lillahís smile was all poison. "Well I say close to the ground, what I really meant was in the sewer."
"Most of the things I meet down there have already been on intimate terms with you," Lindsey fired back as he entered the office. His breath was sucked away by the monster stood beside Holland Manners.
The creature was six foot six and thick with it, wide shoulders, and tree trunk limbs accompanied by a v-shaped back and barrel chest, all encased in an oily, leathery skin that seemed to blur when you tried to focus on it. Two dull red eyes stared out either side of the creatureís crocodile-like snout, its mouth crammed full of sharp yellow teeth. The knuckles on the back of the creatureís claws were studded, jutting dangerously out of the back of its hands while a huge curved tusk jutted imperiously out of its forehead. And the stench, Lindseyís nose wrinkled, the entire room stunk of rotting corpses.
"This is a Dark Crown," Lillah hissed beside him at the mention of the feared demonic assassin cult. Manners smiled beatifically. "And Tarragon has very kindly agreed to aid us in solving our Slayer problem."
"Um, sir," the comment came from Gavin Park. "He certainly looks formidable, but the Slayer has seen off plenty of threats, both from this firm and other sources. Why will he succeed?"
"You see," Hollandís smile widened. "The Dark Crown wonít be hunting the Slayer, itíll be hunting her friends."
* * *
"That was a great film!"
"Yeah, great." Seeing Cordyís eyes narrow, Gunn opened his mouth to make an excuse.
Before he could speak, their third wheel was waxing lyrical. "These films are a most wondrous magic, does each screen have his own magician?"
"If you call a projectionist a magician sure," Gunn muttered as he led his girl-friend and her apparently adopted pet towards his pick-up. And yes, of course Groo just had to sit up in front with them.
"Whatís up with you?" Cordy demanded. "Youíre packing more attitude than Shaft!"
"I happen to like Shaft," Gunn defended as he paused as he began to rummage through his pockets for his keys. "Iím," at the last second he chickened out of complaining about Groo, "worried about Xander."
"Oh that?" Cordy sniffed. "Faith will have realised she can do waaaaay better than that loser, so heís sulking." Cordy looked towards Groo. "Want me to set you up with her?"
"You are most kind, oh regal one." Gunn shook his head as the pan-dimensional warrior bowed at the waist. "But once one has been in the presence of such perfection as yourself, even a mighty and beautiful warrior such as Faith fades in comparison."
"Iím glad you noticed," Cordelia beamed then glowered at him. "Iím glad somebody noticed."
Gunn ignored his girl-friendís glare to return to the original point. "I donít know, hon," Gunn shook his head doubtfully. "She seems awfully worried about him if theyíve broken up."
"Soft heart and a guilty conscience," Cordy shook her head. "Faithís too soft for her own good."
"Under all that leather you mean?"
Gunn immediately regretted his words when Cordyís always impressive chest puffed out an extra couple of inches and her brown orbs narrowed to dangerous slits. "And why have you been taking note of what Faith wears?"
Gunnís jaw dropped at the injustice of it all. He happens to occasionally notice what the bodaciously Ėbodied Slayer wore, especially when it was often so impossibly tight, and he was in the wrong, but Cordelia could of course have her puppy trailing her every step. Finally he gathered the courage or stupidity to respond.
"Fair Cordelia! Behind me!" Suddenly Groo was jumping onto the back of the pick-up. A beast bounding out of nowhere to crash into the hybrid, sending him crashing into the back of the pick-upís cab.
Gunn had the briefest half-second to consider the stupidity of acting and then he was climbing onto the side of his pick-up. The demon turned in its advance on the stunned hybrid, its eyes flashing maliciously before leaping at him.
"Ooof!" Gunn hit the ground with a grunt, tarmac not softening the impact in the slightest.
"Here," Cordelia ran over and started to help him up. Or more correctly yank him up "Help Groo!"
Gunn shook his head as he charged forward. Groo this, Groo that. He was getting real sick of the damn hybrid.
The bloody-faced dimension hopper was kicking the demon off as Gunn arrived. Gunn ducked under a backfist before cracking a right into the beastís back, wincing as pain shot up his hand. "Damn thingís-, whoa!" He gasped as the creature grabbed him by his pants crotch and shirt collar, lifted him overhead, and threw him onto the hybrid, knocking them both to the ground.
And then the beast was gone. "What was that?"
Gunn winced at his girl-friendís strident demand as he disentangled himself from the hybrid. "I have no idea."
* * *
"No! No!" Tara shook her head. "Gently, you have to do it gently, just stroke, donít poke it." Tara shook her head as she watched her girl-friend commit assault on her prized home-made vegetable soup with a wooden spoon. She turned away from the hideous sight of Willow ruining her momís recipe to edge towards the window, a strange scratching-like sound drawing her attention.
"Aaaaah!" She screamed as the window exploded inwards, shock causing her to fall on her ass, a terrifying monster leaping through to glare at her.
"Gaaaarrrrrr!" The monster recoiled when Willow threw the panís contents into its face, steam coming up around it.
"I knew your vegetable soup would be good for something!" Willow commented as she helped her up, and pushed her towards the doorway.
Tara glared at her girl-friend as they charged down the corridor. "So not funny."
* * *
"You seem tense tonight, darling?"
"Tense?" Wesley smiled at his girl-friend, hating the fact heíd made her so concerned, but loving the fact she worried about him. "Not exactly, more distracted. Thereís something up with Giles, I just wish," he shook his head as his voice trailed off.
"You think he has a problem that he wonít share with you, because of me?"
"No, no," Wesley shook his head as he stared at the blonde clad only in his shirt. "I felt he was concealing something, pulling away before this." Wesley grimaced, ever since his Ďseparationí at the hands of Toth, his old feelings of inferiority had become accompanied by a cold rage. "Bloody hell," he shook his head, taking a calming breath, "but Iím tired of him and Faith deciding my opinions donít have any weight. I might not be as experienced, but I know the odd thing about demonology."
"Iím sure itís-." Kateís ocean-blue eyes widened. "Wesley, down!" Wes reacted instinctively to his girl-friendís sudden urgent tone. Even as he hit the ground, Kate dived at the bed, lunging under their pillow to pull out the snub-nosed .32 she insisted leaving there. Wesley looked over his shoulder in time to see three shots slam into some demon drawn up from hellís depths, knocking the beast out of the window it had just leapt through. Kate looked down at him. "We need to get to the others."
"Okay," he reached to throw Kate her pants.
"Nowís not the time to be a proper Englishman," Kate instead grabbed her coat. "We donít have time for that."
"Oh, good point," he conceded. "Letís go."
* * *
"Whatís the commotion?" Faith queried as she strode down the steps to find the others gathering in the office lobby, including, her eyes hardened, Wes and the cop-bitch in not quite all their clothes.
Giles cleared his throat. "It appears-."
"Is Xander alright?" Willow queried.
Giles shot the red-head an irritated glare at the interruption, but concern for her childhood friend overrode the wiccaís usual shyness. "Oh," Cordelia airly interrupted. "Heíll have probably have smashed a ceremonial Babylon 5 plate. And thatís world-ending, not at all like breaking a heel on a pump!"
Cordelia flinched at the glare Faith sent her way before looking towards Willow, eyes softening. "Heíll be fine," she said, words ringing hollowly in her own ears.
"Yes, now," Giles cast her a look before continuing to speak. "This demon sounds like a -."
"Dark Crown?" Wesley interrupted. When everyone turned to the younger Englishman, he continued. "A demonic assassin. The question is why would he attack us rather than Faith?"
Giles opened his mouth to reply, for a panic-stricken moment Faith wondered if this had somethiní to do with Xan being the key, and then a crash from upstairs made her forget all about the Dark Crown.
* * *
Xander wearily rose, unable to put much effort into even walking to the toilet. He spun around, lethargy forgotten when the window behind him shattered. His eyes widened as a monster crashed through to land on the ground.
"Um," Xander stared at the monster, "this is way beyond office hours-."
Suddenly the monster was on him, swinging spiked fists, he ducked a right, then the beast had his left around Xanderís throat. Xander gasped as the creature slammed him into the roomís wardrobe, wood splintering under the unforgiving impact. The monsterís free hand slapped him across the face, the blow drawing blood, and then he was flung to the ground, the beast kicking him in the side en-route.
Xander wheezed painfully when the demon grabbed his hair and yanked his head back, realising something vitally important.
Despite how lousy everything had suddenly gotten, he didnít want to die.
* * *
Faith ignored her Watcherís cautionary voice to race upstairs, heart pounding with what she might find. Had that crash sheíd heard been Xan doiní something even dumber than was normal, like offiní himself? For once, she really, really hoped it was a demonic attack.
Heart pounding, and sweat slicking on her forehead and cheeks, she powered across the landing, cursing the building for its size, her friends in hot but distant pursuit. An adrenalin-fuelled kick tore open the door to Xanís room, and then she was striding inside.
A cold fury mixed with no little relief engulfed her when she found the demon the others were talking about standing over her crumpled boy-friend. "Hey asshole," she cracked her neck as she stalked over to the demon, "youíve made your way up the card, wanna try the main event?"
The demon had only half-turned towards her when she hit it, one hundred and ten pounds of super-powered bad intentions crashing an overhand right into the demonís jaw. The monster flew into the devastated wardrobe and then she was on it, hitting it with all her rage and power, kick, punch, butt, punch, punch until the demon was rocking and rolling under the onslaught.
Suddenly a left caught her with enough force to draw blood from her lower lip and knock her back a step. The demon growled before charging her. Faith stood her ground until the last second then lunged to meet the snarling monster, wrapping her arms around its leathery waist, leaning back at the waist until her back was parallel with the ground and releasing. The demon howled as it flew through the air, crashing into the far wall.
Faith strode towards the creature, the anger bubbling inside her tempering into a hard weapon. The demon shook itself as it disentangled from the wrecked shelves where Xanderís much unlamented country CDs had been stacked and stood before flinging a right that she blocked on her shoulder before leap thrust-kicking the demon in the mid-section. The demon grunted before stumbling into the wall, and then she had it by its shoulder and crotch, lifting it above her head before bringing it down onto her knee, its back snapping with a resounding crack. Then she was up and after a contemptuous glare down at her crippled adversary, bringing her heel down on its neck, crushing its throat. The demon already forgotten, she started over to Xander.
"So, I guess she wonít be needing the axe I brought her," Gunn commented.
"Please, everyone," Giles turned to the group crowded in the doorway, "give us some time."
Faith cradled her battered boy-friend in her arms. "How ya doiní baby?"
"Iíve decided," Xander winced as pain shot through him, "lifeís too precious to just give up on it."
"Thatís good baby," she mumbled, voice husky with pain. "íCause Iím kinda keen on haviní ya around for a while myself."
"Faith, Xander." Faith looked up to find the room empty of everyone bar her, Giles, and Xand. "This monster was clearly targeting the others for no other reason except they were your friends. As such, they deserve to know the truth."
Faith opened her mouth to protest. "Letís tell them." Shocked, Faith looked over her shoulder, her head shaking. "Heís right," Xander sighed resignedly. "they have a right to know."
Faith licked her lips. "G, tell Ďem weíll be down in a minute."
FIC: Faith The Series Season 5 Episode 15
Scott Levy groaned as he pulled a cold beer out and took a long sup. Nothing beat a cold beer. He eyed up the coffin-shaped crate stood on the roomís table, eyes filling with curiosity as he heard an indistinguishable noise coming from the box. He grimaced as his eyes focussed on the label on the boxís side warning ĎDanger Ė Hazardous material Ė Do not opení. He took a backwards step when the box began to shake. Taking a breath, he reached for a crowbar and began to pry the box open. He gasped when steam and light erupted from it. "Holy God."
* * *
"Wait." Giles took a breath as he peered down at their companions massed in the officeís lobby, Faith and Xander stood on the stairs behind him. "Thereís something we need to tell you. If youíd take a seat."
Kate glanced at her watch. "Giles, I need to go home and change, my shift
"This is rather important."
The blonde cop started at his tone before nodding. "I can spare a few minutes."
"Thank you," Giles looked towards Xander and Faith, "come on."
Once their companions had sat, Giles started to talk, explaining about the prophecy. "Why wasnít I informed!"
Giles rolled his eyes, impatient with Wesí growing assertiveness and
insistence that he question every decision. "Because while I was reasonably sure
I wasnít the afore-mentioned key, I couldnít risk informing anyone else bar
Faith herself in case they were the key. So I continued with my research, but
wasnít getting any further until-."
"Oh boy," Cordy gasped, wide brown eyes zeroing in on a suddenly uncomfortable-looking Xander. "Itís you isnít it?" The former cheerleaderís eyes moved to Faith. "You havenít had an argument or broken up, youíve found out heís the Key!" Xander seemed to collapse in on himself. "So heís the Key?" the cheerleader sniffed. "So what? Human or inter-dimensional key, heís still a dork. Our dork."
"Damn straight," agreed Gunn. "A friendís a friend."
"Iíve still got my yellow crayon!" Willow reddened when everyone looked towards her. "Long story, Iíll explain later."
Giles hid a smile. She might be blunt and tactless, but Cordelia was one other thing, loyal. "Giles, what is this threat the dimensional key is being hidden from?"
"Ah," Giles grimaced at Wesí query, "Iíve been unable to find out who that is. Iíd appreciate your help in that matter."
"Of course," the Watcher nodded. "Iíll get started immediately."
"Is that all?" Kate queried. "Only Iím late for work as it is."
* * *
Kateís head was still swimming as she entered the police station. Xander, a living breathing young man sheíd fought beside and laughed with for the last two years, wasnít even human, and being pursued by some sort of ungodly monster that could well end life as they knew it.
Kate smiled grimly to herself. It was a terrifying prospect, but as Cordelia had pointed out in her own inimitable manner they were family, and the best families stuck together whether it was blood or something else that bonded them together.
"Lockley!" Her captainís gruff voice broke into her reverie. "In my office, now!"
"Iím sorry Iím late," Kate apologised as she entered the office.
"Donít bother with an excuse," the captain waved her quiet, "Iíve heard them all." Not this one, Kate thought silently. "And anyway itís not about that. Iíve got another one of the weird cases you seem to like," the senior officer sniffed disdainfully, "hereís the details."
"Thank you sir." Kate hid a grimace as she took the details off her superior. This sort of case wasnít what made careers, what with the unsatisfactory conclusions, and zero chance of convictions. However Kate comforted herself that she was helping people that otherwise wouldnít get any help at all.
And after all wasnít that what being a police officer was being about?
* * *
"We should be researching this damn prophecy," Faith protested.
"Iíve done nothing but research it for months, Faith," Giles replied as they pulled up outside the ice factory. "Iíve got a couple of books on order that might help, until they come we need to keep busy." Giles looked towards the looming building. "Jericho Ice Factory."
"íKay," Faith climbed out of the car. "Xan, you come with me. G, keep the engine running."
Faith eased the door open, creeping inside the darkened factory. "Oh gross," Xander whispered.
"Thatís the word," Faith agreed as she crouched beside the charred corpse. Fighting back a shudder, Faith reached into the manís wallet and pulled out a business card. "Scott Levy Ė Private Security."
"Look at this box," Xander peered into a box on the table, "itís half full of ice."
"Yeah," Faith rose and strode into the walk-in cooler. Faith spun around as someone raced past on the other side of the plastic strips hanging in the doorway. "Xander!"
* * *
"I see him!" Xander dived for the intruder, a guy with a trio of ridges in the middle of his forehead. Tackling the man around the waist, he wrestled him to the ground only to be flung off.
The Ďmaní was half-way to his feet when Faith grabbed him in a chokehold from behind, her knee in his back holding him down. "Captain Inferno I presume? Try any of that burning shit with me," Faithís voice trailed off as her gypsy-brown eyes narrowed, focussing in on a burn on the intruderís forearm. "Only you didnít burn him, did you? Who are you? Better open your mouth before I put my foot through it."
Finally the demon spoke. "I am called Tay. Iím not from your dimension."
Xander snorted. "Captain Inferno? Captain Obvious more like."
"I was sent by my people to stop it. That is my cause here."
"Stop what?" Faith demanded.
"The bringer of chaos," Tay replied.
Xander felt a chilly tremor run through him as Faith continued her interrogation. The bringer of chaos? Could this monster be the thing chasing him?
To judge from the urgency in Faithís ebony orbs the thought had also occurred to her. "What is it? Demon?"
"More than a mere demon. It is a vessel of pure rage. It has almost destroyed my world and now it is loose in yours," Tay retorted.
That did not seem promising. "How can I kill it?" Faith demanded, voice hoarse with worry.
"You wonít be able to. Itís stronger than one man. If you and your people wish to live Ė stay away." Suddenly Tay broke from Faithís slackening grip and charged for the exit.
* * *
"He said his name was Tay. Seemed pretty shook up. Said this
thing brings chaos and destruction to his world."
"Could it be-," Cordelia looked towards Xander, "you know?"
"Yeah," Faith grimaced. "Thought of that. Donít know, but we really need to find this thing and fast."
"Our first step will be finding out what Tay is. From there, we should be able to postulate what heís hunting," Giles commented.
"Postulate?" Faith snorted. "Poncy Englishman."
Giles half-smiled. "In-bred colonial."
"Check out if thereís being any killings by incineration, there might be a trail," Xander suggested.
"Excellent idea," Giles praised. "Iíll-," Giles glanced towards Wesley, "Wesley will call Kate to check. Her surrogate father looked back towards her as she rose. "Where are you going?"
"Me, X, and Gunn are heading to the victimís office. Heís in private security. Iíd like to know who hired him."
* * *
"Cordelia," the cheerleader looked up as he entered the inner office, Willow, Tara, and Wesley busy in the outer office, "there are times you infuriate the bloody hell out of me with your tactlessness and bloody-mindedness." Giles stopped, a hard ball lodged firmly in his throat. "But then, there are times like today you remind me of the girl inside, the loving, loyal, and brave girl, and I thank god that my girl had the good taste to find herself such a wonderful best friend. Thank you for what you said today, it meant the world to Faith and Xander."
* * *
Xander tried the door to the address on the business card. "Locked," he reported.
Faith pursed her lips. "Letís try the back."
"íKay," Gunn agreed before pursing his lips. "This is why you brought me, to break and enter? Is this a black thing?"
Faith glared at the African-American. "Wise ass." Once they reached the back of the house Faith pulled out a grappling hook and shot it up the building before starting up the building. "Keep an eye out," she instructed.
"Great view from the ground!" Xander hissed up.
"Ass!" Faith whispered.
"Exactly," Gunn agreed.
Head shaking, Faith leapt from the rope and onto a fire escape before
climbing up it to the roof. Minutes later she was inside the deceased gumshoeís
office. In a locked drawer she found a shipping order from Jericho
Ice stuck in an envelope with a bunch of twenties. After putting the
invoice in her pocket, she shoved the money in her wallet. Hell, it would buy a
great meal for her and X, and it wasnít like Levy needed it, Xan on the other
hand needed all the TLC she could get him. She looked up at a sound and threw
herself over the desk, looking up to see smoke wafting up from the newly singed
desk and a muscular woman dressed in skin-tight black pvc with a black tattoo
crossing her left eye.
"What are you doing here?"
Faith rose. "I could ask you the same question."
"Working for them is that it? How much do they pay you to hunt us?" the
Faith rose, eyes chilling. "I work for myself and Iím here because Iím looking for his killer. Hard to forget, huh? Burnt to crispy critter. Know anyone who does that kind of thing?"
The woman charged her, Faith danced away from the womanís combusting hands only to catch an elbow to the throat that flung her into the wall. Faithís eyes widened as the woman shot a fireball at her, instinctively cart wheeling across the room out of harmís way. Faith pulled out her cell as the woman raced out. "Guys, follow the bitch coming out of the building, but for fuckís sake stay out of her way. Sheís dangerous and not just in a dresses like a s&m domme way."
* * *
Cordyís head snapped up from the book-scattered desk at Gilesí shout to glare at the Watcher. "That better be an ĎAha!í of triumph. I was having a perfectly good dream about me and Jason Priestley. Oh heís so dreamy."
"Oh yes," Giles sniffed, "Iím a member of JP4ever.com."
"Cordelia," Giles sighed wearily, "Iím not even a member of several very
interesting on-line wicca and demonology communities, I hardly think Iíd be a
member of some godawful fan-community for a faded teen idol."
"Then why," Cordelia sniffed, "did you wake me?"
The Watcher beamed. "I think Iíve located them. The Vigories of Oden
"The what of whatee?" Cordelia asked.
"Of Oden Tal. The men are called Vigories. They have four
distinct ridges on their foreheads, are said to be fierce warriors, and their
women live enslaved to them."
"Way to go, Giles! Faith said this Tay guy could be the key. Any
way to find them here in town?"
Giles scanned the book. "Ah, it says that the men are herbivores. They eat a thick stew made from rotting plants and flowers, and they need to consume half their body weight a day."
"Whoa. - So, weíre looking like Ė for the biggest compost heap in LA?"
* * *
Gunn glanced left and right as they crept through a museumís shadowy corridors. "Didnít Faith say to follow but not to intercept?"
"What sort of man would I be if I blindly followed my girl-friendís orders?" his friend queried.
"Given your girl-friend, a wise one," he replied.
"Yeah," Xander half-smiled. "Good point." The Sunnydaler paused outside a door, sucking in his breath before easing the door out.
The woman in the centre of the room spun to face them, her hands resting imperiously on her hips. "You are with the wench from before?"
"Wench?" Gunn snorted. "You ever called Faith a wench, Xander?"
"Iím still breathing arenít I?" Xander replied before directing his gaze at the alien. "Whoís Tay? What does he want?"
The alien sniffed. "I donít have time for this."
"If you didnít kill the guy in the ice company, who did? Somebody like you?" Gunn queried,
"Why do you think I would speak to and not hurt you?" the demon sniffed.
"Call us old-fashioned, but we canít allow tourists to go around torching locals," Xander replied.
The alien looked over her shoulder at the row of windows then back at them. "Leave Ė now! Iím warning you."
"Why?" Gunn demanded. "Whatís going to happen?"
A circular distortion formed in the air, a bright white light flashing.in its centre. A naked girl fell out of the portal. "Whoa!" Gunnís eyes widened. "Iíve gotta get me one of them!" Xander looked towards the African-American. "For Groo, get him off Cordyís back."
"Aah," Xander grabbed a wall-hanging and flung it over the naked girl as the
alien woman helped her up. "What are you running from?"
"It is not your concern. Youíre not one of us."
"Will you stop sniff-," Xander broke off when the door opened and Tay and
stepped in, accompanied by more of his kind. "No, but I think Iíll stick around
Tay looked imperiously around. "The traitor it and the other are ours. If you know whatís good for you, you wonít..."
Xander shut Tay up with a right to the face. "Do that?"
Two of the other men grabbed the naked girl and dragged her out of the back while Xander, Gunn, and the strange woman fought the others. Xander ducked a right cross before crashing a left into the demonís stomach, a backhand sent him falling to the ground. He was half-way to his feet when a knee to the face sent him onto his back. "Xander are you hurt!" Gunn rushed over to help him up. "Wait, can you -."
"Yes!" he snapped as he wiped blood away from his mouth, "I can be hurt. When you risk your life, Iím risking my life too."
"Okay, okay," Gunn raised his hands, "just asking." He looked towards the
strange woman. "They got her. Whatíll happen to her?"
"She will be unmade," the imperious woman sniffed.
* * *
Faith stared at the woman whoíd grudgingly introduced herself as Jhiera "You should dress your wound." She paused for a second. "Want to tell me whatís going on?"
"The girl is a runaway. I was trying to help her escape from our homeland. If your friends hadnít distracted..."
"Hey!" Faith scowled. "If my boys hadnít helped you, youíd both be with them right now."
Jhiera sniffed. "Perhaps."
"Why was the girl running away?" Giles queried.
"She was going to be unmade." Jhiera replied.
"They were going to kill her?" Gunn asked.
"In a fashion. You wouldnít understand."
"Try us," Giles demanded in his Ďno bullshití tone.
Jhiera cast the unflinching Watcher a hard glance before nodding. "In Oden Tal what you call personality, our passions and impulses sit in an area of the body we call the Ko."
"And your pursuers they want to take this from you?" Faith queried.
Jhiera turned back around to face her. "From the women.. When the females come of age, Ko controls our physical and sexual power. It even signals when we are aroused and have met desirable mates. But when itís removed..."
Faith felt sick to her stomach. "Youíre more easily controlled."
Jhiera nodded. "We marry who they command, happily serving without question."
"But you escaped," Giles prompted.
Jhiera nodded. "I was the first. I am Jhiera of Oden Tal. My family rules the dimension."
"Iím guessing the royal family isnít loving the - portal-jumping, refugee-saving duties youíve assigned yourself," Xander commented.
Jhiera nodded. "They tell people Iím dead. But the women know. Here we have a name. We have a chance to become, but it is difficult. When the Ko first matures the girls canít manage our physical energy. We come to your world in a fever."
Faithís eyes widened. "Thatís why you need the ice."
"Yes. When I first arrived I thought I would die from the heat under my
skin. And your men. Some respond to the Ko involuntarily. They
tried to force themselves until I found the frozen water. As long as I
could stay cool... The worst of it passed in a few months time. Then
I started to learn to control my power."
"What about Levy?" Xander asked. "Who burned him?"
Jhiera seemed unmoved. "He tried to touch one of my girls. It was his own fault."
Faithís eyes narrowed. "From what youíre saying he probably didnít mean
to hurt her."
Jhiera shrugged. "And the girl couldnít help killing him! It was
Giles shook his head. "What about the other four men who died the same way in the last year? I imagine your girls killed them, too?"
Jhiera reared back from the Watcher. "How do you know about this? Have you been..."
Giles appeared unmoved. "No, we havenít been following you. But
you incinerate a few people someone is going to start asking questions. We
understand what youíre trying to do and of course will help you any way we can.
But you canít go around heedlessly hurting men."
Jhiera preened. "I am the daughter to a King, sir. A king who
promised happiness and a better life for everyone. I didnít denounce him
and escape for my good alone. I did it to see his promise come true for
all the women of Oden Tal. If a few have to die to protect my people..."
Faith stepped towards the woman. "They are my people who are dying; and itís my promise to protect them."
"Then tell them to stay out of my way." Jhiera sniffed before striding towards the door. "And you, too. I donít need your help."
"Friendly little thing," mused Giles
"Ainít she just?" Faith looked towards the Englishman. ""Whereís Wes and Cordy?"
* * *
Cordelia looked around the darkened warehouse filled with flowers. "Iím not sure about coming out here all by ourselves. Maybe we should have waited for Faith."
Wesley whispered back. "It makes sense, Giles discovered that Tay and his people are herbivores, therefore they need an excess of plants to survive."
"I wonder how we find where they keep the compost?"
"Iíd say we follow our noses," Wesley tartly replied.
"Wait!" Cordy hissed. "I hear something." The Watcher joined her in creeping to the Flower Martís dimly lit back room. "Now Iím sure we shouldnít have come here. It smells like flower poop!"
"Hush," Wesley dragged them behind some boxes as Tay and his people walked into the warehouse.
For a heart-stopping second Cordy thought Tay had seen them when he looked around before returning his gaze to his friends. "The portal will open soon, and only for a short while. When the proper coordinates align we must move to the entry point immediately. You will escort the slave there, ensure its quick return and rejoin us. We have a lot of work to do in this dimension."
"Weíve recovered two this month. We should..."
"It means nothing!" Tay snapped. "This wonít stop until we find Jhiera."
"This food source will only keep us supplied for a few more days," commented one of the Vigories. "At that point we must relocate."
Wesley shook his head as he held his cell to his ear. "Still no answer."
Cordy shook her head as she hissed her reply. "She never turns that damn thing on!" She sighed. "So, what now?"
Wesley grimaced. "I suppose we head back and try to find Faith."
"Sounds real good." Cordy nodded. "But quietly." Wesley nodded before starting forward, Cordy yanked him back as one of the Vigories walked in. "No, hide. Hide. Hide."
"Sir! I believe weíve found them."
"Where?" Tay demanded.
"A worker at an ice plant tells me he recently started shipping two tons of ice a week," the Vigory handed over a piece of paper, "to this address."
Tay smirked. "Gather the men. They need to be prepared to capture the princess and cut them all quickly."
"We need to get to the others now," Wesley muttered.
* * *
"Canít anyone answer a damn phone!"
"Whatís up?" Xander queried as Cordelia and Wesley ran in.
"Whatís up is that those creepy demons said that they found what they were
looking for, and they seemed *very* interested in cutting someone they called
the princess, which I can only imagine is not a happy thing!"
Faith nodded. "Well, youíd be right on that one. We gotta find her
Cordy replied. "The demon guy said something about a lot of ice being delivered somewhere. No one said where."
"Iím sure you did everything possible Princess," Groo commented to Gunnís muffled groans.
Faith looked towards Wesley. "Ice?"
"Just so," Wesley nodded.
Faith pulled a paper out of her pocket. "Iíve got a shipping order. Weíre heading out."
"Shouldnít we have a plan," Wesley commented as they headed to the entrance. "There are rather a lot of them."
Faith shook her head. "Hereís the plan: we go in, I start hitting people hard in the face Ė see where it takes us."
"The usual then," Giles airily replied.
* * *
Night had fallen by the time they pulled up outside a new age looking spa. Faith looked around. "Wes, Cor, you stay here, run in when the demons get here. Gunn, Groo, G, and Xan with me." The Watcher nodded.
The door swung open as they reached the spaís entrance. "Welcome, earth-sister."
Faith ignored the salutation to get straight to the point. "I need to see
The spaís owner smiled. "Iím sorry, no Jhiera here, but I already see I can help you. First letís talk about the clothes vibe."
"If his next words are take them off, I will kill him," Xander growled.
Faith grabbed the man by the lapels and lifted him off the floor. "Jhieraís in trouble. There are men coming for her."
The dudeís eyes bulged. "And which dimension are you from, sister?"
Faith smirked. "You donít want to know."
The guy motioned with his head; and Faith walked off, the others following behind. "What are you doing here?" Jhiera rose to confront them as they entered a room filled with babes in ice baths. "I thought I made it clear..."
"Theyíre coming," Faith interrupted.
Jhiera sniffed. "I know all about it. Weíre leaving in the morning."
"Not soon enough." Giles shook his head,. "Theyíre on their way now and will be here soon."
Cordy raced into the room followed by Wesley: "Now. That would be now."
"Damn," Faith looked towards her companions. "Help get the girls out."
Giles looked towards the spa guy. "Go out and stall them for as long as you can."
Xander looked towards Jhiera. "Weíre going to help you whether you like it or not."
"Why do you care?" spat the other-dimensional princess.
"Because," Xanderís eyes met Faithís, "thatís what we do."
Suddenly the doors crashed open. "Gang, itís on! Groo, Gunn, and Xan with me!" Faith yelled. "The rest get the girls out to the van!"
Faith leapt into the air, spin back-fisting the first Vigory back out through the door again. Upon landing she stepped outside another alienís straight right before crumpling it with an heel side-kick to the knee and elbow to the cheek Another leapt at her but she leaned back at the waist, allowing the Vigory to fly over her and into a brutal clothesline from Groo.
And then it was over, exceptÖ "Whereís Jhiera?"
"She ran out on us?" Xander sniffed. "Why am I not surprised?"
"Come on," Faith snapped, "out the back."
* * *
"Hold it. Hold it still. Time to go home."
Xander pulled up short when he found Jhiera being held down by two of Tayís
thugs and Tay standing behind her with a pair of pliers. "I know sheís
irritating," Xander grimaced as he noticed the two Watchers and Cordy lying
unconscious on the ground, "lord knows, but you donít want to do this."
"You have no idea what I want to do!" Tay sneered.
"Do you want to die?" Suddenly Faith was behind the demon, her arm wrapped
around its neck. Her eyes turned to the Vigroies holding Jhiera. "Unless
you want to see your leader dead, you let her go." The Vigories released Jhiera,
the woman stared imperiously at her. "I never want to see you again. Get your
girls and go. Go. GO!"
Jhiera hurried over to the truck her companions had been loaded into and
driving off. Faith waited until the alien was well under way then
pushed Tay towards the other Vigories. "I donít want you bringing your war here
"I have no choice!" Tay retorted. "If this enemy persists our whole
"I donít care. If your war persists on my turf youíre going to have another
"You donít understand our ways, human."
Faith flashed the demon her shit-eating grin before lunging forward, grabbing Tay by the throat and hefting him into the air. "No, I donít. And like I said, I donít care. I see you again, Iíll make you a full head shorter. Now, if I were you, Iíd grab the next portal out of here. Got it?"
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