FIC: Faith The Series Season 5 Episode 6
A moonlit night.
Jenny Cook forced back a yawn as she wearily clambered up the steps that led upstairs. Married life wasn’t turning out how she’d hoped. No, not at all. Her husband worked all hours god sent to make ends meet, leaving her alone with the baby. A fairy tale romance it wasn’t.
Jenny began to trudge towards her bedroom before stopping, turning, and walking to her child’s room. She sighed a sigh of relief as she eased the door open to find her baby sleeping soundly. Unable to resist temptation, she crept into the darkened and peered into the cradle.
Her heart skipped a beat. Hand suddenly wet with sweat, she reached into the cradle and ripped the sheets away to reveal an empty crib. Her eyes shot wildly around, her legs trembling, she stumbled over to the open window and screamed into the darkened night. "WHERE’S MY BABY!"
* * *
"Hey, Lockley, here’s your X-Files update." Kate looked up at the detective and sighed. She couldn’t believe just how blind the Sunnydale Police Department was to the supernatural around them. Police in other cities had the excuse of unfamiliarity, but at the Hellmouth it was a completely different story. "Hey, no seriously, take a look at the file, five missing babies, each stolen on the date of the last five full moons."
"Give me that," Kate snatched the bulky folder out of the detective’s hands.
"Gonna chase them down, Scully?"
"Scully?" Kate looked up at the portly detective leaning over her. "I’m a believer like Mulder."
Her fellow officer looked confused. "Yeah, but Scully was the chick, right?"
"Never mind, Sanders."
* * *
"So, there’s five babies gone missing, each on the full moon," Kate explained. "Nothing links the crimes except the dates, the victims are two rich families, one poor, two single moms. They live in different parts in town. Two are black, one Hispanic, and two white. Two are Catholic, one Baptist, one Protestant, and the other Jewish."
"Any violence?" Giles asked.
Kate shook her head. "No, the moms, or in one case the father, go to check on the baby and they’re gone, an open window being the route of entry."
"I’ll say it before anyone else," Xander broke in, "Angelus has a thing for babies."
"No doofus," Cordelia shook her head. "They’d have to invited."
"’Sides, where’s the mayhem and dead bodies?" Faith put in. The Slayer’s full lips pouted. "Hate to say it, but what if it’s an inside job?" Everyone turned to the supernatural warrior. Faith shrugged. "Won’t be the first time ‘rents wanna get rid of a squalling brat." Giles grimaced. "Yeah," Faith nodded. "I’m biased, but think ‘bout it. These people wanna get rid of their kids, so they organise it to steal each others’ kids and leave them in a near-by park for whoever to pick them up. They decide to do it on the first moon to make it seem creepy and supernatural."
A long silence followed Faith’s inspired reasoning. "That’s a hell of a convoluted plot," Xander put in. "Are you sure you don’t want to watch my Babylon 5 DVDs with me?"
Faith shot her boyfriend a volcanic glare. Giles hurriedly spoke before the Slayer could burst into a doubtless spiritedly salty reply. "I note from the children’s date of births, none of them were over three months old."
"So?" Faith asked.
"So, some of these families would have had to enter a pact before their children were even born," Giles explained.
"Maybe only the first two were in on it and they kept takin’ ‘em to continue the illusion," Faith suggested.
"You know," Wesley muttered in his ear, "I’m even more frightened of her than I was five minutes ago. The mind," his fellow Englishman shuddered, "to coin a phrase, ‘wicked creepy’."
"I say we question them, put the muscle on them ‘til they squeal." Everyone looked at Cordelia who in turn glared at Gunn. "That’s the last time I let you take me to a Bogart film festival!"
"Bogart’s the man," argued the African-American demon-hunter.
"Before a discussion breaks out over the relative cinematic merits of Bogart over Cagney," Giles glanced theatrically outside, "night is falling. Tomorrow night is another full moon, we have to act quickly if we’re to stop another child from being abducted."
"So you’re definitely not gonna listen to my theory?" Faith asked.
Giles sighed. "Faith, for that many people to involved in such a conspiracy and nothing having leaked out contradicts human nature."
"Eh?" Faith stared blankly at him.
"Someone would have talked, sang like a canary." Wesley reddened when everyone turned towards him. "Well I’m sorry, can only Cordelia make a complete prat of themselves?"
"Hey!" Cordelia looked towards Gunn. "Do something!"
"Hey," Gunn shrugged. "What can I say? When English is right, he’s right."
Giles coughed impatiently. When everyone turned back to him, he continued.
"As I was attempting to say, time is of the essence. I suggest therefore we
split into two groups-."
"Xan, Charlie," Faith rose with her usual sinuous grace, leathers barely creaking, "you’re with me," one of the Slayer’s chocolate-brown orbs briefly closed in a wink. "We’ll hit the streets and leave you learned types," the Bostonian’s full lips parted in a smirk, "and Cor to do the research thing."
"And Cor?" Cordelia glared at her best friend. "Biker Butch!"
"Ah," Faith’s smirk widened. "You’re just jealous that your boy-friend would
rather be with me."
"But only when research is the other option, dear," a sick-looking Gunn responded. "Faith," the black pleaded, "don’t put me in that situation."
Giles heaved a relieved sigh as the office door closed behind the squabbling trio. "Willow, Tara, you start on the English language books, Wesley, join me on the foreign-language tomes, Kate, could you look on the computer for related cases across the country."
"What about me?"
"I don’t know about everyone else, but I could really do with a coffee, Cordelia."
* * *
Willy felt his bladder loosen as the Slayer and two of her buds strode into his bar, an uneasy silence immediately falling as she stalked over to the bar, leaned over the counter, took a whiskey bottle from the spirits shelf, and opened it. "You’re not old enough," he squeaked.
"Ain’t gonna drink it," Faith glanced towards the back where one customer was hurrying out of the door. "Just pour it on your counter and set fire to it." Willy gulped. "Unless you do the smart thing and tell me what you know about a baby-stealing demon."
"Hey, we wouldn’t have anything to do with something like that," Willy said. "Not my patrons, we’re respectable."
"Yeah sure," the black snorted, "and Clinton didn’t nail Monica. Why did that guy steal out the back then?"
"’Cause she’s the Slayer and he’s a vampire maybe?" he gulped at the Slayer’s laser-point glare.
"He doesn’t know anything," the brunette bombshell decided. "Let’s follow the vamp."
"Faith," it was the Slayer’s boy-friend. Willy couldn’t decide if the kid was
lucky or unlucky. "Giles said it wasn’t a vamp."
"I know," the Slayer’s smile had a flash of madness, "I just wanna kill something."
Yep, definitely unlucky.
* * *
"Uh, oh," Willow reddened slightly as she looked up from her book to find everyone looking at her. "It’s a demon alright." She licked her lips. "A whole cult of them."
* * *
"Hey!" Faith yelled as she burst out of the club, Xander and Gunn trailing behind her. "This ain’t a vampire-friendly town!"
Faith had the briefest glimpse of a barrel-chested Latino with barn-door shoulders and then he was charging her. The vampire came in fast, leading with a leaping roundhouse kick that Faith dropped under before straightening, hooking her arm around his extended leg’s hip, and flinging him into the left wall. The demon grunted as he hit the wall, bounced off it, and jumped at her again. Faith leaned away from its right fist before smashing a kick of her own into its gut, the demon growled before cracking her in the chest with a forearm smash.
Faith grunted at the hit before leaping forward, crashing knee-first into the vampire’s chest, knocking him to the ground, Faith on top. Before the demon had chance to react, she was connecting with elbow and forearm smashes to its face. Every time it tried to raise its head, she hit it, grinning slightly at its yelp. She might not be able to hurt the bastard who’d made one of her friends a fallacy, but she could hurt this demon.
"What the-!" She looked up when it suddenly exploded into dust. Her eyes hardened as she saw Xander standing there, stake in hand. "I had things under control!"
"What is up with you this week!" Xander snapped. "I’m used to your moods, but this week is different! And what you were doing to that demon was stupid and sadistic!"
Faith rose, eyes flashing. "Ya wanna know what is up?" she demanded. Her mouth opened, then she shook her head. "Forget it!" she snapped. How could she tell him that one of them, one of the people who made her life more complete than she ever imagined it could be, wasn’t real. Maybe even him, the only man she’d ever loved and ever would. "Ya don’t wanna know!" Seeing Xan’s mouth open, she shook her head. "Let’s get back, maybe the geek patrol’s found something!"
* * *
"The Lilliad demons’ particular nastiness is a magical broth they make from the bones of human children, specifically the under one year olds," Giles began.
"Gross much?" Faith muttered.
"I know, can you imagine the calories?" Cordelia agreed.
"You’d think they’d have heard of Hansel and Gretel," Gunn commented.
"Please, can you at least pretend to listen to me?" Giles sighed.
Xander mournfully shook his head. "Sorry Giles, but I’m just not that good an actor."
"Oh boy, oh boy." Everyone turned to a suddenly pale-faced Willow. "I’ve been researching these Lilliad demons. I’ve found out it’s 250 years since they first arrived in this dimension, 3,000 lunar cycles."
"We’ll have to send them a fruit basket," snarked Faith.
"You don’t understand," Wesley interrupted, a dawning fear on his face.
"Like that’s unusual for her," Xander ducked a cushion swing by the angry Slayer.
"This is serious," Wesley continued. "The passing of a thousand lunar cycles is an event of great power for moon-worshipping demons. They’ll have a mass sacrifice. Not just one child, one per cult member."
Faith rose, all trace of joviality gone from her eyes. "Not on my watch," the brunette declared. "Anyone wanting to hurt babies has to go through me."
Giles felt his stomach warm with pride. God, he hoped he was real, that she was really his child. "We have to decide on where they’re going to hit."
"That’s easy," an equally stern-faced Xander leaned forward in his seat, "the only baby factory in town-."
"Sunnydale Memorial hospital," Cordelia interrupted.
"Hey!" Xander protested. "You ruined my build-up!"
Wesley rubbed at his brow. "I don’t know, it’s a little public. Parents are
sure to kick up a stink about their children going missing en masse."
"This is Sunnydale, Wes," Faith reminded before looking towards him. "We need a map of Sunnydale Memorial Hospital so we can stake out the entrances."
"What about the sewers?" Gunn pointed out.
"Damn," Faith grimaced. "Yeah, good point. We’ll have to be inside."
* * *
Faith fought back a yawn as she peered up at the clock opposite her, shivering slightly at the hallway’s coolness and the smell of antiseptic. "Half ten, they should be here by now-." Her mind flashbacked to what Wesley had said. She spun to face Xan, mouth dropping open. "Wes was right! They ain’t gonna hit here!"
"Where then?" Xander straightened, eyes worried but not scared, not like she felt.
"We fucked up, the parents will kick up a stink!" Faith explained as she raced to the doors, her boyfriend following afterwards. Faith pulled out her cell, and ignoring a passing nurse’s disapproving gaze, dialled Giles. "G!" she barked. "We’re in the wrong place! We need to be at a place where there aren’t any parents! Yeah, the city orphanage!"
* * *
Faith crashed through the orphanage’s door to find herself in a wide reception area and confronted by a tall, beak-nosed nurse. "Well really," she huffed. "I don’t know-."
"Can it lady!" Faith snapped, her Slayer sense tingling. "They’re-."
Suddenly the windows exploded and half a dozen red robe wearing demons jumped through the window. "Xan, Gunn, with me!" Faith snapped. "The rest of you take her," Faith nodded towards the suddenly paling nurse, "and guard the hallway leading to the kids.
Even as she spoke, Faith was drawing her sword and leaping into the air. Her left foot kicked out, catching one demon in the chest, knocking him to the ground even as Faith’s sword flashed out to her right, decapitating another advancing foe.
The moment her feet touched the faded carpet, a third demon was charging her, his sword cleaving down. "Not gonna happen," Faith smirked as her sword flashed up to parry the attack. Before the demon could pull its blade back into a defensive position, her sword was sliding through its guard to impale its throat.
Sensing the demon she’d kicked to the floor charging her, Faith leapt into the air and somersaulted over the impaled beast’s head, yanking her blade out as she did so. Blood crimsoned out of the gaping wound. Faith landed in a crouch behind the crumpling demon and spun to face her charging foe.
The demon’s backhanded slash was easily sidestepped. Faith attempted a thrust at the thing’s belly only for it to jump back. Faith cackled wildly as she charged in, slapping the blade away with her own weapon before burying her sword in the demon’s chest. The creature’s eyes widened as it fell to its knees, blood sliding down her blade.
"We’ve got them all," Xander grinned as she turned to face him, "we saved the kids."
Faith smiled dourly. They’d saved the kids, but what exactly had they saved them for? Nah, she shook her head. They’d given them a chance, what they made of it was down to them, not her.
FIC: Faith The Series Season 5 Episode 7
"You should have ducked that right from the vampire, Faith."
"Jesus," the American bint shot his old friend\rival a disgusted look, "I killed it didn’t I?"
"That’s not the point and you know it," his fellow country-man shook his head. "You take too many risks. I also notice you’ve been cutting your training short."
"Jesus, G," the high-spirited Slayer cursed again, "I can’t spend all my time training. You’re the one who wanted me to go to college, I gotta study."
"And date, drink, dance, and other things that make me want to wash my brain out," Giles dryly replied.
"Natch," the young filly’s full lips pouted in a smirk. "Jesus, G. You’ve no idea what it is like to be a Slayer!"
He waited until the bickering duo had passed by before stepping out of the shadows. "But he will soon find out," he chuckled
* * *
Giles yawned as he awoke and stretched. He grinned as he realised for once his back didn’t ache from being flung around the gym by his Slayer. "Bloody hell," his brow furrowed as he noticed he wasn’t in his own room. "I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do."
Throwing aside his sheets he rose and stopped as he passed by the room’s full-length mirror. The first he noticed was his nakedness. The second was how different his body looked.
And then he fainted.
* * *
Faith yawned as she awoke. Her brow furrowed as she realised she was wearing G’s union flag PJs. And then she noticed something else, furrows deepening, she pulled her PJ trousers down and looked. "WHO PUT THAT THERE!"
‘Kay, Faith continued to look at the unexpected addition, seeing as looking at it wasn’t getting’ rid, she’d have to get up. Forcing her eyes away, she stood, wincing slightly at the unaccustomed stiffness in her back. "Thank Christ for that." She heaved a sigh of relief when Giles’ face stared back at her. She wasn’t suddenly a hermaphrodite, they’d just somehow switched bodies. Which was funky weird, but way preferable to the alternative.
Shaking her head, she made her way through to her bedroom to find her\Giles, man this was getting confusing real fast, lying on the ground. "I never realised how hot I am," she mused as she stared down at her naked self lying unconscious on the ground. "How does he keep his hands off me?" Picking up the glass of water on the nightstand, she poured it on her face. "Wakey, wakey."
"Bahhhh," her eyes opened and stared up at her. "Faith you’re in my -."
"Yeah, I’m wicked impressed. Nice Johnson. No wonder the ladies can’t keep their hands off your crusty old body."
"Yes, thank you for the praise," Giles sat up and reddened. "Now let’s never speak of that particular appendage again shall we?"
"Sure, only tell me you’re a boxers man," Faith agreed as Giles got up. "’Cause anything else is gonna be constricting."
Giles shot her a pained look. "What did I just say? Please pass me something to wear."
"Sure G," Faith strode over to her wardrobe and pulled out a pair of leather pants and a black tube top. "Here ya go."
Giles sighed. "Don’t you have any less restrictive or revealing?"
Faith stared at her watcher. "What do you think I am, a freakin’ Mormon?"
Giles rolled her eyes. "Perish the thought."
* * *
"We need to consider who has done this," Giles announced. "Which of our
enemies has the power."
"It’s Ethan Rayne," Faith spat, "that fucking crony of yours!"
"Now let’s not jump to conclusions," Giles warned. "There are other possibilities. That strange duo you met in the monastery for example. Or Wolfram & Hart."
"Oh come on," Faith spat back at it. "This stinks of Rayne and you -."
"Hi Faith, G-Man." Xander barrelled through the front door and into the lounge, eyes lightening as they fell on him. Giles spluttered as Xander stuck his tongue deep into his\Faith’s mouth. His hands slammed into the youth’s shoulders. The force of his Slayer-powered shove lifted the youth off his feet and crashed him into the wall behind him. "What was that for!" the youth spluttered, eyes indignant.
"You stuck your tongue down my throat, young man!" he waggled his finger.
"Young man?" Xander looked from him to Faith, eyes wide with shock. "Giles what is going on here?"
Faith had tears rolling down his face as she laughed, entire body shaking as
she giggled uproariously. "Oooooh, if only I had a," she snorted, "camera!"
"We’ve swapped bodies," Giles explained. "Some sort of spell."
"You mean I just-," Xander turned green. "I need the toilet!" The youth raced off upstairs only to return two minutes later, face grey. "You should warn a guy about things like that!"
"I told you he was a good kisser, Giles!" Faith laughed.
"Can we please bring some order to proceedings?" Giles sighed.
"If you and Kate wanna make out when you’re in my body it’s fine by me," Faith said.
"Me too," Xander agreed, his face brightening.
Giles glared at the duo. "While you can’t snog him while you’re in my body."
Xander shuddered. "Really wouldn’t want to."
"Hey!" Faith shouted. "Wait," his brow furrowed in puzzlement, "should I be insulted?"
* * *
Wesley stared at Faith and then Giles, and then back again. Just like the rest of their little group, hurriedly called into the office. "How did this happen?" he paused. "Is it even possible? Is it April 1st? Someone please check the calendar?"
"Would you like me to discuss why Edward Gibbon’s theories on the decline and dissolution of the Roman Empire are profoundly flawed?" asked Faith.
"I could sing ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ for ya," offered Giles.
"Very well," Wesley blinked, "I’m convinced. What is our next step?"
"Well whatever we do we need to we need to do it fast!" declared Faith. "No way am I staying in this creaky old body!"
"Well really!" Faith huffed. "Do you think I want to dress like this?"
"There’s no need to hurry," Cordy pointed out.
Giles looked towards Cordelia. "What the hell are ya on?"
"Think about it," Cordelia grinned. "It’s the 16th in five days."
Giles’ gaze turned towards Faith. "Oh yeah," Giles’ lip curled in a hauntingly Faith-like smirk. "No hurry at all."
By contrast Faith had gone pale. "Are you talking about what I think you are?" Giles chuckled. "Oh god, please hurry."
Wesley shuddered as he turned to Willow and Tara, hoping and praying for sanity from the group’s brain-trust. "How do you suggest we proceed?"
"Speaking as witches, the amount of magic needed to do this sort of spell is a lot," Tara commented.
"And you’d have to be a serious expert," Willow added.
"Like Rayne," Faith or rather Faith in Giles’ body growled.
"And like doubtless many of Wolfram & Hart’s employees," the now thoroughly feminine Giles retorted. Wesley was getting a headache keeping up.
"Listen," Xander broke in. "What should we do?"
"I would suggest," Wesley broke in before the two transferred personalities could continue arguing. He’d need therapy if this went on much longer. "That we find out what spells could have done this, then we can start looking for a trail."
"Red," said Giles, "maybe you could look over hotel check-ins over the last week."
"That wouldn’t be helpful without a name," Giles sniffed. "If it is Ethan ,if," Giles repeated, "he’ll check in under an assumed name."
"So," Gunn interrupted, "you really stuck your tongue down Giles’ mouth."
"It was Faith’s," Xander protested.
"But Giles was driving my hot sportscar of a body," Giles helpfully added.
"Oh dear god," Wesley rubbed at his forehead. "I need an aspirin. Or a baseball bat. Anything to make the pain stop." He glanced up at the others. "You can leave, I’m sure that Willow, Tara, and I can manage just fine on our own." Infinitely better than with the curiosity of Faith and Giles’ transfer to disrupt and distract.
Giles grinned before looking towards Faith. "Yeah, ‘sides, I have an American History lecture this afternoon ‘I’ have to go to."
Faith sniffed. "History, this place isn’t old enough to know what history is. Do you have anything that compares with the mystique of Stonehenge or the majesty of Excalibur? I think not!"
"But Giles," Giles pouted in a shudderingly Faith-like manner, "my daddy says I have to keep my attendance up."
"I bloody give up!" Faith scowled before striding out.
"Ya know, this body changing business has its advantages," Giles said.
"I’m still not making out with you," Xander announced.
"And the hits just keep on coming," Cordelia snarked.
* * *
"Hey sweet-cheeks! I got something here for ya!"
Giles’ cheeks burnt as he dipped into an alley. "What a bloody day!" he muttered. First the change, then the terrible lecture about the American Civil War festooned with error after error, and now bloody construction workers who thought they were the epitome of charm when in fact they were oafish buffoons. "I just bet that bloody girl’s having a good laugh going through my album collections. If she bends one sleeve," he scowled.
"You slaughtered my clan, Slayer."
A hiss from above had him looking up to see a Lilliad glaring at him from the above fire escape. Even as their eyes met the demon threw itself off the landing and at him.
Giles flung himself to the other side of the alley, back crashing into the hard wall. The demon glared at him. Giles smiled weakly. "I don’t suppose you’d believe mistaken identity?"
The demon roared before leaping at him. Giles snatched up a trash can lid and swung it into the side of the demon’s head. The monster stumbled to his left, surprise glazing its eyes.
Giles didn’t give it a chance to recover. He smashed the lid into its head again and again, at the same time kicking it between its legs. The demon crashed to its knees. Giles brought the now bloody lid down on the back of the monster’s head, bouncing its face off the hard concrete. "Terribly sorry about this old bean," he murmured, "but you did attack me." Shaking his head, he walked out of the alley. "What a bloody day!"
* * *
"Okay, we’ve found one similar element in every body transference spell," Willow shoved aside the last of the books with a relieved sigh.
Wesley rolled his neck, trying to work the kinks out. "Really, do tell?"
"Asafoetida," Tara mumbled, "it’s used in every incidence, wether to summons a god, cast a spell, or create a magical object to do the spell."
"Ah, also known as devil’s dung, native to Iran," Wesley smiled at the others’ shock. "I am a Watcher, even if our own magical abilities are somewhat meagre, we’re expected to know about all the herbs and various substances that could be used in a spell." Wesley paused. "Could you do a hack into all the local magic shops and find out whose sold any recently? If we’re really lucky there might be a credit card, it’s quite expensive in the quantities needed for a spell of this magnitude."
"There’s one other thing," Willow hesitated.
"Please, Miss Rosenberg," he nodded. "I value your input." Wesley glanced towards Tara, conscious of the shy wicca’s need for affirmation. "I value both your inputs."
The witch smiled slightly and nodded. "Okay. If the two don’t change back quickly, they might not be able to."
Wesley swallowed and glanced towards the others. "How long?" he croaked.
"More than 2 – 3 days, but less than a week," Tara said. "That’s our best guess anyway."
"There’s more. If they don’t change soon, their own personalities will begin to implant themselves permanently on their new physical hosts," Willow added.
"Oh bugger," Wesley muttered. "In that case you’d better hurry."
* * *
"Oh bloody hell!" Ethan looked up as the door crashed open, and a murderous looking Giles strode in. He jumped to his feet, hands raised high in supplication. "I’ll reverse the spell."
"Bloody right you will!" the sultry Slayer crowed from behind the Watcher.
Ethan grunted as a rib cracked under ‘Giles’’ first right, a hard stamp cracking two toes. Then ‘Giles’’ hand was around his throat, lifting him up and smashing him against the wall, then he was thrown wheezing onto the bed.
"That’s enough Faith," the brunette stood behind the raging Slayer wearing his former friend’s body warned. "Ethan, should I leave the room for a minute or are you going to tell me how to break the spell?"
"Don’t leave me with this raging nutter," he pleaded only to groan at the Slayer’s advance, "no offence love."
"It’s in the bottom of my wardrobe, it’s a simple summonsing request to
"Loki!" exclaimed his best friend in the Slayer’s disturbingly erotic husky tones. "You bloody idiot!"
"It worked didn’t it?" he wheezed. "Just disrupt the offering and the spell ends."
Head shaking, Giles crossed the bedroom, opened the door and kicked the display. Ethan cackled as the two fell to the ground. He’d hoped that Giles wouldn’t take into account the actual physical affect of the body-swap reversal. Even the Slayer would be out for a couple of minutes.
He stopped and licked his lips as he looked at first his pompously righteous companion and then the sexy young American. He couldn’t kill Giles, if only for the fact that Giles’ father would mobilise the entire Council to hunt him down. But the Slayer, that would completely devastate Ripper.
Ethan drew a knife then re-sheathed it. Once he’d loved Ripper like a brother, in fact Ripper had been the only person that he’d ever loved. And in the overheard conversations, the looks, he knew that Giles fiercely loved the girl. He knew from bitter experience the pain of losing someone like that was close to unbearable. While he could bedevil Ripper until the world ended, he couldn’t cause him that sort of pain. Sighing slightly, he limped out of the room. It would definitely be best to get out of town before either of them awoke.
* * *
Faith groaned as she awoke. A grin slowly spread across her face as she realised she’d swapped Giles’ saggy body back for her tight as hell bodaciousness. Climbing to her feet, she quickly shook Giles awake. "Hey, shall we roll out of here?"
"A splendid idea." Giles smiled. "My intelligence must have rubbed off on you."
"Funny guy," Faith glared at her Watcher as they started out of the room. "Say," Faith stopped as an exciting thought occurred. "If I was able to swap bodies with you, you must be real, right?"
A shake of Giles’ head dashed Faith’s hopes. "I’m afraid not dear." Giles sighed. "This spell is centuries perhaps even millennia old, something as minor as Ethan’s enchantments wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a human and a magically constructed creature."
"So it could still be you?" Faith’s heart dropped.
Giles nodded woefully. "I’m afraid so, dear."
FIC: Faith The Series Season 5 Episode 8
Jackson’s breath caught as she glided onto his bus. She was tall, maybe an inch beneath six feet, with slender legs that seemingly went on forever, connected to an ass that one could worship for a lifetime and never tire. Her stomach was flat and just below a pair of impossibly pert breasts. Her arms were sleek and muscled, yet not lacking in womanly charms. Shoulder-length raven-dark hair hung down her back to her waist, while her china-doll face was dominated by a pair of smouldering brown eyes and a pair of the fullest, most kissable lips he’d ever seen. She was wearing a knee length black skirt with a conservative cream-white blouse, but she could have been wearing a sack-cloth for all he cared. "Hello, I don’t suppose I have to pay?"
Jackson’s heart fluttered and his frame shuddered at her seductive purr. "No, ma’am. Not you."
* * *
Teles smiled as she took her seat. Men were so easy, all it took was a release of her scent and they were putty in her hands. Of course, she scowled as she considered her current assignment; her client would be too smart to send a man to meet her. Still, there were other ways to keep the fairer sex off balance.
And if that failed, there were other weapons at her disposal.
* * *
"You must be Ms. Morgan, charmed I’m sure." Lillah stiffened at the brunette beauty who’d just casually strolled into the office that had been hired away from W&H’s usual base of operations to ensure the deadly seductive demoness didn’t bump into any of their male employees and end up inadvertently disrupting the firm’s smooth running.
Lillah felt suddenly dowdy before the siren, a feeling she was far from
familiar with. Reminding herself that much if not all of the siren’s appeal was
magically created, she forced a smile. "Hello, Teles. Please take a seat."
"Thank you." The siren dazzled her with a dimpled smile before taking her up
on her invitation. "And now to business."
"Yes," Lillah threw a quartet of photos on the desk, "we want you to enchant
these men." She paused. "More specifically break them up from their partners."
"Such pretty boys," Teles purred before staring at her. "Why are these men so important?"
Lillah hesitated. "It’s in the briefing folder." Lillah pushed a manila envelope containing the file across the table. "But they and their partners are part of the Slayer’s group. Our firm wants that group shattered."
"The Slayer?" Lillah was gratified to see the flicker of uncertainty in the siren’s dark eyes. "She’s dangerous."
"Her true strength is the team around her," Lillah hurriedly reassured. "Without them to aid her, she’s just a scared, ill-disciplined child."
"Well," Teles licked her lips before picking up Mr. Giles’ photograph. "They do look positively delicious. It could be fun." The siren’s eyes turned back to her. "And my payment?"
* * *
"Bloody hell," Giles shook his head as he and Wesley strode up the steps of Sunnydale’s only public library. "Why do you read that rubbish?"
"Rubbish?" It was Wesley’s turn to shake his head as they made their way towards the shadowed occult section towards the back. "I still say Crowley had some decent theories."
"Two intellectual types like you, wasting your time with some ill-bred
American yokels, I’ll never understand it."
The hairs on the back of his neck prickling at the woman’s husky voice, Giles began to turn. "I thank you for your concern, but I think it is any of your busine----." His voice trailed off as his brain caught up with what his eyes were seeing.
"Oh," his heart raced as the beauty’s hand stroked his face before flitting across to pat Wes’ cheek, "I think it is. Don’t you agree?"
* * *
"Hello miss-." Xander began to turn at the sexy voice behind them. His heart missed several beats at the blistering hot beauty stood there.
Even as he stood mesmerised, she walked over and ran her hands up and down his and Gunn’s chest. "Such fine boys aren’t you?" she leaned in and kissed his neck. A shiver rippled down his body at her soft lips. "I think you can do better than those two disgusting girls you’re dating can’t you? I think you need them out of your life as soon as possible. Don’t you agree?" Xander found himself nodding in agreement. Why would he want to be tied down at his age?
* * *
"Who’s your new friend, Xan?" Faith asked as she strode across the building site, hips swinging as she basked in the other men’s looks. Just ‘cause she had a kick-ass dude of her own didn’t mean she couldn’t give other guys’ a thrill, just as long as that was as far as it went.
Faith was shocked by the coldness in her boy-friend’s eyes as he turned to her. "I can have other friends, Faith."
Faith raised an eyebrow. "’Course you can, X-."
"Maybe I’d like a girl who doesn’t think a dollar bill is something she sticks in her g-string?"
"Xan," Faith’s hands clenched into fists as she was over-taken by an almost psychotic urge to smash her boy-friend into the ground.
But he wasn’t finished. "At first it was fun, I mean the things you’ll do for the slightest praise. But you’re not even a challenge, Faith. Even hot gets boring when it’s just so easy." Faith stared at Xander as he turned away, eyes watering at his words. How could he speak to her like that?
Even as she wondered what to do, how to respond, Gunn turned to her and
laughed. "I wouldn’t mind a go, Faith. Cordy’s good to look at but not exactly
wild between the sheets, something you don’t have a problem with." Gunn chuckled
and looked towards Xander. "I mean the stories-."
Suddenly she was turning and running, tears streaming down her face. She couldn’t hear anymore.
* * *
"Is it me," Kate teased as she strode into Giles’ study to find her
boy-friend sat bent over his desk busily writing in his diary, "or is someone
not ready for our date."
"Bloody hell woman," Kate was shocked by the ferocity in her lover’s voice. "I think saving the world takes precedence don’t you!"
"Relax Rupert," she soothed. "I was only joking."
"Joking?" Suddenly the Watcher was advancing on her, his eyes gleaming manically. "You think protecting the world is a joking matter?"
"Ahhh!" Kate screamed in pained disbelief when the Englishman snatched a hold of her hair and flung her into the wall. Even as she stumbled off it, his backhand cracked across her cheek knocking her into the desk, hip jarring against it. Seeing the Watcher coming at her, she tried to sidestep, only to stumble over the bin, knocking its contents to the floor.
"You clumsy cow!" Suddenly the Watcher had her by the throat. Wheezing, gurgling for breath, she attempted a knee to the groin but the Watcher knocked it away with his thigh. Her punch to the gut had likewise little effect on the enraged Watcher. Soon she was seeing dots before her eyes.
"G!" Suddenly the Watcher was flying into the air, over the Slayer and crashing through the open doorway. "What the hell you playing at?"
"Typical!" The Watcher snarled as he struggled to his feet. "One little slut protecting the other! You better remember who feeds and houses you, you little tramp!"
"And you better be under a spell of some sort," the Slayer looked wounded and to judge from the redness of her eyes had been crying for some time, but also more dangerous than Kate had ever seen her, "’cause otherwise, they won’t be able to find all the pieces when I’ve finished with ya, now git!"
* * *
"And then he said," Cordy rubbed at her eyes, "that he was sick of an uppity bitch like me and if I didn’t leave he’d smack the sneer clean off my face."
"That doesn’t sound like-." Willow’s gaze snapped to her as she helped a battered Kate into the shop. "Faith! You’ve been cryi-." Willow gulped at her scowl, her attention quickly turning to Kate. "What happened?"
"Xander called me some stuff," Faith evaded. "G tried to choke Kate to death."
Faith glanced at Tar, guessing the shy lesbian would be most affected by the spectre of domestic violence. "No, he wouldn’t, not normally. Gunn going off at Cor, G attacking Kate, Xan saying-." Faith looked towards Willow. "Try Wes."
Willow nodded at her order and quickly dialled the phone. After a few seconds, the witch spoke, then paled and quickly hung up the phone. "I didn’t know Wesley knew language like that!" she gasped.
Faith chuckled darkly. "I guess Wes ain’t comin’ then."
"Charles, Wes, Giles, and Xander!" Willow shook her head. "It must be some sort of spell!"
"Worked that out, but without G or Wes where do we even start looking?" Faith queried.
"Has there been any different about them?" Tara asked.
"Just before Xan and Gunn-," Faith bit her lip as the pain threatened to
overwhelm her again.
"Go on Faith," Tara softly prompted.
She smiled weakly at her friend. "When I met Xan and Gunn, this woman was on the building site talking to them, she was dressed real smart for that place, and real hot, like a fashion model crossed with a Playboy centrefold. She seemed off somehow."
"A siren!" Willow exclaimed, cheeks flushed with excitement.
"A what now?" Faith queried with eyebrow raised.
"They were an ancient Greek legend. The truth is even darker," Willow paused.
"We’re listening," Faith prompted. "Enough with the dramatic pauses and
Willow grinned at her impatience. "They’re demons with the body of a scaly bird and the head of a lion-."
Faith shook her head. "I know the difference between a hottie and a monster, being as I am one -."
"I always thought there was something demony about you," Cordy sniffed with none of her usual bite.
"Funny, Cor, I’m dying laughing, no wait, that would be you," Faith warned.
"They have the power to mask themselves in the bodies of beautiful young women." Willow glared at her interruption. "Bodies with the power to enchant men. They get off in causing disharmony and can enchant a man with just their scent."
"And that’s not the end of their powers," Tara warned. "They also have a scream that can mesmerise anyone, male or female. Then when their victim is in a trance, they strike and eat them."
"Nice," Faith wrinkled her nose. "Where would she hide out?"
"The siren will make her base in a place with a lot of hormonal output," Willow explained. Everyone stared blankly at the witch. "A place with a lot of," the red-head blushed, "sexual tension."
"The Bronze, gotta be. All those teens tryin’ to score? Even during the day when it’s shut, there’ll be hormones zinging around the place." Faith’s smirk promised little but pain for the siren. "Only question is how do I get past her scream?"
Tara smiled. "I have an idea for that."
Faith grinned as she heard the witch’s idea. "Your head ain’t just for hanging hats on is it?" she praised. "’Kay, I’m off." Faith began to rise.
"Don’t you want us to come -."
Faith shook her head at Cordelia’s question. "I’m taking this bitch down on my own."
* * *
Faith dropped into the club through the ceiling light and onto the catwalk above the dance floor. Her eyes narrowed as she saw the stunning beauty that she’d seen with Xander just before he’d ripped into her. She was right, the Bronze was her base. She crept down the stairs and across the deserted dance floor. "Hey bitch." The moment Teles began turning to face her, Faith hit her with a hard right to the jaw. "No one touches Xan but me!"
The siren flew across the Bronze’s stage, crashing into the wall and sliding down it. Faith grinned as she sauntered across the room. "Hand me a switch, there’s gonna be a whuppin’."
She stopped stock-still when the monster reached her feet and opened her mouth. She forced herself to remain still as the creature approached, a smirk on its face. The moment it was close enough, Faith grabbed it by the throat and squeezed, laughing at the pained shock in the beast’s eyes. "Ear plugs are a bitch, bitch." Faith flexed her arm again, flinging the siren into the bar counter.
"Shit!" Faith’s own eyes widened when the beautiful woman morphed into a scaly bird the size of a big dog and with the head of a lion, malignant eyes glinting red. "And Hitchcock thought he was scary!"
Faith flung herself over a near-by table when the creature swooped at her, great wings flapping and clawed feet shredding the air. "Oh yeah, ‘I’m taking this bitch down on my own’," Faith shook her head as she hit the unyielding ground on her shoulder and rolled up into a crouch. "When will I fuckin’ learn?"
Her musings were interrupted by the monster swooping down at her. Faith snatched up a chair and flung it at the siren. The chair crashed into the creature’s chest, knocking it back a step. Faith took advantage of its deflection to leap onto a table and springboard into the air at the winged demon.
She crashed cross-body into the demon’s chest, the force of the collision knocking them both to the ground, Faith on top just the way she liked it. Faith began raining punches down on the demon before it could react, rocking it with lefts and rights in fast succession. When she judged the siren was stunned enough, she placed her hands around its head and twisted. Faith winced as she felt its neck snap and released her grip. "You’re done," she muttered before pulling out her ear-plugs and flinging them down on top of it.
Now she had to go and fix the damage it had caused.
* * *
Faith stopped as she opened their front room door to her house to find her boy-friend stood there, eyes fixed the ground and hands stuffed in his pockets. "Hey, X."
"Hey," Xander stared at her and then away, his shamed eyes seemingly unable to
focus on her. "I’m sorry, I said all those -."
"Shut up." Faith took her boy-friend’s head in her hands. "I nearly killed you last year when that creep cast a spell on me, remember? Can hardly dump the best thing I’ve ever had for a few names can I?"
"I’m the best thing huh?" Xander grinned.
Faith flashed her man her deep dimples. "Don’t get tickets on yaself, competition ain’t ‘xactly steep." Her eyes widened as she saw Kate striding down the drive. "Come on stud’ let’s get out of here, things are ‘bout to get heavy."
* * *
Kate swallowed as she reached the front door, shaky hand reaching up to knock on the door. Her hand dropped back to her side, the door unbanged. She swore she’d never be one of those women, too scared to walk out on an abusive partner. "He was under a spell, Kate," she whispered, ignoring the voice telling her that it was just an excuse, like drugs, booze, or losing a job. Finally she knocked.
Ten long seconds passed before the door swung open. "Hello Kate," Giles stared at her for a second. "Would you like to come in?"
Kate stared uncertainly at the watcher, searching for but failing to find the
madness he’d seen in his eyes when he’d attacked her. "Thank you." The
Englishman dipped his head as she entered. "Rupert, please look at me."
The Englishman raised his eyes. Kate was shocked to see the mist behind his glasses. "I can only apologise-."
"Rupert," Kate waved him to silence, somehow knowing that any apology would only reduce her to tears, "I know it wasn’t you, you don’t have it in you."
The Englishman’s half-smile disappeared before it had truly appeared. "That’s not strictly correct." Kate stared askance at her lover. "In my youth, when I was the same age and a little older than Faith is now, I was a rather different person." Kate opened her mouth. "Please, let me finish. I was a ruffian with a violent temper, an experimenter in the black arts, and always spoiling for a fight. A lot of what you saw was, was the old me."
"Y…you never told me."
Giles stuffed his hands in his pockets and looked down. "It’s not exactly
something I boast about." The Englishman stepped towards her, his hand reaching
up. Kate flinched instinctively. Giles paled and stepped back. "Kate, that’s no
"Isn’t it?" Kate shook her head. "I had this picture in my head of this English academic, loving father, and this warrior-scholar, but you’re a whole different person. I’ve got to go."
"KATE!" Ignoring the man’s anguished shout, Kate spun around and exited the house, determined not to cry. How could something that had felt so right go so wrong so quickly?
A/N: Not one but two major spoilers in this chapter, folks!
FIC: Faith The Series Season 5 Episode 9
"When will you be ready?"
Although angry, Glory was nevertheless gratified by the way her two chief followers quailed at her impatient demand. "Oh great one," stuttered Doc. "This is a great spell and will take time to ready-."
"I want to know where my key is!" she screeched. "I am tired of this world! I am tired of polyester! And bad fashion! And cosmetics that make false promises! I’m tired of it all!"
Once again the duo trembled in the face of her fury. "It will only be a short while longer," Rack promised.
"I’ll go change," Glory decided. "A goddess should look her best for such important news."
* * *
"What did you think of the film?" Faith spun to face her companions, black eyes dancing mirthfully. "I’ll tell you what I think!"
"I sorta knew you would," Xander grinned.
"It was wicked cool!" Faith threw her head back and laughed. "But I could so take Blade, that guy is a pussy!"
"Hey," Gunn kissed Cordy on the side of her head before grinning at Faith, "don’t bash the black."
Faith laughed as she flipped her best friend’s boy-toy the finger. "Fuc-," her head snapped to the left. "Action, guys." Spinning on her heel, she started in the direction of the disturbance.
Entering an alley, she found three figures beating a lame-suited fourth to the ground. It only took a second to determine they were all demons of the same species although the fourth was far slighter than the others. But three on one, it really didn’t matter.
"Xan! Gunn!" She yelled as she charged into the alley. "Take care of the far one, Cor grab scrawny-ass."
"Well dear," chirped the fourth, "you don’t hear me commenting on your appearance before we’ve been introduced."
"Fuck, showbiz demons." Faith ducked a right hand to punch the demon full in the throat. He flew into the wall but bounced up immediately. Faith’s coal-black eyes narrowed as the second of the demons she’d picked out as her own opened a heavy, leather-bound book and began to chant.
Guessing it had to be magic, she started towards the demon only for his companion to tackle her, grabbing her around the waist and lifting her off her feet. "Not on our first date," Faith drove her head sideways and into the demon’s face. The demon grunted, dropped her, and staggered backwards.
And then disappeared into thin air.
Faith blinked. "What the -?"
"Hey!" Gunn’s deep voice boomed out. "Where did Cor go?"
* * *
Giles looked up from his lonely couch, a so forlorn couch ever since the break-up with Kate, when the door to the apartment he shared with his firebrand of a daughter and Slayer crashed open. Grabbing the short sword hung over the fireplace, he strode out into the hallway to find his charge, her boy-friend, and Gunn stood in the doorway, a demon held firmly between them.
"Hell," Faith snorted, "watch out everybody it’s Zorro."
"Zorro never used a short sword, his weapon of choice was a rapier," Giles corrected automatically, his eyes drawn to the garishly dressed green demon. "Who is he?"
"Lorne," the demon straightened his custom-made silk jacket, "singer at
weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, christenings," the demon
winced, "although obviously not Jewish ones. I have a business card somewhere-."
"Screw your business card!" Gunn bellowed, the enraged young man striding towards the demon. "What happened to Cor?"
"I told you," Faith placed her hand in the black man’s chest and effortlessly pushed him back, her other hand gripping tightly to the demon’s collar, "chill. It was the ones who attacked Lorne who took Cor, Lorne’ll be happy to help us find her."
"Well I did have a prior enga-," the green-skinned demon gulped at Faith’s growl. "That is to say, I’m always ready and willing to help."
"That’s what I figured," Faith approved with a nod. "G, let’s take Lorne into the lounge. Xan, you and Gunn call the others in."
* * *
Lorne gulped as he was dumped on the sofa and eyeballed by the two humans. Today had not been one of his better days. Of course being manhandled by the munchkin had had its compensations, but other than that he was not having much fun. "Talk," growled the black-eyed brunette.
"Of course," Lorne beamed at the beautiful young woman. "I must say that jacket brings out the colour in your eyes."
"Not about fashion, about what happened to Cor," the woman snapped. "’Wise I let Gunn kick it out of ya!"
Well really, there was no reason to be so rude. "As I said my name is Lorne. I’m anagogic -."
"Gross," the young woman’s nose wrinkled. "Can’t you get a cream for that?"
The middle-aged man sighed. "Anagogic means empathic, Faith. He can sense people’s emotions."
"But only when they sing to me, then I can read their auras," Lorne smiled. "As a result I have a karaoke club where I read fortunes, although my singing -."
"Enough about the career path," Faith snapped. "Cordy!"
Lorne started slightly. He didn’t know who the young beauty was, but she appeared to be a formidable warrior and impatient. Never a good combination to be on the wrong end of. "I come from another dimension, Pylea. In fact, I escaped here five years ago. The trio you saw attacking me were bounty hunters sent to bring me back. Something about my mother wanting to talk to me." Lorne shuddered. He’d never enjoyed their conversations.
"Why?" the brunette’s growl reminded him of a wolf he’d seen on a wildlife program. Somehow they didn’t seem quite so ‘cute’ any more. "You sort of a crim?"
"In a way," he gulped at the woman’s tensing and hurried on, "mine is a warlike society and I’ve no real use for violence so I was looked down on."
The teen’s mouth opened. The middle-aged man spoke before she could. "And Pylea? What is it like?"
Lorne paused. This was tricky, of course lying could well end up with him in even greater trouble. He hadn’t yet discovered if the leather-clad beauty had a good side. Or maybe and this was a really frightening thought, this was her good side. Anyway, lies would only dump him further in trouble. "Imagine a place with no music, no art. It doesn't exist. Do you know what that's like? No lullabies, no love songs. All my life I thought I was crazy. That I had ghosts in my head or something. Simply because I could hear music. Of course I didn't know it was music. All I knew was that it was something beautiful and - and painful - and right. And I was the only one who could hear it. Then I wound up here and heard Aretha for the first time... Well." He looked towards Faith. "Your friend is in very bad place. ‘Specially looking like she does."
The beauty glowered. "What’s that supposed to mean?"
"Your kind," he licked his lips, "they live in our land too. We call them cows and they’re our slaves."
* * *
Cordelia gasped as she crashed to the ground on her knees, confused by the sudden lightness. Her puzzlement only grew when she looked around to find herself knelt on the sandy ground in the middle of a busy, medieval-looking market populated by demons just like those she and the others had been fighting, and, to judge from their demeanour and clothing, enslaved humans.
Cordy paled. "Oh boy, me and Toto aren’t in Kansas anymore."
"The prophesied one!" Already the demons who’d transported with her were turning to her, their eyes hostile. "The Cocoon of She Who Is To Come. Take her!"
Cordy had only just managed to stand before they were on her. "I want to speak to my Congressman!" she weakly protested as they dragged her towards a looming grey stoned keep with a wall around it.
* * *
Gunn stopped in his pacing as the lounge door swung open. He was instantly striding towards the demon. "Where’s Cor!"
Faith stepped between him and the demon. "I have to tell ya to chill again and I’m sticking your severed head in the fridge, dig?" Faith glared at him as she continued. "G, explanations?"
The moment the older Watcher had finished explaining, Wesley spoke up. "A book that opens dimensional portals? Fascinating! Does it open portals to just the one -." Wesley shook his head. "Of course that isn’t the priority. The question how do we get her back."
"We get our weapons, use the book, chop off a few demons’ heads, grab my girl, and head straight back."
"As a plan it has the advantage of simplicity," Giles said. "However you haven’t thought it through." Giles raised a hand as Gunn’s mouth opened. "Please, hear me out. We can’t all go, that would leave the Hellmouth undefended. We can’t risk that. Especially now with Wolfram & Hart in full operation."
"G’s right," Faith agreed. "I want G and Xan backing my play on this."
"There’s no way I’m being left out of this!" Gunn protested.
"We’ll bring her back, Chuck," Faith interrupted, tone soft but determined. "Lorne, we’re gonna need a guide and you’re it."
"Oh no," Lorne shook his head, eyes alarmed. "When I left Pylea, I swore I wouldn’t be going back! Not even for a Beatles reunion concert with Elvis warming up the crowd!"
"I could always let Gunn discuss it with ya?" Faith suggested.
"A trip home," Lorne smiled weakly. "What the heck, it’ll cure that homesickness I don’t have."
"Yeah," the sultry Slayer smirked. "That’s what I figured."
"I assume that the book will have to be at the door to be used?" Wesley queried. "You’ll have to go back to where you encountered Lorne and his brethren?"
"Brethren?" Lorne sniffed. "Those thugs weren’t of my clan. Couldn’t you tell from the way they dressed?"
"Oh god," Xander muttered. "We’re all doomed."
* * *
Giles stared nervously around the darkened alley before glancing at the heavy book in his hands. "How does it work?"
"I would hazard a guess that you read from it," Wesley suggested.
"Um," he glanced at his country-man stood at the far end of the alley. "I imagine you’re right. Has everyone got their weapons?" Once his companions had nodded, he looked back towards his fellow Watcher. "Keep them safe."
Wesley smiled wryly. "As long as you do the same. Amazing as it seems, I’ve become rather attached to them."
"They’re like a fungus," Giles chortled. "They grow on you no matter what."
"Just read the damn book, G," Faith growled.
"Yes dear." Giles opened the book and began slowly reading. He’d barely begun when a wind grabbed them and a blazing light engulfed them.
Giles blinked as the light disappeared. The first thing he noticed they were in a forest. The second was the two suns overhead. The third was definitely the most worrying. "Where is the book?" he looked around wildly. "Did someone grab it off me?"
"Where did you put the book!" Faith screamed.
"Oh don’t tell me we’re stuck here!"
Giles winced. If anything Lorne’s screech was even higher than Faith’s. "Oh bugger," he groaned. "When you think about it, it does make sense." Faith stared blankly at him. "When the demons read from the book to jump here, they left the book behind too. It must be a book that only opens the portal one way. We must need another book to get back."
Xander clapped sarcastically. "Oh well done. And you couldn’t have thought of this before?"
Giles glared at the younger man. As usual he was no help at all. "Oh belt up," he growled. "The Pyleans got to our dimension, there must be books to transport people to our dimension here." Xander opened his mouth. "Don’t start young man, you’d have come here even if you’d have known this would have happened, however much the pair of you argue, you and Cordelia are friends. The question is what do we do next?"
"Well," they all glanced to an even greener than normal Lorne. "My family’s place is up a track maybe half a mile to the east. Perhaps they’ll be some help."
* * *
Giles stared doubtfully at the large wooden house stood on top of the hill, a couple of its windows were cracked, its roof looking to be barely hanging on, and the door hanging off the hinges. And the smell. "H…how rustic," he stuttered.
"Yes, I know," Lorne sighed. "I’m already longing for my club."
"Right now I’m longing for one of the foster homes," Faith muttered.
Suddenly the front door crashed open and a hulking, bearded figure with the shoulders of a rugger player and the belly of a darts player stumbled out, followed by a dozen or so more gigantic figures. "The bad seed you return! You dare to come back after the disgrace you foisted on our family. Worse you bring free cows with you!"
"And remember you wanted this," Lorne muttered before forcing a smile. "Hello mother."
"Mo-," Giles gaped.
"Oh boy, no wonder he left," Xander muttered.
"Grab them! The priests will want them!" Lorne’s mother roared with a point of her finger.
* * *
Giles wondered if he’d been in a worse position. On balance probably not, they were the shackled prisoners in a dimension that enslaved humans, in a castle filled with demons who were even now taking them to their leader so sentence cold be passed. He was guessing slavery or execution, and he couldn’t even decide which was worse.
No, this was definitely going on his list of top ten worse days. Bloody bollocks.
"We wait ‘til we get inside, grab their queen and hold her hostage to get out of here," Faith muttered through the side of her mouth. "Maybe use her to find Cordy."
"And how are we supposed to do that while in shackles?" Xander asked.
Faith shot her boyfriend a scathing look. "Am I supposed to think of everything?"
"It would make a change if you thought of anything!"
"Please god," Giles muttered. "Why does their infernal bickering have to be the last thing I hear? I had hoped it would be the Stones or Zeppelin."
"Respect when you enter the presence of the Holiest Of Holies!" thundered one of their helmeted guards before flinging the door ahead of them open and shoving them inside, the heavy door crashing shut behind them.
Giles stopped and gaped. "G…good lord."
* * *
"Hi guys," Cordelia was sat cross-legged on a throne on top of a three-stepped and wearing only a silvery, translucent cape over a bejewelled bikini, bathed in light flooding in from the window. "Guess I’m going up in the world."
"Oh shit," Faith muttered. If Cordy hadn’t had ego problems before, she would now.
"Young lady," Giles sounded scandalised. "Put some clothes on!"
"Oh, the girl’s got style," Lorne approved.
"They made her queen?" Xander gasped. "Lorne was right, this is a hell dimension."
* * *
"I…it’s done," the two demons exchanged nervous looks.
"Well!" Glory snapped, barely able to contain her impatience. "Where is it?"
"It’s not here," Doc finally replied. "The augers signify it’s not in this town." Doc looked towards Rack.
The magic-drainer licked his lips before speaking. "Or in this dimension."
"That’s impossible!" Glory’s scream shook the loft’s walls. "The prophecy is clear! The beast shall find her key in the dale of the sun! It has to be here!"
FIC: Faith The Series Season 5 Episode 10
"How are you doing Wes?"
Wes straightened, forcing a smile as he peered into Kate’s concerned eyes. He’d never noticed just how brilliant her pupils were. Realising he was staring, he coughed and reddened in embarrassment. Covering, he glanced down. "Sorry, I was miles away, research," he spluttered.
The blonde beauty smiled. "Research with a closed book?"
He coughed again. "Before actually beginning to research something, I like to take a moment to collect and order my thoughts."
"Ah," the blonde’s smile widened. "And what will you research when you’ve ordered them?"
"I was thinking of seeing if I could unearth anything else about Pylea," he stared out into space and forced a laugh. "Of course it’s pointless now, now they’ve gone."
"Don’t worry," Kate’s smile was more than a little forced itself, "Giles knows what he’s doing."
"Yes, rather more than I do apparently," he couldn’t help the bitterness he heard in his own voice. Damn it, Faith was his Slayer too, he wasn’t some junior Watcher to be ‘benched’ as the yanks so colourfully put it.
"Oh," Kate stared at him for a second, realisation flickering in her eyes. "Wesley, Giles didn’t leave you here because he doesn’t trust you, he left you here because he trusts you to hold the fort."
"Yes, of course," Wesley forced a smile, "I’m being foolish." He just wished he could believe what Kate was saying, but as always he could hear his father in his ear, telling him just what a liability he was.
* * *
"Shall we gut the cows now that you might dine on their ignoble flesh, oh most high?" demanded one of their custodians.
"Decisions, decisions." Cordelia beamed at them. "This’d be where you grovel right?"
Faith glared at her, her best friend’s ebony eyes somehow darkening. "Cordy."
Cordelia smiled. "Okay. - Off with their heads!" The air rang to the sound of drawing swords. "Just kidding. Let them free and leave us."
"Your Majesty, I must protest," wheezed the chief guard. "To allow dangerous criminals to roam free in your presence?"
Cordelia sniffed and glared at the dissenter. "You're gonna make me use my 'important voice' aren't you? Leave us!" Once the flunkies had filed out, Cordy held her arms out for a hug, beaming as her friends ran towards her.
And past her, directly to the buffet by the window. "Oh thank god!" Giles growled. "I could eat a scabby donkey!"
Faith looked at her. "What happened?"
Cordelia turned to face her best friend with a shake of the head. "What's it look like? They jabbed me with hot pokers for a while and then made me a princess."
Giles stared at her. "It doesn’t make sense. In a world where humans are slaves and chattel - why would they elevate one to monarch?"
"Ah," Lorne stared at her with mouth agape, "you’re the prophesied one aren’t you? Did they call you the Cocoon?"
"A cocoon?" Giles was looking at her like she was one of his books. Or she was Kate or Jenny. Which was creepy on several different levels. "Generally a cocoon is a protective covering for another life-form, what could you be being protecting?"
"Well, see there is this prophecy," Lorne began.
Faith groaned. "A prophecy? Great. Because those always go well. Oh wait, they don’t."
Lorne lounged on her throne, which was just so disrespectful, worse than anything even Harmony had ever done. "Well the priests that have been running this mess for the last several millennia, the Covenant of Trombli - humourless bunch. Anyway, they teach of a coming messiah." Enough was enough, Cordelia glared meaningfully at the demon. Lorne coughed and got up. "The cursed one. A being with the power within."
Giles looked from her to Lorne. "When you say 'power within.'..."
Lorne shrugged. "That’s what the prophecy says. As to what it actually means." The demon shrugged again.
"Cordy’s got depths?" Xander started laughing. "She's the messiah?"
Cordy scowled at her high-school nemesis. "It could happen."
"It has happened," Giles interrupted. At least that's what these Trombli believe. And so long as they do, we might actually stand a chance of surviving this place long enough to find our way out."
"How did you get in?" Cordy asked.
"The same way you did - opened a portal with the book," Faith replied.
"Well, duh," Cordy shook her head. "Do I have to do your thinking for you?"
"Too easy," Xander commented.
"Let’s use the book to get back," she finished.
Giles grimaced. "We, ah, seem to have misplaced it though."
Cordelia smiled. "They've got books here. Those tambala guys? They used some when they swore me in."
Giles beamed. "I've got to see those."
"Okay, but say we do find the instructions, don't we still need one of those
inter dimensional hotspots?" asked Xander.
"Perhaps the books can help in that regard too," Giles commented before
looking towards her. ""The books, can you get us access?"
Cordy smirked. "Am I not the princess?"
"Oh please, don’t remind us," Xander groaned.
"I can have the guards back in a second, and you back in a cell in a minute," she warned.
* * *
"You actually read this stuff?"
Giles glanced up from his reading at Xander’s question. "It
resembles certain demonic languages with which I'm familiar, but whole passages
appear to be missing." Giles’ eyes narrowed as he noticed the head of an animal
engraved on the cover of another book. "Fascinating. A hart."
Cordelia peered over his shoulder and shook her head. "It's not a heart, it's a bambi."
"A bambi?" Giles sighed. "No not h-e-a-r-t, h-a-r-t. A male red deer or stag. Often associated with rural mysticism."
Xander spoke up next. "Yeah, they’ve all got animals on them. Probably just a bunch of demon bedtime stories."
Giles looked again at the three books lying open in front of him on the desk and grinned. "Oh boy," Faith snorted, "he’s gone to that happy place only he and Wes inhabit. Nerd-paradise."
"Of course! The holy books are written in Trionic."
"What?" Xander asked.
Giles glanced up at the youth. "No one volume is complete without the other two. I..it's really one book broken up into three pieces."
"You mean like a trilogy?" Lorne asked before sighing. "Ah, to have been in Vegas when the King opened the show with ‘An American Trilogy’."
Giles stared at the demon before slowly shaking his head. "No.
No. Much more complex than that. See this passage here," he pointed
at the first book, "continues in this volume here," pointed at the second, "then
concludes in the third. The rhythm of the sentence structure lets one know
when to jump from book, to book, to book."
"Anything about the portals?" Xander asked.
Giles sighed. "Impossible to say. It will take me some time to decipher them I'm afraid."
"Boring." Cordelia trilled.
Giles glanced at the semi-clad beauty, bloody hell it was distracting working
in these conditions. " I am finding references to the cursed one."
Unsurprisingly the cheerleader suddenly seemed a lot more interested.
"Really? There is stuff about messiah me?"
"Apparently you’re to com-shuk with a groosalug."
Cordelia looked perturbed. "What does that mean?"
Giles’s only answer was a shrug. "Sounds dirty if you ask me," Xander commented.
"Did you hear me ask?" Cordy snapped.
Xander grinned at the glowering former cheerleader. "Why don't we just get somebody who knows this stuff to tell us what it means?"
"Like who?" Faith asked.
"Like one of those priests Lorne was talking about," Xander replied. "These books belong to them, right?"
"Oh dear," everyone turned back to him as hr moved the books into order and stared at the covers’ images, "wolf, ram, and hart. I don’t think the priests can be trusted."
"Figures that a dimension that made Cordy princess would have to be run by them," Xander dolefully sighed.
"Always with the glass half-empty!" Cordelia snapped.
* * *
"Cordelia, you must listen to me!"
Cordelia spun to face the perspiring Englishman who’d followed her back into her throne room as she sat down. "No, Giles, I think I've heard enough. You want me to go back to where I’m not a princess? Sorry, don't see the upside to that."
Giles shook his head. "Cordelia, you have seen the books! Surely you must realise how dangerous of a place this is!"
Cordelia scowled. "Look, you wanna go, go! But I have to stay here and be a princess."
"Yeah, ‘cause that’s so much more important than defending the world,"
* * *
The throne room door swung back open and the head priest strode in, followed
by two others. ""Majesty. Is everything alright?"
"Yes," Cordelia forced a smile.
"It most certainly is not!" snapped Giles.
Xander stepped forward. "Hey, Popey, how about some information on this groosalug?" Cordelia threw her hands up. For a woman of her station she got precious little respect.
Silas looked towards her. "Your Majesty?"
"You heard," Cordelia sighed, it wasn’t as if her friends would just give in.
The head priest dipped his head. "The groosalug has been summoned from the
scum pits of Ur..."
Cordy gulped. "Scum pits?"
"It will arrive before night fall," the head priest continued.
"So that's the really close scum pits then."
The head priest nodded at her question. "Everyone is very anxious for her
majesty to com-shuk with the groosalug."
Cordy forced a smile. "Of course! Why wouldn't they be?" Cordelia
pointed at Giles, Xander, and Faith. "Now these three? They didn't even
know what the com-shuk was. - You tell them!"
"The com-shuk is a mating ritual," the head priest explained.
Xander chuckled. "I told you it was dirty."
Cordy felt her blood run cold. "Yes. Exactly. It's been a really long time since I've had a good com-shuk."
"Does Chuck know this?" Faith wondered aloud.
Cordy glared at her best friend even as she jumped up. "So, uhm, I'm just gonna run out for a minute to get a gift, because isn’t it traditional?" she babbled as she edged towards the doors. "And you know, groosalugs, hard to buy for." She looked behind herself to see two priests blocking the door. "I should really be hurrying."
The head priest’s smile reminded her of her daddy’s lawyer. "I'm afraid I must insist you do not leave the palace, majesty. The rebels are about. There are rumblings." The priest’s smile widened. "But not to worry, we have doubled the palace guard."
Cordy’s stomach hollowed. "Doubled, huh? But you will tell me when the groosalug gets here?"
The priest bowed. "Yes of course, your majesty."
Cordy stepped back up to her throne. "Okay then. Well. Uh, you
can go now."
"Thank you, your majesty." The head priest bowed and backed away, leaving the doors shut behind him and his companions.
Cordelia’s eyes snapped to her companions. "Next bus out of town, I’m on it!"
* * *
Giles, Xander, Faith, and Lorne sneaked along a deserted corridor. Giles
turned and glared at Cordelia. "Hurry up!"
The cheerleader, her arms full of jewels, glared at him. "If you ever find a way to get us out of here, I want you to find me a dimension where some demons doesn't want to impregnate me with its spawn! Is that just too much to ask? What is it about me anyway? Do I put out some kind of come 'shuk' me vibe? "
"You do in that outfit," snorted Faith. Rather unhelpfully in his opinion.
Faith, Giles, and Xander pulled up a stone trap door to reveal some nauseous
liquid sloshing around at the bottom of it. Cordy’s nose wrinkled. "Okay. Smells
like I'll be mating with the groosalug."
"You and me make two, baby," Lorne agreed.
Giles turned to the cheerleader again. "You can do this, Cordelia. The sewage empties out beyond the castle. It's our only sure bet. Just - hold your breath."
"Why can't we use the front door?" Cordy pleaded.
"You really think you'd be able to get your booty out the front door?" Xander
looked down her cleavage.
"I hope you ain’t looking at her rack when you’ve got mine to oogle," Faith warned.
"Oh dear god, they’re just so professional," muttered Giles.
"That booty." Xander defended himself by pointing at the jewels.
"Oh. I just wanted a little something to remember my reign by. Is that so wrong?" Cordy argued.
Giles helped Xander to drop down into the sewer. "Oh god," Xander groaned.
"You next." Faith shoved Lorne through the hole before leaping through it herself.
Giles held out his hands to Cordy. "Come on."
Cordy wrinkled up her face. "You first."
With a sigh Giles dropped down into the sewer.
* * *
Cordy eyed the opening then slowly manoeuvred herself into position to climb down. "We've been looking for you, your majesty." Cordy’s heart dropped as she turned to see the head priest and a contingent of guards. "Someone must speak to the servants about leaving that door open." One of the guards shuts it.
Cordy straightened up. "Uh. Yeah. It's kind of whiffy in there." Looked down at the booty in her arms. "Oh. Ah. I just thought I would have this stuff - appraised!"
The head priest smiled. "Your majesty, the groosalug approaches."
* * *
Giles coughed and wheezed as he vainly attempted to use his sweater to cover
his mouth and nose against the stench. He blinked as they reached the end of the
tunnel and broke through an opening in the castle walls that was half obscured
by wild, unfettered foliage.
Faith stared back at the opening. "Where the hell’s Cordy?"
"She didn't make it," Lorne replied.
Xander glared at the building. "Now what?"
Giles pursed his lips for a second, then smiled grimly. "Throughout history, every dictatorship has faced a resistance. Indeed the head priest mentioned them. We must find them."
* * *
Cordy shuffled uncomfortably on her throne, a girl was polishing the nails on
her right hand. "You're sure this is a good first date look?" she babbled. "I
don't want to seem too easy. These things stick, I mean look at Harmony’s
reputation! I was thinking something more in a nice tailored suit of armour. So,
so I figured we'd start slow. A few dinners, some light conversation,
nothing too heavy and then in three or four years, if we still feel like we're
hitting it off okay, we'll ah..."
"Your majesty," the head priest, Silas, walked in, with an expression oilier than a Hollywood producer’s, "the groosalug approaches."
"Oh wonderful," Cordelia laughed nervously. This was not of the good. "Don't you think it would add an air of feminine mystery if I were to, you know, not be here?" She attempted to rise but was pushed back down by a bluish hand on her shoulder. She sobbed as the double doors opened and wheezing, bulky demon with horns shuffled in, a sack slung over its shoulder. Cordy glanced despairingly at her attendant. "Kill me now."
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